Why do you work? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#61 of 134 Old 08-15-2006, 09:31 PM
 
rebeccalizzie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,541
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herausgeber
Another thing this has me thinking about is the assumption that well-paying, career-type jobs aren't compatible with motherhood, which leads a lot of women, probably subconsciously in many cases, to pursue less demanding work because they figure they can't balance those responsibilities with motherhood as well. So they take jobs that aren't as satisfying, don't pay as well, etc. The classic "mommy track." Instead, my experience as been that the further up the hierarchy you go, and the more valued your skill set, the more leverage you have to set your terms. I.e., you have more control over your work hours as a mid-level software engineer than the receptionist at the same company. Yet, the receptionist job would seem, superficially IMO, as the "family-friendly" job. My partner's line of work (engineer, with a defense contractor) is EXTREMELY compatible with family life and pays an excellent wage. Yet, he meets few mothers in the fields.

Agree? Disagree?
ITA with this. My mom and I are both perfect examples. My mom was a secretary for many years, and her hours were absolutely fixed--no flex time, no flexibility AT ALL. You can't give lower level workers that kind of flexibility, they'll abuse it (total sarcasm there, btw). She got her degree in network engineering, and suddenly she can work from home part of the time, she can work all kinds of weird hours. Same with me--I was stuck in very rigid jobs, then I got my accounting degree and put in a few years of work (not even crazy hours--I already had my DD at that point). I've had flex time since my first job out of college, and now I have a reputation within my organization and have the opportunity to work part time from home.

I also agree with the pp who talked about the stigma associated with being an involved dad. My DH has stayed home when our DD is sick about as often as I have, and he does get grief about it at work. He's also the first person in his department to ever take their full 3 weeks paternity leave. Guys "just don't do that" especially in "manly" jobs like law enforcement. It's sad.

Mom to Liz (14) and Dillon (3) and Mitchell FINALLY born 7/11/10!
rebeccalizzie is offline  
#62 of 134 Old 08-15-2006, 09:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
Herausgeber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Washington, D.C.
Posts: 1,660
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You'd think that would make his "manliness" beyond reproach! My partner is a fairly "macho" guy, and I do wonder sometimes if that doesn't give him a lot more wiggle room to be tender and caring toward the children in his life. I mean, who's dumb enough to call a guy with a shotgun over his shoulder a sissy when he tells you he is planning to take a month of paternity leave?
Herausgeber is offline  
#63 of 134 Old 08-15-2006, 10:30 PM
 
Mamapadawan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Aston, PA
Posts: 41
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quite simply, I can make a hell of a lot more money than my hubby. The reality is that my salary is 3 times what he was making. There are days when I'm insanely jealous that he gets to spend all his time with our son. But there are also days he'd love to be out working. He currently works PT 3rd shift to help pay the bills. But his salary is less than half of what our mortgage is!

What would it take for me to become a SAHM? Money, pure and simple. I'd need the mortgage paid off and my hubby's income to more than double (which by going to FT, he easily could do that). It's obvious that I have the longer fuse with our son, and there are days when my hubby has had less than his usual 3-4 hours of sleep between work and being a FT dad, and I'm sure his fuse is painfully short - not a good combination with a 20-month old! So I'd *LOVE* to be able to stay at home, but it's simply not going to happen unless my hubby suddenly gets one hell of a terrific paying job. *sigh*

Rach
Mamapadawan is offline  
#64 of 134 Old 08-15-2006, 10:56 PM
 
Logan's Mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,453
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I work because I make 3 times the amount my significant other makes. There is no way we could live off of what he makes. Its just not feasable. We have student loans that are over 600 a month and he only brings home 400 a week. Our rent for a 2 bedroom is 1400. If he works another job, then his son never gets to see him. At my job, I can purchase vacation, so I get an extra 2 weeks. Plus I get 16 paid holidays and next year I will be getting 3 weeks of vacation. In addition, I get 5 personal days. Luckily for me that equates to a lot of time off. My little guy is tiny and I would rather stay home. I could see myself in a few years wanting to go back to work if I stayed home, once he was in school, but as it is...staying at home just isn't an option. I used to want a career, but all that has changed. I have learned that corporate America will take what they can from you and everyone is expendable. I do work for a fortune 500 company that has been around for over 100 years, and the politics drive me crazy.
Logan's Mom is offline  
#65 of 134 Old 08-15-2006, 11:12 PM
 
Rio Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 148
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
When boy1 was born, I dropped to part-time - 3.5 days per week. It works out very well for me.



My career is part of my identity.

My father left my SAHM mother nearly penniless after 20+ years of marriage.

I like being able to contribute to causes I believe in. My husband likes being able to buy new gadgets now and then.

I owe it to the sisterhood.

I owe it to my sons to show them that a woman's place is any place.

I'm naturally argumentative and critical, and this trait is far better used at work than at home. (I'm a lawyer.)

I enjoy my colleagues, bosses, and clients.

I work in a family-friendly place with lots of holidays, vacation time, flex schedules, onsite daycare, and a boss who has taken lots of paternity leave/flex time to be with his own kids.

There are more reasons, but boy1 has just joined me, and he gets limited screentime...
Rio Mama is offline  
#66 of 134 Old 08-15-2006, 11:42 PM
 
rinnerin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Oh look! A little plastic castle!
Posts: 627
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
What a fabulous discussion. It has really inspired me to evaluate why I work in a positive way and appreciate what working gives me and my family. Thank you so much for raising this question.

Here are my top ten reasons for working.
1. I like it.

