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AIBU to feel like men have it easy?
74

Anono34 · 22/09/2022 22:00

I’m really just feeling a bit sorry for myself. DH has a great job (probably because he has never had to worry about childcare) and has loads of responsibility, gets to go on really interesting work social events regularly while I get left looking after DS’s alone. I’m a SAHM (not by choice - made redundant on mat leave) and I find it really lonely. Now youngest DS is at nursery 3 days a week am going to start looking for a part time job. I’m feeling both annoyed with myself for not getting a job sooner and frustrated that all the part time jobs I’m qualified for seem like they’re boring/ low paid. Full time isn’t really an option because we have no support with childcare and because he’s carried on in his career while I’ve been pregnant/ on mat leave/ at home, his wage is realistically a lot more than I can ever earn. As the lower earner it makes more sense financially for me to reduce my hours to do school run and look after DS. Have I just planned my life badly or is it genuinely harder to have a decent career as a woman??

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Watchthesunrise · 22/09/2022 23:33

all the part time jobs I’m qualified for seem like they’re boring/ low paid

This is where you're going wrong. You're waiting for roles that suit you to be advertised.

PT jobs are seldom advertised. You have to make these roles for yourself. This requires a bit of manoeuvring but it can be done. You probably need to go in for FT roles and then earn your way to PT privileges after a year or so. To seek work in your chosen field do not rely on traditional advertisements. Instead, use LinkedIn and work all your networks from the roles you had before kids. Call your old boss, your old colleagues. Make it clear to everyone you know that you are looking for work in your field again. You are really excited.

Don't muck about re-training. Just get stuck back in. It's time for your DH to step up. Don't let him wriggle out of his responsibilities at home. And don't wait for him to concede or agree to anything: just take what you want for yourself. The kids will get sorted, it's no longer your responsibility to sort them on your own.

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Watchthesunrise · 22/09/2022 23:34

I don't think men have it easy, btw. I think often women lack the confidence or chutzpah to make stuff happen for themselves.

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UpToMyElbowsInDiapers · 22/09/2022 23:35

Could you and your DH not afford childcare if you worked FT? I find that bit of your post confusing.

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Watchthesunrise · 22/09/2022 23:35

Full time isn’t really an option because we have no support with childcare

Victim mentality.
Find support with childcare. Hundreds of millions of parents around the world have this figured out and you can too.

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cestlavielife · 22/09/2022 23:38

You pay child care out of joint earnings
Your turn tobuild income and pension
He can go part time as has higher income csn still esrn €€€ and cut to 80 % for school pickkups
Do you have a,skilkset or profession?

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Owlsinmybedroom · 22/09/2022 23:39

If your husband is on significantly more than you will earn why can you not afford childcare? It doesn't sound like he is on minimum wage and childcare is a shared cost.

More often that not I see women in this position because they see childcare as a 'mum' cost and only to be assess against their wage. Childcare is there to allow both of you to work, not just you.

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OnceAgainWithFeeling · 22/09/2022 23:48

I gave up nothing when I got together and married DH. Not name, not career, not money.

We never had any help with childcare (family hundreds and thousands of miles away).

DH worked away during the week and was only home for a day and a half at weekends from
when DD was 4 weeks to when she was 18 months old.

I did a masters whilst on mat leave and consulted whatever hours I could until DD was 6.

Insisted that DH did half of the housework and childcare whenever he was at home. I did minimal housework when he was away as DD was my job and I needed to sleep when she did. When he stopped working away he picked up more than 50% of childcare/housework because I worked out of the home and he WFH.

Since DD was 10 my income has matched DH’s. My pensions are several times the value of his.

Anything that doesn’t specifically need a penis or vagina is a shared responsibility. I’m the one that works away a lot now and he picks up the slack. His diary revolves around mine and DD’s now.

So no. It doesn’t have to be as you describe.

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Mainframetimechange · 23/09/2022 00:08

OP you may be surprised to find that even if your DH earns more than you that you may be financially better off both working part time. Although I would earn more full time than DH and I both earn part time, after tax etc we take home more on our part time wages!

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Namenic · 23/09/2022 00:37

do the sums about how much it would cost for childcare (also consider a mix of DH going To 4 days a week plus childcare).

It may be worth it for you to go back to work full time and try and get in a few promotions. After you have established yourself at a company, they may be more amenable to giving PT posts? You could ask about the company’s attitude to flexible/PT work.

