Secrets of the Upper Class

The folks at New York Magazine who brought us the definitive mommy wars article in 2002, Mom vs. Mom , have done it again -- captured motherhood in its zaniest, most insane, competitive, hilarious moments. The July 24 issue includes Emily Nussbaum's brilliant commentary about the infamous discussion board UrbanBaby, Mothers Anonymous. (Quick background for the uninitiated: UrbanBaby was founded in 1999 as an upscale motherhood message board and is now available in seven cities nationwide. The site is anonymous and you can search for just about any subject you want to discuss -- marriage, divorce, returning to work, pregnancy complications, potty training, preschools, sleep training, celebrities and sex.)

Emily describes the site's appeal best:

"On UrbanBaby, the private lives of city mothers are lit up and exposed. All the houses are glass there, and everybody's got a rock. ... because UrbanBaby is anonymous -- and online, anonymity acts like a combination of a truth serum and a very strong cocktail."

Sound familiar, anyone?

The article introduces some new terms I thought you'd all appreciate: Sanctimommy (a self-righteous mom), Ãœber-boober (a self-righteous mom obsessed with breast feeding), and of course, the ubiquitous, cynical DH (darling husband). The article's illustrations, with comic pop-ups describing moms' inner thoughts, are especially amusing (warning: one verges on x-rated). And don't miss the following unforgettable one-off: "Men on UrbanBaby are a very strange presence. They are necessary, and they are useless."

UrbanBaby didn't exist when I first became a mom, so I came to it already jaded about motherhood. But it fills a critical new-mom need: UrbanBaby gives moms a place to vent, to turn to for advice, for consolation, and for relief from the isolation and occasionally soul-numbing repetitiveness of daily childcare chores. So, take a break from your day, read the article and weep (hopefully with laughter). Then let us know what you think.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  July 31, 2006; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Moms in the News
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Comments

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I read the article last week over a quick lunch between working and picking up my daughter from summer camp at the Y. What was fascinating to me was the revelation of secrets about infidelities, sex lives, etc. It seems like some of the NYC moms are more interested in reading about those topics than sharing about ways of getting through the day with little ones. It was fun and fascinating, but a bit scary, too!

http://punditmom1.blogspot.com

Posted by: PunditMom | July 31, 2006 8:17 AM

Sounds like, bah, who cares what it sounds like. Just another way to gossip and to one up the neighbors. I can't believe that this column is even giving it lip service.

How about more writings on the average American. All these upper crust blogs are mildly nauseating.

Posted by: Joe D. | July 31, 2006 8:32 AM

"Desperate Housewives Online", perhaps?

Posted by: John | July 31, 2006 8:41 AM

It doesn't even have to be an upper crust/wealthy website or chat group for women (mostly) to air their dirty laundry and slam other parents. I belonged to a site for a while and there were a few moms who obviously were upper class, but most of us were middle to upper middle class. The amount of backbiting and judging that went on was astonishing. I quit because the board made being a mom more stressful, not less so. There was a lot of competition and complaining among these strangers, and it was ridiculous.

Posted by: Burke Mom | July 31, 2006 8:46 AM

I thought I'd see an entry on Marc Fisher's parenting article. I *so* hope I'm an uncool parent, after reading that article.

Posted by: Jacknut | July 31, 2006 8:58 AM

I confess. I have an unhealthy addiction to something called:
truewifeconfessions.blogspot.com

I was actually thinking about e-mailing LEslie to ask her to do a story about it. It's basically an anonymous place where women post confessions -- and about 80 percent of them are about women who are angry (and sometimes vindictive) because their husbands don't help around the house.

I guess that's what amazes me about that and urban baby -- it's just so retro. If you didn't know that the internet didn't exist until the 1990's, you'd think it was some kind of time warp where everyone was back in the 1950's. Honestly, have things really changed that little?

I liked what the writer in the New York piece said though about the free-floating angst and climate of despair/shortage that seems to pop up in all those forums. The thing I never understood was the assumption that your child's success (potty training, first word, whatever) somehow affects my child negatively. Because there's only so much (SOMETHING) to go around, and if your child gets it, then there's so much less for my child. It's ridiculous to think that we all WANT the exact same thing for our child anyway, and that somehow there's a finite amount of it. Never understood that.

Posted by: Check This one Out | July 31, 2006 9:14 AM

Are we the first generation to sit around analyzing our lives? Our children's lives? Or, has that always been a human trait?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 9:18 AM

Some part of me says who cares, but the other part of me hopes it isn't this way everywhere. And in the school directory they list whether you work or not, whose idea was that? It's no ones business.

Posted by: scarry | July 31, 2006 9:19 AM

That's funny, Scarry. I don't work, and I"m always really intimidated by the listings in the school directory where Mrs Bigshot@bigshot.com lists 47 different phone numbers and e-mail addresses. (mom home/work/cell/summer house on the Cape/summer house in Athens, etc.; dad home/work/cell/the yacht/the plane; nanny cell, etc.)

I always figured you all did it to intimidate the heck out of the rest of us! Never occurred to me that working moms didn't like it either.

Posted by: SAHM | July 31, 2006 9:24 AM

I thought Emily Nussbaum's article was fantastic. I esp. liked her comment about how Friedan's "Problem with no name" has become a problem with 1,000 names.

My daughter is a toddler, and after much reading on the subject (me, not her, heh), I've become petrified by all the competition that reportedly exists in the D.C. area.

I was way unpopular in school. Can I blame it on my parents that shunned anything social in the community? Am I going to be unpopular with other parents? Will that make my daughter unpopular by default? I can't handle this pressure!

Posted by: Burke Mom2 | July 31, 2006 9:38 AM

Well, we live in Arlington and I've never seen this competition that people complain about. The other parents at my son's preschool are pretty much laid-back. There will be one or two that send in cookies for Valentine's Day with each kid's name individually piped on, but most parents just bring in slice-and-bake or store-bought stuff and no one cares. We all bring cupcakes in to school for our kids' birthdays--no one has the catered parties at home with expensive entertainers for 2-year-olds. We see other parents at the park or Water Babies or whatever and I've never had anyone try and "one-up" me, usually it's more like "your kid is so cute" and "have you found anything to get poop stains out of clothes? This potty training is a nightmare." I don't know who all these crazy people are that get written up in articles and on blogs, but in my experience other parents of young kids are more likely to be in solidarity with you than in competition.

Posted by: Arlmom | July 31, 2006 9:51 AM

Wow, seven cities nationwide.
Sounds really inclusive and representative...

Posted by: Dom's Mom | July 31, 2006 9:54 AM

Last year, I used to post on a board that concerned itself with matters of politeness. I basically used it as a place to vent, since I was having a bit of culture shock after moving from the DC area to the Midwest. I found that the area we moved to to be a somewhat narrow community and I encountered a considerable amount of rude behaviour.

One day I posted/vented about a rudeness that occurred to me, concerning some mothers who asked me if they and their children could pet my dog while we were on our regular morning walk (details are, as I look back, admittedly boring).

Most people were sympathetic, but one poster stated that I was lonely, desperate and pathetic for feeling that the women had been rude to me. She further went on that I must have been desperate for attention to buy a dog as a tool to meet people.

As I sat there with my jaw hanging loose, I decided to stop posting there - the incredible bitterness radiating from the poster's language was just coming out of my monitor in waves. From the article, UrbanBaby sounds like it's the same type of thing.

I had thought it was great to have a "safe" environment in which to vent and try and be supportive of other people's similar urges (because sometimes, your friends and family *do* get tired of hearing you carp about the same thing over and over). But I stopped thinking this way after this response.

If I wanted to be attacked personally, I figure there were always certain ex-friends and family members I could go to - who needs the Internet for that!

Posted by: iniquitydenmother | July 31, 2006 9:56 AM

I don't like it because I feel that when moms come together to better the school and the children, that's what you should be doing. You should just be a mom, not SAHM mom or Vice president mom. I think it can be intimidating to both moms and dads for that matter. I mean if I was working with you on a school fundraiser and you ask me to handle the money, I might say no way, I have an English degree and I can't do math or if we became friends and we started discussing life. I just think it is unnecessary and I can see where you would be intimidated because I am too.

Posted by: scarry | July 31, 2006 9:58 AM

That is one sad article! I really hope this is not the norm. Personally, I guess I just don't care that much about what others think so maybe I'm just oblivous to what is going on around me. What this really shows is the high level of insecurity facing mothers in our society.

Posted by: faboworkingmom | July 31, 2006 10:02 AM

Why is asking to pet your dog rude? I can see if they just pet your dog without asking why that would be rude, but what's the problem with what they did?


I don't the poster in your blog should jumped all over you, but I do wonder what the bid deal is.

Posted by: to iniquitydenmother | July 31, 2006 10:05 AM

I remember the original 2002 New York article and all the women at work laughed about the SAHM women with nannies who work out 2-3 hours a day b/c of the "pressure to be thin." My comment was in a few years, they'll lose the tight yoga butt no matter how many hours they work out and their brains will still be mush.

I wonder if this internet phenomenon is related to the recent news article that showed that people these days have few friends to confide in. Isn't it sad that we have to go to the internet to express our feelings anonymously?

And it is human nature to be competitive and anxious about our station in life. When someone behaves in a self-rightous way, especially with regard to parenting, I just tell myself that that individual is an unhappy, miserable person. We make choices in life and if you're unhappy with it, then change it, and cut out the self-rightous, I'm better than you cr*p.

Posted by: working mother | July 31, 2006 10:07 AM

We have something similar here in DC - the dcurbanmoms emails. It's not anonymous so you don't see as much soul bearing but there is definitely a lot of angst on it. Occasionally all the old battles pop up: SAHM v. WAHM, breast v. bottle, etc..
What always suprises (and amuses me) about it are 1) the women who seem to post everyday - and respond to everyone's questions (very nice of them, but do they have anything else to do?) and 2) the people who seem to use it as a crutch for not thinking things out with questions like: what should I do with my kid's artwork? I mean if you can't figure that out on your own...Tha being said, I couldn't live without it. Thank God for the Internet, it has definitely opened many cans of worms but also provided some very needed support to moms, especially new ones!

