Stay At Home Parents

Should Stay-at-Homes be paid somehow?

I’m reading a book about women. So far it’s primarily about how the different sexes are treated and the expectations placed on them right from the off. There’s some interesting stuff about how little boys and girls are treated by their parents, usually the parents don’t even realizing it’s happening. But one huge obvious difference is in the division of labor when one person stays home. This book mainly talks about how it’s more likely that women take up the childcare and household jobs (even when they’re professionals themselves). But I don’t want to get into all the complications that come into the picture when talking about men and women (like how they are raised and expectations, which are messy), so I’ll stick with staying at home vs working and how each are viewed.

A question that popped into my head while I was reading was how two people can be on equal grounds when one works and one stays at home to raise children. I think people generally say they value both jobs. I’m sure you’d say staying at home to raise children is a valid and worthwhile undertaking (maybe the most noble thing you can do). But there are clear inequalities as well, that are maybe unavoidable. Who decides which car to buy? Which house? Which appliances? Who makes most of the financial decisions? And who holds the power if a relationship starts to falter? Whatever the divorce laws are where you live, that’s not the most appealing route to take. Especially when the troubles are small. Immediate earning ability holds sway, I’d say, over the prospect of a long, drawn out divorce. Divorce damages both people, and involves the children. So it would seem that the working person has a much larger say and more power.

So just hypothetically, if you were in a relationship in which you worked and other person stayed home to take care of your child, would you try to work out a way for the person at home to feel like he/she is equal in earning? There’s a dollar amount attached to a professionals. You can count exactly what a full time job contributes to the family. Meanwhile, raising a child is much more abstract. So you spent 9 hours feeding, changing, cleaning, washing, cooking, etc? What does that mean, really? I spent the day at work and earned such and such amount of money to buy those things! It’s hard to make concrete sense out of diaper changes and bottle feedings. Is spending an hour trying to improve your child’s hand-eye coordination equal to an hour on the job? Is that a fair question? It’s equating work, that may or may not be a passion, to taking care of your child, which most people would claim they enjoy. Saying you deserve money (or something) for doing it implies that it’s a chore. You raise your children because you love her or him and want to help do what’s best. You don’t do it for money. Wanting some compensation can make someone look heartless.

It’s not hard to see how unfair that is though. No matter how much lip service you pay to raising the children, one person is still “bring home the bread” (I don’t eat bacon).

So you want to make it more equal and quantify the work that goes into raising a child and keeping a house in order. But then the trouble is, is the other person just giving you an allowance? That’s not ideal. You aren’t a child. Having a joint back account makes people feel more unified. “What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine.” But not really. If I make 100% of the money, then no matter the name on the back account, I’m making the money. I bought the groceries. I bought the house. Etc. And, primarily in arguments, those issues will come up. (“And who goes to work every day to pay for this house!?”) Maybe it would help if it was set up in a way that the paychecks were immediately and automatically split and deposited in separate accounts. The same thing might be true, that I’m making the money, but it might give a feeling of independence. That the stay-at-home is being paid for doing a job. Maybe you can write up a legitimate contract (like Kurt Vonnegut wrote for all the jobs he would do while his wife was pregnant). There is no real way to be paid as a stay-at-home unless it somehow comes from the employed person (because the government isn’t going to pay you). I don’t know if splitting the paycheck and depositing into separate accounts would work, but I do feel there should be some tangible way to acknowledge the effort and importance of staying at home to raise kids.

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The book also mentions how having parents who stay-at-home vs work, gives a constant example to the children that maybe there are different roles for different sexes. And since, statistically, women are more likely to be stay at homes, then kids learn women stay at home and men work. And a little girl or boy has more limited options than he or she otherwise would. Food for thought.

 

Note: This was not thought out. I was reading, thought about this and basically stream of conscious’d it. I tried to clean it up a little but please excuse the terrible flow and disconnected logic/logical leaps.

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Stay At Home Parents

Teenagers

Everyone wants kids to get out more but we all forget how annoying those kids are when met in public.

 

 

I’m working on a post about happiness (go figure) and one on fate. They’re taking longer than expected, but I hope to wrap up one by tomorrow (Tuesday) or think of something easier to write about. Maybe I’ll start a Taco Tuesday instead. I’m on my way to alliterating every day of the week. Thoughtless Theory Thursday is coming soon (not really). Speculative Saturday. I don’t know. I’m losing it.

