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Modern marriage is like the story of Cinderalla backwards...

(24 Posts)
BumptiousandBusily Mon 06-Jul-09 12:39:50

This was in the times a while ago (or some newspaper, i don't really get to read many of them these days)

The basic point was that modern marriage is like the story of cinderalla, but in reverse. The prince marries the princes, they reign equally over the kingdom.

And then he gets her pregnant and turns her into a scullery maid!!

This just struck a cord with me, DH is very good, a very hands of father and really does get that its hard being at home with a baby - BUT - I work 2 days a week, and when I am at home, I do feel its my job to do something about keeping the house tidy/doing the washing etc.

i also recognise that it will be another 10/20 years before I can get my career back on track (if ever).

don't get me wrong, we made these decisions together, I am very happy with DS and increadibly lucky to be able to stay at home three days a week. Its just a bit of a shock to realise how much and how permanently my life has changed.

(NB I am a semi-regular from before, name changed as I feel there was a bit too much info on me here and it was time for a change)

bumptiousandbustly Mon 06-Jul-09 13:37:47

Bump - with name now spelled correctly!

fruitstick Mon 06-Jul-09 13:42:19

I know exactly how you feel. I used to earn more money than DH and had a more successful career (well, I enjoyed it more than he enjoys his). Like you, I've accepted that I've chosen to be at home rather than pursue my career.

What worries me a little is that my sons will not grow up experiencing their mother as an ambitious, achieving young thing and think of their father as the breadwinner.

bumptiousandbustly Mon 06-Jul-09 13:51:12

Fruitstick - I too used to earn more than DH.

I know what you mean about the DC growing up and not seeing us working - but my mother never "worked" (though was always busy) and I grew up very abitious and had a very good career before DS - I think its to do wtih attitude and how you live your life, rather than DC having to see you with a career!

Febes Mon 06-Jul-09 13:58:20

I too earned more than DH and better career. But he is rubbish at staying at home. He is a fantastic father and will do any job around the house that he is asked to do the trouble is he doesn't see things that need doing. He looked after DD for 3 days a week when I first went back to work and I would come home and start cooking, tidy and clean etc.
Now I've got DD and DS and am at home full time and I enjoy it but worry that I'm not valued as much as when I was an earner. Valued by myself more than anyone else.

bumptiousandbustly Mon 06-Jul-09 14:07:36

Febes - i find that about valuing myself - I feel like I "havn't got anything done" in a day if I haven't done housework/washing/cooking etc. When all I have been doing is running round after DS, trying to entertain him, stop him killing himself etc.

i find myself listing to DH what I have done in a day to somehow prove I am working hard. But its really proving it to myself - DH believes me!! smile

bumptiousandbustly Mon 06-Jul-09 14:09:33

sorry i meant all and prove

beanieb Mon 06-Jul-09 14:12:14

This is only true if the childbearer decides to give up work, and even then it's not always true. There are plenty of men who don't treat their wives like maids!

bumptiousandbustly Mon 06-Jul-09 14:19:22


I agree that there are plenty of men that don't treat their wives like maids - My DH for one. But I do think it makes an interesting point about very suddently being the person who's "job" it is to do the housework.

yes I chose to cut down my hours at work - definitly the right decision for us - but it has changed my life greatly and sometimes I find it hard!

jemart Mon 06-Jul-09 14:20:04

I know exactly what you mean, I feel the same. Have tried explaining to my DH about feeling undervalued but he does not get it.

Likewise my parents, their suggestion was get a part time job. I may do this near xmas time but a shop job for pocket money is really not the same as full time career. I have a degree, I can do so much more than operate a till!

Wonderstuff Mon 06-Jul-09 14:26:06

Dh is great, but when I first went on mat leave I did do a lot and then when dd came along he didn't get that I couldn't really do everything. We had a few weeks when I was at home and he did the childcare and that sorted him out really. He did come home on his lunch hour today and peg out the washing, tidy up and put a load on, which was fab grin

I think that we will continue to have the riches to rags scenario until men feel able to share childcare. I work part-time and I earn more pro rata than dh, but when dd was sick recently I stayed home, which was a bigger hit financially than if Dh had had the day off because his job is less secure and he felt having time off to look after her would look bad. I know one couple where both parents take one day a week off work, and thier dd is in nursery 3 days. I would love to be able to share childcare like this with Dh and DH would love it too, but he doesn't feel he can even ask for flexible hours in the current financial climate... I think feminism has to recognise that we won't be equal until men are able to be more active in family life. We have worked hard to give women choices but men still don't feel they have many.

fruitstick Mon 06-Jul-09 14:30:55

Wonderstuff, that is an excellent point.

I had exactly the same issue when I worked 3 days per week. I would have thought that it was more important that I was in the office if DS was sick but DH would insist that his company culture would not allow him to take a day off because his son was ill. I do believe him as they caused an absolute stink when he took paternity leave for DS2 and claimed it was 'soo last century shock).

I would love DH to be offered the same flexible working options as me, as this would open my options up so much more.

jinja Mon 06-Jul-09 14:35:20

This is all so true. Bumptious - I too list my daily activities to somehow prove my worth!

