Caring for Mom

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 Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration.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

By Judi Nagle

In 1997, my 75-year-old mother was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Fortunately, she lived in the area, she kept her marbles (most of the time) and most importantly, she had longterm care insurance .

During the years of her illness, I got married and unexpectedly, at the age of 41, had a child. I continued to work at a job I loved. Mom lived in a facility that was nearby but difficult to get to. She hated that she would be remembered as a sick old lady. I was glad that she lived long enough for my son to remember her at all.

We took her on outings, mostly to my son's activities, which got her outside. I am grateful for my husband who never shirked from visiting her or, when she got more infirm, from lifting and carrying her. I hope that my mother never knew how much of a hassle visiting her could sometimes be. Her greatest fear was that she would be a burden. I can't deny that she ended up being one.

Taking several hours out of a Saturday or a Sunday was tough. My son accepted the weekly visits to his grandmother without question. I was less sanguine. There was so much at home that needed to be done! How could I think about my need for clean underwear versus making my mother happy? I missed years of activities with friends to spend time with her. I still wonder if I could have done more. Short of quitting my job (which my
mother would not have wanted me to do), what else could I have done?

On November 11, 2005, I was with my mother when she died, two months shy of 84. I will always miss my mother. She was a generous, caring person (more than I ever was). Since her death, I have tried to emulate her concern for others. I want my son to remember my mother, but I don't want to turn her into the specter at every feast. I hope that my son will take care of my husband and me as we did my mother. I hope that I will be as understanding as my mother was when my son misses a visit.

Judi Nagle lives in Arlington with her family.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  April 24, 2007; 7:33 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
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Comments

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Judi, what a wonderful blog. Your mother was lucky to have such a caring daughter.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 24, 2007 7:41 AM

Nice blog. YOu certainly set a wonderful example for your son!

Posted by: moxiemom | April 24, 2007 7:57 AM

My uncle has Parkinson's disease. It is horrible to see him suffer. However, like your mother did he has a wonderful family to take care of him. You and your mom taught your son one of life's best lessons--sometimes caring for others comes before caring for yourself and sometimes that is not easy.

This is a nice guest blog today, I think it will hit home for a lot of people.

Posted by: scarry | April 24, 2007 8:00 AM

Nice. I know how hard this situation can be -- and no one understands until it happens to them. Good job.

Posted by: Jerrie | April 24, 2007 8:17 AM

Nice blog. Your honest recounting of your feelings is great to have out there for others to read. Just yesterday a friend and I were talking about these types of feelings. She has a child with special needs (as I do as well) and we were discussing how burdensome it can be and how sometimes you just wish your child did not have these issues. I think it is important not to deny that caring for family can be a burden and something you don't really want to be doing. We all make ourselves feel guilty; your line "how could I be thinking about laundry ..." for not being that super person who always thinks and says the right thing. But, we're human. The important thing is you DID the right thing - if you weren't always happy about it, so what. Your mother passed knowing you loved her and having had a chance to know her grandchild. That is a wonderful tribute and a blessing for all. Great job.

Posted by: PT Fed Mof2 | April 24, 2007 8:20 AM

Great blog entry. We're facing similar issues and I have to admit I look to the next generation (my children) and think "what would I want them to do for me?"...and then that is what I do for my in-laws. I'm not sure if it is guilt driven or not. However, it does take away that not-knowing-what-to-do feeling. I like to believe my children are learning what to do at the same time. We have the kids call at unexpected times just to chat and things like that. Unexpected things.

Posted by: dotted | April 24, 2007 8:21 AM


"I don't understand the policy of use it or lose it vacation days without the ability to carry any over"

----------------------------------------------------

There is also the accounting issue that accrued vacation is a liability on the books of the company that must be carried forward until it is paid out. This has cash flow implications, especially for smaller companies. My company allow me to accrue 360 hrs (45 days) of paid time off. After the 360 hrs no more is allowed to accrue.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 8:29 AM

Your frankness and honesty are refreshing. I'm sure your mother would be proud of you today, and I'm sure she's grateful for the wonderful care you gave to her in her final years.

Posted by: Mona | April 24, 2007 8:35 AM

Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 8:45 AM

We have the kids call at unexpected times just to chat and things like that. Unexpected things.

Posted by: dotted | April 24, 2007 08:21 AM

We do that too - just had them call yesterday cause I got an email from Grandma and she sounded kinda lonely. We have a stack of stuff for the grandparents every time they come over, stuff the kids want to tell them about - school news or a project. They love knowing about the day to day things.

Posted by: cmac | April 24, 2007 8:46 AM

cmac- exactly! The day to day things we-the ones doing it- don't appreciate. But the grandparents do. I like to think my in-laws feel involved even though they are 9 hours away by car. Feeling involved is always a good thing, right?

Posted by: dotted | April 24, 2007 8:54 AM

"I'm sure she's grateful for the wonderful care you gave
to her in her final years."

Mona, not to discredit Judi's efforts, but I think the long term care insurance did most of the taking care of Judi's mom. Even with that, Judi's mom was still an undeniable burden to her.

Nice guest blog though!

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 24, 2007 8:55 AM

Thought provoking guest blog. My dad had a cardiac arrest during a procedure a couple of years ago. He should have gone home the same day. He never went home again. He spent 3 months in a long-term care facility in CT but all three of his kids live out of state. We moved him here to MD to a place less than 10 mins from my house. I was able to see him every other day and bring him treats and do his laundry.
He was only here a month but I feel very lucky that I had that time with him.
Now my mother (also in CT) has lung cancer and we are trying to figure out how best to care for her. It is a difficult decision as we all work and can't pick up and move back home but we would hate to make her leave her home. I guess time will tell.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 24, 2007 9:06 AM

That was lovely. It's fortunate that your mother had the foresight to have long-term care insurance and that she lived near-by.

My parents moved across the country. I wonder what their expectations will be when they become infirm. I have a sibling closer to them so I expect that she will do most of the caretaking. I told them not to expect me to move across country and I hope they have made provision for themselves in their later years (they are well off financially so I expect so).

Does this seem cold?

Posted by: working mother | April 24, 2007 9:08 AM

This was a nice blog (ok, I'm crying, but it was nice). I have a close relative in the early stages of Parkinson's right now. When we were out west, I always wanted to move back east, because my family was really important to me. Once he was diagnosed, that became even more important.

We go through life thinking we have all the time in the world. Then someone you love is diagnosed with an incurable disease, and you become achingly conscious of how short it really is. I am tremendously thankful to be so close, so my kids can grow up knowing him as just a regular person, not defined by his disease.

