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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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120 Responses

  1. zuzu
    zuzu February 24, 2007 at 3:38 pm |

    Oh, look! It’s MARK KLEIN, M.D.! We’ve heard from him before.

  2. Heraclitus
    Heraclitus February 24, 2007 at 3:40 pm |

    These people are idiots, as is clear from their writing skills and their strange rhetorical gambit of pretending the problem is women’s embracing the sterile, materialist and traditionally male roles and ideals, but still somehow focusing all the blame on women.

    That being said, and distasteful as it is to admit, I do agree with them in a very broad way. I do think being a parent is far more important than being VP for regional sales and marketing of a broom handle company. I do think our society is far too vacuous and materialist. The limpdicks you quote are full of shit, wanting to mouth these pious sentiments while suggesting it’s somehow entirely women’s responsibility to fix all of this or to act as a counterweight, but the basic argument they’re parroting is true, I think.

    It is extraordinarily stupid, though, to pretend you think motherhood is so all-fired important but lament the fact that (some) women now have the freedom to choose it, rather than being shuttled into the forced prostitution racket of traditional marriage.

  3. Clare
    Clare February 24, 2007 at 3:40 pm |

    What’s more, I’m sure if these indignant male comment writers were to look into their own family histories, they’d find … shock! horror! …. that their female ancestors worked, and this bizarre idyll of luxurious child-raising in the suburbs is far from the “norm” they imagine it to be, even in the past. So, would they regard their ancestors as depraved and beyond redemption? And what about those awful women who ‘should’ be working instead of ‘lounging’ around on welfare… oh, I forgot… I guess these fine, upstanding pillars of society regard them as already past the point of redemption….

  4. bean
    bean February 24, 2007 at 3:44 pm |

    John Flynn is my personal favorite. And he throws in a little anti-semitism with his anti-womanism. The whole “shalom” sign off? I don’t think John Flynn is saying that because he is Israeli (Flynn?).

  5. Domino Nermandi
    Domino Nermandi February 24, 2007 at 4:00 pm |

    And where, pray tell, are the women’s comments about this? John, JP, Michael, Michael and Mark… Hmm…

  6. EoL
    EoL February 24, 2007 at 4:01 pm |

    Maybe someone knows of an actual study, but I do seem to recall from all my soc classes that it’s not the absence of a mom that hurts a kid as they’re growing up, but a lack of people who care. So a really good babysitter or grandma or whomever is just fine … it’s when the kid grows up without human contact that they’re fucked.

    And of course, they ignore the role of dads. I know my dad worked all the time and it made me feel distant. I guess the role of dads in a kid’s life doesn’t really matter, though, as long as we can make the moms stay home against their will. *eyeroll*

  7. Julie
    Julie February 24, 2007 at 4:30 pm |

    I was a stay at home mom for 8 months, before we realized we couldn’t afford it anymore. I looked for a part time job, but in the meantime a full-time job that was practically made for me was offered to me. I went back to work and I have thrived, my kids have thrived and my whole household runs more smoothly. We’re a lot less stressed about money, my daughter goes to daycare in the same bulding as my office (I work at an agency that provides services to people with disabilities and she attends the integrated pre-school) and loves it and my son spends a couple days a week at my mom’s house. I think pre-schhol has been great for my daughter as she gets to play with kids her age, run around in the gym, use the playground and do all sorts of fun things. They also teach numbers, letters, colors and sign language and she’s made huge strides in all those areas. I can hardly wait until my son is old enough to go too, in fact. I’m a better mom because of my job and my kids have benefited tremendously.

  8. prairielily
    prairielily February 24, 2007 at 4:32 pm |

    Well, I guess those poor little kids whose mothers died just have no hope, huh? They don’t have a mommy to stay home and take care of them! I mean, I guess daddy could pick up the slack, but men just are as GOOD at taking care of their kids.

    I babysit a little boy I know occasionally, and I seriously LOVE the little guy. He’s just such a sweet, smart, funny person, and he has lots of fun toys for us to play with. Given how much fondness I have for him when I see him so rarely, I doubt most childcare is as “emotionally sterile” as these people would like to believe. People who do it generally do it because they actually like kids.

  9. prairielily
    prairielily February 24, 2007 at 4:33 pm |

    That should be “aren’t.” Men just AREN’T as good at taking care of their kids.

  10. TomCody
    TomCody February 24, 2007 at 4:40 pm |

    Clare,

    I’d be a betting person to say that these men did have women in the family who worked and they resent the lack of “mommy time”.

    Whenever anyone gives that “motherhood is the greatest job ever” spiel they’re only reinforcing the fact that fathers aren’t necessary. Here me out: We do not live in the middle ages anymore and we don’t hunt and gather. THAT was the basis of their entire argument: men hunt and bring back the food and protect teh womenz from the big scary horde of invaders/mastodons (or whatever).

    Once we became an industrial society and didn’t live in caves anymore that went right out the window. Add to that women making their own money and not having to stay with husbands they didn’t love (but married out of expectations, necessity, what have you) and men began to see just how fickle their place in the family is UNLESS they changed.

    But they don’t want to change. They want to keep it like it was, where they were “king” of their “castle” and they ruled over all and didn’t have to lift a damn finger (unless for a spanking of the child) in the household. They don’t clean. They don’t bear the pregnancy and the children, they don’t breastfeed the children (or bottle feed) they don’t “raise” the children (aside from teh disipline) they don’t cook a hot meal every night. I think it’s already been said but marriage far benefits men more than women and now they’re threatened by what they’re losing, especially in light of the recent poll that said 51% of women were now single.

    Who will marry them and take care of them? *sniffle*

    This argument of “motherhood is the hardest job to do” strikes me as similar to the argument whites used against blacks who they didn’t think were “intelligent” enough so they gave them something else: “But black people are naturally athletic! They’re more naturally inclithan ned in physical sports whites so why are they complaining? It’s the was *god* made them/us.”

    Uh-huh. [/sarcasm]

    Thank you Jill for taking this to task. Indeed, if motherhood is as “important” as they say it is, why aren’t they clamoring to raise the children? Don’t they have just as much stake in future generations as women do?

  11. Kyra
    Kyra February 24, 2007 at 5:12 pm |

    OK, now steaming at these idiots.

    First one—you wanna tell me that God is such an asshole, you better have some proof for me, and I don’t mean the Bible.

    Second one—the problem there is “emotionally sterile,” not “babysitter/daycare/not-mommy.”

    Third one—oh joy, the “more capable” argument. Translation “It’s beneath me/too much effort to learn to be a devoted parent, so I’ll make use of the person who’s been forced to develop such skills, and hawk the system that pushed her into it so that lazy bastards like me will have free devoted labor next generation too.”

    Fourth one—what, children and husbands are not “selves” too? It’s only women who are selfish when their happiness and fulfillment is given priority? Think again.

    Fifth one—how about “many hands make light work?” Translation: a hell of a lot more hands than just those of the mother and grandmother. Sometimes MALE hands, imagine that!

    Sixth one—read The Feminine Mystique. This concern for women’s fulfillment in one direction and not the other rings rather hollow.

    My mother was a stay-at-home mom, and I honestly wish she’d stayed involved with the work she’d been doing previously, which obviously fulfilled her. And I also wish I’d had more time with my dad, and that he could have had the option of leaving a job that he seems to have found less fulfilling than she found hers, and concentrated more on us kids and on the other things he was fulfilled by.

  12. Marksman2000
    Marksman2000 February 24, 2007 at 5:14 pm |

    it’s when the kid grows up without human contact that they’re fucked.

    It’s good to see that you’re tracking on the real problem. I grew up around some kids who were raised by half a parent rather than two. The short- and long-term effects were disturbing.

    These days, people–especially Americans–feel like they need to have a new home, two sparkling cars in the garage, and a six-figure income to be considered successful. Okay. Well, when little Joey gets caught with a gun and bag of dope at school, we’ll see how successful Mom & Pop feel when they get that call from the police. Have fun driving to Juvenile Detention in that 2007 Lexus.

    If you’re going to bring kids into this lovely world we built for them, then try and raise them right. If not, find something else to do. Just because you’re not married with three kids doesn’t make you a loser.

  13. anna
    anna February 24, 2007 at 5:17 pm |

    Not every job is yuppie selfishness. Some women need money (not for lattes, but for rent) and some work for nonprofits.

  14. Kim
    Kim February 24, 2007 at 5:19 pm |

    This is exactly why I am unmarried and childless. Maybe it’s my natural inclination to get through life with as little work as possible, but the whole Mommy deal seemed shitty, even back when I was a little kid.

    I wonder what these men propose to do with women who don’t like or desire children?

  15. lucizoe
    lucizoe February 24, 2007 at 5:47 pm |

    Oh, Kim, those women don’t exist! Lalalalala! *fingers in ears* After all, if you don’t want to make babies you aren’t a real woman!

    Yeah – I’ve heard that before as I’m sure we all have, and not just from men. I’ve tried to stop being so surprised at how eagerly some women uphold patriarchy.