Posted by: Downtown | July 31, 2006 10:24 AM

Actually, I enjoyed the article. Some of it I could relate to, like the 70's parenting style (my GOD my parents were neglectful! It's a good thing I patterned myself after Jane Eyre during my teen years or who knows where I might have ended up. Dead, or worse.) Some of it was just kind of out of my realm. Cheating husband? Nannies? That is stuff you read about in books.

A lot of it was funny, and a lot of it reminded me of the conversations my sister and I would have about our husbands and kids when they were little and we were exhausted. We are both parttime SAHM's and parttime working moms. Our husbands were so clueless at times it was criminal. (i.e.--let's have sex five weeks after your c-section and can you do laundry the day you get home from the hospital after your c-section?). Our husbands have been total morons at times and also been great. The one thing that has kept us from divorcing or killing(well, not killing, but death HAS been a fantasy at one time or another--theirs and ours) our husband/children has been love, naps and take-out.

Posted by: parttimer | July 31, 2006 10:29 AM

It wasn't really a big deal - that was the point. I was simply venting - like hundreds of other people on the board, some with problems smaller than mine, some far more serious.

The eye-opener here for me was the vindictiveness some of these board-posters possess. Or at least vindictiveness that sometimes appeared to be masquerading as moral superiority.

That's what the article felt like to me - some of these Mom's are just trying to appear as if they are a far better person than you in their responses. Instead of just grasping that sometimes you just need a place to vent your feelings so they don't ruin your day, you know?

Posted by: iniquitydenmother | July 31, 2006 10:33 AM

Off topic, but cute.

The Bad Dream by Fo4 & Son

Setting: I was laying on the couch yesterday simply enjoying the air-conditioning. My 4 year old crawled up on me and this was the conversation:

Him: Daddy, I love you.

Me: Aw., shucks. I love you too.

Him: I had a bad dream last night.

Me: Why, that's terrible. Did you dream of monsters?

Him: No monsters. I dreamed I was squeezing Mommy's boobs. [giggle]

Me: [Laughing] How could that possibly be a bad dream?

Him: Mommy said I'm not allowed to touch them anymore. I was being bad!

Posted by: Father of 4 | July 31, 2006 10:41 AM

OT- to the dog lady, but what's so rude about someone *asking* to pet your dog? I would have interpreted that as being polite.

Posted by: Just asking- not jumping. | July 31, 2006 10:42 AM

Sorry- I was writing while you posted! Question answered.

Posted by: Still not jumping- just asking | July 31, 2006 10:43 AM

Posting/venting your personal feelings will inevitably open you up to mean and vindictive replies. Posting impersonal comments and responses seems to be the way to go on blogs. Don't post personal stuff because some unpleasant person is probably trolling the internet looking for some place to vent their spleen and personal posts are a perfect target.

I thought the article was pretty sad. Who cares how much money some unknown person has or how long they breast fed.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 10:45 AM

Interesting NY Times article today about men 30 and older who choose not to work:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/31/business/31men.html?hp&ex=1154404800&en=f82d5d3f9f822e4f&ei=5094&partner=homepage

I hope the hyperlink works.

Posted by: working mother | July 31, 2006 10:59 AM

I find myself wondering what the difference is between UrbanBaby and this blog. Just another way to release our crocodile tears for the uber-rich mommies and daddies out there? What a terrible waste of time and effort.

Posted by: Give me a break | July 31, 2006 11:02 AM

Leslie,

The Science Christian Monitor has a very interesting article today on the increase in pregnancy discrimination cases. That might make a good topic of discussion for another day's blog.

Posted by: working mom of two | July 31, 2006 11:29 AM

Whew! Sorry--I had to run out for donuts and coffee. Well, this is not really an anonymous forum, is it? We have to open an account to log on, and in doing so, I would imagine that if they wanted to WaPo could find out who you are. Or maybe I have just seen too many Law and Order episodes. But one of the things I noticed at Urbanbaby is that the issues are not much different than mine. Pressure to be thinner, pressure from spouses, in-laws, etc. Wondering if you need meds for your anxiety or will a yoga class help, are your kids o.k, is your marriage normal, etc. I have been broke, flush and in-between, and if you met me you might think (depending on the day and my mood) that I was upper-class. Or white trash.

Posted by: parttimer | July 31, 2006 11:31 AM

I looked at some of those blog entries...Gad...what a bunch of whiney, entitled people! They personify the stereotype of NYC'ers as neurotic, self-centered....yada yada yada....kind of like Seinfeld or the Clinton Presidency....all about nothing.

Gag.

Posted by: Dad of 2 | July 31, 2006 11:55 AM

Uh, I really identified with some of the comments about sexual problems, especially the vexing small penis situations.....

Posted by: Marlo | July 31, 2006 12:03 PM

Nothing personal, Dad, but your post was whiny and self centered and all about nothing.

I find the mommy boards I've visited to be fascinating. I am so happy to know that my experiences as a new mother are very common. I've also made friends in real life with some local women I've met on these boards. They've been a great resource.

I think it's interesting, though, how the same internet places that can me informative and interesting are also full of black and white extremes. Is this a cultural trend or is it a symptom of the internet, or both? This blog is a good example. I'll see several useful posts and several posts by people who see things in black and white and are just itching to criticize.

As with any resource of support and information, it's important to keep message boards in their place. If you need to be ugly to other people, it's time to take a break.

Posted by: Chrissy | July 31, 2006 12:07 PM

Why do so many people go around complaining that they are "worn out" and "so busy!" when in reality they spend hours blogging and posting and reading things on the Internet?

Posted by: Curious no more | July 31, 2006 12:07 PM

To Marlo: Yeah, I could sympathize with those who have a small penis problem too....

Posted by: Dad of 2 | July 31, 2006 12:22 PM

Stemming from working mom of two's question, has anyone experienced pressure from work to coordinate family planning? Ie - don't get pregnant at the same time as so and so because you both can't be out simultaneously. This happened to me and I personally felt my boss was way out of line. Is this appropriate discussion for a supervisor to have with employees?

Posted by: Curious | July 31, 2006 12:37 PM

I can't imagine anything less appropriate for discussion. Boss: "Elaine, you know you can't have sex this month because you might get pregnant, and Debbie over in Accounts Receivable is already on the calendar."

Yuchh.

Posted by: Dad of 2 | July 31, 2006 12:39 PM

OK, I'm doing it again... no kids, no time, and yet I compulsively check out this blog.

It's important to talk about raising kids, and it's crucial to inject a sense of humor into life. But with all that's going on in Lebanon and Israel, and all the other hotspots all over the world where people struggle just to eke out an existence, I wish we could take some lessons from that and realize what's truly important. I guess that philosophy would hold true for anyone living in an industrialized nation, where the priorities and stresses have shifted so much.

Leslie, why don't you do a column about motherhood in the 3rd world?

Posted by: a question of priorities | July 31, 2006 1:09 PM

OK, I'm doing it again... no kids, no time, and yet I compulsively check out this blog.

It's important to talk about raising kids, and it's crucial to inject a sense of humor into life. But with all that's going on in Lebanon and Israel, and all the other hotspots all over the world where people struggle just to eke out an existence, I wish we could take some lessons from that and realize what's truly important. I guess that philosophy would hold true for anyone living in an industrialized nation, where the priorities and stresses have shifted so much.

Leslie, why don't you do a column about motherhood in the 3rd world?

Posted by: a question of priorities | July 31, 2006 1:09 PM

To InquityDenMother
Where in the Midwest are you now? I moved from DC to St.Louis a few years ago and while more narrow-minded, I find it easier to balance family/work/life here. Per today's topic - it's hard to find sympathy for people who resemble soap opera characters.

Posted by: phoenix_mj | July 31, 2006 1:13 PM

while I find what is going on in Lebanon a tradgedy. Why would Leslie write a blog on a thrid world country. Are they going to come on the forum and blog about their lives.

Posted by: ? | July 31, 2006 1:14 PM

'a question of priorities' makes an excellent point and exposes one of the massive shortcoming of this blog. Leslie only likes to write about how tough it is for the Starbucks-Georgetown manison-luxury SUV set. Parenting in the Third World, extending quality child care to all, ways to ensure that any parent wishing to be a SAHP can do so...all of these issues have no place in Leslie's worlld, at least as evidenced by the subjects covered on this blog.

Posted by: Glover Park | July 31, 2006 1:14 PM

To phoenix_mj Per today's topic - it's hard to find sympathy for people who resemble soap opera characters.

They probably have small penises too.

Posted by: Marlo | July 31, 2006 1:16 PM

Dear Marlo,
You're making my day. Keep up the good work!
Sincerely,
Spob

Posted by: Spob | July 31, 2006 1:19 PM

Also likewise to Dad of 2 and Father of 4 as always.

Posted by: Spob | July 31, 2006 1:20 PM

Despite the strip clubs, Glover Park is still more like Georgetown than the third world. Spare me the liberal guilt.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | July 31, 2006 1:25 PM

Parenting in the Third World might be an interesting topic to research and read about -- only a few clicks away if you CTRL-'N' and go to Google, but really, how many of us would write comments other than "oh, how terrible." Its a useless blog topic. Article yes, blog no.

Posted by: Good God | July 31, 2006 1:27 PM

Arlington Dad,

You don't know the first thing about me, my background, what I do for a living or anything else.

How would you feel if I made the same assumptions about you?

If you'd like to have an intelligent conversation, I'm all ears., But in the meantime, get your head out of your a$$.

Posted by: Glover Park | July 31, 2006 1:28 PM

To all those complaining (not respectfully suggesting) about Leslie's blog topics two things -
1. If you don't like the blog why are you participating?
2. She allows guest bloggers have you all submitted your blogs on the topics you think should be discussed?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 1:28 PM

I've got a small penis. That's why I got an education. Women care more about money.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 1:28 PM

All of these are useless blog topics because no one here does anything than murmur the ritual, "oh my, how terrible."

