Simply put, the takeovers of key institutions have produced a bunch of people who lack the ability to manage that power. Rabbits be rabbiting. Chill out, relax and pay attention to the opportunities you can have as someone competent.
Sin was not less in the past, it is a mockery of the propitiation of Christ to claim such a thing and anyone who claims to be conservative while saying there was less sinful behavior in the past is lying and dissembling monstrously. But it’s pretty common, especially for conservatives who like to claim people were better off in the 1950s/1850s/etc.
Secular outcomes make a lie of this though. Poor women’s babies are living in extremely high numbers, higher than the richest women’s babies from much of the 20th century. Poor mothers are making it through childbirths that would have formerly killed them. Poor children in America and increasingly the world over run the risk of being very fat at all, which would have astounded people from even fifty years ago, much less two hundred.
And the wealth, the ‘stuff’, the ‘electronic opiates’. Are these things not sinful because we live in such plenty? Of course not, they are often occasions to sin and monstrous pride. But the idea that in the past, when wealth for the masses was just a pipe dream, everyone was holier is a part of this wealth-thinking. People can construct castles of fantasia about the past and never get confronted with their lies, as we all drown in the blizzard of ready factoids and distractions.
Returning to normal life is not about returning to a time when there was less sin among the children of Men. It’s about returning to a time when people understood that despite being born into a world of sin, there were still echoes of the Divine to model and live by each and every day. It’s about not getting caught up in eternal possibility and choice addiction, but about accepting and living within the limits of the Real.
So, the attempts to sell people on a holier, happier, healthier past when the data and our sinful natures say otherwise should stop.
Ah, meal planning, a staple of the conservative-leaning frugal housewife. I could just make this post a link roundup of the various strategies out there, but that is not so practical for my target in this post, the young and/or new stay at home mother. Such SAHMs are ill-served by the defaults that are part of the typical meal planning post. I’ll list the necessary adjustments.
Firstly, go-to meals should be minimal. Not ten simple fallback recipes, not even five. Three. Three easy meals. That’s it. A lot of women who come home after the first child are not getting the benefit of being raised in traditionally conservative households. Expecting them to have ten or even twenty default meals is one of the reasons women are very reluctant to stay home.
Second, meals need to consider the reality of cooking in the 21st century. Many SAHMs are, as I’ve noted, not coming from home-cooked meals every night backgrounds. Many of them face massive learning curves. Advice that worked with that reality instead of the assumption that any SAHM can cook it all from scratch would be immensely helpful and prevent burnout and meltdowns over not being able to do three homecooked meals per day from, well, nothing.
Lastly, these are women having little babies. People need to be there for them, bringing already-cooked meals, helping out around the house and generally just supporting the woman at home with a new little baby by actually doing so and not just talking about it on television or before an election. They can learn the skills to have twenty go-to meals in a few years. Right now they just need someone coming by regularly and assurance that it is in fact fine to eat omelettes most days of the week if that’s what you can cook.
Some quick points:
Post industrialism brought a hard-hitting gnosticism to dietary practices for women. There had previously been here and there some saints advocating away from meat, but nothing like the full-court press of the Seventh Day Adventists. These heretics brought us breakfast cereal, the hearthealthywholegrains thing, and the beginnings of what eventually turned into vegan domination of what is nutritious, healthy and high-status. The link above offers some densely written, reference-heavy dot-connecting on the Adventists and how the modern New Age vegan is just a hanger-on to the recent idea of meat as low-status.
This is where the whole “gotta eat lots of fruits and vegetables” and “diverse diet” yipyap comes from. Conservatives don’t need the pseudo rationalizations of paleo to justify eating meat (this is why it’s so popular with conservatives, it’s ‘science’, so that makes up for doing the low-status thing of eating naughty naughty meat). Meat is delicious! Diverse diets are only necessary if you are a strict vegetarian, because you have no robustness to fall back on.
There’s nothing wrong with eating bread and stuff, it’s just that a startling amount of the whole conservative obsession with home-baked bread and fruits/vegetables on a budget and open denial/minimization of meat in the diet are due to frugality-obsessed conservative women aping what they think are higher status food habits.
There’s also the separate issue of women buying into the crazy idea that meat is masculine. It’s not. Women eating meat is not any less unfeminine than women being able to carry their own babies and children for hours a day (an extended feat of endurance and moderate physical strength and one variation of traditional female behavior).
The status issues around meat are another example in the endless parade of liberals being the ones to define health and high status food and conservatives just going right along because they view liberal ideas as higher status than conservative ones.
This is partly a response to a comment I got about a post on SAHM socialization that I didn’t let through because it commits an all too common error of conservative thought, which is that the husband-wife marital relationship is the only really important lifelong one to have. The commenter literally could not see outside the husband-wife relationship in terms of social outlets for a married couple. There was nothing else they could think of, if the husband couldn’t provide all in all, there was no other way for a SAHM to have social time with other adults.
