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Fathers for justice debate

(38 Posts)
Louise1970 Mon 27-Jun-05 19:29:18

Last week i met up with my post antenatal group, and the above subject was brought up. I know that the John Gaunt show on 94.9 between 9-12am week days also featured this subject a few weeks ago. So i woundered what feedback i would receive from all you mums out there.

If you were splitting from your partner/husband and had children.


Mum worked full time such as dad
Dad bought in more money though

Mum 99% took time off work to take them go to dentist, hospital, docs.

Mum 99% was up all night caring for the children that would not sleep.

Mum 90% played with them, read, did there homework with them, diciplined them, and kept them into a routine.

Mumm 90% maaintained the house and garden. Ironing, washing, payig bills, cleaning, cooking, Gardening etc.

Dad 99% of the time never stuck to any routine so therefore (mum would have to start all over again with the routine). Also most of the time doesn't look out for there health & safety.

When the dad has his two days off goes and plays golf or football or is down the pub.
The mum has her two days off and she is running around like a mad woman doing the things the mans not doing.

My conclusion that i gave to my antenatal group was. If Dad could put his hand on his hart and say the above was not true and especially caring for them and there safety. Then you could trust and welcome your ex-partner.

But i think that most of the time the reason why mums are against dads having access. Was because they didn't do the above for there kids and they could not be trusted to take full care and resposibilities of there children.

Much more was discussed but can not remember it all. I don't really know what i would do if my partner and i split up, lets hope we never do.

What do you all think. I hope i don't get booted for speaking about this. If there are any dads that want to comment.

fishfinger Mon 27-Jun-05 19:29:48

post antenatal?

soapbox Mon 27-Jun-05 19:33:15

God what an awful picture of hapless men you paint.

I have to say that my experience is thankfully very different. My DH and I share both the earning of money and the raising of our children as a partnership. There are some things that I do that he doesn't (cooking, shopping) but on the other hand there are things he does that I don't (cleaning the car, mowing the grass).

I don't think we should be making policy decisions on child custody based on the worst possible view of fatherhood!

Satine Mon 27-Jun-05 19:33:22

But the bottom line has got to be the welfare of the children and unless the father is putting them in danger or behaving in such a negligent way during a visit/stay with him that they were in danger, I think the other issues are between the man and woman and should not affect access rights. Having said that I'm wary of the self styled breakaway 'real' Fathers for Justice faction who clearly don't have the welfare of their children at the forefront of their campaign.

Louise1970 Mon 27-Jun-05 21:45:01

Noting what you have said so far. Not talking about fathers for justice for a moment. But my own experience. My mum and dad split when i was 9 and brother 13. My mum never denied us access. We carried on seeing our dad every other weekend, we soon came to see for our selves why mum wanted the divorce. Soon after my brother stopped seeing my dad at 16. For variouse reasons but the bottom line was he was a crap dad. It took me longer to break free. I was 32. I have alsways thought it is better to have one consistant/strong/loving/helpfull parent in your life. Then to have to see the other just because they are blood related. Does't the saying go- You can choose your friends but not your family.
My partner has had the same experience. Maybe in years to come todays kids will say similiar things.

pupuce Mon 27-Jun-05 22:08:07

Well my DB is being denied access to his 2 kids, he has no info at all on medical problems as well as education... court expert has written a daming report on ex-SIL (who I was quite close to but have since stopped being in contact with - she is very angry with DB).... DB is not perfect but is very very upset at not seeing his kids.... he expects judge to make final ruling at x-mas... it's being going for over 2years.... very sad.... and she has been upsetting her oldest child quite a bit (as he found out from psychologist report).... so not all women are great and all men are bad.... it takes 2 to divorce !

monkeytrousers Tue 28-Jun-05 08:40:52

Louise, have you read the 'What does everyone think of F4J' thread on the parenting board? It was quite a heated debate - and (I should warm you) a long one!

Nightynight Tue 28-Jun-05 08:53:19

Louise, your experience is interesting perspective - Do you think your mother deliberately let you see for yourselves what her ex was like, without trying to influence you? wouldnt it have been worse if she moved to the other end of the country and cut you off from your dad and told you that he was a bad dad, but you never had the chance to see it for yourself?

