Thursday, August 08, 2013

Spicer on motherhood

Kate Spicer has written of her regret at not having children. She points out that there are an increasing number of women in her position:
Where a decade ago, just one in nine women remained childless at 45 and were considered rather peculiar at that, now that figure is closer to one in four. For women with a university education, like me, that figure rises to 43 per cent - an extraordinary figure which signifies a seismic social change.

Why does this trend exist? Kate Spicer suggests that there are women who focus their efforts on career and who just assume that family will happen along the way. She herself also seems to fall into the category of women who leave things to their 30s but who can't break out of the pattern of dating unsuitable men:
from the age of 35 my relationships became even more unsuitable: a married man, a boyish party animal, a confirmed bachelor.

She ends her piece by talking about how special the parent/child relationship is. We live in a culture that is focused on the unrelated other and this blinds us perhaps to the significance of the bonds that are closest to us:
I sometimes lie awake full of dread about the time approaching when my parents are no longer around. To give or to receive unconditional love is a deeply rare thing.

As a rule, flawed as all parties may be, the parent-child bond is the commonest and most reliable form of that love. Sitting writing this at my mother's desk, surrounded by my grandmother and great-grandmother's things, I feel acute awareness that as my life enters its final half, it is with a diminishing circle of love.


  1. But babe, all those unsuitable men you whine about are YOUR creation. You're the one the spreads your legs for them and you're the one that moronically assumes you can change them when it SUITS you. Nope, doesn't work that way does it.

  2. Me, me, me. It is all about me! Waaaah,who is going to love me when I am old?

    She should have had a child with an "unsuitable man" when she had the chance.

  3. I'm finding it hard to read mainstream news sites (all of them).

    It is all women-centric. Childish and perverse with no answer to problems they say our society is suffering from.
    Almost as if they get satisfaction the more perverse and childish the news items are.
    Society really needs to go back to being male-centric.

  4. Meanwhile, the Guardian:

    "Anyone who is genuinely concerned with falling birthrates should be supporting policies such as paid maternity leave, subsidized day care, flexible work schedules, affordable health care and so on that would make it feasible for more women who want babies to have them."

    Policies that have yet to work (in the sense of raising fertility rates) ANYWHERE they have been tried, but whatever, the answer to the failure of liberalism is always "try harder, we need more liberalism!" not "hey, let's stop doing that".

    1. Meanwhile, there is a lovely article about a 107 year old black Briton who has over 50 descendants who took her out of hospital so they could care for her.

      Dont worry about the fertility of childless over-educated white women. Let them die in peace. They can always work until the bitter end taking care of and paying taxes to support the New Britons who dont have to be begged to make children.

      And for you young men who want sons and daughters to love and care for, don't bother with white women. They will have one, maybe two children at best, and they will always feel oppressed, overworked, underpaid, underappreciated, and resentful. Instead, find a wife and mother from better stock that values rather than fears motherhood. Find a woman who is not dead to family.

  5. I am curious as to what about Ms. Spicer or any of these other women who delayed childbearing until it was unlikely makes them 'best quality' white women.

    --Mrs. Johnson

  6. Feh,

    You're right. I was going to make a point of this in the post. The liberal solution to educated women not having children is to push further with the idea of paid maternity leave, subsidised childcare etc.

    The problem with this solution is that women like Kate Spicer weren't held back from having children because they couldn't fit them in with a career. Kate Spicer didn't even get to the point of getting married let alone having kids.

    The problems are more cultural than economic:

    a) I think Kate Spicer is right that women are brought up now to put their efforts into education and career whereas family is just taken for granted as something that will happen down the track. I've read plenty of unhappily childless women who say "I just thought it would happen at some time but it never did". Are women like Kate Spicer being brought up to cultivate the qualities that would make them attractive wives and mothers? Are they being brought up to help guard a culture of family life? Do they know what they need to do to encourage family guy qualities in men?

    b) If you have a culture in which women are supposed to hook up with unsuitable men in their 20s before finally looking for Mr Right in their 30s you're going to have trouble.

    Some women will become habituated to emotional dramas in short term relationships with Mr Wrong. Some women as they get older will become more psychologically damaged in experiencing such relationships and may not even think themselves worthy to be mothers and wives.

    c) If women get the aim of independence and autonomy hammered into them some will become wary of the deep commitments required of marriage and motherhood. They might delay and hesitate. Some might see Mr Right not as a means to fulfilment but as a double-edged sword, one representing a loss of values they have been brought up with.

    Some women might even go further and reject motherhood altogether.

  7. Of course, this has all come about because big business supports it...more profit in the mass immigration of young adult workers than funding the medical and educational needs of the native born. Also, it's much better for the corporations if women are working for them rather than their family.

  8. Here is a long article about what happened to women who "opted out" of working in order to stay home and care for their families:

    Needless to say, being the NYT, (a) the focus is on women [the husbands and ex-husbands were not interviewed], and (b) the argument is that it was a big mistake for women to quit their jobs and stay home.

    Fine response here:

    I'm not against women working. What I am against is this idea that it's somehow a woman's right not to be inconvenienced by her job. Men have been dealing with this work-life conundrum for millennia now, and no one weeps for the time they lose with their children or the loneliness they feel while away from their families. Men suck it up because they know there's no real choice. If you want to provide for your family, you do the necessary. No one's going to congratulate you for doing what you ought to be doing anyhow. It doesn't make you a hero, or special. It's what you should be doing. Able-bodied men who don't do it are contemptible.

