Daddy Wars

When I talk to parents conflicted about balancing work and family, I often suggest they talk to their kids because, often, kids are far more pragmatic and less angst-stricken than parents (or than parents think kids are). Several months ago, I wrote an On Balance entry about kids' views on working moms. ABC News recently took the same tack and asked kids their opinions about dads juggling work and family in Moms Are OK at Work or at Home, but Dads Still Face Stereotypes.

The story recaps work by University of Maryland researchers Melanie Killen and Stefanie Sinno, who asked 121 boys and girls ages 7 and 10 about working and stay-at-home roles for moms and dads. The kids thought it was good for moms to stay home -- and good for moms to work. "The researchers found that kids think moms can do both -- work outside the home and be good parents."

Dads did not fare so well, especially among the younger kids. "For many children, it seems like dads don't know much about how to take care of kids," according to ABC. "Most kids said that dads should go back to work and not stay home because 'they would probably sit on the couch with potato chips and not much around the house would get done.' "

The good news is that the 10 year olds had more equitable solutions for parents' juggling acts. "How about they take turns working and being with the kids? Then it's fair for everyone. Everyone gets to do some things that they like, and the kids get to see both their mom and dad."

So, what do you think? How are men affected by cultural stereotypes -- held by kids, women, employers and other dads -- about men juggling work and family? Some men on this blog have argued that our culture does nothing to ask them whether they want to work or be home once they have children. What do you see?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  December 18, 2006; 9:15 AM ET  | Category:  Dads
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My father stayed home with me the first two years of my life. I think he provided great stability for me. They did it out of economic reasons and I'm certain he'd be very capable if it was 1971 all over again. He and I are closer than my mom and me and I attitribute that to that time.

We need to treat dads as the capable humans they are in the world and not micromanage them.

Posted by: Rockville | December 18, 2006 9:30 AM

I know an increasing number of men who are the primary caretakers of their children. Some are stay at home dads, some work from home or have some other flexible employment. I know even more dads that take a far more active role in their children's lives than was the case a generation ago.

As a professional father of four that has chosen to be very active in raising our children, I can attest to the fact employers definately haven't changed their attitudes toward engaged fathers. I have been the subject of many snide comments when I departed the office at 4:00pm to coach a game or attend to some other child related event. In my world, it's those that forego all that and put in the monster hours and never see their children during the week that still get ahead (or at least get ahead quicker).

Nollaig shona daoibh!

Posted by: An Dliodoir | December 18, 2006 9:30 AM

What the survey says to me is that kids see their moms doing all of the household work while dads relax. Not in our house! When 2 people are working, 2 people should be sharing all of the household duties. It's good for girls and boys both to expect that kind of fairness in their later married lives.

Posted by: atb | December 18, 2006 9:37 AM

I think you got to give it more time. I think the more involved fathers become in the child rearing and the housework, the more kids will get used to the idea of a Dad staying home. I think my DH does a lot around the house. But I can tell you that my DD (age 3) would still prefer me to her father home full time. But that might change as she gets older. She is just closer to me right now.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 18, 2006 9:40 AM

You have a happy Christmas too, An Dilodior!

My dad worked long hours out of necessity and I really didn't get to see him that much when I was little. I really wish that he could have spent more time with me, but it wasn't possible. I do agree that fathers should be considered equals as far as child rearing goes. My dad may not have been around as much as my mother, but what he taught me was just as important as what she did.

Posted by: scarry | December 18, 2006 9:41 AM

When men and women are equally likely to consider staying home with children, we'll really be making progress towards culture change. The expectation that women should always put hands-on child-care ahead of career and that men should always put career ahead of spending time with children is poisonous.

Posted by: Olney | December 18, 2006 9:42 AM

the only daddy war happen in WW2, Vietnam, Korea, Somalia, Kosovo, Afganistan, Iraq.
there is no war between daddy for work or home balancing.

Posted by: xiaoti | December 18, 2006 9:42 AM

With our son, I stayed home for 10 weeks, then my husband stayed home for another 10 weeks. After the first week by himself, he apologized to me for not helping more while I was on maternity leave. Now almost two years later, husband still takes time almost every day to have some one on one daddy time with little boy.

Posted by: shell-shocked | December 18, 2006 9:54 AM

As I've said many times here before, breaking through the stereotype for men is the last remaining cultural barrier. Women broke through theirs long ago, and though there is much heat and light given off about balance between the two, women have any choice or combination thereof between SAH and outside work as responsible and respectable alternatives.

But regardless of all the enlightenment issued from writers to this blog, the stigma for men is still there, in many (I'd offer most) parts of the country, to not have pure SAH fathers. Technology has helped. Slowly changing attitudes have helped, but the issue is still there. The last culturally acceptable stereotype--SAH men are just not quite as respectable.

We'll know we're close to where we need to be when men and women have a full range of choices, without little niggling work and societal hints or pressure about the choices they make for their own family balance.

And despite the banter likely to follow this post, discussion here in this choir room isn't the same as occurs in the real world around us. Nor all such sentiments voiced aloud. But they still exist.

But the good news is that at least indicators are moving in the right direction. Like all such stereotype changes, seeing living examples changes minds. And employers helping and getting on board through helps too, though I suggest they are more a reflection of our society's attitudes then the original cause of the stereotype. And it is the easiest, lazy option for employers to presume they can grind men down as they always have.

It is nice to think that my son might have some different options than I've had.

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | December 18, 2006 9:55 AM

Seems to me this survey is really saying that mothers are doing most of the housework. These kids aren't seeing their dads do housework.

Posted by: dotted | December 18, 2006 9:57 AM

I watch my dad with his grandson and I think he would have liked to have been more involved in raising us. My mother always treated him as incapable of taking care of the kids, doing chores, etc. But then, after several years of this, she got fed up that he didn't do enough around the house. He was annoyed because she wouldn't let him!

I think that's really true for a lot of couples. I have a few friends with small children and the women rush in to take care of the kids without letting their husbands find their own way with child care and housework. Then, they get annoyed that all the work falls to them.

I'm sure there are men out there who are totally uninterested in doing any work around the house or spending time taking care of kids, but I also think women need to ask for and expect help, but also let it happen.

Posted by: Secondthoughts | December 18, 2006 10:26 AM

I have to say that I think that the 70 hour work week demanded of those who "truly are company men" is bad not just for families, but the country as a whole.

What does it say about our culture, when the people who are promoted to leadership positions in corporations, government, etc, are individuals who never see their children and never understand the strains that parents face while trying to balance work and family commitments.

Is it an wonder that our leaders have no idea what is taking place in the real world. Women and Men alike need to insist that family comes first. I hear alot about family values in the political debate-a-sphere, but it is a shame that none of them really understand what family is all about. If they did, they would argue not just to keep women at home, but also to liberate men from a culture that punishes them for insisting on having a balanced life. SHAME!

CKL.

Posted by: ckl | December 18, 2006 10:33 AM

As the father of three kids, ages 5 and 2, I observe a lot of stereotypes about dads. A good friend of mine has long been criticized by both sexes because he no longer works and is a stay at home dad while his wife has a fulltime job. I never hear this sort of criticism about stay at home moms. This double standard extends to many other areas as well. Just about all the time, assumptions are made that dad doesn't know what he's doing, or what's going on, and doesn't contribute much to the care and feeding of the kids. I actually spend quite a bit of time with the kids doing all of the things moms (and dads) do, but the assumption is that somehow it is not possible for "dad" to do it as well if at all. Of course, there are a lot of dads out there who don't help the situation, who don't spend enough time with their kids and to the household chores, etc. They give the rest of us a bad name!

Posted by: Daddy Mike | December 18, 2006 10:33 AM

I just wanted to correct one of my last phrases. It should read:

If they did, their arguement would not be so much about keeping mothers at home - as no one judges a woman who choses to do so. Instead they would also work at liberating men from a culture that punishes them for insisting on having a balanced life.

Posted by: ckl | December 18, 2006 10:37 AM

I think this goes beyond individual homes. Children simply encounter more women in care giving roles than men. If mom and dad both work it is extremely likely the children will have female caregivers. While I am certain there are some men in the the field they are few and far between. Most nannies, pre-school teachers and day care workers are women. Additionally, there are many more female pediatricians than in the past. Truly, men have very little to do with the day to day lives of small children. Even if there is an involved dad that is only one man versus the myriad of women the child encounters on a daily basis. I think this adds to the children's perception that dad should be at work and mom can be at home because if mom is at work the kids still have a woman taking care of them.

Posted by: Raising One of Each | December 18, 2006 10:47 AM

Daddy Mike, do you know the age of your other kid, or do you need to ask your wife?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 10:49 AM

Daddy Mike may have 2 kids the same age ....

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 10:52 AM

"Daddy Mike, do you know the age of your other kid, or do you need to ask your wife?"

I assume that two of the three are twins.

Posted by: Lizzie | December 18, 2006 10:53 AM

Daddy Mike, do you know the age of your other kid, or do you need to ask your wife?

what a dumb thing to say.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 11:00 AM

Leslie -- Thanks for the post. I'm flummoxed by the whole thing, and I can't tell if these kids are passing judgment on their own dads, reflecting the Homer Simpson-esque media stereotypes or if they really believe -- at age 7 -- that men are lousy at the parenting stuff. I would hope that my kids (and their friends) have been exposed to enough involved dads that the survey would have turned out very different in my neck of the woods.

http://www.rebeldad.com/2006_12_01_archive.html#355805790222906099

Posted by: Brian Reid | December 18, 2006 11:01 AM

DH and I share the responsibilities for both our daughter and the home. We have to. We both work full-time and both have to travel some. It's always been that way, and even before DD was born, we both shared the chores - they just get done quicker with both of us attacking them at once. Now, DH is the primary caregiver when I travel, dealing with illness, dinners and nighttimes. He is a wonderful father and DD loves and trusts him. She'll grow up knowing that Daddies and Mummies look after their children, can clean a toilet and cook lunch for the family, as well as have a career.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 11:04 AM

It isn't just what the kids see at home. It is still acceptable to joke about incompetent men and to portray them as idiots on TV, movies etc. For example, JCPenney did a commercial last year where the poor daddy was left at home, the children were running wild and he didn't know what to do, while mommy was out enjoying a lovely day. He wasn't babysitting -- he was parenting. I was insulted on behalf of my husband. It isn't just media. All of us are probably guilty of making some disparaging remark about men. Our children are far more perceptive than we give them credit for -- they pick up on these social cues.
In my office, no one blinked an eye when I took 12 weeks of maternity leave (not all of it paid!). When a new father wanted to take more than a week, they gave him grief. Everyone was SHOCKED when my husband chose to take full advantage of FMLA and stayed home for 10 weeks.
I agree that until we have full parity -- at home and work -- we won't have equality.
Also, when my husband goes shopping or runs errands with our two children, people fawn over what a great daddy he is and how wonderful it is for him to demonstrate some competency in not only taking care of the children, but also (gasp) getting other things done at the same time! While it seems complimentary, it's like expressing shock and awe that someone in a wheelchair is actually out accomplishing life. If I'm out and about with the children running the same errands, no one bats an eye and will in fact roll their eyes at me for some perceived child-rearing deficiency because the 2 year old acted like a 2 year old.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 11:09 AM

This can just be added to the list of topics where we think we're more advanced, but in reality, we're really not. As a society, we really haven't made that much progress in terms of racial issues, sexism, sexual orientation, religious choice, etc.

In regards to taking care of the kids, there is still very much this macho mindset ingrained into this society as a whole, that men are supposed to be the breadwinners. It is the woman's responsibility to stay at home. Some men can't live with the idea of their wives earning the money (or more money than them.)

It definitely turns heads when you see a Dad with the stroller, grocery shopping and no Mom in sight. I wonder what sort of studies have been done to see how the children are shaped and impacted differently when the father is the main caregiver.

How do we remove the stigmas? If a woman gets her tubes tied, she's generally not considered less of a woman. But if a man gets a vasectomy, he is often considered less of a man. Even though the procedures produce the identical result. And neither affects sexual performance in either gender. How is this fair?

Posted by: J | December 18, 2006 11:10 AM

The fact that 10 year olds want to have both parents in their lives is interesting because that is the opposite approach the courts take when handing out custody arrangements, nation wide the mother gets primary custody in 90%+ of the cases and the father gets two days every two weeks and the full financial burden of raising the children, hence the term so widely used, "dead beatdad." Wow does this mean that the almighty court system and the womens rights movements have it wrong, no thats impossible..

Posted by: mcewen | December 18, 2006 11:14 AM

Great post Leslie - as a young professional male, I know that if and when my partner and I choose to have children, I'll be facing the same difficulties as fathers do today. Society expects men to make money (and lots of it) so that mommy can stay home and take care of the kids.

re: FMLA leave - that should be 12 weeks, not 10 weeks. I hope he got the full 12.

A female friend of mine was discussin this issue with me recently and she aptly put that men are trying to find their place. Now that women can and do earn a significant amount of money and traiditonal gender roles are changing - we are left in out in the cold as to where we really belong anymore, unless we reject society's labels outright.

Posted by: dc | December 18, 2006 11:15 AM

This is only a short-term conundrum. Between feminists and the university system, modern professional "men" are becoming so feminized that within a decade or two it will take a physical examination to distinguish male from female in most offices. Sorry, girly-men if this comment hurts your tender feelings. Have a nice cry.

Posted by: guido | December 18, 2006 11:19 AM

My wife stay home all the time. I work all the time. We have equality. I respect her, honor, sacrifice, help her with anything and everything whenever I can. I work to make the money. She stay home to run the household and the children, and to spend our money. She give me a wonderful house to come home to every day. She like staying home, I like working. We have equality. Different responsibility but still equality. It is very good.

Posted by: xiaoti | December 18, 2006 11:25 AM

All of these terrible stereotypes of incompetent, lazy fathers are compounded by one even worse:

All men are prospective sexual predators.

The public hysteria about child sexual abuse makes strangers wonder if a man picking up a child from school is some sort of sicko.

Combine these elements, and it not surprising that the paranoid are skeptical about adult men spending time with even their own children . . .

Posted by: one more comment | December 18, 2006 11:29 AM

A "deadbeat dad" is one who doesn't pay ANY financial support for his kids regardless of how often he sees them. He makes this decision, not the court.

Posted by: correction | December 18, 2006 11:30 AM

Agree with 11:09 poster and Tx Dad of 2. I think dads who want to take a major caregiving role (whether splitting with mom or SAHD) still face an uphill battle. Seems like the higher-up who takes off one afternoon a summer for his kid's t-ball game gets the "he's such an involved father" praise -- but when a dad really wants to be in the trenches, and has to deal with the un-glamorous stuff like sick days and paternity leave, then he's a slacker and not committed to his career. I got 3 months' maternity leave, with a "let us know if you want more"; my husband got 3 DAYS -- and his company thought they were being generous! Luckily, my husband believes in the principle of "it's better to ask forgiveness than permission" -- he just took off the time he wanted.

