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Men whose lives are facilitated by women Part 2

(651 Posts)
OlennasWimple Thu 16-Nov-17 00:13:57

Continuation of the other thread that got filled up smile

TheGrumpySquirrel Thu 16-Nov-17 06:38:44

Thank you olenna

ForrestPlump Thu 16-Nov-17 06:48:53

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Mirrormirrorotw Thu 16-Nov-17 06:51:48

My ex husband was wonderfully facilitated. I was a trailing spouse - he put his career above everything else. 4 moves in 6 years. I had no chance to build up a business. Conveniently when I outlived my use he left me homeless.

ForrestPlump Thu 16-Nov-17 06:57:35

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cheminotte Thu 16-Nov-17 07:01:20

I think getting lunch is pretty common for a PA type job, Forest .
Thanks for the new thread Olenna

MillicentFawcett Thu 16-Nov-17 07:24:54

This is an interesting article about how women doing the wifework perpetuates sexist attitudes:

NefretForth Thu 16-Nov-17 07:43:49

Thanks for the new thread, Olenna.

LeCroissant asked on the previous thread if there were any women who were facilitated by a SAHD in the same way that a lot of men are by their wives (whether SAH or not). I come close: DH works very part-time, and also does all the laundry, day to day food shopping, cooking during the week, pet care, child care (obviously, though DD is in school so that's less onerous than it was in the baby years) dealing with people doing work on the house etc, and we have a cleaner who also irons and a gardener to tame the worst of the jungle outside, as neither of us is green-fingered.

I do the bins (spot the role reversal!) and the household admin, plus pitching in with routine stuff when I'm here. And I pick up after myself. But in the week I'm not here very much: I work FT, so out of the house 50-60 hours with the commute, and also have a volunteer commitment that takes 2-3 hours a week. What I don't have is a time-consuming hobby: I try really hard to ring-fence from Friday night to Sunday night for family stuff.

This works for us, and my career has been able to fly because of it (senior public sector). But DH is significantly older than me and had built up savings and so on before we married: if we split, I would obviously pay maintenance for DD, and he could afford to stay in the house (though not to buy me out): I wouldn't want to uproot DD, and I could just about afford to start again, even in London. He wouldn't have made the choices he has if they left him financially vulnerable, I don't think.

I'm not sure what I conclude from this (except that I do feel lucky - that word again: I work slightly longer hours than I really want, but I love my job, would be terrible at staying at home and would really resent being pushed into a boring job to fit around someone else's work commitments). But although it works for our individual circumstances, I don't think it's a particularly healthy or sustainable model, and I have an uneasy sense that I've become part of the problem.

TheGrumpySquirrel Thu 16-Nov-17 08:05:09

That is a great article Millicent thanks!

TheGrumpySquirrel Thu 16-Nov-17 08:11:01

“In studies, these young men and women predominantly report hope for a future in which they will split the pleasures of breadwinning and caretaking equally with their spouses — what researchers call their Plan A. But when asked for a Plan B, the sexes divide. The men anticipate being primary breadwinners alongside wives who are primarily caretakers. The women anticipate divorce.”

TheGrumpySquirrel Thu 16-Nov-17 08:15:33

I think the biggest difference that exists is the mental load - even in setups where the man does a lot practically, and both partners work, who is managing and organising everything domestically on top of her job? The mental freedom to focus on work is something I am jealous of. It should be more equally shared and that requires an attitude change from men and women. You are a bit stuck if you leave it until you’ve already made the career sacrifices though...

slightlyglittermaned Thu 16-Nov-17 09:09:18

It's the boiling frog effect that hurts many women though - by the time they notice the pattern it's pretty late.

IfNot Thu 16-Nov-17 10:31:56

Is the problem the manner in which these men are facilitated or the fact that it's mainly men?
I would think it's the fact that they are facilitated to the degree that their lives just don't change upon having children.
And in a work context, the fact that women are often subtly (and very unsubtly-did you read my story about the baby in the office?) expected to facilitate male colleagues.
It's that expectation that as a woman you are automatically the care giver, the cleaner upper, the organiser of domestic minutae.
You got lunch? OK...
I have never been a PA but in my office role have been asked to clean up food debris after work meetings, bake cakes, order taxis and hold shitty arsed screaming babies.
So no, it's not the manner I have been expected to facilitate, or the fact that those expecting it are men. It's the blithe assumption that some women will take care of the boring shite.

