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A Paradigm Shift in Parenting
National Review Online ^ | 30 November 2004 | Stanley Kurtz

Posted on 11/30/2004 2:28:45 PM PST by Lorianne

Mary Eberstadt’s Home Alone America: The Hidden Toll of Day Care, Behavioral Drugs. and Other Parent Substitutes is a culture-changing book. But don’t take my word for it. Listen to The Economist: “Eberstadt’s passionate attack on the damage caused by the absence of parents suggests that we may be approaching some sort of turning point in social attitudes, where assumptions about family life and maternal employment start to change. It has happened before — it could happen again.”

Rich Lowry has already done a great job of recounting some of the core claims of Home Alone America. I want to talk about what makes this book so powerful — over and above its important arguments about day care, behavioral drugs, teen sex, specialty boarding schools, etc.

From the very first page of the book, we’re in a different world. Eberstadt begins with a gentle pledge to break our social taboo on attending to the effects of working motherhood on children. And Eberstadt keeps her promise — so much so that she needs to create a new word, “separationist,” for a certain kind of feminist. (The London Times is now touting Eberstadt’s “separationist” coinage as the latest hot buzzword.) Instead of talking about “feminism,” which gets us debating how to balance the interests of women against the interests of men, Eberstadt talks about “separationism,” which gets us debating how to balance the interests of children and adults. What we usually call “divorce,” Eberstadt calls “the absent father problem.” Eberstadt’s language sends a powerful message: It’s not about adults. It’s about what separates or unites adults and children, and what that means for them both

NO REACTIONARY Not that Eberstadt is calling for a return for the ‘50s. Eberstadt doesn’t demand a ban on divorce, nor does she call on women to stop working outside the home. But Eberstadt does ask us to balance the needs of parents and children in a fundamentally new way. Decisions about divorce and working motherhood can only be made by individual parents. But to strike the right balance between the needs of children and adults, parents need to break the taboo set up by “separationist” feminists — the taboo on looking at the real costs and consequences of parent-child separation.

When Eberstadt considers our current way of balancing work and family, she doesn’t see a well-established and smoothly functioning social system. Instead she sees an “ongoing, massive, and historically unprecedented experiment in family-child separation.” An unresolved “experiment” — that’s how Eberstadt understands our society’s way of rearing its children. And she’s right. We’ve barely begun to look at the real effects of the profound social changes that followed in the wake of the ‘60s. That’s why Home Alone America is not another book about the stresses and trials of working mothers or divorced parents. Above all, Home Alone America is a book about children.

RAISING THE MORAL BAR A number of thoughtful observers have pointed out that, for all our wealth and technology, Americans don’t seem to be any happier nowadays than we were in the past. Eberstadt thinks she knows why. Life is better for American adults, who are financially, legally, and morally freer than they’ve ever been. But life is not better for American children, says Eberstadt, “no matter how much more pocket money they have for the vending machines, and no matter how nice it is that Dad’s new wife gave them their own weekend bedroom in his new place.” In fact, it’s actually wealthier children who are more likely to labor under some of the disabilities of our new family dispensation. According to Eberstadt, well-to-do children come home more often to neighborhoods so emptied of adults (and therefore unsafe for outdoor play) that they simply throw the deadbolt and “get no exercise more strenuous than walking from the video game to the refrigerator.”

Eberstadt’s chapter on day care is a great example of what makes this book so interesting. While Eberstadt does bring some important new information to bear on the day-care debate (check out her discussion of biting), the real originality lies in her point of view. For example, even the most “separationist” feminists concede that children in day care are more likely to get sick. The interesting thing is the difference between what the separationists and Eberstadt do with that fact.

Eberstadt lays out the “creepy” rationalizations given by Susan Faludi and her colleagues for the high rate of day-care-borne infections: “[Children] soon build up immunities”; “they’re hardier when they are older.” Then Eberstadt lowers the boom: “Now step back from this discussion for a moment and ask yourself: If we were talking about anything but day care here, would anyone be caught cheering for the idea that some little children get sick twice as often as others?”

Eberstadt’s discussion of day care manages to shift the moral stakes of the debate. She turns the issue away from the long-term effects of day care and onto the immediate unhappiness that many children suffer when put in day care for too long. Feminists who champion the benefits of parent-child separation have set the moral bar far too low. Essentially, says Eberstadt, the feminist position amounts to: “If it doesn’t lead to Columbine, bring it on.” Eberstadt wants to raise that moral bar.