Just because your input to the household isn't a monetary input, doesn't mean it's worthless. But it is difficult to get that into your head when you're used to bringing in a good salary.

I'm on maternity leave with 2nd DS at the moment, and I feel guilty whenever I sit down with the TV on - especially if the baby is asleep at the time! And yet DH is continually telling me to take it easy and make the most of any downtime I have! It's hard though.

Actually - feel guilty now for being on MN when I know the kitchen floor needs a clean!

jemart Mon 06-Jul-09 14:53:04

I got over guilt about the kitchen floor a long time ago smile

bumptiousandbustly Mon 06-Jul-09 15:31:52

Jinja - I am already at the clear sufraces, dishwasher/washing and thats it stage -

And I only have one DS - with two and I am not sure I would get anything done - let alone the kitchen floor!!

I do find it hard, on the one hand I think that staying at home is of great value - I wouldn't personally be happy working 5 days a week now that we have a child - but i do find it hard at the same time to feel that I have achieved anything in the day - so silly.

I have also had to educate DH that being out with friends with DS is not "relaxing" - its necessary to survival - and that I wouldn't get any more housework done if I was at home.

DS is 15 months old and VERY active! - he is currently trying to climb on to anything high up - stand on any unsteady surface (the higher the better) and then chortle to himself - dance around a bit - and then throw himself off - not exactly relaxing!

bumptiousandbustly Mon 06-Jul-09 15:35:03

Wonderstuff - I think also that because we HAVE to have DH's job to survive financially - whereas even full time, if it was only me working, I don't earn enough to support us (and certainly not part time) my job has to take second place - because the mortage/bills etc have to be paid!

Its very hard to describe to men how hard being at home with a little (wonderful) person can be - DH struggles to understand why I want to go out so much/meet up with friends/do activities all the time.

He once said "it should be enough to just be the DS!"

Wonderstuff Mon 06-Jul-09 15:45:42

bumptiousandbustly have you tried leaving DH with DS for an extended period of time (at least one whole day, preferably 3 on the trot) My DH was tearing his hair out when I left him in charge 3 days a week for a fortnight. He HAS to go out with DD, he just can not sit home with her for more than an hour or so.

bumptiousandbustly Mon 06-Jul-09 15:56:04

Wonderstuff - I had it all arranged - the childminder was taking august off and DH would have had to spend two days a week for three weeks in a row with DS!!! and then we moved him to Nursery - and now its not happening!

I was so looking forward to it! - Now I am desperatly trying to think of a way to arrange it again!!!

Wonderstuff Mon 06-Jul-09 16:01:11

What a shame! Could you go away for the weekend?

jinja Mon 06-Jul-09 16:25:33

The kitchen floor: it's been on my To Do list for, erm, weeks blush now! (Note: It's still not done!)

Interestingly. I went away on a hen night this weekend, leaving DH with a 3yr old and 6mth old to look after. He coped admirably (I had no doubts - he's a fab dad) but - he did no washing or ironing. He used food from the freezer that I had pre-prepared, and he had a friend with another 3yr old come to visit (the mum was with me on the hen night) because he realizes that there is (quote) "safety in numbers"!!

I do feel a failure as a wife and mother if I haven't got the house spotless, food prepared, and children cared for. And I think this will be the same even when I'm back at work - even though we need my income to survive. And there is no pressure from DH to achieve this - it's all from me. Can it all be from upbringing?

jinja Mon 06-Jul-09 16:48:34

Bumptious, given your DHs comment about spending time with DS being 'enough', I think he really does need a good length of time alone with him! The kids are lovely, but he must understand that being with just them ALL the time can drive you insane. I mean, especially if you've had a successful and fulfilling career beforehand, you cannot go from that to Cbeebies and babytalk 24/7. I love my kids, but I am not 3 years old, and frankly the games he finds the most enjoyable things in the world - I think are a bit boring! There is only so much 'brumming' (pushing a toy car around the floor) or swing pushing or hand painting that I can stand!!!

bumptiousandbustly Mon 06-Jul-09 18:55:47


its funny isn't it - I don't think it can be upbringing, my mother wasn't particularly tidy (though she was always busy - so maybe it is). I think its just being used to having a "job" and wanting some tangible results - its also a desire to have some kind of tidyness around me!

I constantly point out to DH how he finds it hard with DS for too long, but would love to give them "some time alone together" Unfortunatly there just isn't anything I can see to arrange at the moment - will carry on thinking about it!

AnybodyHomeMcFly Mon 06-Jul-09 20:04:04

Although I def am not treated like a maid (and nor do I behave like one) I do identify with a lot of what you are saying. I hate for DH to come home to a tip of a house and I don't enjoy being in one either but it also really gets me down if I do chores all day esp as they are neverending. I find myself sounding like a 50s housewfe eg last wk i said "i went out with the washing hung out and then it rained so I had to tumbledry it anyway" WTF??? I constantly tell myself that my job is to look after the dcs not the house but I am concerned that I am becoming a wifey wife. Am def going back to work again after mat leave....

AnybodyHomeMcFly Mon 06-Jul-09 20:07:34

Also I agree that until it is acceptable for men to share childcare eg work part time, look after ill dcs etc this situ will perpetuate

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