  16. Kyra
    Kyra February 24, 2007 at 6:46 pm |

    I wonder what these men propose to do with women who don’t like or desire children?

    Kill them with cervical cancer and unsafe illegal abortions.

  17. mustelid
    mustelid February 24, 2007 at 6:47 pm |

    Kim, I’m pretty sure those of us selfish enough to avoid our “God-given duty” would be given a choice of brothels or breeding pens. Or cleaning duty. Mens’ eyes just don’t see dust the way wimmens’ eyes can. /sarcasm

  18. DCup
    DCup February 24, 2007 at 7:39 pm |

    I belong to Moms Rising and am so glad to have an advocacy group in place that’s working to create some political power for families and particularly mothers. It’s been a long time coming.

    Having done both the stay at home mom thing and the work full time plus outside the home thing, I can tell you that both are equally challenging. I’d love to have just one job either parenting or working for a non-profit association, but instead, I have two full time jobs.

    Sadly, our economy makes it hard to stay home. I went to college because it was expected, but was directed toward a pink-collar degree that shunted me into a career path that requires long hours and provides low pay for my level of education. I could make what I’m making if I hadn’t gone to college and I wouldn’t have taken on debt and would have started earning money 5 years sooner if I hadn’t gone to school.

    With three kids (I know, we chose to have them, now we’re responsible for them) and a husband who teaches (another low-paying job for the amount of education/debt required) it’s damned near impossible to not have both of us working. And, trust me, we don’t live extravagently. Trying to maintain a semblance of a middle class lifestyle – we’re talking starter home, two compact cars, few vacations – takes all we’ve got. I couldn’t dream of not working now.

    But that doen’t mean that neither me nor my husband aren’t parenting our children. We’re past the little, little kid stage with our youngest in 2nd grade. But 2nd graders, 5th graders and sophomores in high school require time and attention, too.

    I think the commenters on the Times piece are still fighting the old feminist fight. They don’t get the world we live in today. Ask anyone who works and parents – they’ll tell you, they don’t have much choice. Oh sure, we could all jump on the stay at home, be frugal bandwagon – that would be swell. But I’d hate to pare down everthing more than we have and have one income and a thin layer of hope between us and financial disaster on the day the wage earner gets sick or layed off. Most people I know are already one paycheck away from ruin. To be that much more vulnerable would be terrifying.

    All of this is to say that the commenters are truly full of shit. They can whiny on about the beauty and necessity of motherhood, about the failings of mothers to raise perfect children, but they miss the point that most mothers now work out of pure necessity. And those who work because they want to aren’t hurting their kids. They offer positive examples of what women can do in addition to parenting. And that’s a strong message for kids.

    I can’t say my kids wouldn’t like me at their beck and call. But they also respect the fact that I have interests outside of them, including work. I existed before my children – I’ll exist after they’ve become adults. That’s reality. And reality isn’t bad for kids. Allowing them to think that the world revolves around them can be much more damaging.

    Moms Rising is about empowering families. It’s a shame that the commenters can’t see that by empowering families – men and children win, too. But then, those commenters aren’t interested in anything but themselves – no matter what they say.

  19. gaia
    gaia February 24, 2007 at 7:54 pm |

    My husband was a sahd to our first child. He was much better at the gig than I was – MUCH better.

    We’ll never have full equality until more men make the choice to stay at home with their kids.

    When dh quit to stay home, he was making about $20k/year. After 2 years of being at home, time he spent networking, one of the women he met was so impressed with his “sacrifice” that she recommended him very strongly for a job making $32k/year. I had just been laid off, and was 8 months pregnant, so the job was just what we needed.

    When I started back to work (after being at home for 4 years and taking more college courses and networking and keeping my skills up to date), I took a pay cut. He ends up making 50+% more and I end up making 10% less. This, by the way, has been the experience of several of my friends – their husbands stay home and go back to work making much more than they did, they stay home and go back making less or right at the same.

    Short term, I’m fine with men benefitting from being at home. We need more to decide to stay at home and too many won’t unless there is a benefit to them.

  20. Span
    Span February 24, 2007 at 8:01 pm |

    Sadly we have to put up with these misogynists in NZ too, harping on about how it is a woman’s sole destiny to be a mother, and nevermind that she might not want to, or that she might want to do that AND something else. GRrrrrrrrr.

    I really like your point Jill about the valuing of motherhood; that if it really was valued it would be recognised financially. After all that is the way that our capitalist society indicates value – through attaching a price or a wage.

    I’d also note that related work that is similar to motherhood has also had a long history of being underpaid (or not paid at all) eg teaching (the younger the student the lower the pay) and caregiving. Further undermining the legitimacy of the “motherhood is the most important job in the world” gang. They should put up or shut up.

  21. Ms. Clear
    Ms. Clear February 24, 2007 at 8:20 pm |

    Ha! Loved the comment about two income families having bought into “materialism.” Sure, some do, but what about the many many many families, who need those two incomes to survive? Remember, it’s the on-your-ownership society these days.

  22. Jeff Fecke
    Jeff Fecke February 24, 2007 at 8:23 pm |

    I actually believe parenthood is the most important job a parent can have, and that’s why both my ex-wife and I are working schedules we don’t like so we can both take care of our daughter.

    Of course, I know that’s an abomination before God; I should have nothing to do with raising my daughter, other than occasionally saying hi to her before bedtime.

    Also, good luck with taking care of your kid on one income. Heck, good luck doing it on two incomes.

  23. zuzu
    zuzu February 24, 2007 at 8:40 pm |

    Not every job is yuppie selfishness. Some women need money (not for lattes, but for rent) and some work for nonprofits.

    I reallllly don’t like the implicit assumption behind this that going back to work because you need the money is a selfless act, but going back to work because you want to is “yuppie selfishness.”

  24. anna
    anna February 24, 2007 at 8:42 pm |

    That’s great for your husband and I’m sure he deserves it. But do you think a mother’s sacrifice would be so rewarded? Not a chance. She’ll have a harder time getting a job, let alone a better paying job, because people will see her as taking time off from real work. But a husband who takes the slightest interest in his own family, he’s practically a saint.

  25. Kristina
    Kristina February 24, 2007 at 8:45 pm |

    The very first comment? I was reading an article on MSN money about how elderly folks are getting divorced so that the surviving spouse isn’t bankrupted by the bills before Medicaid kicks in, and the very first response was some troll grinding his ax about his divorce and yammering about how women are spenders and men are savers.
    How is it that these jerks always get the first word in? I’ve noticed this a lot more than the above example. It makes me wonder if the editors aren’t deliberately posting something inflammatory to “get the discussion going.”

  26. Julie
    Julie February 24, 2007 at 8:53 pm |

    Agreed Ms. Clear- we are a two income family and we still struggle with money. It’s not materialism at all, it’s plain old fashioned trying to survive. When I was home, I was trying to feed four people on 20 dollars a week, and it just doesn’t happen. We were behind on everything, and our finances were a mess. Now that I’m working, we don’t have to worry about whether or not we can afford our son’s formula. We do still drive pretty low key vehicles (the husband’s is 13 years old and mine is a five year old minivan), we still keep our heat down to save money and focus on ways to save money. It’s not to say we don’t have any wiggle room, we do have a little bit for the first time in a while, but giving up either of our incomes would be disastorous. Another positive of my going back to work, it gave my husband the flexibility to leave a job he hated. My husband works in restaurant management and the company he currently works at is horrible. So, when a new company approached him about switching jobs, he was all excited. Then we found out it was a huge drop in pay for the two months he’s training, although when he’s done it will be a little bit more. If I were still home, he would never have been able to take the job offer, despite it being much better in the long run. I still don’t understand how people can truly believe that it’s the feminists who hate men… I do love my husband and I want him to be able to pursue opportunities like this. Somehoe these “all women should stay home no matter what” miss all the positive things that can happen when both parents have the flexibility to work and parent. Right now, I’m home with my son while my daughter is out shopping with her father, and while like all kids she loves her mommy the best, she is jsut so comfortable with her daddy and she loves spending time with him. When I was her age, I barely knew my dad because he was always at work and when he was home, he was either sleeping or stressed. It’s not what I want for my kids.

  27. Dianne
    Dianne February 24, 2007 at 8:58 pm |

    In the emotionally sterile babysitter and daycare environment children do not fully develop for empathy and love

    Ironically, there’s a certain amount of data that suggests the opposite, ie that children raised strictly at home, with few or no siblings and in isolation from their peers, do worse than children who go into daycare, at least after 2-3 years of age. So women who let themselves be guilted by this idiot into staying home are likely actually doing a disservice to their kids. (Though I would never argue that a child must go into daycare by any means: individual variation is way to extreme for any such recommendation to be right for every child.)

  28. Julie
    Julie February 24, 2007 at 9:01 pm |

    I work for a non-profit, because I like the flexibility of my schedule and I feel good about the work I do. I also work full-time because we need the money, although I do enjoy an occasional coffee coolatta (my absolute weakness!). I enjoy working and would probably work part time even if I didn’t have to, because I think it’s good for me and I think it’s good for my kids to not be attached to me all the time. I don’t feel like it makes me a better parent than a mom who works soley because she wants to, I think we all make the choices that work the best for our families, given our particular circumstances.