That's why this blog -- and the mommy war cottage industry that Leslie has invented -- is such b.s.

Posted by: Agreed | July 31, 2006 1:30 PM

Like the story says, if you have a big d*** you don't need a red Corvette!

Posted by: To 01:28 PM | July 31, 2006 1:30 PM

Glover Park, by the tone of your posts, I'm assuming that you have a small penis.

Do you happen to be educated too?

Posted by: Just asking | July 31, 2006 1:35 PM

To Just asking: Be careful or you'll get your pee-pee slapped!

Posted by: Dad of 2 | July 31, 2006 1:40 PM

The fact that this blog has descended into an exploration of penis size only proves how insipid and moronic it is 99.44% of the time. I thought we were on the verge of turning a corner when the topic of parenting in the Third World was raised. But thankfully, you all snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and the usual banter prevails.

For the record, the Good Lord endowed me just fine.

Posted by: Glover Park | July 31, 2006 1:41 PM

I've got a small penis, but it sure is cute!

Posted by: Just Telling | July 31, 2006 1:48 PM

Enough hammering the liberals. You don't see us lamenting the republicans raising more me-first, over-entitled, trust-fund brats.

Posted by: Enuff | July 31, 2006 1:49 PM

Glover Park -- hit a nerve?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | July 31, 2006 1:50 PM

Arlington Dad,

No, you didn;t hit a nerve -- nowhere close.

I just find myself very tired of the continued ignorance that you display on this blog.

Posted by: Glover Park | July 31, 2006 1:55 PM

The fact that today's topic and comment postings devolved so rapidly just proves that it's old news and boring. Rich SAH moms spend a lot of time "one-upping" each other and raising their children as if it were some sort of competition. "Rich people are often nasty and vindictive": News at 11!

Posted by: Suri C. | July 31, 2006 1:57 PM

Glover Park,

Wow, you make me sound like I participate regularly. So what do you think we should discuss on the blog today? Sounds like the two of us, and many others, are tired of the "upper class secrets" topic. Child care in the Third World, frankly, is too vast a topic at this point. The size of mens' anatomy is childish. Throw out a topic and let's see where it goes.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | July 31, 2006 2:01 PM

very immature to discuss penis size or lack there of. Very tacky to actually act like you upset someone by saying they had a small one. What are we going to argue over next, who has the biggest boobs?


Posted by: scarry | July 31, 2006 2:02 PM

"What are we going to argue over next, who has the biggest boobs?"

Or...... who has the biggest MAN boobs?

:-)

Posted by: Dad of kids from A-Z | July 31, 2006 2:06 PM

I'd love to talk about how we provide the opportunity for every parent to be a SAHP if they so desire. How do we do it?

Posted by: Glover Park | July 31, 2006 2:09 PM

Scarry, you just gave me an idea. Maybe Leslie will do a "Making Time for Sex" thread. It would be completely on topic with "Juggling Family", not to mention it could lead to a very lively, fun discussion.

Of course, it would have to be tastefully done...

Posted by: Father of 4 | July 31, 2006 2:12 PM

I'm sitting at my desk, eating my Lean Cuisine, reading this blog for some intelligent discussion on work-family balance. Hmm, what I find is not exactly what I expected. I have to wonder if the UrbanBaby participants aren't just looking for other similarly situated moms with whom to commiserate. Maybe not MY peer group - and although I have issues to deal with, fortunately cheating husbands and whether to quit a $150k per year job are not among them. More like how to coordinate work schedules and three kids in three schools with school starting August 10. When did the school year creep into mid-August anyway? Shouldn't the children still be enjoying summer? And when did school supply lists start including 138 items, most of which seem to be "classroom supplies" and not "school supplies"? And, to add to my frustration, I can't seem to find a pedicure appointment that's NOT in the middle of my work day. Just how is a busy mom supposed to relax?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 2:13 PM

"Scarry, you just gave me an idea. Maybe Leslie will do a "Making Time for Sex" thread. It would be completely on topic with "Juggling Family", not to mention it could lead to a very lively, fun discussion.

Of course, it would have to be tastefully done..."

Nah, not here!

Posted by: Dad of 2 | July 31, 2006 2:18 PM

How to be a SAHP? No answers to that here -- my wife and I both work.

Big problem is paying the Arlington mortgage. We moved from Foxhall Village (almost your neighbor...) to Arlington to get access to good schools, but housing is just as expenive "way out" in Arlington as it is in DC.

I think we could almost do it -- after we gave up the cable tv and a cell phone or two -- but then there's no retirement, no savings, no cushion. That peace of mind is a good thing, but is it the most important thing?

Once you figure out how to afford it, how do you transition? It looked fun for Mom in the 70s -- lots of kids on the block and lots of Moms around for adult interaction during the day. But islation is a concern staying at home now.

Random responses to a big question. Glover Park, what are your biggest obstacles to being a SAHP?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | July 31, 2006 2:18 PM

father of 4,

I'm all for talking about sex and even light hearted jokes, but it isn't neccessary to pick on glover park and ask about his penis size.

By the way what is the secret to having sex with the kids in the house?

Posted by: scarry | July 31, 2006 2:19 PM

To Scarry:

"By the way what is the secret to having sex with the kids in the house?"

Duct tape usually works just fine!

Posted by: Dad of 2 | July 31, 2006 2:22 PM

I can see that as a blog topic, the state of parenting in the 3rd world wouldn't be much of a conversation-starter here, but "question of priorities" has a great point. Just focusing for a while on what it takes to be a parent elsewhere -- 1/2 a day's walk for water, with baby on back and toddler in tow, not to mention the day's work, lack of sanitation, no options for schooling, and unpredictable availability of food -- can certainly make one a lot more grateful for what we have. Yes we have frustrations and it's legit to vent, but when you boil it down *all* of us (not just the 'upper class') have it pretty cushy. It just helps to remember that occasionally. As we sit down to dinner some nights griping about tough days, my husband or I (depending on who had the bad day) can usually bring the other one around with "could be worse - we could be in Bangladesh".

Posted by: priorities and perspectives | July 31, 2006 2:22 PM

No one wants to talk on about the urban mommy blogs because they are vapid and boring. Sorry, Leslie, this topic is just a lemon.

I used to have a friend who was an urban mommy type. Before she became the prototypical urban mommy, she was actually an interesting and fun person. But then she got married to a man who works 24/7 and travels a lot. Her son was born and she gave up her job. Materially, she has everything. The house in Georgetown, the accoutrements, babysitters and housekeepers, shopping for entertainment. But she also has become a dissatisfied, whiny shell of a human being, who pitches a fit if someone looks at her funny at the beauty salon, or if her babysitter finishes the orange juice, or countless other petty things. I have no doubt she is on one of those blogs complaining about how stressful it is to stay at home with a three year old. It is a little sad, but ultimately, it is just boring.

Posted by: Rockvillle | July 31, 2006 2:28 PM

hahah, I bet my two year old could get out of it. It's like she is sound asleep until we want to do it and then, well she is wide awake at the foot of the bed.

Posted by: scarry | July 31, 2006 2:28 PM

To Scarry: "hahah, I bet my two year old could get out of it. It's like she is sound asleep until we want to do it and then, well she is wide awake at the foot of the bed."

Head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes! Just remember, NEVER both mouth and nose at the same time!!!

Posted by: Dad of 2 | July 31, 2006 2:33 PM

depending on who had the bad day) can usually bring the other one around with "could be worse - we could be in Bangladesh".

Yeah or you could be in the Appliaction Moutians or any other number of places HERE. Take care of your own country first people.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 2:37 PM

[what is the secret to having sex with the kids in the house?]

My suggestion is don't make it a secret. Leaving the bedroom door open usually has the kids running outside to play.

Now for the 4 year old, who wants to join in, a Barney movie last for about a half an hour. Perfect!

Posted by: Father of 4 | July 31, 2006 2:38 PM

Motherhood in the third world is so much more difficult, and devastating, than my world that I wouldn't dare to demean other women by suggesting I know ANYTHING about the challenges they face as women and mothers in countries where violence directed against women and children, as well as disease and starvation, are every day problems.

I care deeply -- too deeply to pretend that writing a few words would make a difference. If any of you have good suggestions about international organizations that can help, please share them here. Thank you.

Posted by: Leslie | July 31, 2006 2:38 PM

Glover Park sure can dish it out -- but like a schoolyard bully, can't take it.

Love how this blog manages to reveal what folks are really made of.

Posted by: Leslie | July 31, 2006 2:39 PM

"Now for the 4 year old, who wants to join in, a Barney movie last for about a half an hour. Perfect!"

Great! Now I can take a 29 1/2 minute nap, too!

Posted by: Dad of 2 | July 31, 2006 2:39 PM

Yeah or you could be in the Appliaction Yeah, but there is no excuse for Americans to be in that kind of situation. I know many immigrants who have come to this country and through hard work and perseverance, have forged good lives for themselves. I can never figure out why people who were born here can't do it if immigrants can. So I tend to feel more sorry for the people in Bangladesh. They do not have the same opportunities that the people in Appalachia have chosen not to take.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 2:40 PM

Father of 4 -

Sounds like you just volunteered to write a guest blog. Good topic. You've got 300 words. Go for it!

Posted by: Leslie | July 31, 2006 2:41 PM

I hope we do have a blog on pregnancy discrimination cases & the workplace, seems like it would be a lot more interesting and informative.

The Urbanbaby topic is not very interesting nor do the women who post there seem to have a problem with balancing their lives.... they have the leisure and resources to effectively do whatever they want with their time and infants.

