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?

ILoveTIFFANY Fri 04-Jan-13 23:30:40


It's not the 50's anymore

threesocksmorgan Fri 04-Jan-13 23:31:25


DamnBamboo Fri 04-Jan-13 23:31:43

Oh dear...

HollyBerryBush Fri 04-Jan-13 23:32:50

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

YABU because every ones circumstances are different.

You're generalising too much and you're about to get plenty of respondents saying their dh's love their children just as much as they do.

Yes, women used to be the primary carer almost exclusively, that is now changing as society changes.

No sex has the monopoly on empathy or love for their children.

AnneNonimous Fri 04-Jan-13 23:35:21

I do know there are cases when it's not always what's best for the child and I'm not at all saying every child is best off with its mum.

Does everyone feel that their exes/DPs/DHs have the same instincts as they do as mothers?

namechangerforaday Fri 04-Jan-13 23:36:21

My husband loves our dcs just as much as me - if (god forbid) we spilt I'd go 50/50 and I say that as an attachment parents who goes for extended/natural term breastfeeding.

At the moment society is set up so mums become main carer by default - now mat/pat leave can be shared - that will slowly change.

DamnBamboo Fri 04-Jan-13 23:36:37

My husband's heart still breaks to this day when he takes his DD back to her mothers. She is now 15 and they have been separated since she just turned 3.

ILoveTIFFANY Fri 04-Jan-13 23:37:01


AnneNonimous Fri 04-Jan-13 23:37:01

It's not about love really, I do know ExP loves DS and I know there are fathers that take on both roles themselves I'm not trying to put down all men.

I am talking generally I know and worried I'm wording it wrong.

AnyFucker Fri 04-Jan-13 23:37:16

It depends on the circumstances and the personalities involved.

Very young children, still breastfed and where the bloke has never demonstrated an interest before a split in shared parenting (for whatever reason) are exceptions however, IMO.

namechangerforaday Fri 04-Jan-13 23:37:54

Anne no DH probably doesnt but I have been home with them most of their lives.

I wouldn't penalise him for working.

HollyBerryBush Fri 04-Jan-13 23:38:09

Does everyone feel that their exes/DPs/DHs have the same instincts as they do as mothers?

I always feel these threads are designed fora bun fight/set up by J$F

Some mothers are good/bad parents, some fathersa re good/bad parents, what is your question again? How about addressing the issur#e of children being with the best parent rather than addressing gender

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 04-Jan-13 23:39:14

I miss my son terribly. I did not leave him but I left my ex. So who should look after my son? I have him twice a week and am involved in his care but it's not the same. She seems him so much more and more of his day to day life is with her.

I would love to have more shared care but I'll be honest and think too much movng between homes is unstable for my son and his stability comes first. It is very hard not waking up with my son everyday but that's the price someone has to make in a break up.

Goldchilled7up Fri 04-Jan-13 23:39:50

I agree, in most circumstances children are better with their mothers, specially when young

Damash12 Fri 04-Jan-13 23:41:03

Well I have to agree with you... Eek but I'm the mum so I'm biased and admit it but I would certainly be devastated if Dh got to have son over me in the event of a breakup. I'm his mum and that's it, I should be the favourite choice in the event of residency. And yes every situation is different of course and should be treated as such but I do know what you mean.

AgentZigzag Fri 04-Jan-13 23:41:09

Everything after the woman gives birth to the child is socially constructed.

That doesn't mean there aren't 'good' reasons for why a lot of children have a closer relationship with their mum than they do with their dad, you've got to have some sort of structure to peoples relationships or it'd be a free for all and meaningless.

But that also doesn't mean it has to be as it's always been, or as you say, it goes for all mums/dads/children, but it's usual in our society at this time (I'm really trying to pick my words carefully grin).

I agree in essence with what you say, but it has to be worded that there are good reasons for favouring some mothers some of the time, and by that standard it also has to favour some fathers some of the time too.

DamnBamboo Fri 04-Jan-13 23:41:42

OP, you can't talk generally about something like this in my view. And if you could, in my experience (which I appreciate is quite limited and not a good cross section of society) the fathers I know have the same instincts as the mothers.

Cathycomehome Fri 04-Jan-13 23:42:37

My partner loves our children as much as I do. If we were to split, I know he would want fifty percent care. That is what we do now, whilst together, and what we would organise if it became necessary. YABU.

AnyFucker Fri 04-Jan-13 23:42:57

It's not about "penalising" someone for working though.

The child's needs are paramount here. Not the wishes and longings of a parent that does not (for whatever reason) feature as prominently in the care-giving to an especially younger child. As described beautifully by dadsname

AnneNonimous Fri 04-Jan-13 23:43:56

I'm concerned I've worded stuff wrong and I hope I haven't offended anyone too much.

Here is an example of what I mean: In the early days I couldn't bare to leave DS with anyone. He didn't have an hour away from me til he was 3 months. He wasn't breastfed, I just couldn't bare to be parted from him. ExP went off the night he was born and was fine. I know that is one example of one man but I know it's not unusual. I know he loves DS very very much but clearly it's different to what I feel?

