To think there are reasons for favouring mothers?

(181 Posts)
AnneNonimous Fri 04-Jan-13 23:28:30

I am well prepared to be completely flamed for this but here goes.

I see a lot of stuff on here about equal rights for parents - that there is no reason why a mother should be favoured over a father when it comes to caring for their children etc. I'm not 100% sure what the current situation is now when people go to court, I know mothers generally were favoured over fathers unless there was a very good reason for them not to be. If someone could update me I'd be grateful!

Now I would like to say that I do think fathers should have equal responsibilities to their children. That fathers should always have access rights unless there is a child protection issue.

But AIBU in thinking that there is good reason for favouring mothers when it comes to divorces and residency?

As a mother I know it would just kill me to have my son not live with me. His dad doesn't and has never felt that way. He might think it would be better if he did but he doesn't feel what I would feel. And to me this seems to be the general case. It just isn't the same. My dad was and is a great dad, I know he loved me as much as my mum did. But there was still something very different. She still misses me terribly if we are away from eachother for a long period of time. And he never seemed to feel that.

I know there are exceptions, but there must be a reason why so many men walk away from their children so easily when so few women can do that? I know of countless men that have walked out on their kids very easily. I know of one woman - who was a drug addict all the time.

I'm not sexist I don't think. There is just an obvious difference in being a mum and being a father and I'm sure I can't be the only one to see that?

LynetteScavo Sun 06-Jan-13 21:51:43

ithaka, my post wasn't aimed directly at you.

If you feel that me stating I feel differently to others is insensitive, then I apologise for upsetting you.

Even though you didn't ask me to.

I was most surprised to discover I feel differently to others, but that is the beauty of MN.

StuntGirl Sun 06-Jan-13 21:49:15

I have anne. Is one of us wrong? No. We just have different experiences.

AnneElliott Sun 06-Jan-13 21:44:28

I agree with you OP but the rest of MN won't! In the experience I give had with friends whose relationship breaks up the dads walk out, are happy to have their free single life back again and see the kids as a duty to be shirked as often as possible. It could just be the relatively small sample but I have never seen a dad in real life take a 50% parenting role.

ithaka Sun 06-Jan-13 21:33:01

I did not ask for an apology, I was just surprised by the insensitivity of your post.

LynetteScavo Sun 06-Jan-13 21:22:20

I knew someone would take it like that, ithaka.

I feel one way, other mothers feel differently (So I've learned)

If you choose to take it as a vile comment, that's up to you. I make no apologies about the way I feel, and don't expect anyone else to.

ithaka Sun 06-Jan-13 21:15:06

Op, I would have agreed with you, but years of MN have taught me lots of women don't feel the same way about their DC as I do about my DC.

I do hope you are not implying you love your children more than 'lots of women' - a not very nice assumption made extra vile by following my post about my husband and my different ways of coping with the loss of a child.

ChocHobNob Sun 06-Jan-13 21:14:49

Hop, there may be cases like that. But for every case where a child is forced to stay with a non resident parent before they are ready ... there is a case where a child is withheld from their non resident parent in favour of the mother for no good reason. There are cases where a child could happily live with their father, but are put with their Mother simply because she is "the mother". There are cases where a Mother is so against contact with a perfectly good father and the child's time is restricted with their father because it "isn't in the child's best interests for the child to have a stressed Mother".

The courts are generally in favour of the Mother. There may be cases that fall through the net with manipulative fathers pulling the wool over a Judge or CAFCASS's eyes but the majority of the time the bias is towards Mum.

I have a very clear example of this bias. My BIL is the primary carer of my niece. Her Mother walked out on them when she was a baby because she met a man online and wanted "space". Months down the line she asked for her daughter back, like she was some possession. My BIL said no and offered contact putting boundaries in place such as it was to be supervised and not in the presence of her new BF who had had children removed from his care by SS before. She kept letting my niece down, cancelling/being late, all the normal rubbish. He stopped contact.

She took him to court. Typically in a case like this with the genders reversed, Dad would every other week, 2 hours max in a contact centre if the Judge was feeling generous. But this was Mum. And she was given DAILY contact with her daughter despite my BIL's concerns and insistence that she would not keep up with this schedule. Needless to say contact was quickly cut back to every other weekend when she started not turning up again and messing her daughter around. She now see's her daughter every other week. A father would not have been given such consideration.

