Podcast experiment

There’s also a page where any future ones will be archived, along with this one.  Feedback appreciated.

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64 thoughts on “Podcast experiment

  1. There was a lot of ground covered in your podcast, but I have a few insights, particularly regarding the number of large families in Florida that you mentioned. I think there are a few things.

    1- Not sure if you know this but a lot of very large Christian ministries are based in the Sunshine state. From Camus Crusade for Christ (which encourages its mothers of minor children to stay home) to Wycliffe Bible translators, to Ligonier Ministries (R.C. Sproul), to TBN. Not to mention Pensacola Christian College, makers of the very popular Abeka curriculum used both in private and homeschools. And those are just the big ones off the top of my head. I’m sure there are more.

    2- Community fostered by the number of wives of para-church ministry staff members. Florida is highly transient, and even among these Christian missionary families, there can be some movement in and out, but these women tend to dig in, get involved, and build relationships wherever they happen to be. Because they are usually far away from blood relations with lots of kids (4+) they learn quickly to beuild relationships for themselves and their kids.

    3- School choice, including homeschooling. The governor was the keynote speaker at the FPEA’s homeschool graduation ceremony a few years ago. McKay scholarships can be used at private Christian and parochial schools.

    4- Cost of living. In reality, that is changing as wages stagnate and rices rise, but still. With no state income tax and a relatively affordable housing market, you’re right that it is easier to afford to feed several children.

    5- Weather. More moms at the park means more opportunity to make friends. I found our co-op not through research, but through conversations with another mother at the park at the same time every week.

    As for the single mothers jumping the queue: While it is true that they get preferential treatment when it comes to higher education and assistance with childcare (if they work) and food, overall the heroic single mom thing is a media construct.

    In the real world, single mothers have it pretty hard in the areas that often matter most, like finding a mate. I do know a couple who vacation a heck of a lot more than we can, but overall, I wouldn’t trade places, even with the challenges of having a higher number of children than average.

    Podcast sparked thought, and it wasn’t boring, so there’s my feedback.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. While I agree that SAHM’s could really use some domestic help, whether paid or relatives/church members, I don’t really see that becoming something that can be pulled of easily in our culture. Most people can’t afford domestic help. When living paycheck to paycheck or close to it, there isn’t $50-$60 a month to pay someone to come in even once a month. The way the system is set up is that most families need a dual income to live at least middle, middle class. They are willing to take a huge hit in the second income by paying for childcare for two children over 7-8 years if the kids are spaced two-three years apart. Once both kids are in school, they can then take the money they used for childcare in the early years and use that to pay off debt, save for college, have a slightly better standard of living, and maybe, just maybe, hire someone to help with the housework The domestic help today is in the form of childcare so both parents can work rather than help for a SAHM. The majority of SAHM’s are either masters of frugality in order to pull off the one-income household or a smaller number whose husbands make an UMC salary on their own.

    As far as unpaid help, that isn’t readily available either. Grandmas and aunts usually have jobs or live too far away for it to be feasible. A church group might drop off some frozen meals for new mothers but that’s the extent of the help you can expect. Why? Because there is no one to help. They are too busy working.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I agree with you that SAHM’s are expected to have sparkling clean homes, gourmet, organic meals, make sure the kids are socialized like their daycare peers etc. and in order for that to be pulled off it needs to be recognized that raising a family, especially one that has more than 2 kids, takes more work than mom’s two hands and sanity can provide. However, it’s not a practical or workable theory unless you are UMC. The only way to get the environment that will make it workable is to convince married women en masse to leave the workforce, which will create a labor shortage and suddenly the husband’s income will have more value. Since that’s not going to happen, I say the second best thing to help SAHM’s is to take down their stress level by making it clear that reasonably clean, rather than magazine shoot perfect, is the goal for keeping house. Plain, simple cooking that is nutritious and wholesome if not gourmet, is a-ok for most nights of the week with maybe one or two night for providing something with flair to break the monotony.

    Other things that would help:

    -You don’t have to make crafts to decorate your house to be a good mom or wife.
    -You don’t have to buy organic everything if you can’t afford it.
    -You don’t have to do everything you see on pintrest-gourmet fancy cakes and treats with hundreds of steps, homemade halloween costumes,

    Anyway, I’ve run out of time since I have a church function to attend. I have more thoughts so maybe I will come back later. Sorry for any typos! No time to proofread….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Most people with kids are reliant on unpaid and low-paid daycare workers and SAHMs for childcare and aftercare for their 1-3 children while both mom and dad work at 40-70k/year jobs.