Posted by: Laura | April 24, 2007 9:08 AM

Oh and I meant to comment--what a perfect topic for "On Balance". Many of us, even those without children, will have to deal with these issues. Thanks for bringing the issue up.

Posted by: working mother | April 24, 2007 9:10 AM

Looking at it from the other, deeper side (and certain to get flak for it, but so be it):

"How could I think about my need for clean underwear versus making my mother happy?"

How could you??? ;-P

Honestly, I would think your mom would want you to wear clean underwear before visiting. Maybe your son will not build a decade's (or more) worth of resentment over the burden of visiting someone he is supposed to admire and love.

"Taking several hours out of a Saturday or a Sunday was tough."
I can think of nothing more important than spending time with family and wouldn't classify it as losing time- especially if the odds are that the family will not be around much longer. Perhaps your relationship with your mother had a sour side... I can't see how you would be taking several hours... I'd think that any time spent away from family would be what would be considered "taking away." In spending time with your mom, you were in fact doing something positive and GIVING several hours to not only her life, but yours. Look at it as a gain, and not a loss of time and you will be that much more positive and successful in life. That was not time lost, but time saved and invested in a loved one. What life is worth living in which we are too busy to place a high enough value on certain things so it does not become classified as a burden? Something is definitely not balanced if we are losing sight of what is truly important... That said, semper ubi (clean) sub ubi.

Posted by: Chris | April 24, 2007 9:11 AM

Chris,
I think you're being unfair. This writer is revealing her innermost thoughts, but her actions speak louder. She did visit and take care of her mother. And she was glad that she did. She made her mothers last months/years more pleasant I'm sure. I don't think anyone in this position would not at least once in a while resent the fact that this situation would impact their lives. Judi was newly married and had a young baby and that is stressful in of itself.

So I don't agree with you. I think she is like all of us. I appreciate her honesty.

Posted by: working mother | April 24, 2007 9:15 AM

semper ubi mundus sub ubi

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 9:16 AM

Great post, Judi!

Does anyone know when people start paying for "long term care insurance?" I'm in my early 30s and it seems too soon, but if that is what is recommended, I guess I'll start!

Thanks!

Posted by: Jen | April 24, 2007 9:19 AM

Jen,
Start now. The younger you are the cheaper it is.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 24, 2007 9:21 AM

When my grandpa was in the hospital in the last weeks/months of his life, my Dad and his brother were the two closest siblings, and by extention, became the primary care-givers, decision-makers and hospital-visitors. I saw my Dad get up at 4AM to go to the hospital for a couple hours before he had to go to work...and come home late b/c he went to the hospital after work. It absolutely was a burden (a bitter sweet burden, but a burden nonetheless) - but it taught me (reinforced, really) one of the most valuable lessons of my life AND it provided me what I now consider one of the most precious periods of time in my own life.

I started going with my Dad in those early mornings/evening visits. The car rides downtown to the hospital were quiet time for the two of us to talk about anything/everything. Sometimes my Dad would open up about how sad it made him to see his father so ill and other times we'd just talk about life in general. When we got to the hospital, the time I spent with my grandpa, even though he could never speak back to me, was probably the most meaningful, precious time we had together...ever. I was able to show him, in his last days, that being there with him was a priority for me - because being there for me was always a priority for him earlier in life.

I'd like to think I would have made these visits even if my own father hadn't been the one leading them - but I am so grateful for the example he showed in his dedication to his father and the benefits I reaped as a result.

Posted by: MplsDaughter | April 24, 2007 9:21 AM

I think Chris has a point about the wording of "taking time out of" and "giving time to."

Posted by: anon for today | April 24, 2007 9:22 AM

Judi, thank you for your post and everyone for commenting. It's helpful for me to hear how you all deal with these tough challenges. We just found out last week that my mom is early-stage Parkinson's (she's not even 60; I'm turning 33 this year). Everyone else in the family is really upset by this but for some reason I'm not, and I don't know why; I keep thinking at least it's not fatal, like lung cancer (which took my father-in-law and my best friend's dad over the past year), and it's not a disease of immense suffering like Alzheimer's. For some reason I can't help being optimistic and trusting in the drugs/drs to make everything all better.
Can anyone who's dealt with a loved one with Parkinson's tell what the disease is like as it progresses? Do people end up in nursing homes/wheelchairs or need intensive home care? Does it eventually become disabling like MS? My parents are so young that they are likely to be dealing with this for a long time, just as my sister and I start our own families. (This is the final straw I needed for me to tell my husband we need to start having kids NOW)
I'm worried that I'm not worried, and am eager to hear what others' experiences have been. Thanks to you all for sharing your own stories of balance. This is one time I really need this blog!

Posted by: NY Lurker | April 24, 2007 9:25 AM

Thank you for your candid entry. I'm sure your son will remember and emulate your behavior in the future. My mother was diagnosed with MS at 27 and was fully bidridden with two small children by 30. My dad quit his job and started a home business so that he could care for the three of us (mom, brother and I). While the poverty was rough (no LTC...nor any health insurance) and I know my dad was frustrated with the physical and mental burden of caring for us all, I will always remember how willing he was to sacrifice everything else in his life to care for the woman he loved.

Hopefully I'll be able to repay that generosity when he needs care in return.

Posted by: No kids yet | April 24, 2007 9:30 AM

Thanks KLB SS MD-- I'll look into it now!

Posted by: Jen | April 24, 2007 9:39 AM

Judy,

Thanks so much for your candor. I've just helped take care of my in-laws (they were both sick for several months and then died). My husband and I work full-time and have two toddlers.

The experience was a tremendous strain. They were wonderful people, and very good to me. Still, I'm human and amusing my kids in the hospital waiting rooms, finding the patience to comfort people who are seriously ill, helpin coordinate their care--was exhausting.

While I miss them both terribly, I am glad they are both at piece, and, yes, that my life and free time, is a little more my own.

Posted by: NYC | April 24, 2007 9:42 AM

It really is all about the perspective we choose to take when faced with anything of a challenging nature. I'm not trying to be unfair, just eye opening in providing a different way of looking at something that at first glance is seemingly beyond control.

As far as "long term care" goes- be careful about this. Many people who have spent significant sums of money on plans are finding out that they are very limited when it comes time to put them to use.
I don't see myself in a nursing home until I die... I suppose I'll just have to live forever then. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | April 24, 2007 9:43 AM

The words "mother" and "care" appear in conjunction in 1949 posts on this blog.

Contrast this with:

The words "father" and "care" appear in conjunction in only 910 posts on this blog.

