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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'.

StealthPolarBear Wed 03-Apr-13 16:35:04

What exactly is offending you? Not sure I'm explaining it very well

Hadassah Wed 03-Apr-13 16:46:19

There are a fair few women who fit the description. At DH's work the second woman in as many years had one child, came back PT and is now going on ML for the second, and not coming back. This is a small company. The response was, "Oh well, never mind, at least we did not spend too much money training her up and she wasn't critical". For small businesses employing women of childbearing age is a risk, and I think the bitterness about it, and the repeated experience of it happening, feeds into the attitude described in the title.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 03-Apr-13 16:50:15

If the headline were in quotation marks, would it be less annoying? confused

I've seen this attitude too. In fact I am getting really sick of strangers telling me I'm wasting my time studying because I won't have time to get a career off the ground before I give it up to have babies. hmm

It is such an outdated attitude that most couples could expect to survive on one income, too.

StealthPolarBear Wed 03-Apr-13 17:03:46

Oh there's the other reason to work- as a role model for the dd. Which is insulting to just about everyone in one go.

LazyMonkeyButler Wed 03-Apr-13 17:08:19

You have a good point OP.

DH & I both work. DH works in an office, 37.5 hrs per week, Monday to Friday. I work in healthcare and, depending on shifts, can work anywhere from 10 to 50 hours per week. I do shift work, which generally covers evenings/nights/weekends/bank holidays etc. so DH is then at home with the DC.

My main gripe is the amount of times people ask me "who looks after your children while you work?". I reply "my DH, their father" which is more often than not greeted with a surprised "oh does he, oh that is good of him after a full day's work!". WTF? But it's not "good" of me to work all evening/night and then look after the DC next day because, as their mother, it's my responsibility right? hmm

Admittedly, I do work with the elderly & I accept that attitudes have (or should have!) changed over the years. However, I have had much younger people (generally colleagues without DC) say the same thing to me, which is fairly depressing sad.

ExcuseTypos Wed 03-Apr-13 17:10:23

Sorry I missed your apology. I object to the words I quoted from your title.

StealthPolarBear Wed 03-Apr-13 17:12:31

But so do I! I thought that was clear in the first post? Made a mess of this.

StealthPolarBear Wed 03-Apr-13 17:14:27

Lazy I agree. As I mentioned before o buy into this myself. Childcare is my domain. I don't like it but old habits die hard sad

Owllady Wed 03-Apr-13 17:19:44

I do understand what you are saying but it does come across as rather crass to women who have eventually had to give up work, to care in my case. Yes, my husband always earned more though, it seemed the obvious choice financially, but there are other reasons, such as dignity and advocacy for my daughter, but it's a complex issue and one that is often overlooked and no-one really cares because having a severely disabled child puts you into an extremely small minority that not many people would understand anyway, male or female

StealthPolarBear Wed 03-Apr-13 17:23:00

Yes. Title should have been in quotes. As I've said, I have no issue with whatever decisions other families make, as far as I'm concerned they're the best judges of that. It's the presumption I take issue with . That as the one with the ovaries, ill be either going part time or stopping altogether if I'm lucky enough to ave a Dh who can provide. I'd not carry on working because, well why would I if I didn't have to?

WhinyCrabbyPeople Wed 03-Apr-13 17:24:13

I see where you're coming from.

I'm a SAHM of school aged children (various reasons including the fact that DH travels lots, works long hours and I like it shock ). You should hear some of the stuff I get grin. You just can't win...any way you do it is always going to be a fail in someone's eyes. Ignore/ let it go and just be happy is the best approach I think...

exoticfruits Wed 03-Apr-13 17:25:59

My cousin and his wife, who have no children, both left their fairly high-powered careers a fee years ago
They now work for themselves, and take as much work as they need to fund the travel and other stuff that they do the rest of the time. It seems to net out at about 50% working - but more like month on, month off than 2.5 days a week. I think it's a great arrangement and one that will become more and more common as we all live longer and work longer.

I know a couple in their late 40s without children who do this.
I think that the real break through will come when men (married and single), single women and childless couples can take time off or work part time if they want to. I feel that I was the real lucky one to have time with my children and to do the 101 interesting things that I wanted to do. If I didn't have children I would still have loved to have got off the treadmill of paid employment.
Way back when I was at school we were told that jobs in the future would give us far more leisure time and the difficulty would be to find ways to use it. What a shame that the opposite has happened.

Owllady Wed 03-Apr-13 17:27:31

tbh I get the opposite and I get referred to as a 'lady of leisure' by mine and dh's family as it has always been more normal to work (working class my love)

When I worked part time, it was my 'little job' as well angry

StealthPolarBear Wed 03-Apr-13 17:30:09

<cringe> at your little job. And now your a lady of leisure. Bet they woukdnt swop their work for your leisure!