Posted by: working mom of two | July 31, 2006 2:44 PM

Having lived in Kentucky for 10 years, I can tell you that many, many people in Appalachia would disagree with people assuming they want a better lifestyle. My experience on numerous occasions was that people in Eastern Kentucky do not "go beyond their raisin'" nor do they want their children to do so. If Daddy had a high school education and it was good enough for him, who is Junior to think he or she is going to college? I do not disagree that living conditions and social conditions are terrible in many, many parts of the world. And we can, and should, do what we can to improve conditions - especially for women and children. But I would caution those with ideas that people in Appalachia believe their lives merit our "help" or imposition of our values. Based on my experience, not everyone wants to be, or wants their children to be, college educated, middle-class or even successful as we would define it.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 2:49 PM

Ruh roh. You give out homework and the posts die off! Either that or it's afternoon smoke break time........

Posted by: Dad of 2 | July 31, 2006 2:49 PM

Leslie, in case you are interested in suggestions, here's a few:
o historical mention of the evolution of balance and the changing character of marriage (Marriage: A History would be a good place to look)
o how balance issues for same-sex couples with kids compare to those of heterosexual couples (for example, the issue of what kind of health insurance is available)
o how the debt/income ratio has changed over the years and how this affects work/life balance

Posted by: blog topic suggestions | July 31, 2006 2:52 PM

>>I'd love to talk about how we provide the opportunity for every parent to be a SAHP if they so desire. How do we do it?>>

Save money before you have kids and pay off all consumer debt, make sure one of you has a job that pays well enough to support a family, don't have more kids than you can afford, live somewhere with a lower cost of living, and only buy what you can pay for.

Because I hope you aren't talking about how "society" or "the government" can provide the "opportunity" for people to stay home. I really have no interest in paying more taxes (or facing more federal debt) on the money I go out and earn so that someone else's spouse can stay home. And I wasn't aware that, in this country, anyone but yourself is responsible for fulfilling your desires. I certainly don't see why desiring to be supported as a SAHP is any more important or valuable that desiring to be well-educated or be an artist or whatever.

Posted by: Arlmom | July 31, 2006 2:54 PM

Working Mom of Two - There was a great discussion about pregnancy discrimination at work. See the Archives -- $48.9 Million Babies, which started out as a column about the recent Verizon discrimination suit settlement, and evolved into personal stories

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/onbalance/2006/06/489_million.html

I agree - the subject needs to be discussed a lot more, because it still occurs a lot. Even in its subtle forms, mom-discrimination discourages many women from working.

Posted by: Leslie | July 31, 2006 2:58 PM

Since Glover Park won't continue our discussion, thank you ArlMom for continuing with the SAHP topic...

"Save money before you have kids and pay off all consumer debt, make sure one of you has a job that pays well enough to support a family..."

But at what point should a young couple take the "leap of faith" and start a family? I worry about the folks who work so hard to get their "ducks in a row" (debt paid off, big enough salary, what have you...) that they put off having children. Sometimes I think you have to assume that you'll make some good decisions and things will work out. Child-bearing years don't last forever, but it's good to be prepared, but how prepared / perfect do you need to be before you have that wonderful baby?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | July 31, 2006 3:07 PM

You have GOT to be kidding.
A bunch of rich Moms complaining about their lives....?

Puhhhleeeeaaase. I suppose this is the perfect proof that money does NOT equal happiness.

Posted by: GeekMom | July 31, 2006 3:12 PM

I agree with Arlington Dad's 3:07 post. My own experience (we got preggers 2 weeks after the wedding, when I was going through a major life change, moving, starting grad school, and a couple of other things) is that you wait until you've had enough time together. We barely had a night to ourselves, because of the logistics. My parents lived in one part of the country, hers in another....and while I love our kids, I would have liked at least a few months to ourselves. But, I couldn't keep my hands off her, so there you go!

Posted by: Dad of 2 | July 31, 2006 3:16 PM

Leslie,

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out! Arlmom you are right on target with your comments. As a working mother, I have no interest in watching my taxes go to support someone else so they can stay home. We all make choices that impact our earning potential and our ability to choose to stay home to raise kids or go on sabbatical for a year or two.

Posted by: working mom of two | July 31, 2006 3:18 PM

Speaking of Appalachia, there are plenty of millionaires and well-educated people there, too. Please don't talk about the region if you don't know anything about it except the stereotypes ("Appliaction Moutians" -- what the heck does that mean?).

Posted by: Let's drop the regionalism | July 31, 2006 3:23 PM

"My experience on numerous occasions was that people in Eastern Kentucky do not "go beyond their raisin'" nor do they want their children to do so."

Such a generalization. Many people in Eastern Kentucky also want their children to have the opportunities they did not have, and want them to get a good education and have a satisfying career and a good lifestyle.

Posted by: JB | July 31, 2006 3:26 PM

That article, while scary, actually backs up a theory I've had for quite some time: there is a dark side to the lives of many stay at home moms. This results in more of them being medicated just to get through their day and their kids being less independent than WOHMs. I've come to the conclusion that the unsatisfying marriage thing happens as often for WOHMs as it does for SAHMs, although SAHMs seem to tolerate it longer. Possibly because their "job" would be jeopardized if they confronted the offending husband.

Posted by: Unreal | July 31, 2006 3:29 PM

I can't belive that I'm posting here (I've never posted anywhere) but here goes. Our solution:

Each child gets two very large ice cream cones. They are only given as a special treat and must be eaten outside on the back deck because they are so drippy and messy. The larger the cone the more time you have! I always know when I'm in for an afternoon break when my husband comes home with a box of waffle cones!

Happy husband and wife = Happy mom and dad = happy kids.

Posted by: HappyMom | July 31, 2006 3:30 PM

In some ways, I couldn't relate to the UrbanBaby article because every other mom I know has been totally supportive of my child-raising troubles. When my baby was a biter, all the moms in his daycare class were supportive, even the mom of the kid he bit the most (i think they liked each other. they were always kissing!) I hope it doesn't get bad when my kid is in school.

By the way, Leslie, I would love to see an entry specifically on the tensions between schools and WOH vs SAH parents. The moms of both types that I know are always stressed out about being asked to do things by the schools: the SAHMs feel the burden is all on them and the WOHMs feel the schools make unreasonable demands of their time. both types of mom seem to think the schools want all the moms to SAH so they can be unpaid labor 24/7. Do dads have to volunteer at the schools?

I'd also like to input that I came from a 3rd world country and in some ways it wasn't as bad there. One big difference is that it was common and affordable to have household help or a babysitter. But then again, because women tended not to have high-powered careers, but rather to just work as teachers, nurses, or receptionists once their kids went to school, their babysitters were normally not required full time.

But countries differ. Not all 3rd world countries lack running water, schools, etc. You might mean 4th world.

Posted by: m | July 31, 2006 3:30 PM

Arlington Dad you're right too, waiting until all your ducks are in order doesn't always work and isn't always necessary. We took the leap of faith when we were 27 and 30 respectively & had been married for five years. We lived in a small apartment and made far lower salaries than we do now (a decade plus later). We just told ourselves that things would work out and we scrimped and did without a lot of things. It was hard and wonderful at the same time. we don't regret it at all.

Posted by: working mom of two | July 31, 2006 3:32 PM

I think that somehow people seem to be mistaking blogging on UrbanBaby (which in the case of the message boards tends to be ranting or at the very least complaining) with therapy. It seems to me like most of these people need to get friends, or maybe a hobby, or a life. I found it quite sad and in no way representative of my lifestyle or the people around me.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 31, 2006 3:36 PM

great, maybe the rich people down there should help the kids with teeth rotting out of their mouth! And, not everyone in this country has a choice, but if they did, we could say people in Bangladish have the same choice. Change the government, don't have so many kids, work harder.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 3:44 PM

Speaking of Appalachia, there are plenty of millionaires and well-educated people there, too. Please don't talk about the region if you don't know anything about it except the stereotypes ("Appliaction Moutians" -- what the heck does that mean?).

written by a person who probably grew up wealthy. And the term Applicain Mountians is a reginal saying, so there!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 3:53 PM

Arlmom...are you actually suggesting that people take personal responsibility for their own actions??? *gasp* ;-)

Posted by: missicat | July 31, 2006 3:57 PM

"Because I hope you aren't talking about how "society" or "the government" can provide the "opportunity" for people to stay home. I really have no interest in paying more taxes (or facing more federal debt) on the money I go out and earn so that someone else's spouse can stay home"

I would be willing to pay more taxes to improve schools, provide affordable health care, reduce/eliminate crime, provide decent retirement, and provide affordable housing. Many families cannot afford to live on one income - the biggest obstacles are affordable health care and housing. I know many people who are completely willing to move to "affordable" neighborhoods, but those neighborhoods are not always safe, the schools are sub-par, and the jobs are too far away.

The middle-class is disappearing.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 3:58 PM

Good advice re: planning your family. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world. S* happens.

Illness, injury, job-loss, outsourcing, sick parents who need help, auto accidents, etc. can all thwart the best-laid plans. And there aren't always enough child-bearing years left to recover from some setbacks.

Posted by: to Arlmom | July 31, 2006 4:04 PM

I serve on the board for a regional food bank - over 40% of emergency food recipients are families, an average of three people. More than half own their homes. Approximately 14% are behind on their mortgage payments. Most have at least one full time employed adult, many have two. I can imagine how much worse these numbers will be this winter if gas prices stay so high and heating costs go up. This is in the US, in 2006. I don't disagree with trying to help outside our borders, but it seems to me that there is a lot we can do here. It sure makes me complain less about being worried, stressed or feeling "unbalanced" when I realize I don't have to worry about how to provide food for my children or whether to pay the utility (or medical) bill or buy food. Parts of our country are a little bit "third world" too.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 4:08 PM

Anonymous at 3:53 pm (why not sign your posts?). I grew up in Appalachia and have never heard of "Applicain Mountians". Either that or you don't know how to write dialect.

What does it matter if I grew up poor or wealthy? They live side by side where I come from. I grew up in Appalachia and my family still lives there. What about you?

"Maybe the rich people down there should help the kids with teeth rotting out of their mouth!"

