Quiverfull Motherhood: Misery Loves Company?

Quiverfull Motherhood: Misery Loves Company? August 17, 2019

This morning I took a look at Lori Alexander’s newest fan/cultural enforcer want to be Kathryn of Joy for the Journey again. Kathryn is back on the subject of feminism, and she breaks it down to the simplest of claims. She claims that feminists actively deride and treat like dirt anyone who is a stay at home mom. This is exactly the kind of black and white thinking in the church that does so much harm to so many. Is it because Quiverfull motherhood is all misery that loves company? Why the lies? Why the lies without any factual evidence to try and at least pretend they are true?

It used to be that feminists claimed they supported a woman’s right to stay home OR go out and get a job. Now the state is seeking more and more control over the indoctrination of children. And feminists are starting to show their true colors. They hate SAHMs. They want every woman in the workforce and every child in public school. But how was Satan the original feminist?

Links or none of it happened. Most women no longer in Quiverfull are labeled ‘feminist’ no matter what they are, are too busy living their own lives to actually care what someone else is choosing to do with their own. In fact, polling shows that many women reject the title ‘Feminist’ while still embracing equality between the sexes.

Feminism and feminists have had to deal with a great deal of lies promulgated against them by people like Pat Robertson and others. Feminists don’t hate men, or hate women who work at home. It’s a lie that Quiverfull pushes with only anecdotal evidence.

But here is what anyone with eyes can observe about Quiverfull motherhood. It’s mostly misery. Unrelieved misery with no healthy way to deal with or express that.

Most cultural enforcers, like Nancy Campbell and Lori Alexander, never had to live one day like they are calling others to live. Limited family size, birth control used, household help, living a life completely different than what they call others to do.

But many struggle unnecessarily from following that advice. Below are a few screen caps from struggling Quiverfull mothers on just one Facebook group this week. I would say that if these three ladies expressed the reality of Quiverfull there are likely dozens more feeling the same way, yet in denial about it because they’ve been taught by Nancy Campbell and others to deny all  negative feelings.

These stories! Not quite the moonlight and roses that Nancy and others preach. Here’s the thing, how about we stop letting people like Kathryn and Nancy Campbell dictate what motherhood looks like, and do it in a way that works for us, the individual us who is going to be different for everyone, and stop trying to drive wedges in about what is and isn’t acceptable. Take off the labels like Quiverfull or Feminism.

Motherhood matters, but it shouldn’t eat you alive or destroy who you are!

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

I Fired God by Jocelyn Zichtermann

13:24 A Dark Thriller by M Dolon Hickmon

About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 33 years. You can read more about the author here.
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  • lady_black

    Feminism supports the choice to be a primary parent or not. It’s the “or not” that fundagelicals take issue with, because that would imply that women should have a choice.
    Therefore, if you believe women have a choice, then you hate SAHM. It’s not feminists to blame for the issue. It’s the sentiment that women are not fully human and shouldn’t have choices.

  • kaydenpat

    As a feminist, I completely support a woman’s choice to be a stay at home mother. That is her choice. I have a few friends who are or were SAHMs. I would just suggest, however, that women be careful about being dependent on men and not having any skills or resources to live comfortably should their marriages fall apart.

  • persephone

    Yes. It’s one thing to agree that the wife be an SAHM, it’s another that she is taught to not do anything else than stay home and be dependent. I really like hearing about men being SAHDs.

    True feminism just means that you believe that women should have equal treatment and the same options and opportunities as men.

  • persephone

    The idea that women have always been SAHMs until the 20th century is completely untrue, but these religions propound this lie.

    Mike Pence did a thing on the radio show he had for a while where he claimed that Mulan was a feminist lie told by Disney. A billion Chinese would like a word. ETA to add link: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/andrewkaczynski/mister-ill-make-a-man-out-of-you

    I even hear this idea here, among people who are feminists, and I get angry. Old white men writing history have hidden and denied 99.9999% of historical knowledge.

