Should I Become a Housewife?

Guy Witmanigirlfrens 3:06 PM 12/31/2005

We will divide all men up into two kinds: progressive men and conservative men. Assuming that you are not a lesbian, you will marry one of these men. A progressive man either demands that you work if you marry him or gives you the choice to work, which you accept. A conservative man, on the other hand, demands that you stay home and be a housewife, i.e. clean the house, change the baby's nappies, cook food, and tend to the man's sexual needs. This essay will discuss what your life will most likely be like depending on the kind of man you marry.

The progressive man looks for career women with the expectation that she works simultaneously as he does. This doubling of income increases household wealth and allows the family to be better off in terms of income. They may be able to live in more affluent households and own and drive more prestigious cars. Given the career focus of such people, the price of having children increases relative to that of non-career people. Because career people have higher real wages than non-career people, the opportunity cost of having children increases. Focus instead turns not to how many children the couple has but to having fewer high-quality children, an idea suggested by Nobel winner Gary Becker. If the wife is a high-earning career woman, then relegating her to the occupation of housewife after the birth of a child would be costly since she is foregoing high earnings. Therefore, high-income couples will not only tend to have fewer children but will also pay nannies, house managers, or babysitters to watch over the children frequently. A distinction should be made between high-income and high-wealth people. High-income people aren't necessarily high-wealth people and vice versa. Upper-class rentiers (mainly old farts) may have very low incomes and live off their investments. Since they are technically bums (rich bums), they probably don't have jobs and therefore an extra child won't affect their wealth because their time is not valuable.

If you marry a progressive man who either demands that you work or gives you the choice to work that you accept upon marriage, then typically you will have university qualifications and with university qualifications you will focus on working early on. If you do produce a child you will likely do it in your 30s or 40s and you will most likely have only one child for the reasons mentioned above. Once you have saved enough money you can live like the rentiers.

There is the possibility that your man divorces you. Statistics show that about 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. If you marry a progressive man who demands that you work, you will be given the opportunity to develop skills that will be very valuable in the job market if the man decides to leave you. You will be more likely to financially support yourself if your man leaves you. You thus become more independent and less dependent. This is the way my mom is. She and Dad both worked when they were in their 20s after graduating from university and when Mom was in her mid-30s, they had me, her only son. Mom and Dad have now divorced and I live with my mom but I still see my dad rather often. Mom hires a nanny to take care of me because it's cheaper to hire a nanny than to have Mom not work.

Are there any downsides to this lifestyle? One common criticism is that the child does not get to see his parents often. I didn't get to see my parents very often as I grew up and even today I don't see my mother too often. Some people believe it is important that a child spend time with his mother and father. What do I think? Based on my experience, I find that this is not the case. It is definitely important for a child to feel loved, to have attention, and so forth, but if the biological Mom and Dad are too valuable elsewhere to perform this task then the role can be replaced by others. Ever since I was little I have developed a great relationship with my nannies. If you have a daughter, the fact that you will be out working will be a great way to give her a role model from whom she can derive self confidence. Furthermore, as Keanu Reeves said on Parenthood, "You need a license to get a dog, but any loser can have a child." You may not be the best at changing nappies or cleaning the house. You may have an aversion to dirt, dust, and poo. If you hire nannies to take care of your child, you are filtering out the best from a large list of applicants. Some of the more experienced nannies will not only be experts in the basic tasks of cleaning and changing nappies but they will also have a firm grasp of childhood development psychology (think Super Nanny).

What if you marry a conservative man? Under the rule of the conservative man you will stay home, and if you stay home you will likely have a child he will want you to look after. The household income will be lower than it could be simply because you are not working. Doing the work you do, you could probably sell your services to another family and earn money looking after their children. But if you did this and your husband tolerates it he is not conservative according to our definition. Often a man will give you a choice of working or not working. If you marry a high-income man, you may feel that it is not necessary for you to work. This is the case when you are satisfied at a particular income threshold. Some people would prefer to maximize, i.e. given opportunity to do so, they will maximize the returns. Given the opportunity to make money by working, they will do so.

Conservative men commonly think that it is the man who makes the money and the woman who needs to get with a man to live off his money. Many conservative men see marriage as a trade. If the man provides the money for the woman, then the woman provides something in return, and this is usually the childrearing duties, the preparation of food, and the provision of sexual services. They often believe that it is the purpose of the woman to perform these duties to the man while the man pays her to perform these services. Looking at it this way, the traditional conservative woman's duty is almost exactly the same as that of a prostitute. Since my dad is not conservative, I have been searching for an example of a conservative male and have found one. His name is Peachkisser, and in a piece entitled KEEPING YOUR MAN-THE TESTICLE MANIFESTO (1), he says the following:

"Truth is, if you're a woman, you need a man to support you financially. The vast majority of females are destined to have a perpetually negative cash flow. This means they require a positive cash flow male in their lives to keep them going, keep their habits and lifestyle supplied with ready cash.

"In this position of fiscal inferiority, doesn't it seem reasonable that the woman take a very active and even proactive part in making sure her end of the deal is being held up, regardless of what the man claims?