Posted by: Blog Stats | April 24, 2007 9:43 AM

NY Lurker - my grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinsons about 10 years ago, later in life. The disease took its toll on her, but it's hard to say how much has been the Parkinsons and how much just the process of aging. Over time, she lost her ability to walk and feed herself, and as a result her muscles weakened. Today, she is bed-ridden and weak, and for some parts of the day she is not lucid. But she still entertains visitors at her assisted living facility and has a great sense of humor. She told me once, a few years ago, "little by little you grow old, so slowly you hardly notice." Maybe it's because she's surrounded by a loving family, but the disease is only one aspect of her life, something that has changed her life's course, not halted it.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 9:46 AM

What a great blog Judi. Your honesty is refreshing. I do think it is sage advice to get long term care. I have heard you should get it by early 50s. I am sure your mother died knowing how much you loved her and a great lesson to your son. So many baby boomers will face the same challenge of caring for children as well as elderly parents.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 24, 2007 9:51 AM

Anon at 9:46:

Thanks for sharing your experience with your grandmother. The fact that she is still going 10 years after diagnosis gives me hope. It sounds like you are very grateful for the time you have with her, and I'm sure she realizes how blessed she is to have people who care about her so much.

I worry about my mom losing her independence but more so losing her cognitive ability. That would be the worst part, for me. Your grandmother seems to be coping with her condition remarkably well, that's awesome.

I have been telling my parents for years to buy LTC insurance but now I fear, with the diagnosis, it is too late. I guess life sometimes takes a sudden turn you didn't anticipate and the best you can do is adjust as much as possible.

FYI Chris has a point about LTC insurance. The NY Times just ran a piece about this topic. Still, it is better than nothing -- Medicare only covers 6 mo of nursing home stay and not a lot of home-care needs, and Medicaid doesn't kick in until you've exhausted all your resources.

Posted by: NY Lurker | April 24, 2007 9:59 AM

I think this post should be a segue to how we have to deal with elderly parents while we are working.

My sister and I had to deal with our eldery mother in Florida. My sister, a teacher, who lived near her, handled the emotional toll. I handled the finacial toll. What we both learned is that nothing prepares you for dealing with elderly parents. I had to hire a consultant in Florida to deal with the Medicare and other bureaucratic things. Best investment I made last year.

The bad thing was the 1950's views that some had. My sister was told to quit her job and have mom move in with her and her family. I was told to quit my job and move back home. I am blessed that I had the financial means to get my mom the best care. Having her move in with my sister was never an option. Mom wanted her independence.

Luckly I had a very understanding and supportive employer who allowed me to go to Florida about every six weeks as needed (sometimes on just a 12 hour notice!) My sister was not as lucky and was told by her principal that she should concentrate on the future (e.g. her students) rather than the past (e.g. her mother).

When mom died, I was given a week's bereavement leave and my employer told me to take off as much time as needed. They even sent a very good contribution to my mom's favorite charity. My sister was not given bereavement leave (they don't have it in their union contract) she had to take sick leave and was told to report to work the day after the funeral.

Both of us learned that our older coworkers have dealt with the issue of aging parents and the workplace. My employer was very supportive of me when I returned. My sister was told to "get over it".

Same situation....two employers

Posted by: Dan | April 24, 2007 10:00 AM

NY Lurker,

Parkinson's is a very cruel disease. My brilliant uncle suffered with it for over 10 years and eventually died in his late 50s. Parkinson's slowly robbed his formerly graceful body of the ability to move. At the end, he could only slump over in a chair. It also robbed this once eloquent man the ability to speak clearly. At the end, he could only stutter and drool. And, cruelest of all, the disease didn't affect his ability to comprehend. So he KNEW what he had been reduced to. He literally was a prisoner in his body. I hope your mother's case isn't as bad. Enjoy the time you have with her now because it probably will get worse.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 10:01 AM

Nice blog. I understand Judi's terminology; from a purely selfish perspective it can be tough to spend that much time taking care of somebody else, particularly while experiencing the marriage/childbirth events that tend to make you want to focus on yourself. But taking care of a loved one in that situation is not only a duty, it's an honor and it's well worth it. It sets a good example for the son, and should leave loving memories.

My mother's birth father walked out on the family when she was two months old - just decided he didn't want the responsibility for her, her two year old brother and their mother any more. Disappeared from their lives and never supported them again (this was in the '30s). The man I knew as my grandfather married my grandmother two years later - he always said it was because he fell in love with the kids. It wasn't easy as a Mexican in Denver, but he always worked hard and raised them right. Fast forward 50 years - it's the early 90s; Grandma had died; Grandpa lived by himself in Denver. I was teaching at the Air Force Academy. DW and the then two kids and I drove up to Denver on weekends twice a month to take him to church and to a restaurant; out to the cemetery; and helped around the house. Sure, it would have been easier not to have taken the time with him, but I always felt he had earned that time from us. I wanted my kids to know their Great-Grandfather and what a "great" man he was.

Sometimes "balance" means giving time to others rather than figuring out how to devote more to ourselves.

Posted by: Army Brat | April 24, 2007 10:03 AM

*sigh* I suppose the only option to staying fit, healthy, and immortal is for me to work to become an elite millionaire with no worries beyond moving out of the DC area before old age or a nuclear disaster.

Posted by: Chris | April 24, 2007 10:06 AM

NY Lurker...my husband's grandfather has Parkinson's. He still gets around pretty well, but has difficulty walking and speaking. As you begin to lose muscle control, everyday tasks can become unexpectedly difficult (like eating, dressing, toileting, etc.). Additionally, we had a regular patron some years ago at my library who had Parkinson's and would "freeze"...he would lock up and be unable to move from where he was...not so embarassing/problematic if he was sitting at a table, but more so if he froze in the middle of the entrance. Not to frighten you, but it can take its toll in ways that go far beyond "normal" aging. Then again, everyone's different.

As for a possibly unpopular perspective on spending time with ailing relatives, I wouldn't trade a single minute that my husband got to have with his (other) grandfather before he passed away last winter. DH's parents and uncles spent A LOT of effort moving the grandparents closer to family (including us), and we spent four months having dinner/hanging out nearly every night with DH's folks, uncles and grandparents before Pops passed away. Wouldn't trade a single second. OTOH, it only lasted four months. I don't know that I could have given that kind of energy over of the many years my grandparents spent in very poor health before they passed. The intense connection to family can be wonderful, but I for one could not have maintained it.

