Dads Key to Solving 'Care Crisis'

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

In her Monday post on the comprehensive, if not entirely on-base Nation piece on the child-care crisis, Leslie asks, "Is Childcare A 'Woman's Issue?' "

It's a good question. Child care certainly shouldn't be a 'woman's issue.' And, Leslie's conclusions to the contrary, it is less of a woman's issue than ever before.

Today's dads are down with the cause. They are in the trenches. There has never been a time when men have been more involved, and the foundation of any political change will be further increasing voices of fathers in this discussion. Men are playing a bigger role, with younger dads, in particular, becoming increasingly involved in family life.

Indeed, if there is a failing in the Nation piece, which exhaustively lists every possible policy-based care solution, no matter how expensive, it is that the author neglects the importance of changing attitudes -- not just laws. There are dads out there demanding their government-guaranteed paternity leave or working to change corporate policies or working flextime, and they're leading by example and altering the way we think about fatherhood.

To be sure, men still have a ways to go, and I won't be satisfied until this is an issue on the agenda of all parents, regardless of gender. I assure you, child care is on the radar screens of large -- and growing -- numbers of fathers.

Almost six years ago, I was one of the first men (if not the first) in my company to take advantage of a newly instituted paid paternity leave policy. As word got out, I began to get calls, first from guys I knew in my office, then from men I'd never met in offices I'd never visited. "I want to take leave, but I never really thought I could," they'd confide. "How did you go about it?" Those guys were trailblazers, too, taking the leap and sharing what they learned. It doesn't take large numbers to hit a tipping point; a half-dozen men can change perceptions across a huge, multi-national company.

If we're serious about solving the "care crisis," the first thing we need to do is get as many men into the fold as possible, not by shaming the lunkheads who still don't get it, but by embracing the stories of the guys who do.

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  March 8, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Childcare , Dads
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Stroller Dad worked hard to find a position close to home when we moved back here to counterbalance my commute. He does the daycare drop off. He was the one who found good care each time our sitter quit (once when I was half way around the world with no way to do a thing about it). He's very involved in the daycare process. But I'm biased (I know he's wonderful) and I let him do what he does best.

Posted by: Stroller Momma | March 8, 2007 7:23 AM

Good points, Brian. I think I was too harsh on Monday by doing precisely what you say -- highlighting the failures of the 'lunkheads' instead of the great things other dads do.

In the past five years, several male colleagues at the Washington Post took paternity leave, for the first time (I believe). They were top managers in the department. Two took a month off each, the others a few weeks. Their groups did just fine in their absence and truly, it was insignificant from a work perspective that they were gone for a relatively short time. At least two were promoted within a year of the paternity leave. These men are vanguards. I hope more men take advantage of paternity leave policies.

At my kids' schools, dads are frequent droppers off and pickers up. There are at least a few SAHDs as well. I need to underscore that this is still far from "equal" to what moms do, overall. But Brian is right -- this is huge progress within a generation of dads, and it does far more good to shine a spotlight on the fact that many dads are contributing more and more to childcare and other work/family balance issues.

Posted by: Leslie | March 8, 2007 7:35 AM

While I agree that fathers are becoming more involved with their kid's lives and that it is a generational thing, I think Leslie's original point that childcare is still thought of as a woman's issue is right.

Men who take paternity leave or need to leave early for a child's event are thought of as a great dads. A woman who does this is not a team player or somehow not as worthy as her male counterparts in the eyes of colleagues or bosses. There still is this double standard--the expectation that women will be taking care of the kid's issues while the dad is the hero for doing what he should be doing to begin with.

My husband used to work at one of the largest sweatshops...uh I mean lawfirms and 14 years ago took a one month paternity leave after our child was born. It was a benefit was offered by the firm, but no one ever used. He was showered with all kinds of comments (awww...you're such a great father, etc.). But this same firm rarely if ever promoted women who had children (my husbands comment). It's a complicated issue, but in my field I've lived the double standard. I've heard the comments about women with children. My favorite ones were the supervisors who criticized women for taking the whole 12 weeks of leave. And the guys who become fathers get pats on the back.

Fortunately, I am married to somehow who considers me a partner and equal with regard to childcare responsibilities. I still think our situation is alas, not as common as it should be. Until we turn over the whole generation of males (and some females) who are in leadership positions and attitudes change, men and women will not be treated as equals in the workplace.

Posted by: need to be anonymous | March 8, 2007 7:56 AM

"Almost six years ago, I was one of the first men (if not the first) in my company to take advantage of a newly instituted paid paternity leave policy. As word got out, I began to get calls, first from guys"

Brian

The newly instituted paid paternity leave policy in your company was created solely to get your boring ass out of the office and give your co-workers a break.

Stop patting yourself on the back and looking for a brass band.

Posted by: Elaine with the Pathetic Boobs | March 8, 2007 8:01 AM

I know its been mentioned before, but does anyone think that women are (in general) more involved in being care givers because they don't trust that their husbands/boyfriends/child's father will do it right?

I do not mean single parents - who of course have no choice - but those whose children's father are present - but "oh he lets the children do anything they want so I have to step in"...

I ask, because I don't have children yet, but have noticed in other areas of my life where my husband was not uber responsible I stepped in to take charge - and now by default find that every single critical thing in our life is now my responsibility.

So I'm learning. I turn tasks over to him and when he asks "how" something should be done - I say "within the boundaries of the law and safety - make it happen".

I don't criticize that I would have done it differently, more efficiently (I would have - but I bite my tongue)..

And I know if we have children, the same thing would happen - unless I actively put it in his lap and make him "default responsible" for things..

Just thinking...

Posted by: Michigan | March 8, 2007 8:05 AM

Brain - Women at work frequently interview other mothers to see how they structured their maternity leave, so I don't think it is a big surprise that you got phone calls from dads wanting information. It is easier to build on someone else's experience. Some men are just "untrained" in the whole paternity leave/daycare situation (heck, some women too!) and admitting they have no point of reference is the first step to resolving the issues.

Also, thanks for pointing out that the Nation peice was "not enitely on-base," you are being honest with that statement.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 8:06 AM

I have a brother-in-law who was a stay at home dad for 3 years. He got the most flack from, of all people, his mother. She just could not understand why her son would "waste his degree" and let his wife "take over their lives." My MIL is very traditional, and I am sure if it was her daughter, rather than her son, it wouldn't have been an issue.

Posted by: Ruby | March 8, 2007 8:06 AM

Happy International Womens' Day to all!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 8:12 AM

So many people choose mates without talking about this kind of thing! Shame on them. My husband knew I was an 'independant' type of woman and claims that's why he married me. He knew I would never be a 'stay at home mom" and he wasn't surprised when I first brought up starting my own company 12 years ago when our oldest daughter was 6 months old.

Our children have always been OURS even though we have traded off who was covering the kids at different times. When we are planning night-time events, we say we need to "Coordinate schedules" not "Ask my spouse". It is all in how you look at it.

To Michigan: My husband recommends that all new fathers take some time off after their baby is born to 'bond'. It is important that this is done when no one else is around to help - no mothers, sisters, or nannies. You have to give him the chance to learn (you should have seen my daughter the first time my husband did her pony tail!) and the feeling that it truly is, his resonsibility too. Also assume that he doesn't want to hurt or neglect his child. If you expect him to do the right thing, he will!

Posted by: ParentPreneur | March 8, 2007 8:25 AM

"does anyone think that women are (in general) more involved in being care givers because they don't trust that their husbands/boyfriends/child's father will do it right?"

Of course. It's called gatekeeping, and women do it all the time. "No, you're doing it wrong! Here, I'll just do it myself."

Posted by: Lizzie | March 8, 2007 8:31 AM

Brian, I applaud your efforts. It's super important for more men to take advantage of the earned paternity leave to show that it's normal, and to give their wives a chance to get back to work!

However, you're kind of preaching to the converted here on the blog. I think it's safe to say that the majority of men on the blog are interested in taking an active role in raising their kids. And I think the majority of moms on the blog are also interested in having more men do the same. So today are we supposed to sit around patting each others' backs?

I think it is very important to positively reinforce the men who are fighting to spend more time with their kids (Proud Papa, Texas Dad of 2, Father of 4, and others, thanks!!!), but maybe we'd be better served on this blog if we talk about how to encourage other men to become better dads instead of just telling stories about how great we or our spouses are.

But I have no idea how to have a constructive conversation about that issue (I don't write the blog, I only critique it!).

Posted by: Meesh | March 8, 2007 8:32 AM

Michigan, I think some women do take over the child care because they don't think their husbands will do it right. I did. When my daughter was born she was one of those infants that cried from 6pm until she finally dropped sometime around 11pm. I was on maternity leave, nursing and exhausted so would hand her over to my husband after dinner and to get a little sleep upstairs (8-11). He'd bring her up to me to nurse her and take her back down. Over time I started coming down to get her earlier and earlier because I didn't trust that he was doing everything he could to comfort her. I felt I knew her better because I was home with her all day and she would respond better to me.

It was a huge mistake. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because I would take over, my daughter did begin to respond better to me. It would have been better for her to learn to deal with different styles of comforting. It also caused a rift with me and my husband that I think still plagues our marriage - 7 years later; although my husband swears he's over it. I've apologized for it many, many times; we've discussed it a lot and have tried to make adjustments.

If you are noticing that you are doing this in areas in your marriage now, when you are childless, my advice is get your radar up and try to stop. Your children will benefit so much from having both parents involved as equally as possible in their lives, and so will you.

For us now, it's our work schedules that primarily dictate involvement. I work part-time and my husband works a 50-hour week, so I'm the one around to deal with the childcare on the day-to-day basis. But, whenever we've chosen a daycare, preschool or babysitter for our kids, it's been a joint decision. Usually the one with the stronger feelings gets the vote. When we first put my daugher in daycare my husband very strongly preferred one center over the one sponsored by my employer (which had a lot of conveniences for me). We went with his choice. It was a great daycare center and I'm happy we went with his gut instinct that it was the right place.

Now, my younger child has some special needs and I felt having him home with a nanny and in a preschool at our synagogue would be better. My husband wanted to have him in daycare but I felt really strongly so this time we went with my choice.

I started out at a 14-hour day sweat shop law firm and the men took 2-3 weeks off and then quickly returned to the break-neck schedule. The women routinely took 4-6 months maternity leave and then never were on an equal level with the men again. It's why I left to work at gov't before I even had kids. I knew I wasn't going to be able to find balance at that kind of place. In many places, for men to be as involved as women in childcare is considered a faux pas.

Posted by: PT Fed Mof2 | March 8, 2007 8:34 AM

The advantages of growing up an Army brat: the first rule of leadership learned from my father the First Sergeant was: if your organization can't survive without you, then you're a lousy leader. You've failed.

That's inspired by Leslie's comments about top managers taking off and their groups doing find without them. I've noticed in the corporate world, which often falls victim to the CEO-as-deity complex, this comes as a shock, but to me (and a lot of others) it's just the way things are supposed to work.

(One example Dad used to cite was this: in WWII, the life expectancy of a Marine 2nd Lieutenant in combat was 90 minutes. If his unit couldn't survive and carry on without him, well, that would count as a massive failure, to say the least.)

Posted by: Army Brat | March 8, 2007 8:36 AM

My office (state agency) has Family Leave (unpaid time off) available to either parent for births or adoptions. Many new fathers, if not all of them take at least part of the time they can take (I think it's 4 weeks unpaid, paid if they've got the vacation/sick leave saved up).

Many of them later stay involved with their children, dropping them off at daycares or restructuring their work hours to be available to leave early and pick up their children from schools/daycare.

My wife and I have already discussed this, and I have saved up literally months of sick/vacation time. When she has a baby, I intend to take full advantage of the available leave to both help her and get to know my child.

Posted by: John | March 8, 2007 8:39 AM

God, I can't stand Elaine.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 8:39 AM

I also think that this is true:

"Until we turn over the whole generation of males (and some females) who are in leadership positions and attitudes change, men and women will not be treated as equals in the workplace."

Posted by: Meesh | March 8, 2007 8:41 AM

Posted by: | March 8, 2007 08:06 AM
That was mine.

Posted by: cmac | March 8, 2007 8:41 AM

I agree that it's attitudes that need to change, not just laws. Men need to assert their rights (and duties) as fathers to make it "normal" to be involved in all aspects of their children's lives. We just had #3 in October. My husband took off 2 weeks when the baby was born but then another month after my maternity leave ended. When he told his boss that he was going to do this (months before the baby was born, by the way), she was shocked. Partly because she didn't seem to know that he was allowed to do it. FMLA allows a new parent to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave in the first YEAR after the child is born. My husband, in doing his part to raise consciousness, specifically stated that he was on paternity leave (both times) in his e-mail autoreply and voicemail.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | March 8, 2007 8:47 AM

And you give me a pain, Elaine.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 8:49 AM

When any of his kids would get on a high horse about being so important ("I just HAVE to go to this party") my dad would tell us to pull our hand out of a bucket of water and see how big a hole it made. Didn't really appreciate it at the time but he was right along with some of the previous posters today about the relative importance of one person - love Army Brat's post
"The advantages of growing up an Army brat: the first rule of leadership learned from my father the First Sergeant was: if your organization can't survive without you, then you're a lousy leader. You've failed."

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 8:51 AM

Leslie, you said: "In the past five years, several male colleagues at the Washington Post took paternity leave, for the first time (I believe). They were top managers in the department. Two took a month off each, the others a few weeks. Their groups did just fine in their absence and truly, it was insignificant from a work perspective that they were gone for a relatively short time. At least two were promoted within a year of the paternity leave. These men are vanguards. I hope more men take advantage of paternity leave policies."

I have also worked with men who've taken extended paternity leave without detriment to their careers. These men are viewed as heroes by the women they work with, and envied by their male colleagues.

I wish the same was true for women. With a few rare exceptions, I frequently see women being penalized professionally for having children (or even for getting pregnant, if they work for a small business). Granted, this may be a unique feature of my environment (legal), but I don't think so. I had a conversation with a friend (who happens to be a CIO at a large firm), and he was trying to figure out a way to fire one of his managers for leaving every day at 5:00 -- after working a 9-10 hour day -- to get her kids from daycare. He said he just felt she lacked commitment to the job. He had no problems with her performance, but the fact that she would get up a leave a late afternoon meeting to get her kids from daycare just didn't sit well with him -- even though she got in by 7 or 8 at the earliest, and was one of the first arrivals in the department.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 8:57 AM

klb-can I use your Dad's saying about the bucket of water? If anything, it will cause the teen to stop and think...he he he

Army Brat: good post. way too many people, including business people, sportsters, even mothers, and various subset intersections too numerous to mention, think they are too important to their 'organization.' Helps the ole ego.

Posted by: dotted | March 8, 2007 8:58 AM

08:57 - would your friend (the CIO) try to fire a man who left meetings to pick up children or didn't he say?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 8:59 AM

Although both my husband's office and mine offer paternity leave I don't know of a single male in either business who has ever taken advantage of it. I think for many men this is not on their radar screen and unless the HR people (or someone like Brian or a kindly woman) clue them in on it, they just don't know.

In our case, my husband is the morning dropper-offer. He is also the driver for most weekend child activities, I handle the weekday schedules.

With regard to women wanting to control what goes on in the home, I think that is right to a certain extent, but I don't complain when my husband regularly does the dishes, sweeps and mops floor and even though his folding skills are nonexistant, I never complain. I do though secretly refold my own clothes!

Posted by: Pink Plate | March 8, 2007 9:00 AM

If you can't take care of them, don't have them. It amazes me that people panic and whine when they have a kid because they can't find adequate child care. Well, they should have thought about that nine months before. If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 9:01 AM

It's not that I completely disagree with you, but it does sound like you're asking women to be cheerleaders for men, for things that they don't get cheered for by men. It would be different if you were sending your message to other men, but telling women they should jump up and down and heap praises on you for doing what they do normally, and get taken for granted for and even punished for (career wise) just seems a little regressive. Men should step up because it's the right thing to do (and easier for them in many ways than for women), not because they'll get their egos bolstered by women's praises.

Posted by: Tara | March 8, 2007 9:05 AM

Shut UP, already. Seek life elsewhere.

Posted by: To 9:01 | March 8, 2007 9:06 AM

I know plenty of men who don't take paternity leave or only take the first week for a very valid reason. Their wives do not have any leave left when they return to work, so the husbands are the parents who take off for sick child, well child dr appointments, car repairs, plumber visits, etc, for the next year or two so the wives can rebuild their own leave.

Posted by: another thought | March 8, 2007 9:09 AM

dotted,
My father was a wealth of little sayings like that - he would be glad to know that someone is using it - even if just to make a kid go "huh".

All my life I heard him tell us to "use your head for something other than a hat rack". I didn't get it until I joined the Army (probably where he got it too).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 9:09 AM

Right on Army Brat. In the Air Force they would have offices of 2 people where should have been 4 --do more with less!-- and tell you the same thing. If one of us got sick, we were sooooo screwed. Of course my MSgt and I both left the service at about the same time. The turnover had to really suck for the new folks. I did my best to make sure someone could follow my easy to read instructions, but that can only help so much...

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 9:09 AM

Jeez, people sure are mean to one other. What in the world is the point of life except to join together and raise the next generation? How can such a fundamental thing be so often undermined?

Personally, a "friend" who tried to fire a person for lack of committment to the job because she needed to pick up her kids from day care each day would no longer be my friend, were I to learn of it.

In my opinion, she has demonstrated committment to the job over and above the call of duty just by putting her kids into day care in favor of working for me. The least I can do is make that separation as bearable as possible.

Posted by: Dave | March 8, 2007 9:10 AM

To clarify, that was my post at 8:57.

KLB -- I asked him about the male managers w/kids in the department, and the thing is, his male employees do the daycare dropoff and don't have to leave early to do the pickup.

The good news is, she left before he could fire her. But it was coming. He'd started to tighten the reins and scrutinize her every move to find fault. He was documenting: verbal/written warnings, etc.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 8, 2007 9:11 AM

I really don't understand why fathers don't take advantage of paternity leave policies. Don't they want to be involved in their children's lives at the very early stage? Or are they thinking this is what a wife is supposed to do, take care of the baby all by herself?

Posted by: John | March 8, 2007 9:12 AM

"telling women they should jump up and down and heap praises on you for doing what they do normally"
What, so do not praise progress? It seems contrary to logic! I bet you would find a reason to beat your dog for NOT pissing on the carpet... You know what? Let us not praise the men who stood up for women's rights because they were just doing what they should have been doing. Let us not praise heroes for risking their lives- they were just doing their jobs as humans. Hyperbole, yes- but along the same lines of philosophy. With such negativity you do more harm for your cause than good.

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 9:14 AM

Posts are great today (so far)! Equal sharing is foremost a mindset (compass, principle). Not all workplaces and lives can accomodate the action part of equal sharing yet, but all of us can get to the mindset.

Brian is absolutely right that we can't get there by hitting the lunkhead dads over their lunk-heads. We have to build on positive role models and men will catch on that being an involved dad is worth the sacrifice for most.

There is a great special issue of American Prospect (www.prospect.org) just out this week called Motherload, and despite the title it has lots of info and stats on the increasing parental involvement of dads in this country. And in the table of contents, at the bottom, it lists a few blogs worth reading on the topic - among them are On Balance, Rebeldad, and (I'm so proud)...Equally Shared Parenting! Yeah!

Posted by: equal | March 8, 2007 9:16 AM

Paternity Leave:

There is only so much a dude can get out of sitting around the house all day holding an infant. I credit the unique biological engeneering of women as to how they can enjoy it so much.

Yes, I was there to hold all our babies, but the main reason I took off work was to help out my wife and do stuff around the house. I do remember the time my wife got irritated at me for defrosting the downstairs freezer instead of bonding with the baby. Instinctively, it was just my way of taking care of the nest.

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 8, 2007 9:17 AM

Maybe heaping praise isn't the right term. What would sound better?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 9:18 AM

I think some men in my field don't take advantage of paternity leave policies because they feel there would be backlash (e.g., no medically necessary reason, so why is it needed?). May be more perception than reality though as taking 3-4 weeks off has never seemed to hurt any of my male colleagues in the long run. I don't think women are hurt in their careers by taking 4-6 months off for maternity leave. Just the simple fact that we go ahead and have children is what kills our careers...

Posted by: londonmom | March 8, 2007 9:23 AM

To join in on the conversation about praising people for doing a good job (whether it's being a good parent, or whatever).

Intermittant reinforcement is the BEST way to ensure continuation of a behaviour. If you constantly praise or reward someone for doing something, the behaviour will extinguish. But if your praise starts out as a regular occurence and then becomes less "reliable", then it is regarded as a finite resource and is valued as such.

Did you know that it only takes a pay-off 10 percent of the time to keep people pulling the lever on a slot machine? Talk about low odds.

So, yes, if someone is doing something new/special, give them rewards each and every single time at first...then spread it out. I mean, we don't continuously give our kids M&M's for using the toilet anymore, right? Hmm, not the image I was going for; at some point there are no little gold stars for doing what is supposed to be done regularly. Instead you earn something special, at some point in the future.

I don't think this is coming out quite right! I'm not trying to smack anyone for trying, or for those who have "always done" a specific job.

I think I need a cup of coffee!

Posted by: MdMother | March 8, 2007 9:25 AM

WHY- OH WHY Are we talking about this AGAIN????? PLEASE pick a NEW TOPIC!!! MANY SUGGESTIONS have been made by posters- take our advice Leslie and Brian, and write about something, anything, other than this again. 2 blogs in the same week on the "care crisis"????

PLEASE PLEASE

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 9:27 AM

Someone should do a poll on SAHDs. What motivates them to take the path they have etc... I think many men are fine-wired to be breadwinners and being a SAHD just does not enter into their thinking. This, though has nothing to do with how they feel about their families and children. All of the men in my life would have given and would give both arms and legs for their children & spouses.

Posted by: Pink Plate | March 8, 2007 9:28 AM

"There is only so much a dude can get out of sitting around the house all day holding an infant. I credit the unique biological engeneering of women as to how they can enjoy it so much."

what a load of horse man****.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 9:28 AM

I heard about this on the radio this am - from ELLE magazine:
The gender gap is narrowing in part because men are getting better at listening and communicating, which are traditionally thought of as 'feminine' skills," says Janet Lever, PhD, a professor of sociology at California State University, Los Angeles, who helped conceive our survey. This year, more than 60,000 people rated their bosses, dished on their colleagues, and admitted they hold some retro notions about women in the workplace. "There are still many people with extremely negative attitudes toward female leaders," says Kim Elsesser, PhD, a research scholar at the UCLA Center for the Study of Women, who also helped with the survey. "But as they gain experience with female bosses, their attitudes seem to be changing." Alas, the majority of women in power feel they need to "work harder" or "be smarter" than their male counterparts to get as much respect; at the same time, men are irked by women who try too hard--a no-win situation for women, Elsesser says. Overall, women came out slightly ahead of men in job satisfaction, despite having lower average salaries. Who knew banging our heads on the glass ceiling could feel so good?--LILI TAN"

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 9:29 AM

Oh, Father of 4- you must know that your comments will spark an outrage. Feeling saucy today?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 9:30 AM

"There is only so much a dude can get out of sitting around the house all day holding an infant. I credit the unique biological engeneering of women as to how they can enjoy it so much."

You are so wrong on that one, Fo4. Not all women love the baby part of child rearing. Don't get me wrong. I love my son and always have. I even thought he was exceptionally cute as a baby. But I do not adore staying home and holding an infant all day either. I did it for a few months, because it was the right thing to do and because I was nursing. And it was fine. But I never felt the need to just hold the baby all day. Now that my son is 7, I find I enjoy him a lot more than when he was a teeny weeny baby. We talk and discuss things. We read and play games together. He is my companion when I run errands. He cracks me up with his observations and comments about life. As far as I'm concerned, this beats the infant stage hands down.

