Okay, what about fathers? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 09-21-2004, 09:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This issue came up in the daycare poll thread, and I think it's worth a thread of its own.

When talking about SAH vs. WOH, many people have the opinion that a Good Mother is one who will not WOH unless she absolutely has no choice, because she cannot bear to be separated from her children. It's very rare to hear anyone say that this is a trait of a Good Father. In fact, it's rare to hear anyone imply in any way that, if a WOHF is less involved w/his kids than he should be, it has anything to do w/his employment. Why?

My dad WOH, full-time or more, for my entire childhood. Yet I don't feel that he was any less of a parent than my mom, who didn't WOH until I was 11. It's true that he spent FEWER hours doing childcare tasks and FEWER hours working on the house and yard than she did, but he DID spend a lot of time on those things, often all his waking hours at home. I think that the number of hours each of them spent fully engaged with us, in conversation or playing with us, was about equal.

My SAHM spent much of the day doing her own thing and encouraging us to do ours. I think that's fine--it taught us that women have goals and interests too and deserve to have their needs respected--but it makes me skeptical about the argument that a SAH parent is inherently more involved and attached.

My dad supervised the bedtime routine and read our story every night (until we were teenagers!). He attended at least 90% of our school plays, awards ceremonies, recitals, parent-teacher conferences, etc.; if they were in the daytime, he'd rearrange his work schedule. I got sick a lot as a child, and often the school couldn't reach my mom because she was running errands or exercising or working in the garden...so they'd call my dad at work, and he'd drop everything to pick me up ASAP.

During school vacations, if my mom needed to go somewhere my brother and I couldn't go or wouldn't like going, she'd take us to have lunch w/dad at his office. He'd introduce us to everyone and show us his latest projects and have us draw new pictures to decorate the place.

When my mom did start WOH, her job involved lots of travel. Although my dad's job became more demanding (50-60 hours a week) at about the same time, he always came home for dinner w/us, even if it meant going back to work later. When I was sick, he'd come home for lunch w/me every day. He still rarely missed our school events.

I know that not all WOHFs are like mine, but many are--a lot more than used to be. Many, if not most, WOHMs are similarly involved in family life. What puzzles me is why WOHMs are seen as doing the "second best" thing to SAH, while WOHFs seem to get credit for finding any time to be parents. Are we really so mired in history and outdated gender roles?

The oddest thing about the above is that my dad is someone who feels strongly that young children need a "full-time mother". He persists in using that phrase rather than "stay-at-home mother", despite the several times my brother and I have said, "But...you were a full-time father!" We grew up feeling that even though he was away from us many hours a day, we were always on his mind. He says that's true, yet he sees no contradiction in critizicizing MOTHERS who choose to be away from their children for part of the day. :

What's going on? Why are there no Daddy Wars?

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#2 of 29 Old 09-21-2004, 10:31 PM
 
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Awesome post! He sounds like an excellent father, and I'm lucky that dh is cut from that same cloth. I am currently a sahm by choice, but I hope to find fulfilling work outside the family later on.

I think it's so important to show children that there is more than one way to make things work. I wonder if as sahds become more common if the daddy wars will ensue? Or if material gain is the male version?
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#3 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 04:29 AM
 
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I don't neccesarily think it's important for a mom to stay at home. I just think it's important for a parent to stay at home. I do believe though that mothers are usually more natural caretakers. My husband is a wonderful father and spends as much quality time with our girls. However, he feels driven to provide for our family while I feel the need to stay home. There have been times when I worked part time as well and we would always work it out so that when I worked he was home.
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#4 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 07:57 AM
 
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I think that there are biological differences between men and women that account for women often seeking the caretaking role and men often seeking the provider role. I'm sure that to some degree today it is the result of societal pressure, but for the most part I think that's the way it's always been, which leads me to the biological basis theory.

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#5 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 09:16 AM
 
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I could write a dissertation on this topic... but I won't. I think there are so, so many reasons that fathers are expected to be the breadwinners and mothers are expected to be contributing breadwinners AND primary caretakers; it's the '50s mentality still at work, with some mitigating factors (women are actually powerful in this economy now; women actually are vocal about their needs and desires).

