retards, au pairs, discretionary income, hiring out, etc

Reading around a little today, I happened upon a blog conference that took place last week over at
11D centered on work and family. I haven’t had the time to read through the entire conference, posts and comments, but this post caught me: The Dads: Retarded or Freeloading?.

Growing up with a Down’s sister, the word retard always draws me, like a car wreck draws gawkers. I don’t get particularly offended, but I’m always interested in the way people use it.

This post begins as a prompt concerning the division of labor in the home. Of course the back and forth of “I do it all; he does nothing” and “I do a lot; she does little” ensued in the comments. Interesting.

I forgot about the retard thing as I was struck by the frequency I was outclassed during that “discussion.” People talked about having au pairs to help with their kids, using “discrectionary income” to hire out the lawn work, couples sharing some of the work but having cleaning people do things like the floors and bathrooms.

Its funny; I wanted to post something about the unconventional commune that I live in where my brother and his daughter live with my family, where the three adults in the house share the responsibility of caring for the kids (of course, I’d rant about me doing the biggest share). I wanted to talk about the boy down the street who has now eaten dinner with us 4 nights in a row, whose mother works at Wal-Mart and has asked if we could baby sit him; I told her yes and don’t intend to take a penny of her money for it.

But I couldn’t post. My comments wouldn’t fit.

I think that capitalism makes us bad parents. It makes us forget what’s really important, makes us torn between spending time on our kids and earning money to spend on our kids.

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6 thoughts on “retards, au pairs, discretionary income, hiring out, etc

  1. Of course it does, and that’s why I didn’t read the comments. I posted (including that one) but didn’t read the comments until after I posted. I think it’s a good practice because your voice deserves as much of an ampitheatre as anyone else’s and if you read comments (particularly in a forum as wide and open as that), you’re bound to meet commenters whose lives are so vastly different than you’re own, but that’s part of what’s valuable about it. Respond to the post first and comments later, if at all.

  2. Oh (dangit, sorry about the multiple comments) but there is another Michelle there. I try to post as “Michelle Palmer” when I post as an unknown. I am NOT the first Michelle who posted there.

  3. You’re so completely right. The best thing for me when pseudonymous kid was young was that we lived near some extended family and a lot of good friends–most of whom didn’t have kids, and all of whom in one way or another had “unconventional” jobs (student, actor, swing shift, whatever), so though we didn’t have an official commune thing going on, in effect we had people popping in and out all the time that we could hand pk off too. There was some paid child care too, but we did a great job of sort of breaking out of the isolated nuclear family model.

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