Yes, and maybe the rich people here in DC or in NYC could do that for the kids here who have teeth rotting out of their mouth. Why do you think that poverty only exists in Appalachia? Wonderful stereotyping goign on here, and contributes nothing to the discussion. When I'm back home, why do I never see people with "rotting teeth" and all this crap everyone believes is the way everyone there looks like?

Because it doesn't exist.

Posted by: JB | July 31, 2006 4:09 PM

As the product of a "third world country" I can tell you all that for those who are not facing starvation (and contrary to what you think not everyone in 3rd world countries are deprived of food) motherhood is much less stressful than it is in the US for the following reasons:
1) we believe it takes a village to raise a child - everyone from mom, dad, grandparents, aunts and uncles are involved in raising children. It is a community affair
2) labor is cheap - most middle class families have at least a maid to help with household chores so moms can focus on the kids
3) we don't have an introspective culture - maybe it's because we are not as comfortable as most Americans but most moms don't sit around wondering whether they are doing a good job, they just do the best they can and hope for the best.

Posted by: fabworkingmom | July 31, 2006 4:16 PM

Apologies for the temporary absence...I had work to do.

A few observations:

I wonder who is more conservative ArlMom or Father of 4? The thing I find so bogus about conservatives is that they have no compunction about talking about the importance of family, how iportant parenting is, etc. but then they climb the walls when the rubber has to meet the road and someone broaches the subject of society and taxpayers helping people be a SAHP. It just shows how hollow all of their rhetoric truly is.

If we, as a society and as a country, really cared about children and family, then we would be exploring ways to help anyone be a SAHP because we all recognize the vital roll they play.

ArlMom, your self-centered, I-only-give-a-sh*t-about-me attitude is charming. I'm happy you;re able to be a SAHP. It would be nice if you had a modicum of sympathy for everyone else out there who can't afford it.

I have written a few times on this blog about my own situation: my wife earns about double what I earn. Therefore, it perhaps makes sense that she go back to work and I stay at home. Forgive me, though, if I feel embarassed that I cannot provide better for my family and that I find myself troubled that my wife is forced to go back to work. She has made umpteen sacrifices for me, and I feel a deep responsibility to do the same for her, but the Bush economy dictates otherwise.

I just really resent how stark the discussion is between the haves (ArlMom) and the have-nots (Arlington Dad), when it comes to looking past the windshield of one's luxury SUV and wondering how we can all do our part to raise our children better.

I also appreciate some of the advice that has been handed out here. But the idea of saving now for a baby later is a bit stupid when we also have a health care system (thank you GOP) that refuses to help people have children but will cover them once they are born. The costs of going through infertility treatments are stagering, and the fact that the health care and insurance industries adopt a kind of Jeckyl and Hyde mentality, paying for certain things and refusing to pay for others (usually the most expensive...coincidence?) boggles the mind.

Don't know if I;ve made any sense here, but I hope I've answered some of the lingering questions.

Posted by: Glover Park | July 31, 2006 4:22 PM

Apologies for the temporary absence...I had work to do.

A few observations:

I wonder who is more conservative ArlMom or Father of 4? The thing I find so bogus about conservatives is that they have no compunction about talking about the importance of family, how iportant parenting is, etc. but then they climb the walls when the rubber has to meet the road and someone broaches the subject of society and taxpayers helping people be a SAHP. It just shows how hollow all of their rhetoric truly is.

If we, as a society and as a country, really cared about children and family, then we would be exploring ways to help anyone be a SAHP because we all recognize the vital roll they play.

ArlMom, your self-centered, I-only-give-a-sh*t-about-me attitude is charming. I'm happy you;re able to be a SAHP. It would be nice if you had a modicum of sympathy for everyone else out there who can't afford it.

I have written a few times on this blog about my own situation: my wife earns about double what I earn. Therefore, it perhaps makes sense that she go back to work and I stay at home. Forgive me, though, if I feel embarassed that I cannot provide better for my family and that I find myself troubled that my wife is forced to go back to work. She has made umpteen sacrifices for me, and I feel a deep responsibility to do the same for her, but the Bush economy dictates otherwise.

I just really resent how stark the discussion is between the haves (ArlMom) and the have-nots (Arlington Dad), when it comes to looking past the windshield of one's luxury SUV and wondering how we can all do our part to raise our children better.

I also appreciate some of the advice that has been handed out here. But the idea of saving now for a baby later is a bit stupid when we also have a health care system (thank you GOP) that refuses to help people have children but will cover them once they are born. The costs of going through infertility treatments are stagering, and the fact that the health care and insurance industries adopt a kind of Jeckyl and Hyde mentality, paying for certain things and refusing to pay for others (usually the most expensive...coincidence?) boggles the mind.

Is this the kind of country we want to live in? What are we doing to chage it? Is the point of a blog just to sit on our butts and complain or can it be used for a more positive endeavor?

Don't know if I;ve made any sense here, but I hope I've answered some of the lingering questions.

Posted by: Glover Park | July 31, 2006 4:23 PM

Gee, I made several comments over the last several blogs regarding discrimination against mothers/women in the workplace as being on factor in women leaving it and I seem to recall some people saying "suck it up", "stop whining", etc. Me thinks there are some on this blog that deny the existance of discrimination or that it doesn't matter, evidence to the contrary. I don't think anyone wants to really discuss important issues--just discuss sex and penis size.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 4:27 PM

It depends on the country. I am the product of a third world country also, and fortunately for my family, we were in the upper class. So yes, my parents had maids and garderners and cooks and nannies. But I remember going back to visit relatives and seeing the abject poverty in which 95 percent of the population lived. For them, food was not a given. Work was not a given. Healthcare was a luxury. People at the local pharmacy bought aspirin by the tablet because they could not afford to buy more. And they were lucky that they could buy it. Most people couldn't.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 4:28 PM

I agree that there is vast poverty in the third world. I was just making the point that not EVERYONE is suffering and some even have it easier than people over here. It seems that a lot of people in the US would find that hard to believe but it's true.

Posted by: fabworkingmom | July 31, 2006 4:30 PM

Glover Park - you seem really angry - " I find myself troubled that my wife is forced to go back to work." Don't you think as working parents you can raise decent children?

That said I do think that health care reform, so people aren't trapped in certain jobs to be able to get health insurance is one policy that could help people achieve balance. I have read many times on this board about people who can't go part time, because of the insurance issue and I have personally known people where the lower earner, the logical SAHP can't quit because they are the one with health insurance.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | July 31, 2006 4:33 PM

Leslie, I'm planning on submitting my guest blog in September.

Happiness is a choice. It evolves from truth and love, not money.

If Leslie decides to run my guest blog, if you all are interested, you can find out how I can be the happiest man in the world walking in the shoes of the homeless man that I give my pocket change.

Posted by: Father of 4 | July 31, 2006 4:34 PM

What struck me as odd is that since postings are anonymous how do you know the poster is rich? The "out of sight" wealthy people I know either don't have a computer or would not know what a blog is (barely functional computer skills)... so I am skeptical as to "actual" wealth. I guess wealth is relative.

Posted by: silly article/blog reader | July 31, 2006 4:35 PM

Fo4 said at July 31, 2006 04:34 PM "Happiness is a choice. It evolves from truth and love, not money."

A-DAMN-MEN, brother. You are what you eat, despite all the naysayers who come out of everywhere and then run away. Good on you for a positive attitude!!!!

Posted by: Dad of 2 | July 31, 2006 4:38 PM

Quick answer to divoced mom of 1:

There's nothing wrong with working parents. I was raised by two of them. My point is that I just want to have the opportunity to consider my options, as opposed to being forced onto one particular path, that's all.

Am I anrgy? You bet. I'm tired of the vapid Starbucks snorters who generally populate this blog and think that we should all feel sorry for them as they watch their kids in their Georgetown mansions while their husband or wife is working late or boinking a co-worker. I'm tored of people asking me to feel sorry for them when they have money and time coming out of their ears but they don;t lift a finger to help anyone less fortunate than they are. I'm tired of people who think that posting on a blog counts as civic activism. And I'm tired of a country and a government that operates on an I've-got-mine-the-hell-with-you mentality. 9/11 and it's aftermath should have taught us that we need to come together as a people and a nation, and for a time it did. Too bad that as time has gone on it's done little more than tear us even further apart.

Posted by: Glover Park | July 31, 2006 4:41 PM

Glover Park,

I could never afford to stay home myself when my kids were small but I do think that if a couple wants one person to stay home with kids, the things they can do to make that more likely is to live within their means and reduce or eliminate their debt. This means they have to think about these issue well before they decide to have a baby. Of course, many young people don't think about it for whatever reason.

I would rather see the government REALLY support health care for lower income women, support programs like Head-Start, and support after school programs for lower income/inner city youth than set their minds to funding stay at home parents. I just think these are more important social programs for the government to be investing in.

I care a great deal about the well being of all children and I just can't agree that being a SAHP is the be-all and end-all of raising well adjusted children. The lines are more blurred here, it all depends on the parents whether SAHPs or WOHPs, who are raising our children.

Posted by: working mom of two | July 31, 2006 4:42 PM

Glover Park, you are the most embittered person on this blog. There are other places for politcal editorial comments--you've got the wrong blog.

Posted by: Michael | July 31, 2006 4:43 PM

Glover Park,
I have sympathy for you and I think some of the more conservative comments here are inane. However, be careful about your arguments. Health insurance was not created to pay for every little thing. It is there to pay for basic healthcare, hospital care, emergencies, illness etc. Infertility treatments, plastic surgery, etc are beyond what insurance was meant cover. Where you would have a point would be when health insurance refuses to pay for things it has AGREED to pay for or when they label standard treatments as "experimental"---e.g.certain cancer treatments, medications, psych therapy, etc. I want to take your argument further--- I believe that we should have a national health program that provides basic needs for our citizens. We all expect it and your argument is proof that people expect this as a natural right.