LeCroissant Thu 16-Nov-17 12:31:13

I think men actively resent women being facilitated - I told the story in the other thread of a very senior woman, first in the job, being told she couldn't have an assistant. I genuinely think men expect women to just do all the shit jobs, as IfNot says, and do them out of the view of men, without complaining and without expecting any acknowledgement. However if a man has to do a shit job then he needs huge praise and, preferably, a medal, because for some reason it's ridiculously tough for him to do, even though women do it all the time without anyone even noticing.

OlennasWimple Thu 16-Nov-17 13:26:19

I have just realised the extent to which my dad facilitated my mum. They both worked, but she travelled a lot (not overnight, but long hours) so he was the one who got us to and from school, who cooked the evening meal (and then we did as we were old enough: family rule of first one in peels the spuds). He was the emergency contact for school if we were sick (one of my earliest memories is arguing with the school office that no, I don't know my mummy's phone number but my daddy is on 1234567 and he will come and collect me smile). He didn't pursue promotions because that would have involved him being away from home too, which wasn't feasible when we were little. And my mum had (and still has) hobbies that take her out of the house a lot.

I knew that I grew up in a progressive household, but I hadn't labelled my father as a facilitator until now.

(Makes me wonder even more how I have ended up as the boiled frog)

cheminotte Thu 16-Nov-17 14:40:25

Definitely the mental load - DP works from home most Fridays but it's still my job to remember swimming kit, dress down for Children in Need etc that happens on that day.

LeCroissant Thu 16-Nov-17 14:49:38

I always used to change our bedsheets - if I didn't do it, DH would just continue to sleep in filthy sheets. About a month or so after I finally put my foot down and said I was no longer facilitating him I stripped the bed. When we went up to bed and he saw it wasn't made he groaned (not in a nasty way, more in a 'oh no' sort of way). I saw red, I mean I lost my reason entirely. I screamed and raged at him about how I had changed the sheets for 12 years without him ever even noticing (never mind thanking me) and I had to put up with him not only not noticing but actually complaining (in a mild way admittedly) when he had to participate in half of it (I would have dressed the bed with him.) I detailed how many hours over the 12 years I had spent stripping, washing, remaking the bed and how unfuckinggrateful he was. That was the point I was at - I was so entirely fucked off that I was on a hair trigger.

He offered to take over changing the bed (which is magnanimous of him considering I'd screamed at him). Except that he just didn't do it. So I tore another strip off him. Then he expected me to REMIND him. OH MY FUCKING GOD. It's a miracle he's alive really. He just tried and tried to get me to facilitate him, no matter how meagre it was.

The upshot is that he now changes the bed every two weeks (a bit less than I'd like but fuck it) and I never ever touch our sheets, ever. Funnily enough he was capable of doing it. Whoda thunk???

Ava6 Thu 16-Nov-17 15:25:31

"Using the "childrens' heads as battering rams":

Half of those children are girls who will be stuck in the same rut as the mother (or are already in the type of cultures Olenna lives in and I was born in), unless enough people make an effort to change the status quo. If suffragettes and birth control activists had used this kind of logic 100+ years back - their daughters would still be chattel + breeding cows today.

Ava6 Thu 16-Nov-17 15:45:56

And you know what else truly suck as a product of this facilitation? That we're wasting half of all human talent. Imagine the technology and amount of human progress that could be if millions upon millions of women could actually channel their intellect and energy into public life unencumbered like men can.

I recently read about Sophia Tostaya, who was one of the world's greatest facilitators. She ran EVERYTHING for Lev Tostoy so the dude had to nothing but write novel drafts (she did all the editing for him). This was on top of birthing his 13 kids, being forced by him to breastfeed them (which was uncommon for the nobility of the time), managing his financial affairs+publishing affairs AND running his estate. She was also a talented diarist + photographer when the tech was still brand new. She still worked in bed while recovering from puerperal fever which nearly killed her. She did all this with little thanks and while living on virtual house arrest on the country estate.

