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SAHMing as default huring society's work/life balance? - Page 3

post #41 of 185
I think I'm the only SAHP in dh's office crowd, but I'm also the only spouse that isn't mad at him for traveling for work every other week or a few together this summer "your wife isn't mad at you!?" . Though the fact that I was in the military helps me understand the demands of his job.

His job can also be very flexible. Dh can go to work early to be home early sometimes and stay late when necessary. Then he can also travel when asked without complaint, take classes to get his degree, all because I'm here to cook dinner, launder his clothes, pay the bills, and care for the dcn; and his raises reflect this. Dh sees for himself the chaos of the two career families with young children (child home sick, teacher conference days, who's picking up from aftercare...), and is relieved that we're not going through that.

I wanted to be home (long before our current circumstances), and though I did sacrifice a career, it was my sacrifice. Dh even offered to be the SAHP if I wanted to stay in the military.
post #42 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by leewd View Post

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.
But the only way this will happen is if people DO it! Someone's got to be the pioneer and blaze the way. Just like showing up with Breast Pump in hand and asking about the lactation room (which I did) someone has to show up with a job gap and expect to be hired. The more people that do it and expect it, the more other people will be able to do it, too - both men and women. I applaud anyone who is doing that. They're making it better for all of us.

I think back to my own mother, as a social worker in her 40s and pregnant with me. She remembers a judge "peering" over the bench at her astonished and saying "You're the social worker?" as she appeared in court with a client. She had to be one of the first women to stay in the workforce while pregnant.

Fifty years ago, women weren't PERMITTED to work after they started to show. Lucille Ball on "I Love Lucy" had to HIDE the prengnat belly behind a newspaper to keep working on TV. I think they acknowledged the pregnany but you couldn't see it at first. And she could proabably only do that because her DH was the producer and she was the star.

Personally I think the expectations of jobs are just out of control. I think this is more of a US thing with our meager 2 weeks vacation and willingness to call-in, be there, blackberry, respond, respond, respond. I work with a few Europeans and when they go on vacation or have (yet another) holiday, they're out - unavailable, deal with it. Whereas we North American's are like - SURE - I can call-in for that meeting, from my beach house. I'll have to find a place where the cell phone works - I'll go to the Internet cafe so I can login a couple of times a day.
post #43 of 185
I think most of us who choose to stay home, are aware that there's a risk of not being to reenter the workforce at the same rate of pay, or necessarily in the same career, as when we left. I'm assuming that's what leewd means when she wonders if women really CAN go back to work after a long gap.

Because the literal question, "Can you really go back to work" is, "Yes, I can find a job somewhere, doing something." I know I can because I see other moms who've stayed home for years, deciding they want a job and finding one.

I don't know anyone who wants and needs to work, who literally can't find anyone who will hire her.

I think most SAHMs aren't staying home because they've made an "unfortunate oversight," but because they want to be home with their kids. Period. I know that's the case for me.
post #44 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellien C View Post
But the only way this will happen is if people DO it! Someone's got to be the pioneer and blaze the way. Just like showing up with Breast Pump in hand and asking about the lactation room (which I did) someone has to show up with a job gap and expect to be hired. The more people that do it and expect it, the more other people will be able to do it, too - both men and women. I applaud anyone who is doing that. They're making it better for all of us.

I think back to my own mother, as a social worker in her 40s and pregnant with me. She remembers a judge "peering" over the bench at her astonished and saying "You're the social worker?" as she appeared in court with a client. She had to be one of the first women to stay in the workforce while pregnant.

Fifty years ago, women weren't PERMITTED to work after they started to show. Lucille Ball on "I Love Lucy" had to HIDE the prengnat belly behind a newspaper to keep working on TV. I think they acknowledged the pregnany but you couldn't see it at first. And she could proabably only do that because her DH was the producer and she was the star.

