A lesson from the NYT, via writer Katrin Bennhold [emphasis mine]:
Playgrounds can tell you a lot about a society.
I used to cycle to work through the Square des Batignolles, our local park in western Paris, and was always struck by the almost uniform ethnic segregation: mostly white toddlers chasing each other and their caregivers, brightly clad West African women chatting away on the benches rimming the sandpit. On those same benches on Sunday afternoons, I would socialize with other young, professional French mothers.
Here in Germany, the only adults populating playgrounds on any day of the week appeared to be mothers — often mothers with a university education who not long ago earned a respectable income.
It is preferable to feminists to pay immigrants to care for their children in order to respectably pursue wealth. Oh, wait, socialists don’t want wealth. Wait. It’s about respect! And feminists prefer not to be beholden to men–including their own husbands, apparently–for money. That’s it. Oh, it is:
Does she mind being financially dependent on her husband? Putting her professional life second to his? “I don’t think about it that way,” she said. “I put my child first.”
I met several German mothers like Jutta on the playground and was torn between sympathy and impatience.
How dare you put your kid first! Abandon your kids. Put yourself first. Make your choices to mirror mine, or else risk my impatience:
Most of them grew up with education and ambitions similar to mine: combining children with career and sharing family responsibilities with the partner. They all think of themselves as equals to their husbands. In practice, the roles they have assumed still bear a striking resemblance to those of their mothers, who had a much narrower set of opportunities and rights at their disposal.
Funny, even with a wider set of opportunities and rights at my disposal, that I think raising my pre-schooler is the best job in the world. That I write her stories down, read to her daily and teach her how to write numbers and letters. That I cook, clean and keep my family organized. That I provide a semblance of routine and stability for my military family. That I serve other military families sans payment. The horror! What a waste of a graduate degree!
Financially, it makes no sense for me to work. We would bump ourselves into another tax bracket and have to pay for someone else to raise our kid. Why? To have the respect of earning $5 an hour once all is said and done? Not being beholden to my husband for money? No, thanks. Ann Althouse explained it beautifully:
Why don’t more couples do the math and figure out that they should not do all that extra work for the government? Life is so much simpler with the 1-earner family, and the spouse who doesn’t bring in the dollars can provide great economic benefits by directly performing work that would otherwise have to be paid for, most notably child care. Since this economic benefit isn’t taxed, it’s a double benefit. Instead of buying inferior childcare (or other services) with after-tax dollars, you perform the work that is worth that much money, and you’re not paid, so you don’t pay taxes on the value it represents.
Of course Katrin writes of Europe, where childcare is a government responsibility (oh, it’s a “right”), and she predictably calls for more government to fix the glaring disrespect of women who choose to stay home with their own children even if there are preschools and nannies available. For their own good, of course.
And for the children. For society! Um, for feminists and respect and giving the state more money!
H/t: Hot Air headlines
A Pundette “Recommended Read.” Thanks!