“A majority of stay-home moms and dads are not only working as parents and housekeepers; they also serve as unpaid support and teaching staff for local public schools, unpaid case managers and caregivers for sick and elderly relatives, and unpaid volunteers/part-time help for a wide variety of social services and programs including libraries, hospitals, art, music, and sports programs, and political organizations,” Bitch Ph.D. writes.
“In this regard we haven’t, as a society, actually moved much *at all* in the last 50 years. The volunteer mom brigade *looks* a little less ladies-who-lunchy. . . . But cell phones and yoga pants aside, we’re doing the same stuff. . . .
“It’s not strictly a question of whether or not the ‘working’ parent should be ‘paying’ the at-home parent a wage for housekeeping and childrearing (through alimony, split incomes, separate IRAs, or what have you), or whether the government should be paying social security to stay-home moms (see here and here for more on that last one, and if you haven’t read Crittenden’s book
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One of the few economists who takes this point seriously is Nancy Folbre in The Invisible Heart.