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Are SAHMS discriminated against. Red magazine are doing an article about it.

(1000 Posts)
Darkesteyes Mon 25-Mar-13 16:58:46

Just seen this on twitter.

Are stay at home mums discriminated against? Are you one and unhappy with benefits, or feel judged? Tell us.

maisiejoe123 Tue 26-Mar-13 17:29:23

It IS diffciult to get back into the workplace after xx number of years. Of course it is. You wont be on an equal track with other applicants and that is exactly why I didnt do it.

janey68 Tue 26-Mar-13 17:37:14

Rainrain- I agree with your point about young children needing a 'real' environment- but tbh I think the number of parents who use nursery all day all week are few and far between, and where they do, there are no doubt circumstances to that specific family which make it the better option. Families I know where both parents work in high pressure long hour careers tend to have a nanny, so the children are looked after in there own home. Also, ML is so much longer now that it's less usual to see very young babies in childcare. The thing is, many women , myself included return part time, so the child isn't in childcare
For full weeks. I used a cm to start off with (as I retuned when dd was 5 months) because I wanted that real life experience you describe, and switched to nursery a little later which provided an excellent experience as a part time thing.

There are two more points which spring to mind having read this thread : not judgements at all, just observations. One is that I think women need to be very honest about what they want. It's clear that there are some women who Categorically do not want to use childcare because they want to stay at home- which is FINE- but they need to be clear about that. Because sometimes it does feel a bit like women say they'd love more affordable childcare, but the truth is that even If the best childcare in the world were offered to them for free, they would still rather be at home themself. As I say- nothing wrong with that if you want to do it and can afford it , but it's important to be clear that that's what the issue is- not having subsidised care.

Secondly- its important to remember that all Of us know our OWN family and circumstances best. We know when our children are happy, unhappy, secure etc. and that goes for WOHP as much as SAHM. Maybe if you have never been a WOHP, or youve tried it but it didnt work out for you, that's hard to accept, I don't know. Sometimes when I read posts (and I'm not referring to most on here, it's just a minority) youd almost believe WOHP dump their kids in any old nursery without doing tons of research and visits, and then we pick them up again at age 5 ready to dump them in the nearest school! It so ISN'T like that. When you watch your children blossoming and building relationships and growing in confidence then you know they're fine. And yes, I know children of SAHM develop all those things too- they are just different (but equal) ways of doing things.

janey68 Tue 26-Mar-13 17:39:52

Oops- their not there... Blame it on the long day at work grin

maisiejoe123 Tue 26-Mar-13 17:48:47

I agree Janey. I think SAHM's need to be clear whether they want childcare or not. I think some (not all!) would like the childcare allowance but not use it for childcare.....

Having brought up two DS's. If I ever felt that they were not thriving and happy with the early years childcare I would have thought again and maybe taken a part time option for a few years. Its not always all set in stone what you do.

However - I might get flamed for this. I wouldnt leave completely and then expect to pick up my career when I was ready. It doesnt work like that.

SAHM's will not be at the top of all employers lists tbh. That's life. On another thread I quoted that I had recruited for a part time role a while ago. I knew it would appeal to a parent looking to go back to work. What I wasnt ready for is the sense of entitlement during the interview process. Maybe they had just been out of the workplace for too long.

Three didnt turn up, and one cancelled saying that they had to take their child to the GP and asked to meet another time even though they knew interviews were on one day. And the most surprising one was the mother asking to do the role at home so that she could save on childcare costs for her young baby!

janey68 Tue 26-Mar-13 18:04:57

The CB issue: personally I would rather it has remained as a universal benefit, though capped at two children (apart from multiple births ) to reflect the fact that we are hugely overpopulated and that having large families is a luxury

But the childcare issue, I just do not get why some SAHM are up in arms about it.
It's like me complaining that someone else does a job where they travel a lot and get a company car, even though I don't want their job with all it's travelling. It doesn't make it unfair that they get one.

maisiejoe123 Tue 26-Mar-13 18:07:44

Having lost CH - I would too Janey. Yes, it is strange how people are envious of others but wouldnt dream of doing what they are doing. Sorry, but if you stay at home you wont get childcare benefits until the child is 3 and that isnt a great time to wait....

rainrainandmorerain Tue 26-Mar-13 18:09:37

But Maisiejoe - you've put your finger on it in a way. Every case you mention is a mum. No dads. Just mums.