  • persephone

    Those stories are heartbreaking. But I’m not surprised. Telling people that there’s a magic formula to happiness that everyone can follow without question is a great evil and an impossibility. They teach them to:

    1. Be Uneducated
    2. Be Uninformed
    3. Don’t Use Birth Control
    4. Don’t Plan for the Future
    5. Ignore Reality
    6. All Problems can be Solved with Prayer
    7. It’s Your Fault if You’re Failing/Unhappy/Sad/Poor
    8. Always Keep Smiling
    9. Always Be Perfect

    This list could go on forever.

  • lady_black

    Not only haven’t SAHM been the rule, but so have stay at home children. Historically, people needed to work very hard to live and women and children were no exception.
    The stay at home mother, and extended childhood are a historical anomaly. A mere blip on the radar, and certainly wasn’t the case when the founders of religions were around.

  • kaydenpat

    I know one SAHM who had to scramble when her husband left her so my advice to stay at home moms and dads would be the same.

  • AFo

    This completely ignores the economic reality of most families, in which both parents have to work to make ends meet. If you can get by on one income and have Mom at home raising the kids, good for you, but that just doesn’t work for the majority of people.

  • Ann Kah

    Get by, and have a mom that WANTS to be at home raising kids. Not that such a consideration is front and center for the man who just thinks it’s nice to have all those kids that he sees for a couple of hours a day, max. I feel for the woman who has her several kids and then finds out that the grass is greener on the other side of the college degree, or the job away from the house, but then finds herself stuck. Not every woman who can bear children is suited to be a mother to a crowd.

  • Ann Kah

    And if she misses on some of those items, trust the movement to tell her it is HER fault.

  • Ann Kah

    Nobody guarantees that he will love her forever. Nobody guarantees that he will never be jobless or disabled. Nobody guarantees that he will live forever.

    Ladies, have a backup plan for life!

  • Cynthia

    These same folks that complain the choice to be a SAHM is not respected will say horrible things about a stay-at-home-father – even if that is a choice that makes sense for a family.

  • Jennny

    That’s it in a nutshell. And the saddest thing is the sceenshots show that QF women have been promised so much – their lifestyle, their subservience, their obedience to the bible will reap rich rewards…the perfect, the only god-approved lifestyle. Suzanne once wrote of seeing Fb comments by QF mothers desperate for food, for new shoes for kids who’d outgrown theirs (as kids tend to do). Their plight reminds me of poor girls who are trafficked for sex – promised jobs, money to send home, great lifestyle etc etc, only to find themselves as prostitutes with no way out. My heart goes out to these QF brainwashed, depressed, confused, abused, overworked, weakened by too may pregnancies women who can see no way of escape.

  • Friend

    Let’s review. How much public support is there for poor single women to stay home and be good mothers? And where is that support coming from?

    Oh, how could I forget. To get food or medical care for their children, poor single mothers have to fill out countless forms to prove they are either working all day, training for a job, or going out for interviews. Are these forms devised by feminists? No, I didn’t think so.

    /talking to myself

  • Friend

    Right, and even the myth today has children working at home: the daughters as little mommies and the sons as little farmers, mechanics, etc. Yeah sure you bet, they are just preparing for rigid God-given Biblical roles of men and women… but if they are actually helping the family feed and care for itself, they are working: doing a job that people get paid for.

  • B.E. Miller

    And when one of them goes “Andrea Yates” they’ll ‘flame’ her, and blame her, and excuse her husband.

    I’m just surprised more women haven’t gone off that way….

  • Astrin Ymris

    This isn’t unique to Quiverfull. Based on Pinterest, a lot of women have stated that their acquaintances with kids have urged them to have kids, while simultaneously complaining about how hard and frustrating it is to raise kids. I think one comedian had a routine about the strange smiles breeders gave when trying to persuade the childfree to reproduce, as if they wanted their unencumbered friends suffering as much as they were.

    I’ve find myself wondering lately if some of the GOP resistance to the HHS Mandate comes from the Corporate Right as well as the Religious Right. A shortage of able bodies to do the scut work of society would mean that employers would have to offer higher wages and more benefits to attract workers, which would mean corporations would have to “get by” with a slightly lower profit margin than they’ve become accustomed to. This would lower CEO compensation packages to something more in line with the value of their actual contribution. This scares the .01%, because the thought of earning slightly less money in the future is somehow equated to having all their accrued wealth and property seized by violent revolutionaries, leaving them penniless and homeless.

