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Sexist reaction to my redundancy

(24 Posts)
noidontwant2hearaboutyourdream Sat 22-Feb-14 19:38:31

I was made redundant whilst pregnant with DD2 last year. I was sad about it as I enjoyed my job but also because DH is a SAHP and I earned the main source of income. Knowing our situation most people still reacted with "isn't that good timing, you can spend more time with the kids."! My family and PIL seemed almost happy, secretly I think they didn't like our non traditional arrangement.

These reactions bugged me. I think if I were a man people would have reacted with sympathy and recognized the importance of me being employed to my family. DH was also sad as he loved being a SAHP and was very good at it.

My redundancy happened a while ago now but I read an article today about redundancy in pregnancy and it made me reflect on the situation. I wish I had challenged people's reactions more. I feel sad that people assumed i'd be more happy not working. DH is now working and I'm at home but we hope to reverse this eventually. Don't know why I'm posting this now so long after it happened. I guess I'm just wondering if others agree with my feelings that people's reactions were sexist?

HippieInASecondLocation Sat 22-Feb-14 19:41:33

That would upset me too. And it would annoy me that how it worked out (DH working and you at home) had just seemingly confirmed their viewpoint. That said, people do try to be positive when things like this happen so if they try to put a positive spin on it and you d

HippieInASecondLocation Sat 22-Feb-14 19:44:15

That would upset me too. And it would annoy me that how it worked out (DH working and you at home) had just seemingly confirmed their viewpoint. That said, people do try to be positive when things like this happen so if they try to put a positive spin on it and you don't correct them and tell them that actually you don't feel that way, they're not to know. I feel your frustration though that there's an underlying assumption that everything is now as it should be - you at home, your DH at work.

noidontwant2hearaboutyourdream Sat 22-Feb-14 19:49:55

You're right there probably was a positive spin element to it. I just thought the natural reaction to someone loosing their job is "oh dear poor you"!

Minnieisthedevilmouse Sat 22-Feb-14 19:59:37

Don't forget the generation gap too.... My mum has ideas I find odd. It's just how she was brought up. Not wrong just not right lol... I hope each generation steps forwards.

legoplayingmumsunite Sat 22-Feb-14 20:12:00

Definitely sexist. It's just lucky that your DH was able to find work, if he hadn't then what would have happened? Not such happy families.

No-one would say to a man who lost his job when his wife was pregnant 'how nice, you'll be able to spend more time with your new child'. Everyone would sympathise that it was a terrible time to lose the family's only income.

Hope you get another job soon and you and your DH can get an arrangement that suits the two of you and not the busybodies in your extended family. And woman up for when that does happens (blame the pregnancy hormones for not doing it in the past if it helps) and tell people quite openly that you are very glad to be working again.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 22-Feb-14 20:14:37

Yes, it was sexist.

If it helps, a friend of mine was made redundant when his DW was pregnant with their DC2 (and their DC1 was less than a year old) and it took him a year to find work - looking back he's glad he was around to help.

noidontwant2hearaboutyourdream Sat 22-Feb-14 22:04:40

Thanks i'm glad that others agree it's sexist, sometimes worry that I'm over sensitive. I think the generation thing does play a part. My MIL was positively relived by the redundancy. She always feels sorry for me that "I have to work". She doesn't seem to understand I want to. It's like she is embarrassed that DH isn't the one financially providing for the family. I'm not trying to mean to her, I like her a lot but she would never take on board that we both enjoyed our roles.

I am very lucky DH found work and that he's happy to stop if I can find work again. If I am lucky enough to found a decent paid job I will stand by my choice with conviction!

WidowWadman Sat 22-Feb-14 23:53:42

Yes it's sexist, and it's bloodboilingly annoying. I had that when I was put under threat of redundancy at 31 weeks pregnant with my first. "Oh, it's not that bad, you probably won't want to work once your baybee is born". Fuck off, wankers.

noidontwant2hearaboutyourdream Sun 23-Feb-14 00:02:27

Yes! My work place were equally annoying with that. Kept getting asked when I was off on maternity leave. When I pointed out that I was leaving due to redundancy I got the "good timing" thing again!

EBearhug Sun 23-Feb-14 00:10:02

But in some ways it is good timing - you're about to have a big change in your life anyway, so it just becomes part of that. (I've never decided whether it's better to have a load of majorly stressy things happening at once, to get it over and done with, or to have them separately, but much more spread out.)

My reaction on being told a friend was being made redundant would be to look for the positives - in any case, in my current role, I can think of worse things than being paid to leave, and that would also colour my reaction. Actually, when a friend who was pregnant was made redundant, my reaction was, "Bastards! They can't do that, can they?" but it was her whole department being axed.

WidowWadman Sun 23-Feb-14 00:15:38

It's fucking awful timing, Ebear, losing your job, when humungous belly and later the baby are really inconvenient accessories to your interview outfit. The uncertainty of not having a job to return to really takes away from the pleasure maternity leave could bring. E.g., is there a point to sorting out childcare without a job to go to? How do you pay for it, as you'll only get support if you actually work? How can you start a new job without childcare in place?

It's pretty much the opposite of good timing, unless of course you expect mummy* to jack her job in.

*it's equally fucking bad timing if daddy loses his job instead of mummy. But at least he won't be patronised about what great timing it is.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 23-Feb-14 00:45:06

I think it's worse timing for mum than dad - at least dad isn't job hunting with a bump...