I know a lot of families who create flexible schedules so that both parents have time with the kid/s. We did this for over two years after dd was born. I went back to work part time at 6 months pp, and dh was with dd the two days a week I wasn't. I then quit, and he went back full time. Then I got another part time job, and he went back to part time too, so he could be with her again. In this way we were on the edge financially for some time, but it was two and a half years before dd was with a caretaker other than one of us or my mother. Dh only went back to full time work very recently, when we decided to buy a house.

I am so, so glad we did things this way, even if our 401Ks aren't as stocked as most of our friends. More than anything, dh wanted a relationship with dd totally different than he had with his father.
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#6 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 09:51 AM
 
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i have yet to read the lengthy *but good-looking!* replies but wanted to put out there that maybe the reason there are no Daddy Wars is that they just don't care. i mean, not that they don't care about family, but they don't care about being competitive with other fathers.

look at the media hype surrounding motherhood...

and then look at the media surrounding *fatherhood*. what is there??? a whole bunch of really stupid crap poking fun at stupid, incapable fathers... and that's about it.

but mothers are expected to do and be so much, all the time. i think the media and our society really fuels it, and adds to the internal conflict we already feel just by struggling to BE mothers in this crazy culture.


** could just be late night rambling. feel free to ignore.
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#7 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 10:01 AM
 
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I feel it's important for a parent to be with their young child whenever possible, but I think parents' personalities are more important deciding factors in who should be the primary caregiver than their sexes. My husband and I have been switching off since our 4-year-old was born; sometimes one of us working more than the other, sometimes both of us working equal amounts. I wish employment opportunities enabled more families to do this.

I see folks on this board a lot dissing mothers for leaving their kids and never mentioning the fathers' choices; it drives me absolutely nuts. (Especially posts that rag on mothers for leaving their kids WITH their fathers!)
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#8 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 10:03 AM
 
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My husband an I tag team....I work when he's at home, usually at night and on the weekends.

I am not a scholar on this, but CityGirl makes a good point in saying that women are expected to be the caretakers *and* contribute financially. I can speak for my dad, my husband and my brother, all three excellent fathers in societies eyes as men who work hard, balls to the wall and make good livings doing that work (my dad passed away 5 years ago).....Their worth in societies eyes is weighed in how much they make.

I think men get pressure to, but it isn't about spending time at home as a measure of their devotion.

I measure myself both ways....I take care of my children in a way that many sahm's do.....but i also take care of my children in a tangible financial way also.

As much as we tangle here at MDC over sahm/wohm's, i really don't understand the attitudes. Honestly, why does anyone care what i do anyway? And why the assumption I'm not good enough?
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#9 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 10:03 AM
 
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I think it's because, from a Christian viewpoint, women are the primary caregivers of children and men are the primary providers.


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#10 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 10:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by klothos
... but they don't care about being competitive with other fathers.

look at the media hype surrounding motherhood...

and then look at the media surrounding *fatherhood*. what is there??? a whole bunch of really stupid crap poking fun at stupid, incapable fathers... and that's about it.

but mothers are expected to do and be so much, all the time. i think the media and our society really fuels it, and adds to the internal conflict we already feel just by struggling to BE mothers in this crazy culture.
This makes a lot of sense to me. Mike would be a brilliant SAHD, if that was an option for us. There are two other men in the office with young children, and a woman as well. Mike feels nothing in the way of competition with them. Sometimes he comes home horrified or surprised at something that one of them has said, but there's no "who spends the most time with the kids?" contest going on between him and the other guys. I know that when I bring the kids in to pick Mike up or I stop there after doing errands, I get a bit of a funny look from the woman, though; I think she feels a little bit guilty that her kids are in daycare all day while mine are with me.