      Part of the problem with discussing the money aspect I think is the unrecognized amount of free and barely-paid childcare and sometimes even house cleaning labor already funding double-income and single-parent households.

      And then 20 or 30% of SAHMs already use childcare help specifically on a weekly or more frequent regular basis.

      A lot of people are going it alone, but a lot aren’t, and nailing down just how much help people are really getting would be awkward and painful to many of the people who rely on it, but it would also clarify the reality on the ground greatly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • @PC “Most people with kids are reliant on unpaid and low-paid daycare workers and SAHMs for childcare and aftercare for their 1-3 children while both mom and dad work at 40-70k/year jobs.”

        Agreed. I’m one of the SAHM’s who provided full-time childcare at a very low rate to be competitive with local daycares in order to supplement my husband’s income. It was either that or work outside the home and pay for child care myself. I wanted to be with my girls so I made the trade off but it was far from easy. I was the babysitter when I most needed one myself.

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    • How long have you been reading this blog? You seem to have missed a lot of the basic points.

      The question of mothers getting help isn’t about having time to make crafts, it’s about preventing dangerous levels of sleep deprivation. People cannot keep pretending like it’s ok to leave women alone with multiple small children for years on end.

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      • I wasn’t at all making the point that moms need help so they can do crafts but I can see why it may have come off that way. I was in a hurry before I had to leave and didn’t make myself as clear as I should have.

        To put it in a nutshell, my point was that paid help or unpaid help from relatives sounds nice and all, but there seems to be no real way of actually implementing that idea in our current culture. There are no other women in the neighborhood who are home who can help or trade help. There are many women making financial sacrifices already to be at home that paying for help is out of the budget. In light of this reality, you also have the overwhelming messages that SAHM’s get from online sources about all the things “good” SAHM’s do, like run perfectly beautiful, sparkling clean homes, cook gourmet meals, buy organic, provide play dates to socialize the kids, handmade everything, homeschooling, keep a hot, fit 20-something body for hubby, stretch every dollar, provide bigger and better birthday parties for the kids to out-do the next family and from the submission bloggers, have sex on demand, There’s very little common sense advice about tuning out all the ridiculousness and that doing what’s reasonable in certain seasons of life is ok and you’re not failing. Not by a long shot.

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        • The normalization of the kind of childcare that was previously rarely seen even in wartime is a serious and devastating problem with enormous consequences to inviduals and society at large. The *whole point of this blog* is that solutions exist. Saying that it’s an impossible dream for most women just isn’t true. It’s impossible if people insist on making it impossible.

          And suggesting like the issue is comparing oneself to advertising images is something that everyone needs to just knock off. The issues are things like dangerous levels of sleep deprivation and inability to get necessary dental or medical care. You can realize that glossy blog images are fantasy and intended to sell you something and you can be perfectly fine with good-enough housekeeping and rotisserie chickens *and your teeth are still going to be falling out of your head if you can’t get a sitter to watch your kids while you go to the dentist.*

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          • “The normalization of the kind of childcare that was previously rarely seen even in wartime is a serious and devastating problem with enormous consequences to inviduals and society at large.”

            I agree and that’s why I stayed home with my girls instead of putting them in institutionalized care.

            “The *whole point of this blog* is that solutions exist. Saying that it’s an impossible dream for most women just isn’t true. It’s impossible if people insist on making it impossible.”

            No, it’s near impossible because most people are so stuck by the current status quo that it would be very difficult to extricate them from it even if they wanted to try to implement another solution.

            “And suggesting like the issue is comparing oneself to advertising images is something that everyone needs to just knock off.”

            I’m not talking about advertising images. I’m talking about other mom’s shoveling out advice and putting up “oh so happy and productive” images of their homes and lives about what makes a good wife and mom when most of it is frivolous and unrealistic. Moms who are sleep deprived, lonely and financially strapped and who have no status as wives and mothers wonder why they can’t just get it together like these other moms say it’s possible to do. “If I can just clean house like she says, or if I can just menu plan and cook from scratch..or this…or that…maybe I’ll really begin to feel better about my life.” There is tremendous pressure to live up to an image of “super SAHM” because if they are able to pull it off they can have some sense of status in what they are doing with their lives. A status that is not given to them by the attitude of the culture at large.

