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are you a married lone parent?

(46 Posts)
emkana Sat 09-Apr-05 22:38:18

interesting article in Guardian today

tallulah Sun 10-Apr-05 11:26:50

Oh yes- this strikes a chord. Sadly, DH is not a high-flyer.. We have just come back off holiday. I packed the cases, while they all sat watching TV. I arranged for all the bills to be paid while we were away. When we arrived at our resort, they thought they would all relax on the beds while I put away the clothes (had another think coming!), & then I seemed to spend all week picking up clothes from all over the room.

Since we've been home DH has been "relaxing" & the boys have been playing. I am now stuck with 2 cases in the middle of the kitchen & tons of washing. I go back to work tomorrow

fairyfly Sun 10-Apr-05 11:28:19

No such thing in my opinion, toface it all alone is very very different

gothicmama Sun 10-Apr-05 11:31:13

sometimes I feel I am but at the end of the day dh is there to help if I 'm ill or tired and to be kind to be me so I don't think it can be the same I think it easy to see yourself s teh only one that does but that neglects the other facets of married life

Tinker Sun 10-Apr-05 11:42:43

Agree ff. Read this last night and felt angry at this patronising claptrap. Oh dear, your husband doesn't pull his weight. Well do something about it then. If someone chooses to marry a "driven" bloke you're doing so knowing financially you're being catered for. Very different from being a single mother struggling to make ends meet and having no choice in who does what. Is singlemotherhood trendy or something that marrieds want to jump on the bandwagon?

Tinker Sun 10-Apr-05 11:45:51

"The MLP lives in some ways a more complex life, her workload and sense of isolation often masked by the cloak of marriage and parenthood. It is she who holds the whole family picture in her head — and this will be for decades, remember — she who does most of the donkey work around the family or pays another woman to do some of it"

My emphasis.

That was teh bit that annoyed me.

milge Sun 10-Apr-05 12:18:18

I think the point of the article was to say that being a MSP is very different from being an actual lone parent, and just because people are married/have partners, doens't mean that they have an easy life. My dh works away from home 6 days a week, is home about 9pm Saturday night, then goes again at kids bathtime on Sunday. I do have his emotional support, but for 90% of the week he is a voice at the end of the phone, he can't help me at 2am when i am dealing with a teething child, doesn't put the bins out, empty the dishwasher, do the washing, supermarket run, have the kids so i can have my hair cut etc. Its as if i am a lone parent, and my childs father supports us financially, and he has access to the children on sunday morning after his lie in as he is tired from being at work all week.
I don't think the point of the article was to have a pop at single mums. Re paying other women to help, how many of you have a male childminder or cleaner or ironing man ? Unpalatable maybe, but probably true.

jasper Sun 10-Apr-05 12:18:36

" Mary Morris, 44, a woman with fine, high cheekbones and burning brown eyes,"


victoriapeckham Sun 10-Apr-05 12:19:29

If you are a real lone parent you clean up after your kids and self. If you are a married lone parent you clean up after your kids and some big messy bloke with all the added resentment. Why would you NOT pay someone to do it? Surely the only plus side of having that type of bloke around - the distant, work-obsessed, unappreciative type mentioned in piece - is he brings in cash. So you can contract out ironing his shirts, cleaning up etc to someone else.

Still leaves a huge amount of other stuff to do. And you are still responsible for keeping whole show on the road. Personally I m in favour of feminist demand wages for house work: I pay them to someone else.

tallulah Sun 10-Apr-05 12:24:50

I was agreeing with the bottom piece that starts: "Move a little farther down the social and economic scale, however, and what's interesting is not how much the carve-up of family time changes, but how the justification for men and women's different tasks merely shifts. Clare, 40, a musician, says, "I have a full-time job. My husband has a full-time job. But even if we're both around, it's just expected that I will look after the children. I will make lunch, get them ready, do everything, even though he can do quite a good job if I'm not here."

Yes you can put up with it if you are married to someone who earns tons of money. But what if you are- like us- scraping along & still in this position? My DH thinks he does half the work, but still manages to spend his free time "relaxing" while I'm stuck with laundry, bills etc. He'll do something if I "leave him instructions"... we're both adults FFS but I still have to do everything. What do you suggest Tinker? How do you make someone pull their weight, when they think they are?