WHO’S PROBLEM? Consider the way Eberstadt transforms the work of Harvard professor Jody Heymann. Writing from the adult point of view, Heymann talks about how difficult it is for parents to balance the intense demands of work and child-rearing. Sometimes, when it’s impossible to miss a day of work, even a child with a fever has to be deposited in day care (against the rules). Concentrating on the child’s point of view, Eberstadt stresses that this not only spreads disease, but prevents day-care workers saddled with a sick child from attending to the well ones. Whereas Heymann calls for more and better government-funded day care, Eberstadt shows that this is unlikely to solve the underlying problem.

But the real question is, Who’s problem are we talking about? Up until now, public discussion of issues like day care has been dominated by feminist journalists and academics who take their own career decisions for granted and call on society to make their lives easier: How can I be equal to a man if society won’t give me better day care? Eberstadt strides into this situation and asks a totally different series of questions: Are children any happier in day care than they are with their mothers? If not, should that effect a woman’s career decisions? Are unhappy children who bite and get aggressive or ill in day care growing tougher, stronger, and more ruggedly individualist, or is it we adults who are being coarsened to needs of our children? Although I’m inclined to believe the latter, the important point is that until now, the choice between these two points of view hasn’t even been posed. The separationists who’ve controlled the public debate up to now have excluded Eberstadt’s sort of questions altogether. That’s why this book is so impressive and important. Over and above the statistical issues, on just about every page, Eberstadt breaks a taboo, shifts a perspective, and forces us to look at the lives of children in new and more vivid ways.

DEFINING DEVIANCY One of the cleverest reversals in the book comes in the chapter on children’s mental health. Increasingly, we’re medicating children for mental illnesses that barely existed in the past. Take “separation anxiety disorder” (SAD), defined as “developmentally inappropriate and excessive anxiety concerning separation from home or from those to whom the individual is attached.” This syndrome is now said to affect about 10 percent of the nation’s children. One of its symptoms is “refusal to attend classes or difficulty remaining in school for an entire day” — in other words, what used to be called “truancy.”

Are 10 percent of the nation’s children really in need of treatment for SAD, or are most of these children actually behaving more normally than mothers who have little trouble parting from their children for most of the day? Is it surprising that children get SAD in the absence of their parents? As Eberstadt suggests, maybe we need to define a whole new range of disorders: “There is no mental disorder...called, say, preoccupied parent disorder, to pathologize a mother or father too distracted to read Winnie the Pooh for the fourth time or to stay up on Saturday night waiting for a teenager to come home from the movies. Nor will one find divorced second-family father disorder, even though the latter might explain what we could call the ‘developmentally inappropriate’ behaviors of certain fathers, such as failure to pay child support or to show up for certain important events. There is also separation non-anxiety disorder to pathologize parents who can separate for long stretches from their children without a pang.”

TOWARD A NEW SOCIAL CONSENSUS Despite her playfully brilliant reversal of our questionable tendency to pathologize children who miss their parents, Eberstadt does not in the end reverse the pathological finger-pointing. Eberstadt clearly acknowledges that some mothers have no choice but to work and that some marriages suffer from gross abuse. She knows that the pressures and constraints on parents today are many, and often severe. Yet Eberstadt makes a passionate and persuasive case that, when it comes to the welfare of children, we have fallen out of balance. We may not want or need to return to the ‘50s, but that cannot and should not mean that anything goes. The traditional family is not infinitely flexible, and changes do have consequences. Despite its real benefits, our new-found individualism has been pushed too far. That’s because we have taken our eyes off — or because separationist ideologues have forcibly shifted our eyes away from — the consequences of our actions for our children.

So what does Eberstadt want? Quite simply, she wants a change of heart — a new social consensus: “It would be better for both children and adults if more American parents were with their kids more of the would be better if more mothers with a genuine choice in the matter did stay home and/or work part-time rather than full time and if more parents entertaining separation or divorce did stay together for the sake of the kids.” This new consensus may be difficult to achieve. Yet it is easy to understand, and it would not demand a wholesale reversion to the pre-‘60s era.

I’ve tried to give just a taste of what Home Alone America has to offer. The battle will rage over the statistics, the causal arrows, and such. But the power and originality of this book go way beyond all that. Its strength comes out on every page, as Eberstadt casts aside orthodoxies and forces us to look at ourselves and our children with new eyes. (And I haven’t even talked about the music chapter, my favorite.) I can’t pretend neutrality, since I was privileged to see Home Alone America in manuscript, and am thanked by the author for my comments. I’m honored by that mention, because I agree with The Economist that this book has the potential to change the way our society thinks about the family. In the same way we now look back to the “Dan Quayle Was Right” article as a transformative moment in our family debates, we may someday look back on the publication of Home Alone America. We’ll be the richer for it if we do — as you will be if you read this wonderful book.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Front Page News; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: bookreview; children; daycare; disorders; eberstadt; family; homealoneamerica; morality; parenting; richlowry; stanleykurtz; women
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To: Max Combined

You are a real piece of trash aren't you? You troll threads to attack people?