It simply isn't standard procedure to pander to every Dad's "equal rights" in court. And there is no reason why good, decent fathers should not be allowed to have good relationships with their children and treated fairly and equally by the courts just because there are some bad egg Dads out there.

MonetsGardens Sun 06-Jan-13 21:12:11

I can't help feeling that those parents who ascribe to a strict 50/50 'split' with regards to children are sometimes more concerned about getting their own 'share' of the kids than with the practical and emotional needs of the children.

My Ex husband refused to provide any care for our children when they were upset/fractious/outside the hours of 9pm - 9am. He left my baby unnattended in a car in a public carpark for nearly 45 minutes. He forced me to leave my newborn to go to a works party, he abused me in every way possible and then moved on to physically assault my child. Should he now be entitled to the same rights as me with regards the care of our children ? He is a great believer in his 'rights' It's a shame he hasn't displayed the same enthusiasm for his responsibilities towards his children

OP YANBU.

Anecdotally, and, therefore, culturally, I can see where you're coming from OP, but personally I would have to say YABU.

In society (although this is changing rapidly thank goodness), the female of the species is expected to be nurturing, the male to be the one who will walk away.

In my own experience, DH's instincts to protect and care were, and are, far stronger than mine. Everyone's way or level of caring/loving is going to be different, because we're all individuals - that doesn't mean one gender is shallower than another in this regard.

Perhaps the best quote I can think to illustrate the flawed societal expectation and a reminder not to blindly follow society, is "I'm a mother myself, said the sow, as she sat on the eggs." (Saki)

HopAndSkip Sun 06-Jan-13 21:05:07

Also Choc society only makes it easier for fathers to walk away because it is such a norm. mother's can walk away just as easily by putting the child up for adoption, i doubt many people would even judge her if she said she just didn't feel ready and felt it was right for the child.

And yet there is a significantly smaller amount of mums putting babies up for adoption willingly, than the amount of absent fathers.

HopAndSkip Sun 06-Jan-13 21:00:54

Choc If the child is genuinely the priority rather than making it "fair to the parents" in court, then why are children forced to stay with the other parent before they are ready to, and have time alone with the NRP even if they don't want to.

If it was genuinly about the child then the child's wishes would come first, not the NRP's wish to play mummy/daddy regardless of how happy the child is to be away from their primary carer.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Sun 06-Jan-13 20:56:10

What actually needs to be encouraged is not parcelling out time with DC to favour the fathers' 'rights', but encouraging men to do their share of domestic work and childcare. There are plenty of selfish, abusive men who insist on seeing their DC on a rigid schedule purely to continue controlling the woman who has refused to put up with their crap any more. While it's good for DC to have regular contact with a good, or even an adequate father who just happens to no longer be in a couple-relationship with their mother, it's not good for them to have to spend time with a manipulative, selfish, neglectful man who considers them props to his ego rather than people.

Because we live in a culture with a long history of women being percieved as men's property and men's servants, men's wishes are still, all too frequenly, put ahead of women's and childrens.

ChocHobNob Sun 06-Jan-13 20:47:40

YABU. Just because Mother's may feel a stronger bond towards their children than a father does if there is such a thing, doesn't mean mothers should be favoured when it comes to parents' relationships with their children. The child is important, not the Mother's feelings about being separated from her child. Society's attitudes in the past has made it easier for fathers to walk away from their children.

LynetteScavo Sun 06-Jan-13 20:39:58

Op, I would have agreed with you, but years of MN have taught me lots of women don't feel the same way about their DC as I do about my DC.

But overall, I give you a YANBU.

ithaka Sun 06-Jan-13 20:37:11

YABsososoU and offensive. I hope you will never be tested as we have been. In extremis (when our son died) my husband proved his selfless utter devotion to our daughter, over and above me (I was selfishly in bits, but DH lead by example and brought the family through the worst).

My instincts were - how will I survive without my son? DH's instincts were - we must do what is best for our daughter. I know which is true devotion- to put your child's needs above your personal grief - and I know which one of us had it instinctively.

