Women have their little careers till they have babies. Then they do as little as possible, preferably not working at all after that

(532 Posts)

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'.

Pootles2010 Wed 03-Apr-13 13:30:14

I'm same as you - I never questioned going back to work, tbh, although don't always admit this, depending on who i'm talking to.

I think it's more about some people thinking a good mother puts her children first, and that means staying at home.

StuffezLaBouche Wed 03-Apr-13 13:33:38

Thing is, I do know women who match your title to a T. Some women don't want to work and choose to work as a mum. Personally though, I'd never put myself in such a financially vulnerable position.

And in ten years time when I'm as high up in my profession as I want to be, I will smile patronisingly at people who genuinely believe women piss about, until they have babies and can live a life of lunches and coffees...

Hmm. I feel quite irate atbout this thy. and it all ties into the fact that men earn more.
Was asked at the weekend how I cope working ft.fine, but Dh would never be asked - it's default for men to work after all.

Stuffez, I know there are women who work until they have babies then stop and that is fine by me - whatever works for each family. But its the underlying assumption that that is the norm that annoys me - I suppose the two go together. I'm as guilty as everyone else for the stereotyped gender roles - childcare is my issue with Dh "helping" if I ask him to.

StuffezLaBouche Wed 03-Apr-13 13:38:10

Ah, I see where you're coming from. Well, a bemused "erm, fine thanks, I've always been full time?!" Would be my response.

purplefairies Wed 03-Apr-13 13:40:35

I don't have DC (yet), but I can totally identify with this:

"But I can't put into words why I work - why wouldn't I?"

I work not just because I love what I do, or because we really need the money (we could survive on DH's salary alone, I suppose), but because I just generally think that "that's what you do", as long as you are a healthy, able-bodied member of society.

Some of my friends are becoming mothers for the first time and sentences like "well obviously I'll only be going back part time after maternity leave" make my blood boil. Not because I think that going back part-time is wrong, but because it is assumed that it's such an automatic thing that one person WILL go part-time and that, generally, that person will be the woman.

Do you? Not convinced I do Tbh grin
Actually I haven't! I went down to 33h when Ds was born, soon went ba k to ft as it was easier!
I don't know what I want to happen to be honest. I jut want it not to be assumed that women will remove themselves from the workplace by default and be provided for. I want there not to be a "why?" About women who work full time (or at least have the question asked about men too). I suppose this comes down to women need to be equl in the workplace. We're not.

Yes, its the assumption. That women with children working full time is theoddity.

Pootles2010 Wed 03-Apr-13 13:44:55

I saw a thing in the Guardian ( i think?) the other day, looking at how ceo's spent their days. Quite interesting generally, but especially as for the women it was all 'oh, this is how I manage to fit running a company around having kids' whereas it wasn't such an issue with the men at all.

I think like you say it's just assumed men work, and it's commented upon if they don't and look after the kids, wheras we get comments if we do work full time. My mil is forever commenting that i'm a bad mother for working, she's never once said anything to dp about him working hmm

I suppose women have q natural career break through maternity leave anyway, o there's a logical conclusion that their career will be more disrupted. Wonder if that'll change now leave can be shared.

FucktidiaBollockberry Wed 03-Apr-13 13:46:09

Ah if only that were true...


Oh yes, busy working mum. Whereas busy working men have their fatherhood mentioned as an afterthought.

What made me think of this recently was having a conversation with mil about a couple we know. She has just got a job at his company. But the only option is full time, such a shame as she was part tie before. I siuggested that he, already established in the company could maybe reduce his hours in order to allow their joint children to be adequately cared for. But that just seemed odd.

Sorry wheb I say "his company" I mean the one he was working at. Not one he owned - that would change things somewhat!

StuffezLaBouche Wed 03-Apr-13 13:54:16

For me it seems clear that women seem set on berating other women for their choices and that's why so many people end p feeling uncomfortable with the choices they make. How often do we see a thread on here full of snidely comments such as
A) personally i prefer to raise my children instead of farming them out...
B) some of us actually prefer to earn our own money...

I just end up thinking why dont you just STFU about what other people should be doing and just get on with what suits your family best!

And how rude of your MiL, poodles!

Yes very true. I hare the sahm / Wohm bashin on here. I wish everything was down to family choice, starting from a level playing field.

Ok just read my thread title on active conversations and it looks like it's sahm bashing, especially "little as possible" comment. For the record it is not. Sahm a valid choice. But it should be a choice rather than society assumption. And sahms do not do little!

CMOTDibbler Wed 03-Apr-13 14:04:14

Yup, totally agree with you. The number of people who ask me why I can't go pt or stop travelling is amazing. DH has never, ever been asked.

MewlingQuim Wed 03-Apr-13 14:06:57

I was a part-timer before I had a baby, many people seemed to think it was unacceptable and that I was just being lazy. Now I am a mother it is ok to work part-time hmm

It pissed me off that part-time work is seen as something only fit for women with young children. I think if part-time work was more acceptable then there wouldn't be so much sexism attached to it iyswim.

Yes nd whatever you answer you're justifying it

"we need the money"
Oh well that's ok then (poor things)

"i enjoy my work"
What, more than spending time with your own children?

"My job needs to be full time"
Oh well can't you get another, more child friendly one?

"why wouldn't I be full time?"
Ok defensive, much?

Mewling , I know a couple who worked* three days each with one day overlap on which childcare was required. I think they've got it right.
* I think she may have a new job which requires 4 days or ft now sad

TheCatInTheHairnet Wed 03-Apr-13 14:12:54

I don't think being a SAHM is an assumption anymore, is it? At least, it's not here.

And totally agree with Stuffez re women bashing women. And the STFU!!

It certainly seems to be to me. Sahm or cutting down as much as financially possie.

seeker Wed 03-Apr-13 14:15:53

I absolutely disagree. And, for the record, the thread title really pisses me off.

I think that society finds WOH mothers much more acceptable than SAHs. Once a baby is past 6 months it is expected that mothers should and will go back to work- anyone who doesn't is looked down on and silently classed a dull, boring, lazy second class citizen.

Maybe it depends where you are then.
Have you seen my apology re the title? Last thing I wanted was for this to be a sah bashing thread.

what have you cone across that makes you think society expecta women back at work? (genuine question)

Do you know, maybe its perception then! Maybe we all think we're being judged more than we are.

I actually think women can't win either way - it's mothers in general who are discriminated against whether SAH or WOH.

True. I just find it odd that a woman maintaining the status quo and doing the same as the man in the family is expected to have a good reason to justify it.

Timetoask Wed 03-Apr-13 14:31:43

Shouldn't you be at work? ;)


Surely they're not allowed to give loans just to women though? Or is this just how it's marketed

Damn, sorry

Briseis Wed 03-Apr-13 14:49:31

What a refreshing thread! As it happens I am a sahm but i agree with what you are all saying re assumptions. I think had I had a different profession pre babies i may well have gone back to work, mine just did not work with childcare combined with my dh's job as he travels a lot. But I agree wholeheartedly we should all support and help each other, we are all doing our best.
My incredible rude mil really annoyed me at my dd2's christening when she was speaking to my mummy friends (some of whom work part time and some of whom work full time), saying "I assume you are working for financial reasons?". Fortunately they all know how batty I think she is and one of my friends turned round to her and said "erm, no, I work because I want to". I think (hope) that this kind of attitude is dying out. I am quite open to my working mum friends about worries I have about my dds missing out on things because they are stuck with me all day, and they discuss their concerns about childcare with me, and we all comfort and encourage one another, and that is the way it should be!

Yes to that!
I think most of us work (for an employer) for financial reasons, primarily, don't we? Men or women.

SofaKing Wed 03-Apr-13 15:02:02

Thanks for clarifying the title - I was feeling a little defensive!

I totally agree with emphatic that it doesn't matter what you do, as a mum you will get judged for working ft, pt and for not working at all.

So, uncaring of your children or a drain on society. Take your pick smile

Yes a mother's place is in the wrong. Guess I'm just seeing my own particular brand of injustice.

bumping this, finding the replies interesting

SofaKing Wed 03-Apr-13 16:02:50

I'll have to remember a mother's place is in the wrong.

It sums up the situation perfectly. You can have equality until you dare to produce another human being, at which point anything you do is wrong!

rustybusty Wed 03-Apr-13 16:07:44

I think its seen as the normal choice to work after children. If you didnt everyone says you dont do much, or wonder why. I always here 'she hasnt even got a job, she doesnt even work' etc from both genders.

I definitely think its seen as more normal and socially acceptable to work then to be a SAHM.

rustybusty Wed 03-Apr-13 16:08:26


It's all about perceptions, and obviously I'm very sensitive to the ones that suggest I'm doing the wrong thing. But to me the comments are all "Of course she won't be going back after her maternity leave" etc etc.

GetOeuf Wed 03-Apr-13 16:11:50

Everyone is judged.

If you are a FT wOHM oh are venal and judged 'why did ou have children if you are not going to bother to raise them?'

PT working mother, worst of both worlds and you are on the mummy track at work, why bother working at all as you don't take it seriously.

FT SAHM - lazy and don't use your brain. Live off your husband

All of us are judged when none of us should be for simply making the best decisions for our own circumstances

rustybusty Wed 03-Apr-13 16:14:48

Here if you dont work people think your lazy or probably a benefit scrounger etc. Eg ' She got pregnant to push her pram round town and shes too lazy to do any work'. If you work everyone says well done you at least you bother doing something etc.

I think its staying at home that is really looked down open by most people, as its seen as not doing anything, and the easy option.

MrsMaryCooper Wed 03-Apr-13 16:17:30

I was the only one in my ante natal class who went back full time. All my family assumed I would be part time at most.

badguider Wed 03-Apr-13 16:24:06

MORE people of both sexes should work p/t for more reasons IMO. I know people who have been p/t due to a serious sporting career or care of elderly relatives or to do further study or art.... If p/t was seen as valid rather than the "mummy track" then who does more childcare wouldn't be an issue in the workplace.

stealthsquiggle Wed 03-Apr-13 16:25:03

My cousin and his wife, who have no children, both left their fairly high-powered careers a fee years ago
They now work for themselves, and take as much work as they need to fund the travel and other stuff that they do the rest of the time. It seems to net out at about 50% working - but more like month on, month off than 2.5 days a week. I think it's a great arrangement and one that will become more and more common as we all live longer and work longer.

More relevantly to the OP, I would love DH to be asked why he works FT as often as I am. As for daring to travel occasionally for work - I have had it made very clear to me how bad a parent that makes me, by SAHMs whose DHs are away all week, every week, and they see no irony at all hmm

Yes bad
I actually think my ILs are baffled - they genuinely understand why I work FT/at all when I don't "have" to.
And you see so many threads on here where people say they need to work to pay the mortgage - fair enough but you rarely see men justifying why they work.

ExcuseTypos Wed 03-Apr-13 16:25:58

I'm with Seeker. I really don't like your thread title. "Little careers...and then they do as little as possible". hmm.

How the heck do you know what all these women do?

When I read the title in active convos, I thought "oh here we go, this will be a bun fight! Which troll has started this?"

Really not nice.

Excuse Typos, I have apologised for the thread title. I was irritated when I started it. It was illustrating the impression I get of the thoughts of the people around me - so the "little careers" comment is not my opinion but one that annoys me.

What exactly is offending you? Not sure I'm explaining it very well

Hadassah Wed 03-Apr-13 16:46:19

There are a fair few women who fit the description. At DH's work the second woman in as many years had one child, came back PT and is now going on ML for the second, and not coming back. This is a small company. The response was, "Oh well, never mind, at least we did not spend too much money training her up and she wasn't critical". For small businesses employing women of childbearing age is a risk, and I think the bitterness about it, and the repeated experience of it happening, feeds into the attitude described in the title.

If the headline were in quotation marks, would it be less annoying? confused

I've seen this attitude too. In fact I am getting really sick of strangers telling me I'm wasting my time studying because I won't have time to get a career off the ground before I give it up to have babies. hmm

It is such an outdated attitude that most couples could expect to survive on one income, too.

Oh there's the other reason to work- as a role model for the dd. Which is insulting to just about everyone in one go.

LazyMonkeyButler Wed 03-Apr-13 17:08:19

You have a good point OP.

DH & I both work. DH works in an office, 37.5 hrs per week, Monday to Friday. I work in healthcare and, depending on shifts, can work anywhere from 10 to 50 hours per week. I do shift work, which generally covers evenings/nights/weekends/bank holidays etc. so DH is then at home with the DC.

My main gripe is the amount of times people ask me "who looks after your children while you work?". I reply "my DH, their father" which is more often than not greeted with a surprised "oh does he, oh that is good of him after a full day's work!". WTF? But it's not "good" of me to work all evening/night and then look after the DC next day because, as their mother, it's my responsibility right? hmm

Admittedly, I do work with the elderly & I accept that attitudes have (or should have!) changed over the years. However, I have had much younger people (generally colleagues without DC) say the same thing to me, which is fairly depressing sad.

ExcuseTypos Wed 03-Apr-13 17:10:23

Sorry I missed your apology. I object to the words I quoted from your title.

But so do I! I thought that was clear in the first post? Made a mess of this.

Lazy I agree. As I mentioned before o buy into this myself. Childcare is my domain. I don't like it but old habits die hard sad

Owllady Wed 03-Apr-13 17:19:44

I do understand what you are saying but it does come across as rather crass to women who have eventually had to give up work, to care in my case. Yes, my husband always earned more though, it seemed the obvious choice financially, but there are other reasons, such as dignity and advocacy for my daughter, but it's a complex issue and one that is often overlooked and no-one really cares because having a severely disabled child puts you into an extremely small minority that not many people would understand anyway, male or female

Yes. Title should have been in quotes. As I've said, I have no issue with whatever decisions other families make, as far as I'm concerned they're the best judges of that. It's the presumption I take issue with . That as the one with the ovaries, ill be either going part time or stopping altogether if I'm lucky enough to ave a Dh who can provide. I'd not carry on working because, well why would I if I didn't have to?

I see where you're coming from.

I'm a SAHM of school aged children (various reasons including the fact that DH travels lots, works long hours and I like it shock ). You should hear some of the stuff I get grin. You just can't win...any way you do it is always going to be a fail in someone's eyes. Ignore/ let it go and just be happy is the best approach I think...

exoticfruits Wed 03-Apr-13 17:25:59

My cousin and his wife, who have no children, both left their fairly high-powered careers a fee years ago
They now work for themselves, and take as much work as they need to fund the travel and other stuff that they do the rest of the time. It seems to net out at about 50% working - but more like month on, month off than 2.5 days a week. I think it's a great arrangement and one that will become more and more common as we all live longer and work longer.

I know a couple in their late 40s without children who do this.
I think that the real break through will come when men (married and single), single women and childless couples can take time off or work part time if they want to. I feel that I was the real lucky one to have time with my children and to do the 101 interesting things that I wanted to do. If I didn't have children I would still have loved to have got off the treadmill of paid employment.
Way back when I was at school we were told that jobs in the future would give us far more leisure time and the difficulty would be to find ways to use it. What a shame that the opposite has happened.

Owllady Wed 03-Apr-13 17:27:31

tbh I get the opposite and I get referred to as a 'lady of leisure' by mine and dh's family as it has always been more normal to work (working class my love)

When I worked part time, it was my 'little job' as well angry

<cringe> at your little job. And now your a lady of leisure. Bet they woukdnt swop their work for your leisure!

Owllady Wed 03-Apr-13 17:33:15

Me and my husband haven't been out on our own for five and half years, that's how much leisure time we get. God it makes me so angry how your own family can even judge you, whatever you have to do (or don't) Sorry i have gone on. I am new to not working as I only gave up at the end of last year after my mental health deteriorating month after month after month, and I suppose I feel guilty and a bit defensive, even though at the moment there is not much I can do about it (and I know I have made the best decision for me and my dd, so that's all that is important to me, at this time)

Feel free to rant, I have grin I suppose ultimately, whatever you do, you'll be judged by someone. Well done for taking the leap, hope your mh is improving as a result.

naomilpeb Wed 03-Apr-13 17:41:26

its the underlying assumption that that is the norm that annoys me

I'm totally with you here StealthPolarBear. I went back to work full-time after my maternity leave with DC1, and now after chopping and changing for a while after DC2, I am working full-time again and DP is SAHD. It is, frankly, unbelievable the kind of comments we get.

DP is starting to look for work again so that he will be working when DC1 starts school this autumn, and immediately the assumption is that I'll be changing to go part-time. There is never any thought that he might look for a part-time job. It drives me mad. The worst culprits are MIL and SIL, but quite a few of my friends come out with funny lines sometimes too, which makes me sad. I find myself worrying that they think we're an awful family and are messing things up. I got quite tetchy the other evening when someone said "It must be so sad for you working full-time and never seeing the children." A) I do see them and B) no one has ever said that to DP!

Grrrrrrrr angry

Phineyj Wed 03-Apr-13 17:43:03

I find it infuriating that 'because I like it and I'm good at it' isn't apparently sufficient justification for a woman (not a man) with children to work. Whenever you see this issue discussed in the media, it's in terms of needing two salaries to live. So reductive. And I work educating girls!

NumTumMum Wed 03-Apr-13 17:51:13

It is infuriating. My MIL could not understand why I went back to work after DD full time. I just needed to. Yes, financially but also I needed the challenge and the social interaction. But she never for a moment considered that maybe my xh should reduce his hours or give up work even though I earned twice what he did. But by accepting this and getting on with it, as I am sure most of us all do - simply because we are pragmatic and have to - we are perpetuating it. What would happen if we simply refused to sort the childcare? Would any of us risk it?

TiredyCustards Wed 03-Apr-13 18:08:18

I think for a lot of people it would break their heart to be away from their children that much, so part time or sah are the options that make them happy.

Perhaps it's hard for these people to understand choosing to work ft, as it's such an irrational, emotional subject for many. I think that's where the judgement + assumptions come from.

Tiredy I do take your point but its rarely people, usually women

NumTumMum Wed 03-Apr-13 18:18:36

But doesn't this illustrate the point? The fact that it is women who can't bear to be apart from their children? Who says that we are more attached than their fathers?

naomilpeb Wed 03-Apr-13 18:40:46

I think that's very true NumTumMum, few people suggest that fathers will be missing interaction with their children so much they would want go part-time, or that their children are suffering from seeing less of them. I don't want to get into a 'rights or wrongs' of working, staying at home etc. because there is not such thing - each family to their own - but I agree that a lot of people make assumptions that it is women who should be making these choices, while men just carry on working regardless.

SatsukiKusukabe Wed 03-Apr-13 18:43:20

I think it's that women are "allowed" to say they couldn't be away from their children. Men still aren't. I think that's as big an issue as women being expected to be sahm. Wouldn't it be ideal if no one assumed about anyone else?

I heard a great quote (that I can't qute remember) but it basically said feminism isn't just abut women getting in to "men's" domains and judging them by how good they are at "male" things, but getting men in to "women's" roles and judging them by the same standards.

Women are so often proud of making it in overwhelmingly male environments and jobs but how many men say I am the king of play group? Or are actually proud to be sahd? Or even think being a sahd is a respectable life style choice?

seeker Wed 03-Apr-13 18:44:02

In my experience, SaHMs are judged far more harshly that WOHMs. I think my first child was less than a year old when I was first told I was a bad role model for her. And there's always the "oh, I do wish I could stay at home with mine too, but I'm afraid I would miss the mental stimulation too much" brigade. And the "Nursery is so important for children- they need to develop independence or they will struggle at school" group. not forgetting "Your poor DP- working all hours for you all- he is good, isn't he? When are you going to help out?"

But as somebody said earlier - a mother's place is in the wrong.

NumTumMum Wed 03-Apr-13 18:47:12

Yes, SatsukiKusukabe, that is the crux of it.

naomilpeb Wed 03-Apr-13 18:49:39

Perhaps we all tend to hear criticism more than people agreeing with us, for our own reasons of guilt/sensitivity/defensiveness! It may well be, seeker, that I tend to remember more the comments criticising my choice to work full-time, then criticisms I may have overheard (or shamefully might even have said myself without realising how they could be taken blush) of people who choose to work outside the home part-time or stay at home...

naomilpeb Wed 03-Apr-13 18:52:22

What SatsukiKusukabe said, definitely.

SatsukiKusukabe Wed 03-Apr-13 18:52:30

Yes, but that's because you are (or were at the time) a sahm. So you aren't going to get abuse directed at wohm. As far as I can tell from the stuff I read (and MN bun fights threads) it seems pretty equal, (Im a sahm). certain people can be quite vocal though against sahp, cough cough xenia

fluffywhitekittens Wed 03-Apr-13 19:04:51

What Satsuki said smile

I would love it if we could split the responsibility for earning and childcare between me and DH and he would too.
But he earns considerably more than me - even though I have a higher level of education- so it has to be him who goes to work unless I went too but then we would have to pay for childcare and probably wouldn't be much better off financially anyway.

bunnybing Wed 03-Apr-13 19:11:37

Not sure I recognise what you're talking about - I know plenty of SAHDs and dads who work part time.

Most couples I know who haven't had children, ie they're beyond child-bearing age - have either gone part-time (one or both of them), or are self-employed and take looong holidays, or in one case took very early retirement (aged 50 in my neighbour's case).

But no one judges them as they haven't had children.

seeker Wed 03-Apr-13 19:16:27

Maybe WOHMs are more likely to complain about tiredness or lack of time or missing assemblies or how much child care costs, and people respond by saying "well, you did choose go out to work" or some variation thereon, which they hear as more critical than it's intended to be?

