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SAHMing as default huring society's work/life balance? - Page 2

post #21 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peony View Post
All the people in high demand jobs that I know, do have a SAHM partner.

My DH has a very demanding career and this was one of his issues when we talked about having DC, I had to be a SAHM when we had DC. I completely agreed and had always planned on it anyway so it was a moot point for us. I take care of everything in the house and everything to do with the children, DH does not have the time nor the energy to handle it. I can't imagine would happen if at 5pm when a crisis was occuring, he looked at his watch and said he had to left because the daycare was closing and he had to pick up his children. It is not going to happen in his line of work, not if he wants a jobs, someone else has to handle all of that, million dollar companies do not care about 5-6pm daycare pickups. Sick days don't exist for him, even when DD2 was in the hospital, I had to arrange care for DD1 because I was with DD2, and DH had to be at work. Clients are understanding to a point, once here and there rarely, but when you have an ill child for many months, they lose patience very quickly.

To be fair, I could be making good money if I was still working, my profession isn't as demanding, RN, but DH makes far more then I ever could...
:

This sounds similar to our situation. I could make good money, but the inflexibility of my husband's career makes it very difficult to juggle TWO careers AND still parent the way we need to. Maybe someday that will change. Ideally, I'd love to job share and child care share with my husband in a more balanced scenario...but opportunities for that seem few and far between in the real world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dnw826 View Post
I don't think that at least IME, SAHMs are a default. In fact, I have found almost everyone expects the women to work full time from birth and be available at the drop of a hat to take time off for a child, but men are not expected/allowed to.

My being a SAHM tends to get some strange looks like noone even knew you could do that.
That is true, too! It seems so unfair, though! I mean, many people EXPECT me to work and there are all kinds of other expectations on top of that. I've not encountered any attitudes where staying at home was the default or expected. Not at all. Quite the contrary. But, the reality is that juggling two careers while raising young kids would be hard on the parents, hard on the careers, and most importantly hard on the kids.

And, yes, I do feel that working moms are expected to pick up the bulk of the child care and household tasks, even while working. I know I would have been and that played very much into my decision to stay at home. Division of household tasks are generally more fair than they were in say the 1950s and it is getting better with modern husbands/hands-on dads, but it's far from ideal and far from equal!!!
post #22 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellien C View Post
First, I'm a little disappointed to see this moved to the SAHM forum because I think it's a reasonable topic that anyone could weigh-in on. These sorts of philospophical discussions with the AMAZING intelligent women on MDC are why I keep coming back.
Me too, but more because it seems kind of incendiary over here, like it is questioning the SAHM choice rather than being just a general discussion on expectations around work and family. Maybe it's 'cause it had SAHM in the title.
post #23 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
Me too, but more because it seems kind of incendiary over here, like it is questioning the SAHM choice rather than being just a general discussion on expectations around work and family. Maybe it's 'cause it had SAHM in the title.
Now we are incendiary?!

I'd love for this to me moved out into the calm, intelligent realms out there.



But if it MUST be here....then my thoughts remain the same. Its a simplistic view, it ignores and overlooks capitalism, sexism, economics and that failure of the women's movement if you will.
post #24 of 185
I used to work as a lawyer in a big firm and my ex-h stayed home. My female friends had stay-at-home husbands/partners or teachers, etc., and we used to joke that "everyone needs a wife." Virtually the only exceptions were two high powered super high income couples who had the nanny, the night-shift nanny and the weekend nanny. Women whose husbands couldn't/wouldn't stay home or cut their hours way back almost invariably left after having kids.

I think it's a bit of a chicken/egg conundrum, bu I wouldn't really say SAHM-ing "causes" the imbalance. I think it's like a pressure valve, that let's some of the steam escape so the whole thing doesn't explode. In other words, if both partners worked, pressure would build up more quickly for things to change, bu the fault is with the system, not the SAHMers.
post #25 of 185
Quote:
I think it's a bit of a chicken/egg conundrum, bu I wouldn't really say SAHM-ing "causes" the imbalance. I think it's like a pressure valve, that let's some of the steam escape so the whole thing doesn't explode. In other words, if both partners worked, pressure would build up more quickly for things to change, bu the fault is with the system, not the SAHMers.
for us .. beyond our conmitment to me being home no matter what DH did ... it is a way to cope.