Personally I think the expectations of jobs are just out of control. I think this is more of a US thing with our meager 2 weeks vacation and willingness to call-in, be there, blackberry, respond, respond, respond. I work with a few Europeans and when they go on vacation or have (yet another) holiday, they're out - unavailable, deal with it. Whereas we North American's are like - SURE - I can call-in for that meeting, from my beach house. I'll have to find a place where the cell phone works - I'll go to the Internet cafe so I can login a couple of times a day.
Good post!
post #45 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by leewd View Post
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.
True. Like anything else in life, there is no general rule of thumb. There are so many variables determining if you can re-enter the workforce easily after being a stay at home mom/dad. A lot of it depends on what kind of career you had before kids, how marketable your degree or expertise is, how persistent and ambitious you are, how long you've been staying at home, and, of course, what the economy is like during your job search.

Quote:
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.
Yes, I really think (hope) so. Again, it all depends on the criteria above and a little luck! Like you, it was one of my motivations for debating so long and so thoughtfully about whether to go back to work or stay at home. And it's the reason I don't think I'll stay home long term.

Quote:
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!!!!
That would be awesome! It'll happen...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellien C View Post
But the only way this will happen is if people DO it! Someone's got to be the pioneer and blaze the way. Just like showing up with Breast Pump in hand and asking about the lactation room (which I did) someone has to show up with a job gap and expect to be hired. The more people that do it and expect it, the more other people will be able to do it, too - both men and women. I applaud anyone who is doing that. They're making it better for all of us.
Right on!
post #46 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Because the literal question, "Can you really go back to work" is, "Yes, I can find a job somewhere, doing something." I know I can because I see other moms who've stayed home for years, deciding they want a job and finding one.
:

Quote:
I don't know anyone who wants and needs to work, who literally can't find anyone who will hire her.
Well, barring illness, abuse, disability, etc. There are sometimes very sad, debilitating reasons why people aren't able to find a job. But that's another topic.

Quote:
I think most SAHMs aren't staying home because they've made an "unfortunate oversight," but because they want to be home with their kids. Period. I know that's the case for me.
:

But, there are also many moms who choose or need to work, who also want to be home with their kids. It's just so complex and multi-layered.
post #47 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellien C View Post
But the only way this will happen is if people DO it! Someone's got to be the pioneer and blaze the way. Just like showing up with Breast Pump in hand and asking about the lactation room (which I did) someone has to show up with a job gap and expect to be hired. The more people that do it and expect it, the more other people will be able to do it, too - both men and women. I applaud anyone who is doing that. They're making it better for all of us.
(bolding mine) Exactly! And that kind of trailblazing -- the kind where you're living your life the way you want, and finding ways to make it work for you and your family -- makes a lot more sense than self-sacrificial trailblazing, where you keep working when you really want to stay home, just to forward the feminist cause and force corporate America to realize men have home responsibilities, too.

Why are we always so focused on women having to do what it takes to make the changes? If more men, whether their wives work or stay home, become willing to set boundaries with their employers and carve out situations where they can be active in family life -- well, that seems like a much more reasonable solution.

I think real feminism helps each woman to live the life she wants: it's not feminism if we're giving up we want for "the greater cause": that's martyrdom, the very thing feminism is supposed to be against.
post #48 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

Why are we always so focused on women having to do what it takes to make the changes? If more men, whether their wives work or stay home, become willing to set boundaries with their employers and carve out situations where they can be active in family life -- well, that seems like a much more reasonable solution.

I think real feminism helps each woman to live the life she wants: it's not feminism if we're giving up we want for "the greater cause": that's martyrdom, the very thing feminism is supposed to be against.
Oh yeah sister! It's a mutual love fest. My DH took 8 weeks paternity leave (unpaid). First one in his company to do it (under FMLA in the US.) He was a little nervous but had both men and women backing him. FMLAs there - for men and women. Someone's got to be the first man to pony up and say I'm taking 12 weeks off for the birth of my child. He took his FMLAs after mine was up. It was nice that I was working because it gave him some real uninterrupted bonding time with the baby. And it was a lot easier for me to go back to work knowing she was staying with her Daddy.
post #49 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellien C View Post
Oh yeah sister! It's a mutual love fest. My DH took 8 weeks paternity leave (unpaid). First one in his company to do it (under FMLA in the US.) He was a little nervous but had both men and women backing him. FMLAs there - for men and women. Someone's got to be the first man to pony up and say I'm taking 12 weeks off for the birth of my child. He took his FMLAs after mine was up. It was nice that I was working because it gave him some real uninterrupted bonding time with the baby. And it was a lot easier for me to go back to work knowing she was staying with her Daddy.
Right on! That is awesome your husband did that. I feel the same as you, someone has to be the first man to pony up and say I'm taking 12 weeks off! ...or 6 months off...or 1 year off!