2. I believe that I have a contribution to make to this world that will make it a better place for my children, and yours.
3. I worked really hard for my education. It was very expensive and I intend to use it.
4. I am not at a point in my career where I can take time off and return at the same place.
5. I didn’t expect to have a child, but I do. Why should I let go of the career aspirations I had before children? What would that say to my son about his dreams?
6. There will be a time in my life when my children are grown and I want to have something to do. Hopefully we will have the retirement money built up to do it.
7. My working ensures equal parenting. I scream pretty loud when it’s unequal, working gives me justification for screaming.
8. While I am a goddess, I’m not a domestic one. It is a much better idea for us to earn the money and outsource domestic pursuits. We have much cleaner toilets that way.
9. I can’t imagine a world without WOHMs in it. What would hospitals be like if all the nurses and doctors were men or childless women? Would you want you child treated in that ER? Working mothers bring a valuable perspective to transactions between people that would be sorely missed if all moms stayed at home with their children.
10. We don't struggle to pay our bills and we have money left over to save and invest in our future.

I hope the day comes in my lifetime that we, as a society, are asking fathers this question.
rinnerin is offline  
#67 of 134 Old 08-15-2006, 11:49 PM
 
siobhang's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Annandale, VA
Posts: 2,507
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by rinnerin
8. While I am a goddess, I’m not a domestic one. It is a much better idea for us to earn the money and outsource domestic pursuits. We have much cleaner toilets that way.
Sing it, sister!

I swear, the combination of our dishwasher and our house cleaners have saved my marriage. I get really pissy with a flilthy kitchen and DH is the "use every dish in the kitchen to make one meal" kind of cook (though he is a fabulous cook).

Comparative advantage at work.

Siobhan

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
siobhang is offline  
#68 of 134 Old 08-15-2006, 11:52 PM
 
Sailmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: The Southern Part of Heaven
Posts: 1,000
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Great thread...

I work because DH is a full time student so first and foremost, my salary pays the bills. We have a great arrangement, however, that means my child is coparented by us and not a daycare. I am a nurse and work 3 12 hour shifts a week - weekends and one other day. For the most part, dd is with either dh or with me, with occasional filling in by 2 different baby sitters who are great with her and love her dearly. It means that dh and I rarely have time off together, but it is a sacrifice we have made so that we don't have to do daycare. When he gets through with school and gets a job, I will go down to just working the weekends so that I just work 24 hours a week.

Besides, I like my work. I am a trauma ICU nurse and I feel very mentally and physically stimulated by my job. I take care of the sickest of the sickest patients, and thrive off the adrenalin. Nothing like it to keep the rest of life in perspective. I go to work and get recharged to be at home. I feel valuable when I go to work in a way that is not fullfilled at home by being Mommy. And I DO feel a little guilt in that, but I do think it makes me a better mom.
Sailmom is offline  
#69 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 02:25 AM
 
P'sMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 41
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Great topics everyone! I don't think there is a right or wrong here, just what works for each parent out there.

An AP group had an interesting discussion regarding an article titled, "Sorry, but my children bore me to death!" that was published in London:
http://tinyurl.com/rja32

While a lot of the moms were quick to judge this woman in a severely negative light, one person stepped out with a different take, and I, too, had a slightly different take on the article...read on if you are interested, as it covers very similar territory to what we are discussing here....

While I actually don't have any understanding as to where she is coming from, as I love the details of our day-to-day existence with my DD, I took away a few things from this article.

1) There are many types of mothers--not all really enjoy the day-to-day stuff with their kids--not necessarily right or wrong, just a fact of life. At least this mom has the money to hire help who does--I hope! As mothering love comes in many forms.

2) Come to think of it, my own mother was similar in some ways, but not in the exact same vein. I've always said she is a better adult mother, as she loved to take me to museums and the opera--more grown-up activities. Also, she loved the natural world and passed that on to me. We could (and still can!) discuss any topic--as I love to analyze the world around me.

However, she was not on the sidelines for most of my activities, etc. Now, I must add that she was a single working mom from the time I went to school, and I was the last one home, but frankly, while I often wished she were available to cheer me on more, I also learned to really be a strong person on my own. Perhaps some of my personality is just that--my personality, but I do think we are shaped by our life experiences.

Interestingly, my sister and I are both total baby lovers, and my brother, sister, and I all turned out great (in my humble opinion). So, while we are all doing some things differently than our mother did with us, we also took away positives from her mothering.

On an opposite note, I had a good friend in college whose mom was an excellent kid mom--she was a kindergarten teacher and decorated the house for holidays, made excellent Halloween costumes, etc.--didn't I wish at that age! However, when she was failing a class in college her mom told her to have some chicken noodle soup, and she literally sent her a care package of chicken soup and snacks. While we all profited from her packages, my friend struggled with the fact that she couln't discuss her adult problems with her mom, as her solution was always have some chicken noodle soup and you'll be fine. So, once again, all different types of moms.

Now, this is where I must comment that in discussing this article with my DH, I was searching for some common ground that this mother shares with her children, and indeed, I didn't find any! So, even though I have my examples above, I didn't see her fitting in to either category, which I don't quite understand....

3) Which leads me to my third point, and this one is probably more sensitive, depending on your background and life experience, but here goes...there is a group of mothers who have been educated and/or gained professional experience, and then when they choose to be mothers, they just don't find the same level of fulfillment. I, personally, can not identify with this group, as my DD is my most fulfilling achievement; however,
as a working corp. mom (now with the amazing flex to work at home while my DH takes care of my DD) I see these moms everywhere. Some choose to stop work anticipating the world of baby to be their calling, only to be thoroughly let down when they aren't interested in the play group discussions, etc. Others, figuring out quickly that this is not the life for them, choose to get a nanny and go back to work quickly and do not spend a lot of time with their kids. Although they love their kids, they seem to find their work equally or more rewarding. And you know, while I can't pretend to understand where they are coming from, I also try not to judge them for being so different, as I am sure they are better moms than perhaps they might be if they were entrenched in the day-to-day details and unhappy, as kids pick up on those emotions.

Now, as a working mom, I think it is fair to note that moms work for a variety of reasons--from financial need like my single working mother, to personal/professional fulfillment, and a million reasons in between, so my notes above are not to single out working moms from non-working moms, nor to nitpick why moms choose to work if they work, as I don't
see one group as being better than the other. Working Mother magazing has actually had some interesting articles on this subject--encouraging moms to support each other regardless of whether or not they work and if they work regardless of why they work. We are all moms, and we need support...I digress.