My husband does get a lot more praise for doing stuff with our kids than I do. But like the 11:09 poster said, that's a real backhanded compliment, because it basically assumes that men are incapable of/not interested in doing that sort of thing, so he must be really "special." Which must really grate after a while.

On the plus side, it creates a great opportunity for my brother. We keep telling him all he has to do is take the baby to the park -- get more attention from cute young women that way than he sees in a month otherwise.

Posted by: Laura | December 18, 2006 11:32 AM

If anybody's thinking about being a SAHD and is feeling self-conscious about it, you might try moving to a more working class neighborhood. Where we currently live (near Virginia Beach), we've got lots of active duty or retired military who work odd hours, lots of people in the hospitality industry who work odd hours, a bunch of guys and gals who just got laid off at the Ford Plant and a ton of police officers and fire fighters -- among the parent community at the school.

I remember that there were times during the day in our Northern Virginia neighborhood where it felt like I was back at the women's college I attended, but I think that's mostly because everyone was white collar and traditional. It's kind of nice that the kids at my children's school really don't even notice who's picking them up (mom, dad, grandma, whatever) after school, or which parent is attending the field trip.

I have to admit, though, that Leslie's blog did give me pause. I found myself wondering how I would react twenty years from now if my son told me he was taking a few years off to raise the kids. I can't recall ever suggesting it to him as an option. My husband and I had already kind of assumed that WE would be the childcare so our kids could all have great careers. Funny . . .

Posted by: Armchair mom | December 18, 2006 11:35 AM

We have a SAHD at our ballet class who is the best and I think displays an awesome attitude. He says that the fact that no one expects him to do this well is very liberating. He can't lose. If the kids are clean, he's a hero, if they are a mess, he's just what they expected. He doesn't really worry about other people. He knows the value of what he's doing and that its the right thing for his family. I love SAHD they mellow the hens and bring in different topics of conversation and are often very funny. We need more.

If anyone expects to get a lot of praise and recognition as a SAH parent - you can forget about that. Its gotta come from inside.

Posted by: moxiemom | December 18, 2006 11:37 AM

mcewan - you obviously have been burned, but most states now encourage some form of joint custody, and based on the census data it is closer to 20% in joint and 10% with father and remember if it is a 60/40 split it is still statiscally considered with whomever has the 60%. (link http://www.gocrc.com/research/spgrowth.html)

As for full financial burden on the dad - NO Way as long as the custodial parent is working that amount is required by law (at least in Virginia) to be included in the formula (again set by law).
You may have agreed that your ex stay at home and are now stuck with her only wanting to be a SAHM, but definately don't lay that on the feminists - after all they have been credited with the idea that women should work outside the home.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | December 18, 2006 11:40 AM

I find the media comments very interesting - so true and sad that dads are often portrayed as incompetent dunderheads, when in reality I know so few dads who are like that.

I am curious to hear from the posters who think women shouldn't stay home to parent to begin with - what do they think about dads staying home? I would assume that if a mom is "wasting" her intelligence by parenting, a dad would be doing the same - but since their views seem to be so closely tied in with their portrait of feminism and equality, I am rather curious what they might think.

Posted by: TakomaMom | December 18, 2006 11:46 AM

i think it not possible for dad to stay home 1st year because only mama can breastfeed. next year he can stay home take care of young one. i see some family do this, but only if mama really want to work, pay good money, and papa does not have good job, or going to school.

Posted by: xiaoti | December 18, 2006 11:53 AM

I remember how upsetting it was when our first child was born and my husband felt a lot of pressure from other men at his office not to take any time off. He took four days and couldn't justify any more. He said, "I'll work really hard now, and when our kids are older, I can take more time off then when they really need me." Ten years later, he's working just as many hours.

I agree with the other posters that this kind of pressure on men is bad for them, bad for kids, bad for spouses (whether they work or stay home). Hope more and more men take paternity leave, stay home with sick kids and leave at 4 pm to pick kids up, etc so that employers can see that men can be great employees and involved fathers as well.

Posted by: Leslie | December 18, 2006 11:54 AM

"Hope more and more men take paternity leave, stay home with sick kids and leave at 4 pm to pick kids up, etc so that employers can see that men can be great employees and involved fathers as well."

If you can do it in your field, great.
In you do that in my field (engineering), you will be laid off pretty quickly. There's not only a huge pool of local young grads, but entire nations of cheap engineering labor waiting to take your job.
We are like rats on a treadmill running away from the offshoring asian tsunami. If you slow down, you're gone. That is the sad fact in today's engineering workplace. We do not have the luxury of flex-time, daddy leave, productivity-based attendance, daddy FMLA. My wife understands this, and does whatever she can to support my work obligations.

Posted by: Mr.Honda | December 18, 2006 12:01 PM

hahah, good one jokester

Posted by: scarry | December 18, 2006 12:03 PM

Obviously from my posting name I have no experience with this, but couldn't a father stay home with the kid the first year even when the mother was breastfeeding if she pumped? or is too much to pump a full day in advance or something? I just think the sort of attitude underlying the comment (that only mama can do it) is why many new dads would feel sort of left out when a baby comes and could make it harder for him to bond with baby. Just wondering.

Posted by: notyetamom | December 18, 2006 12:08 PM

Sadly, sometimes stereotypes fit because the BEHAVIOUR fits!

My husband cooks dinner. That's it. No taking kids to activities, he has NEVER taken either child to the doctor, dentist, or orthodontist, no monitoring of homework, no housework--NO HOUSEWORK, no yardwork, I'm responsible for all the maintenance inside and out, including vehicle maintenance. Okay, I confess that I no longer have one damned thing to do with HIS vehicle. If he doesn't have the oil changed but once every two years, and only adds oil when the idiot light goes on, that is HIS problem. And it cost him $5000.00

Thank goodness for separate checking.

Posted by: guest | December 18, 2006 12:11 PM

"Luckily, my husband believes in the principle of "it's better to ask forgiveness than permission" -- he just took off the time he wanted."

It's lucky that your husband's employer bought into it. Many husbands (or any employee for that matter) who believe in that principle would be fired.

Posted by: to Laura | December 18, 2006 12:15 PM

Wow, guest. Did you think you were going to change him or something when you got married--and you've now realized it didn't take? Hell if I'd ever coddle a man like that. Maybe the stereotypes are true because you allow the behavior to continue?

Posted by: wow | December 18, 2006 12:15 PM

Mr. Honda,

What kind of engineer are you? My husband has some flexibility in his job as a project engineer, but not as much as I do as a writer. Maybe it's because they can't outsource what he does due to security issues.

Posted by: scarry | December 18, 2006 12:16 PM

Yes, a father can stay at home the first year if the mother can and wants to pump. That is precisely what working mothers do. I pumped for two full years with my dd and returned to work after 16 weeks of maternity leave. Whoever wrote that does not know anything about breast feeding. Also a large number of infants in this country are not breast fed in generally. A father can certainly mix up some formula and heat up a bottle.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 18, 2006 12:22 PM

Facts of life - not every couple discusses every single detail of their future lives together. My husband and I did not discuss how we would run our household or raise our children other than "We will both have to pitch in" and other generalities. I had my assumptions about how things would work and so did he. We didn't find all the differences until later. For example, pre-children, we ate out a lot, but I cooked when we ate at home. We both assumed that we would eat at home more. I assumed that he would pick up cooking the additional meals, and he assumed that I would do all the cooking at home.

Sometimes you just have to live with the realities of your life. I imagine that guest has many facets to her marriage, and that there are good things there that keep her married. Please don't dump on her or her husband because of this one aspect that she has shared.

Posted by: in defense of guest | December 18, 2006 12:23 PM

Assumptions and miscommunication are guarantors for divorce.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 12:29 PM

To "to Laura":

You're right -- you can't just take a "damned the torpedos, full steam ahead" approach; you have to know your boss and the corporate culture, etc. In our case, my husband is very good at his job and doesn't have a boss who is a stickler for face time -- and he made sure to get all his work done. Oh, and he doesn't care if he gets fired (helps a lot).

But my point was really that there are a lot of people who would like better but just accept the status quo -- not because they're in fear of losing their jobs, but just because it doesn't occur to them to push for more. Because -- this is very true at my husband's work -- That's Not What Men Do. And sometimes it takes someone who is willing to do what he thinks is right and deal with the consequences later to change that. I certainly don't think my husband taking time off is going to change the world or anything, but he demonstrates every day to his coworkers and bosses that you can be an involved dad and a good employee, too -- in part because he just presumes that he will be allowed to do whatever it takes on both ends.

Of course, he's also not in an industry that is in much danger of being outsourced, either.

Posted by: Laura | December 18, 2006 12:30 PM

In Scandinavian countries, many dads take parental leave after the birth of a child, sometimes for a number of months. The parental leave, which is usually about a year with partial pay and benefits, is usually split between the mom and the dad. It is pretty much the norm. My husband is not a stay-at-home dad, but he does spend a lot of time with our three children, and they enjoy his company just as much as mine. He's just as good at playing with them, fixing them meals, story time, and getting them ready for bed.

Posted by: Mom of 3 | December 18, 2006 12:30 PM

Texas Dad of 2 - what he said.

We made our last move, in part, because of this issue. For the first time since we've had kids, my husband was working in an environment where all of his colleagues were men with SAH spouses and not one of them "got" what being an involved dad means. We tend to alternate doctors' appointments, school conferences, etc. and any time he took off work (or came in late) for one of the above, he'd receive the pitying, "you're such an involved dad" comment. After awhile, he understood it to really mean, you're not as committed to your job as we are. Where we live now, the attitude is entirely different and he's no longer treated like a Martian by his colleagues for being an involved parent. At our daughter's dance class and at our son's soccer practices, the gender of parents appears at a glance to be 50/50. Everyone's taking turns and making it work and the moms aren't holding all the power. Our kids see our family working together, each according to his talents and whoever is convenient at the time a need arises, to get all of what needs to be done, done. I second Texas Dad of 2's hope that our son has more options.

Posted by: NC lawyer | December 18, 2006 12:31 PM

I have frequently been around women who spend much of their time criticizing their husbands, particularly their alleged lack of parenting, housekeeping, shopping ... skills, and how they cannot be trusted to do much of anything (domestic) right. How often are similar conversations conducted in front of the children or with the children nearby? How often do these conversations help shape the perceptions of the children regarding their father's abilities?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 12:31 PM

"That is the sad fact in today's engineering workplace. We do not have the luxury of flex-time, daddy leave, productivity-based attendance, daddy FMLA"

I believe that this is true in many fields, especially law based on what is written here.

The question I have concerns career decisions. I understand some people feel the 'need' to work and be a complete person and not isolated at home and the desire to be productive in society in ways other than raising children. But, how many of you have considered changing careers to those that afford more free time and family friendly lifestyles?

I know that financial reality, job availability, educational background and personal interests all play into this. But seriously, has anyone gone into a different line of work to balance their lives more? I remember some lawyers mentioning giving up private practice for government positions, or people choosing to SAH because they couldn't achieve home/life balance, but does anyone actually consider changing careers?

Posted by: anon | December 18, 2006 12:32 PM

'Assumptions and miscommunication are guarantors for divorce'

LOL. We've been married for twenty years. A committment to marriage and working out any conflicts is the key to our success. The way to work it out is compromise. He accepts that I won't cook all meals at home and I have to accept that his meals are not up to my standards. If I don't want soup and sandwich, then it's up to me to cook it. It works for us.

FWIW, he also does all the laundry for the entire family which includes teen-age girls. This wasn't something we discussed either, but things evolve.

Posted by: in defense of guest | December 18, 2006 12:38 PM

Re: Wow

No, he did NOT behave like that when we were dating, and actually talked a really good line about being an involved parent.

How, exactly, do you want me to "make him" be a responsible parent and halfway decent spouse? Because I tried putting him in charge of toothbrushing our youngest child, and that backfired to the tune of a 3 hours worth of dental work at Children't Hospital.

I am not interested in playing "chicken" with the kids welfare to prove a point.

So, therapy is our hobby (kids and myself) as well as our job.

As he is an incompetent jack ass, I do not wish to neglect the kids in order to "teach him a lesson".

He has also become a right-wing religious fruit. As in, "I am the man and the head of the household--submit to me!" Which neither myself nor our kids pay much heed to, as he doesn't DO ANYTHING besides gather dust.

Take him. Mold him. Get to it, Pygmalion.

Guest

Posted by: guest | December 18, 2006 12:43 PM

yes, anon, we both changed chareers in order to achieve better balance, and yes, I'm an attorney and he's in IT. When we met we were both in retail and working retail management hours, e.g., 16 hours shifts through the holidays, and 12.5 hours shifts the rest of the year, with lousy healthcare, and no sick days permitted. In order to make those career changes, we incurred education loan debt that we must now pay back. We couldn't have had children at all with the demands of our prior careers, so we made the change we could. For a variety of reasons including the willingness of two employers willing to write recommendations and hire each of us post-training, these were the two career paths we had open to us. Is it ideal? No. Is it better than it was when we were in our prior careers? Yes. Your point is well taken, but I encourage you not to assume that parents with demanding jobs HAVEN'T made a change. As soon as we can afford for one of us to decrease his/her work commitments, which may well take another 5 years or so, my husband and I will be fighting each other tooth and nail for the position of "parent who gets to work less".

Posted by: NC lawyer | December 18, 2006 12:43 PM

When I was growing up, my father worked full time and my mother taught two days a week at a local university. I would go with her during the day and then go with my dad at night. Having the one on one time with my dad was incredibly valuable and really helped us to become close. We also had specific father-daughter time-ice skating lessons at 8 am on Saturdays (time for mom to sleep in!).

It also helped that my parents were older when I was born. By the time my brother came along 8 years later, my dad had enough flexibility at work to be able to take off days and afternoons as needed to be at events and coach sports teams etc.

Posted by: guest | December 18, 2006 12:45 PM

NC lawyer - thanks for the response.

Posted by: anon | December 18, 2006 12:46 PM

in defense of guest, your teenage daughters should be doing the laundry and I hope your husband isn't sniffing the dirty clothes.

You are doing it all wrong!

Posted by: Be a Parent, Not the Servant | December 18, 2006 12:51 PM

Guest, are you planning on having more children with this man? Have you considered getting a divorce? It doesn't look like your husband is such a great role model for your kids.