There are so many observations to be made off the back of that. One I'd start with is that surely for some of those mums, them staying at home to look after children, or returning to work part time, is what enabled the children's FATHER to continue his career path undisturbed. Who exactly is 'entitled’ there?

The complete absence of dads in all this is what is making these judgements about women/mums possible. If flexible working patterns or career breaks were something that dads used as well as women (and they are, in some other countries....) then our whole attitude to it would be different.

I do find it interesting that we are quite accepting of the idea that mums who work should be entitled to some form of help/subsidy with childcare, but that mums (I'd love to say 'parents', but it is overwhelmingly mums) who chose to drop their income to look after their children are expected to pay for it themselves, totally (via their partner's income).

As a WAHM mum who took no time off at all with her 1st dc and who has always been the main earner in her household, that doesn't strike me as fair. If as a working mum, I was told that I should get off my arse and earn enough money to pay for my childcare instead of expecting the state to sub me or my 'lifestyle' in any way, I'd be livid!

It looks as if we really don't value hands on parenting. We accept that a working mum is making a measurable monetary contribution to the economy, but we don't have a comparable way of valuing a SAHP, so are dismissive. Even if we take into account that a SAHM may be the very thing that allows a working dad to either not pay a fortune in childcare, OR compromise his career to look after his own children.

Kazooblue Tue 26-Mar-13 18:09:58

Because it's money that could be paying off debt going to wealthy families who don't need it.

Kazooblue Tue 26-Mar-13 18:12:36

And we seem to have had CB taken off us to fund it!

rainrainandmorerain Tue 26-Mar-13 18:13:26

But not all mums are working because they have no choice. Some of us work because we want to, and we love what we do. It forms a huge part of my identity and I would be very unhappy if I wasn't able to work at all.

To play devil's advocate, why should I expect anyone to help me with childcare costs to do something I enjoy, and have chosen to do...?

rainrainandmorerain Tue 26-Mar-13 18:14:37

(sorry, umpteen x posts - I'm not sure who I am talking to anymore! probably myself. I might go for a lie down....)

birdsnotbees Tue 26-Mar-13 18:18:43

SAHM are not discriminated against; mothers are. And it's about time we all stopped perpetuating that discrimination by getting distracted by the whole SAHM vs. Working mother thing. It's not the issue. How this government & employers treat mothers & women in general, however, is.

maisiejoe123 Tue 26-Mar-13 18:23:08

As a SAHM (P) you dont generate an income. You do a very important role but you are not paying tax. I am sorry but its a economic situation. So if SAHM's want to be paid or claim childcare costs - who will pay for this.....

The people working......

And please dont lets get into 'well my DH pays tax or that nonsense a few months ago where a pair of 18 year olds had a baby claiming that their parents had paid tax and they were just claiming there share back!'

SAHP's and working parents are BOTH bringing up their children. In different ways of course and their children are all different. For us we chose to both work and not to have a career break. Its the right decision for us and I fully understand some want to stay at home but surely you cannot be expected to be paid for this..

janey68 Tue 26-Mar-13 18:29:36

Rainrain- yes, exactly as I said earlier, I think parenting is what needs to be valued. And parenting is a far bigger concept and far more difficult to pin down than the various day to day tasks which make up quite a bit of caring for children and running a home.
It must feel pretty galling, as a high achieving working man, to receive respect and approval for your career, while the fact that you might be a brilliant dad goes unnoticed.

