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post #161 of 242

I've been reading this thread with interest. I think one of the core underlying issues is that middle class women in the US/Western world are not raised to think of themselves as breadwinners as part of their core parenting duties, whereas men are.

 

Think of the stereotypes and assumptions we see every day for middle class families. Dad at home with kids? The stereotype is that he is a lazy unemployed loser. Mom at home? Good mom, focused on her kids. Mom at work? Stereotype is that she is abandoning her kids to daycare. Dad at work? he is working hard to support his family.

 

When women make decisions about education and careers, we rarely are asked "can you support yourself and your family with that job/career?" Instead, we look for careers where we can combine work/home responsibilities, take time off, go freelance, etc. Work is seen as optional. Do what you love, otherwise, why do it?  BUT those jobs pay a lot less, are less stable, and have fewer benefits. Women are assumed to not need those things because they will have a "husband" to provide the income, stability, benefits, etc.

 

Men are often asked - even HOUNDED - about making good education/career choices that will allow them stability, security, and financial gain. Rarely are they asked or do they think about work/life balance, flexibility, freedom to take time off, etc. Men are assumed to not need those things because they will have a "wife" at home/working more flexible hours to keep the household organized. From what I have read and heared, 90% of the time when a two income family voluntarily goes to one income, it is the wife who gives up her job because his job is not "flexible" or "supportive".

 

BUT - here is the big but - women are in increasing numbers the primary income earners for their families- due to divorce, disability, death, or unemployment by their male spouse.

 

I feel like we are being caught in a trap where what we have been taught are the highest values by gender for our family are not consistent with the reality we are increasingly facing. It IS part of my parenting responsibility to make sure my kids are financially supported, as much as it is part of their father's responsibility to make sure they are emotionally supported.  Having a family split those responsibilities along traditional gender lines is not inherently BAD, but it does reveal some dangers if your ability to support your family are exclusively in one area.

post #162 of 242


WOW, this is exactly what I've been thinking about and so well-put.

Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post

I've been reading this thread with interest. I think one of the core underlying issues is that middle class women in the US/Western world are not raised to think of themselves as breadwinners as part of their core parenting duties, whereas men are.

 

Think of the stereotypes and assumptions we see every day for middle class families. Dad at home with kids? The stereotype is that he is a lazy unemployed loser. Mom at home? Good mom, focused on her kids. Mom at work? Stereotype is that she is abandoning her kids to daycare. Dad at work? he is working hard to support his family.

 

When women make decisions about education and careers, we rarely are asked "can you support yourself and your family with that job/career?" Instead, we look for careers where we can combine work/home responsibilities, take time off, go freelance, etc. Work is seen as optional. Do what you love, otherwise, why do it?  BUT those jobs pay a lot less, are less stable, and have fewer benefits. Women are assumed to not need those things because they will have a "husband" to provide the income, stability, benefits, etc.

 

Men are often asked - even HOUNDED - about making good education/career choices that will allow them stability, security, and financial gain. Rarely are they asked or do they think about work/life balance, flexibility, freedom to take time off, etc. Men are assumed to not need those things because they will have a "wife" at home/working more flexible hours to keep the household organized. From what I have read and heared, 90% of the time when a two income family voluntarily goes to one income, it is the wife who gives up her job because his job is not "flexible" or "supportive".

 

BUT - here is the big but - women are in increasing numbers the primary income earners for their families- due to divorce, disability, death, or unemployment by their male spouse.

 

I feel like we are being caught in a trap where what we have been taught are the highest values by gender for our family are not consistent with the reality we are increasingly facing. It IS part of my parenting responsibility to make sure my kids are financially supported, as much as it is part of their father's responsibility to make sure they are emotionally supported.  Having a family split those responsibilities along traditional gender lines is not inherently BAD, but it does reveal some dangers if your ability to support your family are exclusively in one area.

post #163 of 242
Siobhang-I kind of agree. But maybe it's a local/regional thing, but women here are not expected to SAH. Other than some old ladies I have met, being a SAHM is met with indignation, insult, and disrespect. You're considered a lazy free-loader.
post #164 of 242

Yeah, I was not raised to expect to SAH, and I was hounded (and harassed and criticized) about making a good career and being financially stable.

 

Me being a sahm from the get go is seen (in our area) as stupid bordering on crazy.

post #165 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

Yeah, I was not raised to expect to SAH, and I was hounded (and harassed and criticized) about making a good career and being financially stable.

 

Me being a sahm from the get go is seen (in our area) as stupid bordering on crazy.