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 9:33 AM

Link to survey:
http://www.elle.com/featurefullstory/10909/work-power-survey-results.html

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 9:34 AM

I have to admit that I didn't want to put my girl down. I didn't want to give her over to my husband either.

I don't really see anything wrong with what father of 4 said. Different people like to do different things.

Posted by: scarry | March 8, 2007 9:37 AM

I couldn't agree with you more, Emily. I would have gladly defrosted a freezer or done anything, really, that I could have done at my own pace in my own way when I was on maternity, rather than respond to the seemingly random, constant demands of a newborn day and night.

Sure, the wonderful moments of holding your infant or cuddling do come into the picture, but I have to admit that I found being a new mother of an infant 24/7 to be mostly hard, repetitive and boring work.

Posted by: Ajax | March 8, 2007 9:39 AM

Scarry,
I agree that different people like to do different things. Some people are born baby nurturers. Some not. What I don't agree with is that all women are born baby nurturers because they are biologically engineered that way, and that men are better at taking care of the nest by fixing things, cleaning, working, etc. It depends on the individual man or woman, IMO.

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 9:39 AM

I agree that Dads are more and more involved with child care these days. But sometimes, it's also about innate expectations.

My husband is a sweetheart of a man, but he has an incredible blind spot about the domestic part of life. When I moved in with him after we got engaged and set a date, it was if his knowledge of domestic skills immediately vaporized. This despite the fact that we're both IT professionals (how we met), and we both worked routine 55-60 hour weeks with NoVa to Downtown commutes.

Arguments aplenty.

We moved out of the DC area to an exurb of the Twin Cities 2 years ago due to a job transfer within his company. After we got settled and unpacked, I briefly tried the domestic life, found I was bored, and have now gone the entrepreneurial route and started my own business. And I keep having to explain to him that just because my office was formerly our dining room, it isn't any less work for me. I actually had to install sliding panels to make a "door" so he'd respect my privacy when I was working.

I know when and if we have a child, it's going to be another battle. He was already surprised when I mentioned that if we had a baby, I was going to look for part-time child care - he didn't think it was necessary with me "at home". I keep pointing out I'm not "at home" so much as I have my own business and am saving overhead on rent. (I probably owe a few of my local coffee shops rent for as many business meetings I take there ;) )

He's a good man, but firmly entrenched in old-fashioned ways. Unfortunately for us, he married an independent 30-something who was actually more independent than he was when we met. So for us it's an uphill battle that has nothing to do with workplace laws, but instead dealing with conflicting expectations. We have worked through them in the past, but it's not been easy, and is one of the reasons we're hesitating on a having a child (there are medical/physical reasons as well).

The ironic part? His mom worked part time (though he had a young and active great-aunt living with them to pick up the domestic slack, so domestic stuff was still within the woman's sphere) - I was the one with the fully-tricked out, Martha-Stewart-skill-level SAHM. Go know.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | March 8, 2007 9:41 AM

To Michigan,

(I apologize if I'm repeating what others have already said - I haven't read all the comments yet.)

Your relationship with your husband sounds so much like mine! I just sort of gradually picked up all the tasks that my husband claimed ignorance of or didn't do the way I wanted them done (stupid of me, I know), and now I'd like to give some of them back. I'm gradually trying to turn things over and let him do them his way, but it's tough for both of us.

Posted by: FutureMom | March 8, 2007 9:47 AM

These two points made by posters are hard for me too. If anyone has insights or suggestions I would appreciate them.

1) That women are kind of expected to be cheerleaders for men who take paternity leave, but rarely do you hear men cheering for women who take maternity leave. More often they say "Wish I could take a three month vacation, too."

2) That men who take paternity leave are seen as heroes and vanguards, but maternity leave is just routine or a negative. Wish both moms AND dads were given more respect for juggling work and kid care.

Brian or others, do you think I'm seeing these in too cynical a light?

Posted by: Leslie | March 8, 2007 9:48 AM

Taking a paid month off is great if you have this option. But more than a few of us work for staffing agencies which only make money by selling the commodity of (my) labor. If I don't work, my company does not make any money. Personally, taking a unpaid month off is out of the question as there would be no income to the family.

I do contract to a multi-national company but the limitation to this is that not even the employees are allowed this paid leave as it is not in the culture of the home office.

I am just glad that I am pretty much past the childcare stage and that the company where I work at allows some flexibility for contractors.

Posted by: Fred | March 8, 2007 9:50 AM

OFF TOPIC ALERT
I wasn't around yesterday, but must comment on the discussion on the name "Andrea." The Italians get it "right"--it should only ever be a male name. Andrea comes from Greek "aner," which means "man" as opposed to woman (to be distinguished from "anthropos," which means man in the sense of human being: hence, "anthropology," "misanthropy," etc.). So all our girls named "Andrea" are really named "male." Just don't tell them, ok?

Posted by: etymology buff | March 8, 2007 9:51 AM

I second what Emily says. And daddy can change a diaper, burp, rock to sleep and bath a newborn baby just as easily as mom. Really, the only thing that dad can't do is nurse a baby, but he certainly can give a bottle.

Posted by: londonmom | March 8, 2007 9:52 AM

"I do not mean single parents - who of course have no choice - but those whose children's father are present - but "oh he lets the children do anything they want so I have to step in"..."


What's make you automatically think the mother has custody? Yes, the majority of custody situations do favor the mother but not mine. Typical sexist views I've noticed on these blog comments.

Posted by: Sterling Park | March 8, 2007 9:52 AM

I think it depends where you work. Both the federal agencies I have worked for, I have seen men rountinely take paternity leave. I don't think anyone thought a second about it. A few men, even took off 12 weeks after their spouse went back to work. I don't think anyone applauded them or brushed them off. But the federal agency where DH works, it would be a whole another story.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 8, 2007 9:53 AM

Leslie wrote: "That women are kind of expected to be cheerleaders for men who take paternity leave, but rarely do you hear men cheering for women who take maternity leave. More often they say "Wish I could take a three month vacation, too."

I am not a parent but I have read a lot of posts by parents. Many mothers have admitted to being the equivalent of "control freaks" and don't give their spouses the opportunity to excel at parenting. Perhaps if they(men) are given the chance to stay home for even one day and actually experience vs watch how much work it is to take care of an infant and house then they wouldn't make the inane comment about "vacation". And when the woman came home and saw that the house didn't burn down and that the child was healthy and happy she could relax and be more willing to give over control to the spouse.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 9:53 AM

When boyfriend's brother took paternity leave (large defense contractor) it wasn't exactly respected - they still expected him to do conference calls, respond to email, etc.

With regards to Leslie's comment: could it be that people don't cheer about maternity leave because many are cynically placing bets on whether the new mother will come back? All part of the cycle of judgement a new parent goes through...

With regards to Father of 4: I can't agree with you but some parts of society might - I think a lot of men wonder -- well what the hell is a guy doing on paternity leave?

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | March 8, 2007 9:54 AM

"What's make you automatically think the mother has custody? Yes, the majority of custody situations do favor the mother but not mine. Typical sexist views I've noticed on these blog comments. "

It isn't sexist. It's a statistical fact. Overwhelmingly, the mother is given primary custody of the children. I defy you or anyone else to produce evidence that states otherwise.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 9:55 AM

in general, babies are not really interesting to the dads until babies begin to crawl.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 9:56 AM

Chris, I think you were a *little* hard on Tara. I think you'd agree with her basic premise that men should want to do this.

TANGENT: It reminds me of the Chris Rock stand-up when he was talking about what you're "supposed" to do.

Dude: "I don't smoke crack!"
Chris: "Man, you're not SUPPOSED to smoke crack."

Dude: "I don't beat my wife!"
Chris: "You're not SUPPOSED to beat your wife."

Back to the point: Tara made a valid point. However, considering that men should have been doing this for the past few decades and have only just gotten around to it now, I think they need more encouragement.

I don't know about you guys, but when I praise my husband for, say, doing the dishes, I feel a little like I'm talking to a 5 year old ("Honey, that was so nice of you! Wow, you did that all by yourself!"). But, according to Brian, men need that. So I mind it. It does seem to make him feel appreciated. (Of course, when I brought up that I picked up the dog droppings in the backyard, he looked at me like "So, what, do you want a gold star?") Sigh.

Posted by: Meesh | March 8, 2007 9:59 AM

"Really, the only thing that dad can't do is nurse a baby..."

Fred, see- I told you yesterday that you have to be careful... it is just a matter of time. ;-)

OMG I saw quotation marks in a post!!! *looks out window* yep, hell froze over. LOL

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 9:59 AM

Just reading, and was about to compliment Brian (for topic) and Leslie (for original post.) About to point out the deal about bees and honey again, and how she seems to have learned something about how being positive can help when you are runnning the blog.

But Leslie couldn't even make it until 10:00 am Eastern before...oh never mind.

Maybe I'm the only one who is now sees her postings "in too cynical a light?"

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | March 8, 2007 10:01 AM

Even though my husband does child & household things I don't praise him for doing any of these things. It is just a normal part of his/our life. I thnk if I did do the praising thing he would see what he is doing as out of the ordinary and special and it is not. Does anyone else feel that way?

Posted by: Pink Plate | March 8, 2007 10:01 AM

I really don't understand why fathers don't take advantage of paternity leave policies. Don't they want to be involved in their children's lives at the very early stage? Or are they thinking this is what a wife is supposed to do, take care of the baby all by herself?

______________________________________

John: it really is a function of how much leave the father's got, and how it's spread out. In my case, when the first baby was born, I took two weeks off starting from birth, then started taking more time off as my wife was getting ready to go back to work and after she did (she took 4 months as I recall). That way, I didn't burn all my leave/vacation (this was pre-FMLA) at the start and was available for doctor visits or whatever.

The second was born when I had an assignment as a Visiting Professor at the Air Force Academy, and my wife had taken a year's "Spousal leave" (leave without pay with a guarantee of getting her job back; it's a good Fed program). I was limited in how much time I could take off, as I couldn't miss more than a couple classes, so my MIL came out to help. But that was an academic job, so I lived on the Academy grounds and worked 0730-1630 most days and that was it.

With the third and fourth, we went back to me taking two weeks at birth, making sure I saved up the rest for use after my wife went back to work.

(Now, I had already been a Fed for 6 years before the first was born and always, always, always had carried the full complement of 6 weeks leave over every year - I basically didn't take vacation the first three years. So I could take two weeks and still have some left. But managing your vacation is important.)

Posted by: Army Brat | March 8, 2007 10:02 AM

They're children, not a day care problem. If you don't have the time to take care of them properly, then do everybody a favor and don't have them.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 10:02 AM

to 9:56: just a note - in general, babies are not really that interesting to moms either until they begin to crawl (or at least around then). Many moms won't admit it, but how interesting do you really think a newborn is when all it does is eat, sleep and poop? So why should dads get off the hook?

Of course we all love our newborns and think they are the cutest things in the world, but that doesn't make them interesting.

Posted by: londonmom | March 8, 2007 10:03 AM

I started my own business to prove that you could have a life (and let your employees have one, too) and run a business profitably. It worked! Too many companies don't see that, so more people should start their OWN company to show those others it can be done!

Posted by: ParentPreneur | March 8, 2007 10:03 AM

PinkPlate: I don't know; my wife certainly likes praise "once in a while" for her part of keeping the house clean, getting the laundry taken care of, getting dinner cooked, etc. Her view is that it's nice to be noticed and not taken for granted. I guess I probably feel the same way - I don't want mounds of praise every day, but being noticed once in a while is nice.

Posted by: Army Brat | March 8, 2007 10:04 AM

Sorry for the extra "is" in that last sentence...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | March 8, 2007 10:05 AM

Sorry, that should have been "So I DON'T mind it" at 9:59

Posted by: Meesh | March 8, 2007 10:05 AM

Michigan and FutureMom,

Your descriptions of how you ended up doing things around the house because your husband didn't/couldn't/wouldn't do them sounds like my house, only in reverse.

My wife was never allowed to help keep the house clean when growing up; her mother insisted on doing everything herself. So, when we married, she had little to none of those skills (but she could cook!). I've gradually inherited the cleaning tasks once it became apparent that my wife had little to no interest in doing them at all, only getting out the broom or mop when things got really bad.

Now I've got the evening cooking task as well because she works late and we didn't want to eat after 8:00 pm. I wonder if there's a hidden plan behind all this...?

Posted by: John | March 8, 2007 10:06 AM

Meesh,
You just reminded me of a situation I have with my husband. He makes dinner at least half the time. And I have learned to remember that when HE cooks, I have to give him a lot of praise. Stuff like, "Yummm, this is so good. I LOOOVE the asparagus. Honey, you outdid yourself." This keeps him happy, and cooking, so I do it, even if the asparagus was pretty mediocre. But when I cook, everyone just chows down, helps to clean up, and goes about the evening routine. No big deal. It was just dinner. No biggie.

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 10:07 AM

to 9:56: just a note - in general, babies are not really that interesting to moms either until they begin to crawl (or at least around then).

i beg to disagree with you. i have known many women who just love to hold their babies all day long.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 10:07 AM

Dan Froomkin does the White House Briefing column/blog at the Post, a thoughtful daily review/pointer to media coverage and commentary on the White House. He has a large daily following, one of the earlier big followings on washingtonpost.com . I remember when he had a first child (18 months ago?) he took paternity leave and his column went in hiatus for 1-2 months.

Of course he came back strong as ever, but I think the fact that he quite visibly disappeared on paternity leave, leaving many political junkies to look elsewhere to meet a daily media habit fulfilled by his coverage is a great example of the leading edge of generational change. He was visible not only to young parents, but to a wide cross-section of folks young, old, childed, not, attracted not by parenting/personal issues but by serious topical expertise (he was one of the early daily blog + weekly discussion types, so it's easy to hear his many readers). To have them experience, hey - serious adult male in my daily intellectual orbit has a child, and *of course* drops off the face of the earth for while, disappears from the daily work-adult life routine to tend to what's really important - that's the kind of visibility to the world beyond the choir of young parents that's really helpful. That becoming a dad is of course a life-changing event that takes top focus for a while. And just like the daily working parent/kid separation, he went away, but he left us pointers to lots of little surrogates and we were just fine in his absence . . . and then he came back, and everything picked up, totally competent and connected, right where it left off, and all remains well with the world. That many of the folks we rely on as part of the texture of our daily worlds, whose work we value, happen to be parents who as a matter of course prioritize parenting. . .

I think this will happen with the generational shift to more and more involved Dads, that people will be exposed not when they become parents and seek out role models, but incidentally in their daily lives among people they already know and respect, and this will have far greater impact.

Posted by: KB | March 8, 2007 10:08 AM

"in general, babies are not really interesting to the dads until babies begin to crawl."

Or, hold a baseball bat.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 10:08 AM

football

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 10:09 AM

To: Sterling Park at 9:52 am..

Since I was trying to discuss why it is that men may not be perceived to be good caregivers, or why the burden of caregiving (for elderly, children, whomever) seems to be perceived to be placed on women - I was asking if those women with men in their lives perhaps "take over" or "gatekeep" and prevent the men in their lives from contributing.

As such, I excluded SINGLE MOMS (divorced or widowed or abandoned) who do not have a child's father to gatekeep.

If you are a single father (for whatever reason) I would assume that you have the main share of childcare and therefore have little to do with the conversation I was initiating.

A little over rabidly aggressive this morning, aren't you?

Now I remember why I only post about once a month!

Posted by: Michigan | March 8, 2007 10:09 AM

Army Brat, I should have been clearer what I really mean is that I don't do this all the time. I always say thank you as does he and of course, sometimes there is reason to say "wow, that looks lovely, thank you for doing that" or 'I was really beat today and I appreciate .....", but in general, I don't do that for mopped floors, bathed children, cooked suppers etc.

Posted by: Pink Plate | March 8, 2007 10:11 AM

Father of 4

When you are a lonely old man, you won't get much out of sitting around with your kids, either.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 10:12 AM

And right now we need to praise and encourage the Washington Post for letting us use contractions and quotations, ALSO something that should be normal behavior...

I guess the deep reason we men seek the praise of women, is because of all the burdens society places on us. I still have to tell my wife that men can cry if they are hurt really bad emotionally because they are human beings too. Sure, you may look down on us for needing praise for doing dishes, or for being child-like in some ways- but it is part of our characteristics. Just as women have their emotional needs, and complications men view as silly, and moments that make men roll their eyes... men have such needs and moments too. So, is simple praise for pitching in and doing dishes after a long day's work such a difficult thing to begrudge your beloved?
I always make it a point to thank my wife for cooking a wonderful meal, though it is one of her normal duties to prepare the meals the majority of the time. Appreciate the small things and advances that benefit your relationship, and encourage them. Things will improve. If you do not nurture things, they wither- such is the wisdom I impart in a smartass way to my wife every time one of our plants die. We buy a lot of cacti now. :-)

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 10:13 AM

John: My childhood was similar to your wife's in that my mom did all of the housecleaning and my sibilings and I virtually none of it. I am a mediocre housekeeper at best nowadays. But I credit that to the fact that I don't care nearly as much about it as some people, not that I didn't have the skills. I mean really, how many skills does a person really need to mop the floor or clean a bathroom?

Regarding the female reaction to Fo4's post: even if you didn't have the need or want to hold your baby 24/7, don't you think that *generally speaking*, that there's more of a liklihood that women will have the biological tie to their infant in that way than a man? Isn't that all he was saying - that because he didn't have it because he didn't carry the baby for 9 months and didn't nurse him, that his instincts were likely to be different than his wife's?

Posted by: momof4 | March 8, 2007 10:15 AM

Chris

:) about your comment of 9:59.

Posted by: Fred | March 8, 2007 10:16 AM

Michigan said:

"A little over rabidly aggressive this morning, aren't you?"

Nope. I apologize if you took it that way. If you read the comments made on a almost daily basis you will see how often it is assumed Dads need praise or are not included in child rearing.

The reason I am a single father is my ex moved to Cali. Virginia, thanks to they're policy on involving fathers in custody cases, saw fit to award them to me as this is where they're from.

I was not trying to bash you or anything. I'm just tired of people (not saying you as it seems I may have struck a nerve) assuming Mothers are the only ones totally involved in raising the kids.

I do 100% of everything and am not looking for a praise or reward. Seeing my kids and spending time with them is my reward.

Posted by: Sterling Park | March 8, 2007 10:21 AM

Father of 4:

I think it may depend on what kind of paternity leave you have. When our #3 was born, my husband took off 2 weeks. I didn't really need him to do much with the baby since I was nursing what seemed like all the time. But I did need my husband to deal with the other two, taking them to school and daycare, cleaning, cooking, etc., partly because I needed to recover and also because you're not supposed to drive for a couple weeks after giving birth. However, when he took off a month after my leave ended, he had primary care of the baby and had to do everything. I think this was helpful for him to get a realistic idea of what it was like to be alone with a child (or children) all day long and how one can manage to do other domestic things at the same time. I tried really hard not to micromanage his paternity leave (and I think I was pretty successful) because I sure wouldn't have wanted him to try and dictate what I should do on maternity leave. That time alone with the baby gave my husband the chance to learn the baby's cues without mommy hanging over his shoulder telling him how to do it "right" or how he was doing it "wrong."

Posted by: Rockville Mom | March 8, 2007 10:21 AM

This praise thing, I'm not buying it. Obviously, we shouldn't be snide or critical when our husbands do childcare or housework, but I think we reinforce our alpha parent role when we praise them. They will adopt their involved behavior when they truly 'own' it, not because we're cheering them on. We can notice and appreciate, just as we would like them to do for our efforts. But when our tone becomes praising and cheerleading, they are still our subordinates. Do you praise your peer colleagues at work for doing the same thing you are doing?

Posted by: equal | March 8, 2007 10:23 AM

"you're not supposed to drive for a couple weeks after giving birth"

Really??? Never heard that one before? Why shouldn't a women drive for a couple of weeks after giving birth? I'm just trying to understand the rationale for this one. I am the only one who has never heard this before?

Posted by: londonmom | March 8, 2007 10:25 AM

"Do you praise your peer colleagues at work for doing the same thing you are doing?"

Assuming what we were doing was a good thing, perhaps the world would be a better place if we did.

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 10:25 AM

MyDH took off about 4 wks after no. 1 was born - well, that was after not really working the ten days before I gave birth due to me being in the hospitak. But he planned to be out, and no one blinked (this was after said co. Laid me off two wks before I went to hospital).

My sister, after hearing this said to me that her husband didn't take any time off after no. 1 was born (he was born on a sat, thank goodness). As if she was proud of it.

To each their own.

I do have friends who each took off 12 weeks after the birth of their child -yes he was praised to no end-and all sorts of people said that he was lucky that he could-even tho it was only FMLA leave. Most ppl still don't know the law.

Posted by: atlmom | March 8, 2007 10:25 AM

OT but responding to a non-regular to engender inclusiveness.

"... I think if I did do the praising thing he would see what he is doing as out of the ordinary and special and it is not. Does anyone else feel that way?"

I disagree with you on this. Common courtesy and praise is an excellent lubricant for social interactions like marriage. Frieda always thanks me for washing her car but I would do it anyway as I want her to drive a clean and nice vehicle. I try to praise her for the manifold things that she does for me (but never asparagus.) Sometimes, I am not as good in this as she is. These may be mundane chores that have to be done (scrubbing toilets) but to show appreciation that a person cares enough about you to do so is always welcome.

Posted by: Fred | March 8, 2007 10:25 AM

John(10:06am) and Future Mom,

Yes - when we first got married I went through a brief "super-wife" phase. Mistake. I have let go of most of the domestic stuff and my husband is good about dishes, cat litter, and occasionally vacuuming ... but I had to relax my standards. As in, yes the floor needs to be vacuumed, but no one will die if it is not vacuumed and so I'm not going to vacuum it either.

Eventually it gets vacuumed (as often by him as by me). I had the same problems with roomates -- the neater roomate always gets stuck doing everything - so gradually I've become "less neat" and closer to my husband's perspective on housekeeping..

However what kills me is not the domestic tasks (they're unimportant to me anyways) but the IMPORTANT things... House Insurance, Car Insurance, Car Care, Medical Care, Vet Appointments, Animal Food, Household shopping (toilet paper, paper toweling, etc..), Managing finances, dealing with bill collectors (his - hence why I initially started managing all finances), getting his student loans consolidated..

Literally it is my job to keep our world revolving (yes - I earn more too). He initally had some problems - (aforementioned bills) and was bad at dealing with them -- so I stepped in to prevent disaster (insolvency) and have inheirited all "business operations" dealings with the outside world. Which also spun into "All decision making occurrences period". Its good to know he respects my opinion - but sometimes it drives me crazy!

Because if I'm wrong - I'm singlehandedly responsible for family disaster.

Its easy to push the domestic tasks back to him (we split them pretty well) - because I can lower my housekeeping standards to his (now we're both slobs) - but obviously things like finances - that's harder.

I've been making him deal with his things more now (calling bill collectors to check on things, etc..) and he's getting a little better (he has to call 5 times to get all the information I would ask for in one phone call)..

but its frustrating.

And I know if we have kids that I will absolutely not go down that road. Being soley responsible for the two of us, my elderly parents (45 miles away) continued well being, 4 cats and a dog is enough!!!

John - good luck with the cooking!! :) I just stopped all together -- we eat cereal and hot dogs now!! :)

Posted by: Michigan | March 8, 2007 10:26 AM

Fred you crack me up. I read "manifold things" and immediately picture her under the hood of your car.
I agree - please and thank you go far for anyone - kid, spouse, co-worker and wait staff (pet peeve).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 10:29 AM

Really??? Never heard that one before? Why shouldn't a women drive for a couple of weeks after giving birth? I'm just trying to understand the rationale for this one. I am the only one who has never heard this before?

For women having c sections, this is pretty standard

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 10:30 AM

OT but responding to a non-regular to engender inclusiveness.

Now why was this comment necessary Fred? Why couldn't you just respond to a new person without pointing out her non-regularity and what a great guy you are for being inclusive?