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Fri 04-Jan-13 23:44:39

YABU, DH is probably a better parent than me, I would probably be favoured because I work PT and he works FT so I've done more care hours.. but that was socially inflicted because of maternity leave Vs paternity leave etc

Cathycomehome Fri 04-Jan-13 23:44:41

My dad looked after my brothers and me when children when my mum was unwell, for example, and vice versa.

I think there are aspects of our society that are unfortunately set up to encourage woman to bond more quickly and deeply with their children (for instance, men not being able to stay with newborns in hospital and not getting equivalent parental leave to mothers, also the cultural expectation that women will be the main caregivers). I don't think men are less able to love their children than women. I think we should be aiming to change society so more men are as attached to their children and are less likely to walk away from them, not accepting how things are.

I believe at present courts will aim to award 50:50 residency unless there is a reason not to, so I don't think mothers are favoured.

Me and dp split our childcare 50:50 and I have no doubt he is every bit as nurturing of dd as I am. It would kill him to be seperated from her every bit as much as it would kill me.

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Fri 04-Jan-13 23:46:27

oh and DH was not fine when he was booted out of hospital after DS was born, he found that v hard but had no choice

babies are more attatched to their mums as babies because their mums are their main care giver because of maternity leave. if the dads were off for 6-12 months and the mum went back to work after 2 it would be the dad that couldn't go out of the room without being screamed for!

namechangerforaday Fri 04-Jan-13 23:46:54

It would also penalise dc though.

Thankfully DH is amazing (he really is) and I can't imagine splitting so it's a non issue. To quote a song we want to "grow old together and die at the same time".

I would have left dc1 with exh half the tines over my dead body - but that was sod all to do with gender.

namechangerforaday Fri 04-Jan-13 23:47:10

It would also penalise dc though.

Thankfully DH is amazing (he really is) and I can't imagine splitting so it's a non issue. To quote a song we want to "grow old together and die at the same time".

I would have left dc1 with exh half the tines over my dead body - but that was sod all to do with gender.

gimmecakeandcandy Fri 04-Jan-13 23:48:17

I think I know what you are trying to say op, there just isn't a good way to word it! I think in the very early years mum is more important than dad - not sure after that...

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 04-Jan-13 23:48:43

anne In the early days I couldn't bare to leave DS with anyone. He didn't have an hour away from me til he was 3 months. He wasn't breastfed, I just couldn't bare to be parted from him.

You sound like my ex. We never went out as a couple for a year because she could not bear to leave him at night with someone. We got a mile down the road but then she burst into tears and had to come back.

Meanwhile a friend of mine went away for a weekend whilst her husband looked after the baby.

My ex was very PFB of my son. Or is that controlling and over protective?

AnneNonimous Fri 04-Jan-13 23:50:54

cant I'm definitely not that extreme - now me and exP aren't together he stays overnight with him (he is now 9 months)

So I don't consider myself controlling or overprotective. It kills me to have him not here but I also value and encourage their relationship.

AgentZigzag Fri 04-Jan-13 23:52:03

Does the normal meaning for controlling behaviour apply to a baby cantthink?

You have to be in control and protective with a baby, when usually it's used to describe an unhealthy and even abusive attitude to another person.

MsHighwater Fri 04-Jan-13 23:54:06

Expectations are changing. It's relatively easy now to say that it is right for children to stay more with their mother when the parents split because it's what we are more used to. As it becomes ever more normal for fathers to be more actively involved in their dc's care, that will change.

I adore my dd and it would break my heart to be separated from her in the way that 50:50 care would involve. But my DH and dd also have a deep bond and a close, loving relationship and I know that, given the choice, he would not be parted from her that much either. Thankfully, we are secure and that's not about tom arise.

Outside of the early months and the bf stage, there is no biological reason, imo, why parents cannot be equal. It's societal and, therefore, subject to change.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 04-Jan-13 23:54:30

You are talking too much about how you feel, and about how mothers and fathers in general feel.

It's not about how they feel, it's about what's best for the children.

Granted, there tend to be more Mothers than Fathers that are the main caregivers, and in those cases it probably would be best if the children were to remain with the Mother rather than the Father in the event of a split. But again, that's because of what the children need, not the parents.

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 04-Jan-13 23:55:28

Controlling as in she knew what was best and my opinion didn't count for one bit.

AnneNonimous Fri 04-Jan-13 23:57:40

I think I shouldn't have brought residency into the post tbh as of course there are so many different circumstances.

But I do still feel a mothers feelings for a child are just stronger. Not from a love point of view. I'm not quite sure what the word is.

Feelingood Fri 04-Jan-13 23:58:31

My DH left me and my son, we lived apart, we reconciled. I could never ever and still don't understand how be could be away from him. I would never do that. Im not sure what this means but I don't think DH loved him any less.

cantthinkofadadsname Sat 05-Jan-13 00:00:02

anne How do you know? There are crap mums and crap dads out there who don't give a shit about there kids.

And parents who would do anything for their children. Anything. My son is the best thing that ever happened to me.

kickassangel Sat 05-Jan-13 00:02:06

I think that bonding comes as much from caring for a child as any natural tendency. Adoptive parents and children feel a strong bond. So can step children and step parents. Being close to a child and providing for their every need really strengthens that bond. So if one parent stays home then they will have that in the early years. As they get older and more independent then it can change, particularly as they develop their own tastes and interests.