Posted by: mv | December 18, 2006 12:53 PM

They must not have quizzed my daughters. When the teacher at school once talked about mothers making dinner, my 4-year-old promptly raised her hand and announced, "My daddy cooks dinner at home while Mommy sits and reads the newspaper." And another time, when her school uniform got dirty, a friend mentioned that her mom can wash it for her. Our daughter proudly declared, "My daddy does the laundry in our house."

But I'm not lazy. Really I'm not. I handle pretty much all of the childcare duties. I get the kids ready every morning, take them to pretty much all their activities, pick them up from school, etc. Hubby handles more of the housework. We both work 45-plus hours each week, but divide and conquer household / childcare duties together. It's a good arrangement. And it's teaching our daughters that a father's place at home is not necessarily always on the couch.

Posted by: Linda | December 18, 2006 12:56 PM

"in defense of guest, your teenage daughters should be doing the laundry and I hope your husband isn't sniffing the dirty clothes.

You are doing it all wrong!"

You don't know who does what in my house, only a little bit about cooking and laundry. You don't know if my daughters
have light or heavy school workloads, jobs outside of the house, volunteer activities or household maintenance other than laundry duty, or if we treat them like little princesses.

Wow, mighty judgmental, aren't you. Also, quite a mind. Is it always in the gutter? It's no wonder that some men are hands off with their children when people such as yourself are so quick to think they are perverts.


Posted by: in defense of guest | December 18, 2006 12:56 PM

Thats correct, the term dead beatdad refers to those fathers who don't pay their child support, but of course the term and obligation would not exist if the father had a right to equal custody and was financial obligates for his share, but it does exist in 39 states and is vehemently defended by the womens movement, review who the chisf opponents were in recent elections and legislative actions in N. Dakota, New York and Calif. Its the money the womens movement wants not the welfare of the children and they have the full cooperation of the lackeys who run the court system to back them up.

Posted by: mcewen | December 18, 2006 1:01 PM

Guest -- Why are you still with that guy? Your posts suggest you don't respect him, or even like him. Surely that attitude is affecting your children. I'm not sure if I feel more sorry for him (that you are still with him and yet despise him for his failings) or your kids. I don't feel sorry for you, as you seem to have made your own bed -- and chose to complain about it rather than doing anything to change the situation. Do you like being a martyr?

Posted by: to guest | December 18, 2006 1:04 PM

My husband is pretty much SAH, but if asked, I would bet our kids (13 and almost 11) would say that I should stay home if the finances could be worked out. There is "engaged" dad, but that's not the same as "homemaker." My husband is fairly "engaged" but only if it doesn't involve any housework. The kids think he's OK so long as they do their own laundry, fix their own meals, clean their own house, etc. He talks to them, plays with them, engages them in wordly views, expands their minds, which is great. But his "caregiving" stops short of the complete package since he won't lift a finger for anything "domestic." What they see is mom working 60 hr weeks and doing all the housework on weekends. He just gets to be the one that they "hang out" with when they get home from school. Again, hanging out is not the same as what others would call a SAHD.

Posted by: alexandria | December 18, 2006 1:09 PM

I have two friends with husbands who are stay home dads so I see it as completely normal. One definitely gets less "grief" from his traditional family now that he is a part-time graduate student because they see that as a path to "something". But his answer to his family when they said why are you doing this "Because I will never get this time back."

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | December 18, 2006 1:09 PM

Sorry women, most men don't want to be househusbands and deep down neither do there wives. In the touchy feel good of PC blogs like this everyone concurs what a great idea it is to "break down this last cultural barrier". Nonsense. It is just liberal gobbledy gook.

Posted by: pATRICK | December 18, 2006 1:14 PM

alexandria, are you sure the kids care? or to rephrase, are you sure your kids consider cleaning to be an essential aprt of homemaking? My kids couldn't care less if a commode ever gets cleaned if we're "hanging out" with them. Ditto for cooking meals. In fact, if it's a choice between spending time "hanging out" with them, or spending that time in the kitchen cooking a three-course dinner, my kids would opt for the hanging-out time in a heartbeat. I'm not giving you a hard-time, and each set of kids is different. The housework disparity certainly adds to the disparity between the time you have to engage with your kids and the time your husband has. As someone else who works long hours, however, I am wondering whether this really is more of an issue for you (as it frankly is for me -- I'm not willing to live in filth and there are no Merry Maids visiting my residence) than it is for your kids.

Posted by: NC lawyer | December 18, 2006 1:18 PM

Ah - today's topic is right up my alley! I read this ABC News piece and was encouraged by the kids. We all know that we have a long way to go to create a culture of equality for men in the housework arena, but the quote from the 10-year old is priceless. He/she basically says 'why not make it all even steven between parents?'. And philosophically, why not?

The answer is complex. Yes, it involves lots of work culture change so that men will feel comfortable and supported taking as much leave as women do. But it will just as importantly involve women breaking the stereotype of their primary role at home. The poster who commented that women have to be the ones to take leave the baby's first year because of breastfeeding is a perfect example of succumbing to this stereotype - it is NOT true! Breastfeeding - love it, did it - has to stop being a barrier between men and their babies.

I'm not sure mothers are ready for men as equals in parenting. I think we women have a lot of 'letting go' to do before men will even begin to buy into the equality lifestyle. They certainly aren't going to become our equals if the rewards are simply more housework and diapers to change! Or more chances they will be judged and criticized by their wives. They have to buy in because it makes for an intimate connection with their spouses, a fun and balanced life for themselves, and a feeling of jack-of-all-trades competence around their own house...among many other advantages.

So, let's never call our husbands 'helpers' around the house. They are not our apprentices - they are (or should be) our equals. If we adopt this attitude, good things will follow.

And for the poster who calls I-work-and-my-wife-doesn't 'equality', it can be (if everyone is happy with this arrangement). It just isn't my brand of equality and it doesn't work for me. I want a true partner in raising my children, earning the family's money and doing the chores - I don't want to be designated as primarily responsible for any one of these things, nor does my husband.

Posted by: equal | December 18, 2006 1:19 PM

What Alexandria, he makes them clean up , feed themselves and do their own laundry? THE CHILDABUSER! report him immediately OR....
rexamine what is going on. He has taught them to do things for themselves and not expect him to be their maid, which it sounds like you have become in their eyes. Good for your husband!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: pATRICK | December 18, 2006 1:20 PM

what in the world does men having the option to stay home and parent have to do with "liberalism"? Rather than just throwing a bomb out there, please discuss your views in complete sentences.

Most conservatives agree that parents should be able to raise and educate their kids as they see fit. Doesn't that include conservative dads having the option to SAH if that's what they determine is best for their families? We're not talking about a government program or policy here.

God calls both men and women to parent. Who are you to say which calls are worthy of obediance?

Posted by: to pATRICK | December 18, 2006 1:25 PM

pAtrick, you are absolutely right. I doubt that any female that frequents this blog and touts "equality" would ever take their boy out in public wearing a pink dress, or will they ever consider giving their little boy a doll that wets itself after feeding it a bottle.

There will never be equality until little boys begin wearing cute little dresses and playing with Barbie dolls!

Posted by: Progress | December 18, 2006 1:26 PM

Guest reminds me of a couple I know. At least in regards to the husband just sort of being there. They had one kid almost immediately after getting married. She quickly became frustrated when he didn't help with the kid. She has admitted that she has to be deathly ill for her husband to even change a diaper!

She also complains a lot about how they never have sex. But they do when she wants anothe kid, as though that will fix things. So now they have 2 sons. He does nothing, she does everything. It's also worth mentioning that financially, this was probably not the best time to have another child.

Every situation is different. But there are times with her that I just can't feel sorry for her--especially with bringing that second child into the world knowing how he is. The only thing I can think of is that she wants to "make" a person that will love her--since she's not really getting what she wants from him, she's substituting it with having kids.

Guest, I'm not suggesting that this is your situation at all. But from what you describe, there are similarities. You are the only one that can take the reins and change your situation for you and your children. You sound very bitter and I am sorry for that. But if you see no light at the end of this tunnel, forge a new path for yourself and your children. You'll be happier and healthier for it.

Posted by: perspective | December 18, 2006 1:30 PM

What I was posting about(again) is the feminist claptrap that prevails on this blog and that it has little relevance to the real world. As far as your God statement, no idea what that was about. By the way, it's obedience not obediance.

Posted by: pATRICK to To pATRICK | December 18, 2006 1:31 PM

I have been *SO* hoping that
we would now be in not just
a different place but a far,
far different place with the roles
of moms and dads and employers.
OK, some progress *has* been made and it appears to be better for all than it was even 20 years ago. Certainly the workaholics with spouse (still usually wife) at home for domestic support and child care duties will always be able to run faster, jump higher, stay at the office longer. But my hope is that my son, who is now 23, will be there more for his kids than his dad was. Of course, I will also admit that my husband was more available and more involved than his own father was. So the progression is good. Just don't stall out!!

Posted by: SF Mom | December 18, 2006 1:34 PM

Turning into the Spelling Police doesn't augment the persuasiveness of your points, but I assume you knew that. The feminists, spouting claptrap as you see it, don't have a dang thing to do with individual decisions being made by individual families, some with dads like Texas Dad of 2 at the head of them. It's about families having choices, not the politics of those families. You don't want to stay home? All power to you. Why you feel you're qualified to comment on what other men want is baffling.

Posted by: to pATRICK | December 18, 2006 1:40 PM

pATRICK, you seem to have the brain power of Spongebob's best octupus friend. Alexandria said, "What they see is mom working 60 hr weeks and doing all the housework on weekends." Which means that her engaged househusband has not taught the kids to do the housework or clean up after themselves. He AND the kids are expecting mom to do it after working a 60 hour week.

Alexandria, you need to get tough and make him take up some of that load, or at least teach the kids to do it. It should not be all on you.

Posted by: Emily | December 18, 2006 1:40 PM

i don't think my wife will marry me if i tell her - when we have children, i will stay home for 2 years and you will go to work. instead, i tell her - i promise to provide for you, earn money for the family, protect you physical and emotional, love honor and respect you. she tell me - she will love me and be a good mother and homemaker. we have happy family and we treat each other equal. it is very good and work very well.

Posted by: xiaoti | December 18, 2006 1:43 PM

"But my hope is that my son, who is now 23, will be there more for his kids than his dad was."

That will be up to your son not society. Why can't we realize that we make our own choices in life, including gender roles, working too much, etc. If you are looking for a life focused on family, don't choose a job that requires 80 hour work weeks, don't live in a city where the average house costs $500,000, don't marry someone that isn't going to help around the house... I don't care what they say before marriage, you should really KNOW the person you are marrying and that means knowing if they are respectful of you (which means they understand that you aren't their maid). At some point we have to stop blaming society and just make our own decisions about what roles we want and the life we want - there is nothing stopping you but your own choices... who cares what anyone else thinks!

Posted by: notyetamom | December 18, 2006 1:46 PM

xiaoti, I hope for the sake of you and your family that you are never laid off, and that you marry, or have already married, a woman who shares your preferences for how life should be ordered. The most important thing is for each couple to discuss those preferences prior to marriage.

Posted by: NC lawyer | December 18, 2006 1:46 PM

Once again I am posting in a hall of mirrors, where women talk to other women about what men want,what men should be doing and never holding each other accountable. The REAL problem is that women do not want a partner but an employee, who will do it exactly how and when THEY WANT IT DONE. While leaving ultimate authority to them and guess what NO ONE wants that job and women come here and complain. You want to run your life like an overloaded mule, then don't complain when others say no thanks. By the way, being a man for 40 years, having lots of male parent friends DOES qualify me to speak for what many men want and feel, so get over yourself.

Posted by: pATRICK | December 18, 2006 1:46 PM

And pATRICK, learn the difference between "there" and "their."

"There" is an adverb used to denote a place:
I am going to sit there.

"Their" is a possessive pronoun:
Their couch is very comfortable.

Posted by: Emily | December 18, 2006 1:49 PM

Did you say something? I didn't think so.

Posted by: pATRICK to EMILY | December 18, 2006 1:53 PM

pATRICK - Given that you can't separate reasoning from your politics, you certainly don't speak for me.

From what I would infer about the politics of some of the other males on this board, I would guess almost none of them would feel comfortable with you speaking for them either.

When you and I agree it's a rare coincidence, not shared philosophy.

While we're injecting politics, why is every unprovable government conspiracy "liberal claptrap", but feminist-related conspiracies and the "War on Christmas" are accepted as fact by your ilk, though equally unprovable?

Posted by: Proud Papa | December 18, 2006 1:53 PM

My mom, homemaker for 40+yrs does everything for my dad. At dinner, he just sits down while she cooks, sets the table and serves him rice and drink. Traditional old-fashioned asian way.

My generation has seen some progress in that I can actually cook, do laundry, dishes, care for sick kids and spend way more time with the kids on mundane things and special outings. I would like my sons to grow up knowing that they should share in home duties. However, I will still emphasize that his top priority is to work for a living and provide for his family. I agree with xiaoti - I don't want him to tell his future wife that he's going to be staying home while she has to work full-time as the breadwinner. I know this isn't going to be well-received on this blog, so I have my fire-retardant suit on.

Posted by: Mr.Honda | December 18, 2006 1:53 PM

Rule #42 of On Balance blog: when you don't have a good comeback, just pick on the poster's grammar. It will make you feel superior even though you weren't smart enough to think of a substantive response.

Posted by: The Decider | December 18, 2006 1:53 PM

We're missing the question here. We are all assuming that men's participation are based on "cultural stereotypes". Had it occurred to some of you that, perhaps we are biologically pre-disposed to this arrangement? That perhaps women are biologically better suited to roles and attitudes implicit of our "cultural stereotype" of women and vice versa with men?

On some of the grosser (i.e. more obvious) levels, no matter how hard we try to change the stereotype, men are not biologically pre-disposed to breast feeding. Sure, there are guys with man-boobs. But those he-hooters will never lactate. And women will always squat to pee, unless they're standing in the shower. Urinals are an exclusively male province.

And these are just two obvious behaviors determined by biology. Who know? Maybe women have a LifeTime or Bravo gene and men have an ESPN gene.

Posted by: its not all nurture | December 18, 2006 1:55 PM

notyetamom - *clap clap clap*

Posted by: 215 | December 18, 2006 1:55 PM

And pATRICK, learn the difference between "there" and "their."

"There" is an adverb used to denote a place:
I am going to sit there.

"Their" is a possessive pronoun:

Their couch is very comfortable.

This is stupid and uncalled for. Post to the issue not the grammar. Please, there are other people on this board who can't even write complete sentences.