  • Steven Erickson

    Who is her audience? They seem incredibly privileged, because deciding whether or not one can work just isn’t a choice for most American women. Choosing if one can be a SAHM has been a decision made by the economy, not feminism (and in the ’70s, feminists recognized housework as a job that deserved wages.)

  • Jenn H

    The idealised quiverfull nuclear family leaves the poor woman alone at home, trying to look after all the children herself, even if she is sick while pregnant or recovering from childbirth.

  • Jenn H

    I’ve seen the phrase “but kids are so worth it” too many times after a long, frustrated posts on social media.

  • SAO

    I read recently that in the 80s, the chicken processing companies raided by ICE recently recruited Mexican immigrants to fight unions and reduce prices. If the salaries paid to the African Americans who used to work there kept pace with inflation, they be making $50/hour. The official wage is now $12.50.

    The article commented it wasn’t an immigrant ‘invasion’, it was corporate policy by American corporations.

  • Martin Penwald

    The last screencap there is very worrisome. I had the exact same tought after reading it. The writer of this text seems extremely distressed with absolutely no relieve in view.

  • Friend

    Parents would do better to accept that raising children is a long, arduous, uncertain process. Worth it? Sure, because parents love their kids and get deep satisfaction from watching them slowly, slowly mature and gain autonomy. It takes 18-25 years for the brain to finish developing. That’s a lot of days, and room for a whole gamut of emotions.

    From what I see, absolutely nobody sails through. Even if a child is easygoing, bright, and hard-working, he/she will almost certainly face some challenges: a l0usy school, bad breakup, illness/injury, a poor decision, a recession… Parents ag0nize through all of it. We love them all the way to independence and then miss them when they move out on their own.

  • Mimc

    Being able to choose between working and staying home is a huge priviledge. Most families either need two incomes or can’t afford childcare. There aren’t many options for care if you don’t work 9 to 5. Without any post secondary training I’m afraid these women are probably stuck. Income based childcare is great but there just isn’t enough openings in these programs for everyone who needs them.

  • Jennifer

    They’ll also excuse whatever creep taught the family such nonsense. Most people are not mentally ill enough to even consider drowning their children, but there’s burn-out, anxiety, depression, bad hormonal imbalance, pregnancy complications, post-partum depression and all kinds of other ailments that can bring down an over-worked woman not really built for Duggar-hood.

  • MuttsRule

    The post from the poor woman who’s surrendering her dogs to a shelter, taking her children to a shelter, and trying to do something for her 4-year-old child’s birthday – that just broke my heart.

  • B.E. Miller

    I keep thinking of the fact that so much stuff is run by machines now. Like my dad’s cousin who worked at a log mill. New mills employ less people than the older ones. And they’re all computer programmers and engineers.

    Oh, heck, even at McDonald’s, there’s fewer people to take your order, because now they have those kiosks that look like giant iPads, where you place your order. You don’t even need cash.

    We won’t need more people, we’ll need less people in the decades to come. I worry about what will happen to those who get displaced by robots in the years to come. Will they be retrained? Or will we end up with some sort of underclass, living in shantytowns made of cardboard or scraps.

  • B.E. Miller

    Yeah, she’s so overworked, tired, and stressed out.

    And the one facing homelessness, and having to surrender their dogs to a shelter… sigh….

    I wish I could go point out to them that there’s governmental assistance (though the current administration is making it harder to get assistance.) It’s why I pay my taxes. I think of all the poor families who get food stamps, and housing assistance, so they won’t be starving and homeless in street.

  • Timothy Weston

    Have you ever heard of Decree 770? It was one of the reasons for a dictator’s fall.

  • Jennifer A. Nolan

    Right on! This is something those rock-ribbed, lily-white Saxon types should think about next time they get all excited about illegal immigrants! Don’t fight the non-whites and aliens; fight Big Business!