Women are totally encouraged to feel guilty for choosing work or home (as if it's a simple choice like that) while men are encouraged to believe that going to work is a wonderful "choice" for them and staying home is just an amazing thing to do. A man who stays home with the kids... wow! He's applauded everywhere he goes. You hear older women tell stay at home moms that it's wonderful they're staying home with their kids, but just about anyone will say the same thing of a SAHD.

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#11 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 10:13 AM
 
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I agree with dharmamomma; it's inherent that those same hormones that put our bodies into labor and produce milk for our babies are also responsible for creating that delicate and intricate balance of chemicals that attach us so firmly to our children when they are young. It's been that way for thousands and thousands of years.... every mammal has it, for the most part.... that the mommies are the primary caregivers for their young. It's totally biological, give or take the whole happy-50's-housewife thing.

My husband stayed at home with our daughter while I worked out of the home. It started off as PT when she was 8 mo. or so and then developed into a FT job. He was phenomenal with her. When I got preggo with our second, I quit during my second trimester and we switched roles. I don't believe in - for OUR family, others are none of my business - leaving infants with anyone other than their moms because of that intricate balance of hormones that seem crucial in bonding mothers to babies as their primary caregivers.

My dh says he'd have no problem at all staying home again if I want to go out and work. I'm going back to school and probably won't start working again until both kids are in school.... but that's my decision, to each their own.

I agree that the mommy wars are due, in large part, to the fact that the media has women competing against one another LIKE CRAZY. Who's prettiest, who's getting the man she wants, who's thinnest, who's more fashionable, etc. etc. etc... and it unfortunately branches out into all aspects of our lives, including motherhood. Men don't have that intense competition against one another... I mean, look at the sheer number of women's magazines full of products and articles designed to make us want to be better and prettier people! And better consumers, as well. There are some things out there geared toward men in that fashion, but it's not nearly as prevalent.
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#12 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 10:17 AM
 
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there are lots and lots of non-christian families out there, fyrfly.

also, about the OP's experience w/ her own family ~ it reminded me of my own family during my childhood. my dad worked long hours away from the home, and worked overtime shifts many nights. he was a firefighter. my mom was a full-time mama to all of us kids.

i always heard from my dad how important it was that fathers provide financially for their family, and that it is a more important duty than being there for their kids.

i see how skewed that is now, and honestly i really wish that he would have spent more time with us and less time at the firehouse. we didn't really seem to have that much money anyway, because as a kid, you don't see what your parents are saving. i would have glady traded the trip to disneyland (just one example) for a more involved father. but, he has never seen it like that, and he never will. he still thinks my partner is less than stellar because he wants to stay home w/ the kids, and he thinks we're really weird for wanting to be home with our kids more than we want to get a high-paying job (or jobs) to buy nice things for them.
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#13 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 10:19 AM
 
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EnviroBecca: Awsome post. Your family sounds so familiar to me, enough so that I'm wondering if I have a mystery sister out there!

My husband is a SAHD and I work in my lab/office full time. He has some interesting insight into this question, and it arises from his observations of how his playgroups function. Basically, men don't relate to each other through their children. Now, this isn't to say that women relate to each other entirely through their children, but I do know that I can feel close to a woman and realize at some point that I know nothing of her life except for those aspects that pertain to partenting. I think this is part of the difference why men don't get involved in Daddy Wars.

Also, keep in mind that in the US at least, women still make ~70% of their male counterparts. So when a discussion comes down to who quits their job (if the discussion comes up) it's almost always financially wiser for women to quit.
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I get a bit of a funny look from the woman, though; I think she feels a little bit guilty that her kids are in daycare all day while mine are with me.
I doubt it. Quite an assumption though. Why is it guilt you assume she is feeling?

My guess she's wondering *why* youre their in the first place while your husband is working. (i go and have lunch with my husband during the week too).
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#15 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 01:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Klothos, I agree about competition over mothering being fueled by the media, but I think it's odd that they don't do the same over fathering. After all, in general, males are thought to be the more competitive gender, and they're easily pressured into cutthroat competition in jobs, sports, dating, driving, gadget ownership...why not pressure them to "be a better dad" too, as a way of selling more crap??

