Problems of challenging the beliefs of older women

(104 Posts)
CailinDana Fri 27-Dec-13 14:00:04

Both my DM and my MIL were brought up in deeply misogynistic environments, my mother in Catholic Ireland and my MIL as the daughter of a single mother in England. They both married men who hold blatantly sexist views. My father said when I was 12 that educating women is pointless as their place is in the home. He holds this view in spite of the fact that my mother is highly educated with a very responsible job and has been the breadwinner throughout their marriage while has barely worked at all. He still left almost all the domestic work and household organising to her and her life was far more difficult than it needed to be due to him.
FIL has similar views and is in general an insecure asshole who likes to big himself up at the expense of others.
Both women have the underlying belief that men are important, come first etc and have put up with treatment they shouldn't have due to this belief.
As an example when I moved in with dh

CailinDana Sun 05-Jan-14 10:39:09

Sorry. My dad took full advantage of it. But I couldn't be bothered with him any more, I just don't care. In spite of badly my mum let me down I do still admire the monumental effort she put into bringing us up and I want to free her from my dad so she doesn't waste her gc's childhood unnecessarily by appeasing a lazy selfish idiot.
With MIL it's basically the same thing with the added kicker that I seriously dislike my FIL. Plus she has openly expressed sexual biases and I don't want my children to hear that.
Essentially I want both women to finally be free.

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Sun 05-Jan-14 14:12:48

Cailin, I feel very similar about my mum - I have an overwhelming urge to help her/look after her/free her from the drudgery of her life with my dad. While at the same time I have the strongest feeling of avoiding doing anything that my dad will benefit from - something that leads me to internal conflict a lot.

One of the things that still rankles with me is that after my mum had her stroke, I wasn't able to take time off work to look after her/help her (I'm a lone parent with my own mortgage, I'd no chance of surviving if I took extended unpaid leave) but my dad could have. Yet he took only a few days off when she got out of hospital and got his sister and then my mum's sister in to do his dishes/washing/cleaning as well as the general household stuff my mum couldn't do. I couldn't get my head around that - my mum was physically incapable of doing anything and still he wouldn't lift a finger for himself never mind anyone else. So 2 women (same age/generation as my mum) pandered to his insistence that he couldn't take time off to step up on my mums behalf. He could have worked from home, but even that became 'too difficult' for him, at a time when my mum needed him. I desperately wanted to be the one to take care of my mum but I'd have lost my home if I'd done that. And still my mum felt sorry for him because it 'must've been very hard/stressful for him to have to go to work and come home and do stuff' so she felt it was right for her DS & SIL to pick up after the lazy git instead of her.

My mind still boggles at that.

CailinDana Sun 05-Jan-14 15:03:01

I suppose to admit he was just being a selfish arsehole was too hard?

My dad is actually a very gentle easy-going person. I've inly seen him angry maybe three times in my life. When it came to simply being cuddly and loving he far outstripped my mother - I always felt far more cared for by him than by her. But it's very hard to square that with the fact that he never once took me to the doctor or dentist (always my mum) never planned a party or helped with homework etc. He was a "reactive" parent rather than active one in the sense that he would respond quite well in most situations but would never take any initiative. If any criticism was levelled at him he would smile as if he genuinely thought it was just a bit of ribbing. He totally has his head in the clouds which can be quite endearing. What annoys me is that while he has wandered around disengaged from the worldy mother has pretty much run his entire life for him. I genuinely think that if she dies before him he will not cope.

HoleyGhost Mon 06-Jan-14 07:03:17

Cailin, maybe she likes it that way?

I think that my own mother wanted to excel in every aspect of her life. Her notion of a good wife involved doing everything as regards catering/hosting/laundry etc. While working full time. She is a passive aggressive martyr who is incapable of delegating. Even if my father had started out willing to contribute more at home, I doubt she would have let him. She sees her role as a woman as incorporating traditional SAHM work as well as being the breadwinner. My father has come to be utterly dependant on her and I suspect she likes that on some level .

My own DH pulls his weight at home and does his fair share with our dc. It is a small price to pay for a genuinely supportive marriage and a happy family.

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