(& you don't become a single parent by accident either, unless your DH dies..)

WideWebWitch Sun 10-Apr-05 12:25:42

But why does anyone let men get away with this? I just don't get it. Tallulah, why did you pack while they sat down? Surely part of being a member of a family is everyone doing their bit? I agree, being this 'married lone parent' (and I agree, there is no such thing, fucking stupid phrase if you ask me, I know what she means but maybe she should have just used the word doormat or something) is totally different to being a lone parent, it really, really is. And I speak as someone who thought I was more or less a lone parent when I was married to a husband who didn't take enough interest in domestic/childcare stuff for my liking and discovered to my horror that the reality of being a lone parent is very, very different. Because when you're a lone parent it really is just you, no-one else. There isn't anyone in the next room/at the office/on a business trip, it's all down to you and you are alone (apart from the children) at the beginning and end of each day.

tallulah Sun 10-Apr-05 12:32:51

Because if I hadn't packed either I'd have ended up having to buy them all stuff when we got there! I spent the whole week dripping at all 3 of them to "pick up your clothes" which isn't exactly the most enjoyable way to spend a holiday. My Dh works nights so every morning, every night & every evening I am also totally alone (but can't go out with someone else & have fun because I am actually married). When he is here he's asleep.

victoriapeckham Sun 10-Apr-05 12:33:17

Well said WWW. Those of us with hard working husbands who take us for granted still don t have to face those lonely nights.

The thing is, the reason why we put up with it is because it s such an ag, such a stress to have to make an issue of it all the time. It s easier to unpack the bloody suitcases than say "come on i m on holiday too" and get sighs and filthy looks.

Also there is a side of women that doesn t like to share domestic power (one woman in article actually says this) so we snipe at the stuff they bring from Sainsbury or mess they make cooking. Because in some senses we don t want to let go.

Aimsmum Sun 10-Apr-05 12:36:13

Message withdrawn

WideWebWitch Sun 10-Apr-05 12:40:13

Vp, I have a friend like this actually: she moans about her dh and how little he does (he times his arrival home to make sure the children are in bed and as he works for himself he could easily get home earlier but guess what? He doesn't want to!) but she doesn't actually want him to do any more because it's her domain and she wants it done her way. She's a sahm. So I know that there are women who won't relinquish any power/tasks for this odd 'it's MY territory/job/competence' (haha, like it's hard to clean a loo!)thing and if that's how they want to make their bed they can lie in it quite frankly and stop moaning. Tallulah, I remember Droile asking the same question a long time ago. Her point being the same as yours, which is how do you make someone do it when they won't and is it actually worth leaving over or do you get so ground down that you give up moaning? Hmmm, no easy answer to that one I suppose.

victoriapeckham Sun 10-Apr-05 12:49:25

If ever - god forbid - i was left alone, I would never, ever, ever, never wash another man's pants, put his socks in balls, pick up after him. I will only ever do this for the father of my children. I can t imagine doing it again for anyone else. I don t mind cooking and shopping or choosing stuff for the house, but the chambermaid drudgery can, on a bad day, make me want to cry or kill.

WideWebWitch Sun 10-Apr-05 12:50:17

But I won't even do it for the father of my children! I don't see why I should - both fathers are grown adults!

victoriapeckham Sun 10-Apr-05 12:54:03

He works from 9am to 9.15pm in highly paid, highly stressed job. Comes home spent, seems unkind to give him a hard time then. i work around kids hours at home. He s messy, i m tidy. he says leave it, i ll do it later. I can t leave it until later (much later). i pick it up.

fairyfly Sun 10-Apr-05 12:59:51

I will argue infinately as i have been in both situations. I fully admit when i lived with a man i was arrogant and confident i could do it alone and i didn't need him. The realism of the situation is that even his small imput was another load off my shoulders. I would be in heaven if someone changed the bin bag these days. Sometimes i find the level of responsibility overwhelming. The mere fact that i
cant turn round to another parent of my children and ask for his advice on situations . I know fully that everything comes down to me and i am totally to blame if i mess it up. Nothing like being a lonely married woman.

fisil Sun 10-Apr-05 13:10:00

I am very very lucky as I am neither a MLP or a LP. I do the jobs that I consider important, and dp does the jobs that he considers important. Luckily we tend to agree!

