Do families with an SAHP tradition think it's worth educating their DDs?

(57 Posts)
CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 21-Mar-13 08:46:27

Provocative but semi-serious question prompted by a shock conversation with the (Neanderthal throwback) DH of a SAHM who sent their DS to private school but not their DDs because - and I quote - 'girls don't need to be well-educated to run a home'. I should add that this is a smart, outwardly normal, Cheshire family.

Why would someone who is vehemently opposed to mothers using childcare or being in paid employment think it was worthwhile educating girls or encouraging them to pursue a challenging career? Feel free to flame.

freerangelady Thu 21-Mar-13 08:49:59

It's the opposite in my circle. As boys are often going to inherit the farm it's the girls who are sent private and not the boys. Girls are often given a cash lump sum or some other property instead if the farm business but some older generation farmers still think the girls need to fend for themselves.

And youvd

freerangelady Thu 21-Mar-13 08:51:01

Don't educate purely for a career - I think that would be a sad state of affairs. It's also to ensure a rich and varied cultural life.

kim147 Thu 21-Mar-13 08:55:28

freerange Have you told Gove that sad

Education opens horizons and brings opportunities. It's denied to so many people around the world especially women.

WildeRumpus Thu 21-Mar-13 09:04:41

In an NGO in India a strong principle was 'educate the woman, educate a family'. Because the woman is traditionally at home, education, or knowledge, comes from her first and is very influential.

I am a sahm atm and just got my doctorate. I love that I have my own knowledge and have been taught to think, but also am a role model to my two boys. I help them think for themselves and consider things far more than their working dad does. Value of a person goes beyond the protestant work ethic.

That man you speak of is clearly sexist as hell and am deeply saddened for his daughters. Either they will.grow up as doormats or full.of resentment to him. What a twat.

ReallyTired Thu 21-Mar-13 09:09:07

My mother knew a family like you describe. The girl went to state schools and the two boys were sent to private schools. Ironically the state eduated girl ended up at Oxford and did better than her brothers.

Many people with old fashioned views like your friend want their daughters to do well at school so that they can attend a good university and meet a wealthy husband. (They realise that the SAHM lifestyle requires a wealthy husband to fund it!)

I went to a private school with a friend whose brother was sent to Eton, but the girl just went to the local private girls day school. The girl now has a very sucessful career as a top nurse and has never married or had children.

BeaWheesht Thu 21-Mar-13 09:09:20

My mum was a sahm when I was under 5, I will be a sahm until my youngest starts school, dh's mum has been a sahm since we eldest was born 38 years ago!

I went to a great Uni despite having a sahm and would certainly expect no less from my daughter than my son in their education ie that they work hard, try their best and finds a career that pays the bills.

I know that god forbid were anything to happen and dh be unable to support us I could go and get a job / career because I have good qualifications.

Trills Thu 21-Mar-13 09:10:51

How will their girls find rich husbands if not by going to university?

ByTheWay1 Thu 21-Mar-13 09:11:02

I'm more worried that you think his daughters will be less "educated" if they go to a state school - education is NOT just about schooling...

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Thu 21-Mar-13 09:12:42

I am a SAHM. My daughters may not make the same choice, but more importantly, even if they did, an education is still vital - it opens up new horizons and ways of thinking, and benefits the mother and the whole family. The idea that raising children is unskilled work is IMO pretty damaging for society as a whole. That goes for childcare too - it would be better if very young children were cared for by educated people.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Thu 21-Mar-13 09:14:39

Also, most SAHM's aren't at home forever. I will almost certainly go back to work at some point.

JoandMax Thu 21-Mar-13 09:15:50

Well I would hope that is a minority view! I certainly don't know anyone who feels like that thankfully.

I'm a SAHM and I would certainly place any DDs education on a level with DSs - gender wouldn't come into it for DH or I.

I am degree educated, had a great job before DCs and I would hope to go back to work when I feel the time is right for my family. Being a SAHM is a period of my life, it doesn't change who I was or will be in the future or define me.

badguider Thu 21-Mar-13 09:17:39

That father is being stupid and short-sighted. These days we don't educate people for a single career for life. The value of education in my opinion is in learning to learn. Once you have the skills to learn you can continually learn, take on cpd, re-learn, re-train, change career... if anything, the ability to re-train and learn new skills confidently is MORE important for anyobdy who will for any reason take some time out of the workplace.