Posted by: librarylady | April 24, 2007 10:10 AM

I am not sure this is correct. But I heard if you pass on the majority of your assets to your family before you die over a few years, the nursing home will just take the remainder of your estate. So if you already gave away most of your estate, it won't be much. I do know they don't always have medicare beds available. But that is what DH's grandmother did. She ran out of money in just a few months in the nursing home but they cared for her till she died. It seemed like a nice home and they did care about their patients. I still would recommend some LTC insurance.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 24, 2007 10:14 AM

Dan, your wife's boss sounds like a winner. We get 5 days for funerals. It has to be taken from sick leave too.

Posted by: foamgome | April 24, 2007 10:16 AM

Whoever said SAHM activities don't benefit society. SAHMs take care of their family members when they are sick or disabled instead of dumping them in a LTC facility.

Posted by: pb&j | April 24, 2007 10:24 AM

Whoever said SAHM activities don't benefit society. SAHMs take care of their family members when they are sick or disabled instead of dumping them in a LTC facility.

Really? My husband's sister in law is a SAHM and never took care of our grandma. She lives a block away from the other grandma and never checks in on her. I don't think it is fair to generalize. I know some working moms who ran theirselves ragged and tired taking care of their loved one.

Posted by: scarry | April 24, 2007 10:26 AM

pb&j:LTC can help SAHPs as well. Some LTC send people into the home to bathe and dress and help do other care type activities. Or take them to day facilities. Sort of like day care for elderly people. It may be beneficial to get LTC even if you think you would have a SAH person doing most of the care. Not to mention that SAH may also have children to take care of as well.

Posted by: adoptee | April 24, 2007 10:27 AM

Thanks to anon at 10:01 and LibraryLady. That's awful, what you and your relatives have had to go through. Yikes! This is a reality check. Now I am worried about my mom and will try to spend as much time with her as I can. (And will *definitely* get on the kids bandwagon this year . . . I want her to be able to experience being a grandma while she still can)

Army Brat, I really liked your story too. (I always do) You have such a wonderful family.

To Dan/FoamGnome: having a caring and supportive employer is definitely helpful. Mine let me take a bereavement day last year when we had to put our cat down. (sob . . . miss her)

Posted by: NY Lurker | April 24, 2007 10:28 AM

Hey Blog Stats -- women live longer, isn't that a stat still true? maybe we're caring more for mothers bec of this. And the guestblog was about a mother...

Posted by: Ashpash | April 24, 2007 10:38 AM

Please update us on the number of times that you have been told to buzz off!

Posted by: to blog stats | April 24, 2007 10:42 AM

I think it sounds like you've taught your son well. I really believe that actions speak louder than words and by caring for your mother and taking your son along - you've done a lot more teaching than preaching about it... Also - I think you've helped us all by sharing your thoughts that although you've always known what you SHOULD do and what's right - it doesn't always mean that's what you want to do. Thank you for sharing.

Posted by: maria | April 24, 2007 10:43 AM

"Dan, your wife's boss sounds like a winner. We get 5 days for funerals. It has to be taken from sick leave too."

Sounds pretty generous to me.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 10:45 AM

"Dumping them into an LTC facility"

Definately a statement from someone who has never dealt with eldery or sick relatives.

One wants the best care for their relatives. If they can provide that at home that's great! But most of the time SAHP don't have the time, the money, and, most importantly, the knowledge to take care of a terminally ill or very elderly person.

I had a coworker who took in her sick mother. The mother had dementia. The mother tried to suffocate one of my co-workers children one night. After that, my coworker's husband took the kids and left.

Taking care of someone who is terminally ill or elderly is much different that dealing with a child's flu.

Posted by: Dan | April 24, 2007 10:46 AM

Chris - I had the same initial reaction you did, but after a little reflection, and realizing that I am not in her shoes, it may be a misplaced emotion. Judi's mother was in a facility for about 10 years (?). The day to day concerns of a parent on top of the weekly visits, work, raising kids, running a house - it is a lot.

I always look at the time we visit with grandparents (once a week for both sides) as a blessing - we live close and our kids get so much from the relationship. As they get older and require more "care" I am sure the pressure will build. There are feelings of guilt that come from these situations that, not having been through it, I can't pssobily understand.

As one poster said - actions do speak louder than words.

Posted by: cmac | April 24, 2007 10:46 AM

Whoever said SAHM activities don't benefit society.

Posted by: pb&j | April 24, 2007 10:24 AM

If this is from yesterday, I never said SAHM activities don't benefit society. I said these activities don't economically benefit society.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 10:49 AM

Caring for a relative at home as opposed to putting them in a facility does have a significant economic benefit. A daughter caring for her mother does not receive medicare payments which can run into the many thousands a month. No one has to pay for the transport company to transport the person to different medical facilities. Many of these caregivers also perform physical therapy care at no cost to society. Families used to take care of each other, but now that women have left the home they are allowing strangers to care for their children and their parents at the most needy and vulnerable times in their lives. Doesn't sound like progress to me.

Posted by: pb&j | April 24, 2007 10:56 AM

pb&j, I'm not on board with your sentiments, exactly, but you're in the right place with the future of care. Many levels of government, including the feds, are starting to think about ways to encourage community-based care wherever appropriate and limit dependence on nursing homes and assisted living . . . it is much cheaper and again, where it is appropriate for each individual, has lots of benefits versus going into a facility.

Posted by: NY Lurker | April 24, 2007 11:01 AM

"Please update us on the number of times that you have been told to buzz off!"

No respectable regular
Other than today, The term "buzz off" appears twice since the history of the blog.

Posted by: Blog Stats | April 24, 2007 11:01 AM

Caring for a relative at home as opposed to putting them in a facility does have a significant economic benefit......

Posted by: pb&j | April 24, 2007 10:56 AM

All of the things you mention are true, but while she is not working, she is not contributing taxes that would pay for medicaid. The real benefit is to her family member who gets care from someone who loves them. All the other thing you mention are economically neutral, since the economy benefits from peoples labor and production, by caring for her relative herself, she is reducing both of these.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 11:08 AM

pb&j,
Why do you feel it is so important for care of the elderly to be at no cost to society? If it is medicare/medicaid you are speaking of these are problems that the elderly have most likely paid into all their lives. Why should they be denied the benefit?
Do you honestly expect every child to take in every parent? A small woman could not possibly be expected to care for a large, immobile elderly person alone - it is absurd to expect her to.
I would bet that the vast majority of people who place their elderly parents in a long-term care facility do so with a great deal of angst and after much deliberation.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 24, 2007 11:08 AM

Let's talk physics & let's talk about just how sick some people are at the ends of their lives.

One tiny 4'11" woman trying to get her 6'2" 220 pound husband in and out of a wheelchair, in and out of his depends, etc. That's not hypothetical.

