Friday, April 12, 2013

Motherhood role no longer a source of value?

I watched an episode of Can of Worms last night. The three female panel members were asked if their child was better off in day care or at home.

I don't think a woman should lightly answer "in day care" because that then undercuts the role and the status of motherhood. It's like saying "my child is better off not being with me, his mother".

But two of the three women did answer "in day care" and the reasons they gave concerned me. They preferred day care for their children not because they had to work for financial reasons and not even for career reasons. They found spending time with their children boring and stressful, they tended to be angry and lazy with their kids and so they found they were happier not being with their children and they thought their children were happier not being with them.

Let me say that I acknowledge that looking after young children can sometimes be tedious (though toddlers can also be funny and cute). It's important for mothers to have time for themselves and it's also true that some toddlers can enjoy the playgroup experience. I'm not an absolutist when it comes to formal care, particularly not for older children.

But I do find it difficult to accept a mother saying about her children "I'm better off not being with them, they're better off not being with me, let someone else have them". That is abandoning a very large portion of a distinct womanhood. In my view, too, it is abandoning what you might call a transcendent social role: a role that connects women to a larger value or good than her own merely personal or immediate wants and desires. In that sense it is denatured: it represents a loss of a finer natural impulse in women.

For men, the transcendent social role is to be a provider, a protector and a mentor. To perform this role well requires a man to accept that he will have to do things that are stressful or tedious, but an awareness of the larger value of the role makes that worthwhile. It is like an institutional commitment, rather than a commitment that relies on a day to day calculation of feelings or wants.

I'm not sure if you can make a society work in the long-run without such institutional commitments, not only to parenthood, but to marriage, to moral codes, to communal loyalty and so on. If we were all just to follow a personal "I'll do whatever makes me feel OK right now" mentality, then much is going to fall in society and not just a commitment to motherhood.

I suppose the reality is that some women have been persuaded that motherhood doesn't have the transcendent value as a social role that it has been believed to have in most societies; but if that's the case, then it's likely the same thing will happen to fatherhood and to the family as an institution.

One final point. The two women I'm referring to are Meshel Laurie and Yumi Stynes. I visited Meshel (pronounced Michelle) Laurie's website and couldn't help but notice how keen she is to dedicate herself to Aborigines:
I’ve been trying for years to get involved in a meaningful way with the Aboriginal community, but to no avail really. I’m either rejected immediately because I’m non-Indigenous, or politely told I’m of no use, but to keep donating money. There must be a time and a place for non-Aboriginal people to connect in a meaningful way with Aboriginal people, mustn’t there?

And this:
This is my passion at the moment – The Gap. It has been for about 3 years actually, but it’s taken this long for me to find someone to help me enter the world of Aboriginal Australia. I know that sounds ridiculous but honestly, it’s so much harder than I ever thought it would be to meet and engage with Aboriginal people. It feels like there’s disinterest and mistrust from the Aboriginal side, and I don’t blame them. You can’t just rock up to an Aboriginal person and tell them you want to get to know them and engage meaningfully with their community.
 
So she finds meaning not in being a mother to her own children who presumably love and need her but in an entirely different ethnic group who aren't even interested in her involvement. It's emblematic of what has gone wrong with the Anglo political class as a whole: they don't see the value in securing a common heritage for their own children, the meaning instead is derived from a commitment to those they consider most "other".

33 comments:

  1. Trads need to get used to the idea that not all women are particularly well suited for childcare.

    In hunter gatherer societies, some women will tend to specialize in childcare and others will tend to specialize in gathering, so this

    Even in traditional Western society, some women would tend to take care of children more and others women would tend to do other things.

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  2. Of course, in these societies women were situated in a "women's world" where taking care of children was central. But every woman liking large amounts of childcare is not necessary.

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  3. But Thursday a majority of men are not well suited for paid work either.

    In terms of what we would do if we had the choice, only a minority of 20-something men would elect to spend their time in an office. Most would choose to fish or play football or drink with their mates.