I do not have the emotional ablity to hanlde the stress that woud come from both of us working demanding careers and juggling the house and the kids and the child care and the errands and the flux i see some couple living in where it is a constant ? "who is going to be able to pick the kids up at 6 or even 7 pm" "who can wait till 6:30 whent he center opens to head to work" "who can make dinner" "who can go to the store for the milk we are out of" ........ Hats offs the moms who i know who DO do it all day every day -- but you know, honestly, none of them SEEM happy
post #26 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by bczmama View Post
She feels that if the general social understanding was that the wives were continuing to work, and that the husbands would as a result HAVE to meet at least some proportion of primary responsibility for child-care and running the household, that the situation would not be as bad as it currently is.
And how would it become the "general social understanding" that women married to men in high-power jobs were going to keep working after kids, other than by more women actually deciding to do it?" It sounds like your friend is saying that more wives should forfeit staying home, in order to improve things for those wives who don't want to stay home.

Quote:
She further thinks that more women would be able to stay in those sorts of jobs full-time if the work/life balance was more reasonable.
That's probably true -- but she seems to be assuming that no woman would choose to stay home if her husband's "work/life balance was more reasonable." My husband generally works 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. He's usually home every night and all weekend. We still choose for me to be home.

I could just as easily say that if it became the "general social understanding" that all women quit work after marriage, it would be possible for more men to secure jobs that paid well enough to support a family on one income -- but I don't think it would be fair for me to say all women should stay home, just because I love staying home, have no desire to return to the workforce, and think it'd be cool if my hubby had less competition for wages.
post #27 of 185
I don't think it's that there *isn't* the "general social understanding" that wives continue to work. Most women *do* work and society expects them to. The problem is, society's attitude toward family/work balance is "So what?"

A lot of the professional jobs women have moved into over the last 30+ years were originally done by upper-class men who had the luxury of being able to support a sahw who could take care of everything else while he was at the office.

The problem is that the work set-up has not changed since that situation ceased to become the norm. Thus we have a situation in which both professional men *and* women would have it a lot easier with a "wife" at home.

And of course, there's the fact that, at home or not, women still do a disproportionate amount of housework and childcare. No one really wins (except financially).

The whole workplace system needs to be radically overhauled so that everyone can lead a more decent life.
post #28 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
I don't think it's that there *isn't* the "general social understanding" that wives continue to work. Most women *do* work and society expects them to. The problem is, society's attitude toward family/work balance is "So what?"

A lot of the professional jobs women have moved into over the last 30+ years were originally done by upper-class men who had the luxury of being able to support a sahw who could take care of everything else while he was at the office.

The problem is that the work set-up has not changed since that situation ceased to become the norm. Thus we have a situation in which both professional men *and* women would have it a lot easier with a "wife" at home.

And of course, there's the fact that, at home or not, women still do a disproportionate amount of housework and childcare. No one really wins (except financially).

The whole workplace system needs to be radically overhauled so that everyone can lead a more decent life.


Well said.
post #29 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

I could just as easily say that if it became the "general social understanding" that all women quit work after marriage, it would be possible for more men to secure jobs that paid well enough to support a family on one income -- but I don't think it would be fair for me to say all women should stay home, just because I love staying home, have no desire to return to the workforce, and think it'd be cool if my hubby had less competition for wages.


I see what you are saying, and I see the reasoning behind it. And I think you are saying this for the sake of argument, no?

I did have a person once tell me, and in a serious way, that if I (and other women) didn't hold or compete for professional jobs, then men would have less competition and would be able to find good paying jobs more easily and provide for themselves and their families.

I don't know about that. I was shocked when the person told me this. I went to college and trained for a specific field, and it is because I trained for that field that I got a job in that field. Any man or woman who also trained for that field could just as easily get the very same job.

I think better jobs are able to be found (generally) through education and training, not less competition.

Still, I do see your point. But as a stay at home mom who might one day have to support my family, a stay at home dad, or even myself and my children as a widow, divorcee, or single mom (life happens and you just never know...) well, I am glad I can go into the workforce and earn as much as any man and provide for my family. That would not have been the case had I been born 50 or 100 years ago.
post #30 of 185
There's definitely a supply-and-demand aspect of it, true. More workers means more competition which suppresses wages. But, it's not a zero-sum game. More workers means more demand for goods which means more need for workers (albeit many of whom live in China, but that's another debate . . .)
post #31 of 185
I don't see it as necessarily being a SAHM thing. I've lived in a couple different major metropoiltan areas where part of being "successful" was that both spouses had high-status, high-paying executive jobs. And they managed the childcare issue typically by having an au pair (live-in nanny). Often combining some schedule of pre-school or center care with the au pair, and the au pair doing all the transportation. And then a housecleaner, yard service, etc. It sounds expensive, sure, but if the mom makes over six figures they still come out way ahead financially.