But it's usually when people ask how my job is going, and I say really well, they then ask how I cope working ft. Or when we,re talking about someone else and "obviously" she'll be returning part time. It's not even judging. It's assumptions about mothers and work

blueberryupsidedown Wed 03-Apr-13 19:21:53

I think for me, becoming a parent has completely changed my perspective on stuff. I mean, work, being constantly on the go, travelling, going out, being part of the rat race, constantly thinking about money, the next job up, the next step up. I just realised I'd had enough of all that. Some people just wanted to slow down when they have the kids. But having said that, many other mums I know have made the decision to 'slow down' because they are financially stable. I have investments, two flats rented out, no mortgage on the flats or on our home. No dept. And savings and investments. And my pension is sorted. There's something to say about being an 'older' parent....

blueberryupsidedown Wed 03-Apr-13 19:22:28

debt! not dept.

badguider Wed 03-Apr-13 19:31:48

The whole thing starts very young I'd say. I love my DH dearly but the poor sod had a strange upbringing as his largely absent father (divorced from his mum) is a real social climber and really values status and income particularly in his sons (not at all his daughters).
I do my job cause I bloody love it. DH got into his profession because it is a traditional "profession" with "good prospects" to provide for a family in a very macho way and so he earns more than me. And, he's in a profession that wouldn't entertain the idea of p/t working.

I think that he's been done the bigger disservice by these gender expectations. I am happy in my job I love which I now do freelance and can choose to do p/t or f/t. He's not quite so happy and certainly has no flexibility.

badguider Wed 03-Apr-13 19:33:06

Feminism IMO will only be a success when it liberates men from gender expectations as well as women.

Not convinced by that. Feminism is about women and their place in society. Changes brought about by feminism will affect men of course but not sure advancing the rights of men can be considered to be a measure of the success of feminism.

exoticfruits Wed 03-Apr-13 19:44:33

A mother's place is in the wrong! You are criticised if you decide to stay at home-it works both ways.

But this isn't about out and out criticism. This is not a bun fight. It's about the assumption that a woman's career will take a back seat following children. It may. But there shouldn't be an automatic assumption that her career is the disposable one, IMO.

SatsukiKusukabe Wed 03-Apr-13 19:52:17

Not convinced by that. Feminism is about women and their place in society. Changes brought about by feminism will affect men of course but not sure advancing the rights of men can be considered to be a measure of the success of feminism.

You can rephrase it but all that means is that we respect "women's" roles in this world, because as soon as they garner respect men will want to do them too. It's only because women are seen as "less than" that being a sahp or a care worker or a nurse or a teacher are seen as low status jobs. So basically it just means give enough respect to everyone's job in the world. Not in a MRA way.

SatsukiKusukabe Wed 03-Apr-13 19:55:23

What I am trying (badly) to say is feminism wont have done if its job if all that happens is women move in to jobs worthy of respect (traditionally male employment) because by doing that you are still saying that the male centric way is the best way. We have to see all roles as equally good. And the best test of that will be when men start taking on more traditionally female roles.

happyfrogger Wed 03-Apr-13 20:06:27

Personally I think some people should perhaps think about being a little less uptight about 'presumptuous' questions about how a mother manages working full time post-children when a father is not.

My two penneth:

1. In the overwhelming majority of couples having children, the mother takes a fair chunk of maternity leave, be it 3, 6 or 12 months. Therefore it is a PERFECTLY reasonable question/conversation to ask her how she plans to adjust after such a leave of absence which is SIGNIFICANTLY longer than the week or two fathers usually take, on top of a huge life change. It is perfectly reasonable for a couple to continue with the adjustment of a mother being the primary carer, when she:

a) MAY still be breastfeeding
b) MAY think it's appropriate/nice/normal/enjoyable for her to put her baby to bed as she has done throughout maternity leave
c) MAY have had an epiphany after a more profound change in lifestyle/work/life balance than her husband and decide that reduced hours / PT / SAHM is the RIGHT choice at THIS TIME for her family.

And these are far more likely points for mums than dads.

2. If you have a job that requires a commute into a city, a NORMAL full time role can easily mean leaving the house 7.30/8am and returning at 7pm or later. We in the UK work long hours - I don't think by trimming your hours by as little as an hour each side can be fairly called p/t or on the 'mummy track' to be honest. My colleagues think I am part time at 8-4, but I'm fairly sure my 7-5 out of the house is a fairly full day!! We need to take a more reasonable view of what is full time and perhaps observe that working from dawn to dusk and all evening when you get home doesn't make anyone a hero (imo).

People are often just interested/making conversation, let it go. And yes, some people are arses and make rude comments/judge because they do it differently / did it differently 'in their day' - but people are judgey about everything in life.

Why should we be so super sensitive?

(And yes, I also roll my eyes when I leave the office at 4pm and someone asks me if I'm part time these days. Because it's a juggle, and because I'm tired, and because until you have kids and try to figure out how YOU want to manage it, you have no concept of how challenging the decisions and planning (logistical, financial and otherwise) can be.)

'Tis life smile

Gosh I feel like I'm in another world reading these experiences. We have never had any negative reaction from anyone about our working choices.

I worked very hard to gain qualifications and progress my career, plus I find 24/7 childcare, well, a bit dull, and far more demanding than any paid job I've ever had. There was never any question that I wouldn't return to work. I've never had to justify my choices to anyone, not my boss, parents, colleagues, employees. Many of my colleagues are part time for different reasons, and I work with hundreds of volunteers who all have varied working patterns.

Finally, I don't work for financial gain - currently the same amount each month pretty much goes on childcare. But that won't be for ever.

So some people are being uptight about having their careers dismissed? There's a shock.

stealthsquiggle Wed 03-Apr-13 20:38:08

The test of "would you say the same to a man?" is a perfectly valid one, IMO. Once biological factors (recovery from childbirth, BF) are no longer an issue, why should one parent be any more or less necessary to a child hmm? There are many valid reasons why one or other parent working more is a sensible choice for a family, but none of them are gender based, surely?

happyfrogger Wed 03-Apr-13 20:40:01

I don't believe people are categorically having their career's dismissed - and that is the sort of reaction I was seeking to illustrate.

I think people can often be particularly sensitive about many aspects of motherhood. For instance, several of my breastfeeding girlfriends commented bizarrely that they were just willing people to comment when they fed in public. Just to give them opportunity to 'say their piece' and justify their choice. And there are always countless instances of people here looking to provoke a reaction over a myraid of topics.

So yes, personally I believe people like the opportunity to vehemently justify the choices they make, and often wrongly view other people's comments/questions/observations as being judgier than they were ever intended.

So when my parents or friends ask me after almost 11 months of mat leave 'are you planning on going back to work full time?' I think I would be a little OTT to say 'why the hell wouldn't I?' - for many reasons, some of which I mentioned in my last. I would (did) respond with a normal rational conversation about the challenges of work life balance and what we had decided to do with our family.

Because (I believe without agenda) they were simply interested enough to ask.

So you don't see why asking the woman of the couple "how do you manage working full time with children?" Is implying thatbchildcare is her issue?

No problem with people asking the question. But I do challenge people making the assumption that women only work if they have to for financial reasons. In fact any one who thinks women need an excuse to work.

SatsukiKusukabe Wed 03-Apr-13 20:45:20

froggy the op was about assumptions, not questions as such, I don't think?

Like "Obviously froggy will be going back part time"

Or no point in training a 25 year old woman properly as she'll just get up duffed and never come back etc.

SatsukiKusukabe Wed 03-Apr-13 20:45:45


SatsukiKusukabe Wed 03-Apr-13 20:46:38

Also now that maternity leave is basically equal oppertunity, will men start getting the same questions? Like when are you going to take 3 months off to spend time with you dc?

happyfrogger Wed 03-Apr-13 20:48:15


Once biological factors (recovery from childbirth, BF) are no longer an issue, why should one parent be any more or less necessary to a child ?

Yes - completely agreed, but in response:

- Because there is often something to say for having an established routine, there may be no explicit reason or will to change it, and often isn't
- Because if both parents are enjoying or benefiting from the existing arrangement, why change it just for the same of challenging 'gender roles'
- Because it may be a better option financially

By all means, ladies should never have to dismiss the option to your pre-baby career hours and structure and have fathers step into a primary carer role if it is the better choice for your family. But the point is, changing a happy and working arrangement it JUST because you are annoyed at perhaps fitting a sterotype (that happens to fit for your family FOR NOW) is a bit silly.

For me, it's about logic, finances preference and choice for both of us - and anyone else's preconceptions would never even come into it.

Who is changing an arrangement that is working to challenge roles? Who is being silly? Straw man argument

stealthsquiggle Wed 03-Apr-13 20:50:47

Happyfrogger "are you planning on going back FT",coming from interested family is hardly in the same league as "such a shame you can't be around for the DC every night" and other such insidious comments from all and sundry. One deserves a reasoned response. The other deserves to be put to the test of "would you say the same to their father"

happyfrogger Wed 03-Apr-13 20:52:05


So you don't see why asking the woman of the couple "how do you manage working full time with children?" Is implying thatbchildcare is her issue?

But it has been my issue so far. So the question is reasonable and obvious when I'm the one who has done it for the last year, and I'm the one who is physically changing my daily routine by returning to work.

If the question was asked when my kids were 10 maybe I would think differently. But in the young-children returning to work days I don't think it implies anything, it's just observational.

DuelingFanjo Wed 03-Apr-13 20:52:10

I am not sure what the OP means? But I was really annoyed to discover that people I work with were discussing why I had decided to come back full time in an 'oh no, I never thought she would do that' way. Mind you, I don't have a career as such, just a job.

stealthsquiggle Wed 03-Apr-13 20:54:07

I am NOT talking about changing an established routine for the sake of it, FGS. I am talking about challenging stupid assumptions. Established routine is a nonsense anyway. Mat leave could well be 6 months or less. Just how bloody established is anything at that point?

I'm not suggesting every sahm should return to work. As I have said many times each family does what is best for them and I wouldn't presume to comment. But in general I've noticed an assumption that a woman will cut down her hours o the bare minimum as supported by her oh after having a baby. Because why would she work if she doesn't have to? And that's what I object to

Ok. My kids are six and three. Been back at work full time for over two years. So the comment, to me, is not referring to any established routine.

Duelling, were they all after your job ?

The whole work children thing is one of the hardest things I've ever done/am still doing. Despite working in a very male dominated industry with some very chauvinist men the whole kids vs work issue is the only time I've really felt anti feminist sentiment in society.

AND I am totally frigging lucky, my dad has a company in the industry I work in and dh and I work together sharing work and childcare. Even with that setup I still feel judged all the time. I feel judged by sahm. I feel judged by full time mums. I feel judged by pretty much all males.

When will each family makes their own choice ever be ok?!

stealthsquiggle Wed 03-Apr-13 20:57:53

SPB mine are 6 and 10 and I still get the comments.

SatsukiKusukabe Wed 03-Apr-13 21:00:11

Mat leave could well be 6 months or less. Just how bloody established is anything at that point?

Especially compared to say a decade or two of education and building a career for some women.

As soon as you decide to go back to work, arranging child care is not your problem. It is yours and your partners joint problem frog

happyfrogger Wed 03-Apr-13 21:00:40

Ok, so I guess I can only speak from experience. But nobody has ever given me the 'such a shame' tone, or if they have, I haven't felt judged. My DH has had people comment that it's a shame he only sees DD in the mornings. And he says, 'yes, it is'. But so what? It's our choice?

I don't feel 'opinionated' by threads like this one, but I am always curious about how everyone else does feel so judged, and why people are so keenly ready to defend their choices (i.e. like the bfeeding point earlier) when in RL I can't say I have ever experienced this to such an extreme as people often quote on threads.

Curious, that's all smile

Didn't intend to rant on so much!

SatsukiKusukabe Wed 03-Apr-13 21:06:24

Depends on your friends and family though frog, you sound lucky! smile

Like with bf, you pick a side and you often feel judged one way or the other but if you spend a bit of time online or talking to friends you do hear stories of people verbally abusing bf women, so sometimes I think becuse it matters to you, you sort of steele your self up for a fight? You know what I mean? Like, go one, have a go, I fucking dare you. I think it's almost to make yourself ready if someone says something so you dont turn in to a mess. Rather than hoping someone will say something rude

WidowWadman Wed 03-Apr-13 21:16:13

When I was about 30 weeks pregnant with my first my then employer tried to select me for redundancy (which I fought successfully, because their selection criteria were pants and applied incorrectly) - it was a very stressful time, and not made easier by some idiots commenting "aww, don't worry about it, you won't want to work once you had the baby anyway". I'm still angry years later.

scottishmummy Wed 03-Apr-13 21:19:59

i went back ft after 6mth.the only jip i got was from females (not work colleagues obv)
it ranged from the face,to outright hostility and why have em to leave with strangers
colleagues at work,friends,family all supportive of return to work.not til mn did i know the ferocity of feeling about this

i work ft because i want to,dont need to financially -am fortunate in that i love my career
i dont want to be financially dependent upon a partner
and i dont want to enact a patriarchal stereotype of man work,wee woman potter about at home largely occupied with him, and childcare
i want my dc to a have role model of seeing mum work and contribute and not solely dad work,mum at home

i think if woman chooses to be housewife she is enacting a stereotypical role,which to an extent fulfils the comment op is discussing

morethanpotatoprints Wed 03-Apr-13 21:23:16

I think its awful if women are made to feel like this, but also as a sahm welcome the choice. I know you are not bashing sahm's OP, it does exist though at great depths sometimes.
Surely, shouldn't we welcome the choices we already have. I know its not ideal and theres a long way to go yet, but it seems like equality is heading in the right direction no?

exoticfruits Wed 03-Apr-13 21:27:29

I found that everyone expected me to go back to work.

scottishmummy Wed 03-Apr-13 21:27:35

i do challenge the i suppose you had to work comments (err no i didn't have to.i chose to)
its as if it s beyond comprehension that a woman wants to retain career and be a mum
its not a giving things up competition.prove you care by abandoning self to muthahood

scottishmummy Wed 03-Apr-13 21:30:09

all friends,family and work colleagues expected me to return
i met the precious moments crew pg and postnatal gp they were priceless
and the mw who asked me what did you used to do (past tense)?as if id died

Potato I am grateful for what has gone before and the choices I have. I do actually consider myself to hav had children in the heyday of maternity pay and leave. I don't think women now have it as good. However I wasn't around when things were worse, I have no personal experience of things getting better. I can only personally see now, and that men and women aren't equal in the workplace or at home, and this is perpetuated by the attitude that women's careers are disposable. And while I am grateful things have improved, I want them to improve further,

stealthsquiggle Wed 03-Apr-13 21:42:28

I am sure there are an equivalent set of comments made to SAHDs to which the response "would you say/ask the same to their mother?" would be appropriate. I know DH gets very wound up by DD's teacher asking when I will be home, for example.

Dh looks after our children two days a week shock as I work two long days and stay over the night in between. Mil and mum come up on the days to do child care. When mil is here she stays to cook their tea and bath and put children to bed. Dh lets her of course. Very nice of her but when she delivers the children into my capable hands she sees no need to make sure they're fed, bathed or put to bed grin

Passmethecrisps Wed 03-Apr-13 21:47:57

This is a fascinating discussion.

When I was pregnant I had a number of colleagues say things to me such as "oh well, you'll not be caring about this anymore" and "it's amazing how quickly you stop caring about work"

I was really riled by these but thinking back they were made by one or two women. One of them said "I left my brain in the maternity ward 20 years ago" and this made me a bit sad. There was nothing wrong with her brain but she obviously just felt a bit lacking.

I went to work to say hi recently and a few people commiserated about my impending return with the comment "you'll be dreading it". I'm not dreading it. I love my work and always have. I love my baby and am naturally anxious about leaving her. Can't I be both?

My DH will do the childcare when I go back as I earn a good income. Despite the fact I have a job and he doesn't is flexible many people have been surprised that I am returning full time.

When I can see past my own shoulder chip however, I realise that none of this is about me or my family's choices but about their own. Or, as I think froggy said merely chat. I do get how subjugated stay at home mums must feel. If it is any consolation, I am not sure stay at home dads get a great deal either

Passmethecrisps Wed 03-Apr-13 21:53:23

Oh! Totally cross posted with others about SAHDs! My MIL would be exactly the same - she is fabulous and wouldn't dream of 'interfering' with my child business. DH . . . Not quite the same. His own dad asked me in front of him if he was capable of changing a nappy. Totally seriously. Poor Dh

scottishmummy Wed 03-Apr-13 21:54:08

mn phenomena is post happy to work ft someone quips you must be in denial/bet you really want to be a housewife/doesnt your man earn enough

Oh yes. The extra X chromosome means that nappy changing and bathing is instinctive, didn't you know?

somanymore Wed 03-Apr-13 21:54:20

I worked before having DS1 (9). Went part time afterwards because financially we made more that way with childcare costs.

Then stopped working (personal reasons) and was on benefits. Met my now DH and started working again full time when DS started school.

Still work FT but not for much longer as 20 weeks pregnant with triplets.

I would definatly like to return to work - think I'm going to need to for my sanity! - I will probably only return PT at first (when they are a year) and then maybe FT when they start school.

There will be the financial side of it to consider. Childcare wise we think a nanny will be cheapest as full time childcare for 3 will be about £3000 a month!

However, myself and my husband work for the same firm and both have the 'same' position. It has been discussed that we will become a 'job share' until they start school as then there won't be childcare costs and we can (hopefully!) keep on top of the house keeping between us as well.

Wow. I can see where your username has come from. Congratulations! And with triplets if you are all up dressed and out before noon I'd consider that a successful day smile

rubyrubyruby Wed 03-Apr-13 22:01:02

I will be honest and say that I always wonder how other women manage to work full time. I suppose what I really mean is that I don't know how both parents manage to work full time.

It is true however that most of the house/child responsibilities do seem to fall on the mother.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 03-Apr-13 22:01:39


I just think as a mother you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. I do agree with seekers post back on page 2. Sahm's are treated as second class citizens, looked down on and presumed to be dull.
I also think we are all individuals and even couples are different and shouldn't be treated as the same.
I do know plenty of women who are not treated as equal in the workplace and the home, but that isn't my experience at all. I would not put up with any of it in my home believe me. My ds have been brought up to be able to fend for themselves and it isn't my job to run around after the males in my family. I have one friend however who openly encourages her dd to assist her in running the home and waiting on the men. It drives me mental and despite me pointing it out to her, doesn't see the harm she is doing.
I suppose we are all different.

Don't agree in the slightest
<clicks on other thread about washing>
<continues to fold clothes>

stealthsquiggle Wed 03-Apr-13 22:02:34

I think that makes you the perfect case study, somanymore - you and DH can keep score of the comments made /questions asked about your childcare choices and work/life balance - write a paper on it as if either of you will have the time or energy to write more than a shopping list smile --

fluffywhitekittens Wed 03-Apr-13 22:03:11

i dont want to enact a patriarchal stereotype of man work,wee woman potter about at home largely occupied with him, and childcare
i want my dc to a have role model of seeing mum work and contribute and not solely dad work,mum at home

i think if woman chooses to be housewife she is enacting a stereotypical role,which to an extent fulfils the comment op is discussing

I do have an issue with comments like this though. Are you saying that I'm not contributing by staying at home when dc are young? Not contributing to society or not contributing to our family?
I had an education and career before I chose to stay at home with my children. Hopefully at some point I'll be back at work.
Will I suddenly become more of a role model to dd if I do?

scottishmummy Wed 03-Apr-13 22:07:22

ruby ft work is planning,shared responsibilities and both pull weight
plan food by batch cook,we keep diary of our appts,lay out stuff night before
we know who the to call person eg if school,nursery call who will respond.we discuss who can accommodate

its not assumed its my look out cause i am mum,because we are partners and parents

scottishmummy Wed 03-Apr-13 22:10:51

you want my answer fluffy?yes at mo as housewife you're enacting stereotypical role
you're unwaged at home,what your dc see at present is mummy is a housewife
if you want different role model you have to enact it.your kids wont see you in career whilst yore at home

somanymore Wed 03-Apr-13 22:20:29

Did have to laugh at me and the husband being 'perfect case study!'. We have spent the past 7 week since my 12 (13!) week can like crazed rabbits in the headlights! Nothing like wondering where 3 babies will fit in a house, car, working day etc!

I have to give credit to my husband for the 'job share' idea. It was one night when mulling the future (panicking again!) when I said 'I suppose we'd be better off with me not working with the cost of FT childcare, although a nanny may be cheaper'

He replied ' but you love working and there's no reason why we couldn't both work PT and share the childcare between us'

I think I loved him just that bit more at that moment.

rubyrubyruby Wed 03-Apr-13 22:21:34

I do understand that scottishmummy.

We would just find it hard to batch cook 6 adult size portions and who would do the 4:30 tennis and dance run?

scottishmummy Wed 03-Apr-13 22:24:44

batch cook is so easy we do it,4-6week.bag up in freezer. easy peasy
so dont book 1630 kids appts if youre at work?i dont have that palaver
there no have it all,we all compromise in some way

scottishmummy Wed 03-Apr-13 22:26:50

kids dont need a schedule of violin,mandarin,dance nor do parents need to ferry about like minicab

fluffywhitekittens Wed 03-Apr-13 22:28:11

So theoretically scottishmummy if my career was working in an early years nursery setting for a fairly low wage should I then work outside the home jst to set an example to my children if t meant we were considerably worse off financially?

Or are you yourself not perpetuating the patriarchy by devaluing the role that I'm playing at home because I'm a female in a " traditional" female role?

Should DH stay at home and I go to work to prove a point, although that would then involve us having to claim some form of benefits that we don't at the moment?

rustybusty Wed 03-Apr-13 22:28:27

Its not too hard once you get in to it rubyruby. We cook shepherds pies, lasangnes etc and have them in our freezer. We have 2 freezers so lots of space.

