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Thread: Family structures and annoying comments

  1. #19

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    Default Re: Family structures and annoying comments

    Quote Originally Posted by Sagres View Post
    I'm reading The Wife Drought by Annabel Crabb at the moment and it explores this kind of issue and the reason behind that question in-depth. I'm really enjoying it, anyone else reading it?
    I have just finished it - I thought a very interesting read - lots of new things I didn't know about(the marriage bar), statistics and ideas. There was one quote I particularly liked from Christine Milne which was about considering a political career but could be about considering any career

    "Just go into it with your eyes open and think about how you are going to stage your career. How long are you going to be there?What role, what level of responsibility? Is this the best time to do it? Have you got that level of support in your own relationship and family that will enable you to do the job well?"

    I don't think I ever thought about it, I was naive I think, I thought it would be totally possible to do whatever I wanted and have children, it can be possible but only with the right framework - which might be your partner, your family, or outsourced support (childcare, in home help etc.), and some planning. I wish I had asked people more questions about how they have arrived where they are and how they manage it.

    I also confirmed what I have always known - that I am a pretty lousy 'wife' - but then who is the 'wife' in our relationship fluctuates according to our jobs at the time, DH has been in the 'wife' role for more of our relationship than I have. DH is quite a good 'wife' he is better at most of it apart from the childcare than me.

  2. #20

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    Default Re: Family structures and annoying comments

    I was having a conversation with someone just today challenging the concept of the mother being the default parent.

    It was a good discussion.

  3. #21

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    Default Re: Family structures and annoying comments

    Cool.
    What was good about it?

    I've been feeling a bit weird the last couple of years being the more involved largely stay at home parent with DH working heaps. I see DS1 picking up on the divided gender roles and I keep saying it wasn't always and doesn't have to be like this etc but it's still the reality he's seeing. Kind of looking forward to starting work again and going back to our earlier more equal sharing of parenting and work duties.

  4. #22

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    Default Re: Family structures and annoying comments

    Quote Originally Posted by nyigi View Post
    Cool.
    What was good about it?

    I've been feeling a bit weird the last couple of years being the more involved largely stay at home parent with DH working heaps. I see DS1 picking up on the divided gender roles and I keep saying it wasn't always and doesn't have to be like this etc but it's still the reality he's seeing. Kind of looking forward to starting work again and going back to our earlier more equal sharing of parenting and work duties.
    I guess I found it good to challenge those rebuttable presumptions ... he calls himself an equal parent and prides himself on it, but when he mentioned that ones of his kids was sick, I asked who usually takes the day off when that happens, and he said, "Oh, [wife's name] of course. I have to go in to work." And when I pointed out that she worked too, you could see the cogs turning ... I asked a few more questions, about what happens with curriculum days, holidays, picking up presents for friends' parties, etc, and we started untangling a whole bunch of things, where he simply took for granted that his wife would do it, between work and being with the kids, or on the weekend while he was off playing footy, or she'd organise online with delivery, etc.

    We went even further (because he was sort of enjoying the challenging nature of the thought process) and we talked about when he recently made a big shift in work (he changed industries, meaning he had study on top of work, and then took a significant paycut when starting his new role - though with the expectation of exceeding his old income within 3-4 years) and he realised that while he'd discussed it with his wife, it never occurred to him that she might not be 100% on board with it, and if he'd had to move (which was a distinct possibility) he had not even considered that they would not have all packed up and moved together, so he could do the new job.

    So yeah, it was good - because when any of these things comes up for me, people often still assume that DH is the one in charge of all of the "work" things, and I'm in charge of all of the "child and home" things, but we have a role reversal, and I always try to take all parties into consideration and DH into the discussion.

  5. #23

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    Default Re: Family structures and annoying comments

    That sounds like a great conversation. Nice that he was interested in questioning his presumptions!

    I also meant to say I don't have anything against people choosing a family structure where the woman does most of the family things. It's just not how me and DH had wanted to do things, nor how we'd done them for the first 4 years of DS1's life. So it's just that he's now learning a structure that we hadn't wanted and assuming that it is the natural order of things that bothers me.

  6. #24

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    Default Re: Family structures and annoying comments

    I have absolutely nothing against that either. If you have two people in a healthy relationship with a balance that suits them both, where they both feel respected, loved, cared for, I think that's awesome. We all have different needs and desires and love languages, energy levels preferences, etc. When two people can blend that into a relationship that works well for them, ace.

  7. #25

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    Default Re: Family structures and annoying comments

    In a similar vein, or on a slight tangent......

    I actually think women are EXPECTED to go back to work now. Being a SAHM is something I wish I could do.... But I don't feel like it's acceptable

    i just started work last week. I dont hate it... Actually part of me is enjoying it. But I really wish I didn't have to

  8. #26

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    Default Re: Family structures and annoying comments

    So much has changed since a standard living wage could provide for a family of 5+ ...

    Or since the village was the norm ...

  9. #27

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    Default Re: Family structures and annoying comments

    we are fighting it by not having set gender roles.
    My kids know that Dad does the housework and Mum goes to work.

