What motherhood means to me, or why I keep trying to make art.

In my teenaged youth, I wanted to be married around 17-18 to a thirtysomething older, financially established man.  A major reason was that I thought that was what it would take to be allowed the time and space to be a working artist.

While the wanting to be married to a guy twice my age was a bit silly, the underlying reason was reasonable.  I’ve never viewed myself having marriage and motherhood without also being a working artist.  The three always just went together in my head, and I married a guy who can recognize that this isn’t an unreasonable view or expectation for a married mother to have.  I just managed to find an established older guy who wasn’t twice my age.

Unfortunately, while my husband recognizes this, I can’t say the same about society.  Though it’s always been a struggle for women to have all three, things have worsened, almost counterintuitively as women have gotten more overt financial power.

 

Paleo Poke

Poke is currently popular in urban areas these days.  No idea why.

Anyway since most of the household doesn’t do great with rice, I cobbled together a variation on the poke theme that doesn’t involve ordering it from a poke hut.

Take 1-2lbs (depending on your seasoning preference) of thawed ahi steaks and cube them.  Mix with 1 tsp salt (I used Himalayan pink because we get it in bulk for mysterious reasons), 1 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp lemon juice and 1/4 cup sesame oil. Serve over any amount of steamed vegetables.

It’s not “real” poke, but it tastes close enough and it works when you don’t want to stand over a hot stove skillet cooking anything because you baked a mountain of cookies for three elementary classes.

The differences between lefty and righty SAHMs.

Few of the former, but more of them in liberal zip codes among married parents.  More of the latter, but more likely to be mixed in heavily with double-income households.

There’s very few married parents at all in liberal/Democrat-heavy zip codes with high incomes, but the married mothers tend to be SAHMs to men making north of 150k/yr.  So liberal women who stay home with their kids have a tribe and a sense of place because in a major metro there may only be 5 or 10k of them, but they all literally are in the same neighborhoods and constantly could hang out together.

They also don’t shy away from things like hiring au pairs and babysitters while staying home.  Liberal married mothers are substantially more likely to be relaxed about individually choosing to get themselves the things they need as SAHMs, including paid childcare help and being sure to be married to a high-earning provider so they experience zero financial pressure to earn money.  There are lower-income SAHMs who skew liberal, but they tend to not live in the high-income urban zip codes and there’s even fewer of them.

Righty SAHMs, on the other hand, are far more common among married parents as a whole nationwide, but they tend to be scattered within a much bigger and income-diverse group of married parents in the areas they live in.  And they themselves are more likely to be income-diverse, though there’s still very few under 50k/yr.

Thus righty SAHMs are not wrong to feel isolated and odd duck-like.  In a major exurb commuting distance from a Big City, they may well be among 100k other married parents and even 30k or so of SAHMs (i.e., roughly the national-level split between double-income and SAHM households), but they probably only live near a few other SAHMs and they don’t have the homogeneous aspects the lefty SAHMs have.

What’s interesting is that I looked into the matter strictly to see if there was a pattern at all.  It’s one thing to say SAHMs are getting to be a higher and higher income proposition, it’s another to determine if there are political variations.  I didn’t expect to find what I found looking at major metros like Chicago, DC, Seattle or LA, among others.  I looked at Big Cities and outlying exurbs and suburbs in red and purple and blue states alike, and the basic “very few lefty-likely SAHMs, but mostly clustered together plus have top-quarter family incomes for their area” and “many more righty-likely SAHMs, but spanning the top 3 quartiles for their area and not concentrated in the highest one, not much clustering at all” holds up across a wide range of voting patterns.

The lady who lunches is fairly likely a Democrat these days, as is the SAHM with a nanny and two kids in tow.  Or the yoga mom who’s kept her figure after four kids.

But there’s very few of her.  Not many liberal women seem ready or willing to make those arrangements to have families.  And it is interesting to me that while liberal-leaning women want to have kids/form families at much lower rates than right-leaning women, they SAHM at really high rates.

 

Good housewife blog on frugality and homely arts.

http://somethingfromalmostnothing.blogspot.com/

Sometimes there’s a value to the way the internet shows you people in very different places in life, working with very different talents and resources, and yet coming to a lot of the same ways of thinking that you are.  Not because of the similarity itself, but because human experience is frequently still broadly similar along many axes and sometimes technology whispers otherwise, that we’re all uniquely exceptional in our experiences unlike our ancestors.

I use homely in the Tolkeinian sense.

Anyway, it’s a good blog, I’m glad she has time to post more often these days and it’s got good concepts, discussion and information.  Really, you can start anywhere, it’s all good reading.