Posted by: to emily | December 18, 2006 1:58 PM

Biology is destiny and you cannot totally ignore this.

Posted by: To: it's not all nuture | December 18, 2006 2:00 PM

its not all nurture //Had it occurred to some of you that, perhaps we are biologically pre-disposed to this arrangement//

a few days ago I complimented women by saying they were nurturing and kind. that was a mistake because i was flogged repeatedly until i timidly squeaked out an apology.

Posted by: Mr.Honda | December 18, 2006 2:00 PM

"Had it occurred to some of you that, perhaps we are biologically pre-disposed to this arrangement?"

Someone had better tell my father, who cares for two to four grandchildren at a time (more in the summer), that he isn't permitted to do this, biology tells us so!

Posted by: another guest | December 18, 2006 2:03 PM

Read closely the rantings of these empowered yuppie females and then ask yourself this question: why is it that there is a burgeoning market for mail-order brides in the U.S. but virtually none for mail-order grooms? Is it just because some guys aren't fit to date, or could this very column (and attitudes contained therein) be a contributing factor in the phenomena?

Posted by: Anastasia dot com | December 18, 2006 2:04 PM

FYI, Emily and I are not the same person. (Just figured I'd make that clear at the outset...)

Posted by: TheGrammarPolice | December 18, 2006 2:04 PM

Their are a girls names emmily on the momies blog. Hers are a reel pian in the raer.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 2:06 PM

Golly, gee, its not all nurture, I certainly am glad I got the ESPN gene. It must have been one of nature's mistakes. Since no one in my household has the Lifetime or Bravo gene, we are spared such dreck.

Sorry, I'd rather take responsibility for my choices and not blame the genes. We have taught our children it's not society or anyone else that's making their choices, or living with the results. I recommend this approach highly, acknowledging that others differ.

Mr.Honda, no need for flame retardant suits (at least not around me). I am surprised, though, if you would discourage a son of yours from making choices for his family that fit his family. You've always struck me as both traditional and wise. I am sure you are raising kids with a good work ethic, and that those kids also are keenly aware of the pressure on you of down-sizing and outsourcing. Would you be disappointed if a son in a similar industry married a woman whose industry was more stable, or whose income was higher. Would you be disappointed if he opted to stay home because you just don't think it's the right moral choice? or not manly? or what? I am asking, not criticizing.

Posted by: NC lawyer | December 18, 2006 2:06 PM

Nobody said "not permitted". The argument is "not as good as". Besides, where's grandma? Likely, at work? Or is she out of the picture all together?

Posted by: its not all nurture | December 18, 2006 2:07 PM

Bonjour everybody!
I heard a joke last weekend - very funny, ha! ha!

These 3 shady kind of guys died right around Christmas time & when they got to the pearly gates, Saint Pete says "no way are you guys getting in, but I'm in a charitable mood, if you can show me something that reminds me of Christmas I'll let you in".

The first guy thinks for a minute & reaches into pocket & pulls out a lighter & lights it - "a candle" he says - Saint Pete says "thats clever - ok your in"

The second guy stands there looking very perplexed & unsure, then he reaches into his pocket & pulls out his keys, Saint Pete says "what do keys have to do with Christmas"? the guy shakes them & says "jingle bells" - Saint Pete says "thats kind of stretching it but ok - your in"

The third guy is standing there with a sheepish grin & Saint Pete asked "what do you have"? he reaches in to his pocket & pulls out a pair of panties & holds them up. Saint Pete said "what do those have to do with Christmas " ? The guy answers back "they're Carols"

Posted by: Thierry | December 18, 2006 2:08 PM

Guest --

I have to ask --

Why do you stay with him???

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 2:09 PM

Re: xiaoti's comments

I completely understand where he is coming from, although I would guess that perhaps he is older than his 30's or early 40's. My experience is that the now older generation with grown children may have automatic acceptance of the woman staying home and not working. Each party understands their role and it is very clear. You have to admit, that CAN (not always) lead to contentment and a happy family life.

The generation that is having kids now, however, has all sorts of choices open to them. We agonize over which choice will make us happiest.

Posted by: Rebecca | December 18, 2006 2:10 PM

I have to admit that that was a funny one Thierry.

Posted by: scarry | December 18, 2006 2:11 PM

December 18, 2006 02:09 PM

'Til death do us part.

Posted by: guest | December 18, 2006 2:12 PM

To NC Lawyer,

Hi!

Posted by: Fred | December 18, 2006 2:14 PM

How interesting that NC Lawyer should say that it's not society that makes the choices. While compromise may often time be the most pragmatic tack for legal conflict, in the end, it is society's chosen representative -- the judge and/or jury -- that either makes or approves/declines the final solution.

Even communication styles can tell us alot about gender. I'll bet, for instance, that NC Lawyer is a "squatter" and not a "stander".

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 2:14 PM

Nobody said "not permitted". The argument is "not as good as". Besides, where's grandma? Likely, at work? Or is she out of the picture all together?

Posted by: its not all nurture | December 18, 2006 02:07 PM

My mother is dead and my father raised me and my sister.

Yes, both my parents worked, as did BOTH sets of my grandparents AND my great-grandparents. As do I. My mother worked M-F and my father worked F-Sunday. They got a babysitter one day a week for after school.

Posted by: another guest | December 18, 2006 2:15 PM

"til death do us part"... the vows also say "love, honor, cherish." Why is that one less important?

Posted by: notyetamom | December 18, 2006 2:15 PM

to anon at 2:14. huh?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 2:16 PM

"til death do us part"... the vows also say "love, honor, cherish." Why is that one less important?

Posted by: notyetamom | December 18, 2006 02:15 PM

Roman Catholic. No kick-outs, no exceptions, no get-out-of-living-hell cards are granted. Just ask a priest, he'll be happy to tell you all about it.

Posted by: guest | December 18, 2006 2:18 PM

to anon at 2:14. Even if today is the first time you've visited the blog, I've indicated my gender in prior posts. I'm not at all sure what your other references to the legal system mean, but I doubt they have relevance to anyone on the blog today but mcewan. I don't practice family law and don't find it relevant to the choices our family or other intact families make with respect to which parent, if any, stays home with the kids.

Posted by: NC lawyer | December 18, 2006 2:19 PM

To NC Lawyer.

To clarify.... I would like my son to know that it is his primary responsibility to be the provider. I don't want him to place that burden on his wife. I don't want him to go through life specifically looking for a wife that will work to support him while he stays home with the kids (like male MRS degree) because he's planned in advance that's the lifestyle he wants. (I don't think he'll find many girls who want to marry him under those conditions!) Sure there might be times when the wife has to work, etc. That's life. But my point is I don't want him going for a "male-MRS" degree or plan to marry someone who will "provide and care" for him while he is Mr. HouseHusband for 50yrs.

I am still a bit "old-fashioned" but my opinion is that it is fine for a girl to get an MRS degree and be a homemaker for 50yrs. It's nice to hear a girl say I want to grow up and get married, have 4 kids and be a homemaker. At least she's honest! I would not want to hear a man say those same things.

Flame-proof suit on.

Posted by: Mr.Honda | December 18, 2006 2:24 PM

Hey, Fred - my last post (okay - I'll admit it - rant) to Cream of the Crop was inadvertently anon. Loved your response.

Posted by: NC lawyer | December 18, 2006 2:24 PM

Roman Catholic. No kick-outs, no exceptions, no get-out-of-living-hell cards are granted. Just ask a priest, he'll be happy to tell you all about it.

Maybe you should ask a different one. They don't all say that. I'm not trying to hurt your feelings or say that what you say isn't true, it is just a suggestion.

Posted by: scarry | December 18, 2006 2:25 PM

Proud Papa, I'm sure the empathy belly you wore for your wife during her pregnancy was a crowning achievement of your enlightened life. The hens of this board are just clucking their approval.

Posted by: pATRICK | December 18, 2006 2:25 PM

Hey, Fred - my last post (okay - I'll admit it - rant) to Cream of the Crop was inadvertently anon. Loved your response.

Posted by: NC lawyer | December 18, 2006 2:25 PM

The poster who commented that women have to be the ones to take leave the baby's first year because of breastfeeding is a perfect example of succumbing to this stereotype - it is NOT true! Breastfeeding - love it, did it - has to stop being a barrier between men and their babies.

Posted by: equal | December 18, 2006 01:19 PM

What? You still haven't figured it out about men and breastfeeding? It's not a matter of WON'T; it's a matter of CAN'T.

Posted by: its not all nurture | December 18, 2006 2:27 PM

Thanks, Mr. Honda. I appreciate your comments (and the time it takes to don the suit).

Posted by: NC lawyer | December 18, 2006 2:29 PM

"I don't want him to go through life specifically looking for a wife that will work to support him while he stays home with the kids (like male MRS degree) because he's planned in advance that's the lifestyle he wants."

I will be completely and utterly ashamed of myself if either of my children (one of each sex) spend their adult lives as someone else's dependent.

Married or single, we should ALL be capable of earning our own ways. Never, EVER, be living a lifestyle that depends on another's largesse. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 2:30 PM

To NC Lawyer,

Was that the one"...matriculation from "non-elite" programs as a proxy for bare-foot and ignorant, you wouldn't be viewed as "snobby" and/or intellectually arrogant."?

I loved it and Fredia loved it even more. She is a bit of a Luddite, she just doesn't do this computer thing! In fact, she was Mrs. Ned and was reincarnated as a lactation consultant! :)

Posted by: Fred | December 18, 2006 2:30 PM

"Sure." said the lawyer. "They're all named as plaintiffs that I'm representing against the White Star line. Would you care to see my filing?"

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 2:31 PM

To 'its not all nurture' - have you heard of baby formula or a breast pump?

Posted by: The Decider | December 18, 2006 2:31 PM

What? You still haven't figured it out about men and breastfeeding? It's not a matter of WON'T; it's a matter of CAN'T.

Posted by: its not all nurture | December 18, 2006 02:27 PM

Never heard of a breast pump and a freezer? Worked great for me with both of my kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 2:32 PM

To guest -

I applaud you for upholding your wedding vows. Truly, 'till death do us part is just that. And we shall hold to that.

Love does not mean letting your husband continue being, as you say, "an incompetent jackass". You can show love by modeling, by guiding his behavior, for encouraging change. Do not mistake love for passivity and blind compliance. Love also teaches and molds for the benefit of the other person. And often times the path is not easy.

Posted by: Mr.Honda | December 18, 2006 2:33 PM

geez, have you never heard of breast-pumps? or are you really this dense? please reread foamgnome's many comments on this topic. breast-feeding isn't any more a barrier to men staying home than it is to women working.

Posted by: to it's not all nurture | December 18, 2006 2:33 PM

"Once again I am posting in a hall of mirrors, where women talk to other women about what men want,what men should be doing and never holding each other accountable."

Patrick --

If this is how you feel, why do you post here? You must like something about the so-called "feminist claptrap" you read here; otherwise, why subject yourself to it?

I think you enjoy ranting and fuming on this blog because it gets you attention. Perhaps you don't get any attention at home -- or not as much as you'd like.

But, really, coming here and badmouthing people who have never done you a wrong turn is pretty pointless, isn't it?

If it's your sole form of entertainment, then I really do feel sorry for you.

Posted by: pittypat | December 18, 2006 2:34 PM

A friend of mine has had three kids and cannot breast feed them, never could. In fact, her sister called her "Nipp-less".

Formula works, in a bottle.

I find it hard to believe that there are NO widowers in the world who have HAD TO take care of their OWN child(ren) and that none of them could manage it.

Another Guest says she(?) was raised by a widower, at least there is no mention of a stepmother.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 2:36 PM

I think you enjoy ranting and fuming on this blog because it gets you attention. Perhaps you don't get any attention at home -- or not as much as you'd like.

Rule #42 of On Balance blog: when you don't like what someone says, say they don't get enough attention at home.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 2:40 PM

That's the one -- tell Fredia I admire her resistance to electronic forms of addiction. Although it's embarrassing to hand my Treo to my 11 year old and ask him to figure out how to do more than read e-mail on it. And he does. in 30 minutes or less. Sigh. He's going to make a great dad some day if he can meet a great girl at one of those crappy state schools.

Posted by: NC lawyer | December 18, 2006 2:41 PM

Rule #42 is about attacking grammar. Your rule can be #43. Please keep up.

Posted by: The Decider | December 18, 2006 2:41 PM

"Read closely the rantings of these empowered yuppie females and then ask yourself this question: why is it that there is a burgeoning market for mail-order brides in the U.S. but virtually none for mail-order grooms? Is it just because some guys aren't fit to date, or could this very column (and attitudes contained therein) be a contributing factor in the phenomena?"

No, don't think so.

But I do wonder why you're posting under a pseudonym that is a website for someone who seems like an extraordinary woman of grace and accomplishment.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 2:43 PM

to The Decider, LOL. That's better than anything the Jokester has posted today!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 2:43 PM

There is such a thing as annulment in the Catholic church. It can and does work, it just takes a long time to do.

If you really want out for your betterement and the betterment of your children, you might want to use this. If your priest stonewalls you on this, find another!

Hey, it worked for my brother.

Posted by: to guest | December 18, 2006 2:43 PM

Pressure is there if you let it be. A very good friend is a SAHD; gets weird looks occasionally but sloughs it off (he was a professional singer before fatherhood, so is used to the occasional unfriendly audience). Then again, there is still a pressure for dads to work and not take time off when the baby is born ("Hey, what do you need time off for? You didn't give birth, your wife did!" or "Hey Bob, I'll bet the office is a restful change from staying at home with Junior...")

Will it change to total equality? Probably. In my lifetime? I'm not counting on it.

Posted by: A.N. Other | December 18, 2006 2:44 PM

sorry, I liked your format so I copied it.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 2:44 PM

My mother worked during the 50's something not many women did. She worked as a nurse so there were different hours and weekends. This left my father to care for the 4 kids when he was not working. I think it was great. He cooked and did laundry showing us that both men and women worked and did housework.
I think in an ideal world a couple should be able to both work 20 - 30 hour weeks rather than one [person working 40 -50 hours. This would not only be great for working parents but also for people who want to semi-retire. Keep an income but have more time for other pursuits.
One of the big problems is companies paying health care for part time people. The first step towards this scenario is universal health care.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 2:45 PM

"Maybe women have a LifeTime or Bravo gene and men have an ESPN gene."

Dang, missed that memo. My (future) husband said he knew it was love when he called me on a Monday night and I was watching Monday Night Football. (Tho at the time, that would have been an ABC gene, I guess).

