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Women have their little careers till they have babies. Then they do as little as possible, preferably not working at all after that

(532 Posts)
StealthPolarBear Wed 03-Apr-13 13:27:24

I am infuriated by this attitude which seems to be prevalent. After women have had babies they only work if they have to, and go part time if they can. But I can't put into words why I work - why wouldn't I? I work for the same reasons as I did before I had children. I work for the same reasons as DH works.
Either of us could give up work and we'd cope. But that was true pre-children. Women continuing to work FT seems to be a slur on their man's ability to 'provide'.

chocspread Fri 05-Apr-13 05:46:58

Blueshoes writes “If women place their home and hearth at the epicentre of their lives with no tangible stake in the wealth-producing external society, it is difficult to see how they would not end up consciously or subconsciously marginalised even with the best of intentions. Their contribution to society becomes tied up with their dh's more tangible contribution but that still puts women in the dependent and auxillary position when why shouldn't they be out there as well?”

Unpaid work is the largest sector of any economy. And, all around the world, most of that work is performed by women!!!

Don’t have a pop at Stay at Home Parents just because the economic system does not value their contribution. Or that the paid working set up in the Uk favours one sex over another.

The "market" only survives because of the backbone of unpaid work. Hells bells with your logic blueshoes you had better not undertake paid work at all - as by doing so you are just further supporting the patriarchy by joining the "system".

Anyhow the link should now work and I hope it offers some good definitions - Unpaid work is the largest sector of any economy. And, all around the world, most of that work is performed by women!!! handy definitions

And don't even get me talking about "choice" and the so called "choices" we all have. Tell that to someone looking after a child, or a disabled child or caring for a sick relative - who is not say on a lawyer's salary and who is not in a position where they can pay for replacement activity (such as an au pair, nursery worker, specialist nurse) while continuing to fight the good fight and go out to paid work! hmm

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 07:41:04

So if children are looked after by a child minder or a nanny are they better role models than a SAHM because they are paid to do the job?

noviceoftheday Fri 05-Apr-13 07:55:59

I had a nanny the first few years (which is the norm for most who have nannies because after that you go to school). I honestly barely remember her. My mother is my role model not because she worked (it's a very small section of society who have a choice anyway) but because she bust a gut to always put her family first. For some women putting family first means staying at home (if financially viable, again only a very small number of people have this luxury), for others it means going out to work to put food on the table and a roof over heads. There is no right answer and its arrogant bullshit to say there is only one right answer and x (whichever your view is) is the right one.

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 07:59:16

Or is looking after children such a low status occupation that nobody doing it can be a positive role model, whether paid or unpaid?

noviceoftheday Fri 05-Apr-13 07:59:52

Oh and when the bailiffs were at the door and our house was being repossessed, i would have been a lot less impressed with my mum (as an adult) if she had decided that at that point in time what she needed to do was to be at home with us. No, at that point in time, what we needed was money. Didn't appreciate it at the time, as an adult i appreciate it a damn sight more.

QuietOldLadyWhisperingHush Fri 05-Apr-13 09:25:06

'My mother is my role model not because she worked (it's a very small section of society who have a choice anyway) but because she bust a gut to always put her family first'

Novice, I think this is such an important point. The ways in which we commit ourselves to our children and families is the legacy that we leave as mothers, not whether we are in paid employment or not.

I think there is a real danger of this issue being less about our children and more about ourselves and our own sense of identity in the eyes of society. Different families will have different needs and what is most important is that we are meeting the needs of our children in the best way we know how.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 10:17:29

helping family,being good neighbor,good pal isn't exclusive to housewife
Working people do this when not working too,it's almost implied working=im alright jack
My point is if you not work working the role model of employment falls to other men/women -so getting back to op,it feeds into the expectation some don't work after having baby or do so nominally

Hadassah Fri 05-Apr-13 10:24:15

"I think there is a real danger of this issue being less about our children and more about ourselves and our own sense of identity in the eyes of society."

I think this is an important related point. I think it is alright for an issue to be about oneself, and one's identity in one's own eyes and in the eyes of society. These things are important. How one makes a place for oneself in society is important. The original point is that, unfortunately, there is an attitude that the way a woman will generally prefer to do that is by working until she gives birth, and then working as little as possible. And it is a somewhat justified attitude as well, as people have pointed out, and that grates.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 10:25:33

Novice grin

I too think you make an important point, in both your posts.
Obviously the most important thing is bills being paid and needs of the family being met.

I also agree it's important for a woman to have independance of family and to pursue interests or employment she chooses.
I really can't see why it has to be paid employment though if it isn't what you want and/or it isn't in the best interests of your family.

There are many sahms who have financial independence from their dh and contrary to some belief they don't have to shelter behind them in terms of money and are not relying on their dh to provide.
Heaven forbid if my dh left me tomorrow, I would be able to provide for my dc. I am a sahm not a numpty.