Then just share the rest of the load when dh is here I do it all on my own 4 days a week as dh isnt here any of their waking hours. Even with that I still have an active social life, and regular go on nights out or waste time on mn grin

Hadassah Wed 03-Apr-13 22:34:20

I don't think scottishmummy is saying that anyone "should" work outside the home, merely that being a housewife at home is enacting a stereotypical role. It is not bad, it's just what it is. That makes sense to me.

scottishmummy Wed 03-Apr-13 22:37:55

do a bit more book readin fluffy,how can i devalue your housewife role by working?
patriarchy supports and endorses housewife,and doesnt support working women
you as housewife are enacting the patriarchy,your actions support it.mine dont undermine it

rubyrubyruby Wed 03-Apr-13 22:40:32

I suppose that's the thing. We want our children to have those opportunities and therefore make the relevant sacrifices.

I didn't have that option with DS1

I'd love to be back at work, but if I went back FT (the only option to work my job effectively) with travelling time I'd not see DD Mon-Fri awake, and after transport costs we'd have less money than we started with - so it is cheaper for us if I do not work. Which makes me sad sad

kim147 Wed 03-Apr-13 22:41:18

I know someone who has 2 teenage daughters and whose husband works in the city. She has a pretty good life - runs the house but has loads of spare time as everyone is very independent. She had a career before children - but gave it up and has no intention of working again. She feels she has no need to.

I don't think she's judged for not working by her peers. Many of whom have a similar position. Would a man who did not work and who had plenty of spare time because his OH was the main bread earner (and the children were pretty much independent) face judgement?

fluffywhitekittens Wed 03-Apr-13 22:44:42

I didn't say you devalue it by working. I asked if you were saying that a housewife makes no contribution to society or an individual family.

scottishmummy Wed 03-Apr-13 22:45:50

no parent compelled to ferry about to endless classes and 430appts,its choice
its made out at times as reason to work pt,to accommodate the lessons schedule
no one has it all.i never go on school trips or sport afternoon but then neither does dp

blueshoes Wed 03-Apr-13 22:46:25

kin147, to answer your question, yes, I would judge that non-working husband. Nice set up if you can get it!

fluffywhitekittens Wed 03-Apr-13 22:46:37

And incidentally I have a degree in social science, so would say that I've previously done a fair bit of book reading on gender role stereotypes and the patriarchy.

scottishmummy Wed 03-Apr-13 22:50:14

housewife maintains the patriarchy fluffy be being inactive and dependent upon male wage
its a personal decision which supports your family,but at cost of you being out of employment
if you however weigh that up as a risk you're wiiling to take,its your decision

dimsum123 Wed 03-Apr-13 22:51:16

Just want to say that I am an ex lawyer, now SAHM for 10 years, both kids have been full time for 3 years now. I never feel, nor have ever been made to feel dull, worthless, lazy etc etc.

I don't understand where this idea comes from? That SAHM's are looked down upon? Certainly not in my experience. I know plenty of other SAHM and WOHM, whether full time or part time, but never have I felt lesser or inferior to any other group.

I would be grateful if someone could enlighten me.

scottishmummy Wed 03-Apr-13 22:55:42

i think mn is the housewife/working thing is contentious.and then schoolgate kicks it off too

stealthsquiggle Wed 03-Apr-13 22:58:26

confused didn't this thread start out saying that all choices are valid for individual families, but that it is the assumption that women only work through financial necessity /being heartless which grates? How did that turn into suggesting that anyone should make themselves as a family unit less well off in order to prove some point?

Too confusing. Sleep time.

scottishmummy Wed 03-Apr-13 23:00:54

what point are you not making?

morethanpotatoprints Wed 03-Apr-13 23:07:02

I suppose really its how you define being a sahm/d. To me it isn't about being a housewife as that isn't really my role. In fact I don't really have one.
Its great to come and go as I please and not to have to do as a boss man says to get money to pay for more stuff.
I enjoy the freedom of not having to plan who picks dd/ drops off, ferries about, has time off, organising childcare etc, I would find this dull and boring. Meal planning is right what are we having, ok who's cooking it, what time should we eat. Sometimes as late as 4pm that day grin. Domestic responsibilities are shared between the family. Sometimes one person may do more than others depending on who is at home. I probably cook twice a week.

Are you new on here, because you will see plenty comments of detriment to sahp's.

stealthsquiggle Wed 03-Apr-13 23:10:05

Very nice too, potatoprints, and IMO a valid choice. I wonder how those around you would react if you worked and your DP said the same, though?

dimsum123 Wed 03-Apr-13 23:12:14

Hi, yes I am new.

I read upthread a poster saying that SAHM are thought of as inferior etc and I just wondered by whom? As I have never come across this attitude in 10 years of being a SAHM.

seeker Wed 03-Apr-13 23:20:28

I do think that the core- or one of the cores of the problem is the as a society w attach practically no value at all to the task of raising children. The women who do it as a job are paid very little and have practically no status. The women who do it for free have even less status, and are looked at as boring, uninteresting ambitionless drones who are rubbish role models for their children. Nobody ever suggests that saying to a child "I think you are so important and valuable that I decided that looking after you was something really really worth doing" might make you as good a role model as running ICI.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 03-Apr-13 23:21:49


My dh does say the same really. I think thats what you mean.
He works from home mostly, but is sometimes away. We share everything we possibly can, within reason.
Obviously if he is working then I will do something that has to be done then, I wouldn't just leave it. For us it works great as when dd was at school we both got to attend school stuff. Now, we can both go to concerts, auditions and competitions with her. I usually take her to music lessons and dance lessons, but dh does it sometimes if he is there. Dh does music with her between other pupils during the morning and I do academic subjects in the afternoon. Ds when they are about contribute to the family as well. They do ironing, washing, cleaning as well.

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Wed 03-Apr-13 23:41:33

I wanted to be at home when my children were small and i knew I wanted a few dcs. I left work completely when i got pg, and moved a couple of hundred miles away from my old company. I was completely naive, I thought because I have a 'good' degree from a 'good' university and had a 'good' job with a multinational that I could stay at home for a few years, have a few dcs and then, if not walk back into it, at least be able to get back in and prove myself and work my way up to where I was before. My youngest is 18 months off starting school and I feel completely unemployable. I don't feel especially criticised by society but I am massively disappointed in myself.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 03-Apr-13 23:50:17


You make a very good point there. I think if you don't work especially in this day and age you are looked down upon.

I think because some women feel that being a sahm is not for them they think you must have a dull life shackled to the sink because that is how they felt during ml.
However, for many it couldn't be further from the truth.
Also it is obviously an emotive subject because we all want to think we have done the best for our dc and some people feel threatened by others who have chosen a different route.
The question of what constitutes a good role model is interesting too as everybody has their own value and opinion on this.

BoringTheBuilder Wed 03-Apr-13 23:55:00

i had a crap job and no contracted hours when I got pregnant. Wouldn't be able to pay for childcare if went back. My husband still and a shit salary but a steady one and a chance to progress in his career which he has being doing. Now I am a CM so I can still eliminate childcare costs while earning money, but I am working towards a career out of the house.
My husband would love for me to be the main bread winner and than he could stay at home watching TV all day cleaning, cooking and doing the school run...
Maybe one day.

BoringTheBuilder Wed 03-Apr-13 23:56:07

And I did want to do everything with my daughter myself tbh

fluffywhitekittens Thu 04-Apr-13 00:12:03

Thank you Seeker. I wanted to say that but have drunk too much wine this evening

I don't personally see staying at home as a risk. I see it as something I want to do at this point in time.

Childcare is seen as "women's" work and women's work is under valued in a patriarchal society.

I remember reading something a while back about how jobs that used to be typically the reserve of males but now are top heavy with females become less respected in society - teaching and healthcare being one example.

Comments that suggest housewives contribute nothing do to my mind perpetuate what the OP is saying.
And personally I really dislike the term housewife and view myself as a stay at home parent for these few years.

scottishmummy Thu 04-Apr-13 00:18:57

I dont look down on housewives,and on mn they get pretty good deal
Sure there are heated exchanges but that's online for you.both give,both get
Where I live,and at school, housewife is mc norm.working gets a poor you facehmm

pollypandemonium Thu 04-Apr-13 00:23:23

Stealth I'm not sure what you're objecting to - that people put men down because 'their' women 'have to' work? I think that's a very 1950s attitude and I have never come across it, even in older people.

I think when women work part time it's because they want to, not because they don't know any better.

sydlexic Thu 04-Apr-13 00:38:34

I am sad to say that IME men are just not as good at rearing DC as women are.

I earned more than my DH and we decided that he would be the SAHP. This lasted 6 months, he was tired, aggressive, impatient, had no sense of fun.

I would have been happy for him to be at home whilst I worked but he couldn't hack it.

I am now a SAHM.

kickassangel Thu 04-Apr-13 00:44:02

I think that a lot of people make life decisions based on fairly short term and optimistic views. They look at the monthly balance sheet, rather than paying into pensions. They assume that their children won't have special needs, or that they will always have a partner and both always be healthy. They assume they'll never be made redundant.

It doesn't take much, a child needing hospital treatment for a month or two can lose a parent their job.

I wonder how many couples where one parent is pt or staying at home have thought about these things

Unfortunately, capitalism requires a certain section of its workforce to be surplus to fit with the flow of demand. That section I'd typically women and other vulnerable groups.

It would benefit capitalism a lot more if all working adults were more flexible, had less job security etc, but that would be too strongly resisted.

1950s propaganda had a huge influence in promoting the role of the sahm, it had barely been heard of before the. It was done to give jobs to men when ther weren't enough to go around.

So, yes, I do respond to people who ask questions by asking why they don't ask dh the same.

pollypandemonium Thu 04-Apr-13 01:56:52

kickass the 1950s setup changed in the 1980s when millions of would be SAHMs felt empowered enough to work. This meant house prices went up (people could get bigger mortgages on a joint income) and the knockon effect of that is that households now need TWO working parents to cover their housing costs.

It also meant the labour market was diluted (similar to the impact of several million immigrants within a decade) and has driven wages down.

What we are left with now is women and men working all the hours to make up enough money to pay for a roof over their heads with the lucky few with low mortgages or in subsidised housing being able to make a real choice about childcare.

Or perhaps we have now gone back to what it was like before the 1950s when ordinary mothers worked hard for pennies looking after the children of the privileged wealthy.

rustybusty Thu 04-Apr-13 06:40:53

sydelxic - Lots of men are just as good at childcare Through my job I know many single dads who do 24/7 care for their children, and they breeze through it.

rustybusty Thu 04-Apr-13 06:43:29

Pollypandemonium - Its not really like the 50s as dual incomes give you a higher standard of living. Even the dual income couples I know that make minimum wage still have smart phones each, classes for their children, sky etc. It means that people can have a much higher standard of living nowadays.

rustybusty Thu 04-Apr-13 06:53:29

rubyruby - You work round it between us dd1 does individual swimming lessons, and rainbows. We work round each others shifts, but it all depends on how helpful your dh is.

I have to say this set up still baffles me. I am from a Scandinavian country where women all work, unless they are not able for health reasons. To choose not to work when you are perfectly able is unheard of, even more so if you are educated and used to have a successful career before children. I don't know any SAHMs in my native Finland. Children are all in childcare, and there is none of this agonising and hand-wringing should-I-shouldn't-I. Conversely, I also do not know any families in Finland where men have opted out of childcare and chores, where it is always the mother getting up in the night with the toddler, or always getting up in the morning when he has a lie in (I know several couples here in the Uk where this is the norm). Where I live now (provincial town in the south) most mothers I know either don't work or have part time work at home that they can fit around school hours. When my youngest was still at nursery there was one child who was there full time, 8am to 6pm every day as his mum worked FT. Jesus the bleating: 'that poor little mite...being left for an entire day...' When did a full time working mother become a rarity? I have lived in the UK for nearly 20 years and I still don't get this.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 04-Apr-13 07:08:11

Sydlexic, in your experience your DH wasn't as good as you as being an SAHP. That's not a men and women fact,

My DH would be a better SAHP than me - but neither of us would be great, and we both want to work, so we work.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 04-Apr-13 07:09:08

Drowning, good post.

"pollypandemonium Thu 04-Apr-13 00:23:23

Stealth I'm not sure what you're objecting to - that people put men down because 'their' women 'have to' work? I think that's a very 1950s attitude and I have never come across it, even in older people."

I'm objecting to the assumption that I have come across that there needs to be a "good reason" for a woman to work after having children - financial or otherwise. That if her OH earns enough to keep them both, that she would by default be a SAHM. I'm not convinced men get put down if their wives work, but there must be a "reason" - is she one of these career women? Does she struggle to care for her own children?None of these are aimed at dads who work.

rubyrubyruby Thu 04-Apr-13 07:19:27

That's fine if it works for you rustybusty. I'm just saying that if DH and I both worked full time then we would struggle for our children to do any extra curriculum stuff.
DS1 didn't have the same opportunities that my younger DCs have and that does sadden me sometimes.
My situation is different from most though I think.

seeker Thu 04-Apr-13 07:59:47

Poor/working class women have always worked.

Trills Thu 04-Apr-13 08:19:58

Can we quote Miriam Gonzalez Durantez (Miriam "Not Clegg", as I often refer to her)?

My husband has three children, he has a much busier career than I have, and he has a busy wife. And nobody would ask him how he balances everything…

chocspread Thu 04-Apr-13 08:22:57

Rusty I think the extra curricular activities is a point. When working FT I couldn't organise anything extra for my first child and it made me sad too. Now I'm on mat leave I can look at dance and music and lots of fun free stuff - all that happens during the boundaries of normal working hours.

drowninginlaundry your post is interesting but simplistic.

Have you ever been unemployed? I have for just a few months and found it incredibly hard to get a job. It is so much easier finding a job if you are already in one. In fact I might post about me finding a job as it was a sobering experience.

Maybe the childcare in Finland is far superior to that on offer in the UK.

Perhaps the fact the domestic work is shared is the key here.

I also wonder what the gender pay gap is in Finland. There is still a huge pay gap in the UK. In my current role I was on the senior leadership team - me and the other woman on the team earned significantly less than the males on the team.

As for getting up in the night - in the first few years I often think the night calls are due to comfort feeding if you bf. I bf my first child and although I worked FT (but had a 16 month period where I did not work and looked after my child FT) so I did find it was me who got up in the night up until 3 anyhow. So I did find it tough when I first when back to work. I didn't even tell anyone at work I was bfing as it wouldn't be the done thing. Also I never could express.

When I returned to FT work I worked really long hours on a FT basis (partly due to the economy and the state of work and my role) once you add in a London commute to that mix it becomes hard to see and spend quality time with you children.

And (touch wood) I have really healthy children and have been healthy myself so have seldom needed to take any emergency leave. I was fortunate in that my DH had a family friendly boss so he could do pick up and drop offs and take the hit for any sick days.

But I did also find that my DH and I never got a holiday at the same time other than for 1.5 weeks a year. Tell me what do they do in Finland when both parents work.

This is because once you factor in taking off holidays for immunisations, check up, days when the nursery is closed etc etc, then you can't both have time off together - so it is hard to have time off as a family.

morethanpotatoprints as I am now on mat leave for the second time I totally agree with your post - that for me I love being a sahm the freedom in some ways. I love that I can plan an outing at the drop of the hat as I now have 2 healthy children and babies are portable. I can go to an exhibition, go for a long walk - soak up the cultural richness of London.

You say "Its great to come and go as I please and not to have to do as a boss man says to get money to pay for more stuff." I could not agree more!! However, for me the money will run out so I will have to work at some stage but I'm in denial. But again I live in London there is so much to do on my door step. I wake up - even when I am sleep deprived thinking - where shall we go today. Again, having healthy children and a bit of money to scoot around is key here - lots of people don't have that freedom. I do find the housework quite difficult at times and a cause of fights with my DH but we are working through it.

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou I got quite angry when people tried to make out I was unemployable and I think it is to do with the status of SAHMs. I changed jobs and went through a stage where I was unemployed - I remember going for interviews and wanting to scream on the inside. I did struggle to find a job but that was because of the prejudice of employment agents and the like not because of my skill set. Don't let anyone get you down and be confident in your own abilities.

chocspread Thu 04-Apr-13 08:40:02


I love mn as I learn something new every day - apparently you can go up to 7.5 weeks annual leave in Finland depending upon length of service so that must make a difference.

The following comes from a govt report:

"In Finland, women have a long history of participating in working life and half of all wage-earners are women, but the labour market is still divided by gender and a majority of women are working in sectors that have, on average, lower pay levels than typically male- dominated sectors. However, the pay difference between men and women is very small in the public sector when the impact of some background variables (age, education and training, work experience, the requirements of the job) is eliminated. Pay schemes based on job evaluation and performance appraisal have promoted the implementation of equal pay.
Women account for 24% of the top central government posts and 38% of all managers and supervisors. Thirteen percent of municipal managers and 40% of all ministers, municipal councillors, members of Parliament and members of the EU Parliament are women.
Finland’s Gender Equality Act lays down an obligation for employers to draw up a gender equality plan. The plan must include payroll charting and proposals for action to advance gender equality and to reduce pay differences. A number of statutory schemes, the right to day care and a comprehensive day care system support the integration of working and family life and the possibility for parents of small children to work."

That explains a lot.

Trying to get day care in London can be really hard and expensive.

flatmum Thu 04-Apr-13 09:58:13

Hmmmm I'm not sure I but this children are deprived because they can't so activities thing. I have 3 DC 8, 5 and 2 and I have been pretty lucky as I have experience all ways of doing things apart from full time sahm. I had 3 maternity leaves of almost a year, I've worked part time and I e worked from home. Now I work full time out of the home, my 3 DC are in full time childcare (after school club, childminder, day nursery respectively) and they are busier than me and do more activities than ever!

Ok the 2y olds activities are mainly centred around his nursery, but I think that is appropriate at his age and I pay for a good quality one so he does lots of singing, music, outdoor play etc - that's all they really want or need at that age IMO. He is with his friends, he is happy. When he was at home with me and I was trying to work or doing the school run he realistically spent most o his time in the car, playing on his own or watching Thomas the tank engine.

The 5y old has a whale of a time at his childminders, he loves her dc and often refuses to leave. She has the time and patience to bake with him etc.

The older one is more than happy to be at asc as he plays football, goes swimming etc, all the things he would be constantly moaning to do at home with me complaining he is bored.

I did everything with dc1 as a baby, a bit with dc2 as was on mat leave and virtually nothing with dc3 apart from nursery and

flatmum Thu 04-Apr-13 10:06:52

Sorry! Playing at home and my considered opinion now is it doesn't make a huge amount of difference as long as their is quality time in the evenings and at weekends. I am finding that working ft back in the office is actually far less stressful than wfh and trying to juggle everything, pick them up from school etc. As a result when I get home at 6 (most nights I try to be strict) we really want to see each other, help with homework, do bathtimes and stories etc which I have to confess I often found a chore before. Weekends also more quality time I think.

I know everyone is different but this 50/50 approach works for us. We both work, both do childcare and chores. No one gets stuck slogging away doing everything and I feel we are showing our children good equal role models. I really don't feel they are deprived during the week as we pay for good quality childcare where they so loads (and sometimes kids want to just play!) and due to duel incomes they have a very good standard of living, they get experiences we never had as kids like travel, skiing, sports, music lessons etc.

Don't feel bad or guilty! I've tried it all and it is self-defeating. A happy non stressed mum is what's best for them and you do what you need to do to achieve this.

scottishmummy Thu 04-Apr-13 13:18:31

Of course men are as capeable of parenting as mums,why wouldn't they be?
biggest myth we ever swallowed is childcare is wimmin work.thus ghettoising us
the expectation of women giving up work is deep rooted but It's not inevitable

sherbetpips Thu 04-Apr-13 13:25:16

I work FT but if I was totally and utterly honest if my DH earned a fortune would I still be pursuing my career to intently - I honestly dont know, some days I would do anything to have less stress. I couldnt be full time SAHM as frankly kids drive me nuts but I would probably work less hours. A little part of me (only a very little part) quite likes the idea of being a kept lady, but only because DH is a lovely man. If he were a git I doubt I would think the same way!

sherbetpips Thu 04-Apr-13 13:27:46

rubyrubyruby why would they not do extra curricula activities - the after school clubs take them at our school?
Although to be honest my DS hates them - we now have an agreement only two activities a week.

rustybusty Thu 04-Apr-13 13:56:18

chocsspread - Dh and I both work full time,and our dd still does all those activities. Full time work doesnt stop me from doing it, but it is because I have a very hands on dh.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 13:59:00


A lot of people don't use schools for their dcs extra curricular activities. We never had. For us its a mix of a local dance school 2 evenings a week, choir practice and orchestra 1 evening a week and private music tuition. No after school club could commit themselves to taking one dc across town to access this.

scottishmummy Thu 04-Apr-13 13:59:08

Choosing After school activities that demand your time prevent you working
You've chosen to prioritize after school activities in preference to work
We don't attend any such activities as we are at work.imo kids don't need a full schedule

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 14:11:06

My dd would strongly disagree with you Scottish she feels she does need to do her lessons and classes. I hope I have chosen to use my time providing the type of life my dc want and need, over working for an employer. This is just my opinion though, I'm sure there are many other views.
Its a bit different for us though as dd already knows what she wants to do when she is older, has it all mapped out and works extremely hard to realise her ambitions. I am very proud she has this sorted at only 9 years old.

KateDillington Thu 04-Apr-13 14:17:44

I feel like this has happened to me, although I've desperately tried to keep working.

It makes me despair for my own girls, to be honest.

I worked part time but my career just went backwards while this happened.

Now I've been made redundant due to the changes in the NHS. I've worked my arse off trying to juggle everything, got a first-class degree, and I'm now a 40 year-old single mum, about to live on benefits. Your thread topics sums me up, despite my best intentions.

