Toby Young - women don't want most childcare either

(594 Posts)
Xenia Sun 28-Apr-13 13:44:26

Toby Young in today's Sunday Telegraph magazine Stella argues men do not want even more boring mindless childcare. Well nor do women. So the answer is have good careers as women and then you can avoid that dullness. It is not a gender issue. Clearing up sick is as boring for women as men. Lower earners may well be shunted into that dull stuff and to keep the higher earner man they have to do it but Mr Young needs to know plenty of women don't want to do more childcare either. I always thought two hours a day was pretty good including weekends. Too much more and you'd rather be doing other things.

Xenia Sun 28-Apr-13 13:47:17

He says women are wracked with guilt. Not so. Plenty of us know if we earn a fortune, pay 5 sets of school fees, have that good hour with the children we are doing much more for our children than impoverished journalists who resent their time doing homework supervision.

LadyMountbatten Sun 28-Apr-13 13:48:02

Although increasingly I agree with the main thrust of your campaign, the one thing you have never cleared up Xenia, is how you stood these lower earning types looking after your kids.

Xenia Sun 28-Apr-13 13:49:25

Gosh he has no idea. Now he's saying working women let their husbands spend all weekend playing golf and housewives don't. In fact most working parents of either sexes realise it's only fair childcare is fairly shared at weekends.

His main problem is marrying a low earner who is just a housewife. Had he married a real woman with a career who out earns him and funds school fees all his problems would be over. His problems come from his sexist set up. He needs a Xenia weekend Feminism immersion course.

HandMini Sun 28-Apr-13 13:50:24

Xenia, are you saying it was pretty good to spend two hours a day with your children plus all day at weekends, or only two hours a day at weekends as well?

KippersAndMackerel Sun 28-Apr-13 13:52:27

biscuit Parenting involves seeing your children....

Xenia Sun 28-Apr-13 13:52:45

2 hours at weekends would have been ideal plus breast feeding time but it was of course much more and there are 5 children so sometimes it's nice to have one and not some of the others and spread it around. I do know that I need a good few hours every day alone and that has always worked very well when it's been manageable.

As the Telegraph now has a paid fire wall I cannot post a link so I don't think we're going to get very far on the thread. I just found Toby Y so very very sexist.

HomeworkAgain Sun 28-Apr-13 13:52:59

So only women with highflying careers are 'real women? hmm

TheBookofRuth Sun 28-Apr-13 13:57:18

Yes, Homework, apparently all the others are imaginary.

Xenia Sun 28-Apr-13 13:59:10

He certainly needs his prejudices overturned.
He wishes his housewife was a 50s one so that at weekends nothing is split and she is the only one dealing with children whether when he's working or otherwise and he never raises a finger. I suppose if he had imported a foreign bride or earned £100m he may be able to have such an unfair set up at home but he hasn't so he has to do his fair share which seems to annoy him. Why he thinks women should be more burdened than men is beyond me.

tribpot Sun 28-Apr-13 13:59:51

Whilst I disagree with much of your rhetoric Xenia I fully agree that Toby Young needs a Xenia Weekend Feminism Immersion course.

I notice that among his sexism he claims to speak for all men, and the entire gender does not want to do more childcare.

Xenia Sun 28-Apr-13 14:04:23

Yes, and I was cross I could not post my comments on the site due to their new paid firewall.

Some of his points are true of people of both sexes - most of us prefer to play with children rather than force them to do homework they don't want to do. He seems to regard that as against their human rights but is happy to let his wife play the bad guy. He just sounds a nightmare to be married to.

Despite his good degree he cannot even afford to pay school fees so has to try to found a free school and didn't have the sense to marry a wife who could afford to pay 4 sets of school fees either. Normally the not very high earner men have to make up for that by doing a heap of house cleaning and childcare. So because of his career choice he is lumbered with more of the children and cooking and cleaning and washing than he likes and now he chooses to moan about it in public.

dogsandcats Sun 28-Apr-13 14:05:32

If you have 5 children, you influence and guidance upon them would have meant approx 26 minutes each per day.

louisianablue2000 Sun 28-Apr-13 14:05:55

He obviously hasn't spoken to my lovely DH who is currently washing up the dishes after lunch and looking after the kids (there's an incredible art creation happening in the dining room) while I blitz the study mumsnet.

LadyMountbatten Sun 28-Apr-13 14:06:05

"...didn't have the sense to marry a wife who could afford to pay 4 sets of school fees either."

sometimes you wonder why people are divorced, dont you grin


Preconceived opinion not based on reason or experience.

You have a fair few of those yourself Xenia.

infamouspoo Sun 28-Apr-13 14:14:27

while I disagree with most of what you write Xenia (real women etc) TY is an arse in too many ways to count.

pickledginger Sun 28-Apr-13 14:15:19

You made the mistake of reading something by Toby Young. He is a monumental fuckwit. Not a nice monument with architectural and historical value. The kind of things they put up near retail parks.

musu Sun 28-Apr-13 14:29:56

working women want to spend every spare minute with their children to assuage the guilt they feel about not having seen them during the week

Toby, not all of us working women feel like that.

When ds was younger I couldn't wait to go back to work after the weekend as, frankly, I found it boring looking after him. As a woman I'm not supposed to admit that, ever.

Ds is 8 now but now varies between being completely charming (as he was when we visited friends this morning) to shouting and being incredibly difficult (yesterday morning).

I don't feel guilty about working. Ds does some boarding and I don't feel guilty about that either. I don't think childcare is about spending every waking minute with your offspring.

Xenia Sun 28-Apr-13 14:56:56

Yes, musu, what he writes about men he assumes is not the same for women but he is wrong. ]
He writes that previously before children people cannot wait for the weekend. Once you have 3 under 5s you cannot wait for Monday. It is the same with most working parents, not a gendered thing at all. He even ad,its his wife does not like the nasty bits of being parent but presumably as she married a sexist man or had no real earning power she had got lumbered with the nasty bits.

blueshoes Sun 28-Apr-13 15:35:50

How much research did this journalist do for his article? He seems to have cut-and-pasted every cliche about women and tried to pass it off as interesting.

I agree that he is a bum deal for his wife.

dogsandcats Sun 28-Apr-13 15:41:29

Xenia, can I ask you a question please?
Do you filter out bits of your life, or conversation, that you dont like?

[I presume you wont like this question, so it will be filtered out]?

ouryve Sun 28-Apr-13 15:45:00

A real woman, Xenia? hmm

ouryve Sun 28-Apr-13 15:46:13

I'm a complex woman, btw. I have both a real and an imaginary component grin

Snazzynewyear Sun 28-Apr-13 15:48:17

Toby Young is an idiot. Totally agree with your anger about this Xenia. Probably as well there's a paywall - why justify this rubbish with more hits?

dogsandcats Sun 28-Apr-13 15:50:54

My mind is boggling as to what your imaginary components get up to ouryve grin

ProfPru Sun 28-Apr-13 16:00:06

Afraid to say you seem someone one dimensional in your posting style and content, Xenia.

1. We know you work and only took 2 weeks ML
2. We know you have 5 kids
3. We know they all go to top fee-paying, selective, single sex schools
4. We know you have an island.

Is there anything else though? Same old same old.

ipadquietly Sun 28-Apr-13 16:00:50

I wonder if the girls in TY's Free School do domestic science and needlework while the boys do metal and wood work?

VelvetSpoon Sun 28-Apr-13 16:05:53

Toby Young really is a complete fool.

His wife must have the patience of a saint.

ouryve Sun 28-Apr-13 16:07:45

Or be as big a fool as he is, Velvet.

outtolunchagain Sun 28-Apr-13 16:10:48

Out of interest who is his wife , I thought she was also a journalist?

VerityClinch Sun 28-Apr-13 16:13:29

He married "a low earner who was just a housewife" not a "real woman"?

I'm "just a housewife".

Does that mean I am not a "real woman"?

FannyMcNally Sun 28-Apr-13 16:14:07

He'd gone a bit quiet so maybe this is his way of triggering our memories. Thanks Toby, I had quite forgotten what an arse you are.

HandMini Sun 28-Apr-13 16:20:42

I can't believe he can say in the same article that he wants to do less childcare but also doesn't want his children cared for by "a succession of nannies". Well what do you want then? Oh, your wife to do it. Of course. Nob.

Also, just out of interest, why do anti-child care arguments always refer to a "succession of nannies" - most of the nanny-using families I know have managed to use the same two or three nannies over long periods (ie, up to age 12/13). Is there some perception that nannies all leave after a year?

Xenia Sun 28-Apr-13 16:21:56

Ah she's interesting, was a solicitor, so potentially could have earned £1m a year but gave it all up to be a domestic slave to a sexist man who earns very little.

She se4ems to be one of those not very competent women though who cannot manage work and a family.

"Career and children – top tip on how do you do it?

I feel incredibly blessed that I don’t do it. I am in awe of women who manage a job and children. I don’t think I have the organizational skills or the energy. I feel like a PA, chef, chauffeur and maid to four very demanding Managing Directors of global companies as it is and I don’t think I could cope with a job on top of that".

Perhaps she would not have made much had she carried on with work either so has to make the housewife thing in relative penury work.

Portofino Sun 28-Apr-13 16:24:20

I am bit bemused as to the whole childcare thing being mindless and little more than being available to clear up sick confused. I am WOHM myself and always have been but my experience At home, and in the child care settings I have used, is that kids are fun! That for the most part people enjoy being with them/working with them. Of course there are crap bits, but you could say that about any aspect of life really.

HandMini Sun 28-Apr-13 16:25:33

Portofino - did you have mat leave / mat leaves and if so, did you find the childcare fun then when you were doing it fill time?

Xenia Sun 28-Apr-13 16:25:40

TY says he likes the fun bit. It is the 80% of it which is not fun if you have 3 under 3s alone and at the same time as getting them to eat and dress you are also trying to clean the house.

VelvetSpoon Sun 28-Apr-13 16:25:58

She probably would have managed to juggle work and childcare were Mr Young not such an entitled arse.

I can remember watching him on CDWM where she did most of the cooking, as that was clearly beyond him.

piprabbit Sun 28-Apr-13 16:26:17

I find it bizarre that only seeing my children for two hours a day, 7 days a week, could be considered in anyway aspirational.

Toby Young married a qualified solicitor, if she counts as a 'low earner' heaven help the rest of us.

ohforfoxsake Sun 28-Apr-13 16:28:36

The more I read Xenia's posts, the more I think she is a figment of someone's imagination . She is far too sexist to be a "real woman".

Sometimes I think she has a fair point to make - and I agree that women should not completely give up working. But don't you get bored of saying the same old shite time after time?

'real women'? Really? hmm

Slainte Sun 28-Apr-13 16:30:42

He just sounds a nightmare to be married to. Xenia, he's not the only one who sounds a nightmare to be married to.

amicissimma Sun 28-Apr-13 16:32:42

Well, from TY ans Xenia's descriptions of their lives, I'm extremely glad that, after spending a couple of decades on my career (generally interesting, sometimes boring), I became SAHM.

My life has none of the stress they describe: I do what I want, when I want, taking into account the needs of the DCs. No WW3 here, homework is done because homework is done. Likewise bedtime.

When the DCs were little I had more input - generally interesting, sometimes boring. As they needed me less I developed my interests and was able to put more into my local community. Certainly doors have opened in my life that would've stayed shut if I'd just been at work.

Not real? Not a woman <peers bemusedly up skirt>?

musu Sun 28-Apr-13 16:34:57

I find it bizarre that only seeing my children for two hours a day, 7 days a week, could be considered in anyway aspirational

You've clearly not spent a week with my ds grin

Portofino Sun 28-Apr-13 16:40:49

Hand mini, yes, I six months ML and I did enjoy it. I had a few months off a couple of years later when we moved to Belgium and I enjoyed that too. I have not had 3 under 3 though and I can imagine that would be bloody hard. But mindless?

twooter Sun 28-Apr-13 16:43:48

"She se4ems to be one of those not very competent women though who cannot manage work and a family.

"Career and children – top tip on how do you do it?

I feel incredibly blessed that I don’t do it. I am in awe of women who manage a job and children. I don’t think I have the organizational skills or the energy. I feel like a PA, chef, chauffeur and maid to four very demanding Managing Directors of global companies as it is and I don’t think I could cope with a job on top of that".

Perhaps she would not have made much had she carried on with work either so has to make the housewife thing in relative penury work."

Or maybe she chooses to look after her own children, but the guilt of not working leads her to flatter wohm.

Don't mistake choosing to look after your own children with incompetence.

ExcuseTypos Sun 28-Apr-13 16:44:55

"He married a low earner who was just a housewife" not a "real woman"

"She se4ems to be one of those not very competent women though who cannot manage work and a family."

Xenia why would anyone listen to you or indeed have a discussion with you, when you spout such utter woman hating rubbish.

Are you just after a bun fight?

Portofino Sun 28-Apr-13 16:59:07

Xenia seems to forget that there aren't enough of those super high paying roles available for us ALL to have one. And if there were, who would do her cleaning and look after her children?

tribpot Sun 28-Apr-13 17:07:42

In fairness presumably men could take the low paying, trad female roles, freeing up any number of high flying executive positions for us to fill smile There still probably wouldn't be enough to go around but god knows there'd be a damn sight more than there are now!

I should stress I am not suggesting this as a serious way of implementing the Xenian Constitution, just pointing it out.

AngiBolen Sun 28-Apr-13 17:10:05

I love spending time with my children. Yes, sometimes you have to wipe up sick/poo/snot, and help them learn times tables, but it also involves picnics in the park with someone who loves me more than anyone else in the who wide world, snuggles up with me when they are tiered after lunch, want me to roll down a hill with them in the park, wants me to kiss their knees better when they fall over. I don't want someone else enjoying those moments, I want them myself, even if I occasionally have to clean up sick. (I disagree it's only 20% fun, but then I don't have TY's DC)

Xenia, I'm sorry you must have found your weekends so dull for so many years.

For a feminist Xenia, you really seem to disrespect the choices women have made in their lives. If they differ from the choices you have made or would make, then they are wrong.

Thats not how it works.

Portofino Sun 28-Apr-13 18:15:59

Well quite.

Portofino Sun 28-Apr-13 18:23:38

It pisses me off tbh. I have a good career, have worked hard, married a man who does his share. We have a nice family life as a result. I don't have money to pay even one lot of school fees, though I could do it if really wanted to and didn't disagree with the idea in principle. Our family income is in the top 10% of earners and I am not flush and popping off the Maldives on a regular basis. I consider myself extremely fortunate. Who ARE these families that Xenia speaks of? Where are these jobs that give you sufficient spare cash to spend 100k + per year on school fees?

VelvetSpoon Sun 28-Apr-13 18:33:39

Portofino I agree completely. I have a good career, have always worked full time (other than maternity leave) and I couldn't afford school fees either. Admittedly I am a lone parent and get no money from my Ex, but even when we were together I think the best we might have managed was the cheapest private school, and only then by selling our house and living somewhere half the size on a diet of Smartprice food hmm

I'm a lawyer and even a lot of the partners in firms where I've worked don't privately educate their children - those that do only have 1 child. The only other people I know who have children in private schools are either in the forces (so entitled to a discount on the cost) or have long established family trust type arrangements set up by previous generations to cover the fees...

