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SAHMing as default huring society's work/life balance? - Page 7

post #121 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by marybethorama View Post

I agree that there are certain highly paid professions where SAH wives are common but I don't think it's by any means the default.

I think the question of work/life balance for families is much more complicated that that.
Yeah, I don't think a SAH wife is the default either for professionals. One of the biggest issues I hear about being a stay at home mother is going from two incomes to one income. That wouldn't be the case if the majority of couples were already living on one income.

Granted, there are some professionals where the work week is very long or the hours are very bad...lawyers, residents, etc. In those cases, I see more SAHPs, but I wouldn't say it's the norm.

Most couples I know have or had two incomes until one of them stayed home to parent, and most of those stay at home parents are doing it on a temporary, year by year basis.
post #122 of 185
Quote:
On another note, I find myself very resentful of men with SAHW's (I'm not resentful of the women, just the men) because it seems as thought they are the problem. If their wives WOH, they (the men) would have to demand a realistic work/life balance. But since they don't have to, they don't. And since they don't, the paradigm continues . .
I think that may be an incorrct statement -- these men DO understand the problem with balnceing work and a family that is why the family CHOSE to hgave a stay at home parent. not that the SAHP makes the man "not see the problem".

I know DH is very aware of all i do, and how impossible it would be to do everythign with me working 30 to 40 to 60 hours a week out side the home. that is a big part of why i stay home. i have talked about getting a PT job tro help with bills and debt -- DH doesn't want me too due to the added stress to the whole family to put DS in care, to try to rush around durning what is now family time (ie afgter work and weekends) trying to do all the stuff i normally do all day -- and since i would only work PT we don't even have to talk about the pick up and drop off and the appts duenign the day. : : : :

Me staying home doesn't sheild DH from the very real problmes of balanceing, it simply helps our specific family aciieve that balance. one of his best freinds at the office is married to a high profile career woman -- they have 2 grlsd not in school yet -- dh DAILY sees the stuggles, and the out and out fights, about who can pick the girls up when the dc is closeing, who can wait till it opens to leave for work, what are they gonna do about dinner, is there any clean laundry and so on ....

it is not a question of men with sahw not being realistic, or not knowing ther eis a problem ---- the do know and ARE realistic, that is why there IS a stay at home parent to start with.

Quote:
There is the fact that in American culture, the definition of "successful male" doesn't really include child rearing (though it does increasingly include "good relationship with children"). The definition of masculine success does include, however, professional and monetary success. It is very hard for men to forge an identity for themselves that doesn't include some element of economic breadwinning - if they do forego economic success, they experience a tremendous amount of discrimination.

The definition of female success does not always include economic success. Many female students/recent grads don't choose their careers based on what they will likely earn/need to support a family, but rather based on what they are interested in or good at or feel a passion for.

The definition of female success is more linked to having a happy and healthy family, being attractive, being well liked, giving back to the community. Earning money is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself, like it is for the male definition of success.
: : : : at the risk of being labled a hopless june clever and asked to turn over my drivers liscen -- why is this so wrong -- it allows for the best care of the children, it creats puzzle peices that are able to fit together to form a stable and workable family unit. It allows for the man and wife to be complementry rather than identical or competevie.

Quote:
It is very hard for men to forge an identity for themselves that doesn't include some element of economic breadwinning - if they do forego economic success, they experience a tremendous amount of discrimination.
ALso I think this is really an outdated statement. I know sahd and was raised by one. None have "issues" with the wife making all the money.

JMO

AImee
post #123 of 185
Excuse me for being the obnoxious poster who comments without reading much beyond the OP.

IMO it can only benefit society's work/life balance for us to return to one income households as the norm. The push for both men and women to live for their jobs rather than their families, and for the focus to be on the success of the workplace rather than the home is the problem, along with astounding debt loads and commercialism/greed. Getting back to a time where people lived within their means and were working to live rather than living to work would be good for everyone.
post #124 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by leewd View Post
On another note, I find myself very resentful of men with SAHW's (I'm not resentful of the women, just the men) because it seems as thought they are the problem. If their wives WOH, they (the men) would have to demand a realistic work/life balance. But since they don't have to, they don't. And since they don't, the paradigm continues . . .
And yet, the men with SAHW's may be burning the candle at both ends because they feel a tremendous amount of economic pressure, being the only income-earners in the family. I'm not saying that's the case with us: I'm a SAHM, and my dh rarely works more than 40 hours a week.

