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antifeminism antifeminst women ladies against women misogyny reactionary bullshit woman's suffrage

The Thinking Housewife: “When women were denied the vote, they could reside on a higher plane, far from the oily ministrations of politicians.”

Ann Romney’s speech at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night got Laura Wood, the so-called Thinking Housewife, pining for a world in which the dirty world of politics was limited to dudes.

When women were denied the vote, they could reside on a higher plane, far from the oily ministrations of politicians. Now, at every convention, we must hear about the first date of the presidential candidate and his wife. We must see them kiss and be told by both how wonderful women are. The governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, and Luce Vela, the wife of the governor of Puerto Rico, also appeared last night and I couldn’t help but feel, given their outfits and grooming, that I was watching a political version of the Miss America contest.

My only question is why Ms. Housewife was watching the convention at all. If politics is so “oily” and gross and inherently unladylike, shouldn’t a good old-fashioned gal like her be studiously avoiding its corrupting influence? Weren’t there any doilies in the house that needed dusting?

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Bagelsan
Bagelsan
8 years ago

Having children really isn’t the problem. The problem is when people are overextended, have insecure support networks, are forced to work but cannot afford childcare (or are forced to pay for inferior childcare where abuse or neglect may occur regularly), and where people have kids because “you just do it” instead of being given options, reliable birth control choices and proper comprehensive sex-ed.

But having children is a thing that hugely extends people, make their networks more important, forces you to balance work and childcare, etc etc. There really is nothing comparable (having pets, really? No one’s pearl-clutching over that comparison?*) and many parents don’t seem to have a clue how to handle those factors. “Afford” doesn’t mean monetarily; it means can you realistically make a person and not fuck it up. Plenty of parents demonstrably cannot. Saying that isn’t personal, despite how some people here are taking it.

*and no, if you have no time for a dog you don’t have any right to get one; I don’t care if you’re Bill Gates, you can not “afford” a dog.

Shaenon
8 years ago

It’s truly depressing to read of so many rude, thoughtless, nosy, brainwashed people bemoaning the fertility of white Christians (I guarantee they’d never make such comments to a black welfare mother of multiple offspring).

1. Black mothers are never subjected to rude, judgmental assumptions from strangers.

2. Whenever I see a black woman with children, I assume she’s a “welfare mother” and sniff about her “multiple offspring.”

You stay classy, Quiverfull movement.

katz
8 years ago

^I know, it’s totally “”But they’re not supposed to be judgmental of me! Go judge the people you’re supposed to be judging!”

Nanasha
Nanasha
8 years ago

I think the problem is that how much you can “afford” changes. For example, when I had my daughter, I had quite a few people who had the time and energy (and the desire) to help watch the baby while I had to run an errand or go to the doctor or something and my husband was also working or engaged with some kind of business of his own. One of them had to move back in with parents over three hours away because she broke up with her boyfriend. Another went back to school full time. And yet another just kind of drifted away because both of us no longer had time to hang out and talk bicycles and tinker around with them.

My mother in law has been helping us by coming over and watching our daughter recently while we’re waiting for my husband to switch from graveyard shift to evenings because he needs to sleep at some point, and our daughter has been waking up with me in the mornings and it is very dangerous to have a 3 year old run around unsupervised in an apartment while the adult in the apartment is sleeping. But she’s been exhibiting some worrying memory issues recently, and she is thinking of moving farther away because she’s stubborn and makes her mind up about things and there’s no convincing her otherwise. My parents live over 3 hours away and want me to move back to live nearby, but I’m not sure I’m willing to make that jump because a lot of the healthy lifestyle stuff I have in place here would be next to impossible in the car-centric community where my parents live (plus I’d have to find a job, etc). Plus my mom is narcissistic and works full time anyway (even though she’s actually pretty good with small kids, I don’t think I’ll feel one bit comfortable leaving our daughter with her once she hits puberty). My sister used to be really awesome and come visit every so often but now she’s become kind of flaky and wants to run off to Germany for awhile. My best friend just had a baby, but she’s overwhelmed. ETC. You can start out with the perfect plan and things can still go sideways. That isn’t being a bad parent. That’s called “living.”

