Do you know any men with "daddy guilt"?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2003
Do you know any men with "daddy guilt"?
45
Mon, 08-25-2008 - 6:13pm

Do you know any men in your life, DH or otherwise, who have expressed or display a male version of "mommy guilt"? Not just wanting to spend more time with the kids, but feeling extremely torn and even upset about not being there more for the kids. Or, men who wish they could SAH, but can't (for financial or societal reasons).


If you don't know any personally, do you think there's a significant contingent of men who do have this guilt? Or is it simply a female invention?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2003
Mon, 09-15-2008 - 10:27am
:)

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2003
Mon, 09-15-2008 - 10:19am

I can't believe I am about to type even this, because it always amazes me when others allow themselves to get drawn in. Sigh - but I will.

Once more for those just coming to the party - I did not refer to statistics suggesting a higher divorce rate in marriages that have SAHMs. I stated that divorce rate statistics refute another posters statements that women seeking financial independence led to a higher divorce rate.

And since it is so incredibly difficult for you to find the link to the census site, I have found it for you - shockingly, it is, in fact, www.census.gov, just as I suggested yesterday.

There's this nifty little search box in the upper right hand corner. You type the word divorce, you get several pages of listings. One includes a paper on divorce rates by region, others include national health statistics that track divorce and marriage statistics by year, not just every ten years for the census. It works sort of just like the guidance I gave yesterday.



iVillage Member
Registered: 04-24-2008

You're certainly entitled to get so emotional here.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2003

I am sorry that you felt I was attempting to belittle you.

Seriously, I am. Because I truly do not try to do that to people, and I find it annoying when others - even those I agree with - do that in their posts. I did make sarcastic remarks (since your post started with an eye roll), but clearly acknowledged the sarcasm and then moved to a separate statement to express my actual views. My intent - because you seemed to feel in particular that people making other arguments denigrating your specific choices - was to make as unemotional and fact-based a response to your statements as possible. I tried to go point-by-point on why I disagreed, to make it clear that it was the logic of one particular argument - *not* your choices or your family - that I was taking issue with. Apparently I failed at that, and I do apologize if you feel attacked.

All that said, I do not in any way have problems with saying that women who give birth or who mother a young infant (regardless of carrying them) or any other similar type relationship *do* have a physical bond and that a physical bond (which is transient in nature and has a definite 'expiration') does help to add to an emotional bond, and that emotional bonds to one's children play a part in feeling guilt over parenting decisions (including but not limited to SAh vs WOH).

But that is not what you said originally - it may be what you meant, but the only thing your original post referred to was that obviously mothers are more prone to guilt than fathers because of their physical relationship to their child. And I responded that I felt that argument was inadequate because it ignored factors that I think are not tied to physiological differences between men and women, as well as shut out of discussion women or parents who do not have the same physical bonds with their infants.

I'll go back to 'it's a debate board' - people are going to take issue with what you post and imply. I did, and you've since clarified your argument to one that I agree with more so than the original one.

So going back to the original question in this thread - given your clarified stance that physical bonds to children in turn augment emotional bonds to children - do you feel that women alone have these stronger bonds? That these bonds are justifiably real based on gender differences and thus it is expected that women should more often feel 'mommy guilt' versus men feeling 'daddy guilt'? If so, why? Do you not feel that there are any societal pressures or non-physiological reasons that women in our culture seem to feel these struggles more acutely than men? And how does that align with other 'western' countries - where there are more in-place support systems for working parents - that in turn seem to have a much lower level of 'culture clash' about women SAH versus WOH?


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2003

Aw toots, and here I thought you were starting to warm to me.

I went out of my way to respond in to the referenced poster time and again trying to use *only* facts and *only* to reference debate points and tactics (e.g., reminding people that A implies B does not then equate to B implies A, etc.). She had stated that she felt attacked or looked down upon, and so I went out of my way to craft responses that were as unemotional as possible and solely focused on the debate over how one applies logic to a given argument. I thought it removed the emotion - apparently it did not for her - shrug - but usually you seem to champion the cause of people who read and interpret well, and apply logic consistently.