TheBookofRuth Sun 28-Apr-13 18:37:25

You're actually a wee bit barking, aren't you Xenia?

cazboldy Sun 28-Apr-13 18:44:03

I just don't get why someone would have any dc let alone 4/5 if they never wanted to look after them/spend time with them confused

ouryve Sun 28-Apr-13 18:55:42

Quite, cazboldy

Most people I know with large families actually like being around their kids.

Portofino Sun 28-Apr-13 19:17:03

I have one child. She is the light if my life. I figure if you have 5 it is because you REALLY love kids and enjoy being with them, otherwise what is the point?

Portofino Sun 28-Apr-13 19:20:05

Good question actually Xenia. I can see accident/biological urges as a normal thing. But you had 5 children and are positively proud of your minimal input. Why 5 then?

exoticfruits Sun 28-Apr-13 19:29:43

Just to remind you, Xenia, of the quote you gave us last week-it had the really important point:

'Maybe peace could reign between full time working mothers and those who stay at home if we recognised that we are different but equal beasts'.

(I kept the quote-I know it would come in handy)

I can fully understand that some women find childcare boring and their career fascinating-I just wish that it could be understood the other way around-bringing up my own children was way more important to me than any career-and a great deal more interesting to me than any that involve working in an office in London.(something I would would only do like a prison sentence).

We are all different.

You can pick and choose what is written today. The Sunday Times has it the opposite way today-if they have intelligent, loving parents.

I think people ought to stop reading all these reports and do what suits them-if they are lucky enough to afford it.

tribpot Sun 28-Apr-13 19:32:32

Just to put the other side of this, I don't think anyone would be criticising Xenia's input into her children's lives if she were male. I only mention this for balance - Xenia's dismissive attitude towards SAHMs, the poor and - well, nearly everyone else does not actually deserve defending (nor I imagine does she care if anyone does!) but nevertheless.

exoticfruits Sun 28-Apr-13 19:38:21

Lots of men would love to have more time looking after their DCs-lots do stay at home and do the child care. It is up to the couple. I can't see any point in my DH staying at home, when he would hate it, and me going to work hating every moment away just to suit people like Xenia!

exoticfruits Sun 28-Apr-13 19:39:22

I was incredibly lucky to be able to stay at home when mine were small-it gave me more than money can possibly buy. I loved it.

exoticfruits Sun 28-Apr-13 19:40:20

It is only dull and boring if you make it that way.

exoticfruits Sun 28-Apr-13 19:41:49

It does rather ask the question of why bother to have children anyway-they are optional!

exoticfruits Sun 28-Apr-13 19:43:43

To have 5 if you don't like more than 2 hours a day and weekends seems rather odd-if you had just one or two you would get the dull bits over much sooner.

DP and I will share childcare once I get a job. And not just because of the money it will save. He has always been concerned about missing their early years.

Its fair enough if people dont enjoy being at home as much as other things. Just dont expect every adult to feel the same.

exoticfruits Sun 28-Apr-13 19:48:11

Just dont expect every adult to feel the same.

The only point. Do what suits you as a couple and there is no need for others to be judgemental. I have friends who have stayed at home, friends who have worked part time, friends who have always worked full time, friends who have swapped roles and the man stayed at home. It doesn't make you a better parent whichever you do. They are all good parents. Just do what suits you and don't tell others what they ought to do or what they should do.

TheBookofRuth Sun 28-Apr-13 20:08:14

To be fair, maybe Xenia's kids ARE really boring? They can't all be as clever and interesting as mine, after all grin

Xenia Sun 28-Apr-13 20:12:15

Gosh the sexism on the thread. Perfectly all right if you have a penis to want a large family and see them for a few hours a day but as soon as you're female it's some kind of mortal sin to want reasonable not excessive amounts of time with them. Weird. Sexist to the core.

cazboldy Sun 28-Apr-13 20:15:23

no Xenia I think men that want/have lots of dc and don't want to see them/ spend decent time with them are rather odd too!

ohforfoxsake Sun 28-Apr-13 20:20:22

Oh do fuck off Xenia. And you can take your condescending "real women" jibe with you.

You are at the heart of the sexism on this thread. You should be ashamed of yourself, looking down on other people and the choices they make.

Who said it was alright for men to have DC and only want to spend 2 hours a day with them?

I think if thats how a person feels about children they shouldnt have any. Let alone 5.

lljkk Sun 28-Apr-13 20:24:42

One of your Best Threads Ever, Xenia. I think maybe Xenia deserves her own classics section.

dogsandcats Sun 28-Apr-13 20:28:09

Did you have lots of children so that you would have lots of people to love you?

Thingiebob Sun 28-Apr-13 20:28:12

Xenia. You genuinely don't seem to understand the basic principles of 'feminism,' or 'sexism' for that matter.

Sheshelob Sun 28-Apr-13 20:34:29

I genuinely thought it was a joke thread at first. Some of the posts are incomprehensible. Hardly what one would expect from a wildly successful, fabulously wealthy, impressively fertile, island-owning "feminist".

No. I still think it is a joke. I love the island detail. Genius.

I always thought the only things you needed to possess in order to be a "real woman" were a pair of tits and a vagina! Last time I checked I had those. Although now I'll have to go and tell DH that he's been apparently living a lie for the past 18 years. hmm Incidentally if I'm not a "real woman" because I don't have a high flying career and a 6 figure salary, then what exactly am I? A man? Some weird subgender that has just been discovered? And by Xenia no doubt! We could call the new Subgender Xenias, ha I'm a Xenia then, not a woman or a man. grin

Sheshelob Sun 28-Apr-13 20:40:33

Can we start an "Ask Xenia" thread, where the guru herself expounds on all of life's greatest questions?

secretly hoping it will be MN's answer to William Shatner singing Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

I'll start:

Xenia, darling, how would you fix the economy?

Love that idea Sheshelob.

I particularly want to know about the island.

infamouspoo Sun 28-Apr-13 20:43:28

my kids arent boring. DH doesnt think so either and spends loads of time with them.
Maybe thats why we dont own an island?

Greythorne Sun 28-Apr-13 20:43:46

Women who work as cleaners, nurses, teachers, carers....they are not "real women"?

Who knew?

I must remind al my friends who do sterling work for not very much pay that they are some kind of sub human species or robot or alien.....I think they all very much think they are real women. And so do their caring husbands and children.

Thanks Xenia for putting us right!

Sheshelob Sun 28-Apr-13 20:43:47

Yeah. And whether she has a speedboat.

I bet she hangs out with Donatella Versace and Richard Simmonds. I'd out fucking money on it.

Xenia - who looks after your children while you work? Are they real or imaginary?

Wandastartup Sun 28-Apr-13 20:45:56

His "low earning wife" was educated at Cheltenham ladies college,( I was in her class) Xenia! Good education , good career doesn't always work.

Her children are adults now iirc.

christinarossetti Sun 28-Apr-13 20:46:55

Of course it's 'a gender issue'. Women do the bulk of childcare, cleaning, cooking etc the world over - how on earth can anyone who claims any intelligence at all say that childcare is not a gender issue.

Do you mind me asking the gender of those who have looked after your children, Xenia?

Portofino Sun 28-Apr-13 20:47:42

My point was not about either mum or dad spending time with the kids, more that if you go to the trouble of having 5, it would seem to me that you really like children and therefore both of you would WANT to spend time more time with them. Why have 5 kids and get a nanny and have no hope of giving them individual attention? That is just selfish.

pointythings Sun 28-Apr-13 21:10:52

What's wrong with the middle ground? DH and I both work full time, always have. We'll never have islands or pay school fees, but we have good state schools and the intellectual capital to bring what the schools don't. We own our (modest) house outright, all eat as a family together and enjoy weekends and holidays. DH and I share the housework. It isn't a zero sum game.

Being a SAHM would not have been for me, after 4 months I was finding my brain atrophying no matter how much I loved DD1, but that is how it was for me and it could be argued that it's a failing in me rather than anything else. Horses for courses and all that.

LaPampa Sun 28-Apr-13 21:27:36

"Ah she's interesting, was a solicitor, so potentially could have earned £1m a year but gave it all up to be a domestic slave to a sexist man who earns very little.

She se4ems to be one of those not very competent women though who cannot manage work and a family." (Xenia)

I used to be a solicitor and gave it up to look after my little one as I don't think our household can cope with 2 parents having stressful jobs. I consider myself both a real woman and competent. Don't confuse incompetency with a choice Xenia.

(and as a solicitor I earnt about 1/3 of what my non-lawyer husband does, btw)

outtolunchagain Sun 28-Apr-13 21:28:54

Xenia is a solicitor , just for information

LaPampa Sun 28-Apr-13 21:31:28

I know. But not all solicitor's earn that kind of money.

LaPampa Sun 28-Apr-13 21:32:17

(*solicitors even)

blueshoes Sun 28-Apr-13 21:55:49

I don't see any issue with Xenia's lifestyle.

There are lots of very high earning males (solicitors) in my office who have large families who don't see their children for any more than Xenia. But that is fine because they have SAHMs looking after their dcs? Any one care to ask these men why they have so many children?

I am sure Xenia adores her children. Not wanting to spend more than 2 hours in a weekday with them puts her in common with a lot of men. But it is ok if it is a man who is bringing the bulk of the bacon, but not if the roles were reversed. So many men are relieved to go back to work after 2 weeks' paternity leave, they just don't choose to publicise it to their wives who are left holding the baby (literally).

ohforfoxsake Sun 28-Apr-13 22:00:51

My issue with Xenia is the way she puts people down.

I couldn't give a shiny shite how she chooses to live her life, but I would not be disrespectful of her choices.

ohforfoxsake Sun 28-Apr-13 22:01:35

But this thread isn't about Xenia is it. It's about Toby Young.

Toby Young, for example, is a twat.

I'm with ohforfoxsake. Sweeping generalisations about what people want and how they should live their lives are unpleasant, whoever they come from.

LaPampa Sun 28-Apr-13 22:07:30

I don't care what choices Xenia makes but I object to being lumped in a category as 'incompetent' because I chose to be at home with my little one rather than at work.

TY wants to stay relevant. He has clearly decided this kind of article is the way forward.

I am not convinced that this thread is about Toby Young, not really.

exoticfruits Sun 28-Apr-13 22:14:46

I would think it just as odd for a man to have lots of children and yet not want to spend time with them- I can't see why you would want them- as I said earlier- they are optional.
I am perfectly happy for Xenia to have lots of children, a nanny and a full time career- I just really wish that she could understand that it isn't the life lots of people want. I would go into a deep depression if it was my life and I would immediately sell the island without even visiting.
I would also want to leave my children with someone who had chosen childcare because it is their first choice and not because they are not clever enough to do anything else.

exoticfruits Sun 28-Apr-13 22:15:39

Toby Young is just a convenient vehicle for Xenia's obsession.

Is Xenia's obsession herself?


christinarossetti Sun 28-Apr-13 22:38:23

Xenia's obsession is that women should all work full time in highly paid jobs so that they can afford private schools and to pay other people (usually women) to look after their children, clean their house etc.

Those who don't make this life style choice are invariably termed 'low earners' or deemed to have 'low IQ'.

The fundamental flaw in this argument is too obvious to spell out.

blueshoes Sun 28-Apr-13 22:40:48

Exotic, it is a big leap to go from Xenia not spending enough time in your eyes with her dcs to them being 'optional'. Xenia does not love her dcs then? Just because you don't understand her choices does not give you the right to extrapolate unfairly.

christinarossetti Sun 28-Apr-13 22:43:15

blueshoes, exoticfruits didn't say anything about Xenia or anyone else not loving her children.

You're the one extrapolating unfairly, as far as I can see.

exoticfruits Sun 28-Apr-13 22:45:45

I am quite happy for Xenia to have a dozen if she wishes- I am merely pointing out that if you find more than 2 hours of their company boring when little it makes me wonder why you would want to prolong it - or go through it at all. Maybe she thinks it worth it for the adult they become - whereas I like the journey getting there and don't want to miss it. Nothing wrong with either- totally equal ways of doing it.

exoticfruits Sun 28-Apr-13 22:47:41

I certainly didn't' say she didn't love them! It doesn't make you a better parent to spend more time with them. My way was just as selfish as Xenia's way - personal choice.

blueshoes Sun 28-Apr-13 22:49:04

So christina, what does Xenia's dcs being 'optional' mean to you in exotic's post. Can Xenia love her dcs if she sees them as optional. Pray tell.

blueshoes Sun 28-Apr-13 22:49:54

I direct that question at you too, exotic. Perhaps you are as careless with your words as Xenia apparently.

ssd Sun 28-Apr-13 22:51:46

Xenia, don't you get fed up with this shit?

Serenitysutton Sun 28-Apr-13 22:52:04

Bit harsh on Xenia. I get why her posts might seem like personal criticism to sahms on here but some very good points have been made on this I believe.

exoticfruits Sun 28-Apr-13 22:52:49

Of course she can! I don't really understand the question. They were optional before they were born- they are not optional now.

Serenitysutton Sun 28-Apr-13 22:53:24

Ie blue shoes excellent post at 21:55

exoticfruits Sun 28-Apr-13 22:55:05

She doesn't get fed up with 'this shit' ! She started it, she knew how it would go and she has been posting the same message for years- I post the same one back. Despite the fact that she gave the wonderful quote last week which I have posted again on this thread- it came from her. We are all different.

christinarossetti Sun 28-Apr-13 22:57:15

blueshoes - I read it as exoticfruits saying that women or men don't have to have children if they don't want to.

That's what optional means ie not compulsory.

blueshoes Sun 28-Apr-13 22:57:41

I don't understand your answer, exotic. Being disingenuous? Of course I mean the children she has, the 5 children that she has, one after another. How can they be optional.

Snazzynewyear Sun 28-Apr-13 22:58:54

Xenia's completely entitled to start a thread criticising Toby Young's sexism and double standards. Especially when he has been sexist and supports double standards. Frankly TY's columns are insulting to all women whatever they do with their time.

exoticfruits Sun 28-Apr-13 22:59:02

I'm off to bed- it wasn't compulsory sums it up.

blueshoes Sun 28-Apr-13 22:59:10

christina, of course having children is not compulsory. How does that apply to Xenia, who has five?

christinarossetti Sun 28-Apr-13 22:59:19

It's the 'it's not a gender issue' line that kills me every time when talking about who does the childcare, paid or unpaid.

blueshoes Sun 28-Apr-13 23:00:00

Toby Young is not a real man.

christinarossetti Sun 28-Apr-13 23:00:23

It doesn't apply to Xenia. It applies to your extrapolating unfairly from exoticfruits post.

Toptack Sun 28-Apr-13 23:14:44

Toby Young is not a real man

Does anyone else secretly hope that TY and Xenia are one and the same person?

ParmaViolette Sun 28-Apr-13 23:18:28

Xenia is my fucking hero.

I will never be financial independent on a man.
I will not pretend and smile sweetly that glitter crafts and making cupcakes and endless fucking Cebeebies is the most best rewarding EVER.
I want to be the highest earner and breadwinner.
And you know what? I want a fucking island too!

Xenia in her excellently blunt way is not slating women for the 'choices' they've made, but the society we have that guilts women if they don't enjoy even the ugly side of childrearing and when they would rather be in paid employment than mopping up sick, that creates these 'choices'.

When more of us break this mould like she has, we'll have an equal society. I hope I see it in my life time.

(Hopeful education consultant and president of the XENIAFANCLUB)

ParmaViolette Sun 28-Apr-13 23:19:22

Xenia does not have an obsession with having all women in well paid jobs, she has a desire to make women more understand that they should never settle for any less.