Anyhow, in summary, just wanted to point out another view of this article, as I do think there is a group of moms out there who feel similar, and as others have noted not all moms are thrilled with the day-to-day mothering, nor with the competition environment of mothering these days.

In my mind, while I don't agree with her ideas (as mentioned I thrive in the
daily details!), I don't think she is alone out there. I only hope that she does have some commonalities with her children that she neglected to mention. If nothing else, perhaps her boys will take away the idea that their mother was a strong intelligent woman, who enjoyed her work--just hopefully not to their detriment.
P'sMom is offline  
#70 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 08:05 AM
 
dentmom3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: CT
Posts: 378
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
So glad to wake up to this thread! I am new here, and have been busy the last few days preparing for maternity leave with #3. So, here I am on my first day of leave (no baby yet!) and found this great thread!

I work because I love to work. I was lucky enough to find a career that I loved at 15. Lucky enough to achieve what I needed scholastically to get into my career and still like what I do every day. I love the interaction with my patients, they stimulate me, they keep me enthused. They motivate me. I feel like I make a difference with them! I would miss them if I didn't work.

I work to make money. We could make it without my income. Especially since I am going to 2 days for a few years while #3 is still young. The kids will have college paid for, our retirement will be comfortable. And those things are important to me! I was always on the verge of having to drop out of college for financial reasons and I never want them to have that worry. I want them to be able to concentrate on their educations without worrying about where their next meal is coming from! And I want them to have the flexibility that an advanced degree has offered me in my career.

Flexibility. If I didn't have what I do, then I might feel differently, but I have been able to be part time since i started my career. I had DD 3 months before I got my first 'real' job, during my residency. So I entered the workforce part time and have been able to keep it that way.

Equality/feminism. DH has never said that he is 'babysitting' like I have heard the DH's of some other moms say. He is a parent. He's parenting. I think it is good for him to have some time with the kids that i am not there. He does things differently than me - and often for the better! He is able to have half days on Fridays (and Thursday's during the summer) because I work and that means more time for all of us together as a family. Somehow I feel that if I was a FT SAHM it would be me and the kids vs. DH and his job. I would rather we both be out of the house some in order to have more time together all of us!

There are so many great posts here that are more articulate than me! And so much I agree with. I have had many an argument with SAHMs who insist that I 'had my children for nothing' since I am unwilling to SAH FT with them. I have yet to find at WOHM who is so judgmental about what other moms do with their families. My kids are fun, happy, sweet and secure and working makes me feel the same way (almost all the time). I thing many of our attitudes about working vs SAHMing are shaped by how we perceive our own childhoods. My mom was a single mom working 2 jobs and I feel I had a great childhood filled with love and plenty of attention from my mom. Perhaps if I had felt abandonded by her working I would feel differently, but I don't.

I, too, am one of those mom's that would simply switch to volunteer work in my field if we won the lottery. I know enough to never say never, but I can't imagine me ever staying home full time! And even if I were to work just 5 hours a week I would identify myself as a WOHM.

Thanks for letting me ramble. I have lots of time as I wait for #3 to come along!
dentmom3 is offline  
#71 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 09:14 AM
 
kaspar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 737
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i agree with everything herausgeber said! all the original "why i work" points, and that executive-level positions offer more flexibility to working moms than so-called "mommy-track" positions. my boss has two kids, and while she travels a lot, she either leaves the kids with dad or sometimes takes them along. she also works from home a lot and has huge flexibility with hours.

also this:

Quote:
I don't think it is fair to have him work two jobs so my daughter can stay with me. Why take away all of him for all of me?
when i was a kid my mom sah, and my dad worked long hours with a long commute. he was gone before we woke up for school. when he got home from work he had a nap. then we'd have dinner, and then it would be bedtime for us kids. we hardly saw him at all, really. i have a great relationship with my mum, but i still feel like i don't really know my dad. i want my kids to have *two* parents who are there for them *equally*. dads are just as imortant as mums. the idea that one parent should work two jobs so the other can stay home is just crazy to me. it just seems so unfair to the woh parent.

i guess i *do* think having both parents work is better for all families (please don't shoot me). unless you are independantly wealthy or somehting. my sister is sah and uncshooling and they barely scrape by. barely. so my nephew doesn't, for example, get the dental care he should - by the time he gets to the dentist he has deep-root cavities. (he's 7 now and just got a root canal - he's had cavities since he was less than two). "why don't you take him for more frequent checkups/cleanings? say i. they can't afford it. i wonder how they're going to pay for college when the time comes. and who's going to pay for mom & dad's retirement! we are not ostentatious - we have a small house in a not great neighbourhood - but it's enough for a little garden in our backyard, room for kids to grow. i guess one of us could sah if we cut expenses to the bone, but that would mean no house, no garden, no savings, no dental plan, no health insurance, no room to breathe. and probably we would be eating poorly - fresh produce is a lot costlier than hamburer helper.

and of course no one talks about "what if something happens to the woh parent" whether it's divorce, disability, or (god forbid) death, and you're left with one parent who hasn't had a job in x amount of time and won't be able to earn enough re-entering the workforce to support the family.
kaspar is offline  
#72 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 10:22 AM
 
aprilushka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Northern VA
Posts: 1,304
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by P'sMom
Great topics everyone! I don't think there is a right or wrong here, just what works for each parent out there.

An AP group had an interesting discussion regarding an article titled, "Sorry, but my children bore me to death!" that was published in London:
http://tinyurl.com/rja32

.
I would argue this article has nothing to do with working moms per se, rather some parents' particular personality issues, although of course the assumption and stereotype would be made. I actually find it a bit disturbing the way she presents herself but I'm sure the author exaggerated a bit for the article to make it "hotter" and more controversial. I think it's probably better for the family as a whole when parents like to do some kids stuff with kids and don't make a point of being bored by it all, it's like saying you're too cool for your kids in some ways and I cant' believe that wouldn't have some negative consequences. I guess also it's hard for me to relate because I like the kids' stuff-- it's one of the reasons why I wanted kids. Some of it makes me want to puke-- like Care Bears, but I like legos and bike rides, children's museums and Dr Suess and all that stuff.
aprilushka is offline  
#73 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
Herausgeber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Washington, D.C.
Posts: 1,660
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My big "duh" moment last night: Does anyone here also think that working helps them have a better relationship with their partner?