  29. anna
    anna February 24, 2007 at 9:05 pm |

    I didn’t mean that. Just what the comment above was saying about being the VP of a broom handle company and such.

  30. Diane
    Diane February 24, 2007 at 9:08 pm |

    I’ve been a stay at home mom for nearly 12 years. I worked part-time for two of the 12 years.

    I loved my last job. I got pregnant soon after we moved halfway across the country. I looked for full-time employment, but it never came together before I started to show.

    We had issues with the pregnancy and we decided as a couple that I would stay at home as our child would need alot of care and therapy. He’s fine now, but still lags behind a bit developmentally.

    Had all of this not happened, I doubt that I would have ended up being a stay at home mom. It’s isolating and in many ways hard unless you live somewhere where you have lots of family and friends.

    I fill my days with mostly volunteering and I’m fulfilled. I’m content with the choice, but that’s not the say that I’m fulfilled in the same way as when I was working. My child takes it all for granted, but for far too many working or not working isn’t a choice.

    I didn’t appreciate many comments from the men. This isn’t 1950, women can make their own choice on whether they continue to work or not. If women stay at home to keep their man happy and are miserable, they are doing no one any favors least of all their children.

    Financially, most women will never make up the ground they loose while they are home. Social security stops adding up and I laugh every year when my statement comes.

    This shouldn’t be a bad or selfish mommy discussion. The discussion should be how can we support our families better. We lag behind the rest of the world in supporting families. As much of the world pays couples after the birth of their children to remain at home for a time.

  31. Ms. Clear
    Ms. Clear February 24, 2007 at 9:42 pm |

    Another point to consider is the increasing income insecurity. Even if y hubby and I can get by on one income after he gets his masters, I still want to work. Why? To save the other income of course. What’s going to happen when he’s 48, gets ditched by his company and can’t find another job? I know from enough of my older friends that it’s not at all uncommon.

    Even if two incomes aren’t needed to survive, and they frequently are, it’s rare to have enough from one income to get by AND to save for retirement and for the inevitable rainy days, which are becoming so common for Americans. Income fluctuations have increased over the past two decades.

  32. Betsy
    Betsy February 24, 2007 at 9:44 pm |

    Dianne, thanks for pointing that out. And a study written about in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal a little over a year ago found that children in daycare are less likely to die (seriously!) than those cared for at home, whether by a parent or nanny. Somehow Mark Klein MD must have missed that study…Moreover, they found that the increase in behavioral problems associated with day care was “small,” and much less significant than the difference between good and bad parenting. Finally, kids in day care demonstrated better math and reading skills than others. So, whatever else these people want to claim about mothers working, they have no evidence that day care is responsible for the crumbling of civilization. Quite the contrary. But these people tend to care very little for things like “evidence.”

  33. mythago
    mythago February 24, 2007 at 9:48 pm |

    I absolutely adore the “there’s no more important work than being a good mother,” because it usually comes from men who work.

    They mean there’s no more important work for a woman than being a mother. I mean, they’re just women. Men have better things to do than change diapers.

    These days, people–especially Americans–feel like they need to have a new home, two sparkling cars in the garage, and a six-figure income to be considered successful.

    Gosh, I could swear it was the moms and dads of the 1950s who invented the term “rat race” and measured success by conspicuous consumption, making the postwar economy skyrocket and raising an entire generation of me-centered consumerists. Somehow I’m sure that was also women’s fault.

  34. kate
    kate February 24, 2007 at 11:30 pm |

    most women are failing because they’ve been brainwashed into thinking they need to do everything but be a good mother to feel fulfilled.

    I am so god-damned sick and tired of women working outside the home as being framed as an option.

    As if every woman on earth is born with a guaranteed man-support system, faithfully willing to support her while she dallies around with the capitalist system and leaves the kiddies in the lurch at the Montessori School.

    Why doesn’t someone ever get to calling the NYT on their blatent classism and racism? Isn’t New York one of the most diverse cities in the country? There’s a plethora of activist. damnit, I’m busy trying to support myself and my children — and not because I beat a man into submission to have the fine opportunity to make a living at 50 – 70% a man’s wage for the same work.

    I’ll slog through the rest of the post after my the blood stops rushing to my head causing my temples to throb.

  35. mythago
    mythago February 24, 2007 at 11:48 pm |

    Jill, I’m pretty sure the bon-bon thing came later. Back in the 1950s women were popping Valium and playing canasta and bridge.

  36. Isabel
    Isabel February 25, 2007 at 1:02 am |

    I agree with what zuzu mentioned about how sometimes even if you don’t need two incomes to survive, some people just want to work. Happy Feminist (back when she was still posting) had a great point about how another word for job is “vocation”–a calling. Some people don’t feel right if they’re not writing/reporting/teaching/saving lives/playing music/analyzing/whatever.

    Also, people, a private college in this country costs $40,000 a year. I bet a lot of people with kids are thinking about things like that.

  37. LuigiDaMan
    LuigiDaMan February 25, 2007 at 9:44 am |

    Sorry to disagree, darlin’. I’ve been a single working dad of two for twelve years now and there really isn’t anyhting more important in my life that giving the world two more hard working liberals with open minds to carry on the fight long after I’ve turned to dust.

  38. Matt
    Matt February 25, 2007 at 10:09 am |

    So if society praised mothers more, you’d suddenly believe that motherhood is “good” and “right” and worth attempting? Or should they be paid as well? Who will be paying these women? They dont arent producing goods that people would pay for, so why would they get paid? Do you condone the selling of children? Do you only pay attention to what strangers think, or do you actually analyze the situation and think abuot what the benefits of mothers staying home and caring for and teaching their children are? Why not listen to the strangers who say motherhood is indeed a good thing, since clearly that only thing that matters is whos opinions you’re listening to at any given moment? Is it the majority opinion that matters? I’m confused. Please explain this to me.

  39. R. Mildred
    R. Mildred February 25, 2007 at 11:05 am |

    What ever happened to the old “it takes a community to raise a kid”?

    And do these conservatives buy clothes made by child laborers?

  40. elektrodot
    elektrodot February 25, 2007 at 11:26 am |

    “Do you condone the selling of children?”

    WHY DO YOU HATE BABEEZ JILL?

  41. Matt
    Matt February 25, 2007 at 11:56 am |

    I wouldn’t pretend to know what Jill does or doesn’t hate. I was just asking a series of questions I would like answered uin order to better understand if and/or why she believes what she claims to believe.

  42. mythago
    mythago February 25, 2007 at 12:27 pm |

    Matt, why do you hate men and minimize the importance of fatherhood? Why do you celebrate fatherless families? How can you insist that Daddy’s only role in the family is to pay the bills?

    Luigi, darlin’, you got it exactly backwards. Jill is noting that, unlike you, the people prattling about “mothering, oh, whoops, we meant parenting, is the most important work evar!!!11!!!” are not people who, in fact, make that work the most important thing in their own lives.

  43. zuzu
    zuzu February 25, 2007 at 12:36 pm |

    Why doesn’t someone ever get to calling the NYT on their blatent classism and racism? Isn’t New York one of the most diverse cities in the country?

    It is; but the NYT really only serves the upper-income part of it. Which means Manhattan below 96th St., parts of Brooklyn, and Westchester.

    So, Matt, I take it you stay home with your kids because it’s so important?

  44. Lindsay
    Lindsay February 25, 2007 at 12:45 pm |

    If being a father is so effin rewarding, why don’t they argue that more men should stay home so that they can have this amaaazing job. Obviously their throwing temper tantrums because they know that we’ll never go back to the way things were when dad had to do all the paid work. I think most families today would agree that having two incomes is a lot easier and relieves pressure off of the male to be the one that brings home the bacon.
    I just don’t understand why parenthood is by default the woman’s job. I just don’t get why people have to be such pratts. But it’s our duty to keep offending them by having our own incomes and continuing to climb up the career ladder.

  45. Isabella
    Isabella February 25, 2007 at 12:54 pm |

    Feminism gives women the tools to be BETTER mothers.

  46. Matt
    Matt February 25, 2007 at 12:57 pm |

    It is one of the roles, though hardly the only role, yes. Though I dont recall insinuating that at all. I dont know where you got that from. Tell me how you came to logical conclusion that I was insinuating this.

    And if what you’re saying is true, then, as I suspected, Jill obviously only cares about what other people think and who is saying what about what she’s doing and what other women are doing and what Suzy down the block did last week. If she didn’t, she wouldnt care that these people stating obvious facts about how children should be raised aren’t practicing what they preach. What does it matter if they do? If they were indeed practicing what they preached, would she suddenly change her mind? Unless her only goal is to insult people. Is it? I wouldn’t pretend to know. If it isn’t her goal, then it is irrelevant to a discussion on whether or not a woman should stay home and care for her children.

    Again I ask: Why would mothers get paid to stay home and taise children? Do you knot nothing about economics?