I'm back in NJ taking care of extended family. Do you feel better? Or should I do a Berlen and gas them like a Nazi?

You are on the new side. Shape up or your time here will be short lived.

101 posted on 11/30/2004 7:34:04 PM PST by Calpernia (
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To: Dems_R_Losers
My thinking is that the feminist movement really did not accomplish a whole lot. Men simply got women into the workforce on their terms, and got to pay for abortions and write checks for child support instead of taking real responsibility for the children they produce. It's a great deal for men, but it still stinks for women. We have "choice," but if we decide to have the children, we only have lousy choices - quit working and give up our rewarding careers, or have our kids raised by strangers. Nothing about the workplace has changed to accommodate families with children. Feminists were so afraid of women's futures being tied to their children (which would undercut the arguments for legal abortion on demand) that they failed to push for such changes. So women have not really been liberated at all, and children have been hurt.

A real feminist movement would be agitating for more flextime, telecommuting, and job-sharing for women, and for all-day schooling for kids. And for more restrictions on divorce

In my opinion your 'thinking' has some good points; however, you have some misconceptions that show you may 'buy' into some of the morally relative arguments spewed by the left.

By polarizing and or describing groups by the 'labels' often used it is easy to miss the common root cause of these problems -a problem that has always plagued humanity -- TRY using this label that hits closer to the problem -SELFISHNESS. Those of all stripes that exclusively pursue selfish interests are really the problem...

102 posted on 11/30/2004 7:34:52 PM PST by DBeers
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To: Calpernia
We have real bills, not frills.


103 posted on 11/30/2004 7:41:39 PM PST by eyespysomething ("Life has a flavor the prote I'm a tagline virus, please copy me int)
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To: Calpernia
"Shape up or your time here will be short lived."

Like I said, I never noticed the hostility.
104 posted on 11/30/2004 7:42:37 PM PST by Max Combined (Clinton is "the notorious Oval Office onanist ")
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To: Amelia
The children in our family all knew their colors and could count to 10 by the time they were about 2 years old, most were reading by kindergarten, and they also knew shapes, letters, etc. If you spend time with your children, they don't need Pre-K.

My son was so advanced by the time he was in Kindergarden that they were going to bump him up to the first grade. My four year old son was reading at the time.

One on one poses the BEST learning situations with children, esp. when that person loves and cares for the child.

Modern day day-care does not have the ratio of adult to children where it is equivalent to the one on one parent ratio....that is why oldest children are usually the smartest and most successful--they get more one-on-one care and are listening to adult language and not a bunch of baby at day care. Plus they do not have the stress hormones which occur at day-cares because of separation, etc., which retards learning.

105 posted on 11/30/2004 7:48:48 PM PST by savagesusie (I need my Savage fix!!!!)
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To: Dems_R_Losers
mother stayed at home and raised five children, and was miserable most of the time and even had a nervous breakdown once. We would have been better off if she had been able to work part-time and get away from us for a few hours a week.

Thanks for saying this. I was a single mom for many years and worked sporadically, staying home fulltime when I could afford to. During one of my at-home periods, my 12-yr-old son polished up my electric typewriter, fixed the cord, and proudly put it on the dining-room table. "We liked you better when you were working, Mom," he said. Lifted a ton of guilt from my heart, believe me.

But those were the days when household help was very affordable. Though I didn't make a great deal, I could pay reliable women to come in every day or even live in. A couple of them stayed for years and really loved my kids. In today's economy, the children would have ended up in daycare, a totally unsatisfactory solution.

106 posted on 11/30/2004 7:48:55 PM PST by Veto! (Opinions freely dispensed as advice)
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To: workerbee

They are trying that in more an more places. I hear families who have to find after-Kindergarten care for their kids trying to get it in their school systems. Those of us with stay at home parents are fine with half day Kindergarten. Why does a 5 year old need to be in school for the whole day?

107 posted on 11/30/2004 7:58:46 PM PST by MaineRepublic (Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish. -- Euripides)
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To: workerbee
My oldest will start Kindergarden in 2 years, and all-day K will be mandatory here that year. Homeschooling is definitely on the table.

Depending on what state you live in, you might not even *have* to send your child to kindergarten, or even first grade. Missouri for instance starts mandatory attendance at age 7.

I think there are good reasons for keeping some children home for K and grade 1. Mom can teach them to read, write, and do arithmetic in a very short time per day, and the rest of the morning (or afternoon, whatever your preference) can be given over to just learning by being at home and with an adult who's engaged and interested - gardening, looking for bugs and toads in the yard, going to the park or museums.

