Reinventing the Workplace

Welcome to the Tuesday guest blog. Every Tuesday "On Balance" features the views of a guest writer. It could be your neighbor, your boss, your most loved or hated poster from the blog, or you! Send me your entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

By Sharon Meers and Joanna Strober

Protests over work hours gave us Labor Day in 1894. Americans have re-invented the workplace many times since and it's time to do it again. Census data shows that 60 percent of married couples have been dual-career for over 15 years. Yet most employers design jobs as if all employees had an at-home spouse. This assumption is hurting our country and our economy.

Two incomes provide a safety net and stability. Research group Catalyst reports that dual-earner couples more readily take chances in their careers. As one man said of his wife, "She made enough that I was able to do something far more entrepreneurial than I would have if we were relying on one income." In a world of rapid innovation, our country wins when families can keep themselves afloat and take the risks required to find better jobs.

The gains go beyond economics: Women and men have better health when they're engaged in both work and family. Data has long shown that married, working mothers enjoy better physical health and less incidence of depression than mothers who aren't employed. For fathers, the results are parallel: Men with the highest well-being are the ones most involved with their children.

When both spouses work, children do well, too. In the most comprehensive study of U.S. childcare, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found facts such as this: Kids in two-income families score the same (on skills and behavior) as those with full maternal care. Children, themselves, report they're content: 67 percent of kids in dual-career homes say they get enough parental time, precisely the same percentage as kids with an at-home mom, according to the Families and Work Institute.

Practical changes help dual-career families. Large employers as diverse as Google and the U.S. military have found on-site childcare cost effective. Tax credits for dependent care can be increased above the current $5,000 cap. Workdays can be made shorter, more flexible and more efficient so parents can see their kids without hurting profits.

But the biggest obstacle is a lingering attitude that moms belong at home, and that the a single-earner family is a sign of social status. "I'm so glad I make enough money that my wife stays home," a proud executive told us. Employer childcare, tax breaks and efficient hours won't become common while that attitude remains. Dual-career homes make our workforce agile and our country dynamic, while allowing parents and kids to thrive. In honor of this Labor Day, let's give two-income families the status they're due and start adapting our workplaces to reflect today's reality.

Sharon Meers was a managing director at Goldman Sachs in San Francisco until last year when she left to create the Partnership for Parity at Stanford University, focused on workplace reform. Co-author Joanna Strober is a private equity investor. Their upcoming book, "Opting In," focuses on workplace reform and employee negotation that allow dads to be full parents and moms to have full careers, based on their research on dual-earner couples. Meers and Strober both live in the San Francisco bay area with their husbands and children.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  September 5, 2006; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
Previous: Sliding Along the Work-Home Spectrum | Next: Breast-Feeding Takes Giant Leap


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Comments

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Are there links to these studies? A lot of the folks on here like to read them for themselves. They sound very interesting.

I am usually very skeptical about findings like the one where women who work outside the home are healthier and suffer less depression. It may be a correlation, but does not prove causality. From some of the moms I know, existing poor health and even depression is part of the calculation that results in women staying home. So an equal ly compelling explanation is that sicker women stay home, not that moms suddenly become healthier and happier just because they work. Maybe reading the article would alleviate my concerns on this issue.

Posted by: Ms L | September 5, 2006 7:16 AM

Leslie,

"I'm so glad I make enough money that my wife stays home," a proud executive told us. Employer childcare, tax breaks and efficient hours won't become common while that attitude remains.

Why can't a man be proud that he makes enough for his wife to stay home. Maybe that was her choice and he's glad they is able to afford it. If a woman is supposed to be able to make any choice she wants and be proud of it (bf comes to mind here), why can't a man be proud of accomplishing his choices as well? Why is it automatically a bad attitude?

Posted by: kea | September 5, 2006 7:25 AM

oops - shoud be "they are able..."

Posted by: kea | September 5, 2006 7:35 AM

In my opinion, having the "I make enough for my wife to stay home" attitude among executives tends to trickle down throughout the organization. After all, if the boss can do it, he may encourage/expect a similar behavior (either obvious or not) among his employees, whether they want to do so or not.

Posted by: John | September 5, 2006 7:51 AM

with Kea. Having the right to choose should be for everyone and if that is their choice good for them. Just becuase he thinks it is right for his family doesn't mean he thinks it is right for everyone.

Posted by: I agree | September 5, 2006 8:06 AM

I've done the full-time WOHM thing and the full-time SAHM thing. I'm more sane when I do the WOH thing, but my family isn't. I'm working full-time right now, but will be cutting back to part-time shortly. Hopefully, that will help. If not, I'm going to resign altogether and go back to being a SAHM. My family is the most important part of my life, and they are and always will be my focus.

Posted by: My 2 Cents | September 5, 2006 8:40 AM

But it's not clear that this is what they think is right. It wasn't "I'm glad that my wife is able to stay home and raise the kids." It was "I'm glad *I make enough* so my wife can stay home." It was about him, not her, and his status, not hers.

Women are constantly fighting this perception--if your husband makes a lot of money, then you are working because you "want to", which is perceived as being selfish if you have kids at home. How many working moms-even on this blog--characterize their lives this way ("I work because I have to") instead of "I work because I'm an able-bodied, talented adult who enjoys working." Plus, no woman gets status because she makes enough for her husband to stay home.

This was not some innocent statement this guy made. It is a very loaded statement that reflects continuing cultural biases that affect men and women.

Posted by: Arlmom | September 5, 2006 8:41 AM

I don't agree with any of the above.

It is DETRIMENTAL to families when a "boss" feels that he makes enough for his wife to stay at home. What he is saying is that her career goals and aspirations don't mean as much as his and that she should be at home to be a status symbol. How can anyone be proud of that? And of course this trickles down. Even if he is not conscious of it, his expectations would be that other males in his employ would have wives who do the same and the women employees? Oh geez, I could only imagine---"honey, you don't need that promotion, your husband can take care of you".

The point of this blog today is that since most families are dual income, it is important that employers understand the issues of dual income families. Our current employment system is based on the old father goes to work mom takes care of the kids mold. It's time to change.

And of course anyone can do as they please, but I don't see how anyone can have any pride in staying at home. Can you imagine "My daughter the homebody--sent her to college and now look at her." As I said, anyone can do as they please, but don't look for praise for your choice.

I have great admiration and respect for all working women especially for those who are not college educated and seek to provide a better life for her children. Those are the women we should be celebrating and accomodating. Employers need to take into consideration the needs of their workforce as well as their own needs.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 8:47 AM

My 2 Cents,
Just out of curiosity, how could you tell that your family isn't alright when you WOH? I'm a working mom...so I'm just curious.

Thanks!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 8:58 AM

Hurray for Wal-Mart! I read from a reliable source that they provide more part-time, flexible working hours than any other corporation on the planet. And now I find out that they are lifting so many stay at homers out of their depression and creating healthier parents.

Ain't Wal-Mart Special?

Posted by: Father of 4 | September 5, 2006 8:59 AM

8:47 Poster...
What do you mean that no one can have pride in staying at home? I am a working mom (have to be)...but stay at home moms have pride in staying home and raising their children, volunteering at the school or with scouts, or whatever they do. Being a stay at home mom is a wonderful thing to do...if you can, and if you want to do it.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 9:00 AM

Things have just been falling apart. For example, my kids are upset because they're not able to do certain after school activities that they used to do when I was home. Also, I feel like I NEVER see them, and I assure you that I spend every waking hour possible with them outside of my job. We eat out A LOT more often than we used to and are spending more money that way. Between the before and after care expenses, my commute to work, drycleaning, eating out, and paying for a cleaning service to do some household stuff that I simply don't have time to do, I'm not sure that I'm actually making all that much money anyway. I do love working, but it just isn't working for me.

Posted by: My 2 Cents | September 5, 2006 9:10 AM

I bring you today's Hi & Lois.... for everything it offers.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/comics/king.htm?name=Hi_and_Lois

Posted by: ComicFiend | September 5, 2006 9:14 AM

My 2 Cents,
I guess because your kids have had a taste of you being home, they know what they're missing. With my son, I've always been a working mom...so that's just our life. But my hours are very reasonable, my commute is relatively short, I don't travel, and with just one kid I do have time to cook every night. Good luck with whatever you decide to do...none of this is easy! And as soon as you think you have it all figured out, the kids grow into the next stage and their needs change. Maybe you can find a part-time job...although, I know good ones are tough to find.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 9:20 AM

Father of 4,
I don't know if Wal-Mart is "special"... but they are certainly horrible for small retailers. They remind me of the oil company monopolies from years ago.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 9:23 AM

Personally, I won't shop at Walmart...on principle.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 9:24 AM

I've never been able to stay home. However, I did manage to finally find a job that allows me the flexability of tending to my daughter's needs. With the price of housing and energy out of control, I believe that more women will have no choice but to return to the workplace. It's the middle class that will bear this burden and cry loud for rapid changes in the workplace.
Tell me again how much a McMansion costs?

Posted by: MomOfAPreteen | September 5, 2006 9:29 AM

So, recognizing dual income families has resulted in yet another debate about who is the better parent - the WOHM or the SAHM. I don't understand why so many SAHPs are so quick to jump to criticize WOHPs. Having done both, and in the perpetual attempt to do what is best for everyone in my family, including myself, I do work outside the home. My income provides many benefits and my career helps my self esteem. I do believe I'm providing a better example for my sons and daughter by working and enjoying my work. I don't get the statement "Between the before and after care expenses, my commute to work, drycleaning, eating out, and paying for a cleaning service to do some household stuff that I simply don't have time to do". Yes, child care expenses are there but they do not (although high) take up all of our second income. We don't eat out more, we don't have a cleaning service or a lawn service, and we do spend time together. I wholeheartedly agree with the blog, strongly suspect the statistics cited are correct based on our family's experience, and think that by working I have a much, much more egalitarian marriage.

Although I strive not to judge the SAHMs, I am tired of the constant underlying message that women who "can" stay at home, "should" stay at home. Why? My children are happy, well adjusted and well behaved. I have a career I enjoy and an income that allows us to be comfortable. Why, exactly, "should" I stay at home? Am I merely taking a job that should belong to a man who can then support his stay at home wife? That sure seems to be the basis for such remaining hostility to WOHMs.