And there is a comparable situation- a committed relationship. Let’s say you’re married or in a close relationship with a partner, and they develop a horrible disease or get into a car accident and can no longer care for themselves. You didn’t necessarily “sign up” for that level of having to take care of another person, yet there you are- and you have to make that decision- do you stay and care for that person in need or do you go off and act like a self-centered jerk and leave them high and dry? Sure, you can swear off all close relationships so you’ll never be faced with that potential situation, but that’s a pretty lonely existence. A parent who does not want to be a parent can surrender their children to the system. A pregnant woman who does not want to be pregnant can get an abortion. A woman who wants to avoid conception to the best of her ability will use a contraceptive (or two or three).

But when you decide that parenting is something that you WANT to do, and you come up with a good plan of how to provide well for your family, should you honestly be expected to plan out a good 18-28 years of your child’s potential life or you’re considered a “failed” parent? Exactly how much is considered “your fault” and how much is considered “shit happens”? It’s so easy to point fingers when you’re outside the situation- when you’re laughing at someone else’s misfortune for making a dumb wager and losing. But having a kid isn’t a gamble- it’s mentoring, nurturing and growing a PERSON. And yes, it’s hard, and yes, it’s not always easy, and YES, society could do more to nurture the children that are born in this world (and no, I don’t follow a lot of the VHMENT bullshit because we have a consumption of resources problem, not necessarily a population problem- and beyond the few weirdo religious fringe groups, most people with proper access to contraceptives and comprehensive sex-ed are self-regulating their reproduction) because kids aren’t the problem- the commodification of humans is a problem, and the subsequent idea that unless someone is consuming or creating consumable items or selling consumable items, that they have NO WORTH.

And that goes DEEPER than just “child hatred.”

I think, honestly, this is why so many people hate old people, children and the poor (or, consequently, act like they OWN or are OWED SOMETHING by having to “take care” of said groups). There’s this inherent hatred of anyone who can be seen as “not contributing” to the capitalist machine. And I think that so many people have internalized it that they try and explain it away in other ways, make it sound like it’s just a “personal choice” but in reality I think it’s something deeper, more insidious. Children are part of society too, and I honestly think that as soon as we start including them as PEOPLE (instead of either talking down to them like idiots or acting like they need to be invisible and inoffensive), it will make things a lot better from a social justice angle, and an overall people angle.

Nanasha
Nanasha
8 years ago

TLDR;- Do we honestly see children and families as a valid life-situation, as more than just some simple yes/no choice, or a commodity that adults procure out of a sense of novelty and tradition, or at worst, a burdan that you’d have to be seriously stupid to take on, one that was created by the Old Guard Patriarchy to Keep Women Down?

Because, honestly, I don’t see a family as being epitome of old-wave patriarchal oppression. It’s its own thing, and it can be mobilized for all reasons, summoned in a propaganda-filled speech about “family values” or scapegoated as an example of How Evil And Selfish We Americans Are For Daring To Have Babies.

Sure, many of us came from problematic families, and have probably even suffered abuse, and I’m not trying to minimize that. But it does not mean that there is no such thing as a good family or that you have to be a perfect family to be allowed to exist. We don’t have to live in ideals, but we can do our very best to make the best choices with what we have available to us.

As I write this, my kitty is curled up dreaming against my leg, the late term fetus-almost-baby-girl is rolling about inside of my womb, my daughter is curled up sleeping in the big bed in our bedroom, and my husband is working his butt off at one of his (hopefully) last graveyard shifts. We’re not perfect, and often, we make mistakes. But we do what we can to care for one another, to ease one another’s suffering, to compound and expand our joy tenfold. Would I be happier if I were a millionaire? Perhaps, but once again, that’s neither here nor there. Would I be happier if I had fewer responsibilities? Maybe. But then again, sometimes to know the heights of success, one must take a few risks, and suffer a few hardships. There’s more to this than just expecting everyone to live the libertarian dream of hyper individualism. Yet we can’t all be collectivist zombies. There’s a balance here, one that we have to negotiate and develop the words to properly convey.

I think that’s what scares so many people about the idea of parenting or children- the pressure to be perfect, the pressure not to screw up, the giving in to weakness and probable failure and constant learning at the hands of that failure. It humbles you in a way that is hard to accept.