HopAndSkip Sun 06-Jan-13 20:26:35

ILoveSalad- Levels of a stress hormone called cortisol — the same ancient chemical that instructs men to fight or take flight — tend to spike about four to six weeks after men learn they're going to be fathers

About three weeks before the baby arrives, levels of testosterone — sometimes called the "male hormone," associated with competitiveness, aggression and sex drive — fall by roughly a third

Don't see how that is remotely the same as female hormone changes.

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Sun 06-Jan-13 20:22:07

"men don't have the hormones" men's hormones actually DO change when their partner is pregnant or has just had a new baby, their testosterone levels drop.

HopAndSkip Sun 06-Jan-13 20:12:40

agree OP, obviously there are some exceptions, as with anything in life. But on the whole, and especially initally, mothers have a much stronger bond, and more intense feelings. It's biological, men don't have the hormones, haven't carried the baby, given birth. I think people forget that just because we're humans not animals doesn't mean we can rid ourselves of all natural instincts, and turn men and women into the same thing.
You just have to look at the figures of absent parents to see men don't have the same biological NEED to be with their children.

akaemmafrost Sun 06-Jan-13 20:03:21

I agree OP.

YANBU.

BacardiNCoke Sun 06-Jan-13 20:01:26

I think you're both BU and NBU. wink

I know when DH split up from his ex it killed him not to be able to see DSD every day. His ex was (still is) an absolutely terrible mother. She neglected and abused the poor girl for years. DSD eventually came to live with us when she was 9, after a very long and drawn out custody battle. She clung to DSD because she wanted the benefit money. hmm She also had 2 other children with someone else and they now live with their father.

DH is a great dad. He's completely equal in parenting. They also favour him over me most of the time because I'm more shouty. blush But if we were to ever split I know it would kill me not to be able to see my dds everyday. I couldn't do 50/50 access it would kill me. I just have to hope that I'm never in that position.

BettyandDon Sun 06-Jan-13 19:59:49

I think I know what the OP is getting at and I think it's biological. In my case I see it in the level of vigilance around them especially when they are little. My DP can sleep through their cries whereas I have never done that. He doesn't have eyes on the back of his head so to speak even with our toddler. I'm just more aware of them than he is - its like a sixth sense.

TheBigBangFairy Sun 06-Jan-13 19:55:42

If what you mean OP, is that the mother is more likely to feel a stronger attachment, (especially during the early months first born's life), then I agree with you. Nine months of pregnancy, childbirth, hormones all over the place, (sometimes) breastfeeding, (sometimes) months of maternity leave - IMO all these things together can often mean mothers find it tougher, emotionally, to leave a baby even with a trusted relative or carer.

But, although attachment is no doubt an important biological instinct (for the baby's survival chances in purely evolutionary terms) I don't think the strength of this instinct determines how much a parent loves their children. So if you meant that mothers instinctively love their children more (which I don't think you did), then no, I don't agree.

exoticfruits Sun 06-Jan-13 19:40:07

* A woman carries her baby inside her body for nine months and gives birth to it*

Anyone can do that-it takes a lot more to be a good parent!

exoticfruits Sun 06-Jan-13 19:39:09

As a mother I know it would just kill me to have my son not live with me.

YABU-that is your problem -and as the adult you have to deal with it and do what is best for the child-which is to have two equal parents. 50/50 works perfectly well if both parents bend over backwards to make it work. Sadly most put themselves first but won't admit it-they state that they are thinking of the DC!

cannotbelievehowexpensive Sun 06-Jan-13 19:35:45

I agree with you OP. A woman carries her baby inside her body for nine months and gives birth to it, however much people would like to deny it, of course there is an intensity to that bond that isn't there at least at first for many fathers.

And it's true, more fathers do walk out than mothers and seem able to be away from their kids. My DH would lay down his life for our children and completely adores them but I agree that there is a difference in the two relationships and I don't understand why women on here and elsewhere are so intent on equalising the relationship between a mother and child and a father and child - they are biologically different relationships.

Also think it's extremely unfair on the child to do 50/50 access. It's an arrangement that's all about the parent's needs and not the children's. A child needs stability, not going back and forth from one home to another - again this might not suit people to accept, but in my line of work I have seen this arrangement fail time and again and leave the children involved miserable and with attachment issues.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now