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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'.

DuelingFanjo Sun 07-Apr-13 23:10:51

Wouldn't get a cleaner because I hate the idea of someone I do 't know beng in my house when I am not there, or even when I am there, plus I can't afford it, plus I think they would find it hard to clean around my clutter. The jobs that annoy me the most are putting away washing and doing the washing-up. I would have to have someone come round daily to make a difference With the washing-up and how would a cleaner know where to put my washing?

I might re-consider sending ironing out but then I think when it came back I would need someone to put it away.

intheshed Sun 07-Apr-13 17:37:42

I totally fit the stereotype in the OP. I have a degree, an MA and worked in a specialised field related to my MA for several years before taking 2 lots of maternity leave, then stopping work to be a SAHM. Now I have gone back to work as a TA - a 'mum job' as some would call it, earning less money than my first job out out of uni.

However I am happy and fulfilled in both my work and home life. It works for us.

I do wish all jobs were more flexible though- I know one family where both parents work part time and to be honest that looks ideal to me- they are both equal in terms of wage earning and child rearing.

pommedechocolat Sun 07-Apr-13 16:35:37

My cleaner is a 22 year old boy who can't find other work if that gives me a mn halo btw.

kickassangel Sun 07-Apr-13 16:24:17

There is always an issue with how we deal with the pressures of work/home, and I am extremely lucky as dd is at the school I tech in, and I get free childcare there. There are times I work long hours or go on trips with the older kids I teach, but I can so easily chat to her teachers, and go to see her for 5 minutes between meetings etc. that I feel in constant contact.

Do I feel bad that I have a cleaner? No, not as I do the majority of housework and the cleaner effectively does dh's share. Do I feel bad that I am contributing to the ongoing role of a woman who is doing low paid manual work? Yes, but then actually she works enough that her job pays her a living wage, and is still flexible to fit around her children. So, having a cleaner is both perpetuating the stereotypes and enabling her to have economic autonomy. That is a difficult paradox.

Would I employ a man to clean my house or care for my child? Absolutely, and dd has had male care workers. In fact, the after school carers try to get a good mix as the children in childcare are both male and female, so they want both role models available. (Also a range of ethnicities, but that is a different thread).

What really pisses me off is that the going rate for a cleaner is about $25 per hour, but professional gardeners get double that. The tasks aren't that much different, and although the gardener has more equipment, and has to transport it, that doesn't account for the full difference. Basically, men just get paid more. So women are more likely to stay home. Then people use the numbers of women to stay home to justify paying them less, when in fact the causality is the other way around.

kickassangel Sun 07-Apr-13 16:12:29

Potato prints, I have just started an MA I women and gender studies, so hope to do some research, but it will be a long time coming. Get back tome in a couple of years, and I may have some answers.

pommedechocolat Sun 07-Apr-13 14:16:10

dueling-why? I have a cleaner and would love to find someone to do my ironing. I don't give a flying fuck what other people can or can't do. Why would that influence my decision?
Money shapes things though, of course it does. Three days a week I work in the am, spend pm with kids, then put in 2-3 hours work in the evening. The other days i work a short full day and do 1-2 hours in the evening. Doing the ironing after that often makes me cry. I work hard and well and earn good money. It makes sense to use this to pay someone to take on my last straw no? Just wish I could find someone!

maxpower Sat 06-Apr-13 22:59:19

Surely a contributing factor to this situation is the insistence of society on defining the actions of sahm/wohm rather than referring to sahp/wohp p being parent of course. When I was expecting dc1 I remember fil who knew I was going to go back to work after mat leave asking when I was going to be mum. Dh was never asked such an insulting question.

DuelingFanjo Sat 06-Apr-13 22:41:22

There's no way I would get a cleaner or someone in to do the ironing. Lots of parents do al this and work out of the home.

DuelingFanjo Sat 06-Apr-13 22:37:32

I think even 'boring' jobs can be mentally stimulating for some people. I work because I want to and because we would not be able to pay our bills and mortgage on just one wage unless we were entitled to benefits and I don't want to stop working so I can get benefits. When my husband was made redundant last year and was out of work for a bit it really made me realise I didn't want to be the sole earner, and I wouldn't feel right about my DH beng the sole earner either.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 06-Apr-13 22:28:15


I am most interested in your post regarding those not working in the corporate world. My dh is self employed and works all sorts of weird and wonderful hours, including many from home. He/we as a family have stepped away from the lifestyle I hear about so much on here. An example is people referring to raising dc as childcare. Now I know its the same thing but as one who has never used childcare outside the home I struggle to use this term in terms of raising my dc. Other examples I find are the battles between parents of child rearing, time to themselves, division of labour etc. We don't seem to experience these.
If you do decide to do some research I would be most interested to hear how you go on.
Good luck with this. grin

VerySmallSqueak Sat 06-Apr-13 20:50:52

If you're on a low wage it's sometimes better to be in a part time role than full time.
That way you can contribute and have some financial independence but not have to face massive childcare bills when covering holidays (especially if you have more than one child).
Some people work to how much childcare can be covered by a relative,because they quite simply earn less per hour than childcare would cost them.It makes sense that the lower earner,whether that's the man or the woman takes the more part time role,and bears the brunt of covering for children's sickness etc.
Right or wrong it's the reality for many.