That would favor the mother in more cases, but not if both parents work similar hours. It also depends on where each parent lives and the individuals and how the break up happened.

AgentZigzag Sat 05-Jan-13 00:02:50

Do you mean you thought it was best for your ex to go out regardless of whether she was upset and not comfortable at leaving her DC cantthink?

That she should soldier on through regardless of how she felt?

cantthinkofadadsname Sat 05-Jan-13 00:03:14

feeling How do you reconcile not wanting to spend your life with someone in a relationship that should not have been and knowing if you leave, you will not see your DCs as much?

2 happy separated parents or 2 unhappy parents living together.

It is a really tough choice and not an easy one. Believe you me. But society is moving more to recognise that Dads should have a right to see their children.

AnneNonimous Sat 05-Jan-13 00:05:22

cant did you decide to leave and live somewhere else?

ClippedPhoenix Sat 05-Jan-13 00:05:57

Generally YANBU, sadly.

cantthinkofadadsname Sat 05-Jan-13 00:06:33

agent I would have liked to have gone out as a couple sometime during the first year. I looked at all my friends with children of a similar age who were going out and yes - it did kind of put a damper on the relationship that we couldn't go out.

But I put her feelings first and listened to them. It just made things hard in the relationship.

winnybella Sat 05-Jan-13 00:06:39

On the one hand, of course it's societal conditioning etc.

On the other, there is no doubt that men form the great majority of parents who in the aftermath of separation don't bother seeing their children often or at all.

<on the fence>

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 05-Jan-13 00:07:39


And yes,I think my Dad had the same parenting instincts as my Mum. Has utterly equal shared care when they separated.

cantthinkofadadsname Sat 05-Jan-13 00:08:34

anne Our break up had a lot of reasons to it. But yes - I was the one who started the conversation (one we had had even before our son arrived) and we both felt separating was the right thing. Our son is happy, we work well together and we are good friends. All the cliches but I was the one who moved into a shared house.

porridgewithalmondmilk Sat 05-Jan-13 00:08:44

I can't remember the exact figures, but if, in a family with young children, the father dies, the percentage of children who go into care is minute - tiny. The opposite is true of families where the mother dies.

My dad was a great dad but he couldn't cope after my mother died - thankfully, we were in our teens at the time.

zippey Sat 05-Jan-13 00:09:31

I think I get what you are trying to say, but there are some caveats.

Firstly, in your post on 4th June at 23:43 you seem to equate your feeling of not being able to be apart from your DC as being more loving than your DH, who was able to go out.

But I dont think it means you love someone more because you cannot bear to be seperated from them, just as it doesnt mean you love someone less if you are able to go out for the night and leave DC with a babysitter/partner.

Also, you are concluding this from your straw poll, and you are biased, being a woman. The only reason children are more attached to a caregiver is because they spend more time with them. Traditionally this was women who stayed home and looked after the DC. It would work reversly if the man was the main caregiver.

AnneNonimous Sat 05-Jan-13 00:11:46

zippey I've never said exP loves DS less than I do I'd never say that. It's a different sort of feeling.

chandellina Sat 05-Jan-13 00:12:34

Yabu, most of it comes down to social factors, IMO. It's just not as accepted for a mother to give up care of her children, no matter who might be the better parent or want custody. I think mothers also are conditioned to feel a greater responsibility for their children.

zippey Sat 05-Jan-13 00:14:50

Anne Im sorry that is what I thought you were implying. If that is not what you were implying can you tell me what you mean when you say "I know he loves DS very very much but clearly it's different to what I feel?" in the post I referenced?

StupidFlanders Sat 05-Jan-13 00:16:09

I have 50:50 care with my ex. Please don't assume my children suffer with sub par parenting. Ridiculous.

bickie Sat 05-Jan-13 00:16:30

I think YABU but I wonder if perhaps your child is still very young? I would have possibly thought the same as you when my DC were preschoolers - even though my DH loved them just as much as me - it was me they wanted to go to when hurt etc. now they are a bit older And DH and I are able to split parenting 50/50 - I could never say they should be with me over him. He is annoyingly amazing with them - and I know it would break their hearts just as much to be separated from their DD as their DM.

SamSmalaidh Sat 05-Jan-13 00:16:54

I think it mainly depends on who the primary carer is before the split, doesn't it?

Generally babies under a year or so are going to need to stay with their mothers, if they do the majority of the care, and especially if they are breastfed. If DH and I had split when DS was a baby then he would definitely have stayed with me and is unlikely to have had overnights very often.

If we split up now - DS is 2.5 and DH does a lot of childcare - I think we'd need to go for more 50/50 residency, neither or us would want to be apart from DS for more than a couple of days at a time.

AnneNonimous Sat 05-Jan-13 00:17:47

I guess I meant that there is something more to being a mother - that feeling that I had that would have meant they'd have to carry me away kicking screaming and biting from my DS before he was apart from me but exP happily went home when he could have stayed. 'Mothers instinct' sounds so blah but I can't quite think of anything suitable.

AnneNonimous Sat 05-Jan-13 00:19:08

bickie why is it that it changes do you think? And yes my DS is 9 months old.