That's interesting cappacinosmoms, 'cause I got the impression that your family were missionaries and having some insight into that culture, I find it odd that you would be discouraged from the SAH mom thing.  Maybe the greater culture would see SAHMdom as a negative thing, would feel that way, but I'm surprised that people within your own family would.  I actually find SAHMdom very celebrated where  I live.  In fact, t is the preferred method.  I think it probably depends on region and group,

post #166 of 242

 

When women make decisions about education and careers, we rarely are asked "can you support yourself and your family with that job/career?" Instead, we look for careers where we can combine work/home responsibilities, take time off, go freelance, etc. Work is seen as optional. Do what you love, otherwise, why do it?  BUT those jobs pay a lot less, are less stable, and have fewer benefits. Women are assumed to not need those things because they will have a "husband" to provide the income, stability, benefits, etc.

Are you living in the 1950s? That is not my reality, nor that of anyone I know.
post #167 of 242

 

Quote:
 That's interesting cappacinosmoms, 'cause I got the impression that your family were missionaries and having some insight into that culture, I find it odd that you would be discouraged from the SAH mom thing. 

 Dh's parents were missionaries.  (Although, the Western missionaries I know, both parents are giving up careers, but it's not so they can spend more time at home.  Nowadays they may homeschool out of necessity, but the ones I know the mission work and child care is split fairly evenly)

 

Mine are both doctors.  When I finally did become a mother myself, my mom softened (I guess thinking that there's no going back now).  But she pushed and pushed and pushed the college career *then* marriage/babies.  "Pissed" is a mild word for how my female relatives reacted to me getting married young and having children early.  In the types of churches we attended over the years, most women worked.  SAHM was only for those with tiny babies, and even then it was something tolerate for the sake of the kids, not a heavily encouraged goal for women. 

post #168 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittywitty View Post

I agree with GoBecGo. We don't have great benefits in this country, though. I have been a single parent. It sucked, but I lived through it. Often financially better off than I am now. I would also be eligible for free school and childcare if I were to get divorced. Plus dh would have to pay for college and a fairly substantial child support and possibly alimony. I have generous, though poor, family who would help me in a heartbeat. I do not have a pre-nup but if we were to ever get divorced, you bet he'd be the at fault party so I would be fairly well covered.


Being the "at-fault" party doesn't mean much in terms distribution of property.

post #169 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

Yeah, I was not raised to expect to SAH, and I was hounded (and harassed and criticized) about making a good career and being financially stable.

 

Me being a sahm from the get go is seen (in our area) as stupid bordering on crazy.


That's interesting cappacinosmoms, 'cause I got the impression that your family were missionaries and having some insight into that culture, I find it odd that you would be discouraged from the SAH mom thing.  Maybe the greater culture would see SAHMdom as a negative thing, would feel that way, but I'm surprised that people within your own family would.  I actually find SAHMdom very celebrated where  I live.  In fact, t is the preferred method.  I think it probably depends on region and group,


CatsCradle - your avatar thingy says you're in NYC, and if thats true it probably means you're running in entirely different circles than I am, b/c I don't see SAHMing as being overly celebrated here.  Especially with the extraordinary cost of living.  Although, it would explain why I didn't fit in with the LLL women here - I think most of them were SAH and they weren't the least bit interested in me, especially after I became single.

post #170 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by kittywitty View Post

I agree with GoBecGo. We don't have great benefits in this country, though. I have been a single parent. It sucked, but I lived through it. Often financially better off than I am now. I would also be eligible for free school and childcare if I were to get divorced. Plus dh would have to pay for college and a fairly substantial child support and possibly alimony. I have generous, though poor, family who would help me in a heartbeat. I do not have a pre-nup but if we were to ever get divorced, you bet he'd be the at fault party so I would be fairly well covered.


Being the "at-fault" party doesn't mean much in terms distribution of property.


It did for my mom & step-father's divorce.
post #171 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

Yeah, I was not raised to expect to SAH, and I was hounded (and harassed and criticized) about making a good career and being financially stable.

 

Me being a sahm from the get go is seen (in our area) as stupid bordering on crazy.


That's interesting cappacinosmoms, 'cause I got the impression that your family were missionaries and having some insight into that culture, I find it odd that you would be discouraged from the SAH mom thing.  Maybe the greater culture would see SAHMdom as a negative thing, would feel that way, but I'm surprised that people within your own family would.  I actually find SAHMdom very celebrated where  I live.  In fact, t is the preferred method.  I think it probably depends on region and group,


CatsCradle - your avatar thingy says you're in NYC, and if thats true it probably means you're running in entirely different circles than I am, b/c I don't see SAHMing as being overly celebrated here.  Especially with the extraordinary cost of living.  Although, it would explain why I didn't fit in with the LLL women here - I think most of them were SAH and they weren't the least bit interested in me, especially after I became single.