Sheshelob Sun 28-Apr-13 23:25:53

Noooooo, Parma!

Don't fall for it.

I am all those things (minus the island --does a sandpit count?--) but I am also not a hairy-handed elitist who may or may not exist.

Her posts are designed to antagonise, not unite.

I agree that equal society needs a poster girl, but please, no. Not Xenia. She'll be too busy drinking cocktails with David Furnish, anyway.

Sheshelob Sun 28-Apr-13 23:27:01

Btw the nooooooooo was paired with a slow motion dive, a la 80s action films.

exoticfruits Mon 29-Apr-13 06:53:39

Xenia has never explained how all these women who aim for the top would get a decent hair cut, get their car serviced, their house cleaned, their DCs cared for etc etc etc- if everyone took her advice there would be no one to do it. Someone once asked for advice about starting as a cleaner to get Xenia say 'start your own cleaning company' - ignoring the fact that someone actually has to do the cleaning!
If men and women didn't settle for less the country wouldn't operate. The top surgeon is utterly useless without nurses and cleaners- his patients would most likely die.
We will have a more equal society when we can appreciate everyone's strengths. A good starting point is to acknowledge that everyone is different and it is a perfectly valid and equal choice to take time off from your career.
I think that Xenia has a good message, she just ruins it by the vitriol that she pours on those who don't wish to go with it. I can't see why it bothers her so much.

Xenia Mon 29-Apr-13 07:38:55

Thanks PV. Yes, that is all. It needs to be made clear that huge numbers of women ilke TY do not want to be with their children 12 hours a day and like a nicer balance of work and children. If men can why not women? The thread shows that there are still sexist women out there who think it's fine if men pop in for bed time whereas if I get home at 6 and am with the children after that that is some kind of moral sin and abuse of a child - so it's fine for men but not women? I will never understand that.

It is as if we have to pretend hours of under 3s and their childcare is what all women want to do when plenty just like men find days and days of that boring.

We will have a more equal society when women stop living off male earnings and get more promotions and stop being the one in the family who earns the pin money.

Xenia Mon 29-Apr-13 07:40:13

We really need Ms Young on this thread as it is such a good example - she solicitor who potentially could earn £500k to £1m a year if she were any good. He journalist - will always live in relative poverty. So how unless you are really sexist or have a man who insists a woman's place is keeping the children quite whilst he earns his pittance, do you justify her at home and he in his office at home working.

gybegirl Mon 29-Apr-13 10:37:00

But what if she's not any good?

You are right to say that TY's attitude is appalling. I'm not sure you would find anyone on here to disagree with you on this.

What you do annoy people with is your offensive and somewhat moronic statement... His main problem is marrying a low earner who is just a housewife. Had he married a real woman with a career who out earns him and funds school fees all his problems would be over. His problems come from his sexist set up.

Take out the 'just' (a housewife) and 'real' (woman) from that statement to show you are commentating on TY's personal circumstances and not merely offending almost half of the population then I may even agree with you.

I would genuinely like to know what you mean by 'real woman'?

Whether you like to change nappies or enjoy spending time with your kids is none of my business!

cory Mon 29-Apr-13 10:37:44

While I couldn't agree more on the sexism question, Xenia, I sometimes can't help wondering what you would have done if more people had listened to you and decided that childcare and low paid work was beneath them.

Your whole lifestyle is based on other people carrying on to do work that you despise, yet you spend your time on Mumsnet telling them that you shouldn't.

So if they shouldn't, who should? Robots? Aliens from Mars?

Somebody has to do it for you if you won't do it yourself. But I totally agree that there is no particular reason why somebody has to be a woman.

KippersAndMackerel Mon 29-Apr-13 10:39:54

Because the majority of women prefer looking after children more than the majority of men full time. You just have to look at the ratio of males to females working in childcare to see that. Women are biologically more nurturing in general. Obviously there are exceptions, but again just look at the vast amount of NRP being male, and i know quite a few men who are happy seeing their children 2-3 days a week or less, I know no women who are, and would assume there isn't a large amount either.
Obviously there are a fair few individual exceptions, but on the whole a lot of women would prefer to be their child's main career if they've chosen to have children.

dogsandcats Mon 29-Apr-13 10:58:23

cory, her answer in the past has been that there are plenty of workers overseas who would like to come and do the menial jobs.

infamouspoo Mon 29-Apr-13 11:04:13

so its ok to exploit foreign born women? confused

cory Mon 29-Apr-13 11:18:58

Yes, dogsandcats, but that doesn't really compute with the rest of Xenia's take on things. If there is one thing I am fairly sure about concerning Xenia, it is that she is not racist.

dogsandcats Mon 29-Apr-13 11:27:03

I didnt mean that she was racist. I meant that she thinks that if British workers wont do it, then there are plenty of foreign workers that are happy to.

EmmelineGoulden Mon 29-Apr-13 11:58:34

I agree TY's attitude is appalling and he sounds like an utter dick who is unsuitable to be a governor of a school, let alone a founder.

And I agree with Xenia that there are lots of women who would like to do all the fun bits of parenting without the hard work just like TY states all men do. I would certainly prefer it that way. I get no pleasure or sense of fulfilment out of cleaning up after my kids, listening to them whine, watching them rehearse their actually not very talented rendition of Over the Rainbow for the 600th time, refereeing disagreements, trying to get them too eat when they are too hungry, etc. None of that is fun.

Xenia's solution is utterly unsustainable though. The idea that the cultural solution to the hard bits of childcare is to earn enough to pay someone else to do it is just a decision to screw people over so you can take the cream. There is no way for everyone to earn enough to not have to do childcare (and if there were, who would do the childcare?). So her rants leave me a little cold.

Even this idea that "she's a lawyer so she could earn £500k - £1m if she were any good" is ludicrous. Only a tiny percentage of lawyers earn those kinds of figures. There are many good lawyers who aren't in that league (and quite a few people earning that kind of money who aren't that good at what they do).

slhilly Mon 29-Apr-13 12:20:42

It's pretty obvious that Xenia's sense of what is valuable in society is measured pretty much exclusively in terms of money. Obviously, the vast majority of people take account of other factors in their career choices: the topic of the work, the people they will be working with, commute, "social good" etc etc. The surest route to earning 500 to 1m as a solicitor is of course commercial law. Highly lucrative, but lots of people find it pretty fucking dull. They would rather earn less doing clinical negligence work or conveyancing or divorce work etc, all of which pay well but don't routinely pay as much as corporate work.

Ironically, Xenia is wrong about TY's earning potential as a journalist. He's extremely high profile and consequently can command large fees as a speaker, can write books, etc etc. He probably is able to earn 500k a year when these outside interests are taken into account (although as he's been setting up a free school, he may not have had the time or inclination).

As others have said, it's Xenia's insistence that she has the only sane worldview that makes her posts irritating. It's difficult to reconcile with her stated professional success, as megarich solicitors are usually quite good listeners and hence flexible, even if they are bullish. Blind spots are normally professionally difficult to move past.

Incidentally, what I never really understood is how Xenia can feel good about herself when measuring on the yardstick of wealth. Because if she's got the nous to be that good as a solicitor, she could have been equivalently good as a hedge fundie. And then she would have earned 10x the money, or even more.

ouryve Mon 29-Apr-13 13:14:32

Xenia - DH has never been inclined to go out and "network" or some other excuse for spending an evening in the bar. He's home for teatime and hangs out with the kids, who both need direct supervision all day because of their SN, while I go and hide in the kitchen for some peace and create a meal for us all.

Similarly, he's no more likely to make himself scarce at the weekend than I am.

No way on Earth would I tolerate a partner who treated our home (modest, but paid for) like a hotel and me like a slave.

Xenia Mon 29-Apr-13 13:24:57

Most working parents try to get home to put the children to bed as much as they can. Most do not want to be with the children from 6am to 6pm every day looking after them and keeping house whether those parents are male or female. TY should not suggest women have some kind of basic urge to adore the bits of parenting he doesn't like. In fact we are all just the same as TY but it helps misogynist men to think that women somehow have a tolerance of drudge jobs gene which men don't. We don't. It is just that some women get themselves into sexist relationships or earn so little they have to do the dull stuff.

I would have imagined most solicitors could earn more than most journalists and clearly TY cannot afford 4 sets of school fees so his own earnings are not going that well. In most journalist/solicitor couples it would be the journalist doing bits of working from home to pay for a few extra holidays and the solicitor earning the larger sums. So therefore it looks like a sexist set up for TY.

slhilly Mon 29-Apr-13 13:39:53

Xenia, it looks like a sexist setup yes, but I think you are assuming way too much about TY and his reasons for setting up the free school. There's absolutely no evidence that he wanted to send his kids to a private school: there's quite a lot of evidence he wanted to set up a free school that would be as good as a private school.

Most solicitors do not have the ability to earn more than Toby Young - a high profile columnist on national papers with sidelines as an author, playwright and actor, all of which bring in more money, because most solicitors are not partners in a Magic Circle firm. A partner in a high street firm doing divorces is not going to be pulling in 300k plus, are they?

EldritchCleavage Mon 29-Apr-13 13:53:18

I do get fed up with WOHM women (and I am a WOHM myself) who denigrate staying home with small children as demeaning, boring shit that no one could possibly enjoy. That may be how you feel, but I don't see why that is automatically extrapolated to how all women/parents feel.

And it is often part of statements that tacitly or expressly put down those people (mostly those women) who do do childcare. That's not feminism.

Toby Young is an unpleasant man with a chip on his shoulder caused in large part, it seems to me, by not living up to his father's achievements and not earning enough to have the kind of lifestyle to which he feels entitled. I wish he would stop bothering the world at large with his mitherings about this.

CouscousForTea Mon 29-Apr-13 14:26:02

Well one problem is that childcare is paid out of net income rather than gross income. If the tax system didn't distort things so much there would be no need to be a super high earner to afford childcare.

I imagine that the economy and the public finances would be in much better shape if all the skilled women who wanted to were in work and paying for child care out of their gross incomes.

There are some women though (and men) who do enjoy looking after children all day. There are even people who like cleaning. To deny that is as silly as Toby Young trying to claim we all love it.

Looking after children is a valuable and important job that can be more rewarding and interesting than looking at numbers in an excel spreadsheet. I personally like the option to do a bit of both.

To be honest for a woman who loves kids and doesn't have high earning skills being a childminder could be a good option. You are earning your own money, not being totally reliant on your husband and his income and providing an important service to others.

Xenia Mon 29-Apr-13 15:15:38

Women never pay for childcare out o0f their income surely? It is just as much an expense for men as women. If my children's father could find and hire nannies nearly 30 years ago I do not see what is wrong with men in 2013 if they see childcare is something only women pay for.

CouscousForTea Mon 29-Apr-13 16:23:57

In most families there won't be a lot of spare cash floating around. If one or both of the parents earn less net than the cost of child care which is quite probable then the lower earning parent, sadly most likely statistically to be the woman, will give up their job to look after the children. If they earn about the same then they will need to negotiate between themselves.

Only if there is money to spare to subsidise childcare costs after the bills and mortgage have been paid will it be possible to take a long term view. I will certainly be advising my DD to l

CouscousForTea Mon 29-Apr-13 16:25:15

Look at a career that pays well so that she will have more options when she is older.

lljkk Mon 29-Apr-13 16:31:47

Single moms often pay for childcare entirely out of own income. Xenia of all people should know that.

"Ms Young ... solicitor who potentially could earn £500k to £1m a year if she were any good."

So... solicitors who don't earn that sort of salary aren't any good, is that right?

Actual solicitor salary data.

I wonder what % of solicitors meet Xenia's definition of "good".

Xenia Mon 29-Apr-13 17:37:53

It is correct I pay or used to pay childcare cost entirely out of my salary as i earn a lot more than their father, but other than that in a relationship childcare costs are a couple's expense. That was my point.

I still stand by the fact that most solicitors earn more than most journalists so in a solicitor/journalist couple it would be ridiculous for the solicitor to give up work unless she had been brought up in some kind of religious cult or stepford wife set up where a woman's place is chained to TY's chidlren doing the jobs he does not like doing with them.

GetOrfMoiLand Mon 29-Apr-13 17:43:38

What eldritch said.

I am a WOHM, always have been, and a lot of what I have read of Xenia's over the years I admire and agree with - the financial independence, expecting 50-50 shared care, educational choices etc.

But a lot of the good you say Xenia is drowned out by the bigotry and sneering towards those you deem as uneducated, ill educated, lower class or lacking in choice. And your oft said disdain towards those women who chose the caring and educational professions - childcare workers and teachers especially - as they are ill paid, no career progression yada yada. Yet your 5 children, as much as you have loved and raised them yourself, have been impacted directly by those people who you so vehemently criticise. How can you square your dislike of such professions with the reality that those 'silly women' who chose that work have had such a positive and beneficial influence on your 5 children?

Portofino Mon 29-Apr-13 17:54:20

Well put GetOrf.

PetiteRaleuse Mon 29-Apr-13 18:04:45

Actually I find Xenia's pov interesting (though I don't agree with her politics). She might come across as blunt but if she inspires even one of us to improve our lot then that is no bad thing. She has certainly given me pause for thought over the time I've been on here, and I am currently at a career crossroads. I've several choices in front of me and I don't think
I'd have considered the most challenging one (and the one to which I am leaning) if I hadn't read what Xenia has said. And the bits which are a little blunt? Water off a duck's back, words on a screen... That goes for everyone else on here. We can pick and choose what to listen to on here.

Xenia Mon 29-Apr-13 18:42:46

Good, PR, that is all I seek to do - challenge sexism and make women realise they can pick interesting lucrative careers rather than sacrifice everything for a man.

Any suggestion of sneering is just misinterpretation of what I have said. Women often end up in a ghetto of low pay because of their own low expectations and I just want them to realise you can have a great life, easier than that of house wife or low paid worker, if you choose different kinds of careers, to know that high paid women with large families can have very lovely lives.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 29-Apr-13 18:54:38

Can't resist a TY thread though I see pickledginger nailed it on the first page with her "monumental fuckwit" comment.

That sounds exciting PetiteR smile

PetiteRaleuse Mon 29-Apr-13 19:01:46

It is exciting. I think. I hope. Just got to work out how to do it now smile

exoticfruits Mon 29-Apr-13 19:21:19

I do get fed up with WOHM women (and I am a WOHM myself) who denigrate staying home with small children as demeaning, boring shit that no one could possibly enjoy. That may be how you feel, but I don't see why that is automatically extrapolated to how all women/parents feel.

I can't remember how many times I have said it but I don't find looking after small children boring, I find it very enjoyable-we are all different and being a solicitor would be boring to me.

It is just as well that we all find different things interesting or the country wouldn't operate.

Could it just be accepted that I chose to stay at home? I chose to stay at home when I was a widow, so I wasn't being subservient to a man. I am very thankful that my DH didn't want to be the one to do the bulk of the childcare.
Lots of women want to work full time, lots want part time and lots want to not work at all. All are perfectly valid options.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 29-Apr-13 19:28:40

Oh, it's not a thread about TY. Oh well.

Fwiw, I agree with the poster upthread who said fewer people would question the time Xenia spends with her children or how many she had if she was a man.

Though he-Xenia would still be firmly questioned about some of his other positions smile

exoticfruits Mon 29-Apr-13 19:48:45

I can't see why people don't mind their own business -there is no need to question anyone.

