I am infuriated by this attitude which seems to be prevalent. After women have had babies they only work if they have to, and go part time if they can. But I can't put into words why I work - why wouldn't I? I work for the same reasons as I did before I had children. I work for the same reasons as DH works. Either of us could give up work and we'd cope. But that was true pre-children. Women continuing to work FT seems to be a slur on their man's ability to 'provide'.
Surely a contributing factor to this situation is the insistence of society on defining the actions of sahm/wohm rather than referring to sahp/wohp p being parent of course. When I was expecting dc1 I remember fil who knew I was going to go back to work after mat leave asking when I was going to be mum. Dh was never asked such an insulting question.
dueling-why? I have a cleaner and would love to find someone to do my ironing. I don't give a flying fuck what other people can or can't do. Why would that influence my decision? Money shapes things though, of course it does. Three days a week I work in the am, spend pm with kids, then put in 2-3 hours work in the evening. The other days i work a short full day and do 1-2 hours in the evening. Doing the ironing after that often makes me cry. I work hard and well and earn good money. It makes sense to use this to pay someone to take on my last straw no? Just wish I could find someone!
There is always an issue with how we deal with the pressures of work/home, and I am extremely lucky as dd is at the school I tech in, and I get free childcare there. There are times I work long hours or go on trips with the older kids I teach, but I can so easily chat to her teachers, and go to see her for 5 minutes between meetings etc. that I feel in constant contact.
Do I feel bad that I have a cleaner? No, not as I do the majority of housework and the cleaner effectively does dh's share. Do I feel bad that I am contributing to the ongoing role of a woman who is doing low paid manual work? Yes, but then actually she works enough that her job pays her a living wage, and is still flexible to fit around her children. So, having a cleaner is both perpetuating the stereotypes and enabling her to have economic autonomy. That is a difficult paradox.
Would I employ a man to clean my house or care for my child? Absolutely, and dd has had male care workers. In fact, the after school carers try to get a good mix as the children in childcare are both male and female, so they want both role models available. (Also a range of ethnicities, but that is a different thread).
What really pisses me off is that the going rate for a cleaner is about $25 per hour, but professional gardeners get double that. The tasks aren't that much different, and although the gardener has more equipment, and has to transport it, that doesn't account for the full difference. Basically, men just get paid more. So women are more likely to stay home. Then people use the numbers of women to stay home to justify paying them less, when in fact the causality is the other way around.
I totally fit the stereotype in the OP. I have a degree, an MA and worked in a specialised field related to my MA for several years before taking 2 lots of maternity leave, then stopping work to be a SAHM. Now I have gone back to work as a TA - a 'mum job' as some would call it, earning less money than my first job out out of uni.
However I am happy and fulfilled in both my work and home life. It works for us.
I do wish all jobs were more flexible though- I know one family where both parents work part time and to be honest that looks ideal to me- they are both equal in terms of wage earning and child rearing.
Wouldn't get a cleaner because I hate the idea of someone I do 't know beng in my house when I am not there, or even when I am there, plus I can't afford it, plus I think they would find it hard to clean around my clutter. The jobs that annoy me the most are putting away washing and doing the washing-up. I would have to have someone come round daily to make a difference With the washing-up and how would a cleaner know where to put my washing?
I might re-consider sending ironing out but then I think when it came back I would need someone to put it away.