Glorified Cave Art For The SAHM Issue

I’ve written several posts in recent days about the potential pitfalls of the SAHM option. Because so many people aren’t actually reading what I’m writing and are leaving angry comments on what they think I might have written, I’ve been reduced to using my glorified cave art skills to communicate.
And yes, you can flip everything around for SAHDs as well.
And yes, these are broad strokes of the brush.
And to be explicitly clear – calling my own daughters “bright” isn’t the same as calling you “stupid”. Get the hell over yourself if you’re offended by a father praising his own daughters.
All I’m saying is having a stay at home parent has major potential downsides that are NEVER talked about until it’s too late and someone is all but destroyed.
I’m trying to help you. 

SAHMs and Moral Hazard

Just in case anyone is confused by this post… I don’t hate SAHMs. I’m just explaining some serious risks to the SAHM strategy that are typically glossed over with 50,000 odes to motherhood and won’t you think of the children. Importantly the risks are to both the husband and the wife with this strategy.
The most important rule about imagining yourself in the past, is that you don’t allow yourself to imagine being a member of the ruling class of the day. If you are imagining ancient Egypt, you’re not Cleopatra, instead you’re some poor sap being whipped to build the pyramids. If you are imagining the middle ages, you are not a lady handing out favors or a knight winning tournaments, you’re actually a very hungry serf who dies of dysentery. So when you imagine yourself being a married woman in any point in time up to around 1950, you’re frequently pregnant, surrounded by children and working your ass off from dusk until dawn. The phrase “Stay At Home Mother” doesn’t exist until midway through the 20th century. Women have always, always, always worked.
Back in the day, men worked outside the home in typically dangerous, physical jobs. Women stayed home and raised the children. Unless you were a super-alpha, having sex meant getting married and having children. It was a fair exchange of male physical labor for female reproductive labor.
Around 1950 the golden age of the world started. Thanks to fridges, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, vacuums and supermarkets, the household labor started getting easier and easier. Birth control came into vogue and was simple to use, so the pregnancy and kid overload eased off as well. Suddenly the job of “housewife” got easier than it had ever been at any point in human history. Women had “choices”, to either work inside the home, or work outside the home.
And here we are sixty years later the end product of the most golden bubble of human history. So bear with me while I explain the rules and the strategy of the whole mess. At least as far as the whole SAHM vs Working Mother thing goes.
Loosely speaking, back in Marriage 1.0 times, men worked outside the home, women raised the kids and worked inside the home. The wife was economically dependant on the husband. Marriage ended by “fault”. If a marriage ended by her fault, she was totally screwed, so women tended not to be… “faulty”. If however the marriage ended by the man’s fault, there was a quite justifiable reason to take him to court and ensure that he held up his end of the economic bargain. Thus alimony is created.
In a Marriage 1.0 world, alimony is a good and meaningful thing. A genuinely bad husband, should be forced to support his wife and children if she isn’t the one at fault and he is.
But in a Marriage 2.0 world, there may be no fault whatsoever on the part of the husband, or even either party. But there may be fault on the part of the wife. Whereupon alimony – formerly a punishment for an at fault husband – turns into a reward for an at fault wife. Divorce is incentivized for women, and thus the divorce rate skyrockets.
