Friday, June 8, 2012

No, You Can't

At least in theory we can all recognize when two items are mutually exclusive.  Either you are sleeping or you are awake, but you can't be both at the same time.  However, the asifa that took place re the Internet brought up a situation where this basic rule need not apply.

Let me backtrack a moment.  There is always much discussion about SAHMs--stay at home moms.  For many, perhaps most, in klal this is the "only" correct place for the mother of children.  I'm not arguing about the correctness of this but would point out that it is the "ideal," and is not possible for many, many mothers due to other requirements that klal has.  You want parents to have large families?  You want all the children in yeshivot?  You want them in summer camp? You want families living in certain communities and places as opposed to others?  Okay, but just how is all this going to be paid for when you also want young men sitting and learning as opposed to working?  Even when--begrudgingly--you say that a man can go out to work, just how much money on average is this quite possibly under-educated and under-experienced young man going to be making?

Ah yes, silly me, I forgot about that other requirement--the one where a woman's parents are supposed to be kicking in megabucks in support.  Hmmm, let me see, those parents have a SAHM in the house and they have 5 kids who between them have 31 children, all in yeshiva.  And the father's name doesn't happen to be Warren Buffet.  Support for their children may be a tiny drop in the bucket for what is actually needed to live the lifestyle some groups in klal insist on.

Now to get back on topic.  The Internet represents a way that the mothers in situations as described above can, indeed, be in two places at once.  They can be at home and they can be at work.  I'm not saying it's easy to do this, but it is possible, and yes, I know women who are doing this.  But that also brings up a different issue that would need to be addressed.   Many of our young women are being channeled into the therapy fields or into teaching.  Here's the thing--you can't do physical therapy over the Internet and you can't teach a school class that way either. (Obviously there are online classes available, but those are given by teachers employed by schools, not by SAHMs.)

So, some in klal would need to change their views about the Internet if they want SAHMs to be the rule, not the exception.  Those same people would also need to change their minds about what is "suitable" employment for the SAHMs.  And if they want their future SAHMs prepared to be able to work from home, they are going to have to give good instruction in computer use while these future SAHMs are in high school, or even college.  And they are going to need to do some thorough and objective research about what types of jobs can be conducted over the Internet.

Those in klal who are so opposed to the Internet--and no, it's not only because of possible access to pornography--need to heed the old saying "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."  The circumstances under which they would be "joining them" could be theirs to decide, but only if they first take off their blinders and look at just what century we are living in and under what circumstances.


Shana said...

Been working from home for almost 2 years. Does make it easier to be there for the kids but it's not easy and nobody should think that working at home means you have all this free time. You don't. My bosses expect a full days work. Sometimes that means I'm up around 5 in the morning to get work started if I have to carpool that day. Sometimes I put the kids to bed and have to go back to work for a few hours. My boss now let's me do this but the first one I worked like this for didn't. Basically meant I still had to hire help for the kids if something had to be done while I was supposed to be working. Still better then having to commute somewhere and not being around the house during the day but you gotta be organized and know it's not going to be as easy as some people tell you it will be.

Avi Greengart said...

It's also critically important to avoid work-at-home scams. Most good work-at-home scenarios require extensive education; there are no virtual envelope stuffing jobs - well, there are, but they're all scams or helping scam others.

corti said...

I was literally just thinking about this earlier today. Out of all my young friends who are married- I can think of exactly one who is a SAHM. Otherwise it's unheard of. The girls are supporting their husbands who are learning, or the professional guys are marrying professional women. Or, the guy has a mediocre job so the wife must work as well to support the family. I don't get it. Our culture is the first to praise SAHM's, why can't we sustain them anymore?

Rena said...

Corti it's really pretty simple why we can't sustain those SAHMs in large numbers. You gave some of the reasons yourself. But there is also this. Cultures change over the years, and countries change. And maybe most important, what it costs to pay for the things that you want or need has really changed. Given the money we need to live most people cannot afford a SAHM.

And that goes triple for the frum communities. Private school is not affordable for most people in our country. They use the public school system. Very few frum people who don't send their kids to yeshiva and those yeshivas cost a whole lot. If we want large families and we want to send those kids to yeshiva then SAHM is a practice out of the olden days and can't be applied today.