At hectic times, when dh's employer is demanding that everyone put in some extra evening hours, he reluctantly does it but isn't willing to go beyond what's absolutely necessary. Of course, we're willing to live a simpler lifestyle because of our desire to have dh home as much as possible.

Some couples start parenting with heavy debts, and don't have our option of living on one very modest income while Mom stays home with the kids. For some couples, Mom being home means Dad has to work extra hours to pay on the student loans. I do know one couple who got their loan deferred for 5 years -- but deferring means they'll owe $5000 more when they eventually do start paying.

So I wouldn't be too mad at the sole-income-earner husbands. I realize some couples choose for both spouses to take lower-pressure jobs. That works for some families. In our case, we prefer for me to be at home full-time, so I can understand that some couples with more expenses would still prefer a full-time SAHM also.

When that happens -- when young couples start families and suddenly realize -- oops! -- Mom really wants to be a SAHM and we wish we hadn't accrued all this debt, if only we'd known 5 years ago that we'd feel this way, we could have avoided the debt ... but here we are -- then they just have to figure out the best way for them to proceed from where they are.

So ... it seems kind of unfair to blame men with SAHW's for the lack of balance in the workplace: in many cases, they're simply victims of the lack of balance in our society which pushed them into debt in the first place.
post #125 of 185
Everytime I try to post, 2 more posts show up before I can, so forgive me if I'm 3 pages behind by the time this hits the boards . . .

I'm not "mad" at these guys, just "resentful." And I can definately see that my "world" and Aimee's and Mammal's are different and these differences skew all of our perspectives.

In my company (an engineering firm), I see mostly single men, men with working wives but no kids, and men with SAHW's. The women here are either single or married w/ children w/ working husbands. Engineering is a VERY demanding field. These guys work 50-60 hours regularly! They stay for meetings that go till 8pm, they get here before 7am, and they work through lunch. Not to mention traveling, visit client sites and working Saturdays.

The men I see who have SAHW's DON'T get it! They live for their jobs because that's how the company/industry works. The men who have to leave are seen as slackers. The women who have to leave are seen as "oh, you poor thing. Go take care of your family."

In my husband's company (or at least in his IT dept), he is the ONLY one with a working wife. It is virtually impossible for him to leave 30 minutes early for a family obligation. I have had to take 3 hour lunches to deal with DR appts because he couldn't take off 30 minutes early to get the kids. Causing me to have to "make up" 2.5 hours instead of him to make up 30 minutes. He usually has to work one Saturday a month. When he was asking around to see if they really needed him last month (because he wanted to be home with me and the kids), he was treated like slacker. The men (with SAHW) that he works with have absolutely no understanding or sympathy for the fact that he WANTS to come home and relieve me of all the duties with the kids, house, etc.

I think it's great that you guys have different situations, but I do not see the world you live it.

(As a side note, we have very little debt and live within our means in a tiny house.)
post #126 of 185
Quote:
In my company (an engineering firm), I see mostly single men, men with working wives but no kids, and men with SAHW's. The women here are either single or married w/ children w/ working husbands. Engineering is a VERY demanding field. These guys work 50-60 hours regularly! They stay for meetings that go till 8pm, they get here before 7am, and they work through lunch. Not to mention traveling, visit client sites and working Saturdays.
this is my BIL world -- auto industry -- he works 60+ hours a week, up all hours with calls to china and india and japan; travling over sees at least ever 2 or 3 months, and sometimes more .... it is a big part of WHY sis stays home. it IS stressful for them with the 2 kids, and Sis gets realy fustrated and burt out about it --

but it a trade off ... BIL makes excellent money; BIL could take a less demanding job -- or stopp climbing the ladder -- and be home more, and travle less, but for less $$ .... also -- sis and i think BIL would go bonkers and be bored -- but it is an active choice, a trade off, one that is possible cuz Sis is at home.