The whole "maybe men don't want to stay home" argument is a straw man. Sure, maybe 90% of them don't. Maybe 95% (my own husband included -- unless it involved (a) a full-time nanny, and thus (b) unlimited time in the woodshop). So what? Does that then make it ok to criticize those who do, or force them to face obstacles that WOH moms don't face?

Or what about guys like Tx Dad of 2 and Proud Papa, who want to WOH but still be active in their kids' lives? Is it fair to say no, only women get to do that -- you have to work 80-hr weeks to provide for your family? Equality is a two-way street; it's simply not fair to give women the opportunity to choose how to live their lives, but then insist that men must still live by the same old traditional gender roles.

I love the whole "liberal/feminist conspiracy" argument, because it presumes that there's this giant cadre of women marching along in unison with whips and chains, looking to force men to submit to their definition of an acceptable male role (hmmm, where's Thierry today? I'm sure he can do something with that). In fact, the point is exactly the opposite: it's about trying to get away from the very concept of roles based on stereotypes, and allowing each family to choose what works for them.

Posted by: Laura | December 18, 2006 2:46 PM

Feel free to use the format, just be careful with the numbering... wouldn't want to confuse anybody, they may not know how to respond properly to a post they don't like.

Posted by: The Decider | December 18, 2006 2:51 PM

If you really want out for your betterement and the betterment of your children, you might want to use this. If your priest stonewalls you on this, find another!

Hey, it worked for my brother.

Actually, I have decided to leave the Catholic church. As they have made it clear that I am only to be viewed as breeding stock, then I and the money I earn can go elsewhere.

Ditto for H.

I think 2008 will be a great year. The lawyer I spoke with (and the therapists) all assure me that with all the times he has been locked in the psych ward, I am assured custody of the kids.

They don't need to be around a raving lunatic anymore than anyone else.

Enough is enough, 15 years is enough. 10 years of dealing with an abusive whack-job is enough. My kids know which parents is there, which one is reliable, which one doesn't threaten to kill members of their family, their pets, destroy their possessions when they ignore the "adult" in their lives.

Enough.

But, he is now, and probably always will be a crap dad.

Sorry folks, not everyone is a good parent, even presuming the desire WAS there as stated.

Posted by: guest | December 18, 2006 2:53 PM

I'm so very happy my husband doesn't desperately cling to an inflexible notion that he has to work to support the family and I have to stay at home. I admit, my kid is yet to come (in a few days!), but the one piece of advice that I hear over and over again is BE FLEXIBLE. You have no idea what you're going to get, so don't prepare with any pre-conceived notions. I can't imagine how hard this process would be if my husband wasn't willing to bend with me. And, BTW, he REALLY wants to stay at home and be a SAHD. I'm with the poster above, though. I'd love each of us to work 20-30 hours/week. I don't want universal health insurance though! I know too many Canadians and Europeans in VERY LONG wait list for surgeries. And my poor Canadian FIL was almost never reimbursed by the government when he worked in rural health care. I'm just saying...

Posted by: atb | December 18, 2006 2:55 PM

When virtue is lost, benevolence appears, when benevolence is lost right conduct appears, when right conduct is lost, expedience appears.
Expediency is the mere shadow of right and truth; it is the beginning of disorder.
Lao Tzu

Posted by: Quotable | December 18, 2006 2:55 PM


Guest,

Many people leave the church because of the reasons you stated. The church does not equal a relationship with God; you can do that on your own in your house. Likewise, getting a divorce does not make you a bad person or equate to a mortal sin. I'm sorry, but I am Catholic and I am not buying that load of crap anymore.

Posted by: scarry | December 18, 2006 2:58 PM

To 'it's not all nurture':

We definitely disagree and will have to agree to do so, I think. I'm a believer in nurture - I don't subscribe to a mother having any advantage over a father in any aspect of childraising except in utero and the physical ability to breastfeed.

And I also believe that breastfeeding generally contributes to a lack of equality in childraising between parents, because it sets the scene very early in a baby's life that moms do child stuff better than dads. And guess what...this becomes self-fulfilling because mom takes control and dad backs off or takes direction from mom. If parents can take the little extra energy needed to set up a more equal caregiving routine from the very beginning, I think life would look much different in the average household with kids.

As for breastfeeding itself, I'm not going to accept your invitation to fight about whether a man can breastfeed. I will simply say that I breastfed exclusively for the first 3 weeks of my two children's lives, and then pumped so that my husband could feed them one bottle a day for the next few months (usually while I slept). My kids were perfectly happy to be fed by either of us, and I wasn't 100% tied to my babies for their nutrition if I needed to be away for a few hours. We stored up lots of breastmilk in the freezer and slowly increased the number of bottle feedings per day while I trained my milk production to fit with my work schedule. Then, when I returned to work at 4 months, I was actually able to skip pumping at work entirely because we had moved the bottle feeds to work hours and I pumped before and after work.

So, I'm sure the above plan doesn't work for everyone, but the moral of the story is that YES breastmilk intake by a baby can be shared between the lactating and non-lactating parent.

Posted by: equal | December 18, 2006 2:59 PM

Fredia confirms that some women just cannot breastfeed due to biological factors. The most common problem (but not the ONLY one) is that the surgeon cut the milk ducts while doing a boob job. However, one of her patients, the Bourbon street stripper, was able to BF in spite of her plastic augmentation.

Posted by: Fred | December 18, 2006 3:06 PM

"There is such a thing as annulment in the Catholic church. It can and does work, it just takes a long time to do."

I'm not Catholic, but my understanding (from my friends who are) is that it's not divorce that is prohibited but, rather, remarriage.

The divorce would be a legal disengagement, but the church will go on believing that you're still married. Hence, if you remarried, then the church believes that you're committing adultery.

So, for Catholic women in unbearable situations, divorce is an option -- as long as they don't get hitched again.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 3:09 PM

Pittypat,I come here because for way too long conservative, real world voices have been muzzled by papers and media such as this one and the NY TIMES etc. Concerning your statement"But, really, coming here and badmouthing people who have never done you a wrong turn is pretty pointless, isn't it?" That is a rather strange thing to say on a blog where divergent views are shared. Are you sure you are old enough to be posting?

Posted by: pATRICK | December 18, 2006 3:09 PM

Pittypat,I come here because for way too long conservative, real world voices have been muzzled by papers and media such as this one and the NY TIMES etc. Concerning your statement"But, really, coming here and badmouthing people who have never done you a wrong turn is pretty pointless, isn't it?That is a rather strange thing to say on a blog where divergent views are shared. Are you sure you are old enough to be posting?

Posted by: pATRICK | December 18, 2006 3:10 PM

"My mother worked during the 50's something not many women did."

Actually, many, many women worked in the '50s. Just not ones in the socioeconomic group this blog occupies.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 3:11 PM

"When virtue is lost, benevolence appears, when benevolence is lost right conduct appears, when right conduct is lost, expedience appears.
Expediency is the mere shadow of right and truth; it is the beginning of disorder.
Lao Tzu "

Is that you, Mona?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 3:13 PM

SCARRY, saying that the church has no relationship to GOD is like saying" I work but I don't go to the office". Can't have one without the other. Find a different church or quit but don't fool yourself.

Posted by: pATRICK | December 18, 2006 3:15 PM

pATRICK, you are brave man.
but stupid.

you have entered the lair of the amazon feminist b!tches.

you will soon be c@strated
your testicles served on a cold platter to Queen Lesbo and
you put into service as a lowly eunuch.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 3:15 PM

Testicles make you male, but not a man.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 3:18 PM

"Are you sure you are old enough to be posting?"

50 next month, Patrick.

And you're, what, about 23?

Posted by: pittypat | December 18, 2006 3:18 PM

Indian runner fails gender test, loses medal


Associated Press

NEW DELHI, India -- An Indian runner who won a silver medal in the women's 800 meters at the Asian Games failed a gender test and was stripped of the medal.

Santhi Soudarajan was tested after the race this month in Doha, Qatar.

The Indian Olympic Association said today it has been told by the Olympic Council of Asia that the 25-year-old runner was disqualified.

"IOA has asked the Athletic Federation of India to return the medal as desired by the Olympic Council of Asia," the Indian Olympic group said.

The IOA also asked its medical commission to inquire into Sounderajan's case and report within 10 days.

There are no compulsory gender tests during events sanctioned by track and field's international ruling body, but athletes may be asked to take a gender test. The medical evaluation panel usually includes a gynecologist, endocrinologist, psychologist and internal medicine specialist.

Posted by: WomanOrMan? | December 18, 2006 3:20 PM

so could that indian runner breastfeed?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 3:21 PM

I am 40 pittypat, and I don't cry when others post things that I think are mean, which apparently you do. These places are not for the faint of heart.

Posted by: pATRICK | December 18, 2006 3:22 PM

Like abortion, breastfeeding with women is (usually) a choice. With men, it's a physical impossibility. Again, the difference between WON'T and CAN'T.

Sure, men can feed their children but just don't have the biology for lactation. Women do.

If biology makes women better suited to feeding their infants and toddlers, then why wouldn't biology also make them better (and, perhaps, more subtly) suited to other child-rearing activities?

Posted by: it's not all nurture | December 18, 2006 3:22 PM

SCARRY, saying that the church has no relationship to GOD is like saying" I work but I don't go to the office". Can't have one without the other. Find a different church or quit but don't fool yourself.

Patrick that is not what I meant at all. I meant she can have a relationship with God without belonging to the Catholic church. Please, don't get irate with me because I believe that God is everywhere and not just in church.

On the issue of divorce, no one should have to stay in an abusive or even unhappy marriage because of the rules of a church. However, there are reasons that the church will accept for divorce, one of them includes abuse. The marriage will have to be annulled, however if you want to get re-married in the church. I know this because one of my cousins had an abusive husband and she left him and had their marriage annulled and got re-married in the church.

Posted by: scarry | December 18, 2006 3:23 PM

Patrick --

You may be 40 in people years, but in whiny-little-boy years you're not a day over 7.

Posted by: pittypat | December 18, 2006 3:24 PM

That is a good point Scarry. I agree with you on divorce.

Posted by: pATR | December 18, 2006 3:26 PM

pATRICK - Scarry's point was that the church isn't the ONLY way to have a relationship with God. And equatting work with worship is inappropriate, not to mention plenty of people work who don't go to an office. Worship is very personnal and we have a thing called religious tolerance in this country which allows people like scarry to choose their own religious path. Suggesting that a church is the only place one can communicate and worship God is fundamentally anti-Christian, which believes that worship is a way of life not just a place; and it is hypocrits of this type, those that preach christianity but pick and choose the tenants they will adhere to, that give it a bad name. The golden rule is do unto others as you would have them do unto you... it is NOT go sit in a church or bash other people's religious choices. Love thy neighbor, don't stone him because he is different from you.

Posted by: notyetamom | December 18, 2006 3:27 PM

Pittypat, the only whining is done by you. YAWN

Posted by: pATRICK | December 18, 2006 3:28 PM

Rule #44 for On Balance Blog: hilarious comparisons to current news stories is encouraged. (good one Re: December 18, 2006 03:21 PM)

Posted by: The Decider | December 18, 2006 3:29 PM

Rule #44 for the On Balance Blog:

When you disagree, call each other names and question ages. Be sure to say "If your dad had breastfeed you, you would understand!"

Posted by: New Rule | December 18, 2006 3:30 PM

That is a good point Scarry. I agree with you on divorce.

No problem, I think you just misunderstood what I meant about the church. Religion is a touchy issue, maybe even more touchy than feminism.

Posted by: scarry | December 18, 2006 3:30 PM

I hereby amend my rule to be Rule #45!

Posted by: New Rule | December 18, 2006 3:31 PM

thank you

Posted by: The Decider | December 18, 2006 3:31 PM

You are welcome!

Posted by: New Rule | December 18, 2006 3:32 PM

"Pittypat, the only whining is done by you. YAWN"

Agreed. He has your number on this one - just admit defeat and move on (the name calling doesn't suit you)

Posted by: Roy | December 18, 2006 3:32 PM

By the way, how old do you have to be to read this blog?? Just curious

Posted by: Marie | December 18, 2006 3:33 PM

No, NOTYETMOM, it is not. You need some community to enrich your faith. Much the same way as you do not get ahead at work by staying home in your jammies. In every religion I know of, community is a basic tenet of faith. You are speaking to the new age religions i believe.

Posted by: pATRICK | December 18, 2006 3:33 PM

"The medical evaluation panel usually includes a gynecologist, endocrinologist, psychologist and internal medicine specialist."

need all these experts to determine gender?

heck, I could tell the instant my sons were born! smiley :)

Posted by: Mr.Honda | December 18, 2006 3:33 PM

pittypat whinning? Cmac isn't even on here today, so that can't be the case.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 3:34 PM

Community does not have to equal a church, does it? Is it a new age religion if you practice princples of christianity but don't go sit in Church every Sunday? Can't I enrich my faith through love of my family and friends, through volunteering to help others in need, through teaching my children to treat others with respect? I think there is much more to faith and religion than just going to church... a lot of people who go to church think that that is all they have to do to be a "good christian" and don't apply what they hear there to the rest of their lives. I think it is the rest of their lives part that is most important, not the one or two hours on Sunday.

Posted by: notyetamom | December 18, 2006 3:44 PM

Notyetamom,

I agree with you wholeheartedly.

And to take it a bit further, churches are merely organizational and financial governing bodies for the business part of religion. The edifices have nothing to do with the spirituality that may or may not inhabit them. Ultimately, churches -- and often the religions that govern them -- are essentially property holders. (See, for instance, the brouhaha gathering over land ownership in the Episcopal churches in VA.)

Spirituality doesn't require a church. Ask the Amish; they'll tell you.

And, as far as I know, the Amish aren't a new age religion.

Posted by: pittypat | December 18, 2006 3:45 PM

No, Mr. Honda, you knew their SEX. Their GENDER they may not yet know themselves.

Posted by: aging mom | December 18, 2006 3:48 PM

I think the Amish worship in chuch too.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 3:49 PM

A new reader here.

What are rules 1-42? Where do I find them?

Posted by: yet another guest | December 18, 2006 3:52 PM

aging mom //No, Mr. Honda, you knew their SEX. Their GENDER they may not yet know themselves. //

this has me confused. i am old school. i always thought male=boy=man, female=girl=woman. what is this new concept where gender is not sex?

Posted by: Mr.Honda | December 18, 2006 3:54 PM

"In common usage, the word gender often refers to the sexual distinction between male and female

Gender can refer to the (biological) condition of being male or female, or less commonly hermaphrodite or neuter, as applied to humans, animals, and plants. In this sense, the term is a synonym for sex, a word that has undergone a usage shift itself, having become a synonym for sexual intercourse. In a study of scientists' usage of "gender" and "sex", Haig wrote:

Among the reasons that working scientists have given me for choosing gender rather than sex in biological contexts are desires to signal sympathy with feminist goals, to use a more academic term, or to avoid the connotation of copulation.[4]"

from wikipedia

Posted by: definition | December 18, 2006 3:55 PM

I'm still working on those.

