A well-meaning friend e-mailed me the following:
"Please join me in congratulating the new Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, on being the first woman, and mother, to hold this position of power. And in thanking Speaker Pelosi for acknowledging the importance of family and children in her opening speech, and also for sending clear message of support by sharing her shining moment in the spotlight in a crowd of young children.
Let's make sure Speaker Pelosi knows that when she works for our children and families we'll back her every step of the way!
*To sign the virtual card, go to: http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/momsrising/signUp.jsp?key=1884
Way to go, Speaker Pelosi! We have your back!
---MomsRising will deliver the thank you card, along with a MomsRising necklace, with appropriate fanfare and children!---
*MomsRising.org (http://www.momsrising.org) is working to build a massive grassroots movement big enough to impact the outcome of the 2008 elections and beyond. The time has come to break the logjam that's been holding back family-friendly legislation for decades. It's going to take all of us--and then some--working together to get there. "
I did three things. First, I checked out the website, which seems to be a feminist-empowerment type of place advocating political militancy in demanding socialist-type legislation that is very pro-work for mothers, institutionalized childcare and other entitlements which I find actually detrimental to women and children. I then registered for their forums and posted two entries.
Here is the first one, which contains many familiar ideas of mine and others whom I respect:
Now, concerning the ideas posited on this website, I guess I just take a different approach to empowering women and helping children and can only speak concretely from the truth of my own experience. That is always the best thing, though, to talk about what you really know.
I had five children and was a stay at home mother and wife to a sailor who only attained the rank of E-6 (enlisted, grade 6 out of 9). He was making about 32K in 1993 when the fifth was born. The ladies I hired to help with housework, however, were married to E-7's or above. I will be explaining how I could afford that.
My jobs prior to having children were as a secretary or waitress. These were (and mostly still are) considered women's jobs and did not pay all that well. I have only my Drama degree to thank for that! I did, however, save and make some money through the allotment of a small portion of my secretary’s salary being invested into stocks each week. This went on for about two years. The sale of these stocks formed part of the down payment on our first house. My mother and father, themselves from the lower middle-class (with a 6th and 10th grade education) but always living within their means and saving a little, were able to help us with the down payment as well. I hope to be able to help our own children in this way with their starter home. It is a time-worn and honorable thing. If we hadn’t had this help we would have stayed in as nice an apartment as we could afford.
I believe I was able to stay home and take care of my children and my home (ultimately someone does have to do this, whether its you or you hire someone), because we stayed married, didn’t have credit debt, each learned skills like car maintenance, coupon cutting, making good garden dirt from kitchen scraps, cooking wholesome meals from scratch, going to the library, doing our own home repairs, maintenance and the like, and we didn't drink, gamble, or get many of the toys that other adults were getting, and were also willing to wear hand-me-down clothes. In other words, in many ways, we used restraint. I'm sure that would be unattractive to many people, but it enabled me to be the ruler of my home and full-time mother of my children. I also didn't have to pay for gas and upkeep of a reliable second car, buy work clothes, buy lunches out, or buy processed or restaurant food at night because of being too tired from work to come home and cook. Of course not having to pay for daycare saved us a ridiculous amount of money.
We didn't ask anyone to pay us more, or expect others to pay more in taxes in order to subsidize daycare and after school programs for our children. I could have qualified for WIC but I didn't really feel I needed to pursue it. Each child always had one good pair of shoes that fit and all the milk they wanted. They were also never bored because they had each other and I was there to let them build forts and otherwise tear up the backyard, haul junk out of the garage to make “stores” and “towns” with, get crazy dirty and generally horrify our properly suburban neighbors. Another big difference between us and our neighbors, some of whom worked two jobs apiece, was that on the neighborhood yard sale days, their front lawns looked like department store show rooms while we had little or nothing to sell. I didn’t work to afford stuff to try and get rid of at yard sales.
I think that businesses exist to provide goods and services to customers and provide salaries, benefits to their employees and a profit for their owners and/or stockholders. They are always competing with other businesses in order to survive to keep paying themselves and their employees. I know that the two times when I did have to work for short periods were times when I was constantly being distracted by needs at home and was not able to be as efficient or productive as I was when I was single or just married. Why would I expect employers to just jump at the chance to hire and keep me? (And it really doesn’t matter what the reason might be why one is not as efficient and productive. If I was single and partying so much that it was interfering with my work, I would not be valued as much as the person who stayed home at night and went to bed on time.) You would feel the same way if you had to hire someone to baby-sit your kids; all other things being equal, would you want the person who was fresh from a good night’s sleep, and for whom the babysitting job was their one priority, or would you go with the one who had two full-time jobs, and who would come to your house after they had put in a full day looking after someone else’s house and children?
We made sure not to become dependent on my salary and I made it my business to get back home as soon as the crisis was over. Also, anybody who works is in submission to their boss, and their bosses on up the chain as well as stockholders, customers, and the bottom line. I thought modern women must submit to NO ONE!
I believe in helping those less fortunate, and am all for Medicaid, but I have honestly seen so many people who cannot afford health insurance but can afford many or all of the following: cable TV (which we never had for the first 21 years of our marriage), cell phones, Internet access, video game systems, lottery tickets, Nike sneakers, designer clothes, expensive cars, other electronic toys, booze and cigarettes. I know a girl who was trying to talk a couple out of entering the abortion clinic to abort their child. The couple stated that they really didn't want to do it but that they couldn't afford another child. When the counselors told them there was help for them and gave them a toll-free number to call, the man whipped out his CELL PHONE and made the call. This incident happened several years ago, before absolutely everyone had a cell phone. But that man did.
Yes, this might sound judgmental but these are all facts. We need to teach our girls to be wise and sensible about whom they decide to have children with. If people want to be pro-choice, then for God's sake, let’s be a little choosier about the man with whom we do that which makes motherhood possible. Take your time, do all you can to find the right partner, get married and try to stay that way. Marriage is a big deal to the prosperity and overall well-being of women and children. Look at the stats. Divorce makes everybody poorer, although I would be the first to say that divorce is sometimes necessary. That is where the church, the extended family and other helps should come in, and where it might be wise to for a woman to consider some kind of home business. Also, we could stand to get those old patriarchal ideals back when it comes to legally forcing a man to take care of his wife (alimony and insurance coverage as well as child-support) if he leaves her, instead of the free-wheeling no-fault crap that's in place now. That would be a really good place to get “political”.
If there is someone out there reading this who wouldn’t mind sleeping in thrift store pajamas if she could stay in them till noon if the mood struck, or would like to explore the possibility of enjoying Saturday and Sunday instead of using the weekend to catch up on all the housework and bills and laundry and shopping, then please know that you can probably do it without Nancy Pelosi’s help. If you would rather be the Queen of your home than Speaker of the House, then take a good, honest look at your situation and start learning about becoming more self-sufficient. Just do a web search on living on one income.
You can try to depend on the government or other people so that you don’t have to eat lentils, or you can eat lentils so that you don’t have to depend on anyone.