As far as 'where are the dads ?'- again, I think women need to be very honest about what they are doing on a personal level. Do they automatically assume that they get 'first dibs' on working part time or not
Working at all? Are they going to make use of the upcoming transferable parental leave, taking the first 6 months themself and then handing over to dad ? (god- now thats something I'm envious of- conditions
Are so much improved nowadays, my dh had the day dd was born off and was back to work next day). Ultimately it's down to women as individuals to shape their family set up in the way that works best for them. It's no good deciding from the outset that you wont push ahead with your career, you'll always play Second fiddle to your husbands career, and then complaining about your choice. It may mean some tough decisions, such as both of you having decent but not jet setting careers rather than one of you being the high flier and the other giving up entirely. But A lot of this is about the choices people make as a family unit, and there aren't 'right' ones or 'wrong' ones- there are just different ones.

maisiejoe123 Tue 26-Mar-13 18:36:05

I am not sure all men are chomping at the bit to share parental leave. it certainly wasnt around when I had the boys.

And of course, yes, if you give up your career you are giving up an independence of sorts and relying on your partner to support you. Of course if the relationship breaks down it becomes extremely difficult. I am not all doom and gloom but marriages/partnerships DO break down and people move onto other people.

Wasnt it Terence Coran who said all his ex wife who didnt work do was put a few meals in the microwave and ferry the children around..... No - actually she supported you in such a way that it allowed you to have a wonderful career jetting around the world not worrying about picking up from nursery or school

Permanentlyexhausted Tue 26-Mar-13 18:36:45

BacktoBedlam - yes I did see your earlier post and, in part, it was what prompted me to write mine. There may be some anecdotal evidence as you suggest but, I really do think this is far from the norm. Certainly in my experience.

Goldenbear - I would not dream of spending my precious time acting as your job coach, I was merely making some general observations. Perhaps you'd like to explain further, though, in exactly what way you feel that my comments epitomise the prejudice that SAHP have to overcome. Because I suggested that SAHP may have to compete in a job interview on a level playing field with other candidates, i.e. by being able to give well thought out concrete examples of their skills?

maisiejoe123 Tue 26-Mar-13 18:40:41

I feel a 'well I have been a SAHP for 5 years - could I be given priority for a role' type of feeling in some of the answers here or is it just me.

It is not prejudice against SAHP's - its getting the best person for the role.

janey68 Tue 26-Mar-13 18:41:02

It'll be iteresting to see how many dads do take up the transferrable leave option- and indeed, how many mums will let them!
Personally I think it's a great idea, and my dh would have been well
Up for it. For the mum to take 6 months and then dad taking the next 6 months will be fantastic for the children, and will give couples a
Far greater insight into each others role (how often do you read
On MN about women whose husbands apparently have no idea about what it's like at home....) I also think it will make it harder for dads to lose contact with their children in the event of a split up, having had that time.

Permanentlyexhausted Tue 26-Mar-13 18:47:57

I agree Maisiejoe.

Kazooblue Tue 26-Mar-13 18:51:19

Maisie my dp is paying tax 40% worth (and a lot more than many getting CB and help with childcare) he couldn't do his job without the kids suffering if I went back to my career.

Dp pays more in tax on 60k than 2x 30k

Why should families earning that and more and working be paid to put their dc in childcare? It too is a lifestyle choice.

maisiejoe123 Tue 26-Mar-13 18:59:29

I pay 40% tax too... I have lost CB. And depending where you live (ie SE and London) the cost of housing and commuting means that you often do need two salaries.

Of course one could move - maybe to the middle of Wales to lower those costs but then my DH and I couldnt do our roles and pay all our tax!

Kazooblue Tue 26-Mar-13 18:59:30

And I am doing a valuable job!

Kazooblue Tue 26-Mar-13 19:03:05

Well my dp couldn't do his job without my job as a sahp.

We are financially a lot worse off than 2 people earning the same.

Your choice to live where you do,why should we fund families on high wages?You could move,get lesser paid jobs and still pay tax.Would probably cost the state less now it is funding your childcare.

janey68 Tue 26-Mar-13 19:12:07

Actually this thread has been really useful in clarifying things in my mind!