In my case, I definitely think it does. A lot of it is fuzzy stuff relating to how we both have experience operating in the professional sphere, which gives us another way to connect. We both admire each other's professional competence, as well as other things. Another part of it relates to power dynamics within the relationship. I know all couples struggle with disagreements about money and household chores, but it seems that having my money and responsibilities outside the home gives me a good bit of leverage in those discussions. We always consult with each other on major purchases, have joint goals and a lot of money flows back and forth freely, but there's still a lot of room for automony in our day to day spending and saving. That balance is very important to me.

I do wonder how those dynamics work when dad stays home. For some reason, the SAHDs I've known (which are admittedly few) don't seem to get treated the same way WITHIN the home as a lot of SAHMS seem to. I wonder if that's broadly true, and if so, why.
Herausgeber is offline  
#74 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
Herausgeber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Washington, D.C.
Posts: 1,660
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Oh, and I like baby/kid stuff, too. I just don't like it 24 hours a day! My parenting style is more in line with letting kids work alongside grownups, though, rather than mainly "playing" at activities. I used to think I didn't like babies much, but I've noticed that with each of my nephews and now my niece, I was able to engage with them at earlier and earlier ages. Babies were never really boring. I was just inattentive.
Herausgeber is offline  
#75 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 10:41 AM
 
Qestia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Boston
Posts: 2,020
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang
Q for the group - I know many SAHMs (at least ones I have met IRL) believe strongly that being a SAHM is the best way to raise kids. I have never found a WM who flat out stated that working while raising kids was the best way to raise kids. They may say it is best for their family, but other than Linda Hirshman (see http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?...rticleId=10659) - no one seems to say they think it is better for kids or moms in general.
Well, I do think you have to look at what's best for the family as a whole when you're asking what's best for the kids. Like, I feel the stress me staying at home would put on DH would undermine the happiness and stability of our home quite a bit.

OTOH, I was rereading the Dr. Laura book on children--most of her stuff I actually like quite a bit : , but not this one. Anyway she did say something that made me think: if YOU were a baby being born today would you want to stay home with your mommy or go off to daycare? And of course I would choose mommy. However, when I drop DS off in the morning he runs to hug his daycare providers and then begins playing happily. It seems he doesn't mind his 3 days a week at all.

Seems like so many things I read about working moms are based on extremes, Dr. Laura talks a lot about moms who actually live in a different city during the week, or even just parents that don't bother going to school plays, etc. I mean, you can actually work and be involved and present in your child's life. I'm doing it.

Mom to DS 5/05 and DD 9/08
Qestia is offline  
#76 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 10:47 AM
 
mata's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: savasana
Posts: 4,285
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'll answer this as a hyptothetical-I'm at home now, but had a career prechildren and will go back when the time is right. The biggest reason for me to return to work would be to enhance the feeling of partnership with dh in a different way-working together together to reach our goals for retirement, educating our daughters (our retirement and college will hit at the same time-I do not want dh to have a coronary and feel all alone at that point!) having the quality of life we'd like to have, etc. I'd like for us to feel a little more "secure"-that if anything happened to dh or his income/benefits, we'd at least have mine. I personally haven't experienced much satisfaction from working, and it would be nice to give it another chance and maybe have a POSITIVE time this go around. Seems like I was dealing with toxic people and workplaces a lot during my 20s and 30s. Somehow I think being a mother will benefit me a lot in the work place-do you feel you don't put up with a lot of bs, and you know how to handle those coworkers/bosses who act like big children?
mata is offline  
#77 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 10:54 AM
A&A
 
A&A's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 16,858
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herausgeber
My big "duh" moment last night: Does anyone here also think that working helps them have a better relationship with their partner?

In my case, I definitely think it does. A lot of it is fuzzy stuff relating to how we both have experience operating in the professional sphere, which gives us another way to connect. We both admire each other's professional competence, as well as other things. Another part of it relates to power dynamics within the relationship. I know all couples struggle with disagreements about money and household chores, but it seems that having my money and responsibilities outside the home gives me a good bit of leverage in those discussions. We always consult with each other on major purchases, have joint goals and a lot of money flows back and forth freely, but there's still a lot of room for automony in our day to day spending and saving. That balance is very important to me.

Yep, it does help in balancing things. I make almost as much money as my dh does. That would be a big chunk of change to lose if I were to quit.


I started working when I was 15, and I didn't have kids for a decade after that, so the question for me really is, "Why didn't you stop working?" which I think is a slightly different question than, "Why do you work?"


Dh pointed out to me the other day that I would be bored SAHM. And I would (Not every SAHM is bored, I know.) I think women who work part time must have the best of both worlds!


(Oh, and I'm really glad my OBgyn is a WOHM; she did a great job.)