"Indeed it does. The common female excuse of 'He said he was happy!' doesn't fly very far when you're a stranded woman and looking to pimp yourself out on the streets just to pay your bills."

Peachkisser believes that it is female's duty to provide sex for the husband even when the husband says he is happy without it. Peachkisser perhaps wrongly believes that all women are fiscally inferior when the average wage of females has been increasing since the '70s (although average female wage is lower than average male wage because of the existence of many conservative women) and more females are getting higher education than males nowadays. Peachkisser believes that while it is the man's duty to provide the money for the fiscally inferior woman, the woman should compensate the man for his efforts by performing duties traditionally consigned to females, including sex and changing dirty and smelly nappies.

What happens if your conservative husband dumps you? If you don't take care of the baby correctly or if you do not sexually satisfy your conservative husband well enough (and his standards may rise over time as he gets tired of your old tricks), then your conservative husband may dump you. As you grow older, such a man may spend more time looking at relatively younger females. Since the conservative man knows his wife is dependent on him, he knows that you are less likely to divorce him and therefore he may be more likely to be unfaithful. As he is unfaithful, he feels safe with the knowledge that even if you find out about his unfaithfulness, you won't dare file for divorce since he controls you with his money. If you do find yourself single and alone, life may be difficult, especially if you have a child to look after. Since you have been a housewife for many years, you will lack work experience. You will have trouble selling yourself in the labor market. If you're lucky, you may get a job at a childcare, but wages for jobs that involve looking after children are typically low.

What are the benefits of marrying a conservative man? The main benefit is that you will spend more time with your biological child. I stress biological here because you can marry a progressive man, become a nanny and spend much time with another couple's biological child, and you may still develop a parent-child bond with that child that may be meaningful to you depending on how much you care about genetic relatedness between a parent and a child. If you work at a childcare, you will likewise be exposed to many children, although unlike a nanny you won't be able to develop a long-term relationship with these children. All these routes to taking care of children through career typically involve taking care of children who are not biologically your own, but the benefit is that you make money. Staying at home and taking care of your own biological children will earn you nothing. In fact, because you could be out working and making money, staying home and taking care of your own biological children will cost you money.

The key difference is that the woman who marries a conservative man spends more time with her biological son or daughter. Many parents adopt babies and develop deep bonds with the child. This suggests that the concept of having your own child is largely psychological. If you think that a child is your own child (even if it is not biologically) then you will likely treat it as such and the relationship will develop as such. There have been many cases in history when the woman had sex with the milkman, had a baby, but claimed that the baby's father was her husband. The husband, not knowing that his son is really the milkman's, goes on believing that the baby is his and as the baby grows up a meaningful father-son bond forms. Like the lie of Santa Clause, this lie, if not broken, allows for the development of a father-son bond. Genetic relatedness is psychological. As far as I'm concerned, I am not worried about genetics. I don't treat people will more similar genes to mine better than I do people with less genetic similarity. As such, it doesn't bother me much that I develop a good bond with nannies or house managers who share little genetic similarity to me.

Do I hate my mom for spending little time with me? I certainly do not. In fact, I'm happy she is working. Taking care of a child requires love, and just as a hug or a kiss is an expression of love so too is giving a child food, a nice house, a good school, good healthcare, and many other things that only lots of money provide. The hugs and kisses come from the nannies, house managers, and babysitters. The rest come from my mom and dad, who also throw in the odd hugs now and then. When each person specializes in that area he is good at (division of labor), then at the end of the day more can be provided for the child, which is a greater expression of love.

The two cases I wrote about assume that the man works while the woman either stays home or works. Obviously there are other alternatives. Both the husband and wife can not work (they are both unemployed) and in this case both would have to make money from government handouts if they don't already have substantial wealth. Another case involves the woman working while the man stays at home. This is becoming more and more common.

A man can be either progressive or conservative, but clearly this can apply to women as well. A woman may agree that it is her duty to stay at home, clean the house, change the nappies, provide sexual services, and even improve the quality of her sexual services to keep up with the man's higher standards. Such a woman may also opt for such a lifestyle because she does not have access to higher education. Perhaps the woman looks forward to looking after a child who is genetically similar to herself and does not tolerate looking after any other child. Such a woman would be conservative and should marry a conservative man. On the other hand, if a woman wants to be more independent and secure lest the man goes off with a nicer-looking woman, she may decide that putting more emphasis on her career is important. She may care more about a good lifestyle with a bigger house, an expensive car that impresses everyone, jewelry, and so on, and she may want to be safe in the knowledge that it is her money buying these things.

To conclude, if you are a young female, think carefully about your future. Your decision now has profound influences on your future. A woman may work too hard, have too much money, and even though she has a nice house, a nice car, and nice jewelry that makes her the envy of many other women, she wishes she spent a little more time with her child. On the other hand, you hear many stories about poor single mothers struggling to provide for multiple children after the husband left for the younger and nicer-looking secretary. After being rejected from one job after another because of old age and lack of skills, such women may grow to resent spending so much time on their children and husband and so little time on their careers. The capitalist labor market will always reward you; the husband, not necessarily.

Conservative or progressive? The choice is yours.

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(1) Google "peachkisser keeping man testicle manifesto" without quotes to find the article