Posted by: SS | September 5, 2006 9:35 AM

8:47- I am a stay-at-home mom with a degree from a top-10 University. At this point in my life, while my two kids are pre-school age, my aspiration is to guide their development, behavioral, intellectual, spiritual and social. To do that job justice, it takes a huge amount of skill. My husband is actually a poor graduate student, so he can't say that he's proud that he makes enough for me to stay home, and I actually do agree with you that the word "proud" in this context implies a condescention and superiority that makes me uncomfortable, I know that he is happy that I'm at home with our kids. If I didn't want to do it, and I've had days where I've seriously thought about it, he would stay home with them while I worked or went back to school. We live in a society that values institutional achievement so highly that the incredible patience, sesitivity, and intelligence it takes to raise a child WELL are written off as a waste of time, or the easy road. I fully plan to go back to school and begin a career when my children are in school, but watching and helping another human grow from a baby into a self-sufficient adult is the most incredible, fulfilling thing I ever expect to do. Whether you work or stay at home, please give the job of being a parent the respect it deserves.

Posted by: momof2 | September 5, 2006 9:37 AM

Responding to "September 5, 2006 08:47 AM":
Two working parents are a DETRIMENT to the family that wants to afford a single family home on one income. That's the flip side of the coin.

Everyone is reading something into the quote without seeing the whole conversation. I am not a boss. I am a worker bee. But I am proud that I make enough money and we have budgeted enough that my wife can stay home.

Most families are dual income, but many are not that way by choice. I can't tell you how many women in my workplace state that they would love to stay at home with their kids, but their SOs don't make the income for that to be a viable option.

(TIC) I think we should make it easier for the minority of families who only have one income to make it easier for the SAH parent to remain so. ;-)

Posted by: Working Dad | September 5, 2006 9:39 AM

Hurray--our internet is back! Miss me? IMHO, parttime can help fill the money gaps without all of the fulltime expenses. Also, don't forget that your kids will leave you, and it will be long before they have actually moved out. Once they hit a certain age--a moving target, as it differs with the individual--they will prefer their friends over family for a large part of their freetime, which dwindles rapidly once they are in school. Sports, band, whatever. You become the audience.

I only have 2 kids and already feel like an empty nester at times. The worst part about it was that it just happened overnight. Don't get me wrong--we still spend time together. We eat dinner together nearly every night, we go on vacations together, watch movies, etc. But I am not pushing the swing anymore or warming up the easy-bake oven. They are spending more time away from me than with me. And it is their work right now, to learn how to be independent, to play well with others, to handle group dynamics with people who don't know and love them.

To Momofapreteen: McMansions are overrated. You can still buy a decent house for less than half a million dollars! Just outside the beltway. (OMG--'a decent house for half a million dollars'--I can't believe I just said that.)

Posted by: parttimer | September 5, 2006 9:48 AM

"But I am proud that I make enough money and we have budgeted enough that my wife can stay home."

I'm still confused. What does this mean?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 9:57 AM

>>Two working parents are a DETRIMENT to the family that wants to afford a single family home on one income. That's the flip side of the coin.>>

Blaming two-income families for the high cost of real estate is so....wrong....I don't even know where to start. Inflation, particularly in housing, as well as overall prices depand on so many economic factors. The average house in the DC area costs twice as much as an identical house in the Austin area, where the same proportion of families have two incomes. There may be plenty of reasons to think there should be SAHPs, but to assert that because two-income families have "more" than single-income families (which is probably not true anyhow since many single income families are single income because the one person makes enough to support the whole family) that prices for single-income families are higher....you should go back and retake economics.

Posted by: toWorkingDad | September 5, 2006 10:03 AM

So how should companies be more accommodating to dual working families? What would you ask for?


I am lucky I have a very flexible job that let's me telecommute twice a week and when I need to. I typically work about 45 hours a week but up to 50 when under deadlines. I wanted to work for my current company (small and privately owned) because of this "benefit". I was working for a large (top 5) consulting company, which was inflexible and management was populated by men with SAH wives. I found them to be family un-friendly (I had 8 pm meetings a couple of times!). While the money was excellent, the job culture was horrible. So I left to a much more family friend company. I generally feel companies won't change until no one wants to work for them. They certainly haven't been rewarding workers for increased productivity the last couple of years, why would they introduce a family friendly policy?

Posted by: left the fortune 500 world | September 5, 2006 10:21 AM

What is wrong with a man being proud that he makes enough that his wife can stay home with the kids? My husband has worked hard to achieve the salary he has, and he is proud that his family benefits from this. This doesn't imply judgement of anyone else's situation.

This reminds me of the natural childbirth versus labor pain relief debate. I worked hard to achieve my goal of having NCB, and I don't judge anyone who didn't have that goal, but I think we are all entitled to feel proud of our accomplishments. People should not take this personally.

Posted by: anon | September 5, 2006 10:34 AM

>>What is wrong with a man being proud that he makes enough that his wife can stay home with the kids?>>

Because it's a weird goal to have. My husband would never say "I'm proud that I make enough to pay for my kids' day care costs." And I'd much rather a man say "I have a job that allows me to be an involved dad."

Posted by: toAnon | September 5, 2006 10:52 AM

"I don't understand why so many SAHPs are so quick to jump to criticize WOHPs."

Are you reading the same blog I'm reading today??

The only thing I've seen prior to your post that is critical of anyone is this:

"And of course anyone can do as they please, but I don't see how anyone can have any pride in staying at home."

And that was hardly a SAHM being critical of a WOHM.

It sounds to me that you're just looking for a chance to vent about what you see as an injustice that SAHMs are giving WOHMs, when the topic hadn't really even been broached (yet) today.

Posted by: to SS | September 5, 2006 10:52 AM

"Two working parents are a DETRIMENT to the family that wants to afford a single family home on one income."

...and a DETRIMENT to the guy who wants his wife thinking she has no option but to keep cooking and cleaning for him instead of leaving him and supporting herself even after he eschews condoms, sleeps around, and gives her STDs.

"And it is their work right now, to learn how to be independent, to play well with others, to handle group dynamics with people who don't know and love them."

Great point, especially since I bet they'll need to deal with people who don't already know and love them in the future.

Not everyone does (for example, a housewife who lives in her extended family's household her whole life and just moved from her father's wing of the home to her uncle's wing of the home when that uncle's son married her might not have to deal with non-relatives) but your kids will, right?

Posted by: Maria | September 5, 2006 11:08 AM

>>>What is wrong with a man being proud that he makes enough that his wife can stay home with the kids? >>>

Because we don't live in the 1950s.

>>>I don't judge anyone who didn't have that goal, but I think we are all entitled to feel proud of our accomplishments. People should not take this personally.>>>

I don't think people take it as a personal affront but rather find it annoying that you brag about things they don't feel are accomplishments. Personally, I don't care how women decide to give birth (drugs, no drugs, water, field of poppies etc) . The only thing that is important to me is that mom and baby live. It seems you might be making a life-style statement to those who don't care.

Posted by: to anon | September 5, 2006 11:23 AM

So is there ANYTHING that it's OK to be proud of?

It's not OK to be proud that you earn a good salary.

It's not OK to be proud that you withstood the pain of childbirth.

Is it OK to be proud if you....

1. Win a marathon? Are you being critical of those who didn't win or insensitive towards those people who can't even walk if you admit that you're proud of it?

2. Graduate in the top 1% of your law school class? If you admit that you're proud of your accomplishment, are you criticizing those who didn't do as well? Are you being insensitive towards those who aren't able to afford law school?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 11:28 AM

I would be very proud if either my husband or myself made enough that only one of us had to work. I would think that is quite an accomplishment.

"And I'd much rather a man say "I have a job that allows me to be an involved dad."

No one said that the man was not an involved dad. That is an assumption that you made on the basis that he makes enough for his wife to stay home.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 11:28 AM

It's fine to brag that you're proud that you make enough money that your wife can stay home with the kids. If that's what you feel is best for your family, and those are your values--then by all means be proud! And vice versa if the wife is making enough to allow dad to be a SAHD.

It's also fine to be a stay at home mom (or dad). If you can afford to do it, and you want to do it, that's great. It's a very admirable profession!

It's also fine to have two WOHP...whether it's be necessity or choice. That's something to brag about, too!!!!!!!!!!!!

What's not fine is to feed applesauce to your children 24/7--they need protein, too :) In other words, it's all good!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 11:29 AM

Are we allowed to be proud of anything in our lives other than our parenting?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 11:30 AM

...........Are we allowed to be proud of anything in our lives other than our parenting?

NOPE!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 11:31 AM

"Are we allowed to be proud of anything in our lives other than our parenting?"

Are we allowed to be proud of our parenting?


Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 11:33 AM

..........Are we allowed to be proud of our parenting?

YUP

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 11:33 AM

I COULD HAVE GIVEN BIRTH IN A FIELD OF POPPIES?!

Posted by: June | September 5, 2006 11:34 AM

But aren't things like choosing the family bed vs. a crib and breastfeeding vs. bottle and spanking vs. not spanking part of "parenting?"

I'm proud of not spanking, breastfeeding, and sleeping in the same bed as my babies.

Go ahead and let me have it!


Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 11:37 AM

great to see that the blog is such a nicer place! snark :)

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 11:39 AM

Totally off topic, but-

Fairfax County school started today - my youngest started 1st grade today and will be gone 6 1/2 hours for the first time ever.

Anyone else feeling heartsick and anxious about kids being back in school?

Posted by: SAHM | September 5, 2006 11:40 AM

There is a fine line between being proud and bragging. Be proud of whatever you want just don't expect me to share your value system.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 11:41 AM

"There is a fine line between being proud and bragging. Be proud of whatever you want just don't expect me to share your value system. "

OK - going back to the original quote:

"I'm so glad I make enough money that my wife stays home," a proud executive told us."

How exactly did this guy cross the line into bragging? He's not "expecting you to share his value system" - he's stating something he's proud of.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 11:43 AM

>>>Graduate in the top 1% of your law school class? If you admit that you're proud of your accomplishment, are you criticizing those who didn't do as well? Are you being insensitive towards those who aren't able to afford law school?>>>

You would admit to being a lawyer?!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 11:43 AM

Anxious and excited - not heartsick.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 11:47 AM

I'm proud of my penis. It's earned me 4 trophies!

Posted by: Father of 4 | September 5, 2006 11:49 AM

OMG Father of 4 - quit expecting us to share your value system......

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 11:51 AM

ps- I'm NOT proud of being heartsick!

