Author Topic: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?  (Read 4110 times)

Charles Austin

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2021, 03:12:55 PM »
No. I’m just saying that most of the women of my generation that I know have been professional women. Many did what Beloved Spouse did in our household, that is, when children were born they stayed home for two perhaps three years. Maybe they found a way to work part time at their professions, maybe not. But when the children went to school, they returned to work. Husbands who had flexible hours, such as I did in the parish, arranged their time to assist at home with child care.
This was not possible when I was commuting to work in Manhattan.
There were the two logical reasons for women like Beloved Spouse to continue working.
First, it gave them satisfaction, and it kept them up-to-date in their profession which they wanted to continue when the children were old enough to take care of themselves or even after the kids moved out of our house. It gave wives their own circle of professional friends and established their own identity in their profession or in those circles. It was difficult for my wife when we were in Geneva which meant that every connection she had was through me, through my job, through my circle of friends, through my affiliations. Her identity was totally connected to mine.
Second, we benefited from the extra income. It enabled us to do more things, to travel more, to take our children places, to provide experiences for our children that were sometimes costly. This was not crass consumerism, this was trying to do the best for our family. I’m not going to apologize for wanting to have a reliable new car every four or five  years, take vacations that were truly relaxing and expanding, and not just “getting away from home.“  i’m not going to apologize for not having to worry, if the dishwasher breaks down, about whether I must wait for months to save $600 to buy a new one.
As we approached the prospect of paying college costs, or planning for a secure retirement, the fact that beloved spouse had a profession, a pension, good insurance and the ability to save was a blessing.
No, I did not equate the task of “homemaker“ with ignorance. But I do dare to suggest that women who do not use their abilities, ambitions, and highly developed skills are not being good stewards of their life and its gifts.
Note to Pastor Butler:
You do realize that I was being sarcastic in the post that you cited, right?
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. One must always ponder both the value and the dangers of poking the bear. Aroused and stimulated, the bear usually shows its true self. Or it might leap to an extreme version of itself. You never know with bears.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2021, 03:17:36 PM »
Another factor (if indeed more families are returning to a more traditional, one income form) driving the transition could be social media and the transformation of what we experience as community. People at home all day aren’t cut out of the world of grownups nearly as much as they used to be. I think for many people it wasn’t always the work itself but being a worker in the company of coworkers that was the main attraction of working outside the home. After all, it isn’t as though most jobs are somehow more interesting than home making. But the lifestyle of having a job simply made one feel more connected and a part of things. With social media, that distinction is disappearing and jobs are more and more about the job itself. Many people might be discovering that preparing tax documents and financial reports or whatever isn’t as thrilling and fulfilling as it used to seem.

Rob Morris

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2021, 03:29:11 PM »
Here’s the real problem.
Many years ago, I don’t know how long, we decided to let women go to college. That was a big mistake. They got educated, they got ambitions, they felt called to do certain things out in the world. Therefore they felt that being a stay at home mom simply wasn’t enough to fulfill their lives.
So what we should do now for the next generation is keep young women from going to college. Teach them as we did in the old days, that their job was to be a mother, to stay home, to take care of the kitchen and the home. Oh, and the more children the better, so that our kind of people can continue to dominate.
Will that solve a lot of our problems?

As a public service announcement: this post is straight-up trolling. Being offensive simply for the sake of provoking a response. There is just one reasonable response: don't feed the troll.

Michael Slusser

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2021, 03:33:26 PM »
Two observations.

The author Olsen doesn't say whether the single-earner in the family will be male or female.

At least some second-earners may have been working to pay parochial-school tuition. Anecdotally, I've know that to happen.

Peace,
Michael
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2021, 04:08:53 PM »
Here’s the real problem.
Many years ago, I don’t know how long, we decided to let women go to college. That was a big mistake. They got educated, they got ambitions, they felt called to do certain things out in the world. Therefore they felt that being a stay at home mom simply wasn’t enough to fulfill their lives.
So what we should do now for the next generation is keep young women from going to college. Teach them as we did in the old days, that their job was to be a mother, to stay home, to take care of the kitchen and the home. Oh, and the more children the better, so that our kind of people can continue to dominate.
Will that solve a lot of our problems?