Posted by: The Decider | December 18, 2006 3:55 PM

We will have to agree to disagree. What you are describing is essentially good citizenship. I go to church to deepen my relationship with Jesus and my fellow christians and learn more about my faith. But to each his own.

Posted by: pATRICK to NOTYETAMOM | December 18, 2006 3:55 PM

A little note to notyetamom - pumping is NOT necessarily a silver bullet. Even some women who are very prolific breastmilk producers (like me) have a hard time pumping. I found that pumping for a very long time would produce only a minimal amount of milk, and it was such a time-consuming process that I gave up in frustration. Simple hand-expressing was more effective for me, though not all that effective either.
From a very unscientific, very informal survey of some of my mom friends, I found that a few others had similar frustrations with pumping. What we had in common was this -- big boobs, in the D- and DD-cup range (no implants, thank you very much). Our unscientific collective conclusion was that while for the average-sized breast pumps may work OK, the physics or mechanics don't quite pan out for more buxom moms.

Posted by: very, very anonymous | December 18, 2006 3:56 PM

Pittypat, Churches are groups of people, not buildings. But you wouldn't understand.

Posted by: pATRICK | December 18, 2006 3:58 PM

"sex" is the biological fact of having male or female physiological characteristics (e.g., testicles). "Gender" is sexual identity, which may be different from sex.

Posted by: aging mom | December 18, 2006 4:00 PM

"I think the Amish worship in chuch too."

No, the Amish don't have churches. They hold their services in peoples homes. They don't believe in having churches -- too much like idolatry.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 4:00 PM

Oh Patrick, you're dancing the dance with Pittypat. She is is just awful. Just last week she posted some crazy missive about how ALL men are afraid of feminists. Even the ones who feel they aren't afraid of feminists aren't self-aware enough to understand their deep-seeded fear of feminists. She opposes engagement rings ("ownership jewelry") and is vegan. This woman has clearly gone off the deep end.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | December 18, 2006 4:03 PM

No, the Amish don't have churches. They hold their services in peoples homes. They don't believe in having churches -- too much like idolatry.

seems like that same thing to me. A church is really only a place where people gather.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 4:04 PM

pATRICK - You whined what I have taught all my female friends: if you ask a man to do something, just let him do it. If you want it done your way, do it yourself. The more instruction you give a man on how to do something, the less likely he is to do it. Remember, ladies, all the Harpies got was liver.

xiaoti - actually, if that division of labors is what both have agreed to, as you stated quite clearly was the case, good for you! There are any number of women who prefer that arrangement. Some of them just pretend to want to be lawyers.

Guest - Gosh, the religious nut must be great in bed! Nothing else you have said here would commend him as a husband worth keeping. Either that or he makes a bundle and never reads the credit card statements.

Females, in the generic, are natural multi-taskers which makes them perfect for rearing multiple children of differing ages and talents or for managing projects with multiple goals. Males, in the generic, are naturally linear which makes them perfect for assisting with science fair projects, coaching PeeWee or negotiating contracts. If you keep this in mind, then you will have no problem with a SAHD who has happy, sassy kids wearing their clothes inside out with a house that is neatly disarrayed and who collapses into his recliner after bedtime with a brewski and SportsCenter. Nor would you have problems with a SAHM whose kids are kitted out in matching outfits and whose house is spotless but who nags like a banshee in the evenings because she can't get a decent debate going while Thursday Night Football is playing. We is what we is. Not all mothers are kitted out for the task, not all fathers are made to be good dads and most of us don't find that out until we are already trying to load the carseat into the backseat safety belts. June Cleaver had a script for Mother's Little Helper or a bottle of sherry in the cabinet, I'm sure.

Meanwhile, mcewen, sorry you had such an acrimonious divorce. If you were so cooperative,forgiving and well-mannered during your marriage, I can understand why a divorce was inevitable.

Posted by: pat | December 18, 2006 4:04 PM

I am a regular poster but am not going to post my usual name in order to respond to the anonymous post - nobody needs a visual to go w/ the name - anyway, i just think it's funny that I was the OPPOSITE - very small boobs - wasn't very successful pumping either and also used hand-expressing - so maybe it's common and not a boob-size issue :)

Posted by: W | December 18, 2006 4:05 PM

pATRICK, it is christians like you that give christianity a bad name. You say you go to church to deepen your relationship with Jesus and learn more about your faith, then why aren't you practicing what you've learned? Re:

"The REAL problem is that women do not want a partner but an employee, who will do it exactly how and when THEY WANT IT DONE. While leaving ultimate authority to them and guess what NO ONE wants that job and women come here and complain. You want to run your life like an overloaded mule, then don't complain when others say no thanks."

Like I said, it is the rest of your life that matters, not the couple hours in church.

Posted by: notyetamom | December 18, 2006 4:05 PM

I just wanted to add that I'm Catholic and although the church is against divorce, you can get one if you are in an abusive relationship. What the church prohibits is a second marriage in the church (the exception being if the first marriage was annulled). I would advise guest to find a priest that understands her situation.

Posted by: mv | December 18, 2006 4:06 PM

This is a funny day, catholic church, dead beat dads, breast feeding, and the Amish. What a spectrum?

Posted by: foamgnome | December 18, 2006 4:06 PM

aging mom //Gender" is sexual identity, which may be different from sex. //

As always, this blog never fails to point out the 0.1% couterexample to prove you wrong. OK aging mom, you win the point.

I see weiner, I say male, I say boy and I raise them to be men. To me sex is gender, but this is the 21st century so to each his or her own....

Posted by: Mr.Honda | December 18, 2006 4:07 PM

not the jokester, No lawyers are needed to recap the rules. We have The Decider keeping us all on the straight and narrow. Thank goodness.

Posted by: NC lawyer | December 18, 2006 4:08 PM

Sex is the biological signifiers (penises, vaginas, chromosones) people have which makes them either male or female. GENDER is the set of attributes, beliefs, and behaviors that society associates with each of the sexes. Sex is the equipment you have. Gender is what you do to let others know what equipment you have. Sex, to a degree, is immutable, gender is fluid and subject to performance.

Posted by: bored sociology grad student | December 18, 2006 4:10 PM

"I see weiner, I say male, I say boy and I raise them to be men. To me sex is gender, but this is the 21st century so to each his or her own...."

Well, my point is simply that it is important to be aware of the difference so you don't raise somebody to be a man against their will.

Posted by: aging mom | December 18, 2006 4:12 PM

pATRICK - any number of religions worship without a church. Amish rotate between living rooms of the congregants. Quakers have meetings. Jehovah's Witnesses have Kingdom Hall. Wiccans worship in the wood or on a hilltop or some other outside venue. If you can form a minyon, you have a shul anywhere. You may serve Mass anywhere between two candles. It has been said on numerous battlefields.

Work, conversely, can happen in a field or a barn or a kitchen or a mill or a winery or a brewry or a factory or a tannery or a cannery, on a ship or on a tower or in a pool or in a pit or in a mine or in a quarry or over a crib or a under a cow or inside a kiln or beside a plow. Or before an altar.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 4:13 PM

many forms i fill out have "gender" but not "sex". if i am sissy with penis, what should i check? if i am butch with vagina, what's my gender?

Posted by: dazed and confused | December 18, 2006 4:14 PM

"Pittypat, Churches are groups of people, not buildings."

This was my point, Patrick. Read more carefully.

Your last response to notyetamom clarified a lot. Apparently, you see religion and spirituality through the narrow lens of Christianity -- a religion that Jesus wouldn't recognize (and would be appalled by) if he spent even five minutes on Earth looking at the devastation it has wrought in his name.

I could count on one hand the number of "practicing Christians" I know who actually practice the tenets that Jesus set forth for his follwers to live by. He said, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged"; and yet, Christians judge and condemn anyone whose beliefs or lifestyles differ from theirs.

It's a sad legacy for a great teacher.

Posted by: pittypat | December 18, 2006 4:16 PM

"Well, my point is simply that it is important to be aware of the difference so you don't raise somebody to be a man against their will. "

good grief! yeah, i'll let my teenage daughter decide whether she wants to be a man or a woman.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 4:16 PM

Being a christian does not mean losing your ability to critique a crummy social situation. But forgiving the person and working for a better solution is being a christian. I learned that at church.

Posted by: pATRICK to NOTYETAMOM | December 18, 2006 4:17 PM

Mr.Honda, you're ok, I'm ok.

aging mom is really a confused old man.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 4:21 PM

"good grief! yeah, i'll let my teenage daughter decide whether she wants to be a man or a woman"

She will decide that no matter whether you "let" her or not. All you can do is avoid unnecessary pain if in fact she turns out to be one of the (small percentage of) people whose gender identity does not match their sex.

Posted by: aging mom | December 18, 2006 4:21 PM

"Oh Patrick, you're dancing the dance with Pittypat. She is is just awful. Just last week she posted some crazy missive about how ALL men are afraid of feminists. Even the ones who feel they aren't afraid of feminists aren't self-aware enough to understand their deep-seeded fear of feminists. She opposes engagement rings ("ownership jewelry") and is vegan. This woman has clearly gone off the deep end."
Thanks , that explains everything-pATRICK

Posted by: To ARLINGTON DAD | December 18, 2006 4:22 PM

this "church" as building silliness has to stop. The point is not that you need to have a structure. The point is that a "church" is comprised of people who share certain core religious beliefs and who form a community. It's fine to say you can worship on the golf course, as many of us have said from time to time; however, if you take yourself entirely out of a faith community wherever it might meet to worship, it becomes more and more difficult to claim you are a believer in much of anything. It's possible, and I'm not challenging anyone's particular belief system, but this battle isn't over whether or not belief requires a sheltered structure, e.g., a church building.

Posted by: NC lawyer | December 18, 2006 4:22 PM

I left the well known church I was brought up in because of the hypocrisy, judgemental attitude, etc. Now, my church is the outdoors and I have never felt closer to the higher power than I do when I am standing on a mountain with the people I care about... just a thought...

Posted by: no name yet | December 18, 2006 4:23 PM

You weren't critiquing a crummy social situation, you were being incredibly disrespectful towards women in that post and I honestly hope that you did NOT learn that in church. Respectful discussion and dissent is one thing, demeaning generalizations are quite another. But I digress. I do appreciate you participating in this discussion, though, I think people learn a lot more through honest banter than trying to be politically correct, so thank you for that.

Posted by: notyetamom | December 18, 2006 4:23 PM

Rule #46 for On Balance Blog: Rules 1-41 are hereby eliminated so there is no need for The Decider to come up with them. Rules will begin with #42.

Posted by: The Decider | December 18, 2006 4:27 PM

"Organized religion is the opiate of the masses." Karl Marx

Posted by: no name | December 18, 2006 4:27 PM

"Christians judge and condemn anyone whose beliefs or lifestyles differ from theirs"

yet another sweeping statment from pittypat.

Are all 49 year-old childless, vegan, feminists this mean?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | December 18, 2006 4:28 PM

No, i was not. I was defending men who are sick and tired of some women who only want to complain, badger and put down men who do not want to just be they're wives employees.

Posted by: to NOTYETAMOM | December 18, 2006 4:29 PM

"She is is just awful. Just last week she posted some crazy missive about how ALL men are afraid of feminists. Even the ones who feel they aren't afraid of feminists aren't self-aware enough to understand their deep-seeded fear of feminists. She opposes engagement rings ("ownership jewelry") and is vegan. This woman has clearly gone off the deep end."

Why, thank you, Arlington Dad. Can't remember the last time someone called me "just awful."

Regarding the catalog of sins you lay at my feet, a couple of observations:

1. I believe I made a case for men fearing "feminism," not "feminists." But of course I could be wrong. You may want to go back and check on that, and then you can enlighten us both.

2. While "deep-seeded" offers an interesting image, the term you were attempting to use is "deep-seated."

3. If you feel that a woman is "off the deep end" unless she wants expensive jewelry, then I can only hope that you're wealthy enough to hold on to the woman of your dreams.

4. Don't get why you're so threatened with the notion of veganism. Just because some people choose not to consume or use animal products doesn't make them any more nutso than meat-eaters. I don't interfere with your right to eat anything you want to. Why should you denigrate my choices?

Let me know if you'd like me to be "just awful" some more. I'm happy to accommodate. Especially if you furnish the topic. You know, like song requests.

"Bring 'em on!"

Posted by: pittypat | December 18, 2006 4:29 PM

Are all 49 year-old childless, vegan, feminists this mean?

Probably if they don't get to eat a hamburger every once in a while.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 4:30 PM

NCLawyer - those of us tapdancing on the pin of pATRICK's reference to 'church' were, in fact, reponding to a direct statement from him about an edifice where he worships, much like the cubefarm in which he works. And we were being purposefully nitpicky because it was such a dumb answer from someone who usually shows more smarts. Hence my diversion into nursery rhyme doggerol.

Ah, the pink dress gender confusion issue! Snips and snails and puppy dog tails! THAT'S what little boys are made of!

Posted by: pat | December 18, 2006 4:31 PM

Good Golly Miss Molly - do I want to jump in or not?

As for today's article, I don't know who the kids are that were polled, but all the kids I know would rather have their dads home with them - they are WAY more fun.

I see Pitty is up to her old tricks again, calling names and condemning those that do the same. Submitting views and opinions but telling others their's are hogwash. Oh - I see modern Christian's are evil too. Good Luck pATRICK.

As for the religion issue, interesting but I too believe you do not have to have a physical church to have a relationship with God.

Posted by: cmac | December 18, 2006 4:32 PM

Rule #47: no yelling at the Decider. I am the Decider, which means I decide. I make the decisions. decider.. that's me not you. you are not a jokester not the decider making the decisions. so quit it.

Posted by: The Decider | December 18, 2006 4:32 PM

You know what I meant by "just awful."

Anyway, you've demonstrated once again how you twist anything anyone says.