AveryJessup Sun 23-Feb-14 01:41:41

Had the same experience too. I moved abroad for my DH's job to a country where I can't work just after I had my first child and the reaction I got from family was similar, great timing, isn't it nice not to have to work etc.

It was actually amazing to me how many people came out if the woodwork with 'traditional' ideas about life, people who - so I thought - previously supported my career and goals for an equal marriage. Our process of applying for a workng visa for me through DH's work was delayed and when I mentioned this to his HR guy, he said 'that's good for you though, isn't it? More time to spend with the kids'. I was so mad because he just assumed that given the choice most women would not want to work.

I hope to return to work soon but I am in a quandary because it seems to me now that my career was really meaningless in the eyes of others compared to me becoming a mother. It has really opened my eyes to how much a woman's career is still considered optional compared to a man's. I think that's what drives a lot of discrimination against pregnant women at work. You're seen as an easy target because you probably 'want' to leave work anyway.

slightlyglitterstained Sun 23-Feb-14 02:11:56

Agree with Avery, were I made redundant during pregnancy I'd find it really hard to believe that pregnancy hadn't been a factor. This is why regulation 10 exists, but it doesn't protect pregnant women, just those on mat leave.

Interesting survey results here: - sad that it's nice to see men even being asked whether they regretted being back at work instead of looking after their children!

noidontwant2hearaboutyourdream Sun 23-Feb-14 07:25:33

Ebear it was really bad timing! I wanted a job to go back to after the baby but job hunting whilst pregnant is not fun. I went to one job interview with a big belly and felt so self conscious, I gave an awful interview but didn't get the job. I am now waiting until my DD2 is older before looking for work. Looking after two young children gives me no time to job hunt and going to interviews in my sleep deprived state would be awful. I do love being with my girls but I want a job to go back to and it's hard not having that in place.

Avery I totally agree. I felt my hard work and career wasn't valued, people are so much more comfortable with me being a SAHP. DH has been my shining star of understanding and support. He always got annoyed that despite being the main carer for DD1 all questions about her were directed at me. A lot people fail to understand that he was at home and I worked full time because we were happy with those roles.

WidowWadman Sun 23-Feb-14 09:51:36

Avery "I think that's what drives a lot of discrimination against pregnant women at work. You're seen as an easy target because you probably 'want' to leave work anyway."

There's a lot of truth to that and I'm quite sure that this influenced my old employer's decision to select me for redundancy. I pointed that out to them in my hearing btw, and they swiftly reinstated me. I used my maternity leave to go job hunting - 4 weeks after my return to work post mat leave I got a job at a much more progressive place.

BlueMoonRoses Sun 23-Feb-14 09:59:52

Yes, it's sexist. Sexism can be "benevolent" and just as harmful as hostile sexism because it's disguised as something else and therefore more difficult to address. Makes me seethe. I read a lot about this subject and found "the invention of difference" by Jo and Binna Kandola useful in finding information to counter a lot of the crap other people come up with about what a woman and mother should or should not do or feel.

UptoapointLordCopper Sun 23-Feb-14 15:17:55

Story related to me by a friend who heard it from a friend hmm: In the olden days (about one generation ago) when they started to pay female teachers the same wages as male teachers the men were up in arms because "you are only working for pin money". hmm angry Seems attitude hasn't changed much. angry

noidontwant2hearaboutyourdream Sun 23-Feb-14 15:23:46

Sounds interesting Blue I'll add it to my list of books to read when I'm out of the baby fog.

I've always thought of myself as a feminist but this experience and becoming a mother has made me really interested in these issues. It saddened me that my family and friends are more comfortable with me and DH being in what's seen as the "right" roles.

CailinDana Sun 23-Feb-14 23:23:38

On the flipside of this is the situation my SAHD friend is in at the moment. His DS starts school in September and he is very much getting the message from his wider family (not his wife) that his faffing about is coming to an end and he must step up and take on his proper role as a wage earner. Meanwhile female friends in the same position are being told it's just as important to be a SAHP when they're at school, no need to rush into a job etc etc. The idea that he would stay at home and do housework while his DS is at school seems laughable to many - why would a man do that?

BlueMoonRoses Tue 25-Feb-14 07:41:51

I completely agree CD. Men have prescribed roles too and face the should and should not judgments. The barriers need to be broken down to benefit everyone or the fight for change will never really be won.

kentishgirl Tue 25-Feb-14 16:43:03

I think a lot of people have some funny ideas about how much money you get when you are made redundant, too, unless they've been through it themselves. They might be thinking 'lovely big pay-out, you can afford to take a year off with baby now instead of struggling by with maternity benefits'.

But yeah, it's sexist. What an awful time to be made redundant, no job to return to after your leave and harder to find a new job with young baby (being realistic).

Durhamgal Tue 25-Feb-14 20:56:18

Yes it's very sexist. Why is it that people think that it's only mens' jobs that matter?

I always remember telling a close friend that I was "at risk" of redundancy from my very satisfying, much enjoyed and and hard fought for job. I think I expected sympathy for the potential loss. Instead she said "that was ok as my husband was working" and then went on to say that if her husband was in the same situation that would be a "disaster" as her and the kids would have to live on benefits! It's always good to know that your career is of so little consequence!

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