The Mid-Atlantic Blog

February 12, 2006

Women, Children & Lefties

I'm very lucky, having been happily married for what is getting on for 15 years. How she puts up with me I'll never know - I just hope that she never sees sense. I thought I'd draw attention to an interesting study out that today covers the effect that marriage has on the contentment of those involved. Unsurprisingly it tends to make both parties happier.
To extrapolate the point a little, there is an interesting wrinkle in the results relating to what makes women happiest. Turns out that they are mildly happier when only one of the family has to go out to work. Lots of reasons for this, of course, but add it to this story covering the possible negative effect of childcare at an early age on children and you do begin to focus on government family policy. Rather than greater state provision of facilities to make it easier for both parents to work, shouldn't we be focusing on finding ways to allow one not to? If it is, truly, better for the children, and if the women themselves are made generally happier because of it? An attempt to bolster family life in this way might also make it easier for people to have slightly larger families: necessary if we're to provide stability for the welfare structures we all seem to care about in this country.
(In the interests of full disclosure, we're a one income family, but by accident rather than ideology. Our daughter spent the first couple of years at home, beginning nursery when about 2 and a half to improve her socialisation.)
Of course, this is against the leftist consensus discussed this morning by Rod Liddle. And it's not a call to get women barefoot and pregnant in front of the sink (I'm the son of a mother that worked for much of my, relatively happy, childhood and I've seen some of the difficulties undergone by her and her peers in terms of workplace behaviour - many of those battles needed to be fought, and much of the social change has been very positive. But not all). It is, however, just more evidence that the blunt assertions implicit in the social changes of the last 30 years need to be questioned a little more carefully to ensure that they are actually based on something more than wishful thinking.
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