The combination of an incentivized divorce plus the ease of a SAHM lifestyle creates a huge moral hazard for a husband. The wife may demand an easy SAHM life, or simply take him to the cleaners if he doesn’t provide it for her. This level of threat makes her the default head of household in many cases and thanks to female hypergamy, that increasingly kills her attraction to her husband, further increasing the divorce rate. 
To be sure, many SAHMs are diligent, productive and deeply intent on making their family happy. They really can work tirelessly and don’t consider the moral hazard as a good option for even a moment. But some clearly suck, and let’s be perfectly blunt that that threshold for failure as a SAHM is pathetically low. You’re only a failure as a mother if the state removes your children from your care. Otherwise you’re the holy Madonna.
The law does vary from state to state as well. In some states the alimony comes as a lifetime supply, and in other places it is very limited indeed. So depending where you are living, wives can be rewarded for divorce, or husbands can walk away from a marriage with minimal punishment. The stories of women who bewail having been SAHMs that are now divorced and have zero alimony, some minimal child support and no job skills in an economy with 10% unemployment rate are quite real, just as are the stories of husbands divorced without warning in an Eat Pray Love scenario.
The truth of the matter is… depending on your state’s laws… you can be royally ass-fucked as either a husband or wife if the couple chooses the SAHM route and divorce happens. Usually both of you get ass-fucked to some degree. Unless you are a member of the ruling class, once you try and split one income over two households, the money will always run out somewhere for someone. If you’re a $50 million dollar couple, divorce is annoying. If you’re a $50,000 couple, divorce is game over.
If you want to go the SAHM route, I will say that it can work. You really can have a wonderful lifestyle from having a SAHM if she works productively in the role. But do understand that it’s a luxury to be able to do it. The SAHM is a dependant and it is a very soft job because it doesn’t create a paycheck. Not only is the golden age of the world over, it still needs to be paid for and to be perfectly blunt, soft jobs are going to become few and far between.
I totally get the need and idea to have someone watch the kids while they are pre-school age, seriously I get it, it makes good economic sense to do so. But after that, the longer she stays out of the real job market, the less self-reliant she becomes. Which makes her more and more economically dependent on him. If there is no clear economic need driving the SAHM setup, (like medically complex children) you may discover to your horror down the road that the economics come back to haunt you.  (Either of you)
The whole thing of having an adult as a dependant is fraught with risk and moral hazard. 
Jennifer: Being a stay at home parent to a pre-schooler makes financial sense, daycare costs being what they are, and having the ability to stay home and raise a baby/preschooler is fabulous for family bonding.  Being a stay at home parent to children who are school-aged (and who aren’t being home schooled, there aren’t still little ones not in school, there aren’t any children with severe medical/behavioral/developmental impairments, etc.) just leaves something lacking. Are you also raising a huge garden that feeds the family?  Are you the one doing the home improvement construction projects?  Are you in some way making a contribution to how the family runs while the kids are at school?  I’d love to have a million bucks and be able to run errands and sit on the couch while the girls are at school…but really that would get boring after about a month lol.  Raising children is important, but so many families do it and have both partners at least have part time jobs.  I’m not abdicating the responsibility of raising my kids because I work.  (and kudos to the single parents out there…those are the parents who really have to do it all) /gets down off of soap box

