Staying at Home "On Welfare" - Page 7 - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-29-2007, 09:33 PM
 
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So, it is totally doable. And I think more people are realizing how many people are living close to the edge now, so I'm hoping the not-too-distant future (within the next 5-20 years) is the time to get stuff DONE.
Yup.

It seems to be a good time for social and political activism, especially around parent issues, I have to say. I expect we will hear more from politicians during the upcoming election season about helping FAMILIES.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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Old 05-29-2007, 10:43 PM
 
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you must have some really good education under yor belt or something..i dont knw anyone exept 4 people who have been in government 20+ years thatm ake even a THIRD of that. if you could do i yourself so damg easily...wow. :
I have a master's degree in a fairly lucrative field, and many years of work experience -- one of the advantages of not becoming a SAHM until I was in my mid-thirties. Obviously, I wouldn't expect to be able to re-enter the work force at the same salary I left it, but I'm sure I could get $65K without working for some company that would require 60+ hour work weeks and extensive travel.

Aside from the field of employment, there's also the issue of where you live -- around here, the median income for a married-couple family is over $110,000, and the median income for other kinds of families is over $80,000. So $65K a year is actually a kind of lousy salary for the area!

Anyway, I wasn't trying to sidetrack the conversation into a discussion of my personal job prospects -- it was just interesting to me, as I considered this issue, how much influence a person's earning potential might have on the decision.

Sonja , 40, married to DH (42) since 5-29-93, DD born 11-3-2004, DS born 1-18-2007.
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Old 05-29-2007, 11:03 PM
 
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Yup.

It seems to be a good time for social and political activism, especially around parent issues, I have to say. I expect we will hear more from politicians during the upcoming election season about helping FAMILIES.
YES! ITA.

I feel hopeful concerning family issues (well, nationalized healthcare at least) for the first time that I can remember. I'm not expecting much progress, but I am hopeful for just a little bit.

It would be SO helpful to families to have at least children guaranteed healthcare. So many parents work just for insurance. :
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Old 05-29-2007, 11:19 PM
 
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It's not ALL black/white - either you are raising your children, or someone else is raising them FOR you. There are gradiations of gray all within that - which is why I often struggle to understand how a statement of fact has become such a 'weapon' in the 'Mommy Wars' (and sheesh, who came up with that phrase and who is profitting from it besides the self-help books authors??)
I agree with you that there are gradations of 'raising,' of course. But if you are saying that a WOHM isn't raising her children as a statement of fact, well, of course people are going to take offense, and I don't blame them. It's as if somebody, when talking about SAHMs, states that SAHMs are "wasting their degrees." Sure, some SAHMs might not take offense at that, but most would, and it's hardly a statement of fact to describe what they're doing.

How can a phrase about who's raising the kids ever be a statement of fact given how much people disagree as to what that even means?

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Exactly! And in my simplistic mind ongoing influence of a child = raising. Not 100% raising. Not the ONLY influence in that childs life - not even the PRIMARY influence in that childs life - but that school/ daycare/ babysitter/ family member IS helping to raise that child.

Now I need to go and find that other thread....
I actually agree that when one talks about the raising of a child, one should really mean ALL influences in a child's life. But that's not what people usually mean, especially when people say things like "I SAH because I want to raise my kids myself" to WOHMs. That's certainly not inclusive of all other elements. Heck, when I hear that, I sometimes wonder if the speaker even includes her working partner.

All that aside, as PP observed, why would you want to use such a phrase knowing that many people use it to hurt WOHMs? Why would you go out of your way to keep doing something knowing it's hurting others? It's not hard to avoid phrases that hurt others. Going back to the SAHM "wasting her degree" example above, something that a lot of people find very dismissive of the intelligence of SAHMs, a WOHM could easily say that she really invested a lot in her degree and enjoys using it. That conveys the message that she doesn't want to "waste her degree" without implicating SAHMs negatively. I feel that is an element of basic respect to avoid using phrases that commonly are used to divide and hurt.
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Old 05-30-2007, 01:46 AM
 
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Okay, now that I've read this whoooole thread, I'm about to write a treatise. So get comfy.

"Welfare"- foodstamps, Section 8, TANF, WIC, Medicaid, child care and transportation vouchers

Medicaid- should be for everyone! Healthcare should sooo not be considered welfare. This is the single most important issue facing America. Lack of national healthcare is *crippling* our economy and squashing entrepenuersim. National healthcare now!

WIC- this is a dairy industry kickback, in a big, huge way. This is just an extension of how f*ed up our system of agricultural price supports is-- we pay money for people to grow things we need to eat LESS of. Ugh.

Foodstamps- This one is really interesting to me, because May was our last month on foodstamps. We got $338 per month for a family of three, plus WIC. We could afford to buy WHATEVER we wanted. And, for a little while, we did indulge in things like organic frozen pizza and pomegranate juice. After literally not being able to afford spinach for months, it was nice. Then because we knew the gravy train would eventually run out, we got smart. Not only did we buy months and months supply of baking soda, vinegar, club soda, and extracts (for cleaning products), we seriously have 6-12 months of nonperishable food in the house. Freezer full of fish, every baking supply known to man, EVOO, tons of vanilla, every spice we ever wanted (all in matching, reusable glass jars that I'll have forever ), bags and bags of oatmeal, rice, and beans, condiments, 10 kinds of fancy vinegar...