Maybe "celebrated" was giving the situation too much credit.  You're probably right Super Single, and I think that a lot of it is economic standing.  In my particular practice group (I'm the only woman), all the professionals have a stay-at-home parent.  They also all happen to be men.  I find this pattern across the board.  I'm sort of an oddity in my profession (at least at my level) and I find that stay-at-home parenting is very common in my particular, let's say, economic group.  My DD goes to school with numerous kids who have a stay-at-home parent (I'm always frustrated that the parents want to meet for mid-morning coffee to discuss school issues), so I constantly feel like the weirdo!  We're the only family in our building with two working parents.  That being said, lots and lots of blogs and articles come out daily in my area about SAHMdom, so in a sense I feel a bit overwhelmed.  It is interesting to me that others have had different experiences, especially in areas which are considered less "liberal" than NYC.  I guess by virtue of many circumstances I found myself in a position where I'm the odd person out.  Maybe part of it is that people feel comfortable in their SAHP position and voice their issues much louder.  

post #172 of 242

i refuse to live my life with fear and a huge pile of "what if's" hanging over my head. i want to be home with my kids, not working outside the home in the off chance that dh and i will get divorced. what kind of life is that? i could what if myself into an early grave. what i am doing NOW is most important, what happens in the future... well i have no control over the future, but i sure as heck am not going to waste my NOW by worrying and planning only for the future. and maybe alot of people don't know their SO, but i feel that after 20 years dh and i know each other pretty darn well, i don't see us in a divorce... you know alot of people actually stay married and they do love each other. i am hedging my bets in that direction... because i know US.

 

as for kids going to college maybe it depends on where you live, but there is all sorts of money out there, you just have to look for it. PLUS there is community college, AD for transfer. dh is paying his way thru college and he is no where near 100,000 in debt, and he will be starting his PhD this summer. 

 

h

post #173 of 242

I've been following this thread with interest (though not all of the replies... too many!).

 

I'm not SAH but wanted to jump in because my DH is considering doing something similar to author of the article -- SAH + some part-time work to keep his "feet wet." So the financial & personal repercussions are really salient for us right now.

 

I agree that the attitudes toward SAHMs vs. SAHDs is very different, as are the stereotypes of men & women generally that Siobhang pointed out. But I think something that's not considered Siobhang's excellent point about the responsibility of women to contribute to a child's financial well-being is that for many families, SAH is a financial consideration. Maybe someone's already said this...! For my family, for instance, it makes absolutely no financial sense for both my DH & I to be working -- We're moving & he's just not going to make enough money (at least right now) to make paying for full-time childcare financially responsible or feasible. It's just too bad that society doesn't reward such contributions or make it easier to transition out of & into the traditional workforce. ... Childcare out of the home is too expensive & unsubsidized & SAHPs (or part-time WAHMs) are penalized for contributing to their family by doing the caretaking themselves. ... This world is so unfamily-friendly it makes me really upset!

 

I don't know if this is making sense... 

post #174 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittywitty View Post


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post




Being the "at-fault" party doesn't mean much in terms distribution of property.



It did for my mom & step-father's divorce.


Times are changing, and some of it depends on where you are geographically - but its not the same as it was even 5 or 10 years ago.  Courts are leaning more and more towards, "People need to support themselves and not rely on their ex to do it for them"

 

Where I live, relative fault is a very very minor consideration in distribution of property - and is really only considered if the "at fault" party spent tons of marital assets on the girlfriend or the boyfriend if the at fault party was committing adultery.

post #175 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by kittywitty View Post


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post




Being the "at-fault" party doesn't mean much in terms distribution of property.



It did for my mom & step-father's divorce.


Times are changing, and some of it depends on where you are geographically - but its not the same as it was even 5 or 10 years ago.  Courts are leaning more and more towards, "People need to support themselves and not rely on their ex to do it for them"

 

Where I live, relative fault is a very very minor consideration in distribution of property - and is really only considered if the "at fault" party spent tons of marital assets on the girlfriend or the boyfriend if the at fault party was committing adultery.


Geographical differences, I suppose. The divorce was a decade ago, but they were just back in court last year over it.
post #176 of 242

I think this article has some very valid points. There is no perfect choice.  I just recently quit my job to stay at home and I am nervous about the quitting a job in this economy.  And there are moments when I long for the mental challenges of my job.  I am now challenged with deciding how many times I will pick up the toys my son throws on the floor from his high chair and how exactly I am going to transition him to a crib from our bed before he soon starts to crawl.

 

Being a SAHM is rewarding, like she said and acknowledged, it is also a huge risk set on faith that things will work out. 

 

Being a mom is tough - there is just no turning back to what was when you have a child.  I guess you just have to go with it and accept there will be good days and bad.  That article definately got me thinking.  I am also going to read Opting Out and The Price of Motherhood.

 

post #177 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by t2009 View Post

I've been following this thread with interest (though not all of the replies... too many!).

