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family expecting their women to work for free - how to make my brother see this is unfair?

(21 Posts)
oranges Thu 01-Sep-11 14:25:59

I've had quite an infuriating conversation with my brother. He's 30, and is trying to set up his own business. IT's gone on for years - one scheme after another. He is being totally supported financially by my retired mother, who won't ask him to go get a normal job like anyone else. I work 3 days a week - it was a very deliberate choice to keep up my career and have time with my small children.

My brother now says that as I am "just working part time" I could work for him unpaid 2 days a week. He had even persuaded my mother, who retired from a professional well paid job, to come look after my children those two days.

I am fuming. I said no, as politely as possible, but neither my mum or my brother seem to understand that
a) I don't provide my labour free for anyone. I spent years building up a professional reputation enabling me to charge what I do and I'm not losing that.
b) my mother is doing enough for him, and for me - she has my kids for the odd weekend and in the holidays, at times that suits us all. SHe should not be expected to provide childcare as well as financial support for him to carry on trying to make an idea work. NEver mind she would then have to live with us half the week.

I come from a family of professional women and we are STILL being expected to subsidise men's ambitions with our labour.
Just wanted to rant really.

stripeywoollenhat Thu 01-Sep-11 14:28:06

i can't imagine why you said no politely. cheeky bastard.

ChickensHaveNoEyebrows Thu 01-Sep-11 14:30:28

Yeah, politeness seems wasted on this particular chap.

AMumInScotland Thu 01-Sep-11 14:30:38

It sound like he hasn't got much idea about how the world works if he keeps coming up with schemes which don't get anywhere. Not sure if he's being sexist or just ordinary selfish really.

You just have to keep saying "No. Don't be silly. If I wanted to work more hours, I would do it for my normal hourly rate"

I don't think you can stop your mother being a mug - she obviously feels she has to support him, despite him being old enough to stand on his own feet.

NormaStanleyFletcher Thu 01-Sep-11 14:31:20

Just tell him that if you wanted to work 5 days a week you would, and you would be paid for them.

And to sod off

oranges Thu 01-Sep-11 14:36:01

I did say just that - that if I wanted to work full time I would. I normally keep quiet as I've had awful fights with my mum about this before, when I've argued that she is actually not doing him any favours, and I just accused of being selfish. THinking about it, since I was teeny my mum's called me selfish when I have stood up for myself. I've just grown up thinking I'm a selfish person and realise now that actually all I have is an instinct for self preservation.

ANd I spoke politely as I do still love him, and want him to realise these things instead of just going off in a huff. Its just that neither he nor my mum get the point I'm trying to make - that our time is valuable and he can't just appropriate it.

You are right - I can't change my mum, but I'm annoyed its now encroaching on my life too.

Cleverything Thu 01-Sep-11 15:14:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hullygully Thu 01-Sep-11 15:20:18

YABVU. Give up your three days, lie down and be his doormat for five days like a proper woman.

breaktime73 Thu 01-Sep-11 15:23:41

was your mother always this indulgent of him?

Having been brought up with an ever-present indulgent slave (sorry to use the term about your mum, but that is how she is behaving) he thinks that all women or perhaps even all family members (or the world?) are his property to order about as he likes.

tbh I think I'd have laughed in his face if he'd said that to me.

oranges Thu 01-Sep-11 16:04:19

Well, he's not a prat in other stuff - he's kind, a great uncle and good hearted, but has a blind spot about this particular issue. WHich is what makes it so baffling. And my mother is no doormat, but is scared to call him on this issue for some reason.

LRDTheFeministDragon Thu 01-Sep-11 17:07:26

How odd.

And he doesn't ask your dad, or other male relations? Why not ask him about that - maybe it will make him see that he is being rude to think your time is somehow more free than theirs.

Or ask him if he'd like to work for free for you.

HereBeBolloX Thu 01-Sep-11 20:19:07

Yes, tell him to ask a male cousin or a brother if you have one.

Or you could say that you are prepared to work for him, if he gives you a 2/5 share in the business.

Lots of men simply take it for granted that if women work, they will do it for free.

Really, your brother is not a million miles away from David Cameron, is he? This is just his smaller version of the Big Society.

scottishmummy Thu 01-Sep-11 21:16:27

the mum-brother relationship is their infriating as it is leave em to it.clearly she thinks sun shines out his arse and nothing you say going to shake that belief


when,their demands impact upon you and make unreasonable demands then by all means,firmly stand your ground and refuse.

out of interest has she always indulged your brother,is she one of those mums who habitually fuss about over males

HedleyLamarr Fri 02-Sep-11 12:24:18

Tell him to ask one of his male friends to give him 2 days labour every week for nothing and await their reply. Then perhaps he'll understand. Actually, he probably still won't.

dittany Fri 02-Sep-11 13:35:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dittany Fri 02-Sep-11 13:37:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

samandi Tue 06-Sep-11 15:31:20

I agree with other posters - why are you being polite about this? To go behind your back to arrange childcare and presume you would work for free for two days is idiotic - if my brother requested me to do such a thing (and tried to arrange it with my mother) he would find himself cut off from my friendship or interest.

eaglewings Tue 06-Sep-11 15:35:11

You say in your op that you work part time so that YOU can spend time with your young kids.

There is your answer. Don't let any one other than you or the kids dad have any say in that.

IfoundmyGspot Tue 06-Sep-11 15:42:48

Just say no. You don't have to explain yourself.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 06-Sep-11 15:43:35

Blimey OP, he must be mad. I also have a mother who thinks that I am "selfish" if I don't constantly do things for my brother. Probably she (your mum) is worried about your brother and like all parents just wants her children to turn out happy and secure. She probably thinks you're "sorted" and can't understand why you won't rally round and do everything you can - as she does - to get your brother into a similar situation.

Bonkers, of course, because only HE can do that, and as well as being bloody rude, relying on your sister's free labour is hardly good business practice. Don't bother to speak to your mum about it, just tell your brother that you have things to do and won't be taking him up on his kind slavery- offer. And then refuse to discuss.

oranges Tue 06-Sep-11 19:39:12

That's exactly it, elephants - its more of a "why wont every one rally round" type scenario. It does seem to be sorted, in that neither she nor he have mentioned the idea since.He did at one point offer me a 5 percent equity stake in this business idea, but a) its a bonkers idea that wont make money and b) even if it did, 5 % is pittance for 2 days a week - if he works 5 and I work 2 days a week, my labour should be worth 20 %. I did try to explain but he didn't understand the maths hmm

I said to my mum - oh but its so technical, what he wants, I couldn't possibly do that - and so she agreed, that the reason his ideas are incomprehensible is that because the rest of the world is not sophisticated to understand. So the peace appears to be kept for a while longer...

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