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
8 years ago

Wonderful posts, Nanasha. I can’t really say much other than that I’m glad I’ve never wanted children – I really don’t enjoy their company and don’t respond to babies at all – because I could literally never have afforded to raise a child. As in, I’ve never had an income that would pay rent, feed two people, and get a child through school (and even our state schools screw a lot of money out of parents these days, because the governments keep screwing them). Nor have I ever had a family/friends network that would be on hand for help in raising a child. Mercifully I haven’t been on the receiving end of the “But don’t you want babieeeeees?” rubbish often. (When I have, I’ve said “I’d rather have kittens.” That generally shuts ’em up.) As is probably obvious from that lot, I don’t have a temperament I’d want entrusted with raising a child either, even if I’d been rolling in dosh, lol.

All I can say is, thank goodness I live in a time and society where I had a choice in the matter!

Wetherby
Wetherby
8 years ago

I think that’s what scares so many people about the idea of parenting or children- the pressure to be perfect, the pressure not to screw up, the giving in to weakness and probable failure and constant learning at the hands of that failure. It humbles you in a way that is hard to accept.

I’ll never forget holding my son for the first time, when he was aged approximately twenty seconds, and it suddenly hit me that my life had changed so completely and profoundly that it would probably take years for it to truly sink in. I suspect all parents feel like that at first.

The commenter before her (Joe Long) has the balls (lol) to refer to men with vasectomies as “surgically altered males”.

My reaction to this was so “WTF?” that I looked up the original comment. The start is autobiographical stuff about having five kids, but then he says:

A male may expect (I received!) jokes about vasectomy; quiet unsolicited endorsements of vasectomy; and female work acquaintances publicly recommending vasectomy. Feminists and surgically-altered males both seem to want apologies for your virility, at the very least. I was even cajoled by an acquaintance who reported that not only was the surgery painless, he was pampered and given ice cream by his wife for days – it sounded like a gradeschooler parroting a kindly pediatrician’s explanation of the upside of a tonsilectomy.

Now I can understand being annoyed by people constantly suggesting having a vasectomy purely on the grounds of having five kids, but he then completely wrecks his argument by getting all defensive about his “virility” and making jibes about “surgically-altered males” as though they’re somehow inferior to Mr Manly Man with his Manly Virile Sperm.

There’s nothing particularly impressive about having five kids – I fathered two in two years, which suggests that we could probably have upped the total to five with little difficulty if we’d been that way inclined.

(And I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my own post-vasectomy pampering…)

Fitzy
Fitzy
8 years ago

Nanasha, my four-year-old daughter just started preschool this year, and it was her first time in a structured group setting, too. I was really worried about how well she’d adapt, since she’s kind of a nonconformist and a little bit of a mama’s girl.

Turns out she’s doing just fine. There wasn’t even any drama the first day I dropped her off – she gave me a hug, then went to draw a picture like her teacher suggested. She’s been going for almost three weeks now, and she hasn’t had any peer or discipline problems. And she’s having fun, too.

I know that I’m just a stranger on the internet, but I thought I’d throw my two cents in. I hope your little girl will have a great time – both at school and with her new little sister on the way.

Wetherby
Wetherby
8 years ago

It’s impossible to predict how they’ll take to preschool. A friend’s daughter has just finished her first year, and we all assumed from her somewhat independent-minded personality (major understatement) that she’d have a real problem fitting in to a more structured and disciplined setting.

In actual fact, she’s apparently been completely angelic, immaculately behaved, and generally worryingly like a pod child compared with what she’s like at home.

Fitzy
Fitzy
8 years ago

@Wetherby – maybe she’s just biding her time until she can get the revolution launched good and proper 🙂

BTW, you captured the way my husband feels vis a vis the whole male virility thing perfectly in your previous post.

Sandra
Sandra
8 years ago

http://www.happierabroad.com/​forum/​viewtopic.php?p=94144&highlight​=#94144

Oh David you just have to read this comment from Peter-Andrew: Nolan(c) on the tragic forum Happier Abroad. It’s about spanking women (including his daughter) and how much more affectionate it makes women when you commit violence against them.

Wetherby
Wetherby
8 years ago

Oh dear – I’ve just (non-violently) punished my son for trying to make his sister more affectionate. If only I’d known.