I think there has been some effort, both in the media and in mainstream society, to make fathering more "okay" and seen as manly rather than wimpy. There are nurturing father characters on TV, and advertising shows dads and kids doing stuff together. However, there's also the "dads are dumb and helpless" theme that just makes me ill--it's so sexist!! : And when a product is presented as good for kids (nutritious, causes less rash, etc.) it's always "moms know it's best", never dads--the only thing dads worry about is insurance, apparently.

Fyrflymommy wrote:
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I think it's because, from a Christian viewpoint, women are the primary caregivers of children and men are the primary providers.
Can you provide some Gospel quotes or other evidence that this is a CHRISTIAN viewpoint?

I agree that mothers have a unique bond to our young infants because of the biological effects of pregnancy and postpartum. That means mothers and babies should not be separated for long periods at an EARLY stage, and that's why I think maternity leave should be lengthy and well-supported by employers and government. However, biology doesn't have much bearing on who's the best caregiver for a two-year-old, IMO. It's true that ON AVERAGE, a person who's really good at and enjoys caring for children is more likely to be female than male, but only a part of that difference is biological (the rest is socially constructed by people's expectations and by different learning experiences offered to boys and girls), and what's true on average should not govern decisions about what's best for an individual family.

You know, another thing I wonder about is why there's been so much effort to get women into traditionally male careers and almost no effort to get men into traditionally female careers. After 30 years of various special initiatives for girls and women, we've got significant female representation among doctors, scientists, computer wizards, police officers, military, athletes, etc...and meanwhile, we've developed shortages of teachers and nurses! Where's the effort to get little boys interested in nurturing and helping people?

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#16 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 02:04 PM
 
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Well, it happens to be my DH's heart's desire to be a SAHD. He very much wants the 'household' duties, very much loves spending 'quantity' time with the kids, likes the cooking and cleaning and other 'motherly' things that I dislike.

But we both agree that for the first year or so, a child needs his/her mother. We strongly feel that it is best for babies to be EBF and to start solids 'late' (like 10-12 months instead of 6), so even when I have something 'going' before the first year (example, I went back to school when DD was 4 months old, and when DS was 8 months old), we have worked hard to insure that I am never away from an infant for more than a couple hours at a time - even if that means that DH is 'stuck' playing with the kids away from home (he actually loves this arrangement, go figure, I'd hate it) so that we can visit and nurse between classes. It has been a long and slow process to get me through school, but in three more years it will be over and I will be spending approximately the same amount of 'busy' time (studying and projects and such take a lot of time, it's not just classload) and earning a lot more than he does now, and he will get to be the SAHD he has always wanted to be. We'll have done it without sacrificing having our family young, like we have always wanted. He is a phenominal parent and we have no doubts whatsoever that he could handle even the US-norm of me going back full-time at 6 weeks when we have our next child (although we'll be trying to avoid that).

It has taken me a long time to get to my point, hasn't it?

Anyhow, my DH wants to be a SAHD. It isn't a very popular want, from what I understand. He is in a dead-end job and gets offered other, higher-paying jobs all the time (he has degrees) but doesn't take them, because the job he has now offers a high level of flexibility (and it is a very stable job, as small a chance of being laid-off as you can find anywhere, really), which is really necessary to do the kinds of schedule-magic we need to do. His choice is looked down on universally by everyone from his current co-workers (who think he's nuts for passing up what they see as 'great' jobs) to my parents (my dad keeps 'suggesting' job openings in our area with his company) to his own parents (who can't understand why *I* would want to be the one to work even with our parenting philosophies - they just don't grasp that a SAHM isn't as important to AP as a present-parent of either gender).

Ooooh am I ever rambling. This issue is a 'sore point' for us.

It seems like our situation is pretty thoroughly misunderstood. Well, actually, it seems like nobody is willing to even TRY to understand why we want what we want. It is like man=worker, woman=caregiver (+sometimes worker, if she wants to or has to, blah, blah, blah), and nothing else fits into their parenting/working schema, so rather than adjust the schema, they practice inflexibility and reject our ideas out-of-hand. There are some people who 'get it', these people tend to be other dads who try like heck to get as much time with their kids as possible. But even of these, we have yet to find anyone who would want the same things we want - primarily because everyone seems to view SAHDs as somehow lesser-men, incapable or handicapped in some way. It is sad.