It might be a little OT but I don't think anyone was complaining about the bunny trails, but rather the "let's change the topic to something else altogether because us regulars are done with the main topic of the day."

Posted by: anonymous regular | March 8, 2007 10:30 AM

Chris and Fred,
I think we may be talking about slightly different things. I'm ALL for complimenting and noticing and appreciating. I see 'praise' as something different though - a fawning over or 'Good Boy!' that reflects a superior/subordinate relationship. Marriage works when both partners feel appreciated (and this is also good for colleague relationships) - I completely agree there!

Posted by: equal | March 8, 2007 10:30 AM

OT alert
Long Post alert--Part one

Guess who wrote this?
======================

Lewis Libby has now been found guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice for lies that had absolutely no legal consequence.

It was not a crime to reveal Valerie Plame's name because she was not a covert agent. If it had been a crime, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald could have wrapped up his investigation with an indictment of the State Department's Richard Armitage on the first day of his investigation since it was Armitage who revealed her name and Fitzgerald knew it.

With no crime to investigate, Fitzgerald pursued a pointless investigation into nothing, getting a lot of White House officials to make statements under oath and hoping some of their recollections would end up conflicting with other witness recollections, so he could charge some Republican with "perjury" and enjoy the fawning media attention.

As a result, Libby is now a convicted felon for having a faulty memory of the person who first told him that Joe Wilson was a delusional boob who lied about his wife sending him to Niger.

This makes it official: It's illegal to be Republican.

Since Teddy Kennedy walked away from a dead girl with only a wrist slap (which was knocked down to a mild talking-to, plus time served: zero), Democrats have apparently become a protected class in America, immune from criminal prosecution no matter what they do.

As a result, Democrats have run wild, accepting bribes, destroying classified information, lying under oath, molesting interns, driving under the influence, obstructing justice and engaging in sex with underage girls, among other things.

Meanwhile, conservatives of any importance constantly have to spend millions of dollars defending themselves from utterly frivolous criminal prosecutions. Everything is illegal, but only Republicans get prosecuted.

Conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh was subjected to a three-year criminal investigation for allegedly buying prescription drugs illegally to treat chronic back pain. Despite the witch-hunt, Democrat prosecutor Barry E. Krischer never turned up a crime.

Even if he had, to quote liberal Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz: "Generally, people who illegally buy prescription drugs are not prosecuted." Unless they're Republicans.

The vindictive prosecution of Limbaugh finally ended last year with a plea bargain in which Limbaugh did not admit guilt. Gosh, don't you feel safer now? I know I do.

In another prescription drug case with a different result, last year, Rep. Patrick Kennedy (Democrat), apparently high as a kite on prescription drugs, crashed a car on Capitol Hill at 3 a.m. That's abuse of prescription drugs plus a DUI offense. Result: no charges whatsoever and one day of press on Fox News Channel.

I suppose one could argue those were different jurisdictions. How about the same jurisdiction?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 10:31 AM

"For women having c sections, this is pretty standard"

But that's not what was said - it was "after giving birth." I knew the c section rate was high but are we now supposed to assume that every woman who gives birth had a c section?


Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 10:32 AM

"...not by shaming the lunkheads who still don't get it..."

Are you talking about Leslie, Brian? She indicates she's never heard of or heard from a man who considered childcare to be important in his life.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 10:33 AM

OT

"Now why was this comment necessary Fred? Why couldn't you just respond to a new person without pointing out her non-regularity and what a great guy you are for being inclusive?"

Because I am feeling a bit snarky after being slammed yesterday.

Posted by: Fred | March 8, 2007 10:35 AM

To londonmom:

Both of my obstetricians told me not to drive for several weeks after giving birth. One of them explained that it's mainly because you can hurt yourself if you have to slam on the brakes. Sorry to get a little graphic, but I think it's to do with stitches. I didn't have a c-section. I would guess that if you have a v. delivery with minimal repair work, a doctor might ok driving sooner.

Posted by: Another Librarianmom | March 8, 2007 10:35 AM

I second what Emily says. And daddy can change a diaper, burp, rock to sleep and bath a newborn baby just as easily as mom. Really, the only thing that dad can't do is nurse a baby, but he certainly can give a bottle.
-----------------------------
Did you ever stop to consider that there might be a reason that nature gave mothers the mammary glands that lactate?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 10:35 AM

"Isn't that all he was saying - that because he didn't have it because he didn't carry the baby for 9 months and didn't nurse him, that his instincts were likely to be different than his wife's?"

What about adoptive mothers? They don't carry the baby?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 10:37 AM

Because I am feeling a bit snarky after being slammed yesterday.

Understandable. But it was a regular who first brought up the non-inclusiveness yesterday, so why the snark in the direction of the newbies?

Posted by: anonymous regular | March 8, 2007 10:37 AM

Sterling Park:

Okay - I was perhaps a little aggressive! :) I do hate the comments that man-bash and hate the people who stereotype women ("women seem to biologically want to hold babies all the time"). That's why I try to speak in specifics (my husband, my family) and tried to specifically exclude single women because I didn't want a single woman who has no choice but to do all the caring herself (again - in the case of abandonement or widowhood) to yell at me that she'd love to dump it on the child's father but has no choice!! :)

So instead I perceived you to be yelling at me about excluding single-fathers!!

Sometimes you just can't win! ;)

I don't have children yet, and though I have strong ideas (from my own childhood) I am amazed by the thoughts/concerns/conflicts of today's parents... and I have noticed a trend of perfectionism that is scary.

My children will not have a perfect home - a good home, a safe home, a "give me 30 minutes and I'll find your blankie" home - but not a perfect "everything is always organized, always clean, always done" home..

and I seem to pick up that vibe a lot from this board and just wonder if people are expecting too much.. and if that carries over from women preventing their loved ones from helping because they're the only ones who can do it right..

Posted by: Michigan | March 8, 2007 10:37 AM

Men who take paternity leave are wusses. It is expected that women take the time off to recover from delivery; however, a father only needs to be out a day or two. Then the job with momma's. I can imagine the jokes when men ask for paid time off to sit home and play with the baby. When people stayed in their traditional roles, they were much happier and the world was a better place to live. See what the Women's Lippers have done to us.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 10:37 AM

Ann Coulter wrote it. I would say Che posted it, but it is too conservative.

Do I get a gold star?

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 10:40 AM

Michigan,

Actually, I've discovered I'm a fairly good cook, which has surprised me since I never was taught how, ever. After a few mishaps with things like rice, I gained a little confidence and my wife makes sure to thank me for taking on this job, even if the meals are sometimes kind of simplistic or taste odd (I experiment with spices).

Posted by: John | March 8, 2007 10:41 AM

Michigan - I once had a boss with financial management issues similar to yours. She was an engineer; he a full, tenured professor of biochemistry at Hopkins. Think "absent-minded professor". (They had no kids.)

She always did all the finances because, quite frankly, he didn't care. As long as there was money coming out of the ATM when he used his card, that was fine.

She got a new job assignment that kept her traveling a lot, so she told him that he was now in charge of the finances. Three months later, she was trying to check in to a hotel in San Francisco when her credit card was refused. In fact, ALL of her credit cards were refused, except for one she kept for "emergencies" (think: the other cards were stolen) and never used.

When she got home, she went in to his home office - to discover three months of unopened bills, notices, etc. on his desk. Near the top of the pile were the notices that their water, electricity etc. were about to be shut off for nonpayment of bills.

It took her a full week to straighten everything out, and then she just accepted the fact that she'd be doing the finances for the REST of the marriage, too.

Posted by: Army Brat | March 8, 2007 10:41 AM

To the posters regarding husbands who don't do domestic shores, or feign ignorance. My hubby did the same thing when we moved into together and was hit between the eyeballs when our baby came. Before her arrival I told him that I couldn't do it all and that he would have to pitch in. Fast foward to our baby's birth (an unplanned C-section); my hubby was FORCED to take care of both of us for about three weeks. Boy did his "ignorance" disappear FAST! Three months later, I refuse to accept any type of "ignorance" !!!! We are a team and have to be to take care of our #1 priority, our child. That being said, it is a total blast and doesn't feel like work at all. Being a parent is highly recommended to make one realize what is really important in life.

Regarding paternity leave, my hubby took about one month off after our little girl was born. He didn't use FMLA but worked something out with his boss, who was shocked at his request but complied nonetheless. I reminded my husband about his right to FMLA at the time and told him to use that as a bargaining chip. I think his boss viewed a month better than three months!!!

Posted by: Formerly Soon to be Mom | March 8, 2007 10:41 AM

Everybody wants to know
what the kids was listening to.



What kind of music was they listening to?
Or what kind of movies was they watching?



Who gives a f*ck what they was watching?



Whatever happened to crazy?



What happened to crazy?
What, you can't be crazy no more?



Did we eliminate ''crazy''
from the dictionary?



F*ck the records. F*ck the movies. Crazy!



When l was a kid, they used to separate
the crazy kids from everybody.



When l was a kid, the crazy kids
went to school in a little-ass bus.



They had a class at the end of the school...



and they used to get out of school at : .



Just in case they went crazy...



they would only hurt other crazy kids.


Posted by: Chris Rock on school shootings | March 8, 2007 10:42 AM

This is one of those issues which will change, with time, with the decades, one Dad at a time. Each time one Dad sticks his neck out a little bit to openly participate in a part of his child's life which his employer/colleagues have not seen before, it makes it easier for the next Dad. I'm actually extremely optimistic for the future. My DH is a wonderful Dad, drops DD off at daycare, and tries to make it home for bath on Fridays, as well as multiple diaper changes, clearing up vomit, and shopping for baby clothes, but also looks after DD singlehanded when I'm travelling. His own father is intensely proud of how DH takes an equal share, something that he never did with his own children until DH came along, and which he regrets. DGF is now nearly 90 and flew cross-country to dig us out of a hole when daycare place was delayed for 3 weeks. I feel so happy that this involvement from the male role-models in DD's life is what she will come to experience and expect for her own children. Things aren't so bad. But it does take a little courage and support from senior management sometimes.

Posted by: DopeyTart | March 8, 2007 10:43 AM

"Do you praise your peer colleagues?"

When they are in training, yes, regularly and most particularly when they are doing something RIGHT.

Thereafter, periodically. Because everyone wants to be noticed when they are doing a good job, even if it is just once in a while.

That's also why I pointed out you don't do it continuously--that's patronizing. But if someone is doing something that you like, or appreciate, why not tell them?

If you don't mean it, don't say it. Almost everyone knows when praise is insincere.

Posted by: MdMother | March 8, 2007 10:44 AM

"you're not supposed to drive for a couple weeks after giving birth"

Really??? Never heard that one before? Why shouldn't a women drive for a couple of weeks after giving birth? I'm just trying to understand the rationale for this one. I am the only one who has never heard this before?

Posted by: londonmom | March 8, 2007 10:25 AM

That's what they told me all three times. And none of those times was a c-section. I believe it has something to do with the possibility of hemorraging. Probably not a likely scenario but doctors/hospitals are good for CYA advice.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | March 8, 2007 10:45 AM

I agree, Rebeldad. I'd bet that concentrating on the jerks who don't contribute makes the good guys feel like they can't win. Kind of like the "nice guy" who can't get a date because guys have taken such a beating for being opportunistic jerks. Most people respond better to positive rather than negative feedback, and instead of focusing on the neglectful, we should give credit to where it's due. Kudos to current and future fathers who perform an equal role in childcare and all other facets of life.

Posted by: Mona | March 8, 2007 10:46 AM

"That's what they told me all three times. And none of those times was a c-section. I believe it has something to do with the possibility of hemorraging. Probably not a likely scenario but doctors/hospitals are good for CYA advice."

It's amazing how many hospitals and doctors in this country hand out 1950's advice like this. Equally amazing how many people believe it without questioning.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 10:47 AM

When us guys slap our buddies on the back before he takes 6 weeks paternity leave, what we are actually doing is showing approval and praise to him for sneaking the golf clubs and fishing poles into the trunk while his wife is still in the maternity ward.

Just being honest...

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 8, 2007 10:47 AM

To Michigan re: perfectionism and not wanting your spouse touch the baby. It's not something you plan for. Before I had my child my husband and I had conversations about being laid back and being equals. When our child was born, I didn't want ANYONE to touch her, not even him. My maternal instinct was so strong, and it shocked me. I had to learn to chill out and now I am better but boy the feelings of wanting to not screw up your kid and to be perfect are ever present.

Posted by: Formerly Soon to be Mom | March 8, 2007 10:49 AM

lf the kid calls his grandmamma ''Mommy''...



and his mama ''Pam,'' he's going to jail.



You ain't saving no college money,
you saving bail money.



That money's going to Johnnie Cochran.



That's right.
lf the kid can't read, that's Mama's fault.



That is Mama's f*cking fault.



Now, if the kid can't read
'cause there ain't no lights in the house...



that's Daddy's fault.



You got this sh*t down?



See, nobody gives a f*ck about Daddy.
There's some real daddies out there.



l'm not talking about the guy
that f*cked you and left.



F*ck him, okay?
l'm talking about the real daddies.



There's still some motherf*ckers out there
that handle their business.



Motherf*ckers wanna act like brothers....



There's some brothers
that handle their business.



'Cause people don't give a f*ck....
Nobody gives a f*ck about Daddy.



Everybody takes Daddy for granted.
Just listen to the radio.



Everything's ''Mama. Dear Mama.
Always loved my Mama.''



What's the Daddy song?
Papa was a Rollin' Stone.



Nobody gives a f*ck.
Nobody appreciates Daddy.



Now, Mama's got the roughest job.
l ain't gonna front.



But at least people appreciate Mama.



Every time Mama do something right,
Mama gets a compliment...



'cause women need to hear compliments
all the time.



Women need food, water, and compliments.



That's right.



And an occasional pair of shoes.



That's right. Women got to hear it
all the time, or they lose their minds.



And get Daddy to make sure
you thank your mama for everything.



''Tell your mama how good the food is.
Tell her how nice the house looks.



''Tell your mama how nice her hair looks.



''Did you tell your mama?
You better go in there and tell your mama.''



That's right! ''Tell your mama.''



Nobody ever tells Daddy sh*t.



l'm talking about the real daddies
that handle their f*cking business.



Nobody ever says, ''Hey, Daddy,
thanks for knocking out this rent.''



''Hey, Daddy, l sure love this hot water.''



''Hey, Daddy,
this is easy to read with all this light.''



Nobody gives a f*ck about Daddy.



l'm talking about a daddy that handles his
business. Nobody gives a f*ck about Daddy.



Think about everything
that the real daddy does:



pay the bills, buy the food,
put a f*cking roof over your head.



Everything you could ever ask for.



Make your world a better, safer place.



And what does Daddy get for all his work?



The big piece of chicken.
That's all Daddy gets...



is the big piece of chicken.

Posted by: Chris Rock on Dads | March 8, 2007 10:49 AM

"Kind of like the "nice guy" who can't get a date because guys have taken such a beating for being opportunistic jerks."

And here I thought I couldn't get a date back in the day because I was an intellectual (read: nerd) with big thick glasses.

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 10:50 AM

l don't give a f*ck, you ain't never
gonna hear Newt Gingrich go:



''Man, l wish these hoes
would back up off me.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 10:51 AM

Leslie on your points -

I don't think men "expect" women to be cheerleaders for them if they take paternity leave. If women choose to do this, then great. But speaking for myself, I braced for a backlash when I took paternity leave and did not expect applause. As it was, it was not really leave. The company was in a busy period so I worked nights, primarily between the 9pm and Midnight feedings. Not a full workday, but you get the point.

On #2, I agree. Paternity leave is still a novel concept, while Maternity leave is old news to some. I think this is sort of a by-product of progress. The novelty around paternity leave will wear off I'm sure.

It is also worth noting that a lot of this perception has to do with your work environment. In a professional services job (Law, IT, Medicine) the high-ups will demand that nothing fall through the holes during your leave, no matter what your gender. No one will hesitate to call you at home. Proud Mama got a call from her firm asking about a casefile while we were in the delivery room!! Maybe if you are a factory worker, this is not an issue.

Posted by: Proud Papa | March 8, 2007 10:51 AM

I could have done without the spacing, but thank you to whoever posted the Chris Rock on Dads post. THAT made my day. So true... LOL.

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 10:53 AM

Fathers can't nurse? Didn't you see 'Meet the Fockers' and Robert DeNiro and that disgusting fake boob stapped on? I cringed thinking that would start a whole new fad. Fathers with fake boobs nursing in public. Oh, no! Demonstrating at Capitol Hill! Riding on a subway! Sitting in the Park on play dates! Whipping it out while giving a speech! Gag! My stomach turns over at the thought of it.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 10:54 AM

Are we talking about "nice guys" who do not have a spine, who never offer their own opinions, never say no, who want to be everybody's friend?

Or the nice guys who are honest with themselves and others?

Because the former deserve to find a parasitic partner, who is equally tiresome as themself.

The latter will do fine, eventually.

Posted by: MdMother | March 8, 2007 10:54 AM

I'm going to guess that "Texas Dad of 2" wrote the long post because he seems to tend toward conservative.

To whomever wrote it: perceived injustices aside, I think that it does no one any good to constantly divide the parties. This us-against-them mentality is exactly what the politicians want us to get caught up in so that we ignore the real issues. If you want advice, try to focus on the important things that matter to you instead of keeping score.

To 10:37: Women's Lippers?!??!? Who are these people? Does this have anything to do with stitches? Or are the fabled "scream queens?"

I think I can sum up what the anon posters are getting at: you women stay home and make babies. Men should be working. The end. Now you guys don't have to post anymore!!

Posted by: Meesh | March 8, 2007 10:55 AM

I cringed thinking that would start a whole new fad.

Wow...such faith in the intelligence of our society.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 10:55 AM

To Leslie: I am all for more discussion of how we can make parents cheerleaders for other parents, regardless of gender. But I have to confess to a bit of ignorance about the perception of leave-takers: do moms really look down on other moms who take leave?

As for paternity-leave-takers being seen as vanguards, I am eagerly awaiting the day when guys taking leave is so routine, so boring, that no one thinks twice about it. Unfortunately, the reason that it is still noteworthy when a guy takes a full 12 weeks is that it remains rare. But the more light we shine the guys that do it, the closer we get to making it routine. And once that happens, folks, I promise to pipe down.

Posted by: Brian Reid | March 8, 2007 10:55 AM

"MyDH took off about 4 wks after no. 1 was born"

Altmom - At first I thought you were recounting your husband leaving you after the baby was born, on the second read I got it.

I do have something in my contact so I am going to blame it on that.

Posted by: cmac | March 8, 2007 10:57 AM

Scarry,
I agree that different people like to do different things. Some people are born baby nurturers. Some not. What I don't agree with is that all women are born baby nurturers because they are biologically engineered that way, and that men are better at taking care of the nest by fixing things, cleaning, working, etc. It depends on the individual man or woman, IMO.

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 09:39 AM


(stands up and cheers at desk, GO EMILY!)

The baby phase was what we had to live through until our children had personalities. Babies are dull as dirt. There's no biological engineering that makes women slower to boredom than men.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 10:58 AM

There are some snarky anonymous posts I am tempted to ignore that go alone the lines of "why have children if you aren't going to take the time out to raise them"? I'll say this because I imagine a lot o fother paretns are probably thinking the same thing-- because it is actually better for our families and for society at large for us to go back to work. And there is no evidence that placing an infant in a high quality daycare center has any detriment to the child. to the extent that they get sick more often, such sicknesses build immunity and may cause discomfort but no long term harm.

I stayed home for 3 years with my first, but I'm expecting again and I am seriously considering going back to work after 2 months of recovery and then place the child in the daycare center in my office building. Why? I have the money to stay home again, but i feel really needed at work. I'm in management and it's tough to find a replacement. I'm doing a job that is actually helpful to society.

My only concern is that I will be zombie if the child doesn't sleep at night! I wonder if I could get advance leave or unpaid leave to allow for late mornings coming in. Any other ideas on how to hadle that if it is a problem?

Thanks!

Posted by: Clarina | March 8, 2007 10:58 AM

Chris , I agree on the spacing, but: THank you for that Chris Rock post! I am practically in tears I'm laughing so hard!!! So true!!

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | March 8, 2007 11:02 AM

Clarina,
Flex time or telecommuting might be an option depending on what your position is.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 11:03 AM

A single mom friend of mine drove herself to the hospital when her water broke, after taking her daughter to her dad's house first. After the C-section (planned), she drove herself and new baby back home. She didn't seem to think this was a big deal; apparently no one told her she shouldn't do it.

Posted by: John | March 8, 2007 11:03 AM

They will adopt their involved behavior when they truly 'own' it, not because we're cheering them on. We can notice and appreciate, just as we would like them to do for our efforts. But when our tone becomes praising and cheerleading, they are still our subordinates.

Yep. And you reinforce the setup that what they do is above and beyond, not what should be done. I don't mind appreciating, but cheerleading can buy into the "doofus dad" stereotype.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | March 8, 2007 11:03 AM

"Fathers with fake boobs nursing in public. Oh, no!"

Fat, homely women nursing in public. Much, much worse!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 11:04 AM

The following quote is from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17381270/

"Experts say employers are especially likely to accommodate working parents when they are in executive positions or work in industries where it is tough to recruit qualified workers.

Annie Stevens' company, Boston-based ClearRock Inc., provides executive coaching to high-level executives, doctors and others. She said many of her clients find that their employers will, in fact, go out of their way to accommodate family schedules and unexpected emergencies in order to ensure that the employee will stay loyal to the organization.

She said more men are taking advantage of that, too. For example, an executive she works with at a large company recently canceled an important trip because his daughter had a dental problem and his wife was ill.

Still, Stevens concedes that she doesn't know whether such accommodation is trickling down from the corner offices to the hourly workers.

And, she said, many of her most successful clients -- both men and women -- have found that the best way to balance high-pressure work environments with the unpredictable nature of parenting is to have one parent get out of the rat race all together.

"For most of the people I work with, it's optimum for them to have at least one parent at home," she said."

Note the implication that balance is harder to achieve when the work environments are high-pressure. I personally think that there should be a movement to change the work culture from 10-14 hour days back to 8 hour days. Maybe then we will see more balance between men and women when child care and other family concerns can be accommodated without being seen as a slacker for leaving early or arriving late or staying home for a personl matter.

Posted by: xyz | March 8, 2007 11:04 AM

My husband was given all the glory in the world when he stayed at home with our first. Women just constantly said he was perfect.

Now at home with our second, I get little if any kudos for my juggling of family and part-time career-- but I still hear how great hubby was/is from those same women.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 11:05 AM

"There is only so much a dude can get out of sitting around the house all day holding an infant. I credit the unique biological engeneering of women as to how they can enjoy it so much."

Father of 4, I'd like to assume that the above is tongue in cheek. I would have gone insane if I'd had to sit around the house all day or stroll, stroll and more strolling with our infants. I have many girlfriends and none loved the infant stage. Our lives were very active before kids, and having to plan our lives around various naptimes, feedings, etc. made both my husband and I a little stir crazy. I'm sure some women love the feeding and maintenance stage - your wife, for one -- but universally loved, it's not.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 8, 2007 11:06 AM

KB writes:

"I think this will happen with the generational shift to more and more involved Dads, that people will be exposed not when they become parents and seek out role models, but incidentally in their daily lives among people they already know and respect, and this will have far greater impact."

How do we know it's a "generational shift" and not just part of a cycle? History seems to go in cycles. Economically, there have been periods of Free Trade alternating with periods of Protectionism; maybe John Edwards will bring back Protectionism if he is elected President. Socially, there have been periods of Sexual Liberation (like the "gay [18]90's" and the "roaring twenties") alternating with periods of Sexual Repression (like the "Comstock era" and the 1950's).

