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to think that this SAHD is exaggerating?

(30 Posts)
womblesofwestminster Wed 02-Apr-14 11:15:36

He claims that people give him a hard time for being a SAHP simply because he's a man:

www.telegraph.co.uk/men/relationships/fatherhood/10737648/Why-doesnt-society-take-stay-at-home-dads-seriously.html

He says: "I feel the need to justify myself, my job, my choices, in a way that I’m sure would not happen to a stay-at-home mum."

AIBU to think he's exaggerating? I get shit all the time for being a SAHM. From acquaintances and inlaws mostly. Talk that I have no 'work ethic' and that I should 'get a job', and tbh I find it really hurtful and diminishing of the WORK I really do. Which leads me to my next Q:

Why do some people give SAHPs such a hard time? Surely if you're not claiming benefits then your choice to be a SAHP does not harm them in any way, directly or induirectly?

Comeatmefam Wed 02-Apr-14 11:22:11

Of course he's exaggerating.

All these 'sell your life to the papers' journos are there to troll people, exaggerate, get reactions etc.

My dh is a SAHD. I don't think he's had one negative comment and if he had he wouldn't give a shit.

I think you are probably exaggerating too though! Seriously, people you know directly challenge you about 'getting a job' and having no work ethic?? I believe that people might imply that or stumble over asking what you do or plan to do, but that rudely, really?

I know loads of SAHMs and a few SAHDs, none are treated rudely or given a 'hard time'. I work FT, I've never been given a hard time either. I've only ever seen this divide on Mumsnet to be honest.

Russianfudge Wed 02-Apr-14 11:23:40

I think there is more of a negative attitude to Men who choose to stay at home in many senses, but then also I have heard SAHDs be referred to as amazing to do what they do - like they're super heros or something because they choose to do what millions of women do with little or no respect.

My general feeling on SAHPs is that it is none of my business - if pushed, I would say that I worry about those who are close to me who take this path because of the instability that it can give them financially. I also have an older friend whose kids went off the rails and she can never understand how that could have happened when she was a SAHP and made so many sacrifices for them! So, I would also caution anyone who beleives their kid will turn out any better or thank them for staying at home wink

Other than that, no idea what all the fuss is about.

GreenLandsOfHome Wed 02-Apr-14 11:24:40

I've never seen people give a SAHP a hard time (outside mn)

It wouldn't be for me. But different strokes and all that.

The only comments i've heared in rl about work ethic/get a job have been aimed at those claiming benefits.

JanePurdy Wed 02-Apr-14 11:26:19

My DP is at home part time with the kids and he does get negative comments from family & some friends. Don't think he has problems at playgroups or anything like that though.

womblesofwestminster Wed 02-Apr-14 11:36:21

people you know directly challenge you about 'getting a job' and having no work ethic??

Yup, MIL being a prime example. She's visiting in 2 weeks. I'm going to have a direct showdown about it.

MeepMeepVroooom Wed 02-Apr-14 11:41:38

I've never seen people give a SAHP a hard time (outside mn)

I've personally never seen or known a SAHP to get a hard time in real life. Well at least not from the outside world.

wannaBe Wed 02-Apr-14 11:41:53

I do think that our attitudes to men who are involved in childcare are different to women. I read a comment on twitter recently from a SAHD I follow that someone had said to him "good luck with finding work," the assumption being that he was home with the kids because he is unemployed, not through choice.

I also think that we view men who work in the childcare profession with deep suspicion, male nursery workers/childminder/nannies etc. When my sister's kids were at nursery there was a male nursery worker (who later went on to be the manager), there were a lot of women who had requested he not be allowed to change their babies' nappies. shock in case he abused their children.

That being said, I think that attitudes towards staying at home have changed, and that there is a general belief that because some women have campaigned for equality in the workplace during and after maternity leave and have chosen or have to go back to work, all women should be aspiring to do this rather than staying at home with their children.

Comeatmefam Wed 02-Apr-14 11:52:12

Ok wombles I stand corrected! Is there a method to her madness? Did you give up a great career? Are you struggling as a family? Or is she just gratuitously having a dig at you?

Comeatmefam Wed 02-Apr-14 11:52:55

wannaBe - maybe he was looking for work?

sezamcgregor Wed 02-Apr-14 12:06:08

Why do some people give SAHPs such a hard time? Surely if you're not claiming benefits then your choice to be a SAHP does not harm them in any way, directly or induirectly?

I think jealousy is a BIG part.

HazleNutt Wed 02-Apr-14 12:13:35

like Russian said, we have also found that while SAHM is a SAHM, SAHD is either a loser who can't find a job and is sponging off the poor wife; or just sooooo amazzzzing, as can manage to take care of kid(s) and home. Usually no middle ground.

squeakytoy Wed 02-Apr-14 12:19:25

If he is a sahd and you are a sahm, then who goes to work?

