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Likened to a prostitute for being a wife?!

(131 Posts)
Amaia10 Sat 04-Jun-16 15:28:34

This is what a female "friend' said to me today - that the fact that I don't work and depend on my husband for income means that I am totally at his disposal and basically a kind of prostitute!

Ok she's only one person and obviously very proud of the fact she works in insurance and pays for an after school childminder, but I do find its other women who are the most judgemental about SAHMs, housewives, homemakers - don't even know what to call myself!

We have 3 children and I have been "at home" for 12 years or so since my eldest was born. I'll be quite honest that when we got married DH told me that he wanted me to be at home for our kids, rather than a childcare situation and because he needed to focus in his career. I had recently completed an MA, but was working as a dancer when I met DH (ballet, not lap dancing I should say)! Then I found myself in a situation where his income meant that I didn't need to work. I love being around for the kids and it just works for us. DH respects what I do, all the more so because he was packed off to some hideous boarding school at the age of 7 and followed his father and brothers into the military because that's just what they did in his family. So he had never really had a home life until he left the marines after we got married.

But does the fact that I was also happy to be around for the kids mean that I should have no self-respect or can't be considered a feminist because I don't earn my own money?

BertrandRussell Sat 04-Jun-16 15:31:00

"But does the fact that I was also happy to be around for the kids mean that I should have no self-respect or can't be considered a feminist because I don't earn my own money?"

No it doesn't . Hope this helps.

SpinnakerInTheEther Sat 04-Jun-16 15:35:46

Do you want to work? If not, there is no problem.

Why should roles that are traditionally seen a feminine ones (looking after home / caring for family) be seen as less valuable? Just because they have been designated to women, now and in the past? This devalues the work millions of women have done over the centuries.

Your family, the division of labour, how you care for your children is your family's business only, as long as no one is been treated unfairly. If the decisions are agreed no one else has cause to comment.

VestalVirgin Sat 04-Jun-16 15:45:08

But does the fact that I was also happy to be around for the kids mean that I should have no self-respect or can't be considered a feminist because I don't earn my own money?

No.

However, why do you think prostituted women should have no self-respect or not be feminists?
Or is this something she said additionally, but you didn't quote?

bridget666 Sat 04-Jun-16 15:47:34

Ask your "friend' if she pays her after school help the same hourly rate she gets or if she's exploiting her "gender steriotype" that should shut her up.

Amaia10 Sat 04-Jun-16 15:55:46

Thanks for your comments. Vestal - no I'm not judging anyone, that's the implication in what she was saying.

karalime Sat 04-Jun-16 15:57:11

Housework, childcare, sex work, they are all work. Women's work is as valuable as men's work and if you don't see that then you are not a feminist imo.

karalime Sat 04-Jun-16 15:58:46

Sorry I should add work that is traditionally considered women's work, men can do all of those things too and vice versa obviously.

NewLife4Me Sat 04-Jun-16 16:03:08

I once had a woman say this to me at school gate , as she was rushing off to work and I wasn't.

I quickly remembered the week before when she was telling how she used her "Feminine ways" her words, to get round her husband for a new cooker.

Ah, such bliss reminding her of this. grin

IWILLgiveupsugar Sat 04-Jun-16 16:22:51

A family is a unit and each person should play to their strengths, be that woh or sah to look after the dc. It doesn't matter who does what so long as you are both happy with the division of labour.

Your 'friend' is a twat and has no understanding of feminism since she appears to place no value on the very rea work you do for your family, simply because you are a woman doing this work. I suspect she wouldn't say this to your husband if he was the sahp because she has bought into the idea that what men do is worthwhile!

Amaia10 Sat 04-Jun-16 16:30:33

NewLife - yes the professional mums at the school gates can be the worst (though not all of them of course).

To be honest, when the kids were pre-school I was too exhausted most of the time to think or care about my situation or what anyone may or may not think. It's only been this last year since my youngest started school and I have some space in the day, that some of the attitudes have irked me slightly. I could do something part- time now, I think that's what it is. DH travels loads with work and is very full on with it all though, so not sure if it would just be uneccesssary stress on the family as whole.

VestalVirgin Sat 04-Jun-16 17:00:15

Let's not forget that valuing women's work in theory is all very nice and good, but material reality does matter, too.

I assume, Amaia, that you and your husband made sure that, in case of divorce, you get half of the money you helped him earn, and that you and the children will also be financially well off if he dies before you?
(Depending on where you live, being married might give you some rights by default, but it pays off to know the details)

We should not forget that we do not live in a feminist utopia, and that thinking in our own minds that women's work has value is not going to make housewives financially independent.

SpinnakerInTheEther Sat 04-Jun-16 17:19:32

Many couples would find it difficult to be financially independent without the other's wage. Simply because, the person lost or split up from, fulfills a valuable role. Whilst contingency plans plans can be made, it also has to be accepted, if each part of a couple provides in their own way, they are somewhat difficult to adequately replace by financial plans and insurance policies.