Blue Pill Regret, Red Pill Pain and An Encouraging Thought

There were two similar comments on an earlier post, this is the shorter one and references the first.
Reader:  ROI – my situation is similar to yours and I struggle with the same issues. I tolerated years of sex that swung between mediocre and nonexistent but finally started changing myself using the MAP techniques. The increased sex rank and destabilization has started working. My wife is initiating sex occasionally and her level of enthusiasm has increased somewhat. The dynamic of our relationship outside the bedroom has become better with more alpha on my part. But I’m just not excited about having sex with her anymore and it is troubling.
I don’t think its about the difference in sex rank. It’s not a matter of “I’ve lost 50 pounds and you haven’t so now you’re ugly”. It’s more about the sexual disconnect that I’ve created over the years. Wanting something I could hardly ever get was driving me to madness so I willed myself to not want it. My sex life became masturbation and porn and they never let me down during all those years she did. My instinctual reaction now when I think about having sex with my wife is anger.
Intellectually I understand the red pill idea that women are for the most part automatons when it comes to their sexual response. Intellectually I understand that it’s irrational to be angry at my wife for not behaving the way I wanted – it was my failure for not evoking those behaviors. But it just fucking hurts. It’s hard not to be resentful. It’s like I’m stuck in these bad patterns of thought. The rage has worn a groove in my head and now it’s difficult to accept improvement in things that I’ve bitched and moaned for the last decade. The recent articles here and at Ian’s site about initiating have had me thinking a lot about this lately. I don’t want to initiate anymore. Part of me doesn’t trust her with my sexuality any more because she’s used it to hurt and humiliate me in the past.
Athol – any ideas? We are starting to get what we said we wanted. Why can’t we be happy about it?
And another reader in the same commenting thread…
Reader:  I think your feelings are normal. I’ve had some of the same struggles in my head after running the map and changing 10+ year bad sexual and emotional relationship into a great one. The reality of the red pill has empowered my to change the relationship into what it should be, but I’m still mad about it at some level. I kind of feel cheated out of all those wasted years. And I sort of hate it at some level that I have to game my wife into loving me the way I think she should just love me anyway. But that part of my thinking is fading away, just taking some time.
Athol:  The Red Pill does not taste of chocolate. In fact it’s pretty damn bitter sometimes. The worse you’ve done things the Blue Pill way, the harsher the Red Pill tastes going down. It really sucks to realize you’ve wasted so much time and effort to work against your own interests.
Jennifer and I have always had a good sex life, but we’ve always struggled with money. One of the things that I realized around six years back was that instead of trying so hard to have an equal relationship, we would have been better off if I really had just pushed myself harder to advance my career goals. This point was hammered home when one of her friends got engaged to a dentist and Jennifer told me the news via excited verbal diarrhoea. The word “dentist” was repeated very five seconds with increasingly greater emphasis. The harder I tried to not listen, the louder Jennifer got. Dentist, dentist, dentist, dentist, dentist….
My response to her was simple. “I’m sorry I’m not a dentist.” Which sounds weak, but my eye contact and tone was icy steel.
Jennifer immediately checked up and apologized and rattled off a long list of my good points and contributions to the family. Held me tight and kissed me deeply. She wasn’t intentionally trying to hurt me, so easy to forgive her in that sense. It was the purely unintentional nature of it all that stung. For sure Jennifer liked me, loved me and wanted me, but she would have liked me, loved me and wanted me more if I was a dentist or whatever else similar I could have been. All those years of being superdad and Mr.Equal wasn’t exactly as great as I thought they were.
And so I resolved to make something of myself, and immediately made things significantly worse by wasting eighteen months trying to sell real estate and basically suffering a massive loss of income. I tried very hard for far too long to make it work, and it all turned to crap on me. To her great credit, Jennifer did stick by me and frankly was too supportive for our own good, she should have chewed me out about it all not working rather than put up with it. I would have stopped trying so hard earlier. 
I went back to nursing four years ago, and we’ve been digging out of the money hole slowly but steadily. 2011 was a very special year in that finally the book was out and the money situation shifted in our favor more. We’ve also slowly changed to me being more of the career minded one and Jennifer has picked up a lot of my housekeeping slack, and even started adding in some extra part time work as well. We’re both responsible for getting into our mess and we’re both working to get ourselves out.
But yeah… we could have done so much of this right from the beginning. So many wasted years that it’s kind of sickening to think about in that sense. And I would be lying if I said that there haven’t been times where it really doesn’t seem fair that I have to work harder than she does. But I can say that the more I get things together, the less it all bothers me and it is what it is. Captain works harder than the First Officer. We’re getting on better than ever and the sex in the last twelve months is amazing.
It’s funny looking back too, my first serious girlfriend Mary Fitness Tested me hard over my career goals. I wanted to go into ministry work and help people, she thought I would be better off using my writing and humor skills doing something like marketing. One of the things I liked most about Jennifer was her idealism and that the social status thing didn’t matter, but it is a factor after all. Doh!
I will say this though, without Jennifer and without all these endless missteps and dead ends along the way, I would not be were I am today. There would be no MMSL. Which is as Gandalf says, “Is an encouraging thought.”
Because everything happens for a reason…
…but usually the reason is because someone was stupid. The Red Pill does not taste of chocolate, and frankly it’s more like battlefield medicine than anything else, but it is excellent knowledge. Armed with that knowledge you, and I, and together, we can be less stupid and make significant changes to our lives.
It’s okay to be angry. Just use it as motivation to propel things in the right direction.
Often things get worse before they get better. But they can get better. Give it some time, get into action and start making positive changes. In time things will feel more enjoyable. Feelings follow actions. If things are improving, things are improving.
“Even more dramatically, the researchers also found that two-thirds of unhappily married spouses who stayed married reported that their marriages were happy five years later. In addition, the most unhappy marriages reported the most dramatic turnarounds: among those who rated their marriages as very unhappy, almost eight out of 10 who avoided divorce were happily married five years later”   Link