SatsukiKusukabe Thu 04-Apr-13 14:20:37

good post choc, and it's true women often stay out of the work place because it's difficult to get back in to it after beung a sahp or just being on a slightly extended ml. If we valued the role of sahp we might actually have fewer people doing it for as they wouldn't have to! confused

rubyrubyruby Thu 04-Apr-13 14:29:42

It doesn't matter how hands on your DH is - if neither of you are there then they can't do the activities.

We are not prioritising after school activities, we are prioritising our children

We live rural so mine need transporting.They don't lots but when you have 3 or 4 DCs those 2 a week = 6/8

SatsukiKusukabe Thu 04-Apr-13 14:32:31

if it was assumed everyone took some time out after children at some point there would be no discrimination against sahp coming back to the work place.

sad Kate sorry to hear that

SummerHeatBerry Thu 04-Apr-13 15:03:25

I read this with interest. I went part time BEFORE i got married in the hope that I wouldn't have to be asking to go PT when I had my kids. Luckily it worked out and now me and DH work part time and cover the child-care. One thing I would say is that I do feel that the children can get too dependent on you if you are always around, so i do find my DCs are taking longer to be independent of me for play etc. Anyone else find this?

SatsukiKusukabe Thu 04-Apr-13 15:19:00

I haven't found that at all. I've been told that that will be the case by people who did put their children in to nursery. Mine are 2 and 1 and very independent, I smile and nod when people project their parenting insecurities on to me. It seems the kindest option. These are usually the same people who think you spoil babies by cuddling them.

SatsukiKusukabe Thu 04-Apr-13 15:20:03

people forget that babies are people too with their own personalities.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 15:29:34


I think dc could become reliant on a parent who is there all the time if you encouraged it. My personal experience is different but will agree I am at home with dd permanently and she doesn't attend school. Over the past year or so she has become almost completely independent for play and organising her work pattern and has become an independent learner. However, we are a different circumstance to the norm, I think.

scottishmummy Thu 04-Apr-13 15:41:22

Its nothing to do with hands-on parenting,we dont prioritise activities over working
If I were inclined I could schedule numerous classes,I don't.don't think it's necessary
But imo it's a bit of a mc thing to do,often the explanation is the parent had no such opportunities so it's enriching

flatmum Thu 04-Apr-13 15:51:54

I think the after school activities get easier as they get older too as they are generally later and they can get lifs with friends etc. my 8y old does a sport and cubs 2 evenings a week which we take him to and pick him up from after work. We can take days off or work from home on occasion for things like sports days, assemblies etc. there are 2 of us and neither of our work lives are seen as more or less important so we can spread the load. I'm not sure it's all so unachievable as it sounds tbh.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 15:58:14

Scottish grin at your mc thing to do.

Although I will agree we do come across the type you example above. I think it is necessary if its what the child really wants to do and if its something where they have a particular talent it seems madness to me not to encourage it.
If one of your dc was particularly gifted at Maths ot technology and wanted to join a group and compete in National/ international competitions, would you discourage this because the class meet at 4.30 on thursday and you are working then?

seeker Thu 04-Apr-13 16:03:13

"I think the after school activities get easier as they get older too as they are generally later and they can get lifs with friends etc"

grin What, friends whose mother/father doesn't WOH?

flatmum Thu 04-Apr-13 16:05:30

No we take it in turns so one family drop and one pick up so that you don't have to go out twice in one evening. All 4 parents work (one part time) tho this isn't strictly relevant on the particular case as cubs starts at 6.30 pm and the sporting activity at 7pm

snowballschanceineaster Thu 04-Apr-13 16:19:38

I hate the fact that some women in society think that mums who stay at home after they have children are weak and dis-empowered. I hate the fact that some women in society think that mums who dash back to full time work are driven and heartless and not fit mothers. I hate the fact that some women see the world in shades of black and white, right or wrong, and make no allowance for personal choice or personal freedom.

I am bringing my child up to realise that any choice she makes in terms of raising her family will be just that...her choice! I have told her that she should make the most of every opportunity that comes her way. That she should use any childcare that's available if it makes her happy, to pursue her goals. I have told her that I will happily help with childcare if I'm fit enough and live close enough. I have also told her that if she wants to pack it all in, or downsize after children, that's perfectly acceptable too.

I don't presume she will slot into one choice or the other WOHM or SAHM. She will hopefully be lucky enough to have choices, just as I did. And I will hopefully be around to support her in whatever choice she makes.

crumblingpile Thu 04-Apr-13 16:20:37

"If one of your dc was particularly gifted at Maths ot technology and wanted to join a group and compete in National/ international competitions, would you discourage this because the class meet at 4.30 on thursday and you are working then?"

I don't thin k it's fair to say that by not being able to take them to a class you are 'discouraging' them, it's just one of those things - not possible to commit to. I think there are plenty of parents who would have to say no to a commitment like that unless they were able to find someone else to take the child to the classes and the competitions because it's just not possible to drop work willy nilly.

scottishmummy Thu 04-Apr-13 16:21:41

Ok the hypothetical math club,id get a cm.I wouldn't attend,id be supportive
But these dizzying schedules are often cited as reason not to work,another task women do
We prioritize work before social schedule,and thats actually what it is.social activities. unless you're in tiny minority of child with aptitude eg Andy Murray tennis

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 16:27:16


My dd is the tiny minority of exceptionally gifted, but that wasn't my point really. I think any aptitude or interest in a subject should be encouraged because who knows what their dc will want to become when older.
I don't think it has to be a parent who ferries them about though, although I think that involvement could be necessary. My dd would be upset if I didn't attend a concert, accompany her to competitions and auditions.
It is not the reason why I don't work though, I haven't worked for 20+ years, entirely by choice.

But why bother nurturing their talent when they'll not be able to use it as a grown up at 4.30 on a Tuesday because their child has a flower arranging class?

rubyrubyruby Thu 04-Apr-13 16:36:14

I do work.
I do a job I love with hours to suit me that fit around my family.

Sorry ruby was that to me? Am losing track! I just think this argument is getting silly. I don't understand how it's got onto after school activities and in danger of turning into the usual bunfight - lazy SAHMs to the left, neglectful WOHMs to the right, WAHMs on that fence in the middle.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 16:39:12


Who said that because a child has a class their parent can't work. If that was what you were suggesting above.

My point was just because a parent doesn't work doesn't mean they don't/can't enjoy their life doing what they want. Life is not an endless round of domestic chores. Sometimes supporting and ferrying your children around can be enjoyable.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 16:41:06

Sorry, no bun fight from me. I like hearing different viewpoints.

Apologies if I derailed though.

Oh OK, agree with that. This thread just seems to hace ended up being about after school activities and the practicialities of getting them there - and there are suggestions that it's one of the reasons women choose not to work. Which is fine. But tbh it can only tip the balance surely, no one arranges their career around their child's beavers?

crumblingpile Thu 04-Apr-13 16:46:11

"But why bother nurturing their talent when they'll not be able to use it as a grown up at 4.30 on a Tuesday because their child has a flower arranging class?"


rubyrubyruby Thu 04-Apr-13 16:47:48

No Stealth I wasn't talking to you - you're just the OP FFS grin

I'm not meaning it to SAHPvsWOHP but admitted that I do find it difficult to understand how both parents can work full time. It's a compliment to those that do tbh - we couldn't manage it but then DH is committed to long hours and travel with his work.

Oh OK, just couldn't see anyuwehrre where it had been assumed you were a SAHP, so assumed it was to me...lost track completely now.
And I don't mind a bit of derailing, do plenty myself. Please avoid turning this into a Benedict Cumerbatch or whatever his name is thread though.

Wishiwasanheiress Thu 04-Apr-13 16:53:29

I have absolutely no idea what it is u are trying to discuss, am possibly interested just don't get it. Ur title is pants tbh, sorry but its right unclear.

Please re explain? Ill try then to answer smile

OK "Women have their little careers till they have babies. Then they do as little as possible [in the world of work], preferably not working at all after that"
is an attitude I think is quite prevalent in the people around me, and it annoys me, with its assumptions that women's careers are disposable. It also annoys me that men are never questioned about "how they cope" or "whether they're going to go part time" or even stop entirely. Hope that's clearer.

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 17:06:12

"But why bother nurturing their talent when they'll not be able to use it as a grown up at 4.30 on a Tuesday because their child has a flower arranging class?"

Good one!

sweetkitty Thu 04-Apr-13 17:18:43

I'm a SAHM preDC I had a good job in London with over an hours commute each way and I also travelled a lot for work.

When DD1 was born I did intend to return to work but the nursery fees were astronomical and some weeks I would have hardly seen her Mon to Fri.

As a family we made the decision to relocate to Scotland, got a far larger house on one wage, DHs career took off and we had another 3 children.

Unlike about 90% of families around here we don't get free childcare from family and nursery/childminder/afterschool would be too expensive for 4 (our choice to have 4 I know).

I feel virtually unemployable now though hmm that's the downside.

I couldn't care less if anyone else works full time or what they do with their children, each one of us makes the right decision for our own family and circumstances. I don't think WOHMs are wrong or neglectful, it's their choice and as a woman I'm glad we can all make that choice.

I do get annoyed when my WOHM friends say "oh SK it's alright for YOU you don't need to work, it's do hard working and juggling childcare" these are the ones that's have family childcare, trips to Disneyworld and 2 new cars in the drive. They could quite easily be SAHMs if they down scaled their lifestyle but they don't want to and that's their choice but don't berate me for doing it. There are families I know where 2 parents have to work as well I'm not saying that every family could have a SAHP, I'm not that naive. As a SAHM I would never ever turn round and say "well it's ok for you out working for your cars and holidays and having free childcare" I just wouldn't as that's rude so why so they say it to me?

Anyway make your choice and be happy with it and did what everyone else is doing grin

scottishmummy Thu 04-Apr-13 17:20:03

Stealth just because you start thread doesn't mean it won't digress,I don't think it's silly at all
After school activities are generally seen as mum task,extension of parenting
I've never seen,read,heard expectation dad accompany to classes in way mum expected to

sweetkitty, this really isn't a WOHM/SAHM bunfight. I expect each family to make their own decisions and accept it's none of my business. What irritates me is the assumptions that it will be the woman who will take the hit and the assumption that all normal women want to cut down or stop working altogether after having a child.

No I agree, and have said that I don't mind derailing, I do enough of that myself. But I didn't really understand the issue of the after school activities - as far as I could see some people were using it as an explanation of why they'd cut down or stopped working. Which is fine, but what does it have to do with society's expectations. Which I think you have just answered.

scottishmummy Thu 04-Apr-13 17:26:46

Yes and accompanying expectation mum go pt or housewife.is that mum escort to activities
housewife from school commented with the facehmm you've never been on any trips
has your dh been on any trips? i asked her.oh no she gasps ironically,he works.

rubyrubyruby Thu 04-Apr-13 17:29:03

<<puts hand up>> That was my fault about the after school activities Stealth. That's because they are a large part of my life and the reason I can never take work that's offered after school hours (turned down 2 contracts today actually)

DH does weekend activity running around.

Wishiwasanheiress Thu 04-Apr-13 17:30:03

Thing is, most of the attitude u describe I find from women. Much is evident of it as well on mn too. Which makes sense if its a microcosm of society.

Men I find just dont think about it. Ever. Women do, they just do extremely little to assist or worse, do the old well I had it shit so can u.

Many of the worst attitudes I've ever come across are women to women in working world.

Not true. Women assume that other women will go paryt time. Men assume they and other men will work full time and dedicate their time to their career and the women around them will on the whole, sort out the childcare. IME, anyway.

Wishiwasanheiress Thu 04-Apr-13 17:35:19

90% of roles could be done differently from 9-5 mon-fri for example but we accept over years of training that they never wil be.

Unless that belief that roles can be structured differently now with the additional tools of laptops/iPads etc alters I'm unsure how things will change?

scottishmummy Thu 04-Apr-13 17:36:01

As i said the only jip ive had about ft work is from women,the face,the why have em
It's all part of presumed maternal guilt and if anyone giving something up it's mum
And it's well embedded on mn,accompanied by research from shitsville uni

Tortington Thu 04-Apr-13 17:37:48

i hated being at home

babies are like leeches

not a lot of people feel like me though tbh

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 17:38:08


I suppose I am not able to to fully relate to your OP has it isn't something I find a lot of today tbh. Although, obviously I'm not denying it exists.
I had my first dc over 21 years ago and found it pretty much like that then. Childcare was not easily available and society did really expect women to either have a little job for pin money or sah. They were certainly expected to fit in with their dh. There were the mc workers who were paying full price for childcare but were the minority rather than the majority.
I had quite a shock when first coming on these threads to find i was in a minority group and indeed that far more families had both parents working. I too thought, but what about the kids. I wasn't being mean but the shift in society and my own upbringing and values put upon parenting were different to this. So maybe you don't see the huge improvements that I see, far more choices, more childcare provision.
I'm not saying its hunky dory, obviously still a way to go, but the difference in the last 20+ years to me is hugely significant.
Who knows where we will be in another 20 years.

Wishiwasanheiress Thu 04-Apr-13 17:39:04

Er not in my experience. Cannot believe I've met the only women who do this. Men just assume the actual status quo won't alter. Often times I'm not sure they are wrong!

StuffezLaBouche Thu 04-Apr-13 17:41:03

Have to say, this "assumption" business is pissing me off a bit now. So fucking what if people "assume?" I just don't get why people don't thank their lucky stars they live in a country where couples are able to talk as equal partners and decide how divide up labour in and out of the house.
If anyone feels the need to comment, what's wrong with a polite "it works for us, thanks." ?

So it irritates you that I'm irritated? confused

StuffezLaBouche Thu 04-Apr-13 17:46:39

What I think is that it really doesn't matter what other people ASSUME. Why does it?

badguider Thu 04-Apr-13 17:46:54

I would be interested to know how working patterns have changed in the last 30 years.
When I was in primary school (1980s) those friends at school who didn't have a parent at home to go to straight after school were a tiny minority. There were no afterschool clubs either, most went to a grandparent's and there were a few childminders but not many. I don't know if this was my area or a national picutre.

[my mum worked nightshift and dad worked from home so it's not that all those families had a sAHP).

Wishiwasanheiress Thu 04-Apr-13 17:49:32

We do talk. I am pleased we can. Its better than when i started work, might be great by time dds grandchildten do work! Just "the rules" make many of us compromise in order to keep us fitting in without rocking the boat. I'd like to change those rules is all I'm sayin' I'd like it better, now.

But I'm impatient. ;)

Stuffez because society's assumptions can limit real people. They can make girls think that that is what is expected of them. They allow a generation of men to believe that their career take precendence. And they cause me to scream myself hoarse in my head. grin Having something important to you dismissed is quite irritating - and rightly so I'd say.

badguider, I too went to a CM. I wasn't aware of nurseries as there are now, although of course there may have been. My dad worked 9-5 and my mum shifts so the CM was there as a stopgap.

After all if the majority of people assume that girls will grow up to be nurses, and boys will grow up to be the doctors, I'd consider that something to get annoyed about.

Wishiwasanheiress Thu 04-Apr-13 17:53:54

Or ur in a job where it's irrelevant?

Gosh do I wish that for my dds....

I don't understand that

blueberryupsidedown Thu 04-Apr-13 17:56:26

My assumption when I was growing up was that I was going to work and never wanted to get married and didn't want children. Now I'm married with two kids and working as a childminder. Sometimes life just takes its own course...

But when I go back home (where childcare is very cheap, available, not perfect but very much subsidised) nearly all mums go back to work.
It's a debate on many other boards but I know from experience that if childcare is very cheap, most women will go back to work. When the new childcare system was introduced (about 15 years ago) the working culture changed overnight. It costs about £5 a day - a DAY - to send a child to a state run nursery.

StuffezLaBouche Thu 04-Apr-13 17:58:29

Then surely the work issue needs discussing before having babies, because i could NEVER have a child with a man who believed his career was any more "special" than mine.
I'd be interested to know from people on here who received snotty, nosy comments about working post birth, whether those comments came from men or women.
I know as a childless woman, my experience is limited, but I do think we are lucky to live in a country where couples can make the decision themselves.

StuffezLaBouche Thu 04-Apr-13 17:59:17

And if I did have children I genuinely can't imagine giving two flying fucks what anyone thought of my decision to work.

Yes, agree with that. Just to clarify again, I am not talking particularly about snotty comments directed at me. I'm talking about conversations that have involved the phrases "well of course she'll be looking to go back part time", "Hopoefully he will get a job and then she won't have to return to work" "Don't you find it hard, working full time with a husband and two children?"

Maybe if you have a DD you'll give a flying fuck about how her career choices may be limited as an adult because women raise the children while men work. I certainly do. I don't want my DD to be influenced by constraints of society, but I'm sure she will be, we all are.

StuffezLaBouche Thu 04-Apr-13 18:05:37

Why will they be limited though? Mine certainly weren't and won't be. If FB is anything to go by (ha!) my peers are all achieving well in their respective careers. You simply cannot change the mindsets of people who make downright rude comments like that. All you can do is set a positive example to your OWN children of what a healthy parental relationship looks like.
And no children for me, so a non issue on that front!

seeker Thu 04-Apr-13 18:12:37

"Stuffez because society's assumptions can limit real people. They can make girls think that that is what is expected of them. They allow a generation of men to believe that their career take precendence. And they cause me to scream myself hoarse in my head. Having something important to you dismissed is quite irritating - and rightly so I'd say.

Absolutely. I have always made it very clear to y children that I had a career-and a very successful one before I decided to stop it to be at home. And I bang on at tedious length about how we came to the decision and why and we have always made sure that they have loads of different role models who have different priorities. Earning money is not the only way to be a good role model.

Completely agree, and have argued against the "have a career to be a role model" argument further up/down.
Stuffez, I suppose it's the same argument as advertising. Many people claim advertising doesn't work on them. Advertising and culture influence almost all of us to varying degrees.

StuffezLaBouche Thu 04-Apr-13 18:17:43

In that case what, practically, can you do with those rude comments questioning your decisions, apart from a short "it works for us, thanks."
You can do nothing apart from setting your own example, and it still seems to yet again boil down to women belittling other women's decisions.

StuffezLaBouche Thu 04-Apr-13 18:19:30

X posts sorry.
I like the analogy with advertising and do agree to some extent. For me, more than anything, teaching children to question "the way things are" is of crucial importance. I many not have children, but as a year six teacher I feel massively privileged to be in the position where my pupils are just starting to know their own minds and form their own opinions.

badguider Thu 04-Apr-13 18:25:59

Is there something to be said about working hours when comparing the UK to other countries? I think that in parts of the UK there is a working culture where 'full time' is actually well over 40hrs a week.

I know when I lived in London that I was out of the house far too long for childcare. I wasn't in some crazy city lawyer environment, just a normal one, but everybody I knew in London left the house about 8 at the latest and got home about 7:30/8. No childcare is open those hours.

I moved to Scotland five years ago and immediately noticed it is FAR more acceptable to leave the office at 5pm to go for a run or an evening walk or to see a show or film... not just where I worked but city-wide among all the people I socialised with in many different jobs. This means that the parents who have to leave at 5 don't stand out so much and it's not an issue to work a normal 8hr day.

I can see how a parent of either sex could easily work a full-time 37-39hr week but I don't honestly know why anybody with children would choose to work 50hrs a week or more and not see their children on a weekday.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 18:26:50


In all honesty after my 3rd dc now 9, I only witnessed the opposite. I had comments from people who assumed I had taken ml and was going to return to work.
I think I would have got those sort of comments post ds1 and 2 (21, 18) as it was far more acceptable and expected to be a sahm then.

badguider Thu 04-Apr-13 18:33:47

I didn't express my point very well in that last post.. what I mean is...

Maybe some people assume that a woman with children won't want to work full time because they assume that full-time work means giving all your waking hours to your employer (10 or 12 a day) with no work/life balance and being at the mercy of spontaneous and random late night working on deadlines with no ability to say 'enough' to the boss.

I've heard so many people on mn who have jobs like this and don't feel they can complain as others say 'at least you have a job'.

Clearly few families (if any) can manage with two people working like this.... and maternity leave (as well as gender assumption in society) makes it easier for the woman to break out of that work pattern than the man.

sweetkitty Thu 04-Apr-13 18:34:02

I'm am trying to think of one family I know where the Dad has went part time after they had children and I cannot think of one.

Why is there this assumption that the woman goes part time?

For us the best decision was for me to give up work, I supported DH through a masters and when he was temping, he was at the start of his career, my career was established but in a very specialised area (not easy to find work in, I know shot myself in the foot with that degree).

I remember getting a seasonal part time job a few years back and some of the comments yes mostly from women were soooo condesending like from SIL "oh SK you've got a wee job well done that's great you will be fab" DH actually said you know she has worked before.

DS will start nursery in August and I'm getting a lot of "what will you do with yourself, will you look for a wee job" ie part time for pin money, no I e has asked will I be returning full time or to my previous career.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 04-Apr-13 18:38:16

It's different perspectives. I was a SAHM for years, and now work FT, and although I rarely get any comments addressed to me directly, my attention was certainly focused differently in each role.