StealthPolarBear Sat 06-Apr-13 20:32:37

Ok I think bpuehoes asked meabout the choices that individual women making affect society's perceptions, and that is definitely true, I won't argue. I see a lot of parallels with breastfeeding. I have professional and personal interest in getting women breastfeeding and continuing to breastfeed. The more.women that do it, the more normal it will ne, and so the more women will do it. Culture and society will change to normalise it. However that doesn't extend to me berating individual women for not breastfeeding. As for sahm/wohm each woman or family chooses what works for them. What I want is for that to be an informed choice, and for society to chanhe to support women, both in breastfeeding and in the workplace. So that more choose to breastfeed, or feel they have a choice to return to work, without all the difficulties women currently face. In this utopia there will still be women who sahm, and there will still be women who formula feed (not necessarily the same group). And they will, of course, be the best people to make this choice.

Scottish I hope you havent accused me of the eye rolling/ drunk comments. Because I haven't.

skaen Sat 06-Apr-13 20:13:08

But equally,some people may prefer doing other people's ironing while watching tv and earning s bit if money and doing it round school/ other work/ volunteering etc. I don't send ironing out btw so no axe to grind.

Op, I've noticed the comments have dropped off a lot since the DCs started school but I work in an area where it is easy to work from home and parental responsibilities do appear to be fairly split as far as possible - the majority of the men in my private sector, traditional male type office have flexible working arrangements in place to cover after school care etc. it does seen to me that slowly more men are taking a greater role in looking after and bringing up their children than they would 10 years ago. I hope for both DD and DS's sake that this continues.

seeker Sat 06-Apr-13 19:51:33

For example- doing another family's ironing........

seeker Sat 06-Apr-13 19:50:39

I always think that when people say "I have to go to work for the mental stimulation/I find being at home so boooooorrrrring". Absolutely, if you have a challenging, exciting job- but most people don't. Most people- men and women- have jobs solely to earn money. And not much of that.

rubyrubyruby Sat 06-Apr-13 19:34:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

seeker Sat 06-Apr-13 18:42:48

Interesting too that somehow it's OK to delegate tasks that one doesn't like/think boring/haven't time for/think beneath us to other women we pay peanuts to.

rubyrubyruby Sat 06-Apr-13 18:04:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exoticfruits Sat 06-Apr-13 17:53:33

I can never understand why esteem =money or why you are defined by your job.

nailak Sat 06-Apr-13 17:51:18

"I want to demonstrate work to my children as I have a belief it's good for mental,physical health,self esteem and give financial security ones own money"

My esteem is not based on the money I earn! what a peculiar notion. However I would definitely agree it is good for esteem and health to have interests outside of the home. I just don't see what money has to do with it. The money is in my bank account, I take it out. I spend it. Whoopdidoo.

"so why isn't it accepted for both men & women to access these roles? surely a man should be able to be a parent/community worker/part time employee just as much as a woman."

Yes. There are many men involved in community work. How do you think football leagues and stuff come about? My local community centres are run and managed by men.

seeker Sat 06-Apr-13 17:45:05

Sort of the same as us scottish- except we don't have a cleaner. We did- but we decided we could do more fun things with the money.

exoticfruits Sat 06-Apr-13 16:50:42

I think that lots of men would like to-I know my brother would but unfortunately he earns the most.

scottishmummy Sat 06-Apr-13 16:50:23

DO we have cleaner?yes
Do we do equitably share tasks,yes.cook,clean,shop etc
My dp attends to his own dry cleaning,collects/drop off.sorts his own stuff
Kids do age appropriate tasks,sometimes with a vigorous prompt,but over all yes
Drop off/pick up we share. annual leave,work at home to accommodate days oo we share responsibility
Each week in shared diary we nite whI emergency person is,if school/nursery call.we negotiate this based on who's got what on at work,determining who can go at short notice

seeker Sat 06-Apr-13 16:16:09

"so why isn't it accepted for both men & women to access these roles? surely a man should be able to be a parent/community worker/part time employee just as much as a woman."

It should be. As I said, my partner and I discussed at great length which one of us should be the one to stay at home.

kickassangel Sat 06-Apr-13 16:01:17

so why isn't it accepted for both men & women to access these roles? surely a man should be able to be a parent/community worker/part time employee just as much as a woman.

and women should be able to return to ft employment without there being as many obstacles.

both are valid life choices and make considerable contributions to their families and broader society, so why does it seem to be so hard to do this? capitalist corporations don't like to have to treat their workers as individuals, but there are many people who work outside of the corporate world, yet we seem to adopt their work practices. Why?

I'm hoping to do some research on what work practices have been in the past. Somewhere in my brain is the idea that before industrialisation that life wasn't quite like this, but is that just a false nostalgia?

laundry - how does charitable work get done in Finland? In the Us & UK it relies heavily upon the SAHM type (and early retired/unemployed/work experience youngsters). In a culture where a higher % of adults are working, who does the other stuff, like visiting the elderly etc.

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