My Nouveau Traditional SAHM Lifestyle vs. Amanda Marcotte’s Exploding Head

I suppose that, since I’m a stay-at-home mom, I’m going to have to clean up after it.



  1. AWESOME. And timely — Tuesday, after reading Marcotte’s ridiculous screed against NFP/FAM (did you know you can only have sex a couple of days a month, so only women with no sex drive should use it? That abstaining from sex for a few days because your partner is away or sick or whatever is presumably ok, but abstaining from sex for a few days because you might get pregnant is crazy talk?) I vowed to never read anything she wrote ever again. And you’ve saved me the trouble of reading this most recent article, so thank you!

    Sheesh, she’s the reason so many conservatives think the f-word is “feminism.”

  2. Actually, I was just telling my husband that I thought my head was going to explode because I actually agreed with Marcotte about that article (well, in small part, anyway) — she complains that NFP users compare typical use of contraceptives with perfect use of NFP. So we hear that NFP is 99.8 percent effective, or whatever the figure is, but it’s rare to hear (until you’re in the middle of it) how hard it can be to practice it perfectly.

    Everything else she said about NFP and the Church was predictable, juvenile nonsense, but the NFP effectiveness rate thing is a pet peeve of mine.

  3. Did you read the comments? Some people there said the study did compare perfect use v. typical use for NFP. I have not read the study, so I can’t verify that, however.

    I also thought she had a point about typical use, but only with regard to NFP and artificial birth control. She wrote a bit about perfect abstinence v. “typical abstinence,” which I thought was silly, because by definition abstinence has to be perfect. If you are sometimes having sex, you are not abstinent.

  4. Oh, I know, the “typical abstinence” was pure sophistry. This is considered a good enough argument when you’re making fun of religious people, because their ideas are so dang stupid that there’s no reason to waste mental energy coming up with actual arguments.

    It’s also irritating that she focuses on cycle beads, which are the rhythm method, and never mentions that most forms of NFP are NOT the rhythm method.

    Still, the problem comes when people compare NFP with contraception as if they’re two methods for achieving the same effect, when really the ends are not precisely the same, if you stick with it long enough. Contraception makes sense for unmarried people who are fornicating and don’t want children, but NFP only makes sense for married people who, however unwittingly, have entered into an agreement which opens them up to a certain amount of pain, sacrifice, and unforeseen adventures. At least in my experience.

    • We’ve been using NFP for 11 years now. Four kids, 11, 6, 4 and 3 months. I think that’s a pretty good track record for NFP. #1 was a surprise honeymoon baby–flying overseas really wacks up your cycle, plus, we were on our HONEYMOON, for crying out loud. Other than that, all the babies have been “planned,” if throwing caution to the wind can be called “planning.”

    • Heh, contraception makes sense for “married” people who are fornicating and don’t want chilren, too. 😉

      I’m an ardent feminist but I have to admit, I’m not much of an Amanda Marcotte fan myself. Nearly six years ago, she linked on to one of my blog posts and said it made her fear marriage, believe it or not. And I got over 10,000 hits and lots of hideous comments from strangers, until the whole thing blew over.

      But I was still disheartened to see lots of the Register commenters attack her so personally.

  5. My husband is one of the 36% that would love to be a stay at home dad. The decision we made for me to stay home rather than him was based on economics. With a PhD in electrical engineering, he was capable of earning way more than I could with my MA in English Lit. Whoever can earn the most should be the working parent. It shouldn’t be based on whether you’re the dad or the mom, but what your earning power is.

    • Are you sure you agree that it should solely be based on earning power? Would you tell a mother who is a medical doctor, but feels compelled to stay at home and raise her children, that she is obliged to go back to work because her husband is only a public school teacher?

    • While I agree with your sentiment, I don’t think it’s that simple. While earning power most definitely can play a role, there are a lot of other factors which are equally if not more important.

      For example temperament does and should play a HUGE role in this. If one spouse has the personality to do stay at home better than the other, that should be MORE important. Not to mention other physical gifts (i.e. nursing) that one spouse can perform that the other can’t.

      As Catholics, I just don’t think it’s wise for us to get caught in the mind set of analyzing things primarily from the perspective of economics. There is a lot more that goes into it than that.

      • I agree with that, Steve. It sounds overly feel-good, but Danielle Bean’s mantra is actually incredibly useful advice: “Do what works for YOUR family.” In some families, it may make the most sense to use economics as a guide, because of personal circumstances; but in other families, something else might take precedence. In most cases, I would guess, there are many, many factors.

        The other thing is that what works at one stage in your marriage may need to be adjusted, and that’s not necessarily a terrible thing.

        • Amen! As I’ve progressed in this adventure of life and parenting, one of the things I’ve learned is the value of flexibility.

          I don’t think there is one particular answer on most of the touchy issues. Life with God and life within the family are all about relationship, and you better be ready to roll with the punches and adjust when it comes to dealing with relationships, especially when you are talking about a complex network of relationships that are as tangled together as they are in a family.

          Basically, the rule should be that we are all working together for the good of each other, but oh man, can that look different during different ages and stages of life.

  6. Every time I read anything she writes (which is usually at the prompting of another blogger who is refuting whatever it is), I pray for her. Wouldn’t it be excellent if the Holy Spirit started tapping on her shoulder so hard that she could no longer ignore it? Talk about exploding heads.

  7. Preach it, sister. I agree with you that there are lots of factors that go into making this decision; in my family’s case, my working means my husband can do a job he loves and have tons of time with our kids, and so can I. We’re extremely lucky in this, so I don’t offer it as a model for everyone else. And I agree with you that economics can’t be the only, or main, factor–I think the main factor should be the family, and what will work best in meeting the goal of getting us all to heaven’s door.

  8. In another post she writes:
    “the “hook-up culture” that causes so much anguish may have partially developed as a way for women to get laid without going through demeaning and sexist romantic rituals. … One more thought: I would have never thought of myself as a hopeless romantic, but reading endless sad, dry articles about the “marriage market,” where people supposedly assess each other like you would a car purchase (“No, I was really holding out for something with a sunroof and post-college degree of some sort”) certainly makes me wonder whatever happened to plain old love.”

    Hmm. Perhaps “plain old love” went the same way as those “demeaning and sexist romantic rituals”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s