And husbands' lives were fulfilled by having a good-paying job so that they could take care of their family (that they seldom saw because they were working so many hours). Remember "Cat's in the Cradle"?

Some of the one-income families I've had in congregations had stay-at-home dads because the wives had well-paying careers.


Connected with your post, I had a husband tell me that the woman he was divorcing was not the woman he married. They had married right after high school. He got a job and continued to work at that job. She stayed home for a while, then went to college, got a degree, and started a career as a nurse. He was right. She wasn't the woman he married. She wasn't quite the same person she was right out of high school. Unfortunately, he was pretty much the same guy that he was 15 years ago.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2021, 04:11:21 PM by Brian Stoffregen »
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Dan Fienen

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2021, 04:27:41 PM »
There is another side to the one-earner family trend that has been totally overlooked. Many, many one-earner families are such because there is only one adult in the family. Single parenthood has been a growing trend over the last half century. There are many reasons for this.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2021, 04:35:37 PM »
It was the 1980s and the beginning of a lifestyle that called for two incomes to meet those needs that are not needs. The Reagan Revolution had a down side.

Women entering the workforce en masses was underway long before 1980. Starting in the 1960s the feminist movement convinced many women that a career should be a higher aspiration than a marriage and family. “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” was from 1970.


Both my mom and my mother-in-law worked in the 60s - and it had nothing to do with the feminist movement; nor was it necessary for them to work. Mom helped dad out in their business. Her income helped put my two brothers and me through college with no debts; with two of us getting graduate degrees.


We discovered that my mother-in-law's income was invested. They didn't use it to live on. It was intended to pay for a nursing home should they need it. They didn't want to have to live with either child in their old-age, as her mother had to do. It became a nice inheritance for my wife and her brother.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Jim Butler

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2021, 04:40:38 PM »

Note to Pastor Butler:
You do realize that I was being sarcastic in the post that you cited, right?

Now, Your Humbleness, you don't need to be ashamed of your opinions. I, for one, appreciated your honesty. You don't need to try to cover it up by claiming sarcasm now.

You stated your beliefs quite clearly: women shouldn't be in college and that we should teach them to stay home and keep the kitchen. So don't try and pull back now.  We can all read what you wrote. We know what you really think.
The significance of the passage of time, right? The significance of the passage of time. So when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time. -- VP Kamala Harris

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2021, 05:19:04 PM »
Our family has always lived on one income. It was an agreement we made before marriage. It has meant living frugally but has optimized family time and care for our children.
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Charles Austin

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2021, 06:17:17 PM »
I still get the impression from some posters here that there may be something wrong with a woman who, if married, does not see her vocation as wife, mother, producer of children and care for the children and the "home," that is, the house and the running of it. (of course the husband takes care of things like fixing the toilet, engaging a plumber, painting and financial matters).
I do not see anything wrong with a woman who sees that as her vocation. I just know lots of women - including Beloved Spouse - who did not see that as her vocation. We knew that when we married. What we did not predict was the sometimes troublesome "changes" in life when decisions we had to make about my career adversely affected her career.
When in the parish and with flexible hours, I shared a lot of the child care, even when the "children" were teenagers, because she had full-time work in libraries and schools. 
My point: there is no one way of organizing a family. And even when you pick a way, you may have to make changes.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. One must always ponder both the value and the dangers of poking the bear. Aroused and stimulated, the bear usually shows its true self. Or it might leap to an extreme version of itself. You never know with bears.

Dan Fienen

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2021, 07:54:47 PM »
Here’s the real problem.
Many years ago, I don’t know how long, we decided to let women go to college. That was a big mistake. They got educated, they got ambitions, they felt called to do certain things out in the world. Therefore they felt that being a stay at home mom simply wasn’t enough to fulfill their lives.
So what we should do now for the next generation is keep young women from going to college. Teach them as we did in the old days, that their job was to be a mother, to stay home, to take care of the kitchen and the home. Oh, and the more children the better, so that our kind of people can continue to dominate.
Will that solve a lot of our problems?