Teeb Wed 02-Apr-14 12:22:45

I think there's a grey area of what counts as benefits, I saw some comments on another thread that tax credits weren't for example.

I think there's also maybe a level of...I'm not sure if naivety is the correct word, but when it comes to planning for the future financially there doesn't seem to always be a plan beyond the hope that the partner will take the load. What are the divorce statistics now? Of course no one intends to divorce, but you can't hide from the fact that it's highly likely as a possible outcome. Pension planing is something that is a problem across the board, but particularly for those who take extended breaks from the workplace.

(I don't have any issue with sahp, just always advise strong financial planning and independence.)

Russianfudge Wed 02-Apr-14 12:25:09

sezamcgregor I wonder if it's not so much jealousy (unless we're talking about those "SAHMs" who have a nanny and a housekeeper and a gardener and ho lunch all day long wink) but more about wanting to justify their own choices. I used to get pretty annoyed about SAHPs in my younger years, I must confess, because I resented the implication that I was somehow a lesser mother because I went to work. Lots of backhanders like "I really respect you for putting your career first and leaving your baby all day but I could never do it" etc. unless you are strong and certain of your own choices it can be hard not to fight back with equally as disparaging comments.

But for the most part as you settle in to parenthood you see that everyone is just doing their own version of their best and you can't judge that.

ILoveTamsinGreig Wed 02-Apr-14 12:34:41

I didn't have any experience of SAHP getting negative comments until my youngest was a few months away from starting reception, by which time I'd been at home for 9 years. Since then it's been open season. I have been called both bored and boring, lazy, lacking ambition, antifeminist, I'm 'ruining' my life. People ask if I feel guilty spending DH's money. Why don't I get a 'little job' for 'pin money'.

Ironically I am going to university in September and the same people think it is a very bad thing as I have children to look after.

I was really a bit shock Nine years of nothing and then nine months of judginess.

There are plenty of Dad's at the school gate at my school. Some of them are greeted more enthusiastically than others, as are the women.

wannaBe Wed 02-Apr-14 12:55:13

comeatme no he wasn't looking for work. He made the point precisely because he has chosen to be a sahd and people assumed he must be unemployed...

sezamcgregor Wed 02-Apr-14 13:26:03

RussianFudge I would love to be a SAHM and I am jealous of their lives - it seems very ideal to cook, clean, make home-made jam with home-grown strawberries - and respect them for the hard work that goes into not going crazy being with children and housework all day.

I work FT and enjoy it, but I look at SAHMs in the same way that I do at the friends who are currently living the dream in Australia.

sezamcgregor Wed 02-Apr-14 13:26:49

Russianfudge I forgot to add - the grass is always greener...

Timetoask Wed 02-Apr-14 13:28:50

Well, I think he has a point.

somewherewest Wed 02-Apr-14 14:02:57

DH and I split the SAHPing between us, and he has encountered some strange attitudes (we both work flexibly - its complicated!). People assume that he must be unemployed and a minority of the mothers in the toddler group he takes DS to seem to find a man's presence a bit weird. There's also the assumption that mothers are primarily responsible for the day to day care of younger children. We've had conversations where other people address comments or questions about potty training / sleep / eating / whatever specifically to me even though DH is there too, and is no more or less involved than I am.

IceBeing Wed 02-Apr-14 14:27:58

I think SAHDs do get more shit than SAHMs. My DH is a SAHD and has been asked to leave toddler groups, been informed that groups he has wanted to attend are only for mums. He gets loads of comments about how painful it must be to be dependent on my income....

The flip side is I bet financial abuse almost never happens to SAHDs. I have never been asked nor know of anybody asking my DH what 'allowance' I give him etc. or how much housekeeping money he gets.

I mean it sounds bonkers right?

emsyj Wed 02-Apr-14 14:40:24

squeakytoy the OP said she works FT.

PrincessScrumpy Wed 02-Apr-14 14:45:57

Since dd1 started school I've discovered many sahp birth mums and dads, never heard a negative comment. Only see such opinions on mn and the daily mail.

JennyCalendar Wed 02-Apr-14 15:03:11

My DH is a SAHD and does the rounds of toddler groups every week.

The only people who speak to him at the groups are other dads and Eastern European mums. What makes it strange is that the other mums will speak to him in the park and are very friendly with me (I spent many months with them on maternity leave).

Also, if DS falls over at a group, the mums will run over to pick him up and tut at DH's slow response, but do not do likewise for the other mums as if they are able to judge what is worth jollying along and what needs cuddles. In a similar way, if one of their children comes along to show DH something, then the mums will stare, but don't do more than a glance if they've wandered to another woman. Nothing is ever said, but there is an undercurrent of suspicion if a man chooses to be around children, even his own.

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