Floggingmolly Mon 29-Apr-13 20:14:29

was a solicitor, so potentially could have earned one million per year hmm. How many solicitors are earning 1m?

dogsandcats Mon 29-Apr-13 22:49:51

Xenia post 18.42pm
"..rather than sacrifice everything for a man".

Do you mean that doing the boring bits of motherhood is helping a man out?
So, by encouraging women to go out to work then
a. the man is inconvenienced and work handicapped because he has to devote more of his time to his children, and women going out to work, they are directly challenging mens' jobs?

exoticfruits Tue 30-Apr-13 07:08:43

It all depends on your definition of 'a lovely life'. Again we are all different- I have no doubt Xenia would hate mine and it is quite clear to me, from reading her posts, that her life would make me depressed and urgently looking for an escape route. There is nothing wrong with either- we are just lucky to have what we want- the mistake is to think that we have a desirable model and everyone would want it, or ought to want it.

lljkk Tue 30-Apr-13 09:26:50

Are you kidding? If a man came on here and implied women were inadequate human beings for being SAHMs and without careers he'd be charbroiled out of town. I dare any man to do it, just go for it. I'll stock up on popcorn now.

I don't mind what choices people like Xenia & Cherie Blair have made in how to be women & mothers & people.
I just wish they wouldn't have so much opinion about MY choices. angry
That's why Xenia attracts personal attacks in return.

Xenia Tue 30-Apr-13 09:37:20

I have never said a non working parents is an inadequate human being.
I have said women are happier and do better and better helop other women if they keep working and leave dull houseparent jobs and low grade jobs to men as much as they can.

I have not added up the number of equity partners at bigger law firms or accountancy firms for that matter but they are more than the number of nurses or teachers on over £1m.

lljkk Tue 30-Apr-13 09:45:59

Even by stating (your opinion) that women are "happier and do better if they keep working" rather than do "dull houseparent jobs" you're making a moral judgement. Do you not see that?

Shall I find some of your other priceless quotes?

dogsandcats Tue 30-Apr-13 10:08:35

But the irony is your man is no longer around the house to do any chores.
Most of us still have men around to do some of them.

dogsandcats Tue 30-Apr-13 10:16:59

A man can only be pushed so far imo, before he runs out on his family, and leaves her to do all of it in some cases.

A woman is apt to stay on with the children. I sometimes wonder why this is.

christinarossetti Tue 30-Apr-13 10:27:43

exoticfruits talks a lot of sense.

Xenia Tue 30-Apr-13 10:58:11

I don't really write about my domestic situation and most of my children are grown up.

Women are happier working. Studies show mental health is worse for housewives, drink and drug addiction is worse too. It is not a moral judgment. It's a fact.

Also most people find a lot of housework and childcare of under 5s dull which is why most bright men and women want to work too or pursue other interests and why every culture in history from the ancient Romans using slaves to the Victorian women with their domestic servants delegates teh dross dull work and why cleaning jobs are some of the lowest paid in society as it is dull and anyone can do it. These are facts not my opinion. Now of course there will be some husbands and wives who like cleaning and minding 3 children under 5. There are always exceptions.

Anyway the point is too many women give up careers and regret it and too many men end up foisting too much on their women in sexist marriages and the more we can get that message out the better so younger women don't give up full time work and live off men.

dogsandcats Tue 30-Apr-13 11:16:09

But who gets to do the housework?

1.bright women. You have ruled them out
2. Bright men?
3. Not bright men?
4. Not bright women?

Who should get the MH issues?

dogsandcats Tue 30-Apr-13 11:17:18

You use the word "delegate".
So preumably your answer is no 3. or no.4

infamouspoo Tue 30-Apr-13 11:21:07

hmmm, drug addiction. Anecdotal I know but I thought it was bankers and lawyers snorting cocaine through banknotes, not housewives wink

chibi Tue 30-Apr-13 11:27:16

i find the assumption the housework only gets done if there is a dedicated person (sahp, or a cleaner) kind of odd

my partner WOH full time, i do 4 days a week, but do not do any housework on my day off beyond normal maintanance (cooking food for myself so i can eat, washing the dishes i dirty)

our house is clean and organised- we share the upkeep, as do the kids

living in a house the size of a shoebox probably helps though

dogsandcats Tue 30-Apr-13 11:44:07

Ah. I think the penny has just dropped for me.
All these years you are specifically talking to bright women only.

tomorowisanotherday Tue 30-Apr-13 11:50:48

(Not read the whole threat, just having a 5 min break while LO are sleeping)

My career is child minding... I have a degree a post grad and a diploma ( all business qualifications, not child minding ones)

I prefer managing children, to grown up (men usually) who invariable act like children. At least when you advise a two year old not to do something.... they take your advice!

correct child minding is on par with teaching primary school children these days... Definitely not the easy option.... but only if they are doing it correctly.

Xenia Tue 30-Apr-13 12:23:10

Most people don't find these dull jobs interesting. They always get delegates either by a husband who can find a muggins mother housewife who cannot earn much elsewhere so her best meal ticket is a man and in return she does his dirty work. Or you pay someone else to do it.

These jobs are low paid for a reason.

Xenia Tue 30-Apr-13 12:24:04

And men like TY always try to get women to do them for them. If they try to use an argument that women are built for cleaning and childcare but not earning money and men of course hate dull jobs that is pretty sexist and needs to be stamped out. Loads of women find these kinds of tasks terribly dull too.

dogsandcats Tue 30-Apr-13 12:50:43

I am trying to decipher that lot.
From what I can make out,you have ruled out no 4. not bright women doing the housework too.

So to summaraise.
TY shouldnt use any women, of whatever their ability, including his wife, to do it.
Which leaves the men.

infamouspoo Tue 30-Apr-13 13:13:09

those jobs may be dull but they are pretty damn vital to everyone and society. I've pointed out this to my kids numerous times. So its best if everyone mucks in and gets them done together.

slhilly Tue 30-Apr-13 14:48:11

Xenia is absolutely right to say that most people find housework boring, and that those who don't are by and large the exception to the rule. She is also right to say that paid work is good for your mental health. However, it is worth repeating that the interest/dullness of a job is both relatively subjective and is also independent of the pay. Most people would find the professional life of a tax lawyer to be unutterably dull (and morally repugnant, to boot), and would not do the job even if they had the qualifications despite the large rewards on offer.

Re child-rearing: there's quite a lot of evidence to show that this is really quite difficult to do well - it is deceptively difficult. As a society, we are making a mistake in having it be such a a low-status, low-paid career. Other countries value it more, pay more for it, and reap the rewards in children who learn more and are happier and grow up to be better adjusted adults.

drjohnsonscat Tue 30-Apr-13 15:04:01

I really object to the idea that women are naturally more suited to some of the more drudgey elements of childcare. James Delingpole has argued this too - that women are somehow better at it because they enjoy wiping up sick and sweeping the floor for the thousandth time whereas it's too trivial for men's brains so they can't do it as well as women.

I will definitely stand up and be counted with the OP on that score. It's misogynist BS and it's definitely prevalent in our culture.

Parenting does involve quite a bit of manual labour and drudgery. Let's not make that bit women's work. It's parents' work.

dogsandcats Tue 30-Apr-13 15:07:49

It is parents' work, agreed.
But men, if pushed too far, run for the hills. And often leave the kids behind too.
Women dont, or not very often.

exoticfruits Tue 30-Apr-13 16:54:08

Women are happier working. Studies show mental health is worse for housewives, drink and drug addiction is worse too. It is not a moral judgment. It's a fact

My health is fine. I went running when at home. I have never taken illegal drugs. I think that you will find it is young, high flying professionals who think snorting coke is 'fun'. (I think it pathetic)

Also most people find a lot of housework and childcare of under 5s dull which is why most bright men and women want to work too or pursue other interests and why every culture in history from the ancient Romans using slaves to the Victorian women with their domestic servants delegates teh dross dull work and why cleaning jobs are some of the lowest paid in society as it is dull and anyone can do it. These are facts not my opinion. Now of course there will be some husbands and wives who like cleaning and minding 3 children under 5. There are always exceptions.

Why do you need to do more housework if at home than working? I was too busy doing other things. I wasn't 'minding' children -no wonder it is boring if that is what you do.

Anyway the point is too many women give up careers and regret it
I got back when ready and those years at home gave me more than money could possibly buy.

and too many men end up foisting too much on their women in sexist marriages and the more we can get that message out the better so younger women don't give up full time work and live off men.

I didn't have a man-no one was foisting anything. I wasn't in a marriage.

The message to younger women is have choice.

Most people would find the professional life of a tax lawyer to be unutterably dull (and morally repugnant, to boot), and would not do the job even if they had the qualifications despite the large rewards on offer

Exactly-dull to many.Whatever the money I could earn I wouldn't want to do it. Childcare is way more interesting to me than anything that involves working in an office.

exoticfruits Tue 30-Apr-13 16:56:18

Why not accept that everyone is different? You were the one that gave the quote last week- Xenia- 'different but equal' and yet you seem to be ignoring it. I can only think that you didn't fully read the article you were quoting.

Xenia Tue 30-Apr-13 16:56:20

Yes, that is my only point and I think most mumsnetters agree - indeed some who are housewives do very little of the housewife role and just the playing with children bit.

This myth that babies need a mother there only and that women are suited to hours of tedious jobs suits men extremely well and needs to be scotched.

Someone will now tell me Ms T Y has returned to work and is an equity partner at Dechert with Miriam Gonzalez (Mrs Clegg) on their average profits per partner of £1m a year or whatever it is and I shall eat my words. Meanwhile Mr TY has taken sole charge of the children as his writing earnings have dropped and he has his feather duster out every day in his pinny ready for when Ms TY gets home to check the children are fed and watered and he's tackled that dusting in the living room.

exoticfruits Tue 30-Apr-13 16:57:57

You have a very strange view of life Xenia. hmm

dogsandcats Tue 30-Apr-13 17:00:42

So, men are not doing the housework and boring kids stuff, and women are not either.

Hmmm...what was it now..oh yes, fuck off xenia.

Badvoc Tue 30-Apr-13 17:17:31

I Dont think Xenia is real.
At least that's what I tell myself when I read her posts sad

What I struggle with is the dismissal of everything that isn't "fun" about parenting. Housework I can leave in an instant but the refereeing, the negotiations, the support of homework - whilst superficially tedious - is actually teaching our kids something - and contributing to the adults they will become.

IF you turn your back on those parenting responsibilities because they are dull or onerous or tedious, you shirk that associated responsibility. If your kids are able to self-motivate, stick to a task, work with others - it usually because that is what they have seen and had modeled for them at home.

And that is why we (as a team) chose to have a parent based at home.

As far as the gender discussion goes, it could have been either of us. At some point, it is likely that who it is will change. But dismissing the "boring" bits and doing everything you can to evade them, is childish - irrespective of your gender. If you chose to have kids, get on with the job of bringing them up.

exoticfruits Tue 30-Apr-13 17:33:18

No wonder you get the mad report in the paper the other day. Apparently the very rich now need their toddlers to have elocution lessons so that they can talk 'properly' -this is because they are spending their days with foreign staff who have English as a second language.

Children need time-not quality time-they need time. It is a mad world if we are supposed to use the Romans or rich Victorians as role models. I expect they had all sorts of dubious practices-like 'spare the rod...........' etc

I wouldn't want the Cleggs as role models either-it isn't the life style that I want.

I also don't think that I can be that unusual. I have been married twice and to my 'best friend' among other things. We talked it over, we worked our what sort of life we wanted, as a couple and a family. It isn't a competition-we are a unit. How we choose to do things is up to us.

drjohnsonscat Tue 30-Apr-13 17:35:26

DuchessofAvon I completely agree with you but the theme of this and James Delingpole's argument is that women enjoy the boring stuff more than men and are therefore better at it. I will not stand for that. Being a woman (and perhaps being less likely to run away as per dogsandcats slightly depressing post!) does not make drudgery more my work than my DH.

It's definitely a theme I pick up on at work too. One younger member of staff has recently become a father for the first time and is coming out with a lot of "oh women find the nights easier than men because they are bred for it" type of rubbish and I absolutely make it my business to correct him. It's also supposed to be flattering: "oh women are so much more patient than us daft men so that's why we stand back and let them do the stuff we haven't got the patience for". It honestly infuriates me.

None of us have the patience to be parents really. It's a very tough job. If you don't want to do it you shouldn't do it. Only men like TY give themselves the option to do the high value add stuff only (parents' evening, teaching how to ride a bike) and leave the night time vomit clear up and the endless floor-sweeping to their wives who were bred for it.

exoticfruits Tue 30-Apr-13 17:43:05

Women are a lot to blame. There is a thread at the moment where some won't have a male babysitter. How many would have a male nanny-for a girl baby? You won't get equality until men can have equal opportunities in childcare -not many would even attempt it when they are viewed with suspicion if they choose it as a career.

dogsandcats Tue 30-Apr-13 17:47:22

drjohnsonscat, are you in a relationship?

Dozer Tue 30-Apr-13 18:08:48

There are relatively few very highly paid jobs for anyone, male or female, and there are economists arguing that the labour market is "hollowing out", with a very few highly paid jobs and many more low-paid ones, with less people/ spread of wages in the middle.

You can see this in the conservative politician's rhetoric that anyone earning over the UK median salary is lucky: the median salary is pretty low, relative to the cost of living.

The few highly-paid jobs, or jobs that are a stepping stone towards them, often require very long hours, travel, relocation and so on. Two people doing long-hours jobs (well paid or not) without a lot of family support means children being in childcare for more than full-time, and probably little time for anything other than work. Most people don't want that for themselves/their DC.

Agree though that there is a lot of sexism and excuses from men about why women should do the drudge work. And that TY is annoying!

Dozer Tue 30-Apr-13 18:10:45

Don't the gonzalez-cleggs have nannies (plural) AND a live-in family member helping out?

drjohnsonscat I totally agree with you in return. Cleaning up vomit isn't pleasant no matter what your gender. I had to struggle with DH over this in the early days. We had a domestically very equitable relationship pre- kids - and once the babies arrived I ricocheted back to the 1950's so fast, I had whiplash. He very soon learnt that the only thing he couldn't do for the baby was breast-feed it.

However, the level of compliments showered on him for changing a nappy or walking a crying baby drove me insane.

The mythology of the uber-competant Mum and the uber-incompetant Dad does no-one any favours.

What had perturbed me about the thread was the general dismissal of ALL parenting tasks other than "fun"ones. I was trying to separate the hoursekeeping tasks (cooking, cleaning etc..) from the actual parenting and wondering why people would want to outsource those as well. It seems to me that this is the very nature of being a grown-up, a parent - and seeking to evade it smacks of a delayed development, somehow wishing to only be "fun".

exoticfruits Tue 30-Apr-13 19:11:14

I don't want someone in my house doing them. I am a very private person.
I had a cleaner once-when I was a SAHM and didn't have time, but I didn't like it. (once back at work it was far more routine and less time for other things so housework was much easier to fit in)

drjohnsonscat Tue 30-Apr-13 19:22:55

You put it v well DoA. I don't actually agree with the concept of quality time. Children don't care about that. It's actually just about time and putting in the hours. I think someone already said that upthread but I agree with that.

I also tend to think that all parenting Involves some sacrifice. You can't have it all and I have had to give up some elements of my career as a result. But I expect all parents to do that - not just women. I say that as someone who works FT and has a fairly high - powered job ( naff phrase but I can't think how else to describe it).