Zanana
Zanana
8 years ago

I had another thought about how some friends of mine are running this volunteer childcare collective:
http://dcchildcarecollective.org/

I used to volunteer for them but I’ve been too busy for it lately. But it’s occurring to me that going back to helping with that kind of work is a more useful place to put this energy that I’m currently channeling into really limited lines of questioning. I get stuck in these dismal binaries sometimes (e.g. have children and fuck it up vs. don’t have children and judge people who do). Important to remember that a better world with better options is possible.

heidihi
heidihi
8 years ago

@Sharculese, thank you for the link!

@Nanasha, thanks for the advice 🙂 I’ll see what i can do but i’m already on the big guns in terms of procedures. 😛 But i try to eat very healthy — i’m lucky enough that, although i would not consider myself well off (i have two jobs, and my husband works 60 hours at running his own business), i can afford to cook fresh food (and also to have a 10K+ optional medical procedure CHRIST) on the offchance that it might result in a very wanted child.

That’s another thing. My husband and I are cutting out a lot of things this year so that we can do this procedure that may someday generate a child. If this doesn’t work, we literally may not be able to afford a child. So weird to think about! Not that i always thought i’d want kids, or always thought i’d have them. Anyway, long story short, it’s so damn complicated, everyone has so many different circumstances, and who can say except the person wanting/having the kid?

Also, Nanasha, your kids and your friends’ child sound very very loved 🙂

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
8 years ago

I think, honestly, this is why so many people hate old people, children and the poor (or, consequently, act like they OWN or are OWED SOMETHING by having to “take care” of said groups). There’s this inherent hatred of anyone who can be seen as “not contributing” to the capitalist machine.

This. I think it’s a problem that so many abled adults believe that everyone in society must earn money in order to be useful. They don’t stop and realize how many non financial contributions people make to the world. Another thing is we all started as babies and children, and many of us will someday get too old to work. Finally, taking care of children and the elderly is unpaid if you do it for family or pays minimum wage is you do it for a living. That shows how much our capitalist society values caregivers compared to CEO’s that get rich by laying off workers.

Our city just barely passed a school bond issue by a margin of only 400 votes to put storm shelters in our schools. It’s not even that much trouble to do this because the schools have to be built from the ground up anyway. Apparently, a lot of voters didn’t think it’s worth slightly raising property taxes in order to make sure kids are safe at school. Some of the “no” voters said that if they didn’t get storm shelters when they were kids, then today’s kids don’t need them either, despite everything that’s happened. If someone can’t afford to spend an extra $30 a year on taxes, that’s understandable, but to say “no” just out of spite or apathy about children’s safety is pretty bad. Because the bond did pass, though, they will get built and they will able open to use for the general public during non school hours. So everyone will benefit, not just the students. That school bond issue kind of shows the dollar value people put on human lives.

I’m considering enrolling my youngest child in Head Start, a government funded preschool. My older child already gets free breakfast and lunch at school, so based on this, people might judge our family as having kids we can’t afford. However, when my kids are older, I will able to afford to work, because childcare costs too much to make it work for us right now. When I can work without worrying about childcare, then I can also contribute into taxes to help other families starting out. That’s if I am lucky enough to have good health, because nothing is guaranteed in life. Who knows how long I’ll be able to work because my parents are getting older, and I don’t want to put them in a nursing home if I can avoid it. These are the kinds of problems that disproportionately affect women, btw. I know there are some men that care for aging parents, but it’s usually the women that face these decisions.

But anyway, I’m not arguing against anyone here in particular, just about our society’s general shittiness towards poor families who make hard decisions because it’s what works for them. They believe only middle class people should have children, so they’ll ask them “Don’t you want babies?” as if their choice to not have kids is a crime. Then they’ll look at poor people with kids and scold them for having children. Whatever choice someone makes, there’s always an asshole out there to tell them it’s wrong.

Fitzy
Fitzy
8 years ago

Arrgh – Cassandra’s storm shelter story reminds me of one of my relatives. She has both of her kids in private school due to crappiness of her local public school district. She told me back in 2010 that she expressly votes against anyone who claims that they want to spend more (or in fact, any) money on public education because it runs counter to her interests. I asked her if she had considered the fact that the majority of the future workers in her area – y’know, the ones who are going to ring up her order at McDonald’s, tally her water bill, or even work with her at her customer service job – are products of the public school system, and that maybe it might be for the common good to have an educated populace. She dismissed me with a “well, that’s their problem,” which is usually what she does when I make a point in argument that she can’t or won’t refute.