Daughters, Career Advice and the MILF Effect

Jack:  Athol, I’m curious what you will teach your daughters. Will you teach them today’s feminist line that they “can be anything they want”? This, to me, is a dangerous message. Yes, women can pursue their career and become uber-competitive, but there are tradeoffs. Women’s hypergamy being what it is, if they become gung-ho careerists they will simultaneously shrink their dating market and turn off the best (alpha) males who are not attracted to women of higher success then them. This is all well documented.
Its not easy to raise girls if you go against the dominant Leftist/Feminist cultural programming.
Athol:  We’re generally teaching them they can be anything they want to be, but I agree that you can’t be everything you want to be. We’re also conscious about offering them a leg-up and using our moderate ability to effect nepotism to advance them as much as possible career-wise. Both of our girls are very bright and I doubt they would be content at all with a SAHM lifestyle.
One daughter is actually quite turned on by the idea of fast tracking to her RN and being able to earn a good wage by the time she is 20, and have flexibility in work schedules and being able to work part time around her family needs and so on. So we can help make that happen for her.
One daughter is quite gifted and she has a standing offer of having her fiction writing and/or drawings turned into full fledged books with our help. No requirement to be published for all the world to see, even one copy to hold in her hands being acceptable. She’ll bite eventually lol.
I’m conscious of there being a fine line between pushing them in a certain direction and over riding what they might really want to do, and not offering them all that I could and having them turn out less than they could be. They are wonderfully good kids and I’m sure they will turn into wonderful women and the older they get the more interesting they become.
There are risks for women in advancing career at the expense of starting a family, and then finding out too late their use-by date has passed, but I don’t think that will be the case with our girls. The apple does not fall far from the tree, and lets face it, Jennifer is about as good as advertising gets for “this is what you’ll be married to in twenty years” for future boyfriends to take into consideration. Stable, loyal, sexy, fun, competent, healthy, charming, joyful. So I think they will have a high market value and plenty of options actively pursuing them.
I mean you gotta figure at some point the boyfriends are just going to go, “Your mom had sex with your dad HOW MUCH?!?!” and then look directly at Jennifer’s ass until their name is forcefully called…
 …and girls are going to get a +2 to their Sex Rank.
Something that I really learned with the passing of my father is how important family is, so I’m actually kinda looking forward to having sons-in-law to be honest.
Plus my girls will read everything I’ve written, so they’ll have a fairly deep understanding of relationships and be conscious of whats going on. They will make mistakes no doubt, but unlikely to make critical failures. So I’m not really worried about them… but I do worry about them, they are after all my daughters.
Jennifer:  Great… I feel like the display model in a store, though I guess that’s the way it really does work. It is important for them to know that they can be whatever they want to be, but that they have to make decisions about what to do at what point in their lives because no one can do it all at the same time…high powered career and big family and pro-level sports and yada yada yada. Yeah, and I feel old just having two teenagers, so let’s not skip ahead to be being the MOB just yet!

47 Years of Marriage, Still Buys Her Flowers Every Monday

Reader:  Good idea or bad idea?
I ask because I read somewhere (I think from Roissy) that a man should only give his wife 1/2 of what she gives him (or something like that). Do you have an opinion?
Athol:  The Roissy rule is 2 contacts for every 3 she gives you.
I’m in basic disagreement with Roissy in that he sees Alpha and Beta as being at two opposite ends of a scale of what creates or kills attraction in women. I see Alpha and Beta Traits as two separate and important elements of a relationship with a woman, which in no small part is pulled from the Mystery Method. The Mystery Method in twelve words or less is “Show Alpha first, then show Beta, isolate and touch her, suggest sex.”
So anyway… back to Poppy with the flowers…
…it’s a Beta move, which is completely fine as long as he has his Alpha stuff together as well. If she experiences receiving the flowers as a positive, it’s a positive that he gives them.
But there’s also an added element from the total reliability of his actions that have created a ritual of commitment and emotional engagement that steps it up beyond just a routine gift of flowers. He’s really doing the whole Fireproof thing, minus the groveling and religious emesis. Which is to say it’s not very much like the Fireproof thing at all. It’s more like being the Cal Ripken of love.
The man is a rock of love and there’s a genius in the way he checkmates her hamster. There’s no possible way she could ever get away with denying he loves her, or isn’t one of the good guys on the world. Can you imagine her trying to bad mouth him to her girlfriends? Everybody knows he loves her, has always loved her and will always love her. How do you spin that into an Eat Pray Love ending and not look like a worthless, ungrateful, stupid whore doing a good man wrong? The only viable option is to love him.
Ironically, the greatest effect may in fact be on him rather than on her. He’s likely still experiencing feelings of being in love with her by his ritual of expressing romantic love. Feelings follow actions. But maybe that feeling of being in love with her changes what else he does for the better in their relationship.
He looks total old school. He looks like a Marriage 1.0 guy through and through, but the key to surviving marriage in a Marriage 2.0 world is that courtship never ends. So he’s got it down like a boss.
I also have a strong hunch she puts some extra attention to her appearance on Mondays… anyway, for all we know, he doesn’t even think of Monday’s as “flower day”, but as “blow job day.”
Jennifer:  Awwwwwwwwwwwww so romantic! (hmmmm…where’s my flowers lol?)