That is great your husband did that. I bet now others feel more comfortable to do the same thing.
post #50 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
(bolding mine) Exactly! And that kind of trailblazing -- the kind where you're living your life the way you want, and finding ways to make it work for you and your family -- makes a lot more sense than self-sacrificial trailblazing, where you keep working when you really want to stay home, just to forward the feminist cause and force corporate America to realize men have home responsibilities, too.

Why are we always so focused on women having to do what it takes to make the changes? If more men, whether their wives work or stay home, become willing to set boundaries with their employers and carve out situations where they can be active in family life -- well, that seems like a much more reasonable solution.

I think real feminism helps each woman to live the life she wants: it's not feminism if we're giving up we want for "the greater cause": that's martyrdom, the very thing feminism is supposed to be against.
Good points.

Personally, I see this as less a feminist issue and more a labor issue. The historical changes the American work week has undergone in the last 50 years in terms of expectations and hours are ridiculous, especially compared to the rest of the industrialized world.

I think several of you mentioned how the 40 plus hour work week was originally set up in a work/life society where typically a man worked and a woman was at home, supporting him in that role (taking care of all other business).

That just doesn't happen anymore (SAHMing now has a focus on the kids, less housework, you know) and in two income families, it really doesn't work.

Men and women both need to start chipping away at changing the labor expectations in this country so they are not so imbalanced...hard to do in this current climate of outsourcing, down sizing, and soft economy.
post #51 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellien C View Post
My DH took 8 weeks paternity leave (unpaid). First one in his company to do it (under FMLA in the US.) He was a little nervous but had both men and women backing him. FMLAs there - for men and women. Someone's got to be the first man to pony up and say I'm taking 12 weeks off for the birth of my child.
Good for your dh!
post #52 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spring Flower View Post
Personally, I see this as less a feminist issue and more a labor issue.
Yes. And the more people can see it as a human issue, and not just a women's issue (men are parents, too, and children need both mothers and fathers) -- the better things will get for women, men, and children.
post #53 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Yes. And the more people can see it as a human issue, and not just a women's issue (men are parents, too, and children need both mothers and fathers) -- the better things will get for women, men, and children.
Absolutely!

post #54 of 185
First of all, I have thoroughly enojoyed this discussion. Posters have done an amazing job of staying possitive and resisting the ever-present urge to be snarky when posting in online discussions. So, let's all give ourselves a pat on the back.

Secondly, y'all have made some very good points against my argument for staying in the workforce because one may not be able to re-enter. You are right that people (both men and women) who have gaps on their resumes need to show up and expect to be hired.

The intention of my post wasn't to say the SAHP couldn't get *any* job, but that they will have major obstacles to finding the kind of job they could have gotten before. After 10 years of SAH, it's not just a matter of dusting off your college degree and buying a new suit. There are major prejudices as well as having your skills "rot" while you are out of the workforce. Volunteer work is NOT viewed as the same as work for pay.

My perspective on this is shaded by a person situation. My sister was earning more than $50K 5.5 years ago after her first DS was born. She was laid off due to company issues. After a cursery job search, she decided to stay home. After their second DS was born, she was learning about homeschooling and she and her DH decided that she would not re-enter the workforce. The plan was for her to be a long-term SAHM and to HS their 2 DS's.

Fast-Forward to today. She's moved out, and they're filing for divorce. She is highly skilled and highly intelligent and she hasn't managed to find even a PT job. She is talking about turning in applications at grocery stores and Payless Shoes, so she can just get "something." This is sad, but this is the reality of a college graduate with a 5 year gap.