When ds first arrived, dp did think he had a right to play playstation at the weekend while I looked after ds. I pointed out to him that if I wasn't with ds I'd be doing some work-work or some house-work, and that it didn't seem fair that he took his relaxing time before I'd fulfilled all the jobs that were important to me. So that stopped - he only does it now if I am also in a position to relax.

I agree with the assertion in the first few paragraphs of the article that faced with a spare 1/2 hour the man will chill while the woman will run around doing jobs. That happens in our house. But I know that I have made that choice - that I am physically incapable of relaxing if there is an important job to do - and I am simply jealous that dp is better at life and relaxing than I am!

But as I say, I know I am lucky. DP rarely gets in after ds' bedtime, because he loves seeing him in the evening, and we are in the fortunate position that we both have space to work from home, so we can take a break between 5 & 7 and then work into the evening.

emsiewill Sun 10-Apr-05 18:01:26

My thought on reading this article was that the women in the article seem to have come full circle - women doing everything in the home while the man earns the money.

Not sure how this is different to how it was in many homes in the 50's / 60's / 70's, but the article didn't seem to be making this point - trying to make out it was a whole new thing for the sake of it, really.

stitch Sun 10-Apr-05 19:39:15

i havent read all this thread, but this was the point i was making on a thread a couple of weeks ago when i got slammed, ( i thnk thats the expression)
ime most men expect women to do the majority of the house and children stuff. so why should women then be expected to work outside the home as well?
and im not sure i understand the whole socioeconomic argument either. if you earn less, then you buy less designer clothes. not more. but in the uk i have noticed it is the other way round. but that is another discussion completely.

i for one know how hard i work at home, and unless i am paid a fortune, which i wont be, see no reason to stop being a sahm. we will just have to live on what dh brings home, and if that means that i always do the vacuuming and he doesnt, then so be it!

stitch Sun 10-Apr-05 19:42:24

ff, i just read your post, and thats why i think single moms are amazing.
i often feel the way you have described, and that is despite the fact that the finances are his job, and putting out the rubbish! single moms should get far more credit imo

Clarinet60 Mon 11-Apr-05 10:35:03

Did I hear someone mention my name?!
Hi WWW. It's still an issue, and I haven't yet worked out how to make him partcipate in the work of running the house. I've tried asking nicely, I've tried going beserk, I've tried threatening to leave - nothing works. The main reason I haven't left is fear of being completely on my own with the children, as many of you have mentioned, and also because it's not fair on the boys - he's still a geat dad to them and they don't care who does all the work.

The most marvellous thing that's happened to me recently is reading WIFEWORK by SUSAN MAUSHART. She puts the whole thing into its sociological perspective and makes it seem less personal, and I'm actually making headway with DH by getting him to read it. The conclusions she comes to really make you think about the whole business. I'll post some of them if anyone's interested.

One thing that was interesting was that when she left her husband, she had loads more time on her hands, even though she had 3 kids under 5. And she has some interesting things to say about women appearing to hoard the housework. There is a right way and a wrong way to do every job, from changing the plugs on a car to cutting a hedge to changing a bed, but we aren't allowed to teach others the right way to do it or to share our years of experience. Think about it - if you were holding the spanner in the wrong way, he'd be onto you as quick as a flash, but if you carefully point out the fact that boys willys need to point down when you close the nappy to avoid a wet vest and a wet child, it's 'Oh, do it yourself then, you finickity **t!'.

Clarinet60 Mon 11-Apr-05 10:41:58

Tallullah, are there any things that he will do, such as making sure all the direct debits are set up to pay the bills, something in the garden, etc? because the only way I can feel a bit better is by leaving those few tiny things that he will do completely to him. He is interested in money and the bank account, so I leave all that completely to him. He's just started to do the garden, so i don't strike a bat in there now, and he likes brushing teeth, so he does the children's. Otherwise, I would be running the entire show, and I work p/t too. There are lots of little ways you can get your own back, for want of a better phrase. Some will be quite devious.

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