There's plenty of time for them to get down to "book learning." Even for parents who want to send children to school, most kids would profit from staying home till at least 3rd grade or so.

108 posted on 11/30/2004 7:59:35 PM PST by valkyrieanne (card-carrying South Park Republican)
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To: grellis
Like I was saying...if we're talking about the child of a married couple, one parent's employer offering health bennies, kids are dirt cheap. What do kids need? Clothes and food.

I too agree that too many parents use money as an excuse not to have children. However, there are indeed other costs involved in raising kids that parents do need to take into account.

Not everyone has reliable medical insurance through their job. Even when people have medical insurance, they often don't have dental insurance (or good dental insurance.) We have had three children with orthodontia (about $4000 each - they had some pretty severe problems that were *not* "just cosmetic." Bad genes...), and insurance only paid about a fifth of it. Some insurers pay nothing. Routine dental appointments every six months run about $75 to $100 each.

We don't go overboard in any way with lavish lessons, but we do have some children in some assorted lessons, and they aren't cheap either.

Then there is college spending. Ours are exploring low-cost alternatives, but if you own your own home and aren't divorced, and have anything saved for retirement at all that's outside of IRAs, don't expect any "need-based" financial aid.

109 posted on 11/30/2004 8:08:16 PM PST by valkyrieanne (card-carrying South Park Republican)
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To: Lorianne

Good post. I believe that the unfortunate change in the family goes further back than the 60's, it goes back to the industrial revolution. Before that, it wasn't just the home, it was the home place. Most fathers were also spending their days so that they were accessible to their children. Almost all jobs that men had were home-based or at least within walking distance in the local community. Children helped with the work both inside and outside the home.

Now parents are both absent during the day and spend the entire evening in cars taking their children to every sports and arts program they can find. So we teach our kids to also be self-involved and don't build a sense of sacrifice and care within the family unit.

Mothers AND Fathers need to be more engaged in the home. And there's no reason the mothers should be the only ones to have the opportunity to do that. My wife and I are committed to working less than 120% FTE between the two of us. Right now I'm 80% and she's 20%. I am grateful that I stay home and care for our 1-year-old one day a week. The way we spend time with her differs, but children need that for healthy developmental growth. She is more nurturing, and I focus more on the excitement of pushing out boundaries and discovering new things. In the future I hope we can explore home-based businesses that allow children to also be involved.

110 posted on 11/30/2004 8:12:12 PM PST by mongrel
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To: Lorianne

Another feminism du jour book.

As long as it is men who are doing the fighting and the dying to defend our freedoms, without which all other arguments are moot, women will never be the equals of men. Nor should they ever think that they should be. For it is feminism that has taught women that men are the measure by which they should gauge their worth as women. Which is one of the great deceptions of feminism that pits women against men and wives against husbands.

Feminist can continue to send women into harms way to be killed, so that the feminists can have their propaganda victories, but it is men who win the wars that preserve our freedoms, which makes women forever the dependents of men.

Feminism is a dying ideology. They can come up with new "buzz words" and constantly try and re-frame and intellectualize the discussions, but the simple fact of life is that women need men, who will be men, and children need mothers.

Increasingly women are rediscovering their purpose and their happiness in life by being the wives of men and mothers to their children, first and foremost. Feminism has distracted women from that fact of life, but no power short of that of the God that created us can change it.

111 posted on 11/30/2004 8:12:54 PM PST by Search4Truth (When a man lies he murders some part of the world.)
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To: Calpernia

Women got what they asked for, equality. They can work in construction, be in the Army, etc. But in the old days a man could easily make a living wage. After the work force increased men were paid less than they would have been if there had been more competition and mothers who didn't want to work, had to.

112 posted on 11/30/2004 8:33:07 PM PST by tiki (Won one against the Flipper)
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To: Sam the Sham
The advent of the two income family coincided with...

The advent, perhaps, but taxes absolutely have an impact on such decisions today. To deny this is to deny that taxes have an adverse impact on disposable income. Disposable income is, after all, the whole point. Isn't it?

113 posted on 11/30/2004 8:47:46 PM PST by TChris (You keep using that word. I don't think it means what yHello, I'm a TAGLINE vir)
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To: Search4Truth

Men and and women do not have to be the same to be equals.

114 posted on 11/30/2004 9:02:46 PM PST by Lorianne
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To: Dems_R_Losers

The feminist movement is all about sex - mostly deviant sex too (fornication and also oral sodomy for men) - and abortion. Nothing more, and nothing less.

