In which the blogger Deep Strength illustrates my points about exercise, health and idolatry

Apparently when I reblogged his post, wordpress interpreted it as a comment on his post, and so I got a response notification.  Having finally had a chance to look it over, I’m going to blog the comment, because it so perfectly illustrates all the points I already blogged and noted.

My responses are in bold, since he’s fisking my commentary.

And as usual, TPC proves my point by making random assumptions that aren’t true.

Another Christian falling prey to the idea that lifestyle-identity is great when it’s also idolatry.

Healthy living is now an idol. You heard it here first.

Yes the phrase “healthy lifestyle” is correlated with idolatry in the form of identifying with something that doesn’t require a distinct identity in the first place.  Pursuing more physical activity and eating wholesome foods should not be labelled “healthy lifestyle” because that is a consumerist view of the matter, which should be holistic for us Christians.

Going to a gym is not the only possible healthy lifestyle and the entire concept of healthy lifestyle is consumerist, not Christian. Living a life where physical activity is just part of life is the historical human norm and wealth means most people now have to spend money to live that way. But sneering at them for not adopting that particular mode of consumption (which in the case of this blogger happens to be self-serving “I work in the fitness industry”) is not exactly Christian or loving.

What consumption?
Gym membership? It’s certainly easy to work out at home. I’ve done it for years before.

It’s not easy to work out at home if you’re exhausted from a 3 hour roundtrip commute.  Or four kids under age 6.  Or taking care of your husband’s father with dementia and three kids under 5.  Or any number of other typical examples of what Christian families face as obstacles to working out even at home.  And that’s not getting into equipment (how to afford it and where to put it), since bodyweight exercises alone are not remotely enough to maintain physical capabilities into old age. Funny how these single men with no responsibilities always say the same old thing about how it’s soooooooo easy.  Yes, if you devote yourself to your idol, you mysteriously have plenty of time to spend worshipping your temple-body. 
Nutrition? It’s easy to buy cheap healthy foods if you look for sales, use your local co-op, and buy cheap starches like rice and potatoes. Eating junk food may be slightly more expensive at best, and is definitely more expensive in the long run when you run into health problems.

Cheap nutritious food requires a lot of cooking time, time which can’t be spent exercising and often not child-caring for the Christian SAHMs who tend to carry a little extra around.  People who home cook are sometimes quite fat despite using fresh ingredients and making everything from scratch.  And speaking of making random false assumptions, notice how Deep Strength is quick to assume I support or think people have to have junk foods, and how he also assumes a false binary between “junk food” and “cheap healthy food”.  He also assumes a co-op is readily available all over the country, in every county, city and town, which is a completely false assumption.  Most conservative Christian married couples with children (the people I am primarily concerned with and a big part of the group “Christians” Deep Strength was saying hatehatehate eating decently and being physically active) do not live where they have access to a co-op for food purchases in bulk.  

And I am not going to delve into the bitter hilarity of this single guy handwaving the logistics of shopping with little kids for bargains as “easy”.  

 
Ah, yes, working in the fitness industry is now “self serving.” I see where this is going.

Instead of “working in the fitness industry” helping people near him do more physical activity in their daily lives without going to a gym would be another option.

Already give free nutrition and training advice to those in the Church that ask for it.

“I hector people who need real solutions about how it’s super easy to work out and eat cheap nutritious food and then pat myself on the back for a job well done.  Wait, isn’t that what you said I did, but I got mad about the way you put it?”

Get back to us when you’re doing shopping trips, meal planning and cooking for the people who ask you for help.  Or when you’re giving them free personal training and spotting on equipment.  Or lending out exercise equipment you’ve moved beyond or aren’t currently using.  Or opening your home for people to come work out in, which is something that happens among men who don’t write screeds about how “Christians are allergic to health, except me!”

Mostly people have real obstacles to getting more physical activity, like working very long hours and/or care of others and living where it’s very difficult to do much physical stuff outside or inside.

Already give work-around advice, such as meal planning (mentioned above), brief workouts, bodyweight training, and motivation.

“I already SAID I HECTOR PEOPLE.  Isn’t that enough woman!”

This is particularly the case with Christians, who are more likely to be caring for little kids or old people, including the men.

Being “busy” is not mutually exclusive from being a good steward of your body. Another false dichotomy.

“Those people are obviously just lying about how hard it is to wrangle kids, get meals together that everyone in the house can eat and still find time to do physical activity for themselves.”  