            “The issues are things like dangerous levels of sleep deprivation and inability to get necessary dental or medical care. You can realize that blog images are fantasy and intended to sell you something and you can be perfectly fine with good-enough housekeeping and rotisserie chickens *and your teeth are still going to be falling out of your head if you can’t get a sitter to watch your kids while you go to the dentist.*”

            While I agree that when you are at home with little children it is difficult to make appointments for yourself, most husbands will at least take a few hours off work so their wife can go to the dentist without her teeth falling out. A lot of places offer evening and even Saturday morning appointments. It IS very difficult sometimes to do these things but there is usually someone in a pinch who can help out with the kids for an hour or two on occasion. What isn’t readily available is the recognition that mom needs help with every day stuff. It’s assumed that if it’s just about cleaning house, making meals, grocery shopping, getting a nap etc, she can handle that on her own so no offers of help are given and if she asks, they wonder why she can’t handle it because she doesn’t even “work.” Working mothers, however, get more sympathy. Everyone understands how busy they must be and because she has a child care structure already in place, she can take advantage of that to get to appointments or grocery shop etc without having to haul her kids with her.

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          • You Know Who said:

            “*and your teeth are still going to be falling out of your head if you can’t get a sitter to watch your kids while you go to the dentist.*”

            That issue may be invisible because of the large number of short term (2-5) year SAHMs.

            It isn’t necessarily dire to have three spotty years of dental care–but 10-20 is.

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      • People cannot keep pretending like it’s ok to leave women alone with multiple small children for years on end.

        There are people who don’t think this is a huge deal. I’ve seen people make comments like “women raised tons of kids on a farm all by themselves.”

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        • “I’ve seen people make comments like “women raised tons of kids on a farm all by themselves.””

          Not homeschooling they didn’t, or at least not generation after generation.

          Also, the Egg and I has to be brought up in this context. She did a few years of the solitary farm wife thing, was utterly starved for companionship–and then flew the coop.

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    • Another way to look at it is that if people were open about paying for childcare to work at real-job rates, then you’d get more informal networks of women helping other women because the true costs of female labor would finally be up front. Ideally this would lead to more kids, but just leading to healthier mothers and more pleasant society and domestic life would be a total win even if everyone still had 2-4 kids.

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      • The whole thing is a horrble vicious circle. Everyone desperately cobbles together arrangements to get them through the early years and then another cobbling job happens to get through school, and nobody has the time or energy to sit back and look at what is really happening.

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    • The only way to get the environment that will make it workable is to convince married women en masse to leave the workforce, which will create a labor shortage and suddenly the husband’s income will have more value.

      Employers will hire foreigners with HB1 visas. There are various sectors with women leaving, and the employers aren’t interested in hiring male citizens (at least not in the US). It’s cheaper to hire outside and employers don’t care about helping out their country’s own– they only care about lining their wallets.

      Which leaves the rest of us to care a lot about making sure we have a reason to own wallets.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree. “…the employers aren’t interested in hiring male citizens (at least not in the US).” There are more minds to change other than just married women. I don’t have much hope of that ever happening. So what ARE the best strategies to employ while living with what we’ve been given? (not asking you specifically but as something that needs to be considered)

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        • So what ARE the best strategies to employ while living with what we’ve been given?

          IMO, I think it goes to show Christians need to start thinking about marriage and family much earlier and more seriously. There’s going to come a time for a lot of Christians in the next generation to realize they can’t wait until their late 20’s to get married. Young women are going to be the ones who shoulder a lot of financial planning burdens, if they want to be a SAHM or plan on leaving the workforce for awhile before returning to it.

          Since employers don’t care about their employees (and I firmly believe this in general), young men and women need to use their employment and develop strategies to become financially fit before their mid-20’s. That means a LOT of personal sacrifice in one’s youth, which isn’t a solution most young people like and a lot of their parents don’t like it either.

