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To not understand where the notion that children are 'womens work' comes from?

(30 Posts)
Tallalime Mon 07-Oct-13 14:19:58

I keep seeing freds alluding to this.
If the dc are sick, the mother has to take time off work...
When the dc are little babies the mother takes care of them at night..
The mother organises the dc's clubs, school stuff, childcare/babysitters, food etc...

The father, I don't know, sits about looking nice and not worrying his pretty little head about children and all their gubbins.

I don't get it, my DH is far from perfect (he certainly doesn't worry his pretty little head about things like cleaning toilets or umderstanding what constitutes a 'balanced' meal)

But when it comes to DD he does half the work.

When she is sick we takes turns having time off - I don't give a fuck if he earns more than me, he has the same rights to parental leave as me, and she is as much his as mine!

When she was a baby waking at night I fed her, he woke up and got her, he got her nappies/other stuff together and changed her. At weekends we each got (and still get) a lie in.

I have always trusted him (total lie but I pretended I trusted him wink ) 100% to do anything for her (except bf) that I can.

She is and has always relied on us both the same.

I don't understand this notion that mothers are more important to young children than fathers are.

They should bloody well do half the work (or near as damn it).


jasminerose Mon 07-Oct-13 17:43:25

Dh takes time off when the kids are ill, had 3 months off when dc1 was born, does all care and household stuff when Im at work/out. Im not a doormat I wouldnt accept my husband doing nothing.

IBelieveInEngels Mon 07-Oct-13 17:32:52

I tend to stay at home with DS when he's ill as I get 8 days care leave per year. If DH stays at home with ill DS then he loses a day holiday. So for us it is circumstance. (We both work part time and I earn more than DH). However, if DS becomes ill during the day and has to be picked up then DH will usually go and puck him now off and either try and work from home or will have to take holiday if this isn't possible. DH works in the town we live in whereas I'm further away.

I did all the night feeds when DS was a baby as he was bf and DH was back at work less than 2 weeks later, whereas Iwas offfor 4 months and by the time I went back to work DS was sleeping through the night.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Mon 07-Oct-13 17:29:59

I find the notion of DH's 'helping out' really odd. They're doing you a favour by looking after their own child?

When DH is home we split parenting equally. He comes home and baths DS (its their time together), I tidy up his toys, sort his milk and when he's in bed one of us will start dinner. We are a team. Why should it be left down to me because I'm the woman? We used to take it in turns to get up in the night and have a lie in on the weekend.

I didn't realise parenting was optional. If my DH thought it was, well it just wouldn't happen.

everlong Mon 07-Oct-13 17:22:01

I think it comes from the mother wanting or needing to give that basic care once they're born.

I see threads in here where women moan that their DH doesn't step up to the mark but then they admit they don't like to leave him to get on with it.

You can't have it all your own way.

MurderOfBanshees Mon 07-Oct-13 17:19:48

Also helps that boys are taught from a young age that childcare is "womens work" and there's something unmanly about doing it. That's never going to help.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Mon 07-Oct-13 17:18:59

If I come out of work for DC I can swap shifts and work a different day.

DH works there are very few people who can do his job, and handing over is hard work. He gets very stressed out before booked time off as it's not as simple as leaving his desk.

Luckily I have a very understanding boss.

jasminerose Mon 07-Oct-13 17:14:21

I dont get it either. Dh can do absolutely anything from loads of kids sleeping over to cooking for everyone.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 07-Oct-13 16:22:41

I don't know about anyone else but I grew up surrounded by women that a) worked and b) regarded men getting involved with children as 'sissy' or poured scorn on their efforts. I'm sure plenty of them have infected sons and grandsons with the same attitudes. Old habits die hard? hmm

MadameLeMean Mon 07-Oct-13 16:19:08

I don't like the idea that the lower earner should automatically be the one to pick up a sick child etc. that surely just perpetuates their lower earning status... Both careers should matter. If my DP earned more than me I'd still expect him to do half the child related stuff! Unless I did not work or worked part time and the stuff happened on my days off

Tallalime Mon 07-Oct-13 16:12:15

It's a recent 'historical' concept though isn't it? I was always under the impression that once you go back 100 years or more if a family was poor both parents worked (and often the children too post babyhood) and if a family was rich they had servants for childrearing - though I suppose those servants were generally women...

So really women 'giving up' their jobs and etc to raise a family is pretty modern.