Arrrgh!

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
8 years ago

Arrgh – Cassandra’s storm shelter story reminds me of one of my relatives.

I’m Kendra. That was my story, but yeah, I agree with you about your relative not thinking things through on how public education helps everyone. Instead, people vote no on their schools and then turn around and complain the schools are crappy. So I joined the PTO and we have to beg and do fundraisers all the time just to get our schools the basic supplies that should have been funded by taxes. How sad is it that if the school office needs a copying machine, the kids have to do a walk a thon or sell candy bars?

I like Robert Fulghum’s quote

It will be a great day when our schools have all the money they need, and our air force has to have a bake-sale to buy a bomber.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/schools.html#6y0BFEYjT214U091.99

Halite
8 years ago

On being able to “afford” children:

My parents had the four of us while they were still young and grindingly poor. They made mistakes raiding us (whose parents didn’t??) – they’re both *very* Catholic and that has left us four kids with some issues, they made a very fundamental mistake with my brother that he still feels the repercussions of today, my dad is not always the nicest person and treated me in particular to some pretty nasty emotional abuse, they spanked us, etc etc etc. But they did they best they could with the resources and the training/mindset they had at the time. They loved us very much, and still do, and I don’t blame them one bit for any of the choices they made. Would I have done things differently? Hell yeah, but you know what they say about hindsight …

Now I’m having my (extremely unplanned and initially very much unwanted – o hai therapy! glad to see you back!) first kid and on paper Mr H and I look like amazing parents. I have a stellar education and we both have very high income jobs in growth industries. We could afford to go out and build a perfect McMansion in the perfect neighbourhood as soon as we found out. We can afford to get our little monster into “the best” schools and “the best” activities and save for “the best” post secondary education. I’m in excellent health and likely to stay that way (thanks Tommy Douglas!). We have a wonderful support network of family, friends and employers.

Will we do a better job raising our kids? Prolly not. God willing, we won’t make the *same* mistakes, but we’ll make mistakes. Our lives and our children’s lives will prolly be hard. Not hard in the way growing up dirt poor was for me, but hard. Because life is hard.

You just roll with it and do the best you can and make the plans you can and the backup plans for when those fail and when it all goes to hell in a handbasket like life does, you put your head down and keep going. Kids or no. “Safety net” or no. Any of the (often classist, racist) markers of being “good/ready enough” or no.

Pam
Pam
8 years ago

Oh David you just have to read this comment from Peter-Andrew: Nolan(c) on the tragic forum Happier Abroad. It’s about spanking women (including his daughter) and how much more affectionate it makes women when you commit violence against them.

I wonder if it was an overload of affection that compelled his (now ex)wife to leave with the children.

pillowinhell
pillowinhell
8 years ago

Haha! Speaking of Nolan, I have a tenant refusing to sign necessary papers until his name is copy righted.

Fitzy
Fitzy
8 years ago

Sorry, bionicmommy – I knew this cold was affecting my sense of smell, but now it’s obvious that I can’t read, either. Mea culpa!

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
8 years ago

Lol, no problem, Fitzy. I knew what you meant. I hope you get to feeling better from your cold.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
8 years ago

You just roll with it and do the best you can and make the plans you can and the backup plans for when those fail and when it all goes to hell in a handbasket like life does, you put your head down and keep going.

That’s the best way to go in life. This is bad to admit, but last year after the tornado, there were some times I’d stop and think that the universe was out to get me and things couldn’t get any harder. But then I’d have to stop and remind myself that all that really mattered was that my family is alive and we have each other. Yes, it was a big pain in the ass to pick up the pieces and start over, but in the end it’s made me a stronger person. I also have a new perspective on life, and I now understand that life’s too short to sweat the small stuff. I feel like if I can keep on track after an F5, then I can handle damn near anything life throws at me.

Sorry if any of that sounds cheesy. I’m rereading what I wrote, and it sounds cheesy to me even though it’s what I actually think. I don’t know how to express that without coming off like a “power of positivity” self help guru. XD

Dvärghundspossen
8 years ago

Regarding children and affording them I’ve noticed that there’s a real “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” attitude towards women who want to have children. Women are told that
a) you should have your shit properly together before having a kid, and
b) don’t wait too long or you’re gonna be less fertile! More and more women have to go the route of in vitro fertilization to become pregnant, because women today WAIT TOO LONG!