    As for men working..what else would they do? Men dont have the luxury of finding a woman who will provide for them. And women did have that choice before they decided to join the work force enmasse despite not being needed or wanted there, lowering wages. But you dont like numbers. I keep forgetting that. I wonder what would give women that luxury once again? Maybe…women staying home and raising their children instead of deciding they dont really want to do that because they’d rather whine until they get a job they cant perform as well as a man while demanding services that would increase taxes? I guess it doesnt matter as long as you can behave selfishly. Consequences be damned, right? All that matters is what you want. What you want automatially = right.

    I want to stab strangers in the face. I guess if I do, it’s right. Or does this only apply to women? We’re all equal, so how could it? Or do you not want equality? You claim to, but then you demand thigns that clearly prove you do not.

    You’re a joke. Go read up on this new subject called “logic”, morons.

  47. Matt
    Matt February 25, 2007 at 1:00 pm |

    I’m only 21, I don’t have children, Zuzu

    And I’m not pretty enough to find a woman who will go to work while I stay home and breast feed my babies and give them the motherly love they crave.

    Isabella, how does feminism give women the tools to be better mothers? By teaching them to completely disregard life if its unpleasant? To get them to believe in logical fallacies, inconcistencies, and support immoral behavior? Did you make that up as you wrote it? Or you “thought” it out? I find the latter hard to believe.

  48. Guest
    Guest February 25, 2007 at 1:01 pm |

    Yanno, I see tons of online mommy-warring, but it is just that–mostly online. “Working women neglect their kids; stay-at-home moms are stepford wives.” But in real life, in my experience, that extreme debate rarely comes up. Why? Because few real-life working women actually neglect their kids, and few SAHM’s do it permanently or because they are rich.

    Most of my friends and acquaintances and myself included, want to work but aren’t comfortable putting a baby under a year, or especially 6 weeks or less, in the full-time care of others. The “benefits” someone mentioned above of a 2-3 year old kid going to daycare are obvious, or even a 1-year-old. But those “benefits” probably don’t apply so much to a 6-week-old who spends more time in daycare than at home and has barely learned to nurse and barely finished their vaccinations. And they probably apply to kids with more limited hours in daycare, because their parents have flex-time at work or part-time work–not the ones who have to stay there for more than 12 hours a day.

    But most people I know also don’t put tiny babies in daycare or leave them there for long hours by choice. Maybe they choose to work, but can’t take more time off. Or maybe they can’t afford the time off. Maternity leave is nonexistent, and even with FMLA, it’s hard to go 3 mos without a paycheck. Also, not all jobs will allow or give time for pumping at work, so many women would rather stay home than stop breastfeeding.

    So in the US, people who don’t want daycare for children under 1-2 years old or don’t want to formula-feed–and can afford the alternative–usually become SAHM’s because there is no alternative. Then when they try and go back to work, they have the “resume-gap” problem even if it’s only been a year.

    This really isn’t about being a career-woman or a Stepford-wife, except in classist NYT articles and online flamewars. The obvious solution is longer, European-style maternity leaves. European women don’t have to “take a few years off” because they are guaranteed their job back after that year or 2 (depending on your country). I also don’t think they have the “Daycare costs more than I make” problem, because daycare is on-site at their jobs and/or subsidized. And, they don’t have the problem of dependency on their husbands for those few years, because the job is there when they come back, so they really aren’t SAHM’s unless they choose to be.

    But I have yet to see any American policymakers even consider such a change. I’d like to know whose brilliant idea 6 weeks maternity leave was–probably a corporate CEO whose eyes were more on the dollar than the human beings working for him.

  49. zuzu
    zuzu February 25, 2007 at 1:25 pm |

    God, you’re boring, Matt. And you really need to work on your spelling.

  50. Roy
    Roy February 25, 2007 at 2:15 pm |

    I want to stab strangers in the face.

    Why doesn’t that surprise me?

  51. Matt
    Matt February 25, 2007 at 2:20 pm |

    So you can’t prove me wrong. Fair enough.

    Off topic: what spelling mistakes?

  52. Nicole
    Nicole February 25, 2007 at 2:21 pm |

    I’m only 21,

    This explains so much.

    I don’t have children,

    Thank you Baby Jesus.

    You Matt, are currently a moron. Your questions are inane, and therefore do not deserve to be answered. Grow up.

    Children crave fatherly love just as much as motherly love, and not the “work-to-make-money” kind of love.

  53. anna
    anna February 25, 2007 at 2:32 pm |

    Why do you think children crave motherly love but not fatherly love? Why do you think you have to hae breasts to feed a kid (what about formula?) You do realize you could refuse to hire a woman just for being a woman until 1964 in America? Trust me, complete financial dependence on somebody else isn’t that great. And staying home is not very feasible in this economy anyway.

  54. anna
    anna February 25, 2007 at 2:34 pm |

    You’re missing apostrophes in don’t and can’t. And where is your proof women can’t perform jobs as well as men?

  55. Jewel
    Jewel February 25, 2007 at 2:39 pm |

    Matt cracks me up. Lecturing you lot about logic! :-D !!

  56. Jasmine
    Jasmine February 25, 2007 at 2:57 pm |

    So from reading all the replies to that article, the attitude that I’m gathering from these comments is that basically the weight of the world is on women’s shoulders. If we have such a drastic effect on the world, why don’t we get treated better? Why can’t we advocate for for social programs without being portrayed at selfish harpies?

  57. zuzu
    zuzu February 25, 2007 at 3:09 pm |

    So you can’t prove me wrong. Fair enough.

    No, I don’t feel the need to respond point-by-point to a whiny guy with no experience of making a living who asks stupid questions, thinks he has feminism all figured out and says he wants to stab people in the face.

  58. Jasmine
    Jasmine February 25, 2007 at 3:31 pm |

    And women did have that choice before they decided to join the work force enmasse despite not being needed or wanted there, lowering wages

    How exactly are women not needed or wanted in the workforce? You’re completing disregarding fields such as nursing, teaching and social work that have long been predominately female professions and many still are today. Unless men start getting nursing degrees and MSWs in numbers far surpassing those of women, we will always be needed, regardless of what your issues with working women are.

  59. wren
    wren February 25, 2007 at 3:32 pm |

    What was Stephen Colbert’s great faux solution? Every stay-at-home parent go one house over and raise the neighbor’s kid, thereby adding up billable hours and, at the very least, earning Social Security?

    Of course, this has the disadvantage of not allowing them to take care of their own children. So then they all go one house backward, perform essentially the same function, and are somehow suddenly neither working nor worthy of government support.

  60. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 25, 2007 at 3:44 pm |

    Ahh, Matt the champion speller:

    Again I ask: Why would mothers get paid to stay home and taise children? Do you knot nothing about economics?

    Good thing I had an excellent public school education and can figure out what words he meant to type.

    And, honey, a 21-year-old guy lecturing a bunch of us in our 30s about how the world “really” is pretty much the definition of chutzpah. At 37, I’m pretty sure I’ve been in the workforce for a little bit longer than you have.

  61. Jasmine
    Jasmine February 25, 2007 at 3:53 pm |

    Maybe…women staying home and raising their children instead of deciding they dont really want to do that because they’d rather whine until they get a job they cant perform as well as a man while demanding services that would increase taxes?

    I guess it doesnt matter as long as you can behave selfishly.

    All that matters is what you want. What you want automatially = right.

    But what you or any man wants is just fine and dandy and it’s women who have to suck it up and put their ambitions on the back burner. Boy you’re not even trying to hide your chauvanism.

    And if you think I can’t perform a job as good as a man , try working one day in my job as a social worker.

  62. Nick Kiddle
    Nick Kiddle February 25, 2007 at 4:03 pm |

    Why would mothers get paid to stay home and taise children?

    He meant to say “raise”, right? It’s just that there have been many, many moments this weekend when I’ve been sorely tempted to use a taser on the xCLP. Thank goodness she goes to nursery first thing tomorrow!

  63. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe February 25, 2007 at 4:17 pm |

    …women did have that choice before they decided to join the work force enmasse despite not being needed or wanted there…

    Except, perhaps, by the people who keep hiring them?

    I’m going to go WAAAAAY out on a limb here and guess that Matt has a female supervisor, whom he does not esteem.

  64. Cecily
    Cecily February 25, 2007 at 4:26 pm |

    What’s difficult about visitors like Matt is that it seems likely that they’re not just trying to rile us up…there’s a core of real anger and hatred there. Consciously or unconsciously he is asking his real questions, but in a stew of anger and insult so that we won’t respond. That way, he doesn’t have to reconsider and can go on his way secure that women and feminism can’t respond to his questions.

    For instance, I would guess that he really does feel that more women working drove wages down. It’s possible that that is even one of the sources of his anger. However, he puts a baseless ad feminam in there (“get a job they cant perform as well as a man”) so that no one will want to respond to him. Whether he’s doing it on purpose or not, he’s ensuring no one will talk to him seriously.

    It makes me sad, because on the one hand, if someone had the patience and the time, they might be able to get through to these people. But we aren’t saints and educating angry people on the internet isn’t something to which we can devote our lives, so he’s going to keep feeling this way at 22, 23, 24, and 72.