" were anything to happen and dh be unable to support us I could go and get a job / career because I have good qualifications"

Really though? After a decade or so out of the workplace and with little/no experience (am talking in general rather than you specifically) can you just walk into a family supporting career on the basis of old qualifications?

BeaWheesht Thu 21-Mar-13 09:19:51

Oh and incidentally I went to a state school that was the bottom of the league tables, I still went to one of the best universities in the country and one of the leading departments for my subject in the world.

Pagwatch Thu 21-Mar-13 09:20:05

But not every sahm is opposed to mothers using childcare or being in paid employment.

I think your question is to the very small number of women who see being a sahm as a calling, a sort of moral imperative. They are as rare in my life as the cliche feminist who hates men.

Most sahms I know, including me, see being at home as a pragmatic choice created by specific circumstances. That sometimes include a particular emotional response to motherhood.

I was an associate Director in a major city firm running a department of thirty staff in three locations for over 16 years before I became a sahm. Why would I want my daughter not to have a career ? She is 10 and already talks about her future life and it is just like her brothers was - going to uni, studying art and doing sport and then a career. As long as the Oscars feature along with an Olympic gold medal she wants to fit something great in. At the moment being an English teacher or writing books.

I also encourage my DD to see education as having a value beyond employment - a priviledge (and hopefully a joy) in its own right.

zzzzz Thu 21-Mar-13 09:22:35

I think educating girls is important because if they want to and can stay at home to raise their children then they are providing a more educated environment.

I find it odd that you think state education is not really education at all?

Many people send their boys away to board but not their girls. I think that's more about attitudes to sexuality (ie they want to keep a firm eye on there girls but their boys can go a bit wild hmm ).

I think most people do what they think is right for that particular child rather than have blanket policies.

BeaWheesht Thu 21-Mar-13 09:22:59

SPB - thanks for that! wink

Seriously though, I'd like to think so - I do have experience from the short time between graduating and having ds but tbh my plan is to retrain with a postgrad which I couldn't do if I didn't have a degree in the first place. My degree is a MA Hons and once dd starts nursery (15 free hours) I will be getting some voluntary experience in a relevant field for a couple of years until she starts school.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 21-Mar-13 09:30:55

But most SAHPs will work for 5-10 years before even getting married, let alone having kids (average age of marriage is 29 for women 31 for men, I think) which is the time in your work life when education matters most (vs experience)

I am really shocked that your friend has said this out loud. Way to give a bad message to his DD. I assume the corollary is he expects his DS to have a SAHW.

378 Thu 21-Mar-13 09:31:33

I think your thread title is worded incorrectly in that I think it is wrong to assume that families with a SAHM are 'vehemently opposed to mothers being using childcare or being in paid employment'. Your 'neanderthal throwback' doesn't bear any resemblance to the mothers and fathers I know where one parent stays at home.

I am currently at home hopefully until my children have all started school. I have a degree and postgraduate qualifications, 14 years' corporate experience and am fully expecting to be able to resume my career - though I am prepared to study further should I need to to update my qualifications when I go back.

I think education is hugely important for everybody, and AFAIK one of the main indicators of children's future 'success' is the level of education attained by the mother - I believe this is ranked more highly than family income.

zzzzz Thu 21-Mar-13 09:33:02

I am a university educated SAHM and have no plans to find work outside the home in the future. I feel this is where I was meant to be, but I suspect a large part of my contentment comes from knowing I could have chosen other paths.

MammaMedusa Thu 21-Mar-13 09:53:31

I was a SAHM. Worked for ten years previously and it was largely that work which enabled us to have enough financial security so that I could stay home. I now work part-time and have all afternoons and holidays with my children. When they are a bit older (12 - 15), I intend to retrain and enter the workplace more earnestly - am making gentle steps toward this now.

While being at home they have had me around to help with homework, friendship, clubs, etc. I have also put hours and hours of unpaid labour into their schools - often in the classroom, where many of my workplace and university skills have been used.