We like to think that the changes of the past forty years are permanent, that we can rely on them just as the warrior on his horse can rely on the road ahead of him remaining solid for him to ride over. Yet Thomas Carlyle writes (in "Sartor Resartus"):

"That warrior on his strong war-horse, fire flashes through his eyes; force dwells in his arm and heart: but warrior and war-horse are a vision; a revealed Force, nothing more. Stately they tread the Earth, as if it were a firm substance: fool! the Earth is but a film; it cracks in twain, and warrior and war-horse sink beyond plummet's sounding. Plummet's? Fantasy herself will not follow them. A little while ago, they were not; a little while, and they are not, their very ashes are not."

What if the cycle changes, and Liberation, which currently seems to be such a "firm substance," proves to have been "but a film"? What if it "cracks in twain," and the FMLA laws "sink beyond plummet's sounding," and bosses start telling Dads, "If you don't come in after your kid is born, there's someone in India or Red China who can do your job over the Internet, so don't bother to come in at all"?

Will the Unions save paternal (and maternal!) leave? Will the coming Protectionism prevent bosses from exploiting workers who are parents? I hope so, but I dunno.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | March 8, 2007 11:06 AM

"Fat, homely women nursing in public"--

oh, now *that* was a brilliant comment that really advanced the discussion.

what an @$$hole.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 11:06 AM

Re: newborn babies.

I called mine "baby loafs" because they weren't mobile and would stay put on the floor or the playpen so I could get some stuff done. Not saying they weren't cute and that I didn't enjoy cuddling them at times. But stimulating conversationalists they are not.

I don't recall ever looking down my nose at anyone who took time off after having a baby. I guess I should ask them if they thought I did.

Dads being parents is a good thing. The more the parents (plural) are involved, the less stressed any one parent will be. Hopefully!

Posted by: anon this time | March 8, 2007 11:07 AM

Yes, Emily I agree with you that is why I said that different people like to do different things. I liked holding my baby a lot. I am sure this time will be different because I will have a three year old on my leg though. :)

Posted by: scarry | March 8, 2007 11:07 AM

Here's my personal anecdote for the day...

Proud Mama (who doesn't read the blog) came home really ticked off this week. She's one of only two female associates in her law firm that have children. The only female partner in her firm that has kids has an SAHD.

Upon getting her most recent talking-to about how it is important to make her billable hours, apparently this other associate/mom has decided to "opt out", leaving Proud Mama to be the only female non-partner in the firm with a child.

Now, we split childcare almost exactly 50-50. (I always take him food shopping, because we enjoy it. She always takes him jogging, because that's their thing.) With this 50-50 split it is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE for her to make her billable hours at the firm. There simply is not enough time in the day. I am also a professional and make probably 70% of the household income and we can't live on just her income. So for me to be a SAHD is not an option.

She does quality work but does not make her billables and is expecting a mediocre raise.

So the question is, do we pack up and get the hell out of DC? Maybe go to a little boom-town of a city where one salary goes further? Or do we stay and she tries to be some kind of trailblazer at her firm, adding that stress onto parent-hood?

This is not a 'poor me' scenario. We have options. I'm just wondering what this group thinks is the best idea...

Posted by: Proud Papa | March 8, 2007 11:08 AM

"The baby phase was what we had to live through until our children had personalities. Babies are dull as dirt."

Only to a narcissist.

You are as dull as dirt.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 11:08 AM

"I cringed thinking that would start a whole new fad."

"Wow...such faith in the intelligence of our society."

Yep, the same society that scrambled for $300 beanie babies, tamagachis, and whatever the &*@$ is the latest must have thing ala pet rock. The same society that brought another meaning to PC than personal computer. The same society who allows all sorts of injustices to slip through the cracks and gives them 2 minutes of attention between American Idol episodes.

I sometimes get the feeling that ANYTHING positive a person can do- no matter how small, whether it be unnecessary praise, helping someone change a tire or push their car, or smiling and saying hi to random person you encounter, may serve as the tiny pebble serving as a wedge to prevent the avalanche leading to the collapse of civilization as we know it.

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 11:09 AM

YES- Childcare is a "women's issue."

It may also be an issue for individual Dads, who chose to make it an issue for themselves/their families.

And to the extent that all gender issues are issues we should all be concerned with, this is an "everyones" issue.
[Happy International Women's Day everyone!!]

But it is still an issue for all women. As long as the balance is not in every single workplace, there will be a division between those who get ahead by working the crazy hours, never taking a day off, etc, etc. and those who do a normal amount of work and have to leave to pick up the kids at childcare. AND, as long as there is that division, the "unpaid" and "unrewarded" work (i.e. family care) will be disproportionately done by women. And women will continue to make less $ and have fewer economic/professional opportunities. [Not every single woman, but as a general matter] As a side effect, women will disproportionately be impacted by the lack of stable, quality child care. [Not to mention the fact that women are also disproportionately impacted by the low wages paid to child care providers, since very few providers are men.]

It's called structural inequality. If everyone worked flexible/balanced jobs, no one would have to choose between professional success and having a family. Only when no one has to make that choice do women and men have the chance to be equals professionally.

And, even then, women may still be disproportionately impacted by child care issues...

Clarification in advance: I'm not knocking men here, or suggesting that there aren't 3 men here, 6 men there, that are taking an equal burden. But it's the far minority and generally happens through choice not default. i.e.: not the same thing.

Posted by: Baltimore, Hon | March 8, 2007 11:11 AM

xyz: "Experts say employers are especially likely to accommodate working parents when they are in executive positions or work in industries where it is tough to recruit qualified workers.

_________________________

Clearly true, in my experience. The more valuable you prove yourself to be, the more the company will make accomodations for your schedule. It's that old "supply and demand" thing. If the company has a perceived demand for employees with skills, and the company perceives that the supply of such people is extremely limited, then it becomes incumbent upon the company to keep the employees it already has, and to make sure that new ones it hires, stay.

My nominal boss - a company VP - and I both had daughters playing on the same high school volleyball team. When they were on the JV the matches started at 4:30 pm. Neither of us ever missed a match. In fact, we used to joke about the fact that the department meeting would be held in the bleachers at the high school gym.

What would it have cost the company to replace us?

On the other hand, it does make it more difficult for unskilled laborers, because the perceived supply and demand equation is different. An enlightened company will understand that replacing any employee is costly - it costs to find the right new candidate; to train him or her even to a minimal competence; etc. - and try to accomodate current employees, but it's much easier for a company to NOT do that if the perception is that Joe or Jane can be replaced quickly and cheaply.

Posted by: Army Brat | March 8, 2007 11:12 AM

Chris wrote about kindness - tiny random kindness - @11:09.
The other day I was witness to a small act of kindness by a co-worker whom I had previously thought of as was something of a cold fish. We were together at Subway and there was a very little, very old lady. She couldn't find the water dispenser on the sofa machine - my co-worker helped her. She then helped her find and open a straw (not an easy task for the lady who was already holding a purse, coat, hat and sandwich). While in the greater scheme of things this isn't a huge thing but I saw the gratefulness in the old woman's eyes and I am sure it made her day just a little bit easier.
It also has made me look at my co-worker in a totally different light.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 11:15 AM

I'm not a lawyer, so I don't really understand the workings of law firms. Is it possible that she could request that the number of billable hours expected of her be reduced, along with a comparable reduction in compensation? If you can take the salary hit, it could be well worth the gains realized in 'quality of life' due to the lack of stress.

My opinion only, and I am definitely in the work to live camp as opposed to the live to work camp.

I definitely saw my maternity leave as somewhat of a vacation since I was able to spend weekends and evenings with DH and DD without having to cram all chores and errands into those weekends and evenings.

My motto is "A bad day at home is still better than a good day at work".

Posted by: to Proud Papa | March 8, 2007 11:16 AM

May I suggest investigating the possibility of working for another firm elsewhere (I presume you are easily hired in your field outside of the area too), or maybe setting up shop in an underserved area?

Barring that, is Proud Mama interested in trying to get hired by the feds over at Justice? I mean, it's not GREAT by any means, but maybe it won't be AS much of a mind-fvck experience.

I just don't feel that anything is worth the price of your sanity or health, if you have other options. I mean, obviously you do have options, neither of you are minimum wage workers clawing to get out of a hole.

Posted by: for Proud Papa | March 8, 2007 11:18 AM

"I'm in management and it's tough to find a replacement. I'm doing a job that is actually helpful to society."

Good for you, but please don't think that you are irreplaceable - no one is. And try to check that ego.

Posted by: billy bob | March 8, 2007 11:18 AM

look! it's a bird! it's a plane! It's the snarky anon poster whose vocabulary is limited to narcissist!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 11:18 AM

To Proud Papa: My cousin is on her second firm as a senior associate and battles the hours problem constantly. If your wife's firm isn't big willing to entertain a 60-80% schedule (the culture doesn't sound like it) one thing she could consider is corporate counsel or a government legal jobs. My other cousin went the corporate counsel route and *he* really loves it. (Note the traditional roles are reversed in my family). My two cents... Where is Laura when we need her? ;-)

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | March 8, 2007 11:19 AM

Proud Papa

If your wife graduated from a Tier 1 Law School, that is your family's ticket to get the hell out DC.

There are a lot of Fed jobs for her in low cost of living areas.

Good luck!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 11:22 AM

"That's what they told me all three times. And none of those times was a c-section. I believe it has something to do with the possibility of hemorraging. Probably not a likely scenario but doctors/hospitals are good for CYA advice."

It's amazing how many hospitals and doctors in this country hand out 1950's advice like this. Equally amazing how many people believe it without questioning.


Posted by: | March 8, 2007 10:47 AM

Yeah, well. Quite frankly, I didn't really feel like driving anywhere for 2 weeks anyway. ;)

Posted by: Rockville Mom | March 8, 2007 11:23 AM

Cmac - very funny

Clarina (I think it was u) my sister actually went back for 3 days a week for a while after no 2 was born. Mayb u could do that?

Eve tho I went back to work when no 2 was 6 mos., he wasn't sleeping thru the night and I was pumping. I have no idea how I made it thru...

Posted by: atlmom | March 8, 2007 11:25 AM

Oh and after no 1 I was told not to drive for 4 weeks. Maybe cause they didn't know why my water broke so early? I don't know. For no 2 I think the dr told me 3 weeks. It was fine with me, meant my husband had to drive, and I hate to anyway. I had nowhere to go either.

Neither births were c's

Posted by: atlmom | March 8, 2007 11:30 AM

"I'm in management and it's tough to find a replacement. I'm doing a job that is actually helpful to society."

_______
Clarina, please don't take this as a personal slam; it's not intended to be that. But please see my post early this morning. If you're in management and it's too tough to replace you, then you're not a good manager. You're not doing a service to your employer by putting them in a situation where you can't be done without - the succession plan has to be there. (See Warren Buffet's consistent comments about how Berkshire Hathaway would go on without him. And I hate to recommend this, but see "Good to Great." One of the defining features of a "great" company is that it continues on after the loss of a great leader. I hate that book; probably because our CEO read it and loved it so it's required reading now, but it does make some good points.)

Now, that being said, you should *tough* to replace; just not impossible. You should want to be so good at your job that it would be hard to find others who can do it; that's your job security. But there's a balance there.

Posted by: Army Brat | March 8, 2007 11:33 AM

Conversly, I held the door open for a woman once- who happened to be a professor- and I proceeded to get lectured about how I was being a male pig and she, being a woman, could hold her own door.

I explained I hold the door for anyone who happens to be a reasonable distance behind me, and in homage to her own PC jargon I said I did not appreciate such sexist stereotypes and generalizations in response to my performing a common courtesy I was taught to extend to everyone regardless of their ability to open a door.

I may be a smart@$$, but I'm not a pig- unless I'm at a good buffet...

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 11:33 AM

Proud Papa,

None of my colleagues come in before 8 or are in the office past 6. Many of us work from home after the kids are in bed or before they are up on weekends, if need be, whether to hit our targets or more often because the work just needs to get done. Proud Mama needs to decide whether she wants ideas on how she can hit her billables without taking away from her home life, or whether she wants to take her considerable expertise and knock the dust from her heels as she moves on to an environment better suited to enjoying her life. In any event, living with the stress of knowing that her employer considers her performance sub-par has got to suck. Going part-time with a supervising partner who is of the opinion that all good lawyers are full-time workaholics often does not result in an improved work environment. Just my two cents.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 8, 2007 11:33 AM

Proud Papa & Proud Mama,

Someone should click their heels together three times and get out of Oz.

This may necessitate a move out of the area, or simply a move into a different law firm.

I know it always made me feel better to be looking for new employment (or in any way planning my escape) when I was miserable in whatever job I had at the time. Fortunately, now I am happy. I am very lucky.

She will be too. Go re-watch "The Incredibles" with or without the kids. Edna Mode has some great one-liners.

Posted by: MdMother | March 8, 2007 11:38 AM

To the posters who've said that they picked up the tasks that their husband's didn't do right in their eyes...why did you do this? I just can't fathom someone willingly adding more work for herself. My husband came from a traditional Italian family in which his SAH mom did everything for him, his sister and her husband. He soon learned that he had to step up to the plate in our house. I honestly don't care how things get done (except in the kitchen) I just want them done.

Posted by: MV | March 8, 2007 11:39 AM

"To the posters who've said that they picked up the tasks that their husband's didn't do right in their eyes...why did you do this? I just can't fathom someone willingly adding more work for herself."

Even more than that, it's condescending to treat another adult as if he can't determine for himself the RIGHT way to do anything. Who died and made the wife all-knowing? Her way is not better because of biological engineering. snort.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 11:42 AM

"OFF TOPIC ALERT
I wasn't around yesterday, but must comment on the discussion on the name "Andrea." The Italians get it "right"--it should only ever be a male name. Andrea comes from Greek "aner," which means "man" as opposed to woman (to be distinguished from "anthropos," which means man in the sense of human being: hence, "anthropology," "misanthropy," etc.). So all our girls named "Andrea" are really named "male." Just don't tell them, ok?"

Thanks for the clarification entymology buff!!!! I guess this is why my husband couldn't think of a female version of Andrea.

Posted by: MV | March 8, 2007 11:43 AM

"The newly instituted paid paternity leave policy in your company was created solely to get your boring ass out of the office and give your co-workers a break.

Stop patting yourself on the back and looking for a brass band."

To "Pathetic Boobs":

You know, Brian can be a pill sometimes. But his blog this week is totally on target.

And I don't think he was patting himself on the back (and believe me, I have a very low threshold for people who toot their own horns). He was giving as an example what happened at his firm when someone took the first step.

Why not just digest this for what it is and stop trying to carry on your little personal anti-Brian campaign?

Posted by: pittypat | March 8, 2007 11:43 AM

Billy Bob, actually I can't be replaced in the sense that my supervisor will not have the funding to hire a replacement. That is pretty typical right now-- a division can continue to pay the people it already has, but doesn't have the authority to hire any new replacements. I feel so bad for my supervisor as he has already lost six subordinates-- I am literally all he has now! If I'm out for a short while he can get someone to transfer, but that transfer CANNOT last for years!

I didn't realize so many people would be leaving the division when I got pregnant and by the time I had found out-- well, i was already pregnant and what do you suggest i do? Get an abortion because if I can't stay home with the baby life just isn't worth living for that child? PReposterous!

I think the idea of coming back to work when I don't actually need to for the money is a pretty egoless thing to do. I'd love to just stay home, but it seems like a betrayal to do so when the company is in dire need of me. I'm sure many parents are in a similar bind-- I'm really not special and thank you for giving me an oportunity to make it clear that I don't think I am. I'm just a wheel in a cog, and unfortunately for my supervisor and the company, replacement cogs are not on list of OK'd purchases right now.

Posted by: Clarina | March 8, 2007 11:45 AM

Chris: The new fridge is working fine ;-)
Speaking of random acts of kindness, there's a website at www.treatsfortroops.com that sends CARE packages to our troops overseas, on ship, or here in the US. You can pick and choose what you want to send (grooming aids, snacks, phone cards), pay for it at order, or get an invoice to send a check later. You can also sponsor an individual or an entire unit. I found this after hearing a local radio interview with a recipient. So far I've sent two CARE packages to unknown military personnel, one just because and one for a birthday. If more people did this kind of thing instead of cutting each other down on these snarky posts we'd be better off. What a cynical, dour bunch these posters are. I'm going to lunch now.
All the best, Chris.

Posted by: Southern Maryland | March 8, 2007 11:47 AM

on law firms - how much flexibility is afforded to men for childcare responsibilities? Is the general attitude that they pay enough for you to have a SAH wife, and so it should be her problem? Or is there some flexibility to occasionally leave early and maybe work from home later in the evening?

Posted by: MWA | March 8, 2007 11:48 AM

Baltimore, Hon writes:

"As long as the balance is not in every single workplace, there will be a division between those who get ahead by working the crazy hours, never taking a day off, etc, etc. and those who do a normal amount of work and have to leave to pick up the kids at childcare."

I thought the whole idea behind "On Balance" is that each couple gets to decide how they will balance work and family. That means that there will always be some couples whose strategy is that one parent will maximize income by "working the crazy hours, never taking a day off, etc., etc.," while the other parent stays home full time and cares for the children.

"It's called structural inequality. If everyone worked flexible/balanced jobs, no one would have to choose between professional success and having a family. Only when no one has to make that choice do women and men have the chance to be equals professionally."

And if everyone *has to* work "flexible/balanced jobs" -- even those who don't want to -- then no woman gets to choose to be a SAHM. Freedom of choice gets stifled in the name of removing "structural inequality." Nor is this anything new. More than thirty years ago, Betty Friedan asked Simone de Beauvoir in a magazine interview whether women should have the choice to stay home and raise their children. Simone de Beauvoir responded: "Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one".("Sex, Society, and the Female Dilemma: a dialogue between Betty Friedan and Simone de Beauvoir", Saturday Review, 14 June 1975, p. 18.)

The existence of millions of professionally successful women in America is proof that they are not letting any "structural inequality" get in their way. And when they succeed, their firms succeed, too. Rival firms, seeing the success that "balance" brings, will be motivated to introduce it into their own workplaces. We don't need to impose "one size fits all" on everyone. Doesn't anyone remember the legend of Procrustes?

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | March 8, 2007 11:49 AM

on law firms - how much flexibility is afforded to men for childcare responsibilities? Is the general attitude that they pay enough for you to have a SAH wife, and so it should be her problem? Or is there some flexibility to occasionally leave early and maybe work from home later in the evening?

Posted by: MWA | March 8, 2007 11:48 AM

Disclaimer. It depends on the firm. The dad attorneys I know, in a variety of firms, do as you describe all the time. Most clients and firms don't care when we do the work. They care that it gets done when the client needs it. What many men do differently than certain women is they don't broadcast to their colleagues why they are leaving when they leave, or coming in late when they've taken a child to the doctor -- they just do it.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 8, 2007 11:56 AM

My new boss (a dad) makes a point of telling all of us in the dept when he's leaving early to pick up his sons or needs to work from home if one of them is sick. Most of us in the dept are childless women (the one exception has teens) so our family balance needs are different, but New Boss is very sympathetic when I ask to leave early to visit my sick father, etc.
I have praised him for this several times, not because I think it's exceptional, but because it's just plain good.
Mr Bee and I praise each other's household tasks as well for the same reason. Just because it's "his job" to vacuum and "my job" to cook doesn't mean we don't deserve thanks & courtesy.
So on the whole I agree that positive feedback is a strategy to create more positive actions.
I see a number of women commenting that negative feedback has caused their husbands to abandon the field, leaving the tasks to the women who have more particular standards.
I just wish this worked on my husband: Mr Bee is very critical of the way I do some things but instead of taking over, he demands that I do it his way. Unfortunately I'm not talking about legit safety issues or high standards--just weird nitpicky stuff, for instance he insists on storing knives in the knifeblock with the blade pointing up, and is angry with me if I store them with the blade pointing down (which seems safer to me, but anyway...)
Are people in some ways doing this to fathers, ie, not just encouraging them to be more active, but placing strict and possibly arbitrary requirements on what form that activity takes?

Posted by: worker bee | March 8, 2007 12:00 PM

Fatti Maschii Parole Femine

Sounds as thought it wouldn't hurt if the gentlemen mentioned what they were doing more often, the women less so.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 12:01 PM

Oops!

Sorry, my prior post was in response to an earlier one:

What many men do differently than certain women is they don't broadcast to their colleagues why they are leaving when they leave, or coming in late when they've taken a child to the doctor -- they just do it.

Posted by: Point by Megan's Neighbor | March 8, 2007 12:02 PM

That's right.
lf the kid can't read, that's Mama's fault.

That is Mama's f*cking fault.

Now, if the kid can't read
'cause there ain't no lights in the house...

that's Daddy's fault.

You got this sh*t down?

See, nobody gives a f*ck about Daddy.
There's some real daddies out there.

l'm not talking about the guy
that f*cked you and left.

F*ck him, okay?
l'm talking about the real daddies.

There's still some motherf*ckers out there
that handle their business.

Motherf*ckers wanna act like brothers....

There's some brothers
that handle their business.

'Cause people don't give a f*ck....
Nobody gives a f*ck about Daddy.

Everybody takes Daddy for granted.
Just listen to the radio.

Everything's ''Mama. Dear Mama.
Always loved my Mama.''

What's the Daddy song?
Papa was a Rollin' Stone.

Nobody gives a f*ck.
Nobody appreciates Daddy.

Now, Mama's got the roughest job.
l ain't gonna front.

But at least people appreciate Mama.

Every time Mama do something right,
Mama gets a compliment...

'cause women need to hear compliments
all the time.

Women need food, water, and compliments.

That's right.

And an occasional pair of shoes.

That's right. Women got to hear it
all the time, or they lose their minds.

And get Daddy to make sure
you thank your mama for everything.

''Tell your mama how good the food is.
Tell her how nice the house looks.

''Tell your mama how nice her hair looks.

''Did you tell your mama?
You better go in there and tell your mama.''

That's right! ''Tell your mama.''

Nobody ever tells Daddy sh*t.

l'm talking about the real daddies
that handle their f*cking business.

Nobody ever says, ''Hey, Daddy,
thanks for knocking out this rent.''

''Hey, Daddy, l sure love this hot water.''

''Hey, Daddy,
this is easy to read with all this light.''

Nobody gives a f*ck about Daddy.

l'm talking about a daddy that handles his
business. Nobody gives a f*ck about Daddy.

Think about everything
that the real daddy does:

pay the bills, buy the food,
put a f*cking roof over your head.

Everything you could ever ask for.

Make your world a better, safer place.

And what does Daddy get for all his work?

The big piece of chicken.
That's all Daddy gets...

is the big piece of chicken.


Posted by: Chris Rock on Dads | March 8, 2007 10:49 AM

ROFL! I haven't seen that in awhile!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 12:02 PM

hey scarry, I had fun holding my baby, my three year old and my five year old all at once. We could even nap that way, like a pile of puppies. The cool thing about a new baby is the older one gets used to having to share mom with a baby, before the baby gets a personality and attracts a lot of attention.

Posted by: experienced mom | March 8, 2007 12:05 PM

Mr Bee is very critical of the way I do some things but instead of taking over, he demands that I do it his way. Unfortunately I'm not talking about legit safety issues or high standards--just weird nitpicky stuff, for instance he insists on storing knives in the knifeblock with the blade pointing up, and is angry with me if I store them with the blade pointing down (which seems safer to me, but anyway...)

Okay, that raises red flags in my eyes (the insistence you do it his way)--but you'd know best. But I'd advise that you investigate this more closely, in my over-sensitized mind it's heading towards thin ice (I know abusive relationships--the fact that my husband is mentally ill doesn't make it any less abusive at times).

However, I'd DEFINITELY insist that HE store the knives in that fashion and wait for him to slice a tendon too.

I've had to juggle surgical tools far too often in my job, and that's just stupid.