    I’ll go ahead and assume he’s genuinely upset, not a troll. I’ll take a stab at the question of the wage effect of women joining the workforce. Even if we ignore the women already in the workforce before the advent of women’s lib — working-class women, single mothers, et cetera — tasks don’t stop needing to be done. If we accept for the moment the oversimplified model that a 40s-50s housewife suddenly left her house to work, then of course the simplest housework — doing dishes, sweeping, laundry — still has to get done, and she’s going to do it.

    However, many of those tasks will be simplified (at least in theory) by technology. Thus, more people buy dishwashers. Clothes dryers replace clothes lines as the women who would once have run to take the clothes in at the first sign of rain are now out of the home and unable to do so. While these simple tasks are still occuring, some more involved tasks cannot take place without someone working in the home — for instance, making preserves or baking bread.

    Jam and pickle companies spring up, and bakeries. They employ men and women to make their product, package it, market it to households and to stores. Someone has to design the label, someone has to print it. Someone has to load the trucks and drive them to the grocery stores. Someone has to unload them, and some group of people has to oversee the whole thing, count the money, and pat themselves on the back. Imagine that happening across the country. Not just dishwashers, clothes dryers, pickles, jam and bread, but women’s professional clothing. Children’s clothing isn’t being made in the home any more. The family still wants flowers on the table, but the wife can’t spend as much time pruning and fertilizing as once she did. A 40s housewife wasn’t just a housekeeper. She was a seamstress, a pastry chef, a laundress, a gardener…even if she (as was often the case) continued to be a housekeeper after she became a nurse, a teacher, or a social worker, those other tasks had to get done. Specialized labor was subsequently performed by industry — in some cases, better — and more jobs were created. Economies are complex, and jobs are not an eternally finite resource which women are bogarting from men.

    Okay, that’s my quick attempt. Someone else can handle the fact that women aren’t issued a successful man to live off of at their 18th birthday, and therefore have no more choice about working than men do….

    Or else we could just admit the obvious, that anyone who claims a woman wanting to have a job is just like a man wanting to stab someone in the face is a troll. *sigh* I don’t know about YOUR town, but in my town, the cops arrest face-stabbers, no matter what their gender, race, or creed :p

  65. Cecily
    Cecily February 25, 2007 at 4:29 pm |

    (Sorry guys, this is what happens when whimsy, optimism and pedantry occur in the same place at the same time.)

  66. Frumious B
    Frumious B February 25, 2007 at 5:02 pm |

    Mark Klein is an asshat. Did you happen to catch his comment on the Wimbledon purse? One of Dr. B’s commentors posted it.

  67. Frumious B
    Frumious B February 25, 2007 at 5:14 pm |

    # Jeff Fecke Says:
    February 24th, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    I should have nothing to do with raising my daughter, other than occasionally saying hi to her before bedtime.

    And protecting her hymen. Don’t forget the hymen.

  68. Anna
    Anna February 25, 2007 at 5:17 pm |

    At the risk of feeding the troll, this is the part of young Matt’s treatise that really caught my eye:

    Who will be paying these women? They dont arent producing goods that people would pay for, so why would they get paid?

    Ding ding ding!! Here is how you can identify someone who’s had his head up a right-wing economist’s ass too long. (And not enough time with his head up an English professor’s ass, I might add.)

    While it’s correct that we don’t sell babies in this country, thus making it difficult to add them to the GDP, it’s not like a few well-raised kids don’t eventually add to our national economic health. The US economic system requires that capitalists beget little capitalists to take over the corner grocery store, go work in the coal mines, what have you.

    The more economically astute robber barons of a century ago used to take the kids practically from the cradle, so that they could perform lots of manual labor to make the barons rich. (In poorer families, this usually happened at about preschool age – talk about your quality day care options!) Other kids worked the farm for 14 hour days, or kept house for rich people.

    Nowadays by law, children are allowed 18 years to physically and mentally mature, become educated, and generally become economically useful to society. It’s made us a much more productive society, but someone has to oversee and fund this process. To the average non-parent, this means we have to pay a few taxes for public school. However, a parent gets not only to pay taxes, but to spend copious amounts of time and money as project manager for a resource that will never personally pay them back, except in non-monetary ways.

    Of course, it’s mothers who take on the economic brunt, almost always sacrificing some level of financial security (even if they perform paid work) for an unpaid second vocation.

    Society is getting a damn good economic deal out of all parents, but especially from the unpaid work of mothers. Feminists realize this. I wonder why everyone else has a problem throwing parents a bone for what they do? Is FMLA really all there is?

  69. Julie
    Julie February 25, 2007 at 6:33 pm |

    There are plenty of jobs that don’t produce goods. I spent years providing direct care to people with disabilities and though I got paid next to nothing, I was in fact compensated for my labor. Same thing when I worked in an afterschool program for kids with disabilities. In addition to whic there are jobs in nursing homes, schools, daycares (oh right, those shouldn’t exist,oops), hospitals and so on and so forth where people are paid for jobs where they don’t provide goods. Nice try though troll.

  70. zuzu
    zuzu February 25, 2007 at 6:39 pm |

    I’m going to go WAAAAAY out on a limb here and guess that Matt has a female supervisor, whom he does not esteem.

    If he’s even had a job at all.

  71. mythago
    mythago February 25, 2007 at 7:00 pm |

    And I’m not pretty enough to find a woman who will go to work while I stay home and breast feed my babies and give them the motherly love they crave.

    So, Matt’s real issue is that he wants some woman to pay all his bills while he does (what he perceives as) the cushy, non-“work” job of childrearing–and at 21, he is convinced he is too ugly to get him a sugar momma and a plum position as Mister Mom.

    He’s probably still mad he never got a pony, either.

  72. octogalore
    octogalore February 25, 2007 at 7:22 pm |

    anna Says:
    February 24th, 2007 at 5:17 pm
    Not every job is yuppie selfishness. Some women need money (not for lattes, but for rent) and some work for nonprofits.

    I would take issue with for-profit work for pay beyond what is strictly needed for survival being “yuppie selfishness.” As more women work and rise in finance, law, sales, etc., the barriers to women being in higher-paid professions will be lowered. When more women are out-earning their husbands, more men will do their 50% share, or more, around the house and in taking care of children. If women were to focus around “helping” professions or lower paid artistic/creative ones, not that there is anything wrong with those, we’ll never have the critical mass in the six figure plus territory. And with critical mass comes influence.

    As long as men feel they are justified in maxing out income whereas many women focus more on personal satisfaction or meaning, men will continue to have more say in terms of glass ceilings, buying decisions, who’s washing the dishes and changing the diapers.

    Yes, we need women’s shelter workers, absolutely, but we also need women CEOs, rainmaking attorneys, and venture capitalists. Until we have more of these, we’ll still have the unequal second shift, the power-as-an-aphrodisiac thing applying only to men, and all kinds of other unfairnesses.

  73. gaia
    gaia February 25, 2007 at 7:25 pm |

    Matt – based on the stay at home dads (SAHDs) I personally know, looks have nothing to do with it. If you find a woman who loves you and her job, and is paid enough to support the family, she might be willing to work while you stay home to care for the baby.

    As for feeding, women can pump breastmilk. Or you can do what my husband did – he brought the baby to me during my government required breaks and lunch break. I would nurse the baby and the baby was happy. I pumped morning and evening so if the baby needed a little more between times, he had extra milk.

    The relationship between my husband and our first child is wildly different than the one between him and my second child. My relationship to my first child did not suffer at all – which might be because I was still nursing, so I had intimate contact with him a good portion of time. Or could be because society works to foster that relationship no matter what the woman does.

    Based on discussions with other working mothers with stay at home dads, their relationships with their children are the same, the relationships between their husbands and their children is much, much better.

    Children desperately want to spend time with their fathers. The model you espouse of women at home, dad at work usually means that children rarely see their father.

  74. Guest
    Guest February 25, 2007 at 7:25 pm |

    Matt reminds me of how most of the pro-abstinence, most sexophobic conservative males are usually 20-year-old virgins without girlfriends, who are supported by Mom and Dad. Not exactly folks with experience.

  75. zuzu
    zuzu February 25, 2007 at 7:57 pm |

    Maybe he’s really Ben Shapiro.

  76. Kat
    Kat February 25, 2007 at 8:28 pm |

    Some women need money (not for lattes, but for rent) and some work for nonprofits.

    I worked for a non-profit and I dropped my kid off at daycare I would stop… and get my latte.

    Why does it always seem like as mothers if we have any personal indulgences, we are being selfish?

    If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would probably still “work” somehow–community involvement, something. I think my kids benefit from seeing me have a good work ethic and I like that I can provide for them.

  77. ACG
    ACG February 25, 2007 at 8:30 pm |

    Some of my best memories of time with my dad are of him curling my hair in the morning before packing my lunch and sending me off to school. Sure, I went to school with pink lines across my forehead and the tips of my ears a couple of times, but he got the hang of it pretty quickly, and it was really nice to have a few minutes every morning that was nothing but daddy-and-daughter bonding time. That was when he was working days and my mom was working nights; we’d get Dad in the morning and evening and Mom in the afternoon.

