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Brit Chicks Want More Time With Children

by Christopher Chantrill
June 28, 2006 at 11:01 pm

IN THE US THERE is a swelling movement of women who are wondering if career and children are a sensible combination, indeed whether, as Carolyn Graglia puts it, “market production” has any moral or economic advantage over “domestic production.”

Now British working mothers are beginning to wonder too. Writes Camilla Cavendish: “For me, the desire to be with my children is physical, like an elastic band stretching. I can’t be away for too long.”

And now there’s a poll to back her up.

This week, a YouGov poll of 1,736 mothers in First magazine demonstrates how profoundly unhappy many mothers are with living this way. More than half feel guilty about time spent away from their children. Two thirds think that mothers should stay at home with their babies and toddlers during the first few years — though nationally, less than half do. A third would like to reduce their working hours, and more than a third say they would give up work altogether if they could.

How did we get to this point, where mothers have been tossed into the workplace and told that it is good to leave their children to a childminder? And where they are exhausting themselves—for what?

Here we have the most prosperous society the world has ever seen, and mothers are running themselves ragged?

There seem to be two trends on a collision course. The National Center for Health Statistics says that in 1995 6.6 percent of couples were “childfree,” up from 2.4 percent in the 1980s But wealthy hedge fund managers are going for four and five children, and many people are saying that “three is the new two.”

Writes Cavendish:

We live at a time of greater opportunities for women, of greater job flexibility, of higher average incomes, than at any period in history. Yet we increasingly talk as though we have no control over our lives. We are the first generation to feel that we cannot afford to bring up our own children.

Yes, what is that all about? In the richest society we say we cannot afford to bring up our own children? Who are we kidding?

There is this to think about. When women are at work, governments get revenue from their market production. And they get more control over the nation’s children. It’s all about power, as the postmodernists say.

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Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.

 TAGS


Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust


Hugo on Genius

“Tear down theory, poetic systems... No more rules, no more models... Genius conjures up rather than learns... ” —Victor Hugo
César Graña, Bohemian versus Bourgeois


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990


Conversion

“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


Postmodernism

A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy


Faith and Politics

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable... [1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006


China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing


Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


Conservatism

Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity


US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


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©2007 Christopher Chantrill