What I'm getting at here is that we were given too much. Yes, people are clueless at food budgeting, and yes, we do A LOT of scratch cooking, but the point is that we could have survived on so.much.less. If we did not use all our food stamp money, it would disappear. So we used it up- BUT I would have much rather given half of our foodstamps to other people who needed it. It made me feel bad, and yes, guilty, that others were going hungry while we had so much. On the recieving end, I could see that the system was unfair.

And why, why, why, could I buy Coca Cola, chips, Oreos, and popsicles, but not a tube of toothpaste? What the hell kind of sense does that make?

Section 8- These vouchers are damn near impossible to get in Michigan. I worked for some enterprising folks who were trying to leverage their credit into a real estate dynasty, and I'll tell you what I learned: Landlords LOOVE Section 8. It makes them all kinds of money. I don't neccesarily think that's a bad thing, but I'm not convinced it's a good one. I would like to see more oversight of this program, for the landlords, not the tenants.

Real estate prices are out.of.control. in so much of the country that housing is the single biggest factor that keeps folks poor. Other than making banks a whole bunch of money, I cannot see how this is beneficial to anyone. I know that "public housing" is supposedly this great experiment that failed, but there is a gap that needs to be bridged here-- low income housing needs to exist, but private landlords shouldn't get rich off poor people or taxpayers.

TANF- What a joke this is. I have two close friends who are single mothers. Both are college educated, neither have ever been married, and both are struggling. Neither of them could even get foodstamps while they were pregnant. That disgusts me.

My one friend, A, did not name her DD's father on the birth certificate. Her doc had her dates screwed up, and because of that, there was a legitimate chance that her DD was not her ex's. (She is, tho', it's obvious.) A's ex has problems with drugs and alcohol, and she did not want him involved. He did not want anything to do with the baby, regardless. Because A did not name a father on the birth certificate, she could not get any state asisstance of any kind whatsoever. She could not work during her pregnancy, she had severe preeclampsia. If not for her parents, she would have not gotten prenatal care, been able to eat, or had a roof over her head. The federal gov't gives the states incentive money for every check they garnishee for child support, so once A wasn't an earner for the state, they did not care about her.

Both of my single mom friends have been hamstrung by the "one member of the household must work" requirement. I'm married; DH is employed- I was never once asked if I was looking for or wanted work. We got Medicaid and foodstamps. My single mom friends had to jump thru all sorts of hoops, proving that they worked X number of hours, blah blah blah, to get the same benefits. DH never had to do this. This discrimination is so rank that it makes me sick to my stomach.

Childcare vouchers- Again, this is a joke. Every study commisioned has proven that it is more cost effective to just give the money to the parents so they can stay home. It costs the taxpayer more if the "welfare queen" gets a job.

Transportation vouchers- We need real mass transit in this country. The lack of it is just... stupid.

So the point I'm trying to make here is this: Some of the problems regarding welfare programs are caused by other stupid government policy, like healthcare, transportation, and WIC. Some are caused by overlooked, complicated, hard to solve social problems, like housing costs and child support laws. If we dealt with stupid government policies and social problems in a systemic way, we could eliminate 99% of welfare programs.

To bring it all back home to something virtually everyone on MDC can agree on: breastmilk is the perfect food for babies. It is the birthright of every child, and it is the single most important public health issue regarding the mother/infant dyad. Single mothers have much lower rates of breastfeeding because they are forced, either by a shitty welfare system or economic neccesity, to work outside the home. That sucks. Mamas should get some sort of stipend, yes, from the government, so they can STAY HOME AND NURSE THEIR BABIES for at least the first year. Everyone would benefit from this arrangement because costs associated with Medicaid, WIC, and lifelong reduced healthcare costs would all sharply decline. The taxpayer would come out ahead. I don't know if we are too stupid, too greedy, or both to see this reality, but there it is.

So yeah, even if you have to get on "welfare" to do it, don't ever let anyone make you feel guilty about staying home with your kids.

If you were one of those mamas who made friends with the breast pump and you were able to work and breastfeed, my hat is off to you. My boobs don't work that way, and I suspect I'm not the only one.

Trying to turn hearts and minds toward universal healthcare, one post at a time.
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Old 05-30-2007, 01:44 PM
 
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I agree with you that there are gradations of 'raising,' of course. But if you are saying that a WOHM isn't raising her children as a statement of fact, well, of course people are going to take offense, and I don't blame them. It's as if somebody, when talking about SAHMs, states that SAHMs are "wasting their degrees." Sure, some SAHMs might not take offense at that, but most would, and it's hardly a statement of fact to describe what they're doing.

.....

All that aside, as PP observed, why would you want to use such a phrase knowing that many people use it to hurt WOHMs? Why would you go out of your way to keep doing something knowing it's hurting others? It's not hard to avoid phrases that hurt others. Going back to the SAHM "wasting her degree" example above, something that a lot of people find very dismissive of the intelligence of SAHMs, a WOHM could easily say that she really invested a lot in her degree and enjoys using it. That conveys the message that she doesn't want to "waste her degree" without implicating SAHMs negatively. I feel that is an element of basic respect to avoid using phrases that commonly are used to divide and hurt.
Personally? Because it drives. me. insane. that people (a lot of people) exist in a state of assuming that their interpetation of a phrase trumps the actual MEANING of the phrase - esp. when the meaning is explained by the speaker, and yet still it's considered 'offensive'. But that's something I've encoutered HERE a LOT.