Do I think personal tax allowances should be transferrable? - no. The principle of taxing people as individuals rather than regarding a woman as an appendage of her partner is hugely important. And like I said (on this thread or similar- ive lost track!) - its not relevant whether a mother had paid tax in the past, or whether her husband or father or granny does... It's like me saying 'I've had 2 low natural births without expensive pain relief or doctors in attendance- does that mean I'm 'owed' some sort of payback by the NHS'- of course not! It doesn't work like that. You'll never be able to balance up exactly what each individual pays in and takes out

Child benefit... Ideally would remain a universal benefit, but I would cap it at 2 children. Large families are a luxury (barring natural multiple births )
As the country is in an economic mess, it's probably not feasible for it to remain universal, but basing it on a HR tax payer is a reasonable way to do it. Families where two parents work and are both just under the threshold will have a lot more outgoings in the form of childcare than a family with one earner just over the threshold

Should SAHP have the same criteria applied to them for free / subsidised childcare as WOHP? Of course not. They don't need childcare. Anyway, they'll get their free 15 hours when the child is 3, and the irony is that they are more likely to be able to make use of it than a WOHP. A WOHP needs childcare at specific times, so if the 15 hours is only available across 5 mornings, for example, it will be the SAHP who can make best use of them.

What about families where mum claims she can't hold down a job because she has to support her husbands high flying career? - this comes down to personal decisions within each family as to what they want. If you partner someone who has such a career, or you allow your own career to take second place then that's an individual choice, it doesn't need to be like that. There is nothing wrong with that set up if it suits you but then just be honest about it. No one wakes up one morning finding themselves with 3 kids and a husband who works away a lot... These things develop over time and there is always the chance for couples to regularly renegotiate if they are both happy With how their lives are shaping

Do I think SAHM are discriminated against? Unless someone can provide some hard and fast evidence to the contrary, I don't think SAHM are treated any differently to anyone else who has been out of the workplace, be it for travelling, caring or just taking time out.

rainrainandmorerain Tue 26-Mar-13 19:13:23

I agree it would be better all round for dads to have more of an idea about what is involved in taking care of a small child and running a household. I think dad-child relationships would only improve with dads being more involved in their care.

It won't change overnight. We have CENTURIES of conditioning telling us what a mother's role is versus a father's role. There are external and internal barriers for mums and dads in terms of how they negotiate parenting/work roles. For a start, even where dads can request flexible working atm, they rarely do. There is a structural assumption that it will be mainly women who ask for it, and it can be seen as more damaging for a man to ask for it than woman, in terms of career. And many men see childrearing/domesticity as a bit emasculating. It's not just a case of 'will women let them take over more.' And no, a lot of blokes won't want to do more than a bare minimum of hands on parenting. That's sexist behaviour which needs to change.

I think the SAHDs who take on that role at present often have to be quite brave about being the sahp in a world that is very mum-dominated and feminised. And vice versa - for those of us mums who have taken on the role as main breadwinner in the family - well, I can't look at other women in my extended family who have done that before me. Sure, they've always WORKED - but they haven't always had careers, and they certainly have not been the main earner. I'm the first one. It's impossible not to internalise these things in some way.

I think it's oddly punitive to keep saying 'well, ladies, it's up to you to decide what you want! make your minds up!' For my mother's generation, it was generally accepted that if you really really wanted a high flying career, then you didn't have children (if you were a woman, I mean. obvs as a man, you just had a wife...). A generation later, I feel personally like I have been raised and educated to 'have it all', and that I should be able to have a career AND children - but the devil is in the detail, and the small print has got some nasty clauses! (like, whenever the media talk about about women and work, it is always assumed the mum can only work when SHE earns enough to cover HER childcare costs.... again, WHERE ARE THE DADS.....). Rome wasn't built in a day, I guess.

I think btw it is absolutely fine for mums to decide that actually they do want to do the hands on parenting themselves, and are happy to give up a place at work to do that. I just know that by adding more dads into the mix, we acknowledge that parenting is not just carried out by mums, it would inevitably become more valued, and we would all have a greater degree of flexbility and genuine choice. The sahm/wohm 'debate' is a smokescreen - it hides the continuing absence of dads in the whole equation.

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