Each time this argument, regarding contingency, is raised it irritates me slightly. It seems to be used as a dig at stay at home mothers sometimes. It assumes some degree of irresponsibility and huge assumptions regarding the amount of choice. Yes, there may be risk but aside from this, staying at home might be the absolutely best choice in some circumstances, for life now and in the foreseeable. Everyone, regardless of who undertakes paid work, could equally come a cropper regarding loss of a partner for whatever reason.

Amaia10 Sat 04-Jun-16 18:18:33

Thanks again for your comments.

DH tells me we'd be fine financially if anything happened to him and it's all sorted, etc but I admit I should look into the details of this more. Problem is he's got various companies and funds being transferred all over the place so you would need a degree in accountancy to work it out.

I do have a friend who was in a similar situation to me in her marriage where the roles were quite distinct and she had not worked since having her first child. When her husband had an affair and left her, she was fine on a financial level as fortunately money wasn't really an issue for them. What she felt most resentful about was the fact that she felt at a loss career-wise, having given this up for 13 years to support him so that he could becomeso highly successful in what he does. A large part of his identity came with his job, but she didn't have that to fall back on after the marriage ended. So I guess this is the risk we take.

Let's hope it never comes to that though!

BertrandRussell Sat 04-Jun-16 18:20:15

"DH tells me we'd be fine financially if anything happened to him and it's all sorted, etc but I admit I should look into the details of this more. Problem is he's got various companies and funds being transferred all over the place so you would need a degree in accountancy to work it out"

You need facts and figures. Detailed facts and figures. Be worried if he can't give them to you.

Amaia10 Sat 04-Jun-16 18:36:28

Bertrand - yes I agree.

TJEckleburg Sat 04-Jun-16 18:47:18

Of course it's not the same. I don't woh- gave up a good career because none of us were happy dealing with the stress of 2 people doing full on careers, and we discussed together and decided me being the SAHp worked best. Of course there was an element of sexism in the factors that led to that decision- our upbringings had made me, as a woman more skilled at domestic and parenting tasks than my dh, and city attitudes meant he could earn more with less effort than I would have had to make. But I'm making sure to not pass on gendered skills to my children, and in fact my son is far better with babies than dd is (though she is a better cook than him)

Dh and I are a partnership - just as much as we would be if we both brought in wages and both did equal amounts of childcare and housework. You do need to sort the money though- one of the things that does make me so secure in my sahp position is that I have always looked after our finances and investments. If we ever did divorce he'd have to ask me for the figures to be able to fill in his financial disclosure forms (we do sit down annually and go through them all)

SymphonyofShadows Sat 04-Jun-16 19:38:37

I've been every kind of parent - work out of home, from home, SAHM and part time while DP is home in the evenings etc. IME the people who say this kind of thing are those who wish they didn't have to work. One notable example couldn't understand why people 'sat at home being bored, unfulfilled' yadda yadda until she was able to work very PT and suddenly became evangelical about never missing sports days, plays etc. It's them not you.

RiverTam Sat 04-Jun-16 19:46:23

I'm a bit shock at your DH tbh - he 'told' you (not asked or discussed with, but told) that he wanted you to be a SAHM. And that he was packed off to boarding school at 7 which he believes was damaging, but puts his career before caring for his own children.

I don't agree that wife=prostitute but he's got exactly what he wants from you, hasn't he? With absolutely no impact on him at all. And I agree, you need to know exactly what's going on with the money.

Petal40 Sat 04-Jun-16 20:12:15

Reading with interest ...I would of identified with being a feminist as a young woman....as a SAHM,I assumed I couldn't be one...really identify with the ops post..

HermioneWeasley Sat 04-Jun-16 20:21:45

I'd love someone to tell DW she's not a feminist because she's a SAHM!

As vestal said though, if you both truly place equal value on what you do, half the assets will be in your name, you have equal access to money and you should have life assurance for both of you.

Amaia10 Sat 04-Jun-16 20:27:09

It's a fair point River. Where to start really....? Well his life did change drastically when we married and I think if he'd stayed single he probably would have carried on in Afghanistan till someone chucked him out. But he left because he didn't see being overseas as compatible with family life and also he felt he could make more money doing something else.
As someone said above, people play to their strengths in relationships. He's the type that's very driven to be a "provider" and he could probably be considered a workaholic to be honest, but he would say he puts his family first. Yes I know perfectly well I could have had a career, but I wouldn't have made anywhere near the money he's made. So what do you do? Houses and school fees in central London are an expensive business once the ball starts rolling!

whattheseithakasmean Sat 04-Jun-16 20:31:36

You obviously consider a SAHM to be superior to a prostitute. Why? What do you base your judgement on, that you feel you are somehow 'better' than a prostitute?

RiverTam Sat 04-Jun-16 20:32:52

You don't have to spend your money on those things, though, do you? You (or he) have chosen to. What if you turned around and said, you know what DH, I would rather have you here as a more equal member of the family, rather than away a lot earning ££££, the central London house and school fees aren't as important - would he consider it?

Amaia10 Sat 04-Jun-16 20:42:38

Well I don't know really -why does anyone make the life choices they make?

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