No one EVER said that the WOHP WASN'T raising their children - the phrase is 'I don't want the daycare to raise my children' - and through this thread, it seems that we have come to an agreement that due to the amount of time that most children spend in a daycare, the daycare DOES in some part, raise those children that attend.

Would it be less upsetting if they said 'I don't want the daycare to help me raise my children??' If that's the case, I'm more than willing to use that statement when speaking of my particular choice to do everything in my power to not send my children to daycare.

I'm not interested, invested in, or involved in the Mommy Wars at all. In order for a 'war' to continue, both parties have to keep battling, keep believeing that one is superior to the other. If we can face things truthfully - yes, daycare helps WOHP raise their kids, and teachers help raise kids and grandparents help raise kids, and aunties and uncles and babysitters and parents and a whole hoarde of people helps raise kids and there is no SHAME is that, nothing NEGATIVE in that - it's simply a fact - then what IS there to be judged on/fought over? If you truly define and clarify what is being discussed, the battle loses a bit of ground.

It's slightly insulting to imply that a SAHM doesn't value her degree, and that she ISN'T using it at home. I mean, REALLY. I can't think of a single degree that cannot be used to help guide, raise, educate and shape a child - okay, it might take a while before you can use the Theory of Mass Spectrometry to teach a child something - but dimes to dollars, the education that took place before that will be useful at SOME point in the parenting journey.

Personally, I howl with laughter anytime someone says that a SAHM is wasting their degree - but a preschool teacher isn't. *rollseyes* I mean - that's logcially, and obviously, a false statement - assuming, of course, that the speaker puts any VALUE on childrearing. In fact, when someone comes out of their mouth with that particular phrase, it tells ME that they don't value childrearing, and believe that only jobs that end up with a paycheck at the end of the month really matter.

And that's yet another societal value that 'feeds' these stupid 'Mommy Wars' - the belief that if you aren't making MONEY at doing something, it's really worth less than ANYTHING you could be doing that DOES make money. Urm, yeah, whatever, twisted materialistically based society - you keep on doing that, and I'm going to spend my timenergy on something that matters, deeply and personally, to ME.

The mystery of life isn't a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.
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Old 05-30-2007, 01:58 PM
 
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Self sufficiency is at the core of my ideological beliefs. So it is my desire to help all people get to the point where they can take care of themselves. This is a higher priority to me than every child having a mom that can stay home with them (though certainly I see that as a high priority because I stay home for ideological reasons myself). So from my perspective, I first want to see people able to provide for their physical needs of food, water, shelter, then progress to the more intangible needs. I am conservative, which means I want smaller gov't. I want my money to go to helping people become self sufficient - rather than simply giving them what they need. The whole "teach a man to fish" idea. In the long run, I believe that will lead to a happier more fulfilled society. So while I don't criticize those who need assistance programs, it is my hope that the need will be temporary.

Public school - there's the whole idea that an educated society is better for all of us, and I do agree. But I also think those using the service should pay more than those not. And I definately think those choosing to homeschool or private school should receive at least a portion of their contribution to offset the costs of their own children's education.

I do not like gov't forced charity. I think people have a large compacity for generosity, and I would like to see them freed finacially from tax burden, so that they can give as their heart is compelled - both in service and money. Maybe it's an utopian ideal, but I tend to think people would give more if they weren't forced to give by the gov't.
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Old 05-30-2007, 02:14 PM
 
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Self sufficiency is at the core of my ideological beliefs. So it is my desire to help all people get to the point where they can take care of themselves. This is a higher priority to me than every child having a mom that can stay home with them (though certainly I see that as a high priority because I stay home for ideological reasons myself). So from my perspective, I first want to see people able to provide for their physical needs of food, water, shelter, then progress to the more intangible needs. I am conservative, which means I want smaller gov't. I want my money to go to helping people become self sufficient - rather than simply giving them what they need. The whole "teach a man to fish" idea. In the long run, I believe that will lead to a happier more fulfilled society. So while I don't criticize those who need assistance programs, it is my hope that the need will be temporary.
Well, that sounds nice, but it's simply not realistic. Are you going to tell a disabled elderly person that you don't mind them getting a bit of money now, but you really want them to work on that self sufficiency idea?

Ultimately, the ability of mothers to be self sufficient becomes remarkably more different given our cultural values. Things are just not set up well for moms to be... well, moms.

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Public school - there's the whole idea that an educated society is better for all of us, and I do agree. But I also think those using the service should pay more than those not. And I definately think those choosing to homeschool or private school should receive at least a portion of their contribution to offset the costs of their own children's education.
Unfortunately the people who need public school the most are the people least equipped to pay it. You end up with a situation where the haves are educated, and the have-nots are not educated. That's a situation that very strongly promotes an even more classist society.