    To the women in the linked story, I'd say this: you know what life is? Choices. Compromise. Decisions. Mistakes. Sacrifice. It's not about you, no matter what Oprah and Dr. Phil and all the supermarket magazines say. It's about your family. It's about raising decent and well-adjusted kids. It's about finding happiness and contentment with the person you're married to, and weathering the storms that come. It's caring about your family more than you do yourself. It's accepting that you aren't the center of the universe. Do you dislike your job or feel unfulfilled? Welcome to the human race. Most people don't like their jobs, and most people feel unfulfilled. It's the human condition.

    It's striking the degree to which modern feminism and the "self-esteem movement" has led to a form of sociopathic behavior in many women. Self-actualization has become the end-all and be-all of existence, the magnetic pole around which all of life turns. In men this behavior is recognized as a mental illness, but in women it is more often than not encouraged as a kind of empowerment. And it doesn't even lead to greater happiness on the part of women, based on the evidence, but discontent and bitterness.

    Men don't write articles like this because we know better. The work/life balance has always been grossly unequal. That's just the way life is. You can't be in two places at once, and you can only divide your mental energies into so many quanta. There are only so many hours in the day. Marriage and family, to most men, is the reward for work, not a distraction from it. Work makes family life possible; family life makes work bearable. That's the Great Compact, the cosmic deal that has kept civilization on a paying basis for the last several thousand years.

  9. But the tensions in her marriage didn’t improve. The couple’s long-term issues of anger, jealousy and control got worse as O’Donnel’s dependency grew and a sense of personal dislocation set in. Without a salary or an independent work identity, her self-confidence plummeted.

    “I felt like such a loser,” she said. “I poured myself into the kids and soccer. I didn’t know how to deal with the downtime. I did all the volunteering, ran the auctions. It was my way of coping.”

    Five years after leaving her Oracle job, O’Donnel began volunteering for Girls on the Run, a nonprofit group devoted to girls’ emotional empowerment and physical well-being, and was eventually hired part time, at low pay. She loved the work. The organization’s message, about respecting yourself and surrounding yourself with people who appreciate you, resonated with her. “I started feeling very devalued when I was with him,” O’Donnel said of her husband, “but when I was doing all this nonprofit stuff, I felt great.”

    O’Donnel and Eisel agree the job drove a destructive wedge between them. “I look back on it as the beginning of the end of our marriage,” Eisel said when we talked by phone last month. “Once she started to work, she started to place more value in herself, and because she put more value in herself, she put herself in front of a lot of things — family, and ultimately, her marriage.”

    It seems to me the real problem for her was divorce, and the problem that caused divorce was "The couple’s long-term issues of anger, jealousy and control". Basically, she wasn't a fully formed mature adult who can control her emotions. We've got an upper middle class couple with no real problems getting pulled apart by petty jealousies. That's the problem.

    I know a lot of people who go to work because only people getting paid to do so will hang out with them and give them respect. Succeeding in the mediocrity that is the business world, even at an upper middle class level, is the easy road. Even adult children can do it as long as they can check boxes.

  10. J,

    I read the article you linked to. It's interesting but gets nowhere, except to say that upper class women want a perfect life where they are supported by their husbands, can spend time with their kids, but still have the perfect part-time career, with high status, high pay and advancement.

    What I noticed too is a massive reluctance amongst these women to do anything for their husbands. They'll do stuff for their children, but that's it. It's almost as if they think it's demeaning to do things for their husbands. I wonder if they realise how much their husbands sacrifice to do things for them?

  11. I wouldn't expect an article about women, written by a woman, in the NYT, to be anything other than a pointless exercise in navel-gazing, self-involvement, and complete indifference to the interests and concerns of men.

  12. Feh quoted "Anyone who is genuinely concerned with falling birthrates should be supporting policies such as paid maternity leave, subsidized day care, flexible work schedules, affordable health care and so on that would make it feasible for more women who want babies to have them."

    I would rather the taxation system allowed families to make the choice as to whether or not both parents work. With the current cost of living, it is nigh on impossible to achieve...except for the unproductive who live in government housing collecting the dole.

  13. for you young men who want sons and daughters to love and care for, don't bother with white women

    Hadley, why write that at a traditionalist site?

    We're the ones who want to keep our tradition going. Therefore, marrying non-white women isn't an option.

    We have to put our own house in order and not just allow harmful social trends to fester unopposed.

  14. I know a fair number of white guys (and a lesser number of white girls) who have married Asians. This may not be ideal in terms of "tradition" but it is better than being lonely and childless.

  15. J,

    Right, but this is the sorry situation we've gotten ourselves into. White men feel they've got no option but to marry Asian women and white women increasingly feel they've got no option but to marry Asian men.

    Isn't the problem with this scenario obvious? The problem is a mood of settled despair amongst both white men and women.

    If both groups took a stronger, more positive and more faithful attitude then they would be much more likely to find each other.

    We have to challenge the mood of settled despair and not take it as some sort of permanent feature of things.

    You know, I can discern the signs of the mood of nihilism gradually withdrawing from the non-liberal right in Europe and maybe just a little in the Anglosphere too.

    That is the shift we need to happen. We need for us to shift from a kind of nihilistic despair to a position of strong conviction and a willingness to act to shape the future.

  16. Not sure I would agree with the idea that white men think they have "no option" but to marry Asian women, and despair of finding white women.

    I would argue that many white men prefer Asian women because they are less strident, aggressive, and unfeminine than white women. White women can change this situation not by attempting to shame white men for choosing "submissive robots" (Asian women) but by becoming more feminine themselves.