Happy New Year everyone!
I just read a fantastic post by Pat at Fairer Science, where she quotes from writings by mill girls in 19th century New England. The ideas put forward by the young woman who wrote the essay are eerily prescient of the sentiments I expressed 170 years later.
As far as household responsibilities… if my hypothetical future wife is also working full-time, I rather hope she’ll force me to pick up my share of housework (though I have a short list of things I’m going to insist that that share includes and excludes); but if there are children involved, I’d rather treat kids+house as a full-time job of its own, and it would take a lot to convince me to pick up that one. (I’m not going to rule it out completely, but if my hypothetical future girlfriend tells me she wants both kids and a career, I plan to tell her to marry somebody else.)
For perspective: My mother was a full-time mother (of six kids, twelve years between the oldest and the youngest), and my father worked full-time and hardly had any involvement in taking care of kids+house. Everybody involved seems to be happy with that, so try to leave some room in your post-revolution world for people who prefer it.
Sure, dave. If that’s what your hypothetical wife really wants, but I suspect that once we make it possible for all people to have reasonable work hours, fair compensation, flexibility in career tracks, etc., a lot fewer women will find it attractive to solely be the domestic servant for their husband and children. Most women I know do enjoy some intellectual stimulation beyond dishes, laundry, and play-dough.
The thing I dislike most about your revolution is that it seems everybody has to do something for you. I do not hear you saying what you will do for others in return….You entitled to talk about whatever kind of revolution you want but considering the number of children on the planet working 16hr days picking over rubbish dumps just to survive, you’re “revolution” sounds more like “let them eat cake”
In my revolution, we build cities so that car dependence is reduced and food is sourced locally and organically. Therefore, we reduce carbon emissions, reduce greenhouse warming, and reduce the economic, social, health, etc. consequences of climate change. Those consequences, incidentally, that will be felt most profoundly by the poorest people. Does that not count as doing something for other people? Also, in my job as a teacher and scientist, I already “do for others” every day. I guess I didn’t need to include it in my revolution, because I think many of us already spend much of our lives helping other people (and the planet.) Speaking also of the poor, I concede the point that my revolution does sound pretty middle-class western civ.-oriented, but I truly deeply hope that as we achieve these things in the U.S. and other rich countries that we also work hard to help those in less wealthy nations and let them enjoy what we mostly take for granted. One place you can start is by making a donation to Heifer.
Finally, from Nat C.
Sorry, but if you are feeling sleep-deprived and making hard choices it is your own fault. Either get your lazy ass partner to help you, have one person watch over the children full-time or pay for the nanny. If your idea of fun is working all day long and then going home to do the dishes that is your own problem. I have better things to do.
Clearly, Nat has no idea what life is like for most parents where economics dictate that both parents work (and still can’t afford a nanny), for single parents, for parents with a disabled spouse, ….or, generally, for most parents in the world. Clearly, Nat has not be reading this blog for very long. We are left to wonder why if Nat has “better things to do,” did he bother to comment on this post?
There, I feel better now with that out of my system. There were also some very positive comments in the post and a good discussion about how we do or don’t enable men to do an equitable share in child-rearing and household-running.
I look forward to another year of good comments around these parts. And I include in my definition of “good comments” even those with which I disagree, for those disagreeable comments can be the ones that cause us to think most deeply about what we know and believe. Of course, the positive comments are a lot nicer to read.