Of course, I think we've gotten a bit off-topic at this point. . . .
post #55 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by leewd View Post
First of all, I have thoroughly enojoyed this discussion. Posters have done an amazing job of staying possitive and resisting the ever-present urge to be snarky when posting in online discussions. So, let's all give ourselves a pat on the back.

Secondly, y'all have made some very good points against my argument for staying in the workforce because one may not be able to re-enter. You are right that people (both men and women) who have gaps on their resumes need to show up and expect to be hired.

The intention of my post wasn't to say the SAHP couldn't get *any* job, but that they will have major obstacles to finding the kind of job they could have gotten before. After 10 years of SAH, it's not just a matter of dusting off your college degree and buying a new suit. There are major prejudices as well as having your skills "rot" while you are out of the workforce. Volunteer work is NOT viewed as the same as work for pay.

My perspective on this is shaded by a person situation. My sister was earning more than $50K 5.5 years ago after her first DS was born. She was laid off due to company issues. After a cursery job search, she decided to stay home. After their second DS was born, she was learning about homeschooling and she and her DH decided that she would not re-enter the workforce. The plan was for her to be a long-term SAHM and to HS their 2 DS's.

Fast-Forward to today. She's moved out, and they're filing for divorce. She is highly skilled and highly intelligent and she hasn't managed to find even a PT job. She is talking about turning in applications at grocery stores and Payless Shoes, so she can just get "something." This is sad, but this is the reality of a college graduate with a 5 year gap.

Of course, I think we've gotten a bit off-topic at this point. . . .
I think you (and others) made good points. Yes, I agree that anyone - man or woman - should be concerned about the impact taking a break (SAH or otherwise) or having a forced gap (lay-off, down size, etc) potentially could have on one's career.

I'm sorry to hear about your sister. I hope things work out for her. I think with time they will given her work experience.

But, I won't lie and say that I don't worry about the same thing happening to me. It could happen to anyone.

Like I posted earlier, there are so many variables determining if you can re-enter the workforce easily after being a stay at home mom/dad. A lot of it depends on what kind of career you had before kids, how marketable your degree or expertise is, how persistent and ambitious you are, how long you've been staying at home, and, of course, what the economy is like during your job search.

We have to find our own levels of comfort when taking on this risk. But I think we'd be naive to say that leaving the workforce has no consquences on the ability to jump back in and earn a good living for ourselves and our children.
post #56 of 185
Quote:
Like I posted earlier, there are so many variables determining if you can re-enter the workforce easily after being a stay at home mom/dad. A lot of it depends on what kind of career you had before kids, how marketable your degree or expertise is, how persistent and ambitious you are, how long you've been staying at home, and, of course, what the economy is like during your job search.
We also do ourselves a disservice to assume re-entry to the work force is mandatory "if something happnes" -- we should all be planning with life insurecase and so on ....

Howeve, i was a foster mom before, I can re-cert and work again, if i was ever to so choose.

so it all depends.

A
post #57 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momma Aimee View Post
We also do ourselves a disservice to assume re-entry to the work force is mandatory "if something happnes" -- we should all be planning with life insurecase and so on ....


A
True. I see your point.

I'm thinking less in terms of becoming widowed (i.e. the need for life insurance) and more in terms of

1. my husband losing his job, due to numerous things that happen in this economy (like lay offs, like out sourcing, like down sizing)

2. divorce or separation...I know there is still child support...but hey what if he becomes a deadbeat and doesn't pay...I mean it could happen, it happens to some women...

3. my husband becomes sick or disabled and our financial needs skyrocket beyond what insurance could handle.

I do plan for the rainy days...life insurance, savings, etc, but I also know that at some point even with life insurance and savings, I might need to get a job and I worry about that. I've actually looked at our life insurance as part of financial planning and I would not be able to be a stay at home mom with life insurance. The biggest reason is health insurance and the second biggest reason is income.
post #58 of 185
Very often when the conversation surrounding SAHMs turns to the what-ifs, it assumes that all SAHMs are not very smart. That perhaps we can't quite get the idea that a gap on our resume is a bad thing. That, surely, if those SAHMs just understood the bad parts of staying at home, they would make a different decision.