Posted by: SAHM | September 5, 2006 11:52 AM

>>>He's not "expecting you to share his value system" - he's stating something he's proud of. >>>

Stating he can afford for his wife to stay home is bragging about his income and his dominate status at home. If he told me, "I am proud that my wife just made partner six months after giving birth!" That would be something to brag about. I fail to see why he even mention his wife, especially if there are women in the room since it sends a subtle message that he feels all women should be at home. His priority is having his wife stay home...why should I care?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 11:54 AM

How I talk about my accomplishments is the difference. If I say to my co-worker , "well I finished in the top 1% of my class" after discussing how to handle a case yes it is an insult. If I talk about my marathon speed to someone who is struggling at the track after we both found out we have similar jobs and similar ages it can be interperted as you should be able to do this as well. A lot depends on the tone, the person's affect and the self-esteem (low or high) of the person receiving the statement.

Posted by: to 11:28 poster | September 5, 2006 11:56 AM

I think that there's a difference between being proud and bragging.

Pride is something you feel inside; bragging is telling other people about it.

Nothing wrong with the inner glow you get from being proud of something you've accomplished. But once you voice it to others, it becomes just so much more information about you that nobody wants to know -- information they figure you're sharing because you want kudos.

Posted by: pittypat | September 5, 2006 12:02 PM

It's a bit weird to see a former top executive from Goldman Sachs discussing work-life balance. A big investment bank like that is a pressure cooker of long, long hours and heavy competition. As a lark, I went to look at the "Day In The Life" section of GS's Careers website, and it's quite revealing. The people they feature proudly (and uniformly) describe workdays of 11, 12, or 14 hours. No one mentions family or kids. Yes, the company website also touts its maternity leave and various flexibility arrangements, but from what the employees are actually saying, work-life balance looks like just lip service at GS.

http://www2.goldmansachs.com/careers/inside_goldman_sachs/day_in_life/dayinlife.gscgi?Division=0&Region=1

Posted by: Tom T. | September 5, 2006 12:10 PM

I think it is very self centered to not want to hear something good about a friend or from a friend.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 12:11 PM

I think some people are a little too sensitive. Being proud of something does not mean you are bragging or feeling you are better than others who are conducting their lives differently. As a SAHM, I certainly don't take offense if a WOH mom states that she is proud of her career and her income that allows her family to be in a better financial position.

If I were the breadwinner, I would be proud to do this for my family and allow my husband to stay home if he wanted to. I am glad he feels the same way. Our kids benefit from the fact that we are all happy with our choices.

I don't brag about my childbirth anymore than I brag about my Master's degree. I am proud of them in my own mind because they are things I have accomplished that I wanted to accomplish. If I hadn't been able to have NCB or complete my MA, I would probably be sad, but proud that I gave it my best effort. These feelings have nothing to do with you, your value system, or anyone else's choices. So relax!

Posted by: anon | September 5, 2006 12:11 PM

I'm proud that I went back to work after my daughter was born...when my husband took off for another woman, I was able to maintain the same lifestyle for my daughter and me (no child support; ex-hubby left the country).

Actually, in the four years since my husband left, our standard of living has improved considerably.

That would not be the case if I had opted to stay at home...

Posted by: single western mom | September 5, 2006 12:15 PM

I think it's interesting that the discussion has focused on the perceived sexism of the statement and not on the question of the study itself.

I find some of the statements interesting.

"Two incomes provide a safety net and stability.... In a world of rapid innovation, our country wins when families can keep themselves afloat and take the risks required to find better jobs."

I have read part of "The Two Income Trap" and I'm not really sure that it's true that two incomes provide a safety net and stability in all cases. For my family we have always tried to live on one income, but for families who buy houses where they have to maintain both incomes, etc., I'm not sure this is the case.

I'm also not sure where risk taking *ensures* better jobs - I thought that was part of the risk. :)

This too: "Data has long shown that married, working mothers enjoy better physical health and less incidence of depression than mothers who aren't employed." I can believe that, but I'm not clear on a few things:

- depressed and unhealthy people are probably less likely to be working in the first place (male or female) so did the study control for that in some way?

- did they mean full-time hours when they are talking about employment?

I can only speak from my experience but for our family (one 1-yr old), having both parents work full-out full time hours right now is something that we think would decrease our happiness. We both appreciate having a little more time in our joint schedule to do things like hang out at the park. However, we are both earners, so we might still qualify under the umbrella. :)

I do agree with the central point of the article which is that jobs which allow for a "normal" workweek - like 40 hours - and some flexibility would probably support families better than crazy-hours-must-have-spouse-managing-life-outside-of-work jobs.

Posted by: Shandra | September 5, 2006 12:32 PM

I would feel weird having someone else completely support me and/or my children. It would be like living in "Daddy's house" again. What would I do all day? What kind of an example does that set for children?

Posted by: Elaine | September 5, 2006 12:47 PM

'Anyone else feeling heartsick and anxious about kids being back in school?'

we have four kids in three fairfax county schools this year. the bus pulled away with my youngest this morning, and I noticed a huge smile on my face, then I started crying. I'm definately unbalanced today. I think having a senior in high school is worse than sending the baby to kindergarten.

Posted by: experienced mom | September 5, 2006 12:48 PM

I'm just not sure I agree with the statement that employers set up jobs as if they were an at-home spouse.

I think employers set up jobs supposing that the schedule they put forth will be adhered to, with working hours and vacation laid out.

I would agree that the work environment we have today is pretty much the enemy when it comes to dealing with the "human" element of employees, but I don't think it has anything to do with having a spouse or child or parent or dog or no one at home all day.

Posted by: Liz | September 5, 2006 12:51 PM

CLAP CLAP CLAP

Posted by: to Liz | September 5, 2006 12:53 PM

I think the discussion about the exec's pride at supporting his wife is interesting. I definitely understand the sense that those types of sentiments can perpetuate sexist attitudes towards working women. On the other hand, I am the breadwinner in our house and I am proud that I am supporting my husband while he tries something he's wanted to do for a long timme - starting his own business. Without my income, he wouldn't be able to do it, and I feel really good about helping make that possible. And it's not about bragging about my income or my "dominant status at home" as someone put it. It's about giving something to him. He supported our household while I was in law school, and now I'm supporting it while he pursues his goal. It's a neat feeling of commitment and support and caring for each other. So I can see how the exec or other men would feel that way if their wives really wanted to stay home, or if that was a joint goal in their family.

Posted by: Megan | September 5, 2006 1:06 PM

"I think employers set up jobs supposing that the schedule they put forth will be adhered to, with working hours and vacation laid out."

Again I can only speak from my experience. I had a job that was very like this - pretty strict 9-5 working hours, and vacation laid out and it worked very well.

However my husband works in IT and his hours have always exceeded the supposed work week. As projects change the hours change too - one client's work is within 9-5; another wants changes literally overnight, so the hours go overnight. Also part of the projects he works on have been sourced to India, so now he has to attend conference calls at times like 4 am.

The attitude is that he can take time off as long as the work is done on time and on budget. Unfortuntely to get the work done on time and on budget he ends up working a lot of very long weeks.

None of this was laid out at the beginning, but it is a part of the reality of jobs at his level in his field. I personally think this is a part of the whole technology bubble-burst and that it will gradually level out again eventually - or not, since there are always college grads willing to work crazy hours, although they don't have the experience.

I think part of why employers have been able to get away with the surge of demand to work long hours in IT, besides the threat of layoffs and outsourcing to other countries, is that they are generally jobs which pay well enough that the spouse may be able to work less and step in on the family front for a few years.

Otherwise they might have to pay overtime or face a shortage of workers.

Posted by: Shandra | September 5, 2006 1:09 PM

My sons went back to school last week. My younger son has a broken leg. I had to tear myself away from the school after leaving him in the classroom. I cried all the way to work. Then I cut out of work at 3:00 on the dot to go to school and pick him up. I feel this sad way every year, and my older son is in middle school.

Posted by: Silver Spring | September 5, 2006 1:29 PM

To SS, who said "I don't get the statement "Between the before and after care expenses, my commute to work, drycleaning, eating out, and paying for a cleaning service to do some household stuff that I simply don't have time to do".

I'm sorry. Maybe our situations are different. Perhaps you're more organized than I am. But I just don't make a lot of money when I subtract all the costs incurred by my choice to work. When you add the stress and strain on my family, it does start looking like the best option is for me to stay home. Also, I never implied (or meant to imply) that you or anyone should stay home. Just that I might.

And to the poster who said something about not understanding being proud that your daughter is a homebody (by which I assume you meant SAHM), I say that all I want for my kids is to be happy. Not to be happy in their careers, or to be happy with their opposite sex spouse, or anything like that. I want them to be happy. I don't care how it happens. I don't care if they're starving artists, gay/lesbian, SAHM/D or WOHM/D, or whatever (as long as they're not republicans). I don't have the right to decide how other people (including my children) should go about their lives. I wish more people felt this way.

Posted by: My 2 Cents | September 5, 2006 1:45 PM

You are awesome. Yes, people should respect what their kids choose to be whether it's a doctor or a SAHM, yikes even a republican.

Posted by: to to cents | September 5, 2006 1:48 PM

"It's a bit weird to see a former top executive from Goldman Sachs discussing work-life balance."


I think the "former" part is key.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 1:51 PM

"Why is it her problem that her kids want to do after school activities that she can't drive them to, or that "she" is paying too much for afterschool care, etc? Really, if her children are that spoiled she should keep them in daycare."

Cal, maybe that comment was meant to be humorous, but I don't get it. Why is it my problem? I'm their parent. I'm pretty sure my children aren't spoiled because they want to participate in one activity each. Also, they are too old for day care, and if I'm paying too much for before/after care, please tell me where I should go to pay less, because I'm at the cheapest option I could find. Are you having a bad day or something?

Posted by: My 2 Cents | September 5, 2006 1:54 PM

Don't know if this is appropriate, apologies if it isn't, but I love this blog, and my lit magazine is taking submissions for an issue focusing on feminism -- and we're just dying for pieces (nonfiction in particular) that grapple with the choices women make, including the choice (?) to work or remain home. www.FringeMagazine.org

Posted by: Fringe | September 5, 2006 1:55 PM

My two cents confirms that women who stay home do it for their own benefit, not for their kids. Why is it her problem that her kids want to do after school activities that she can't drive them to, or that "she" is paying too much for afterschool care, etc? Really, if her children are that spoiled she should keep them in daycare.