There is also this thought that a child's primary attachment should be to his mother. Period. This is just silly. Children can have positive attachments to any number of people - even as infants, they can be attached to mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends, aunties and uncles...the point is it is healthy for children to be attached to people in addition to mommy, and this shouldn't be seen as a mothering failure. But it is. And that sucks. I don't think I'm a failure as a mother because my kids were attached to their grandpa/"Papa" and daddy as babies. But generally, we have this weird idea that babies should be attached only to their mothers - even that they shouldn't want to even be with their fathers! If we follow this logic, children will only be happy with their moms, so of course we shouldn't torture the babies by making them stay with daddy! Daddy isn't going to make the kids happy! Only mommy can do that!

Drives me nuts.

Gee, can you tell we've thought a little about this?

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#17 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 04:51 PM
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But we both agree that for the first year or so, a child needs his/her mother. We strongly feel that it is best for babies to be EBF and to start solids 'late' (like 10-12 months instead of 6),
ITA.

I think there are biological differences between men and women that make the maternal bond very critical in the early years. If a woman is going to breastfeed, then best the child be very close by to feed from the breast.

I also think it is biologically stressful for a woman to leave her child when they are young. It isn't meant to be this way, biologically speaking.

Men who stay at home with children are at 82% higher risk of death from heart disease according to this study:

http://www.cnn.com/2002/fyi/news/04/25/role.reversal/

Also in this study, women in 'high demand' jobs had a three times higher risk of heart disease.

I don't think we are wired to leave our young when they are young, as mothers. Why not put a baby to the breast on demand, if at all possible? The whole 'that's what they are there for'. Outside of gynomastia, men struggle to lactate.

Anyway, yeah for dads, great for them to bond to their offspring. But in mammals, young need to be with the mother.

JMHO.
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#18 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 05:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by playdoh
ITA.

If a woman is going to breastfeed, then best the child be very close by to feed from the breast.

I also think it is biologically stressful for a woman to leave her child when they are young. It isn't meant to be this way, biologically speaking.
Um, what does it matter whether it comes directly from the breast or is pumped breastmilk and comes from a bottle, provided the bottle is given with cuddles and such (not propped)? Frankly, I am not at all convinced that a young baby can tell the difference. I mean, yes, they can tell the difference between a bottle and a breast if they get both during the course of a day, but who is to say that one is better than the other from the babies point of view?

And I may just be the weirdest female on the planet, but I, for one, had no stress on leaving my infant in good care. Now, I am in no way saying that I am like all women, but I am trying to point out that all women are not the same.

And even if it is true that there is a biological impartive for care of a young baby, it still doesn't say anything about care for a child post-infancy.
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#19 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 06:30 PM
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Um, what does it matter whether it comes directly from the breast or is pumped breastmilk and comes from a bottle, provided the bottle is given with cuddles and such (not propped)?
Um...

Sorry, just love to do that! Very cute.

A few differences, generally speaking:

1. Usually a child is much more efficient at getting milk out of the breast by sucking, than a pump is. It's well known that pumped milk amounts are no indication of how much milk a mother can produce.

2. Breastmilk changes to meet biochemical needs in the nursling. When the child suckles, any infection or other immune need is delivered to the breast itself (microbally speaking!) When milk is pumped, that two way chemical communication isn't there.

3. The mother makes antibodies (which are transferred to her milk) in response to those things in her environment. When she inhales, ingests or comes into contact with pathogens, she makes antibodies against those and transfers those specific antibodies to the child via breastmilk. So the child receives exactly the antibodies she/he needs for their environment.

If the child is in care away from the mother for a good portion of time, the child is potentially exposed to pathogens the mother is not and therefore she is not producing antibodies the child needs against the child's pathogens from the environment. Sure they share environment,too, and they child gets those immunoglobulins.