Soupa Thu 21-Mar-13 10:11:12

The Neanderthal doesn't voice the beliefs of current SAHPs any more than a SAHM tradition means vehement opposition to childcare.

It was a well renumerated career that allowed me to stop working when I had children and the education that made this an option helped when I retrained too. Now I have two potential careers I could follow and am employable in either. I would worry a bit for a daughter who didn't have this independence although I would view all my children's education as important.

Am not overly surprised to hear their are some bizarre views out there though. Actually an old neighbour was the same but agreeably his son dropped out choosing an alternative life style whilst the daughter excelled more traditionally.

Bea - sorry - I realised as I was writing it that I was making a lot of assumptions about you that weren't necessarily the case but was asking in a more general sense. Interesting that you are doing further training, which of course wouldn't be an option without your original qualifications. However I do think that anyone relying on qualifications and even experience from more than maybe 5 years ago to allow them to easily get a job at a level to allow them to support a family from the off is on shaky ground. I'm sure there are exceptions relating to demand, nursing and health visiting spring to mind. But my qualifications would lead to a low paid job without experience, and "old" experience would not get very far as things are constantly changing.

However on the wider point I have no doubt there are families out there who don't bother sending their daughters to university, or if they do it's so they can snag a future doctor bleurhh. However, education is more than trainjng for work and at least these women are going to university. at which point, presumably these bright educated young people can decide whether to fall in line or use their education for a career of their own. They do have the choice, however dodgy the original motivations. Families who educate their sons over their daughters are in a different league.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 21-Mar-13 10:50:39

"were anything to happen and dh be unable to support us "

But isn't that saying that you regard the earning potential resulting from your education as a kind of fall-back incase relying on a man doesn't work out? Isn't that the wrong way around? My personal view is that women should be as independent as possible & not make themselves reliant on men unless it can't be avoided. Certainly not plan to be reliant...

And the point about the state education vs private is not that I think it's better or worse but that the man in question clearly thought spending money on a girl's education was a waste. If education wasn't compulsory and it all cost money I got the impression he'd have been quite happy for the girls to stay home learning how to cook or something.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 21-Mar-13 10:52:12

" I feel this is where I was meant to be,"

So do you think it was all slightly pointless going through uni? If you have DD's are you advising them about careers and educational paths or do you think they're 'meant to be' at home as well?

BeaWheesht Thu 21-Mar-13 11:00:45

No it's not saying that at all - it's saying I CHOSE to be sahm at the moment but I also have the option to be a WOHM should I need to or indeed want to.

Education meant I had choices.

zzzzz Thu 21-Mar-13 11:17:47

Nothing wrong with learning how to cook, or in teaming up with someone so they earn money and you don't. My dh would be equally disadvantaged if I dropped dead without my input as I would be without his.

We are interdependent not him carrying me.

WilsonFrickett Thu 21-Mar-13 11:19:38

No-one knows how their life is going to turn out. When I was 20 I certainly didn't envisage I'd be down-grading my career (in terms of money) when I was 40. But then I didn't envisage having a child at all when I was 20, let alone one with SN.

So no, I don't think it was pointless going through Uni. And if I had a girl I would give her exactly the same educational opportunities as a boy and expect her to use that education to make her own choices about what's important to her as she goes through life. That's what education is for, isn't it? To help you understand that there's a big old world out there and to figure out what your place in it is.

zzzzz Thu 21-Mar-13 11:24:18

I find the concept that education is to provide drones for the workplace utterly depressing. Horizon broadening, character building, opinion forming .... But workers meh.

WilsonFrickett Thu 21-Mar-13 11:27:53

Me too zzzzz. But it's here. Curriculuum for Excellence in Scotland is built round 'employability' skills (obvs it doesn't say that on the website, but, you know, with my broad arts-based education of the old-fashioned kind I learned critical reasoning grin).

DS7 - 7! had to do a presentation last week and they suggested the children used powerpoint. It's all very David Brent.

TomArchersSausage Thu 21-Mar-13 11:28:53

My mum worked. I'm a sahm to <gasp> school age children.

If my dc wish to go to university then I'll do all I can to support them.