          I think about it this way– if a young woman by age 25 is able to individually build wealth to bring to a marriage, she can have some sense of financial security to build a family as a SAHM. It means she and her husband can afford to use resources which require money. If they don’t spend the money, it still gives them the freedom to participate in community life to help others.

          Money doesn’t make the world go round, but it sure makes life go smoother.

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    • As for the idea that married women are going to leave the workforce en masse – for pete’s sake, who do you think is going to be doing the paid domestic work?

      Married women have *always worked for pay.* It is completely normal for married women to pay *other married women* just like married men pay other married men.

      There is nothing wrong with the SAHM who does not earn any income whatsoever for the entire length of her marriage to her breadwinner husband but society has never supported this for the majority of people. Even during the postwar American golden age, women put their husbands through school, they had small businesses, they worked in family businesses, they did domestic work.

      The idea that a household based around one breadwinner and one single income is normative is a huge part of what has gotten us into this mess, but that is a story for another day.

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      • “As for the idea that married women are going to leave the workforce en masse – for pete’s sake, who do you think is going to be doing the paid domestic work? Married women have *always worked for pay.* It is completely normal for married women to pay *other married women* just like married men pay other married men.”

        So the solution is for financially well-off married women to pay other married women for housework and childcare? That already happens for those who can afford it. How does that help the married woman who is doing the domestic work for someone else with her childcare problems and her housework? Domestic work is and always has been low paid work and little to no benefits. Many women do this kind of work because they don’t have the education to do anything else or they spent so much time raising their families that this is how they begin to step into the workforce again because no one else is going to hire them with a 25 year old outdated degree. Home health care, home babysitters, housekeepers already exist but you aren’t going to convince those dual-income couples to have the wife quit her $20 + an hour job to babysit other peoples kids for minimum wage. If you insist that those who provide domestic work get paid comparable wages to do “women’s work,” there are very few families that could afford to pay those kinds of wages. Unless I’m missing something, I really don’t see this as a solution that will take off in the wider culture.

        “There is nothing wrong with the SAHM who does not earn any income whatsoever for the entire length of her marriage to her breadwinner husband but society has never supported this for the majority of people. Even during the postwar American golden age, women put their husbands through school, they had small businesses, they worked in family businesses, they did domestic work.”

        So? I’m a SAHM who provided childcare full time for 10 years. It didn’t help me find the help I needed around the house. I had my own kids to take care of and watched working women’s children so THEY could work, go to appointments and the grocery store after work because it was TOO HARD for them to take one toddler to the store. Meanwhile, I did my grocery shopping while taking my own kids and theirs during the day. I did it for less than minimum wage because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be making any money at all. They’d just take them to local daycare that charged less because of volume and low paid workers. I was willing to do this because I wanted to be the one to raise my kids. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make. However, because it was just low paid childcare work, it wasn’t enough to make it worth it to pay someone to do some of my housework.

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        • All daycares aren’t created equal and about one in ten households with kids do pay for in-home childcare from a nanny or au pair. But again, I can’t pay other married women, as they won’t work for me at reasonable wages or unreasonable ones. It’s an ego issue.

          On the flip side, a lot of children whose mothers ran daycares at home did not like the experience and did not feel very home-reared by mom while she was wrangling four other kids. Some liked it, but it’s not a universally positive experience for children going through it.

          These discussions are difficult precisely because one’s direct personal experiences are hard to set aside in order to look at broader variations by income status and subculture.

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          • “All daycares aren’t created equal and about one in ten households with kids do pay for in-home childcare from a nanny or au pair.”

            Which is fine for those who can afford to hire one and there are women available who do that kind of work.

            “But again, I can’t pay other married women, as they won’t work for me at reasonable wages or unreasonable ones. It’s an ego issue.”

            Do you mean married women with or without children? It doesn’t make sense for married women with children to work in-home for another married woman unless she is able to find even lower paid or or free child care for her own kids to make it worth it. I don’t see how that would be ego. If they are young married women who aren’t college-educated and haven’t had children yet, that would probably work until they started a family but you would have high turnover. If they are college educated then they will want to work in their field of study which is understandable and most likely pays more which they will need to pay back their student loans. Older married women who never had kids or whose kids are grown probably don’t need to provide childcare to make extra money now that the financial strain of raising a family is over. Their concerns are healthcare coverage now that they are older, helping their kids with the grandchildren, working in the field they have always worked in if they were working moms or trying something new because they did the childcare thing and are burnt out from it. Where is the ego issue? What am I missing?