AnneNonimous Sat 05-Jan-13 00:19:49

stupid please don't twist my words I'm not for one moment suggesting that.

chandellina Sat 05-Jan-13 00:21:17

I think it's just a general sense of responsibility or reliability to care for your child that falls upon women for mainly societal reasons but I imagine there are biological forces at work as well since women are the main caregivers from birth.

SamSmalaidh Sat 05-Jan-13 00:22:21

The relationship is different when they are little babies - how could it not be? You grow them inside you, feed them with your body, you're tuned in with them... I've yet to meet a father who has the same relationship with a little baby as the mother.

Once they're are 2, 3, 4+ though, there's no reason why the father shouldn't have just as much of a relationship unless he has chosen not to, or because of working arrangements.

HeffalumpsAndWoozles Sat 05-Jan-13 00:22:39

Anne I think I see what you're getting at and I think YANBU (assuming I have understood correctly!) but I am only going on my own limited experience. DH and I have two DDs ages 2.4 and 3 months, for the first year ish of DD1s life he was a bit rubbish, and this seems to be occurring again with dd2, he is now brilliant with dd1 and is endlessly patient for toddler games and fantastically enthusiastic. I'm sure when dd2 is past the 'scary delicate baby' stage he will be just as good with her. However the very fact that he has taken a little while to get into his stride shows to me that instinct, in our case, is much more developed in the mother's case than the father's. I know it would hurt me on a much deeper level to be separated from my DCs, even though I know he loves them dearly. I also know that this is just speaking from what I have experienced and that every parent and relationship is different.

I'm not sure if I've helped or not there really!

cantthinkofadadsname Sat 05-Jan-13 00:23:30

I can sort of see a bit about what you are trying to say. To grow a baby inside you, to carry it for 9 months, all those hormonal changes and then to give birth is a very different feeling to "being a dad". I can't imagine all that but I am very envious you can do that. And then to be the main carer, to breast feed all helps reinforce that closeness that it can be hard to have as a Dad.

But then as a dad, you do get close your children and you try to make the most of your precious time (bearing in mind society expects men to work full time) with your children - whilst balancing the demands of running a house.

AgentZigzag Sat 05-Jan-13 00:24:21

It says something for the way you are cantthink, if you were annoyed at your ex and expected her to do something she wasn't comfortable with just because you saw other peoples DPs going out.

Did you make that plain to her I wonder? I'm sure you'd say you didn't, but I'm also sure subtle pressure was applied if you were both in the car and she was so upset it made her cry.

Why would you do that?

cantthinkofadadsname Sat 05-Jan-13 00:26:26

But that does not mean that a dad cannot be just as good a carer when they get older.

But as I said upthread, the needs of the children come before the needs of an adult. And it is sad that so many Dads do run away and not support their exes in anyway. Even though we are separated, I am doing my best to ensure my ex is supported in ensuring our son does not miss out or goes wanting.

bickie Sat 05-Jan-13 00:28:31

Anne, not sure why - probably evolution, we are programmed to start helping them develop to be independent - and both of you can do that. But it does happen. And believe me, I was the alpha tiger mum - no one would come between me and my babies - but things change. In a good way!!! It is a good thing that men are able to fulfil their role as a parent - I wish my Dad had had the same opportunity.

Cathycomehome Sat 05-Jan-13 00:29:09

My year 8 son would go to his dad before me these days for some things. me for others. Baby son still indiscriminate, but whilst we love them equally, big son would mostly rather dad in a crisis now, unless it was a different sort of crisis, when he'd want me. Maybe I'm a crap mum, or maybe it's equal parenting.

CaHoHoHootz Sat 05-Jan-13 00:29:10

I am a mum and I think you are wrong. I am pretty sure i know the thread that has inspired this thread. I find a lot of the posts a bit odd. My DH loves our DC every bit as much as I do. I have more influence on how they are raised but that is because I spend more time with them. It has nothing to do with whether I am a mother or dad.

YABVU. And old fashioned and sexist.

What a ridiculous generalisation.

You have a very one sided view based on you and what you percieve your ex to feel (and I also notice you are going on about your feelings for the most part not those of your child) Maybe your ex doesn't act the way you act but it doesn't mean he doesn't feel the way you feel.

cantthinkofadadsname Sat 05-Jan-13 00:30:43

agent - you don't know me so please don't try and tell me how I am. I could tell you all about our relationship and how my ex was. How she was the one who demanded I go shopping in the evening so she could look after our son because she hadn't seen him all day - even though we'd both been out at work.

Or who expected me to do the cooking most of the time and the washing up so she could have our son. Or who criticised me when I offered my opinion on childcare. Or who didn't care a jolt about my feelings at all about anything.

Please don't tell me how I am.

AnyFucker Sat 05-Jan-13 00:32:15

To be fair, I fail to understand how anyone not in the throes of the 3 day baby blues or the grip of PND would cry tears when still only a few yards away from their child, who is probably being spoiled within an inch of it's life, while you get a well-deserved break from the full-on-ness of it all.

And I am a woman that has borne two of the buggers from my loins.

AgentZigzag Sat 05-Jan-13 00:34:39

I'm just going on what you've written in your posts cantthink, and pressuring your DP to leave her baby when she didn't want to to only go out isn't what I would call understanding and supportive.

cantthinkofadadsname Sat 05-Jan-13 00:36:15

agent I did not pressurise her. But thanks for reading things into what's not there. We both agreed to go out. We got a mile down the road. She burst into tears so we came back.