My Dh is on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week even when on leave or when we travle.

we all live different lives
post #127 of 185
Interesting thread... good to see viewpoints from so many different perspectives!
We are struggling with this a little bit right now ourselves.( not for the same reasons as other in many ways) I am a stay at home mom myself. My partner works in the trades. He is paid well for what he does at this point, a bit higher with the company he is at in comparison to other companies at his level. We are still below the poverty line. I homeschool the boys and take care of the household as best as I can without burning out! ( we do the grocery shopping together as we dont have a grocery store in our town, it is a 30 min bus ride and a walk to the store as I do not drive... we also car share once a week to go in an get groceries on a weekend day) My partner is a good worker and is willing to put in 40 hours of very physical labor weekly and is very reliable. With the trades shortage though it is more like 50 hours + a week and could be filled to 15 hour days every day of the week . My partner feels the pressure to be there working overtime ( two of the other guys are bachelors and the boss has a family but chooses to work extra to get the business going right now)and weekend days because everyone else is doing so.... and it is the expectation in the field.( my partner is very willing to work overtime and an extra day a week when it is obvious that it is nessesary... not just things are consitantly overbooked) It doesnt really help us as we are in a different tax bracket and make little more than if he only worked 40 hours a week, and I am stressed because I dont get a break and dont have family around to help. The weekends are usually filled with chores as well as there is still a lot to do around the home.( oh and I didnt mention that he is supposed to be studying for his apprentice level tests on his free time!) In fantasy land he could work 30 hours a week and the rest of the work could be translated into work that directly benefits us! I could do more work that would directly benefit us as well! PLus we could have time for the things that truly feed our soul... alone time, creative time etc. OK... besides seeming like a complainer! I am thatnkful and don't take for granted the job he does have, believe me! But the bigger picture here is what it takes to have healthy families and healthy communities ( where in the world do we have time for proper community involvement here?!)
I guess I just wanted to mention that it is not just doctors and lawyers and other "successful" jobs that are experiencing the stresses and inbalance of work and personal time. Many of the jobs around here only hire people for part time so that they don't have to pay out benefits or overtime... leaving many low income families to have to juggle multiple jobs between the parents.( imagine the stress of that schedule!)
I think this problem has to do with much more than moms choosing to stay at home. There is somthing to the capitalism and greed comment. Again, it appears that the system needs an overhaul!
I would be willing to ( and do as a mom! tee hee) work 80 hour " work weeks" , and so would my partner, if it really translated to things that actually help our family.
post #128 of 185
If "mom and dad have a carreer" is the default-then who is raising our children?
post #129 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by meganeilis View Post
Excuse me for being the obnoxious poster who comments without reading much beyond the OP.

IMO it can only benefit society's work/life balance for us to return to one income households as the norm. The push for both men and women to live for their jobs rather than their families, and for the focus to be on the success of the workplace rather than the home is the problem, along with astounding debt loads and commercialism/greed. Getting back to a time where people lived within their means and were working to live rather than living to work would be good for everyone.
I agree that overwork - crazy long weeks - is a problem.

But what if both parents love their work and feel it's important?

That's the case in our house. For some years we both worked for the same non-profit and were very proud of what we helped do in our community - now we've each moved in different directions, but we still both like our jobs. Not all jobs are evil, and some jobs actually can bring 'passion/living' and 'work' together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by transformed View Post
If "mom and dad have a carreer" is the default-then who is raising our children?
This very typical phrase is just a salvo in the mommy wars and not fair or respectful. Parents who work still raise their children. They may well enlist more help doing it (some of paid/expert) but it makes them no less "raising" their kids than having 5 kids is somehow less "raising" your kids than having an only child would be.
post #130 of 185
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by transformed
If "mom and dad have a carreer" is the default-then who is raising our children?