Owllady Wed 03-Apr-13 17:33:15

Me and my husband haven't been out on our own for five and half years, that's how much leisure time we get. God it makes me so angry how your own family can even judge you, whatever you have to do (or don't) Sorry i have gone on. I am new to not working as I only gave up at the end of last year after my mental health deteriorating month after month after month, and I suppose I feel guilty and a bit defensive, even though at the moment there is not much I can do about it (and I know I have made the best decision for me and my dd, so that's all that is important to me, at this time)

StealthPolarBear Wed 03-Apr-13 17:39:32

Feel free to rant, I have grin I suppose ultimately, whatever you do, you'll be judged by someone. Well done for taking the leap, hope your mh is improving as a result.

naomilpeb Wed 03-Apr-13 17:41:26

its the underlying assumption that that is the norm that annoys me

I'm totally with you here StealthPolarBear. I went back to work full-time after my maternity leave with DC1, and now after chopping and changing for a while after DC2, I am working full-time again and DP is SAHD. It is, frankly, unbelievable the kind of comments we get.

DP is starting to look for work again so that he will be working when DC1 starts school this autumn, and immediately the assumption is that I'll be changing to go part-time. There is never any thought that he might look for a part-time job. It drives me mad. The worst culprits are MIL and SIL, but quite a few of my friends come out with funny lines sometimes too, which makes me sad. I find myself worrying that they think we're an awful family and are messing things up. I got quite tetchy the other evening when someone said "It must be so sad for you working full-time and never seeing the children." A) I do see them and B) no one has ever said that to DP!

Grrrrrrrr angry

Phineyj Wed 03-Apr-13 17:43:03

I find it infuriating that 'because I like it and I'm good at it' isn't apparently sufficient justification for a woman (not a man) with children to work. Whenever you see this issue discussed in the media, it's in terms of needing two salaries to live. So reductive. And I work educating girls!

NumTumMum Wed 03-Apr-13 17:51:13

It is infuriating. My MIL could not understand why I went back to work after DD full time. I just needed to. Yes, financially but also I needed the challenge and the social interaction. But she never for a moment considered that maybe my xh should reduce his hours or give up work even though I earned twice what he did. But by accepting this and getting on with it, as I am sure most of us all do - simply because we are pragmatic and have to - we are perpetuating it. What would happen if we simply refused to sort the childcare? Would any of us risk it?

TiredyCustards Wed 03-Apr-13 18:08:18

I think for a lot of people it would break their heart to be away from their children that much, so part time or sah are the options that make them happy.

Perhaps it's hard for these people to understand choosing to work ft, as it's such an irrational, emotional subject for many. I think that's where the judgement + assumptions come from.

StealthPolarBear Wed 03-Apr-13 18:09:28

Tiredy I do take your point but its rarely people, usually women

NumTumMum Wed 03-Apr-13 18:18:36

But doesn't this illustrate the point? The fact that it is women who can't bear to be apart from their children? Who says that we are more attached than their fathers?

naomilpeb Wed 03-Apr-13 18:40:46

I think that's very true NumTumMum, few people suggest that fathers will be missing interaction with their children so much they would want go part-time, or that their children are suffering from seeing less of them. I don't want to get into a 'rights or wrongs' of working, staying at home etc. because there is not such thing - each family to their own - but I agree that a lot of people make assumptions that it is women who should be making these choices, while men just carry on working regardless.

SatsukiKusukabe Wed 03-Apr-13 18:43:20

I think it's that women are "allowed" to say they couldn't be away from their children. Men still aren't. I think that's as big an issue as women being expected to be sahm. Wouldn't it be ideal if no one assumed about anyone else?

I heard a great quote (that I can't qute remember) but it basically said feminism isn't just abut women getting in to "men's" domains and judging them by how good they are at "male" things, but getting men in to "women's" roles and judging them by the same standards.

Women are so often proud of making it in overwhelmingly male environments and jobs but how many men say I am the king of play group? Or are actually proud to be sahd? Or even think being a sahd is a respectable life style choice?

seeker Wed 03-Apr-13 18:44:02

In my experience, SaHMs are judged far more harshly that WOHMs. I think my first child was less than a year old when I was first told I was a bad role model for her. And there's always the "oh, I do wish I could stay at home with mine too, but I'm afraid I would miss the mental stimulation too much" brigade. And the "Nursery is so important for children- they need to develop independence or they will struggle at school" group. not forgetting "Your poor DP- working all hours for you all- he is good, isn't he? When are you going to help out?"

But as somebody said earlier - a mother's place is in the wrong.

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