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I do not like gov't forced charity. I think people have a large compacity for generosity, and I would like to see them freed finacially from tax burden, so that they can give as their heart is compelled - both in service and money. Maybe it's an utopian ideal, but I tend to think people would give more if they weren't forced to give by the gov't.
Of course they would give more, because they would have more. I don't necessarily disagree with the idea that people's contributions may make up for the amount given via tax dollars - honestly, I don't know how much people would give if it weren't compulsory. I guess my main concern would be that "trendy" and popular causes would get money, and untrendy, unpopular ones wouldn't.
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Old 05-30-2007, 02:18 PM
 
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I do not like gov't forced charity. I think people have a large compacity for generosity, and I would like to see them freed finacially from tax burden, so that they can give as their heart is compelled - both in service and money. Maybe it's an utopian ideal, but I tend to think people would give more if they weren't forced to give by the gov't.
A good point, I did just want to point out that people can keep reciepts from dontating money/things to charitable organizations and at tax time these count towards tax write offs. Even donating an old junker car is considered a tax write off.
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Old 05-30-2007, 02:32 PM
 
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Well, that sounds nice, but it's simply not realistic. Are you going to tell a disabled elderly person that you don't mind them getting a bit of money now, but you really want them to work on that self sufficiency idea?
No, but we aren't talking about eldery disabled people - we are talking about grown adult women who have the ability to work and put food on the table for their children. If you re-read what I wrote, I asserted that I felt self sufficiency was a higher priority than a SAHM. I also need to add in the caveat that I am assuming a grown adult father who is capable of working as well.

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That's a situation that very strongly promotes an even more classist society.
I don't personally have a problem with a class society where there are opportunities for people to work hard and move to a higher class. My husband and I have both worked hard and moved to a higher "class" than we were born into while my sister has moved to a lower "class". We are all products of the public education system. That said, I do think self sufficiency should be rewarded, and those parents that take upon themselves the education of their children, should retain the funds to do so.

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honestly, I don't know how much people would give if it weren't compulsory. I guess my main concern would be that "trendy" and popular causes would get money, and untrendy, unpopular ones wouldn't.
We would have to trust humanity a little bit in order to see how they would give. The message the gov't sends right now is - you are not capable of goodness and responsibility so we must do this for you. I think people are expertly equipped to take care of the disabled, elderly, widowed and orphaned if given the opportunity.
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Old 05-30-2007, 02:34 PM
 
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sending your child to public school is not like receiving welfare for choosing to sahm. sorry.
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Old 05-30-2007, 02:49 PM
 
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I don't personally have a problem with a class society where there are opportunities for people to work hard and move to a higher class. My husband and I have both worked hard and moved to a higher "class" than we were born into while my sister has moved to a lower "class". We are all products of the public education system.
That hardly ever happens, though. People almost always stay in the class they were born in. Do you think that's a coincidence?
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Old 05-30-2007, 03:07 PM
 
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Self sufficiency is at the core of my ideological beliefs. So it is my desire to help all people get to the point where they can take care of themselves. This is a higher priority to me than every child having a mom that can stay home with them (though certainly I see that as a high priority because I stay home for ideological reasons myself). So from my perspective, I first want to see people able to provide for their physical needs of food, water, shelter, then progress to the more intangible needs. I am conservative, which means I want smaller gov't. I want my money to go to helping people become self sufficient - rather than simply giving them what they need. The whole "teach a man to fish" idea. In the long run, I believe that will lead to a happier more fulfilled society. So while I don't criticize those who need assistance programs, it is my hope that the need will be temporary.

Public school - there's the whole idea that an educated society is better for all of us, and I do agree. But I also think those using the service should pay more than those not. And I definately think those choosing to homeschool or private school should receive at least a portion of their contribution to offset the costs of their own children's education.

I do not like gov't forced charity. I think people have a large compacity for generosity, and I would like to see them freed finacially from tax burden, so that they can give as their heart is compelled - both in service and money. Maybe it's an utopian ideal, but I tend to think people would give more if they weren't forced to give by the gov't.
We already have a system that rewards self-sufficiency, applies economic sanctions for personal weakness or inability, and allows people to keep their money to do with as they please. It's called the free-market economy. The public safety net is set up as a counterbalance to all that. What you are basically saying is that the sink-or-swim structure of capitalism is the ultimate value and should have nothing to balance it out in the life of the community; instead of ensuring that things don't get too dire with those who lose out in the economic system, you think that economic value is so closely tied to ultimate moral values that the government should actually reinforce the mechanisms of the free market, punishing those who fail at economic competition by requiring them to give more of what little they have to get the help they need, and rewarding the economic winners by not requiring them to contribute any of their success to the life of the community.

What you will get from that is not self-sufficiency, but a class-polarized society in which the middle class keeps shrinking and shrinking as families with no safety net drop past the economic point of no return. It is not a given that there be a middle class. There wasn't in the past, and there are still many countries where the middle class is tiny. The middle class is preserved by structures that make it so you can only fall so far. I happen to be married to an entrepreneurial genius : and I'm sure that my family would be among the winners in a society where the self-sufficient got more self-sufficient while the teeming hordes crowded the sidewalk begging for voluntary charity. That doesn't mean I want it to happen.
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Old 05-30-2007, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow! I haven't been getting e-mail notification about this thread, and it sure has grown since I was here last. A lot to respond to, but I don't have time to do it justice right now.

I do feel we should focus on discussing the ideas expressed, rather than speculating on the emotional states of the people behind the ideas. We'll just get a lot further this way, and it's honestly wrong to try to psychoanalyze anyone who hasn't asked for this help.

Leta, thanks for your treatise. I'm also a married mom, and like you I feel it's unfair that we can get help when dh loses a job, or has to take a new job earning less money than before, but single mamas are so screwed by this system. Ita about the need to attach more priority to helping mamas breastfeed.

