SAHMs or SAHDs?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
SAHMs or SAHDs?
25
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 2:31pm
Why does society feel that the only person capable of taking care of a child is the mother? Why can't the dad stay home and let the mother work? Of course it can be vice versa.

The reason why women take care of the children is because society made it that way. A new mother is just much a clumsy fool just as a new dad. It's new to both of them. So who's to say, the dad can't be the one to remember schedules, feedings, diaper chages, doctor appts, etc, and the woman just help out like they do? Or have both do it all. (Of course this wouldn't work if yo breastfed, so disregard if you do). But it can work.

Just because there's a man in the house doesn't always mean he's the bread winner. What if the wife's the bread winner and if they wanted one parent to stay home, let it be the dad.

What would society do then in the place of employment? If fathers took just as much interest in their kids with the same responsibilities that the mother has always had, then who would the companies see as the best employee to do the job? If both genders need time off for leave, both need sick days for sick children, both could not travel too frequently and both can't work long hours, then who would be the best gender to hire then?

My husband and I take turns taking time off for pediatric appts, sick times, and personal business days. I think it should be that way if both parents work out of the home. This way neither employers of the parents can complain about too much time off. And trust me, if it came time to choose who stays at home, I'm the bread winner, so it would be him.

Does this make me any less of a mother? No. No more than it would make him less of a father if I stayed home and he worked.

What do you all think?

Tonya

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2002
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 3:05pm
I can't really say because my husband is in the military which puts an entire different spin on things. Not only that, but he has been in recruiting since we were married, which means LONG, uncertain hours. Somedays he would leave out home at 4:30am. Somenights he wouldn't get home until 11pm. Then somedays he would only work from 9am-12pm. But it was all dependent on the Army's needs. He had very little choices!

So, even when I was working, I was the kids primary provider. I took them to daycare evey day b/c he was usually already gone. I picked them up everyday b/c he was usually still working.

Now, something he had in the military that most civilians don't have is LOTS of time off. He took off 4 weeks (I think) when daughter was born. After 10 days of trying to breastfeed and not being successful, we switched to bottles, and he would get up most every night and feed her, change her and get her back to sleep. And no, I was not working. She slept through the night from about one month on, but on the odd occasion that she would wake up, he would typically get up and take care of her, even though he WAS working, and I wasn't. He is just a better person when waken up than I am. I think that says alot about our marriage and parenting. We both do what we do well, and make up for what the other person doesn't do well.

Now everything has changed b/c with his disabilities, he isn't really capable of doing alot. His mind wanders alot so schedules are always done by me. He does try to help out as much as possible, but I have to constantly remind him. For instance, with me being on percoset right now, I can't pick up the kids from school today, but I am having to stay up for the next 45 minutes to remind him to go get them then. Doesn't make him a bad dad....but that is one of his quirks which I typically make up for by either doing it myself, or reminding him of it.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with a dad being the SAHP. In alot of cases, dad makes a better SAHP than mom does. So far, I haven't had that luxury due to the kids ages, and hubbys issues. But if I do choose to go on to college, and law school, I will be starting to work about the time they enter HS, and they will be fine with DH at home with them. That is different from having young children who can't remind him or tell him what they need. Although daughter does pretty well with it at 6 years old b/c that is how she has been raised. :)

As for employers...well, I have never had any problems getting hired anywhere, even with gaps in my resume. And I have never been paid below what a man in the same position as me has been paid, so I can't really speak to that side of the issue. :)

Okmrsmommy-36, CPmom to DD-16 and DS-14

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 3:12pm
My current husband is military as well. I can sympathoze with those uncertain hours. He's in the AirForce.

I replied to your post in "broaden your horizons". I didn't know he was in the military, but it would still make sense had he went for a job outside the military factor. It's an interesting reply. Check it out.

Tonya
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 5:14pm
My dh could never SAH FT. I love him to pieces, and he is a great father, but it would never work. He has long term clinical depression. I have learned in my experience with him, that he operates best under busy conditions. Taking an entire weekend to sit on the couch and watching movies, reading books, usually results into a slight depressive episode. Just in two days time, we can get to the point where his appetite wanes, he sleeps in, takes naps, won't answer the phone, closes the curtains, etc. SAH FT for him would literally drive him insane. Once, he came down with bronchitis, had to take a week off of work to get better... this resulted in a week long stay at the VA hospital in the next town... not for the physical illness, but for the depression that ensued in that week. He simply must keep motivated.. and being a SAHM for 4 years now, I fully realize that you must be able to accomplish this on your own to SAH :)

