Author Topic: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her  (Read 18850 times)

Offline Kelda

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Re: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her
« Reply #40 on: March 08, 2011, 12:38:08 pm »
Again to Del's point -- if the genders were reversed I doubt we'd be reading any speculation re 'his wife's needs and wants outside of being a Mom'. 

And you rarely hear of men with families whose careers consume their time described as selfish. On the contrary, if they spend any time at all with their kids they're praised for being involved.

I already said that..


For me, I'd be saying the same thing if it was the husband.

But I can see where you guys are coming from saying that many people wouldn't think like that if it was the husband.

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Offline delalluvia

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Re: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her
« Reply #41 on: March 08, 2011, 03:36:50 pm »
That's true, up to a point. But men who take time off work to care for their kids are also sometimes penalized in the workplace. Women are, too, which is why mothers pay a wage penalty compared to both men and women who don't have kids. But those women are considered bad workers but good mothers. Men who forgo work for kids are sometimes considered bad workers AND bad fathers because they aren't "good providers." So for example, even in companies that offer paternity leave, men are afraid to take it.

Our assumptions regarding gender roles, parenting and work are very screwed up, and both men and women pay the price.

I do hear that they may be bad providers, but never bad fathers.  Look!  They sacrificed their careers for their kids.  Men always get extra kudos for doing something women have been doing for years.  And as I understand it, in Europe, men don't have any problems at all taking paternity leave.

Offline Kelda

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Re: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her
« Reply #42 on: March 08, 2011, 04:14:41 pm »
I do hear that they may be bad providers, but never bad fathers.  Look!  They sacrificed their careers for their kids.  Men always get extra kudos for doing something women have been doing for years.  And as I understand it, in Europe, men don't have any problems at all taking paternity leave.

Certainly in the UK, i wouldn't say that is necessarilly true in the private sector unfortunately.
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her
« Reply #43 on: March 08, 2011, 04:38:34 pm »
I do hear that they may be bad providers, but never bad fathers.  Look!  They sacrificed their careers for their kids.  Men always get extra kudos for doing something women have been doing for years.  And as I understand it, in Europe, men don't have any problems at all taking paternity leave.

Right. But in many minds, good father = good provider and vice versa.


Offline Lynne

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Re: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her
« Reply #44 on: March 08, 2011, 04:58:25 pm »
I remember my Uncle Charlie - an old-fashioned man - Mom's older brother - very way-of-the-world-savvy and self-educated.  For instance, he read the newspaper every day, but he couldn't read or write in cursive.

Anyhow, he once remarked to my mother when I was about 17 and Billy 14 that he didn't understand why she was pushing so hard for me to get an education when I'd be getting married and having children, and further said that my brother was going to be the one who needed to provide for a family.

(Whether she 'pushed' me harder or not is a subject for debate at a different time - she certainly expected more from me, but I think that was more because I was the oldest and he had more health problems.)

A few years later when I had started the familial support of everyone, including my brother, he apologized in his own way.  He said something to my mom along the lines of how he must have had things backwards and gave her 1/4 carat diamond stud earrings that once belonged to his late wife to give to me.  He died from throat and lung cancer a few months later.

 :(
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Offline milomorris

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Re: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her
« Reply #45 on: March 08, 2011, 07:01:29 pm »
This is an interesting conversation on many levels.

While I do bemoan the fact that in many circles absent fathers get less of a negative reaction than absent mothers, I do understand the historical reasons why. One big reason has to do with the fact that in pre-historic times men had to hunt, which would take them away from their families for relatively long periods of time. Then there were wars for men to fight, and war took/takes men away from family, farm, and business. In the industrial era, men were the primary ones working in the factories, mills, trains, ships, etc.

Society was structured that way to suit the needs of the times. Times have changed, and now women can be called off to fight wars, or hired to work 80-hour weeks. And the truth is that for the West to sustain its economies, we need women out of the house. If women went back to "the kitchen" the world's economies would collapse.

As with so many past advancements in the development of humanity, society's norms and attitudes frequently lag behind. In my mind, there is no difference between a man who chooses to become a non-custodial parent, and a woman who does the same. What matters to me is their motivation and circumstances. I think of some of the Meso-American migrant farm workers I've met over the years. These guys don't want to leave their families behind in backward, dangerous, corrupt countries just so they can labor in the fields of New Jersey of Pennsylvania all day on the summer heat. They do so as a last--and often best--resort. These guys endure the pain of separation from their families, but know that it is temporary, and hope their sacrifices will make better lives for their children.

OTOH, there are young men going to high school just a few blocks from my office who think they have the right to make a baby with a girl, and then let her and her mother take care of that baby. They are going to "live their lives" no matter what.
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Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her
« Reply #46 on: March 08, 2011, 08:21:54 pm »
I sometimes see women suffering because of their parental commitments.  I don't just mean exhaustion at the end of a long day, but real turmoil because they aren't free to do the other things they want.  I feel really lucky - I want to be a full time mom.  But as I have said many times, it's a good thing I didn't start parenting in my 20s or probably even my 30s - I would have been one of those women chafing.  I was still too selfish.

