If parents aren’t working 9-5, why chain us all to it?




These are some links from the Census about how for married, double-earning parents, Working non-standard hours is more common than 9-5.  There’s also some interesting things like non-standard working hours result in slightly higher likelihood of kids being in gifted programs and social clubs.


Private retreat is impossible without scale

The frontier, the leading edge of private retreat, was not possible without a massive international and global infrastructure and use of cutting-edge technology and instant communication.

A common modern variation, telecommuting while “farming” ten acres in a rural community, is also obviously impossible without technological scale.  Scale refers to the idea that human societies grow in complexity and, er, scale with advancements in technology and the resulting productivity gains creating a reinforcing cycle of more and more scaling and consolidation and globalization.

As to more typical forms of conservative private retreat, they are also scale-dependent.  Homeschooling was originated by people using cutting-edge communication technology and benefiting from the postwar explosion in mechanical advancement producing farm equipment that could be used to work otherwise marginal parcels of land in either size or quality.  Even though ultimately most didn’t do much agrarian stuff and still don’t, the online and DIY ethos was carried forward and is still a substantial part of homeschooling as lifestyle.

There’s also the dependence of conservatives on industries that can’t exist without an overscaled society.  Like IT, or government administration.  Many small-government conservatives are employed in government jobs at government departments that didn’t even exist thirty years or even twenty and see no contradiction between their dependence on a larger and larger government and their belief that government should be smaller.  IT in its tech-company form is obviously full of deviance and general anti-family social aspects, yet it is if anything promoted the absolute most by conservatives as a family-supporting career path.

Conservatives tend to rely for frugality tips on mass production of cheap goods and also see nothing wrong with this dependence on cheap global labor in textiles and food. A common example where Costcos are located is telling mothers to take the kids to Costco to fill up on samples before dinner as a “frugality hack”.

There is much truth to the idea that progressives want everyone to progress towards a state of total and perfectly individual consumption, but the flipside of that is that conservatives want the same thing, except one level up, at the level of the nuclear family rather than the single individual.

But the problem with relying on more and more scaling up is that extreme complexity collapses, and brutally so.  There is no graceful failure mode in a world of just in time grocery shelf stocking.  Yet without an outlet for private retreat, there isn’t anything like the American conservative at all.

Private retreat is the default right wing political activism.

That people doing it don’t feel that way doesn’t matter, the practical effects are nearly the same as if they did (and plenty do feel there’s a political aspect.)

The problem with this being the way right wing people respond to mass social changes that are detrimental is that it’s expensive on a collective level and a personal level.  The costs are so high that right wing people engaging in this type of activism are almost entirely cut off from any other kind of activism.

In contrast, the left wing just sprinkles political dust on their lifestyle and keeps on moving.  The left doesn’t promote marriage as the optimal vehicle for private retreat.  It doesn’t promote private retreat at all.  The right overwhelmingly does.  It’s not that the right does no explicit activism, it’s that the default setting is to hide away privately and replicate lost social goods within the nuclear family regardless of whether it’s desirable, feasible or possible within the limitations of a nuclear family.

This breaks women.  Women are yelled at for not being able to replicate the social goods of an entire city, town or village, and also yelled at for desiring those goods and also yelled at for not taking on additional community-wide functions as more and more of society breaks down into atomization and isolated individuality.

It also breaks men, but in a more subtle way in which they are told there’s no serious obstacles to their masculine expression or nature except their own will, which is an immensely damaging falsehood.  This is as true of the mainstream right wing media as it is of numerous far right blogs.

I’d expand on this more, like perhaps delving into the trades myth that many in the right cling to but make sure to never put their kids into, or how the conservative stack for women doesn’t (that is, the pieces don’t work with each other and reinforce each other; homeschooling comes at the expense of a clean house, as a very typical example).  But our private retreat means I don’t have another woman or young girl around to keep my youngest from melting down about getting a small spot of soup on one sleeve. So I have to go deal with that.

Are American mothers influenced by stimulant abuse among college and business people?

I think so.  This is basically a link dump, though. Stimulant refers to adderall and other strong prescription-needed stimulant drugs, so not coffee or nicotine.


This is the usual glorious TLDR; from Scott Alexander.  Steve Sailer picked it up and discussed it here, and if you even glance at the comments you’ll see a bunch of his readers use stimulants, previously used stimulants or are frothingly envious of people who have access to stimulants.

As to how this relates to American motherhood, since we’re closing in on 60% of births to women with a BA or higher, you have the largest historical group ever on an annual basis of women who came out of the hothouse high-performance, heavy-stimulant using college environments and decided to go for marriage and kids.  So they are bringing in expectations of how to “be productive” that are influenced by heavy stimulant abuse, even if they didn’t mess with that stuff themselves or don’t know anyone who did.

It also explains some of the extraordinary cultural callousness around sleep deprivation, as well.  It’s not just that being sleep deprived yourself makes you cold to other women experiencing it.  It’s that the entire media culture is full of stimulant abusers who don’t think about the fact that nursing and pregnant women can’t possibly solve their sleep issues the way the stimulant users do.

The selection bias of women who come up in those high-performance environments but end up starting families anyway and trying to make it all work without those little helpers (and without cultural support to “trade across” with actual domestic support) is worth exploring, rather than continuing to assert that women are delaying  marriage and childbearing to be scandalous cat ladies.

