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(80 Posts)
avenueone Sun 30-Sep-12 23:28:14

I have been watching the political party conferences so far and women's issues are always discussed. When it came to childcare put into the same bracket I felt this was in some ways wrong - am I right to feel this way?
Don't get me wrong - anything that helps women have more equal rights to gain employment/ opportunities is a good thing and we have to live in current reality and the childcare does still tend to fall to the female (wrongly)- but I feel it could be looked at as `parental' help and something both parents have a responsibility for or would this be too difficult to have a policy on?
My thoughts on this subject go a bit further regarding maintenance and responsibility for childcare when parents split. Why should the resident parent (usually the mother but not always) have to fund this or face unemployment - their employment opportunities are at the very least restricted by working/school hours already unless shared care is taking place.
I would be interested in you very bright and insightful women's opinions.

BexFactor Sun 30-Sep-12 23:40:03

I agree with you.

I blame the mums though. Of those I know, they all take 100 per cent responsibility for childcare - doing the nursery drop offs and pick ups and also those that do part time. They could all encourage their partners to do some stuff too, but they don't. Or they could chose not to have children with sexist useless men. Sadly it's the women perpetuating the myth that childcare is woman's work.

Did you watch the Hilary Devey programme on BBC 2 recently, Women At The Top? There was a woman on there saying it was really hard to juggle work and home life. So she went part time. Her partner doing more for the kids/home was never mentioned. She freely admitted her career was over. Very sad really.

avenueone Sun 30-Sep-12 23:52:40

Thanks Bex - I do agree that women are to blame in many ways and it was mainly women who were speaking at the conferences about it. I did feel you are not doing us any favours here.
I don't have anyone to share the care - I picked one so useless blush however I still didn't like feeling that just females `need' help from the state for childcare.
I didn't see the programme but have seen similar with the same results. I agree very sad. Maybe it is where I live but I have really struggled finding men who have feminist views. I am probably one of the older mums on here and have to say I see a slight shift in younger men but have I been accidentally wearing those pink rose tinked goggles again wink

avenueone Sun 30-Sep-12 23:52:55

* tinted lol

EatsBrainsAndLeaves Mon 01-Oct-12 08:56:09

I share your frustration with this OP. of course childcare shouldnt be a women's issue, it should be a parent's issue. And normally only women politicians talk about it as so many male politicians dont seem concerned about it.

I think it is a bit unfair to blame women though for being concerned about it. Often they end up being the ones concerned about childcare because their male partners abdicate the responsibility to them. And somebody has to sort out and think of childcare at the end of the day. The book Wife Work explains this kind of situation really well.

noviceoftheday Mon 01-Oct-12 09:05:33

male politicians don't talk about childcare because typically it is not an issue that concerns them because they have someone taking care of it for them. I don't think that one has to marry a feminist man, but I do think a woman has to be prepared to do two things: 1. not take on the role of what i call the "senior" parent and 2. if a man stops doing his fair share then not to accept the status quo. So the latter for me that means that you don't allow a man to abdicate responsibility for childcare because that means that you naturally slot into that senior parent role.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 01-Oct-12 11:50:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FrothyDragon Mon 01-Oct-12 12:04:39

"Of those I know, they all take 100 per cent responsibility for childcare - doing the nursery drop offs and pick ups and also those that do part time."

Just because they "take 100% responsibility" doesn't mean they choose to. From the moment females are born, we're moulded and coerced into a "caring role". I mean, just look at what we see marketed to our children. If women are taking responsibility for childcare, surely it's worth questioning why the man feels his parental responsibility permits him to terminate the parental responsibility when it suits him, whilst maintaining his rights. Men get, what I call, the "frills-only" contract of parental responsibility. Anything they can't be arsed to do gets passed over to the mother. However, anything the mother can't be arsed to do earns her the label "bad mother". Just look at the disrepancies in how mothers and fathers are viewed. Men have to do less to be praised as fathers, and they have to do something horrendous to be labelled a bad father. To be labelled a bad mother, a mother just has to act like a "good" father. What we perceive an "excellent father" would, by the same standards, be an average mother.

BexFactor Mon 01-Oct-12 12:37:07

I think the sisterhood need to take a bit of responsibility themselves for changing things, Stewie and from my own experience, a lot don't.

Which leads on to Frothy's point... Women are moulded to fit this role. It's hard work to break that but from what I see, many just won't. They sigh and say, 'oh well, I could fight or I could just get on with this and put up with it'. So they just put up with it and their men take advantage.

There's another interesting thread on MN about how women are expected to be good parents and how men are positively saintly if they do tiny things. Again this goes back to all of us having responsibility for breaking the molds and changing perceptions - and yes, as 50% of the population, half the job, possibly more, is ours.

Meglet Mon 01-Oct-12 12:41:08

bex I tried to get my XP to do his share of parenting. I usually got a mouthful of abuse. I certainly didn't put up with it and threw him out in the end.

blackcurrants Mon 01-Oct-12 12:41:20

I think this smacks of victim blaming, to me.

Instead of asking "Why doesn't she leave her abuse husband?" it is revolutionary to ask: "Why does he give himself permission to abuse her?" -because it puts the responsibility on the person who is doing the wrong thing.

Instead of asking "Why do women do all the childcare rather than row with their husbands? Why don't they have more fight in them?" (because they love their children, don't want to see them suffer, and are exhausted/beaten down by a sexist world, durrr!) it is revolutionary to ask "Why are men doing less than their fair share, being inadequate or lazy parents, not attentive and loving enough to their spouses and children, and given a free fucking pass by society to do all this?"