And he's very ill with heart problems, and he suffers from dementia too. He gets violent.

It's not "dumping" to have someone cared for by those who have the knowledge, the equipment, the sheer numbers of people necessary to monitor, administer and care for those who are extraordinarily ill and fragile.

Definitely start doing some planning as far as who will have durable powers regarding your medical care, your estate. You may need to start spending down assets years before in order to not have your spouse living on the street.

A fair number of elderly people end up divorcing their spouse, just so that one can continue to have a home that isn't a cardboard box, and the other can get the ongoing day-to-day medical care they need.

It's sad.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 11:23 AM

Actually, I just heard that b/c women are taking up smoking more and men are less, women's life expectancy is decreasing to meet with men's.

I think this blog is wonderful. One thing that seems to have happened in our society is that we are all only looking out for ourselves and that we have forgotten that we all have responsibilities to our families, to society, etc. And not only to ourselves. This shows us what is important.

Posted by: atlmom | April 24, 2007 11:26 AM

NY Lurker ~

Sorry to hear about your mom's diagnosis. I don't know much about the disease, but I would think that the younger & healthier you are when you're diagnosed, the easier it might be. (Not that it's ever easy) Example - Michael J. Fox. With proper medication, he's been able to continue his public appearances, though he's of course had to cut back on things.

Good luck to you and your mom. Medical science is evolvnig every day.

Oh, and as for the kids thing - I'm 6 months preggo with my first, and I'll be happy to be the bandwagon leader! Jump on board! =)

Posted by: dlm79 | April 24, 2007 11:30 AM

One thing that seems to have happened in our society is that we are all only looking out for ourselves and that we have forgotten that we all have responsibilities to our families, to society, etc. And not only to ourselves. This shows us what is important.

Posted by: atlmom | April 24, 2007 11:26 AM

Do you really think this is true? What makes you think so?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 11:31 AM

pb&j, you know not of what you speak. Dan, you're correct. Caring for someone with Dementia, Parkinson's, Alz, etc. is daunting at best and anyone who says "dumping them in LTC" has never experienced what is being discussed today.

Many people are simply not equipped to give 24-hour care. There are professionals who know how to care for them and can spend 24 hours with them. Who can spend 24 hours at home? Who? How would you earn a living? How would you care for your kids? How would you care for anything else?

We're talking about people who cannot be left alone -- at all. Want to run to Giant and get some groceries? Nope, you can't leave your mother alone or with your kids. Run to school and pick up your kids? Nope. To assume that every elderly person could be cared for at home is naive and it's something many of us wrestle with every day.

Posted by: Jerrie | April 24, 2007 11:32 AM

My grandma and uncle had/have Parkinson's disease. I couldn't take care of my uncle even if I wanted to. He weighs 200 pounds and is a big man, even in his weakened state; my aunt found him face down one day on the farm in the creek. They have to have someone come in and help them even though he still lives at home and is surrounded by family. It is terribly sad and I pity anyone who has to watch a family member with this disease suffer.

Every time I visit I cry all the way home to my mom's house. My uncle was a farmer and a steel worker and now he is reduced to not being able to walk or hardly feed himself. My grandma was better and only shook a little bit, I think it depends on the person and if the doctor can get the meds right. I am sure that with new technology and stem cell research that someday Parkinson's will be able to be better controlled, unfortunately for some people like my uncle it will be to late.

Posted by: scarry | April 24, 2007 11:38 AM

Families used to take care of each other, but now that women have left the home they are allowing strangers to care for their children and their parents at the most needy and vulnerable times in their lives. Doesn't sound like progress to me.
_____
So in fact it was not families that were taking care of each other. It was that women were taking care of them all. True, outsourcing this is not necessarily progress for the caretakees. But it IS progress for the women who used to spend their whole lives from adulthood 'till death being the overworked, unpaid, and unrecognized handmaids of the neediest people in society.
_______
while she is not working, she is not contributing taxes that would pay for medicaid
______
It seems unlikely that her payroll taxes would be sufficient to cover her parent's medicaid, since medicaid is based on a pyramid idea where the taxes of the many pay for the medical costs of a few. Also, in a nursing home, she'd have a nurse to take care of her, an orderly to clean the room, a driver to drive her to physical therapy, and a cafeteria to cook her meals. Each of these people has to be paid, and expensive systems have to be in place to make sure they do a good job since in reality they don't really care if your mom lives or dies. At home, one person does all those things, and because she cares, she does a better job. It's far more efficient. It's like all the other calculus on SAHMs: if you had to hire someone to clean your house every day, cook all your meals, drive your kids to sports, and watch your kids overtime while you worked late and went on business trips, you'd have to pay an AWFUL lot of money. But if you have a SAHM do it, then it's free. On the whole, society benefits from having the elderly age with relatives. The relatives, however, bear the cost, physical and psychological. That's the issue.

Posted by: m | April 24, 2007 11:41 AM

Let me throw another question out there, since there is a whole can of worms that just got opened for me of things I've never had to deal with before.

In terms of balance, what have people's experiences been sharing the care of parents with siblings? In our case, my dad is retired and pretty healthy so he'll be my mom's main caregiver. But there will still be extra things that have to get done, so my sister who lives nearby will probably do them. And I've got a health care background, so it will probably fall to me to deal with translating stuff, interacting with doctors and facilities, finding out about options, etc. My sister lives closer to my 'rents and is more emotionally closer to them . . . I want to support my mom the best way I can though. How do you head off sibling squabbles?

P.S. dlm79 thanks for the good wishes . . . we learn as we go, I guess. Good luck to you & best wishes for a smooth pregnancy and easy delivery! Congrats!

Posted by: NY Lurker | April 24, 2007 11:44 AM

Why do I think that? Because there are even people on this blog who said: well, you have to give away your assets so that medicaid will kick in.

Which translated means: I would like to keep some of *my* money so that other people can pay *my* bills. Well, those other people are you and me - the taxpayers.

Many times it seems that people are only looking out for what they get out of things, rather than how they can contribute or give.

Posted by: atlmom | April 24, 2007 11:50 AM

I have a lot of concerns about caring for my aging parents.

My father is moving to Colombia with his wife this summer. He has had two heart attacks and continues to smoke and drink hard liquor. I wonder who he thinks will care for him (his wife is 80 pounds lighter than he). I think he just plans on staying at home and not seeking medical care. What a nice prospect for us to deal with.

