I don’t think poor people shouldn’t have kids, but I talk about a high household income earned mostly by Dad because money does matter in a world where people are always running away from their duties and obligations to people outside their immediate nuclear family. Obviously yes, even in America you can totally raise six kids to adulthood on 20 thousand bucks a year. But the big conservative lie around this is that it’s a middle class upbringing.
Further, refusal to accept that individualistic, disconnected society really does have high financial costs attached keeps a lot of families dancing without a net over a ravine.
Take the often promoted “telecommute in the boonies!” plan. Well, where’s the internet to do that? In most of rural America outside of city limits, high-speed, telecommuting-friendly internet is several hundred dollars a month, not fifty. In practice, people “telecommuting” this way are either defining “suburb with large backyards” as “rural” or they are commuting the old fashioned way.
And if you live rurally, it is easier to let the kids scamper around while mom stays home with no other adults nearby doing stuff around the house. But eventually the kids need to go places, and now mom is on the commute-train too. Even the very rural homeschool types can’t actually sit at home all day every day and never leave until the youngest of nine is 18.
Having no money, and no ability to earn a large income leave the entire household vulnerable all the time. Dad’s car breaks. It’s a fix requiring shop access (car lift). Those kinds of homes exist in rural areas, but they’re not the cheap ones you could afford because “how dare you suggest we not have mom stay home when dad’s earning capacity maxes out at 40k a year!” A lot of people get forced into really tough positions a lot faster. It can get really ugly really unexpectedly.
Like romanticizing herb lore because you can’t afford doctor visits for chronic ailments. Or buying the kids off with cheap filling food because you aren’t really rural, but exurban and there’s nowhere safe for them to play (busy streets, no way to walk to the nearest open play area, and you’re a one-car household).
Money would matter less if everyone was aggressive about using the interwebs to maintain clannish-style community ties to keep people matched up if they were far-flung. Or if living twenty to a 2000 square foot house was normal mode in America right now.
From both the comments and Shirley Jackson, homes used to be built with very small sleeping areas and larger shared spaces. Shirley Jackson’s family moved into a home not much bigger than the 2500 square feet places of now, but it was split into four completely separate apartments, with very tiny sleeping areas, almost no built-in closet space and bigger social and cooking areas. But large homes aren’t built or even modified this way anymore.
Money also wouldn’t matter if people accepted that leaving everything in the hands of one woman on the baby having and raising front will lead to fewer children if she’s really struggling and even if she personally isn’t because it always has and it’s even more the case with reliable contraception and sterilization and delaying marriage for those who take the other two options off the table.
This one’s pretty open for discussion.