Plus, with two incomes, we have enough $ to let the kids take karate classes, art classes, etc. which we couldn't afford otherwise.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
A&A is offline  
#78 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 11:11 AM
 
G&B'sMama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Washington state
Posts: 2,177
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qestia
OTOH, I was rereading the Dr. Laura book on children--most of her stuff I actually like quite a bit : , but not this one. Anyway she did say something that made me think: if YOU were a baby being born today would you want to stay home with your mommy or go off to daycare? And of course I would choose mommy. However, when I drop DS off in the morning he runs to hug his daycare providers and then begins playing happily. It seems he doesn't mind his 3 days a week at all.
And, what, exactly, does Dr. Laura say about Daddy? What kind of Daddy would a baby being born today choose?
G&B'sMama is offline  
#79 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 11:11 AM
 
Twocoolboys's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: right here
Posts: 1,930
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaspar
i guess i *do* think having both parents work is better for all families (please don't shoot me). unless you are independantly wealthy or somehting. my sister is sah and uncshooling and they barely scrape by. barely. so my nephew doesn't, for example, get the dental care he should - by the time he gets to the dentist he has deep-root cavities. (he's 7 now and just got a root canal - he's had cavities since he was less than two). "why don't you take him for more frequent checkups/cleanings? say i. they can't afford it. i wonder how they're going to pay for college when the time comes. and who's going to pay for mom & dad's retirement! we are not ostentatious - we have a small house in a not great neighbourhood - but it's enough for a little garden in our backyard, room for kids to grow. i guess one of us could sah if we cut expenses to the bone, but that would mean no house, no garden, no savings, no dental plan, no health insurance, no room to breathe. and probably we would be eating poorly - fresh produce is a lot costlier than hamburer helper.

and of course no one talks about "what if something happens to the woh parent" whether it's divorce, disability, or (god forbid) death, and you're left with one parent who hasn't had a job in x amount of time and won't be able to earn enough re-entering the workforce to support the family.
Ok, Ok. This is not a cool thing to say. Really, it's not. It is not better for my family at this time. Not every family with a sahm is just scrapping by. Sure, we live frugally, but my dh and I always have. Even before kids, when we were a two income family. Actually, he makes more money now than we did together when we were both working full-time. And, after 1st ds was born, when I had a part-time job for awhile, I really did not make enough money to add to the family income. Most of what I made was eaten up by the cost of gas, work clothes and other work related things. And, we had free childcare (grandparents). If I had actually had to pay for childcare, it would have been costing me money to work - lol. And, we have never, ever lacked for things that we need. We all see the dentist every six months and we eat healthfully. And, my kids would not be able to be involved in the activities that they are involved in if I worked outside of the home, as most of the activities in our area are during typical working hours. There would be no soccer, no summer camp, no story hour at the library and I would not be able to volunteer so much at the school. I think they benefit from these things, that I simply would not be able to coordinate the transportation for if I were not a sahm.

Also, we have thought extensively about what we would do if dh could no longer earn a living or died. Both of our fathers died when we were small children, so we both grew up living that life. That is why we have life insurance, why we save and why we always live within our means. We have also looked at it from the other side - what would happen if I could no longer care for the children because of illness or death. Again, that is why we have life insurance for me, as well as dh, why we save and why we live within our means. And I am definitely a "we'll cross that bridge if we come to it, but not before" kind of person.

Interesting point though that higher level jobs are the ones with more flexibility. I think that is true. The highest level job I ever had was as an administrative assistant, even though I have a B.A. in Communications. And, while I worked at a great place that was moderately flexible for me, I still did not have the flexibility that my boss had. And, I guess that is one of the reasons that I don't work now. My part-time job was in retail where I could basically make my own schedule, but it was very low pay and, like I said, it did not cover much more than my expenses to get there and be dressed properly for it. If I were to have that same job now, I would have to pay for childcare (the grandparents are no longer able to do this) and would never be able to "afford" to work.

You all have me thinking some serious thoughts about going back to school though - lol! But I do think about this from time to time anyway. Oh, and I do consider myself a feminist. I don't think you need a paycheck to be a feminist.

And, I do envy those of you who have careers that you LOVE! How do you find that? That has been my eternal, life long quest - lol. If I had a career that I loved, I would for sure find a way to fit it into my life.
Twocoolboys is offline  
#80 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 11:25 AM
 
loving-my-babies's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: From Chile but live in Pgh, PA
Posts: 6,426
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I loved this post. I feel this way too. I think there ARE NO perfect moms, just those who pretend to be perfect. We are not good at everything, we cannot be. I love newborns, for example. It's my favorite age, I hold my newborns day and night, stare at the for HOURS at a time, just in awe. Definetely, I'm the best mom ever with newborns : but there are some things I don't like to do. I'm not a "playing mom" kind of person. I like to do things FOR my kids and also WITH my kids, but more for than with, if you kwim It just depends on the person. I was raised in Chile, South America, and my mom was a SAHM, but we had a lot of help. Including 2 very loving maids/nannies that helped my mom put us to bed everynight, entertain us, etc.. and that was the way my mom gave us love. She had someone ALWAYS there to fulfill ALL of our needs, 24/7

Quote:
Originally Posted by P'sMom
Great topics everyone! I don't think there is a right or wrong here, just what works for each parent out there.

An AP group had an interesting discussion regarding an article titled, "Sorry, but my children bore me to death!" that was published in London:
http://tinyurl.com/rja32

While a lot of the moms were quick to judge this woman in a severely negative light, one person stepped out with a different take, and I, too, had a slightly different take on the article...read on if you are interested, as it covers very similar territory to what we are discussing here....

While I actually don't have any understanding as to where she is coming from, as I love the details of our day-to-day existence with my DD, I took away a few things from this article.

1) There are many types of mothers--not all really enjoy the day-to-day stuff with their kids--not necessarily right or wrong, just a fact of life. At least this mom has the money to hire help who does--I hope! As mothering love comes in many forms.

2) Come to think of it, my own mother was similar in some ways, but not in the exact same vein. I've always said she is a better adult mother, as she loved to take me to museums and the opera--more grown-up activities. Also, she loved the natural world and passed that on to me. We could (and still can!) discuss any topic--as I love to analyze the world around me.

However, she was not on the sidelines for most of my activities, etc. Now, I must add that she was a single working mom from the time I went to school, and I was the last one home, but frankly, while I often wished she were available to cheer me on more, I also learned to really be a strong person on my own. Perhaps some of my personality is just that--my personality, but I do think we are shaped by our life experiences.

Interestingly, my sister and I are both total baby lovers, and my brother, sister, and I all turned out great (in my humble opinion). So, while we are all doing some things differently than our mother did with us, we also took away positives from her mothering.