Blaming women for not fighting back more/harder/at all just gives men a free pass to keep doing it.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 01-Oct-12 12:44:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LesleyPumpshaft Mon 01-Oct-12 12:49:22

Bex, some women have to assume responsibility as the men folk are blooming useless. XP forgot to pick DS from school and was generally crap in many other ways. I didn't trust him and ended up doing everything myself.

AbigailAdams Mon 01-Oct-12 12:52:41

Well said blackcurrants

BexFactor Mon 01-Oct-12 12:53:06

Indeed blackcurrents. We should be asking those questions - but not just leave it to politicians and feminists in the media. It's up to us to ask those questions of our partners, brothers and sons and my point is that so many women don't. I understand what you mean about women not having the energy to have that argument after they've spent all day doing everything themselves- which is why it's so important to have that convo long before you have DC.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 01-Oct-12 12:55:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LesleyPumpshaft Mon 01-Oct-12 12:56:58

StewieGriffinsMom, indeed, I had no reason to suspect XP was a lazy piece of shit until I became pregnant.

AbigailAdams Mon 01-Oct-12 12:57:54

And if the man moves the goalposts after you have had children or while you are pregnant? You can have all the talks in the world the man still has to step up in a society which positively reinforces him doing not very much childcare at all. Putting this responsibilty on individual shoulders to come out from oppression is not fair.

BexFactor Mon 01-Oct-12 13:02:02

The men I see that are useless have come from equally useless dads who didn't do anything either. The ones who are useless have never been asked by their partners what they will do with regards to childcare (everyone assumes it will be the woman and then it is).

On the other hand the relationships with a more modern, progressive, forward thinking dad involved are the ones where they actually do stuff with their children (go part time, do their fair share).

Maybe if we said this isn't acceptable and stop breeding with these idiot males we might get rid of them eventually. grin

LesleyPumpshaft Mon 01-Oct-12 13:03:24

As a parent what are you supposed to do if the other one doesn't rise to the challenge? Someone has to be adult about it and take the responsibility, it just usually happens to be the woman for various reasons that we all understand.

Nobody in their right mind would leave the care of their children to an incompetent idiot. Also, why shouldn't women want to work part time with when they have children? Can only high flying academic and career minded women count themselves as feminist?

LesleyPumpshaft Mon 01-Oct-12 13:06:28

Sadly most of these useless dads aren't stupid, just lazy, and they fudge things up so they won't get asked again. They then feign ignorance. Good idea to stop breeding with them. Unfortunately you don't always recognise them 'till it's too late!

BexFactor Mon 01-Oct-12 13:11:06

No, not at all Lesley. Being a feminist (to me) means doing what is right for you and your fanily regardless of your sex - that can mean being a SAHM or being Xenia wink or dad being at home or any one of the various things people do.

It's where women have no choice or where they are brown beaten and tired from all the drudgery I have a problem. And yes I do have a problem when women shrug their shoulders and give up of hoping for equality in their relationship, or when they just expect men to be useless. It makes me sad it gets to that.

AbigailAdams Mon 01-Oct-12 13:19:04

It would be lovely to think that every woman is aware and sees the red flags in a relationship. But they aren't (and let's face why should we have to be) and women are taught it is their responsibility to make relationships work so papering over cracks is pretty normal.

All this focussing on women's behaviour is a good old patriarchal trick of removing the focus from men's bad behaviour which is where the focus should be. And yes I would like to see politicians tackling the root of the problem. Tackling all these men who absolve themselves emotionally, morally and financially of their children. Tackling the violence against women and children and naming it for what it is. Tackling how the workplace is completely geared up for people without children, given that most people will have children in their lifetime.

LesleyPumpshaft Mon 01-Oct-12 13:23:41

Yeah, I do know what you mean Bex. I'm still scratching me head over this one. DS's father is a great example of this. His friends seem to think he is a great bloke, yet DS 13 now has nothing to do with him and neither do I.

However, I am a complete bitch apparently, because I moved to the other side of the country with DS after his dad had refused to see him for 8 months because I was - shock horror - seeing a man, and therefore a "fat fucking slag". The fact that we moved from a shitty area of a city in SE England to a rural location where me and DP could buy our house outright isn't the real reason for us moving. It was purely to get at him. hmm

Tbh XP actually thought he was doing me a favour if he looked after DS or picked him up from school etc. I never got any maintenance bar £400 last year, and he seems to think that made up for 12 years of paying feck all. If he disagreed with something I did he would refuse contact. This was despite me saying that he was only hurting himself and DS by being such a cock-end.

I have often thought about starting a name and shame website for men like him, but I'm not sure about the legal ramifications and morality of it.

Sorry to go on, I am rather roused now. Absent irresponsible men and the double standards make my blood boil! angry

notcitrus Mon 01-Oct-12 13:29:08

Until people marry partners on average the same age, most couples will have a higher earning man when the woman gets pregnant, and as part time options are still rare in well-paid jobs, it usually makes sense for the man to keep that fulltime role and thus the woman is left to work round childcare.

In my case, MrNC is 7 years older so further up the career ladder etc. However he works for a rare IT firm that let him do 4 days plus some home working, though it's made clear he'll never get promoted that way. But he gets called by headhunters every few weeks telling him he could earn twice his current income with his skills (true), he says great, but tell the firm I do 4 days a week. So far over 50 firms have refused to consider talking to him, which is especially daft when employers think they couldn't afford someone with his skills, but instead of hiring 80% of him, always go for someone less well qualified.

It's got to the stage where the recruiters bet £10 they can get him interviews but then come back cursing the stupidity of the firms!

So, while he's a decent bloke and we used to have a very equal relationship, and it would be great if we could both work 3-4 days a week, doing similar amounts of childcare, jobs just aren't set up that way.

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