Feel free to read the referenced posts again if you like - I clearly did *not* equate being a SAHM to being more likely to be divorced. What I said is that census data and demographic analysis shows the one is more likely to be divorced *if* one is: married very young, in a lower socioeconomic level, have a lower overall level of education. I then went on to say that - in refute to the other poster's stance that an increase in divorce rate could be tied to some 'mirage' of women getting too concerned about financial freedom, it would appear from the data that in fact women who have more financial independence actually are then at less risk of of the factors that often lead to divorce.

This gets us in to the A implies B, not B implies A situation.

My statements were that the data supports that the fact that items leading to financial independence for married women do *NOT* indicate that they are more likely to divorce, but in fact the reverse is true.

That does *NOT* equate to me saying the opposite - in other words, I do not claim that *because* a person is SAH necessarily implies that they are either (a) not or never going to be financially independent or that (b) they are automatically going to be more likely to divorce. As a matter of fact, I went out of my way to explicitly say I did NOT mean that.

I further made the attempt to draw attention to the fact that a 'rising' divorce rate (which is actually not true - it has been fairly stable for decades) in the US is in fact not an across the board thing, and that in places where women - according to demographics - make choices that tend to result in them being less financially indepdendent (i.e., marrying quite young, going less far in education, etc.), they divorce rate is higher.

These aren't my 'feelings', nor did I try to tie it to a SAH vs WOH explicit case. It is *harder* for a person who SAH to achieve the financial independence we discussed, but certainly not impossible and certainly not when taken across the entirety of a marriage - i.e., where a couple jointly decides that a parent at home with young children is the best choice for their family and is done as a partnership.

Trying to tie my statements (arguing against a stance that says women driven to financial independence are a cause for rising divorce rates) just does not equate, no matter how hard one tries, to me saying that SAH = more likely to divorce. Go ahead, have fun, but I just didn't say it and it just isn't so.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-24-2008

<<You are contradicting yourself here. It’s easy to feel that you are always right when you are constantly doing that. And it’s easy to overlook the fact that you are attempting to belittle people when you are constantly reminding yourself through text.>>


I agree. Other than Wen's feelings or emotions, I haven't seen any substantiation for the point, for example, that the divorce rate in the BB stems from the excessive households with a sahm. ;)

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-24-2008

<>


Because you say so?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2008
Thu, 09-11-2008 - 11:54pm

No, I found your sarcasm too subtle and it went right over my pretty little head. Give me a break.


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2003

Hopefully the line where I fully admitted to being both sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek helped you to understand that I was, in fact, being sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek.

I then more seriously clarified that statements like these again'feel good' to people for whom they are closely held beliefs. I don't begrudge people their choices or their priorities. But I used hyperbole to counter your tying biological processes to whether or not it is more 'natural' for a mother to feel guilt about putting their child in daycare. I fully acknowledge that the female human body releases hormones in the post-partum period (~ 6 weeks) that increases a mother's natural desire to be close-by physically to her child. Further, yes, breastfeeding *can* (although not always, according to medical studies) prolong the time period where those hormones are at their highest. That said, to correlate that to 'mommy guilt' is just far-fetched. That would imply that mothers that did not give brith to their children are - as a group - less likely to feel guilt about their work/life situation. And, as a natural effect of the body's hormonal cycles, all of us mothers, regardless of our 'birth processes' should be rid of that guilt tendency by the time our children are weaned. So there's a very real reason why women who need to return to work quite 'early' are VERY emotionally distraught - it counters everything their brain and body is telling them. But it sure as heck has nothing to do about a mom of a preschooler feeling upset that she missed the Muffins with Mom at school, or me being worried about whether my kids would do better if they were at home after school doing homework *before* dinner, versus playing at after care and having homework *after* dinner.

There's a very serious physiological need in a woman's brain in the first weeks after birth to be near her child physically - it's a legitimate evolutionary change that makes perfect sense. I for one believe that all maternity leaves should be longer to allow all kinds of adjustment for families, including but not specifically only for those physiological adjustments. But it should be important to note that those physiological needs are **on the part of the mother**, vice the child. (A point I make that is unrelated to your statement --- I'm just anticipating someone else jumping in with some Darwinian rationale for SAH versus WOH).

Any extension of the physiological argument beyond somewhere in the 6 weeks to 6 months range just doesn't hold water.


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2008
you got me! my intention was to talk down to women who had bad birth experiences and pick on people who were adopted. i stand by what i said and you have not disproven it.

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