2bluefish, strange as it may seem, I feel very ambivalent about the coerciveness of our tax system. I don't like the idea of people "having" to pay into it -- yet I've applied for help when we've run upon hard times. I guess I rationalize that if we weren't paying taxes, we could save more. But I wonder if we really would save more.

I don't agree with blanket condemnations of any choice -- be it staying home and drawing public assistance, or working and utilizing child care. I actually don't agree with condemnation at all. But just as I can listen to the point of view of 2bluefish, and others on this forum who've said they'd rather pay their own way than stay home and get public assistance -- I think there should be tolerance for mamas who say they'd never put their children in daycare.

When people say they're not "surprised" to hear these (anti-daycare) sentiments expressed in the sahm forum, I think, "Well, duh." If I visit the wohm forum, I don't get all bent-out-of-shape to hear mothers saying they prefer a higher standard of living, over staying at home with a lower standard of living, or that they'd rather woh than draw public assistance. I just assume that certain forums are going to have more of one type of extreme than others.

So, while I do think it's extreme to say ALL babies being cared for by someone other than their parents, feel isolated, etcetera -- I can understand how someone might have this reaction after reading some very negative posts directed at sahm's who get assistance. As I previously mentioned, on the working mamas forum I read a post about how "sad" it is that some mamas would rather sah on welfare, than work.

I wasn't "shocked" to see this attitude on the working mamas forum -- but it got me thinking I'd like to start a dialog about the issues. I chose to do it here, definitely not to exclude working mamas, but so there'd be a greater likelihood of mamas in my situation reading it.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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Old 05-30-2007, 03:11 PM
 
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I wasn't "shocked" to see this attitude on the working mamas forum -- but it got me thinking I'd like to start a dialog about the issues. I chose to do it here, definitely not to exclude working mamas, but so there'd be a greater likelihood of mamas in my situation reading it.
Maybe you should be... I am.
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Old 05-30-2007, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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sending your child to public school is not like receiving welfare for choosing to sahm. sorry.
Okay, so everyone can utilize public schools regardless of income, whereas public assistance programs like WIC, Foodstamps, and Medicaid are only available to people below a certain income level.

I agree the two things are not completely "alike." But I maintain my previous assertion that they're more alike than different. Apples and oranges are both fruit.

If all you have to say is that they're not identical, I'm not going to argue. BUT, if you're saying that one form of public assistance is somehow superior to others -- I pretty much started this thread to counter that attitude.

After all, I don't frown on some friends who said they'd rather homeschool -- but choose public school because they need to work, and their children at least get some supervision in public school. I don't think the school system's "set up" to be a free babysitter, so just because it's sometimes used that way, doesn't mean I or other homeschoolers should get all critical.

In the same way, I don't think those of us who choose to educate our children at home, and receive some public assistance in other forms, are in any way inferior to public school parents. Different families, different choices.

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Old 05-30-2007, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, and I didn't mean to imply in my previous statement that "supervision" is all the public schools are good for. I've heard there are tremendous differences in schools -- but I just meant there are some parents who aren't happy with their district, who still use the schools so their kids'll have somewhere to go while they're at work.

This is a valid choice, these are good parents. The fact that dh and I choose to homeschool and avail ourselves of other kinds of help, such as medical assistance, doesn't make us any better -- nor does it make us any worse -- than other parents making other choices.

We also both had horrible public school experiences ourselves, and that colours our choice -- just as parents who looooved their years in school are more likely to think ps is a good choice for their own children. Different strokes for different folks.

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So, while I do think it's extreme to say ALL babies being cared for by someone other than their parents, feel isolated, etcetera -- I can understand how someone might have this reaction after reading some very negative posts directed at sahm's who get assistance. As I previously mentioned, on the working mamas forum I read a post about how "sad" it is that some mamas would rather sah on welfare, than work.
I think it should also be noted that low-quality care and negative experiences are overwhelmingly more likely to happen to the children of women who are forced to place them in care. Presumably, if good care were available the mothers would be statistically more likely to work. It's not as though the system is subsidizing a large number of 'ideological' SAHMs with perfectly good options.

Whatever one thinks of daycare as a personal choice, can we at least agree that it's not good to force mothers to use it? In many locations, the mother is forced to use the daycare center of the government's choice in order to receive benefits. Can we trust that if a mother thinks daycare would not be good for her children, she might know what she's talking about?

Apparently not, because we can't even acknowledge that in the cases of 'self-sufficient' families with SAHMs.

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the phrase is 'I don't want the daycare to raise my children'
:

What people don't seem to realize is that this sentiment fundamentally reflects, not judgment toward WOHMs, but resistance and defiance toward the heavy social and economic pressures to let other caregivers get between us and our kids. Some months ago there was a thread from a new mom who was desperate because of a culture clash with her MIL, who quit her own job and expected the DIL to go back to work so the MIL could be the primary caregiver. She said something to the effect of "I wouldn't have quit my job in the first place if I didn't want to raise him myself!" and WOHMs jumped down her throat about "raising." Here was a mom who was being pressured to use non-maternal care against her will, in a situation that had nothing to do with economics, welfare or the choices of WOHMs. And she still got slammed for stating her needs. It wouldn't matter if we changed the words around. Like if we said "I want to be the primary caregiver" people would say "just because he's in daycare doesn't mean I'm not his primary caregiver!" It seems kind of odd to me that it's not safe to express a strong, values-based preference not to be separated from one's child in the SAHM-specific forum of an attachment parenting website.
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you think that economic value is so closely tied to ultimate moral values
Not at all. Absurdity. I do not at all equate economic value with moral values. That includes the idea that those who have the most are the most valuable and the most moral. That is a *very* different value from the belief self sufficiency when one is capable - that is meeting all of ones basic needs - is a moral value that should be reinforced.