    Then, of course, Mom came home for good (which was what she needed, and we kids certainly loved having her around), and he started having to work more to pay the bills, and fifteen years later, we still don’t see as much of him as we’d like. But having him around for that year or so was really nice. I miss him sometimes.

  78. mythago
    mythago February 25, 2007 at 10:02 pm |

    Why does it always seem like as mothers if we have any personal indulgences, we are being selfish?

    A lot of people (say, lonely, bitter 21-year-olds) still get upset at the notion that Mommy has a life other than putting them at the center of the universe; therefore, if Mommy stops for a latte, or sees her job as something other than a dire necessity for putting food on the table, it’s no different than if she locks the kids in the closet while she goes out on a meth binge.

  79. Kat
    Kat February 25, 2007 at 10:59 pm |

    I’ll keep that in mind for when my kids are older ;) Right now, they don’t realize that Mom having personal interests is not the usual way of doing things in families.

    Some people are uncomfortable with me as a working mom because I do have aspirations for doing so to pay for more than just for the rent (right now I’m pretty much just covering house payment and lattes, by the way)–so when I have the extra money for that latte they get bent out of shape and think that I should spend that $3.00 on something for the kids or work $3.00 less time or whatever.

    The same people are okay if you are suffering, or long-suffering, or if you feel properly ashamed.

    We can work if we HAVE to, we just can’t enjoy it or flaunt any of the gains of it.

  80. tzs
    tzs February 25, 2007 at 11:08 pm |

    I decided not to have kids pretty far back–partly because of genetic reasons, a lot due to the fact I didn’t see mommyhood being a respected and valued role within the US economic system. (I also found it bloody boring, but that’s another discussion.)

    Taking care of other people is just not valued within the US economy. Up until relatively recently the system has been able to shove the responsibility of taking care of kids and parents off on to women, and managed, in a neat trick, to avoid paying for any of it.

  81. PseudoAdrienne
    PseudoAdrienne February 25, 2007 at 11:21 pm |

    Why does it always seem like as mothers if we have any personal indulgences, we are being selfish?

    My mother deserves an all-expense-paid vacation in Hawaii for a year (and lots of hugs, “I love you“, and “thanks for all the shit you put up with from us, because we really do appreciate all that you’ve done and sacrificed for us“). Given all that she’s been through with four kids, grandchildren, work, the sudden death of her own mother, her father’s deteriorating health, minor health problems of her own, and a divorce. Yes, these- “oh motherhood is sooo wonderful, so great, it’s the most important job in the whole wide world, it’s so much better than being a CEO, it’s the backbone of civilization, I’m totally jealous and envious of my wife/girlfriend/mother/co-worker/sister-in-law/sister/friend, because she’s such an earth-mother goddess“-pundits give plenty of lip-service to motherhood and mothers, but don’t lift a fucking *finger (*politically, economically, domestically, emotionally, etc.) to convert their rhetoric into deeds (ie: affordable daycare, more daycare-centers, paid-parental leave, doing their equal share of childcare/rearing and household chores, and so on). It’s just a condescending, backhand comment, which belittles mothers.

    And I do feel ashamed to be twenty-one years old now.

  82. mythago
    mythago February 25, 2007 at 11:50 pm |

    The same people are okay if you are suffering, or long-suffering, or if you feel properly ashamed.

    Those people can kiss my ENTIRE ass.

    Amusingly, my husband managed to land himself a wife who is happy to work full-time and let him be home with the kids. Matt’s problem is Matt, not women.

  83. c
    c February 26, 2007 at 3:05 am |

    ridiculous ton say the least!

    Someone tell these preachers, to look after their business…women dont need advice from them on whether they should stay at home and be mothers or go out and work…

    If these people are so concerned wth children who rot in day care, please feel free and bring up ur own! stay at home

  84. subgrrl8
    subgrrl8 February 26, 2007 at 7:10 am |

    You know, this brings up a huge pet peeve of mine. Those “working poor” people everyone hears so much about? That was me growing up. My mother didn’t have a fucking choice about it- she had to put me and my older sister in day care at age 6 weeks because she HAD to go back to work. Her income was the only thing giving us stability and health care- she and my dad had decided that he was allowed to pursue his art career. I went to a private day care, run by an older woman, and housing all of about 6 kids at the peak. The ONLY “day care institutions” I know of are state-run day care, you know, off of that wonderful Federal program called “Head Start” and they are DESIGNED for the working poor. Not that they are very effective, but that’s an entirely different rant.

    My point being? Not all kids who grow up working poor, in day care since age 6 weeks, and in a household where the mom worked for the stability of the family turns out a nut case or love deprived. I am the EXCEPTION that disproves the right-wing mommy rule. I even went to public school! And here I am: 26, successful in my work and home lives, graduated from college with a 3.78 GPA and magna cum laude, and loves and is loved by her parents very very much.

    I have friends who have kids, and the look of horror on their faces when day care comes up is hurtful. Who says day care can’t be good for you? I was cared for, and well, and because she was private we got a good deal on the care.

    But then I have to remember also that a) my parents are hippies, b) they had their own ideas of family roles (my dad, after being laid off from his last fulltime job, took over being a SAHD and did pretty well), and c) they had the crazy notion that their kids should be a part of their lives, so as an infant I went to my dad’s art openings, to the restaurant with them on a night out, etc.

    My parents are both college educated (B.F.A.’s for both), and wound up poor “anyway”. They have been married for almost 38 yrs, but MONEY was not the priority to them. We had enough to get by, to be fed and clothed and cared for, and we made do with love rather than material goods. My mom made my clothes and my dolls, and I cherish that to this day. My dad made me doll furniture, and taught me how to ride a bike. I learned things from both parents that I might not have, if I had grown up in a much more sterile environment. But our house was always full of love, even if it wasn’t a 50’s dream or had a white picket fence. Isn’t that what’s most important?

  85. Nick Kiddle
    Nick Kiddle February 26, 2007 at 7:35 am |

    Who says day care can’t be good for you?

    Yeah, that’s what I’d like to know.

    The xCLP is at nursery right now. She’s very happy there, because there are people whose only responsibility during the working day is to give her and the other kids lots of attention and stimulation. If she was here, I’d have half my mind on her and half on the groceries I need to buy, or the dishes I need to wash, or this essay I really ought to be working on, and she would know and start flipping out in a bid to get a bigger share of my attention. If she didn’t have these two mornings of nursery, I think we’d both be permanently flipped out, honestly.

  86. n3rdchik
    n3rdchik February 26, 2007 at 8:19 am |

    As a working mother in the corporate world, I feel very vulnerable. It seems that there are a lot of Matt-drones and I chronically feel like I have a target on my back if I take a minute to do anything kid related (I take 1/2 a vacation day a month to volunteer at my kid’s math lab and I feel like a junkie with a habit I am trying to hide.) Yet, the VP is very “progressive” because he leaves early to do Tae Kwon Do with his boys every week. I mostly have put off having another child, because I had preterm labor with my 2nd and I can ill afford to be out of work for 4 months again – not because I don’t have insurance coverage, but It would most likely be the end of my career with the company.

    But I want to put this out there – great child care is GREAT for kids. My kids *THRIVE* at their center – which has wonder staff, a great circuluum and fun age appropriate activities. But I paid over $1000/month for 2 days of care per week for a toddler and a pre-schooler. The school had a small scholarship fund, but that is my biggest beef – All children desrve access to _great_ child care, not just those of us who have $$$. I would love to see a subsidized child care network. Many poor parents have the choice of the neighborhood lady down the street who sits the kids in front of the TV for hours, or an overstressed relative.

    In the interest of full disclosure – my children are home with either their father or grandfather 3 days a week. and until more men step up, parenthood will not be valued with $$$.

  87. Rhiannon
    Rhiannon February 26, 2007 at 9:23 am |

    emotionally sterile babysitter and daycare environment

    Puh-lease! If this in ANYWAY described my daughter’s daycare/preschool I’d tranfer her to a different one ASAP.

  88. Kat
    Kat February 26, 2007 at 9:57 am |

    My kids have both gone to daycare centers from infancy. We have been lucky enough to benefit from a subsidized system when we were military. Like Nick Kiddle’s child, they have both benefitted from the structure, stimulation, attention. And yet, the myths still persist. They have both been immersed in same-age peer socialization, which was key to helping my son manage his disability (autism). The federally-funded center made accommodations for him.

    I was once asked by my sister-in-law (a SAHM) if at daycare they “allowed” my 18-month old son to nap (you know, because its some dark and evil place). Arg.