115 posted on 11/30/2004 9:21:01 PM PST by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: Lorianne; Nyboe
Actually the math you describe only applies to people living above their means and well above the poverty line. For two earner families in the lower income brackets, both jobs are important.

Not true. Its the lower income workers who are working almost for free. A second car+gas+insurance+taxes, income taxes, clothes, lunch out, day care for 1-2 children.

These items are pretty much fixed price regardless of your income. These costs don't exist if the wife is at home. These costs can also easily add up to $35,000 per year ($5K for ownership/insurance/gas/taxes on the car, $1K each for clothes and lunch, and $12K for daycare for two, then $16K in income/social security/state/local taxes on that $35K).

Also, it is the lower income worker, not necessarily the female parent, who's income is going to pay for the cost of working in the first place.

Again, not true. There is no "cost of working" for the first worker beyond the basics of transportation to work, work clothing and lunch away from home. Those are the more minimal costs to begin with. Daycare and a rarely used beyond commutation second car are the big ones.

What really drives women working is families desiring huge homes that one worker cannot pay for, multiple pricey cars/trucks, and a desire to spend $2K+ per month on discretionary items, food, and vacations.

In most of the country, a man earning $40,000 per year should be enough to afford a $100K house, a single family car, and a wife at home with the children. People who want more than this, and do not earn enough to support it, are the ones driving the women working kids in daycare phenomena.

116 posted on 11/30/2004 9:42:34 PM PST by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: Lorianne

"Men and and women do not have to be the same to be equals."

I would think that most women rather be happy and fulfilled, than equal. I don't see equality having brought much of either to anyone. And the freedom of women to do what they choose, has been earned them by the blood, sweat and tears of men. A fact that feminists loath and seek to conceal by any means necessary.

117 posted on 11/30/2004 9:47:51 PM PST by Search4Truth (When a man lies he murders some part of the world.)
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To: Sam the Sham
The advent of the two income family coincided with the explosion of the cost of the nice house in the suburbs with the good school district as middle class whites poured out of cities in the 70's. That house costs two paychecks. Period.

Yep. If you still live in the city like I do (in Philly), your wife can still stay home. My single family home in the city cost about 2/3 of what a similar suburban home would cost, and has 1/3 to 1/2 of the property tax burden. A row house or twin would be much, much cheaper.

It constantly amazes me that people will pay $200,000 for a "townhouse" in the suburbs, when the same thing in the city in a nice neighborhood, labeled a "rowhouse" goes for $80,000. Don't you have a better use for that $120,000 plus the carrying cost of taxes and insurance on that value? I do.

118 posted on 11/30/2004 9:50:51 PM PST by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: Sam the Sham

What you talk about here is a phenomena of about 20-25% of the population back then, and about 35% of the population today. Thats the actual figures for people who have actually divorced at least once or never married.

119 posted on 11/30/2004 9:52:43 PM PST by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: Hermann the Cherusker

Materialism has indeed been a factor in driving both parents increasingly away from their children and their parental responsibilities. To their shame they choose things over the welfare of their children. What a tragedy.

I at one time was guilty of the same. But by the grace of God I have realized my transgression and have made amends. A parent's duty to his children is sacred.

120 posted on 11/30/2004 9:54:54 PM PST by Search4Truth (When a man lies he murders some part of the world.)
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To: Lindykim; DirtyHarryY2K; Siamese Princess; Ed Current; Grampa Dave; Luircin; gonow; John O; ...

Moral Absolutes Ping - Unforunately I don't have time to read this right now, I have to get up really early and go out...

Check it out, it looks really good.

Let me know if anyone wants on/off this pinglist.

121 posted on 11/30/2004 9:58:13 PM PST by little jeremiah (Moral Absolutes? Do they exist? If so, what are they and where did they come from?)
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To: Melas; Nyboe
Only holds true for spouses with mcjobs. $10hr and under. Doesn't hold true at all for professional couples where both make a decent wage.

Who is that? The blessed 10% of the population with a family income over $90K per year?

Time for you to check up on the income bracket levels and median family income. When the top 20% starts at around $75K per year, splitting the amounts below that doesn't produce two "high paying" jobs for too many people.

122 posted on 11/30/2004 9:59:59 PM PST by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: Calpernia; Nyboe
Then come on over to NJ and show me how anyone can own an expensive car with the car insurance that exists.

The cost of living in NJ, MA, CT, NYC, SF, LA are so astronomical that it is long past time for any sane person who values time and family to have moved somewhere else less expensive to live, and less doctrinairely liberal.

It is extrmely difficult to live in such places as a single worker family unless that single worker is a lawyer or investment banker.

