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Old 07-20-2005, 01:46 AM
 
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I didn't read all of the responses, but here is my take on it. If it were me, that list of responsibilities all outlined for me, by dh, would not work. Our deal in this house is that dh works hard at his job all day, I work hard at home all day, and we both work hard all evening together until the kids are in bed. Whatever chores I have time to do during the day, I do. If I have a few minutes to scrub toilets, I do it. I do clean up the messes we make during the day. But if things don't get done, I am certainly not up until midnight scrubbing and sweeping while dh chills in front of the couch. He trusts that I do what I can and that I am not spending all day loafing (which, since I have three kids 5 and under, would not even be possible:LOL). No one feels entitled to rest at the end of the day because the other one didn't work as hard. We feel that both of our work has value to the household. Only difference being that his job is for pay and mine isn't.

There are no clearly defined roles and we both like it that way. Maybe that would drive some couples nuts though, and they want everything outlined. It just seems like you are getting the raw end of the deal on this one since his job is cut and dried- work x amt. of hours and come home- and yours isn't- you are responsible for all housework even if the baby was up all night with colic or sick or teething and fussy and needing to be held all day. Are you going to work around the clock just to get it all done?
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Old 07-20-2005, 04:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mamawanabe
The vast majority of housework and childcare is still done by women whether or not they woh or not. There are a lots of studies documenting this (and documenting the hours less lesuire time married women have than married men). Our kids will see this IRL, they will see it in commercials and sitcoms, and they will hear it in jokes (the sexual (in)division of labor is the basis for much humor). So while you can say that you are doing the housework because you are the spouse staying home, our culture bombards them with another narrative to explain it. The best way to counter this cultural narrative, IMO, is to have dh pick up a mop.
You and I have different priorities. The most important thing to you is the message the child gets explaining why a person is doing something based on their gender.

My priority is finding ways to make my family work. I want my kids to feel safe and loved. I want my kids to have lots of time with their daddy, which is tricky because he is gone much of the time earning a living. I want my Dh and I to have time just the 2 of us. I want our home to be a refuge from the world. I want my children to have lots of happy memories of their childhoods. I don't want our family to get caught up in the RUSH/RUSH/RUSH that we see mainstream families around us get sucked into. I want all of us to treat each other with respect and dignity.

I don't have the time or the engery for gender politics at this stage in my life. It is important to me that my DDs know women who are doing other things with their lives because I want them to know that they have options when they grow up, but the idea of not mopping the floor when I have the time to because of my gender is just not for me at this time.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 07-20-2005, 10:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mamawanabe
The best way to counter this cultural narrative, IMO, is to have dh pick up a mop.
My parents had, as I mentioned, very traditional gender roles. My mom stayed home and did all the housework and the cooking. My dad went to work and did all the yard work and coaching of the children's sports teams. Until my parents got divorced when I was a teenager, I didn't know my Dad even knew how to do the laundry, etc.

However, I was raised in a family that stressed to us that girls can do whatever they want to do (and, by implication, so can boys, although we had no male children in our family), so I never felt that my mom was oppressed by her gender role into household drudgery. On the contrary, I felt VERY LUCKY that, in an age when women could apparently go out and have all these exciting careers, my mom chose to stay home and be with ME!

I understand better where you are coming from, MamaW, but just because other people aren't so driven to fight gender stereotypes in our home life doesn't mean that we are unhappy at home or harming our children's future choices. But I do hope to teach my daughter that being a SAHM, if she chooses to have kids, is the worthiest thing she could do. (And I'm well aware how anti-feminist that sounds, and I don't care at all.) (And before anyone asks what I hope my son does when he grows up, I hope he becomes a monk.)

Namaste!
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Old 07-20-2005, 11:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move
You and I have different priorities. The most important thing to you is the message the child gets explaining why a person is doing something based on their gender.
??? Where you'd get that. I DO think it is important for my sons and daughters to know that house/nurturing/body work is man's work as much as womens work. But I wouldn't say it was more important than "finding a way to make my family work." In fact, my dh doing 1/2 of the evening and weekend child/house care IS "finding a way to make my family work."

?????
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Old 07-20-2005, 12:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamawanabe
??? Where you'd get that.
Because I have explained over and over again in far more detail that I would have though necessary how our family spends our time together, and have stated that this isn't about GENDER for us, yet you insist that because my DH doesn't mop we are doing something wrong. You come across as though you believe that a parent who works out of the home doing the cleaning after they get home is more important that spending quality time with their partner and children.