As for society on the whole, I do think people tend to think of women as child care givers. How many daycares do you know of that employ mostly men? Male nurses? Although I feel that men are just as capable of being parents, the child/mother bond is a strong one! Go ahead and try to take a kitten from a wild cat. LOL. I have watched a few documentaries on TLC and Discovery (uh-oh, watchout, amatuer here, lol) - did you know that mothers of newborns feel compelled to kiss their newborns for a biologic reason? The explanation is that mom kisses baby, taking germs from their body, creating antibodies for them, and passing them to baby through breastmilk. In all of evolution of life, somehow I think we are still very early on in the men=women department. Sure, Similac and breastpumps have been around for a while, but not long enough to take over the role of mother to a child in terms of thousands of years of it being otherwise!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 7:32pm
I don't know if it's the chicken or the egg.. Maybe society makes it less acceptable for dads to SAH, or maybe it is less acceptable because dads don't SAH. My dh SAH for almost a year, when my son was between 1 year and 2 years old. (I stopped BFing on his 1st B-day) And, frankly, he is better at it than I am. We fully intend to switch back once I finish my testing and am able to get the job I want. He used to get a lot of flack for it.. but he didn't care. He loved SAH. I don't know why.. maybe it was because he raised his little sister, and learned that way, or maybe he's a kid person. I think it takes a certain personality to SAH and it is present in both women and men, but probably more frequently in women because of the whole nurturing/nesting thing. We always say... screw what society thinks. They don't think much these days anyways.
Avatar for cl_annieb67
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 7:23am
Well, if that were to happen, years of all that "maternal instinct" crap would be flushed.

I also think a lot of it has to do with control to some degree. I have finally begun to admit that there are areas of parenting where my dh is actually BETTER than I. I know a lot of moms (NOT necessarily SAHM's either) that want to micromanage every aspect of their kids lives. Ya know, the world would collapse if dad took his kids out for a great big greasy burger and fries. Then there are those who just look it at as time with dad. Nutrition be damned. They had a good time.

I also think it is somewhat linked to the post below. No, I know sitcoms don't have that much influence over society. BUT...the potrayal of dad being a constant screw up and being chastised by the perfectly coiffed mom, with the perfectly organized house certainly doesn't help.

Personally, I wouldn't be married to a man who couldn't/wouldn't stay home with his kids if the situation arose.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with my parents when they found out I had applied for a new job, with weekends off. They said "that would be SO nice, and it would make it so much easier for Don (my husband) not having to watch the kids all weekend" Huh? I was insulted. FOR him. He is not a child. He is a grown up. My working weekends was based on when I had to pay for Day Care, to cut costs. He's not watching his kids, he's parenting. He has no idea why it should be made any easier for him. They are his kids too. And the insinuation that he can't handle it, is very insulting.

Now that we are raising teen girls, he is a bit lost at the whole PMS, mood swing, bit. And he can't deal with it the way he normally does which is "get over it". BUT, the man did schlep to the store to buy his daughter the pads she wanted. Something he's never done for me. :O) But he's trying to be patient, and he's trying to understand.

But like you, I totally hate the attitude that fatherhood ends at conception. Or is put in the background, and brought out only when it suits the family.

If my dh were a SAHD, I may not come home to a 5 course meal and laundry that is April Fresh, but the kids? They'd be healthy, happy, taken care of, and after all, that is what it's all about.



"There in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I close my eyes, feel their beauty and follow where they lead."

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2001
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 7:42am
Of the five families I have currently enrolled, only one family switches off their children's appointments and sick days at home ... the only problem they have is dad doesn't do housework. The other four families, mom is the one who gives up her day at work to sah with a sick child, takes off work early for appointments.

In my own family, my dh does all the appointments and because I wah I am here to care for my two when they are ill.

Linda

 

Linda - wife, mother, grandmum                     &nb

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 8:26am
Linda, I am really surprised. I assume it's not because those moms have more leave time, right? I don't get that at all. DH and I nurture in different ways, and it's good for the boys to learn to feel taken care of by both of us.

In fact, for this first year in my new job, anything other than a routine ped visit is going to be DH's job, since I have no leave accrued.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 9:48am
ITA!!!!

And you're right. Why is it called babysitting (watching the kids) when husbands stay with them and not parenting. Are the kids only the mother's children? NO. That gets me so angry. It's automatically assumed that a male who has kids is good to go with going anywhere and anytime he wants, but a woman is expected to have to find a babysitter.

I am so glad my husband is a daddy. It's easy to be a father, but a daddy requires that extra parenting/non-male chauvinsitic (sp??) effort.

Tonya
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 10:42am
Is maternal instinct not real?
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 11:00am
Yes. It's very real. The instinct cannot be duplicated but the way to care for a child or anybody for that matter can be taught to someone. Dads can learn to care for their children (feed, bathe, change diapers, play, teach, discipine, etc.). Of course the difference between instinct and being taught is instincts come natural, the latter has to be taught and remembered. Instincts aren't remembered, it's natural, it comes to you automatically even if no one ever taught you.

Tonya

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