On an opposite note, I had a good friend in college whose mom was an excellent kid mom--she was a kindergarten teacher and decorated the house for holidays, made excellent Halloween costumes, etc.--didn't I wish at that age! However, when she was failing a class in college her mom told her to have some chicken noodle soup, and she literally sent her a care package of chicken soup and snacks. While we all profited from her packages, my friend struggled with the fact that she couln't discuss her adult problems with her mom, as her solution was always have some chicken noodle soup and you'll be fine. So, once again, all different types of moms.

Now, this is where I must comment that in discussing this article with my DH, I was searching for some common ground that this mother shares with her children, and indeed, I didn't find any! So, even though I have my examples above, I didn't see her fitting in to either category, which I don't quite understand....

3) Which leads me to my third point, and this one is probably more sensitive, depending on your background and life experience, but here goes...there is a group of mothers who have been educated and/or gained professional experience, and then when they choose to be mothers, they just don't find the same level of fulfillment. I, personally, can not identify with this group, as my DD is my most fulfilling achievement; however,
as a working corp. mom (now with the amazing flex to work at home while my DH takes care of my DD) I see these moms everywhere. Some choose to stop work anticipating the world of baby to be their calling, only to be thoroughly let down when they aren't interested in the play group discussions, etc. Others, figuring out quickly that this is not the life for them, choose to get a nanny and go back to work quickly and do not spend a lot of time with their kids. Although they love their kids, they seem to find their work equally or more rewarding. And you know, while I can't pretend to understand where they are coming from, I also try not to judge them for being so different, as I am sure they are better moms than perhaps they might be if they were entrenched in the day-to-day details and unhappy, as kids pick up on those emotions.

Now, as a working mom, I think it is fair to note that moms work for a variety of reasons--from financial need like my single working mother, to personal/professional fulfillment, and a million reasons in between, so my notes above are not to single out working moms from non-working moms, nor to nitpick why moms choose to work if they work, as I don't
see one group as being better than the other. Working Mother magazing has actually had some interesting articles on this subject--encouraging moms to support each other regardless of whether or not they work and if they work regardless of why they work. We are all moms, and we need support...I digress.

Anyhow, in summary, just wanted to point out another view of this article, as I do think there is a group of moms out there who feel similar, and as others have noted not all moms are thrilled with the day-to-day mothering, nor with the competition environment of mothering these days.

In my mind, while I don't agree with her ideas (as mentioned I thrive in the
daily details!), I don't think she is alone out there. I only hope that she does have some commonalities with her children that she neglected to mention. If nothing else, perhaps her boys will take away the idea that their mother was a strong intelligent woman, who enjoyed her work--just hopefully not to their detriment.
loving-my-babies is offline  
#81 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 11:27 AM
 
loving-my-babies's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: From Chile but live in Pgh, PA
Posts: 6,426
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaspar
i agree with everything herausgeber said! all the original "why i work" points, and that executive-level positions offer more flexibility to working moms than so-called "mommy-track" positions. my boss has two kids, and while she travels a lot, she either leaves the kids with dad or sometimes takes them along. she also works from home a lot and has huge flexibility with hours.

also this:



when i was a kid my mom sah, and my dad worked long hours with a long commute. he was gone before we woke up for school. when he got home from work he had a nap. then we'd have dinner, and then it would be bedtime for us kids. we hardly saw him at all, really. i have a great relationship with my mum, but i still feel like i don't really know my dad. i want my kids to have *two* parents who are there for them *equally*. dads are just as imortant as mums. the idea that one parent should work two jobs so the other can stay home is just crazy to me. it just seems so unfair to the woh parent.

i guess i *do* think having both parents work is better for all families (please don't shoot me). unless you are independantly wealthy or somehting. my sister is sah and uncshooling and they barely scrape by. barely. so my nephew doesn't, for example, get the dental care he should - by the time he gets to the dentist he has deep-root cavities. (he's 7 now and just got a root canal - he's had cavities since he was less than two). "why don't you take him for more frequent checkups/cleanings? say i. they can't afford it. i wonder how they're going to pay for college when the time comes. and who's going to pay for mom & dad's retirement! we are not ostentatious - we have a small house in a not great neighbourhood - but it's enough for a little garden in our backyard, room for kids to grow. i guess one of us could sah if we cut expenses to the bone, but that would mean no house, no garden, no savings, no dental plan, no health insurance, no room to breathe. and probably we would be eating poorly - fresh produce is a lot costlier than hamburer helper.

and of course no one talks about "what if something happens to the woh parent" whether it's divorce, disability, or (god forbid) death, and you're left with one parent who hasn't had a job in x amount of time and won't be able to earn enough re-entering the workforce to support the family.
ok, I don't agree with this. I don't think we should start telling people what works best for their families. Every family is individual, and every mother is the expert on HER family. Also, even though I work PT, the whole time I have been a SAHM, we have had medical, dental and eye insurance at 100% no deductibles, all paid by dh's job, we travel almost every year on vaca (last year to Disney World, Ocean City and this year a possible trip to South America) so we're not "scraping by", or if we are, we're "scraping by sipping margaritas laying on a hamoc" kind of scraping by
loving-my-babies is offline  
#82 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 11:31 AM
 
PrettyBird's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,314
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I am a grad student and starting this fall I will be working a few days a week. I am doing it for several reasons. DD will only be in daycare a MAX of 10 hrs a week though.

First is short-term money, although this is the smallest reason. I earn about $1200/month with my stipend and although this is not a lot, it keeps us paying our bills while still able to save money for a house/college/retirement. If I quit DH would most likely have to go back to his second job in the evenings and would never see me and DD. That would be far more harmful to our family than DD in daycare a few hours a week. Dads are important too!

Second is long-term financial stability. It is important for us to be able to provide college for my children, a stable financial environment in the home (ie no bill collectors calling, no evictions, always being able to afford food and clothes, etc), retirement for DH and I (since we def won't have social security). I think this point is often downplayed by the anti-working-mother crowd, and it is very naive to think that these things are unimportant.