"I am a stay-at-home mom with a degree from a top-10 University. "

And boy, what a waste of money that was.

And your comment goes downhill fast from there--could you possibly be just a bit more fatuous and self-serving, do you think? Some of the people in the cheap seats couldn't hear.

While I agree with the overall post, I probably wouldn't agree with the changes they'd want to make. More to the point, as long as some women want to stay home, there's no way to change the workplace without making dual-income families even more hassle than they are now.

Better to give dual income families more financial incentives. It'll never happen, but if we wiped out all marriage subsidies and withholdings (as in filing married, Soc Sec, and the like) and returned them in the form of deductions for child raising, dual-income families would get a big boost and women would have more incentive to work after having kids. More moms working as a matter of course, more changes.

Posted by: Cal | September 5, 2006 1:55 PM

Cal, for some reason, my response to you is posted before yours, but I wouldn't want you to miss it.

Posted by: My 2 Cents | September 5, 2006 1:55 PM

>>> I think it is very self centered to not want to hear something good about a friend or from a friend. >>>

My co-workers or boss isn't my friend. I love to hear my friends talk about accomplishments and moments of pride, joy, success and happiness. This is different from a business relationship.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 2:02 PM

I think it is very insecure of people if a male boss says that he is happy his wife can stay home for people to get so upset about it. What if it was a woman who said this?

There I re-worded it, some people at work are freinds and do like to hear good things about each others lives, sorry you don't want or have that where you work.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 2:06 PM

>>> More to the point, as long as some women want to stay home, there's no way to change the workplace without making dual-income families even more hassle than they are now. >>>

Amen.

Posted by: to Cal | September 5, 2006 2:12 PM

If the comment was coming from a friend in the true spirit of sharing - no problem. It is when it is coming from a co-worker or client or boss or other aquanitance and has a note of judgement or one up manship involved that there is a problem. Sometimes, maybe not always, but definitely sometimes the comments are meant judgementally.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 2:12 PM

Most days and weeks, I am grateful that my to-do lists (work, home, personal) are checked-off and re-done to shape the next day, and week and etc.

Luck plays a big role here, so seldom am I "proud."

As others here note: tell your friends how the day went. They can smile or cheer.

Context and audience are important. Your co-workers don't need to hear all your "proud" items.

But Megan is right, too. Be proud of when your work at home and on-the-paycheck clock, supports those in your family resource-wise (food, rent, etc.) and dream-wise (school, business-start-up, hobbies, etc.).

Posted by: College Parkian | September 5, 2006 2:13 PM

"So is there ANYTHING that it's OK to be proud of?"

This blog is so heavy with value judgments. So I'll add mine: As an answer to this question: "yes, a home where all are relatively happy, there's some laughter, and my son sings in the shower and dances like nobody's watching whenever he wants. That's enough for me -- no matter if I'm a SAHM, WAHM, working mom, going crazy mom, hugging mom, screaming mom or any variation you can think of.

In short -- grow up folks. THere is no single way to do it right. It's all quite simple: do what's right for you at various times in your life. And most important, get your own life, live it to its fullest and stop trying to convince someone else that your way is the only way.

Any finally, stop spending so much time reading this blog!

Posted by: anon5 | September 5, 2006 2:16 PM

And when the executive makes the comment to the authors of the upcoming book on workplace reform and employee negotation that allow dads to be full parents and moms to have full careers--he's not sharing or celebrating. He's basically saying "Well, it's not my problem, because I make enough for my wife to stay home." Which brings us back to the question--if employers don't see this as being a problem (lack of balance) -- or see promoting balance as a benefit for workers and for society -- how are we ever going to get things to change?

Posted by: Arlmom | September 5, 2006 2:17 PM

>>> More to the point, as long as some women want to stay home, there's no way to change the workplace without making dual-income families even more hassle than they are now. >>>

Cal, women are 46% of the labor force. http://www.dol.gov/wb/stats/main.htm

Are you saying that there is no way these women can change the workplace?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 2:20 PM

" I'm their parent. "

So's their dad. You view your participation in the workplace as optional because he's doing all the heavy lifting. Therefore you take on all these complete non-problems, and ultimately, you leave work because it's easier than working.

"Cal, women are 46% of the labor force. "

So? Working mothers who are part of professional career-oriented couples are a lot less than that.

Posted by: Cal | September 5, 2006 2:23 PM

"The higher a person's educational attainment, the more likely they will be a labor force participant. Here are the labor force participation rates for women age 25 years and over by educational attainment: with less than a high school diploma--32.9 percent; with a high school diploma--53.8 percent; some college, no degree--63.9 percent; associate degree--71.9 and bachelor's degree and higher--72.9 percent."

Cal, your lack of faith in two-income career couples is really disappointing. They must all be helpless morons if there is "no way" they can improve their conditions without everyone becoming like them.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 2:31 PM

I absolutely agree that many companies design jobs with the notion that there is a full time stay at home spouse. Several years ago, I worked for a big-five consulting firm where absolutely no one thought about leaving before 7 pm and staying until 9 or 10 pm was par for the course. Only those who regularly stayed until midnight or 1 am got bragging rights. One of the stars of the team I was on, who regularly worked until midnight and beyond, quit the day his first child was born-- he knew balance wasn't an option. Yet this same firm loved to tout its "work-life balance" policies on its website, recruitment info and in the media; in reality, flextime, etc. was only available to partners and senior staff who'd slaved for years before getting access to "balance".

In my current job at a self-described "family friendly" private foundation (where all time pressure is entirely self-imposed since there is no market/client pressure), men get *one week* of paternity leave. The offices have glass walls, so my boss pumped breast milk in the bathroom for a year. Women are expected to hop right back onto the treadmill full time after their 3-month maternity leave (although, my boss only took 6 weeks because she felt like she had to be back). Several of our staff members have kids, but board meetings (which we have to attend) are scheduled over weekends and, at our sister foundation which works out of the same office, during evenings (many are at 8 pm on week nights so the mostly male board can come after work).

Men have often had to essentially pretend they don't have a family to get ahead in the work world-- and women who want to succeed in the tougher, competitive corporate environments have to be prepared to pull the same long hours without complaint. Among many professional women I know in New York, it is a badge of honor to suck it up and take whatever the male dominated corporate culture has to dish out and succeed in spite of it. None of them would think of agitating for change because it seems futile-- they either put up with it or quit. But given that Americans work longer and harder than any other people on earth, yet real wages haven't gone up in years, I would think both women *and* men are ready to re-evaluate the extreme work culture that dominates our society. At some point we have to ask ourselves, "What are we working for?" The reality is, this country is pretty family un-friendly compared to other industrialized nations, so change won't happen on the basis of improving things for women and children (unless women everywhere start realizing that feminism is still relavent and start organizing/protesting/lobbying/voting based on a clear agenda of change). More realistically, I think things will change when both women and men demand more livable work schedules that allow for two involved parents to work, play and be sane-- and I think younger men in their 20's and 30's will be an important part of that change.

Posted by: JKR | September 5, 2006 2:36 PM

"Lack of faith"? Don't be silly. I've got plenty of faith in dual-income families. "Improving" the workplace, not so much. In the first place, I think it's pretty good now. But the needed improvements for dual income professionals (not so many hours, not so much travel) won't improve as long as a large percentage of women leap at the opportunity to live off their husband and stay home.

Posted by: Cal | September 5, 2006 2:36 PM

the only person on this blog so far who has been 'fatuous and self serving' is YOU. What a blowhard.

Posted by: to Cal | September 5, 2006 2:38 PM

"We live in a society that values institutional achievement so highly that the incredible patience, sesitivity, and intelligence it takes to raise a child WELL are written off as a waste of time, or the easy road. I fully plan to go back to school and begin a career when my children are in school, but watching and helping another human grow from a baby into a self-sufficient adult is the most incredible, fulfilling thing I ever expect to do. Whether you work or stay at home, please give the job of being a parent the respect it deserves."

BRAVA, momof2!

Posted by: Mel | September 5, 2006 2:38 PM

You think the work place is "pretty good now"?

Posted by: also to cal | September 5, 2006 2:42 PM

"the only person on this blog so far who has been 'fatuous and self serving' is YOU. What a blowhard."

Cal, are you talking about yourself now? If so, it's the only time you've been RIGHT.

Posted by: Tina | September 5, 2006 2:46 PM

It's certainly nice to see such an acticle from the former Goldman Sachs managing director, no less. I am all for flexibility in the work place. However, I have found that this flexibility is totally subjective and depends on each person's individual employment arrangement. In my own organization, there are managers who are comfortable with telework and flexible hours and at the same time they have let a really top performing employee go who wanted a job share. That's bad but my fear is that if we try to institute these flexible arrangements we will bring it down to the lowest common denominator. I keep running into professional women who have negotiated a great deals for themselves (I think Leslie is one of them). In my organization, the telework rules are so rigid and stupid (for example, if you telework you can't do it for 1/2 day) BUT on paper there is a telework program so that they can claim they are family friendly. IMHO, it's best to negotiate your own deal. As for studies and such, I would use common sense. If both parents are working and their children are well care for, don't spend 12+ hours a day (even the in best daycare in the world) then probably both parents have peace of mind and emotional satisfaction.

Posted by: DC MOM | September 5, 2006 2:46 PM

DCMom wrote, "In my own organization, there are managers who are comfortable with telework and flexible hours and at the same time they have let a really top performing employee go who wanted a job share. That's bad but my fear is that if we try to institute these flexible arrangements we will bring it down to the lowest common denominator."

Hi DCMOM. What is "lowest commom denominator?" Explain? Examples would help, too

I've been part of two job-shares that netted amazing work for the institution. We worked efficiently and with "professional overlap" -- meaning we so wanted it to work, we contributed beyond the hours required.

After we hit our stride (and let the fear go, too) this worked out fine. One detail: neither of us needed health insurance, so the splitting of that was not an issue. We both negotiated similar leave packages.

Caveat: we knew each other professionally and jointly proposed this solution.

Posted by: College Parkian to DC Mom | September 5, 2006 2:55 PM

"You think the work place is "pretty good now"?"

Yes. I'm not a fan of the European model, when employees are expensive, impossible to fire, and where parents have so many benefits that women can't get many jobs that aren't in the government ghettos. Pass, thanks.