But there is also the risk that the pumped milk will not address the immune needs of the child away from the mother, there will probably be some gaps.

There may be more differences, I just went with what I remember. I'm purposefully ignoring the issues with silicone nipples, bottle refusal, nipple confusion, difficulties with pumping enough, etc. I've heard of studies looking at the chemicals in a bottle and artifical nipple and how those chemicals destroy immune building microbes in the breastmilk. It's not just that the baby does or doesn't care in the course of a day when she/he is receiving both bottle and breast. The transfer method cannot be ignored in lactation research. It matters a lot.


Great that bottles are held lovingly with lots of cuddles. I don't know anyone on the planet who is anti that! But is it biochemically the same as milk suckled from the breast by the child? No. Is that a terrible, horrible shame worthy of condemnation, sackcloth and ashes? Of course not. But you asked so I responded.
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#20 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 06:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom
Um, what does it matter whether it comes directly from the breast or is pumped breastmilk and comes from a bottle, provided the bottle is given with cuddles and such (not propped)?
Well, for us, it is basically that pumping and bottle-feeding is a huge PITA compared to simple breastfeeding. And not as adaptive. And if a tiny infant can't tell the difference, an older infant/toddler certainly can and will certainly have a preference, and I've never heard of that preference being the bottle. Not that I look down on people who choose to pump and bottle-feed, it is just not a practical choice for us.

ITA, btw, that this means nothing after infancy.

And what is with the weird idea that has been floating around for way-too-long-now that feeding=attachment? My kids are quite attached to their daddy, and I've never been uncomfortable leaving them with him for any stretch of time (even when they were tiny). They've never been uncomfortable with the idea, either. I just think that when they're still small, I'd prefer to be the one that is most often doing most of the being-with-the-kids, just because it is easier and seems more natural that way. We've always been quite happy to role-switch at regular intervals (DH keeping just a part-time job because it is our income, me going to school full-time and spending more time away from home than he does) once the kids are beyond needing to nurse so often.

Mama, homeschooler, midwife. DD (13yo), DS (11yo), DD (8yo), DD (3yo), somebody new coming in November 2013.

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#21 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 06:35 PM
 
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i strongly disagree that a good mom has to stay home, unless she "has to work"!

i think a lot of wonderful fantastic mothers do CHOOSE to work!

i am a great mom that stays home, but that is not what makes me a good mom.

my Aunt is a perfect working mom, by choice, and her daughter, my cousin, turned out wonderfully.
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#22 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 08:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetbaby3
I doubt it. Quite an assumption though. Why is it guilt you assume she is feeling?

My guess she's wondering *why* youre their in the first place while your husband is working. (i go and have lunch with my husband during the week too).
Well, mostly because she smiles at them, and says something like "I wish my kids were here, too," more often than not. I don't think she wonders why I'm there while he's working; it's fairly obvious that I'm either there to have lunch with him as a family or that we're there because we've run errands and I wanted to know if he was still at work after his shift ended (he frequently is.) Why the super-negative assumptions?

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#23 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 09:07 PM
 
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Because you weren't clear, thats why.

Had you mentioned her words, i would never have wrote what i did. You mentioned "a funny look", then wrote "maybe she feels guilty for working". Had you said "she looks funny sometimes, and she has told me I wish my kids were here too" i wouldn't have given the post a second thought.

As far as things being "obvious" (you there to have lunch for instance), its clear that it isn't always so.
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#24 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 09:25 PM
 
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Good thread...

I know my dh and I have struggled with this issue in our own marriage. He grew up in a family where his father's participation in the fam was to make money and that's it.... Mom did everything else. While my mom was a sahm for a good portion of the time, she did work occassionally and my father was WAY involved as a parent. (hmm... a good example of differences between two wah parents... ).

His idea of being a dad initially was just to provide. He felt very little pressure to be a parent in any sense that I felt and it was very difficult for me as a sahm. To say the least... I had some anger

My point... even though today is the 21st century... a lot of us were raised by 50's parents...and no different than our own children.... we do as we are taught.