Can you imagine what this woman could've achieved if she had a facilitator of her own? She could've changed the world if given the opportunity. But as things stand - the "genius" Lev is the one who gets all the credit for his literary legacy. He might've been remarkably talented, but he still got the wife to do all the legwork to make him great.

TheGrumpySquirrel Thu 16-Nov-17 17:13:37

Croissant your post made me laugh as it’s such a familiar battle. I’ve successfully (?) delegated paying DD’s guitar and singing teachers (2 invoices 3x per year) although they still email me if they don’t get paid as DH doesn’t read non work emails 🙄

hmm what else - well he does do the food shopping / cooking (theoretically) although we are both so rushed off our feet we end up eating ready meals. He’s changing job soon hopefully to shorter hours and I really hope that means we can have home cooked food again! He has dyspraxia though so officially has an excuse not being able to plan and organise things.., if I were not working as much I would probably end up doing the food shop too (better and online!). I have had to accept a sub optimal outcome at home to keep my career going. To be fair he does all the washing up. We are more equal practically but definitely not in terms of the mental load.

I don’t take responsibility for his family’s birthdays but I do organise everything else including social calendar, finances/budget, cards for friends’ new babies etc, all bills / admin (god all the small bullshit that adds up like reading the gas meter, registering to vote - why do they make you confirm every single time, yes we live here), paying the cleaner and organising pet sitters when we go away, arranging and booking our holidays, dd school trips, uniform/costumes, dentist checkups, car tax/insurance (used to be his responsibility but we got fined with a sticker for untaxed vehicle - so I tried to go to post office on 23 December last year to pay the tax only to be told we had no MOT blush I had to use my day of annual leave to go to fucking kwik fit in some dire part of London an hour away - the only place with availability - and get an MOT done angry !!!) and then he gets annoyed when I need to control the to do list??? Because he cannot be relied upon to prioritise that stuff over whatever work he has on / filling his head with his hobby stuff. I think that’s unfair.

TheGrumpySquirrel Thu 16-Nov-17 17:15:00

Ava that’s amazing but sounds not too far off many womens’ lives, frantically pedalling away in the background

TheGrumpySquirrel Thu 16-Nov-17 17:20:28

Oh and my mum was a full time facilitator ... I live in fear of becoming her (with the associated self esteem problems and lack of independence) and I fully admit that I totally overcompensate for this — as a result I achieved a high flying career which allows me to justify something a little closer to equality in domestic workload even though I am female hmm

TheGrumpySquirrel Thu 16-Nov-17 17:24:11

“Half of those children are girls who will be stuck in the same rut as the mother (or are already in the type of cultures Olenna lives in and I was born in), unless enough people make an effort to change the status quo.”

Totally agree

mumisnotmyname Thu 16-Nov-17 17:42:22

My df was the facilitator growing up, the problem with this was that I hadn't absorbed that wasn't the norm so I didn't give any thought to this stuff until it was far to late. He was a pretty poor facilitator and I noticed that but I would have been very grateful for the same level of support as an adult.

vdbfamily Thu 16-Nov-17 18:07:03

I think the problem with many threads in 'feminism chat' is that you get a whole lot of likeminded women debating an issue but it is not balanced, it is like an echo chamber.When I was a young woman , I wanted nothing more than to get married, have lots of kids and be a stay at home mum with a husband who earned enough for us to be comfortable. Ironically I had my first child at 35, had a job in the NHS that I loved and although I worked extremely part-time whilst the kids were preschool and primary, I am now full time in a responsible post and my DH is home based and does all the cooking and shopping etc. However, many of my friends want to be SAHM's. Even those working say that if they could afford it they would give up their job in a heartbeat, especially whilst the kids are primary aged. For those who do not work, they would say they were 'facilitated' to do what they love by their hard working husbands. The pay off for the husbands being that they come home to a meal on the table, a tidy house and don't have to spend the evenings worrying about all the jobs that need doing. To me, the ideal is that you both work part-time and share the earning and caring between you, however I think 2 full time working parents with commutes put themselves and their children under immense amounts of stress and if you can afford for one of you to manage the home/kids etc and the other to work, it makes very good sense.....but it should not always be the mum at home.

What I am really trying to say is that if women want to be SAHM's then they should not be accused of making life difficult for other women/equal;ity!

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