123 posted on 11/30/2004 10:06:13 PM PST by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: valkyrieanne; Calpernia
Meanwhile, we *pay* an Earned Income Tax credit to families with less income.

The EITC "costs" about $100 per person per year, so it is hardly impoverishing any family in its tax "cost". However, it isn't even really a cost except in liberalthink tax theory. It represents a refund of social security taxes to low income persons. If you earn nothing, you get no EITC. And since it is a refund of other taxes, it is not a real cost, but a removal of part of the tax burden on the US population.

124 posted on 11/30/2004 10:09:11 PM PST by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: Calpernia
We came back to NJ to tend to family. This state is has the potential of bankrupting us.

A more thoughtful plan of action would have moved the family to be tended out of NJ, rather than moving your family into that hell-hole.

125 posted on 11/30/2004 10:11:00 PM PST by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: Motherbear
We're in our forties, and I think most men of my husband's generation like having wife at home. HOWEVER, several "younger" men work for my husband, and it saddens him to see that they are want professional wives who will continue to work. He works with women whose husbands DO NOT want them to quit work (and they're pretty miserable, too). They want all the latest electronic equipment, sounds system, computer system, expensive multiple cars, expensive trips, etc. Basically, he became very disgusted.

Funny, where I am, its the guys in the 40's-50's who want all that crap, while most of us younger guys are happy that our wives ARE at home with the kiddies.

126 posted on 11/30/2004 10:12:59 PM PST by Hermann the Cherusker
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Comment #127 Removed by Moderator

To: Veto!
"We liked you better when you were working, Mom," he said. Lifted a ton of guilt from my heart, believe me.

I really don't want to be mean. It's just a fact that single parents almost always have to work. I don't think it is automatically an awful situation. But you felt BETTER when your kids told you they like you better when you aren't around?

That would have added to my guilt

128 posted on 11/30/2004 10:22:10 PM PST by Dianna
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To: Myrnick
It isn't just the cost of living. It is a crushing tax burden coupled with an insatiable desire to consume that drives most of my peers in two income households.

I think that both cost of living and taxes, and our more affluent lifestyle, "force" many families to rely on two incomes.

Taxes: I think the real killer here is becoming property taxes. Add state income tax and federal income tax, and we've got a crushing tax burden.

But it's not just taxes that separates us from the 1950s or 1960s. For better or worse, there are many necessities now that weren't necessities then. Many people mention things like DVD players or microwaves, but these are largely one time expenses. I look at recurring charges that exist now that didn't exist then.

TV: just about everyone has cable TV. Then there's premium cable, NetFlix, Tivo charges. Some people pay up to $200 a month just to watch TV. In the 1950s, the actual device was more expensive, but then it was always free to watch the three or four channels you got.

Internet: the internet may be free, but you've got to have an ISP, probably cable or DSL. Then you need virus protection. Plus whatever other internet access services you may have. 1950s folk had such great TV, they didn't need to worry about the internet.

Phone: long distance rates are cheaper, but most everyone has a cell phone, with snazzy ringtones and such. In the 1950s, you had one black rotary dial phone in your house.

Electric: who had central air in their house in the 1950s? Or computers, etc.

Car: now there's Onstar, which incurs a monthly fee.

Credit: anyone can get credit now. It's easy to abuse this privilege.

There are a lot of recurring fees that people have now that they didn't have in the 1950s.

129 posted on 11/30/2004 10:24:08 PM PST by Koblenz (Holland: a very tolerant country. Until someone shoots you on a public street in broad daylight...)
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To: grellis

Thanks for saying that raising kids is cheap! I tell people this all the time, I raised good kids, my youngest is 18 now, and I may have spent LESS than the amount I would've spent on the narcissistic track I was on.

You are right, adults create their own expensive lifestyles, and then insist that kids are too expensive because they cannot do without. Gearing down is not impossible, but it takes ego-supression.

Some people just can't do ego-supression. They have shiny cars and spoiled angry kids.

130 posted on 11/30/2004 10:55:26 PM PST by moodyskeptic (
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To: MaineRepublic
They are trying that in more an more places. I hear families who have to find after-Kindergarten care for their kids trying to get it in their school systems. Those of us with stay at home parents are fine with half day Kindergarten. Why does a 5 year old need to be in school for the whole day?

It's nothing more than a taxpayer-subsidized babysitting service. Why pay out of your own pocket for your own children's care when you can spread the costs around to every taxpayer, including people who don't have kids, whose kids are grown up, or send their kids to private school or homeschool.

131 posted on 11/30/2004 11:30:19 PM PST by Siamese Princess
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To: Dems_R_Losers
As a full-time working mom, I know it will make me uncomfortable,

I'm sorry dear but I hope it makes you very, very, uncomfortable. Your kids need you and you will never have this time with them again.