Arlmom may be a little extreme, but she does have a point. It is prudent for young couples to live within their means especially if they anticipate children with all of their costs. Young people today way overspend, living beyond their means, going deeply into debt. Do you think the government should be supporting that kind of behavior? I think anyone can "stay at home" if that is their wish and what they believe is right for their family. But then I don't want to hear them complain about their finances.

Where gloverpark has a good point is that we don't have laws or workplaces that support families. The GOP (conservatives, whatever you want to call them) talk about families, but then do all sorts of things that make them hypocrites. One writer wrote that the middle class is shrinking and he/she is right. We give large tax cuts to the wealthy, don't support living wages, and allow development of communities where housing prices are out of the reach of the middle class. Also, we don't provide support or flexibility to families with regard to parental leave, support of child care providers, etc.

We need a change in administration and obviously most Americans agree (Bush's approval ratings are in the toilet). This administration has been a joke and our quality of lives have deteriorated because of their wrong-headed policies. Someone wrote (jokingly) about the Clinton years being "nothing". Give me a break. The Clinton years were good for almost everyone, we prospered as a nation and we were mostly at peace.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 4:44 PM

Glover Park -- I told you I moved out of the District -- you might at least want to consider a move, and put some distance between yourself and those Georgetown folks you seem to despise so intensely.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | July 31, 2006 4:45 PM

Glover Park -

EXCUSE me???

I agree with Arlmom's post about "how to become a SAHP." And I say this from my 1900 sq ft, 40 year old home where I live with 5 other people, drinking coffee I made in my own coffee pot, while my husband works in his much-less-than-6 figure job.

Posted by: momof4 | July 31, 2006 4:46 PM

"I'm tired of the vapid Starbucks snorters who generally populate this blog and think that we should all feel sorry for them as they watch their kids in their Georgetown mansions while their husband or wife is working late or boinking a co-worker."

Generalizations like this are so stupid. You have no idea who is posting on this blog. You sound jealous and pathetic. Great how you talk about giving and being so charitable, don't you think wealthy people donate to charity also? How do you know who is wealthy and who isn't? It's not like we all wear our net worth on our sleeves.

Posted by: MRT | July 31, 2006 4:49 PM

Posted by: | July 31, 2006 04:44 PM

"Someone wrote (jokingly) about the Clinton years being "nothing". Give me a break. The Clinton years were good for almost everyone, we prospered as a nation and we were mostly at peace."

Give ME a break. We were mostly at peace? Who allowed the rise of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban? Whose watch did the USS Cole bombing happen? Whose watch did the US Embassies in East Africa happen? Whose watch did the Khobar Towers bombing happen? Whose watch paved the way for 9/11....oh, never mind...I forgot, it was all Bush's fault. We were as much at peace during the 90s as we were during the 30s...people were just able to ignore it and focus on their own little lives. Give me a break? IDONTTHINKSO!

Posted by: Dad of 2 | July 31, 2006 4:49 PM

For the record, I'm in my mid thirties, neither my wife and I have any debt...in fact, I spend my day helping other people get out of debt.

You raise some interesting points about health care and insurance. Perhaps my anger is misdirected in this case.

Having seen many horror stories about young people and their debts, in no way am I advocating that the government pay for half of a twenty-something couple to stay at home to raise a kid and listen to their top-of-the-line stereo all day.

The devil, as the old saying goes, is in the details. But how can we even get to the conversation when there is so much knee-jerk resistance to the idea of a gov't subsidy for SAHPs?

Posted by: Glover Park | July 31, 2006 4:51 PM

Wow, I think most people here aren't living in Georgetown. Where did you obtain this idea? I also tend to think most people here aren't filthy rich, but hard-working people.

As for the Third World blog idea, I think it would be a bit elitist for American women to comment on women raising children in the Third World. As if our way is better or something....

Posted by: silly blog reader | July 31, 2006 4:52 PM

Arlington Dad:
Where should I move? The suburbs are almost as unaffordable as DC.


MRT:
Thank God the wealthy write their checks! Where would we be without them? I'm so happy you think that social activism can be practiced at the tip of a fountain pen. God forbid any of them go out and ladle soup for the poor!

Posted by: Glover Park | July 31, 2006 4:55 PM

Before we get to far into the politics can we drop the bush vs. clinton and try to stick with specific policy issues that affect work-life balance

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 4:56 PM

Glover Park --

Anywhere you move, you'll be farther away from those Georgetown residents you keep complaining about. I'm sure anything you sell in Glover Park will give you adequate purchasing power in the 'burbs.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | July 31, 2006 4:58 PM

Wow, Glover Park. I'm so glad you are working so hard on this blog to change the lives of the poor. Again, why do you think no one who is wealthy has ever "ladled soup for the poor". I'm sorry. I didn't know THAT was the only way to help poor people. Go and do your good work in the world and let others do theirs. But why don't you stop thinking you are the only person helping the poor.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 4:58 PM

I hate to disappoint all of you, but I need to sign off, as I have a grad school class to get to (which I am paying for out of my own pocket...so you can sleep easier tonight ArlMom...I'm being personally responsible and not asking society for a f--king thing), so you'll have to do without my caustic observations until at least tomorrow.

Peace out.

Posted by: Glover Park | July 31, 2006 5:00 PM

Yum, I just finished my Starbucks grande mocha (2% no whip, if you want to know) and it was wonderful. I may now be able to stay awake long enough to finish work, read this blog, pick up the dog at daycare, pick up the daughter at day-care, make dinner, clean up the house, do some laundry, pay some bills, water the plants, and check in on my elderly neighbors. IF I still have some energy and it's not too late, my husband may like some affection, or I can start that new book I have waiting for my "free time." I wish I'd gotten the message earlier that Starbucks is reserved for "vapid Starbucks snorters who generally populate this blog and think that we should all feel sorry for them as they watch their kids in their Georgetown mansions while their husband or wife is working late or boinking a co-worker."

Posted by: SS | July 31, 2006 5:00 PM

I have a feeling most people would raise an eyebrow if our government began investigating subsidizing SAHPs. It is a nice idea in general but not very realistic at all. Our form of government is not set up to entitle people to have benefits of that sort and I don't think ever will be. Our aging baby boomer population is what is going to be on the government's mind in the very near future at any rate.

Posted by: working mom of two | July 31, 2006 5:02 PM

Ah, I'm so glad that Glover Park is such a fine person that he pays for his own grad school. I did, too. Give me a halo.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 5:03 PM

Glover Park, please try to calm down. Arlmom, to my little mind, was not exhibiting a selfish attitude but a pragmatic one. Taxing everyone to death to allow some parents to stay home when they can't afford it would most likely have devastating affects on our economy. While I think Linda Hirshman was a little far out there, we also have to remember that the reason we are a free country is because we are allowed to make our own choices. China--one kid per. Not free. USSR under the communist party--'jobs' and health care, but not free. It is not perfect, our system, but it is what it is. You can make it work if you want, but it may not be easy or fun. And I say this as someone who did it. It's not like daycare is a terrible thing. My kids always grew by leaps and bounds whenever I left them in the care of a good parent or caregiver. My oldest daughter's occassional babysitter pottytrained her! In a day! She was 19 months old!

So what if your wife makes more! I am sure she was not blind to this fact when she married you. And it could be temporary. My husband would be jumping for joy if I did that.

Last but not least, were you joking about those two posters being conservative? I don't have the scarlet R on my chest, in fact, am considered quite liberal by those who know me, but I still don't feel compelled to subsidize the standard of living of people who have choices. You have choices. Remove the obstacles and don't feel guilty --or embarrassed--about your life. It is what it is. O.K. Thank you for tuning in!

Posted by: parttimer | July 31, 2006 5:04 PM

"Who allowed the rise of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban? Whose watch did the USS Cole bombing happen? Whose watch did the US Embassies in East Africa happen? Whose watch did the Khobar Towers bombing happen? Whose watch paved the way for 9/11....oh, never mind"

Revisionist history, eh? It was Bush who snoozed during briefings on Bin Laden and then 9/11 happened. We were victims of those bombings from angry anti-american forces in the mideast. Are you going to blame America for the rise of Hitler? I think the few people like you left in this country are going to believe what you believe despite the facts.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 5:05 PM

Good point, workingmomof2. The baby boomers and their needs as they age are going to take up most of the government funds in the future. It's not likely there will be government support for SAHP. I don't think there should be either. I DO think that there should be more tax credits for education and things that help people across the board. Not everyone wants kids, not every parent wants to stay home with their kids or thinks it's necessary. If you do, then you need to pay for it yourself. It's not granted to you in our Constitution.

Posted by: Cablegirl | July 31, 2006 5:07 PM

"Before we get to far into the politics can we drop the bush vs. clinton and try to stick with specific policy issues that affect work-life balance"

Brought up by someone else. I was only defending the better president. Besides, government policies are relevant when discussing balance issues.

good comments parttimer. And SS, I like Starbucks too. And my life sounds like yours! good marketing, an addictive product....:-)

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 5:11 PM

GIGO means "garbage in, garbage out". It refers to writing incorrect code in a computer program and therefore not getting the intended result - or any result. It works that way in real life, too. Here's how:

My kids became teenagers just as the computer started entering homes. We had a computer soon enough. There was no internet at first, but there were "bulletin boards" you could access via computer over the phone line. From the very beginning there were lots of rude, crude, uninformed, mindless, and crminal people posting rants, info, pictures and messages.

So we paid attention and explained to our kids that not everyone who was smart enough to use a keyboard was necessarily a good person with valid information. We explained "valid". And we explained "GIGO" to them in a new way: If they let lots of garbage into their heads, that's what they would have inside them and soon they could be affected by it in a negative way. There was every reason to be selective about what they took in and how much of their lives were spent doing it.

They were smart kids and with the little reminder comment: "GIGO!" occasionally, they understood.

So all of us who read/write these open posts should keep in mind that our own lives certainly need not, and usually should not, be anything like all the outrageous things we might read on our computer screens.

If I thought my kids, or young adults, were learning about parenting and family life from most of today's (and some other day's) posts I would be appalled!