You are crazy. Get help.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | December 18, 2006 4:33 PM

Pittypat is by far the most judgemental poster on this blog. I can understand why she doesn't know very many christians.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 4:34 PM

The author of this column obviously has no idea of what American parents are facing these days - "..balacing work and family.." Come on! I was recently laid off - my job, as a DBA. It was given to a "guest worker" from India who received about half of what I made..and no benefits. This is the third time this has happened since this President took office. Now, I get to re-enter the labor market, competing for ever lower wages, ever lower benefits, manditory unpaid overtime, and a whole lot worse. I make about 1/4 of what I made in 2000. Factory workers at my last employers are on a point system. They get points for being late, a point for being sick, points for not working manitory overtime, points for anything that doesn't suit the employer, and when they get enough points...they are fired. And about 1/3 of the workers are "undocumented aliens" so the employer is insured of a frightened workforce that works like dogs, competing for ever lower wages. So, parents cannot count on going to a school concert, to a parent-teacher meeting, to an after school game or other activity, and when they do get home they are simply beat and beaten down. Stay at home moms are a thing of the past because moms are forced to work to simply feed and clothe and house the family. Examples are everywhere, not just for engineers. Those meat packers that were arrested last week? They were making $10 or less an hour in a job that paid $18 an hour in 1980 (and, now, without benefits). The exact same upside down salary and benefit compensation exists for all construction trades, even for manufacturing jobs. I wish the balance was between work and family, but it isn't. How do you trade off food and shelter and for a wrecked family? What is happening to our country right now is criminal and the fault is NOT with parents or schools, it is with corporations and investors and politician's. Criminalize business practices that harm American workers and do so much damage to their families. So my question is, when is the Post going to start carrying front page stories placing the blame on the investors and corporate big wigs and bankers and politcians who are the cause of this mess? Likely when hell freezes over, because these criminal parasites are the same "movers and shakers" that your reporters spend so much time cozying up to for a "story".

Posted by: MikeB | December 18, 2006 4:35 PM

Great timing cmac pitty are you out there?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 4:38 PM

I know I get cranky if I don't get a hamburger every now and then.

Posted by: pATRICK | December 18, 2006 4:39 PM

Those meat packers that were arrested last week? They were making $10 or less an hour in a job that paid $18 an hour in 1980 (and, now, without benefits).

No one told them to come here.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 4:41 PM

Oh well, here I am again with my 2-cents worth. You never know what life is going to hand you. My dad became a single parent when I was twelve and my mother left suddenly. My dad is an old fashioned self sufficient guy. He can build a house, fix a car, cook dinner, hem a little girl's dress (with the old sewing machine he found and fixed)and make cookies to send to me in boot camp. If something needs to be done, he'll rise to the challenge and do it. My own former husband, a real macho, he-man type was a devoted father who changed diapers, did laundry, cooked (not his strong suit) and stayed home with our son for a year while we were stationed overseas and he couldn't find a job. Life occasionally hands you a situation you never planned on. Even Patrick could find himself in a situation where he's staying home with the kids. Will he accept that situation and do his best or will be feel sorry for himself and mope around all day?

Posted by: Melt | December 18, 2006 4:41 PM

"Christians judge and condemn anyone whose beliefs or lifestyles differ from theirs"

Not all, but some, yes. Organized religion in general has left me seeking a spiritual connection in other ways. Indeed, growing up--some of the cattiest girls and immature boys I met were from church. Those who deemed that going every Sunday made them the best Christians ever were typically the most guilty, in my experience.

Posted by: spiritual not religious | December 18, 2006 4:41 PM

Grad - i thought SEX was something best done with a partner? *S* One of the reasons life today is so fraught with radical fundamentalism of all stripes is because what was once believed known to be a solid is fluid and that which was believed to be fluid is now gone with the mists. Alas, poor Pluto, I knew him well. Is an integer still a whole number? How many black holes can spin on the head of a pin? Are you a girl if you simply think you are?

Posted by: Pat | December 18, 2006 4:42 PM

Me too, pATRICK. I love animals but as an Irish girl from the midwest, meat is always on my plate!

Posted by: scarry | December 18, 2006 4:43 PM

MELT, my wife travels 45 days a year on business. I dress them, feed them, do homework,take them to practice, shower them, play xbox 360 with them, brush their teeth, read them a story and say prayers with them and then commute one hour each way to work. I don't mope and I don't mind doing it. I do get mad when my wife comes home after three days of eating out, playing golf and sleeping by herself in a nice hotel room (when 2 kids have kicked me all night long in my bed because they were scared) and the first thing she says is " this house is a wreck". Which it isn't except by her fanatical standards.

Posted by: pATRICK | December 18, 2006 4:47 PM

Arlington Dad --

I really gotta call you on this. Once again, you're lashing out and making sweeping claims that you don't even try to substantiate.

"You know what I meant by 'just awful.'"

Sorry. I don't. It's a vague description that could apply to anything from a car wreck to bad shrimp.

"Anyway, you've demonstrated once again how you twist anything anyone says."

What did I twist, AD? You called me crazy because I support feminism, don't wear a diamond, and don't eat animals. Did I miss something?

"You are crazy. Get help."

See item above.

I think that what you really don't like is that I can make a reasoned and persuasive response to the kind of foolishness you put out here. I think that you don't like the fact that your put-downs can easily be shown for the frustrated adolescent crap they are. I think you can't stand to be one-upped by a woman -- any woman.

But don't worry. CMAC will protect you. She's big and tough and knows how to shoot.

Posted by: pittypat | December 18, 2006 4:51 PM

"I do get mad when my wife comes home after three days of eating out, playing golf and sleeping by herself in a nice hotel room (when 2 kids have kicked me all night long in my bed because they were scared) and the first thing she says is " this house is a wreck". Which it isn't except by her fanatical standards."

Oh, how horrible. Yet if the roles were reversed, she'd do all you listed AND clean the house too.

Boo-hiss.

Posted by: whatever | December 18, 2006 4:52 PM

MikeB - Don't get me started!!! America ceased to be the home of the American Dream, the residence of the Mythic Middle Class, when Personnel became "Human Resources" and payroll became a cost of production. What gets me is that you look at the bonuses paid out this year at Goldman Sachs and they appear to EXCEED profits. You look at the price of gas vs the price of sweet crude and note that there is little corollary. Time has an interesting graphic this week on profits. Slate has an interesting article on government, philanthropy and taxes. All it boils down to is we are a step and a half away from living in the age of robber barons who make nothing. At least Carnegie and Rockefeller and Dupont and Peabody produced something. Look at some of the companies 'trading' today and tell me what they produce? And it isn't just the big guys - real estate flippers are the reason the housing market got sooo out of control. The Religion of the Right is GREED.

Posted by: Pat | December 18, 2006 4:53 PM

pATRICK,

Now we understand many of your earlier comments in a way we didn't when there was merely vitriol and ALL CAPS SHRIEKING.

many of us do not have standards our spouses are supposed to achieve. My husband's the creative one -- if he's "in charge" there is much paint, markers, scissors and other accoutrements involved. When I'm "in charge", we're outside playing a sport, wandering through the woods etc. I don't tell him there's still paint on the tile. He doesn't tell me not to track mud in the house. I hope you and your wife are able to talk this out in a way that leaves you less angry, because you sound as though you might be a pretty good dad if you could lower your blood pressure a bit.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 4:53 PM

Just so we are clear. Men can lactate. Just google "male lactation"


That doesn't make it normal, but if a dude wants to go through the brutal pain of breastfeeding, more power to him.

Posted by: tddoog | December 18, 2006 4:54 PM

I agree, 4:53.

I figure that, when my husband does household chores (which he does easily 50%+ of in our home), he should do them the way he wants to. When I do them, same thing.

He hates the way I stack the dishwasher, and often repacks it. That's fine. If he's doing clean-up, it's his call.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 4:58 PM

why can't men be men and women be women... male lacation... geesh.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 4:58 PM

No WHATEVER, because I purposefully took a job where I don't travel and I don't feel that keeping a perfect house is important. I tell my wife to sit down and relax more times than i can count but she won't because she has so many self imposed projects and always finds something that she thinks needs cleaning.

Posted by: pATRICK | December 18, 2006 4:59 PM

So then have more kids. That'll keep her mind off the projects she thinks she needs to do.

Posted by: whatever | December 18, 2006 5:03 PM

I just looked up male lactation -- oh wow -- learn something new every dday :)

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 5:03 PM

Well I must be an alien. I used to cook 4 times a week, bathe and other household activities as the bread winner. We had another child and wife stayed home for a year, and a number of roles changed as my work hours went from 40 to like 50 plus per week. Some men are sorry, some live by stereotypes. But there are a number of men that were raised by women that did not want there sons to be big lazy asses. Women raise your sons to be different! My father, who was born in the 30s was the same way. he actually made some dishes that blew my moms cooking away. I used to baby sit me niece and nephews when I was 15. Wasn't crazy about changing diapers, but you learn to do it.

Posted by: RobGreg | December 18, 2006 5:04 PM

pATRICK- Mission accomplished. You actually did get me angry. I'm still waiting for you to make an intelligent argument so I have something to rebut. I suspect it will be a long wait.

Posted by: Proud Papa | December 18, 2006 5:04 PM

In honor of PITTYPAT, I am off to whataburger for a doublemeat with cheese and bacon for dinner.

Posted by: pATRICK | December 18, 2006 5:05 PM

Good for you, Patrick. Men can take terrific care of kids. Being a good parent doesn't require breasts. And, tell your wife (from a single parent) that she's lucky to have a loving spouse to take care of the kids while she's traveling on business and she shouldn't worry about the housework not being done to her standards. That's not the most important thing.

Posted by: Melt | December 18, 2006 5:07 PM

"Some men are sorry, some live by stereotypes. But there are a number of men that were raised by women that did not want there sons to be big lazy asses."

Well said, RobGreg, and I'm happier and happier each day when I read this blog that I married my husband. He was raised by such a woman and is a lot like you describe yourself. You already know this, but you are not an alien. Alot of the good guys on this board have not shown up today, but there are many, as in real life.

Posted by: NC lawyer | December 18, 2006 5:07 PM

pATRICK, that shows real maturity. Hope your arteries feel the same way as you do about doing things "in honor of pittypat."

Posted by: to pATRICK | December 18, 2006 5:08 PM

re: breastpumping troubles...
likewise for the A- and AA-cup range, but primarily because there just wasn't enough volume after a feeding.

Posted by: Working Dad | December 18, 2006 5:10 PM

Pitty - I'm not protecting or shooting anyone today. Maybe tomorrow.

Unlike you, I think Arlington Dad can stand up for himself. He has an opinion and you don't agree, therefore you will spend all day insulting and demeaning him. It will lead to "little boys with little weenie" posts. Then you will tell him he can't stand being confronted by a woman, I mean, we all KNOW that men are afraid of Feminism - and you are a feminist.

Just because someone doesn't want to argue with you tit for tat means nothing except that they are either too busy or they give up out of exasperation. The term "beating a dead horse" comes to mind.

Posted by: cmac | December 18, 2006 5:15 PM

I was never able to successfully pump even though I had plenty of milk. I never seemed to get the "let down" reflex when I tried to pump. Oh, but that was a long time ago and the baby is in college now. Somehow we overcame.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 5:17 PM

but the fact that Pitty's a vegan has so little to do with the opinions some posters find offensive . . . can we at least stick to the important disputes?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 5:17 PM

I don't get this. pATRICK spends most of the day being really nasty about SAHDs, feminism, etc., because it's all "liberal gobbledy gook," and he basically called Proud Papa a pansy for disagreeing. Now he wants credit for how well he takes care of the kids while his wife travels extensively for work, and complains that she doesn't recognize how hard he works at home? What gives?

Posted by: ??? | December 18, 2006 5:18 PM

I'm sure he's raising well-adjusted, thoughtful little angels.

Posted by: Proud Papa | December 18, 2006 5:20 PM

I praised Patrick's parenting because I believe in positive reinforcement. Praise the heck out of them when they do something right and down play the missteps (unless they're really bad). I'm a retired GI, but I'm also a touchy-feely, girly-girl and a feminist-liberal. I'm just a bundle of contradictions, as I'm sure many of us are. People are complicated that way.

Posted by: Melt | December 18, 2006 5:28 PM

because he's in a lousy marriage and is ticked off that she travels at all, e.g., the discussion about how wonderful her hotel room is and how annoyed he is that the kids have crawled in with him. Let's see, that's 45 days where he's the primary and 320 days where she's the primary? or do you think they split the parenting responsibilities when they're both in residence? pATRICK's been seething for some time now. His wife may be exactly as unappreciative and unreasonable as he states, but either way, they need counseling, for the sake of those kids.

Posted by: to ? ? ? | December 18, 2006 5:28 PM

"I'm sure he's raising well-adjusted, thoughtful little angels. "

Yeah. If they are boys, they'll be whiners, just like him. Marry wives who are oh-so-horrible because they want a clean house.

He's just bitter because he has to take care of the kids when she's gone. Awww, poor baby.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 5:31 PM

As someone said, most memorably, last week:

"CMAC, unclench!"

Posted by: pittypat | December 18, 2006 5:34 PM

Pittypat, don't you miss dairy products? I could live without meat, but no cheese, no ice cream, no big glass of milk with your chocolate cake, no chocolate cake!? Life wouldn't be worth living.

Posted by: Melt | December 18, 2006 5:37 PM

I should go home now, but I'm too lazy to walk to the metro station. Oh, well...

Posted by: Melt | December 18, 2006 5:41 PM

To Guest: While never being maried myself I have a very close friend of almost 30 years who has just finally gotten divorced from an abusive spouse. She is also a catholic and is actively pursuing an anullment. She is doing better now that in almost the whole time I have known her altho it did take her a long time to get here - she waited until the kids were over 16. Good luck.

Posted by: KB Silver Spring | December 18, 2006 5:41 PM

"Those meat packers that were arrested last week? They were making $10 or less an hour in a job that paid $18 an hour in 1980 (and, now, without benefits).

No one told them to come here."

Actually, the meat packing companies regularly go to Mexico and other Central American companies and recruit illegal workers and drive them up here to take those jobs. Some companies even charge the workers for the transportation and take their passports/documents away until the "debt" is repaid, which given the crap wages, takes a long time, like, until the feds come and deport them.

Be angry at Swift, be very angry at Swift, and learn the facts.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 5:42 PM

Melt,

Well, cheese was a little hard at first. But since it's so fattening, anyway, it's a good thing I lost my taste for it.

As to other dairy, once I found a soymilk I could stand (Silk is great), I was home free there. Chocolate cake is infinitely adaptable to vegan-ity. Pretty much any dessert can be made vegan, and they're delicious.

The only thing I really have trouble with is that I do love milk chocolate but don't much care for the dark stuff. So, I do cheat there every once in awhile -- usually around holidays.

Also, fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, a lot of junk food faves are vegan -- like Oreos.