Problem with that?

Cathycomehome Sat 05-Jan-13 00:38:33

I think I'm rubbish, as soon as my partner got home today (I'm off til Monday), my first response was "Thank God! I need 20 minutes in the bath!" . I had a lovely day with my children. I was so happy he happily said, "You go for a quick bath, I'll take over", and talked to DS 1 and fed ds2! Normal, surely?

We both usually work full time, but I have better holidays!

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 00:39:17

I think you are generalising, or should I say extrapolating, op
My dc are with their dad now. Do I miss them? V honestly, no.

cantthinkofadadsname Sat 05-Jan-13 00:41:34

My ex misses our son. She rang us up everyday on our holiday and rings twice in the evening when he is with me to say goodnight.

soontobeburns Sat 05-Jan-13 00:42:42

Personally I think (without having children) that a woman would be more attached simply due to the fact that it grew inside the mother for 9 monghst and therefore the bond is stronger.

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 00:43:07


donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 00:45:32

soontobe biological determinism is v reductive tho

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 00:46:32

the and? was to the phone stalker person

LineRunner Sat 05-Jan-13 00:47:07

Oh dear.

cantthinkofadadsname Sat 05-Jan-13 00:47:29

What about adoptive parents? Or babies conceived through surrogacy? Do you think the bond is stronger for mums then?

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 00:48:47

good point, can't

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Sat 05-Jan-13 00:49:08

Outside of situations where a baby is being breastfed (in which case it's the mother who is the more important parent, obviously, as men can't breastfeed), it should depend on who is the main caregiver. Mostly that's still the woman. That's why children live with their mothers after a split more often than they live with their fathers.

cantthinkofadadsname Sat 05-Jan-13 00:49:12

And it's very hard to get a child to sleep when he's almost gone and the phone rings. And then he wants to go home to "his bed".

But we got past that stage. I ring up my son occasionally but not everyday. I know he's ok.

AgentZigzag Sat 05-Jan-13 00:50:15

Even though I was saying earlier on that everything after the birth is socially constructed, I did notice when my DDs were babies that there was definitely something biological in the urgent feelings I had for them.

I think mens testosterone levels drop when they're in the presence of their own babies, making them less aggressive, so maybe there's something there as well?

soontobeburns Sat 05-Jan-13 00:52:08

As I said mine comes from the generalisation I am not a mum but I do agrer I am conditioned to believe thay biological deternination plays a big factor.

I kmow adoptive kids for example are loved so so much but it is conditioned to think (wrongly I know) that if someone has an adoptive and biological child the bond would be more with the biological child.

Again im not saying this is my opinion just that it is what society conditions you to believe.

Not same but I am closer to my non blood "uncles" than blood so I know it is just a conditioned thing.

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 00:52:33

it would not 'just kill me' not to have me dc live with me
you are overthinking this op, some dc live with their dads, some with their mums, some with other carers, every family is different

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 00:54:27

soon, don't say you are conditioned to believe you buffoon - do you think so or not? your experience says no, so trust that!

millie30 Sat 05-Jan-13 00:56:54

I absolutely believe that I love my DS more than his father does and that I am a better caregiver than he is. That is because of my ex's shortcomings though, and not because I'm a woman.

DrRanj Sat 05-Jan-13 00:56:56

I have thought about this and I honestly think that if dp and I split up we would go joint custody. I work full time, as does dp, and he truly does at least half of the parenting including baths, bedtime, housework, nappy changing. It wouldn't work if I had dd all the time and him only once a week, I need him for childcare and he would be devastated not to see dd if not daily then very frequently, including overnights, as he is used to being so hands on.

Not that I plan to split with dp, but I do often mull over the dynamics of our family from time to time!

soontobeburns Sat 05-Jan-13 00:58:10

donna sorry if I worded it wrong. I was brought up in society from what teachers,media, sociologists told me. (Biological)

From life experiences and knowledge I know its wrong.

Does that make more sense?

AnyFucker Sat 05-Jan-13 00:58:10

donna, you're not really feeling love much, are you ?

AnyFucker Sat 05-Jan-13 00:59:05

if DH and I ever split, he is having 50% custody whether he likes it or not < boom boom >

soontobeburns Sat 05-Jan-13 00:59:12

though buffon wss rather rude

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 01:02:57

I'm sorry, that was rude of me
Believe what you experience not what you are told
You sound like you have your wits about you.

WorraLiberty Sat 05-Jan-13 01:03:18

I think back in the 1950s one could fairly reliably say there were far more reasons for favouring Mothers.

But as we're moving (albeit painfully slowly in some cases) towards much more equal parenting and responsibility, I'd say not so much now.

But again, it depends on the parents and the children involved.

AnyFucker Sat 05-Jan-13 01:04:34

I love Donna Summer. Takes me back to my misty youth....

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 01:05:07

you put it beautifully and in a loving way worra

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 01:05:52

Thanks babe

BadWickedWorld Sat 05-Jan-13 01:06:10

I know it's not politically correct, but I agree with you. That is down to my circumstances though, I had a much closer relationship with my Mother than my Father, and although I was gutted when he died when I was 15, I was utterly devastated when my Mum died in my 20's.