Posted by: The Bees | March 8, 2007 12:06 PM

experienced mom - how sweet. the pile of puppies image made me smile :>)

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 8, 2007 12:07 PM

Wow, Chris Rock sounds a little bitter to me. I don't know why I used to think he was funny. But I guess his stand-up is based on his own experiences, and if his sitcom is true-to-life, then I guess that's how he sees life. I remember in one episode, he gave up his Xmas present so his younger siblings could have gifts, and his mom rewarded him in many small ways. The best part was when he got the big piece of chicken. (Dad was not too happy about that!)

Posted by: Mona | March 8, 2007 12:07 PM

www.treatsfortroops.com

I heard there are soldiers in iraq who don't have tooth brushes and other items needed for basic cleanliness. Apparently our government doesn't provide the basics. Some of these young people don't have family members who are able to send things to them. The items being collected are very much needed.

Posted by: experienced mom | March 8, 2007 12:09 PM

Aww. :)

well, aside from the Chris Rock poster, this made my day even better! I think I should quit while ahead before something heavy falls from the sky on top of me.

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 12:09 PM

"Are people in some ways doing this to fathers, ie, not just encouraging them to be more active, but placing strict and possibly arbitrary requirements on what form that activity takes?"

Yes, and when a woman and her mother or sisters gang up on him together, he learns quickly not to do a damn thing with the baby.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 12:14 PM

I'm sort of laughing, sadly, at the assurance everyone brings to this that it is 'generational' when fathers look after their children. I'm old, my husband is old, and from the our eldest was born he did everything for the girls, as much as I did, except nursing. He found daycare, he bathed, diapered, fed, read-to, he still takes time off if one of the teenagers needs to be picked up at school and taken to an appointment, he has taken the girls on vacations when I couldn't get away, he cleans, launders (and irons, which I don't do), shops and cooks. There is not one parenting skill that he doesn't have and hasn't used.

And I would say that he's more patient and energetic than I am, so he's always been a rock we could all rely on.

And my father did all that too. It is *not* generational, except to the extent that company and government policy is catching up and making it easier for fathers to parent.

Posted by: Grimm | March 8, 2007 12:15 PM

Matt in Aberdeen, you must be great at Trivial Pursuit.

Seriously, I think that Baltimore, Hon, was advocating for flexibility in all workplaces, not that everyone work in flexible jobs.

When all jobs are flexible, all people in those jobs can have the option to take care of the kids. Note that she did not say that all people have to take advantage of the flexibility.

Now there is an imposed divide between people who work ungodly hours and people who work normal schedules.

When all jobs offer flexibility, there will still be a divide (of course), but people will make that choice for themselves.

Posted by: Meesh | March 8, 2007 12:16 PM

"Sounds as thought it wouldn't hurt if the gentlemen mentioned what they were doing more often, the women less so."

I suggested this a while ago during the discrimination discussion and got slammed for suggesting that women "hide" their families when they should be a woman's "no. 1 priority." I still think it's a good idea.

Posted by: Meesh | March 8, 2007 12:20 PM

'"Sounds as thought it wouldn't hurt if the gentlemen mentioned what they were doing more often, the women less so."

"I suggested this a while ago during the discrimination discussion and got slammed for suggesting that women "hide" their families when they should be a woman's "no. 1 priority." I still think it's a good idea."'

Oh. Well, personally I agree with you.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 12:26 PM

Meesh: I have to agree with you too. Work is for work and home is for home was my motto for years. 'worked' for me.

Posted by: dotted | March 8, 2007 12:27 PM

speaking of troops not having what they need. I have not heard anything in a long time about advances in armor- specifically the Transparent Aluminum. Yes, it IS real. It can stop a .50 cal bullet without any penetration. The initial idea was to use it in place of glass. Screw that I say, coat the whole vehicle with the stuff. Sure it is $10 an inch, but it would be WORTH IT, instead of all the other money wasting pet projects the gov't blows money on. This one would have immediate benefits.

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 12:33 PM

"... I think if I did do the praising thing he would see what he is doing as out of the ordinary and special and it is not. Does anyone else feel that way?

I disagree with you on this."

Fred,

I modified my comment because it was not really clear and I whole heartedly agree that when we live with other people we should show appreciation for what they do. I just don't think cleaning the toilet needs any exra praise.

Posted by: Pink Plate | March 8, 2007 12:38 PM

I think cleaning the toilets deserves a cookie.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 12:39 PM

"Sounds as thought it wouldn't hurt if the gentlemen mentioned what they were doing more often, the women less so."

That approach would certainly assist in presenting management with a more honest picture -- that men are, as often as women (in my workplace), adjusting their schedules to meet the needs of their children, and shifting work to a time in the day which interferes less with family life.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 8, 2007 12:41 PM

12:06 pm: thanks for raising the red flag, but you don't need to worry about me--Mr Bee may be a bit OCD but that particular nitpick is because he's an engineer. He's afraid the knife block will make the knives dull if they touch the wood. He has a number of household engineering ideas which clash with "my way" because they are all about preserving the objects at the total expense of human convenience! :)

Posted by: worker bee | March 8, 2007 12:44 PM

To MV:

I didn't set out to do everything around the house. It was a very gradual process, and we are now going through a very gradual reversal. I was used to living on my own and doing everything; DH was not. I didn't realize how much more work I was doing until I started to get overwhelmed, and then DH claimed ignorance, even after I showed him. (I did try not to tell him that things had to be done in a certain way, per advice from my mother, but I'd show him how I do a task if he asked. I don't think he was ever expected to do any cleaning in his house.)

I did have a pretty good success last night! I needed to do another big household task, and asked him to clean up the kitchen, which is one of the things I normally do. I gave him my list of evening kitchen tasks and told him those were the things that needed to get done. When I went back to the kitchen later to make my lunch for today, the kitchen looked great. :-) He also finished making tonight's dinner, which is simmering away in our Crock Pot as I type. :-) As to the other discussion, I didn't "praise" him, but I did tell him that the kitchen looked great.

Posted by: FutureMom | March 8, 2007 12:44 PM

"I think cleaning the toilets deserves a cookie."

Given that I have hard well-water and battle the mineral stains too, I agree.

No, to hell with the cookie, I want potato chips.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 12:45 PM

All coating a Humvee with $10/square inch bulletproof armor does is make a more expensive bomb target. It won't protect the soldiers inside from the #1 threat, roadside bombs.

Besides, there are few .50 caliber rounds being fired --at-- the troops. That's a solution in need of a problem IMO.

Posted by: John | March 8, 2007 12:46 PM

Texas Dad of 2 -- I tried! I really tried! At least I made it until almost 10 am...can't you spare some positive reinforcement for me, or is that just reserved for dads?

Posted by: Leslie | March 8, 2007 12:50 PM

I dont' praise my husband when he cleans the toilets or mops the floors-

he gets SEX!!

There is nothing sexier to a woman than a man who cares enough about her and their family to clean and cook and be involved in home life.

If he didn't do these things I would see him as a lazy slob who didn't care about us- why would i want to sleep with THAT?

So, fellas, if you are complaining about now sex, maybe just whip out the vacuum and see what that does for you!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 12:51 PM

"...I just don't think cleaning the toilet needs any extra praise."

Posted by: Pink Plate | March 8, 2007 12:38 PM

More than a few posters on this blog have commented on the issue of cleaning toilets and would LOVE if someone else were to do it. I am happy that Frieda washes, folds and puts up my work clothes, so I do not mind cleaning the toilets for her.

BTW, I did not mean to pick on you when I was snarking about inclusiveness.

Posted by: Fred | March 8, 2007 12:52 PM

Should we discuss food today?

Best pizza in DC?

Pizzeria Paradiso
2 Amys, of course

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 12:53 PM

I know its been mentioned before, but does anyone think that women are (in general) more involved in being care givers because they don't trust that their husbands/boyfriends/child's father will do it right?

_________
I find this sort of comment very frustrating. It makes an assumption that the problem is women's fault. Why? Why not assume that it's the man's fault? Why do women have to be blamed for the failure of men to step up to the plate?

I, for one, would be more than happy for my spouse to take over some of the childcare problem, but every time this comes up it results in a marriage-threatening argument that entails me "nagging" him about things we've talked about a million times before. Many men (and women) on this blog talk about how men are WILLING to do childcare, it's just that you have to "ask". Well, I am here to say that this is a crock. Because childcare has to be done all day every day, so if the wife has to "ask" every time she needs help then the husband will feel she is nagging if she asks more than occasionally. Expecting to be asked to help is just another version of "childcare is women's work." What's the answer for husbands: Just help out and don't expect a medal for it.

Posted by: m | March 8, 2007 12:54 PM

Should we discuss food today?

Only if your not a regular.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 12:55 PM

"I think cleaning the toilets deserves a cookie."

Ha! I should try it with my son because he hates to clean the toilet but maybe if I offered a Samoa he might do it with a better attitude!

Posted by: Pink Plate | March 8, 2007 12:56 PM

Sex is the best weapon women have to keep their husbands in check! I still give very enthusiastic b-jobs (even after 10 yrs together) if he's a good boy. If he puts me in the position of nagging him all the time, he's not getting any because I'll be too annoyed by his child like behavior to want to sleep with him.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 12:58 PM

"...if I offered a Samoa he might do it with a better attitude!"

Oh, Pink Plate, you have hit me where I live. I ate a box of Samoas last week!

Posted by: Fred | March 8, 2007 12:59 PM

I'll do dishes for sex. I'm whipped, I admit it.

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 8, 2007 1:01 PM

John, if it can protect against a .50 cal, my point is it would offer much more adequate protection against an IED than the flimsy paneling currently used. Unlike conventional armor which absorbs projectiles and degrades in performance if it even performs at all, the new material flexes and bounces projectiles without allowing them to penetrate.

Look up the material and get what info you can. If troops had not only humvees of this stuff, but their own personal armor made of it, more would be alive. It is light weight, and effective. worth it.

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 1:01 PM

Why do you think the women choose to share why they are leaving early/coming in late and the men don't? Is there a different response to a man having to leave to get a child? Are the men afraid there would be a different response? Or is it that the women feel the need to justify their absence and men do not?
Personally, I feel that if you are getting your work done, no one should really care when or where you do it, whether you're a man or a woman.

Posted by: MWA | March 8, 2007 1:05 PM

Thats okay Fred, I have tough skin. On the paternity subject , my neighbor did not take paternity leave but he recently gave up his job to go back to school to get a teaching degree because he and his spouse decided they wanted someone to be home when their two small children entered elementary school.

Posted by: Pink Plate | March 8, 2007 1:06 PM

Dang, I don't get ANYTHING other than the biggest piece of chicken for working all day to provide the food, clothing, shelter, wash the dishes, walk the dogs, clean the restrooms... you mean guys are entitled to stuff like praise and *ahem*.... "cookies?" LMAO! I want to renegotiate my contract!

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 1:10 PM

"So, fellas, if you are complaining about now sex, maybe just whip out the vacuum and see what that does for you!"

The vacuum does nothing for me; too dry and not enough suction.

Posted by: John | March 8, 2007 1:14 PM

So long as women ape the "house manager", men will happily take a back seat.

Want men to take on childcare? The pregnant mom gives the dad her expected date of return to work and says "That's when we'll need daycare. Let me know when you have some candidates."

If the dad is a moron and protests, the pregnant mom looks at him as if he were a dead fish and says "Me, I'm the size of 20 pumpkins right now and I'm going to be swamped for the first five weeks figuring out sleep and breastfeeding. And your big complaint is you're busy?"

Then, of course, the woman would have to refrain from overriding the guy's choices.

Mission accomplished. But it will never happen.

The moms whining about their husbands want "helpers", not partners.

Posted by: Cal | March 8, 2007 1:15 PM

"There is nothing sexier to a woman than a man who cares enough about her and their family to clean and cook and be involved in home life."

Nope, to me it's a turnoff to see men do housework. I do my own housework.

I want a cave man type who will sweep me off my feet and carry me into the bedroom.

Where are you John Wayne? The country sure needs you now!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 1:16 PM

LMAO @ John. I forgive you for being an @$$ to me the other day for that.

I nominate that one for post of the day.

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 1:17 PM

"So, fellas, if you are complaining about now sex, maybe just whip out the vacuum and see what that does for you!"

The vacuum does nothing for me; too dry and not enough suction.

Posted by: John | March 8, 2007 01:14 PM

Yikes John, as soon as I posted that, I realized what I had done! lol.

I meant start cleaning and see how much sex you get!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 1:17 PM

Chris, that wasn't me that was the @ss earlier this week, but the Imposter John.

Thanks anyway. Figured someone would see it. :)

Posted by: John | March 8, 2007 1:18 PM

Chris Rock has filed divorce proceedings from his wife of ten years.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 1:18 PM

oh, I figured you were the imposter... LOL

Maybe the imposter will be nice and go by imposter john from now on. :-)

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 1:19 PM

"There is nothing sexier to a woman than a man who cares enough about her and their family to clean and cook and be involved in home life."

Nope, to me it's a turnoff to see men do housework. I do my own housework.

I want a cave man type who will sweep me off my feet and carry me into the bedroom.

Where are you John Wayne? The country sure needs you now!

Posted by: | March 8, 2007 01:16 PM

Well, that's the thing: the modern woman wants a man to do housework, change diapers, read stories, and THEN turn around all Pierce Brosnan 007, slam you against the wall and give you a good f**k.

It's all about BALANCE, you see!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 1:20 PM

Guys exchange amounts for chores and house tasks

Cleaning the toilet: 1 beer
Vacuuming: 1 beer per 200 square feet.
Changing diaper: 1 beer if just wet 2 beers if dirty
laundry: 1 beer per load
mowing lawn: 3 beers
scrubbing kitchen floor: 1 beer
getting dish from upper cabinet: (make sure you poke him in the armpit when he stretches): a wet kiss and let him cop a feel without complaint.
Taking kids to park: 2 beers
Car wash: 2 beers
minivan wash: 3 beers
picking child up from daycare 1 beer (after task completed only)
Holding crying baby: 1 kiss for every 5 minutes
rubbing wife's feet: all he can drink for the duration.
Killing spider, hornet, or millipede: 1 beer
cleaning gutters: 2 beers (only after task completed)
Taking out trash: 1 beer
Package deal for cooking dinner, cleaning up, and putting kids to bed: 6 pack

Of course, you may end up married to an alcoholic, but at least your house will be clean.

Oh, and a 6 pack is worth 20 minutes in the sack!

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 8, 2007 1:22 PM

"Well, that's the thing: the modern woman wants a man to do housework, change diapers, read stories, and THEN turn around all Pierce Brosnan 007, slam you against the wall and give you a good f**k.

It's all about BALANCE, you see!"

I SOOOOO want Leslie to weigh in on that comment.

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 1:23 PM

Samoas are the great springtime sin in our family & I never thought to use them as a secret weapon for inducing my family to do unpleasant chores (or "sick chores" as DS likes to put it) until now. hmmm...

Posted by: Pink Plate | March 8, 2007 1:23 PM

I've found that my wife drinking a small glass of wine right before bedtime does wonders for me getting more sex. Trying to start a family doesn't hurt either!

Since I clean the house anyway, that doesn't appear to be working.

Posted by: John | March 8, 2007 1:27 PM

"Why do you think the women choose to share why they are leaving early/coming in late and the men don't?"

Dunno why, but there are some men and some women who need to spill their guts at work everyday.

They seem to think the captive audience is interested in every little detail of their lives.

I don't tell anyone why I am leaving, I always say I have an appointment and turn in my Leave Slips. It's none of my co-workers' business why.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 1:27 PM

Well, that's the thing: the modern woman wants a man to do housework, change diapers, read stories, and THEN turn around all Pierce Brosnan 007, slam you against the wall and give you a good f**k.

It's all about BALANCE, you see!

You mean balancing her against the wall? All that and coordinated too? Cool!

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | March 8, 2007 1:28 PM

Oh, and a 6 pack is worth 20 minutes in the sack!

How many men can, uh, perform after a 6 pack?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 1:28 PM

"I've found that my wife drinking a small glass of wine right before bedtime does wonders for me getting more sex."

Please make sure you publish this - I don't think any other men have even considered that alcohol consumption may reduce a woman's inhibition to having sex. Who would have thought...

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 1:29 PM

I worked at a co. that had great balance, and a coworker left because he didn't have a family, etc, and wanted to make some big bucks, but didn't mind putting in hours to do it. They didn't have those opportunities where we were.

Many husbands do a bad job, knowing that many women will just take over. That doesn't play for me. I get SO angry when it's something like the laundry. Oh, sorry, honey, I didn't know you don't put whites and reds together. Sorry your stuff is all pink. I guess I won't do the laundry anymore.
I mean, really. they learn this trick, then they don't have to do anything. I find it horrible.
And I'm eating the all abouts. My samoas get here next week. Different girl scout.
Did I cover all the topics?

Posted by: atlmom | March 8, 2007 1:29 PM

"Dang, I don't get ANYTHING other than the biggest piece of chicken for working all day to provide the food, clothing, shelter, wash the dishes, walk the dogs, clean the restrooms... you mean guys are entitled to stuff like praise and *ahem*.... "cookies?" LMAO! I want to renegotiate my contract!"

Seriously! I do all that and I don't even get the big piece of chicken! In fact, he tells me I eat too much for dinner since we quit smoking! AND I have to have sex with him just to keep peace in the house! I must have been drugged when I signed that contract.

(TIC)

Posted by: Meesh | March 8, 2007 1:31 PM

atlmom,
Do your laundry and let him do his? I bet he won't end up with pink t-shirts.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 1:31 PM

I'm thankful everyday my husband is so involved in the care of our two girls (4 & 16mo). His schedule has proven to be the more flexible of our two so he is the one that gets the girls ready in the morning and drops them off at preschool and daycare as well as picking up our preschooler. Also because Sundays are a workday for him he takes Fridays off and has both girls with him for the day. This has helped us save money on childcare but more importantly it has made him a better dad. I believe that this time gives him a better understanding of his daughters. I also know that our girls benefit greatly from having this type of experience with their dad. Not to diminish my praise but I have noticed that my husband relys on me to figure out the childcare situation for the girls outside of the time he spends with them. If there are school breaks etc I'm the one that figures out who is watching them when. And when the girls get sick the majority (but not all) of the time I stay home with them. I'm not sure if these roles have developed based on assumptions about the mother/father role or if I just tend to take on these responsibilities more often so he has stopped thinking about it. Given our relatively balanced care situation I suspect it is the latter.

Posted by: mom in az | March 8, 2007 1:31 PM

"Why do you think the women choose to share why they are leaving early/coming in late and the men don't? Is there a different response to a man having to leave to get a child? Are the men afraid there would be a different response? Or is it that the women feel the need to justify their absence and men do not?
Personally, I feel that if you are getting your work done, no one should really care when or where you do it, whether you're a man or a woman."

Posted by: MWA | March 8, 2007 01:05 PM

I agree with your conclusion, with one caveat: in some businesses, the "when" matters if you're going to miss a deadline. If you're in IT, for example, leaving a problem hanging for 6 hours or overnight is not acceptable.

In my experience, which may or may not reflect others', many women disclose unnecessary family information to bosses and colleagues for two reasons. First, some (no, not most) women take the position that any family-related absence is the ultimate trump card before which colleagues and bosses must cave. Second, more women than men, IMHO, as a matter of style, disclose personal information to a broad circle of casual acquaintances. That personal information can come back to haunt them in ways they'll never be able to prove.

Men, and a growing number of women, don't want to find out whether the response is different, so they take the issue off the table.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 8, 2007 1:32 PM

I agree Rebeldad. My boss at my last job took three MONTHS off at the end of his wife's maternity leave. My husband was the first guy to take advantage of parental leave at his workplace. There is change afoot, and more power to you all. Caring for children and the elderly is something that can and should be shared by both sexes.

Posted by: rockville mama | March 8, 2007 1:33 PM

KLB: i never understood how families do this. Then I never have enough laundry and would end up with less than full loads (more energy, more water to use).
And, it's a family chore, everyone's expected to help out. Even the kids help by putting clothes in the washing machine and pushing the buttons. My little one (less than 2) LOVES to put laundry in the laundry room. He gets SO excited.
One day, he'll help out more...
But my point was that it seems sometimes people screw up cause they know the other person won't like what they do, so they just say: fine, you do it.
When they have every capable bone to learn (altho - my DH was doing laundry for years without me - nary a pink shirt in the lot).

Posted by: atlmom | March 8, 2007 1:35 PM

"I still give very enthusiastic b-jobs (even after 10 yrs together) if he's a good boy."

After 10 years, you're lucky your husband let's you give him a blow job!.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 1:35 PM

For 14 years, my husband saw his daughter from his first marriage every other weekend (plus additional time in the summer and around holidays). This required a drive of at least 7 hours if staying near her residence or 14 hours if bringing her back to our house. He had to leave work by 2:00 every other Friday in order to make the pickup deadline. He switched jobs three times in that 14 year period. Figure he went on about 5-8 interviews each time he changed jobs. During the hiring process, after he made his statement about his situation, would say something to the affect of "I am telling you this now because you need to know that it is non-negotiable. I will not consider a position that won't allow me to leave early every other Friday." In EVERY CASE, he was praised by the person doing the interviewing, whether male or female, for his dedication to his daughter. There are only 2 interviews that I can recall where he wasn't offered the position.

I am wondering whether a woman would receive the same treatment. I think things have perhaps gotten slightly better, because divorce and shared custody and things like that have certainly had an impact on the needs of employees or at least the managers of the employees. Would be curious to hear anyone's take on this.

Also, here's an article from Wharton along these lines called "I Do's and Don'ts: How Changes in Marriage, Divorce and Childbirth Are Redefining the Workplace".

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=1682&CFID=3237986&CFTOKEN=18397661

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 8, 2007 1:35 PM

For those who care:

Terps play Miami at 2:00 in the ACC tourney!

Today and tomorrow, all the TVs in the lobbies and on each floor at my office are going to be tuned into the ACC games, and snacks will be provided. That's how nuts people in NC are for college basketball.

Posted by: Meesh | March 8, 2007 1:36 PM

The post's job columnist had a column in the other day about companies that give leave for employees to take care of parents. FYI.

Posted by: atlmom | March 8, 2007 1:37 PM

The post's job columnist had a column in the other day about companies that give leave for employees to take care of parents. FYI.

They have to. It's the law. It's called FMLA, and unless it's a small (read: < 50 employees) company, you are allowed up to 12 weeks of time to care for family.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 1:39 PM

atlmom, in reality, some guys are just bad with colors.
I am partially color blind and can not for the life of me pick a tie out except from memory. I miss my uniform for that reason alone sometimes...

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 1:42 PM

atlmom,
KLB: i never understood how families do this. Then I never have enough laundry and would end up with less than full loads (more energy, more water to use).

I live alone and almost always do small loads. Unless I have sheets and towels I never have a large load. I just use the small load setting. Dries faster too.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 1:46 PM

Fred:
"so I do not mind cleaning the toilets for her."

Ahem....you clean the toilets "for her"? How about you clean the toilets "for the entire family"? ;o)

Brian:
"As for paternity-leave-takers being seen as vanguards, I am eagerly awaiting the day when guys taking leave is so routine, so boring, that no one thinks twice about it. Unfortunately, the reason that it is still noteworthy when a guy takes a full 12 weeks is that it remains rare."

The reason, imo, that it is noteworthy is that very few families can afford for both parents to take a full 12 weeks off from work. It has very little to do with it not being accepted - it has to do with the fact that (except in the case of adoption) women have a physical need for recovery after the birth of a baby and men don't, so it's only practical that the woman be the one to take 12 weeks off (assuming the family can afford for one parent to take that much time.)

When I hear of men taking 12 weeks off, I think "wow, they're doing well financially" not "wow, what a great dad."

Posted by: momof4 | March 8, 2007 1:51 PM

Irish Alzheimer's

Murphy showed up at Mass one Sunday and the priest almost fell down
when he saw him. Murphy had never been seen in church in his life.

After Mass, the priest caught up with Murphy and said, "Murphy, I am
so glad ya decided to come to Mass, what made ya come?"