It actually is very nearly mutually exclusive in a car-based society.  Which again, most Christians are stuck in.  I’m also quite upset by Deep Strength’s dismissal of real labor caring for the bodies of others with his sneering little quote marks.  Way to tell SAHMs how you really feel about their work as women, how valuable and womanly you think it is while promoting the notion that Christian women should want to do it.

Anyway I reblogged this because it’s an increasingly common knife jabbed in the ribcage of Christians by (usually single, childless, responsibility-free) men. I hope to do a bit more of a post later, we’ll see.

You know what responsibilities I do and don’t have… Interesting.
This is your only warning for being deliberately antagonistic and assuming evil of others. The next offense is a ban.

lol, just lol.   I think we’re done here.

 

Perhaps Deep Strength is out there shopping for ten SAHMs per week and doing childcare for their 35 children so they can all go to the gym as a group or something.  Or perhaps he’s organizing group cooking sessions of healthy cheap foods like the Mormons do with their canning centers.  

Somehow, though, I think someone who was concretely pushing against the major obstacles to healthier eating and physical activity would have written a very different post instead of “Christians are allergic to healthy lifestyles”.

But I’m just a housewife who tosses the occasional hay bale when my health permits and whose household typically eats locally produced meats, vegetables and produce, with very little grain consumption (we are a Primal household, to use a consumerist term to describe our overall diet).  And my children are in great physical shape and wear out all the adults around them and all the other children around them as well.  But the adults aren’t at that youthful level of vigor despite eating well and running around with them.  That’s my point, I guess.  We went to a lot of trouble to raise our kids somewhere that they could develop great habits and build a “lifestyle” if you will where being physically active and eating delicious healthy food was “my normal day after I wake up”.  And the costs for us and the many Christian families we know that made similar choices are that we can’t have that life for ourselves because there are things called learning curves, physical impacts of sitting in a car or on public transit for hours per day, and the idea that we’re all allergic to being as robust as our kids is the real evil-assuming.    

 

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Real Talk for SAHMs: Are conservative SAHMs trapped in a sick system?

From an interesting (but childless) permanent student who goes by Issendai here.  Let’s count the ways.

The Rules of a Sick System

Rule 1: Keep them too busy to think. 

We know all about Superwife syndrome and the endless performance pressure on conservative SAHMs to be busybusybusy.  Leisure time is not even in the vocabulary.

Rule 2: Keep them tired. Exhaustion is the perfect defense against any good thinking that might slip through. 

This is a huge one.  I got 10 hours of sleep…in the last four days.  This isn’t even unusual for conservative SAHMs, even for ones with kids who are primary school-aged or older (mine are not)!  All Rule 2 takes is for the other adults to do nothing.  And they don’t. There’s no systemic efforts, women are entirely reliant on hoping their own individual husband and individual church and individual extended family will do something.  And sometimes they do, but it’s reduced to “just luck” or “a different lifestyle choice”.

Rule 3: Keep them emotionally involved. 

This one sounds like it shouldn’t be on the list (after all, why wouldn’t you love your husband and your children and “be emotionally involved” with them?).  But what is being gotten at here is the illusion of status being used to maintain the emotional attachment.  There’s also, for conservative SAHMs, the extreme loyalty in the form of (weirdly cribbed from attachment parenting) being
“indispensable”.   Even postpartum after a fistula following delivery.  Even with pneumonia.  Even with the chronic fatigue and lowered performance and general taking the exhaustion out on the children.  The conservative SAHM is routinely told that she doesn’t need any other women around.  It helps if she’s the one telling it to herself over and over again, that a sitter to watch the kids once or twice a week so she could have some quiet uninterrupted time would be “letting another woman rear her children, that wouldn’t be Godly”, that her husband wanting to play video games until 1am and insisting she join in “is just part of being a good submissive wife, if I say no (and maybe get more than four hours’ sleep a day), I’m being DISLOYAL.”  And this works because conservative SAHMs believe they receive real, significant social status for being wives and mothers who stay home within the conservative world, even though this is not really the case in practice.

Rule 4: Reward intermittently. Intermittent gratification is the most addictive kind there is. 

Printables.  Pinterest.  Happy talk about how you’re making memories, not just messes.  There’s dozens of little thoughtstoppers and rituals that conservative SAHMs go through that provide a little burst of accomplishment-feeling.  There’s also the way in which the happy talk serves to make you feel grateful for five minutes alone, ever.  Intermittent rewards work a treat because the bar is so, so low for what is rewarding due to the overall poor conditions conservative SAHMs live under.