This very typical phrase is just a salvo in the mommy wars and not fair or respectful. Parents who work still raise their children. They may well enlist more help doing it (some of paid/expert) but it makes them no less "raising" their kids than having 5 kids is somehow less "raising" your kids than having an only child would be.
no it is a very fair statemnt

SOMEONE is spedning their days with the kids -- and the kids their time with this adult ...

if they are in a day care center .. then are the people there also putting THEIR kids in care so that can go care for someone else's child?

if it is a nanny -- where is her child all day?

or are child care people expected NOT to have their own kids -- then -- how is that expcetation any better, or more realistic, than ecxpecting that peopel (man or woman) doing certain jobs have an at home mate home with the kids?

it is all a cycle -- the more pople -- mom and dad -- work work while having young kids, well the kids have to be taken care of somehere by someone, so it becoames a growing web ...

not that it is right or wrong -- but it is a fact.

Aimee
post #131 of 185
I mean no disrespect, I mean that what percentage are you actually raising your kids if you are at work? I am not saying you arent a good parent, and I am sure its going to come across badly....but its not what I mean.

I take raising the kids to be more than evenings and weekends. (Unfortunatly for me, its 24-7! LOL) So I guess the answer is to hire an expert?

Quote:
This very typical phrase is just a salvo in the mommy wars and not fair or respectful. Parents who work still raise their children. They may well enlist more help doing it (some of paid/expert) but it makes them no less "raising" their kids than having 5 kids is somehow less "raising" your kids than having an only child would be.
When you are working FT, you are not parenting FT, you are working. KWIM? Thats where the question comes in. The percentage of time you actually spend raising your child, and parenting, is signifigantly less than someone who stays home. (And you are probably way more sane than me too. )

I kind of wish I worked outside the home. SAHM is neverending. But I commited to it and so I am sticking with it through the good and the bad.

It is NOT better. In fact, it is often maddening. I do not judge those who work, but they do spend less time parenting. Its a fact.
post #132 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momma Aimee View Post
no it is a very fair statemnt

SOMEONE is spedning their days with the kids -- and the kids their time with this adult ...

if they are in a day care center .. then are the people there also putting THEIR kids in care so that can go care for someone else's child?

if it is a nanny -- where is her child all day?

or are child care people expected NOT to have their own kids -- then -- how is that expcetation any better, or more realistic, than ecxpecting that peopel (man or woman) doing certain jobs have an at home mate home with the kids?

it is all a cycle -- the more pople -- mom and dad -- work work while having young kids, well the kids have to be taken care of somehere by someone, so it becoames a growing web ...

not that it is right or wrong -- but it is a fact.

Aimee
No, it's not "a fact" that parents who work are not raising their kids.

Even just on an hourly basis. My son spends, depending on the day, 5-6 hrs in daycare, even though we both work 40+ hr weeks - because we used flex time to juggle our hours. 2 of those are naptime, so he's sleeping.

That means he spends 3-4 waking hours in daycare - not significantly different hours than going to a morning preschool. If you factor in that currently he's an only child, so he's not spending time waiting while I put a baby down for a nap or whatever, and that we don't watch television, it is possible that we are raising him more than other people, if raising means being plugged into him.

And that's just dealing with the hours, never mind the question of whether "raising" a child means trying to be the sole significant adults in a child's life. Or whether it works for the child.

I am all for choice, and I am all for the idea that all choices have positive aspects and negative aspects. But do not tell me that my DH and I are not raising our child. That is extremely rude.
post #133 of 185
Quote:
No, it's not "a fact" that parents who work are not raising their kids.
it IS a fact that someone is careing for the child the hours the parents work
post #134 of 185
But why, oh why, are WOH dads never categorized as "not raising their children"? Why is this thrown only at Moms who WOH? I never hear the SAHM talk about how their DHs aren't "raising their kids" -- only that WOHM aren't. For instance, Aimee, would you say that your DH isn't raising your kids?

I think the whole thing is wrong and offensive, but I could deal with it better if it weren't so hypocritical . . .
post #135 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
No, it's not "a fact" that parents who work are not raising their kids.