My children basically get all of their emotional attachment from me, dp is very stand offish, hardly ever hugs or touches them, mostly tells them off.

Not surprisingly my children all favour me, I actually hate this state of affairs, but is it my job to police my dp's relationship to his children?

I don't really know, he is very affectionate when they are babies, this then reduces to him being very shocked when dd(9) gave him a hug sad.

This makes me terribly sad, but it is obviously his style of parenting, not really sure of what to do tbh, I'm really scared that if I die my children will experience no love or understanding whatsoever.

AnyFucker Sat 05-Jan-13 01:07:49

I think Donna Summer died. Very sad, that.

SoWhatIfImWorkingClass Sat 05-Jan-13 01:08:51


donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 01:09:20

ah, you're just conditioned to think that

TheFallenNinja Sat 05-Jan-13 01:10:05

I was going to add something measured and considered but frankly I think that anyone who believes that a woman's love to a child is in some way better than a mans is full of shit.

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 01:10:05

donnasummer can't die!

pylonic Sat 05-Jan-13 01:10:06

Depends on the father.

My children's father professes to love them, but he hasn't seen or spoken to them in over a year now, prior to that contact was sporadic, a couple of times a year.

Even before I left him,he never shared any parental duties.
He didn't have the maternal instinct equivalent.

This is probably because he's a psychopath, but I do get that feeling that some men just don't have that same strength of bond, and it figures, because they don't carry them, they don't feel two hearts beating inside their own body, they don't experience the same flood of unique nurturing hormones that women do at childbirth and during breast feeding.

But they are also mostly excluded from much of the initial early bonding simply because baby is constantly attached to the mother's breast for the first few months. Historically, it's always been this way, hasn't it? And then of course, society insists Mum can stay home on maternity leave whilst Dad stays at work, so he is set up for gradual exclusion from the beginning.

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 01:11:28

spot on ninja
pylonic have you heard of this new fangled thing called paternity leave? no, I kid you not ...

pylonic Sat 05-Jan-13 01:13:13

I have Donna, is it something like 3 weeks unpaid and then only if the employer agrees with it?

FreckledLeopard Sat 05-Jan-13 01:17:13

I'm with the OP on this one. It might be a generalistion and I accept that there are circumstances where it doesn't ring true, but overall, I believe mothers have a deeper sense of love and care that fathers, towards their children, and I believe that women should be the primary caregivers until at least puberty.

I find the idea of motherhood and bonding as a social construct to be utter bollocks. I am of the very firm belief that gender plays a key role in upbringing.

Fundamentally we are mammals. We can kid ourselves as much as we wish that we are logical and enlightened and somehow different to other species. We're not. Look at the animal kingdom - mothers are the primary caregivers to their young. Male animals may play varying roles in their offspring's upbringing, but I have yet to see evidence from the world of mammals that shows fathers to be involved to the extent that mothers are.

I think women's hormones make them more nurturing, make (most) of them want children and tie women strongly to their offspring. New mothers envisage situations in which their child could be harmed and do their utmost to safeguard against this. Of course there are exceptions, but I truly believe that women have a stronger nurturing instinct than men.

Also, biologically, women have a greater interest in protecting their offspring. Men can have multiple sexual partners and multiple children, relatively easily. Women have to grow a child inside them for nine months.

Sorry, but to me it's a no-brainer. YANBU.

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 01:17:45

well I didn't feel unique nurturing hormones at childbirth I felt like I was being ripped in two
more likely a man would bond a baby, logically, since he didn't have to force it out of his nethers!
To summarise - biological determinism is a bit crap, really, and why are we competing about how has the most lurve anyway? if my dc's dad said he'd have them for another week I'd be made up tbh

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 01:19:47

snails, now they are hermaphrodites
let's not look at the animal kingdom

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 01:20:17


AgentZigzag Sat 05-Jan-13 01:20:24

I don't think it necessarily comes down to something 'better', but if you look at it in terms of someone has to look after them, and if it's someone in the parents of the childs home, then traditionally it's been a woman (and I'm not saying that's the best way! But we have to work with what we've been given by previous generations).

You can change the reliance on women for doing that of course, but it's not really surprising if it's the default position in some ways after all the hundreds/thousands of years of it being a woman's responsibility.

TheFallenNinja Sat 05-Jan-13 01:21:59

I also don't think that either separated partner has the impartiality to judge the others "love" for their child.

Whilst its refreshing to see some pragmatic views here, the prevalent scenario is hero to zero overnight.

I don't believe we should have children to enrich ourselves or make ourselves feel good about ourselves, this should be the normal byproduct of being a good parent i.e we earn the good feelings we get by carrying out our responsibilities to the best of our abilities (and sometimes beyond).

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 01:22:32

so - the good reason for favouring women re custody is tradition?

AnyFucker Sat 05-Jan-13 01:24:24

The other thing is, until we stop making angels out of men who "help" with shitwork and childcare, not much will change.

it's not men holding men back, often

AnyFucker Sat 05-Jan-13 01:25:25

(I don't think that a man who does his fair share is anything special, but many women do)

TheFallenNinja Sat 05-Jan-13 01:26:02

Excellent point Anyfucker

ClippedPhoenix Sat 05-Jan-13 01:26:52

I think it comes down to biology at the end of the day, women bear them, they grow inside us otherwise the man would also be able to conceive. A mum in most cases has a unique bond.