"Reality"(so not real) shows and sensationalism are undermining common decency. Don't fall for it. Use your brain. Be the grownup.

Posted by: granny | July 31, 2006 5:11 PM

Glover Park,
You seem to advocate for stay at home parenting, and say that you could conceivably do it on your wife's income although not on yours because you are embarrassed to stay home. Give me a break and stop your pathetic whining. If you want to do it, and you can do it, then for goodness sake just do it, even if your wife has to be the wage earner. Be a man and live your life instead of being embarrassed by what is a perfectly legitimate choice. What you should be embarrassed out is your silly and immature crying over how unfair the world is and how some people can have Starbucks and million dollar homes. Life is not always fair, and some of us manage to be happy in spite of it. Get over it.

Posted by: Rockville | July 31, 2006 5:16 PM

I know Glover Park is gone, but there is a gov't subsidy for SAHP's. For the brief time that I was a SAHM fulltime, I was listed as a dependent on our taxes. But you did sound rather whiney. FYI, the doubleshot from Starbucks has saved my sorry self from a poor night's sleep many a time, but you can get it at 7-11.

Anyone from Takoma park on this blog? What color are the walls in your house?

Posted by: parttimer | July 31, 2006 5:39 PM

my goodness what happened to Glover park? I think the blog drove him insane. glover park, you don't have to be so angry and everyone on this board is neither rich or a republican. I am a pretty liberal democrat. However, when you go crazy and give a not so nice shout out to father of 4, that's where I draw the line. The next time someone talks about your penis, you are on your own.

Posted by: scarry | July 31, 2006 6:51 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachian_Mountains

Posted by: just so you know | July 31, 2006 6:51 PM

>>ArlMom, your self-centered, I-only-give-a-sh*t-about-me attitude is charming. I'm happy you;re able to be a SAHP. It would be nice if you had a modicum of sympathy for everyone else out there who can't afford it.>>

Gah, well I see I don't have to defend myself, but for the record--I'm not a SAHP, nor am I conservative (!!!). I work full time, pay the mortgage, and have our health insurance. We live in a 1,200 sq ft house in Arlington and drive an 8-year-old car. I'm not a rich b*tch who thinks other people don't deserve what I have--I'm a regular person who doesn't see why I should work and spend time away from my family, then be taxed on that to support other women who stay home all day. Is anyone really THAT liberal? :)

I have no problem with other people who want to stay home, that's great if they can afford it. And I agree with whoever it was that posted that some things *that benefit all of us* -- like more affordable health care or making sure all kids have access to decent schools -- would help many families have one parent stay home. But I disagree that having a SAHP is so beneficial that *that* in and of itself should be a priority. There are plenty of other problems that I think should be attended to first.

Lots of people (me included) start having kids before we can really afford them--but I don't expect someone else to pick up the tab to cover that cost for me. We make do. It's only in the past year that I finally feel like we got our heads above water and can save what we should in our 401(k)s and pay down our student loans. But now we have #2 on the way and the $10K more we'll spend on child care will wipe that out. But again--our choice to have more kids, our responsibility to pay for them.

Posted by: Arlmom | July 31, 2006 6:52 PM

This notion of "choice" sounds great on paper, but is really an illusion. The overall cost of living is so high that it is almost impossible for most of the middle class to make it on just one salary. For those in the middle class that do make a go of living on one income, the sacrifices are many and times are often tough. Where is the choice in that? How many people do you know that truly chose to work vs. stay home?

If society really believed that having a parent stay at home to raise the children was that important, and not just for the wealthy but for the good of society as a whole, there would be resources out there that help us balance child-rearing with financial independence.

Posted by: gp | July 31, 2006 6:56 PM

Anonymous at 3:53 pm (why not sign your posts?). I grew up in Appalachia and have never heard of "Applicain Mountians". Either that or you don't know how to write dialect.

Actually, yes, I did grow up in the Appalachian Mountains
My lack of spelling skills doesn't mean that I am wrong. However, it does mean that I grew up in a different state than you did. Unless, of course you grew up from West Virginia way down almost to Georgia. And yes, I acknowledge that there are poor people everywhere, but it is really bad in some of the states that are in the Appalachian Mountains. My point wasn't to offend anyone; it was to draw attention to the fact that there are very poor people here in the US too. We adopt orphans from other countries, we send aid overseas, we send our jobs overseas and then when people are poor it's their fault.

That's all; I didn't call you a toothless, redneck idiot. I am happy people aren't poor where you lived.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 7:02 PM

OK, on second thought, I shouldn't have even responded. Glover Park is nuts if he can read "if you really want to have a SAHP you should save money, get out of debt, and don't have more kids than you can afford on one salary " and come away with "I'm a rich Starbucks-drinking SUV-driving conservative who thinks the rest of you peons should suffer." What a knucklehead. I drink COKE and drive a STATION WAGON, you nugget!

Posted by: Arlmom | July 31, 2006 7:06 PM

>>If society really believed that having a parent stay at home to raise the children was that important, and not just for the wealthy but for the good of society as a whole, there would be resources out there that help us balance child-rearing with financial independence.>>

Such as....what? Can you be more specific? I think a lot of people are having a hard time understanding what you want, besides a financial subsidy. Would these resources be available to everyone, including people without kids?

Posted by: toGP | July 31, 2006 7:09 PM

arlmom,

I would let it go. I felt bad the few times glover park posted and Lelsie ripped him a new one, and I didn't care for the penis comment. But he went off the deep end today, so apparently he either needs a blog break or he is crazy and everyone else saw it but me.

I also have a unnatural addiction to coke. Don't worry about it. Today's blog was strange.

Posted by: scarry | July 31, 2006 7:12 PM

I was vague for a reason - I don't really know what would work. I can only tell you what would work in my situation. Having more flexibility in the workplace to attend school functions, doctor appointments, etc. and the ability to telecommute or have non-standare working arrangements would probably be a good way to start.

I don't believe that the idea of a government funded subsidy is a great idea either, because people shouldn't be motivated by money to stay at home to raise children.

Posted by: gp | July 31, 2006 7:15 PM

"I've got a small penis. That's why I got an education. Women care more about money.
Posted by: | July 31, 2006 01:28 PM "

Only if they're already counting the alimony in their heads!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 7:40 PM

Arlmom and Scarry,
I'm sorry but I don't get the same buzz from Coke as I do coffee. I need my Starbucks. Maybe we can fight over which helps us "balance" our lives better, caffeinated sodas or coffee?

And just so no one things Starbucks is only for the rich, the other day, I saw the mechanic who worked on my car at Starbucks and the next day my grasscutter was there. No one makes their own coffee anymore and I guess 7-11 doesn't cut it anymore either!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2006 8:05 PM

Oops, not "things", I meant "thinks" Starbucks is only for the rich....

Posted by: working mother | July 31, 2006 8:06 PM

I'm disappointed that Glover Park went off the deep end today. He came off like a complete nut job unfortunately.

I do think he overall has the solid point that today's political climate is not conducive to "balance" nor "family". Despite the fact that the party of "family values" is in control, their years of unified control of all branches and corners of government, along with the politization of jobs that normally are filled by non-partisan civil servants, has introduced and then cast in stone a system which is designed to incentivize the super-rich to get super-richer and corporations to chase profit while actively minimizing corporate benefits.

Anyways, long story short (too late) our FDR/New Deal/Social Security noition of american culture and american christianity yielded to the "Greed is Good" culture of the '80's and the Reagan economy. "It takes a village" is a wonderful concept, but America is now an "Army of One" culture.

Writing a check to a charity is better than nothing. But your $$ often goes to pay the big salaries of the executives rather than the souls that the charity professes to support. So, as Glover Park might say, when you "ladle soup", your charity is going straight into someone's belly, not into some exec's pocketbook.

Posted by: Wow | July 31, 2006 9:55 PM

Just skimmed over this quickly. Regarding the Glover Park line of communication, in The Truth Behind The Mommy Wars the author talks about a program in Montana that does pay low- (or no-) income mothers to stay at home with their young children rather than requiring them to work so many hours a week. Doesn't help the middle-class people on this blog, but it's interesting. The idea is why, in our welfare-to-work world, double-pay - pay the mother welfare but require her to work at a low-paying job, and then pay again to subsidize her day care. Then the taxpayer is actually paying two salaries - the one for the mom and the one for the day care provider. In her example the woman who was paid to watch her own children was able to get her college degree in the interim (young girl who got pregnant and father not involved) and go out eventually and support both herself and her child on a better salary. Makes sense, but as a parent who really wanted to stay-at-home and felt we couldn't afford it, I would resent my taxpayer dollars going to help someone else stay at home. Why does she get to stay at home and not me? I feel similarly about financial aid. I think it's great for kids coming from low-income backgrounds who could not otherwise afford to go. But I look at my brother-in-law's family, where he's the sole breadwinner of soon-to-be four kids (the oldest is 16), and they have saved nothing for college. They will have much more financial aid available to them than we will. I stayed in the work force in large part because I wanted to be able to contribute to my kids' education. Yet his wife hasn't worked since they got married. Doesn't really seem fair.

Maybe what Glover Park was talking about was a system like in some European countries, where you can take a year or so off and still have your job when you go back, and have a significant amount of paid leave for both mothers and fathers.

