what is the dad's role in SAHM v WOHM

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-12-2003
what is the dad's role in SAHM v WOHM
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Tue, 12-30-2003 - 10:58pm
Following up on a subthread in some of the above debates, it occurs to me that the role of dad might be different in a home with a full-time SAHM vs. a full-time WOHM. Another issue might be how self-sufficient the kids are. So here are my questions:

1. If you are a SAHM do you believe your DH has a greater or lesser role in caring for the children and the household than he would if you worked outside the home? If you believe there is a difference, would you chalk it up as a benefit or as a drawback?

2. Same question if you are a WOHM.

3. If you are a SAHM do your children do chores around the house (assuming they are old enough)? If so, which ones: clean their own room, prepare meals, do laundry, participate in cleaning outside their rooms, etc.? Do you believe they do fewer, the same or more chores than they would if you WOH? If there is a difference, would you chalk it up as a benefit or a drawback?

4. Same question if you are a WOHM.

I'll answer for me. While I was married I was SAHM for a year, but most of the time I was a WOHM. In both cases, my NDH (not-dear-husband) did nothing around the house. Neither did the kids but during most of the period of my marriage they were pretty young--6 and 8 when we divorced. Once I was a single parent and WOHM, the kids participated in all chores appropriate to their ages--except neither ever cooked. By the time they were 12 or 13 they did most of their own laundry. So in my case, it appears to have been single-parenthood that made the difference not SAH or WOH. Probably the **only** benefit to having been a single parent is that my kids grew up pretty self-sufficient. But I wonder if you all have any thoughts on this topic.

Grandma J

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 12-30-2003 - 11:14pm
Oh I *know* my dh would not contribute towards housework any more than he does now if I woh ft. He just doesnt SEE dirt, I swear. And I think its genetic because my dd isnt much different, lol.

That said, both of my children have chores. And if I woh ft, they probably would have LESS chores, not more. Because we wouldnt be getting home from work/dc during the week till probably 6pm every night, we'd be rushing to get dinner and the kids to do homework. There really wouldnt be time for much in the way of chores-for ANY of us (I always say if I ever go back to work ft, I *WILL* have a housekeeper come in once a week!).

I dont see that our roles as far as childrearing would change much. Right now, dh is pretty much there for every event, drives dd places, spends a lot of time with the kids. We are 50/50 on the parenting front and always have been.

dj

Dj

"Now when I need help, I look in the mirror" ~Kanye West~

Avatar for phyreblade
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 12-31-2003 - 2:02am

1. If you are a SAHM do you believe your DH has a greater or lesser role in caring for the children and the household than he would if you worked outside the home? If you believe there is a difference, would you chalk it up as a benefit or as a drawback?


I've gotten into quite a few tussles with my brothers over this issue.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 12-31-2003 - 7:06am
I was a SAHM for 12 years and a WOHM for the last 8 so I will answer the question from both sides.

1. If you are a SAHM do you believe your DH has a greater or lesser role in caring for the children and the household than he would if you worked outside the home? If you believe there is a difference, would you chalk it up as a benefit or as a drawback?

I always looked at the children and the household as two different issues. I had more actual hands on time with our children because I was there more hours but during the time that we were both in the home we were equal parents, me no more likely to change a diaper, give a bath then I was. He also had a lot of time alone with the children where he was in complete charge. It was one time where our different sleep patterns really worked on our favor. I an early bird and he a night owl. During the time that we had a little one not sleeping through the night I went to bed very early (usually about 8:00) any child issues that came up between that time and the time that he normally went to bed (usually 11:00-12:00) he took care of totally. Once he went to bed if the infant woke up then I was back on duty again. It allowed us both to get adiquate sleep while still having one not sleeping through the night.

Housework I have always looked at as a time issue. It should be done by who ever has the most time to take care of it and since I was a SAHM most times that fell to me. I tried to get most of the household stuff done during the week days so that we both had our evenings and weekends relatively free.

2. Same question if you are a WOHM.

And same answer. I have worked from as little as 20 hours per week to full time (40 hours). He has always worked full time so for the most part I have still done more of the household stuff. But when I do add hours he does more around house. Again a time issue.