            “On the flip side, a lot of children whose mothers ran daycares at home did not like the experience and did not feel very home-reared by mom while she was wrangling four other kids. Some liked it, but it’s not a universally positive experience for children going through it.”

            I can imagine that would so. I wouldn’t recommend mothers of young children to take on many other young children. I worked for four families over the ten years but one at a time. I knew my limits and wrangling four little kids in addition to my own would have been beyond my capacity. I usually had one other child under my care, not a group. However, there were two summers where I did have three siblings join us but all the kids were school age so that was doable because they weren’t helpless. My children still got plenty of attention and enjoyed having someone else to play with who was close in age instead of just each other. I still do before school care for one of the children I cared for since she was six weeks old. She’s like a sibling to my girls. The family of the three-child summer sibling group became great friends of ours and we are each other’s youngest child’s Godparents.

            “These discussions are difficult precisely because one’s direct personal experiences are hard to set aside in order to look at broader variations by income status and subculture.”

            I’d love to look at broader variations by income status and subculture. I can only speak from my own personal experience but would love to see how it would work in other variations that maybe I can’t see from my perspective as the “married woman with children who is paid-help for other married women.” In what other variations could the idea of “women working for other women” be brought to fruition in a way that works for MOST mothers getting enough help to encourage increased births? From where I stand, it would only work for the UMC but does nothing for the majority in the middle to encourage more kids. Where do they find more help which will encourage natalism?

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            • I think there’s a lot of talking past each other. With most things, the solutions are going to vary due to regional differences. Each area comes with its own set of resources, supply, and demand. The hard part of making the solutions possible is understanding that based on region, some domestic duties have to be swapped out for others in order for anything good to happen. It means starting small but I’m not sure people know how to do that because they’re too overwhelmed.

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              • ” It means starting small but I’m not sure people know how to do that because they’re too overwhelmed.”

                This is my whole point. People are truly so stuck in their own situations that there’s not much room for a starting point to even get something started.

                It may seem that I’m being contentious but I’m not. If we’re going to come up with ideas then they need to be tested by the light of reality or no one gets anywhere. The point of the podcast was that if women had help with the burden of childcare and housework, then they wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed. If they have some relief and help, they will be willing to pop out another kids or two.

                UMC women, working or SAH, are having more children because they have the financial means to do so. They have the money to raise the kids and they have the money to hire someone to help. That’s great. There’s nothing wrong with that at all.

                The middle class do not have the financial means to pay someone to do this. Swapping burdens is just swapping burdens. It doesn’t make a big enough difference to encourage more births. What would help young, middle class moms is older and younger childless women volunteering their time to go into homes of childbearing age mothers and help for free out of Christian charity. This would be nice but it too would be next to impossible to find these good-hearted women in large enough numbers to influence a real change in the birth rate.

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                • Oh, and most ministries that do help moms are focusing on the single mom. Single moms eat up the bulk of the already limited help from Christian charity.

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      • The idea that a household based around one breadwinner and one single income is normative is a huge part of what has gotten us into this mess, but that is a story for another day.

        Yes, this is actually true. When I read the history books and noted the pattern, I was surprised myself. Although the topic warrants an entire discussion to itself, the larger point is there was NEVER a time in history where the responsibility of breadwinning solely rested on the husband. Wives worked, but the difference today is it’s less lucrative for most to work from home compared to an employer.

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  3. Other than the, um, reference to my ethnicity and bath salts, I liked the podcast. 🙂

    Admittedly, maybe I missed it, but you never quite answered the question of the benefit of having a higher birth rate. It’s well and good to talk about ways of achieving a higher birth rate, but you never quite explained why it’s a good thing to have 6 or 7 children over 2 or 3.

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    • I’m also curious– other than population replacement, and cultural preservation, why is it important to have lots of children versus 2 or 3?

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  4. FWIW, I suspect the reason that single mothers get help is because is that married women are presumed to have a husband that can help her or pay for the help that she needs. In contrast, while some of us may rail on some ghetto or trashy single mothers, some men know some sympathetic (or attractive) single mother that attracts their sympathy (my former co-worker) or romantic interest (current co-worker) which leads them into helping out.

