The story of the transformation of the”housewife” into the “stay at home mother” providing “mother-care, not DAYCARE” in American society in the wake of the Pill and Roe v. Wade is an interesting one and there’s not much information on the internet about it because the idea that there was a transition (and that this transition destroyed a substantial amount of soft power among married women) is not compatible with either right wing or left wing narratives about the topic.
We didn’t really have the term before motherhood could be conceivably viewed as entirely intentional/optional, even within marriage. And nobody seems to ask why it bloomed so suddenly and took over, when by its nature it explicitly separates motherhood from marriage, while housewife emphasizes, well, property benefits of marriage for women foremost. Homemaker, it’s worth noting, has begun to turn up as a transition away from stay at home mother, but it lacks that wilful connecting of property with marriage and in fact shifts the domestic world to something a woman must make/build, rather than something she is inherently part of and maintaining/managing.
Since this is just thinky thoughts, I will close with the little data point that over half of American SAHMs use center-based daycare for children aged 0-4 and that we hit that point about 10 years ago and this is in every region of the country, not concentrated in one place, it’s about half everywhere. Employed or not, it’s 80% for BA or higher-possessing mothers.
The stay at home dad revolution will not be youtube streamed or, like, happen. Living where you actually run into them makes me solidly bearish on this.
Married black women, on the other hand, have experienced a pretty major demographic shift and it’s much more likely they’ll go from their current 5% SAHM to 10% SAHM.
Ancillary prediction is that nobody will be blowing up blue checkmark twitter or mainstream media about how great this is for feminism/black people/motherhood.
I have been pretty surprised by the sheer sprawl of the discussion spawning from the ACU post and as is ever the way of things, I can’t read much of it or respond to it, only glance at what the notifications show in passing because I have been swamped and continue to be swamped with the consequences of relocating in the middle of the school year. Around here everyone arranges kid stuff around the school year, even the freeeeeeeeeschooling/unschool types. Go figure.
Maybe I’ll get to necro some discussions tomorrow, but sometime in the next two weeks is a lot more likely.
And here I thought moving to suburbia would leave with a reliable 20-30 minutes a day of uninterrupted time since there’s less to do. Hahaha.
T.W.O. voiced this thought aloud a few days ago when we were going over how long it would take us to be unpacked. His guess is late summer, mine is late spring. I am always optimistic in such matters.
I laughed because it’s pretty funny. Anyway I gave him the other half of my chicken salad and he was happy, although it sent him on a quest to learn all there is to learn about the caper.
We eat steak (frequently but not always on a bed of vegetables) a lot because it’s nearly impossible to mess up when you’re exhausted and the kids will sometimes eat a little of it. But if they won’t it’s easy to give them eggs with their vegetables and let them eat bread for their starch.
His break was temporary, it’s going to be sirloin tonight. Which is, technically, not steak every day this week.
It could be more or less formalized, but training young women in the domestic, homemaking arts and giving them practical experience in childcare would be amazingly useful.
There are a number of avenues by which this could conceivably be enabled, not least as part of a general program of supporting women in their women’s work.
A model to start with would taking the system of the current international au pair program, and figuring out how to adapt it to the needs of young women who’d like to be keepers of hearth and home for their families and future husbands and families who could use the help of energetic girls in their late teens and early 20s.
And of that number, 2/3 are in households earning 100k/yr or more. Those numbers have been pretty stable over the last decade.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2016 Annual Social and Economic Supplement
We have a woman here whose life is so easy and uncomplicated, but yet whose faith is so brittle that *loading a dishwasher* is untenable without a saint’s image to pray to. O-kay!
The evil here is that a woman in the life religious is not the same as a mother of young, closely spaced children. Such a mother ostentatiously and vaingloriously holding herself out as equivalent to a cloistered nun (who, incidentally had a pretty interesting and short life, but one that didn’t feature much in the way of dishwashing or linen folding) is morally and spiritually dangerous. In the life religious, the twenty or thirty tasks that make up a baseline of homemaking are split among many women rather than just one. And this is partly so that the beauty of the small things in domestic upkeep for a group can be understood and comprehended more completely.
Birthing human small things with souls and hearts and chasing them around and then feeling aggrieved about loading a dishwasher is not a sign of spiritual discontent. It’s simple and normal and human. But as usual, the bar is set at “housewives, if you’re not performing at the level of VIRGIN SAINTS YOU NEED TO STEP IT UP LIKE MEEEEEEEEE”.
This is far more of a problem than the Lori Alexanders of the world.