How Sick Systems Enforce The Four Rules

Now, Issendai describes how these rules are enforced in a sick system.  I edited out the work-related examples, because we’re talking about SAHMs and whether the system they are in is a sick one.

Keep the crises rolling. Regular crises perform two functions: They keep people too busy to think, and they provide intermittent reinforcement. After all, sometimes you win—and when you’ve mostly lost, a taste of success is addictive. 

This one right here is why I advocate so much for housewives having household help.  Otherwise it is very easy to slip into a permanent crisis mode.  It’s not that household help is magical, it’s that it’s another layer of potential protection, accountability for husband and wife, whether it’s relatives/neighbors/friends and/or paid.

Things will be better when... Intermittent reinforcement + hope = “Someday it will always be like this.” Perpetual crises mean the person is too tired to notice that it has never been like this for long.

“When we have another baby.” “When we stop having children.” “When I get that promotion, maybe you can have someone come once a month to help with the cleaning.”  “When the kids are older and can help out.” “When we find another church/parish.”

Keep real rewards distant. The rewards in “Things will be better when…” are usually nonrewards—things will go back to being what they should be when the magical thing happens. Real rewards are far in the distance. They look like they’re on the schedule, but there’s nothing in the To Do column. For example, everything will be better when we move to our own house in the country… but there’s nothing in savings for the house, no plan to save, no house picked out, not even a region of the country settled upon.

Since we’re talking about a disordered nuclear family for the most part, this is less true for conservative SAHMs than, say, a feminist nonprofit employee dating a punk musician.  Kids do grow up, after all.  But in practice there was never time to show them how to help, so it’s just easier to keep on doing as much alone as you can.  In practice he says he agrees with church teaching and you can get the old tubes untied and have a couple more kids, but there’s never any money for it and there’s always “serving him” that comes first, before teaching the one or two kids you do have anything that might ease your burden.  And you can’t enforce bedtimes, Daddy says he should have time with *his* kids when he can, even if it means loud action movies with your 10 and 12 yo sons until 1am and not-much homeschooling (and crisis! because they are cranky and struggle to get their lessons right.)  And the original example of the house in the country is absolutely spot-on, especially when you consider the conservative love of “homesteading” and “prepping”.

Establish one small semi-occasional success. This should be a daily task with a stake attached and a variable chance of success. For example, you need to take your meds at just the right time. Too early and you’re logy the next morning and late to work, too late and you’re insomniac and keep your partner up until you go to sleep, too anything and you develop nausea that interrupts your meal schedule and sets your precariously balanced blood sugar to swinging, sparking tantrums and weeping fits. It’s your partner’s job to get you to take your meds at just the right time. Each time she finds an ideal time, it becomes a point of contention—you’re always busy at that time, or you’re not at home, or you eat too early or too late so the ideal time shifts or vanishes entirely. But every so often you take your meds at just the right time and everything works perfectly, and then your partner gets a jolt of success and the hope that you’ve reached a turning point.

This one for conservative SAHMs is often family dinner or having something ready for Husband when he gets home from work rather than medication.  Homeschooling is also used this way.  Also religious practice, sadly.  “We could get to church/Mass more often if you’d just….”  “We could have family prayer every night/morning if you just….”

Chop up their time. Or if you’re partners, be glued to them at the hip, demand their attention at short intervals throughout the day (and make it clear that they aren’t allowed to do the same with you), establish certain essential tasks that you won’t do and then demand that they do them for you, establish certain essential tasks that they aren’t allowed to do for themselves and demand that they rely on you to do it for them (and then do it slowly or badly or on your own schedule). Make sure they have barely enough time to manage both the crisis of the moment and the task of the moment; and if you can’t tire them out physically, drain them emotionally.

I kept in the partner example here because this is in fact what happens to all too many conservative SAHMs.  It’s not just the children at young ages interrupting (and if you are pregnant every year or two, this doesn’t end for a decade or even two), it’s the husband pulling these very stunts when he doesn’t have the excuse of being 18 months old.  Conservative men will sometimes step this up in response to the kids getting older.  They’ll demand more and more time spent on their “needs”.

Enmesh your success with theirs.  The classic maneuver is to blame all your bad moods on your partner: If they weren’t so _______ or if they did ______ right, you wouldn’t be so stressed/angry/foul-tempered.