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  5. Another thing you said – “Vote Trump”

    Yes, to that. Absolutely. If anyone is familiar with Leila Miller at Little Catholic Bubble she does a fantastic job this morning explaining why we should consider voting for him for those who are maybe off-put that “he is a blowhard and a jerk.”

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2016/10/why-trump-will-get-my-vote.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FLittleCatholicBubble+%28Little+Catholic+Bubble%29

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  6. I’m thinking about how to encourage natalism, and what I come up with is primarily close-knit community that lives in close proximity, preferably with a lot of SAHM in a neighborhood.

    I think about how nice it is for BFF to have her son alternate after-school playdates with the neighbor child his age, and how developing that relationship means that there’s someone with whom your child is familiar that you can exchange favors with. I think about the IL back in Ark, who have an enormous child-pack that moves from house to house. If one of the uncles is going fishing with a kid, he’s often taking four or five kids instead of just one. This both normalizes children and de-stigmatizes childish behavior. Even having family in the area is a major blessing in the offset of sleep deprivation – I remember BFF gave me 2 hours/wk of child-free time one year for my birthday. Best.Gift.Ever.

    Contrariwise, my children’s friends live on the opposite side of town, and you have to coordinate schedules and deal with drive time just to have them hang out for a couple of hours. My daughter’s had friends she doesn’t see outside of school more than a few times a year.

    When only a few women have babies, when those women have babies at radically different seasons of life, when the women are spread out all over the map, you start getting odd ideas about SAHM going it alone and doing it all.

    So, there starts another question – how do we encourage Americans to be born, marry and raise a family in one town, to develop relationships with those around them that go farther than relationships of common interest but into more tribal situations? My observations indicate that we’re increasingly hungry for this type of interaction… but are we hungry enough to put up with the social and opportunity costs that it represents?

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    • I’m going to reply to myself by noting that I don’t think gov’t can do a DARN thing to help natalism, even if we assume (because we start taking recreational pharmeceuticals) that gov’t has the faintest interest in that project. People have to do this, people have to band together and start living their lives the way they want to live, and we have to start working together. Which means compromise and sacrifice, which is the ROOT of the problem – we don’t like hearing those words.

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      • I think a lot of people compromise and sacrifice, but not in the way you mean. A lot of people sacrifice by uprooting themselves from family in order to gain financial security. A lot of people compromise by living in areas with somewhat unsavory traits to be able to afford children.

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        • Well, yeah. I meant compromise their own interests for the interests of the community, because they value community and see its long-term value in their own (and their children’s) lives.

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        • Maea said:

          “A lot of people sacrifice by uprooting themselves from family in order to gain financial security. A lot of people compromise by living in areas with somewhat unsavory traits to be able to afford children.”

          Right.

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    • I think the first part is we need to ask if it’s always feasible for people to stick around in the same town they were born in. What if the jobs aren’t there?

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      • Now THERE is a place I think the gov’t could help – encouraging small and midsized businesses, anyone with the concept of noblesse oblige for their workers. And yes, this is why we don’t move. DH’s job is here.

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        • I agree that’s where the gov’t should help, but the evidence shows they aren’t helping. They’re encouraging the corporate flight. It’s actually discouraging to witness.

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      • Maea said:

        “What if the jobs aren’t there?”

        Or, for that matter, the prospective spouses.

        There was never going to be anybody suitable for me in my home town.

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        • There was never going to be anybody suitable for me in my home town.

          Yeah, and a lot of people don’t have a home town. When people ask me I’m like ???

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    • >So, there starts another question – how do we encourage Americans to be born, marry and raise a family in one town, to develop relationships with those around them that go farther than relationships of common interest but into more tribal situations?

      I propose the Hernan Cortes solution: Move to the area of your objective, and once there, “burn your ships.” That way, the only alternative to victory is death.

      That sounds needlessly dramatic, but I’ll explain. Conservatives love to take gigantic, sloppy sh!ts all over immigrants (especially Mexicans) but there is a reason they’re gaining ground over the natives, and it isn’t (solely) because of lackadaisical law enforcement–it’s because of the tenacity of the immigrants. The immigrant walks a tightrope in his daily struggles of either complying with harsh immigration laws or carefully evading the authorities and will put up with living conditions much more gruesome than what the locals are used to, AND put up with their self-righteous putdowns because he knows **the alternative is just that much worse**.