Even just on an hourly basis. My son spends, depending on the day, 5-6 hrs in daycare, even though we both work 40+ hr weeks - because we used flex time to juggle our hours. 2 of those are naptime, so he's sleeping.

.
Yeah, and forgive me for being a frazzled SAHM cause I didnt even think of that-It occured tome that when both parents work, the kids go to daycare at 6 AM and get picked up at 6 PM.

Sorry for assuming, I really didnt think about that at all.

(And in the case of daycares I have seen-that IS the case often-6AM to 6PM)

post #136 of 185
I so shouldnt get involved with feminist threads, LOL, I am so far removed from the whole "equality" thing. I think we all have our roles to play.

IMO-and I KNOW that not very many people are going to agree, but I'll state it anyways, Men have a "provider" thing in their DNA. I certainly do not have the whole "hunter gatherer" thing in mine.

Of course I kind of suck at SAHM mom too....so.....I dunno what I am supposed to be doing? LOL

And I dont really belive in evolution so I cant really go that route. That we have "evolved"
post #137 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by transformed View Post
I mean no disrespect, I mean that what percentage are you actually raising your kids if you are at work? I am not saying you arent a good parent, and I am sure its going to come across badly....but its not what I mean.

I take raising the kids to be more than evenings and weekends. (Unfortunatly for me, its 24-7! LOL) So I guess the answer is to hire an expert?

When you are working FT, you are not parenting FT, you are working. KWIM? Thats where the question comes in. The percentage of time you actually spend raising your child, and parenting, is signifigantly less than someone who stays home. (And you are probably way more sane than me too. )

I kind of wish I worked outside the home. SAHM is neverending. But I commited to it and so I am sticking with it through the good and the bad.

It is NOT better. In fact, it is often maddening. I do not judge those who work, but they do spend less time parenting. Its a fact.

Well I answered the question about timing below. I spend 3-4 hrs less a day raising my kids than you do - of course, I only have one child, and you're about to have three so... does that work out to only 1 hr less a day, if we assume your time is split?

What about if my child sleeps 9 hrs a night and yours sleeps 12 (due to their different needs)? Does that mean I spend more time parenting my child than you do?

Also, suppose my child is an extrovert (he is) and yours is an introvert. Let's say they're both 10 and mine spends more hours a day outside my house playing at his friends' house and yours stays home. Does that mean you spend more time parenting?

Or am I still my child's parent when he's at a friend's house?

You see what I mean here I hope... I am not in the camp that says "oh 20 min a day is fine." That's why my husband and I swung our hours.

But it is NOT about who is raising the kids. I am my son's mother 24/7 just like you are whether you're spaced out from sleep deprivation or bored out of your mind or busy making cookies. Yes, we are making different choices in how our children are raised, but we're both doing the job.

That's my problem with these blanket statements. Well one of them anyway.

For a more philosophical look at it -

I know for me I am a more present parent when I am engaged in the work that I love to do. I realize that for my son, it's debatable whether he notices or whether he just wants mummy there to kiss his boo-boo when he falls.

But in my choices around "raising" - which for me doesn't just mean being physically there, but mentally present, and modelling the "change I want to be" in the world, those issues DO count. "Raising" is a bigger word than "providing care on the spot."
post #138 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by transformed View Post
If "mom and dad have a carreer" is the default-then who is raising our children?
I am.

Thanks for asking.
post #139 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momma Aimee View Post
it IS a fact that someone is careing for the child the hours the parents work
Well as I said there are a lot of ways to do that - swinging shifts, for example. It's not so black and white.

But I also stand by the idea that while yes, hours count, "raising" is much broader than "caring for." No one says that if a child is in a hospital his parents aren't "raising" him.

And in fact, people rarely say this about dads. It's a criticism that's mostly levelled at mothers. Because "raising" is a fuzzy word.
post #140 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by transformed View Post
If "mom and dad have a carreer" is the default-then who is raising our children?
Mom and Dad.
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