Murphy said, "I got to be honest with you Father, a while back, I misplaced me hat and I really, really love that hat. I know that McGlynn had a hat just like me hat, and I knew that McGlynn came to
church every Sunday. I also knew that McGlynn had to take off his hat during Mass and figured he would leave it in the back of church. So, I was going to leave after Communion and steal McGlynn's hat."

The priest said, "Well, Murphy, I notice that ya didn't steal McGlynn's hat What changed your mind?"

Murphy said, "Well, after I heard your sermon on the 10 Commandments, I decided that I didn't need to steal McGlynn's hat after all."

The priest gave Murphy a big smile and said; "After I talked about
'Thou Shalt Not Steal' ya decided you would rather do without your hat
than burn in Hell, right ?"

Murphy slowly shook his head and said, "No, Father, after ya talked
about 'Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery' I remembered where I left me hat."

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 1:55 PM

I think cleaning the toilets deserves a cookie.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 12:39 PM

I think it deserves a mimosa...

Posted by: Missicat | March 8, 2007 1:57 PM

The below was just posted on our local craigslist board...fuel for discussion! (This is not me, just happened to read it).

(BEGIN POST)

Hi.

No one will help me, but I can't see the harm in asking for it? Or maybe getting some advice on how to handle my situation. I'm upset about it, and need some help focusing in on the problem...

I'm recently separated, I got a job making 25 thousand a year (about $750 bi weekly), and finally found an apartment I can afford at $599 a month. Then there is gas, electric, phone and cable to cover. And then Car Insurance and gas. Let's not even discuss food, personal products and home cares costs.

I have looked for baby sitters before, and they've asked for $10, $14.99 even $16 an hour. Well, while I stayed with my mom and had her helping me pay and helping me to baby sit, I could just barely get by. but I did it!

But now I am moving... I can't claim squatters rights in my mom's 1 bedroom apartments living room, sleeping on a broken futon with 2 small children forever! My mom will cover the mornings while I am at work, she's a night nurse though, and needs her sleep. SO, after I move... from 12 noon to 6pm daily I have a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old who need watching.

The average amount a babysitter has been asking for is $10. I need a sitter approx 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. Thats $300 a week.

$300.

$1200 a month. For a baby sitter. I couldn't possibly pay that, I'd need to start robbing banks! I'm a social worker! Not Robin Hood!

I think about it, and my stomach turns upside down.... I move into my apt on the 15th and I can't afford a baby sitter at that price. There's no way, no how.

Daycare. Yes, it might be cheaper, but how do I get them there? My mom drives a two seater. Their dad goes to work in the afternoons, and I work downtown and couldn't possibly get back and get them to day care on my lunch break. I can't drop them their in the mornings, because they both have school in two different places, and Brigid's school bus will only pick her up at the child's verified residence.

Financially the best I can offer is $125 a week. I need someone who already has kids, and would just be sitting around watching their own kids anyway, and who'd like to make a couple of bucks while letting their kids play with mine, our toys and watching our fun video tapes.

HELP! I NEED A BORED MOMMY!

Please... anyone have any good advice for me... How do other single mommy's do it? I checked with the state, I just barely make too much money to qualify for child care assistance from the state. I'm at a loss...

Suggestions?

END POST

Posted by: Rebecca | March 8, 2007 1:58 PM

I think it deserves a mimosa...

Then I get three - one for each toilet!

Posted by: KKLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 1:58 PM

Random comments:

I used the term 'generational' and was maybe misunderstood. I was thinking really less in terms of dads' parenting within the family, but of 'wearing' their role as parent in the workplace and wider world, as far as explicitly taking paternity leave, explicitly shifting schedules to balance parenting responsibilities (without hiding their reasons - interesting point by Meesh about surreptitious flexing). I *think* that's on the rise - partly because structures are becoming more in place for men to do that. But I do think it's very useful that men, and not just women do that, so that we come to see prioriritization of family responsibility, visibly affecting the way people structure their working lives, as a 'parent,' not 'mom' issue; that the need for (many) workers to carry serious responsibility and commit serious time to family becomes par for the course, an inherent part of being part of a community of humans, many of whom will naturally be in the parenting or caregiving stage of life. I just think that seeing more and more men make such visible prioritization of family commitments, explicitly showing that family responsibility sets parameters on work, universalizes the obviousness that this is an unavoidable, intrinsically human structural need, whenever you employ humans in the long-term, past the fresh-scrubbed, unencumbered, just out of school phase. (Of course many employers/employment fields really seem only interested in exploiting that 10-year phase of people's lives, chewing them up, spitting them out, then moving on to the next crop . . .)

As to whether more visibly involved dads is really generational or same as it ever was, or a highwater mark about to fade into higher-stress less family-centered angst (thanks for that cheering vision, Matt in Aberdeen), I'm grateful for pioneers however early they came, I'm grateful for involved fatherhood even if it's not new, and I'm just nakedly hopeful that it's too addictive to be ceded to the turning tides of time . . .

Scarry, you are eliciting many happy memories of bringing my newborn home to an almost-3 . . . This is a time Dad really steps in, even if he's an equal parent before, he really has to act as primary parent for the older child while mom's recovering and tied up with the baby . . . (some of you guys recovered so fast! I had some complications and anemia after vaginal deliveries but still, I just didn't feel there were any functioning muscles left in my midsection, and I felt suddenly wiped out, dizzy, sore, about-to-give-way in-the-middle whenever I stood for more than a few minutes for 2-5 weeks after each delivery). Dad's got to pick up some of mom's routines he might not have had before (DH had always had bath but I'd had bedtime; he needed to pick up bedtime because evening was high-demand nurse-nurse-nurse time, and I could not be reliably available for what should be a routine, uninterrupted time centered on the oldest . . .). But I remember so much time snuggling with both girls together in bed, reading to my oldest as the baby nursed . . . oldest wanted to share everything with the baby, I have the sweetest picture of them laying curled up face to face, gazing at each other, my oldest's hand in between with thumb and pinky extended, my oldest sucking the thumb and my baby sucking the pinky . . . it's one of my all-time favorite photos of my girls . . . .

Posted by: KB | March 8, 2007 1:59 PM

"I still give very enthusiastic b-jobs (even after 10 yrs together) if he's a good boy."

After 10 years, you're lucky your husband let's you give him a blow job!.

Posted by: | March 8, 2007 01:35 PM


Huh? Why wouldn't he? I still look good (even better, in fact! now that we have money for regular Brazilians and gym memberships!)

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 1:59 PM

Cultural Tidbit of the Day

Impressionist painter often used their mistresses, friends or fellow painters in their works. Renoir's "Le Dejeuner des Canotiers" has an art patron and his future wife as subjects. Although Fantin-Latour was more a Realist than an Impressionist his "A Studio in the Batignolles Quarter" (1870) has Manet at the easel with Renoir, Zola, Bazille and Monet observing Manet painting. An obscure fact about Impressionism is the appearance of Waldo in many of their paintings. Van Gogh's Haystacks being the most notable one.


Tomorrow, Opera

Posted by: Fred | March 8, 2007 2:00 PM

Just wanted to praise everyone for, by and large, ignoring certain comments that have been posted today with the obvious intention of dragging us into a meaningless arguments! There have been some wonderful exchanges, even by those who disagree.

Posted by: Hooray! | March 8, 2007 2:01 PM

An obscure fact about Impressionism is the appearance of Waldo in many of their paintings. Van Gogh's Haystacks being the most notable one.


Tomorrow, Opera

Posted by: Fred | March 8, 2007 02:00 PM

Just wanted to see if we were paying attention, right? :-)

Posted by: missicat | March 8, 2007 2:03 PM

Mom of 4,

OK, here is my real reason for cleaning toilets. I cannot stand to look at a soiled one. I would much rather clean them than to look at them.

Chris,

You have to buy your own cookies! This is about the only way that I get some.

Posted by: Fred | March 8, 2007 2:04 PM

Thanks all-

Moving to a Fed or Corporate Counsel job sounds like the best answer. We are a little hesitant to leave the area, as she grew up locally (though her family is no longer here) and baby boy is thriving. She selected a firm position in NoVA (Not DC proper) because the billing requirements are lower outside the Capital itself.

The notion of requesting a pay cut for an equivalent reduction in hours would be a loser in my opinion. I can't help but think it would provide them with an excuse not to take her seriously and remove her from the Partner track indefinitely. And if she's not on the partner track she might as well not work for a firm, IMHO.

To the person who asked whether men in law firms are expected to have SAHMs handling the children, from my observation the answer is yes. When my wife had to leave to get the baby after hours in the past, she was asked by a male partner, "Can't your husband handle pickups and dropoffs?" I think when these partners are paying themselves $250K+ (much more inside DC proper) perspective and good judgement go right out the window.

Thanks to all who weighed in.

Posted by: Proud Papa | March 8, 2007 2:04 PM

Well, if one small glass of wine gets my wife drunk, she's got the lowest alcohol tolerance of any adult human in the world.

Personally, I think it's just the little end-of-day ritual of us having the wine together that does it, not the wine itself...

That and the baby making effort, of course.

Posted by: John | March 8, 2007 2:06 PM

By the way, I am pretty surprised that no one took the position that she should hang in there and fight the battle so that future generations of female associates have an easier time, etc. etc.

I honestly expected that.

I intended to follow up with questions on specifically how to do that outside of making speeches to the managing partner.

Posted by: Proud Papa | March 8, 2007 2:10 PM

"and remove her from the Partner track indefinitely"

Again, I'm not a lawyer, so I don't really understand. I'm really not trying to be snarky. Is there no point at all in being a lawyer except to make Partner?

I am very content to be mid-level in my career and never rise any higher. I don't want the additional responsibilities and demands of the job, even though I would love to have the buck$$. But, admittedly, I am an underachiever careerwise. I'd much rather be unemployed than employed.

Posted by: to Proud Papa | March 8, 2007 2:10 PM

Well, that's the thing: the modern woman wants a man to do housework, change diapers, read stories, and THEN turn around all Pierce Brosnan 007, slam you against the wall and give you a good f**k.

It's all about BALANCE, you see!

The modern man wants: A gorgeous 120 pound Earth mother who bakes dozens of muffins at the drop of a hat for the school fundraiser, cooks gourmet ethnic meals while teaching their offspring a 2nd language, all the while contributing a nice income from her at-home consulting business and working only while the kids are napping or with the teen-aged mother's helper.She also shops for the in laws and hosts lavish parties for said husband's coworkers. She then acquiesces to that girl on girl threesome hubby hubby has been begging for.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 2:10 PM

Rebecca, THIS is why so many people wind up on welfare. They find that the "system" is just too tough for people who are willing to work to break out of the cycle. To them, it simply is not worth it as they have to sacrifice raising their kids to work their butts off just to pay for someone to watch them while they work...

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 2:11 PM

OK, time to pump some muscle, I'm off to the gym for a quickie.

Not that a single person reading this post gives a flying hoot...

But this is about the time the blog gets untethered and goes whacko.

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 8, 2007 2:12 PM

To March 8 at 2:10

Only if the second language is Latin.

Posted by: Fred | March 8, 2007 2:12 PM

Rebecca, I am not sure if this can help you but could you place an add in the penny saver for a sitter. Another approach is team sharing child care duties. Like find someone who works only weekends or another shift that might be able to help you out. I also think maybe a SAHM whose kids also go to school and just needs a few extra bucks. Do you belong to a religious organization? You could see if someone from church/mosque/synogogue knows someone. I also would see if there is a bulletin board at work for these type of things or at your apartment complex. I am sorry this is so rough for you. Child care is always so hard. I am so sorry you fall just below the income cut off for child care assistance. Are you sure about that? I assume you are because you are a social worker. This may be silly too but can you see if the children's father can help out?

Posted by: foamgnome | March 8, 2007 2:13 PM

Rebecca: I forgot to mention that one time on this blog a single mom rented a two bedroom apartment. She and her child shared one room. The second room was rented to a college student. The college student did the baby sitting around her class schedule in exchange for just the free room. That is probably worth more then the $125/week to a college student. Some students only take night classes. It might work. It sounded like a novel solution to me. Also do you qualify for renters assistance? I am really shocked in this area, you don't qualify for more aid.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 8, 2007 2:15 PM

Fred, by "cookies" I meant... *ahem*

2:10... sounds like BALANCE to me. lol

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 2:16 PM

When I said cookies I meant cookies.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 2:17 PM

"The modern man wants: A gorgeous 120 pound Earth mother who bakes dozens of muffins at the drop of a hat for the school fundraiser, cooks gourmet ethnic meals while teaching their offspring a 2nd language, all the while contributing a nice income from her at-home consulting business and working only while the kids are napping or with the teen-aged mother's helper.She also shops for the in laws and hosts lavish parties for said husband's coworkers. She then acquiesces to that girl on girl threesome hubby hubby has been begging for."

What a complete exaggeration -- as a modern man I am perfetly willing to compromise and accept a weight range between 115 and 125 [assuming it is relational to her height].

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 2:17 PM

Rebecca's post was not a personal request, but rather an ad she saw posted in Craig's List, meant to be a discussion starter (?).

Posted by: usually lurking | March 8, 2007 2:18 PM

Missicat,

I take my Impressionism seriously and have examined the Haystacks in detail. You just have to look closely.

Posted by: Fred | March 8, 2007 2:18 PM

New topic suggestion for a future blog - my husband just left town to attend a 5-day-conference (optional; he is his own boss). He's leaving me to organize things around our children, my job, the household, the cat, etc.

This is the second time in about 6 months. I'm pissed. Am I just a whiner; how do other people handle their spouses' trips?

I think it's pretty outrageous for him to go freely, leaving me to take care of everything at home, all under the pretext that he's "working".

Any opinions?

Posted by: Alone at home | March 8, 2007 2:19 PM

"I still give very enthusiastic b-jobs (even after 10 yrs together) if he's a good boy."

After 10 years, you're lucky your husband let's you give him a blow job!.

Posted by: | March 8, 2007 01:35 PM

I am baffled. Are there husbands out there who would turn down a blow job? I called mine to ask and he thinks these guys are best friends of either Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 2:20 PM

2:10pm, large and mid-size (larger than 10 attys) generally have an up-or-out culture.

The expectation is that you will progress each year within your specialty and will eventually be senior enough to bring the firm notoriety and business in that specialty area.

If you are great in your specialty, they may not fire you for not constantly rising higher, but they (colleagues and partners) won't take you seriously either.

I should also point out that Proud Mama is a litigator, which means that she can only have flex time outside of when she is required to be in Court or when the client wants to caucus (they work too, so they want to meet with her after hours).

Posted by: Proud Papa | March 8, 2007 2:20 PM

//Again, I'm not a lawyer, so I don't really understand. I'm really not trying to be snarky. Is there no point at all in being a lawyer except to make Partner?//

If you're in a big firm, and you don't make partner, you're pretty much expected to leave, I think. There's nowhere else to go and no staying at a mid leve in big firms. Small firms are different but pay and prestige much less. I think.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 2:20 PM

Wouldn't it be nice if there were on-site day care facilities at low cost, income based, rental complexes. Maybe the daycare facility could employ some of the residents (qualified of course) with partial rent consideration in addition to wages. The owner of the rental complex could receive a tax break for offering affordable daycare. The families would have less day care concerns, not only cost, but transportation to and from if it was onsite. The families wouldn't have to choose between working or not working because of lack of daycare and would be in a better position to improve their financial circumstances. Even if the jobs will never be highly paid, at some point the children will not need the daycare, so expenses will be cut for the families.

Posted by: Just a thought | March 8, 2007 2:21 PM

Missicat,

I take my Impressionism seriously and have examined the Haystacks in detail. You just have to look closely.

Posted by: Fred | March 8, 2007 02:18 PM
OK, went online to check it out...can I have a hint?

Posted by: Missicat | March 8, 2007 2:22 PM

"these guys are best friends of either Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster."

I'm sorry, I can not resist:

But why, do they do a bad job?

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 2:22 PM

to to Proud Papa who said, "Again, I'm not a lawyer, so I don't really understand. I'm really not trying to be snarky. Is there no point at all in being a lawyer except to make Partner?"

What Proud Papa actually said was, "And if she's not on the partner track she might as well not work for a firm, IMHO."

From Proud Papa's story, I think he intended to say that there's no point in working for a demanding, often larger, law firm except to make Partner. There are many firms, particularly smaller shops in Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland that offer decent qualify of life. Employment is good. Employment accompanied by better quality of life and less stress is generally considered better.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 8, 2007 2:24 PM

The modern man wants also wants:

Wife, who will bear him gifted and talented children so he has something to brag about at the office.

DS is a budding Joe DiMaggio and DD has her early admit to Harvard Med. school.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 2:26 PM

Does DS get to marry MM's offspring?

Posted by: Fred | March 8, 2007 2:27 PM

Job hunting resources in "the triangle" area in NC?

I'm sick of paying life and limb on rent and daycare in DC- I am ready to consider moving to NC- family is in PA, but I don't want to move back there. NC seems perfect from the reading I've done, so NCLawyer or anyone else there, what companies are out there? I'm in Government Affairs but can go into communications as well. Any advice would help!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 2:28 PM

Is there no point at all in being a lawyer except to make Partner?//


That's right.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 2:29 PM

If you're in a big firm, and you don't make partner, you're pretty much expected to leave, I think. There's nowhere else to go and no staying at a mid leve in big firms. Small firms are different but pay and prestige much less. I think.

Posted by: | March 8, 2007 02:20 PM

Until the mid-1990s this was true. But up and out is over for all but the most prestigious NY firms. The most profitable lawyers for big firms are salaried (no share of profits) partners. If you're good, keep your productivity up with your peer group, but you don't develop your own business, large firms are only too happy to keep you around on a salaried basis. They really like you to stick around, generate lots of profits, and not get your share.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 8, 2007 2:31 PM

to alone at home - i sympasize. i have a friend whos husband travels often, on questionable trips, and she keeps score, then cashes in her points, going to the spa or whatever

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 2:32 PM

to alone at home:
if your husband works for himself, doesn't he speak with you before he makes plans? Regardless, my husband always does before making any reservations, as do I.

Posted by: atlmom | March 8, 2007 2:34 PM

Elkin is a beautiful old fashioned town in NC about a half hour from Winston Salem, where there is a larger city...
They just converted 4 tobacco farms to vineyards.
I am dying to move there someday... but good luck finding anything that pays over $30,000- unless you are a good Dr. or hotshot lawyer.

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 2:34 PM

to alone at home:
if your husband works for himself, doesn't he speak with you before he makes plans? Regardless, my husband always does before making any reservations, as do I.

Posted by: atlmom | March 8, 2007 02:34 PM

He does, but what difference does that make? What am a going to say - no, you can't go? Especially if he asks politely, pointing out all the professional development this or that trip will likely bring him = more earning potential, supposedly.

I guess I'm just pissed he's going at all on what I think are non-essential trips. Our children are, obviously, his children, too, and I resent him for leaving me with their care (they're small), alone, for days on end.

Grateful for people's opinions. Hubby claims I'm unreasonable. Am I, or do people see my point??

Posted by: Alone at home | March 8, 2007 2:38 PM

Have you considered presenting him with a bill for this?

No--I'm serious! I'm not saying you will see a dime of it, but if he could see the total number of hours it takes to accomodate his going out of town, would it make a difference?

This also segues into a little question, was this discussed prior to his decision/payment for travel, or did he spring it upon you?

Because either way, it really needs to be discussed.

Good luck with that. And yeah, I can understand being pissed if you are accustomed to his participation. For me, it would be a relief if he were gone as he doesn't participate much anyway. At least if he is not physically present, there is no chance of his hoisting his butt out of the chair and leaning on the kid about chores, homework, get your own glass of water--do I look like a personal servant?

*pant pant*

Okay, it's nowhere near as much fun as Fo4's "gym workout", but that'll have to do for me.

Posted by: to Alone at Home | March 8, 2007 2:41 PM

Fred

"Does DS get to marry MM's offspring?"

There is no proof that MM had any surviving offspring, but the DiMaggio DNA would have been something else for any kid!
Heck, I would have slept with Joltin' Joe for the DNA alone! He probably had a vasectomy to ward off evil women like me.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 2:41 PM

"Good luck with that. And yeah, I can understand being pissed if you are accustomed to his participation. For me, it would be a relief if he were gone as he doesn't participate much anyway"

Yeah, some of my friends say the same thing! Hubby usually participates a bit, though, including dropping of child 1 and picking her up twice a week, just for example, so his absence really creates a burden on me.

I guess I don't mind the extra work all that much. It's the concept that drives me up a wall. Why does he think it's his right to do this / not see anything wrong with it, etc

Posted by: Alone at home | March 8, 2007 2:45 PM

To the person looking for NC info:

You might want to start with some online newspapers:

http://triangle.bizjournals.com/triangle/
http://www.ncpress.com/ncnewspapersonline.html

Also, phone your local public library. If you're in a reasonably large library system, you're likely to have access to online databases of companies. You should be able to do a search, screening by geographic location and/or industry. In some library systems you can access these databases through the library system's website as long as you have a library card. Most library systems offer telephone reference services to help you get started on your search. Happy searching!

Posted by: Another Librarianmom | March 8, 2007 2:46 PM

Alone at home I can see how you feel. Its seems as thought you have no control over the situation. Maybe the two of you could agree that he go on only a certain number of trips a year. It might not make a big difference but at least you would be taking part in the decision making.

Ashville, N.C. in western North Carolina is supposed to be a very nice town. I know a few people who want to retire there and they are trying to keep it a secret.

Posted by: Pink Plate | March 8, 2007 2:48 PM

Why not tell him that it's pissing you off, and that perhaps he needs to factor THAT into his money-making too?

You may also want to find a copy of "The Man Who Mistook his Job for a Life". With apologies to Oliver Sacks.

It's a fast read. I found it very interesting.

In fact, I'd be interested in hearing what other people have to say about that book.

Leslie, RebelDad, others--anybody else read it? Comments?

Posted by: to alone at home | March 8, 2007 2:51 PM

Just reading an article about the wealthy/super wealthy in London here in the Post. This cracked me up:

"This has drawn attention from Wall Street, which regards itself as the center of the financial universe and is not unfamiliar with staggering and conspicuous wealth."

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 2:51 PM

alone at home: you sound quite correct, but of course i'm only hearing you.
But if don't like it, he *should* hear you and not just say you're being crazy.
Can you get some help when he is out of town? part time or something? Then he'd see the 'cost' of it...

Posted by: atlmom | March 8, 2007 2:52 PM

alone at home,
Has he always been like this? Or does it bother you more now since you have kids? If he has always done this maybe he doesn't really GET it because, according to him, nothing has changed.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 2:56 PM

Off-Topic Alert:

"NC seems perfect from the reading I've done, so NCLawyer or anyone else there, what companies are out there? I'm in Government Affairs but can go into communications as well. Any advice would help!

Posted by: | March 8, 2007 02:28 PM

North Carolina has four major cities: Charlotte, Raleigh (the Triangle), Greensboro, and Winston-Salem. Each is very different. All are wonderful in different ways.

The Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, and surrounding smaller cities) has 1.4 million people. In the Triangle, representative employers are: SAS Institute, IBM, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Aventis, Misys Healthcare Systems, Cotton Incorporated, Constella Group, Cree, and others.

Do a little research. Look up one of the several great places to live articles. Come down and visit some time. You, too, can become a Cary Mom, LOL.

to Alone at Home: My husband and I don't make any travel plans without the blessing of the other person, then only when necessary, and the travelling parent does everything possible to minimize impact on the stay-at-home parent. Upon return, the travelling parent profusely thanks, sings the praises of, and worships at the feet of the stay-at-home parent. I 'd like to think your husband's just been thoughtless, but wow.

Posted by: NC Lawyer for now | March 8, 2007 3:01 PM

Thanks for the comments and tips. I will get a copy of The Man Who Mistook his Job for a Life. Sounds relevant to my marriage!

Most of all, you guys just make me feel better by agreeing and taking me seriously.