      Attempts by rich or middle class white people to live in “intentional communities” within America tend not to succeed because the typical American has a “way out” no matter how slim. Even in a remote area of the country, if one walks down far enough, one eventually will find a highway he can hitchhike. A trust fund baby has it even easier; (s)he can just wait for next month’s disbursement.

      The tl;dr answer to the question is that the question itself is wrongly worded; it’s not “how do we get them to do this” but rather “why don’t they want it?” That’s a topic for another post, I’d say.

      >My observations indicate that we’re increasingly hungry for this type of interaction… but are we hungry enough to put up with the social and opportunity costs that it represents?

      Why eat an expensive steak when a $1 cheeseburger fills the need of hunger?

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      • Aethelfrith said:

        “I propose the Hernan Cortes solution: Move to the area of your objective, and once there, “burn your ships.” That way, the only alternative to victory is death.”

        That’s basically what we did.

        No need to burn any boats, though–once you start a kid in school or in a particular community, it’s emotionally (and frequently financially) very costly to yank them out.

        We’ve had enough grief just over moving states between pre-K and K years ago and then switching parishes a couple years ago–there’s no way I’d do any of that again without dire necessity.

        “Attempts by rich or middle class white people to live in “intentional communities” within America tend not to succeed because the typical American has a “way out” no matter how slim.”

        Some possible issues with those “intentional communities”:

        1. They’re cults and there’s no possibility of being 50% in. You’re in or you’re out.

        2. The leadership is goofy and feckless/controlling and feckless. See Louisa May Alcott’s Transcendental Wild Oats:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcendental_Wild_Oats

        3. The membership of intentional communities tends to consist largely of rebels and misfits, not team players:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home,_Washington

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  7. It is and is not. We had smaller communities back in the day, and from what I can see, we keep trying to recreate them. Only, every time the community pinches a bit, we ditch out. Community vs. opportunity, community vs. privacy/autonomy – it’s hard for the young to *want* community – and once they chase down opportunity, they’re not always in the place to go back home to raise family. That’s what has happened in the last fifty years.

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    • I’m a believer in the following plan (or at least it’s worked well for us):

      1. Move where you need to move.

      2. Put down roots there.

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      • Well. That’s what we do, Americans. But then how do you get multiple generations of a family in the same area? Grandparents (and aunts/uncles/cousins) FTW, people.

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        • Hearthie ” But then how do you get multiple generations of a family in the same area? Grandparents (and aunts/uncles/cousins) FTW, people.”

          Economic hardship seems to be the greatest driver of this. When people are struggling financially, families are more likely to live together or near each other, pooling resources and domestic duties to support each other. As the middle class shrinks, we may see this more and more.

          Here’s some info I pulled from wiki

          *Amy Goyer, AARP multigenerational issues expert, said the most common multigenerational household is one with a grandparent as head of household and his adult children having moved in with their children, an arrangement usually spurred by the needs of one or both to combine resources and save money. The second most popular is a grandparent moving in with an adult child’s family, usually for care-giving reasons. She noted that 2.5 million grandparents say they are responsible for the basic needs of the grandchild living with them.

          * Particularly in working-class communities, grown children tend to establish their own households within the same general area as their parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. These extended family members tend to gather often for family events and to feel responsible for helping and supporting one another, both emotionally and financially.

          * An estimated 49 million Americans (16.1% of the total population) live in homes comprising three or more generations, up from 42 million in 2000. This situation is similar in Western Europe. Another 34 percent live within a kilometer of their children

          *Some have stated that the relative “uniqueness” of the traditional English family (the absolute nuclear family) was at least partly responsible for the birth of industrialization, free-market capitalism and liberalism in that country.

          *Geographical isolation is common for middle-class families who move based on occupational opportunities while family branches “retain [their] basic independence”.

          *According to results of a study by Pew Research Center in 2010, approximately 50 million (nearly one in six) Americans, including rising numbers of seniors, live in households with at least two adult generations, and often three. It has become an ongoing trend for elderly generations to move in and live with their children, as they can give them support and help with everyday living. The main reasons cited for this shift are an increase in unemployment and slumped housing prices and arrival of new immigrants from Asian and South American countries.