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that the government should actually reinforce the mechanisms of the free market,
Absolutely.

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punishing those who fail at economic competition by requiring them to give more of what little they have to get the help they need,
It is not punishment to be allowed to keep the money you earn.

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and rewarding the economic winners by not requiring them to contribute any of their success to the life of the community.
I would instead look at this as being rewarded with the freedom to help others on ones own without gov't involvement. (Cutting out the middle man almost always results in more going to the final recipient.)

I also don't believe in just throwing money at problems. Sometimes what is needed is time, energy, and caring - educating people to make sound choices. But ultimately we have to see that some people simply don't want to make good choices (I have several in my own family), and no, I do not think my gov't should reward that kind of behavior with assistance. It has nothing to do with their economic value - which is sufficient - and everything to do with poor stewardship of what they have. I don't want people to work for *my* benefit - or the benefit of the society - I want them to work for themselves, so they can experience the satisfaction and security of self sufficiency. Ultimately it is a moral imperitive for me to promote self sufficiency as a way of life for those capable of it, since I believe self sufficiency is more likely than any assistance to provide happiness and fulfillment.
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That hardly ever happens, though. People almost always stay in the class they were born in. Do you think that's a coincidence?


It's not a coincidence, and it's one reason I think being on welfare when other options (such as working outside the home) are available is a pretty bad idea, generally. Poverty and welfare dependency are cyclical in families....statistically, many, many of the kids being raised on assistance and/or in poverty will themselves be impoverished as adults. And round and round it goes.
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It's not a coincidence, and it's one reason I think being on welfare when other options (such as working outside the home) are available is a pretty bad idea, generally. Poverty and welfare dependency are cyclical in families....statistically, many, many of the kids being raised on assistance and/or in poverty will themselves be impoverished as adults. And round and round it goes.
That is an interesting thought... I am not sure that's the same conclusion I would draw, though. The conclusion I would draw is not that one causes the other (the parent being on welfare causes the child to be on welfare eventually), it is that the conditions which cause the parents to need welfare will also exist for the children as well, since they are born into the same class.

I also think that if a SAHM is receiving assistance so she can SAH, the assistance is probably temporary in nature. The kids will grow up and the SAHP will start working again at some point, I would think, although attempting to return to the work force has its own set of challenges and I would imagine that most SAHM's experience what I did, and when they go back to work they have to lower their expectations in terms of salary and position.
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Old 05-30-2007, 04:27 PM
 
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That is an interesting thought... I am not sure that's the same conclusion I would draw, though. The conclusion I would draw is not that one causes the other (the parent being on welfare causes the child to be on welfare eventually), it is that the conditions which cause the parents to need welfare will also exist for the children as well, since they are born into the same class.

I also think that if a SAHM is receiving assistance so she can SAH, the assistance is probably temporary in nature. The kids will grow up and the SAHP will start working again at some point, I would think, although attempting to return to the work force has its own set of challenges and I would imagine that most SAHM's experience what I did, and when they go back to work they have to lower their expectations in terms of salary and position.
I agree, and also I believe a main reason people stay in poverty while trying to use the system to get out of it(fallen on hard times, need to work their way up), is it is just not set up for people to get out of it. They do not allow you to go to school unless you are working too(which full time work and full time school, can be done, but usually at the expense of the entire family, some peole just really do not have the capacity to work ft and school ft and do well). People need the education or good training to get ahead and be able to stay off the system.
The government counts it as a positive statistically if people get of tanf because their 60 months ran out(not a sucess story there), or if they get a ft job at mcdonald's and don't receive tanf anymore(but still get fs and medical), again not a sucess story. So they are working, but they still need the system, and probably always will...it is just not set up for sucess. It is few and far between that people can get off it and do well, and not need it again. It is a class thing, and I swear it is meant to keep a class of people available to do the menial, low paying jobs that most people don't want to do because they are not desperate enough.

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Whatever one thinks of daycare as a personal choice, can we at least agree that it's not good to force mothers to use it? In many locations, the mother is forced to use the daycare center of the government's choice in order to receive benefits. Can we trust that if a mother thinks daycare would not be good for her children, she might know what she's talking about?

Apparently not, because we can't even acknowledge that in the cases of 'self-sufficient' families with SAHMs.
Yes, just as I don't get insulted if a wohm says she prefers a higher standard of living than she could provide if she stayed home -- I don't see why it should offend a wohm if I say I prefer to give my children more one-on-one care than I could provide for them if I worked outside the home. That's part of the "standard of living" I'm trying to provide.

And I'm certainly not in the position to provide a personal nanny -- not that I'd work even if I could provide the perfect Mary Poppins. I DO make the personal value judgment that it's better for MY children to have ME at home with them. I feel it should be safe for me to express that here -- just as I don't assume mamas in the working mamas' forum are making personal judgments against me when they talk about all the reasons why they think it's best for THEM, and THEIR children, to work.