Wow. Never thought you'd be this honest. I always thought you were arguing louder against what you really believed. I  guessed that you were always upset that your wife worked instead of "stay[ing] home...tak[ing] care of the kitchen and the home." Apparently, I was right.

You see, my father-in-law felt the same way you do. Only he managed to keep his wife from working. I always thought that was too bad because my m-i-l was a wonderfully creative woman. But you would have asked him for tips on how to do the same.

I think your way of thinking is pretty sad. But, as always, you do you.

And thank you for finally being honest with us about your position.
Look, I get it. Charles was, as he often does, over reacting to what others posted by sarcastically pretending to agree with the point that they were not making, thus deniably accusing them of positions that they were not taking. Didn't actually advancing the discussion, just allowed Charles to accuse posters that he often disagrees with of being more unreasonable than they actually were. Not helpful.


Others then reacted by sarcastically taking his sarcasm by sarcastically taking his post at face value. Which, naturally make Charles even more upset. Don't people know that he was just trying to snidely imply that others are unreasonable in a deniable way? Cute but I wonder how helpful.


My wife has worked off and on throughout our marriage. She did graduate college with a degree in special education but ended up not pursuing a career in teaching. Not because I objected to her having a career of her own,  but because she decided she didn't want to pursue that career.


I think that we have had far too many people deciding that women should if at all possible pursue an employed career and that motherhood, homemaking and volunteering is a lesser life choice. On the other hand, Those who push the opposite as the ideal that all women should pursue, an employed career, and homemaking, volunteering is a waste have also been over the top.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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Jim Butler

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2021, 07:59:23 PM »
I still get the impression from some posters here that there may be something wrong with a woman who, if married, does not see her vocation as wife, mother, producer of children and care for the children and the "home," that is, the house and the running of it. (of course the husband takes care of things like fixing the toilet, engaging a plumber, painting and financial matters).

What would ever give you that impression?

Maybe it's the guy who wrote this:

So what we should do now for the next generation is keep young women from going to college. Teach them as we did in the old days, that their job was to be a mother, to stay home, to take care of the kitchen and the home. Oh, and the more children the better, so that our kind of people can continue to dominate.
Will that solve a lot of our problems?

You might want to have a conversation with him.
The significance of the passage of time, right? The significance of the passage of time. So when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time. -- VP Kamala Harris

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #27 on: November 14, 2021, 08:14:38 PM »
Here are Bible texts I think of when I think of this topic:

1 Timothy 5:1--4
Titus 2:1--6
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peter_speckhard

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #28 on: November 14, 2021, 08:24:08 PM »
There are no one-size-fits all arrangements of the family and society. There will always be exceptions, not to the official rule but to the common assumption or societal expectation. Today, the career is the expectation and assumption and the family is a lifestyle choice, with the one-income family considered a subculture. You can tell this is so by the demand for "equity" meaning that we have as a goal getting more professions to be 50% women. That is a bad goal with no basis in anything other that the assumption that the only reason it isn't already like that is sexism.

Everything tailors to the normal, as it should. When we talk about, say, a 5th grade reading level, we aren't mandating that anyone be at that level. You might have had a college level reading ability in 5th grade. Or you might be barely literate. But the norm sets the expected lesson plans and coursework, and if you are exceptional you need an exceptional route or will struggle with the normal plan. The question is the degree to which young people should grow up with the expectation that they will marry and have children, and if they do, with the expectation that they should maintain two full-time careers throughout.

I think the "new normal" in the middle class, that both boys and girls will grow up, go to college, get careers "in their major," and then see if family can fit into that is not healthy. I don't think it makes the most people happy. I think it makes exceptional people less unhappy than they might otherwise be for feeling abnormal. I also don't think it is the best thing for neighborhoods, churches, towns and society generally. If you find a place with a high percentage of traditional, nuclear, one-income (or one main income) families, I think you'll have found a place that most people would like to live, a place with a generally low crime rate, low poverty rate, low dropout rate, etc.

