Has anyone read The Price of Motherhood?? - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-22-2006, 12:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I found this book the other day and am just now sinking my teeth into it, but I can't stop thinking about what the author brings to light. Stay at home moms are short changed in every aspect of society...we get NO benefits from the government, if we get divorced the chances of us depending on welfare rise significantly because many states don't have laws supporting half of the income going to the wife after a divorce since the husband "earned" the money, and we can potentially lose one million dollars in unearned income over the course of the years we spend raising our children. I for one am ready to start something! Does anyone know of grassroots movements to get women benefits for staying at home with their children?! Europeans do a bang up job supporting stay at home moms, why can't we, the richest country in the world? Maybe that's why we are so rich, we steal from the poorest segment of society...moms!

If you're interested in learning more about the book here's the author's site:
http://www.anncrittenden.com/

I'd love to start a discussion on what moms can do to gain more respect from the government that tends to just pay lip service to wanting to do right by families and children.
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Old 05-22-2006, 12:46 AM
 
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Amen ! I hear ya!! I don't think that women's economic value is appreciated. There's no way my husband could work as hard as he does if there wasn't someone at home taking care of everything! There was some talk in gov't about adding a provision for sahm to earn credits towards social security - which is a start! Unfortunately it got too tied up in details and no support so it was omitted from the final bill.

There's a website - www.MothersOughtToHaveEqualRights.org (I think) but it hadn't been updated for quite sometime when I was there last. And there's www.momsrising.org - which I think is pretty good.

Honestly I've been a bit behind on this issue with my trying to finish school - gotta have that degree just in case anything ever happened to dh Lord knows no one will value all of the experience I have now being a multitasking mom! But fully intend to get more active in pursuing this soon... Would love to hear other's thoughts!

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Old 05-22-2006, 09:07 AM
 
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I have this book. It is next on my list of books to read. I can't wait to start it!
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Old 05-22-2006, 06:24 PM
 
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I really enjoyed that book. I think the powers that be do a pretty good job ensuring that women will continue to fight amongst themselves instead of standing in solidartiy for our rights and the rights of our children. We could do ANYTHING if we could support each other and our common interests.

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Old 05-22-2006, 08:24 PM
 
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sounds like a good book
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Old 05-23-2006, 04:50 PM
 
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It's been on my wish list for awhile now, but I'm afraid it will just stir up my "justice juice", which I'm trying to tone down at the moment so I can keep the stress out cuz we're TTC...sounds like an awesome book and I'll refer back to this thread every once in awhile to see others' opinions.
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Old 05-23-2006, 04:55 PM
 
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yep, i've read it, and it's definitely still hanging around in my head....
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Old 05-23-2006, 09:32 PM
 
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I've read it. She's a great author.
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Old 05-24-2006, 08:17 PM
 
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I own it, everytime I think about how SAHMs treated in society, it gets my blood boiling.

There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
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Old 05-25-2006, 10:26 AM
 
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Moving this to Books and Media

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Old 05-25-2006, 05:19 PM
 
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I loved this book and really value Ann Crittenden as an author. It's one of those reads that makes you think (and is not soon forgotten...)

J - Birth doula and *very* grateful mama to bouncy Q, fancy F, and mighty F!

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Old 05-26-2006, 04:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dswmom
Stay at home moms are short changed in every aspect of society...we get NO benefits from the government,
Help me understand the perspective here - why do we want these benefits from the government?

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Originally Posted by dswmom
if we get divorced the chances of us depending on welfare rise significantly because many states don't have laws supporting half of the income going to the wife after a divorce since the husband "earned" the money
This is a really good point of how vulnerable it makes us when we become SAHMs, but it's also true for any half of a couple that supports the other half in any way. This makes me worry more about the prevelence of divorce, since it's so incredibly difficult to build a good marriage when you're quanitifying who is bringing what to the table, and how much $ it's worth.

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Originally Posted by dswmom
and we can potentially lose one million dollars in unearned income over the course of the years we spend raising our children.
But this comparison isn't apples-to-apples. We all have the choice of whether to go to work and pay someone else to care for our children, or stay at home and raise our families ourselves (this choice involves some much more difficult decisions for some over others). Why would the government at all be involved when we choose to stay home and do (better, in my opinion) for ourselves? Is the perspective that the government ends up subsidizing those who work via social security, etc.? I can see the point there, but it reminds me of how mad it makes me that conventional food production gets subsidized, and Organic food doesn't. I think the difference here is that I wish the government would stop subsidizing conventional food, instead of wanting equal subsidization for Organic. I'm not usually so across-the-board Libertarian, but we need to keep in mind how much control the government gets to exert when they're giving benefits. I'm not sure it's worth the price - I'd rather they just get out of my way, and stop coddling the status quo.
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Old 05-26-2006, 05:31 PM
 