So I would say I think there's an expectation that your family life not interfere with your availaibility to your employer--ever--but I think the employer doesn't really care how you arrange that, if that means you're single, or have a SAH spouse, or a nanny.
post #32 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by hotmamacita View Post
Now we are incendiary?!

I'd love for this to me moved out into the calm, intelligent realms out there.


No no no, not what I meant at all. Just that I think if you address this question ONLY to SAHMs, it sort of seems nastier to me, as if one's individual choice to SAHM is the question. Which I don't think it was.
post #33 of 185
Quote:
No no no, not what I meant at all. Just that I think if you address this question ONLY to SAHMs, it sort of seems nastier to me, as if one's individual choice to SAHM is the question. Which I don't think it was.
I agree -- i think this has a lot of relvance for the working moms -- and the few dads here too -- this doesn't seem to me to be a SAH issues .... as it is the idea of SAH in the greater picutre of society ...

Aimee
post #34 of 185
I agree that this shouldn't have been moved to the SAHM forum. It's a general topic. . .

I think that if ALL wives/moms worked, then, yes, a work/life balance would be forced upon the business world because the husbands would not have the at-home support to be available 24/7, and (hopefully) both the women and the men would stand up and say NO! to the crazy demands that are being put on them.

That said, in practice, it's ridiculous. This is America, and we will not take people's choice to SAH if they can manage it away from them.

On the WOHM forum, we often discuss what it would take to make our lives more manageable (better daycare, more flexible schedules, pro-rated benefits for PT workers, over-haul of the US healthcare system, etc, etc.).

But I think it comes down to each individual person. If people keep saying "yes" to insane demands, the demands will continue to be made.

While I can see plainly that the women in my office (mostly admin's and accounting "girls") are paid freakishly less than the men we work for (engineers), this whole place would collapse if we all walked out. They wouldn't be able to tie their shoes without us (much less make copies, submit expense reports and engineering proposals, or work the accounting software). But do we leave? No! They could replace us in a few months with other women who would be happy to take their s**t for the same pay we make.

All I think we can really do is try and change one supervisor at a time. Each supervisor who becomes more flexible and more accepting of family-friendly policies (flex hours, WAH, workplace pumping, PT work, etc.) is one more person who will be on our "side" when official policy decision/changes are made.

I'd be surprised if I get to benefit on a wide-scale from any of the work I have done to change 2 different workplaces. But I think my daughters will be experience a very different workplace in 20-30 years. Perhaps they will SAH after experiencing me WOH, or perhaps they will have more options and be able to balance it better than we are.

That was way longer than I meant it to be. Thanks for listening!
--LEE
post #35 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by hotmamacita View Post
And we are too busy eating bon bons, painting our toes and wathing soaps to weigh-in.

I know you didn't intend it to come off as such but that just made me .
gosh - I'm sorry. I didn't mean it that way at all - like SAHM aren't "able" to comment on the issue. I just felt that seeing this in the SAHM forum that other moms needn't comment on the issue or ought not to.

Please accept my apologies. I really didn't mean to insult anyone.
post #36 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spring Flower View Post


I see what you are saying, and I see the reasoning behind it. And I think you are saying this for the sake of argument, no?

I did have a person once tell me, and in a serious way, that if I (and other women) didn't hold or compete for professional jobs, then men would have less competition and would be able to find good paying jobs more easily and provide for themselves and their families.
Oh, I certainly don't fault working women for any of our economic problems. And no, I'm not advocating a return to the discriminatory practices of 50 or 100 years ago.

I also see the point of Iris' Mom, that it's a lot more complex than saying, "If women didn't work outside the home, men could earn more money" --

because more people working certainly fuels our consumer economy. Some of the things about SAHMing that benefit individual families -- such as the ability to cook from scratch, shop for bargains and/or make more of our goods at home, and generally spend less money, not needing to pay anyone else to watch our kids, etcetera --

have the opposite effect on the economy. That's why from an economic standpoint, it makes more sense for the government to subsidize childcare than it does to help single mothers stay home. Even though it usually costs more, it also "grows the economy" by providing jobs for childcare workers.

And even low-income parents tend to spend more on fast-food and other conveniences, than they would if one parent stayed home. More stress generally means more spending, which generates more (debt-related) stress, which generates more spending ...