Of course if the DH makes gobs of money these things are not issues.
PrettyBird is offline  
#83 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 11:36 AM
 
PennyRoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The ocean state
Posts: 721
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by P'sMom
On an opposite note, I had a good friend in college whose mom was an excellent kid mom--she was a kindergarten teacher and decorated the house for holidays, made excellent Halloween costumes, etc.--didn't I wish at that age! However, when she was failing a class in college her mom told her to have some chicken noodle soup, and she literally sent her a care package of chicken soup and snacks. While we all profited from her packages, my friend struggled with the fact that she couln't discuss her adult problems with her mom, as her solution was always have some chicken noodle soup and you'll be fine. So, once again, all different types of moms.

.
This is a fascinating point. My mother was a SAHM who quit working 6 months into her pregnancy with my older sister and who has not worked outside the home one minute since then. I loved having her home as a small child - she was an artsy crafty, homemade oatmeal bread every Thursday kind of mom - but as I grew older I was faintly embarassed she did not have a career. This was the early 80's when women were surging into the workforce and my friends' working moms seemed so much more sophisticated and interesting. Both my sister and I felt her obsessive focus on us was a lot of pressure.

I still feel that way - it's like her number one hobby is my sister and me. We are her career, her reason for being, her sign of success. Sometimes it can be suffocating.

I adore my mother, and she is one hell of a domestic goddess, but there are so many things about my life I can't really discuss with her. I hired a African American woman a few years ago who just really did not work out in my agency. Part of why I hired her was because I knew she was a single mom of many children, had climbed out out of public assistance to put herself through college as an adult, and I just really wanted to support that. This woman was, as is turned out, a terrible fit for the agency. I had to fire her about a year later and I literally agonized about the decision. I was wracked with guilt over the notion that I was ending this woman's source of income, worried about being accused of racism, etc. I tried talking about it with my parents and my mother dismissed it as an affirmative action hire gone awry and said, "well, you have to do what you have to do." By contrast, my father had gone through similar issues was a sensitive listener and a wonderful sounding board. I thought a lot about how her limited life experiences made it difficult for her to understand or discuss certain issues (although she is a college grad and quite intelligent). And, like your friend above, my mother's "fix it" solution is to pamper me by having me come visit for the weekend and doing my laundry and cooking me meals. Don't get me wrong - I adore my mother, but I think her lack of experience in the real world has led to limitations in her understanding about my life.

Funnily, she literally also has no clue about what I do at work. She also never asks questions about it or tries to envision a day in my work life. She is clearly disinterested, and that hurts a little bit.

Although right now I work because of finances and wish I could be home, I would certainly plan to return to work at least part time one I had kiddos in school. I do some very good social service work that I am extremely proud of, which I think has a big and positive impact on the community. My DD tells people that her mommy "helps people solve problems" and sounds pretty proud of it.

Mama to 2 mopheaded rascals
PennyRoo is offline  
#84 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 11:41 AM
 
daytripper75's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Here, There, and Everywhere.
Posts: 1,529
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by loving-my-babies
ok, I don't agree with this. I don't think we should start telling people what works best for their families. Every family is individual, and every mother is the expert on HER family.
I agree with this very much, I think that telling other parents what should work for their families is wrong. Everyone has their own unique set of circumstances, which is easy to forget somedays!
=)
Suzy

Mother of two. : 4/05 and 1/07 Wife of one. : 7/01
daytripper75 is offline  
#85 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
Herausgeber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Washington, D.C.
Posts: 1,660
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
To be clear: I don't think you need to have a paycheck to be feminist. But for me, the decision to be a working mom is very much informed by feminism, if that makes sense.

There are a couple of very powerful incentives in place that help push mothers out of the workforce, though, even when they would prefer to work. It really isn't the free choice that it appears, to me at least.

First there is the tax code, which penalizes dual income married couples. (This is a major reason why DP and I are not legally married.)

Then, there is a tendency to evaluate the cost of daycare against the mother's take home pay alone. In theory, we're evaluating it against the lower wage earner's pay, but since that's usually mom, it's not exactly a gender-blind calculation. A fairer way to make this evaluation is the same way we do all the other household expenses: Both parents are equally responsible for paying for childcare, however you define "equally" in your household. Under that fairer calculation, daycare no longer eats up more than half my take-home pay each month, just about a fourth. And more importantly, look at the long term consequences of mom staying home, not just the short term ones. If mom kept working, would she get raises? Pension credits? Other benefits? That stuff is worth more than salary in some cases. Depends on the job.

We have crappy family leave policies in this country. Many mothers would like to work, in my experience, but that doesn't mean they want to head back to work just three months after giving birth. If given the choice to report back to the office or shop floor just a few weeks after having her baby or quitting, I can see why a mama would just say to hell with it.

Then there is the lack of good part-time jobs. Many parents would love to be able to work, must not a bazillion hours a week when their kids are very young. Why has job-sharing not ever caught on in this country?

Add all that on top of the cultural ideal that the the best mom is a SAHM and you've got the makings of a big guilt sandwich if you want to buck that.

P.S. I don't think SAHM means family is poor and that WOHM means family is well off. By most measures, my household would still be considered affluent if either one of us quit work to stay home with the kiddo. But that's not the point of working for me.
Herausgeber is offline  
#86 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 12:00 PM
 
Kewpie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Minnesota!!
Posts: 1,270
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Haven't read this whole thread yet, just the first page! Love all the answers and reasons.

Here are a few of mine:

* I think it's great for my daughter to see her mama working, to know that she too has that opportunity.

*My own sanity. I am not patient, I have a quick temper. It takes everything out of me to parent my high-needs, temper driven child the days that I am home (work part-time). I need time for myself and work in a quiet office which allows me to mostly work uninterrupted while also providing a mental challenge.

*Financial. We could not pay our barebones bills with a decent amount of cash left over for groceries and gas on what my husband makes alone. We could, and have considered, selling our home and moving to an area with lower cost of living. But that means my husband's commute would go from 5 minutes, to 45+. That's precious time he loses with his girl. And I don't think we live extravagantly (well maybe to some we do) we have a modest home, our cars are 98's, we’re not vacationing in Tahiti, etc.