I do actually agree with a lot of what Xenia says on this topic (the nonsense of "working mother guilt", the desire for women not to subsume themselves in family life and find themselves surplus to requirements in later life as is currently happening to a lot of my friends as divorce strikes). I don't agree with her that any other way of being a mother is a waste of time but I'm glad to see someone taking a robust attitude to some of the myth of motherhood stuff.

xenia, stop wasting your life being bitter
do what you want to do in life and enjoy it.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 30-Apr-13 22:10:55

Xenia has never struck me as bitter confused

dogsandcats Tue 30-Apr-13 22:21:27

It seems there is a theme here of women without partners urging other women to not do the boring bits of motherhood.

Which ironically ends up with other women on the whole doing it, with the men doing absolutely nothing at all.

PetiteRaleuse Tue 30-Apr-13 22:23:18

Xenia is anything but bitter, judging by her posts here

exoticfruits Wed 01-May-13 07:07:07

I don't think that Xenia is bitter- I can't see why she would be- she has the life she wants. Her only problem is thinking it is so good that everyone would want it, when some of us would hate it. She lets it spoil her message, which is basically quite a good one and if she could phrase it differently I could agree with much if it.

On a different tack I don't think that small DCs are interested in material possessions- the one thing they want from parents is time- just time- and not quality time where they are sandwiched into a busy schedule. The bizarre report that some DCs of the rich are having elocution lessons wouldn't be necessary if they were spending a lot of time talking to the parents.

lljkk Wed 01-May-13 08:35:26

"[Xenia] has the life she wants."

No, I don't think she does, if you read all her posts going back years.
But I am fed up with contributing to Xenia's hijacking so will contribute no more.

Xenia Wed 01-May-13 09:24:47

I seem to be happy and healthy. As that is so I like to spread the word to other people as to how to achieve that and I do by the way write about what achieves that including eating and sunshine and things which cost nothing.

I do have the life I want. Now the years of my parents being ill and dying etc are over and the children easier and older it seems if life could continue as now forever I would be very lucky indeed.

I am just as happy to write about how you can seek to balance seratonin levels in your brain as women working.

I don't think young children are interested in material possessions either. Most full time working parents give their children time in just the right balance. We all work a balance which suits us. Obviously women who earn a lot and pay someone else to clean for them and do the washing and perhaps earn in an hour the weekly minimum wage which I think I do ensure they have much more time for their children than women in minimum wage jobs or for whom becoming a teaching assistant is the pinnacle of their low paid career aspirations.

I never like the word bitter. It is like driven and other words often used only against men and women who are sexist. It is never applied to men. A man who works hard is admired. A woman who works hard is like a witch circa 1500s whom people want to burn at the stake because she actually earns her own living and is a threat to women who think women should depend on men for money and men who want all women kept at home. It is one of those words mostly applied to women

So now teaching assistants lack ambition? Or what is your point?

You are happy in your life, a teaching assistant may be happy in hers, but because her life doesnt involve large sums of money it is looked down on by you.

I am trying to get it Xenia. And I do, to a point, but then you make a nasty comment about a low earning woman and I begin to wonder if your view of women isnt actually worse than a mans view.

drjohnsonscat Wed 01-May-13 10:07:26

It seems there is a theme here of women without partners urging other women to not do the boring bits of motherhood

Actually if you don't have a partner, you do all the boring bits. And all the fun bits. And basically everything confused.

Badvoc Wed 01-May-13 10:17:02

A woman can work hard and not get paid you know.
I think I work hard.
I am a sahm of 2 young dc,one of whom has sen, care for a frail parent and I do voluntary work.
But, as far as you are concerned what I do has no value or point because I dont get paid for it?
How twisted is that? His sad that you (and many others) feel that way.

Badvoc Wed 01-May-13 10:19:06

...oh and my dh works away at times too so I do it alone at those times.
I guess I could set up my own little sweatshop for myself and work through the nights....

infamouspoo Wed 01-May-13 11:05:27

health is a matter of luck Xenia.

FasterStronger Wed 01-May-13 11:19:13

I don't think there is anything wrong with someone being a TA - after all - schools need TAs.

but what is very wrong, is that most low paid jobs, like being a TA are performed by women. for this to change, more women need to aim for higher paying jobs. and if needs to be more acceptable for men to earn less and perform more caring.

exoticfruits Wed 01-May-13 11:25:12

A teaching assistant is the ideal job for some lifestyles. They just work the hours you are payed for, they get breaks, many get home at lunchtimes to walk the dog, they often don't do the full school day, they don't take work home, they have the school holidays- they get low pay but it is a trade off and worth it to many, especially as the work is varied and interesting. Lots of teachers work as teaching assistants to get rid of the workload, I certainly know solicitors etc who take time out as a teaching assistant because it gives them the family life they want.
As a SAHM I did lots of voluntary work - you don't get paid but apart from that it is challenging and interesting.
It is sad when worth and success are just measured in terms of money.

FasterStronger Wed 01-May-13 11:34:06

A teaching assistant is the ideal job for some lifestyles

but why is it not the ideal job for more men's lifestyles? why only women's?

exoticfruits Wed 01-May-13 11:49:12

Only the couple can answer that. In my case it would be because I would be the one who wanted time to do other things and walk the dog etc. I can't speak for others.

AndieDisestablishment Wed 01-May-13 12:29:26

I personally think Xenia should stop considering herself a feminist since she appears to spend so much time belittling other women's life choices. Whatever happened to the sisterhood?!
There is gender bias in the world and many men are considered weird if they want to go into more caring/nurturing roles, which is weird considering there was a time when make teachers were held in higher regard than their female counterparts. Heaven forbid a man should want to be "just" a nurse and not a doctor, but in Xenia-land nobody should want to be "just" a nurse.
After taking almost 4 years to be a SAHM with my 2 DCs (most of which time I felt that I should be making excuses for not having gone back to work, even though I studied for a degree and then worked part time during those years) I am making a career change and becoming a maternity support worker with the view to entering midwifery once both children are at school full time. This is my ambition. Is it lacking? Should I want more? No, it isn't and I don't. I want a career that feels worthwhile, yes a good wage would be nice, but I want to come home from work and tell my children what I have done that day. I wish to do this with a sense of pride, something I would not have had if I had stayed in Logistics (I was a well paid transport planner before I did my degree but the utter mind numbing boringness and lack of any sense of achievement left me a bit dead inside).
Worth is measured by each individual in a completely different manner, and what I am worth is more than money will show, thank you very much.

FasterStronger Wed 01-May-13 12:51:20

andie - I am not commenting on an individual's choice of work life balance...

...but it does seem odd that overall women make one set of choices and men another.

.... and that women's choices leave them doing lower paid work.

drjohnsonscat Wed 01-May-13 13:57:01

agree with you fasterstronger.

Being a TA is obviously an important role. But it's going to be hard to be the main breadwinner on a TA salary and you just don't know what's round the corner. I see women of my age whose husbands are leaving them and they didn't prioritise their careers, probably quite rightly for them at the time they made the decision, and now they are left utterly stuck with children to support, a house to maintain, and very little income.

I think there is a point for women in thinking about this that goes beyond the immediate pressure of childcare. It's also about the future that you cannot predict. My friends who gave up work to care for DCs - some are ok but some are completely stuffed as a result of divorce or bereavement. I'm in my 40s so I am seeing this a lot at the moment. Ten years ago no one I knew was in this position - now a number of close friends are.

And it's perfectly in line with feminism to raise this flag. Yes women have choices and all their choices are valid, but some of them may leave you with much less choice in future if things don't work out as you planned.

The way society talks about lone parents of different genders is depressingly telling.

My male cousin was 'saddled with the kids' after his divorce.

His ex wife is labelled a bitch for never having done any housework, cooking or cleaning. It got to the the point the girls missed days of school because they didn't have uniform to wear. They slept in the parents room because they didn't have sheets on the bed etc. So yes, she was a neglectful and nasty piece of work but to hear my family talk he is to be pitied because he was being neglected as well. No one likes it when I point out that he is equally responsible for the children's well being and should have stepped in to sort it.

After the divorce he did finally step up to his responsibility and take the girls and raise them (he does the best he can and I cannot fault him) but to hear everyone go on about it you would think no one had ever been left a lone parent with little or no support from the other parent. He is lionized and praised to the heavens in a way single mothers never are. In fact single mother's are more often vilified than lionized.

Sorry about the last post - think I missed the final page when reading the thread and now it is an entirely random post!
It made sense somewhere after page 7 or 8 I think......sorry

drjohnsonscat Wed 01-May-13 14:18:38

made sense to me thinkaboutittomorrow!

Xenia Wed 01-May-13 14:32:20

It is not random Think. It's at the heart of the thread and feminism - that men expect women to clear up after them as virtual servants and that if they work just a few hours a day for pin money and women are conditioned to think it's wonderful if their highest aim is the lowest paid of the lowest jobs leaving men to be the ones who own the logistics company ... although I laughed at that reference because it is that famous female logistics company owner who I think is on the Apprentice. There does not have to be anything dull about owning a logistics company, nor about being one of the many Heads on over £100k in the press today in the state schools who perhaps like their work as much as being a teaching assistant on 6 hours a day in term time only at £6 an hour.

Very odd that women choose careers which are low paid and men don't, that women end up shunted into TY's kitchen keeping the children quiet whilst the great man writes rather than vice versa.

I am sitting here doing some work for a wonderful lady who has built up a business in a male sector and good for her. Women are doing very well andthe more their consciousness is raised so they understand being home and earning little is not fun and not a wise choice and does not even benefit children a lot of the time the better. If these threads achieve that purpose they are worth having.

Surely though there is a bit of a problem with the way we value work?

It's hardly new to point out that 'women's work' is massively undervalued. 'Cooks' are female and low paid, when it becomes a male job it is a 'chef' and can be quite highly paid. The value isn't really all that intrinsic to the task (both involve preparing food) but to the perceived skill level. It amazes (and distresses) me how men have turned a 'female' task into an art form and managed to make it a 'macho industry'.

Also as many posters have said the value and importance to society of child rearing is not the same as hoovering. In countries where it is fully appreciated nursery nursing it is a job requiring a degree in child psychology and men enter it as a career far more than they do in the UK

Thurlow Wed 01-May-13 15:03:06

women in minimum wage jobs or for whom becoming a teaching assistant is the pinnacle of their low paid career aspirations

Oh, dear lord. Any good points that you try to make, xenia, are completely undermined by statements like that. I worked fucking hard to get my qualifications and to get my job but it doesn't pay much at all.

There is no actual way for all women who want to work f/t to be either a) solicitors, b) consultants, or c) entrepreneurs, for example. The world doesn't work like that.

You genuinely don't live in the real world if you think that hard work alone is going to get you into a high-paid career. The number of careers/jobs that pay over even £50k a year is a tiny minority.

By all means encourage women to do what they want, especially in relation to work v childcare and challenging traditional stereotypes. Stop doing it by slagging off every women who is too 'lazy' or 'unambitious' to earn over £100k a year. Try getting your head out of the sand and see what the real world is actually like.

FannyMcNally Wed 01-May-13 16:19:02

Ha! I earnt £100 per hour in the late 80s doing freelance systems work. I now earn £8.70 per hour as a TA. Which do I prefer? TA of course! A job with meaning and satisfaction as opposed to working 24 hours a day tinkering with 'important' and 'urgent' code that no one in the real world actually cared about. (Apologies to current IT workers and to DP who is still in the field, it wasn't always bad). Xenia you should be damning the situations where women don't have choices not damning the choices that they make. I know this is alien to you but money isn't everything. I had the choice of returning to IT after choosing to be a full time SAHM for 10 years, but I chose a brilliant job that was perfect for me. Sometimes I feel sorry for you not being able to see other people's points of view.

FasterStronger Wed 01-May-13 16:32:38

"meaning and satisfaction" but don't want men want those things as well?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 01-May-13 16:48:43


Whilst Xenia is wrong to imply that low paid work can't bring other satisfactions, she is right to wonder why it is that it's more often women than men sacrificing earnings for those satisfactions and/or not finding satisfaction and earnings in the same place.

Xenia Wed 01-May-13 16:50:34

WOmen's work is undervalued because cleaning ahd house keeping is dull and just about anyone can do it so of course it's got a low value. It is a hugely sexist thing if women start saying housekeeping and childcare is some wonderful nirvana of pleasure and goodness and they are lucky to be shunted into doing it - that women are special, that men could never do it, that it is hallowed and appreciated and when men say - I could never do what my wife does... it is just a plot ot keep women doing low paid dull stuff.

Men want meaning and satisfaction but most of them have the sense to know that high paid interesting careers give you a lot more meaning and satisfaction than minimum wage work or unpaid work as a housewife.

Thurlow Wed 01-May-13 17:02:50

In relation to childcare, the simple truth is until very, very recently, only women were entitled to take maternity leave, therefore men would have to quit their job in order to take time off, and that time off would probably be unpaid. Unless the woman earned significantly more than the man, and in most couples I know the difference in income between the two couples pre-DC1 isn't much different, then financially it would make more sense for the woman to take paid maternity leave and look after the children. The vast majority of families won't earn enough to emply a nanny even with both parents working, and most childcare won't take in a baby of a few weeks old.

Also, many women won't be physically recovered enough from their birth within a few weeks to return to work, and they may be breastfeeding and not be able to express, so they physically need to be with their child in order to feed him/her.

It's only so recently that things have changed. But for 99% of the mothers on a site like this, the only option available to them would have been the mother taking maternity leave for at least a few months. And then their career might be interrupted.

I swear, sometimes when I read discussions like this it is as if some people believe men aren't getting pregnant and giving birth out of deliberate choice.

I would love things to change now men can take paternity leave. But it's not straightforward to judge women and their decisions when there really wasn't much choice.

drjohnsonscat Wed 01-May-13 17:14:55

actually meaningfully paid maternity leave is also relatively recent. Women were just expected to stop working when they got married and often required to stop working when they got married. Paid maternity leave is not the cause of this.

And it utterly frustrates me when the short term hit of childcare is calculated from the woman's income only. If there are two parents, the cost comes from both paypackets, just like the gas bill. I just don't think most women think through the real value of the income they are giving up when they make this calculation. The net present value of future earnings forgone is much, much bigger than the cost of your childcare today. I appreciate that that is not a simple calculation and it's not a purely financial consideration anyway but the approach of "I'd hardly cover my childcare costs so I'll do it myself and therefore subsidise my husband's career via my own" is not a well thought through strategy.

carry on wasting your life, spending hours and hours and here droning on about how dull it would be to spend all day with your children

its your time your wasting
i cannot be bothered to waste another second on this thread.

good luck

Badvoc Wed 01-May-13 17:43:53

Every job has dull aspects.
Even a brain surgeon must think some days..."if I have to look at one more bit of cerebellum!"
But that doesn't mean they hate it all the time, or want to do anything else.
It means they are human.

Badvoc Wed 01-May-13 17:46:33

My wages wouldn't have even covered childcare, so it was a no brainer for us.
I wanted to be here for my children whilst they were very young (0-3).
I am starting to think about the next stage of my life now.
Because that's what most people's just a stage of life.
Doesn't last forever.