When my kids were first born I continued working, missed both of their first steps. Finally the light bulb went off and I left a six figure career to stay with the kids. The change in my kids was just amazing. My sons preschool teachers surrounded me in the hall of his school a few weeks after I quit wanting to know what was going on in our lives. My son all of a sudden had confidence. They had never seen anything like it

I really hope you sit down and calculate the cost of you working when your husband goes back to work. Consider higher tax bracket, cost of car and gas, child care, clothing, lunches and that fact you probably won't making a lot of meals from scratch (That has saved me a bundle of money!)

We had to make some life style changes but they were really minor. (No more jewelery, no more Nordstroms, a lot less eating out)

Having two parents work is very, very expensive. Looking back my six figure career brought us surprisingly little profit, definitely not enough to abandon my kids. Plus just being able to be there for your family 24/7 is heavenly! Stuff happens and I'm there to handle it. I love it! 12 years of college and a great career were fun at the time but being a mom is much better and much more rewarding.

Another good book to look into is WHAT OUR MOTHERS DIDN'T TELL US: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman by Danielle Crittenden. It explains what feminist have "accomplished".

Your kids don't want to be raised by a payed employee. They want and deserve a parent.

132 posted on 12/01/2004 12:40:46 AM PST by lizma
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To: moodyskeptic
and I may have spent LESS than the amount I would've spent on the narcissistic track I was on.

LOL! Too true. Been there. Two parents working is very expensive but kids pay the highest price.

133 posted on 12/01/2004 12:46:48 AM PST by lizma
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To: neverdem


134 posted on 12/01/2004 2:29:59 AM PST by lainde
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To: valkyrieanne
Not everyone has reliable medical insurance through their job.

...that's why I included the caveat about health bennies.

Here in Michigan, all children have access to insurance--period. If insurance cannot be provided by the parent, it is provided by the state. Another thing to consider, which, sadly, most people don't: Doctors, dentists in particular, are some of the most willing negotiators you'll ever find outside of a farmer's market. They won't bring it up, but its true. My around. Call three different dentists a day, explain your financial situation and the needs of your kids, eventually you will strike gold--probably sooner than later. Most doctors will offer a reduction of fees to the uninsured or underinsured if they are asked to do so. Many will allow you to pay off expensive dental work on a payment plan with no interest--you pay what you can afford to pay. Depending on how often your kids need to see a specialized doctor, you might want to consider contacting the closest state university (or any other college) that has a medical/dental school--it may mean driving an hour for an appointment, but if your appointment is only once every two or three months it could be cheaper in the long run.

Its far easier to negotiate with a doctor than a corporation!

135 posted on 12/01/2004 6:16:54 AM PST by grellis ("I went to a Basketball game and a Music Awards Ceremony broke out"--discipler)
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Comment #136 Removed by Moderator

To: Motherbear
I have biological and internationally adopted children. You are so, so wrong that we are tearing at the social fabric of their countries.

Those children are someones sons or daughters. Put the shoe on the other foot. Imagine if 1/2 million American kids were sent to China every year for adoption. You don't think this would go unnnoticed and not cause any problems?

Just remember, these children weren't produced by an orphanage. They were produced by a mother and a father, who now do not have their children.

These kids are nothing but a drain on the social fabric of those countries, and even if those countries weren't already mired in poverty, no one would adopt them.

They don't need adoption, they need their parents.

They are still quite prejudiced against adoption.

Thanks for making my point.

And why do you think we are TRAITORS?

People who refuse to have their own children when they could are essentially traitors, because they refuse to provide for the continuation of this nation. I was not referring to adoption but to a refusal to give birth out of selfish hedonism.

But to make a larger point:

Nation, n. 1. large number of people of common descent, language, history, etc., usually inhabiting a territory bounded by defined limits and forming a society under one government ... (ME f. OF f. L natio -onis (nasci nat- be born)

Hordes of adopted children are not "growth" for our nation because they aren't of "common descent" with us; they are an extension of the nation where they came from onto our nation's land. Call it reverse western colonization if that makes it clearer.

137 posted on 12/01/2004 7:29:51 AM PST by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: Motherbear

One more thought about "stealing" children. The Angelina Jolie brouhaha is a perfect example.

138 posted on 12/01/2004 7:33:47 AM PST by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: Calpernia
The cost of living forces families to work multiple jobs to handle all the bills.

I disagree with this. It's not the cost of living, it's the cost of wanting everything right now that forces moms to work.


139 posted on 12/01/2004 7:40:01 AM PST by PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain

>>>I disagree with this. It's not the cost of living, it's the cost of wanting everything right now that forces moms to work.