 

I'm not SAH but wanted to jump in because my DH is considering doing something similar to author of the article -- SAH + some part-time work to keep his "feet wet." So the financial & personal repercussions are really salient for us right now.

 

I agree that the attitudes toward SAHMs vs. SAHDs is very different, as are the stereotypes of men & women generally that Siobhang pointed out. But I think something that's not considered Siobhang's excellent point about the responsibility of women to contribute to a child's financial well-being is that for many families, SAH is a financial consideration. Maybe someone's already said this...! For my family, for instance, it makes absolutely no financial sense for both my DH & I to be working -- We're moving & he's just not going to make enough money (at least right now) to make paying for full-time childcare financially responsible or feasible. It's just too bad that society doesn't reward such contributions or make it easier to transition out of & into the traditional workforce. ... Childcare out of the home is too expensive & unsubsidized & SAHPs (or part-time WAHMs) are penalized for contributing to their family by doing the caretaking themselves. ... This world is so unfamily-friendly it makes me really upset!

 

I don't know if this is making sense... 


I agree. I save our family so much money by being able to shop sales, consignment stores, NO childcare costs, less auto gas, etc. Plus any income I would make would be taxed at the next tax bracket YUCK!. Also, my dh is in management and he can not ever leave work unless its a emergency, so my being home for all the unexpected issues with the kids allows my dh to work the job he has.

post #178 of 242

I can completely relate to this article and I have only been a SAHM for 3 months. I obviously made my decision too hastily since almost immediately I realized that it is not for me. I love my son to pieces, but I was definitly a better mom when I was working. I stress too much about money and now the fear of not earning my own money is almost paralyzing me. I am not enjoying the time I have with my son the way I did during his first year while I was working. I miss my old house, the security of a dual income, and my friends and family we had to leave to make this possible. I hope I realized my mistake early enough to find another job. However, my field will necessitate a move to another town if I find a job, which will leave my husband job hunting. We had to move for a better paying job for him for me to be able to quit. Needless to say, I feel incredibly quilty and stupid. I am now applying for jobs, but I am afraid about how long it will take and what my husband will be able to find if I do take a position in another town.

 

My advice to moms is, if you have a career you love and have worked really hard at, think twice before quitting to be a SAHM. However, if you are already an hourly wage employee and do not have strong career ambitions, then being a SAHM will more likely suit you.

 

post #179 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by jojomamma View Post

I can completely relate to this article and I have only been a SAHM for 3 months. I obviously made my decision too hastily since almost immediately I realized that it is not for me. I love my son to pieces, but I was definitly a better mom when I was working. I stress too much about money and now the fear of not earning my own money is almost paralyzing me. I am not enjoying the time I have with my son the way I did during his first year while I was working. I miss my old house, the security of a dual income, and my friends and family we had to leave to make this possible. I hope I realized my mistake early enough to find another job. However, my field will necessitate a move to another town if I find a job, which will leave my husband job hunting. We had to move for a better paying job for him for me to be able to quit. Needless to say, I feel incredibly quilty and stupid. I am now applying for jobs, but I am afraid about how long it will take and what my husband will be able to find if I do take a position in another town.

 

My advice to moms is, if you have a career you love and have worked really hard at, think twice before quitting to be a SAHM. However, if you are already an hourly wage employee and do not have strong career ambitions, then being a SAHM will more likely suit you.

 


Hourly wage workers are more suited to being SAHMs?
post #180 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by jojomamma View Post

I can completely relate to this article and I have only been a SAHM for 3 months. I obviously made my decision too hastily since almost immediately I realized that it is not for me. I love my son to pieces, but I was definitly a better mom when I was working. I stress too much about money and now the fear of not earning my own money is almost paralyzing me. I am not enjoying the time I have with my son the way I did during his first year while I was working. I miss my old house, the security of a dual income, and my friends and family we had to leave to make this possible. I hope I realized my mistake early enough to find another job. However, my field will necessitate a move to another town if I find a job, which will leave my husband job hunting. We had to move for a better paying job for him for me to be able to quit. Needless to say, I feel incredibly quilty and stupid. I am now applying for jobs, but I am afraid about how long it will take and what my husband will be able to find if I do take a position in another town.

 

My advice to moms is, if you have a career you love and have worked really hard at, think twice before quitting to be a SAHM. However, if you are already an hourly wage employee and do not have strong career ambitions, then being a SAHM will more likely suit you.

 



That's incredibly offensive.  It perpetuates the image that only unsuccessful/unambitious/stupid people are more suited to being a SAHM.  I'm really sorry being a SAHM isn't working out for you, but it's probably because of the personality you have had since birth rather than the success and effort you had/made before you gave birth.  Not every job will suit every person, there is not a "type" who SAHM's "better" or more happily than any other.

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