My mom lives nearby and will most likely stay unmarried (she's taken a vow of chastity). I want to care for her myself for as long as possible. She should not have to die alone. When my MIL commented on my mother living with me and my husband when she's older, I replied with "in the end, I'll never say that I wished I spent less time with my mom." On the plus side, my husband and I don't want kids, so I'm hoping that providing care will be a little easier for us.

Posted by: Meesh | April 24, 2007 11:53 AM

thank you for your kind support. i don't see myself as a saint or super woman. i did what i could do. my mother's parkinsons progressed very slowly at first. she lived at home the first couple of years she had it. she picked out the facility where she spent the rest of her life because she wanted professionals to care for her. there is a right way & a wrong way to lift somebody up from a bed, from a chair, & from a toilet.

yes, long term care made the difference. i can't imagine the financial sacrafices we would have had to have made to pay for the care she received the last two years of her life. this is a topic that i think could be the subject of another debate sort of like the child care debate. we all want the best possible care for our children & our parents but the reality of having to pay for it......

the real saints are the women (and men but mostly women) who care for the elderly. the ones who get them out of bed, get them dressed, change their diapers and bathe them. and when that person suffers from dementia, it is a thankless task. when word went out in the facility that my mother had died several aides came into her room in tears talking about what a nice woman my mother was. how gracious & pleasent she always was to them. it is easy for them to care for people like that. it is much harder to care for those who have lost the ability to say thank you.

Posted by: judi nagle | April 24, 2007 11:55 AM

Each of these people has to be paid, and expensive systems have to be in place to make sure they do a good job since in reality they don't really care if your mom lives or dies. At home, one person does all those things, and because she cares, she does a better job.
========================================
Not everyone who wants to, or IS, providing the care is particularly good at it. There are plenty of situations of elder abuse going on behind closed family doors. It's just not as easily documented because it's not regulated.

A good friend's father is receiving sub-standard care at home. But if reported to the authorities, the money still won't magically appear from the sky to take care of him, and keep his wife with a roof over her head. My friend is in NO position to help, she has to work to keep a roof over HER head, and her kids! Not to mention food, insurance, trying to get her kids to see their doctors (Abilify is outrageously expensive if not covered by insurance) and a car to get around (folks live 20 miles away). It's not like she earns much per year. In fact, she earns hardly enough. It worries me.

Are nursing homes, long-term care facilities of hospitals perfect?

Hell no. But at least they are supposed to be inspected periodically--they don't want to lose their licensure. Not that that is always saying much. After all, everyone is looking for immediate availability AND inexpensive AND high quality care. You only get two out of three. That applies to getting your house fixed, or your car, or your family members medical issues dealt with.

But you are assuming too much.

1) Everyone loves their family so much, they can and will do a good job caring for them. 24-7-365
2) That all patients can and should be cared for at home. Sometimes, it's just too much--too much medically, too much physically, too much emotionally.

Not every family is sending the parents doddering off to Bayview, a la the character Tom, from "Waiting for God" you know.

Posted by: MdMother | April 24, 2007 11:55 AM

pb&J: I know! Why can't all these uppity wives stay at home and take care of their husband's and their own elderly parents!

If only women were in their proper roles at home like they used to be, we'd all be happy, just like we used to be. Wow -- remember how happy we all used to be when women stayed at home?

Posted by: Rebecca | April 24, 2007 12:01 PM

You don't know what terrifying is until you have come home from work early, to find the LOCKED front door wide open, and your parent gone.

He was found wandering around, 3 miles away, on the side of a road.

I have no idea how he remembered to unlock the door, but he did.

I had him in a nursing home the following week, and within two months he was moved to the Alzheimer's ward. It wasn't safe for him to stay with us, as we couldn't provide around-the-clock care. We can't stay awake endlessly! Plus with his other physical ailments, I would have needed a medical degree to take care of him, and a CPA to prevent my mother from losing every dime she had saved so that she could enjoy her declining years. And NO--she did NOT want to live with me. She wanted her independence. And that did NOT include losing her entire life's savings so he could be properly cared for until he died (which turned out to be 3 years later).

She lived for another 10, on her own money. She didn't need any specialized care, fortunately; and she got to keep her dignity by living in her own home. She did sell the house and move to an apartment, but that was her choice.

Posted by: JRH | April 24, 2007 12:05 PM

Jerrie wrote: "To assume that every elderly person could be cared for at home is naive and it's something many of us wrestle with every day."

Excellent point, Jerrie. As usual, a few of this blog's chatters strike a one-size-fits-all pose on a near-universal topic like today's, passing judgment against anyone who even for sound reason doesn't adhere to their socio-political agenda. I truly admire those who are able to SAH and tend a declining parent, and I value highly their economic contribution to society -- but for a multitude of good reasons it can't be done in every case.

Fact is, some relatives -- of any age, although today's discussion is chiefly about aging parents -- require professional care that at least after a while no relative (no matter how well-intentioned, but medically-untrained) is reasonably able provide in a home setting, whether the ill person's or the caregiver's.

Sometimes spouses or partners will decline most family help, too, preferring to care for their loved-one principally by themselves for as long as they're able.

Another factor not much discussed yet: Not all sick old people, when they were younger and healthy, managed to have good relationships with their child(ren) -- sometimes their own fault, not the child's; face it, not all elders were/are saints.

E.g., a friend's mother had been sexually molested by her own father for years as a child. He was lucky that his adult daughter took any concern at all, as some people felt he didn't deserve it.

I witnessed the toll on my own mother from having to take increasing responsibility over the years for a nasty, complaining and ungrateful parent who would bad-mouth her at every turn for any little thing.

And over the decades DH gradually became principal caregiver for an aunt, to the point that as her main financial support we were able to list her as a dependent on our income taxes during her last several years. We did it because she was a difficult individual whom no one else in the family was willing to help -- a long history of family strife over her having converted to a more progressive religion, which was a deal-breaker for these other relatives -- but DH couldn't turn his back on her the way they did, and shouldered the necessary responsibility to enable her to live on her own as long as possible, then enter an independent living facility.

Posted by: catlady | April 24, 2007 12:06 PM

It seems to me that caring for the elderly is also one of those things we expect women to do. I don't hear a lot of men stepping up to discuss how they cared for their aging parents. Nor does anyone seem to criticize them when they put their parents in nursing homes. I find it appallingly sexist. When have these responsibiliites have to be the exclusive domain of women?