We all do the best for our family don't we. I can't see why it matters if you are in paid employment or not.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 10:47:35

Being able to return to employment after sustained period out work,and being financially independent is v rare
The reality for most housewifes is they are dependent upon dp,and tricky getting back to work
That's why housewife is precarious because it is dependent upon someone else

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 11:04:52


If we are speaking in sweeping generalisations, most women would not put themselves in this precarious position and would be in employment anyway if they needed to for financial security

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 11:17:32

Could I repeat a point I made earlier? Not sure it it was missed or just so dull it was passed over, but I'll try again.

If a child is looked after by a female childminder or a nanny, does that woman provide a role model because they are being paid in a way that a SAHM apparently doesn't because she isn't? Or is childcare of any sort such a low status population that anyone who does it is not a suitable role model regardless of the circumstances?

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 11:30:55

Potato certainly going by mn and rl housewife is usually dependent upon waged partner.who earns wage,pays utilities,and food. The housewife doesn't work,unwaged

your described circumstances are unusual- You are as you say sheltered by not working. say you've not worked in years,home school so unavailable for work. But if had to work you'd snap straight back to it. And you're financially independent from Your dh? That is unusual

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 11:41:10

Seeker,working in childcare is v regulated and like all jobs has JD of expectations,tasks
Tasks are stated and expected to be undertaken to certain prescribed standard to an externally agreed standard
Working in childcare is a job,in return for remuneration.I value childcare worker as I use ft childcare to return to work

A childcare worker isn't comparable to mother. As worker is there as it's job, it's clear and acknowledged it's a job. Mum s parent,not job

Lots of people work with children closely nursery staff, healthcare,nanny, cm. This is incomparable to what parents do with their own kids,as watching own kids isn't a job

chocspread Fri 05-Apr-13 11:42:06

Seeker - I do also agree that it is not only SAHMs who undertake voluntary work etc. but it is overwelmingly women who undertake such work - whether they work in paid employment or not.

I also think you raise an interesting point and one that I mentioned in my post about replacement activity.

Novice although you can hardly remember your nanny - to me the people that looked after my children have been so key to my life. I have needed to trust someone with my child and could not have gone to work unless I was clear they were being treated well and learning.

Maybe it is all about the money. I think if childcare was really valued you would find a great deal of people could not work as easily:
i.e. banker and lawyer friends I know can easily afford childcare due to their wage differential between what they earn and what child care workers earn.

Unfortunately I think childcare is generally seen to be a low status activity - and it should not be.

Looking at comments from posters such as blueshoes again you have childcare or SAHM activity being viewed as low status.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 11:42:44

Ok, maybe my circumstances seem unusual but we are typical of many families in our position.

I am not sheltered by not working, moreover from having to work in the "Big Bad World" as was described above. My comments here were humour.

I could snap into work in the family business if I chose and I know this isn't the case for most people. However, the fact remains that I chose not to for several reasons. The most important one being I don't feel it necessary in order to have status and identity.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 11:50:51

Hang on,talking the hypothetical if dh left you'd work in family business?
Is it your business?presumably if he left it'd be acrimonious how would you work in family business?

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 11:55:53


I would take my share out and continue with the same business, I suppose he would do likewise. There are certain things I could do and he couldn't or wouldn't want to and likewise.
Obviously it wouldn't be me/his business anymore. The older 2 dc would have to decide what to do with their share.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 12:02:37

Ok,so divide assets go self employed.that's unusual and not the norm
Its a v good position if you can sustain it
How do you think you'd fare going to an employer for a job?

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 12:10:58


I'd probably be ok in a dead end not going anywhere job because I can make my cv look good (there again v. lucky with the business)
I don't for one minute think I'd get any further with an employer.
As even pre dc I was business owner, before that self employed. Last employer 1987 I think grin

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 12:12:39

whoops. Have done a years teaching, forgot. This was during 2008/9

seeker Fri 05-Apr-13 12:15:37

"A childcare worker isn't comparable to mother. As worker is there as it's job, it's clear and acknowledged it's a job. Mum s parent,not job"

But the only difference is the payment.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 12:25:00

Seeker,let's be clear childcare is highly regulated,subject to external scrutiny
Being a parent is unregulated,you don't work to agreed standards
The money is significant it is remuneration for job done. Watching your own kids isn't a job

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Apr-13 12:31:35


I think ss would argue about the standards expected of parents. If you fail to provide childcare at the standards they dictate, your dc will be taken from you. Thats far greater regulation than ofsted. Besides, there are many parents capable and indeed who do work to to the standards expected from child care providers. I think most parents educate their dc from day one irrespective of whether they work or not. So to assume they would not continue to do this if unemployed is a bit silly as surely we all want the best for our dc.

scottishmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 12:45:51 be cm you need registered,1st aid,and home assessment.statutory,and routine
As parent statutory service only get involved were concern and neglect present.the assessment is a case by case basis.there is no sw manual for what constitutes adequate
Most parents will never be involved with sw.every cm will be regulated
That's huge difference

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