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Feminism: chat

Do men have an innate sense of importance?

62 replies

Icecreamistoocold · 23/01/2023 18:59

Am having a hard time negotiating the work/ childcare balance with my DH. After the birth of our second child I went back to work full time and he was the stay at home parent. This choice was made because I earned more and he genuinely wanted to be a SAHP. I had done it with our first and discovered that I liked work better. Ideally we would have both worked part time but couldn’t find 2 part time roles that paid well and worked together.

DH did a great job as a SAHP, he did the housework, cooked and did all the baby group’s etc. It wasn’t perfect but it worked for us.

Fast forward ten years and DH is back at work. He started with part time work but has recently started his own business. It’s going well and he is in demand (although pay is not high). At the moment we can’t afford for me to go PT and I am still the higher earner.

The problem is that now DH works he is rubbish at supporting family life. He has slacked on house work and child care. I have pushed back and in the end we have worked out a schedule so we are both pulling our weight. I am happy to do my share but was annoyed that because he started working more it’s fine for him to drop domestic responsibilities!

I have also noticed that he expects his work to take precedence if we have a conflict. This has taken me by surprise as he always acts like his work is more important. I feel like there is something within men that makes them feel superior. It’s like his contribution is always more important no matter the circumstances. It’s very strange to notice. I keep having to push back and remind him that we both work so there needs to be constant negotiation.

I am starting to believe that men believe they are naturally superior and more important than women. My DH would deny this if asked but I don’t think he is even aware of it. I guess it’s male privilege?

OP posts:

FinallyHere · 26/01/2023 15:27

women are naturally more willing to compromise as men prioritise themselves

I think this becomes true when women become parents. They 'get it' that the the DC need to be prioritised.

Having never had DC, I can be 'as selfish as a man' because I can look after myself and let him look after himself. Once there are DC in the mix, they would be the ones who would suffer so I wouldn't be able to stand in that point of principle. No idea why some men continue to just sort themselves out while leaving their wives sort out the DC.

My suspicion is ' because they can', the woman will always 'blink first' when their are DC involved.


MademoiselleTrunchbull · 26/01/2023 16:28

I think a lot of women's priorities change when they have kids and many aren't quite so worried about chasing the career - especially if hubby's salary more than provides for the family.

I saw this with my sister's friends. Many were quite ambitious and had good office jobs. Upon having children their priorities just seemed to change. Fast forward a few years and the kids are at school and many haven't gone back to full time work. Of those that work, most aren't really worried about climbing the career ladder like they were ten years previous.

On paper it looks like the archetypal 'woman gives up salary to facilitate man's career', but in reality the money goes into a shared account and she benefits as much as her husband, if not more as she has a few extra days off every week and doesn't have the pressure of being the primary earner.

Of course, there are situations where the man is financially abusive/controlling or tries to leave her penniless after splitting up but these are not the norm by any stretch IME.


deydododatdodontdeydo · 27/01/2023 12:43

Agree with the last two posters. Why do men leave child care and house keeping to the woman? Because they can. It's sort of acceptable within our society.
Why do women care less about their career after having kids? Because they can, it's acceptable within our society (assuming it's affordable).


Andsoforth · 27/01/2023 13:29

I don’t think it’s particularly helpful to think about men as a class, when the problem is a particular man.

It’s much more powerful to ask
“do you think your work is automatically more important than mine?”
rather than
”do men think their work is more important than women’s?”

I’m not saying this to pick apart what you’re saying, and by all means vent and discuss it here. But don’t take your eye off the ball.

You only have to sort out one man’s attitude, not take on a hundred thousand years of socialisation . You can exhaust yourself if you take too wide a view.


LolaSmiles · 28/01/2023 10:18

There's a strong dose of socialisation I think rather than it being innate, but in one of your updates you said he's now working almost full time and I wouldn't expect someone working almost full time to be doing much more than the person working full time. I would expect them to be doing a fair share though and not leave things to their partner.


JenniferSlopez · 28/01/2023 11:08

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MrsSkylerWhite · 28/01/2023 11:10

I think anyone starting a business has to make that the priority, initially at least. Male or female.


Beamur · 28/01/2023 11:35

The personal experience is often part of a bigger structure though.
So it's perfectly reasonable to ask, is it just me? Or just my husband? If the answer is yes, then it's just a 'you' problem. But if the answer is no, this is a more widespread and experienced phenomenon, then chances rise that it is structural.
I think women (in a heterosexual family set up) are often the primary care giver for children and work fewer paid hours or work in lower paid jobs.
Is it just because they want to or is there more to it than that. Are they defaulting to that role because they saw their Mum do it? (Arguably socialisation) Reinforced by play as a child that centered around home making role play? Or because job opportunities which fit around school hours tends to be more limited? Why is that? Is it because someone at some time has decided that the way to do this job is ,9-5 in a certain place. Why? (And so on).
If you keep digging you often see that the things you are putting down to choice, often have very little choice on offer and are as a result of a structural system that in many cases has been designed and executed by men, for men. Many things don't change because they work ok. Many of these systems weren't designed to keep women out, they do so by not recognising the different needs of each group. Such as childcare responsibilities.
But we are all different people - but it is useful to look and see if it's personal or structural.
I can criticise the patriarchy without disliking men.


ComfortablyDazed · 28/01/2023 21:48

Absolutely correct @Beamur .

Individual men behave like this because it’s part of a wider societal structure.


Icecreamistoocold · 28/01/2023 22:30

@LolaSmiles yes all I want is a fair share. He has been a lot better recently and is pulling his weight. He went back to work pt a while ago. It’s the business set up and recent increase in work that really started to impact things. It’s been a big adjustment for both of us. My saving grace is that I am not worried about speaking up. I am not interested in being a martyr waiting for him to notice.

OP posts:

bluebeardswife7 · 28/01/2023 23:23

Penis portions does not just mean food. Men want penis portions of life too. It they are stay at home father, they are king of the school gate. If they have a job, it is considerably more important than your job. Thousands of years of social conditioning with a side order of testosterone.


bluebeardswife7 · 29/01/2023 00:14

So basically, yes.

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