“If you were more submissive/skinny/kinky/organized/cooked better/dressed nicer, etc. I could get a better job/get more hours at work/pay the bills on time/help with the kids…”

Keep everything on the edge. Make sure there’s never quite enough money, or time, or goods, or status, or anything else people might want. Insufficiency makes sick systems self-perpetuating, because if there’s never enough ______ to fix the system, and never enough time to think of a better solution, everyone has to work on all six cylinders just to keep the system from collapsing.

Yep.  And there’s always, for a conservative SAHM, a fallback that their family is special and unique and there’s nobody out there quite as Godly or Catholic or Orthodox or pick your Christianish adjective. It’s just their individual family being “countercultural against the secular folks”.  Which means any failing in the wife is purely her own fault and something she has to work on.  There’s never any system-wide problem or structural issues with the subculture she’s in.  Why, didn’t she just say her family was countercultural?  What subculture?  What community of affinity?

It doesn’t have to be like this.  There is no reason infants and toddlers, even closely spaced, need to be a source of domestic chaos, sleep deprivation and poor health.  Unless the system of bearing and raising children is so broken that millions of women have to run around alone and tired, and amnesiac about the trauma when they come up for air once the kids are school aged.  Unless the system is, in fact, sick.

Being male-identified is bad for conservative women

AKA Conservatives and the Woman Problem

While the problem of male identification is sadly all too real among liberal and conservative women alike, it’s especially a problem for conservative women, as they are supposedly promoters and privilegers of primarily feminine domains.  So being unable to understand that a feminine conception of the world is possible means they can’t be fully effective in the very spheres they claim to support.  It’s own-goaling all the way down.

Being male-identified doesn’t mean “liking men”.  It means that one’s worldview is shaped through the masculine, with no room for a feminine conception of reality.  You may know that women are there, you may even be a woman, but all your assumptions are masculine.  Not all men are male-identified.  It’s not essential to being a man.  People tend to dismiss the problem of male-identification because among inter-feminist flamewars, it’s used to mean “likes men” when that isn’t really what it’s about.  Many male-identified women don’t really like men much, they just can’t view the world through womanly lenses.  But the shorthand has leaked out and makes the topic difficult to discuss.

Some examples of male identification are when a woman argues that all-female spaces of any kind (such as ladies’ Bible studies) should never be permitted, or when a woman thinks it’s normal for her husband to micromanage the domestic sphere.  Or when a woman argues that sex-identification is solely female.  Or statements like “Men just aren’t vain about their looks/stingy with donating money/interested in home decor, that’s just a female thing.” The behavior examples are more often found among women in American culture, but they are still much more than occasionally found in men.  It’s taking 60/40 or 70/30 sex-splits on a behavior and treating them as 100/0 due to identifying so strongly with maleness as primarily positive.  It’s when women think there is only being as close to a (small, inferior) man as possible or being attractive to men.  And conservative women have being a man off the table, so that leaves hypersexualized pursuit of sexual appeal to men.  Bad, bad, bad.

Male identification also leads women to marry men who refuse to provide.  And to marry men they don’t respect or consider adult.  These aren’t things a woman does nearly as frequently if she is either neutral or female-identified (in the latter case, there’s a lot of simply not marrying at all).  I don’t mean androgynous when I say neutral, but something closer to ordinary or average.  Normal, though, in American society is very obviously male-identified.

This male identification is part of why conservatives have so little to offer women, even though they possess the supposed trump card of advocating for what women mostly would do anyway if left to their own devices.  Another way male identification manifests is in not barring the door when men pontificate about female topics.  Most of what I blog about is not contested by other conservative women in general terms.  They tend to agree that yes, women are often isolated and yes, a lot of other historical periods had more women doing household stuff.  At worst the average conservative woman’s rebuttal is “my grandma worked hard and didn’t complain!” or “well if you follow a 293 point organization plan and/or pray harder it can work!”

But conservative men routinely stomp into such discussions about these female matters and overwhelmingly not only dispute the plain facts, they argue that it’s easy and even fun to live a modern housewife’s life and that further, SAHMs have always had it easy and never had to do anything strenuous.  And instead of conservative women shooing such men out, they tend to accept such remarks from men as normative portrayals of female life and behavior through time.