Well, I DID feel a little insulted that someone thought it "sad" that anyone would rather sah with assistance than work. But not insulted to the point where I'd start a flaming debate on that thread, which was for the purpose of discussing reasons why it's good to work (I'd initially participated because I thought the OP was wondering if she could afford to stay home -- she clarified by explaining she really didn't want to, but just wondered if there were other reasons to work besides financial necessity).

What I did with that annoyance, was start a thread here in the sahm forum, to discuss the attitudes that some of us encounter as sahm's who get some public assistance. This (talking with others who also place a high value on sahming) seemed more constructive to me than sharing how I felt with women who place such a high value on working, that they'd do it regardless of financial necessity.

And no, I'm not saying I'm a better mom than someone who doesn't want to lose her tenure or competitive edge, or whatever -- I'm just saying our frames-of-reference are very different.

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She said something to the effect of "I wouldn't have quit my job in the first place if I didn't want to raise him myself!" and WOHMs jumped down her throat about "raising." Here was a mom who was being pressured to use non-maternal care against her will, in a situation that had nothing to do with economics, welfare or the choices of WOHMs. And she still got slammed for stating her needs. It wouldn't matter if we changed the words around. Like if we said "I want to be the primary caregiver" people would say "just because he's in daycare doesn't mean I'm not his primary caregiver!" It seems kind of odd to me that it's not safe to express a strong, values-based preference not to be separated from one's child in the SAHM-specific forum of an attachment parenting website.
Yes, it seems odd to me, too.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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Old 05-30-2007, 04:33 PM
 
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But not insulted to the point where I'd start a flaming debate on that thread.
Bingo.

The policing of language on a board that addresses a lifestyle other than one's own is disturbing.
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Old 05-30-2007, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, and it's true that in my op I asked people to "clue me in" -- which obviously means I was welcoming a wide variety of viewpoints. I certainly welcome everyone's input, regardless of your frame-of-reference. What I'm trying to express is, in the sahm's forum we should expect there's going to be stronger sentiment in favor of sahming, just as in the wohm's forum, there tends to be stronger sentiment in favor of wohming.

That's just to be expected. We should be respectful and courteous in how we express these sentiments, but we shouldn't have to hide them in our very own forum.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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Bingo.

The policing of language on a board that addresses a lifestyle other than one's own is disturbing.
Sure you shouldn't have to censor your own ideas but when you know that there are WOHM's reading this thread to weigh in on an important issue that ought, by all rights, be of national importance (ie Childcare availability and affordability for working parents), I would assume you would take some steps to respect the social conditions and options and choices of those WOHM's participating in the discussion.

The truth is that the vast majority of parents in America HAVE to have both parents working outside the home, and the socioeconomic conditions making this a reality are only getting worse every year. Within this thread there is a very heavily demonstrated lack of understanding of the social and political institutions in America that are contributing to women having to work outside the home. As the middle class squeezes down to nothing, and the United States boasts the highest gap between the rich and poor of any other industrialized nation, it's almost impossible for anyone to afford to have one parent at home -- not to mention the high divorce rate, the high rate of single parents, the low number of non-custodial parents actually paying child support.... (and on and on).

What I wish people would understand is that social welfare programs are not some evil thing; it's working out great for Europe and Scandanavia. Children are cared for, parents have a social safety net, and *despite the social welfare programs* people, amazingly, still work and are productive members of society. Perhaps more amazingly, they also manage to be involved in politics ~ which the overwhelming majority of Americans can't do.

While I can respect the decision to stay at home, I think Citizenship requries more than just taking care of one's own children ~ so even for you SAHM's, you ought educate yourself to the larger problems that our society is facing, because guess what -- your children are growing up within this culture whether you like it or not, and they're going to face worse socioeconomic problems and class inequalities than my generation is facing if Americans on the whole don't wake up, educate themselves, and actually decide to change things instead of continuing to put faith in unrestricted, unregulated free market capitalism.
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I agree, and also I believe a main reason people stay in poverty while trying to use the system to get out of it(fallen on hard times, need to work their way up), is it is just not set up for people to get out of it... It is a class thing, and I swear it is meant to keep a class of people available to do the menial, low paying jobs that most people don't want to do because they are not desperate enough.
I agree.

And also disagree that socialism is just working out peachy in Europe.
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Sure you shouldn't have to censor your own ideas but when you know that there are WOHM's reading this thread to weigh in on an important issue that ought, by all rights, be of national importance (ie Childcare availability and affordability for working parents), I would assume you would take some steps to respect the social conditions and options and choices of those WOHM's participating in the discussion.

The truth is that the vast majority of parents in America HAVE to have both parents working outside the home, and the socioeconomic conditions making this a reality are only getting worse every year. Within this thread there is a very heavily demonstrated lack of understanding of the social and political institutions in America that are contributing to women having to work outside the home. As the middle class squeezes down to nothing, and the United States boasts the highest gap between the rich and poor of any other industrialized nation, it's almost impossible for anyone to afford to have one parent at home -- not to mention the high divorce rate, the high rate of single parents, the low number of non-custodial parents actually paying child support.... (and on and on).

What I wish people would understand is that social welfare programs are not some evil thing; it's working out great for Europe and Scandanavia. Children are cared for, parents have a social safety net, and *despite the social welfare programs* people, amazingly, still work and are productive members of society. Perhaps more amazingly, they also manage to be involved in politics ~ which the overwhelming majority of Americans can't do.