Tina, a note: don't criticize others when you can't even be bothered to read carefully. Makes you look like a moronic fatuous blowhard. "to cal" != "Cal".

Posted by: Cal | September 5, 2006 2:56 PM

Poor Cal, you're going to hate me even more when I tell you that I don't work because I'm rich and I don't want to. Nope, I'm not staying home with the kids or living off my husband's salary. I just don't care to participate in the joke that is the U.S. workplace.

And I have a master's degree and it is NOT going to waste.

Posted by: Tina | September 5, 2006 2:59 PM

"So is there ANYTHING that it's OK to be proud of?"

Pride qualifies as 1 of the 7 deadly sins. So that answers that!

Experienced Mom, Silver Spring, I too, sent 3 of my kids off to school and I feel sorry for them. I think the pressure for academic achievement is actually harming the kids. I think it's OK for those who can handle it, or like it, but for the average child, it's going overboard. My kids are shackled with homework almost every night, weekends, holidays, and over the summer assignments has even crept into the curriculim.

Then I hear so many adults say how great it is for the kids to do all this homework and with the same breath complain about how the long work hours, weekend meetings, vacation interruptions, and how these corporate policies are harming the American family.

I don't get it, but then again, I'm not very bright.

Anyone wanna buy some wrapping paper? It only costs 3 times as much as you can get it at Wal-Mart!

Posted by: Father of 4 | September 5, 2006 2:59 PM

I am happy to explain (long). I came to this organization because a friend of mine, who since left for personal reasons, told me that it is great for working moms. Most employees here are women with children (mostly small children in daycare of pre-school). My friend was in the office only 3 days a week. She had 1 day of telework and also 1 day off because she put in longer hours the rest of the time. Sounds like a dream scenario. However, it turns out that her arrangment was "unusual" and the telework policy instituted since then makes a joke out of telework. I had already mentioned that you can't telework 4 hours, come in to the office for 4 hours. If you work night/weekends from home that does not count towards teleworking. Basically, teleworking is very rigid -- only 1 day in two weeks. I call this the lowest common denominator. In my view, a truly flexible teleworking policy would be based on the abilities and integrity of the employee. Get your work done regardless of how and where. I would be happy (well, not too happy...) to put in some late hours from home on Friday and Saturday in exchange for leaving early during the week to take my kids to after school activities. The telework policy that exists in this place expressively prohibits this.

Posted by: DC MOM | September 5, 2006 3:04 PM

Trade ya some "World's Finest" (chocolate with almonds) for your Sally Foster wrap.

Posted by: College Parkian to FO4 | September 5, 2006 3:05 PM

IMHO gettinf the Federal govt to impose guidelines or rules for worplace flexibility is a bad idea. Getting the Feds involved in ANYTHING, increases bureaucratic fat, red tape, and in fact reduces how flexible our business community can be. I repeat IMHO. Be careful of what you wish for. Arent "government rules" and "flexibility" mutually exclusive?

I am Micro vs Macro on this one.

Until I was 13 my mom was WOHM, made me fairly independant - sometimes too much so. We have made the choice to have our kids in the younger years have a SAHM. We'll see if that continues once they are all off in school. I'll support the decisions my wife wants to make in terms of career path.

Posted by: Fo3 | September 5, 2006 3:06 PM

"Poor Cal, you're going to hate me even more when I tell you that I don't work because I'm rich and I don't want to. Nope, I'm not staying home with the kids or living off my husband's salary. "

You're right. You're living off of Daddy's money, not hubby's!

Seriously, whatever. My first assessment was accurate in the main--fatuous blowhard it is.

And you're not worth hating.

Posted by: Cal | September 5, 2006 3:08 PM

College Parkian, I think I have a sense of what DC Mom means about the lowest common denominator. With my current work at home arrangement, there's a large amount of trust between my employer and me. He trusts that I will actually do the work and accurately record my hours, and he rarely does anything to check in on me, which makes it very easy for me to do my job. When an arrangement like this is institutionalized so that anyone can take part, that trust may be lacking, so there are likely to be other safeguards and limitations to ensure that the bad apples aren't abusing the system. That means that the good apples have to put up with a lot of crap that they otherwise wouldn't have to. Does that make sense?

I'm not sure that's a good reason to not make flexible arrangements available to more people, but I do see the trouble.

Posted by: Megan | September 5, 2006 3:08 PM

"When an arrangement like this is institutionalized so that anyone can take part, that trust may be lacking, so there are likely to be other safeguards and limitations to ensure that the bad apples aren't abusing the system. "

Or the reverse--instead of the best employees getting a special and privileged situation, it becomes normalized and suddenly the worst employees are the ones taking advantage of a gimmee.

Posted by: Cal | September 5, 2006 3:12 PM

I like today's guest blog. It's nice to read a post once in a while that doesn't blame all of society's ills on women who choose to (or must) work outside the home. There are so many "studies" or op-eds out there with the opposite point of view; e.g. -- how selfish working mothers like me are or how screwed up our kids will be.

Posted by: Montco Mom | September 5, 2006 3:14 PM

I'm a well-educated person and I always fail to understand the anti-government argument.

"Getting the Feds involved in ANYTHING, increases bureaucratic fat, red tape, and in fact reduces how flexible our business community can be. "

F03, it also keeps business from colluding to routinely abuse labor and drive wages so low as to crush the earning potential of the citizenry....something about the pursuit of Happiness appearing in some bill of rights someplace....

Large will always gobble up Small, all else being equal. Business is Large. Workers are Small. Government must be Large in the sense that it is powerful. Powerful enough to keep you and I from getting gobbled.

Posted by: To Fo3 | September 5, 2006 3:16 PM

to cal: I dont' know if you were sarcastic or not, but just to take your argument further, this has actually happened here too. Some not so "top" performers started to telework and, BOOM, the management feels like the work is not getting done and telework is of course to blame. I think that company wide telework policies are always developed with this thought in mind. Those people in HR are not stupid. I like the way Megan described her arrangement. A lot of trust. That's the key.

Posted by: DC MOM (again) | September 5, 2006 3:23 PM

Cal said "So's their dad. You view your participation in the workplace as optional because he's doing all the heavy lifting. Therefore you take on all these complete non-problems, and ultimately, you leave work because it's easier than working."

Cal, my husband is on the road from Sunday night through Friday afternoon. So now what? Who does it if I don't? And you're absolutely right that I leave work if it's easier than working. Do you not understand my other posts?

And why are you being such a jerk?

Posted by: My 2 Cents | September 5, 2006 3:27 PM

I wouldn't call anyone a jerk on here even if they do deserve it. Next thing you know all the labels will come out and you will be this, that or the other. It's best to ignore Cal. He/she is just looking for someone to pick on.

Posted by: to my 2 cents | September 5, 2006 3:29 PM

I'm not being a jerk at all, but I've posted two responses to your post that haven't shown up.

In short--your husband's work isn't your problem. If he's gone all the time, hire the help necessary to allow you to support your family and yourself economically. It's certainly what he'd do if the situation were reversed.

Posted by: Cal | September 5, 2006 3:43 PM

Hmmm...I'm a little surprised by the heat on the exec who was "proud".

I'm proud that I earn enough money for my wife to choose to stay at home if she wanted to (she doesn't).

My wife is proud that she earns enough moeny for me to choose to stay at home if I wanted to (I currently don't).

We are currently trying to add to our family (see the name?). If we do, we will either go with some form of day/after care or I will start working part-time/at home or not at all as a SAHD. Why? My wife is a federal employee and is very vested in the retirement program which is tons better than my options. At this stage, we could afford to lose her salary (she makes slightly less than I do) or my salary, but we can't afford to lose her retirement benefits or for her to stop building those retirement benefits. As a federal contractor, my retirement benefits are simply 401K which are there whether or not I contribute to them.

I am also proud that my wife makes enough money that I will have the choice of how to best raise my family when we face that crossroads. I feel bad that I can't give her the same options, but I don't have any control of the federal governments retirement plan. I feel very lucky that we have this option, and sympathize with those families who don't have options and both must work. The idea can be sexist or not depending on how you read the comment. I tend not to read it as such, but I can understand how some would.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 5, 2006 3:48 PM

Cal, I couldn't agree with you at all. My husband's work isn't my problem? We're actually a pretty good time. I feel like you are divorced from reality, or at least my reality.

And to whoever, you're absolutely right that I shouldn't have called Cal a jerk. I retract that. (But he might be a republican. :)

Posted by: My 2 Cents | September 5, 2006 3:50 PM

I think it's hilarious that the premise of many of the posts is that business is thinking about their employees' home situation at all when they design jobs. News flash: it's not about YOU, it's about THEIR NEEDS! They design positions to get the necessary job done, within the prevailing legal guidelines -- which is why the legal guidelines developed in the first place, BTW, because businesses designing jobs solely with their own needs in mind and absent any legal parameters resulted in child labor, sweat shops, and many a dangerous condition.

Posted by: bizperspective? | September 5, 2006 3:53 PM

"In short--your husband's work isn't your problem. If he's gone all the time, hire the help necessary to allow you to support your family and yourself economically. It's certainly what he'd do if the situation were reversed." Her husband's work is her problem. It is called being a family. If allowing her husband to travel can increase his salary enough it may make financial sense for her to stay home. You are also assuming what her husband would do. The husband might chose to be a stay at home dad. We each do what we regard as best in our own unique situation (For the record I have always been a WOHM)


Posted by: also to cal | September 5, 2006 3:55 PM

Entitlement

I guess the crux of the matter comes down to whether evrybody is Entitled to be treated the same way in the workplace by rule.

Flexibility would suggest that the contract between employer and employee can be tweaked in many ways to customize the relationship.

The framework of OSHA and labor laws in the US provide just that - only a framework of minimums and maximums. The Market, Management, Labor, Buyer, Seller sets most of the rest. Even the enforcement of the current framework can be shoddy, variable or selectively applied.

In the US we have the right to the "Pursuit of Happiness," inherent in that right are risks - that there are few guarantees, no same seats, and only a safety net to support failure, bad luck and the risk of poverty.

Charity, service and a fair wage for a fair days work are the backbone of our system. When the system is abused/skewed (illegal immigrant labor/very bad labor laws abroad) our country experiences destabilizing ebbs in labor demand and floods of worker supply. These aberrations disrupt the fair balance between managemnet and labor far more than demand for work life flexibility.

oh well - for another blog I guess...