  89. Wishy Washy
    Wishy Washy February 26, 2007 at 10:28 am |

    Being pregnant right now (first time, wanted pregnancy though honestly it happened a little sooner than we thought it would), all this hits very close to home for me. I have played out all of these questions so many times in my head. Now who knows how I may feel once I actually have the baby, but I’m over 30 years old, and I’ve never felt in myself that I was the type to be able to stand (let alone thrive in) having almost no contact with the adult world (the world with real agency no matter what detractors may say) except for my husband. Good grief, ours is a wanted pregnancy and we’re well aware that it will probably provoke numerous crises in our lives. We might have to give up our unstable arts careers (backed up by temping) altogether. Or only one of us might have to give it up. Maybe we won’t be able to afford rent AND debt AND childcare. I have a gig three months after delivery for which I won’t be paid till final curtain call, so that will essentially be four months I won’t be paid (sorry, no paid maternity leave for me!). Our lives will be under enough stress without pressure for one of us to feel one way about parenthood while the other is to feel another way (namely that I’m supposed to love being home with the baaaaybeeeee above all else, while my husband is supposed to go into breadwinner-overdrive).

    (For the record if it sounds like I’m being glib about parenthood I don’t mean to be – I’m actually psyched for it – but I loathe the baby-worshipping “mombie” contingent as much as any childfree person. Children are human beings and future citizens, not pets, “little angels,” or excuses for their parents’ myopic behavior, and I’m highly suspicious of people who are obsessed with babies since all babies turn into children and then adults….will they lose their appeal once they do?)

    My mother was a stay-at-home except for part-time aerobics and yoga teaching, and of course I can list off many things that were wonderful about having her around all the time, but I do honestly wish she had worked more *especially* once I got to school age. Because the one thing my mother did not model for me was how to stand firm and be a woman with real agency in the “real world.” She taught me many things: kindness, fairness, prudence, etc. But she did not model for me how to be a woman facing a conflict standing her ground. I had to look to my Dad for that, whose corporate career modeled a kind of aggressiveness that would never fly in my chosen sphere. My mom was a professional caver-inner under pressure. She knew she had the cushion of total financial support to fall back on and despite the fact that numerous organizations for whom she volunteered offered her actual jobs, and my father practically begged her to take them (his argument was that she was already doing a salary’s value worth of work for them for free), she balked. She didn’t want to be “beholden” to anyone (and was so used to being beholden to my Dad that she didn’t notice it anymore). I always thought it odd that even with his encouragement, after so much time out of the “real world” she simply didn’t want back in it.

  90. dee
    dee February 26, 2007 at 10:32 am |

    If motherhood really was that important, the job would come with a 401K.

  91. Kat
    Kat February 26, 2007 at 11:29 am |

    If motherhood really was that important, the job would come with a 401K.

    I know that comment was meant to be funny, but availability of a 401k is hardly the measure for “important” work. It seems just the opposite–most work that makes a difference or contributes some way to society comes with low or no pay and little or no benefits. I worked at a non-profit for years with no 401k and no benefits, but felt good about the work I was doing. Its sad that type of work is not valued more.

    Generating income does not equal “important”.

  92. bmc90
    bmc90 February 26, 2007 at 11:45 am |

    Matt is the one who does not understand econcomics. When the U.S. econcomy was primarily agrarian, raising a child was sometimes like adding new wings to a factory. They would work on the farm. They were part of the means of production. Plus, until mom and dad kicked, their kids had to pretty much stick around and keep the farm going so they could inherit it someday. An industrial economy is not like that. Children are a very expensive luxury, unless we start requiring kids to fund their parents’ retirements (which is kind of what the entitlement system imperfectly does do). So in terms of econcomics, you are telling women to go out an acquire this very expenisve asset that requires continued investement with little chance of monetary return later, and then castigating them if they attempt to work to pay for the upkeep or this asset, cannot attract an investor (husband) to do so or do so 100%, or want to lessen the risk that the best efforts of themselves and the investor will someday fail cover the actual cost of keeping up the asset? Like when my dad got downsized in the 80’s. It’s just laughable that people argue the investment is not as expensive as people make it out to be (why don’t you forego shoes and live in a trailer so you can stay home) or that a rational economic actor would not want the maximum amount of capital possible? Other countries have caught on to this and are actually paying people subsidies to have children. That’s right. It costs MONEY. No one gets groceries or a place to live in exhange for raising a child. That’s the economics of child rearing, and I think the anger against feminism stems from the fact that we are disabusing women of the delusion that when you pop out a kid someone will step up with a checkbook for the next 18 years and deal with it: you will deal with it, unless you are a tiny weeny sliver of the population. Speaking of that sliver, for your next topic, Matt, would you care to discuss the economics of Barabra Bush hiring a nanny instead to caring for them herself all the time? Let’s go to the country club and let all those moms playing tennis and going shopping have a big piece of our minds. When I start seeing the NYT slamming them, I’ll believe for one second that anyone is really concerned with how much time Biff and Muffy are spending with mommy v. Consuela.

  93. mythago
    mythago February 26, 2007 at 11:55 am |

    I know that comment was meant to be funny

    I don’t think it was, Kat, except perhaps in a “wouldn’t it be funny if the whiny bitches STFU?” sense.

    I have a job with an office and a 401K. That doesn’t make me more “important” than somebody who doesn’t have either of those things.

  94. Celoneth
    Celoneth February 26, 2007 at 11:56 am |

    Working mothers and stay-at-home fathers are, in my opinion, what will change attitudes towards motherhood. Motherhood culturally has been seen as expected unpaid labour that falls on women because of the fact they are women. Women working at wages equal to men, and men taking a greater role in childcare should eventually change the culture to the point where a woman being expected to sacrifice her entire life to take care of kids and family isn’t a given. It isn’t that paid labour is more important than unpaid labour, its the cultural assumptions that women’s labour is supposed to be both unpaid and unappreciated because its an expectation of women’s roles in society instead of a choice that a woman voluntarily makes. Same for a man choosing to stay with his kids instead of working.

  95. orange
    orange February 26, 2007 at 11:59 am |

    I was lucky enough to have not only a great mom, but a dad who arranged his work schedule to run at the same time as my school schedule- we got home at the same time every day and walked the dog together, made dinner, etc. My mom was around too, but my father made sure to be present and engaged in the child-care so that she could work on her political projects and attend board meetings, etc. in the evenings. Somehow they worked it out, split up the childrearing, and were happy.

    I wish that more people would be willing to surrender their weird ideas about how awesome the 1950s were, when men were men and women were Wilma Flintstone. If two people want to have children, they should be willing to enter a dialogue about responsibility and involvement, and be able to come up with a plan that fulfills everyone’s needs and dreams.

  96. adm
    adm February 26, 2007 at 12:10 pm |

    I’ve always found it hilarious (see: vomituitous) how doctors insist on marking their territory with “M.D.” at the end, as if we should cower away from our feeble insights in the shadow of somebody with a receipt from doctor school. MY SPOKEN WORD IS LORD….so what?

    If I’m the president of a boating company in Norway, clearly I also know everything about Jai Alai, baking bread, and barometer pressure trends in the southern provinces of Russia.

    NOTE TO YOU: NOBODY CARES THAT YOU’RE A DOCTOR. (we do care that you’re an idiot though…it makes us giggle) and it certainly doesn’t make your point any wronger. (or right, on the rare occasions you are)

    i hate being associated with men. cripes.

  97. Janis
    Janis February 26, 2007 at 12:35 pm |

    OMFG, I love that whole “Women are selfish if they don’t want to take care of MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” thing.

    It’s very simple — you sort them by color, with the darks in cold. Open the door, put the clothing inside, put in the soap, turn the knob to “medium wash.” How effing hard is that?

  98. bmc90
    bmc90 February 26, 2007 at 12:40 pm |

    Funny that no one ever calls my husband selfish for not staying home with the kids even though we could certainly live off my salary, which is 4x more than his. Nor do people say that his going back to school to fullfil his dream of being in a helping profession was selfish, even though it certainly took time away from the children. The children respect him, the sacrifices he made to bolster their financial security in the long run (hey, I’m not immortal), the example he set by studying hard and taking school seriously, etc. It’s. no. different. for. women. The kids have a happy dad, finally doing what he likes, he can always put bread on the table for them if I can’t, bleh bleh bleh. Why popular culture practically criminalizes identical conduct in women I will never ever understand.

  99. Nick Kiddle
    Nick Kiddle February 26, 2007 at 3:54 pm |

    I know that comment was meant to be funny

    I don’t think it was, Kat, except perhaps in a “wouldn’t it be funny if the whiny bitches STFU?” sense.

    Interesting, because I read it as bitter cynicism from someone who’s been there. Along the lines of how some people really do think you’re not worth as much if you’re not racking up the cash and benefits as tangible proof of what you’re achieving with all that time. But with a one-liner that pops up out of nowhere, there’s no way to tell which meaning was intended.

  100. Ismone
    Ismone February 26, 2007 at 8:05 pm |

    I think this whole discussion is particularly funny because the NY Times recently ran another article that showed that parents (mothers and fathers) now spend more time with their children than they did in the 50’s. Which means that stay-at-home moms back then weren’t always supervising their children. They were doing other things. (I am always amazed by the whirling social life my grandparents had after they already had my dad and his older sister. They went out more on average than I did my last two years of college. Without the kids. Parties and dinners and drinking and dancing–no joke.)

  101. Erika
    Erika February 26, 2007 at 8:56 pm |

    Who will be paying these women? They dont arent producing goods that people would pay for, so why would they get paid?