At some point, we need to agree to disagree.

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Originally Posted by dharmamama
I never felt that my mom was oppressed by her gender role into household drudgery. On the contrary, I felt VERY LUCKY that, in an age when women could apparently go out and have all these exciting careers, my mom chose to stay home and be with ME!
That is so great to hear! My mom had a career and I sometimes wonder how my children feel about my choices now and how they will feel about them when they are grown.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 07-20-2005, 12:39 PM
 
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[QUOTE=Linda on the move]Because I have explained over and over again in far more detail that I would have though necessary how our family spends our time together, and have stated that this isn't about GENDER for us, yet you insist that because my DH doesn't mop we are doing something wrong. You come across as though you believe that a parent who works out of the home doing the cleaning after they get home is more important that spending quality time with their partner and children.

At some point, we need to agree to disagree.


QUOTE]

Actually, you are unable to see that my dh caring for the house (scrubbing the bathtub while his kids giggle with him in the bathroom, mopping the floor while his kids skirt the vinegar solution for him, folding the clothes while the kids help) IS QUALITY FAMILY TIME.
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Old 07-20-2005, 12:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move
That is so great to hear! My mom had a career and I sometimes wonder how my children feel about my choices now and how they will feel about them when they are grown.
Yeah, I've always found it kind-of odd that one the one hand, so many women complain that homemaking and childrearing are undervalued, but some of those same women who stay home with their kids worry aloud about the kind of example they are setting for their kids and whether they are limiting their kids' (particularly their daughters') choices and worldviews. I can't help but wonder what could be a better example to their kids than raising their kids?

Anyway, as evidenced by the fact that we are a vegetarian Buddhist homeschooling transracial adoptive family, soon to be with an HIV+ member, we don't worry much about what society in general thinks or does, and we don't base our life decisions on counteracting societal stereotypes or expectations or whatever. We just do what works for us and what we think is the right thing to do. We teach our children the same.

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Old 07-20-2005, 01:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dharmamama
and we don't base our life decisions on counteracting societal stereotypes or expectations or whatever
Namaste!
Really now. Because "conteracting soceital sterotypes" is ONE factor in a decision about how to organize our family life does NOT mean that we are BASING our decision on this one factor. Really now.
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Old 07-20-2005, 01:22 PM
 
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My post was not about you, MamaW. It was about our life choices and the fact that we are seen as "weird" by a lot of people hasn't stopped us from doing what we think is right, which is pretty much what I said the first time.
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Old 07-20-2005, 01:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dharmamama
My post was not about you, MamaW. It was about our life choices and the fact that we are seen as "weird" by a lot of people hasn't stopped us from doing what we think is right, which is pretty much what I said the first time.
But, sahm (and wohm) doing the majority of the housework/evening weekend childcare isn't weird, rather it is the norm. Thus my assumption that you were referencing my posts (about effectively contradicting soceital sterotypes) on this page of this thread.
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Old 07-20-2005, 01:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dharmamama
and we don't base our life decisions on counteracting societal stereotypes or expectations or whatever
who does?! I can't imagine anybody basing their life decisions on counteracting spcietal sterotypes or expectations. Just seems a strange thing to say, a strange stawman to create (which is why I assumed it was in reference to previous posts).

I guess you are trying to say that your family decisions ignore the larger cultural stereotypes (whether your decisions fit or don't fit these stereotypes is no matter). On this I can comfortably agree to disagree. It rests, really, on how powerfull you think those stereotypes are (I tend to think that we can't ignore them and just do right by our loved ones - that we have to actively counter them to be free of them), and that probably a lot to do has to do with personality (some people are innately more suseptible to cultural winds, others less so) and with expereinces and with geography.
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Old 07-20-2005, 02:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamawanabe
who does?! I can't imagine anybody basing their life decisions on counteracting spcietal sterotypes or expectations.
Well, people do it. Two examples right off the top of my head are a family we know who chose to stop being Christian because they didn't want to be associated with right-wing conservative politics and the many families I have encountered who chose to adopt transracially specifically to create multi-racial families. I'm sure we could all come up with other examples if we gave it more thought.

