Wimmin. Still havin’ children after all this time.

Loose, loose women. Daring to have children in this age and day of equal rights. How on earth do we still want to? And surely, if we do we want to, we should be able to save up along with our fellow begetter to support the aforesaid women and child through the period of infancy so as not to impose an indecent burden upon fellow tax payers. A hue and cry has met Sue Moroney’s Paid Parental Leave (PPL) bill that was pulled from the ballot this week.¬†¬†The bill aims to extend PPL from three to six months.

Surely having a child is a “nice to have”? We should be able to suppress those wet feminine urges and not procreate unless we are bankrolled to the nth by a man. Thanks a lot:¬†Cactus Kate: Paid Parental Madness

I say this, ¬†having ended up precisely what I always swore never to be: A “Jafuh”. Or: Just. Another. Fucking. Unpaid. Housewife. In California, actually, after having moved here for my husband’s work.
Needs must, and though I retain tenuous links to financial independence, via a struggling residential property investment vehicle, I am now knee deep in Crappy Nappy City. I worked self-employed full-time for the first two years of having a family, then part time after I suffered a disabling stroke. I was also an active volunteer, chairing up to four committees while living in suburban Wellington. It is only recently that I became a JAFUH. My experience is that you do spend periods not working, but most women will be turning their hands to some kind of volunteer or paid work at most times while raising a family. And this is not the result of some right wing plot to force women into the work place. It’s also not the result of some left wing Clark era plot to force women to participate in the work place. Women are usually nurturers and are good multi taskers. It is in our natures to reproduce and work concurrently. However for the short time that they are joined by the boobs to their offspring they should be supported by both society and their partner if that is the best financial arrangement. This is usually as short as four or five months. This is the length of time Paid Parental Leave should be set for. Not the socialist utopia of a year and even a period of six months is debatable. ¬†I do however believe the primary caregiver should also be recognized with Income Splitting policy.
I work damn hard caring for my family as well as still seeking independence in retirement via my property business, and am annoyed that society doesn’t recognize the valuable role that housewives play.
Communities need a reasonable turnover of infants, to eventually grow and among other professions, to care for the unwell elderly. If society runs short, life will be parsimonious and intolerable both for the anti PPL curmudgeonly and the more delicate of geriatric temperament. Communities are replenished and work well only when sufficient citizens are born and motivated to stay rather than seek new lands; where all the roles in Village Life are turned over regularly instead of being made redundant due to shrinking populations.  I disagree with the attitude that kids are produced solely because of parents desires to create a walking legacy and therefore no subsidies should be provided courtesy of the taxpayer.
For my husband and I, procreating was the next obvious adventure in life. Once we left the excitement of our inner Wellington Warehouse flat: (“nice to know you, 13+ flatties and dossers”, nappy valley beckoned more than the lure of an OE. The OE would have had a better impact on our finances.
Child-rearing is an adventure that should benefit the taxpayer monetarily far more than the gullible parents-to-be. If children are nurtured well, they gain the wherewithal to become net taxpayers. If children are accorded value to society their parents able able to access networks and supports that bind the layers of society and glue families to local shores.
Inasmuch as it is a couples responsibility to ensure the have the financial where-withal to raise a child, it is also society’s responsibility to ensure that educated women, who take on the bulk of the childbearing burden are not penalized to the point that reproducing is unattractive.
If reproducing is unattractive to these women, aging generations are not sufficiently supported by the upcoming broods. Indeed, this is already happening with the Baby boomer generation. Those with money and nous are leaving New Zealand. We are the first generations to easily numb any perceived call to stay and be part of the home scene. ¬†The exciting tales of far off lands and more than adequate salaries provide the pull and once assured we will find our standing within a community, upon landing on overseas shores, there is no real reason to call New Zealand home for both the childless and families alike. Those aging and elderly left behind will struggle to be supported in the style they became accustomed to in the rich post war years. Removing reasons for potential parents not to have kids means that future families are more likely to call far off lands, “holiday destinations”, rather than “home”. ¬†The fact that one quarter of New Zealanders call ¬†overseas home is testimony to this. Of ten of us at Otago University in the mid 90’s, all have travelled and only one couple has returned permanently to New Zealand to raise their family.

The period of infancy is short. For the first six months to two years, a child can be handled by many but must have a strong bond with the Mother or another key adult if they are to become a well adjusted future citizen. Personally I have found children look for outside adventures from the age of two and are not disadvantaged if socialized through daycare earlier.
As far as PPL leave needing to to be concurrent with six months breastfeeding: None of my kids were solely breastfed through to six months. The argument to do so seems extremist rubbish to me. My third son was helping himself to the family fish and chips at the age of four months. They were all eating by 5 and a half months at the latest. Numbers four and five (premature twins) were hoeing it back at three and a half months. All of which would have horrified me as a new Mum.
Disclaimer: I love my kids. I enjoy raising them. I just don’t want to define myself by them. For women the debate highlights ¬†the same old shitty story; always being defined as Mothers or Others.

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