Believe me, I don't suffer. :>)

Posted by: pittypat | December 18, 2006 5:44 PM

Leslie - Go over to MSNBC's web site and read about people, parents, taking sick leave, and perhaps you might better understand what is going on in this country. A fairly typical reading:

"We recently had a young lady fired because she had a baby prematurely, took extended maternity leave because the baby was still in the hospital, and over the course of the next year the baby was in and out of the hospital."

That pretty much sums up both the Daddy Wars and the Mommy Wars. When we, as a country, start criminalizing corporate behavior like this, and I mean lock these rats up in prison and not in a Country Clubs either, then we can start rolling back the clock and have marriages and families and lives that are meaningful and work; Otherwise you are simply barking at the moon.

Posted by: MikeB | December 18, 2006 5:45 PM

Thank you for such a thought-provoking article. My wife and I are planning a move and because she makes considerably more money than I do, one option on the table is that I stay home with our 2 year old as opposed to putting him into a new daycare situation.

I love my current job, but it will be challenging to find something comparable after the move. Although I work in a progressive work environment that values commitment to family, many of my co-workers are disbelieving when I tell them that staying home with my son is an option.

One of the fundamental societal paradigm shifts that needs to occur, regardless of gender, is seeing child care as "real work." Other postings in this blog seem to highlight the career/kid divide from a mother's perspective. Unfortunately, there is a false dichotomy between career and kids where staying at home is seen as a negative to long-term career prospects. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a worhaholic and to stay home, I would have to see it as my "job." Whether or not I can overcome this paradigm shift is yet to be determined.

Posted by: Contemplative | December 18, 2006 5:46 PM

As someone said, most memorably, last week:

"CMAC, unclench!"

Posted by: pittypat | December 18, 2006 05:34 PM

Yes, that was pastryqueen's post. Just keep posting that instead of responding. Isn't using the term "unclench" sexist and leading to the "subjugation of women?" Didn't think you would approve being the feminist you are.

Posted by: cmac | December 18, 2006 5:46 PM

"Just keep posting that instead of responding."

You wanted a response, cmac?

I thought you said I was beating a dead horse.

Try for some consistency in your posts. It will make them comprehensible.

Posted by: pittypat | December 18, 2006 5:50 PM

OMG, can Pittypat and CMAC just drop it already? Jesus H. Christ you are both so freaking nasty and judgmental to each other it's ridiculous.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 5:53 PM

"Unfortunately, there is a false dichotomy between career and kids where staying at home is seen as a negative to long-term career prospects."


Contemplative,

I hope you are able to reframe, in your own mind, staying home as "real work". It is. Staying at home is a negative to one's long-term career prospects in certain careers, but it depends on the career and on what one has done prior to taking the break. Also, many on this blog (Emily comes to mind) have the discipline to work from home at all sorts of times of day and successfully combine that with parenting. God Bless Them. I lack the focus to work from home and can't work late at night with any sort of quality output, but I'm glad others can. Good luck.

Posted by: NC lawyer | December 18, 2006 5:57 PM

"Those meat packers that were arrested last week? They were making $10 or less an hour in a job that paid $18 an hour in 1980 (and, now, without benefits).
No one told them to come here."

And, this is also true for construction companies and the biggest RV manufacturers. They actively recruit and assist illegals. And don't blame the illegals. They are as desperate and poor as their American counterparts. Instead start asking why the executives at Swift, those RV manufacturers, and of those of the big nation wide home contractors aren't indicted or serving time in prison right now. And ask why our politician's aren't doing something about the illegals - like passing laws that fine employers, any employer, even someone hiring a nanny or a day laborer, something like $10,000 a day per worker. Bankrupt these parasites, because they created the problem, they ARE the problem. And vote! Vote against anyone who isn't opposed to any form of amnesty, who proposes doing anything other than deporting each and every illegal, who isn't flat out opposed to any outsourcing, who isn't opposed to any guest worker visa's of any kind. Vote for representatives who will increase taxes to the sky on investors and corporations that offshore production or services or hire workers before U.S. citizens. Get rid of the rats and who are wrecking our country and our families.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 5:58 PM

My DH is a SAHD for our 8mos and 5yr old. He went back to work between their births for about 2yrs. My 5yr old has experienced him being at work fulltime and at home fulltime. I've alway worked fulltime. I really don't think she cares who does what as long as it done. But she's only 5.

Sometimes he clean and do laundry. Sometimes he cooks if I leave everything out with instructions. Sometimes baby boy is still in his pajamas from last night stained with milk and my girl went to school in an outfit that's too small or worn out and meant for playtime only. Sometimes every single light will be on when I come home and they're outside chasing each other in circles. It irrates the heck out of me sometime, but I wouldn't trade the world knowing my kids are home with their Dad. He does the doctors appts, PTA, play dates, homework and the more common house chores associated as "manly" -- yardwork, trash and climbing on the roof for whatever reason.

But all that matters to us are our kids especially in their early years so we work it out. And we've dealt with "he should be working" mainly from his family. But we pretty much tell them to mind their d*** business. I just don't get why other people want to dictate roles in this day and age. My Dad worked all the time and I'm just starting to get to know the "real man" and he's 63.

I think SAHD are wonderful to step out of the cauldron of BS!

Posted by: Guest | December 18, 2006 6:00 PM

to anon at 5:58, but then we'd all have to pay alot more for our houses, our remodeling projects, our dinners out and all of the other benefits we get from that cheap labor. Some of the rats and parasites are looking back at us from our mirrors.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 6:01 PM

6:01, you are so right, you cannot discount the ways in which our consumerism fuels the drive for cheap, illegal labor. We'd rather exploit workers so we can have McMansions and 15 pairs of jeans than have a well-paid workforce, a modest home, and a smaller wardrobe.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 6:11 PM

Pitty - "Beating a dead horse" meant that those who post to you frequently give up as there is no hope.

You are getting all pissy aren't you? With all your "big and tough" talk? Maybe someone else needs to "uncleanch."

BTW anon poster - I don't judge Pitty for being a liberal, feminist, vegan, whatever other label she carries. Frankly, I could care less. I judge her on her tone and tactics, which has become increasingly hostile.

Posted by: cmac | December 18, 2006 6:12 PM

to anon at 06:01 "...but then we'd all have to pay alot more for our houses, our remodeling projects, our dinners out and all of the other benefits we get from that cheap labor..."

Actually, this is simply untrue. The price of meat didn't go down, nor did the price of homes, when investors and corporatioons started hiring illegals and guest workers. An Apple MacIntosh doesn't cost any less this year, now that it is made in China. The PROFITS simply go up and the money ends up in the bank account of some investor or corporate executive. (And, unless you are wealthy or a oublic employee, you don't have any money in stocvks any more...the same corporate monsters responsible for the whole host of evils that have been listed, long ago swindled ordinary workers out of their 401K's).

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 6:13 PM

I judge her on her tone and tactics, which has become increasingly hostile.


Yes, they have, and so have yours. Apparently neither of you is big enough person to be the first to stand down.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 6:14 PM

I wrote about this research last week on my blog, Working Moms Against Guilt. It hit close to home because I work outside the home full-time, and my husband works from home full-time while caring for our infant daughter. It's quite interesting! Check out my entry at http://wmag.blogspot.com/2006/12/daddys-role-through-childs-eyes.html and tell me your thoughts.

Posted by: Susan | December 18, 2006 6:18 PM

I judge her on her tone and tactics, which has become increasingly hostile.


Yes, they have, and so have yours. Apparently neither of you is big enough person to be the first to stand down.

Posted by: | December 18, 2006 06:14 PM

I think you post on all sides of the issue, light fires and basically sabatoge conversation on this blog - actually you bring a lot more discontent to this blog then either Pitty or I. When you actually name yourself maybe people will take your advise, not me, but maybe someone.

Posted by: cmac | December 18, 2006 6:18 PM

to anon at 06:01 "...but then we'd all have to pay alot more for our houses, our remodeling projects, our dinners out and all of the other benefits we get from that cheap labor..."

This is a fable. Every indicator "out there" demonstrates NO PRICE DECREASE for products and services that are either outsourced, or produced by guest workers or undocumented labor. And, even if it were true, you have to ask yourself, what is more important - a few pennies saved shopping at Wal-Mart, or even a few hundred bucks on a new home, or the surivial of the American family, a lower crime rate, even the survival of this country? If your answer is for the cheaper price then you have no right to whine about crime or unwed mothers or divorce or parents missing school meetings...or about YOUR job eventually going away.

Posted by: MikeB | December 18, 2006 6:24 PM

Rule No. 46 for the On Balance Blog

Issue all complaints, namecalling, and complaints about lactation consutants to the UN Security Council.

Posted by: Billy | December 18, 2006 6:44 PM

It is obvious that we need some peace keepers here!

Posted by: Billy | December 18, 2006 6:45 PM

My wife has stayed home for over 8 years now. We have two kids. She decided to stay home once pregnant and has not gone back to work since.

I have an very good job but have needed to work long hours with tough commute. I love spending time with the kids but most of the time is on the weekend. Hard to do things differently as we live in a high priced area and both went to schools which required taking out lots of student loans.

She doesn't want to go back to work in any way. If she did, it could likely lighten my schedule, enable me to take a lower paying job with better hours and lifestyle, coach soccer, etc.

Any suggestions?

Posted by: One Income Dad | December 18, 2006 7:17 PM

Scarry -- agree that church and god seem pretty disconnected, at least in the churches i've been to. Our babysitter goes to a young, alternative church (they use movie theatres since they are empty on sunday mornings) and god seems more present there...a shame that too much organization and institutionalization drives some people away.

Pittypat -- don't always (okay, often) agree with your views but girl, you sure know how to zing 'em. you can really write. love your voice.

Just Another Guest -- Rules 1-42 can be read by reviewing the 194 Entries and 33,316 comments posted here since March 9, 2006 when this blog launched. Sorry...

Posted by: Leslie | December 18, 2006 7:19 PM

one income dad- We see your story too much, as far as I'm concerned. When did your wife's happiness become more important than yours? Why does she get to do whatever she wants, while you are living a life you hate? Have you approached her about it? If she has a fit when you bring it up, have you thought about counseling? How can she be happy knowing how unhappy you are? Does she know? I really don't get this.

Posted by: atb | December 18, 2006 7:43 PM

One income Dad, unlike the last poster, I would not describe your situation as a life you hate. But it sounds like you really need to talk to your wife. If she has only been home for 8 years, then your kids can't be older then 8 years old. So if she goes back to work full time, do you really think it would be worth the pay off to pay for before/after school care for two kids? Can she just jump into the workforce after being out for 8 years? What are the total costs to the family? You should sit and discuss this with your wife. What I find most SAHPs want is to be there for their kids before and after school. Is there a way, she could go back part time with summers off? You also have to be prepared to take off when the kids are sick, go to the doctor, pick up the dry cleaning etc... Even though 2 incomes are nice, they come with a huge price as well. It basically means men and women both have to do their share of leaving work early, taking days off, child care and home care. Hey, when the water heater breaks and is leaking all over the basement floor, are you prepared to cancel your afternoon meeting and rush home to meet the plumber? I think a lot of people do not fully realize the trade offs of both situations (SAH or WOH). But the most important thing is to discuss this with your wife. And I hate to say it, talk to your kids about it to. You might be surprised what they think of Mom working full time.

Posted by: foamgnome | December 19, 2006 7:38 AM

Be angry at Swift, be very angry at Swift, and learn the facts.

Sorry but they are both to blame. Just because someone asks them to break the law doesn't mean they should. Our country cannot continue to support these people. I think that Mexico needs to help their own people and there needs to be an international minimum wage so that American workers can compete.

Also, before anyone calls me a racist, I have Mexicans in my family who came here legally. There is a difference legal and illegal.

Posted by: Anonymous on purpose | December 19, 2006 8:16 AM

More often than naught, pittypat is the one aggravating cmac and posting responses to her posts. I mean, why was it necessary to copy over the "unclench" post.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 8:24 AM

Guest - Gosh, the religious nut must be great in bed! Nothing else you have said here would commend him as a husband worth keeping. Either that or he makes a bundle and never reads the credit card statements.

Pat,

He stinks. 3 minutes or less. Whoopee.

I earn my OWN money, thank you, and we have SEPARATE credit cards. Not to mention that my base salary is higher than his, but as I pay for the health insurance, the FSAs, and actually put money towards my retirement I only bring home 55% of it. He brings home 75% and whines.

Maybe you prostitute yourself (or your wife), in exchange for credit cards, but I do not.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 8:44 AM

Interesting comments. First of all to anon poster, it is all one pot- you are married, so you are in it together.
Why does it sound as if many ppl here don't talk w their spouses or think that it is a business relationship? So great if you collect a salary, but really, if u r a family, then it is for the family, not one person. Take ou of 'your' money and you are still taking out of one big pot, no matter what you. Call the smaller pots.

As for who works, my opinion is that it doesn't really matter in the long run-each family needs to figure it out for themselves.

And guest- please leave your spouse, it is horrible for the kids to stay together when there is nothing between the parents. Been there got the tshirt. I only wonder y my mom kept having kids and stayed w my dad-and see the same thing w my sister in an abusive relationship much worse than my parents. It is painful to watch and even more painful to live thru. Get out, find another church, stop making excuses.

Posted by: atlmom | December 19, 2006 9:42 AM

Guest--
you may not prostitute yourself in exchange for credit cards, but staying with a man you so obviously do not love (and in fact appear to loathe) does not seem much better to me. You may be prostituting yourself in exchange for some sense of religious righteousness, but it's prostitution nonetheless.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 9:55 AM

"More often than naught, pittypat is the one aggravating cmac and posting responses to her posts. I mean, why was it necessary to copy over the "unclench" post."

That's not true. Do a page search of this blog and previous ones, and you'll find that cmac calls out pitty more often than not.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 10:24 AM

that would me "more often than NOT"

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 10:57 AM

be, not me--SORRY

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 11:19 AM

that would me "more often than NOT"

Posted by: | December 19, 2006 10:57 AM

maybe you should proofread your own post before you jump on others.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 2:56 PM

That's not true. Do a page search of this blog and previous ones, and you'll find that cmac calls out pitty more often than not.

um, no, I've been on the blog a long time and I see pittypat for what she really is.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 3:00 PM

Whoever is arguing the pitty/cmac stuff, is it the same person with a split personality?

Look at Pitty's happy posts today. If I even commented on something she posted she'd have a cow. I could post under another name and she'd be perfectly civil, well - in her snarky, witchy way. It is me she is reacting to - not my posts, thus her comment up there "CMAC will protect you, she is big and tough and can shoot."

I am not particularly big and tough but I can shoot.

Posted by: cmac | December 19, 2006 3:32 PM

cmac,

I would ignore her if I was you, she wants attention really bad.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 7:22 PM

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