But the bit working fathers is spot on. A colleague took 5 months maternity leave and then returned to work, with her husband as a SAHD. I had to sit with a room full of working fathers feeling sorry for the child, without any thought that a) the child had two parents, and it was the other one who was at home, and b) they had all worked through their children's childhoods.

noviceoftheday Thu 04-Apr-13 19:13:55

I haven't really had this. I had dc1 the year after I hit the pinnacle of my career. Those who know me never doubted I would be back at work or that my career would continue to be important to me. Those who don't know me, well I have no idea what they're saying behind my backgrin

I am in the lucky position of being senior enough to be able to decide how I spend my time. Eg my nanny called me on Tuesday afternoon to say dc2 wasn't well. I immediately called dh and we discussed which of us had the flexibility to cancel meetings. This time it was me, so I was home within 45 mins. Dh did also come home about an hour later. my nanny knows if she calls and I am in a meeting to call dh straight away or to call him first. I tell this story because the first belittling of women's contribution pst dcs happens at home, everyone else (family, friends, acquaintances and society at large) is just an echo. It's hard but important work - I have had to really pull dh up at times times to not behave as if his career is more important than mine.

kickassangel Thu 04-Apr-13 19:33:25

If you look at statistics about the money that women earn, and the hours they work, then it very much does matter that people have the assumption that women's careers are secondary. The % of women who continue in ft careers after having children is quite low. And that leaves them hugely vulnerable. Look at divorce stats, and then you will realise that many children are growing up in households where money is tight, and there's a lot of stress, cos the mother stayed home part or full time, and now she's desperate to get child support, or benefits etc as she's on her own.

And as for the argument that it's women going to work that pushed house prices up - erm, does no-one remember Thatcherism? The huge tax breaks and incentives designed to encourage people to buy houses, at the same time as council housing became all but extinct? THAT was the reason for dramatic house price increases in the 80s.

The assumptions made about the roles of men and women when they become parents aren't just an irritant, they are pretty much key to understanding the reasons why women earn less, have less access to higher status/pay jobs, and are more vulnerable within society. To say nothing of how they affect the dynamics within family relationships.

Thank you kickass, exactly what I was trying to say

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 19:50:36

Stealth, I agree with your position except where you say SAHM is a valid choice.

Surely, society assumes that women will downgear at work once a woman has children because overwhelmingly, women DO prove employers right by leaving the workforce or going pt.

Therefore, other women exercising the choice to SAHM or go pt after children is detrimental to your choice to work ft. It is not a choice without socio-political implications.

You cannot rail against societal assumptions that are proven right again and again. I say this as someone who did go pt after dd but am now working ft.

scottishmummy Thu 04-Apr-13 19:57:11

Housewife role fulfills and maintains patriarchy by reinforcing women at home,man work
It's impossible to talk about societal expectations and not take on board impact of actions
Going back to op posed,is assumed women will go pt because so many do

Hmm interesting. Will need to have a think about that. I struggle to criticise choices other families make. I'm sure they're influenced by outside factors but that doesn't necessarily make them wrong.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 20:25:19

Yes, but surely women exercising their right to not work is to suit themselves and their families.
So are you proposing a woman who doesn't work, should get a ft job because society in general believe that women will work pt or be sahp after children. We should lose our choices for the greater good of influencing societies belief system?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 04-Apr-13 20:33:33

Morethan, one can acknowledge that one's choices have a wider impact on society and still make those choices.

I just ate a packet of crisps. That impacts on my taste buds (yum) but on my health, which long term impacts me, my family and the NHS. I'm still free to make the choice and frankly I didn't think at all about the NHS, but that doesn't mean that thousands of people all choosing to eat crisps this week won't impact the NHS.

scottishmummy Thu 04-Apr-13 20:44:09

Individuals exercise choices that have impact eg recycling,diet,smoking
These examples are considered so significant that there govt. policy to modify behavior
Housewife as a choice impacts as it maintain patriarchy,is economically inactive,removes skilled women from workplace

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 20:46:24

Oh ok, I see.

So its not that working mums are saying sahms should do what we are doing because you are letting the side down moreover, if you aren't part of the solution you are part of the problem.

Is this what a lot of working mums mean, because I can see this. I can sympathise with working mums who experience less than equal terms and society believing they should all be pt pin money earners after dc. That would clearly piss me right off If I was a career woman.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 20:53:39


I would really like to know what line of work you are in, because I am so nosy/ may one day need some advice. Totally understand if you want to tell me to mind my own.
Before dc I was in entertainment industry and 20+ years ago was earning the amount now that is quoted that only 8% of women earn. I was considered a very high earner at the time.

scottishmummy Thu 04-Apr-13 20:53:40

Yes,housewifery reinforces patriarchal women at home,not in work role
When women not at home,and ft working this as op notes is seen as unusual
Then the woman not pt,not giving up work is deemed to have not conformed to norm after birth

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 21:10:07

It is a shame that society sees this as the norm, because it is also detrimental to those who have chosen not to work.

There are many women and men who see the role of a woman who doesn't work as a housewife, childcarer, domestic, downtrodden, dim individual.

Now I know this person exists and I have met a few, but I find they are not representative of the women who don't work, that I know in the whole.

I don't think any change will happen until society in general is able to look at people as individuals rather than a stereotype of the group in which they choose to belong.

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 21:15:32

Even if you are not a career woman, your dd might well want to be.

So all these SAHMs going on about how they are still a good role model for their children even though they don't work have by their own actions already damaged their dds' choice to work ft after children by their very own choice to step away from the workplace.

I agree with snatch that it is possible to be aware of the implications of one's choice whilst still exercising the choice anyway. But it is important to recognise the implications of that choice to begin with.

noviceoftheday Thu 04-Apr-13 21:23:40

Blueshoes, really? shock thats rubbish as its such a sweeping generalisation. Mil was a sahm, sil was back at work in 6 months, still flying high in her career 18 months later.

SatsukiKusukabe Thu 04-Apr-13 21:28:43

So a mother who works outside the home is also not a role model since now their daughters think they must be married to their jobs?

scottishmummy Thu 04-Apr-13 21:28:44

The role model of housewife demonstrates to your kids mum doesn't work,dad does
Leaving other working women to demonstrate working role models,in chose job
At best a housewife will recall in past tense,when they worked x,y,z job

seeker Thu 04-Apr-13 21:30:16

I had a very successful career before I had children. I made an informed and thoughtful decision to move on from that career. I have explained to my children over the years why I made that decision , and have made sure that hey have lots of contact with women who have made different decisions. I am as sure as I can be that I have not damaged my children's- a specifically my daughter's- ability to make her own choices in her life.

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 21:33:57

The focus of my last post was not on role modelling - though that has clearly struck a raw nerve.

It was on the implications of stepping away from the workplace on employer perceptions of women's commitment post-children.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 21:35:18


I think we are all aware of the implications of our choices. Believe me my dd will make her own choices in life and I feel it far more important to instil that she has choices.
She is 9 and already has her life mapped out and nowhere so far has she discussed not doing as she pleases. grin

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 21:41:49

The implications of these choices go beyond workplace perceptions.

Although I have worked throughout my dc's lives, save for when I was on maternity leave, my ds 6 has already absorbed the fact from the schoolgate and seeing his friends' families that it is mummies that look after children and daddies go out to work, even though dh and I share out childcare fairly evenly when we are home.

rubyrubyruby Thu 04-Apr-13 21:42:56

I'm not convinced that my choices and actions will have any impact on the choices of my DD in the future or my DSs for that matter.

Hopefully, we have given them the support and confidence to make their own choices. I certainly nothing like my Mother.

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 21:44:55

rubyruby, your choice in itself does not matter. But it is the drip drip of these choices added up with those of millions other women in your circumstance that reinforce the status quo.

seeker Thu 04-Apr-13 21:51:35

Ah, I understand what you are saying now. Not a case of raw nerves- more unclear posting!

I had a 16 year career in which I facilitated many women returning to work, working part time, home working( long before that was a "thing") and working flexibly. I reckon I've made a powerful contribution towards women making choices. My own personal choice- and I was lucky that it was an option- was to stay at home with my children. Other women make different choices- and I d everything I can still to facilitate that. And my perception is that WOH is the societal norm in. Britain today. I often feel like an anachronism.

rubyrubyruby Thu 04-Apr-13 21:51:54

But surely the fact that some women work FT some PT and some are SAHM re-enforces the freedom of choice to our daughters?

Personally, I don't particularly feel that my DH sets a particularly good example to our DCs by working long, stressful hours. I would prefer my DCs have a 'work to live' attitude to life tbh.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 21:52:46


So if your dc decide to be sahp or wohp what does it matter if they are happy and they are doing so out of choice.

I do see your point about reaffirming stereotypes but I don't see how you can make somebody change their choices in life because society sees a certain type of behaviour as the norm.

As a family we have made several choices that go against societal norms because they are right for us, other choices may be classed as a societal norm. You do what is right for your family surely.

SatsukiKusukabe Thu 04-Apr-13 21:55:33

So what if it currently reinforces the status quo? Those of us who have decided to stay at home have decided to place a higher value on home life over work. The only preconceived notion I want to change is that working outside of the home is some how better than staying home. I don't want strangers raising the my kids if we could afford for dh to be the sahd we would both welcome it. I'd like to change the idea that it's not useful to society and get 50percent of men staying home too. That's what I feel is worth changing.

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 22:15:46

I can see my dd wanting to be SAHM and not going full tilt at her career. It is her personality.

I find that a concern, which I voice to my dh. Of course I would support her in her choices, but I will also say my preference is for her to keep her financial independence and maintain a stake and voice in the working world for her security and that of her dcs. There is also the political implications of her choice, but my main wish is for her to contribute and have an identity in greater society apart from wife, mother and homemaker.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 22:16:23

We have brought our children up to follow their dreams, that it is important to enjoy what you are doing. To become good at what you enjoy doing so you can support yourself/ and family. To support your family in non financial ways, such as emotionally. To work to live rather than live to work, so you have time for family, hobbies and interests.

Perhaps we should look at educating our dc and the messages we give them through our actions. I certainly wouldn't want my dc to see me as the stereotypical housewife, so often depicted by society, so I don't behave like it.

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 22:19:43

rubyruby, if you took on more work outside of school hours and brought in more dosh, then your dh would not have to work such long stressful hours?

So your choice potentially impinges directly on your family, not just indirectly on societal perceptions.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 22:22:51


Just because you are a mother and you don't work does not mean you have no identity apart from wife, mother and homemaker, how weird.
Surely thats part of the problem.
You are part of this society and you have the idea that a sahm is not contributing and has a limited identity.

SatsukiKusukabe Thu 04-Apr-13 22:23:40

So you see aspects of her personality that would make her likely to choose homemaker as an employment choice (for lack of a better word). Then I see your job as making her feel whatever she chooses is valid, because it's likely she will pick up your true feelings and see that you don't see her as succeeding. Surely her happiness is first and foremost?

SatsukiKusukabe Thu 04-Apr-13 22:25:30

Exactly potato, just as I don't see dh as a purchaser of building supplies it's just something he does. Wed most of us be awfully boring if our whole identify was that of our employment

rubyrubyruby Thu 04-Apr-13 22:25:54

Actually, in our case, that's not true blueshoes.
Financially, I don't need to work. My husband strives for success and money and I'm not sure that's good. It's his choice though.

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 22:26:04

Satsuki, perhaps another thing that could do with changing is the idea that if one parent is not at home ft, then their children are being 'raised by strangers'. Last I checked, dh and I are raising our children, with the help of a nursery and now aupair.

I was nodding along to drowninginlaundry's post earlier in the thread. A lot of these perceptions are cultural and it is also good to recognise that as well:

"I have to say this set up still baffles me. I am from a Scandinavian country where women all work, unless they are not able for health reasons. To choose not to work when you are perfectly able is unheard of, even more so if you are educated and used to have a successful career before children. I don't know any SAHMs in my native Finland. Children are all in childcare, and there is none of this agonising and hand-wringing should-I-shouldn't-I. Conversely, I also do not know any families in Finland where men have opted out of childcare and chores, where it is always the mother getting up in the night with the toddler, or always getting up in the morning when he has a lie in (I know several couples here in the Uk where this is the norm). Where I live now (provincial town in the south) most mothers I know either don't work or have part time work at home that they can fit around school hours. When my youngest was still at nursery there was one child who was there full time, 8am to 6pm every day as his mum worked FT. Jesus the bleating: 'that poor little mite...being left for an entire day...' When did a full time working mother become a rarity? I have lived in the UK for nearly 20 years and I still don't get this."

SatsukiKusukabe Thu 04-Apr-13 22:27:00

Blue, you have no idea what ruby's husband does. I can tell you were I to go to work dh would not be allowed to go part time at work.

SatsukiKusukabe Thu 04-Apr-13 22:32:15

You knew your aupair personally before she worked for you? How unusual. The difference here is I'm not judging your lifestyle, I see it as valid, do I prefer mine? Well obviously. We all do. I'm not shocked and upset that my dd may want to grow up and get a job as you are so worried about your daughter not getting one. I want dd and ds to both see that the options are equally good.

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 22:37:40

Satsuki, I would not put happiness as the end all and be all, even for myself. That is another cultural trait to value happiness over all else.

I see my job as a parent is to ensure my children get an education and gain the skills to make a good living and lead independent and fulfilling lives, to guard against unexpected contingencies and provide for their families. And yes, their role should not just be to benefit their families but to contribute to greater society.

I am surprised you reduce your dh's job to just a purchaser of building supplies. That is one part of a organisation that provides needed goods and services to society and creates jobs and wealth/taxes that keep the economy going.

Even if you dismiss people who purchase building supplies, we must all be grateful for the thousands of men and women who apparently put their family's needs aside to work ft and possibly even anti-social shifts and foreign postings so that we can have doctors, nurses, social workers, firemen, police, armed forces and teachers.

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 22:38:35

Satsuki, do you know your dcs' teachers personally before they started teaching them?

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 22:39:55

Satsuki, the solution to working long and stressful hours is not necessarily going pt. It could just be to work normal and non-stressful hours.

MrsDeVere Thu 04-Apr-13 22:42:33

I don't want to work full time.
I think the work I do in my part time hours is valuable and sets a good example to my sons and my daughter when she was alive.
The fact I worked part time didn't stop her wanting to be a lawyer.

I can't work full time. It would finish me off. So I do what I can.

I feel the opposite of the op. I feel like I have to justify why I don't work full time.
I don't want to is met with hmm
I must be lazy, unambitious, surrendered, a bit thick etc.

I'm none of the above. I am not able to work full time though. If I was able to without all the logistical and emotional difficulties, I might 'want' to.


morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 22:42:50


I think this is where many of the bun fights start regarding wohm/sahm. Not that I'm suggesting this is one at all, in fact i think we are all being very nice.

You see it that you are raising your children with help of nursery and au pair, another wohm may see it as although she is working she is 100% raising her dc not mentioning the au pair has any input. Straight away 2 different beliefs.

Now, personally I feel if I was working, with childcare assistance that I would not be raising my children, somebody else would be. Now a million rants from others thinking differently is not going to change my view because it is personal to me, the same as other views are personal to others.

I think this belief system is the deciding factor for women and men when choosing whether one /share time at sahp

Just wanted to say that I think potatoprints always does a lovely job of articulating what I'd like to say on this topic thanks.

inadreamworld Thu 04-Apr-13 22:46:06

I am the woman in your title as I love staying at home with my two girls aged 10 weeks and nearly 2. We are not rich and money is tight but I think being a sahm is a job in its own right. I respect women who choose to return to work and for them this may be the right choice. But not for me. If we have a third or even a fourth child I would be spending so much money in childcare that it would be pointless to return to work anyway even if I wanted to. I would like to return to part time work when the youngest child is at school. I trained as a teacher so would try to fit in with school hours as much as possible.

I think women should stop bashing each other for their choices - I don't think there is an assumption that women will give up their career to have babies. In fact I think the assumption is the other way around, that women who stay at home are in the minority. Although it does depend on where you live. We recently moved from London to the west of Ireland. Here in Ireland there are many more sah Mums and larger families in general.

scottishmummy Thu 04-Apr-13 22:46:47

if housewife is maintained by one waged male caught in long hour culture,this could be alleviated by housewife working
by placing responsibility solely onto one partner that means they tied into work
if the housewife worked potentially the waged partner could reduce hours,be more balanced in approach

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 22:49:59

potatoprints, after children are in school, I admit to finding it hard to see the contribution of ft SAHM as being equal to a ft WOHM because WOHM somehow do what SAHM's do (you would probably disagree) but also hold down a job at the same time.

If women place their home and hearth at the epicentre of their lives with no tangible stake in the wealth-producing external society, it is difficult to see how they would not end up consciously or subconsciously marginalised even with the best of intentions. Their contribution to society becomes tied up with their dh's more tangible contribution but that still puts women in the dependent and auxillary position when why shouldn't they be out there as well?

rubyrubyruby Thu 04-Apr-13 22:50:57

I think the one thing this thread tell us is that our children realise importance of finding a partner who supports your choices.

I see many relationships flounder because if this.

SatsukiKusukabe Thu 04-Apr-13 22:52:04

the solution to working long and stressful hours is not necessarily going pt. It could just be to work normal and non-stressfulhours.

Tell that to a lawyer, or a midwife, or a nurse.

Satsuki, do you know your dcs' teachers personally before they started teaching them?

My children aren't at school yet, and I will hopefully go back to work then, but only if people such as yourself haven't totally made me unemployable by seeing my choice to stay home to look after my children as not being useful.

I am surprised you reduce your dh's job to just a purchaser of building supplies. That is one part of a organisation that provides needed goods and services to society and creates jobs and wealth/taxes that keep the economy going.

Dh sees his job is as useful as the food it puts on the table. If he lost it he'd get another one. I'm not quite as replaceable as stay at home mother to our children.

Even if you dismiss people who purchase building supplies, we must all be grateful for the thousands of men and women who apparently put their family's needs aside to work ft and possibly even anti-social shifts and foreign postings so that we can have doctors, nurses, social workers, firemen, police, armed forces and teachers.

Did I imply that I dismissed any of those professions or even that they shouldn't do them? No, I am happy they are happy in their professions. I just don't want to see my role dismissed as you seem to find it very unimportant.

I was an aupair once, I took care of someelse's children for money all 50£ a week of it was my role more important then as they weren't mine hmm confused or was it more important to society because I helped mc mums and dads go off and do very important things?

Anyway i think we are going in circles now, so I will leave you to it.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 22:52:12


Thank you so much, I am chuffed. At school whenever I saw the word articulate in reference to anything I had written, it usually had "in" before it.

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 22:53:21

potatoprints: "I think this belief system is the deciding factor for women and men when choosing whether one /share time at sahp"

How about changing this belief system then? Because that is why is primarily holding women back.

SatsukiKusukabe Thu 04-Apr-13 22:53:47

I must be lazy, unambitious, surrendered, a bit thick et

Ah well you may be all those things mrsdevere, but at least you're in good company wink grin

Good ideas, SM. if that's what works for your family then DO IT and be happy I say smile. In our house DH adores his profession so it's really not a burden at all for him to put in the long hours and travel that it requires AND I like doing stuff with/for the children and puttering around the house so we're happy with that arrangement but I can understand how other couples might not be. At the end of the day, happy adults, happy kids is the name of game, no?

rustybusty Thu 04-Apr-13 22:58:19

I wohm in a full time managerial position, but still raise my children 100% of the time. I just have input of others in addition to that.

I really wouldnt want my dds to sahm. When I had my first I thought it would be nice to do to have a relax but now 5 years on when I am in a managerial role and my friends cant even get part time waitressing or shop jobs I am glad I didnt. I wouldnt want my dds to do that as this recession shows we never know what might happen.

noviceoftheday Thu 04-Apr-13 23:00:13

Are fathers who work not raising their children then? hmm

rubyrubyruby Thu 04-Apr-13 23:04:09

I accept the fact that many women want to return to FT work.
What I resent is the implication that I should have too and by not doing so I have somehow jeopardised other women's opportunities.

I thought feminism was about choice.

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 23:04:26

Satsuki, I am a lawyer and I can work pt if I want. It is a question of finding the right field and company. But I find a significant number of women lawyers just give up work or go very pt when they have dcs, so I don't see many working lawyer mothers in my position, which makes me sad.

You have young pre-school children but you will very soon have to leave your children with teachers aka unvetted strangers for more than 6 hours a day. I hope you are fine with teachers raising them in that time.

If your dh loses his job, one option is he could replace you as the SAHP and you find work instead?

My aupair helps me with the dcs, but I don't really see her as raising my dcs. In fact, she has just given notice and was very concerned how to break the news to them. Unfortunately on holiday, I inadvertently blurted to my dcs that I was having to look for another aupair and both dcs did not even skip a beat, as was the case when we changed earlier aupairs or nursery staff. Honestly, there is no comparison between what an aupair/nanny/teacher means to a child to the role a parent plays in their lives. So I am genuinely puzzled that you think my aupair stranger of 18 months is raising my children. Do my dcs forget who their father is?

SatsukiKusukabe Thu 04-Apr-13 23:04:53

Are fathers who work not raising their children then? hmm

I dont know are they? Who said they wern't? Dh is a full time dad the second he gets home but does he change nappies, decide their lunches, clean them, take them to park?

No, I do more with our children, please don't dismiss the fact that I do the brunt of all the work.

I 100% would love to see an equal amount of men stay home as women, why is that not as important to people as women having as many jobs as men?

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 23:06:00


I do still see myself as out there, though not working for a living. My family are not all I am, although at times I am very much the centre of their needs. There are other times when I can quite easily disappear for a weekend and not be missed at all in terms of domestic activity.
I think as a sahp you can make your role what you like when the dc attend school. I know I did, not just with domestic stuff though but other things you wouldn't normally do if working.
Now I do a bit of what I want, a bit of domestic stuff, have fun with dd, educational trips and meeting friends, attending groups, lessons etc. Family night as don't see much of ds1 now. I help dh in his business sometimes, keep the brain cells going by making business suggestions. Hell I'm a business consultant as well grin

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 23:09:06

potatoprints, that is all very nice for you and your family, but sorry I cannot really see you as being out there in the big bad world.

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 23:10:54

It has to change in both directions.