    I hope they will grow up knowing that both parents contribute and work as a team.

  10. #28

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    Default Re: Family structures and annoying comments

    I had another ripper the other day - another student, this one a woman around 30 studying Masters, and she and I and two other women were talking, and one of them asked what my DH did for a living, and I said, "He's a stay at home dad."

    This woman said, "Oh, I wouldn't like that, I'd want my husband to be a *real* man." (emphasis hers, not mine).

    There was a pause, then one of the other women completely changed the topic.

    And I paused another moment, then bit the bullet, and turned to the one who's said it, and said, "I'm sure you didn't mean it to be, but that was *really* offensive."

    Her: "What was? Oh, I wasn't talking about *your* husband."

    Me: "[Name] asked what my husband did, I said he was a stay at home dad, and you said you wouldn't like that, because you'd want my husband to be a *real* man. That is directly suggesting that you don't consider my husband to be a real man."

    Her: "No, I was just saying that I wouldn't like it, I wasn't making any commentary on your husband, that's not what I was saying."

    Me: "As I said, I don't think you meant to be offensive, but can you see how that came out? I completely get that we all might want different things out of a partner or out of a long term relationship or family structure, but what you said directly commented on my husband, in a very offensive way."

    [Other two women join in, both saying they'd completely heard it the way I said it, and they hadn't known how to broach it, and they were glad I had, because they'd been very uncomfortable about it.]

    This then segued into another whole conversation about standing up for yourself, being able to call out offensive things when they come up, gender roles, default parenting, and a bunch of other stuff - the conversation went for well over an hour, and I tried to be really clear to the woman who had made the comment that I didn't in any way expect her to modify her beliefs, but that the comment was such that I couldn't in good conscience not let her know how it had come across - because if I had offended someone in that way and been oblivious to it (and it's happened, believe me) I would want someone to let me know -- so whether I do differently the next time or not, I've had the option.
    For the most part, I answered their questions, and tried to not refer to the specific comment further -- there was no need to go on about it after I'd stood up for myself, and she had responded. I didn't want to dwell on it.

    She took it with good grace, and while she didn't apologise, she did say that she could see how it might have come across, and that she'd certainly not meant it that way.

    But a verse that I find to be very true is "For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." (the last bit of Luke 6:45) and this seemed to be a whole world of that ...

    And it again struck me: what part of a man bringing up his own kids strikes some people as not being "manly"?

    And why??

    And if that's not her concept of a man, then is me working not part of her concept of what it is to be "a woman"? And if it is, then why bother with Masters and ambitious careers at all? Is 10 years of tertiary education and tens of thousands of dollars in student loans all just part of the back up plan for what we can do if we don't find a manly man who will impregnate us? She was pretty clear during the conversation that she's looking for a husband, and she wants kids. So I just don't get it. Is the study and the job just for fun?

    Now again: if she had said, "Gee, that's not something that would work for me. I really want my husband to be [whatever]." then that is 100% a-ok, no matter how different it is from what works for me. She is in no way obliged to fit -- or even approve of -- my structure.

    But for pity's sake, let's not pillorise each other or denigrate each other's families.

  11. #29

    Default Re: Family structures and annoying comments

    Wow... at a bit of a loss for words. Good on you for standing up for yourself. I really think some people don't get how offensive they can be. I'm sure I've said something really obnoxious without realising it and I would have been grateful for the way you handled it so at the very least, I would be aware of what I said

  12. #30

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    Default Re: Family structures and annoying comments

    Like Foss at a loss for words. Peoples perceptions of gender roles seem very ingrained, I am not sure there is much can be done apart from trying to ensure future generations think differently. I once was talking to a friend of a friend about living in our little flat, and she said "I'd be having words if I were you" I didn't understand she said "with your husband, he should sort a bigger place". Like is only his responsibility to earn money for us to get a bigger place. At the time I thought her views were rare so I didn't say anything, but I have realised they are more common then I thought.

  13. #31

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    Default Re: Family structures and annoying comments

    Tell me about it.

    Even in terms of the saturation of gender roles in my DS1's prep class: not from the teachers, but the kids ... it's all princesses over here and superheroes over there, and I just don't think it was that prevalent in my day ... sure, I wanted to be a fairy princess ballerina in prep, but there were plenty of kids who wanted to be vets, teachers, doctors, and there were plenty of girls who wanted to play lego (or for me: Voltron) even if we wanted to be in high heels while we did it ...

    But there were options.

  14. #32

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    Default Re: Family structures and annoying comments

    Don't get me started on school. The school seems totally clueless about the messages it sends to students. My DD has become quite anti work since starting school, "when I grow up I will have a rich husband so I can bake stuff for school and go to assembly" - in her eyes what the school values are people who can be at the numerous during school events they organise and bake stuff for fundraisers. I can counter the message with DD (and DS when he goes although I suspect it will impact him less because Dads are valued for moving bookshelves and the like on weekend!!!) but it still irks me.


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