SofiaAmes Tue 28-Jun-05 14:42:39

Why did mum let that sort of a division of labor happen in the first place? Playing a little devils advocate here, I question how good a mum she is for letting herself be burdened with all the domestic work and not figuring out how to get dad to take on more responsibility around the house. Her children will grow up thinking that's how it's supposed to be!

Bugsy2 Tue 28-Jun-05 14:53:57

Sofia, I see where you are coming from but sometimes you don't realise you have been lumbered with everything until you collapse with exhaustion.
You end up doing everything because the man is soooooo bad at it and if he does do something then the "payback" for his meagre effort is just not worth it.

Caligula Tue 28-Jun-05 14:56:39

SA if women could figure out how to get most men to do more work around the house, the divorce rate would be cut drastically!

OMG not another one of these F4J threads - I'm not sure I'm up to it [faint icon]

Oh well, maybe just a quick post...

Surfermum Tue 28-Jun-05 15:15:59

If I was doing all that, for me it wouldn't be a case of IF we split, but WHEN we split. I'd spontaneously combust in that situation.

SofiaAmes Tue 28-Jun-05 15:25:17

bugsy2, so if you don't realize that you are doing too much and in addition collapse at the end of it, maybe you really aren't such a great mum might not notice your children misbehaving and when they do all you can bring yourself to do is collapse

But seriously, I think part of the trick to not ending up with a division of labor like Louise has described, is to be pragmatic. I would start by taking a look at what needs to be done in the house (writing down a list is a good idea) and then looking at what you (presumably mum) don't mind doing and what you absolutely hate doing. Then show dad the list and get him to pick what he doesn't mind doing and what he absolutely hates doing. If there are things that both of you absolutely hate doing, hire someone to do those things. And then divvy up the rest. You will probably need to remind dad frequently, but if it's understood exactly what he's meant to do, he may not mind being reminded of it. At the same time you have to let him do his chores in his way even though it might not be as quick, prompt or carefully done as when you do them.
My dh does a lot around the house, but definitely needs to be reminded. I try not to nag him about things, but just give a gentle reminder. It can often be effective to put the kids up to reminding him. For example, I am away for two weeks at the moment and have left ds (4) in charge of reminding daddy to brush their teeth. Dh says that he reminds him faithfully every morning and every night.

SofiaAmes Tue 28-Jun-05 15:30:33

Just to add to that last thing....after doing a whole list, you may still end up with more of the household chores than dad, but hey, 70% is better than 99% and it's a start.
My dh came from a family (and previous relationships) where the women did all the household duties and he didn't know any different. It's taken years to train him (my mother had a full time career, so I grew up with very different role models), but not only has it been great for me, it's been really empowering for him. He loves showing off what a modern man he is. And he realizes how much happier I am and therefore how much better our relationship is (and as a result how much more sex he gets, which is that part that he likes the best).

Bugsy2 Tue 28-Jun-05 15:41:55

Sofia, if I had your powers of persuasion, I probably wouldn't be divorced now!!!!
There is no joy in being run ragged and taken completely for granted and I still don't know how a fiesty individual such as myself became a down trodden doormat - but there you go. It certainly won't happen again!!

SofiaAmes Tue 28-Jun-05 16:07:50

bugsy2, there is hope! I am on my second marriage. My first one was the 99% me, 1% him variety. I learned a lot and knew exactly what not to do the second time around. So when I met my current husband, I started the training right at the beginning so that there would be no chance of his even dreaming of a different scenario. I am also training my children in the art of not turning your mother/wife into a slave. At 2 and 4 my two already know that they have to pick up their clothes and make their bed. I think there is something telling though, in the fact that my 2 year old (female) is much more likely to remember and do it promptly and correctly than my 4 year old (male).

monkeytrousers Tue 28-Jun-05 16:56:21

You thinking of writing a book Sofia?

I think the picture of familial bliss you describe is definitely drawn along class lines. I can't imagine many of the scenarios you describe working for less privileged families. Especially the bit about hiring someone to do the things you hate.

I'd bet the picture Louise paints is nearer to reality for this demographic.