Posted by: Fo3 | September 5, 2006 3:56 PM

2 cents:

So if you had a job that required you to travel constantly from Monday through Friday, your husband would quit his job when the kids complained?

I think not.

And if he did, he'd be called a sponge.

The fact is, all of this "teamwork" you talk about involves your husband making exactly the career choices he wants, and you doing everything to enable him to make exactly the career choices he wants.

That's not teamwork. That's you choosing to live off your husband and "help" him make the money that keeps you in goodies and gimmees.

Your choice. But spare me the talk about how you "have" to do this. You choose to stay home for your own benefit--because doing anything else would be too much work.

Posted by: Cal | September 5, 2006 3:56 PM

Actually if 2 cents husband quit to stay home he would be called a SAHD. I think we have a few on this blog - any care to join in?

Posted by: also to cal | September 5, 2006 4:00 PM

Fo3: "I guess the crux of the matter comes down to whether evrybody is Entitled to be treated the same way in the workplace by rule."

I think another way to look at when government regulation is appropriate is whether this is a goal that we as a society want to advance or promote. As everyone is quick to point out in these discussions, businesses will do what is in the businesses' best interest. When that interest is not in line with other social goals, government regulation is the most effective way of bringing it in line and/or eliminating incentives for businesses to do otherwise.

So, the question to me is not whether we are all as individuals entitled to some level of treatment, but whether as a society we think it's important enough to provide flexibility to families to put government policies into place to encourage or require it. I don't have an answer to that, but I think the question needs to be driven by what the social goal is - helping families.

Posted by: Megan | September 5, 2006 4:04 PM

2 cents, Cal is always this way, and there's really no point in arguing with him/her. Many of us understand your dilemna, and you should do what works for you.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 4:05 PM

Cal--I think that you've spun 2 cents story to fit your theory. We have absolutely no data that they have said options. For all we know, 2 cents husband makes enough to support the family and 2 cents doesn't and hence they don't have the same choices. I think it is unfair of you to make the assumption that all things being equal that they wouldn't make the opposing choices. But then, you seem to want to make everyone live and choose by your standards and denigrate anyone who doesn't.

I certainly understand your perspective if not your invective. As I mentioned above, when it comes to staying at home, in my family, I will be the one to quit my job and be the SAHP. I expect that I'll get some strange looks as a Mr. Mom, but we'll do what is best for our family (as everyone does). We'll make the choices that we have to to maintain the standard of living that we want and the choices of home, necessities and luxuries that we want. We are grateful that we have the option, but many of our friends don't have options and do what they have to do. I think it is wrong to insult those who don't share your values and to make assumptions that people don't share your values based on limited knowledge of their family choices.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 5, 2006 4:12 PM

Well Cal, you have never been a mother, have you? If you had, you would know in your bones, the kind of physical and emotional exhaustion that comes with it. And if anybody suggested that you were getting a "free ride" and it was not "real" work, either you would pity the poor soul or defend yourself just as 2 cents is. BTW, what would you define teamwork?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 4:15 PM

To DadWannaBe - please don't call it Mr. Mom - the implication is that the role of taking care of a small child is for a mom. Why can't you just be a Dad?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 4:16 PM

To Fo3 --

You said, "Charity, service and a fair wage for a fair days work are the backbone of our system. When the system is abused/skewed (illegal immigrant labor/very bad labor laws abroad) our country experiences destabilizing ebbs in labor demand and floods of worker supply. These aberrations disrupt the fair balance between managemnet and labor far more than demand for work life flexibility."

If service and fair wage were truly a part of the backbone of our system, you wouldn't have employers like Walmart trying to get rid of employees before they reach their 7 years (and become eligible for the maximum wage), replacing them with new hires to start at the lowest wage on their scale. You wouldn't have companies making their employees redundant just as retirement approaches. You wouldn't have employers moving their operations overseas. You wouldn't have all the customer service phone lines relocated to India.

There is no backbone to our system anymore. Employers feel absolutely no loyalty to workers: long service counts for nothing; good performance counts for little.

And please don't tell me that companies are forced to pull the rug out from under employees because of the "bottom line" (times are tough, etc.). Not when CEOs and other top execs are making a killing in salary, bonuses, and perks every single year.

As for charity, I don't know what that has to do with it. :>(

Posted by: pittypat | September 5, 2006 4:16 PM

And to whoever, you're absolutely right that I shouldn't have called Cal a jerk. I retract that. (But he might be a republican. :)

Didn't bother me with the jerk statement, I was just saying that other people will attack you for saying it, like they have done to other posters in the past. I totally agree with your first assumption regarding Cal and if the shoe fits, nasty, mean people should have to wear it.

Posted by: to my 2 cents | September 5, 2006 4:20 PM

I'm going to bed tonight glad that Cal is not my wife, mother or employee. So much venom for someone who is doing the so called best thing. Take a look in the mirror Cal and figure out why you always seem so bitter.

Posted by: oh brother | September 5, 2006 4:26 PM

I agree with you Pittypat, and decry the unfair practices at WM. I would consider those sleazy tactics worthy of boycott.

I do believe that the backbone of our economy is intact.

Asking for government regulation of or to encourage flexibility is what I am wary of.

Anybody care to toss some concrete policy ideas out there? I havent heard any...

Private sector pressure may be slow, but I dare say it works better that federal regulation.

Posted by: Fo3 | September 5, 2006 4:27 PM

To the anon 4:16 poster:

Because the terms Dad and Mom only refer to the act of procreating and not the wide variety of family choices for supporting that family. SAHD and SAHM have connotations that express that the parent is the family member who takes care of important family business while the another provides the economic support. Single Mom or Single Dad implies that one parent has to handle both important aspects of family business and economic support.

Although you read in more implications, I don't think that what you read in is necessarily implied. Thanks to Michael Keaton's movie, Mr. Mom is another term that connotes similar information about parenting that SAHD provides. I don't think it implies at all that Moms are the only ones that can provide childcare as by the very connotation, the Dad is the one that *IS* providing said care. To me, it's another term used for variation in language and I used it as an alternative to SAHD. I personally don't feel that it implies what you say and I choose to use that term as I think that it conveys what I choose it to convey.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 5, 2006 4:28 PM

I read this blog from time to time, but this is my first 'post'.

I don't understand why some seem so judgmental. Just because someone takes a path that you don't agree with doesn't make it wrong. There's nothing wrong with staying home and living off of inherited money. It wouldn't be my choice, but I wouldn't condemn someone for doing that. There's nothing wrong with two working parents, SAHMs, WOHMs, WOHDs or SAHDs. There's nothing wrong with someone working out of town Mon-Fri. There's nothing wrong with any of this if it's satisfactory for those involved.

I'd like to think that people IN the situation are most able to judge how well a life-path is working for them...and if it isn't, that they'd make course corrections they feel will improve their situation...

JMHO

Posted by: jmack | September 5, 2006 4:28 PM

Cal loves to instigate drama with her (I think Cal is a her)condescending rants. It is really so sad to be so bitter and not even know it.

Does anyone know if there a way to set my WP account to automatically ignore posts from individual posters?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 4:31 PM

Fo3 - one policy that would help

Some kind of universal health care. I have lost count of the number of times on this blog where people have said they would like to go part time, but they are the family member with health insurance or where both partners would like to work part-time (keep both careers current) but one needs to work full time to get health insurance.

Posted by: NoVAsinglemom | September 5, 2006 4:35 PM

Really,My 2, you ought not to assume so much.

Dadwannabe--you appear not to have followed the conversation. Remember, 2's claim was that she *had* to quit work, that she'd rather not, but that someone has to drive her kids to activities or they whine away. Plus, she's spending all this money on housekeeping!

I could care less whether or not her husband makes enough money. And in truth, if she went on and on about being happy she didn't have to work, I'd have just criticized her from a different perspective.

But as it is, she presented her choice as a requirement. That's what I'm addressing, nothing more. It's not a requirement. She gets a lot of mileage out of presenting it that way--for herself, if no other.

People who stay at home and treat it as anything other than a luxury are wrong. People who stay at home and can't afford it are wrong to do so. People who stay at home on their own dime and can afford it should luxuriate in their idleness till their fingers are pruny, and I'd say nothing but "Lucky you".

But tying 2's pretend troubles back to the thread--if 2 were actually interested in working,rather than pretending she is, then my solution (eliminating marriage subsidies) would be the only real way to effect change. So long as she's ready and willing to stay home, any woman with a husband in that sort of job who doesn't want to stay home puts her husband at a serious disadvantage.

Posted by: Cal | September 5, 2006 4:40 PM

Universal Healthcare as I experienced it in Canada, the UK and my mom's medicare is far worse than the system we have in the USA.

Look at how badly run/expensive the plans are for fed, state and local govt employees. Look how horrid Medicare is!

No thanks.

In theory certainly a smart benefit with solid economies of scale - in practice would be an inefficient bloated govt bureaucracy.

Any other ideas for regulating/encouraging flexibility?

Posted by: Fo3 | September 5, 2006 4:41 PM

"I don't live off of anyone's money but MY OWN. "

Then, as I just said above, you have earned the right to sit at home, brainwash your children with your moralistic maunderings, and be a fatuous blowhard. Enjoy!

Posted by: Cal | September 5, 2006 4:42 PM

To Tina,

Good for you. I think Cal forgot that a woman could be independantly wealthy and thought a woman could only be living off a man if she wasn't working. Only men can acquire weatlh (Daddys' not Mommy's money) and a man would be critizied for being a SAHD - that seems so 1950's

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 4:44 PM

jmack--welcome and well said.

It seems funny that it used to be a common dream to make enough money that you didn't have to work to have the luxuries of life. The old prime-time dramas of Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon Crest, etc were based around the filthy rich and their soap operatic lives. And they were popular. Back then, people thought that that was the life (even if the didn't agree with the choices these people made with that freedom). Now, if you aspire towards that, you are castigated for lack of ambition or for somehow demeaning the lives of others by your decision to not work.

I have a friend who hasn't had to work due to a family inheritence. I used to introduce her as my friend who lives the life we all aspire to. She loved it and my working friends (all the way from poorly paid post-grad scientist up) all enjoyed it.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 5, 2006 4:44 PM

"You're right. You're living off of Daddy's money, not hubby's!"

What a stupid assumption! That really shows your mentality, Cal. In fact, in my early 30s I built a company that I later sold for big bucks. I invested the money and I live off of that. I don't live off of anyone's money but MY OWN.