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 01:27:05

af I totally agree

BadWickedWorld Sat 05-Jan-13 01:27:59

I just think oh come the fuck on, something you have actually grown from your own body, you are going to take greater care of than something you helped create a long time ago and have no actual connection to.

We are basically still animals, if you are male you could still have offspring all over the place, female, you are going to look after your one offspring well.

Males are perfectly capable of nurturing babies, but it doesn't happen often.

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 01:27:59

clipped I hope we transcend basic biology really
you'd hope so, wouldn't you

ClippedPhoenix Sat 05-Jan-13 01:28:08

Children become far more fucked up by a mum that's a wrong-un than a father.

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 01:29:05

or you could say look I've grown the bugger from my own body n all, now you have a turn

TheFallenNinja Sat 05-Jan-13 01:29:45

There may be a "unique bond" due to the carrying and delivery but there will be a unique bond when I explain the offside rule to my DD or take her to her first formula 1 race. So how does one unique bond trump another?

ClippedPhoenix Sat 05-Jan-13 01:29:54

Nah, doesn't work that way donna.

ClippedPhoenix Sat 05-Jan-13 01:32:16

It's called mummy love and can't be beaten grin

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 01:32:38

No? evidence? or is it another truism

pylonic Sat 05-Jan-13 01:33:47

FreckledLeopard has nailed it for me. In trying to civilise ourselves we suppress our animal instincts.

Not all of those instincts are destructive..

millie30 Sat 05-Jan-13 01:33:52

I have zero memories of my mother, who gave birth to me. But I have a majorly strong bond with my stepmother who raised me. She displayed all of the maternal instincts and protectiveness to me that others on here are attributing to biology. Yet some mothers give birth to children that they then neglect or abuse.

AgentZigzag Sat 05-Jan-13 01:34:18

'so - the good reason for favouring women re custody is tradition? '

A reason for favouring some women over some men, yes.

But I didn't say it was a good enough reason, I put the 'and I'm not saying that's the best way!' bit in so there wouldn't be any ambiguity about what I was saying.

ClippedPhoenix Sat 05-Jan-13 01:34:22

No need for evidence sometimes, some things just "are"

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 01:34:29

ah my good god
and just after clintons went bust too

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 01:36:09

well no not all those animal instincts are destructive but no leopard yet has spoken Mandarin or had a power shower installed
up to you

ClippedPhoenix Sat 05-Jan-13 01:36:40

what the fuck has cards got to do with it grin

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 01:37:30

I need mug with 'some things just are' on it

ClippedPhoenix Sat 05-Jan-13 01:37:40

Or power showers for that matter grin

BadWickedWorld Sat 05-Jan-13 01:38:23

I think probably knowing someone from when they first existed would count as a bond. Obviously there are other bonds that occur.

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 01:38:23

clinton speak
mummy love can't be beaten
some things just are
mug language

ClippedPhoenix Sat 05-Jan-13 01:41:30


Not sure I can relate to a leopard either, a praying mantis or black widow maybe.

BadWickedWorld Sat 05-Jan-13 01:44:00

Millie30 I think the bond is about care rather than biology. The bond between child and Mother/other carer is about experience rather than biology.

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 01:44:28

I think maybe I am a bit pissed
Thanks for being so gracious (raaah)
I still disagree with biological determinism and support the power of conscious lurve, though - without class creed race or gender
peace out and nn

donnasummer Sat 05-Jan-13 01:45:09

or wot sober bww said

I can see it from both sides..obv nature dictates females will be more capable of looking after their offspring especially in the early years (ability to BF etc).

But..males are able to look after their offspring too however the legal system does seem to favour the woman IME whatever crap she comes out with

My DH has spent £20,000 in legal fees to get access to his DS1, Social Services got involved to agree with DS1's mum that he shouldn't have access to the child, yet when DH is SAHD to my DS (his DS2), they don't have any issues?? (i made a point of asking my midwife to make contact with SS to make sure there were no "outstanding issues" with regard to childcare and they never got back to her)...the mind boggles...not saying my DH is an unfit parent, but going by what SS had said previously, you would have thought he'd have been "flagged up". Wonder why Baby P and all the others got overlooked?

Anyway I suppose my point is women are supposed to be nurturing and the ideal parent but they can also be bitch trolls from hell with no regard to what the child needs whatsoever :-)

I do accept some men are arseholes and those that don't want anything to do with their kids should be castrated grin

SpringIsComing Sat 05-Jan-13 01:51:01

I disagree with the OP. The only thing that should be favoured, should custody arrangements unfortunately end up in court, is the interests of the children and that will vary a lot from family to family taking into account all sorts of factors.

What is very clear from all the research is that some form of shared custody really is preferable for children - it doesn't have to be 50/50 (which gets everyone clutching at their pearls round here) and there are recognised ways of doing it even in conflictual situations. There are lots of different ways it can work and doesn't require a high level of parental contact.