          *Analysis of the National Survey of Families and Households[clarification needed] suggests there are differences between whites and other ethnic groups because of economic differences among racial groups: blacks and Latinos less often have the economic resources that allow the kind of privatization that the nuclear family entails. Extended kinship, then, is a survival strategy in the face of economic difficulties.[26] Being able to rely on not only two parents but grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters helps to create a support system which in turn brings families closer together. Living in an extended family provides many things that a nuclear family does not.

          *According to the AARP, multigenerational households have increased from 5 million in 2000 to 6.2 million in 2008. “There’s no question that with some ethnicities that are growing in America, it is more mainstream and traditional to have multigenerational households. We’re going to see that increasing in the general population as well,” says AARP’s Ginzler.[27] While high unemployment and housing foreclosures of the recession have played a key role in the trend, Pew Research Center exec VP and co-author of its multigenerational household study Paul Taylor said it has been growing over several decades, fueled by demographic and cultural shifts such as the rising number of immigrants and the rising average age of young-adult marriages.[28] The importance of an extended family is one that many people may not realize, but having a support system and many forms of income may help people today because of the difficulties in finding a job and bringing in enough money

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    • I believe a large part of it is people don’t trust each other much anymore. Or care to. As an example, helicopter parenting is a symptom of this problem. It wasn’t too long ago neighborhoods used to have block parties, invite the neighbors over to the backyard for a birthday party, have the kids roam up and down the streets together, etc. I grew up like this. Many kids these days do not.

      The thing with community is people don’t know how to do this. They think ditching out is a natural part of the community life cycle. Without taking up too much space, I’ll give a personal anecdote about what I’ve learned from my current parish. I found out the parish has gone through a lot– renovations, families, pastors, etc. A lot of the older people told me they had a good share of great pastors and some, “not so good.” They still stayed at the parish. To me, that seems almost amazing they stuck around because when I see or hear something I find unorthodox or don’t like, I leave. I think this parallels community– when people see things change that they don’t like, they leave.

      Another point is we live in communities which are often mixed with people who aren’t from the area and find it easier to connect with other “transplants.” You have the natives and the transplants, and within each group there’s further divisions. I think it’s always been part of American heritage to stay within your own ethnic or religious community. Will that still work nowadays, considering how intermixed the culture is? I mean– how do people like myself, David Alexander, and Aethelfrith fit in? I think culture and ethnicity makes a difference, especially to the natives.

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  8. Now that my sister and I both have a toddler/preschooler at the same time again, it’s a big bummer that we don’t live closer to each other.

    I wish we could be more part of each other’s daily lives, but that’s how it’s worked out.

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        • I’m just pleased to see a non-manosphere traditional guy. Woohoo! May their tribe increase!

          From the Maccabees piece:

          “According to Last, a woman who has her first child by the age of 24, is more likely to have three or more in her lifetime.”

          But, purely biologically speaking it isn’t necessary to do so. A woman can start having babies at 25+ and easily have 3+ children. It’s not biology that keeps mothers over 25 from having more than 2–it’s not wanting more than two. (Michelle Duggar had 15 of her childrenchildren from 25 on.)

          The IQ test idea is good.

          “Young couple’s should be using the Dirt Gap to their advantage by living in like-minded but cheaper locations outside large urban areas. ”

          That’s what’s happening. Geographical arbitrage is already a well-developed art form in the US.

          TPC said:

          “American women have generally been closer to 3-4 children per woman than massive families with only mom and maybe an aunt to help out (the Duggar model, essentially).”

          Based on my reading of Free Jinger and other similar sites, it is striking how much teen and young adult female labor larger homeschooling households consume. Early on, it might genuinely just be mom rolling up her sleeves, but once there are older daughters, these households seem to use enormous amounts of female labor just to keep functioning. And, in the next generation, the single adult daughters can be sent out to help with their married sisters’ families. The Duggars apparently do a lot of this.

          In a wealthy enough family, it might actually work (until the money runs out), but it just is a very wasteful model in terms of use of family resources. But this may not be visible to the people attempting it, because it isn’t wasteful in terms of money spent, but in terms of spending people.

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      • I’m glad that you did and hope it sparks some conversation. The more we look at this from all angles the more we may be able to come up with real solutions.

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