I suppose this proves that women just can't stand the heat.........(243 Posts)
[shocked] but not surprised that this has become about childcare.
If allowing childcare providers to increase the ratio of children results in lower childcare costs, then at least for some parents it would make childcare affordable whereas they would not otherwise have the choice to work. Right now, childminders are still quite expensive even though they are the cheapest form of childcare for babies.
Those who can afford nannies won't be affected by higher ratios.
Seekers perhaps you can offer some alternative views as to the reasons for this then?
What blueshoes said.
It is a complex problem. Based on personal experiences, I wonder if the pressure to breastfeed exclusively for six months and continue beyond that us also a factor.
Alpha women I know tend to be determined to do the very best for their dc. Following breastfeeding guidance means long maternity leaves and limited scope to share the months of sleep deprivation. Even afterward, the mother has become the default primary caregiver.
Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.
Yes...the fact that most people want at least one child is definitely the problem. Has nothing to do with the extortionate amounts charged for even one child that would take a good chunk out of most people's monthly wage
And wow betide you if you dare to conceive twins.
Seeker I can only comment on the way the women around me have had their careers affected and the reasons that are most obvious in their lives.
All of the women I have met at baby groups or through our children have pretty much all been professional women, doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, teachers, etc. They have all taken a full year of ML if finances allow, then the majority of them have chosen to return to work pt, some have chosen to stay at home until the youngest child starts school, relatively few have chosen to return to work ft. So having children has affected the woman's career in a way that the man in the relationship hasn't experienced.
I'm sure there are other factors at play, and I wouldn't lay the blame at the high cost of childcare in my social circle, it's more the expectation that the children are the responsibility of the woman, and that the woman's career will take a back seat in the early years of their children's lives. I don't claim to know enough about the other issues to be able to comment on them, I'd love to be educated about them though.
I think that a big part of the problem is that the workspace is run in a very macho way. There's still a lot of chest thumping and "my dicks bigger than your dick" kind of mentality in a lot of senior level meetings and it is deeply unpleasant to work in such a way - it certainly goes against my work ethic.
I also found that I had to shout louder and longer (metaphorically) to be heard and that when a female adopts a confrontational attitude (e.g. As a nonexec director, when i confronted a non performing management team and tried to call them on it) there is a lot of eye-rolling and a real unwillingness to take such points on board yet when a male non-exec in same position starts to back you up, all of a sudden management are listening.
I found that when I took a maternity leave, as well as deciding to stay at home for a bit because of the difficulty and expense of childcare, I also had no compulsion to make a hasty return to such an environment.
Another issue, I wonder, is the attitude of women in senior positions once they do break through that glass ceiling. Now my experience is only based on one female manager from hell, so statistically invalid. However she made it far more difficult for women to progress than men. I have heard of similar cases from other women who had female bosses so I do wonder that if these senior female managers, because they have had to be so aggressive in order to get to the top, then ironically make it more difficult for other women to do the same (please note I am not trying to say that all women are like this!!
Sorry, I've written a long and rambling response, but just wanted to relate some of my experience to explain why it might be more than childcare issues which are at the root of this phenomenon. I should also add that I have worked some fabulous people, male and female, so am not trying to make too much of a sweeping generalisation!
I do think the babies are women's work attitude hasn't been challenged as much as it needs to be yet. I am surprised by how many threads in the relationship area are about men who think that childcare is not an equal thing.
The crazy prices, social pressure, pressure to exclusively bf etc. all combine to make an ambush on some women's careers once they have children.
Cost of childcare is not really a factor for women in positions of power.
It is a major expense, but generally managable for high earners. Social pressure to do the 'best' for dc is a bigger problem Especially when that best is based on the notions of gurus like Oliver James.
Also, after having my DC I felt that it was seen as more acceptable for a man to express a disliking for being a parent 24/7 but women are supposed to just love being a mum all the time & feel fulfilled with that for a while. Might just be me but I know from talking at baby groups, on here etc that I'm not the only one who wanted to keep other areas of my life (such as my career) going...
Yes, on every business trip I had remarks along the lines of
'it must be very hard'
'don't you miss her?'
I got the latter again fairly recently. My dd is a preschooler. A man would never be asked that. Especially not in a meeting.
My DC's now 2 and obviously I love him to bits but when I have a (very rare) night off I can safely say I don't sit at home chewing my fingernails & feeling bad. But sometimes I still feel like I should & get asked if I miss him etc.
Mother's are only human too y'know
It's not just the cost of childcare at all, the workplace and society's attitudes towards it is inherently misogynistic. I have friends in a couple that do exactly the same job, it is one that has long hours and is notoriously inflexible. Very few people (except me because I'm a bit arsey like this) even question why this job is still perfectly suitable for him whilst now impossible for her.
Don't even get me started on the bullshit that is the line 'staying at home with your children is the most important job you can do' that gets trotted out on here in regards to SAHMs. It's not the 1950s and there are plenty of important things women can do other than housework and childcare.