FasterStronger Wed 01-May-13 18:41:22

there is a lot of denial on this thread.

women don't just happen to end up doing the low paid and thankless tasks.

that's why (IMO) Xenia' shouts so loudly for women to aim higher.

dogsandcats Wed 01-May-13 18:45:01

If you push men too hard on this subject, they may disappear imo.
So not worth it.

scottishmummy Wed 01-May-13 18:48:07

I see the armchair psychologists at it again,decry any pov no likey as denial,bitter etc
It's an enduring mn tactic some use,when they've exhausted reason they resort to psycho-dribble
Same as the you is well jel crew when one is nonplussed about engagement/marriage

Portofino Wed 01-May-13 19:03:31

Xenia's central message is fine. That women should have higher expectations, have careers, marry men who will do their fair share etc. but she ruins it with the 100 k jobs stuff. Very few people earn those kind of wages. And she never thinks of the others who by definition HAVE to earn lower wages in order to support the choices she makes. The ones who provide childcare, cleaning, gardening, dry cleaning, coffee, deliver shopping etc. Basic economics means that not everyone can command a high salary.

So the valid point gets lost. We need to value the supporting roles more and encourage more men to take them up in order to get the balance vs telling women they have to earn huge wages or they are letting the side down. We need it to be normal that a man can be the one to stay home when kids are sick, or leave early to do the school run. I see this much more in Belgium where there is not the same culture of presenteeism, so I know it CAN be done.

scottishmummy Wed 01-May-13 19:11:34

It's fair game to ask why is there an expectation of maternal guilt or giving up work
I've never seen men burdened with expectation in way women are when they are parents
And ime a lot of the pressure is women to other man ever asked me why I work ft

Badvoc Wed 01-May-13 19:12:13

Dh does his bit.
He looking after the dc over the last 4 days that I went away with my parents for a break.
Why wouldn't he?
He is their father and he is just as capable as me in that respect.
He just earns a lot more than i ever could and has many more professional qualifications than me ergo the economics dictate I do the majority of the childcare.
Xenia does make valid points and - for the most part - I agree with her BUT her complete and utter contempt for those less educated and fortunate (yes, luck does play a part sometimes!) than her really distresses me.

Badvoc Wed 01-May-13 19:13:38

But I don't care why you work ft scottishmummy.
Why should you care why I don't?

FasterStronger Wed 01-May-13 19:14:55

Badvoc - He just earns a lot more than i ever could and has many more professional qualifications than me ergo the economics dictate I do the majority of the childcare.

but why do so many women say the same thing as you? why is this the case?

scottishmummy Wed 01-May-13 19:17:51

It may surprise you badvoc but the thread isn't about you,it's a general discussion
A thread to discuss subjective opinion,experience and pov.
The issue is too much personalisation on mn,too much ire,detracting from the point

Badvoc Wed 01-May-13 19:18:47

Because historically women earn less than men...even those doing the same or comparable job.
I don't like it.
It sucks.
But that's how it was and is ATM.
A part time admin job would pay me a pittance (I know, I have done them!) and I would far rather be at home with my kids than paying a CM all my wage for the pleasure of working.
I don't want to get into personal stuff, but there were/are very good reasons I stayed at home. Not just money wise. It rarely is that simple IMHO.

Badvoc Wed 01-May-13 19:22:21

Gah! Hit post too soon!
X posted with scottishmummy.
I don't want to get personal, but that is my experience and pov!
I am thinking of re training (with Dhs full support smile) and find this topic endlessly distressing/fascinating.
I doubt if my re training will get me a job tbh. It it will be for me. Because - in the words of loreal - Im worth it smile

exoticfruits Wed 01-May-13 19:23:24

carry on wasting your life, spending hours and hours and here droning on about how dull it would be to spend all day with your children

its your time your wasting
i cannot be bothered to waste another second on this thread

I don't know why I waste the time either!
I am not a traditional type person-I wouldn't go into a sexist marriage where I was forced to give up things that I don't want to give up.

I would like to shout it, since it doesn't appear to go in. I HAD CHILDREN BECAUSE I WANTED TO SPEND TIME WITH THEM, I WANTED TO PUT THEM BEFORE MY CAREER. Time was the important thing-and not quality time-just time. I don't find it dull and I wasn't 'minding' them.
If my career was that important to me then I wouldn't have had children. I wanted my job to fit around them and not them fit around my job. DH was quite happy to go out to work so I couldn't care two hoots who thinks he should have stayed at home-it suited us. We talked about it first-had I wanted to work full time we would have done it differently. He was very hands on-changing nappies, doing the ironing and it was simple to leave him with them and go away, without issuing a single instruction-they were his children, his house. I was not a skivvy, I was out and about and busy doing all sorts of interesting things that you don't have time for if you are working and balancing home life.

It is called choice. Couple should work out what suits them and not expect others to feel the same.

scottishmummy Wed 01-May-13 19:28:32

I dont see parenthood as a giving things up competition
Dp and I had the big talk early on,nursery way was I giving anything up
I love my job,I get a satisfaction and solvency from it that I wouldnt get as housewife

Bonsoir Wed 01-May-13 19:32:14

Two careers in a family often mean a lot more giving-things-up than one career and a SAHP or a PT worker. We are all in the business of maximising our own family's wellbeing, and we all have different equations.

exoticfruits Wed 01-May-13 19:37:05

It isn't a competition. Talk about it first. Do what suits you.
I see us as a unit-it makes it easier for each to do as they want.

dogsandcats Wed 01-May-13 19:42:48

I am pretty sure I would not have married my DH if he had wanted to do most of the childcare.
If I was only able to see them 2 hours every day, I would have been devastated.

exoticfruits Wed 01-May-13 19:44:26

Quite probably age plays a part too. I waited a long time. Had I only worked a few years I dare say that I might of felt differently. As it was was the next, exciting stage of my life-not one I wanted to miss by being out in paid employment when I was lucky enough to have choice.

scottishmummy Wed 01-May-13 19:46:26

Conversely I wouldn't be with dp who wouldn't support me to advance career
I wouldnt put myself in position of no career whilst his went stellar
We chose nursery ft,had It all planned,it suits our preference

exoticfruits Wed 01-May-13 19:46:50

Same here dogsandcats-I would have been totally miserable if we were fighting over who did the bulk of the childcare-I am so pleased that I got to do it.

exoticfruits Wed 01-May-13 19:48:11

That is what I mean about choice scottishmummy-I wouldn't criticise your choice at all, or Xenia's choice. I just wish that we got the same the other way around.

scottishmummy Wed 01-May-13 19:51:46

Take that big ole cross of your back,you're not under attack.not from me
It is possible to stridently discuss this without feeling got should try it

lljkk Wed 01-May-13 19:57:47

I love my job,I get a satisfaction and solvency from it that I wouldnt get as housewife

That must be so satisfying, to have a job or career you love. I've never found that for long, I am pretty sure I never could (am old enough to know myself now). Dull as FT minding kids can be, at least it was less exhausting than juggling a dull job with the dull task of minding kids PT.

exoticfruits Wed 01-May-13 19:58:27

I can't see why people don't discuss it before they get pregnant.
With DH1 there was no choice, for financial reasons I would have been back at work full time. Sadly he died before I got back and I was financially secure as a widow so my immediate decision was to stay at home-never regretted. I went back, part time when he went to school. There was nothing sexist about this-there was no man,it was feminist choice on my part.
When DH2 and I decided to have a child we discussed how to work it. I think he expected me to want to work-it is a big thing to go back to a baby after an 8 yr gap. I immediately said that I wanted DC2 to have what DC1 had-as we could afford it we did. Had the career been important to me then we would have made different choices.
Again, I have never regretted it. I think there are plenty of women who feel like me, there are equally many who don't wish to get off the career ladder-each to their own-I can't see why we have to tell people they are wrong and keep on about the dullness and make out you are chained to the kitchen sink etc. Most jobs have their boring parts-even David Cameron must have parts he would prefer not to do.

exoticfruits Wed 01-May-13 20:00:52

It is possible to stridently discuss this without feeling got should try it

I could quote a lot of Xenia's points on women who stay at home-I won't- but I would say that she is getting at me!

scottishmummy Wed 01-May-13 20:01:04

Yes imo have the big talk eg kids,pg,finances,expectations when getting serious
I know married,now divorced olk who didn't do the talk and assumptions of each other v revealing

Arisbottle Wed 01-May-13 20:02:49

I have about two hours a week day with my younger children , quite offended at the suggestion that I should not have had children because I can't love them.

lljkk Wed 01-May-13 20:05:28

With 40% of pregnancies being unplanned, I can see why these matters don't get discussed. wink

I always meant, was absolutely determined even, to go back FT work after each baby born, that was what my mother did, normal to me. I grew up thinking that SAHMS were a strange mythological anachronism. Not until I was 34 weeks pregnant with DC1 did I realise I might not like return to fT work after baby. So I argue for flexibility.

DH is now delightedly looking forward to being a PT SAHD. He couldn't be more excited about it (home bird at heart).

exoticfruits Wed 01-May-13 20:07:06

No one has said that Arisbottle. I know that people loathe the saying but 'happy mother-happy children'. If you don't want to be at home why would you? You can be a dreadful mother if you are at home all the time,a wonderful mother if you are out at work most of the time and vice versa. Do what suits you-just don't expect everyone to feel the same.

exoticfruits Wed 01-May-13 20:08:35

I dare say that a lot are unplanned but you can at least discuss it before they are born. Assumptions cause the problems.

Arisbottle Wed 01-May-13 20:20:17

Exotic it has been said on this thread. A poster above said, why have children if you are only going to have them for 2 hours a day , they are not compulsory.

Am on the iPhone app so can't scroll up as I post, but there were others .

Arisbottle Wed 01-May-13 20:21:26

I don't expect everyone to agree and to be honest most of us don't choose, we make the most of the situation we are in.

But people on both sides are being judgemental .

Thurlow Wed 01-May-13 20:22:18

Portofino - Xenia's central message is fine. That women should have higher expectations, have careers, marry men who will do their fair share etc. but she ruins it with the 100 k jobs stuff


I was thinking like this on my way home (ironically from my f/t job to see my DC for 1 hour before bedtime).

My problem is the way Xenia has mixed two opinions and, in doing so, has spoilt the important opinion. It is absolutely right and pressing that we talk about why certain jobs are seen as for women, and why those professions tend to be paid much less; it is absolutely right and pressing that we talk about why women, more than men, tend to put their careers on hold when children are born.

But this so important discussion gets ruined by all this talk about women with no ambition, doing 'demeaning' jobs etc, belittling anyone who doesn't have the 'drive' to get a super-high paid job.

I've actually just come across an article from 2010 that says that earning over £100k puts you in the top 2% of earners. Which just makes a bit of a joke of any discussion of high earning.

Portofino Wed 01-May-13 20:47:00

That's the thing though, Thurlow. To me there is a difference between the women who choose to stay home because the family budget allows it, and those who stay home because the family budget gives them no choice in the matter.

exoticfruits Wed 01-May-13 21:55:26

Xenia has an important message, unfortunately it doesn't get through because of the way she presents it. If she worded it differently I could agree with it.

scottishmummy Wed 01-May-13 22:05:21

i think for some of you the over personalisation means you lose all objectivity
i think some see a disliked name and the red mist descends
why i never understand all the i hate soandso wish could hide poster threads

Portofino Wed 01-May-13 22:20:58

Where does the over personalisation come from though SM? Xenia has a good point but wraps it in her own life which is un achievable for 99% of the population, no matter what school they went to or how hard they work.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Wed 01-May-13 22:25:58

I read an article by TY a while ago in which he bemoaned the fact that having so many children meant he didn't get invited back to people's houses.
I'm not sure it's the kids who are the problem, Tobes .....

scottishmummy Wed 01-May-13 22:29:29

imo,some feel overly got at,or over personalise posts and posters.muddying mn
for sure i stridently express my pov,and expect others to do so too.that's the point
interestingly there is all the psycho-babble to explain,over intellectualise an online spat

SlowlorisIncognito Wed 01-May-13 22:35:49

I think it can be good though, for a woman to say "I've done this, and so can you." I agree that under normal circumstances, it is much more likely for a journalist to work at home for pin money, supported by a solicitor, than for a solicitor to give up her career to look after children and be supported by a journalist.

I have never had much desire to be a SAHM. Even when I was in school, I remember expressing this in a politics lesson, and being told "oh, maybe you shouldn't have kids then." The teacher would never have said that to a boy/young man. I have often been made to feel like there was something wrong with me because I don't like housework, or anything like that.

The first time I moved in with a boyfriend, ironically I was the one who ended up subbing his rent. He used to say if we ever got married, he would want a pre-nup, just assuming I would end up having less than him. I was (and am still) much harder working. I don't know where he is now, but I don't think he's going to end up mega rich. It's just the assumption that was in his head.

I have chosen a career that means I may never earn megabucks (Conservation) but it is my passion, and something that makes me happy, and there is potential to earn more money as I gain more experience. I don't need to be super rich, but I need to be fulfilled, and I do look at my own mother, and women in my family, and just think, when have they ever made a choice for themselves, just for themselves?

It shouldn't be considered the default that women do these things because they enjoy them, because that, generally, isn't true.

Chandon Wed 01-May-13 22:38:42

If looking after kids is the most horrible way to spend your time, that goes for Toby, Xenia or anyone else who says this.....then WHY have kids? Really, why?

If looking after them is the pits, why do it? regardless of being a man or woman, sahm or wohm, if you hate being with the kids....why have them? And then why have more?

This always confuses me. Not being sarky or deliberately obtuse, but if looking after children is the worst way you can imagine spending your free time, then why have them?

scottishmummy Wed 01-May-13 22:41:55

i found aspects of mat leave desire to be housewife ft.
disliking domestic boredom and housewifery doesnt disbar me from being parent
far from it.i love being a parent and working.thats why i had arent preserve only of housewifes

Chandon Wed 01-May-13 22:46:33

No, obviously not, scotsmummy. I would not presume that.

I just don't get people like Toby and Xnia who thing looking after kids is so awful.

Clearly, if you have a job you love, and you then lve seeing the kids when you get home, you are not the person I was talking about in my post upthread.

Chandon Wed 01-May-13 22:48:13

To clarify, I am not asking people who work why they have kids.

I am asking why people ( sahm, whm, man or woman) who hate spending time with kids have them.

dogsandcats Wed 01-May-13 22:49:20

It seems to me that there are parents who want to be with their children 24/7 and parents who want to be with their children 2 hours a day including weekends.
And everything in between.
Not sure why I am writing that tbh.

The people none of us ask much in all of this is the children themselves.
I think I asked mine once,if I remember correctly, and they said they liked it that I was home when they came in from school.
[dad works from home or near home btw]

scottishmummy Wed 01-May-13 22:51:55

i am unequivocal i love my kids,but couldn't be ft what?
doesn't detract from my ability to nurture and parent.far from it
it means in attuned and reflective to what is my preference, and its not solely being home

Chandon Wed 01-May-13 22:53:11

Yes, what would the kids prefer? There is not one answer, depends on kids, parents, carers and other stuff.

I think most kids like to have a reliable adult there to listen to them, and to feel cared for, this can be a parents, other relative or CM/ nanny/ manny.

Chandon Wed 01-May-13 22:53:59

Scotsmum, you seem to be defending against an accusation I never made.