    So it becomes a question of what connects our identity as men and women to transcendent sources of value. For men, that is a role as a protector/provider/mentor and this leads most men to overcome their disinclination to commit to work in order to fulfil an aspect of who they are as men.

    And something similar applies to women and motherhood.

    If you deny this, then you get women like Meshel Laurie trying to find meaning elsewhere - not through motherhood, but through wanting to find an outsider group to rescue.

    This doesn't mean we don't pragmatically recognise that some women will want a larger non-motherhood sphere than other women.

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  4. Interesting comment about the Aboriginals. It seems that non-whites can in some contexts usurp the position of white children in terms of being objects of care, affection and love for white women to focus on.

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  5. Thursday, no thanks.

    Hunter gatherer societies are barbarian, and is what our modern enlightened society looks like in essence.

    We shouldn't look towards hunter gatherers, but away from them.

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  6. Mark,

    I trust you have not pulled this out of thin air?

    "In terms of what we would do if we had the choice, only a minority of 20-something men would elect to spend their time in an office. Most would choose to fish or play football or drink with their mates."

    Are you saying most 20-30 year old men do not want to work?

    Savvas Tzionis

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  7. Secondly Mark,

    Speaking of not connecting with your own culture, have you written any posts on the surge in White Man/Asian Woman couplings occuring in Australia?

    Savvas Tzionis

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  8. Are you saying most 20-30 year old men do not want to work?

    I'm saying most men are not by nature materially ambitious. Their commitment to work is justified on other grounds, one of them being a sense that a provider role is an expression of masculine identity.

    have you written any posts on the surge in White Man/Asian Woman couplings occuring in Australia?

    No, but I've noticed it. I went to Camberwell the other day (for overseas readers: an upper class suburb). All of the young couples I saw were either White male/Asian female or Asian Male/white female. There were no white male/white female couples.

    It's as if elite white males and females have decided to shun each other. Not sure why. Feminism? Or perhaps it's a status thing. Or perhaps it's an internalising of negative messages about being white. Or maybe Asians are more willing to go the extra length to attract a white partner.

    I really don't know, which is why I don't see the point in writing a post.

    Out this way, the phenomenon is not nearly as strong. There's only one Asian/white couple I know of personally, though I occasionally see others. So there is still a new generation being born here.

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  9. Knock yourself out.

    I think we'll see this idea, that children belong to the state, not to parents, pop up more and more in the next decade or so. It's an idea that's bound to appeal to lefty-statist-socialist types: so much easier to mould young minds when you get their parents out of the way.

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  10. I went to Camberwell the other day (for overseas readers: an upper class suburb). All of the young couples I saw were either White male/Asian female or Asian Male/white female.

    I have two white male cousins in Australia. Both of them are married to Asian females. Meanwhile my white female cousins are unmarried and manless.

    It is what it is.

    Not much point in talking about immigration restriction to them, though, heh heh.

    As for day care, those women have to justify the choices they made. If they said "my kids are in day care but they should be home with me" then they'd have to admit they are bad mothers unwilling to make sacrifices for their children. (Saying "kids are boring and stressful" says the same thing in a different way...)

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  11. Maybe the aborigines understand that social distance is part of their allure, and hence part of what keeps the donations flowing. If one got to know them, imagine the disappointment upon learning that they are not mystical beings serenely communing with nature, but rather ordinary, petty humans. Since when has intimate knowledge of another person ever made them more attractive. Admire from a distance, as they say, since it is only from a distance that humans are admirable.

    The two young women who think their children are better off in daycare are either rationalizing their behavior or know themselves to be very bad mothers. They must know that research has shown that children are almost always better off with their mothers. Unless they would spend their days sullenly drinking before the television and occasionally beating their children with an empty beer bottle, these women would serve their children better than any daycare worker. So those are the possibilities. Either they are selfish or they are sullen drunks prone to fits of violence.