While I can respect the decision to stay at home, I think Citizenship requries more than just taking care of one's own children ~ so even for you SAHM's, you ought educate yourself to the larger problems that our society is facing, because guess what -- your children are growing up within this culture whether you like it or not, and they're going to face worse socioeconomic problems and class inequalities than my generation is facing if Americans on the whole don't wake up, educate themselves, and actually decide to change things instead of continuing to put faith in unrestricted, unregulated free market capitalism.
You must have me confused with someone else. I have been arguing pro-social welfare on this thread from page one up until this morning.

As for the argument that staying at home is impossible - we have another thread for that. Suffice to say that though individual situations vary, there are people with very low incomes who make it work.

Affordable child care for working parents: I agree. But only if the parents want to leave their child with someone else. The argument that SAHPing deserves no social support because other parents have to work is completely illogical; we should change the conditions for those other parents, so that they can stay home too if they want to.

There needs to be support for both lifestyles. Society should not be in the business of favoring one over the other by inequitable distribution of benefits. People know their own children best and each family should be free to make its own decision. Even if they are on welfare.
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Old 05-30-2007, 07:33 PM
 
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Not at all. Absurdity. I do not at all equate economic value with moral values. That includes the idea that those who have the most are the most valuable and the most moral. That is a *very* different value from the belief self sufficiency when one is capable - that is meeting all of ones basic needs - is a moral value that should be reinforced.
But you believe society should have no formal, enforceable structures to offset the social Darwinism of the free market. Logically, that implies that there is no value - no solid, socially enforceable value - that trumps economic competition. That's what I meant. It doesn't matter that you think the poor aren't less valuable; when the rubber hits the road, you advocate treating them as though they are less valuable.

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I would instead look at this as being rewarded with the freedom to help others on ones own without gov't involvement. (Cutting out the middle man almost always results in more going to the final recipient.)
I really am mystified as to where all these people are who deeply resent the 1 or 2 percent of their taxes that actually go to social welfare, but would give way more than that on a purely voluntary system.

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I also don't believe in just throwing money at problems. Sometimes what is needed is time, energy, and caring - educating people to make sound choices. But ultimately we have to see that some people simply don't want to make good choices (I have several in my own family), and no, I do not think my gov't should reward that kind of behavior with assistance. It has nothing to do with their economic value - which is sufficient - and everything to do with poor stewardship of what they have. I don't want people to work for *my* benefit - or the benefit of the society - I want them to work for themselves, so they can experience the satisfaction and security of self sufficiency. Ultimately it is a moral imperitive for me to promote self sufficiency as a way of life for those capable of it, since I believe self sufficiency is more likely than any assistance to provide happiness and fulfillment.
I would rather "reward" suboptimal choices (which imo are their own punishment anyway) and live in a morally imperfect but predominantly middle class society than enjoy my family's private good fortune in the presence of a teeming, resentful underclass forced to work their fingers to the bone in the name of "self-sufficiency."
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Old 05-30-2007, 07:51 PM
 
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But you believe society should have no formal, enforceable structures to offset the social Darwinism of the free market.
The key word here is "enforceable" - no I don't think *you* should get to force your values on *me* by taking my money and doing what you want with it.

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when the rubber hits the road, you advocate treating them as though they are less valuable.
I fail to see how my going out into my community and working with those in need one on one to see that their needs are met is treating them as less valuable. You see, I do not believe I need to gov't to do this for me - I believe it is my duty to do my part *myself* - that is autonomy and yes, autonomy is what I seek from the gov't more than anything else.

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I really am mystified as to where all these people are who deeply resent the 1 or 2 percent of their taxes that actually go to social welfare, but would give way more than that on a purely voluntary system.
Because people don't like to be robbed. People don't like to be forced to give up their money. People who get to hang on to their money are more inclined to be generous with it.

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I would rather "reward" suboptimal choices (which imo are their own punishment anyway) and live in a morally imperfect but predominantly middle class society than enjoy my family's private good fortune in the presence of a teeming, resentful underclass forced to work their fingers to the bone in the name of "self-sufficiency."
Then go for it - but don't make me. I think it is highly unfair that my sister who flunked out of college because she was playing around gets the gov't to pay to feed her children while she plays video games and eats fast food. I fail to see how she is "working her fingers" to the bone, working 3 nights a week at a grocery store. Sorry, she doesn't need welfare; she needs a kick in the pants - something I am more than willing to give her. It hasn't been my experience growing up in the working class that people who work hard and provide for themselves are resentful. I have seen teeming numbers of middle class people resentful that despite their hard work they cannot move upward due to over-taxation. 1 or 2% to this, 1 or 2% to that - adds up to 30% - which is absurd and hardly supportive of autonomy.

It boggles my mind that we believe that children are born innocent and capable of good, but we cannot trust adults to do good without big brother babysitter. What's the point of all this gentle discipline and natural family living - our kids are just going to grow up to be selfish individuals who must be forced by the gov't to care for others?

It's not enough for me and my family to take up the slack and help with child care while my sister and BIL struggle to get their feet back under them? We shouldn't continue actively promoting self-sufficiency through one on one assistance and just encourage them as many of their friends do to just get on welfare? I think it is quite idealistic to think if the gov't didn't take your money you would have the luxury of just sitting back and enjoying your good fortune while everyone around you floundered. There is always someone needing help, and that is pretty difficult to ignore.
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