More fathers going pt, staying at home and contributing to childcare and more mothers opting to stay in the workforce after maternity leave preferably ft.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 23:11:55


How are my own beliefs holding other women back? Please explain.
Obviously wohm do not believe what I do otherwise they would be a sahm too.
Obviously I don't believe what wohm do , otherwise I would be wohm too.

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 23:12:51

rubyruby, feminism is also about awareness of the socio-political implications of your choice. Sorry you feel resentful, but you should nonetheless be aware of it.

SatsukiKusukabe Thu 04-Apr-13 23:14:31

until it is seen as responsible worthwhile choice, more men wont stay at home!

Why would you if you got all the same shit women do but with added pisstaking.

rubyrubyruby Thu 04-Apr-13 23:15:03

blueshoes - if you cant quite see a SAHP being out there in the big bad world you must surely understand that a SAHP cant really see you in there raising your family.

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 23:15:18

potatoprints, this is the belief system that you described that I feel is holding women back. It is partly cultural because there are societies that would look at you sideways if you said that:

"Now, personally I feel if I was working, with childcare assistance that I would not be raising my children, somebody else would be. Now a million rants from others thinking differently is not going to change my view because it is personal to me, the same as other views are personal to others."

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 23:18:17

rubyruby, I would really want to try and understand how and what SAHPs do to make their mark in the big bad world.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 23:18:17


So the big bad world is employment then, ah I see now.
Maybe its good I can be sheltered from it then smile

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 23:21:43


Can you not see though, just because I feel like that doesn't mean that you should. You obviously feel differently hence you wohm.
I'm hardly holding you back.

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 23:22:06

potatoprints, why do you need to be sheltered from employment? Will it bite?

Lots of people enjoy their jobs.

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 23:24:32

potatoprints, you are not holding me back - actually I am not even talking on a personal level, so not sure the reason for your statement.

I am just pointing out the political implications of your choice and many others like you with similar belief systems that reinforce societal perceptions of women as slackers after children that will hold your dd (if she chooses to work) and my dd back.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 04-Apr-13 23:30:25

I don't feel the need to make a mark, I did this years ago and it doesn't interest me in the slightest now. I am secure and at a good stage now and don't want to work for an employer. If an employer/woh is the big bad world then I don't need it and am sheltered from having to do it.
There are other ways to contribute to society than employment.

Anyway, am off to do temperature check on dd she has a flu like virus poor love.

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 23:32:11

potatoprints: "You see it that you are raising your children with help of nursery and au pair, another wohm may see it as although she is working she is 100% raising her dc not mentioning the au pair has any input. Straight away 2 different beliefs."

I don't agree it is 2 different belief systems. I mentioned my aupair not in the context of seeing her as raising my children but to give her and nursery staff credit. I would agree with the other wohm that dh and I are 100% raising our dcs. My aupair does not raise my dcs anymore than your dcs' teachers are raising yours. That is hardly controversial.

Blue shoes: Ouch! That was not nice. I think we all just want our girls to be happy and the best that they can be, whatever they choose to do in life.

QuietOldLadyWhisperingHush Thu 04-Apr-13 23:40:51

No one has mentioned (unless I've missed it) whether our mothers worked or not and how this may have influenced our own choices regarding parenthood and work. Did we respect our mothers any more or any less because they worked or stayed at home?

I do think that the question of whether to work once you've become a mum is increasingly polarising. Maybe since women can now 'have it all' we feel an unnecessary pressure to go chasing after all of it: the career, the family, the active social life, the healthy lifestyle choices... even when it doesn't suit our personality or our circumstances!

As a mother of 2 DDs under the age of 2(!) I am honestly feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of returning to work later this year. And I know things will only get more complicated as they get older with school activities etc.

I can see both sides of the issue, and my feelings are very mixed right now.

scottishmummy Thu 04-Apr-13 23:45:13

Feminism is about choice,and awareness of how your choice impacts
I'm bemused An adult woman needs sheltered from employment by male
Message to kids is if need sheltered, they too will need a waged partner

scottishmummy Thu 04-Apr-13 23:49:18

Quiet,why will things get worse with after school activities?will they fall to you?
Frankly if mandarin/violin/tennis is at 4pm and you're at work it's not achievable
Your kids are 2yo why are you anticipating problematic activity schedule? Just because everyone else does it doesn't mean you have to

Of course you don't have to do those things, SM, but if your kid is passionate about something and you can afford to do it, both logistically and financially,..then why wouldn't you sign them up for a sport or hobby?They contribute to health and happiness.

QuietOldLadyWhisperingHush Fri 05-Apr-13 00:03:59

Scottish Mummy, I was thinking that since the school day ends at 3pm and the FT work day ends at 5pm it will be more complicated for my DH and I to coordinate pick ups. And there will be a year of one DD being in school while the other DD is still at nursery, ugh!
Fortunately DH is a public servant working shift patterns so is available some days each week for all of this stuff. I just feel like we will need a militaristic schedule to manage it all! That's not even taking into account extra activities for the girls.

Just need to think it all through and make sure we understand all the options available to us at whatever school we choose. Still early days yet of course!

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 00:12:06

You plan!after school, nursery til 6,maybe you both do seperate pickup
A dizzying schedule of activities isn't obligatory,nor is lack of detrimental
Activities can happen at w'end.school playdates and collect after work

QuietOldLadyWhisperingHush Fri 05-Apr-13 00:23:33

Thanks Scottish! I agree children don't have to be involved in too many various activities (and as their Mum I would quite like to spend time with them too!)

Even at this early stage of their lives I can see that it's all about excellent planning.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 00:29:10

Batch cook,lay out clothes night before,shared diary,parents share tasks
Yes it's planning and organization but not insurmountable
If you think you'll need cm for pick ups look ahead,ask for recommendations

nailak Fri 05-Apr-13 00:49:29

Again this feels like a discussion about middle class peoples lives, which involve au pairs and driving around the town to different activities!

There are plenty of fathers who work around kids. Taxi drivers, bus drivers, security guards, retail workers, cleaners, those who work shift work often take on caring responsibilities on the days/hours they are at home! This is quite normal. My husband has his hours altered so that he can drop dd1 to school before going to work, and so he can be back home on the days I need his help with taking kids to extra curricular activites. Even though I am a SAHM, he still helps.

This is the same for most women I know. A friend of mine sometimes sells food at events on the weekend, her husband enables this by looking after the children.

I disagree with Stealth, I think for as many people who expect you to stay at home, there are just as many who expect you to go to work!

and as for blusocks, because you are not in paid employment, doesn't mean your children don't see you doing worthwhile things. I do not feel validation for my actions according to the economic recompense I receive. I know I do a lot of worthwhile work that I wouldn't be able to do otherwise.

I agree with morethan there are other ways of contributing to society.

blueshoes I organise and am involved in a lot of community and voluntary work. Things like MSLC, DV support etc. The fact is if the women didnt see me around every day they wouldn't trust me. Being a SAHM has enabled me to help people in my community.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 01:07:24


I don't think the activity thing for dc is typical of middle class, we certainly aren't. Although we don't have an au pair. smile

My dh also shares all the domestic responsibilities too and always has even though I'm sahm. I suppose its the same for both type of families, you work as a team.

My dd does not go to school so how would a teacher be raising her. I told you we raise our dc ourselves, provide our own care and education along with other specialised professionals.

I don't do huge amounts of voluntary work but have spells of helping in charity shops, did help at school, PTA, Homewatch, and regularly shop and run errands for the o.A.Ps in our street. Have also been friend of our park as volunteer gardening, clearing, signing etc.

nailak Fri 05-Apr-13 01:15:45

i would say oap errands is voluntary work

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 01:23:46


I couldn't live with myself if I didn't call on them. Some have no family or family are too busy etc. They know me and trust me, ikwym about being seen around.
I think there is a need for people with time to do this especially as services are being cut. I know its not on a par with a high flying career but to me its just as important. My dd is getting involved now and enjoys baking and cooking stews and casseroles. We tie it all in with PHSE so she learns a lot about life and picks up skills smile

QuietOldLadyWhisperingHush Fri 05-Apr-13 01:23:56

My own mother worked, but as a teacher she was always home when we were. I suppose I remember the mumsy things she did rather than the fact that she held a job outside the home. I certainly have a new respect for my parents who both spent so much time driving me and my sisters to our various dance lessons and sports events when we were teenagers!

I think its true that fathers are now more involved in childcare and are also quite capable of helping around the house. My DH works shifts and his work pattern allows him to spend more time with our girls during the day. He takes them to 'Music with Mummy' which is quite funny actually as there are several dads who attend!

At the end of the day I think all of our mumsnet children are lucky to have involved committed parents, in paid employment or otherwise.

kickassangel Fri 05-Apr-13 01:44:00

I think that a major part of the problem is that part time workers are seen as lesser than full time ones.

Often, if a company has to make redundancies, it is part timers who go first. Also, they are often prevented from certain promotions and pay rises. Yet capitalism requires a flexible work force, and part timers provide a valuable part to that.

As someone who has been in a minor management role, I saw no evidence that part timers were any less good as employees than full timers. If we gave more respect to different people having different lifestyles, it would be easier for men and women to have a less rigid stereotypical role at work and home.

Which should mean that families were able to exercise their right to choice, without feelings the pressures of what society/work expects, but I fear I'm being a little naive and idealistic.

chocspread Fri 05-Apr-13 05:23:46

Agree that part time workers are often under valued and they are often the first to go.

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 23:18:17 - rubyruby, I would really want to try and understand how and what SAHPs do to make their mark in the big bad world.

I hope you don't mind this answer - Unpaid work is the largest sector of any economy. And, all around the world, most of that work is performed by women!!!

As for the big bad world - we do seem to have an economic system where oil disasters war contribute to the economy, while child-rearing and housekeeping are deemed not of value.!
[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pT8Qc8mH-0s open your eyes]]

On and Blue Shoes as for the "I am just pointing out the political implications of your choice and many others like you with similar belief systems that reinforce societal perceptions of women as slackers after children that will hold your dd (if she chooses to work) ..." Do you really believe this?
Don’t you think the market only survives because of the backbone of unpaid work? Work like Nallk undertakes in the community.

“The language of economics by defining it as a value system in which all goods and activities are related only to their monetary value. As a result, unpaid work (usually performed by women) is unrecognized. There are lots of activities that may be environmentally and socially detrimental but are deemed productive because of their monetary value."

chocspread Fri 05-Apr-13 05:46:58

Blueshoes writes “If women place their home and hearth at the epicentre of their lives with no tangible stake in the wealth-producing external society, it is difficult to see how they would not end up consciously or subconsciously marginalised even with the best of intentions. Their contribution to society becomes tied up with their dh's more tangible contribution but that still puts women in the dependent and auxillary position when why shouldn't they be out there as well?”

Unpaid work is the largest sector of any economy. And, all around the world, most of that work is performed by women!!!

Don’t have a pop at Stay at Home Parents just because the economic system does not value their contribution. Or that the paid working set up in the Uk favours one sex over another.

The "market" only survives because of the backbone of unpaid work. Hells bells with your logic blueshoes you had better not undertake paid work at all - as by doing so you are just further supporting the patriarchy by joining the "system".

Anyhow the link should now work and I hope it offers some good definitions - Unpaid work is the largest sector of any economy. And, all around the world, most of that work is performed by women!!! handy definitions

And don't even get me talking about "choice" and the so called "choices" we all have. Tell that to someone looking after a child, or a disabled child or caring for a sick relative - who is not say on a lawyer's salary and who is not in a position where they can pay for replacement activity (such as an au pair, nursery worker, specialist nurse) while continuing to fight the good fight and go out to paid work! hmm

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 07:41:04

So if children are looked after by a child minder or a nanny are they better role models than a SAHM because they are paid to do the job?

noviceoftheday Fri 05-Apr-13 07:55:59

I had a nanny the first few years (which is the norm for most who have nannies because after that you go to school). I honestly barely remember her. My mother is my role model not because she worked (it's a very small section of society who have a choice anyway) but because she bust a gut to always put her family first. For some women putting family first means staying at home (if financially viable, again only a very small number of people have this luxury), for others it means going out to work to put food on the table and a roof over heads. There is no right answer and its arrogant bullshit to say there is only one right answer and x (whichever your view is) is the right one.

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 07:59:16

Or is looking after children such a low status occupation that nobody doing it can be a positive role model, whether paid or unpaid?

noviceoftheday Fri 05-Apr-13 07:59:52

Oh and when the bailiffs were at the door and our house was being repossessed, i would have been a lot less impressed with my mum (as an adult) if she had decided that at that point in time what she needed to do was to be at home with us. No, at that point in time, what we needed was money. Didn't appreciate it at the time, as an adult i appreciate it a damn sight more.

QuietOldLadyWhisperingHush Fri 05-Apr-13 09:25:06

'My mother is my role model not because she worked (it's a very small section of society who have a choice anyway) but because she bust a gut to always put her family first'

Novice, I think this is such an important point. The ways in which we commit ourselves to our children and families is the legacy that we leave as mothers, not whether we are in paid employment or not.

I think there is a real danger of this issue being less about our children and more about ourselves and our own sense of identity in the eyes of society. Different families will have different needs and what is most important is that we are meeting the needs of our children in the best way we know how.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 10:17:29

helping family,being good neighbor,good pal isn't exclusive to housewife
Working people do this when not working too,it's almost implied working=im alright jack
My point is if you not work working the role model of employment falls to other men/women -so getting back to op,it feeds into the expectation some don't work after having baby or do so nominally

Hadassah Fri 05-Apr-13 10:24:15

"I think there is a real danger of this issue being less about our children and more about ourselves and our own sense of identity in the eyes of society."

I think this is an important related point. I think it is alright for an issue to be about oneself, and one's identity in one's own eyes and in the eyes of society. These things are important. How one makes a place for oneself in society is important. The original point is that, unfortunately, there is an attitude that the way a woman will generally prefer to do that is by working until she gives birth, and then working as little as possible. And it is a somewhat justified attitude as well, as people have pointed out, and that grates.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 10:25:33

Novice grin

I too think you make an important point, in both your posts.
Obviously the most important thing is bills being paid and needs of the family being met.

I also agree it's important for a woman to have independance of family and to pursue interests or employment she chooses.
I really can't see why it has to be paid employment though if it isn't what you want and/or it isn't in the best interests of your family.

There are many sahms who have financial independence from their dh and contrary to some belief they don't have to shelter behind them in terms of money and are not relying on their dh to provide.
Heaven forbid if my dh left me tomorrow, I would be able to provide for my dc. I am a sahm not a numpty.

We all do the best for our family don't we. I can't see why it matters if you are in paid employment or not.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 10:47:35

Being able to return to employment after sustained period out work,and being financially independent is v rare
The reality for most housewifes is they are dependent upon dp,and tricky getting back to work
That's why housewife is precarious because it is dependent upon someone else

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 11:04:52


If we are speaking in sweeping generalisations, most women would not put themselves in this precarious position and would be in employment anyway if they needed to for financial security

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 11:17:32

Could I repeat a point I made earlier? Not sure it it was missed or just so dull it was passed over, but I'll try again.

If a child is looked after by a female childminder or a nanny, does that woman provide a role model because they are being paid in a way that a SAHM apparently doesn't because she isn't? Or is childcare of any sort such a low status population that anyone who does it is not a suitable role model regardless of the circumstances?

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 11:30:55

Potato certainly going by mn and rl housewife is usually dependent upon waged partner.who earns wage,pays utilities,and food. The housewife doesn't work,unwaged

your described circumstances are unusual- You are as you say sheltered by not working. say you've not worked in years,home school so unavailable for work. But if had to work you'd snap straight back to it. And you're financially independent from Your dh? That is unusual

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 11:41:10

Seeker,working in childcare is v regulated and like all jobs has JD of expectations,tasks
Tasks are stated and expected to be undertaken to certain prescribed standard to an externally agreed standard
Working in childcare is a job,in return for remuneration.I value childcare worker as I use ft childcare to return to work

A childcare worker isn't comparable to mother. As worker is there as it's job, it's clear and acknowledged it's a job. Mum s parent,not job

Lots of people work with children closely nursery staff, healthcare,nanny, cm. This is incomparable to what parents do with their own kids,as watching own kids isn't a job

chocspread Fri 05-Apr-13 11:42:06

Seeker - I do also agree that it is not only SAHMs who undertake voluntary work etc. but it is overwelmingly women who undertake such work - whether they work in paid employment or not.

I also think you raise an interesting point and one that I mentioned in my post about replacement activity.

Novice although you can hardly remember your nanny - to me the people that looked after my children have been so key to my life. I have needed to trust someone with my child and could not have gone to work unless I was clear they were being treated well and learning.

Maybe it is all about the money. I think if childcare was really valued you would find a great deal of people could not work as easily:
i.e. banker and lawyer friends I know can easily afford childcare due to their wage differential between what they earn and what child care workers earn.

Unfortunately I think childcare is generally seen to be a low status activity - and it should not be.

Looking at comments from posters such as blueshoes again you have childcare or SAHM activity being viewed as low status.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 11:42:44

Ok, maybe my circumstances seem unusual but we are typical of many families in our position.

I am not sheltered by not working, moreover from having to work in the "Big Bad World" as was described above. My comments here were humour.

I could snap into work in the family business if I chose and I know this isn't the case for most people. However, the fact remains that I chose not to for several reasons. The most important one being I don't feel it necessary in order to have status and identity.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 11:50:51

Hang on,talking the hypothetical if dh left you'd work in family business?
Is it your business?presumably if he left it'd be acrimonious how would you work in family business?

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 11:55:53


I would take my share out and continue with the same business, I suppose he would do likewise. There are certain things I could do and he couldn't or wouldn't want to and likewise.
Obviously it wouldn't be me/his business anymore. The older 2 dc would have to decide what to do with their share.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 12:02:37

Ok,so divide assets go self employed.that's unusual and not the norm
Its a v good position if you can sustain it
How do you think you'd fare going to an employer for a job?

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 12:10:58


I'd probably be ok in a dead end not going anywhere job because I can make my cv look good (there again v. lucky with the business)
I don't for one minute think I'd get any further with an employer.
As even pre dc I was business owner, before that self employed. Last employer 1987 I think grin

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 12:12:39

whoops. Have done a years teaching, forgot. This was during 2008/9

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 12:15:37

"A childcare worker isn't comparable to mother. As worker is there as it's job, it's clear and acknowledged it's a job. Mum s parent,not job"

But the only difference is the payment.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 12:25:00

Seeker,let's be clear childcare is highly regulated,subject to external scrutiny
Being a parent is unregulated,you don't work to agreed standards
The money is significant it is remuneration for job done. Watching your own kids isn't a job

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 12:31:35


I think ss would argue about the standards expected of parents. If you fail to provide childcare at the standards they dictate, your dc will be taken from you. Thats far greater regulation than ofsted. Besides, there are many parents capable and indeed who do work to to the standards expected from child care providers. I think most parents educate their dc from day one irrespective of whether they work or not. So to assume they would not continue to do this if unemployed is a bit silly as surely we all want the best for our dc.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 12:45:51

No.to be cm you need registered,1st aid,and home assessment.statutory,and routine
As parent statutory service only get involved were concern and neglect present.the assessment is a case by case basis.there is no sw manual for what constitutes adequate
Most parents will never be involved with sw.every cm will be regulated
That's huge difference

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 12:51:05

"Watching your own kids isn't a job"

And bringing up children is rather more than "watching". Which is an extraordinarily dismissive and belittling way of describing it. I agree that child minders and nannies have conform to statutory guidelines- but I don't understand how "watching" kids while statutorily regulated is different from "watching kids" while not.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 12:57:13

Because childcare jobs regulated,are income generating via tax,ni,external benefit to others
Parenting is the tasks,things we do for our kids,it's not a job,and its private act for that family.not income generating

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 13:05:51

And income generation is all, obviously. You can't be a role model unless you generate income. Well, you can in my world!

SatsukiKusukabe Fri 05-Apr-13 13:06:47

search a bit on MN and you will see how many former childminders/nannies/nursery workers now choose not to leave their own children to outside care. it's almost like they think they make more of an effort when the child they care for is their own.... hmmm Isn't it odd that people take more of an interest in the outcomes of their own biological offspring.. even with out offsteds help?

blueshoes Fri 05-Apr-13 13:17:31

People will and should look after their own children for free. It is their choice to have children so why should society pay for parents to look after their own children, bearing in mind not every taxpayer chooses to or can have children.

It is only where people are looking after children other than their own which they would not ordinarily because (surprise) they are not their own that should be paid for it. It is then rightly called a job. For accepting payment for that job, it has to be done to objectively acceptable standards and to a time schedule that is not of their choosing. This job also does not get lighter as the children get progressively older because these children then get replaced with others that need that high level of care for which it continues to make economic sense to pay that childcarer.

I don't see much parallel between SAHM-ing and paid childcare workers.

blueberryupsidedown Fri 05-Apr-13 13:18:03

What a strange thing to say satsuki. Of course I would expect a childminder to care for my children, but I wouldn't expect that she would care for my children as much as she cares for her own.... It's a very strange expectation... As if we expect childminders/nursery workers to be overworked, underpaid, emotionally involved, and care for their looked-after children as much as if they were her own.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 13:18:17

seeker you asserted parent is same as being paid childcare worker,I've disputed that
Because parent gives calpol doesnt make make one a paediatric nurse
I've made it clear that parent isn't same as paid employment

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 13:23:54

Lol,satsuki of course a parent cares more for own kid than mindee.I'd expect so
I expect childcare worker to keep my children safe,content.dont expect love
Cm are self employed for profit,and do a valuable job

blueshoes Fri 05-Apr-13 13:34:12

chocspread: "The "market" only survives because of the backbone of unpaid work. Hells bells with your logic blueshoes you had better not undertake paid work at all - as by doing so you are just further supporting the patriarchy by joining the "system"."

