Already had my mind blown today with a new perspective...
Long maternity and paternity leave in Scandinavian culture is the right of the child, irrespective of the wealth, social standing, and life choices of the parents.
I imagine if this argument was told to my American family they'd be caught with their britches down, because they're too focused on complaining about "lazy adults".
@cj Oh no, no. Pfft, children don't have *rights*, that's for grown ups. (Seriously, that's how that kind of argument gets deflected. This is how people think about it. Kids are property and a problem to solve, not people with needs)
@cj Naturally, I don't agree with people who are so heartless: parenting *is* a job, and parental leave shouldn't be a thing because parenting is a switch of careers, and parenting should be well paid and supported while we're at it. (That being said, having kids doesn't necessarily mean being a parent if you have a robust fostering system)
@Pyretta It has been 3 hours since you posted this and I don't wanna reply-guy you, but this take is blowing my mind a little bit. I'd love to ask you more questions about it, if you're up for it.
@benhamill Sure, go for it! What do you wanna ask about?
@Pyretta Cool! Thanks!
When you say "foster" do you mean it in the same sense that we have it today where it's part of an adoption system (maybe without all the horrible, horrible parts the US foster system has)? Like, where it represents a separation from the birth parents?
@benhamill Yes, I do mean that. Fostering is an old tradition in scotland: back in times of clans and families, fostering children between them was a common thing, so they'd grow up with a greater diversity of background. What I mean by a foster system is a way of ensuring that people who want to raise kids and will do a good job of it will be given an opportunity to do so, and people who maybe can't take the burden can shift it somewhat. Basically, a return to more communal family.
@Pyretta I see, yeah.
The part that's kind of mind blowing to me is that, of all the times I've thought of how I might spend my time in a socialist post-work utopia, not _once_ has my daydream included making parenting the main focus of my time. I enjoy computer programming too much to want to abandon it. Yet I'd not want to send my kids off and never see them. I like splitting my time. And my wife feels the same. So my initial reaction was negative, but…
@benhamill Aye, but some people could choose to make it the primary focus of their time. That way you can still spend plenty of time with your kids, but the work is distributed: it's not a demand 100% on you anymore because those who want to can choose to help or offer an avenue for help. Initially, I suppose it'd be formalised into a daycare-like system, but after a time once it was normalised maybe it'd just become part of community again.
@Pyretta Ah! Yes. That answers the question I was leading to: your thoughts on a middle ground and what it looks like. Such that parenting isn't a binary choice.
@benhamill Yup, the whole spectrum of options tbh. But really, the atomic family is at the heart of so many modern woes. Best to set up a system to well, systemically disassemble it as a concept. That way people can still spend time with and love their kids but it's not necessarily such a massive part of their life, and people who love kids don't have to work to support their passion of caring for children. If that makes sense?
@Pyretta Absolutely. God. This is crystalizing a lot of half-formed shit I've had rattling around in my head for quite some time.
Untested, half-formed thought: There is one kind of caregiver who specializes in a certain developmental phase. This is most teachers and childcare center workers today. They spend time thinking about and getting better at this while not directly doing it. Kids migrate "through" their sphere of responsibility as they develop, age and grow.
@Pyretta There is another kind of caregiver that specializes in a certain child. This is like most parents today, but there are obvious other cases. Among their responsibilities might be doing match-making between the kid and new people of the other persuasion. And this work needn't fall solely (or even mostly) on the birth parents. That could be more or less formal. 🤷🏻♂️
@benhamill Ooooh! Now this is giving me a lot to think about. How different would it be growing up in a world without the atomic family and children being entirely beheld to and responsible by their birth parents?
@Pyretta I'm not sure what "a world without the atomic family and children being entirely beheld to and responsible by their birth parents" means… 🙃
@benhamill Well, that means that all the work of raising kids doesn't necessarily fall on the birth parents. Sorry, my brain spat that out in a confusing way.
@Pyretta Yeah. My experience is one where both my parents and my wife's parents live in the same town as us. As well as both of our siblings. And we have strong relationships with all of them. And so we communalize _some_ of our parenting, but it's always, like, a remarkable event in that we have to plan it ahead of time.
There's something here about being, like, ambiently away of the availability of the other caregivers and ease of the child(ren) physically getting to them. 🤔
@Pyretta Like if we communalized across our friends who live on the same street… and somehow very slightly increased our ambient awareness of who was home when… we could be a lot more spontaneous about, like, "Go eat dinner at X & Y's house tonight." or whatever.
@Pyretta …then I really thought about your use of the word "career". And that it might imply, like, time off and such. And I had some vague ideas about the role of professional care workers and educators (and how those are distinct from the parent role). One of the chief difficulties of parenting, ime, in the relentless "on"-ness of it. The kids are literally always there and almost always need some level of attention (even if it's just knowing where they are).
What kind of fostering system are you referring to here?
Someone has to be there for the kid when it wakes at night, or when it gets sick and can't leave home (or shouldn't to avoid infection of others).
@zatnosk @cj By fostering, I'm referring to an old tradition of basically letting someone else raise your kid (sometimes specifically as a political maneuver). It's an old tradition in scotland to foster children between families, so I mean a formal system that ensures that kids always have good parents whether or not their birth parents are capable of being that for them.
@cj I love this
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