The problem is, trying to achieve that when it isn't considered normal or the expectation for most people is extremely difficult. It is like trying to a get a date for prom when nobody organized a prom. Only when prom is a thing (something not everybody has to do, bjut many people do and it is endorsed or sponsored, so to speak, by society, does someone find themselves dressed up at a dance with a member of the opposite sex. The people who would really like to form traditional families don't have a context to make it happen apart from emerging sub-cultures, which often come with other difficulties.

Family is built-in, biological (for normal people) fulfillment. We see so many young people adrift and despairing for a lot of reasons, but one of the big ones is that they typically are not married with children and attempting to be king and queen of a domain (no matter how small) all their own.   

Charles Austin

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Re: Could we be seeing a return to one-earner families?
« Reply #29 on: November 14, 2021, 08:57:56 PM »
Peter writes:
There are no one-size-fits all arrangements of the family and society. There will always be exceptions, not to the official rule but to the common assumption or societal expectation.
I comment:
Yes. This is good. But what is the “official rule”? And who is the "official" making it?

Peter:
Today, the career is the expectation and assumption and the family is a lifestyle choice, with the one-income family considered a subculture.
Me:
It is not the “assumption” for the majority of the citizenry, most of whom have to make the “choice” to do whatever they can to make a living. And the related stress and damage to the family is a major problem.

Peter:
You can tell this is so by the demand for "equity" meaning that we have as a goal getting more professions to be 50% women. That is a bad goal with no basis in anything other that the assumption that the only reason it isn't already like that is sexism.
Me:
Well, it’s not the “only reason,” but it is a reason.

Peter:
I think the "new normal" in the middle class, that both boys and girls will grow up, go to college, get careers "in their major," and then see if family can fit into that is not healthy.
Me:
I think, based on listening to my grandchildren and their friends, that the “new normal” you describe isn’t in their minds. A young woman dropped out of college and seeks “simple” work. A young man wonders if a career and family is a good idea with the world on the brink of massive troubles.

Peter:
I don't think it makes the most people happy. I think it makes exceptional people less unhappy than they might otherwise be for feeling abnormal. I also don't think it is the best thing for neighborhoods, churches, towns and society generally. If you find a place with a high percentage of traditional, nuclear, one-income (or one main income) families, I think you'll have found a place that most people would like to live, a place with a generally low crime rate, low poverty rate, low dropout rate, etc.
Me:
Wow! I sure would like to see some data on that!

Peter:
The people who would really like to form traditional families don't have a context to make it happen apart from emerging sub-cultures, which often come with other difficulties.
Me:
Sure they do, their have their “tradition.” That’s the context; and it doesn’t have to be mirrored in society. The Amish, Mennonites and Orthodox Jews have been living in their “contexts” for a long time.

Peter:
Family is built-in, biological (for normal people) fulfillment. We see so many young people adrift and despairing for a lot of reasons, but one of the big ones is that they typically are not married with children and attempting to be king and queen of a domain (no matter how small) all their own.   
Me:
Again, I sure would like to see some data on this. And I ask: What of those who choose not to marry? Are they abnormal? What of the married couples who choose not to have children? Are the abnormal? Are they not a family? Not so long ago we virtually forced people – especially women – into marriage, whether the man or situation was to anyone’s liking. I remember deep conversations with 80-year old women in my parish who were very glad that their daughters and granddaughters had more options, were allowed to make more choices, and were not required to conform to what society thought a young woman should do.
I believe “biology” is determinative, but only of how we most often reproduce. I do not believe it always and in every situation is the final measure of how a life should be lived. Life is more wondrous and complex and venturesome than a “biological determinism.”
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. One must always ponder both the value and the dangers of poking the bear. Aroused and stimulated, the bear usually shows its true self. Or it might leap to an extreme version of itself. You never know with bears.