* Financial Security. We believe in the importance of saving for the future. For college for our children and most importantly for retirement. We doubt very much that social security will be there for us when we do retire. And I'm not willing live my life one accident, one illness, or one missed paycheck away from financial ruin. Others take that risk, that's fine. It's just not for us. If I do ever stay home full-time, it won't be until we can meet our savings goals and replace my retirement savings on our own.

* Great job benefits. I work for the state, my benefits are out of this world. Fully covered HMO insurance is $50 a month for our family. If we went on DH's insurance, our costs would increase 10 fold, or more. I work part-time (3 days in the office, 1 day at home) and my boss fully supports this and made it happen. He NEVER complains about me being gone, needing to leave early, or having to stay home with a sick babe. I know I'm lucky.

These are my reasons, but I fully support a mother's right and desire to work part-time, fulltime for whatever reason.
Kewpie is offline  
#87 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 12:10 PM
 
Ellien C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: in the middle ages
Posts: 5,582
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herausgeber
Another thing this has me thinking about is the assumption that well-paying, career-type jobs aren't compatible with motherhood, which leads a lot of women, probably subconsciously in many cases, to pursue less demanding work because they figure they can't balance those responsibilities with motherhood as well. So they take jobs that aren't as satisfying, don't pay as well, etc. The classic "mommy track." Instead, my experience as been that the further up the hierarchy you go, and the more valued your skill set, the more leverage you have to set your terms. I.e., you have more control over your work hours as a mid-level software engineer than the receptionist at the same company. Yet, the receptionist job would seem, superficially IMO, as the "family-friendly" job. My partner's line of work (engineer, with a defense contractor) is EXTREMELY compatible with family life and pays an excellent wage. Yet, he meets few mothers in the fields.

Agree? Disagree?
That's really interesting. My first job was in publishing, which has a lot of women in it (thought not at the tippy-top, of course) and I saw right away how the editors had offices and by virtue of their rank and position they could sometimes bring their kids in an emergency. But not those secretaries, assistants and receptionists. Their time was not their own. But then I always had the model that I would be an employed mom, rather than a SAHM so I think I was looking for ways to make it work even in my early 20s. Do you know I instinctively scouted out pumping stations at every job I ever held? It was always in the back of my mind - where could I pump, here?

In reality though, I don't think the receptionists are taking the jobs because it seems "family friendly" on the surface. I think there are other social factors at work where we steer women into certain career paths and then make them think they require minimal skillsets, but sometimes the opposite is true.

Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
Ellien C is offline  
#88 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 12:44 PM
 
aprilushka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Northern VA
Posts: 1,304
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by thatsuzygirl
I agree with this very much, I think that telling other parents what should work for their families is wrong. Everyone has their own unique set of circumstances, which is easy to forget somedays!
=)
Suzy
Definitely. Most generalizations about family life are not true, and considering the mini wars that have been started on MDC over them we should stay away from them.
aprilushka is offline  
#89 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 01:21 PM
 
Rio Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 148
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herausgeber
My big "duh" moment last night: Does anyone here also think that working helps them have a better relationship with their partner?

In my case, I definitely think it does. A lot of it is fuzzy stuff relating to how we both have experience operating in the professional sphere, which gives us another way to connect. We both admire each other's professional competence, as well as other things. Another part of it relates to power dynamics within the relationship. I know all couples struggle with disagreements about money and household chores, but it seems that having my money and responsibilities outside the home gives me a good bit of leverage in those discussions. We always consult with each other on major purchases, have joint goals and a lot of money flows back and forth freely, but there's still a lot of room for automony in our day to day spending and saving. That balance is very important to me. ...
My big "duh" moment came this morning when I remembered what my personal mission statement was the summer I volunteered for Legal Services: empower the powerless.

I feel that my working is empowering in exactly the ways you point out and in others, too. I tend not to get talked down to (except by my SIL). My husband and I share a core vocabulary unrelated to childrearing. I have the financial flexibility to maintain a limited illusion of control over my circumstances. I don't feel the stress of merely eking out an existence or being completely financially dependent on another person.
Rio Mama is offline  
#90 of 134 Old 08-16-2006, 02:50 PM
 
mom2evan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 237
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herausgeber
Another thing this has me thinking about is the assumption that well-paying, career-type jobs aren't compatible with motherhood, which leads a lot of women, probably subconsciously in many cases, to pursue less demanding work because they figure they can't balance those responsibilities with motherhood as well. So they take jobs that aren't as satisfying, don't pay as well, etc. The classic "mommy track." Instead, my experience as been that the further up the hierarchy you go, and the more valued your skill set, the more leverage you have to set your terms. I.e., you have more control over your work hours as a mid-level software engineer than the receptionist at the same company. Yet, the receptionist job would seem, superficially IMO, as the "family-friendly" job. My partner's line of work (engineer, with a defense contractor) is EXTREMELY compatible with family life and pays an excellent wage. Yet, he meets few mothers in the fields.

Agree? Disagree?
Agree absolutely as a general proposition, but I also know there are environments in which this is not true. It definitely depends on your profession, corporate culture, and the availability of talent.

For example, think of a large law firm in Boston after the implosion of several firms there that left the market saturated with Harvard-educated BIGLAW refugees.

When there are three equally talented, skilled, and experienced people lined up and panting for your job, but willing to work longer hours, and the company or firm equates time with commitment, you aren't going to get the flexibility unless you've managed to develop a unique practice and a client list the firm just can't do without. And that is very, very rare, in my experience.

With all that being said, I am a lawyer with a satisfying practice and I largely set my own hours. If I have a slow week, I'll take a half day or a day off. My paralegal, on the other hand, has to be here from 8-5 unless she asks for and is granted permission to arrive later or leave earlier. In the end, while I have more responsibility than she does, I also have more flexibility.
mom2evan is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off