    Despite Matt being a dim-witted troll, he does bring up an important point. How do you compensate parents for child rearing? Parenting isn’t really a job. No one monitors your work ethic, you’re not going to be rewarded or punished for a good or bad job performance, and you essentially can’t be fired. Parents have to do the equivalent of showing up to work with a firearm and shooting half of their coworkers before they’d get fired. Basically meaning, the state only “fires” parents if they’re extremely abusive/neglectful and most of those parents get several chances before their parental rights are severed. Compensation is simply not feasible.

  102. Nick Kiddle
    Nick Kiddle February 26, 2007 at 9:22 pm |

    No one monitors your work ethic, you’re not going to be rewarded or punished for a good or bad job performance, and you essentially can’t be fired.

    Actually, I had a bunch of jobs like that. As long as I showed up to work every day and went through the appropriate motions, no-one cared about my work ethic, and the wages were the same however I performed. They were also shit jobs, sometimes literally – another similarity with parenthood.

  103. Dianne
    Dianne February 26, 2007 at 9:25 pm |

    you’re not going to be rewarded or punished for a good or bad job performance

    Yes you are. Your kids will pick your nursing home some day.

  104. bmc90
    bmc90 February 26, 2007 at 11:13 pm |

    Erika, bad parenting is one of those tragedy of the commons kind of problems. Sure, one person’s bad parenting does not show up as even a blip on society’s radar, but aggregate it and you can have a whole generation that can’t formulate or carry out a meaningful purpose, or on an individual level hold jobs or form meaningful relationships. It’s how a society dies out. Think Sparta. No family life to speak of (boys removed from homes young for military training and only very old men allowed to marry at all), society not good at anything other than war. Personally, I don’t think we are in trouble. Child care for my grandmother was my great grandmother checking on her after she picked each row (grandmother was moved from row to row as the day went on). She went on to college and to raise 3 kids as a single mom, so somehow, I don’t think my own mother’s teaching or my lawyering is creating any Tim McVeigh’s. What it is creating is a bunch of men having to do their own laundry and not getting to delude themselves that they are the financial glue – they never were, or my great grandmother would not have been picking cotton in Texas, would she?

  105. balsemon
    balsemon February 26, 2007 at 11:38 pm |

    I will believe the “it’s the most important work” crap (not “crap” in that I don’t believe it, but that I don’t believe those who are saying it believe it) when we pay moms as much as the median CEO; when social security benefits accrue during the “stay at home” period at the same level as the year prior to the “stay at home” period; when we offer paid maternity/paternity leave for at least 3 mos.; in other words, when we put something more than platitudes behind it. Don’t get me wrong, children need love and support. Then need education. They need A LOT. But these f*#$Jers who believe only mom is uniquely endowed to provide the love, support and education can bite my uterus.

  106. Janis
    Janis February 26, 2007 at 11:38 pm |

    Dianne, nursing homes cost money. That’s what determines what kind your parents wind up in. Not how much you frigging love them, but how poor you are. You can love your parents beyond the bounds of human understanding, and they will still stew in fucking SHIT if you ain’t got the money to get them a better berth.

  107. Fansler
    Fansler February 27, 2007 at 12:17 am |

    Besides Erika, parenthood doesn’t have to be compensated in exactly the same way as a job is with raises for good performance and so on. Here in Canada our Prime Minister created a program which gives all parents with children a certain amount a month for child care regardless of whether the children were actually in care or not (never mind that it was too little to actually be useful for paying for day care). It would certainly be possible to increase that amount so that it would either pay for day care or, if one of the parents stayed home with the kids, be used as the parents saw fit. It would be a very low wage but it would be better than nothing.

  108. jo
    jo February 27, 2007 at 1:53 am |

    okay heres my solution..its not perfect but its the best we could come up with being two v irresponsible in love people who managed to get me pregnant twice in one year..I kid you not! 50/50 share… at least for the early years. Dad the kids are half yours right? (well they are their own people and don’t belong to either of us philosophically speaking) but in this nuc/het relationship..we made them, we raise them okay. And we share them, the whole works. Now it means I have to be staunch, stand me ground, not let myself be sucked into the “mama better with babies” crap. My partner and mate, is just as ‘good’ as me at all that nurturing stuff. Its LEARNT behaviour, being around babies and looking after them brings on those nurturing hormones in everyone, not just women. Or perhaps its all the soya he drinks! (theres a tip)
    We made our bed together, we gotta lay in it (so to speak).
    Thankfully he’s fixed now so no more baba’s.

  109. Rhiannon
    Rhiannon February 27, 2007 at 9:18 am |

    “No one monitors your work ethic, you’re not going to be rewarded or punished for a good or bad job performance, and you essentially can’t be fired. Parents have to do the equivalent of showing up to work with a firearm and shooting half of their coworkers before they’d get fired.’

    Two words. Social Services. My dad made the mistake of being a poor single father who asked for help dealing with being a poor single father with children who’d been emotionally scarred (abandoned by our mother, going from middle class to poverty and molestation). He was literally told he would have to be a “super dad” to keep us because “men shouldn’t raise children”. I hardly think that’s the equivalent of “showed up to work with a firearm”. Social Services are like the ultimate horrid, incompetent boss. They strike fear into the hearts of parents everywhere… especially poor ones who can’t afford to defend themselves against them.

  110. Rhiannon
    Rhiannon February 27, 2007 at 9:21 am |

    Heh heh… sorry for the rant… (Yoda-voiceover) Much hate have I of Social Services’ evil.

  111. Rose
    Rose February 27, 2007 at 12:17 pm |

    Very interesting thread here. There are some very angry men out there, that’s for damn sure! Thank God I don’t have children or I’d have to put up with this shit too. By the way, Matt, if you are lurking out there somewhere, my husband is 22 years older than me. I’m 36, he’s 58. He has almost nothing saved for retirement, so when the time comes it will be up to me to support the household. I currently earn more money than him and my salary is on the rise, while his will pretty much will stay even. Soooo, the point is that I WILL be supporting him, sooner rather than later, and I have absoluetly no problem with that. In fact, it makes me happy to know that I will be positioned to do this for him. This is because I love him. If a woman really loved you, there’s no limit to what she’d be willing to do for you. But I don’t think you (currently) have enough love within you to really receive that kind of love back from anyone. I feel bad for you, I really do.

  112. Dianne
    Dianne February 27, 2007 at 12:49 pm |

    Janis: Sorry if I touched a nerve with my comment. The line about your children picking your nursing home is from an old joke, the point of which is supposed to be that your children will some day have power over you and the example you set of how to behave towards those you have power over (ie them when they are young) will come back to haunt you. Of course, nursing homes are expensive and you have nothing to feel guilty about if your parents ended up in one that you’d rather they didn’t because of financial reality. Life sucks sometimes and I’m sorry if my comment made it suck worse for you even a little.

  113. Dianne
    Dianne February 27, 2007 at 12:55 pm |

    jo: My partner and I came up with a similar solution when our Critter was a baby. Specifically, we split the main duties in this way: I took input, he took output. Worked nicely until she was weaned and I had to learn about diapering…

  114. Laurie
    Laurie February 27, 2007 at 2:31 pm |

    Re: compensation for stay at home parents
    I know it has been mentioned upthread, but just want to add my support to Social Security credit for the years a person stays home and takes care of the kids. It isn’t much, it isn’t NOW, but it does send a message that what you are doing is important to society as a whole. Tax *credit* (not necessarily any sort of subsidy a la Canada) would also be a great thing — there is some state tax credit going on in MN right now as I understand it (someone from MN with kids correct me if I’m wrong) for folks in certain tax brackets with kids. Given that the majority of the folks *I* know would be using their slightly larger tax return for something for their families/homes anyway, I think that’s a great way to go about it.

    Please note: this is coming from a woman without children, who is unlikely to ever have children. I also invariably vote FOR the school referendums. Then again, my what used to be moderately liberal viewpoints seem to have mutated into radical thought over the past decade or so. Not that my viewpoints have changed all that much; just that the world has.

  115. BlackBloc
    BlackBloc February 27, 2007 at 4:22 pm |

    Who will be paying these women? They dont arent producing goods that people would pay for, so why would they get paid?

    Other people who don’t produce goods and get paid:

    maids
    nurses
    doctors
    lawyers
    airplane pilots
    soldiers
    etc etc etc

    There’s this thing, you may have heard of it, it’s called ‘services’. Strangely, in this economy of ours, people pay for goods *and* services. Well, except when the services are provided for free due to patriarchy skewing the market value of those services.

  116. zuzu
    zuzu February 27, 2007 at 4:38 pm |

    And rich people live on “interest” and “capital gains,” not anything they produce.

  117. Hawise
    Hawise February 27, 2007 at 4:52 pm |

    Personally, I feel if when I reach 65 I am given a retirement income for the years I put into childcare and senior care to the benefit of society that would be a very good thing. I also wish that once I returned to the workforce I was given some credit for the fact that I’m ten plus years out of the workforce and my references are a mite stale.

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