But yes, it is a very real pressure that comes from many different sources.
Articles about the effects of all types of stuff mum's do on their kids. (ie working, not working, bfeeding, not bfeeding), pressure from childcare books etc, other mum's. It's all a bit strange considering it's 2013 and not like that for the Dad's really.
I think that a lot of pressure comes via social media. Forums like this one, facebook etc.
People can't see the utterly exhausted women in their audience when they insist that following hcps' advice on sleep training etc is something they'd never do.
My work is very flexible. The trouble is that dc are not flexible. They need a lot of attention and get sick at inconvenient times.
The work still has to be done and slogging away in the evenings and weekends is not healthy.
Agree wholeheartedly holey
I think that's why I tell any new mum/mum to be that asks for advice how it really is as nicely as I can. I worry I'll be like one of the ones who totally sugarcoated it when I asked...and I really wish they hadn't!
I know one woman who's a total mother earth type, loves it, bfed her Dc til he was 2, stayed home and was happy to never go out...and good for her. She was happy. But it's not one size fits all & it's hard to fight that when you're a knackered new parent at first, alongside all the workplace issues, money issues etc.
Popadom - I work in a mainly female environment even up to board level. I have to say rather than how big is your cock its more back stabbing and I can't believe she did that! And for that reason I don't want to go back after ml. However we don't have a choice, fortunately we have free child care in the form of mil, but even then I have had all the ambition bitched out of me and I will be going back part time, with no enthusiasm other than finding an exit strategy
As for the lady with 11 children and a horse. I should imagine she has more benefits other than child benefit. She prob gets housing allowance, payment from the father if she is single, heating allowance, employment benefit. Etc. and just cause she has a horse doesn't mean she is spending loads of money - I should think the horse isn't shod, has 2nd hand rugs, and lives out - therefore a much reduced amount to full livery at a prestigious yard. I'm not sure what my point is. Something to do with the underlying complex circumstances to each case - 11 children and a horse living on child benefit, bit more to it than that. And, actually, assuming she has no debt, she handles her finances better than most.
I agree that pressure to do the 'best' for your dcs comes from everywhere, and social media plays quite a big part of that. I personally managed to do everything I consider to be the 'best' for my dcs, including working ft from when they were small (dd1 was 13 months when I started ft uni, dd2 was 6 months when I went back to work ft).
BOTH parents need to be able to work flexibly, as flexible working for just one means that person is the one who is expected to drop everything when something crops up like dcs being ill.
The problem in my area (legal) was certainly that the whole system was set up to eat as much of your life as possible. Your salary is a fixed cost and you are judged by how many hours you record in a year. The chats you might have with senior partners take place when you bump into them at 7/8/9 pm, as earlier in the day they are rushing to meetings or on conference calls.
Pre-children, most men and women accepted this. I worked crazy hours. And in many ways they got crazier post-Blackberry. I once had a colleague get cross because I hadn't joined a conference call he had organised on a deal on a Sunday. A conference call he had simply notified people of by email a couple of hours earlier.
Post children, I had to carve some time back, or I would never have seen them. But even though I was earning less and working almost as much, the perception was that I wasn't on track any more. And I didn't have those key networking conversations and trips to the pub.
And if you are the boss of a firm like that, I get why you want the father who will work all hours with no boundaries and not me. So I think that the changes need not to be focused on women with children. It needs to be about people generally carving more life for themselves. Because that's the only way large numbers of women will want to play the game. (Although why mothers feel pulled towards work/life balance and men don't is a whole other post).
Interestingly, I have had two conversations with partners at law firms recently about how they have issues finding people (not women, anyone) who wants to make partnership. The rewards aren't seen as there and the path to get there is seen as too long and too unpredictable. If this genuinely becomes a succession planning issue, law firms may have to change their ways.
Agree,if you are not available at all times seen as less committed
Thinking about politics in particular, I think it poses particular challenges for women with children.
Most of those women will have a working partner rather than a traditional stay at home supporter. Statistically, highly educated, ambitious women tend to marry similar men and are far less likely to have a pure 'helpmeet' partner. Politics involves long hours, significant time away from home (unless you have a London constituency) so unless you have a partner whose work is very flexible, that needs cast iron childcare. Although MPs have a decent salary, they don't have the type of high earner salary necessary to maintain the 'two nanny' set up that many, for example, banking females would be able to utilise. I'd be interesting to hear what the expectations for hours and locations are for MPs in other countries.
Also, I think that the unpredictability of politics is probably a greater disincentive to women than men (again, I'm going to leave for the time being the issue of why women are more likely to feel the pull of time at home and the guilt if they don't see their children for the whole working week). It's hard to invest all that effort and time away when it could all go by the way every four years. it's not like if you leave a law firm and could get another job at another firm. There is nowhere else to be an MP. Again, I'm not sure how this compares to other countries.
Will keep pondering...
Join the discussion
Please login first.