Is it better to reform the patriarchy by carping from the sidelines that unpaid childcare work is unvalued (where has that got women? I don't see a revolution around the corner) or by actually participating in the activities that the patriarchy values and then to get to a seniority that will make a difference?

Is it better to sell cakes at the loss at the school fair (compared with the cost of the ingredients and labour) than to work for 10 minutes to earn the profit on those cakes and donate to the school. It is better to work for free at a homeless shelter or go to work to earn the taxes that could be used to support the homeless? Is Mother Teresa necessarily a better role model than Bill and Melinda Gates?

Why undertake unpaid work at all? Women can also help their cause by demanding fair pay for their efforts. That is one of the reasons binmen end up getting paid more than the dinner lady and women-type jobs (healthcare, childcare, social work) gets increasingly ghetto-ised. But that means women must be prepared to give more priority to their work - to justify the pay or higher pay - than they currently do. One of the reasons why women undertake unpaid work is because it can fit around their families, rather than demand payment for work for which they could not dictate the commitment.

We don't have to feed the capitalist machine.

noviceoftheday Fri 05-Apr-13 13:38:01

There is a world of difference between a nanny/other form of childcare taking care of a child and the parent raising a child. To suggest otherwise is quite astonishing quite frankly. shock

If the nanny is really 'raising a child' <snort> because s/he is there for 10-12 hours per day for about 3 years of a persons life then I question whether fathers who go out to work and arent there during the day are really raising their children? Can they really call themselves a parent?

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 13:45:37

I made the point about parent/child care because I am pissed off at the suggestion that I can't be a good role model for my children because I chose to stop going out to work when they were born. A nanny would do more or less the same things with my children during the day as I would- but she is a good role model and I am not. But I would be if I was nannying her children while she nannied mine!

blueshoes Fri 05-Apr-13 13:46:43

People who get confused between a nanny/cm/nursery worker/aupair raising a child v. a parent raising a child probably did not use childcare to any significant degree. Their choice, but does not really qualify themselves to speak about it.

Funny how once a child gets to school age, the teacher or after school carer is not seen as 'raising' their child.

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 13:49:27

I don't think I said anything about "raising" a child did I? Or did you mean someone else?

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 13:51:18

if you worked,you'd be demonstrating employment.role model for working,not a patriarchal role
If you were nanny you'd be working,and yes by working you'd be in non patriarchy role
Housewife,not working is maintaining patriarchy.it's a demonstrable construct of patriarchy

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 13:53:21

However, if I had gone back to my job when dd was 6 months old, as I intended, her nanny would probably have done more "raising" than her parents did - both would have been out of the house from 6am til 8.30 at least pm during the week, so the parental "raising" would have been fitted into the weekend!

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 13:55:04

Housewife- I agree.

Looking after children- don't agree.

SatsukiKusukabe Fri 05-Apr-13 13:57:24

I was responding to Scottisha ridiculous assertion that with out offsted a person can't be expected to stick to a standard of care for their own children

I don't know why I am defending being a sahp, why should I have to? I don't think there is anything wrong with your choices but some of the people on this thread refuse to see anyone can do any good without doing things their way. It's a bit pathetic and more than a bit insecure.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 14:03:35

seeker"watching kids" grin.


So does this mean that a wohm isn't raising kids but "watching kids" when she is at home.
I'd be interested to find out who is raising the kids grin

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 14:04:43

Had you returned to work you'd not be maintaing the patriarchy
Housewife demonstrably reinforces stereotypical roles dad works,mum doesn't.
And that feeds into op,the expectation some have, that women give up work post-baby

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 14:07:48

Satsuki you're spectacularly missing point.Ofsted doesn't regulate parents
Ofsted regulates childcare,undertaken by childcare workers
Parents are private individuals not under auspices of Ofsted.

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 14:11:32

It would be courteous of you to stop using the inaccurate term "housewife" to describe somebody looking after children.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 14:11:52

How did we get on to housewife? Surely that is a different role altogether and I don't even think it exists pre 1950's. I'm sure you didn't need to have dc to be a housewife.
Can't see anybody wanting to be married to their house can you seeke?r

SatsukiKusukabe Fri 05-Apr-13 14:17:38

see actually Scottish a lot of feminists see capitalism and the patriarchy as inextricably linked. but none of the sahp on this thread would call you a pawn of the patriarchy, because at the end of the day we're all just trying to get by.

and after the revolution /Mayan doomsday/meteor shower, you won't have jobs anyway and you'll all be begging me to teach you to make bread

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 14:23:27

"Housewife" "Watching children"

Anything to belittle.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 14:23:36

Am i cog in capitalist wheel,enmeshed in system that's at time unfair,irrational.yes.
Is the housewife supporting patriarchy, yes
I understand the impact of my actions and the unpredictable foibles of working

blueshoes Fri 05-Apr-13 14:31:53

If WOHM are pawns of the patriarchy, why does that make the husbands of SAHMs? Are SAHMs content to live off the labour of their own pawns but condemn those of their own sex who seek to make an honest living?

I don't think that is what you are saying <directed at Satsuki and chocspread>

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Fri 05-Apr-13 14:35:00

If the nanny is really 'raising a child' <snort> because s/he is there for 10-12 hours per day for about 3 years of a persons life then I question whether fathers who go out to work and arent there during the day are really raising their children? Can they really call themselves a parent?

10-12 hours a day is c.90% of their waking hours, and unless youre Paul McKenna you'll have a job exerting parental influence when they're asleep, so I don't think you can dismiss the fact that if a child spends the large proportion of their awake time with AN Other then that person will have a significant influence over that person, their behaviour, their values, language development, etc. If we didn't believe that was true, then we wouldn't invest so much time in selecting childcare. It's not that working parents aren't parents, but lets not pretend that the person who is the primary carer (i.e. the nanny) is not going to have a significant influence, because they absolutely will.

Ditto the comment on schools. Parents absolutely do believe that the school their child attends will have a massive influence on their life outcomes so to an extent, yes, the school will raise my child. I'm down with that.

Finally, SM, please get over your obsession with Ofsted. I've seen Ofsted regulated establishments that I wouldn't trust with my dog, never mind my child. Children with shit parents or parents who don't really enjoy looking after pre-schoolers will probably be better off in daycare or with a nanny. Children with very invested, interested, bright parents will probably be better off with their parents. It's not a one-size-fits-all thing.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 14:38:28

I made a salient point about ofsted,that it regulates childcare workers not parents
And if people persist in comparing parenting to paid child are I'll refer to any source i chose
Is this variance in nurseries?yes, that's to be expected

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Fri 05-Apr-13 14:40:38

So if a nanny isn't regulated by ofsted, she isn't a childcare worker, right?

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 14:42:08

I find it quite ironic that on a feminist thread in 2013, it is acceptable to hark back to the 1950's. So just for Scottish Hope it works


scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 14:46:18

Nanny is childcare worker,who is employed by parents.earns salary
Nanny can voluntarily register with Ofsted,and are usually crb,and parents seek reference
Nanny is childcare worker

Owllady Fri 05-Apr-13 14:47:58

My Mum is Nanny in this house, maybe it's a Midlands thing

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 14:48:18

LOl,you're saying im a historical hark back as compared to housewife maintaining patriarchy

pollypandemonium Fri 05-Apr-13 14:49:29

Somebody way earlier on described the system in Finland where it is exceptional for any parent to stay at home and look after the children. I think this is the country where they will have a party for the children on their birthdays, the school will actually take the children to the child's house and have a little party that the parent pops out of work to attend.

For parents to have such little input into a child's early years means that the state must be pretty darn confident that they are going to turn out decent young people and must have things sewn up. However because it is a universal system it works. Our problem is that childcare is so inconsistent and for many the quality is based on how much you can pay.

Actually I do believe that adults have more influence over children in their later years and I think having someone around after school when they are 8 or 9 probably has more impact on the way they turn out in terms of habits, routines, self-confidence, expectations, ambition. Although early years are important and obviously need to be 'done correctly' I think a child's character is shaped much later. So I don't think we can justify our fears about the Scandinavian model, where children are effectively raised by the State.

I think issues around attachment only become a problem when it's approached wrongly and in many nurseries and with Nannies they often just don't do it right.

blueshoes Fri 05-Apr-13 14:51:21

richman, when children are younger and parents use ft childcare, as I did for both my dcs at various points, yes, it can be 10-12 hours in the intensive care of a person, but frankly, the values and language skills they absorbed during that phase of their life are totally irrelevant now they are in school.

Now my dcs are in school, they spend time in the company of their teachers, peers, aupair before I come home. I love the variety of influences in their life. I would not be so rigid as to expect to be the end all and be all of all that is great and good in their lives just because I happened to be their parent.

As their parent, I help them to process their feelings and thoughts and impart my own value judgments but I do expect they will make up their own minds in the future. Dh and I also set in place the framework of their lives including which school they attend, which activities they attend, the playdates they have over, what holidays and outings we go to, select the aupair that looks after them. DH and I also fund these activities and makes changes when things are not right.

Parenting involving making a million myriad decisions day-in-and-day-out for the benefit of the dcs, taking into account time, financial, short, medium and long term considerations. Teachers defer to parents for this reason. I suspect my dc's teachers would also be surprised to hear they are 'raising' my dcs. They educate my dcs.

Let's not confuse quantity with quality.

BTW, hour-for-hour I probably spend more time with my boss than my husband but I don't get confused that I am married to my boss, funny that.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Fri 05-Apr-13 14:54:14

Ok so the ofsted thing is irrelevant then, because a nanny who is not ofsted registered is still a childcare worker. In countries where ofsted doesnt exist, you'd presumably say that nannies are still childcare workers because they are paid a salary. Therefore, it's the salary, not the regulation that's the issue., because, as you say yourself, Ofsted doesn't guarantee quality

So if a nanny gets a child dressed, gives them breakfast, takes them to the park and does a jigsaw with them, the experience to the child is somehow "better" than if the parent did it, because the nanny is paid a salary??

blueshoes Fri 05-Apr-13 14:59:28

Any childcare worker can be fired if they do not perform the job to the objective standards required by their employer.

In the UK, Ofsted is just a one standard for certain childcarers, but make no bones about it a nanny can and will be fired if she decides to feed the children pop and crisps and put them in front of a TV all day.

Objective standards to key to a job as is working to the employer's time schedule and conditions. All things SAHMs don't have to conform to. To equate value to the fact that childcare workers are paid and SAHMs are not is seriously missing the wood for the trees.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 15:01:28

In your scenario,The childcare worker is employed. parent isn't employed.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Fri 05-Apr-13 15:04:40

Blue I guess my point is that SM basically thinks that all professional childcare workers provide a better quality of childcare than all SAHM by virtue of having a btec in childcare studies, so therefore the work they do is more valuable, which I think is incorrect.

noviceoftheday Fri 05-Apr-13 15:06:24

I agree with every word of blueshoes post of 14:51.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Fri 05-Apr-13 15:07:56

In your scenario,The childcare worker is employed. parent isn't employed.

So what? If what they do is the same, and you're measuring the value of what they do as the value to the recipient, then the value is the same, regardless of paid or unpaid.

If we're measuring by economic value, then the work an investment banker does is thousands of times more valuable than that of a teacher. Do we really want to go down that road?

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 15:09:05

Completely erroneous summation rich.clearly you've not comprehended or understood points
I have not made a qualitative comparison between parent and childcare worker
I have not asserted that childcare is better than parenting,that's your erroneous summation

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 15:12:25

Let me reiterate,a childcare worker is different to parenting.they aren't same
Childcare role,is undertaken to certain external standards for remuneration

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Fri 05-Apr-13 15:15:39

I agree they're not the same- a parent is a parent whatever their childcare arrangements- BUT the tasks undertaken by an average SAHP, during the hours that the child would otherwise be in childcare, are equivalent to those undertaken by a childcare worker during those hours, so the work involved still has value, whether paid or unpaid.

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 15:17:34

Interesting. What if, when dd was born, we had made a formal arrangement that dp paid me to care for her? So everything would have been exactly the same, except that dp would have been my employer.

How would people feel about that? Oh, and please would people stop saying housewife?

grumpyinthemorning Fri 05-Apr-13 15:18:54

I'm currently studying full time, have ds age 3 and am getting married at the end of the year. I get comments from all angles - why bother studying when I'll just have more kids and have to stay at home? Why am I choosing education over my child? Why do I want to work when dp can support me?

Honestly, the ideal is for me to work ft and dp to stay at home. He makes a better sahp anyway, I just don't have the right temperament for it.

Please forgive any oddness in format, first time posting on new phone and still getting used to it.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 15:21:07

Define value!may be beneficial to that individual or their familial circumstance
Of value to others,not necessarily

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 15:27:17

Seeker your dp a sole wage earner already subsidizes you.he earns the money
Cant be wages as you aren't actually working,you're parenting maintaining patriarchy

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Fri 05-Apr-13 15:31:36

I did define value- I said it should be the value to the recipient of the service- i.e. the child, so on that basis, childcare worker and SAHP provide a service of equal value during the working day.

As I said before, if we're defining value in economic terms (i.e. tax dollars into the coffer/ spending power) then an investment banker is worth many times a teacher or social worker or nurse. In fact, public sector workers are basically worthless as they're not net wealth generators.

chocspread Fri 05-Apr-13 15:35:03

blueshoes "Is it better to reform the patriarchy by carping from the sidelines that unpaid childcare work is unvalued (where has that got women? I don't see a revolution around the corner) or by actually participating in the activities that the patriarchy values and then to get to a seniority that will make a difference?"

Oh I am really really waiting to hear about all these senior women you know who are lawyers or otherwise who have made a difference?? I know lots of senior women who work but I'd have to say they are mainly working to take home huge pay packets as lawyers not to promote equal rights.

And I have to say the carping from the sidelines was meant as a put down wasn't it - do you only think that people who earn money are allowed to have a point of view??

NGO chartiable organisations are really interesting - the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is super interesting and actually pays their staff really well as it is part of their core values. They are an example of super rich people who are putting things back but there are lots of super rich people who don't and your point is?? Are we into a competition now Mother T versus Gates??

As for "Is it better to sell cakes at the loss at the school fair (compared with the cost of the ingredients and labour) than to work for 10 minutes to earn the profit on those cakes and donate to the school." Woo Hoo - let's just hope the purchases of the chocolate for the cake are fair trade.

Maybe I'm more pessimistic and it is great that blueshoes can work part time - but lots of people can't. You can submit flexible working requests but they are often turned down. Finding a job can be tough for people and I can't imagine you to ever be a very supportive employer and employ a SAHM parent who wanted to enter the work force.

I mean take this comment from you:

It was you who said "after children are in school, I admit to finding it hard to see the contribution of ft SAHM as being equal to a ft WOHM because WOHM somehow do what SAHM's do (you would probably disagree) but also hold down a job at the same time."

"If WOHM are pawns of the patriarchy, why does that make the husbands of SAHMs? Are SAHMs content to live off the labour of their own pawns but condemn those of their own sex who seek to make an honest living?"

No I didn't say WOHM are pawns of the patriarchy I just took your arguments to the extreme. If you are going to have a pop at SAHm's then surely you need to look at your role in the patriarchy. I don't seek to condemn wohm or sahms but it did completely piss me off what you were spouting about choices and all that.

And I'm not sure I get the quantity versus quality point or why a poster would be pleased that your children don't show any empathy with a change in their child carers or au pairs. For what it is worth my child always bonded with child carers and I thought that was good so I didn't mind when he or his child carer got upset when an arrangement was changed. I could go on and on but I don't have the time.

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 15:35:17

"Seeker your dp a sole wage earner already subsidizes you.he earns the money
Cant be wages as you aren't actually working,you're parenting maintaining patriarchy"

I said "if". If he had been a single parent, he would have had to pay a nanny. What if he had employed me as his children's nanny?

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 15:40:41

What are you struggling to articulate seeker?
that you want paid to watch own baby?
want your child's father to pay you

blueberryupsidedown Fri 05-Apr-13 15:40:53

I thought this thread was interesting, but you have completely lost me.

Being a sahp has enormous value, in society at large, just not revenue-based value. Working in a care position, childcare, nursing, teaching, social work, etc has enormous value, just not that much financial value.

To me, someone who work let's say, as an IT consultant (my old job...) has very little value, just lots of money... If you want to judge people's value just based on how much money they make, well the world doesn't make sense. I know many complete idiots who make 100k + a year...

chocspread Fri 05-Apr-13 15:43:37

Richman - Can't say I agree with how you value - for example investment bankers - well some investment banks have really done all they can to capitalise profits at the expense of long term financial security for many others.

I think it is important how we define growth - GDP was only invested during WWII to pay for the war. Now is a mandatory accounting formula used by all nations. GDP counts only cash transactions, giving no value to peace and the environment.

Look again at some of the work by Waring which basically puts forward that the GDP system leaves out half the population of the planet and the planet itself.

How do you value the legacy of a truly great teacher or social worker for example??

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 15:44:10

I am not struggling to articulate anything. I am saying that to you looking after children has no value unless the person doing it is paid so to do.

I am asking, therefore, whether if the father of my children paid me formally to do it, the task would suddenly gain value.

chocspread Fri 05-Apr-13 15:51:30

Excellent post pollypandemonium

Here Here blueberryupsidedown you've put it much more succinctly! grin

Perhaps some people who undertake paid work need to limit the value of sahp's as that helps them to justify their so called "choices".

They can go on about how they contribute taxes and other stuff and feel good about themselves employing other people to look after their children and or do their housework etc etc.

SatsukiKusukabe Fri 05-Apr-13 15:52:41

If WOHM are pawns of the patriarchy, why does that make the husbands of SAHMs? Are SAHMs content to live off the labour of their own pawns but condemn those of their own sex who seek to make an honest living?

My point is, I don't give a fuck how you raise your kids or what you do for a living. However several people on this thread seem to think I am "letting the side down" by not getting a job because I am pawn of the patriarchy, my reply is so is anyone working in the system. The difference is that my family chooses to only have one person participate and only because to opt out would mean to live in abject poverty. Is that difficult for you to comprehend?

No one is belittling you or your choices, a few people have said they stay home because they dont want others raising their children, this has only ever been said in response to people belittling their choices. I don't care what you or your partner do, genuinely I don't. You seem to have an odd in interest in how my family runs. There must be certain things at your job that you don't delegate right? That you only trust yourself to do? For me that's child care. For many parents that is child care.

Dh can go to work happily knowing that he has someone he trusts implicitly with his children, I know exactly where my kids are and who is dealing with them if anything it saves my mental health.

As for school, that will only be from 8:30 until 2:30 and then I will be with them until bed time. Dh sees them an hour a day just before bed. He hates that, but unfortunately until flexible working hours and people caring about life outside the home become the norm that's his lot.

As I have been saying for 17 pages now, getting every human who can physically work in to the system isn't going to improve things, you do understand that don't you? It will just mean more people working for less money. That obviously won't matter to those of you who are high earners, but to the fucker on the minimum wage vying for a job against another 100 people it will.

Honestly there is such a massive disconnect between some of you and the real world for the majority of women and it is the reason so many women feel feminism cant speak for them.

Would my dh be a sahp? He would jump at the chance, unfortunately he has 3x my earning power. SO I could work and he could stay home and we'd live in poverty, but hey as long as I am being a good feminist. I could also continue in my minimum wage job eating in to our family earnings by paying more than I earn to pay for child care in order to prove my dedication to the cause, but frankly only an idiot would think that was a good idea.

Now what I often hear is that, it's worth taking that monetary hit for the first couple of years because eventually you will be making shed loads right? Guess what.. the fucker at ASDA will never make shed loads, even if they move their way up to management. no they wont.

What I do think will improve things is changing the idea that working outside the home is the only thing anyone can do of value.

That means having more men working from home. Which starts with people like you respecting the position so people choose to stay home. It also means worrying about the real problems that still haven't been solved by feminism like the pay gap. More women making more money means more men will stay home.

Now stop being so defensive and listen.

chocspread Fri 05-Apr-13 15:57:23

and great post SatsukiKusukabe thanks

grimbletart Fri 05-Apr-13 16:21:18

Can't bear these threads that dissolve into bunfights over SAHM and WOHM. Feminists being utterly unsupportive of each other sad.

We all do what we do for the best of reasons at the time.

But re the patriarchy and how it marches on in the fact of all our efforts to put it in the box it should belong in.....I would bet a considerable amount of money that if ever a day comes when a high proportion of SAHP are dads rather than mums, then the 'value' put on SAHPs will mysteriously rocket.

grimbletart Fri 05-Apr-13 16:21:52

fact = face (whoops)

SatsukiKusukabe Fri 05-Apr-13 16:30:46

Thanks chockspread, enjoying your posts too!

We all do what we do for the best of reasons at the time.
yes to that grimble

But re the patriarchy and how it marches on in the fact of all our efforts to put it in the box it should belong in.....I would bet a considerable mount of money that if ever a day comes when a high proportion of SAHP are dads rather than mums, then the 'value' put on SAHPs will mysteriously rocket.

and big old yes to that too

Agree grimble. I'm disappointed this has turned into the usual bunfight. Though I suppose it was stupid to start a thread about assumptions made of women and not want to discuss the rights and wrongs of what they actually do.

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 16:36:16

It's interesting that as far as I can see the only people on here attacking other women's choices are a few WOHMs - very odd.

noviceoftheday Fri 05-Apr-13 16:40:08

hmm sigh.

blueshoes Fri 05-Apr-13 16:53:47

Satsuki: "Now stop being so defensive and listen."

This is interesting. I was just exchanging and where necessary, challenging, ideas and entrenched belief systems. I was stating my viewpoint, not being defensive. Sorry if this debate has affected you more than it merits.