And I should probay get himself to clean the loos but then he might suggest that I iron - and I really don't want to grin

I do insist on him taminv time off when she is sick though - it's not just about money it is about appearances at work. And I may not earn as much as him (which is because I had a baby in the first place ffs) but I work as hard as him, and how I am seen at work is as important to me as it would be to him. I would be bloody fuming if he suggested otherwise.

sonlypuppyfat Mon 07-Oct-13 15:31:00

Well I do all the childcare because I'm better at it. But then my DH doesn't expect me to go out to work either

Nanny0gg Mon 07-Oct-13 15:26:32

And in many parts of the world, I guess there's some men who still want it to be that way too

Absolutely. And if it's not the women's choice for her life to be like that then changes must be made.

That's the battle that's still needed. The battle for 'choice'. On both sides.

KellyElly Mon 07-Oct-13 15:16:54

YANBU. Of course they should. The notion that it's 'womens work' is an old fashioned, out-dated notion that comes from the time where many women didn't work and taking care of the house and the children was their job. Now it seems many women take on the role of chief carer, cook, housekeeper and work while their partners 'help out' a bit. Obviously this doesn't apply to all men, but it does to many more than it should.

Vivacia Mon 07-Oct-13 15:14:06

Well obviously it's historical and because some women still want it to be like that.

And in many parts of the world, I guess there's some men who still want it to be that way too.

Nanny0gg Mon 07-Oct-13 15:01:22

To not understand where the notion that children are 'women's work' comes from?
Well obviously it's historical and because some women still want it to be like that.

ThinkAboutItTomorrow Mon 07-Oct-13 15:01:22

I agree. But it's SUCH an easy trap to fall into. I think I have a very balanced and fair relationship but I still do more. Mostly due to DP being away so often.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Mon 07-Oct-13 14:56:10

In this house it is women works, It's not that DH sit back and looks pretty.

He is out of the house more than he is in.

I don'y care either way, it's my job to sort out childcare and keep the home clean and tidy.

Dh does spend time with the kids, and as he is only normally off 1 day a week i don't see why he has to do the nitty gritty.

notanyanymore Mon 07-Oct-13 14:55:59

In my house its 'women's work', because I do it better! grin

NomDeClavier Mon 07-Oct-13 14:52:51

Well a lot of it is financial and that's another issue entirely - why men are still earning systematically more than women.

But because of this financial inequality it tends to make sense for the women to be the ones taking time off work and continuing with the initially biologically necessary role of being primary caregiver and so the cycle continues. I would say you're exceptional in not making the decision on who takes time off based on how much money you'd lose. If I earnt more and worked longer hours than DH then he'd be the one who could work as long as he could pay childcare and the one physically present to do the household jobs, but I don't so I'm the one who balances. There's a possibility I may get a job which requires us moving country when he comes out the military if he doesn't have anything lines up. Then he'd be a SAHD and our roles would be reversed.

At weekends if I want to go away or have a lie in the DH can take over. At weekends he does a list of jobs I present him with. He also does all the ironing (mostly because it's his ironing...). He cooks, possibly not what I would be 2 days a week isn't going to hurt.

A lot of it is to do with mothers not wanting to let go IMO. We all had to learn but mothers learnt it faster because we were on ML.

CoffeeTea103 Mon 07-Oct-13 14:49:31


WestieMamma Mon 07-Oct-13 14:47:29

I'm in Sweden so have the privilege of state supported equal parenting right from the start. When DS was born my husband got to take 6 weeks off parental leave and has only worked 3 days a week since he went back taking 2 days as parental leave. This means that he has had time to learn the ropes as much as me and more importantly to build confidence in his ability to care for his son.

Scarifying Mon 07-Oct-13 14:40:46

The power tools are the best bit grin

FuckyNell Mon 07-Oct-13 14:37:35

Same as scarifying. Without the power tools though grin

Scarifying Mon 07-Oct-13 14:34:28

I do the child rearing in my house but I also do all the DIY, decorating, car repairs, computer repairs, gardening and other traditionally 'male' work. all the power tools are mine My wonderful, clever DH works extremely long hours and earns lots of lovely dosh our family.
I don't think there is any sexism in our house we just do what suits us. If I was the brainy high earner my DH would look after the kids.

It really suits us to divide our areas of responsibility like this. Whenever have any conflict over who does what. It helps that DH isvery respectful and appreciative of what I do - just as I am of what he does. Also, my DH will help out when I need him too.

Bonsoir Mon 07-Oct-13 14:30:40

If your DH isn't making balanced meals for his family or cleaning the toilets, I'm not sure why you think he is doing half the childcare.

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