I think this question of selfishness is interesting.  This word has come up in a variety of ways here... pertaining to both men and women and also apparently to the decision not to have children.

There are clearly a lot of people who have no interest in having or raising children for a variety of reasons.  And, maybe in some cases the reasons are selfish.  Maybe some people just have no interest in it.  Maybe some people don't feel it's the best idea to perpetuate the human race. Etc.  Or, maybe some people are self-aware enough to know that they wouldn't be a great parent and are, in an unselfish way, not having children to spare a child from being dragged into a situation like that.

But, I think it can also be said that many people who do have children are also doing it for selfish reasons.  Reasons that have little to do with the child itself... They may want an heir.  They may want to pass on their genes (I had a friend in college who was strangely obsessed with this idea), they may want someone to love them (the parents), they may want to have children so that someone will feel compelled to take care of them when they are elderly.  They may have children because they want to feel fulfilled.  And, maybe some people want to have children to further some kind of theological/religiously felf mission.  IMO, none of the things I just listed are centered on the interests of the actual child. There are tons of reasons to have children that are centered on the parent's ego and the parent's personal desired.

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Offline delalluvia

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Re: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her
« Reply #47 on: March 08, 2011, 08:22:23 pm »
This is an interesting conversation on many levels.

While I do bemoan the fact that in many circles absent fathers get less of a negative reaction than absent mothers, I do understand the historical reasons why. One big reason has to do with the fact that in pre-historic times men had to hunt, which would take them away from their families for relatively long periods of time. Then there were wars for men to fight, and war took/takes men away from family, farm, and business. In the industrial era, men were the primary ones working in the factories, mills, trains, ships, etc.

In hunter-gatherer bands, the women were probably just as likely to hunt as the men and hunters probably never wandered far.  What good did a hunt do if the hunters were gone for a 'long time'?  People are hungry and need to be fed now, not months from now.

Actually I think it was the industrial age that did it.  Before, the majority of people lived on farms and in tiny towns.  Daddy went nowhere.  He was right out there in the fields or right out front in the shop - usually right alongside Mommy.  There was no real need to have a gender division of labor.  With the growth of the Industrial Age and women still having next to no rights and only men were in the workplace, women were stuck with the job.  But society soothed them by telling them what a wonderful place up on the pillar being a mother was.  Therefore she was much less inclined to bitch about not having rights, not being able to get a job in the workplace, not being paid the same as a man because she had this rose-colored glasses duty in society to stay at home and raise the children.

Quote
Society was structured that way to suit the needs of the times. Times have changed, and now women can be called off to fight wars, or hired to work 80-hour weeks. And the truth is that for the West to sustain its economies, we need women out of the house. If women went back to "the kitchen" the world's economies would collapse.

Or if women were paid for the work they currently do unpaid.

Quote
What matters to me is their motivation and circumstances. I think of some of the Meso-American migrant farm workers I've met over the years. These guys don't want to leave their families behind in backward, dangerous, corrupt countries just so they can labor in the fields of New Jersey of Pennsylvania all day on the summer heat. They do so as a last--and often best--resort. These guys endure the pain of separation from their families, but know that it is temporary, and hope their sacrifices will make better lives for their children.

You've met different ones than I've met.  My experience has been is that they were young guys hip to hook up with an American woman (of any race/age), preferably get married and if they happened to already have a family back in their home countries, oh, well.  Because eventually they'd dump their American wives and go off.  With a brand new pickup truck in my aunt's case that she bought for her new husband.


Offline delalluvia

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Re: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her
« Reply #48 on: March 08, 2011, 08:24:38 pm »
I think this question of selfishness is interesting.  This word has come up in a variety of ways here... pertaining to both men and women and also apparently to the decision not to have children.

There are clearly a lot of people who have no interest in having or raising children for a variety of reasons.  And, maybe in some cases the reasons are selfish.  Maybe some people just have no interest in it.  Maybe some people don't feel it's the best idea to perpetuate the human race. Etc.  Or, maybe some people are self-aware enough to know that they wouldn't be a great parent and are, in an unselfish way, not having children to spare a child from being dragged into a situation like that.

But, I think it can also be said that many people who do have children are also doing it for selfish reasons.  Reasons that have little to do with the child itself... They may want an heir.  They may want to pass on their genes (I had a friend in college who was strangely obsessed with this idea), they may want someone to love them (the parents), they may want to have children so that someone will feel compelled to take care of them when they are elderly.  They may have children because they want to feel fulfilled.  And, maybe some people want to have children to further some kind of theological/religiously felf mission.  IMO, none of the things I just listed are centered on the interests of the actual child. There are tons of reasons to have children that are centered on the parent's ego and the parent's personal desired.

Agree.  The word selfish is so often cast at those who are child-free, but never back at parents because it's assumed parents are 'selfless'.  As you pointed out, a great many are not, not really.  

Offline milomorris

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Re: Woman decides full-time mothering isn't for her
« Reply #49 on: March 08, 2011, 08:30:20 pm »
Or if women were paid for the work they currently do unpaid.

Are you talking about equal pay for equal work, or somethingm else that I'm not understanding?
  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

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