This may be irrelevant for you and others on this thread, not that you will change what you are doing any way, but it will certainly inform my dd's choices. I aspire for her to be more than just happy, to do more than minimum wage jobs and to participate in society beyond her immediate family. Of course childcare has value but women can aspire to so much more with a bit of planning and judicious advice. Why should men (patriarchy?) bag all the fun and power.

If some women are not so busy making men's lives childcare free, perhaps men will see the need to fill the breech and realise what a valuable activity it is. Why should men do childcare unless they had to? The best way to get to grimbletart's utopia of the "day when a high proportion of SAHP are dads rather than mums, then the 'value' put on SAHPs will mysteriously rocket" is in fact for women to ration/boycott childcare i.e. go out to work.

We want the same things, just have different views of how to get there.

louisianablue2000 Fri 05-Apr-13 18:10:01

Why do these debate always turn into WOHM vs SAHM bunfights? Surely it's best for kids to have both parents sharing the childcare and work. That way they benefit from two (hopefully complementary) methods of parenting but also see two good role models. FWIW I think being a role model by working out of the house is only partly about earning a wage to contribute to the household, it is also about letting children know that their parents have a life beyond being a parent, that they are not the centre of the world. Obviously that could partly be demonstrated by a parent doing a lot of voluntary work (interestingly the only SAHD I know does masses of voluntary work, unlike any of the SAHMs) as well as paid work.

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 18:25:43

I am just not prepared to be told that I am a bad role model for my daughter, or that I am limiting her choices because, after a 16 year high flying career I chose to stop working to look after her. Or that I would have been a better role model if I had taken a job stacking shelves in Sainsbury's, rather than making it very clear to her that her father and I are a a partnership, we discussed at length how we wanted out family to work, and that I, frankly, pulled rank over him to get the better side of the deal.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 19:30:09

People with contrary opinion dont need narky rebuke satsuki,nor is anyone defensive

It is strident,it is heated,thats the point on a discussion topic.I'm more than willing to debate this with posters.yes thread will tread into touchy topics, it will have ouch factor. We are all adults, I Expect people if articulating strongly held opinion will give,and will get

Basically been told to shut up and stop being defensive doesn't cut it. I don't tolerate it from men,I won't tolerate it from woman. It simply isn't an appropriate response

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 19:42:02

As an aside why do we diminish women strudent opinion and duscussion as bunfight

it's so dismissive,women have strong opinions,and it's a bunfight?this is significant ideological stuff,and the day to day choices we have all variously made

Im more than happy to discuss and enjoy other women opinion,I am in no way defensive at any other woman opinion.in fact I'm pretty damn interested

Let's get on with robust discussion,it has been well articulated,it has been interesting,I don't think it's a bunfight

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 19:43:49

The ouch factor is fine. Any discussion about how we best care for our children is bound to. But as I said, I object very strongly to being dismissed as a "housewife" who "watches my children". Maybe think a little before you are quite so condemning?

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 19:56:01

We need to not occur then,I find neither terms objectionable.clearly you do
I don't get stuck on want to be there for kids,staff are main carer comments

I do think this is significant stuff. As a mainstay of why aren't women represented at work after babies? Why do men not do bulk childcare?

Because some women don't return, and that creates a societal expectation

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 20:35:48

You know fine well that when you say "housewife" you intend it to be disparaging- in fact practically everything you say is disparaging of SAHM.

SatsukiKusukabe Fri 05-Apr-13 20:38:53

very good and very interesting the way you didn't respond to any of my post Scottish. keep on being "robust". I'm going to ignore this thread now, as I don't see any discussion, just 2 or 3posters being shitty to every one else in a way that certainly looks life defensiveness or plain old shittyness just for the sake of it. it's a bit sad tbh, if you wer really that happy with your situation I don't think you would be so bitter.

there is no bunfight to be had, because some people stay home and look after their kids in the day. And some people go out in the day and pay someone else to look after them. It's all the fucking same in the end. I prefer to do it my way. so I do. it doesn't make me angry or upset that you don't, it only seems to be you and blue who have taken issue with my life style.

it does upset me that someone will read this and think this is feminism though and close the door on the FWR section so to speak.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 21:09:15

Look satsuki,you're not paxman you dont get to tell people how to post or to moderate self
I most certainly responded to you,1930, I won't be rebuked by you in that manner
So we need to not concur, I will continue to post.your pov is most welcome too

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 21:11:03


You are not alone in wanting those things for your daughter, I find it strange to believe she will only be able to achieve these things by you being employed.
My dc are already earning more than min wage, (those of working age), they are contributing to society both in terms of tax and support in the community. I'm not sure what more than happy you refer to, but leave it with you.

I always thought that feminism was about being in a position to exercise choice in all aspects of your life. I thought wow, yes thats what it means and I'm so lucky to have those choices.
I am then told by somebody who considers themselves to be a feminist that my choices mean I am a housewife, a term I know from history which I believe really belongs in the patriarchal archive. With women belittling each others choices and continuing this 1950's stereotype and terminology, I don't really see any improvement. I don't think we need to look at men for continuing a patriarchal society, I believe its just as much the words and behaviour of women.

Easterfunny Fri 05-Apr-13 21:11:46

Oddly, I do work, in a self employed capacity, but find myself playing it down big time ........

I'm yet to work out why - but clearly I have ishooos ...

blueshoes Fri 05-Apr-13 21:13:23

Satsuki, feel free to opt out. I don't take it personally if someone says strangers are raising my children but I will weigh in with my view as to why they are deluded. Debate should not get people upset but if you cannot take the heat, best to stay out of the kitchen. Of course, feel free to participate as well. Not my call.

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 21:14:47

It's also interesting that nobody seems to be suggesting that men should automatically give up work and become sAHFs in order to provide a role model for their sons........

SatsukiKusukabe Fri 05-Apr-13 21:16:07

bless you scottish. you seem to be drunk again confused as to what the words debate or even conversation mean. I won't patronize you by explaining and will give a little nudge in the direction of a dictionary. But here is a hint, they dont mean incoherently ranting at anyone who "does it wrong " with no information or facts to back it up whilst ignoring what the other party has to say.

blueshoes Fri 05-Apr-13 21:18:13

Seeker, many posters including myself have advocated more men doing childcare as a way of advancing women in the workplace post-children. Certainly more SAHDs is the way forward.

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 21:21:44

But you are happy to call me a bad role model. Is my dp one too? Our children have no hope at all!!!!!!!!!!

SatsukiKusukabe Fri 05-Apr-13 21:21:58

yes blue, of course. ta for now

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 21:23:21

Why you strikeout am i drunk?
touch of the passive aggressive?
Drunk is that your putdown when you don't like the pov

blueshoes Fri 05-Apr-13 21:23:44

potatoprints, women have overwhelmingly exercised their choice to opt out of the workplace or go pt after having children. They don't need feminism to tell them they can do that. They should however be aware that opting out also means it is detrimental to the cause of your dd and other women to have a bigger voice in society and how it is run.

Why not exercise the choice of empowerment, self-reliance and independence than the choice of vulnerability and dependence on men instead? I cannot see why feminism would not advocate that equally if not more.

blueshoes Fri 05-Apr-13 21:24:59

seeker, you have got your knickers in a twist and somehow got hung up on role models. Not sure what I can say.

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 21:27:45

It would be ever so much easier if you were a little less- idiosyncratic- in your posting style. Then people might not think you were drunk.But then everybody wouldn't be so very impressed by your "Youneekness" would they?

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 21:29:32


I don't know why but i have a habit of attracting people who are desperate for help, my mum said i was always like it.

On two occasions very many years ago and about 10 years ago I offered to help two men who had both been left holding the baby, so to speak. Both their wives left them. One had a 6 month old baby the other had 4 dc under 12.
Now obviously they needed support and help the same as a mother would, but they managed and only needed the same support not much more.
They did the same as we do, manage because there is nothing else to do when you have dc.
Men are as capable as we are.
The man with the 6 mth old was mostly concerned about bf mothers at toddler groups and if he would be accepted. He was soon assured they wouldn't mind in the slightest. His dd is nearly 25 now, unfortunately life hasn't given her much luck. But thats another story grin

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 21:32:32

"seeker, you have got your knickers in a twist and somehow got hung up on role models. Not sure what I can say."

Possibly acknowledge that it's not as black and white as you are saying it is? And consider why you find it acceptable to belittle women who choose to look after their own children. I don't belittle your choices- why do you think it's Oak for you to do it to mine?

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 21:32:52

Seeker,whilst i dont concur with you I'm not so presumptuous as to say change post style
Strikes me when I get the you is too Scottish/bad syntax/is you drunk that they can read enough to know wbat they no likey
Funny that....

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 21:33:30


If you have read my posts I am more empowered than most women I know. I am in a really good place and why would I teach my dd she has to be dependant and reliant upon a man? I most certainly am not at all and couldn't stand being like this grin

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 21:34:48


You what? grin

blueshoes Fri 05-Apr-13 21:35:43

Seeker, belittling is in your head. No one can make you feel belittled if you don't let them.

Same as no one can make me or dh feel a crap parent because one of us is not with our dcs at home fulltime.

I am very happy to debate it though. It is not personal. Even if you don't change your views - which you won't - someone else can read it and gives them pause to challenge their own assumptions and conditioning.

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 21:36:22

Oh it's not because you're Scottish. I only know you're Scottish because you say you are, not because of the way you post. It is just colossally arrogant to think"it's up to them to work out what I mean". Like shouting really loudly in English when you're in France. it's not big, as they say, and it's not cover.

nailak Fri 05-Apr-13 21:36:30

"Why undertake unpaid work at all? Women can also help their cause by demanding fair pay for their efforts."

Because I don't see money as validation for my work. I don't want money for work. There has been times where charity groups have offered to pay me for sessions in children centre etc, and I have said I would do it for free.

blueshoes Fri 05-Apr-13 21:40:40

potatoprints, I don't remember all of what you wrote about your circumstances but I remember them to be atypical of a lot of SAHMs.

I don't think you are doing women who are about to make themselves financially vulnerable a service by using yourself as an example. Of course you would not teach dd to be dependent on a man, that would be absurd. But if you don't tell her that SAHM-ing as a choice makes her financially vulnerable, then that is shielding her from the truth.

FWIW, I was earning 3x dh when we married and had (still have) a lot of assets in my own name from pre-marriage. I would still consider myself to be financially vulnerable if I totalled my earning power by staying at home for anything longer than one year.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 21:42:46

Seeker it's immaterial what you think of my post style
I dont recall your post style,nor is it significant.
your pov significant And i will comment on posts as i wish

blueshoes Fri 05-Apr-13 21:44:59

seeker, I am sure scottish can defend herself but you are getting uncomfortably personal about her in her posts ...

blueshoes Fri 05-Apr-13 21:45:22

your posts

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 21:51:29


What can I say, I am sorry you would be financially vulnerable by sah. I think its important to teach our children that its not a good idea to be financially vulnerable. I feel my parents taught me well as I am able to make choices in life that do not make me financially vulnerable, including sahm.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 21:56:35

Do I see Money as validation for my work,yes i do.of course. Why not
As do the men who Maintain their families,partners on this thread,enabling them to be unwaged by choice
Is money be all end all,no.but I've worked,studied hard fir what I've got

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 22:28:21

"seeker, I am sure scottish can defend herself but you are getting uncomfortably personal about her in her posts ..."

Wasn't it you said something about if you can't take the heat......

blueshoes Fri 05-Apr-13 22:31:29

seeker, you are not speaking of yourself, I hope. If you find yourself getting emotional, it is time to take a deep breath.

nailak Fri 05-Apr-13 23:24:24

so basically are we saying, as women we should never make ourselves vulnerable in case someone takes advantage of that?

is this only financially or emotionally to?

I mean why fall in love? have children? that is making yourselves emotionally vulnerable, it means someone is able to hurt you...

I just dont get it tbh.

Like those women who get married and are abused the worst part of the situation is not that they were hurt physically and emotionally, but the fact they were hurt financially.

No woman should make her self financially vulnerable in case she needs to LTB. However why not just say no woman should fall in love or be in a long term relationship incase he turns out to be a B?

I'm with seeker on this one, which is pretty much why I've dropped out. Have nothing else to add to the discussion and don't like the turn it's taken tbh. And YES I know it's not up to me.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 23:28:00

Well wipe my eyes,that's quite a dramatic summation nailak and not what anyone said

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 23:34:11

Op,you work and opine why don't mums work after having baby?
Seeker has posted she doesn't work by choice after having baby?
What do you both have in common?

Yes I work. No I don't opine on why women don't work. I guess we both have child(ren).

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 23:44:28


FWIW, I know you were asking a legitimate question and had no intention of causing a sah v woh argument.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 23:49:45

Let's be clear you quite strident op and subsequent posts about working
To extent you said want it not be be assumed women remove self from workplace!
More in step with other posts,inc mine, than the housewife posts

seeker Sat 06-Apr-13 00:01:39

This is an interesting debate. Or, it would be, if everyone showed a hint of trying to see things from both sides. However, the persistent use of "housewife" to describe somebody who chooses to say at home with their children shows that there is no respect, or wish for a meeting of minds. So hey ho. Have fun running ICI. Or an international relief organization. Or whatever else incredibly high powered and massively well paid careers you all have. Because this is a debate reserved for rich women- poor and/or working class women don't have the luxury of choice. They work in crap jobs because they have to.

scottishmummy Sat 06-Apr-13 00:05:45

It's the debate people chose it to be without you diminishing because you dont concur with all pov

It seems to me that it is only when a man takes the stay at home/childcare role that it becomes a worth while occupation - does their maleness somehow confer a status on it that's not innate? Oh yeah I forgot - because it's women's work it automatically has low status.

I have a feeling that as women we are not going to encourage men to take the role while we constantly under-value it and diminish any woman taking it. Where will the change come from if we don't value the contribution of women in unpaid caring roles in the first place? While there's no doubt WOHMs are discriminated against on a daily basis (pay gap, side-lined after maternity leave etc) the clearest message at the moment still seems to be why on earth would you stay at home or take on any unpaid caring role if you had any other choices? It's not really selling it to men is it? I think this is flawed feminism.

I want to see women represented in all careers but I don't see why the price has to be the undermining of all roles associated with childcare/caring and the home. I want to raise its status so both sexes see it as an equally valid choice because if more men did it, women would be free to make other choices if they wanted to. If we just maintain that it has no value unless we outsource it, which is not always viable for many families anyway, nothing will change. Women will continue to do the majority of unpaid work (and whether you call it a job or not, looking after your own children perhaps with SN or illness or elderly parents is most definitely work and not leisure) and although it may not be realistic to expect capitalism to attach a wage to SAHParenting/caring there is no reason as a society why we can't appreciate its positive impact on families, communities and society as a whole in the same way we should value having women represented in all areas of employment because it impacts positively on society. Why does one have to be crap so the other can be good?

Oh and I don't get all this talk about SAHMs being dependent on their partners. In a healthy relationship it should be a two-way street anyway and in many families childcare cannot realistically be done by anyone else but a parent - so the worker is dependent on the carer too. My DP and I chose to have children - if he wants to work he is dependent on me to look after them and facilitate him working. He would need to be very rich indeed to cover the cost for full-time care and HE of children with SN and illness - and even then I doubt he would have found someone suitable to do the job. We are a unit - joint account, mortgage and savings. Both heavily insured if the worst happens. If there is dependence it's on each other.

I've thought about this a lot and IMO I have only let my daughters down in my choice to SAH if I don't support the rights of women to make different choices than my own or I fail to educate them about the millions of possibilities open to them in life or I don't demonstrate an equal partnership with their father. How can I be letting my daughters down by choosing a path that has responded to their needs as well as my own and kept us together as a family?
Oh yes I forgot because patriarchal capitalism says my role has no intrinsic or economic value - well bugger that I'm not listening anyway I'm a feminist!

Wow I'm knackered now!

kickassangel Sat 06-Apr-13 00:42:16

The problem is that whenever roles change their gender association, their status changes with it.

E.g. Cheer leading used to be a male sport that women were seen as too delicate for. As women got involved, the cheering was sidelined and became lower status.

Pearl diving, a highly dangerous and physically demanding job. Yet v low paid, and the low pay is accepted as it is done by women so therefore the danger and demands don't matter.

Look how a chef gets paid/respected more than a cook.

And even when the job title and description are the same, men get paid more than women, promoted more than women.

So it's not surprising that women retreat to the private sphere of their families, where they can have some autonomy.

What is the answer? That we respect all people equally, no matter what their job or gender or color etc. that we show that respect by various means, money, kindness, listening to them, acknowledging and making known their abilities etc.

Only we don't. Ina million different ways we let our prejudices and assumptions be know. So by the time a person becomes a parent the decisions are lost predetermined.

nailak Sat 06-Apr-13 01:30:27

scottish i am not saying anyone said that, I am saying idea that woman should never be financially vulnerable, however it is ok to be emotionally and physically vulnerable can be interpreted as an assumption that being without money is more dangerous then having your heart broken, or being physically abused.

Please can someone explain to me why this is wrong.

If we are saying you cannot trust a man to be financially dependent on them, how come we can trust men to be psychically and emotionally involved with them?

ha. I posted earlier about how this is such bi-partisan, emotional and divisive issue here in the UK (I am from Finland). I also acknowledge that the Scandinavian model offers universal, subsidised childcare delivered by childcare professionals educated to a degree level in what is considered a respected and well paid profession (early years education). My sister paid EUR 150 per month for a full time nursery place around the corner in a brand new nursery designed by the town's best architect (we take design seriously up north..). This is a big difference. She is a teacher and when she returned to work after a year's maternity leave she was able to contribute economically (to her family finances, to the tax coffers enabling the state to build more nurseries) without being worse off. I am, involuntarily, a stay at home mum to my three. With my three university degrees. This sits very uncomfortably with me, coming from a country where not having a job if you are fit and healthy is indeed considered plain lazy. The key is in the quality and affordability of childcare. But a country that does not put this at the forefront of policy is enforcing traditional structures and in fact does NOT give women choice. I am not a SAHM by choice. I am because I have seen enough nurseries here being run by illiterate teenagers who work in childcare on minimum wage because they can't get another job.

this is also another UK-specific bunfight. As a long-term expat here I find this country increasingly divided. That and the sexism and this sodding rain makes me think it might be time to up sticks...

seeker Sat 06-Apr-13 08:20:13

Drowninginlaundry- is the general view in Scandanavia that children do better if they are in full time nursery? Or is the main driver of the system that the economy does better if women WOH?

Thumbwitch Sat 06-Apr-13 08:22:42

It's not entirely UK specific though, is it. It happens in other countries too (like Australia, where I live; and probably the USA although I wouldn't know).

I have to say that when I emigrated to Australia part of the "deal" was that I wouldn't have to go and find a job - I was a WAHM in the UK because I had my own business as a therapist, but starting that again in Australia would have been incredibly difficult, as I didn't want to bring random unknowns into my home (all the clients I had in the UK were ones I had when I worked in a clinic, so I knew them all and trusted them to be in my home with me and my baby); plus getting all the approvals, professional registration and insurance would have been rather expensive and difficult. But I have already worked for 27 years - so it felt a bit like I had "done that" and now it was time for me to focus on my child, and hopefully have another one. That took a while but now I have DS2 as well, DH is happy for me to be SAHM until he goes to school as well. But by then I'll be 50 and there isn't an awful lot of scope for a 50yo to go back into the workforce, even in Australia!

No doubt I will then try and get some clinic work, restart my business, but we'll see. In the meantime I do have some freelance work from the college I used to work for, so I'm not entirely without occupation - but it's not something I could use to get a job in Australia.

I do think that the main driver of the childcare system in Finland is women working. I know families that could live very comfortably on the husband's wage alone, but the mother works because she did not spend five years at university and 5-10 years building a career to give it all up when she had children. The universal childcare stems from the post-war years of rebuilding, women were needed in factories and the state had to organise childcare to enable women to work. It is now an established set up. I rarely see a debate about whether full time nursery is good for the children or not, whenever I question this I get told 'but what other option do I have, I have a job' with a look reserved for someone slightly dim-witted. So when the starting point is always that both parents work, they have had to create a system to support it. I get that it's really hard to think of children thriving in full time nursery from young age, but when people here think of nurseries as if they are Victorian orphanages they think of what is available here in the UK. It's not the same at all, not at all.

seeker Sat 06-Apr-13 09:09:56

So what if half of a partnership decided, after proper discussion, that they wanted to take, say, two unwaged years to paint, or look after an elderly parent, or pursue an interest, or do charity work, or do a non work related Masters degree?

Lets be clear yes, strident op about assumptions, not the choices women make. Do not try to twist this to make my op something it wasn't. And yes I agree with a lot of what you say, and disagree with some. But the way you say it and interact with people leaves a lot to be desired. As others have mentioned you choose your vocabulary to be as belittling as possible and are never able to consider another point of view. I have no desire to be associated with that style of argument, and tbh having to wade through it diminishes almost all the interest I have in the subject.

seeker Sat 06-Apr-13 09:27:00

<round of applause for SPB>

blueshoes Sat 06-Apr-13 09:55:50

SPB, the wretched assumptions flow from women's choices exercised time and again in the same way, and are valid from the standpoint.

The two are not distinct - that is where I see cognitive dissonance in your argument and perhaps a certain intellectual denial (dishonesty?) on your part for the convenience of not derailing your thread for SAHM/WOHM issues which did not work anyway.

You cannot dictate how a thread will go just because you are the OP (not saying you are) but you also cannot complain if others address the elephant in the room.

blueshoes and Scottishmummy - just out of interest is your feeling that women are letting the side down/are not great role models for their daughters if SAHPs purely down to wanting to redress the inequality in the workplace, (which is valid) or is it because you attach no value to SAHParenting/care for the ill/disabl