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Anono34 · 23/09/2022 07:07

Thank you, this is really helpful x

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Anono34 · 23/09/2022 07:15

In terms of being able to afford childcare, we can afford it but because of DH wage, we don’t get the free hours so if he goes to nursery more, we pay the full cost, there’s then the cost of wrap around care so by the time we’ve paid for all that, it almost wipes out anything I would earn as although I had a reasonably good managers job before, I’m not specifically qualified to do anything so feel like most jobs open to me are entry level. DH is a director and works long hours. No chance of him going part time.

Also both DS are very against the idea of after school club and breakfast club which would really be the only option if I were to work more. Ds2 didn’t settle well at nursery (had to have extra settling in sessions etc) and still has a huge tantrum on the three days he has to go in because he says he doesn’t want to go. I suppose theres a guilt element coming into play too.

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bodie1890 · 23/09/2022 07:22

I don't think men have it easy, no. 50% of the human race don't have it easy.

It's true that men and women often have societally pre-defined roles, which is a load of sh**! But we also often play into these ourselves and then complain about it. Neither sex have it "easier" than the other. Being the expected breadwinner is also a big responsibility/ stressful.

I'm not a man, btw, but I just think there are pros and cons either way and we all need to try not to let it define us and not reinforce those stupid traditional ideas about gender roles. You CAN change your situation, and there's some good advice from posters above.

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Ws2210 · 23/09/2022 07:26

Of course YANBU re men having it easier. Anyone who says you are has been asleep for the last 2000 years. Your situation does sound somewhat fixable in that you could look for work... but the expectation that you will be part time to do childcare, the loss of earnings and pension because of that, the lack of flexibility in many workplaces for carers (most of whom are women), the belof that childcare is 'women's work' etc etc etc is all real.

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IDidntKnowItWasAParty · 23/09/2022 07:26

There were no free childcare/nursery hours when my DC were small, and we have no family help, but childcare is a shared cost so we had to make it work. Yes it's bloody expensive - but it allows both parents to continue their jobs.

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Namenic · 23/09/2022 08:00

It is unfortunate that you’ve ended up in this situation. Me and DH discussed our attitudes to work/family before we married (in our case both were happy to be sahps). Life doesn’t always turn out how you imagine it - both of us currently work ft (but v involved grandparents on both sides and both have switched to jobs that are flexible and no extra hours - ideally would like to both go pt and this is possible in our industry). My point is - it’s not just your responsibility to find a job that fits around childcare. Your DH is also responsible and your feelings about staying at home and job matter.

Discuss your feelings with DH and consider your options. You might not be able to get to your perfect position now, but you can start working towards it. Some things will involve an element of financial risk. Sometimes you may need to make short term cut backs but in the long term you will gain and decrease risk.

You and DH can research industries and companies where directors can go 4 days per week. They do exist (eg tech, maybe also others). Research high paying part time jobs or retraining that won’t cost a lot of money. For example could book-keeping/accounting skills (eg aat) enhance your cv as a manager? Or perhaps being able to make dashboards or excel skills for data analysis (can do online courses). Make a portfolio of dashboards and spreadsheets.

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User135644 · 23/09/2022 08:01

Ws2210 · 23/09/2022 07:26

Of course YANBU re men having it easier. Anyone who says you are has been asleep for the last 2000 years. Your situation does sound somewhat fixable in that you could look for work... but the expectation that you will be part time to do childcare, the loss of earnings and pension because of that, the lack of flexibility in many workplaces for carers (most of whom are women), the belof that childcare is 'women's work' etc etc etc is all real.

The suicide rates would disagree, men also die younger than women and are far more likely to be homeless.

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QforCucumber · 23/09/2022 08:07

Well no, in our house we have 0 childcare bar nursery and a childminder who does wraparound. Our joint Earnings are half that of your DH alone - so we will get free hours in a years time but for now we pay out for ft nursery (£250 a week) and 4 day a week after school. (£40 a week) if I’d left work I’d have never gone back into the role I have now , and wouldn’t have anywhere near the flexibility we’ve both earned - we sacrificed a few years of nursery fees to allow for many future years of working.

DH pulls his weight at home though, to enable both of us to currently be working ft, both studying progression courses and keeping a 6 and 2 year old happy.

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Beamur · 23/09/2022 08:09

I think it's more often the case that women's careers take a hit when they have children.
For more reasons than just the cost of childcare.
But, you don't have to accept it as your lot in life. The job you did before having children, does that open doors to other opportunities?

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BernadetteRostankowskiWolowitz · 23/09/2022 08:09

Go back full time. Find a childminder who drops/collects from the kids school. Ask DH which of the weekdays he will want for drop off/collection from the childminder. He is a director not a heart surgeon. No one will die if he rocks up at work at 8.15 instead of 8 or blocks his calendar to leave at 5.30 once a week.