Chandon Wed 01-May-13 22:55:11

I mean, I was not saying or implying anywhere that you or anyone should be a FT housewife, I don' t think anyone is saying that, actually, are they?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 01-May-13 22:56:40

My mum was a SAHM, it wasn't good for her.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 01-May-13 22:57:15

And because I know that, I wish now she hasn't done it.

dogsandcats Wed 01-May-13 22:58:36

Did you become a wohm because of that[assuming you are a wohm]?

scottishmummy Wed 01-May-13 22:58:46

my kids would prefer to eat happy faces and not go nursery/ adult with capacity i chose they dont
parent role is to make safe,appropriate choice within age appropriate limits
of course my kids dont have free choice that would be inappropriate

Arisbottle Wed 01-May-13 23:00:03

I choose to see my children two hours a day during term time, I have four biological children, a stepson and hope to have at least one more child. I do not need to work but choose to do so.

A number of posters have asked why someone would choose to have that many children and see so little , as if you have to clock up so many hours to be considered a good enough mother.

I adore children, I love being pregnant, love babies, love toddlers and older children.

However I have much more to give , over and above being a mother, I also need more than that.

But I am a loving, nurturing and dedicated mother.

scottishmummy Wed 01-May-13 23:01:46

chandon youre backtracking so much you got skid marks
you opined some contentious rot,in style why have em if...
you now seem to be reframing your post

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 01-May-13 23:07:01

Yes, I am a WOHM.

Hmm. I think, as with so much, watching what my family did informed what I did, either "yes, I'll do that too" (have two kids) or "no, that's a bad plan" (do my shopping on a set day each week).

I don't think it's as simple as that, though. I know myself and I judge that I am happier working. DH has made the same judgement. Either of us could have been a SAHP, financially, but we've decided to both balance work and home instead.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 01-May-13 23:08:19

It never really occurred to me that I wouldn't work, TBH.

reluctantlyCatholic Wed 01-May-13 23:29:13

Oh come come SM, that isn't what Chandon said.
Disliking domestic drudgery is one thing, calling all childcare mindless/stultifying/beneath you is another. I found mat leave alternately thrilling and more stress than I ever imagined with a healthy dose of boredom thrown in, not to mind the odd bit of ennui, but I don't think that this translates to = "minding children is for dull women who have no imaginations or desire to contribute to the wider society" as some do because of course raising kids has absolutely zero effect on society these days, strangely.

I think full time childcare for your own children pushes anyone doing it to the very limits of who they are. It can be exhilarating or soul-destroying or anything (and perhaps everything) in between depending on the individual.

I work because there's really only so much of the self-revelation I can bear. I prefer to feel competent. I love my children dearly but they can reduce me to feeling that I haven't a clue about anything. Some of this has been quite good for me but too much and quite frankly I'm heading to the doctors for pills to keep me sane (ah, how I wish I was joking... such a stereotype but so be it).

I am very sceptical of anyone who really believes they know what's best in terms of child rearing as it seems to me to be similar to suggesting you have discovered the meaning of life. It's different for everyone and people choose the way of doing it that works out best for themselves and what they want to stand for in their brief period of time on this earth. For some that's work, for some that's family, for some that's a bit of both but let's not cod ourselves that anyone has found the One True Path with this. Whatever you do there will be welcome and unwelcome consequences, that's just life.

scottishmummy Wed 01-May-13 23:35:39

yes i found aspects of mat leave,the precious moments mamas absolutely stultifying
so what?does it mean i love my dc less? means not working being home doesn't suit me
we had kids for usual reason-^we wanted to^ and i work in conjunction to parenthood

Xenia Thu 02-May-13 06:45:25

I know that sexism is rarely best and women hav been kept down for generations by men and women suggesting mother's place is in the home and don't let the little woman get ideas above her station that she might work or even be financially independent of a man. This is the policial point. Your personal choices are political and affect other women, your daughters and the position of women in society. It is a massive issue. For the first time in the UK women are 60% of graduates and under 30 earn more than men. Then it all goes wrong as they marry richer men or they choose to bail out of work b ecause of cultural and sexist conditioning and rely on men for money for enough time that their careers are usually destroyed and they never reach positions of power. About 10- 20% of senior roles go to women on board, the cabinet, etc etc. It is because of the average mumsnetter going part time or giving up work that that is so and it is damaging for the country and women and does not benefit children either.

Like Aris above I adore children and babies and breastfeeding and also my work (just like except for the breastfeeding part, many men),. That for many women is a rounded life and gives children a good example.

Just because you want to spend 2 or 3 hours a day with children does not mean you hate them and should not have them. Many men and women are in my position - good parents who work.

I will have done more hours of childcare anyway than any housewife with 2 children under 5 because I have had 5 children spread over 28 years so far so hour by hour I have more experience of children than they have in terms of hours put in. I need a medal perhaps for the parent on this thread who has done the most hours of childcare.

If you have looked after three children under 4 or 5 (which is what we had in the early days) you will know that much of the task is domestic and dull. Yes breastfeeding is wonderful even if the toddler is trying to kick you at the same time. Yes, showing little children around the gardem, bed time stories cuddles are some of hte nicest parts in men's and women's lives but I would say have it in small doses as a 10 hour stint of it is very very boring a lot of time, a lot of it is containment of mess and children. A lot is very repetitive - spooning food into them, clearing it off the floor, dealing with sick, washing clothes, getting the kitchen tidy for the umpteenth time and dealing with squabbles and rows. You can have alovely close relationship with under 5s whilst looking after them for just a few hours a day.

exoticfruits Thu 02-May-13 06:47:05

Very true, reluctantlyCatholic- people choose what is best for them, and you are right that everything has it's welcome and unwelcome consequences. Your DCs are not you, they also have their own ideas and character. The DC of a WOHM may see them as an important role model and do the same, they may think 'no way am I doing that when I have DCs'. It is the same for those with SAHM they may think it was the way to be a mother or they may see it as the way NOT to do it. You can't possibly tell, they may be different within the same family.
MN seems very set on there being 'a WAY' to parent and if you follow x,y and z you will end up with a close relationship with your emotionally secure, responsible and successful adult child. Life isn't like that and there are no guarantees. You can only do what suits you best and hope that it suits your DC. What is right for one parent can't be right for every parent and what is right for one DC can't be right for every DC. We should stop thinking we have all the answers for everyone.
If you are bored rigid spending 24/7 with a small DC it would be much better for all concerned not to do it. The mistake is to think that everyone is bored rigid by it- or that one way is better than another.
A 'good enough' mother is fine - I always think the 'perfect mother' would be hell to live with!

exoticfruits Thu 02-May-13 06:53:39

I think that is why I wouldn't have had 3 children under 5 Xenia!
I had one and you can go anywhere and do anything with one. I then had another 2 close in age when I was much older and as one was then at secondary school it was a much wider picture. I was also much more experienced and also means that I have been a mother for a very long time. Each to their own.

exoticfruits Thu 02-May-13 07:08:49

There is also a huge difference between a woman of 21yrs becoming a mother and one of 41yrs becoming a mother, in the second case I think people can stop the patronising 'little woman' bit and assume that she is a mature woman who has had 20 years in a career and knows what she wants- and intends to do it.

christinarossetti Thu 02-May-13 07:28:07

Exactly, exoticfruits. The 'false consciousness' argument is patronising beyond belief and astounding to hear in the year 2013.

My close friend has a phd in biology and chemistry - she worked as a research scientist at a top London university before children. She never went back to work after her first child and indeed had 3 under 5 - oldest now 6.

She earned more than her husband, although they're fortunate enough to be able to live on his income now.

She's one of the happiest, grounded people I know.

It's not the lifestyle choice I made, but I don't think she was somehow deluded by a patriarchal society into making it.

dogsandcats Thu 02-May-13 07:47:11

Xenis and others utopia model only works on the internet or in peoples' minds.
In practice, for the other 10 hours while a child is awake, a man or another woman has to look after them.
And how many men do we all know doing it?

Xenia Thu 02-May-13 07:49:45

The utopian model is just making men pull their weight and having a fair home life and society, something many couples manage.

I am simply saying to eulogise dull domestic stuff which most people want to have others do by suggesting it is hallowed and female and worth huge value results in women being kept down in the home.

Badvoc Thu 02-May-13 07:57:17

I don't have a cleaner because they wouldn't do it right. Simple really.
I clean my home the I way I like. When I like. How I like.
Very much how I live my life, in fact smile
We don't have much money, true.
But hopefully that won't be forever...there aren't a many people I know with 1 income and 2 young kids who do have plenty of money tbh (I do not live in the SE or London, however)
It's not hallowed, what I do.
It's pretty boring sometimes actually.
(Ironing, anyone?)
BUT I get to take my mum to her hospital and dr appts, i get to spend time with my lovley little baby neice, I get to do my voluntary work, I get to be around for my kids (they are still young).
It works for us.

Bonsoir Thu 02-May-13 08:30:06

Do you ever examine your own disparaging view of domestic life, Xenia, and make a connection between that and the fact that you don't have one? Do you like being single?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 02-May-13 08:39:51

That's vicious, Bonsoir.

Bonsoir Thu 02-May-13 08:58:04

It's not vicious. Xenia clearly doesn't rate domesticity, ergo she doesn't spend any time on it, ergo she doesn't have much of it. Nothing in life comes for free - we invest our time and energy and, if we do well and are a bit lucky, we get our rewards. Xenia has a hard time understanding that people make different life choices and that hers are not necessarily all that attractive to everyone else.

dogsandcats Thu 02-May-13 09:03:06

I think I agree with Xenia's post of 7.49am

LittleFrieda Thu 02-May-13 09:13:47

There is a difference between wanting something and doing it because you feel it is best for your baby. This distinction appears to have passed Xenia by. I looked after my own children and never used paid-for childcare because I felt that was best or my children. For them. It's called maternal instinct.

I think more important than choosing a career is choosing a partner with whom to have children.

Xenia Thu 02-May-13 09:15:57

I don't think I've written about my personal life on mumsnet. I am pretty happy with my personal life. Or me being happy and healthy ilke most people are the most important things. Most humans, male or female, are happiest when they have not too much domesticity and financial independence and they also protect their children best by not living off male earnings.

Bonsoir Thu 02-May-13 09:17:15

You don't write about it because you aren't happy with it, Xenia. You write about absolutely everything that you think makes you look good and you gloss over everything that you are ashamed of/doesn't live up to the image you want to project!

LittleFrieda Thu 02-May-13 09:19:16

<snort at Xenia awarding herself a medal for being the parent on this thread who has done the most childcare>

Xenia is forever awarding herself medals and great big pats on the back.

Theres self belief and then theres having a need for a good therapist.

blueshoes Thu 02-May-13 09:26:31

Getting personal, bonsoir?? Xenia must be hitting a nerve with you.

FuturePerfect Thu 02-May-13 09:30:51

How sad to see this race to the bottom. OP, one can only hope that those charged with caring for you when you are old and vulnerable will try to look beyond the monotony and mess, and won't give up once their two-hour boredom threshold has been reached. Good luck.

LittleFrieda Thu 02-May-13 09:34:13

The reality is we can't all have amazing, highly-paid careers. But we can all choose supportive partners who will be good fathers to our children.

FasterStronger Thu 02-May-13 09:35:17

Xenia has always struck me as very resilient. I doubt she will be concerned by such comments. but they do say a lot about those making them.

wordfactory Thu 02-May-13 09:36:32

I'm absoluely certain that some people like spending as much time as possible with their DC and others want to mix it up, but I'd be shocked if anyone positively wanted to do housework. If they made self loading dishwashers and self cleaning loos wouldn't everyone buy them?

wordfactory Thu 02-May-13 09:39:09

And why do people assume Xenia is single? For all we know she has a veritable harem of strapping young men to pander to her every need!

Piemother Thu 02-May-13 09:39:40

Why did he have 4 kids then?

TanteRose Thu 02-May-13 09:42:34

more women should pat themselves on the back for doing a good job

more women should get medals

I never think Xenia writes things to make herself look good - a lot of what she writes is not seen as "good" by mainstream society (as this thread shows!) - things like working full-time, taking minimal maternity leave, being a single mother, taking full control of her life etc.

the whole point is that society mostly tells women that they shouldn't be in control, and that is very damaging IMO

Bonsoir Thu 02-May-13 09:44:46


Yes, but with her little medal speech she was, again, demeaning the lives of other women who do the childcare.

Its great that shes so sucessful. But shes not the only happy woman on earth who is good at what she does.

Bonsoir Thu 02-May-13 09:50:57

I know plenty of middle-aged divorcees who talk about nothing but work and are disparaging about domesticity and the raising of DC. They have tense relationships with their exHs who are generally pretty rubbish fathers. Their self-esteem is rock bottom but they absolutely refuse any suggestion that they should relax their uncompromising position on the comforts and pleasures of life. They never, ever find another man.

acceptableinthe80s Thu 02-May-13 10:10:54

The problem with the op's posts on this thread, so far as i can see, is that she professes to speak for all women and assumes we all want what she has. I find people obsessed with money incredibly dull, i really don't care about material possessions and would much rather spend quality time with my child than work 12 hours a day just so i can have a fancy car.

xenia the things you describe as dull and boring are what most of us call life and life as they say is what you make it. I enjoy pottering around my house/garden, i enjoy spending time with my child, i also enjoy working but i work to live, not the other way around.

I could have more disposable income if i chose to work more, however i chose to have a child and i rather like spending time with him, he is amusing, funny, insightful and makes me laugh out loud on a daily basis. For me, dull and boring would be spending my days hanging out with a bunch of solicitors/city workers.

We are all different and get pleasure from different things in life, why can't you just accept that?

If you change the word 'women' in your posts to word 'I' then fine, that is your POV but please don't make sweeping generalizations as to what makes other women happy because it is impossible for you to know that.

Badvoc Thu 02-May-13 10:15:16

I am sat in a sunny Room, watching benidorm on catch up, drinking tea and eating choc hob nobs.
I am pretty happy smile

Badvoc Thu 02-May-13 10:17:20

I am not sat in an office, hot and bothered, with people I despise, doing work that bores me for minimum wage.
I have done that in the past.
I know which I prefer!

Miggsie Thu 02-May-13 13:06:22

The thing is that life has shit boring bits all over the place, for everyone really.
Owning a house means you clean it - or someone does anyway.
Pets are an overhead in terms of money and looking after.
Gardens need tending
Kids need looking after.

The thing is all these htings have great bits and bad bits. I love gardening, even weeding, lots of people don't. DH hates it - but helps out as it needs to be done.

The pernicious thing about TY is he is saying "I don't like X about parenting so Ill push it off on someone else and tell them they should do it as realy they like it more and are better suited to it".

I think pushing crappy jobs you don't want to do onto someone else and then telling them you are somehow doing them a favour is truy shit - it is basic exploitation.

No gender is biologically better suited to one job or another job. You may have a personality suited to one hting or another, or been trained from birth to do something - bu it isn't in your X or Y chromazone.

I never knew competitive parenting could be taken so literally - i.e. a quantitative evaluation of who has done the most parenting! Bit silly I think, but that may just be because I would clearly finish last with only 1 11 month old under my belt! Must get procreating....

I do think that in Xenia's model (which I am pretty much living I think) one side effect is that both parents suffer parental guilt. LittleFrieda, it's not just maternal instinct, it's something that both parents can and should ideally have. DP is probably a better parent than me, he is crazy about our DD and has bonded with her better than I have, despite 11 months of breast feeding and 8 months maternity leave. DD cries when her dad leaves the room but not (always) when I do.

I know that DP finds it every bit as hard as i do to leave her and gender led social convention / expectations have nothing to do with it. It's just really tough to have a tiny person you adore who makes it absolutely clear that their idea of bliss is to always be within 2 feet of you. And who cries like the world is ending when you leave them. Even with a nanny she really likes.