Poor Cal. Stuck in a seedly little corner somewhere with nothing to do but try to upset people. You aren't getting to me. I'm having a huge laugh exposing you!

Posted by: Tina | September 5, 2006 4:45 PM

Cal totally exposed himself when he decided a woman couldn't possibly have gotten rich on her own.

And apparently he can't read, either, because he's attributing some sort of "moralistic maunderings" on this blog to me when the only postings I've made today have been responses to him, signed with my name.

He's so bitter he's got us all confused in his crazy mind.

Posted by: Tina | September 5, 2006 4:48 PM

To tie everything back to the original blog, Tina as a successful business person were you able to provide flexibility to your employees while staying competitive/successful & how?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 4:53 PM

Cal--oh I did follow it. But apparently, I missed the spin that you've added to 2 cents text. She wasn't complaining about the necessity of having to give up her work. She lamented that between all the expenses, her income from her work was barely covering those expenses and as a result of two WOHP that other family support issues such as family chores and shuttling children were not getting done. She said that she would either look for part-time work or just give up working to provide better support for her family. Nowhere did she imply that her husband's salary wasn't enough to cover those additional family expenses and that he faced the same dilemma. The implication was that her husband's salary was greater hence he wasn't faced with the same dilemma of whether to quit work and support the family.

But you have the apparently very leftist agenda that everyone who can work should work and anyone who doesn't for any reason should be castigated. You even said "And in truth, if she went on and on about being happy she didn't have to work, I'd have just criticized her from a different perspective." You just don't like anyone who doesn't work outside the home. And you don't like anyone who doesn't agree with your hidden agenda. Don't try to camouflage it in feminist terms.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 5, 2006 4:57 PM

Tina--likewise, you totally expose yourself by thinking I'm a man. What a sexist person you are--as if women couldn't possibly think for themselves.

I've said in other posts before now that anyone who earns their own right to stay home is fine by me. I "assumed" it because most women who go on and on about their higher calling to stay home are, in fact, living off someone else. I am delighted to find out you didn't. Score one for female achievers. That makes the score several trillion to about 5, I think (reduced to common denominators, of course).

So if you want to stay home and delude yourself that you're doing anything more than daycare, by all means,have fun.

Posted by: Cal | September 5, 2006 5:04 PM

Any other ideas for regulating/encouraging flexibility?


Posted by: Fo3 | September 5, 2006 04:41 PM

I don't know, are they all going to be summarily dismissed based on one man's limited experience? Not a very enticing discussion for the day. I've had quite positive experiences with universal healthcare and am not impressed with the idea that because you did not, we are all supposed to write off a major policy initiative.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 5:07 PM

I have to say that I agree with the core nugget of Cal's rant, which is, as I'm understanding it (and to quote Cal):

"People who stay at home and treat it as anything other than a luxury are wrong."

Except that I probably wouldn't use the word "wrong," because that implies that it's wrong to stay at home if you can and want to. I don't think that's what Cal was saying. I think Cal means that people who claim that they have to stay at home because of non-critical circumstances are not being truthful but, instead, are seeking to cast perfectly acceptable behavior (staying home) as something noble and self-sacrificing to assuage their egos.

Have I got it right, Cal?

Posted by: pittypat | September 5, 2006 5:10 PM

"But you have the apparently very leftist agenda that everyone who can work should work and anyone who doesn't for any reason should be castigated. "

Leftist?

That's a hoot. And, given that I've several times said exactly the opposite, also inaccurate. You should read more often, rather than just yanking opinions out of nowhere that are handy for your rebuttals.

Tina--good lord, it was mom of 2 who went on and on, not you. That's who I was assuming was the stay at home mom.

So my mistake wasn't in thinking you were stay at home, but rather in thinking you were the moralistic maunderer. (I bet she lives off her husband. Ha!)

You, I could care less about, except you seem unhappily sexist and like making everything about you. But hey,you've earned it.

Posted by: Cal | September 5, 2006 5:13 PM

To DadWannaBe:

You said, "But you have the apparently very leftist agenda that everyone who can work should work and anyone who doesn't for any reason should be castigated."

Don't see how that's a "leftist" agenda. My recollection is that it was the Republicans (especially the radical right) that pushed for a got all that legislation (back in the mid-'90s) eliminating social welfare programs on the basis of exactly what you said: Those who can work should work. Of course, their postscript wasn't, "if you can't work, you should be castigated." It was, "if you can't work, well, we don't believe you, and we'll cut your benefits anyway. So there."

No matter how you look at it, that's not a leftist agenda. That's about as radical right as you can get!

Posted by: pittypat | September 5, 2006 5:17 PM

I find it interesting that more often than not, when a man is the breadwinner it's "My husband makes enough so that I can stay home with the kids," but when the woman is making all the money, it's "I work so that my husband can start his own business/go back to school/anything else that has nothing to do with children." I'm not saying SAHDs don't raise their children; I just think it's interesting that the primary reason given for staying home differs for men and women.

I recently decided to go to law school for IP law. (A previous poster wrote, "you would admit to being a lawyer?" All I have to say in response is that everyone hates cops and lawyers...until they need one.) It was actually my boyfriend's idea. It turns out I will be making quite a bit more than he will when all is said and done. A few nights ago we were discussing a fast track program at his work, and he wants to be in on it. It's a great idea with little sacrifice, so I told him to go for it. He mentioned he'd be doing rather well after he completed the program, and asked me if I'd consider working part-time after I get my law degree. I was insulted. Why go through all the trouble if you're hardly even going to work? In turn I asked him if he'd be willing to go part-time, and he said, "well, my career would take a hit...so, no" and I said, "ditto."

Posted by: Mona | September 5, 2006 5:21 PM

pittypat and cal--you both seem to forget that the inherent demand that everyone work and contribute to society is a basic tenet of Communism...far left as I recall.

The ultra conservative idea is that some people are wealthy enough to have a choice whether to work or not, but can choose to do so or not. They don't have to work whether or not their personal circumstances demand it.

Since cal would castigate 2 cents for not working whether it was a choice or a necessity, I think that's a very leftist viewpoint of those who can work, must work. In fact, right out of Karl Marx' book.

And cal, I have read. You yourself haven't been consistent other than to insult some other posters. The only thing consistent point you've made is that you'd criticize the same posters from different perspectives if they cited different reasons for their decisions.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 5, 2006 5:39 PM

Fo3:

I have to disagree with this, "Private sector pressure may be slow, but I dare say it works better that federal regulation."

Without minimum wage, child labor laws, occupational safety and hazard standards were governmental regulations were would we be?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 5:48 PM

Back in the USSR! All people of working age who are not attending a higher learning establishment are required to contribute to the economy through labor. All children must attend a state-run pre-school from six months until elementary school for indoctrination into the Soviet system. All school-age children must attend state-sponsored after school activities to further indoctrinate them into society as a whole. Sure, you can choose which pre-school and after-school activities your child attends, but only a select few wil be allowed to attend the elite schools for learning and athletics.

Sorry. I prefer to be proud that my wife has the option to stay home and raise our child with our values and manners.

Posted by: Working Dad | September 5, 2006 5:54 PM

DadWannaBe --

Actually, the Marxist ideal would be that everyone contribute to society as he/she is able -- and all to the collective good. That's very different from the right-wing agenda of withdrawing government's support of society's weakest members without any consideration of their circumstances.

I see nothing of the "collective good" in that.

Posted by: pittypat | September 5, 2006 5:57 PM

Interesting discussion. I see that Cal has once again jumped in to the discussion involving the choice some women make to stay at home and raise kids rather than work. She seems to think of it as an inferior choice. For full transparency, I am a working mom and I work not so much because I think my work is all that meaningful (it's not -- I'm a bureaucrat), but because it is a diversion that pays well enough, provides me with some social outlet, helps me fund my retirement, and gets me out of the house). I am good at what I do, but I do not delude myself that I am saving the world. My husband, on the other hand, stays home with my son. Sometimes, I envy him. Raising a child is so much more meaningful than pushing paper all day, but it is also harder, in my view, at least. I am not patient enough to deal with a little one full time. So I have the desk job and my husband takes care of the kid and eats bonbons and goes to the park and pays the bills and buys the groceries and volunteers at the school and makes sure the cars get regular maintenance and that my dry cleaning gets picked up. I could not do my job as well as I do if I did not depend on him to do all the other stuff. Do I think his job is easier than my work? Hell no. If I did, I would trade with him. I'm the one who has it easy.

Posted by: Rockville | September 5, 2006 6:01 PM

pittypat--Cal made no mention of the collective good in deciding that 2 cents was whining and freeloading off of her husband and trying to garner sympathy for deciding that her income was barely covering the extra expenses that having a two WOHP were incurring on her family. Cal essentially says that anyone who can work, should work, especially if they are women. To quote, "More to the point, as long as some women want to stay home, there's no way to change the workplace without making dual-income families even more hassle than they are now." So by staying home, women are actually detrimental to family friendly workplaces and environments.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 5, 2006 6:10 PM

DadWannaBe, looks like we were on the same wavelength. I hadn't even read your post.

Mona, well played!!! I don't know what IP is, but I hope you're my lawyer when I need one.

On the other hand, I was really hoping that my wife's career would take off after she got her BA so that I could stay home. It didn't happen, darn it all! So not all comments would have been about the wife working so the husband could start a business, etc. If I didn't have to work, I wouldn't. But I don't have the drive to start my own company, build it, and sell it. I like to play with my son too much. And I wasn't born sucking on a silver spoon. Maybe if I play the lottery....

Posted by: Working Dad | September 5, 2006 6:17 PM

Thanks, Working Dad. IP=intellectual property, aka patenting. It's pretty lucrative, and I am a very good candidate. I just don't see why, simply because I am female, it is assumed that my career (the more lucrative one, although his is a very close second) would be the one to take the hit. We'll just have to work out the parenting thing when it comes. I, personally, prefer a career over motherhood, so if he really wants children, he's going to have to meet me halfway. Being a woman in a male-dominated field, not to mention planning on motherhood, will be enough of a hit to my career. I think it's a bit much for him to expect me to go part-time when he's the one who wants kids in the first place...

