It probably seemed like a good idea, 10 years ago, for new moms struggling to balance career and family and time: Why not just quit the stupid rat race and stay at home and raise your kids? It's already kind of how we're set up, as mammals. Dads go kill saber-toothed tigers for dinner and fashion clothes, and moms spend eight years teaching otherwise helpless children how to become people.
Revisiting some former career moms who "opted out" in 2003, a magazine writer finds that it didn't really work out for most of them. Husbands went away, whether of their own free will or because they were kicked out. High-paying husband jobs sometimes went away, too. The continuing financial collapse—which continues mostly for people who need the money most—and the related up-and-down of home values and career skills all conspired to make it pretty awful to try to be a stay-at-home mom.
This is because late capitalism is a total scam. Go back 50 years and the "breadwinner" made enough to take care of a family of four. But real earnings have dropped by at least half for working-class and middle-class people, so the only way to live with basic comfort is to have two income earners.
This is horrible for so many reasons, not the least of which is that few couples will spend their lives together, married or not. Half of all marriages fail, and less than half of working-class people and poor people even get married now. Unmarried couples are way less stable than married ones.
Do you like how things worked out, with the corporations figuring how to pay one person half as much, so that two people need to work full time to have the "normal lives" that used to actually be normal in America?
If you don't like how it worked out, consider dedicating the rest of your life to destroying this current system. It couldn't really be that much worse, could it? (Please don't use Russia as an example.)
[Photo of a New York food bank via Getty Images.]