I'm a sahm because it suits our family set up. Not because I can't see any point in working or aspiring to be educated. Anyway you can have a brain in your noddle and not be in a paid job.

I hope very much that my dc will enjoy fulfilling careers and that being educated will not only help them achieve that but also give them the extra enrichment to their lives that education brings.

slug Thu 21-Mar-13 11:29:02

I also find it utterly depressing this idea that a SAHP is always a woman. Was DH's education wasted by his decision to be a SAHD?

Zatopek Thu 21-Mar-13 11:31:09

I am very well educated. I work part-time but even before DC I never earned a lot of money or had an amazing career. I never wanted one and it would never have suited me for various reasons.

And yet because I went to a top university, people wonder why I've never had a high flying career? As if my education has somehow been wasted. It hasn't -I learnt a lot at university both academically and socially that has enriched my life. I continue to read and learn each day and hope I will pass on that love of learning to my children.

No education is a waste

" No education is a waste"
Completely agree. This fairly mundane debate ultimately comes down to the meaning of life! And I doubt for anyone its be born-school-work-die. Even for those who love their enriching careers life is so much more.

(my life philosophy is born-school-work-mn-die at keyboard) grin

ExRatty Thu 21-Mar-13 11:44:10

It depends.
I think that we should educate to show how important it is to think. Allow children to spend time figuring things out.
For me that might include considering whether or not there is a proper place for women in a workplace as we currently experience and understand it.
Perhaps individual study and doing something you love, on your own terms, is what we should be gearing our daughters for for happiness

Why ratty? Surely theworkplace is for whoever is best suited. Why should we be considering such a thing at all?

BeaWheesht Thu 21-Mar-13 11:50:51

Wilson - we are in Scotland too. Since age FIVE ds has had to do whole class presentations, aged 6 he's learning PowerPoint and from age 3 up the kids are on various committees blush

I hope his (the Neanderthal) wife is happy with her lot. I would think it would be horrendous to be his (second class) DDs. Unless there is a clear reason for it (which I agree there may well be in some cases) spending a lot of money on one child and much less on another is likely to breed a lot of resentment.

My (girls, private) school thrust university, science and careers down our necks. The idea that we might become mothers wasn't really mentioned. I recently spoke to a woman (50s) who had been at the same school. She was persona non grata there after she decided to leave at 16 and pursue a career (at which she was very successful). My mother was an unhappy SAHM - loved babies but became a bored housewife as she didn't have much to do once we got older. She didn't have the education or self belief to do much about it.

I have been a SAHM for about 3 years, and felt myself going slightly loopy. Now I enjoy working FT in law with 2 well adjusted small boys - I would hope they will end up going to uni and having good careers, but equally expect them to be able to cook etc. If I had DDs, I would feel the same. I think I have found (for me) a happy balance, one I share with DH. In fact at the moment, he is doing more of the running the house as he is between jobs, and I am bringing home the bacon.

I am not sure you can reason with dinosaurs like that.

lainiekazan Thu 21-Mar-13 11:55:50

Dd (age 9) told me of an odd conversation between her friends last week.

Dd's friend said she was going to Oxford. Dd's other friend said she wasn't going to go to university because she wanted to stay at home and be a mummy. Friend 1 said that so did she, but she had to go to Oxford to find a husband who would earn lots of money so she could stay at home too. !!!!! Is this a mum making plans behind the scenes?

It made me think. Is this the MC equivalent of hanging round Essex nightclubs trying to find a footballer?!

AngiBolen Thu 21-Mar-13 11:56:41

You don't need an education to run a home, but it helps when finding a rich husband. wink


But angi is that how you really feel?

AngiBolen Thu 21-Mar-13 11:59:12

Are you sure the person who said "girls don't need to be well-educated to run a home" wasn't joking, OP? I know people who have sent their DSs to private school, but their DDs to state, and their reasons vary, but for none of them it was because they didn't believe their DDs didn't deserve a good education.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 21-Mar-13 12:01:02

Education is an end in itself, IMO.

My Mum was a SAHM for many years before returning to the workplace.

I am currently a SAHM, but I won't be forever.