Not true. You live in OK. Come to NJ and tell me that.

140 posted on 12/01/2004 7:45:48 AM PST by Calpernia (
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To: Lorianne
2000 years ago, a prophet said that as history advances "the love of many will grow cold, and lawlessness will increase."

Many moms work outside the home because they must, in order to feed and clothe the children. Good for them.

But many also do it in order to be "happy", or "fulfilled". This is nothing other than love growing cold.

When you have a child, you no longer have a right to choose your own "happiness" over the child's needs.

141 posted on 12/01/2004 8:18:10 AM PST by Taliesan (The power of the State to do good is the power of the State to do evil.)
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To: Fury
Without trying to pass critical judgment on anyones current situation, this is my opinion of Pre-K.

Many years ago the understanding was that starting children to school to early actually hurt those children. It used to be that you could not start a child in a Texas school until they were seven.

My observations and opinion only is that Pre-K is nothing more than another tool so government entities and some unions can employ more teaching bodies there by expanding their power base.

I have a child in Pre-K and he hates going to school. I have another child in K and she loves every minute of school and doing home work.

My wife who is also a medical doctor believes in Pre-K. I personally have doubts about the good over coming the loss of being home with a parent. That is if a parent can afford to stay home with the child.

Don't get me wrong I am not condemning couples where both parents work. However I have noticed over the last few years that more and more a mom or dad is choosing to stay home with a younger child. I can not say that any of the children I see from both situations are any more adjusted than the other.
142 posted on 12/01/2004 8:21:30 AM PST by OKIEDOC (LL THE)
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain; Calpernia

You can't say categorically that *every* mother who works is "wanting everything right now." Some men really don't make enough money to support a family at a modest middle-class level. Some families really do have additional expenses that aren't "frivolous." There's an awful lot of judgement on these forums about people and situations that don't really merit it. Yes, there are people who throw money around like water, and who spoil their children. There are other people who don't. I know several families right now where the mom is working to pay college tuition, or where mom is working for the medical benefits (because dad doesn't have them through work.)

143 posted on 12/01/2004 8:22:13 AM PST by valkyrieanne (card-carrying South Park Republican)
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To: buccaneer81

Good Comments.

144 posted on 12/01/2004 8:22:58 AM PST by OKIEDOC (LL THE)
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To: valkyrieanne

Thank you very much.


145 posted on 12/01/2004 8:30:17 AM PST by Calpernia (
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To: Melas
Only holds true for spouses with mcjobs. $10hr and under. Doesn't hold true at all for professional couples where both make a decent wage.

Exactly. My wife makes almost as much as I do. Cutting our income in half so she can stay home with the kids is not a viable option.

146 posted on 12/01/2004 8:32:50 AM PST by Modernman (Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. --Benjamin Franklin)
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I'm not sure what form pre-K takes in other places, but at our parish school it is only 3 half-days per week. It's fairly expensive, and almost all of the families who use it, have a stay-at-home parent. The awkwardness of the schedule is too much for most families with 2 careers.

I'm not a big proponent of pre-K, having homeschooled our oldest. But our kids *love* this program, I attribute that to the woman who runs it. Also, they think they are "big" because their older sibs are at "real school" right next door.

147 posted on 12/01/2004 8:42:48 AM PST by BizzeeMom ("We cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love" Bl. Teresa of Calcutta)
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To: BizzeeMom

That type of Pre K I support. It is more like a play group with structure.

My children attended Pre K for 3 1/2 days per week.

The Pre K that everyone is bashing (including me) is the full time 5 days per week Pre K notion.

148 posted on 12/01/2004 9:06:11 AM PST by Calpernia (
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To: Hermann the Cherusker
It constantly amazes me that people will pay $200,000 for a "townhouse" in the suburbs, when the same thing in the city in a nice neighborhood, labeled a "rowhouse" goes for $80,000

Interesting. The exact opposite is true in DC. The most expensive housing is generally closer in while the cheaper housing is further out. A decent single-family home in Arlington runs in the $600,000 plus range. You get a lot more for your money if you're willing to move out to Fairfax County, but then you add at least another hour to your commute every day.

149 posted on 12/01/2004 9:06:18 AM PST by Modernman (Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. --Benjamin Franklin)
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To: Hermann the Cherusker
Hordes of adopted children are not "growth" for our nation because they aren't of "common descent" with us

So being an American is somehow genetic? Why would you think that a kid raised by American parents in American society from a very young age cannot be an American simply because they were born in another country?

There is no gene for being an American.

150 posted on 12/01/2004 9:11:57 AM PST by Modernman (Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. --Benjamin Franklin)
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