That said I'm not about to stop work because I would go stir crazy at home with her. I guess this is a bit selfish potentially but there are probably hundreds of times in a child's life where parents make the (perfectly reasonable) selfish choice.

stepawayfromthescreen Thu 02-May-13 13:14:35

have that good hour with the children

What on earth?

If you don't enjoy looking after them, don't have them.
It's not compulsory.
Why on earth is getting away from the kids you gave birth to seen as some sort of achievement for feminism?
It isn't.
It's the opposite of that.
I want more than that. A lot more than one good hour.
I'm sorry if you children bore/bored you.
Mind don't.

larrygrylls Thu 02-May-13 13:21:33

"We really need Ms Young on this thread as it is such a good example - she solicitor who potentially could earn £500k to £1m a year if she were any good. He journalist - will always live in relative poverty."

They certainly will when mean minded people like you call online subscription a "pay wall". So, journalists should give away their work but you should charge for it? Interesting perspective

Chandon Thu 02-May-13 13:24:53

Oh that One Good Hour sounds like the 1990's concept of "quality time".

FasterStronger Thu 02-May-13 13:30:06

But most men work full time so only see their Dcs at the weekend and in the evening. They dont seem to be critised for not spending enough time with their offspring.

Why do women get judged for doing exactly the same thing?

stepawayfromthescreen Thu 02-May-13 13:30:47

quality time is bullshit.
The important thing when raising kids is proximity.
Kids don't give a flying fuck about so called quality time.
They just want you, selfish little buggers.

fasterstronger - that was my point a minute ago - I think actually the more fathers take an equal share and really bond with small children the harder they will find it to spend less time. It's not society it's kids themselves wanting the time and proximity.

larrygrylls Thu 02-May-13 13:49:35

I get fed up with Xenia conflating looking after one's children and domestic drudgery. It is perfectly possible to have a cleaner (and other staff, if you really want) but think that parental time spent with their own children has a real value.

In general, although I agree with Xenia that it is important to have enough money to ensure the security of one's family, working 16 hours a day to make £500k to £1mio is not always fulfilling in many other ways (cultural, familial, intellectual...).

drjohnsonscat Thu 02-May-13 13:53:44

The pernicious thing about TY is he is saying "I don't like X about parenting so Ill push it off on someone else and tell them they should do it as realy they like it more and are better suited to it"

YY to this. This is James Delingpole's argument too. I hate it. I agree with all your post Miggsie.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 02-May-13 13:55:45

Err, the term pay wall is in pretty widespread use, I've heard employees of the news groups use it.

larrygrylls Thu 02-May-13 14:00:57


It is in general use, I agree, though I have no idea why. I suspect, though, that there are many terms in general use which you might object to and perceive as wrong.

Regardless of the term, I don't understand the vehement objection of many people to newspapers actually charging for their content, especially someone like Xenia who is aggressively pro free market.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 02-May-13 14:13:02

I missed Xenia posting that she was against charging for news content - which post was that?

Bonsoir, plenty of posters use MN to discuss politics, news items, camping, fashion etc etc without posting about their personal lives. I'm sure that's to do with how they use the Internet, not how happy they are.

Xenia Thu 02-May-13 15:10:53

You missed it because I have never said that. It seems to have become common parlance to call the Times (and now the Telegraph)'s system a "paywall". It is a pay wall and as a greedy little free market capitalist I have no problem with payment for writing. I wrote 30 books. I am paid every week for writing. I am not sure I would have written them if there were no fee.

Nor do I think the word paywall is derogatory. You pay to read the content therefore it's paywall. It does not mean you disagree with it and I do pay for the Times as that's the paper I have delivered. I don't think I'll bother with the Telegraph on line.

This is typical - people form this view of Xenia - that I "despise" particularly people or am against pay walls and it is utterly in accurate but it is said again and again and those reading those arguably libellous posts then form their view that I am against pay walls or whatever.

larrygrylls Thu 02-May-13 15:53:59

Libellous?! Falsely (although I think it is implicit from your much earlier post about linking) claiming that you are against pay walls? Please sue me if you fancy your chances, however.

I still find the term paywall completely bizarre. Where is the "wall"? No one has ever claimed a printed copy of a newspaper is behind a "paywall" although most newsagents don't adore people reading the sale stock without paying for it. Are lawyers behind a paywall because they charge to give you their opinions?

By the way, beware illeism (referring to oneself in the third person). It can be a symptom of narcissism and/or megalomania.

wordfactory Thu 02-May-13 16:18:57

OMG doesn't everyone call them paywalls?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 02-May-13 16:49:21

Paywall is probably derived from firewall.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 02-May-13 16:54:59

Xenia expressed mild frustration that she couldn't post comments on the TY article (you know, the one this thread is nominally about) because of the new paid firewall.

That's not being against pay walls. I'm not against the museum of thimbles charging £5 entry fee when it was previously free, I just choose not to pay it whilst perhaps having a small moan that I can't shelter from the rain in there any more.

LittleFrieda Thu 02-May-13 16:57:21

Paywall is common parlance. Just as 'paid for titles' and 'free titles' are common parlance with newspapers.

drjohnsonscat Thu 02-May-13 17:11:39

Utterly confused now. Paywalls are called paywalls. It's just what they are called. There's no judgment attached.

lljkk Thu 02-May-13 18:02:22

Is it possible to libel someone on the Internet when I have no clue as to their true identity?

How does one sue me for defamation of character when I can't possibly know whose character I have defamed? Xenia could be Justin Beiber, Bruce Forsythe, Julia Roberts or Catherine Tate for all I know (plenty of online posts are pure lies so no compelling reason for me to 100% believe she isn't any of them).

chibi Thu 02-May-13 19:15:25

this argument always gets so incredibly personal. people accusing xenia of having a crappy home life want to take a hard look at themselves- how could you possibly know, and how could it be relevant?

fwiw i expect nearly everyone has children with the man they think will be a good father, or who at least they hope will grow in to it. i can't imagine there is a large group of women thinking 'well, he is a bad'un and will probably screw me over the first chance he gets but i will have children with him anyway'

thing is, your certainties, your hopes your judgement of character are no insurance against the future

childhood is short, and the rest of life is so long- true indeed. that cuts both ways however.

exoticfruits Thu 02-May-13 19:16:33

I agree with acceptablein80s.
It is very simple - all women are different. I too would find being a solicitor as dull as ditchwater and I don't find childcare dull- there is nothing wrong with either view so I don't see why it can't be accepted that we can all have choice.

exoticfruits Thu 02-May-13 19:18:38

And if we are not much bothered about money and material possessions we equally entitled to live that way.

FasterStronger Thu 02-May-13 19:39:49

So some women prefer not to work, or to work in low paid but rewarding jobs, but what about the vast numbers of women in the UK who do boring, dead end jobs to pay the bills, with little thanks at home.

I am on a train but the UN figures say something like across the world women do 60% of the worlds work and own 10% of the world wealth.

and they are not choosing to do lower remunerated work for a greater life satisfaction. As a sex we ARE the second sex. to focus on you own life and claim it fine and it is simply a personal matter for couples is to miss the fucking point entirely.

We are the second sex and that matters.

dogsandcats Thu 02-May-13 19:58:09

I think it was you who said that people dont complain when men see their kids for 2 hours including weekends.
I,for one, would.
Even dads who work 80 hour weeks can still manage better than that.

Yes, we are the second sex.
But unless you kill all of them, or you are a very rare woman who can get a man to do just about anything, it can only change gradually.

I think I read recently that men are now doing 50% of the housework?
That is a huge leap from even 40 years ago.
Mind you, I think that is partly because there are now more office type jobs.
I shouldnt think, that in tribes of hunter gathers, and areas that still rely on man's strength and stamina to catch food, that there has been much of a cultural shift!

Rome was not built in a day.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Thu 02-May-13 22:30:00

"I know plenty of middle-aged divorcees who talk about nothing but work and are disparaging about domesticity and the raising of DC. They have tense relationships with their exHs who are generally pretty rubbish fathers. Their self-esteem is rock bottom but they absolutely refuse any suggestion that they should relax their uncompromising position on the comforts and pleasures of life. They never, ever find another man."
Perhaps you should turn your powers of penetration, such as they are, on people who come on websites and make all kinds of venomous, unwarranted assertions about the personal lives of people they have never met. I think that's behaviour which is ripe for analysis, myself.

reluctantlyCatholic Thu 02-May-13 23:06:57

In countries where Buddhism is practised widely, domestic chores are often used as a means of connecting with the spirit and the present moment.

Our relationship to domestic chores is somewhat different in the West but sometimes I do wonder if there isn't a bit of arrogance in the dismissal of childrearing as "drudgery". I'm not asking anyone to find wiping up baby sick endearing or to enjoy telling their toddler to stop trying to murder their infant sibling but I think there is an incredible failure of imagination happening where all child rearing activities are seen as mundane, dull, stultifying whatever.

I also don't really understand how anyone is qualified to comment on the validity of another women choosing a different path to the one they chose themselves. With all due respect Xenia, you were back at work when your children were a few weeks old: how do you know that spending more time with them would have been as dull as you believe and/or that "most women" who work feel the same? Perhaps, yes.. but perhaps not, too. You don't and can't know. It really doesn't matter, either. The choice to work in a different way just wasn't for you in the same way that your lifestyle isn't for other women. Vivre la difference.

reluctantlyCatholic Thu 02-May-13 23:07:30


TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 02-May-13 23:55:17

Dogsandcats, I don't have to "get" my DH to do anything - we both work, we both parent, we both do housework. No persuasion or whatever, just division of labour.

exoticfruits Fri 03-May-13 07:00:14

I love your posts reluctantlyCatholic. What works for one woman doesn't work for another- I can't see why it should, or even why it is desirable that it should.
I have never seen myself as 'the second sex' - it seems to intimate it is better to be male and I wouldn't want to be.

Badvoc Fri 03-May-13 07:57:37

Erm...I do judge men who only see their kids for an hour a day.
As I would judge a woman who did the same.
My bil is an example.
And my nephews are paying the price.
They know that daddy would rather be at work/playing golf/at the pub...anywhere but with them.
They are 7 and 8.
I also know women who had a baby "because its expected" or because "its what you do" not because they wanted one.
So, yeah.
Sometimes it is very easy to judge.
So that's why I do.

FasterStronger Fri 03-May-13 08:01:43

yes doctrine, the starting point should not be that you have the 'get' your partner to do something.

and why should anyone accept gradual change for an unjust and unequal society?

Wishihadabs Fri 03-May-13 08:31:56

Sorry haven't read the whole thread-I know. But doesn't it depend totally on the age of the dcs as well. I loved being at home in the first 3 years. I love babies and toddlers, I knew lots of other Mums and like going to the park/toddler groups etc. DH less so. Now they are at school and I find the routine and drudgery stifling. DH OTOH likes pottering around at home, it makes me want to climb the walls.

acceptableinthe80s Fri 03-May-13 11:04:22

I agree exotic, i've never felt second to any man. I've also never relied on a man for money, nor would i ever put myself in that position.
We as individuals are the only ones with the power to change aspects of our lives we're not happy with.

fasterstronger, it's not just married women who work dead end jobs to pay the bills. There are lots of men out there doing the same and lots of single people too. I'm a single parent and i don't need thanks from anyone for going out to work, living in a capitalist world it's something we all have to do. If someone isn't happy with their lot in life they alone do have the power to change that.

And those of us who are parents have a responsibility to raise our children to be independent, capable adults regardless of sex.
All children in the uk have equal access to education, what they do with that education is up to them as individuals.

Maybe i'm just lucky that my own parents were/are on a very equal footing with regards to household chores/childcare. I realize this isn't the case for everyone and that those people may have to fight a harder battle. But really women are only treated as 'the second sex' if they allow themselves to be. I'm not saying inequality doesn't exist, of course it does, but it's not something i'd allow in my home. No-one has to put up with being treated as a domestic servant.
Marriage and children are not compulsory. And if a women wants a family and career then she should ensure her partner's on the same page before committing to raising a family together.

Xenia Fri 03-May-13 11:21:32

acceptable I agree with that and I think we have become a culture of blamers and moaners. There is nothing to stop a woman on a fifth date when man expects woman to cook to say - okay this time and then you do next. Then if they move in have a chat about he does the washing and yo do the cooking or you clean downstairs and he does up or he collected from nursery 3 days a week and you do two or whatever. Women have a responsibility to themselves and the wider society not to acecpt sexist men.

Yes some cultures do force women into serving men, plenty of hard liner Christian and Muslim families follow those sorts of principles in the uK even today - women serve, men earn and girls who want jobs are prevented or discouraged.

dogsandcats Fri 03-May-13 11:41:45

Agree with that except your last line.
Dont know about Muslim families,
but in Chrisitian families,in the UK, well the many I know, that is not true.
Which sort of demonination are the Chrisitian families? And how many do you know hmm.

dogsandcats Fri 03-May-13 11:42:44

I meant, how many Christian families do you know where the girls are discouraged or prevented from working? hmm

acceptableinthe80s Fri 03-May-13 12:12:03

''Women have a responsibility to themselves and the wider society not to accept sexist men."

That pretty much sums it up for me Xenia.

Xenia Fri 03-May-13 13:27:09

dog I just meant fundamentalist Christians, also orthodox Jews too and traditional Islam - girls who marry at 16 - 18 (I suppose some gypsy communities too) whose lives will be domestic service to men. There are UK Christian groups who take pretty literally those bits of the Bible about women submitting to men as they do in the Lord. We have the Brethern near us who are a fascinating lot - women in head scarves, children tend not to go to university as it might infect you with the outside world, girls taught they will stay at home and care for men and children and do all the housework etc. Society is littered with these sexist arrangements. I have yet find a religion which gives me express sanction to to beat a husband or have 3 husbands a once.

Bonsoir Fri 03-May-13 13:35:09

Mainstream society does not support the type of Medieval sexism you describe, Xenia. There is no point getting all hot and bothered about outliers.

wordfactory Fri 03-May-13 13:47:03

But Bonsoir, that's a bit like saying let's not worry about those anti semite nutters who still think the hollocaust was made up...cos you know, they're just outliers!

morethanpotatoprints Fri 03-May-13 14:30:24

I feel sorry for the kids tbh. My dd read this article title in the paper and wanted to know why so many parents of either sex didn't want to look after their children. sad
Apart from saying some people have to work I didn't have an answer. It does seem a strange world when we hear reports like this, parents arguing about who looks after their kids.

Bonsoir Fri 03-May-13 14:32:23

I'm not remotely worried about people denying the Holocaust - they are, as you say, nutters. And there are always nutters about - always have been, always will be. Outliers are not the problem.

Xenia's feminism is largely (not always) 1970s feminism - she's constantly fighting battles that have already been won and, when that is pointed out to her, she searches desperately for an outlier to prove her point.

wordfactory Fri 03-May-13 14:37:47

Ah well I disagree bonsoir.

I think complacancy is dangerous. Look at yesterdays elections in the UK. UKIP have done very very well, despite their views on jews, gays, women etc. They're no longer the outliers!

Portofino Fri 03-May-13 14:53:20

I don't believe those battles have been won at all. I am fortunate to work in quite a non-sexist, family friendly company where I do see male colleagues taking days to look after sick kids/doing the school run and generally there is no culture of presenteeism. There is an active Diversity programme and they offer various child friendly perks to (the mostly male) employees. I was STILL asked a