Liberal feminists and the Manosphere have something in common– maternal misogyny

They get there via different paths, but they end up in the same place, piling on mothers for the crime of wanting to live in an actual community that supports them in the difficult work of raising children.  And if those mothers stay home, well, then the real flames and knives come out from cat lady hordes and the manosphere’s whiny guys demanding a 12 step system to guarantee them a virgin-harlot wife.

https://greatbooksforfeminists.wordpress.com/

This person covers the intersection better than I could, though!

Why the SJW pushback is happening in gaming and SFF

It’s happening there because those are realms where conservative male fans are willing to do unpaid scutwork for ideological reasons, since conservative women are no longer allowed the leisure to conduct the culture wars.

Unpaid scutwork for ideology is not exclusively female, but women do tend towards a genuine preference for licking envelopes and composing form letter templates as compared to men.  I am not at all the first to point out the female preference for dull desk work, but it’s interesting when men do decide to provide a bunch of unpaid labor for a movement.

This is one of many reasons why I get all strident and repetitive about the cult of drudgery for housewives.  It’s not bad, guys, if there’s a class of women with leisure and free time, who are supported by their husbands.  Most of those women were not feminists or proto-feminists, contrary to the bizarre conservative narrative that “overly leisured housewives” are the source of all modern woe.  Leisured housewives are the women who provided the unpaid labor that supported so much that conservatives claim to adore, like functional public schools, social institutions, community events, parishes and other church infrastructure.

And it is very telling that you can only get leisured men to provide unpaid labor when it’s weird nerd hobbies.

 

 

 

When right wing populism goes wrong, daycare edition

Over at the Washington Examiner, someone thinks that it’s right wing and populist to have mothers of young children working outside the home.  It’s a short article, so it follows below.  I’ve bolded the most questionable bits.

 

The Obama administration, according to Katharine Stevens in the Wall Street Journal, is paving the way for more regulation of child care. This seems like a great place for conservatives to fight for the interests of the poor and working class, against overbearing government.

In other words, it’s an opportunity for free­market populism.
The administration is pushing guidelines for who can get federal grants, but Stevens — who is a fellow
research fellow of mine at the American Enterprise Institute — worries that these grant guidelines are
a “Trojan horse bearing counterproductive requirements,” on early­childhood educators and daycare
providers.

These aren’t rules governing basic health and safety standards, like drinking water, cleanliness or
broken glass. Some are micromanaging: “cot placement” for daycare. Others are about requiring
credentialing — such as requiring preschool teachers to have bachelor’s degrees.

Some level of regulation of childcare and preschool is about requiring what parents would demand.
But at a certain point, it becomes excessive.
Excessive regulation of daycare and preschool mostly hurts the poor and working class. For one
thing, it makes daycare rarer and more expensive.

Some on the Left will respond and say, “well, let’s just subsidize them more.” That doesn’t address the
other problem: curbing work opportunities for women.
More importantly, unnecessary regulation and credentialing requirements take away from many
women the best way they could make money: at-­home daycare.
You don’t want moms sticking 15 kids in a tiny basement. You don’t want home daycare locations run
by human smugglers. But excessive regulation curbs employment options — and daycare options —
for lower­-income folks.

The bold portions are the most iffy bits of this ridiculous article.  Why does anyone want the poor and working class women working outside the home?  That is, as I’ve recently noted, a way of subsidizing consumerism all by itself.  And note the obsession with “work opportunities” for women at home with their kids already, because the domestic sphere itself is, you know, not worth anything for its own sake.  It’s just a storage space for all those future cubicle warriors and retail cogs.

And this is from a super right wing media outlet!  It’s just another brick in the “free-market” wall.  It’s not right wing or conservative to keep doubling down on shoving everyone out into the artificial, inhuman modern workforce.  It’s also not populist to only support mothers if they generate income explicitly.  Can mothers earn income at home with their kids?  Sure, that’s certainly an option.  But should women be pressured into it at the expense of preserving and encouraging a real domestic sphere?  This conservative housewife would say absolutely not.  Someday, maybe, the rest of the right will too.

SAHMs don’t save on childcare because working mothers don’t pay retail price for childcare.

Basically what it says on the tin.

Working mothers don’t pay retail rates for childcare. Like with formula feeding where people will cheerfully buy you formula but won’t help out with extra food if you breastfeed, people are more willing to help out with free or cut-rate childcare if you have any job outside the home, including SAHMs offering below-market childcare to working mothers.  Yep, that’s a thing, to be expanded on in an upcoming post.