Well. The vast majority of women who tries to get pregnant when they’re like thirty-thirtyfive still manages to do so. However, it’s true that if the average age of having children rises, in vitro fertilization and the number of women who simply can’t get pregnant no matter what they try will rise too. BUT it’s also true that in today’s world lots of women don’t really have their shit together (like, a first-hand contract on an apartment or a place to live that you actually own, and a proper job) until they’re past thirty. At least in Stockholm getting a place to live is really difficult, so lots of people are forced to stay at their parent’s place for a long time or else move around from short-term apartment to short-term apartment several times a year. And getting a steady job rather than just temporary assignments is often really, really difficult as well.

So it’s like… damned if you get kids early, damned if you get kids late.

Sharculese
8 years ago

on a related note im kinda sad david didnt take up peter-andrew: nolan(c)’s challenge to write about his ebook

heidihi
heidihi
8 years ago

@Dharvguhnspossen, i agree, i think that many people just get down on women in general, and “having kids” is something that is apparently 100% woman’s work, it’s yet another one of those catch-22’s. Like how if you look sexy you’re just an attention whore but if you don’t look sexy you’re a worthless cow, if you’re a lady in the public eye.

dualityheart
dualityheart
8 years ago

RE: parental expectations falling primarily on women

My husband and I pretty equally co-parent our daughter. This is largely because of necessity- we work opposite shifts to keep our daughter out of daycare. My husband has tons of experience with primary caregiving and both of us practice empathetic semi-AP parenting, with lots of clear communication and structure as our daughter needs and responds to it.

Guess who gets approached in public all the time and told how amazing their parenting is by gushing family and friends? Yep. My husband.

Generally he replies that “Nanasha and I are very proud of Daughter and we love her very much” or something similar to give people the image of a united parental front.

My husband is a good person. He genuinely is a wonderful parent too. But he gets more sympathetic looks when our daughter gets fussy in public and has even been asked “where is your wife?” when Daughter was cranky in the grocery store and he was trying to just run in for sone essentials.

It’s a clear message: moms deal with all the crap and take the blame for it too. Dads get to play and be the fun parent.

Lucky for me, my husband is very good at letting me know how much he appreciates me (and vice versa). Honestly, I think that has helped us through the rough times more than anything. Simply saying thank you and I appreciate you on a regular basis really helps make the daily grind doable.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
8 years ago

My husband is a good person. He genuinely is a wonderful parent too. But he gets more sympathetic looks when our daughter gets fussy in public and has even been asked “where is your wife?” when Daughter was cranky in the grocery store and he was trying to just run in for sone essentials.

It’s a clear message: moms deal with all the crap and take the blame for it too. Dads get to play and be the fun parent.

That is so true. My husband works a lot so it’s usually me that does everything with the kids. But when we all go out and the kids act up, I’m the one who gets the dirty looks from strangers, not my husband. If I work long hours on the PTO or volunteer as a room mother, then I’m just doing the bare minimum. If my husband simply attends a school function, then he’s a hero. I don’t mind dads getting credit, either. I just want moms to get more credit and less blame.

This works the same way, too, with elderly parents. Do people ask sons if they will quit their jobs when their folks have health issues? Not usually, but that’s what they do to daughters. Once again, this work is all unpaid but the rest of society benefits from it. So I don’t want to even hear someone talk about “female privilege”. If there were such a thing, work that is traditonally “woman’s work” would be appreciated and compensated.

PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth

And I downloaded his ebook! Not sure if I have the patience to actually read it.

I think that book will deserve its own drinking game.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

@ Zanana

The childcare collective sounds interesting. Honestly, one of the biggest issues that a lot of parents seem to face is the lack of the extended family network that in many societies used to provide care for kids when the parents weren’t available. Given that many societies aren’t going back to the model in which that network existed (nobody ever moves far away from home, family all live close together and have good enough relationships that people are willing to help out, there’s always someone around who can take care of kids when needed who’s family and therefore trusted) any time soon, trying to intentionally create a network of friends, neighbors, and acquaintances that mirrors that social network seems like a smart and logical approach. Plus, yeah, you sound like you’re feeling frustrated with your own feelings about the whole issue, so taking some sort of direct action might help. Volunteering is almost never a bad thing.