My children have a huge advantage because I am educated - don't ask me to provide references, I'm full of cold and CBA, but it has been shown many times that having an educated mother is a big marker in children's success at school.

zzzzz Thu 21-Mar-13 12:01:09

"You don't need an education to run a home"

Rather depends if you think SAHP = cleaner/cook , or if perhaps you can accept that most SAHP do just a teensy bit more than that. hmm

No, I'm sure it is Alibaba, and I don't think the reasons are any big mystery either.

WilsonFrickett Thu 21-Mar-13 12:09:29

Bea how blush was I when I turned up a DS first parents' night sorry consultation without DS? Had never occurred to me to bring him along, but apparently his attendance was vital to 'sign-off on his learning goals.'

afterdinnerkiss Thu 21-Mar-13 12:11:13

i agree with the other posters : Education for it's own sake and for the enlightenment of future generations.
If financial considerations do come into it this should only be to the extent that a broad education can empower people to make the right decisions about how to live their lives and perhaps granting a wider choice (if lucky).

While we are on this topic I wanted to pose the question: does anyone of of a grand treatise promoting Education For Its Own Sake - the way it used to be before employability and churning out drones to the workpool was the ultimate aim. When multifacetedness (?) was still desired?

LeggaDAISYcal Thu 21-Mar-13 12:11:47

Like others I think that education is about more than finding a great job, but to raised the point about a previous career and education to fall back on. I had a very good job as a senior engineer prior to having my younger two DC. They were close in age, childcare was going to cripple us (two full time and one wrap around) so it didn't make financial sense for me to go back to work. Five years later, I tried to get back into my old career, but recession, technology moving on and a complete change from British standards to Eoricodes means that what few jobs there were in the construction industry were being filled by someone currently employed in the industry and up to date rather than on old rusty duffer like me. Now another two years down the line I am wiping old people's bottoms on a zero hours contract whilst desperately trying to find a replacement career that doesn't involve oodles of retraining (finiancial constraints) and to prove to employers that my skills are transferrable. Not easy when just missiong one point on the essential points of a person spec means you don't even get an interview!

And although I loved my job, I do sometimes feel what was the point of the last 20 years?

But, all that aside, in answer to your OP, I will be educating my DD to the best of her ability and our finances, and encouraging her into a career that is easier to return to part time than engineering proved to be.

What on earth makes this man (or anyone, for that matter) think he can choose his daughters' future? When they are 25 will they be asking him if it is OK for them to become a WOHP, or will they, heaven forbid, think for themselves?

AbigailAdams Thu 21-Mar-13 15:19:03

"What on earth makes this man (or anyone, for that matter) think he can choose his daughters' future?"


TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 21-Mar-13 17:27:32

Also, his own education seems lacking if he can't imagine significant changes in society in the next 20 years (or notice those that happened in the last 20!)

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 21-Mar-13 17:29:04

Op, is Mr Neanderthal in a position to make decisions about employing people, as I see he thinks mothers shouldn't have paid employment?

I want to be a sahp. My dd may not want to... I am not going to force the idea on her obviously. I do think a family "works" better when someone is home when the little ones are small. That's the way me and dh feel, so that's the way we run our family. Not every one agrees, so they do it differently. My kids may not. I can no more dictate who be a sahp than any other occupation for my children.

Also I think either parents is capable being a sahp and my ds is just as likely to choose to stay at home as my daughter (or not).

Mintyy Thu 21-Mar-13 20:49:59

Its a deeply stupid position. I would hope that most grown ups with even a tiny soupcon of education (or basic common sense) understand that their children are individuals who are going to live their own lives. The way we choose to live as parents is neither here nor there.

My parents did the opposite - sent my sister and I to private school while my brothers went to state school.

AngelsWithSilverWings Thu 21-Mar-13 21:04:05

I will teach both my son and my daughter that if they want to be free to choose the life that they want to enjoy then they will have to do the very best that they can at school.

I only have the luxury of being able to choose to be a SAHM because I did well at school, got a good well paid job and saved and saved until I was in a position to have children and not have to continue working.

I didn't marry a rich man to get the life I have now. I worked for 20 years before I had kids and always planned to be in the position to be a SAHM.

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