Also, working mothers are pushier about getting those discounts. There was a fairly shocking story a few years ago about a working woman just shoving her kid at a neighbor she’d never met until that day so she could go to work. There was a more recent story in Florida (go Florida, earn that fark tag!) about a woman running a less than legal daycare with exotic poisonous snakes on the premises and a higher than legal kid/caregiver ratio. IIRC that daycare had a waiting list.

About a third of working women with children under 18 use gramma/auntie specifically among relatives for childcare.  This contributes to formula use in the United States.  If you throw in other relatives or friends helping with childcare, you get up to nearly 50%.  That’s working mothers’ access to discounted childcare: nearly half get it cheap or free from friends and relatives.  As for the half not using gramma or cousin Susy, daycare owners and nannies can tell you all the horror stories about delays on payment from double income households and single mother households.  But even when they don’t commit crime to get cheaper childcare, the tax system gives them and their employers thousands of dollars specifically to use daycare centers.

Basically the only working mothers who fork out retail prices are coastal women not living near relatives or friends who only put their kids in the right sort of diverse daycare center for childcare.  And sure, they pay for the privilege, but they a tiny sliver of all working mothers.

Women should stay home with kids as the societal norm.  It’s better for everyone.  But under the current social setup, women can kindasorta afford to work outside the home when their kids are little precisely because a lot of under the table subsidy is given to them to support that.  Little is gained from the kabuki theater of “Jane and her husband crunched the numbers and daycare is expensive and would leave her with only 5k per year, so that’s why she stays home with her kids.”  It’s kabuki because if Jane said she was going back to work because Joe’s hours were cut 40%, she would find a raft of free or nearly-free childcare mysteriously washing up at her doorstep that is completely absent for most conservative Christian SAHMs.  So Jane would earn a lot more than 5k per year in the first place.  And of course, kids age out of infant and toddler childcare anyway.

But the real hole in this common economic argument for mothers staying home with small children isn’t that society currently props up working outside the home with implicit and explicit support, it’s that when husbands make that argument, this is what they are saying to their wives, the mothers of their children.

“You get nothing for staying home except being with your children 24/7.  You get no break, you get no adult socialization, you get no relief or time alone.  I as your husband don’t really have the resources to properly support your administration of the domestic sphere.  I refuse to earn enough money for you to get domestic help as needed and I refuse to let you earn that money even though we just did the math and you totally would earn enough to pay for that support. I don’t value a comfortable home and a rested wife that much, because these things won’t happen if you stay home for several years or a decade plus having babies and never getting to use the bathroom alone, be treated as an adult by other adults including me or have a real family dinner you eat peacefully at a table.  And you should take this deal, and become an exhausted, overworked wreck, possibly even overweight and invariably with health issues because I’m waving the temporary issue of childcare costs for a few years in your face. ”

Because the subsidy to working mothers is mostly hidden and secret, people can pretend it doesn’t really exist.  But it is, right now, a crummy deal to stay home with little kids if you’re most women married to most men in America.  The money isn’t there to paper over the difficulties.  The family support is mostly absent among American-born folks who think nothing of moving cross-country for work.  And keeping up the pretense that “childcare/daycare costs” are such a breaking point just maintains the status quo for wealthier families who can afford to provide household help for their SAHMs and do.  It also limits family formation because a lot of women can see the acceptable fringe mothers at church who took the deal and had six or eight kids this way and they quietly contracept themselves into only having 3, 2, or even just one.

The current, real situation is that women get to be treated as adults as a default and norm if they work outside the home, no matter how many kids they have.  It’s just that the general anti-natal arrangement of society (car seats, for example, are no longer built-in to cars due to legal issues rather than safety problems) means not having that many as a working mother.  And to back this up, everyone (including SAHMs) falls all over themselves to make it easier for mothers of toddlers to hold jobs outside the home at even minimum wage income levels.

Anyway this is getting too long and wandering into the topic of how SAHMs contribute to the problem by providing cut-rate childcare, so I’ll just do a follow up post on that aspect of the matter.  Stay home because it’s worth modelling for your kids and grandkids, so that we can get back to a society where it’s normal and women aren’t isolated and alone who choose it.  It’s not saving that much childcare money, they aren’t toddlers forever and it’s still important to stay home after they age out of school-age or teenagerhood,  and done with real support, some money might well be spent anyway on occasional or regular domestic help depending on the relatives-nearby situation.  Sometimes economic arguments aren’t the ones we should be jumping for.