3. If you are a SAHM do your children do chores around the house (assuming they are old enough)? If so, which ones: clean their own room, prepare meals, do laundry, participate in cleaning outside their rooms, etc.? Do you believe they do fewer, the same or more chores than they would if you WOH? If there is a difference, would you chalk it up as a benefit or a drawback?

My kids have had chores as soon as they were capable. I think it probably started with clearing the table at about 3. There was no difference from when I was a SAHM to when I was a WOHM. But things have changed as they have gotten older. My DDs are now 20, 18 and 14. They are in charge of their own rooms, I have done all the family laundry up until the started college, then they take over their own. There are a few exceptions, if they wanted something washed and it was not my normal laundry day then they had to do it themselves but had to make use they had a full load even if it mean doing someoone elses laundy also and this week DD3 will be doing her own laundry. I told her last night to make sure that she had her laundry picked up and in the kitchen before she went to bed because I was going to start on it as soon as I got up. I reminded her when I went to bed. This morning her laundry was not out so I am only doing mine and DH's, she'll be doing her own. Every one is in charge of preparing their own breakfast and lunch (but sometimes one person will cook for more or even the entire family) I usually prepare the evening meal but all are capable and sometime do it. Since two of them are no longer living in the home full time we are coming full circle on this and I am again taking over more chores. When all three were home they shared kitchen detail. Now that just DD3 is home most of the time she usually clears the table but DH or I do the dishes.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-12-2003
Wed, 12-31-2003 - 7:53am
I WOHFT. If I were to SAH, I would expect DH to continue to be as involved with the boys as he is now. I might do a little more of the chauffering becaue I would have more time than DH (although Number One Son will driving soon-yikes!). DH is great at pitching in now, but he has an old-fashioned streak and I think if I SAH, he'd expect me to take primary responsibility for the housework. I don't have a problem with that--my kids are school age, so I'd have plenty of time to clean, I don't mind doing it, and I'm too cheap and picky to pay someone to clean for me.

Our boys have chores now and they'd have them if I SAH for much the same reasons. They and Dad do the dishes and clean up the kitchen every night. They take out the trash and recycling. They cut the grass. They clean their own rooms (at least in theory) and whatever else we tell them to clean. They wash and wax the cars (under Dad's exacting supervision). They feed the cats sometimes, although that's ususally my job. They help us with home repairs. They are learning about shopping, cooking, and laundry.

The boys have chores because we think it's important for them to learn the value of work, paid and unpaid, and it's important for them to learn household management skills--cleaning, cooking, yardwork, etc. (see the Rasing Sons thread for more on that).

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 12-31-2003 - 8:53am
In a two parent family, BOTH parents have a equal responsibility to ensure that the family (kids) and the home (dwelling/chores) are cared for appropriately. How that responsibility is handled is up to the individual parents involved. Some folks go for dual-income; some folks go for single income.

In MY opinion, if you opt for single income, the parent (whomever that might be) who is home will probably do the lion's share of child care/housework. This does NOT mean the WOHP is off the hook for all childcare/housework tasks. there are going to be times when the SAHP requires the assistance of the WOHP.


Similarly if the WOHP for whatever reason, goes through aperiod where the single income isn't sufficient, the SAHP should be willing to take up the slack and provide additional income for the family.

When both parents WOH, then the chores should be split, although I wouldn't suggest some of the GAAP-rule accounting methods some have advocated. On the other hand, neither WOHP should feel as if he or she has two jobs, and "the other parent wouldn't do more, even if I worked." In MY opinion, that's a crap attitude and completely and utterly disrespectful to the other spouse.

Nobody goes skipping through the daisies when it comes to housework, so the fact that one of the spouses "doesn't like" housework or isn't inclined to it is just tough sh!t. Do it anyway and stop making the other parent feel unduly burdened. Similarly if the WOHP of a SAHP flat out refuses to lift a finger around the house, that too, is not cutting it in my book. There are simply going to be some things even the WOHP should be expected to do. Child care is DEFINITELY one in which the WOHP shoudl expect to come home at night and take on a VERY active hands-on role. And housework should also be considered; maybe not to the extent of the childcare, but at the very least, the WOHP should be going out of his/her way to keep the housework load of the SAHP low (i.e., no leaving glasses all over the house, pick up after him/herself, run the vacuum after dinner if the SAHP is cleaning the kitchen, etc.)