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  12. The White male asian female and vice versa thing is interesting I was going to comment on it in your single and 40 post.
    I believe it is not the fault of White males necessarily but the direct result of the way White females are behaving.
    Reading Vanessa's post on German men that you linked it appears that western females have forgotten how to attract males. In fact they are actively trying to make themselves the vilest company they can be.
    Males have not changed in the west they still act largely the same.
    Though western women are greatly different to their 2nd and 3rd world counterparts.
    I believe what Asian females are doing is simply playing the dating game better than white females. They are actively poaching Western males because western males are a catch. They fully realise that western males have been neglected and unloved by the western female and are very receptive to women they show them love.
    This is something that western females are oblivious to highly likely because of their education drumming into their heads a disrespect for their male counterparts and a desire for liberation from their male counterparts.

    The result is that western females are like a lame duck in the dating game. Too egotistical to settle, too ignorant of whats is going on to understand why they are not desirable.

    Western females desperately need good role models that are not careerist feminist saboteurs. They are simply going to be out matched by Asian females.

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  13. I believe what Asian females are doing is simply playing the dating game better than white females. They are actively poaching Western males because western males are a catch.

    Yes, that's likely to be a part of it.

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  14. Hunter gatherer societies are barbarian, and is what our modern enlightened society looks like in essence.

    Wow, obtuse comment of the decade. When something has deep roots in human nature, we as conservatives need to pay attention to it.

    And, no, we are not anything close to a hunter gatherer society. To say so betrays radical ignorance.

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  15. I'm more pragmatic about this. If someone wants to have a child in this day and age, but prefers to pay someone else to take care of it, that seems ok by me.

    Men have paid work because they were needed in that role. In this case the women don't need to directly take care of children, but prefer to pay someone else to do it. I see little virtue in making yourself do something you really don't want to do for what appear to be purely formal reasons.

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  16. They must know that research has shown that children are almost always better off with their mothers.

    No, the differences between kids who are taken care of at home and those in day care are very small to non-existent.

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  17. "not sure why. Feminism? I don't know"

    Mark, you answered the question in your post! 2 out 3 of those women didn't want to take care of their children.

    Asian women in 2013 Australia and U.S.A. have the femininity that European-American and European-Australian women USED to have. The men are mostly the same. And the Euro-american/australian men are still looking for the same type of women. It is just that the most feminine women of 2013 are now largely asian women.

    And don't forget the ethnic component in feminism-teaching white women that white men are the ultimate "oppressors".

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  18. Feminist mothers are worst. Today they consider that boys are their enemies. And they are they are trying to decrease the masculinity of their sons from younger ages deliberately.

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  19. Thursday,

    You seem to be suggesting that:

    a) there is not much connecting women to motherhood

    and

    b) the mother-child relation is not that important

    That's a recipe for:

    a) a low investment by women in family (why invest much in something that has little signicance?)

    b) a loss of commitment by men to a paternal role (as this role is focused on creating space for the mother to raise her child - not necessary if the mother/child relationship is considered unimportant)

    c) a loss of a source of meaning and value in the lives of women

    As I wrote in my post, although I believe young children are better off with mum, I'm not an absolutist on this.

    There are some mums who perhaps can't cope and need respite; as children get older they are more likely to enjoy activities that take place in day care; and some mothers really might have such strong talents and interests in a particular field that they might utilise a certain amount of day care.

    But Thursday I think you've ceded way too much ground when it comes to the significance of motherhood in the lives of women and children.

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  20. You seem to be suggesting that:

    a) there is not much connecting women to motherhood

    and

    b) the mother-child relation is not that important


    I think you're overreaching in your interpretations. Childcare will always be something that is a part of women's sphere, but that every woman should be the primary caregiver of her own children is just not necessary. The mother child bond is important in some ways and not important in others.

    I wonder if you aren't focussing on the nuclear family too much at the expense of other familiar and societal relations.

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  21. I wonder if you aren't focussing on the nuclear family too much at the expense of other familiar and societal relations.
    Well it is a traditionalist site...

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  22. I'd say mother of love:

    1. It's often a good thing in itself. It can be one of the most satisfying relationship one can ever have. But its absence doesn't seem to impair one's ability to function in society, nor to form good relationships with others. We forget that lots of people in pre-modern societies have farmed out child care to other women with little discernible bad effect.