Thank fuck we've moved on from every second weekend access for fathers who ask for and want more. That's just barbaric to the children and a bit 30 years ago. I have 50/50 custody based on what I agreed with my XH before we had children and also on reading all the research I could find on the topic and it was very difficult to begin with, but when you have children you have to do what's best for them.

OP there are lots of different reasons for the issues you raise and a lot are societal.

ClippedPhoenix Sat 05-Jan-13 02:15:55

I still feel that no-one is addressing the issue of kids being far more affected by a mothers inability to love their child than a fathers.

Lifeissweet Sat 05-Jan-13 02:16:49

I have 50/50 custody of DS with my ex h. When I left, I left DS with his father and visited for a few months until I sorted out somewhere to live. This was what was best for DS. Of course it tore me up being apart from him, but it wasn't about me, it was about what was best for DS.

I would never have assumed that I would be DS's primary carer because of my sex. His father is every bit as bonded, capable and loving as I am. He always was an incredibly involved father and always challenged assumptions about maternal vs paternal bonds. E.g. When DS had an operation, the nurses assumed I would go down to theatre with him. ex H wouldn't have it and neither should he have done - he felt the need to be with him ever bit as much as I did, so he went and I stayed on the ward. It was always like that.

He is far more involved with DS's schooling than me - I am a teacher and rarely get to have contact with the school - ex h is a school governor. He goes to all of DS's medical appointments, as I often can't take time off. If anything, although custody is 50/50, ex h is probably the primary carer.

Society would probably attempt to make me feel guilty about that, but I don't. We are both devoted parents - just not one more than the other.

SpringIsComing Sat 05-Jan-13 02:26:50

I still feel that no-one is addressing the issue of kids being far more affected by a mothers inability to love their child than a fathers.
I possibly missed that as an issue relating to this thread I didn't read every single post, but do you have any kind of references to back that up? Children are deeply affected by rejection or bad treatment by either parent. How do we know it's 'far more'?

ClippedPhoenix Sat 05-Jan-13 02:35:35

Every time I have read factual based literature about violent crime it usually crops up that the mother was either indifferent, absent or cruel.

Not wanting to bang on about my upbringing but forgiveness never came for my mother, i can not and will not ever understand, being one myself, having something actually growing inside you, that you would not have a very unique bond that surpasses anything and everything.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Sun 06-Jan-13 01:51:00

Far more men than women walk away from their children without a backward glance because:
they don't want to do any domestic shitwork
they have started a relationship with another woman and therefore do not want any reminders of a previous relationship
they are 'free spirits' and therefore should be excused from taking any responsibility for anyone else ever.

Lots of men walk away without even considering how the child they fathered will be raised, fed, housed, cared for. In most cases where a woman leaves her child to be raised by someone else she will have chosen the person who is going to raise the child and made sure the child will be OK.
Yes, there are lots of decent, loving fathers - and a number of fathers who are prevented from participating in their children's lives because their children's mother is unreasonable. But in the vast majority of cases, men are more selfish than women. Because we live in a culture with a long history of seeing women as men's servants and property, and as things that exist to take up the slack when men fail in their obligations.

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Sun 06-Jan-13 09:52:30

I'd imagine that if you had to go straight back to work immediately after the birth (no MA equivalent for self employed men), and weren't trusted to be alone with the children till they were about 2 etc.. it'ld be easier to walk away regardless of your sex.

Daddelion Sun 06-Jan-13 11:26:38

What about the mothers who don't feel this overwhelming love and bond immediately?

My children's mother didn't and it made her feel more guilty.

MagicHouse Sun 06-Jan-13 12:02:48

I sort of agree with the OP. But I think the people who are going to agree will be the ones who were/are in dysfunctional relationships.
My ex was certainly able to go out with his mates/ sleep in the spare room for months while I looked after our poorly, sleepless baby getting couple of hours sleep a night for months. He would probably argue that I was obsessed, wouldn't leave them, refused to go out in the evening for the first year or so. He sometimes got annoyed with me for not wanting to go out... My feelings for my babies were so fierce and protective. They still are. I instinctively feel that my ex's feelings are different. We don't have 50/50, we have the common alt weekends and midweek (agreed by both of us). I don't think he's a good role model for my children. Of course that's only my opinion, but I lived with him for nearly ten years, and I saw some really nasty sides to him. I'm glad it's not 50/50. I don't know if that makes me unreasonable.
I'm sure there are women out there who believe their partners are different. I think that's great, and would love to think I might meet a partner like that one day and be arguing the opposite opinion on this thread.

Mia4 Sun 06-Jan-13 18:06:29

YABU, there are STAHDs and more are opting to nowadays. Yes, the primary parent should always be favoured slightly but the primary parent isn't always the mother. Of course if one parent buggers off then the other should be favoured, or if one parent is neglectful/irresponsible etc.

HecatePropolos Sun 06-Jan-13 18:09:17

I think that it should be decided on a case by case basis. Looking at the individual circumstances and deciding what is best for that child, at that time, with no presumption that either parent is automatically best.

It should be down to them to demonstrate it, surely? Because it should be all about what's in the best interests of the child?

StuntGirl Sun 06-Jan-13 19:25:23


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.

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!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

I agree OP.


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.

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 20:26:35

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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)

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


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.

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.

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 21:33:01

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

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.

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

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

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.

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