In fact, he should be not only doing this but encouraging his male employees to do the same.

Ask him how much longer you are expected to sacrifice all your career achievements so far and potential to develop in the name of doing it all.

How often does he solo parent evenings and weekends?

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OverTheHillAndDownTotherSide · 23/09/2022 08:09

Anono34 · 23/09/2022 07:15

In terms of being able to afford childcare, we can afford it but because of DH wage, we don’t get the free hours so if he goes to nursery more, we pay the full cost, there’s then the cost of wrap around care so by the time we’ve paid for all that, it almost wipes out anything I would earn as although I had a reasonably good managers job before, I’m not specifically qualified to do anything so feel like most jobs open to me are entry level. DH is a director and works long hours. No chance of him going part time.

Also both DS are very against the idea of after school club and breakfast club which would really be the only option if I were to work more. Ds2 didn’t settle well at nursery (had to have extra settling in sessions etc) and still has a huge tantrum on the three days he has to go in because he says he doesn’t want to go. I suppose theres a guilt element coming into play too.

That’s a very short term view though. Childcare is an investment in your career. The family income
may not increase now, but if you don’t work now you won’t be in a position to progress to higher paying jobs in future. You’re also missing out on pension contributions from an employer. You staying home is investing in your husband’s career only. It’s a trap many fall into, but this is a long game and you have to look beyond now.

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Namenic · 23/09/2022 08:10

You working at a more similar level to DH will likely be a long term financial benefit and decrease risk. It can put you in a better position if he gets ill or gets made redundant. 2 people earning a medium salary will likely get more take home pay than 1 person earning a lot - due to tax system. Your pension pots being more equal might be better. but do all the sums

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KangarooKenny · 23/09/2022 08:11

If you want a career you need to decide how you will BOTH divide child care between you. He needs to step up.
But when I went back to work PT, after being a SAHM, my DH told me that he would not be ringing in sick if the kids couldn’t go to school. So basically his job was far more important than mine.

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arethereanyleftatall · 23/09/2022 08:12

@User135644
I wonder sometimes if the horrible suicide rates for middle age men are actually because of this point? Iyswim. Ie men have it so easy their whole lives, and then something happens when they're 40/50 that nothing in their priveleged lives prepares them for, and then their world comes crashing down.

Absolute anecdote - i worked with this man who was a sexist entitled privileged prick. He thought he was the absolute bees knees. Private school, rower, Oxford graduate, good job, promotion after promotion for no real reason other than he looked the part. Touched up many many women at office parties, including me. We didn't dare say anything. The company got a new CEO, a 'rougher' type. Saw right through him. Got fired. Having never ever had anyone say no to him his whole life, he couldn't handle it at all. Breakdown.

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TheMoops · 23/09/2022 08:13

Anono34 · 23/09/2022 07:15

In terms of being able to afford childcare, we can afford it but because of DH wage, we don’t get the free hours so if he goes to nursery more, we pay the full cost, there’s then the cost of wrap around care so by the time we’ve paid for all that, it almost wipes out anything I would earn as although I had a reasonably good managers job before, I’m not specifically qualified to do anything so feel like most jobs open to me are entry level. DH is a director and works long hours. No chance of him going part time.

Also both DS are very against the idea of after school club and breakfast club which would really be the only option if I were to work more. Ds2 didn’t settle well at nursery (had to have extra settling in sessions etc) and still has a huge tantrum on the three days he has to go in because he says he doesn’t want to go. I suppose theres a guilt element coming into play too.

The cost of childcare is short term. See it as an investment in your career. It's also a joint expense so stop thinking about it like it's your responsibility.

Have your children ever attended wrap around care before? My DS loves it and would go every day if he could. It's very different to nursery.

Your DH has it easy because that's your current family set up. Just because he earns more doesn't mean he can't request flexibility to do some school/nursery picks ups.

The only way both parents can work and progress their careers is if both parents contribute equally to childcare and household responsibilities. You've facilitated his career for so long.... it's time he stepped up.

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Divebar2021 · 23/09/2022 08:19

Also both DS are very against the idea of after school club and breakfast club which would really be the only option if I were to work more

You mean you’ve spoken to your children about wraparound care? How old are they? You’re asking them to imagine something that they haven’t experienced yet and expecting positivity. What about a childminder or an au pair? A reciprocal arrangement with another family, a nanny share? I think you’ve got yourself into a negative mindset about this (eg men have it easy) and have become reactive when you need to have a bit of hustle and become proactive. The world of work has changed and many organisations offer flexible working or remote working options.

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