But no, my point wasn't that all married women should stay home. I was responding to what seemed to be the suggestion of the OP's friend, that women should keep working after children, in order to improve things for the women who'd rather not be SAHM's. To me, her statement seems just as ridiculous as me saying that women who love working should quit their jobs after marriage, to free up more jobs for men.

I'm starting to realize that we women are really good at blaming women for society's problems. It's so silly.
post #37 of 185
Quote:
I agree that this shouldn't have been moved to the SAHM forum. It's a general topic. . .

I think that if ALL wives/moms worked, then, yes, a work/life balance would be forced upon the business world because the husbands would not have the at-home support to be available 24/7, and (hopefully) both the women and the men would stand up and say NO! to the crazy demands that are being put on them.

That said, in practice, it's ridiculous. This is America, and we will not take people's choice to SAH if they can manage it away from them.

On the WOHM forum, we often discuss what it would take to make our lives more manageable (better daycare, more flexible schedules, pro-rated benefits for PT workers, over-haul of the US healthcare system, etc, etc.).

But I think it comes down to each individual person. If people keep saying "yes" to insane demands, the demands will continue to be made.

While I can see plainly that the women in my office (mostly admin's and accounting "girls") are paid freakishly less than the men we work for (engineers), this whole place would collapse if we all walked out. They wouldn't be able to tie their shoes without us (much less make copies, submit expense reports and engineering proposals, or work the accounting software). But do we leave? No! They could replace us in a few months with other women who would be happy to take their s**t for the same pay we make.

All I think we can really do is try and change one supervisor at a time. Each supervisor who becomes more flexible and more accepting of family-friendly policies (flex hours, WAH, workplace pumping, PT work, etc.) is one more person who will be on our "side" when official policy decision/changes are made.

I'd be surprised if I get to benefit on a wide-scale from any of the work I have done to change 2 different workplaces. But I think my daughters will be experience a very different workplace in 20-30 years. Perhaps they will SAH after experiencing me WOH, or perhaps they will have more options and be able to balance it better than we are.

That was way longer than I meant it to be. Thanks for listening!
--LEE
well put

the paragraph i bolded is my point -- on why this is not a SAH issue it is a how families mananger issue
post #38 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

But no, my point wasn't that all married women should stay home. I was responding to what seemed to be the suggestion of the OP's friend, that women should keep working after children, in order to improve things for the women who'd rather not be SAHM's. To me, her statement seems just as ridiculous as me saying that women who love working should quit their jobs after marriage, to free up more jobs for men.
That is what I thought you were saying! Women have to do what is right for themselves and their families...and that may change from year to year as kids get older and other circumstances change.

I love the fluidity I have to move in and out of the workforce (at least I hope it's there and I can move in and out of the workforce).
post #39 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spring Flower View Post
That is what I thought you were saying! Women have to do what is right for themselves and their families...and that may change from year to year as kids get older and other circumstances change.

I love the fluidity I have to move in and out of the workforce (at least I hope it's there and I can move in and out of the workforce).
Yes, it's good to have things more fluid!

I'm wary of anyone who tries to lock women into any one course of action. From my understanding, the 1970's feminists pushed women to work whether they wanted to or not, in order to pave the way for the next generation of women. That was just as constrictive as the previous expectation that only poor women should work, and only in a limited range of jobs.
post #40 of 185
Momma Aimee - Thank you. :

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spring Flower View Post
I love the fluidity I have to move in and out of the workforce (at least I hope it's there and I can move in and out of the workforce).
Unfortunately, for most women, this "fluidity" is NOT there. Having a gap on your resume due to SAH can be detrimental to finding any sort of employment up to and including what you are qualified to do.

I think this is an unfortunate oversight of many SAHM. I so often hear/read, "If something happens to DH, I can always go back to work. I have a degree in ___" Can you really go back to work? Are you sure someone will hire you after x years out of the workforce? Maybe they will, but maybe they won't. This is one of my major motivations for staying in. Even if I go back to PT work, at least I'll still have my foot in the door.

Change of topic -
This morning as I drove to work, I was thinking about my post from yesterday when I said:
Quote:
I think that if ALL wives/moms worked, then, yes, a work/life balance would be forced upon the business world . . .
and I imagined all the nursing mom's of of 3-12 month olds showing up at work with breastpump in hand and asking "so where's the lactation room?"
That would be awesome!!!!
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