I think I’m just talkative at the moment with no one to talk to. The perils of late, late night. These are the times cats come in handy until they wake up and walk away. I’m left here thinking about life… what else is there to do?

Teenagers

Women going Childless… And also me

Edited to increase the adorability by infinity.

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This is a fascinating read and you all should read it immediately… or whenever you get around to it, or whatever, do what you want. Anyway, this hits pretty close to home even though it’s all about a woman’s decision not to have children. I hardly identify as a man so there’s not much different in the thought process. I fully acknowledge that women face more societal pressures than man. The expectations for them to have children is massive, and it’s not the same for men. Us men aren’t typically thought of as child loving people, and even when we are, not in a rush to have them ourselves. We are tricked by baby-crazed women or fall back on family life after burning out on strange women and short term flings. That was never me so I recognize zero percent of it, but I do know that almost no one asks me when I’ll have kids like they do with my female friends who have to answer the question nearly every time they see relatives. And when I answer that it’s not likely that I’ll have kids, I’m not pushed much.

But some of the excerpts from this article are not so much about society and more about the internal thought process, which is something I can identify with.

“I was always too self-centered and irresponsible to have kids. I know that never stopped many others, but I am a narcissist with a conscience.”
Debbie Kasper

This is perfect. Being self-centered is usually considered a negative characteristic to have. But it’s not. In fact, everyone is a narcissist to varying degrees. Just ask yourself how much time you spend thinking about your own life as opposed to the other 7 billion people in the world. I’m going to guess it’s not in proportion. What’s important is recognizing what that does to other people. The nice thing about interacting with other adults is that they can typically take care of themselves (more or less). So when I’m going through one of my inward spirals of narcissism, my loved ones keep on ticking, and sometimes even help me through my self inflicted melancholy as I do for them when I can. That reciprocity isn’t a possibility with a three month old. It’s 100% about that child. And it pretty much stays that way for life. Or at the very least many, many years. Your typical teenager isn’t sitting around thinking about the mental wellbeing of their old ass parents. I drop into a self-obsessed depression, I cannot possibly do what’s best for someone else. I refuse to put a child through that.

“It might not be a fear of kids themselves, as in truth I usually get along with them pretty well.

My fear of having children is that, frankly, I just don’t want to love anyone that much. I have my own problems with love, and I have processed and played the same games for a lifetime, but what if I had to do that with someone I actually MADE?!”
Margaret Cho

Again, I can’t fail my potential child. It isn’t a fun, light decision to make. It’s an entire life. Knowing myself as much as I do, I don’t think the risk is worth it. I don’t think my selfish wants or desires should fuel my behavior when it concerns a helpless little human. Are they unfailingly cute? Yes. Does a babies smile reduce me to a puddle of sweetly scented love? Yes. Do I want to hold my little baby niece 24 hours a day until she’s too heavy for me to hold? Yes. Would I love my child? Yes. Can I honestly say I would be able to do my best in raising a child? No. Sure, no one has done a perfect job parenting, but they should do their best. We all know terrible parents. Whether personally or watching parents and kids walk by in the store. Either bad mistakes, or poor decision making resulted in a child living a life he or she shouldn’t be forced to live. Sometimes it’s mean, stupid adults but other times it’s emotionally unavailable, complicated, personal issues that prevent parents from doing their best. (And sometimes their best just isn’t good enough. Mine might not be.) I care about the wellbeing of kids too much to gamble with their minds and futures.

 

the book sounds interesting. I’d like to buy it soon.

 

No Kidding: Women Writers and Comedians on the Choice Not to Have Children

Women going Childless… And also me

I Swear You’re Listening

I see you only briefly.
A snapshot of a life seemingly speeding up by the day. The way you advance is astounding and I find I’m jealous of your abilities all the time. I may have mastered some of the basics you struggle with, but you’re moving at a rate I can’t match. It’s only a matter of time until you overtake me and I’m left wondering when all this time was happening.
My shoulders ache as I open the door to your room, but the pain vanishes when your eyes, so ebullient, meet mine. My fingers were creaking, but are reborn, full of youthful strength, when you wrap your hand around my pinky. I talk to you as if you have already surpassed me. I don’t doubt you will. I imagine you understand every word.
I’ve been lost for much of my life. Overwhelmed and scared. Now, I feel focused, still scared but prepared to continue. You have built an infrastructure for me. I hope to return the favor.