I still have this gnawing doubt that maybe he has a point, being the major $maker and all and that I should be supporting his career development more. It just seems so unfair. Also a typical "my work counts more than yours because it brings in more $" argument, isn't it"?

Posted by: Alone at home | March 8, 2007 3:01 PM

Alone at home: I can sort of see your point; from his point, though, the trip might be a lot less "optional". That is, it may not be necessary for him to go to any specific conference, but he might really need to do two a year and he just picked this one.

I've been in his shoes, and let me tell you I'm eternally grateful to my wife for putting up with it. I always did a little traveling as a Fed, but when I worked for the Canadian company for three years, I made 78 trips - 47 of them out of the country. And a number of the "out of the country" ones involved "fly to Hong Kong - our Asia/Pac region headquarters - and use it as a base. Go from there to Tokyo, Korea, Australia, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, India, etc. Go home when done, which might be anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks after leaving home."

When I was home, I worked out of the house and tried to do as much of the cleaning, cooking and taking care of the kids as I could. I also encouraged her to go off on trips of her own - out to California to visit her sister; to a friend's beach house; to a spa, whatever. I know that I can never make up for it, though, so I'm just grateful. And I finally decided after three years that if the travel hadn't caused stress in the marriage yet, it was going to, so I switched to a job where, other than day trips to Boston (shuttle up - shuttle home; just a long day at work) I only travel once or twice a year.

My only suggestions to you would be (1) if you haven't already, talk to him and get his point of view about the travel; understand the real necessity; and (2) ask him to stay home with the kids for a long weekend where you go off by yourself - you've certainly earned it.

Posted by: Army Brat | March 8, 2007 3:02 PM

many moms whose husbands travel enjoy the break from hubby. I second the idea, get a sitter, go do something you want to do.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 3:03 PM

"I guess I'm just pissed he's going at all on what I think are non-essential trips. Our children are, obviously, his children, too, and I resent him for leaving me with their care (they're small), alone, for days on end."

As a dad who had to travel a good deal the first decade after kids, I wish I had an easy answer for you. For me, that travel helped my career and my wife and I are both enjoying the results of that.

One thing that I discovered early on was that while I was traveling, I strongly encouraged my wife to make use of 'good' take-out options and I always bought her some new DVDs -- it helped.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 3:03 PM

alone at home,
Do you work outside the home?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 3:04 PM

Here's a no- sweat Fed job in Ashville:

http://www.ncwb.uscourts.gov/vacancy/vacancy.pdf

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 3:05 PM

I hope you enjoy the book. Don't be afraid to leaving it laying around the house--it's not THAT scary.

I hate to ask this--but tell me that at the very least he is putting money away for you for retirement. You DO have your own IRA or SEP, or whatever it is that the self-employed or espoused can have. Right?

The reason your spouse can go pursuing those lucrative contracts is because you are doing everything else. It's not a small or insignificant contribution.

www.midlifeclub.com Skip the opening page, join the forum and get proactive to prevent you joining the ranks of the LBS without a sous.

Paranoid--perhaps.

Posted by: to alone at home | March 8, 2007 3:06 PM

"alone at home,
Has he always been like this? Or does it bother you more now since you have kids? If he has always done this maybe he doesn't really GET it because, according to him, nothing has changed."

Here's the thing - before we had kids, he NEVER went out of town for these educational things. When we had 1 kid, either. Now that we have 2, he's starting to get out of town. His explanation - his skills have evolved so that he now needs more specific training in more specific areas. My explanation - it just sounds good to him to split every once in a while (it would to me, too!) because life w/ 2 kids can get hectic/exhausting/worth escaping from occasionally.

Posted by: Alone at home | March 8, 2007 3:06 PM

The reason I asked it alone at home works is maybe she can come up with a 'career enhancing seminar" to attend. Balance, right?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 3:09 PM

To Alone at home:

Okay, I hate to disagree with everyone, and maybe I just read it wrong, but it sounds like you did sit down and talk about him traveling, he made the argument for why he wanted to go, and you gave him your blessing without ever letting him know that you were upset by it? I have to feel for the poor guy - it sounds like you expect him to be psychic! If you have a problem with him traveling, then tell him so! I know I'm going to get jumped on for this, though . . . *gulp*

Posted by: FutureMom | March 8, 2007 3:12 PM

KLB - yes, I work. Part-time.

Thanks you guys, for all the comments and suggestions. You're making me feel so much better!

Army Brat, your wife sounds like a better person than I am!! You're lucky.

Oh sure, hubby is putting away loads of money. That's the upside, I guess - he LOVES money, and that includes saving for us, seeing it grow, setting up college funds for the kids, etc. He's not 100% evil. I just hate him today :-) I do have my own pension fund as well, and it's not too shabby.

Just wish he realized what a hardship his trips can cause. Will get a sitter and go out this weekend, though!

Posted by: Alone at home | March 8, 2007 3:12 PM

Home Alone,

Do you notice an increase in the family coffers as a result of these business trips (yet)? Perhaps it is time to review the finances and stash more money aside for a rainy day, or a new bookcase or something?

I certainly hope he doesn't bring home a snowglobe for you as thanks for being solo parent.

If you are unhappy, you really owe it to your family to make it clear to him. And if he insists that you are overreacting, or brushing off your concerns and problems with it, perhaps a few sessions with a good marital counselor (or someone) would help.

Good luck!

Posted by: MdMother | March 8, 2007 3:15 PM

Future Mom,

of course I told him I did not want him to travel again because I hate being stuck with all the work and logistics. I even suspect he might have stayed if I had "disallowed" the trip - but I felt that would go too far. So I pointed out that I didn't like the idea but told him to do whatever (I was already pissed at that point, too pissed for logic, maybe).

I feel I can't just say 'no you can't go. I mean, I'm not his parent.

Posted by: Alone at home | March 8, 2007 3:16 PM

To alone at home: Someone will shoot me for this but any childless friends around who would come over for a girls night in? I have a date with a very cute 8 month old and his mom tonight -- offered to come give her some adult company while husband is on a business trip.

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | March 8, 2007 3:17 PM

The reason I asked it alone at home works is maybe she can come up with a 'career enhancing seminar" to attend. Balance, right?

************

Right, I tried that. His "answer" - would attending that seminar directly translate into more $ at work? Well, it would not - I'm not in that kind of a job.

Posted by: to klb | March 8, 2007 3:18 PM

'Here's a no- sweat Fed job in Ashville:'

This is in the job posting:

"The position also requires a "whatever it
takes" attitude."

Sounds a little scary to me.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 3:19 PM

Alone at home, well...do you at least give him the biggest piece of chicken?

To play devil's advocate- I think most people who work, even those who love their jobs, hate the fact that they do not get as much time off to be with their family and do the little things. It is much easier for the SAH spouse to catch an hour or two of TV than the guy who is out working... so of course there is some discord, especially when the SAHM gripes about how little the husband contributes. It's like being slapped in the face if you come home to that after a long day at work... or have to do something inconvenient in order to make more money to support the family. I highly encourage holding onto the temper instead of badmouthing him- unless he is really a jerk. When my wife got mad at me for having to go TDY, or work late on something I could not talk about, it just wasn't fair and made me feel like crap over something I had very little control over.
Anything to diffuse tension may not always be noticed, but it can be beneficial for you to realize things come up that are inconvenient- and it is certainly better than making him feel worse than he already does for having to go.

If you tell him you'll miss him, let him know it means a lot to you that he's going off to try to do his best for the family, but that you wish he could stay more because it's tough on you to manage everything without him- but that you will try to be more patient if he will talk things through with you more.

Breakdowns in communication suck.

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 3:20 PM

Okay, then I read what you said wrong, and I apologize. At the very least, it seems like you need to come to a mutually agreeable plan. He should agree to some concessions after he comes back if he insists on going, or something. I have to agree that marriage counseling sounds like it might be a good option, just to help each of you see the other's perspective and work things out so that he doesn't feel leashed and you don't feel overburdened.

Posted by: FutureMom | March 8, 2007 3:20 PM

MD mother - snowglobe, that's funny! Let's see what he'll come back with, if anything.

And, yes, family income is rising as a result of his educational trips. Not sure if that makes up for it, though. We're already pretty comfortable, and more is not always more, if you ask me.

Posted by: Alone at home | March 8, 2007 3:20 PM

'Here's a no- sweat Fed job in Ashville:'

This is in the job posting:

"The position also requires a "whatever it
takes" attitude."

Sounds a little scary to me.


Posted by: | March 8, 2007 03:19 PM

Yeah, well. "Whatever it takes" -- in a government job - in Ashville might mean nothing more than answering your cell phone at 5:37 one Tuesday per year.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 8, 2007 3:23 PM

Thanks, Chris. Really useful to get a guy's perspective.

Posted by: Alone at home | March 8, 2007 3:24 PM

I know what you mean--at what point is the money costing too much.

Posted by: MdMother | March 8, 2007 3:25 PM

3:19, what job is that?

Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2007 3:25 PM

must . . . ignore . . . trolls . . .

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 3:27 PM


I thought trolls hibernated?

Shouldn't you still be nestled down in your bed of leaves, eating grubs or something?

Posted by: to 3:24 | March 8, 2007 3:28 PM

Alone at Home,
Maybe you and your husband need to come up with a plan that is not all about the money. I get it. His business trips help him make more mula and that is worth it to him. And I am sure the family appreciates the security. But on the homefront, no amount of money can make up for the neglect that you seem to be feeling. If you need some time away for yourself, then take a short trip after he comes back, maybe with a friend. If you can stand it, take it with your husband and get a sitter to stay with the kids for a couple of days. Don't let money be the deciding factor here. You are entitled to a break. It sounds to me that the problem in your marriage is not so much a business trip, but the fact that you guys are not communicating all that well, and that you are not feeling respected. So talk to your husband, tell him what you want, and communicate with him. No, you can't tell him what to do, but you should be able to tell him what you need from him to be happy.

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 3:31 PM

Chris, (and alone at home)

My husband is in the military and I knew rationally that he couldn't control his TDYs or deployments, but that made it no less difficult to deal with. The anger and exhaustion sometimes bubbled over to my husband, who was, of course, just doing his job. But it still sucks. And I can't really call up the base commander and complain about them sending him away (even if the TDYs to VEGAS were completely pointless- yes, they'd send married men w/ kids to Vegas with nothing to do but go to strip clubs and gamble, but that's another story)

He's out of the military now (thank gosh) and he's never going anywhere again..lol...I was alone with the kids for YEARS. It's his turn now. I now make more money, work more hours, and go out with my friends and shop, etc. He took a lower paying, fewer hours job so he can get to know the kids better. I sleep in on most weekends while he gets them dressed and to the playground or another activity.

alone at home- When he comes home, does he give you a break?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 3:32 PM

Emily, you're amazing. We went to marriage counseling a while ago, and the doc pretty much told us what you just wrote. Maybe you can open an online counseling service :-)

Yes, he does give me a break when he comes back. I pretty much leave the house as soon as he comes in...

Posted by: Alone at home | March 8, 2007 3:35 PM

"Yeah, well. "Whatever it takes" -- in a government job - in Ashville might mean nothing more than answering your cell phone at 5:37 one Tuesday per year."

Right or working through lunch on a copying project 3 times a year. The Court positions are VERY cushy jobs. I would jump at it in a heartbeat if I were younger.


Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 3:39 PM

'Yeah, well. "Whatever it takes" -- in a government job - in Ashville might mean nothing more than answering your cell phone at 5:37 one Tuesday per year.'

And whatever it takes might mean much more than that - even in a government job in Ashville.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 3:41 PM

Translation please - TDY?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 3:43 PM

It's a $50k job that required a HS diploma. Can't be that hard, can it?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 3:46 PM

Alone at home,

What about using some of that money your husband is hauling in to hire a babysitter 2-4 hours per day, 2-3 days per week? Set up a regular babysitting schedule so that you can plan around it and count on getting a break. Good luck!

----It is much easier for the SAH spouse to catch an hour or two of TV than the guy who is out working.----

Yeah, having the freedom to watch a Barney or Thomas video during business hours is definitely one of the reasons why I left my six-figure job to be a SAHM.

Posted by: Allison | March 8, 2007 3:46 PM

To 3:43 -

TDY = a government business trip. I don't actually know what it stands for, so maybe one of the govies can help out there.

Posted by: FutureMom | March 8, 2007 3:47 PM

tdy=temporary duty

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 3:52 PM

TDY stands for temporary duty.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 3:53 PM

LOL - I actually work for the government, but no travel involved.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 3:53 PM

I second the "get a regular babysitter" while he is gone idea!

At the very least, get yourself out to a coffeeshop, for a manicure, to a diner for lunch/breakfast...you'll be happier and a better mom for it!

Say two hours a day -- you could even schedule it for during their nap time.

Posted by: Rebecca | March 8, 2007 3:56 PM

Leslie,

If you're removing comments, please remove all the bj references. I find those offensive as well.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 3:56 PM

Elaine just went up a notch in my book.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 3:57 PM

Alone at home,

What about using some of that money your husband is hauling in to hire a babysitter 2-4 hours per day, 2-3 days per week? Set up a regular babysitting schedule so that you can plan around it and count on getting a break. Good luck!

----It is much easier for the SAH spouse to catch an hour or two of TV than the guy who is out working.----

Yeah, having the freedom to watch a Barney or Thomas video during business hours is definitely one of the reasons why I left my six-figure job to be a SAHM.

*******************
Yeah, I do find ways to get my breaks. I work PT only and have the possibility of sending the kids to daycare on my days off if I want to. Feel a bit guilty doing that, though, but it's good for my mental health.

On the TV comment... I didn't say anything earlier because Chris' comments overall were helpful - but you can bet that hubby will tune into PBS and BBC tonight, leisurely, before dinner and after his lectures, not having to worry about feeding kids, bathing kids, putting kids to be, cleaning up, doing the laundry...

NO BARNEY IN MY HOUSE. I have enough headaches as it is :-)

Posted by: Alone at home | March 8, 2007 3:57 PM

"And whatever it takes might mean much more than that - even in a government job in Ashville."

Not in a Bankruptcy Court in North Carolina.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 3:57 PM

OT to scarry: forgot to ask yesterday - what is black Irish? (during discussion of Black Donnelleys)

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | March 8, 2007 3:58 PM

I wouldn't mind the inconvenience of my husband traveling several times a year if it meant I could work part time rather than full time. I would accept that trade-off in a NY minute.

Posted by: the grass is greener | March 8, 2007 4:00 PM

A modest proposal to cure anonymous trolls:

Someday Leslie might compile an anthology of the best postings on this blog to publish. And naturally she'll need to pay royalties to the known authors of these pithy comments. But the anonymous posters won't be able to collect, since they can't be identified. That would be poetic justice!

Posted by: catlady | March 8, 2007 4:00 PM

"Elaine just went up a notch in my book.

Posted by: | March 8, 2007 03:57 PM "

I wish my boobs could go up a notch.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Posted by: Elaine with the Pathetic Boobs | March 8, 2007 4:00 PM

Leslie,

If you're removing comments, please remove all the bj references. I find those offensive as well.

Posted by: | March 8, 2007 03:56 PM


Oh, your poor husband! Poor poor man if you can't even read about b-jobs!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 4:01 PM

Leslie,

If you're removing comments, please remove all the bj references. I find those offensive as well.

Posted by: | March 8, 2007 03:56 PM


At that rate, On Balance will drop below 50,000 posts.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 4:02 PM

Leslie,

If you're removing comments, please remove all the bj references. I find those offensive as well.

Posted by: | March 8, 2007 03:56 PM


At that rate, On Balance will drop below 50,000 posts.

Posted by: | March 8, 2007 04:02 PM

Does Leslie get paid or evaluated in her job by the number of posts?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 4:03 PM

Thanks, the grass is greener. I'm probably just spoiled. Maybe I should count my blessings.

Off to pick up the kids...

Thanks to all for the comments. Helpful!

Posted by: Alone at home | March 8, 2007 4:03 PM

It's offensive because it's not relevant, not because it doesn't happen.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 4:04 PM

Now we have a RELEVANCE standard for postings? ROFLOL!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 4:06 PM

Remove all of Fred's comments while you are at it!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 4:08 PM

Looks like the Anal Sex comments won't be welcome for the Sex after Baby topic?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 4:08 PM

"Remove all of Fred's comments while you are at it!"

No, I like Fred.

Posted by: Elaine with the Pathetic Boobs | March 8, 2007 4:10 PM

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site.

If you want personal attacks removed than I can want inappropriate comments removed.

Posted by: me | March 8, 2007 4:11 PM

to the grass is greener:
but the point partially is at least that he is not listening to her and she is angry. So you can have it all *and* a non communicative guy who doesn't listen to you. How's that?

Posted by: atlmom | March 8, 2007 4:12 PM

Step 1: consider posting comment

Step 2: determine whether comment is relevant

Step 3: determine whether comment is appropriate by standards of anonymous poster at 4:11

Step 4: forget what initial comment was

Step 5: instead of commenting in a relevant, appropriate manner, remind everyone that the way to get posts removed is to send an e-mail to the post, not to rant in the body of the blog about offensive posts

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 4:15 PM

atlmom - she apparently doesn't communicate very well either.

'So I pointed out that I didn't like the idea but told him to do whatever'

She should not have told him to do whatever if she really didn't mean it. she could have said what he could do to make up for the travel or that he shouldn't go right now because it wasn't working.

Posted by: the grass is greener | March 8, 2007 4:16 PM

I think it is kind of sad that alone at home says that as soon as he gets home she is out the door. Wouldn't it be nice if she would be happy that he was home just because he was home with his family? I am not slamming her - just saying there may be more to the story.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 4:17 PM

KLB: there's always more to the story...

Posted by: atlmom | March 8, 2007 4:20 PM

Okay there are to many ideas about where the Black Irish came from. We have always called ourselves black Irish because we all have black hair and everyone but my brothers and our children have eyes the color of the sky, which we call Scarry blue eyes (I know sucks for us.)

So one is that the spanish had children with the Irish and that is where us Black Irish came from.

Another if you believe in myths and my grandma always said that a little bit of myths were true, was that the black Irish came from a mythical race of people. Sounds nice, might make up for not getting the nice eyes.

There are other ideas and you can look at some of them if you google black Irish.

But, it basically means people with dark hair as oppossed to the red or blondish Irish.

Posted by: scarry OT | March 8, 2007 4:20 PM

The grass is greener on the other side of the fence but the water bill is higher.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 4:25 PM

The grass is greener on the other side of the fence but the water bill is higher.

Unless they are stealing your water.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 4:26 PM

OT: thanks scarry - hope you are feeling better with this pregnancy!

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | March 8, 2007 4:27 PM

Obviously, you are dependent on your husband's participation with the children when he is at home. At least give him credit for that.

Posted by: To: Alone at Home | March 8, 2007 4:28 PM

Scarry,
The black Irish are the Faerie people. Have you read the Mists of Avalon?

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 4:29 PM

Consider whether the grass is greener on the other side of the fence because of the volume of manure being produced.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 4:31 PM

If having money is the answer then why are so many celebrities so messed up? I can understand working hard to have a good life for your kids, college funds, retirement funds but once those needs are taken care of and you still are looking for more money and more money and aren't happy what good is the money? You are liable to lose the things that could make you happy (time with family, reading a good book) and be left with nothing but a big bank account and maybe nobody to share it with.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 4:35 PM

To Scarry, The other side of the Black Irish coin is the claim that Iberian people with fair hair/skin got their coloring due to Celtic marauders.

Posted by: catlady | March 8, 2007 4:39 PM

Alone at Home sounds like she's fishing for an affair and targetting the fathers in this blog who might be looking for the same. Why not just post in a personal column. MF ISO discreet affair while hubby works to keep a roof over our heads.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 4:46 PM

KLB, I agree with you. However.

Sometimes the primary wage earner was raised in a household in which money was tight and financial stress, homelessness, inability to pay the light bill, was part of daily life. They are always afraid of what the future holds, of failing and letting their families down, of being broke. They see others lose their nest eggs due to a housing market slump, or Enron collapse, or see families felled by catastrophic medical bills, and believe that their job as primary breadwinner is to keep earning and earning in order to minimize the possibility that one bad event could wipe out their resources and put their families at risk.

There are also spouses who, on the one hand, pressure their partners to leave work early, take more vacation, stop and smell the roses, and on the other hand, sigh that he or she doesn't earn enough to provide for that Hawaii vacation or those granite counter-tops, isn't advancing fast enough, isn't doing as well as a friend's spouse. Okay, let's stop being gender neutral here. A lot of men get mixed messages from their wives and girlfriends about money and earning expectations.

I am NOT suggesting that any of this is going on with atlmom or her husband.

Maybe it's worth considering, though, that there are some really good guys out there who are working hard, don't want to let their wives down, and are confused about what their wives really want.

Counseling - almost never a bad idea.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 8, 2007 4:47 PM

Scarry,
The black Irish are the Faerie people. Have you read the Mists of Avalon?

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 04:29 PM


Oh my god- Mists of Avalon is my favorite book EVER. I love love it. My cat is named Morgaine. :)

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 4:49 PM

whoops - not atlmom, Alone at Home.

A senior moment, yet again.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 8, 2007 4:50 PM

To Alone at Home:

DH's long-ago college roommate had a job that required him to make two one-week business trips per year, meaning he left DW home alone to run everything and take care of DS and DD by herself (unless DW's mother was visiting from out-of-state). Yet he said he was pressured by the employer to make more trips, but refused on family grounds. He reported that some male co-workers leapt at the chance to make as many business trips as possible. DH's old roommate (who came from a large, loving family himself) didn't like having to be away even two weeks a year, and couldn't imagine how his colleagues could stand to be away from their families even that much, let alone seek out more time away; he surmised that they must've been unhappy at home. Points being: in some business cultures, two weeks a year is considered minimal; and, some workers actually LIKE to get away. So, it's hard to tell whether your DH's absences are out of line, or not.

I agree with previous posters that your best first step is to try to get your husband to discuss this with you, in a less pressurized environment. And I wish you good luck.

Posted by: catlady | March 8, 2007 4:50 PM

4:46 - Where did that come from? What you posted says a whole lot more about you and your way of thinking than it does about Alone at Home. Is that how you operate?

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 4:50 PM

MN,
Agree with everything but, for the record it is alone at home, not atlmom.

Maybe that is more what the counseling could be geared towards than than the personal which could be construed as an attack.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 4:51 PM

Alone at Home sounds like she's fishing for an affair and targetting the fathers in this blog who might be looking for the same. Why not just post in a personal column. MF ISO discreet affair while hubby works to keep a roof over our heads.

Posted by: | March 8, 2007 04:46 PM

where do you nasty people get this stuff?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 4:52 PM

To anon at 4:49. I loved the Mists of Avalon also. Could not put it down when I read it a few years ago. I also read the Lady of Avalon, which was disappointing in comparison. A few days ago, I picked up the Priestess of Avalon. We'll see. Have you read the Darkover series?

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 4:54 PM

I really just want someone to eat my p*ssy

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 4:55 PM

Alone at Home sounds like she's fishing for an affair and targetting the fathers in this blog who might be looking for the same. Why not just post in a personal column. MF ISO discreet affair while hubby works to keep a roof over our heads.

Troll is hungry because this blog has been relatively bloodless today.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 4:55 PM

You're paying us back for basketball comments with the Mists of Avalon posts aren't you? You are a cruel, cruel person, Emily.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 8, 2007 4:55 PM

Scarry,
The black Irish are the Faerie people. Have you read the Mists of Avalon?

Yes, there are many myths and one of them is that we are decendents of the fae. I like that one and it was brought up at the begining of the Black Donnellys as well.

Yes, I read the Mists of Avalon a long time ago, I should re-read it.

Posted by: scarry | March 8, 2007 4:56 PM

Hey, Megan's Neighbor. I never complained about basketball, which I personally think is a snore. Let's make a deal. You can talk basketball if I can talk books. Waddya say?