Posted by: Mona | September 5, 2006 6:45 PM

I wouldn't call anyone a jerk on here even if they do deserve it. Next thing you know
all the labels will come out and you will be this, that or the other. It's best to ignore Cal. He/she is just looking for someone to pick on.
Posted by: to my 2 cents | September 5, 2006 03:29 PM

Didn't bother me with the jerk statement, I was just saying that other people will attack you for saying it, like they have done to other posters in the past. I totally agree with your first assumption regarding Cal and if the shoe fits, nasty, mean people should have to wear it.
Posted by: to my 2 cents | September 5, 2006 04:20 PM
*****

Why is it okay for YOU to label someone a jerk and worse, but not for others to label YOU for doing it? Why don't YOU deserve being labelled when you write cruel things about others?

Don't you get that people see you as a nasty, mean person for doing it, not as the victim you apparently see yourself.

Remember, every little bad thing you say or do, comes bouncing right back to you. :)

Posted by: 22 my two cents | September 5, 2006 7:45 PM

Cal, I haven't missed you.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 8:24 PM

What if every week there's 1 day where Cal, cc and Scarry are the only posters? Do you think they'd get it out of their systems?

Posted by: Ditto to 8:24 | September 5, 2006 8:38 PM

Interesting article - especially the last 2 paragraphs.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/EDUCATION/08/30/overscheduled.kids/index.html

Posted by: slightly off topic | September 5, 2006 9:21 PM

Don't say the 'S' word. She'll hear you. She'll come out. Please don't...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 9:27 PM

Okay. It's okay.

I'll check under the bed and in the closet. I'll leave the light in the hallway on and crack the door open.
Do you want a glass of water?

Posted by: Ditto to 8:24 | September 5, 2006 9:31 PM

>Do you think they'd get it out of their systems?

Oh, probably not.

I post on another board with cal. If you think she's harsh here, you ain't seen nothin.

Posted by: CA non-mom | September 5, 2006 10:33 PM

If we could only get the person obsessed with scary to leave the board or get it out of his system, things would be great

Posted by: not going to sign it for fear of being stalked | September 5, 2006 11:23 PM

you know, the thing is, there's always going to be somebody. whether its the person who seems to always spin out of control when confronted, or the one whos deliberately spiteful to everybody, or the one who continually and hounds and harasses the person she doesnt like, there's always going to be somebody, so why spend so much time worrying aobut it. heck, some of us think thats whats funny about this damn blog.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2006 11:54 PM

CA-nonmom is correct. I am a model of decorum here. I would be far less polite and considerably more scathing to the many people who desperately deserve it.

"Have I got it right, Cal?"

Yes, pretty much. One correction--when I said they were "wrong", I meant they were factually in error. While I consider it immoral to have children you can't support yourself, much less do that while living off someone else, I wouldn't call it wrong.

"You yourself haven't been consistent"

Oh, please. The very reason everyone's annoyed with me is because I'm extremely consistent. But it's pretty obvious you have no idea what you're talking about, and just get off on pretending to be the "voice of reason". Oh, and yes, I know the basic tenets of communism, and that you were being pretentious. That's why I laughed at you.

"Since cal would castigate 2 cents for not working whether it was a choice or a necessity, "

I believe I've said exactly the opposite three times, and have told you that twice. I can see why you're so familiar with communism--repeat lies often enough until maybe fools believe that it's true.

And for those of you who clearly remember me well, I have to confess that not one of your monikers look familiar to me. None of you were memorable enough to waste brain cycles on. And not one of you can say the same thing about me.

May you all develop personalities worth remembering.

Posted by: Cal | September 6, 2006 2:55 AM

From Mona: "I find it interesting that more often than not, when a man is the breadwinner it's "My husband makes enough so that I can stay home with the kids," but when the woman is making all the money, it's "I work so that my husband can start his own business/go back to school/anything else that has nothing to do with children." I'm not saying SAHDs don't raise their children; I just think it's interesting that the primary reason given for staying home differs for men and women."

I find this an interesting statement. I wonder if this is that even if a dad is willing and able to stay home with the kids, he doesn't want to tell anyone that the kids are the primary reason. Or for some reason, maybe the mom doesn't want to say that. I suppose it may just go back to wanting to at least give the appearance of gibing with societal "norms" even if you really aren't. Do people often just not want to admit it when dad is the primary caregiver? Is it a shameful thing for dad to be a SAHP? I expect that there are some that would think so. Of course, considering mothers seem to be castigated one way or another for being WOH or SAH, the SAHD can't be immune to such criticism, even though the WOHD would not be subject to the same.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | September 6, 2006 9:40 AM

>>>If we could only get the person obsessed with scary to leave the board or get it out of his system, things would be great

Posted by: not going to sign it for fear of being stalked | September 5, 2006 11:23 PM >>>

And you (or her) like to fantasize that there is only one such person. Given that I'm one of the people, I can tell you that there are at least four of us.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 6, 2006 9:56 AM

To Rockville Mom and Mona,

I personally would tell everyone if my husband stayed at home with the kids. I would be so proud--not because I make enough to support them, but because we would be bucking the gender stereotypes. My mom would be so proud that her daughter's family is non-traditional!

However, we're not going to have anyone stay at home. It's too risky to not have another income. We already live like we have one income, but I'd hate to HAVE to do it and save no money.

On the whole "proud" issue, it's pretty obvious to me what you can be proud of. You can be proud of doing something exceptionally well, doing something differently and getting good results, or doing something really hard for you. You shouldn't be proud of not doing something you shouldn't be doing anyway, something that everyone does, or something that comes very easily. Here are some examples:

Good:
1. We have a happy marriage! OR Our kid is getting straight "A"s! (Doing something exceptionally well)
2. I climbed Mount Everest! (Something hard for you to do)
3. Gay pride! (You're not the norm, so it's hard for you, and you're doing something differently and getting good results, i.e., you're happy)
4. I'm a woman and I make lots of money and can afford the things I want! (It's harder for women to make lots of money and be independent)


Bad:
1. I don't beat my wife! (You're not supposed to)
2. I pay my taxes! (Everyone does)
3. Straight pride! (You're the "norm" and it's not hard for you)
4. I'm a man and make lots of money to do what I want! (It's not hard for men to earn a living and be independent)

Posted by: Meesh | September 6, 2006 11:00 AM

And you (or her) like to fantasize that there is only one such person. Given that I'm one of the people, I can tell you that there are at least four of us.

And you know this how? Are you all sitting together at the stalker's convention as I type? Please, I came back to the blog because you people talk about me whether I post or not, so I might as well come back and discuss issues with people that I do like. Yes, one of my friends told me that you were still posting about me? Dude, give it a break, I have been busy doing other things, work, school, moving into a new house, etc.

Don't waste you energy on me anymore because I am not going to reply to you. I just hope you or your other four personalities don't show up at my house. Yes, I have a security system; I installed it because of you. :)

Posted by: scarry | September 6, 2006 11:51 AM

Your study reports that 67 percent of kids with working moms are satisfied with the amount of parental time. I wonder what percentage of kids with SATMs are satisfied? What do you think? Lower or higher than 67 percent? I understand that there are folks who need both incomes to get by and pay the mortgage, etc., and that is what it is.

However, for those who say things like "my wife works and it's great because I can do something more entreprenurial.." those kinds of comments, judging by the priority you put on your kids, 67 percent is probably "good enough" for you, as it is for the author.

There's nothing wrong with both parents working if it has a positive impact on the children. However, for 1 out of 3, it appears to have a negative impact.

I'm not sure I'd describe those children as "content" as the author does.

Posted by: 67percentisnotgoodenough | September 6, 2006 12:43 PM

Well I can see everyone's point. I just know that my two girls are 2 and one years old. I plan to be a fulltime sahm, until they start school. Me and my hubby even talked about it when we were dating. Both of us had sahms. Both of out mothers also had degrees and worked outside the home once we started school.Where I live a sahm mom is almost unheard of. The surprising thing is that at my church the older professional women have really supported me in this decision. Especially the teachers! I tend to get the flack from my generation. (I am 28) But I do keep an eye of the job market and make sure that I am up on the latest trends and things like that. And we are just a middle class couple. And with the guy saying he was proud, I can understand that a bit. Maybe he felt that in working and letting the wife stay home, he was giving his kids the best siutation he thought they should have. But his situation obviously wouldn't work for everyone. I think each person has to find that right balance.

Posted by: shayla phillips-mcpherson | September 6, 2006 1:15 PM

The full sentence from the blog entry.

"Children, themselves, report they're content: 67 percent of kids in dual-career homes say they get enough parental time, precisely the same percentage as kids with an at-home mom, according to the Families and Work Institute. "

So next time read before you start making judgements about 67% isn't good enough. Obviously by that standard "the same percentage (of) kids with an at home mom" have a "negative impact"

Posted by: to 67percentisn'tgoodenough | September 6, 2006 1:23 PM

Cal,

You don't even have enough imagination to figure out that the reason you don't recognize some monikers is that we're using different ones here?

Posted by: CA non-mom | September 6, 2006 6:11 PM

--Please, I came back to the blog because you people talk about me whether I post or not, so I might as well come back and discuss issues with people that I do like.

This is such crap, Queen of Denial! You haven't stopped posting, you just stopped posting under the name "Scarry."

--I just hope you or your other four personalities don't show up at my house. Yes, I have a security system; I installed it because of you. :)
Posted by: scarry | September 6, 2006 11:51 AM

Given your undeniable talent for p***ing people off, I doubt you installed it because of us. Although, I have to wonder about someone with that unique talent who posts using her family name, gives us her first name, her current location, where she grew up, etc. Dumb.

Posted by: To Scarry | September 6, 2006 6:52 PM

To scarry, actually I am a very nice person; you would probably like me if we ever bumped into each other. I don't tend to piss a lot of people off in the real world.

Sometimes on the blog though when you aren't actually talking to a person words may seem harsher than what they are meant to be. I was also not raised like a lot of people on this blog so when someone says something nasty, I have a hard time not being nasty back. Where I come from it is survival of the fittest and if you are weak everyone picks on you.

If, as you say, I pissed you off, I apologize and hope that you will accept my apology and end this back and forth between us. I can't apologize for anything in particular because I don't know who you are. It is rather silly to constantly fight with someone on a blog when we are here to talk about balance.

Posted by: scarry | September 6, 2006 11:28 PM

Sorry, I was on a trip and unable to reach the blog.

Thank you for your gracious apology. I accept with pleasure.

Posted by: to scarry | September 8, 2006 10:36 PM

That's cool.

Posted by: scarry | September 9, 2006 9:30 AM

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