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I guess you are trying to say that your family decisions ignore the larger cultural stereotypes (whether your decisions fit or don't fit these stereotypes is no matter). On this I can comfortably agree to disagree. It rests, really, on how powerfull you think those stereotypes are (I tend to think that we can't ignore them and just do right by our loved ones - that we have to actively counter them to be free of them), and that probably a lot to do has to do with personality (some people are innately more suseptible to cultural winds, others less so) and with expereinces and with geography.
Yes, that is what I was trying to say, and I said it to illustrate the fact that I really don't worry whether people think I am a poor downtrodden housewife who is wasting my education and slaving away at menial household tasks simply because I am a woman who raises the kids and does the housework. I am not about to try to impose some external order on my family that doesn't work for us simply to try to counteract the prevailing cultural winds, in any aspect of our lives. I believe that the values I raise my kids with will be the strongest influences on them. Not the only, by any stretch of the imagination, but the strongest, and I don't mind those values being tested by the larger society, because I also believe that untested values are usually not as strong as tested ones.

Anyway, this thread has gone round and round for a long time, and while your later posts have helped me understand better where you are coming form than you earlier ones did, I think we've probably reached the point now where hashing it out further isn't going to be very productive. I think we just have different ideas about how to pass on our values, even if they are the same or similar values. Thanks for the interesting discussion!

Namaste!
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Old 07-20-2005, 03:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dharmamama
Anyway, this thread has gone round and round for a long time, and while your later posts have helped me understand better where you are coming form than you earlier ones did, I think we've probably reached the point now where hashing it out further isn't going to be very productive. I think we just have different ideas about how to pass on our values, even if they are the same or similar values. Thanks for the interesting discussion!

Namaste!

Yes, interesting discussion, thank you (though I have to fight not to take issue with your phrasing - "simply to try to counteract . . ." )
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Old 07-20-2005, 03:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dharmamama
Yeah, I've always found it kind-of odd that one the one hand, so many women complain that homemaking and childrearing are undervalued, but some of those same women who stay home with their kids worry aloud about the kind of example they are setting for their kids and whether they are limiting their kids' (particularly their daughters') choices and worldviews. I can't help but wonder what could be a better example to their kids than raising their kids?
This is such an interesting point.

I had a wonderful adult life before I met my DH. I had a career, did volunteer work, and traveled all over the world. I never felt like something was missing from my life and didn't care if I ever married. I met and fell in love with my DH in my early 30s.

I don't want my DDs to grow up assuming that what it means to be woman is to get married and have babies. I want their world to be very, very big and for them to see that they can do whatever they want to with their lives.

I don't feel that I'm setting a bad example, but rather that my kids see only one phase of my life. I don't what them to grow up believing that the one phase they are seeing is the sum total of options for their lives, so I like them to know women who are other ages or are doing other things.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 07-20-2005, 07:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by momsgotmilk4two
I didn't read all of the responses, but here is my take on it. If it were me, that list of responsibilities all outlined for me, by dh, would not work. Our deal in this house is that dh works hard at his job all day, I work hard at home all day, and we both work hard all evening together until the kids are in bed. Whatever chores I have time to do during the day, I do. If I have a few minutes to scrub toilets, I do it. I do clean up the messes we make during the day. But if things don't get done, I am certainly not up until midnight scrubbing and sweeping while dh chills in front of the couch. He trusts that I do what I can and that I am not spending all day loafing (which, since I have three kids 5 and under, would not even be possible:LOL). No one feels entitled to rest at the end of the day because the other one didn't work as hard. We feel that both of our work has value to the household. Only difference being that his job is for pay and mine isn't.

There are no clearly defined roles and we both like it that way. Maybe that would drive some couples nuts though, and they want everything outlined. It just seems like you are getting the raw end of the deal on this one since his job is cut and dried- work x amt. of hours and come home- and yours isn't- you are responsible for all housework even if the baby was up all night with colic or sick or teething and fussy and needing to be held all day. Are you going to work around the clock just to get it all done?


and I also think that the OP is willing to take on the raw end of the deal in order to negotiate for this child and the ability to stay home.