I am saving aggressively for retirememt, and will invest in long term care insurance when the time comes. I do not ever want to burden my children with the physical and emotional toil of having to care for me at home, especially if I become helpless. I certainly do hope they visit me on Sundays (or whenever), but I don't expect them to be my caregivers, if it ever comes to that.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 12:08 PM

Re medicaid issues: the reality also is that you can literally go bankrupt caring for your elderly parents.
My grandma had had a stroke and was partially paralyzed; was diabetic and needed dialysis a few times a week; had high blood pressure; had an permanent IV tube inserted for daily medications - you name it, she had it. My dad wanted to look after her at home and had to pay for a nurse AND a maid just to look after her - boy it was expensive. Luckily we had the resources, but most people don't.

Posted by: pd | April 24, 2007 12:11 PM

NY Lurker...regarding division of labor between siblings, in my family, it seems like the sibling who has had their act together all their lives is the one who winds up with most of the responsibility for giving/coordinating care, regardless of geographic proximity, financial means, or any other factor. In many ways, it seems almost easier to be an only child in this situation...while you have no one to help you provide/coordinate care, you also have no one who will argue with you (only child Mom with her folks vs. one-of-two Dad with his). Only child DH and I actually recently decided to move closer (read: 1500 miles) to his parents in recognition that our day will come. My DC-metro parents are considering leaving their 30-year home to be closer to me b/c I am/will be their "act together" child. Best wishes for your family.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 12:14 PM

forgot a handle...12:14 was me

Posted by: librarylady | April 24, 2007 12:15 PM

My sisters, father and I cared for our Mom when she was diagnosed with Lung Cancer in April 04. Families are a strange bunch...no matter who's. I am the baby, my next older sister is an RN, my next older sister a stay-at-home Grandma, and my older brother lives across the country. Taking care of Mama came down to the stay-at-home Grandma, my Dad and me (who lived 52 miles away - one way). The RN "couldn't deal" with everything. She lived the closest and was LESS than helpful. It was so frustrating. I'm not saying she didn't help, she just didn't roll up her sleeves and help like we did. I shouldn't judge - but she made me MAD.

We took the best care of Mama that we could and unfortunately she only lasted from early-April through early-August. I never, ever, even once thought of those weekend trips to my parents home and occasionally mid-week visits to the oncologist as any kind of burden. I WANTED to be involved, I WANTED to know how to best care for her and I WANTED to ease my father's burden as best we could. They were married for 52 Years! Not the best marriage either, but 52 years is a long time together.

After Mama died, Daddy just gave up. He had nothing to live for and within 16 months he died as well. We all tried to get him to live with us, but he wanted his independence, although... he'd never really been alone before. We (my hubby and I) and my stay-at-home Grandma sister and her hubby, took turns going to see him every weekend and I'd cook a few meals, clean a bathroom, run the vacuum, that sort of thing and he loved it... but he just never got over losing her.

I always felt like it was a HONNOR to care for my parents - they cared for us as children and it was something I needed to do -- as much for them as for me!

I do not have birth-children. I have two lovely step-daughters and hope that when the time comes they'll care for me. But I cannot guarantee that -- they have their own mother. I will be purchasing long-term care insurance... just in case.

Posted by: nrb123 | April 24, 2007 12:16 PM

On the flip side of the same discussion, my friend recently died of Hodgkin's lymphoma. She was 29. Her parents cared for her at their home between bouts of long hospital stays. She and her husband were separated for the last year of her life, so he was not caring for her.

Her parents spent hundreds of thousands of dollars caring for her and shouldered her medical debt from when she was living independently. They had to sell the family home and move an hour farther away from their jobs.

Although they would never tell her friends, I'm sure there were times when her parents wished she didn't require so much care. That does not in any way diminish their love for her.

Posted by: Meesh | April 24, 2007 12:21 PM

What a great guest blog. Thank you!

Posted by: Shandra | April 24, 2007 12:30 PM

Also, in a nursing home, she'd have a nurse to take care of her, an orderly to clean the room, a driver to drive her to physical therapy, and a cafeteria to cook her meals.

--------------------------------------

nursing homes have more than 1 person staying there as well. To be less efficient you need:

(# empoloyees)/(# patients) > 1

specialization of tasks usually makes a system more efficient not less.

Posted by: math for m | April 24, 2007 12:31 PM

Emily wrote: "It seems to me that caring for the elderly is also one of those things we expect women to do."

While I have known some sons who bore the main or total responsibility for their elderly parents' care, you're correct that in our society it's traditionally more often been the daughter who does.

Emily, do you think this might change somewhat for the children of the aging Baby Boomer generation, since more of them hold more egalitarian values than previous generations did?

Posted by: catlady | April 24, 2007 12:32 PM

NY Lurker,

My advice about sibling squabbles is, to the extent you can, try to find a calm moment away from other family members to talk seriously about money, what type of care you and your sibbling want for your mother, and, for lack of a better term, the division of labor. I have 5 Aunts and Uncles on my mother's side who are grappling with care of my grandmother who will need a LTC facility sooner or later. One wants the state run place, one wants most expensive place available- and this has led to a lot of indignation and hurt feelings on both sides. Also, try to have a real conversation with your sibling about how often each of you can visit your Mom. You might have different expectations about whether someone needs to be with her every day, once a week, etc. It is better to start talking about these things now.

Finally, my Dad has Parkinson's and his quality of life has been improved and extended by a surgical procedure called deep brain stimulation. Only some patients are good candidates for this, but I will say that it has really helped my father and that folks who have relatives with Parkinson's or themselves have it should at least investigate the procedure. My father was diagnosed almost 10 years ago, and has shaking and discomfort, but is able to do most of the activities he always enjoyed.

Posted by: Rock Creek Mama | April 24, 2007 12:33 PM

The challenges of taking care of the elderly -- especially as siblings divvy (or don't divvy) up the work (and it is work in many cases) -- is exacerbated by the variety of issues the elderly face. For example, my grandfather had dementia/alzheimers. My sister was much better than I was at spending time with him because she was much more patient about repeating the same things over and over again. By round 4, I wasn't patient at all. I've long known that I find it incredibly challenging to work with people, even loved ones, who can't engage in conversation because verbal conversations and intellectual discussions are very much a part of who I am -- for better or for worse. On the other hand, relatives who have had physical problems but retain their ability to maintain conversations are easy for me to care for. I don't mind the physical work (even blood) as others do.

Thus in my family, the care of my parents (both of whom have honestly said that they hope to go fast -- it's tough in the short run, but easier in the long run than watching someone wither away slowly, as my mother did with both her parents) will certainly be affected by what afflicts them in old age. I certainly hope that they remain active and engaged for all their lives, as do they, but reality (and genes) suggest otherwise.

Posted by: sally | April 24, 2007 12:41 PM

Emily, "I don't hear a lot of men stepping up to discuss how they
cared for their aging parents."