  • Jennifer A. Nolan

    That’s a cover-up, pure and simple as this morning’s daisies. The parents are struggling to hide from the poor planning and decision-making they did. Under a more supportive economic structure, I could have had two or three kids and been a perfectly happy mother, but under this one — certainly not. So I skipped it. **As a result, one or more innocent people are not in trouble with our crummy social system.**

  • Jennifer A. Nolan

    Uh-oh! It take a village, remember? We should all get on the stick for better support for kids!!

  • persephone

    The CIA was quite happy to help American corporations overthrow democratic governments in Central and South America to make it easy for them to set up factories and plantations with starvation wages.

  • persephone

    The U.S. and many other developed countries don’t have the people they need to take on the aging population. Healthcare, especially elder care, is coming up short.

    This has been behind Japan’s push in robotics.

  • persephone

    It’s clear that even those apparently successful QFers are struggling hard.

    Zsu Anderson feeds her kids leftover cake for breakfast. Steven can’t support the family with a hate ministry with limited followers, and runs a bunch of side businesses.

    The Rodrigues kids look to be suffering from malnutrition. The parents aren’t skinny, but they don’t look healthy either.

    When the Duggars got their first TV special, they were living in a tiny, 3-bedroom, rental home from which they were being evicted because the owners were going to sell it. They had no money for the house they were building. The show is the only reason they have a home. The daughters all seem to be having problems with pregnancy and delivery, which could be, at least partially, due to their poor diet while growing up.

    The Bates have a TV show on UP TV, which I’ve never heard of. I assume they’re making something off of it, as it’s been on since 2015. I did notice that only the oldest of their sons is married. Six of the daughters are married, and some don’t have children.

  • Ruthitchka

    That’s the EXACT advice my mother gave both of us “girls”, her daughters. I ended up being the major breadwinner while I was married. I was the reason we didn’t lose the house, pretty much! I (and the person God created me to be) am the reason I can support myself now that I am on my own.

    In my case, I’d already been a bilingual secretary for eight years before my first son was born. Ex and I had agreed on me staying home with our child(ren), but had an early mid-life crisis at age 28 and was asked to quit his job or be fired. He got a job with a relative after that, and three months later he was fired for incompetence. It was up and down ever after.

    I went back to work when my son was about three months old and have had a very satisfying career. At first I really resented it, but later I realized my career gave me power and independence, eventually!

    My success means I am paying alimony, but it is a small price to pay to be away from an emotionally unstable man.

  • Ruthitchka

    Where I live the cost of purchasing or renting a house or apartment is extremely high, so I’d say most couples are dual-income couples because it’s necessary here.

    When I was a young mother and also working full time 25-30 years ago, I did indeed get tired of Christian radio hosts and the like criticizing mothers who worked outside of the home. I simply had no choice, but my sons’ father and I were always very involved with the boys’ lives. No one got away with skipping their homework, for example. I was a volunteer with both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. Unlike the dire warnings I used to hear, both my sons earned Eagle Scout, both graduated from college and have good jobs, and most importantly, both my sons are good people.

    In short, I think the interest you take in your children and the love you show them are probably key factors. A long time ago, I decided to ignore those who tried to mommy-guilt me, including my own mother, because I truly had no choice, as my ex was a very good father but a very bad husband. I wasn’t perfect, either, but I am very proud of my adult sons.

  • Ruthitchka

    Yep, I’d say this system for poor single mothers was 100% designed by wealthy, white politicians, amirite?

  • Ruthitchka

    I couldn’t have articulated my feelings better than you just did. I was lucky, though–my sons mostly had minor illnesses, except that the younger one got a truly spectacular compound-fractured forearm that necessitated a visit to the ER and the Orthopedist! Our family lived through several recessions and a few poor decisions, but overall, my experience was positive.

  • Timothy Weston

    Then they are easily distracted by the mantra “God will provide”, which in turn calms them.

  • Astrin Ymris

    No, I hadn’t. I’d read of Christians organizing to adopt kids from Romanian orphanages, especially those supposedly “maimed by attempted abortions”. For some reason, the author of the piece never acknowledged the fact that a ban on contraception and abortion was the reason such horrible orphanages existed. *rolls eyes*

  • Astrin Ymris

    The next time someone quotes that “God will provide” quote to oppose Reproductive Rights, I’m going to reply, “Really? When does he intend to start?”