The inherent lunacy of this position should be more obvious and yet it dominates many conservative subcultures. It is partially an outgrowth of marriage-as-romantic-companionship, but it’s also an outgrowth of American atomization. I have noticed this pattern quite often, when social outlets for SAHMs are brought up. It’s defined solely in terms of the husband and wife hanging out with each other more. The idea that the domestic sphere would be a social sphere, where women came together and had their girls’ days and evenings and outings *with each other in groups small and large* is so alien as to not even be understood by many conservatives. It is a curious sort of historical ignorance.
Amity, by the way, is simply a way of talking about lifelong friendships as deep as Ruth and Naomi, or David and Jonathan, that can occur alongside a marriage or persist long after a marriage ends due to untimely death of a spouse. Back when childbirth, wartime and infectious disease could shorten the duration of a marriage, amity was well accepted. Now that marriages are not cut short by environmental factors but all too often by personal dissatisfaction, amity has fallen by the wayside and the marital relationship is supposed to be the sole lengthy adult one.
Needless to say, this doesn’t work so well in practice. What I mean when I say that SAHMs need community support in their social outlets, is that other women with leisure have to start the ball rolling and open their homes and provide that woman to woman support. Of course it’s hard, awkward and not easy to begin, the broad-based social capital of previous eras is gone, gone, gone and will not return. All we have is the locally-based capital of smaller communities, and it will have to be the starting point.
It is not something to be left to husbands at all, really. It is female labor, deeply important female labor.
A number of people have noticed that American women work because they can get social interaction and an adult world that way. Well, without providing that for SAHMs, you end up with feral teens or hypocrites, experts at presenting the front that will keep them unharassed while they go party/drink/drug/etc. Without being considered part of the adult world, a mother can’t consistently or reliably model wisdom and cleverness for her children and be interesting enough to listen to for a balky teen. You’re stuck with selection bias, where a few women can make it happen anyway, but the rest cannot because staying home with your kids doesn’t turn your home into Lake Wobegon.
In America, the SAHM is not seen as a real, complete human because the domestic sphere is not seen as part of the real, complete world. It’s just where your stuff is, not where you live. But it is part of the world and the damage wrought by pretending otherwise is that women are incomplete and denied the fullness of their nature as wives, mothers, women, children of God, daughters of Our King on High. And it cascades down like rot through a tree. SAHMs need to be treated as complete adults with real social needs that are part of them doing their job and part of them fulfilling the completeness of their role within the family.
This would mostly look like encouraging women at home to come together for reasons other than to sell each other stuff or do homeschool co-opping. And again, due to selection bias, because a few make their social opportunities happen they believe it’s all about an individual’s efforts, which is ridiculously not conservative and also not the point. Life in community means helping it happen for the shy homemakers too.
Definitely returning to this one.
Many conservatives buy into what are essentially frugality cults, websites where people get approval and sometimes cash money by preaching a false gospel that spending pennies per day to feed growing children low-protein, low-fat diets is Godly stewardship of financial resources. Even though a suspiciously large number of such websites are talking about lowering food costs to pay off mysterious and conveniently unexplained credit card debt.
This website is a prime example. The woman gardens in a desert, and not the water-conserving kinds of plants one might grow in a desert.
Her menus are suboptimal for growing children, heavy on the bread and light on the delicious meatums. And she is just one example of many. Something I have noticed on these sorts of sites is an obsession with salvation by food control, as if spending no money on food will compensate for out of control spending everywhere else in the budget.
Nobody in America really spends that much on food, it’s cheap here, even high-quality super-local foodie-food is relatively cheap compared to what other Westerners have to fork over. We all, regardless of income level spend maybe 20% max, and 10% is much more common. That’s not going to solve your budget woes when you’ve got two car notes and five student loans and a plasma screen in every room and you take a vacation twice a year…on 45k. Yep, that’s based on actual Christians! That such a Christian family might ‘only’ spend 100 dollars a month on ‘once a month’ freezer meals for a family of six is simply not enough savings to cover all those credit card vacations and consumer goods you bought on those really cool sales.
There is a palpable desperateness to the words of so many food frugality preachers, something sad and improperly ordered in their advocacy of unhealthy behaviors and attitudes towards food and financial stewardship and, most importantly, Our Lord.
God doesn’t want us to deprive our children and ourselves of a basic need out of a loathing at our crazy spending in other parts of our lives.
And frugality cultism further makes people think their reasonable, modest food budgets are ridiculous extravagances (like the secular myth that a woman staying home is an evil luxury) when they are reasonable, healthy and of good quality.
Another day I’ll discuss the obsession with ‘diverse diet’ and ‘fruits and vegetables’ brought to us from those heretical Seventh Day Adventists and further promoted by, well, mentally ill vegans (the deficiencies veganism makes likely correlate heavily with mental health problems).
Today is not that day, though!