Like I said--I am a homemaker as well as a SAHM, so I run the household and do the cooking and cleaning. I am not talking about that. I am talking about saying that your husband never needs to get up at night (and whether you remember or not--it does make a big difference in the beginning to have someone there to change the diapers after you nurse so that you don't have to keep getting up after nursing--your body is exhausted at that point and needs it's strength to make the milk) or never has to change diapers. This is a huge red flag to me. Plus the thought of the OP also taking on 2 children to babysit and taking care of her other child too. There is a great deal going on there, and saying you will do all of it to talk your partner into letting you SAH and let you have another child does not seem like a healthy set up to me.

I also a very busy throughout the day with 3 kids, and am proud of the fact that I am able to clean and cook and get it all done. But it is not "nothing" or so easy that it is not even worth mentioning. And if my husband gets home and I am struggling with all of it, he would happily step in and change diapers or get up at night if that is what our household needed. Negotiating out of those duties does not seem like an equal partnership--it seems as if the scales are tipped toward the husband too much.
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Old 07-20-2005, 09:38 PM
 
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And if my husband gets home and I am struggling with all of it, he would happily step in and change diapers or get up at night if that is what our household needed.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 07-21-2005, 11:28 AM
 
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I just wanted to add that, ime, things change...and things don't always go as planned....and other things just surprise you. So, while it is super-fantastic-great to discuss and have a "parenting plan" before the baby is born, I think it is important for both parents to have a flexible attitude about it. Needs come up that you might not have anticipated, and you might need more help than you thought. Or the opposite.

Something that surprised me is my dd's sleep schedule. She has always gone to sleep late and gotten up late-ish. I have always done all of the nighttime parenting, but it is no big deal because I sleep as late as her. I was shocked that, in her first year of life, I got more hours of sleep per night than in the working/school years that preceded her birth! (even nursing several times a night! We seriously slept *late*)
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Old 09-11-2005, 12:46 AM
 
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Old 09-13-2005, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, since my thread was resurrected...LOL, I figured I'd give an update. DH and I are now officially trying for the baby. This thread was invaluable to me--we continued to discuss our expectations and I think we have a workable solution. Keep in mind, my DH has always been a full partner in our marriage--so I know if I'm too busy with the baby to make dinner, he's going to make dinner. It's never been "helping" me, it's making dinner so we can all eat.

So far, we think I'll be able to handle *most* of the housework, the cooking (which I love, so it's not a chore for me) and the errands. I'm not going to babysit, I'm going to work very part time out of the home, probably opposite hours from DH so he can be home with the kids. I decided I can't babysit other people's kids in my home and keep the house even close to decent--it's too much for me. If we find that the baby is more demanding that we anticipate, DH is okay with us reworking that solution.

i think our main goal is for life to be easier for all of us--we're both hoping that if I'm home we can spend our time when he's not at work enjoying each other, not doing housework and running errands. We'll see how it goes. I figure I'll be dealing with kids and doing housework while DH is at work, and relaxing with him and the kids while he's home. If I am doing housework while he's sitting on his butt, he promised I can smack him and he'll pitch in

He really truly has issues with poop, and I really don't care. He's been a police officer for years and has dealt with tons of bodily fluids, and he still gags at poop (not blood or puke or nasty dead bodies...just poop. The man is just plain weird :LOL ) So he probably won't change many diapers, but I did point out that I will leave the house occasionally, and he laughed and said of course he'd change the kid then. He'll do plenty of other things, diapers aren't a huge deal to me.

ANyway, thanks everyone for the advice...it caused us to really discuss our expectations, which was a very good thing!

Mom to Liz (14) and Dillon (3) and Mitchell FINALLY born 7/11/10!
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Old 09-13-2005, 07:49 PM
 
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I'll be dealing with kids and doing housework while DH is at work, and relaxing with him and the kids while he's home.
Yes, and he'll be dealing with kids and doing housework while you are at PT work, and relaxing with you and the kids while you're home. Right?!

Glad you have a plan that feels right for your family.
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Old 09-13-2005, 11:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, and he'll be dealing with kids and doing housework while you are at PT work, and relaxing with you and the kids while you're home. Right?!

Glad you have a plan that feels right for your family.
Yup, and sharing kid-duties when we are both home. So far it seems to make sense for us Now let's see the reality...I think I may have mentioned that I have a bit of newborn amnesia :LOL When the best laid plans meet a high-needs baby, the baby is gonna win!

Mom to Liz (14) and Dillon (3) and Mitchell FINALLY born 7/11/10!
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