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We all have the choice of whether to go to work and pay someone else to care for our children, or stay at home and raise our families ourselves (this choice involves some much more difficult decisions for some over others). Why would the government at all be involved when we choose to stay home and do (better, in my opinion) for ourselves? Is the perspective that the government ends up subsidizing those who work via social security, etc.? ...I'm not usually so across-the-board Libertarian, but we need to keep in mind how much control the government gets to exert when they're giving benefits. I'm not sure it's worth the price - I'd rather they just get out of my way, and stop coddling the status quo.
The perspective is that if one member of a duo stays at home to raise the children, that member then is not recognized as a productive member of society by governmental standards (in the United States), and thus, if the couple separates, the member who has stayed home--sacrificing earning potential for the greater good of raising the children--is highly vulnerable to poverty. In a divorce situation, the SAHPs income potential is calculated by the last job held, essentially, thus, if the person has stayed at home for 20 years, woe betide that person. The further argument, particularly in higher income families, is that the higher earning member of the duo could not have made it to such heights without the participation and sacrifice of the member who stayed home, and thus, should reliably be entitled to half of all assets--which is not the case across the board. I can think of two examples;

My mother stayed at home and raised the three of us throughout our childhoods. My parents divorced when I was almost thirteen (I'm the youngest, the oldest was 20, my parents had been married for 21 years) and my mother and I were thrown from solid middle class to impoverishment. My dad made sure I was taken care of, but the divorce awarded my mother about $10,000 at the time (early 80s). I remember at the time she said something about it being a drop in the bucket and I didn't understand. Now I do. Not that she necessarily ached for a career or even had training, but at least if she'd trained to, say, be a teacher, she'd have had a higher earning potential calculated into the settlement...she has struggled since then and never been at all financially stable, while my father has been able to recoup any financial loss he originally incurred. And he's a good guy, they had a very amicable divorce, with no custodial issues whatsoever, and he faithfully paid child support and alimony.

A more current example is a family who lives in my neighborhood. The wife is the primary bread winner and the husband stays at home. She makes a considerable amount of money and is able to do so because her dh is shuttling the children to all their activities, doing homework, making dinner, doing laundry, etc., all the things SAHPs do so that she can be at board meetings twice monthly, hit graduations, work from 6 to 6, etc. I would say that without him, she could not have the job she holds and hope to have any quality of life for her children, kwim? It takes one person willing to sacrifice for some jobs.

The point is not so much that she is saying the government should be highly involved, but that during divorces, or deaths or whatever, a higher premium should be placed on the value of the person who stays at home raising children, and that these people should be considered valuable, contributing members of society as much as a person who WOH and brings home a steady paycheck.

I work, myself. I read this book for my book group a couple of years ago, and I had not wanted to read it because I didn't want to be chastised by the group members because I'm a WOHM. And of course, one of the members COMPLETELY missed her point that mothers in general have got to band together and stop fighting the SAHM/WOHM fight and, while sitting in my house, said, "Mothers who work should not have children." Also said in the presence of her own mother, a UU minister, obviously a working mother. When I called her on it, she said, "Oh, I meant those mothers who have their kids at daycare at 6:30 in the morning..." Again, she was sitting in my house!

A great book. A must read.

eta; Oh. And I do raise my family myself, thankyouverymuch...which again, is her point. Snipes like these hurt all of us.
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Old 05-26-2006, 06:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiamnEmma
The point is not so much that she is saying the government should be highly involved, but that during divorces, or deaths or whatever, a higher premium should be placed on the value of the person who stays at home raising children, and that these people should be considered valuable, contributing members of society as much as a person who WOH and brings home a steady paycheck.
I think this is a really valid point, and I agree completely. Some of my frustration with this issue is how our culture views the marriage committment, and I get a stick in my craw whenever I see arguements based on the assumption of divorce. Much of my strong reaction to this discussion comes, in a large part, from how much I agree to what you said above. Statement like "we lose out on $X" ring so cynical to me, as if taking care of your family isn't valuable - which is exactly what we're upset about to begin with.

I haven't read the book, but I was struck by the issues that you all were discussing about it. I can swing between a complete socialist outlook on this issue, all the way to complete libertarianism on it, I just long for consistency. It seems to serve no one when the status quo gets subsidized, and opposing viewpoints have to choose between wanting to take from the other side, or claim a subsidy (and the accompanying loss of control) that they don't really want, in the name of fairness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiamnEmma
eta; Oh. And I do raise my family myself, thankyouverymuch...which again, is her point. Snipes like these hurt all of us.
I'm really sorry I said it this way - it didn't reflect what was in my heart. I hope you'll forgive me? As someone who doesn't yet have living children but intends to be a SAHM, my experience has been that people are patronizing and negative about my choice, so my default is defensiveness. It sounds like we all struggle with that.....
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Old 05-26-2006, 07:42 PM
 
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I can swing between a complete socialist outlook on this issue, all the way to complete libertarianism on it
I hear you, I swing on things too, sometimes considering myself a socialist, sometimes a something else, never quite sure what. I do know that I mostly lean so far to the left that I'm usually in danger of falling over though.

Quote:
I'm really sorry I said it this way - it didn't reflect what was in my heart. I hope you'll forgive me? As someone who doesn't yet have living children but intends to be a SAHM, my experience has been that people are patronizing and negative about my choice, so my default is defensiveness. It sounds like we all struggle with that.....
Yes of course I do, and I figured it slipped out in a way that you didn't intend. I find my foot regularly in my mouth. Good luck to you, we suffered with miscarriages before our ds was born, infertility issues really stink.
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