I know that the gap is bad. I know that I probably won't work in the same field again. No one would hire me. I would have to take a lesser job if/when I return to the workforce. But, you know what? I weighed out those pros and cons, and TO ME, it is so important that I be home with little kids, I was willing to sacrifice my career.

If I go back to work, I might be working retail (not what I went to school for). And, you know what? It will be worth it. I weighed out the costs, and I made an educated decision to SAH. It wasn't some willy-nilly decision made with no thought of what the long term impact would be. Just like I'm still paying for school loans many years later, I may spend many years paying for the opportunity to stay home with little babies. And, really, really, I'm okay with that.
post #59 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momma Aimee View Post
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"
I can definitely relate here and it's definitely part of the reason why I chose to stay home - college degree and all. It became even more real to me when DH took his present job working at a day care center (he's in management). Because he works two jobs he's the one who's there when the center "closes" for the majority of the work week. There are times when he has had to stay late at work for 30 min or more because of disagreements among parents about who has to leave work (when they're expected to be available for their employer for whatever hours the employer deems necessary) to pick up the kids. I especially feel for the single moms who are likely just trying to make ends meet, raise their children, and still arrange to pick up their children when the day care center closes and their employer wants them to work late.

It's a juggling act I'm not willing to do myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellien C
My DH took 8 weeks paternity leave (unpaid). First one in his company to do it (under FMLA in the US.) He was a little nervous but had both men and women backing him. FMLAs there - for men and women. Someone's got to be the first man to pony up and say I'm taking 12 weeks off for the birth of my child. He took his FMLAs after mine was up. It was nice that I was working because it gave him some real uninterrupted bonding time with the baby. And it was a lot easier for me to go back to work knowing she was staying with her Daddy.
Way to go Daddy! Of course, the whole other issue is why in the US there is no provision for paid family leave. For many families it's nice that FMLA is available, but they just can't afford to really take advantage of it. There was a senator on GMA(?) today who referenced something to the effect that there are only three countries that don't provide for paid family leave - two are economically struggling countries and the other is the US. I guess he was the original sponsor of the FMLA and it took seven years to get passed. Of course the bill on paid leave has been promised a veto by the Pres if passed. *sigh*

Dh could take unpaid FMLA leave when our little one is born and he'd really like to, but since he's the one who brings home the money there's just no way we can afford to go without his income.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyS
Very often when the conversation surrounding SAHMs turns to the what-ifs, it assumes that all SAHMs are not very smart. That perhaps we can't quite get the idea that a gap on our resume is a bad thing. That, surely, if those SAHMs just understood the bad parts of staying at home, they would make a different decision.
I completely agree here...I'm especially thinking of the semi-recent book, whose title has now escaped me, but in my mind made this exact assumption. I too understand the costs associated with my decision to stay home and that I won't likely be very "employable" if I ever decided to WOH, but for me it's worth it.

Of course....the other issue at hand is the attitude that so many employers take that work should come first above all else. Well...that and the fact that in many cases a liveable wage does not accompany it.
post #60 of 185
Hmmm...I've been thinking about this thread a little and I think that having men who work demanding careers with their SAHM wives taking care of things on the homefront and kidfront might have set the foundation for the modern work world (as in historically from Post WWII)


...but


...with the way the economy is now, I really don't think the current model has much to do with an assumed SAHM or housewife taking care of things behind the scene so hubby can succeed in the 9 to 5 world (Ward and June Cleaver)...

I think many businesses are neutral...not pro-family, not anti-family...they simply have business to conduct and they hire and promote people who can meet the schedules, deadlines, and sell the product or service.

Single men and single women or couples with no kids seem to be the ones who can rise up very quickly, unencumbered or less encumbered by other commitments.

Work days and work weeks are longer, people don't use their alotted vacation, and international/electronic business is more and more common making things way more competitive and at a faster speed than ever before...

It's the global/electronic economy, I think, that has more to with the modern expectations of a career than SAHMs.
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