I Swear You’re Listening

You Are Stardust

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A few days ago I wrote about the divide between some members of my family and myself. I still am a little worried, simply because I can’t predict the future and no matter what I do, I’ll never know how my relationship with my niece will turn out. Much like the stoics of old, I visualize the negative in order to best prepare for it. And I accept the possibility of not having my niece in my life, even though I will do everything I can to avoid it. But that doesn’t mean I assume she will not be around me. I accept the possibility but plan on the opposite.

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So I bought her a book. It’s called You Are Stardust and it’s super cute. The artwork in it is lovely. The dioramas of different scenes are really well done. The story is simple and not bashing on any worldview at all. I have to presume it’s taken from the famous Carl Sagan – and then Lawrence Krauss and Neil deGrasse Tyson – quote. Basically, if you are or were a famous physicist, you talk about this beautiful fact.

Degrasse Tyson sagan

There are a lot of these books that promote wonder in kid’s books and I think it’s one of the most important things we can do for children. Sort of like how a good teacher won’t teach you what to think she will teach you how to think, parents should take a similar position. And I don’t suggest this because I think all kids will be atheist scientists if left to their own devices. I say it because I want a society that can think for themselves. It’s not just religion or science that needs this sort of consideration. Politics relies so much on playing to irrational fears and beliefs. Misleading uniformed people to vote a certain way because a lot of people aren’t taught how to think critically. We accept information from authority. We aren’t trained how to question things. Especially if it’s something we want to believe.

Carl Sagan said it best again, “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. This is a clear prescription for disaster... Where will they come from? What about fusion, supercomputers, abortion, massive reductions in strategic weapons, addiction, high-resolution television, airline and airport safety, food additives, animal rights, superconductivity, Midgetman vs. rail-garrison MX missiles, going to Mars, finding cures for AIDS and cancer? How can we decide national policy if we don’t understand the underlying issues?” (my emphasis)
He was primarily talking about technology, but the last line sums it up perfectly. I have hope that we will improve. In order to do so, we need to pay attention to how young people are raised. I may or may not have children in my life, but I still care about humans. Call it my fundamental flaw. It doesn’t look like it’ll be changing any time soon, though.

I have a stack of my old baby books in my apartment, now. If my niece comes to visit sometime, I’ll be ready. I’m thinking about how to go about baby-proofing my apartment, too. I assume that includes my lab goggles for her so my cats don’t scratch out her eyes.

You Are Stardust

Children, Again.

Why do terrible people decide to have children so often? (generally speaking) is it because they have zero foresight? Do they not understand what happens when you have sex without any form of protection? I’d ask if it was linked to abstinence only education, but I’m including people I went to school with and we didn’t get abstinence only education. Are they simply unable to think about anything beyond the present? Are forms of protection against their beliefs? Do they somehow think they are wonderful people? How could that be possible when they are yelling constantly, in volatile relationships, and selfish beyond comprehension (being selfish isn’t intrinsically bad, but it is when you have responsibilities to others)? Do they think children will fix their messed up lives? Do they think children will fix their messed up relationships? Do they think their purpose in life is to have children even if they don’t particularly want them or want to care for them? Do they truly hold the belief that they do love their children while viciously and unnecessarily berating them?

After the first child, why do they keep having children?

I’m sure we all have plenty of examples of terrible people with kids. Here’s the one on my mind at the moment. Someone used to briefly live near me with multiple children. Ages ranging from ~18 to ~5. The older kids were fuck ups. The younger kid was frequently yelled at and crying. I doubt I’m alone in witnessing people who seem to hate their children, yet for some reason, have 4 or 5. What is happening?

The decision to have children is something I’ve labored over for years. Meanwhile it seems like these children inexplicably appear for these people. No thought or debate. No conversations. Almost magic. Almost as if they didn’t have a choice in the matter.

Or they are exceptionally delusional.

“Hey babe, you know how we’re always yelling at each other and breaking up, how our relationship is on the brink of total disaster constantly, how we aren’t financially secure enough to live any one place for over a couple months, and how we more or less hate each other? Why don’t we have a child to share this with?”

“OHHHH, lovely idea. But why not 6?”

And they lived happily ever after.

Children, Again.