The Contraceptive Divorce Protectant

I mention it a lot in comments, and it occurs to me it’s worthy of a post, since I know a lot of not-contraceptive-using Christians IRL and online.  But essentially part of the fallout from the WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE DIVORCE IS SO GREAT epidemic in the 1970s and even 1980s is that people who are 35-50 now were told by older people who’d been burnt that the problem wasn’t marrying young, it was not party animal-ing young together.  And with contraception, this was now on the table.

The belief among quite a few older folks is that marrying young and then jumping into “adulting”  and parenting all at once was the source of their or their divorced friends/neighbors/relatives’ woe.  For all the talk of how women/men are encouraged to live it up singly during their 20s, there is definitely a pro-marriage strain among evangelical and conservative-living secular people that living it up ~together~ and then settling down as older, financially solid boring types is the way to keep a marriage together past when the kids are 18, or even just school-aged.

It is something I didn’t really notice among secular types, although it was certainly there.  It started jumping out at me when we got married and started hanging around married Christians who did it before age 25 and seeing this play out over the years.  And then, of course, it’s not uncommon online either.

For both religious and health reasons we’re not really on Team Contraception, but I do think it’s important to know why people make use of it, because there are people still trying to live out the promises and claims that it would help marriages stay love matches and all that.

Facet display and monkeysphere management with pseudonyms online

Carolina is a veil.

If you have been online more than ten years, and especially more than fifteen, you will probably view most of what I’m going to write as nothing much and no big deal.  And this is because in the older days of the internet, people sort of instinctually stumbled into the realization that just using your “real name” or “legal name” everywhere you went online wasn’t really enough to avoid personality disintegration and blurring of social boundaries due to it being so easy online to exceed the natural limits of the monkeysphere, the 150 or so “slots” for real connection most people max out at.

It may not seem like it, but there has always been a real distinction between “Janet Adkins” and “jadk”.  What I’ve used in the title “facet management” is just one way that simply using initials in one forum and full names in another allow people to juggle the fact that the internet can easily take all your monkeysphere slots if you let it.  But minor shifts in the direction of a pseudonym (like dropping down to just initials) can provide just enough distance to save slots for offline and minimize attaching too easily and intensely to people you can only ever have an epistolary connection to.

So many people who have been using the internet for decades have pseudonyms they shift between, showing facets of themselves, but not the whole jewel.  It is not about hiding anything in these cases, in fact the people themselves will often allude to or link to their numerous pseudonyms if it’s relevant to a discussion (“Oh yeah, I went off-topic on that car forum with this post about the space race, yeah, I’m fiatfan in that thread.”)  It’s about a veil of distance to talk about certain things in certain ways, just enough space to have discussion.

Carolina is a veil.  She is a veil to grant emotional distance from the real struggle in my life, which is raising very gifted, very challenging children in a society that has undergone major demographic changes as to which women have kids and is in utter denial about what it means in terms of the type of children that produces.

My marriage is traditional.  I don’t say much about my wifehood because there is little to say about a healthy, longstanding marriage where husband and wife are in traditional accord regarding hierarchy and authority.  I don’t write much about what’s working great and doesn’t have problems.  And that’s my wifehood.

But mothering is hard.  It’s so far outside what T.W.O. and I know from our own childhoods and even from some of the people we know raising children right now that a veil is needed.  There’s just too much emotion there and immediacy.  Translating some of the things that have happened with the kids into Carolina’s voice has granted me some very precious distance and sense of comfort.  When I can stand back behind that frail veil, I can see that it’s not so bad, that we can all pull through, that my kids will probably be okay.

But if I was fool enough to think that I had to use one of my legal names (marriage pretty much gives all women two) for every single word I wrote that was public-viewable, I wouldn’t be able to escape the feeling that it was too much.  I can pull back and have a rational perspective about child development while still sharing what are complex experiences worth revealing to other mothers whose own children may have a few things in common with mine.

Even offline, people kind of understand this because nicknames exist.  It’s pretty clear that while some people are naughty and use pseudonyms to pretend to be something they aren’t (classic examples are the men pretending to be women), this isn’t the normal and typical use, which is why those tricks still work to this day.  Most pseudonyms are about showing a piece of your personal self online, enough to have a conversation and maybe a little more depending on the goals of the online group (like possibly meeting up and taking things offline as friends/peers/etc.), but not so much that you can’t withdraw and still have plenty of slots left in the old monkeysphere.

That’s all.  If you want to pretend it’s 1997, you are free to discuss further in the comments.  All of this used to be regular meta fodder, lol.

Introducing five precepts of civic natalism

In no particular order.

  1. Your time is not fungible. With the corollary that DIY is anti-community.
  2. Aim for mother-friendly, not child-friendly because child-friendly really means “no siblings allowed”.
  3. Busy is selfish.
  4. Leisure isn’t lazy. It’s how people get the fun social and civilizational goods they claim to (often “traditionally”) support, after all.
  5. Service isn’t servile. Having (usually unrelated) people do things for you and giving them money to do so is not imposing servility on them.  It was a staple of even the very poor in pre-modern times.  The modern era is defined most sharply as the point where paying people to do things for you was utterly deprecated.  In America, this was actually the postwar era, but in the rest of the West, it was early Vietnam-era.

These precepts are just a beginning, a tiny seed of a bigger idea, and working the implications out is a longer term goal.