    2. Mothers can be powerful allies in society, providing contacts, advice etc. But again this doesn't necessarily depend on a mother taking care of a child herself in early childhood. It is perfectly possible these women to start buildiing up a good relationship with their children when they are older. It won't be exactly the same kind of relationship, but it can still be a good one.

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  23. Well it is a traditionalist site...

    You seem to labour under the illusion that such a focus on the nuclear family is actually traditionalist.

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  24. We forget that lots of people in pre-modern societies have farmed out child care to other women with little discernible bad effect.

    There was certainly help for mothers. There might have been an umarried sister or else a young girl hired to help in the house.

    The argument here isn't about social supports or wider social networks.

    It's whether we should sign on to the idea of "a mother should devote herself to her children depending on whether she likes to do it or not" versus "there is a good in motherhood that is tied to a woman's identity and which has an institutional significance and that motivates a commitment to family above and beyond immediate preferences".

    I would strongly advise that we stick with the second approach - the first one has wide-reaching consequences that are likely to have a spiralling down effect.

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  25. And, no, we are not anything close to a hunter gatherer society.

    Thursday, yes we are. In some cultural aspects. See the link below for a comparison.

    Liberalism Is Barbaric

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  26. You seem to labour under the illusion that such a focus on the nuclear family is actually traditionalist.

    Thursday, traditionalists focus on both nuclear and extended families.

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  27. Alcestis:

    I took a look at your link. You have no idea what you're talking about.

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  28. There might have been an umarried sister or else a young girl hired to help in the house.

    You're still thinking in terms of individual households comprising the nuclear family, which, while important, are not everything. I'm thinking aunts, grandmothers, siblings, neighbours taking care of children, allowing those women who were not suited for childcare to do other things. (Among upper class people you often had nurses and governesses, but those would have been for an individual household.)

    The focus on the nuclear family is an artefact of modern economies. It's modern not traditionalist, though it retains some traditionalist aspects.

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  29. Thursday,

    Grandmothers are very important in providing support, I agree.

    But the idea that you're going to have a little army of people so that some women don't have to engage much with motherhood - I'm not signing on to that.

    We need women who are oriented to motherhood. That is what we will encourage. We will encourage the idea of family support for new mothers (from grandmothers, sisters etc); we will allow husbands time to help new mothers; we could have maternal nurses to help new mothers; and we could come up with some sort of a "respite" system, particularly for those mothers lacking in family support.

    We would take all this very seriously, but nonetheless we would see the mother/child relationship as primary and we would want women to be oriented toward it.

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  30. You're conflating motherhood with childcare.

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  31. Motherhood is no longer a source of value because business wants cheap labour. Deterring Australian women from motherhood and convincing them that a career spent working for their business is empowering is more profitable than raising the next generation, especially since we can just import another 250,000 immigrants to replace the children that Australian women no longer have.

    I laugh at these progressive women who think they're so wonderful but really have been brainwashed by business into thinking that working like a slave is progressive....to work to pay off a home that was $120,000 20 years ago and is now $620,000....the same house, the price artificially inflated through years of economically driven immigration so that the rich could get more wealthy.

    If we're really concerned about Australia's future, we need to look at the wealthy, bankers, cronyism, etc - leftists on $50,000 a year, although loud, have zero influence on anything.

    The left didn't force this deal -

    "On 31 August 2012 the Australian Government, on advice from the Foreign Investment Review Board, approved the sale of Cubbie [Station], to a consortium comprising Shandong RuYi Scientific & Technological Group Co Ltd, a clothing and textile company owned by Chinese and Japanese investors".

    Can't believe Australians, for a few million extra, would sell off essential land (there were Australians who bid on Cubbie Station)- these deals happen all the time and average patriotic Aussies see none of the benefits yet we vote for big business over and over again.

    It's time for new coalitions to form, the current one's our severely outdated.

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  32. jonas himmelstrand on swedish baby care:

    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/04/26/jonas-himmelstrand-two-generations-of-universal-daycare-have-left-sweden%E2%80%99s-children-less-educated/

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