I don't think gender should ahve any bearing on the roles.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 12-31-2003 - 9:08am
Would dh's role in housework change alongside my working status? Yes. Wrt to the children? Yes, indirectly.

This is really a complicated issue in our house. My dh has major clinical depression. I could write out a small novel explaining how things have worked in the past when I attempted to WOH, putting a little extra stress on him. I'll just say, being AH, and remaining to take as much pressure of my dh as I can wrt housework, is best for our family. So much so, that even as a student, contemplating WOH in the future, I fully realize that cleaning service or mucho chores on the children will be a necessity.

It's not that my dh cannot do the dishes after dinner, or can't dust off a table now and then, it's his stressors adding up in total. I've learned the hard way that *home* needs to be as stress-free as possible for him to make it through life, actually enjoying it, to avoid the lows and the breakdowns. During the lows and breakdowns, unfortunately, there is little interest and motivation, and that includes the children. I feel my dh operates best when he is free to walk in the door and enjoy the children, and I feel it's best for him to have options, always leaving the opportunity for downtime. It's the only way I feel my children get the most of their father, the only way I get the most of being able to enjoy my husband, and the only way for my dh to be able to enjoy life. I'll just leave it at that.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-02-2003
Wed, 12-31-2003 - 9:51am
WOHM chiming in.

Dh definitely has a greater role in caring for the children becuase I WOH. Necessity is the mother of invention. The solo time dh has with the kids because I WOH benefits their relationship greatly. And no, dh wouldn't take it if I were SAH. As it is, if I'm home, dh considers the kids my responsiblity. Now if I can just figure out what would motivate him towards reaching parity in the housework dept, lol.

My WOH definitely affects the amount of "chores" my kids do. With limited time, it's too easy to just do things myself rather than take the extra time to make the kids do them. I'm working on this as I know it needs to be corrected.



iVillage Member
Registered: 07-02-2003
Wed, 12-31-2003 - 10:46am
Well, I WAH, but during the day I am primarily a SAHM who fits in a little work (and a little message board play time) during the day. Otherwise, I do most of my work in the evenings. My children are only 4 and 5 so although they do have chores to do, they aren't the kind that really make a difference. LOL.

Whether I WOH, SAH, WAH, my dh is an active participant in parenting and in domestic duties. He takes care of all things outdoors and helps with stuff indoors. We do a major cleaning once per week. Everyone has their major chore to do - including the kids. Their major would be a thorough cleaning of their bedroom, which of course I help with, but they strip their beds and take their bedding to the laundry. I think b/c I am AH, I spend more time teaching them how to do chores. When I WOH with my first child, I found it easier and quicker to just do it myself, whereas now I have them work along side me. Honestly, my work status doesn't really affect much. Dh has less domestic chores to do, but he still cooks on the weekends and helps out around the house.

Avatar for 1969jets
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 12-31-2003 - 11:17am
I am currently a SAHM but I WOH for the first 9 years that we had kids. He has always been very involved in caring for the kids and he did not change when my work status changed. Dh loves his kids and WANTS to be a very important part of their lives.

My kids do whatever I ask them to do around here (which is probably less than they should). The help set the table at mealtime, keep their rooms picked up, help with things as they come up, take out the garbage. I don't think I make them do enough around here, but they do whatever I ask so I guess it's my fault that they do what they do. This did not change that much when I changed my work status.

My kids are pretty self sufficient for their ages (almost 10,7,4). I am not sure if the fact that I worked until a year ago had anything to do with it. It probably did. When I stopped working we just continued habits that we had before.

Jenna

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-02-2003
Wed, 12-31-2003 - 2:26pm
You have marital issues that are totally separate and apart from work status. If WOH was the only way to get my dh involved with his children, I'd leave him. I cannot fathom living with and loving a man who defers his parental responsibilities onto anyone else. I chose my partner carefully, and would never have had children with him if I had to manipulate him into spending time with his own kids! Holy crap! I can see trying to get out of housework, but doesn't your husband enjoy his children? My dh loves being a daddy and it shows. It wouldn't matter if I WOH or not, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I wonder if your children know that the time their daddy spends with them is because he HAS to, as opposed to because he WANTS to. I truly find that sad.

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