I work with so many men... with so many wives at home taking care of the children and it really saddens me when I see them thinking it's perfectly acceptable to put in the hours they do and dis their family.... Now only if I could transfer some of my guilt of working out of the house (even though I happily have chosen this... a little guilt is still there)..to those dads that just don't seem to make their family the priority they deserve.

Any ideas?
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#25 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 09:58 PM
 
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Interesting arguments.

Quote:
I see folks on this board a lot dissing mothers for leaving their kids and never mentioning the fathers' choices; it drives me absolutely nuts. (Especially posts that rag on mothers for leaving their kids WITH their fathers!)
I agree. I see this SO much (not necessarily on message boards, but definitely in real life). What is with this stigma that men are completely incapable when it comes to children? You always see commercials and TV shows with fathers fumbling with diapers, putting them on backwards, and doing other dumb things while trying to care for an infant. Ugh, it drives me nuts. Sure, there are idiot fathers out there, but there are idiot mothers, too. I've seen my share. :P

My husband was a SAHD for a good part of my daughters first 14 months. He recently decided to go back to university, but if he hadn't, he would be the one staying home with the baby while I worked. He LOVES being home with our daughter, and he's such a great parent. He's discovered "techniques" for washing cloth diapers that even I didn't know. He plays with her, he snuggles with her, he feeds her, changes her. He does everything the EXACT same way I would do it if it were me at home, only he has a deeper voice. :P

In our situation, I stayed home for the entire first year. We didn't have the option of pumping breastmilk, as our daughter refused bottles. She would never take one. So unless we wanted her to starve, I had to stay home. When he took over as the primary caregiver when I went back to work, he was a natural. The only thing that bothered me about the whole situation was how family and friends reacted, calling him Mr. Mom, and asking me if I was nervous leaving her with him, etc. Ugh, what's with the assumption that fathers make bad "mothers"? I hate that people still have old fashioned views. It would really hurt his feelings when people would snicker at him and comment on his obvious lack of parenting skills due to his disability of having a penis. MEN ARE PARENTS, TOO! I've always believed that parenting is a 50/50 job, and there are no "women's" jobs or "men's" jobs. We are both just as capable.
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#26 of 29 Old 09-22-2004, 11:02 PM
 
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Nikki, i see your point. My husband is an excellent mother. Minus the breasts of course
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#27 of 29 Old 09-23-2004, 03:54 AM
 
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Sorry if this has already been said - and it probably has -

But I think (and I am talking about families with a choice here! Please don't think I'm bashing single moms, poor working couples, etc.) that mothers should spend the majority of their time being the SAH parent to get breastfeeding off to the best start. I know people who have pumped exclusively for many months, some even for a year, but I hear it's really hard to keep that going.

Of course, I also think the one who works should be the one who can make the most money, so the family doesn't have to suffer too much living on only one income. Usually that's the man.

I don't know about mothers/women being "natural caretakers." I guess some are. It's not natural for me. I have to learn to like it. I can bear being away from my children. I can be away from them for up to 6 hours at a time (they are with dh though). So it's not like I'm a mother who just gets really homesick for her child. Before having kids I worked 70+ hours a week and loved it. I've taken a long time getting used to being a SAHM but I think it's what my kids really need, and also that they are entitled to it.
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#28 of 29 Old 09-23-2004, 07:54 AM
 
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The more time my husband spends with our daughter, the more attached he is, and the more he wants the best for her. Tears roll down his cheek when she strokes his face, he insists on organic foods and herbal healing, he is picky about who sits her, the list goes on.

Sometimes, women naturally take over the major role for whatever reasons, and the man misses out. My husband only works a couple of days a week (we can do this) so he shows as much nurturing as me. If society gave men a chance, things would be different.

Hunger is political.  Wherever there is widespread hunger, it is because people with guns are preventing other people from bringing in food.  
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#29 of 29 Old 09-28-2004, 07:08 AM
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Does the OP have any thoughts on the feedback to her question thus far?
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