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 4:57 PM

Emily, that was me at 4:49 (forgot to sign my post)

I read all of the Avalon books- Mists of Avalon was the obvious winner.

I'm actually not into sci-fi or fantasy at all, but this book was just wonderful. I usually go for Capote, McCullers, Fitzgerald, et al...But something about Mists just grabbed me! I give it to all of my women friens!

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | March 8, 2007 4:57 PM

Emily, If you start talking books and Fred is doing opera and impressionists what the heck is a poor civil servant nurse doing here?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 4:59 PM

So is the Black Donnellys a show on HBO? I don't have HBO. For a while there, I thought it was about African American Irish people. I guess not.

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 4:59 PM

Emily, You might enjoy the WaPo book chat on Wednesdays at 2 PM, with Michael Dirda :-)

Posted by: catlady | March 8, 2007 5:00 PM

"The Black Donnellys" is on NBC on Mondays at 10 PM ET, 9 PM CT.

Posted by: catlady | March 8, 2007 5:01 PM

Emily,
Black Donnelys is NBC. Not sure what night but didn't get a great review (not that it matters it you like it).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 5:01 PM

What about those of us liking both basketball and sci fi/fantasy? I loved mists of Avalon. My copy is well-thumbed.

I can't believe Miami pushed over the terps.

and now that hbo has been mentioned: I absolutely love Rome. The kids aren't allowed in the room when I watch it though.

Posted by: dotted | March 8, 2007 5:02 PM

What I liked about Mists is that it took the whole Arthurian legend, which is historically told from such a male perspective, and turned it on its head. And I loved Morgaine's character. Interesting that in the traditional Arthurian legend, she is considered the evil sister. Not so in Mists. I gave it to a few good girlfriends as well.

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 5:03 PM

Emily,

Deal. In truth, I always enjoy your posts. Carry on, LOL.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 8, 2007 5:03 PM

"...Miami pushed over the terps..."


:-((((((((((((

Posted by: catlady | March 8, 2007 5:04 PM

Emily, You might enjoy the WaPo book chat on Wednesdays at 2 PM, with Michael Dirda

Yes, I sometimes lurk on Dirda's chats. But honestly, he is a little highbrow for me.

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 5:04 PM

Emily et el,

If you like stories about the fae you may like to read Karen Marie Monings books.

They are romance novels but they are entwined with the fae and druids and other interesting stuff.

Also, I don't really care what is said about BJ or other stuff, but when you say somethign about someone's child that crosses the line.

Posted by: scarry | March 8, 2007 5:05 PM

Didnt read the book (Mists of Avalon) but saw the made for tv movie with the girl from ER (Julianna Margulies) and Anjelica Huston. It was pretty good.


Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 5:05 PM

Off-Topic Alert:

dotted,

I forget, is Missicat or Meesh our Terps fan? I am bummed with both outcomes today, and my boss, the Clemson fan, is totally dejected.

My best friend, a die-hard Duke fan, is married to an equally stubborn and loyal State fan. I suspect their house will not be a good place to be this evening.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 8, 2007 5:06 PM

Emily, I know what you mean about Dirda's book chat being "a little highbrow for me" -- for me, too. But I've learned a lot from the chat, and even when I ask dim questions, he usually answers them online, and is always gentle. He was my first WaPo online chat (sigh)

Posted by: catlady | March 8, 2007 5:07 PM

Carolyn Hax was my first online chat. She is still an addiction. I also love Weingarten, and sorely miss him these days.

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 5:08 PM

"Also, I don't really care what is said about BJ or other stuff, but when you say somethign about someone's child that crosses the line."

I'd add, or someone's willingness to commit adultery.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 5:09 PM

OT:

Hey Megan's Neighbor,
Actually, it would be great to be at a divided house to see the game. Makes for tons of excitement no matter what. I think it was Meesh who outted herself as the Terps fan. I'm sure there are others lurking. I have friends who left for Tampa this morning, the lucky dogs.

Posted by: dotted | March 8, 2007 5:10 PM

Catlady also terps fan (see above frown)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 5:11 PM

Thanks for the Moning recommendation, Scarry. I will give it a try. I do enjoy well-written romances, especially at the beach. Have you ever read Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series?

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 5:11 PM

Emily, Liz Kelly said on her chat today that Weingarten WILL be back in April, as promised. Hax doesn't seem to like my questions/comments, but Ben Bradlee (double sigh) does -- not the same questions, of course -- duhhh!

Posted by: catlady | March 8, 2007 5:12 PM

Oh Emily-
You've hit my absolute favorites. Diana Gabaldon's books are simply addictive. The earlier one are better, imho. Brilliant premise.

Posted by: dotted | March 8, 2007 5:13 PM

OFF-TOPIC ALERT:

dotted - as do I. I'm covering for one of them tomorrow with a Swedish client who is oblivious. There was a moment when he was going to try to participate from the arena. Ha!

Meesh and catlady: my condolences. I would much rather have seen Maryland progress and play BC tomorrow. Alas.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 8, 2007 5:13 PM

"Carolyn Hax was my first online chat. She is still an addiction."

Hax is a goddess. I wish I could practice everything she preaches.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 5:15 PM

Dotted,
I loved loved loved the first three books. After that, I kind of lost interest. Is she still writing them?

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 5:15 PM

"Am I just a whiner; "

Yes.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 5:15 PM

Thanks, Megan's Neighbor. ABC -- anyone but BC.

Posted by: catlady | March 8, 2007 5:16 PM

I believe the last one came out during the summer of 06. I know 'snow' was in the title. Things are hotting up in the colonies and the setting is NC. Clare and Jamie. If I were to have another child and it was a boy, I'd name him James and call him Jamie after that character.

Posted by: dotted | March 8, 2007 5:17 PM

To Megan's neighbor, who wrote: "I'm covering for one of them tomorrow with a Swedish client who is oblivious."

I just explain to people from other nations that March Madness is to us every year sort of like what World Cup is to them every four years -- and vice versa.

Posted by: catlady | March 8, 2007 5:18 PM

Catlady,
But what if the Swedes don't care about soccer? :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 5:20 PM

Yeah, I suggested calling my son Jamie, but hubby wouldn't have it. Of course, Jamie is the prototype for men. I used to be half in love with him and he doesn't even exist.

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 5:21 PM

Emily,
I'd recommend reading the Lord John book by Gabaldon before you restart half way through the Outlander series. I'm a voracious reader.

Posted by: dotted | March 8, 2007 5:21 PM

OT
Does anyone else think it sucks that they are starting DST this weekend? It is just now starting to get light when I walk into work. That will put me right back into the dark! And how long does it take you to get adjusted?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 5:22 PM

I hate DST. I really need that hour. Plus I like getting up when it's light. So much easier than in the dark.

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 5:23 PM

KLB SS MD, Oh, the Swedes LOVE soccer, or football (as the rest of the world calls it), and did pretty well in the last World Cup.

Posted by: catlady | March 8, 2007 5:24 PM

Oh, KLB, we'll just have to agree to disagree on DST.

I LOVE, love, love DST!! It gives me an evening. I'd rather have sun when I leave work then when I arrive.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 8, 2007 5:26 PM

The last time I watched a soccer match was when the American women won and Brandi Chastain ripped her shirt off - my gosh, you would have thought she stripped naked and gave the ref a lap dance the way people reacted.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 5:26 PM

I'd add, or someone's willingness to commit adultery.

?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 5:26 PM

Sorry KLB
I love DST. I think normal time should be DST and then DST would be Double DST. I like afternoon light. I think I need to live on the western edge of a time zone.

Posted by: dotted | March 8, 2007 5:26 PM

"Just wish he realized what a hardship his trips can cause."

Exactly what hardship is his trips causing? Good grief. You have 2 children, not 27. You work two days a week and get a break from them then - you also get a break if you want to on the days you DON'T work. Your husband might be on a non-essential trip in your eyes but you admitted that he is bringing in a ton of money with his business. And it's for 5 days, not the months on end that some wives (namely military wives) parent alone. And that's not even getting into the plight of the single mom who NEVER has any help.

Posted by: whine, whine, whine!! | March 8, 2007 5:27 PM

MN,
I am honored to disagree with you. There will be enough time for sunlight down the hot hot road. I already have an evening as I am home from work by 4. Of course then I have to do HOA work so am still stuck on computer for an hour or so.

Posted by: KLB SS | March 8, 2007 5:28 PM

But don't you all find it really hard to get up an hour earlier? My body is so used to getting up at 4:40 that when the alarm goes off on the first Monday it thinks it is 3:30. That hurts!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 5:30 PM

klb
Oh my...4:40am! That would be difficult no matter what for me. I'm a 7am waker.

Posted by: dotted | March 8, 2007 5:31 PM

You get up at 4:40? Okay, I guess I should stop complaining. I don't get up until 7:00.

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 5:32 PM

I'm in awe of anyone waking up at 4:40am

Posted by: dotted | March 8, 2007 5:32 PM

KLB SS MD wrote: "...my gosh, you would have thought [Brandi Chastain] stripped naked and gave the ref a lap dance the way people reacted..."

LOL! It was a pretty demure sports bra, as I recall.

It's great fun to be in Europe during World Cup or European Championships. I've been there during both (although not intentionally), and spent far too much time in cafés watching matches on wide-screen TV with the natives -- sure beats working! The game rules remind me a bit of ice hockey, except without the ice or skates or pads: 3 periods, goalies, hat tricks, etc. Only thing that drove me nuts was that diehard fans were willing to watch re-runs of games that were already over. I asked my friends why, since they already knew the outcome: because it was a well-played game (sigh)

Posted by: catlady | March 8, 2007 5:34 PM

And I'm in awe of anyone who wakes up before 7am.

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 5:34 PM

Yes - 4:40 am. I have to leave my house by 6am and am at my desk by 6:30 or so.
The good part is that I walk out the door at 3:15 and am home by 4.
Are you all creatures of habit? I do the exact same things every single morning. If one thing goes wrong I am so messed up that I will forget something.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 5:34 PM

My husband gets up at 4:40 as well. He's not going to be a happy camper next week.

Posted by: MV | March 8, 2007 5:34 PM

MV - thank you! Somebody else feels my pain. For some reason 4:40 seems close to 5 which is almost morning, but 3:40 is just obscene. And I get cranky.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 5:36 PM

To dotted, whho wrote: "I think I need to live on the western edge of a time zone."

One time on summer vacation we camped just outside Thunder Bay, in western Ontario, which was on EDT. Between the timezone and the latitude, it didn't get dark till nearly 10:30 at the Summer Solstice. Of course, I shudder to think of what it's like there on Dec. 21.

Posted by: catlady | March 8, 2007 5:38 PM

Kirk Douglas is 90 and looks terrible!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 5:39 PM

One summer I went with a friend to their family cabin on a lake in northern Michigan. Even in June it didn't get dark until almost 10. Very strange.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 5:40 PM

KLB SS MD wrote: "Kirk Douglas is 90 and looks terrible!"

He'd look a durn sight worse if he were dead.

Posted by: catlady | March 8, 2007 5:41 PM

The comment that many of you requested for removal and all other comments referring to it are now gone. Thanks for flagging it.

Posted by: washingtonpost.com | March 8, 2007 5:41 PM

Catlady,
Hahaha - You are just full of something today, aren't you?
Now that I am done with the newsletter I guess I should go find dinner and another adult beverage.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 5:42 PM

To KLB SS MD: How does the dog feel about having to get up at 3:40 AM DST?

Posted by: catlady | March 8, 2007 5:42 PM

The dog is the king of the house. He stays in bed until I am ready to leave the upstairs. I shower, do hair and makeup and he barely looks up at me from his spot on the bed. Only when I put my pants on does he budge. Then he is glad to go out.
On the other hand, I am very lucky as he will let me stay in bed until 7 or 7:30 on a weekend. I know it is time to get up when he does the stretch and heavy sigh.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 5:45 PM

Are you all creatures of habit? I do the exact same things every single morning. If one thing goes wrong I am so messed up that I will forget something.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 05:34 PM

uh, KLB, my habits all went out the window with the arrival of my two kids. That might explain my constant sense that things are out of control -- they are :>)

4:40. oh my. By 2, my forehead would be one with my coffee cup.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 8, 2007 5:46 PM

Between the timezone and the latitude, it didn't get dark till nearly 10:30 at the Summer Solstice.

Oh, that would be lovely. I love long summer days. They make me happy. If I am rich when I retire, I will have two homes. One in the northern hemisphere, where in the summer, the days are long and the nights are cool. And one in the Southern Hemisphere for the same reasons. And I will just travel from summer to summer, and hardly see winter at all, except at Christmas, where I will travel to some cold snowy place for a week of revelry in the shelter of a warm fireplace and the company of friends.

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 5:46 PM

MN,
And I thought I had it bad when my dog refused to poop in a timely manner.

Emily,
Sounds like something to aspire to - I wish you luck (and will look for an invite).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 5:49 PM

And I will just travel from summer to summer, and hardly see winter at all, except at Christmas, where I will travel to some cold snowy place for a week of revelry in the shelter of a warm fireplace and the company of friends.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. What an image.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 5:49 PM

Emily,
And right about now you can just keep your snow and fireplace. I like it cool but 13 this am was just plain cold.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 8, 2007 5:50 PM

It is a nice wish, but more than likely, I'll probably be stuck in Sarasota or some like place, riding a golf cart to the grocery store.

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 5:52 PM

Ha. 4:40 am; I get up at 3:30am and go on a 3 mile walk four days out of the work week. If I sleep to 4:40 I will probably be late to work!

Posted by: John | March 8, 2007 6:06 PM

catlady,
actually soccer games only have two periods (45 minutes each). If it's the kind of game where someone needs to win (a round of 16, or what have you), if the score is even at the end of the 90 minutes you have 2 overtimes periods of 15 minutes each. If there is no winner at the end of that, the teams take a series of penalty kicks, which can be harrowing.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 6:08 PM

Okay, John, you win the early bird award. Do you walk uphill to work too?

Posted by: Emily | March 8, 2007 6:08 PM

Wow, I'm glad I checked in at the end of the day, I had no idea the time change was this weekend.

I remember when I was in college, one of the really intimidating type professors calling on my very shy friend one monday and shouting, "MR. Smith! Where were you at 2 a.m. on Sunday?" and my poor friend blubbering out some answer about a party and the professor thundering, "WRONG! There was no 2 a.m. on Sunday!" My friend was totally traumatized.

Posted by: Megan | March 8, 2007 6:13 PM

To Posted by: | March 8, 2007 06:08 PM

You are right, I am wrong -- my bad!!!!! I'm going to consign myself to the sage green cave for the rest of the evening.

Posted by: catlady | March 8, 2007 6:17 PM

Okay, John, you win the early bird award. Do you walk uphill to work too?

I bet John walks uphill both to and from work!!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 6:19 PM

Okay, John, you win the early bird award. Do you walk uphill to work too?

I bet John walks uphill both to and from work!!!!!!

Posted by: | March 8, 2007 06:19 PM

. . . through the snow, without shoes.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 6:26 PM

Okay, John, you win the early bird award. Do you walk uphill to work too?

I bet John walks uphill both to and from work!!!!!!

Posted by: | March 8, 2007 06:19 PM

. . . through the snow, without shoes.

Posted by: | March 8, 2007 06:26 PM


In the dark.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 6:28 PM

Okay, John, you win the early bird award. Do you walk uphill to work too?

I bet John walks uphill both to and from work!!!!!!

Posted by: | March 8, 2007 06:19 PM

. . . through the snow, without shoes.

Posted by: | March 8, 2007 06:26 PM


In the dark

Against a strong wind.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 6:30 PM

the good news is, if this is the real John and not the imposter John, he'll already be up to handle the wee, early morning feeding. once that becomes necessary.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 6:33 PM

Okay, John, you win the early bird award. Do you walk uphill to work too?

I bet John walks uphill both to and from work!!!!!!

Posted by: | March 8, 2007 06:19 PM

. . . through the snow, without shoes.

Posted by: | March 8, 2007 06:26 PM


In the dark

Against a strong wind.

Posted by: | March 8, 2007 06:30 PM

Shoes? I bet John accomplishes this with no feet.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 6:43 PM

i find all the bj comments offensive too. we try not to remove comments unless they are really awful but these qualify.

separately, i really LOVE days when we get tons of comments, but i just get paid a flat fee no matter how many posts we get.

alone at home -- i've written a lot (especially in the early months -- march & april 2006) about my husband's biz trips and how hard they are for me. it's hard for us both when he's gone, and re-entry stinks too. i desperately need a break, and he's desperately exhaustive. all around terrible.

what's worked for me is to let him know how hard his trips are for me. sometimes nicely, sometimes in a nagging way. he needs to know -- so that whenever he can shorten a trip, he does. as the kids have gotten older, the trips are harder on them as well. they miss him, and the house just feels unbalanced with him gone.

he often goes from DC to LA and back in one day. hard on him, but much nicer for me and the kids.

Posted by: Leslie | March 8, 2007 6:43 PM

To LA and back in one day...wow, short meetings and in the age of internet telephony/face talk, it seems weird, but face-to-face still makes markets move.

My husband's been gone for most of the last 6 weeks, including some weekends. This happens irregularly, but it does happen at least once a year. The worst was when he was traveling Melbourne to New York back and forth for 6 months. yuck. He didn't know what time it was...ever.

Posted by: dotted | March 8, 2007 6:51 PM

"Emily, If you start talking books and Fred is doing opera and impressionists what the heck is a poor civil servant nurse doing here?"

Fred will be talking about literature next week, Thoreau for sure and maybe Plato.

SAHMbacktowork

I loved reading Fitzgerald. I think that he is much better than "Papa". I also read Hax and Weingarten.

Emily,
I have actually had my comments picked up by Gene, pretty hard to do for people outside the DC area. If you remember the conversation about buffets, that was me!

Missicat,

Waldo was a joke but methinks perhaps that you were also having a bit of a joke on me.

Posted by: Fred | March 8, 2007 6:53 PM

So really, seriously, could someone PLEASE tell me what is so hard about one's spouse being gone for a few days? I'm not talking about 6 weeks like dotted's dh - but 2-5 days - really, what is the problem? We're talking about people who have the means (financial and otherwise) to hire help to get a break (daycare, aftercare, an evening babysitter), ask a friend to help out with picking kids up, order take-out for dinner, etc. - and in Leslie's case, we're talking about someone whose kids are in school all day. How is it so difficult to feed 2-3 kids and to help with a little bit of elementary school homework and supervise baths and read a story and tuck kids in? I mean, REALLY?

Posted by: Seriously.... | March 8, 2007 7:06 PM

Elaine with the Pathetic Boobs

Thank you!

Posted by: Fred | March 8, 2007 7:07 PM

7:06, I guess the answer is, it depends on your husband. Mine is a full 50-50 partner. When he's not there, the kids miss him, I miss him, and it just doesn't feel right - Leslie described it better, but there it is. It also means, I'm dropping off and picking up, as necessary, and handling guitar lessons and soccer practices without someone to split it with.
When the kids have something they want to tell him, or ask him, he's not there. It's not difficult - catastrophes and crises are difficult - but it is not the way our family operates best.

Working with three kids on homework and spending some time at bedtime, whether reading stories or just sharing, for three kids could take 3 hours. If you're rushing with one child to get to the next, the children perceive your distraction and focus on just getting done.

My husband says all the same things when I travel - the household's just not the same.

Your mileage may vary, particularly if you are one of those spouses who does 80 - 100% of the kidstuff and your husband does very little.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 7:15 PM

To Seriously:

I can empathize with alone at home. Even though the travel isn't frequent in her case, I suspect that she does most of the evening care all the time anyway. It gets wearing after a while to handle all of the daily nitty-gritty parts of raising young children.

I agree with Leslie that re-entry time can be tough too. Often a business trip means longer hours at the office catching up upon return.

I've never found it that easy to find babysitting for weeknight evenings. Teenagers in my neighborhood are out because they have too much homework and activities. Babysitters with children of their own need/want to be with their own children during those hours.

As far as asking friends to help with pick-up, etc., it can feel like imposing to ask friends. I don't recall how many part-time hours she works, but maybe she already feels too overwhelmed to reciprocate, or perhaps her work hours don't allow for reciprocating when her friends would need help. The other thing about part-time when a spouse has a demanding job--often the childcare isn't proportional. It's a grayer issue, I think, than for couples who both work full-time.

I don't mean this as an attack on your points, I'm just saying that as someone who has been through this that I understand some of the difficulties. I think alone at home recognizes the big picture to some degree. It's sometimes hard to remember it when you're feeling exhausted though.

Megan's neighbor makes a good point about possible background in terms of reasons for "workaholic" tendencies. Of course, I've found her posts often articulate my take on things much more eloquently than I do.

Posted by: Another Librarianmom | March 8, 2007 7:46 PM

To Seriously: I think Another Librarianmom summed it up nicely.

I know it's nothing more than what a single parent has to deal with all the time, but if it's not what you usually do, it can be a scramble to get it sorted out for those periods. Our whole usual routine is centered around having both of us there and participating, so when one person is suddenly gone, it means having to rearrange everything to cover what he does - and sometimes that can be a challenge.

Thankfully, neither of us has to travel much, but the times my husband has had to it has reminded me how incredibly lucky I am to have such a great partner the rest of the time.

Posted by: Megan | March 8, 2007 10:01 PM

No, I'm the real John. Just got back from my 3:30 am walk, in fact. I started doing this to lose weight, now I keep doing it because I enjoy it after I lost 40 pounds.

And yes I have feet, shoes, and drive to work... : )

Posted by: John | March 9, 2007 4:20 AM

John, Well, I am up with a bit of insommina.

Posted by: Fred | March 9, 2007 4:33 AM

To home alone: my dh was away on five separate trips in the three months after my first was born and then also went on his annual fishing trip three months later. He couldn't avoid the business trips, though the timing sucked for me (two of them were in the first six weeks when I coudln't drive due to my C-section. How was I going to go to the grocery?) but I never got over the optional fishing trip. Which he insisted upon, on the basis that "If I can't do anything fun after I have kids I'm going to be miserable". (And being home alone with my colicky newborn for most of its first three months was a real blast. Ok, whatever!) It still burns me!

Ok, personal rant over. He still goes on five trips a year. At least one is 1 week (saturday to saturday), usually two. The others are at least 3 days. As time passed, I got better at handling it, even with 2 kids, although I still hate it. The most recent trip (1 week) when he came back he said, "Was it really awful honey?" and I said (truthfully), "Actually it was kind of the same. I realized you don't do much, actually. In some ways it was easier because there was a lot less laundry. Your clothes take up a lot of space in the washer". Once I realized that I could do it all myself (and had apparently been mostly doing so already, without really realizing it), it didn't make the 'home alone' time easier to endure, but I sure enjoyed the look on his face when he realized he'd made his own bed and was going to have to lie on it!

I think when your dh travels you should avail yourself of the daycare. Also, I think you should calculate (e.g. based on a babysitting fee of $10 per hour per kid, plus $15 per hour overnight per kid; assume one kid per parent) what it would cost him to go out of town if he had to pay someone to do what you have to do when he's not. I think you should "pay yourself" for his absences. The extra that he earns by going out of town is his profit. Whatever you earned by doing his half of the parenting while he's out of town is yours to use for babysitting or for a fun trip for yourself. I don't think it's fair for him to demand you account for your own business trips with immediate profit unless he's also going to acknowledge that your presence and hard work with the kids is what allows him to earn more money.

My attitude to the value of SAHM-hood really changed when I realized that babysitters make $10-20 per hour. It would cost my husband $45 000 per year to have a babysitter for my two kids, for the daytime (e.g. if I died), and a lot more if he had to hire someone to stay with them overnight while he was away. Your time is really valuable to his career!

Posted by: m | March 9, 2007 9:44 AM

I am a full time father and I can tell you how absolutely depressing it is when there is no positive feedback from your wife about the work you do. It goes a long way to say something nice to uplift someone once in a while, even if its "dinner was good, thanks!"

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