Louise1970 Tue 28-Jun-05 19:27:29

Wow, I am so glad i wrote this message. I must admit my dad was also a man who didn't do 100% of anything around the house. But a lot of men that i have met are the same. I blame the mums for bringing up such boys to think this is ok. I started the training a 1 week old and i will never let it slip. As these new men are what women want. I also don't want to think my ds could be left on the shelf later on in life. Men today have had years of getting away with it, it is very very hard to train them, and takes years.
But going back to my original message, not much responce on the fathers not doing there share or any share on the kids.

pupuce Tue 28-Jun-05 19:36:17

Well my DB is being denied access so he can't even try to do things

soapbox Tue 28-Jun-05 19:36:36

Monkeytrousers - do you really think this is a class issue??

Sounds like an onther excuse not to challenge the mans role in the family to me.

pupuce Tue 28-Jun-05 19:37:31

I should add ex-SIL was the 1st one to flaunt the fact that DB did 50% of all house work (she demanded that as she ahd a career too).... she may be more bitter now !

Caligula Tue 28-Jun-05 19:46:40

I think it depends on how old the kids are. For example, I wouldn't want to hand my kids over to someone - anyone - whom I felt to be incompetent. Someone who brings my kids back from a contact visit burnt because he can't be arsed to put sunblock on them, for example, or someone who thinks it's OK to leave a 2 year old unsupervised in the bath.

But when the kids are older and can do their own sunblock, and brush their own teeth and stuff like that, as long as I felt they weren't in actual danger of being injured and the man wasn't a wholly negative influence in their lives, then I think if I had the choice, I would want my children to have contact with their father, not for his sake, but for their own. I think kids need to be allowed to make up their own minds as far as possible about the relationship they have with even lousy fathers, so long as that making up their own minds doesn't put them at risk of physical or serious emotional damage.

The long and heated thread on this is here But you might need to get yourself an enormous mug of tea before you start reading it, because you'll be there till bedtime!

monkeytrousers Tue 28-Jun-05 20:13:25

Not exclusively Soapbox, but it has to be a factor. But recognising this isn't to endorse it or excuse it. I can't answer in full now, sorry. My lo is teething. Will try to post sometime tomorrow.

SofiaAmes Wed 29-Jun-05 05:53:14

I don't think it's a class issue at all. I am what the english would call middle class and my dh is extremely working class. Hiring someone to do things both of you hate to do, is a prioritizing issue, not a class one. People make choices about what to spend their money on and in this country I think it is rare (though not non-existent) that you are making a choice between feeding your child and hiring a cleaner. I put my children in 2nd hand clothes and buy my furniture from loot so that I can afford a cleaner. I have friends who chose to buy new clothes for their kids instead of having a cleaner. They hate used clothes more than cleaning. I hate cleaning more than used clothes.

But, having said all of that, I think the point is that you need to communicate with your partner about what you really really don't want to do and rather than telling him what he has to do, I think it's more effective to let him look at the list of what needs to be done and choose. That way he can feel like he's participated in the decision rather than ordered to do it (you know...gotta work with that male ego).

monkeytrousers Wed 29-Jun-05 09:27:44

I think your point on communication is illustrative. If you are educated to a certain level, have been encouraged to find your own tastes and opinions and have confidence in your own voice to communicate these then that’s fine. Many however, on what are called 'sink estates,' have not been educated so such a level, many will have basic numeracy and literacy problems. Many have unfulfilling, monotonous jobs that that demand they work unsocial hours, shift's, etc, for a wage that barely lifts them above the poverty line. (It’s all gone bit Toynbee )All this while bringing up children, tending a home and husband with similar expectations. Choice is a luxury these people do not have. Expressing themselves may often time only lead to conflict and unhappiness.

I am generalising to illustrate a point. There are of course exceptions but they generally go on to prove the rule. IMO, feminism has brought us a long way, but it's left these women behind. Where do they, and indeed we, derive a robust and intellectually sound (and perhaps more importantly accessible) language with which to engage in a world that remains institutionally disposed to repressing them? Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives? A lot of the activists within F4J attempt to intimidate their detractors into silence. Their aim is to shut us up.

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