Posted by: Sam | August 1, 2006 7:40 AM

Call me naive, but a lot of people could afford to have one parent stay home. Sure there are a lot of people in poverty (approximately 12% by gov't figures) but a lot of middle class people can afford to stay at home. Single parents get a raw deal because there is no choice for them. I think a lot of middle class people don't want to live the life that it entails to be a single income earner. I knew a guy, back about 8 years ago, making around 37,000 (so by today's figure bump that up to 45,000) and his wife stayed home with their baby. They rented a two bedroom house, tithed to their church, ate, had health care etc... News flash, they did not own a home, drove a reliable cheap car, did not vacation, did not have cable, did not make long distance calls, did not eat out in resturants more then once in a blue moon, ate generic brand foods. But they survived. Staying at home was important to that family. Now really, most of us do not even com close to tithing. So, if we just took that disposable income and put it towards necessities, we would be fine. It did help that he worked for the government and had excellent health care. DH always claims we would not make in on just his income. We make 2X the median income for this area. Of course we would make it. But the reality is that we would not like it. There would be no luxury cruises to Disney world, no week long at the beach, no nice two reliable cars, no eating out every week, no more instant gourmet prepared food, no more season tickets to the football games, no more direct TV, DSL, endless long distance calls to families, our kid would not be sporting the most exclusive clothing and so on... I recongize it is our choice to be a two income family. I recongize I enjoy working. I recongize that it is what we have decided to do. As for Glover Park, I do think there is some validity in helping some people be SAHP if they wish. It takes a village to raise a kid. Even though staying home is not my choice, I do think it is good for society as a whole to have some stay at home parents. Those are the parents who volunteer in our schools, our charities, and they may be the emergency contacts our kids may need one day. Why invest in SAHP because it is good for all of us. Same reason we should invest in good public schools whether you personally have children or not. WE are all raising the next generation. Let's make it the best generation possible. And phooey on a the government if they say they can't afford it. They have billions of dollars to waste in Iraq, give tax cuts to millionaires, and waste tons of money on stupid pork belly projects that don't work. Both political parties waste your money.

Posted by: Lieu | August 1, 2006 7:59 AM

I agree: the situation in 3rd world countries definitely depends on the country. Where I came from, food was just not as big of an issue (I'm not saying it was not an issue, just not as frequent or severe) because the country is fertile. People would plant corn or other edibles on the side of the road or in any unused plot of land, and no one really bothered to stop them. Then they would eat it or sell it on the side of the road. Just see anyone doing that here! I remember seeing an article in the Sun about people trying to get a new ordinance to outlaw sidewalk vendors because it interferes with pedestrian traffic. But such vendors can earn money with low overhead. Plus you can bring your kids to work!

I'm not saying life there is ideal. Many people are uneducated, crime is depressingly high, and the health care is prohibitively expensive. Except for the very wealthy, growing old or getting sick is a miserable experience. Cancer is still a death sentence for most, and even palliative drugs are out of reach for them. But for working moms, not so bad. I think this is partly because, as another poster indicated, people just feel lucky to get by, and they don't really sweat the small stuff.

Posted by: m | August 1, 2006 8:05 AM

Lieu,

You make some very good points. I do agree that SAHPs are good for a lot of people other than just their own families (even though the same could be said for WOHP's.) I'm not quite ready to say "subsidize SAHP's!" though, because I mostly agree with your first statement "Call me naive, but a lot of people could afford to have one parent stay home."

The problem of poverty in our country is, imo, separate from the issue of SAHPs - and a more urgent problem - and giving tax credits to low income married couples so that one can stay home is very unlikely to solve the problem of poverty.

My 14 yr old son did a project last year for school where they had to pretend they were a young family (a married 19 year old man & woman, their 6 month old baby), find job(s) and an apartment, furnish the apartment, and live. They were to use local resources to find jobs and housing. Most of the kids in his class assumed that both parents had to work and found them jobs in the paper that paid minimum wage and put the baby in daycare. I told my son "you should figure out a way for one of them to not work", and my husband and I helped him prove that it was possible. The dad took a seasonal job 8 months out of the year working long hours driving tractor at a farm (my husband's industry) and worked a regular 40 hr a week minimum wage job the rest of the time. They shopped at thrift stores for their furnishings and were frugal grocery shoppers. They found a small one bedroom apartment. They lived very meagerly but they did it, and they weren't forced into putting their young infant into a daycare that would eat up the vast majority of the young woman's minimum wage earnings.

I'm not being idealistic - I realize that just getting by is a really rough road for millions of people in our country. But for a lot of people, for those who do want to do it, just a little bit of education on "how to do it" will make the difference between having their children in sub-standard childcare and being home with them like they want.

Posted by: momof4 | August 1, 2006 9:54 AM

Momof4: maybe the idea should be to subsidize the low income sector and some single parents. Or subsidize part time work and affordable health care. But at some point, the middle class needs to own up to their own decisions. I hear people crying that the NEED cable, need an electronic garage door opener, need this and need that. Since when was cable a necessity and lord knows, an electronic garage door is not a necessity.

Posted by: Lieu | August 1, 2006 11:23 AM

My 14 yr old son did a project last year for school where they had to pretend they were a young family (a married 19 year old man & woman, their 6 month old baby), find job(s) and an apartment, furnish the apartment, and live.

I wouldn't let me kid do this project. There is just no way, that I would ever let them think this was an acceptable lifestyle. What kind of a school do your kids go to?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2006 11:24 AM

I have a friend whose kids go to a high school in Fairfax County where they did that project only there were uneven numbers of girls and boys in the class, so her daughter was paired with another girl and instructed to 'pretend you're a lesbian couple'. Sometimes I can't believe the stuff that passes for education in America.

Posted by: MOre Info | August 1, 2006 12:42 PM

I don't understand what was wrong with the project. Was your objection they were young? married? uneducated?

Posted by: Lieu | August 1, 2006 1:06 PM

Maybe the point of the project was to show how hard it was. I think some of the middle and upper middle class kids I know would be shocked to realize how much they actually would have to give up if they were 19, only had a high school education, had a child to support and needed to make it on their own.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | August 1, 2006 1:46 PM

I think that children should not even have to think that there is a choice to not go to college, be that young and married with a child, or to think that is an okay lifestyle.

I feel very sorry for poor people, I was one at one time. However, kids need to know that they can do better.

And the lesbian thing? What if it was against the girl's religion?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2006 2:15 PM

"I think that children should not even have to think that there is a choice to not go to college, be that young and married with a child, or to think that is an okay lifestyle."

So you would rather have children think they are failures if they don't finish (or go) to college, if they get married young, or have a child young? Or have them look down on people that don't have the opportunities they did? College is not a option for everyone (yes even if Fairfax, there are low-income families) and it isn't the best path for some who have that option.

I think this is a great project. It shows how difficult life would be if they made those choices (I bet it scared the snot out of some of those Fairfax kids) and perhaps inspired a little sympathy for those forced to make those choices. Plus, how many 14-yo kids think about all the things that go into everyday life? Housing, utilities, food, transportation, child-care and balancing those expenses with the wages you earn. I wish some of my peers had been involved in a project like that, maybe they would have thought things through more.

Posted by: Nothing wrong with teaching reality | August 1, 2006 4:35 PM

Everyone in this country has the opportunity to attend college.

I didn't say that they should look down on anyone, but it shouldn't be an experiment in high school. Why don't the school do a project on how to fill out all the admission papers for college, find a part time job, sex education etc. It's just stupid to teach to what can happen, don't teach to that.

Teach like everyone in class can go to college, technical school, etc. Teach that everyone can learn a skill, and be whatever they want. I don't know very many people who want to work minium wage, get someone knocked up and have one of the spouses sit at home while they are working.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2006 5:07 PM

"Everyone in this country has the opportunity to attend college."

I disagree with this statement. It is true that there are many opportunities, but not everyone has them. If the parents are uneducated or naive (my mom was a high school dropout) and they don't know how to take advantage of the opportunites for their child, how is a 16 or 17 year-old supposed to know how to get there? If you don't have a teacher or guidance counselor take you under your wing, you just don't know. Most kids that age from lower incomes assume that they can't go. I am older so maybe the lower-income schools have improved on educating the students about how to go to college, but it didn't happen when I went to high school - and I was taking college-prep classes.

And for some kids who grow up poor, even a minimum wage job that gives them some money of their own seems like a good thing when compared to thousands of $$$ in student debt. And there isn't always public transportation to the schools, even community colleges, so how are they supposed to get there if they don't have a car or money for gas/insurance.

Or what about the kids with younger siblings who need a job to help feed the family or keep a roof over their heads because the parents are having a tough time?

I'm sorry if this is turning into a rant but unless you have lived poor or lower income in an area without adult guidance or support about what opportunities exist, please stop making blanket statements that everyone has the opportunity to go to college. Don't ever think that high school kids have the maturity to make all these decisions for themselves without adult guidance.

I know someone who didn't know until he was 25 that you had to apply for scholarships. He thought it was something that was given to you automatically if you got good grades. How would he know any differently if someone didn't tell him?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2006 5:28 PM

Wow, this is a tough one. I certainly think having a college degree is the quickest way to ensure a middle class life. And I certainly hope my daughter goes to college straight from HS. But my daughter will have advantages that some children do not have. She will live in a good school district, have educated professional parents, and have all the trimmings of a upper middle class life. I think her going to college is far LESS of an achievement then a kid from a low income enviroment. I also want to say that going directly to college from HS is not the only way. I know a guy who just finished his 4 year degree and has a wife and three small daughters. His wife stays home exclusively and he worked full time and supported his family and went to school part time at night. It took him years. Much longer then the traditional desired path. But you know what, he really values his education and that is the greatest lesson of all. I also have another friend that had a baby at age 19, she and her husband finished college and she now has a masters. 10 years later, she is married, owns her own home, and has two beautiful daughters. I would hate think we have such a narrow view in life that the only way or the best way to do things was our way.

Posted by: Lieu | August 2, 2006 8:20 AM

no offense to either one of you, but I agree with the other poster, well mostly. I grew up poor, I am a coal miner's daughter. I did it! if I can do it coming from where I come from, anyone can. you have to have drive, no car? take out loans and live on campus. have to take car of siblings, work fulltime go part time. It can be done if you want it. Don't know how to do it, ask someone.

Posted by: scarry | August 2, 2006 5:13 PM

I don't know if Leslie will read this, but I was surprised that she referenced a picture that "verges on X-rated". I can only assume she means the first picture in the article? Both the mom and the baby are unclothed, but that is not porn! Breastfeeding a baby should never be equated with sex.

Posted by: latecomer | August 8, 2006 10:29 PM

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