When I moved my family into my mother's house and was supporting my wife through nursing school, one of the benefits was that my grandmother had someone with her 24/7.

I didn't do the bathroom stuff, but I found out that my grandmother loved car racing in her old age. It was a source of comfort to her to hear the engines roar around the track again, and again and again. I gave her a stuffed pink panther to hold and pet, and I could always get her to laugh. I snuck her cookies too, which my mother wouldn't let her have.

I also spent several years doing volunteer work at a nursing home when I was a teenager. Some of the old ladies in there were so lonely, they offered me money just to listen and talk with them. If a child visits, their eyes light up like bulbs on a Christmas tree.

Taking care of people doesn't have to be a chore, to some of us, it's simply part of life that we enjoy doing.

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 24, 2007 12:46 PM

"I hope that my son will take care of my husband and me as we did my mother."

In theory, it's a nice idea that kids will reciprocate help to the parents when that time comes.

But it's not guaranteed, and I can't help but cringe when I hear that's the main reason some people have children at all. True, a lot of children do care for their parents. But a lot don't, for a number of reasons.

I personally wouldn't depend on that as a source of dependency in my older years.

Posted by: JRS | April 24, 2007 12:47 PM

Why is it bad to say that women are better at something that is "traditional"? Why isn't it a source of pride that many women are more caring than men? Is this how skewed things have become that we deny the wonderful gifts we have been given in favor of defining success the same way men do? Pathetic.

Posted by: pb&j | April 24, 2007 1:04 PM

Does this seem cold?

Posted by: working mother | April 24, 2007 09:08 AM

YES!

Have your parents never made sacrifices for you?

Care of elderly parents should be split equally between siblings, regardless of their working status or where they live.

Posted by: anon this time | April 24, 2007 1:05 PM

Meesh wrote "in the end, I'll never say that I wished I spent less time with my mom."

This is true for me too, regarding my sick father, but I have to say it's not simple. I sympathize a great deal with Judi's statement of the guilt involved in thinking about your unfinished laundry versus making your ill parent happy. Spending time with an ill parent is the right thing to do, but that does not make it pleasant or fulfilling and it can make the rest of your life that much harder.

I feel guilt about it all the time and I try to remind myself that my time with my dad is short and I'd better make the most of it. But it's painful for all concerned. Dad feels ill and tired, Mom cries a lot, I feel pressure to cheer them up but can't always do much. It's a relief to get in the car to go home. Then I have to vaccuum and pay bills and return phone calls when all I really want is time alone--I have trouble bringing good cheer to my parents when I am constantly too busy and stressed out. I don't wish that I was spending less time with them, but I wish that I could--that there was a different path through this.

Posted by: worker bee | April 24, 2007 1:20 PM

The RN "couldn't deal" with everything. She lived the closest and was LESS than helpful. It was so frustrating. I'm not saying she didn't help, she just didn't roll up her sleeves and help like we did.
=======================================
It's called "burnout".

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 1:29 PM

I'm no expert on long-term health insurance, but be sure to look at the fine print, as many policies bought in one state are not transferable to another. One needs to think about that if parents live in other parts of the country, and become infirm. That means they will not be able to move to be closer to you and your job and family. The same thing is true trying to get doctors in a new area for the patient to accept Medicare patients. It's a very tangled web...

The author was fortunate that her mother was in the same vicinity.

Nice blog.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 1:32 PM

"Care of elderly parents should be split equally between siblings, regardless of their working status or where they live"

Nice thought, but not completely realistic. One sister wants to provide hands on care so Dad can stay in his home. She wants to divide this duty with second sister. Second sister wants Dad in a facility to be cared for by professionals with serious involvement by both sisters to be sure Dad is being treated well. First sister says Dad wants to be home and anyway he didn't work his entire life for nursing home to take his money. Second sister says Dad has plenty of money and he can't take it with him. Second sister says she understands about Dad being at home but she can't physically handle the hands on nursing care. She even suggested having Dad home but paying for some in-home nursing care. First sister said no, Dad only wants us helping him.

Dad stays with first sister who complains bitterly about second sister not doing her share. Who is right here?

I don't think either is wrong. I understand wanting to keep Dad home, but I also understand that some people can't deal with taking care of the ill.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 1:33 PM

pb&j:
It's bad because it isn't true. I am not denying a "wonderful gift" of nurturing. I honestly don't have it. I hate nurturing people. I suck at it.
Father of 4, from his comment above, sounds wonderfully nurturing and says he truly enjoys it.
Yes, women are no longer exclusively the caregivers for the whole family. What this means is NOT "strangers" taking care of the family. What this means is fathers, sons, wives, daughters, grandparents, neighbors, doctors, volunteers, friends, all sharing in it together.

Posted by: worker bee | April 24, 2007 1:34 PM

Have your parents never made sacrifices for you?

Care of elderly parents should be split equally between siblings, regardless of their working status or where they live.

Posted by: anon this time | April 24, 2007 01:05 PM


Another absolutist, passing judgment on all.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 1:37 PM

"I didn't do the bathroom stuff, but I found out that my grandmother loved car racing in her old age. It was a source of comfort to her to hear the engines roar around the track again, and again and again. I gave her a stuffed pink panther to hold and pet, and I could always get her to laugh. I snuck her cookies too, which my mother wouldn't let her have."


Fo4 - I'm sure it was lovely for your grandmother to have her extended family around in her old age. But the kind of company that you provided is not what I was talking about when I noted the gender disparity in the way that men vs. women help take care of aging parents. More often than not, women end up doing the heavy lifting in these situations, including the "bathroom stuff", cooking, cleaning, driving, coordinating medications, doctors appointments, etc. Although I am sure that the company provided you grandmother was very comforting to you, that is not exactly what I was referring to when I was talking about caregiving.

That said, I think that there are advantages to generations of families living together when it comes to caring for the elderly as well as for children. In America, we just don't see a lot of that anymore, but in South America, it is very common. Grandparents often live with their children, even if they are healthy, and they often help raise the kids and provide a support system to new and inexperienced parents. And when the time comes, the families, as a unit, help care for the grandparents -- sometimes, the older children help as well. We just don't have that anymore these days.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 1:45 PM

Amen to 1:37. No two circumstances are alike and you can not expect two people to react the same way or to do the same thing.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 24, 2007 1:45 PM

My mother was well until the day she fell ill and was taken to the hospital. I was at the hospital, going home only to sleep, for the next four days until she died.

During that time, the funeral, and the next two weeks cleaning out her apartment (she lived in a rental, so time to clean it out was an issue), I focused on what I needed to do and left my husband in charge of everything else, including caregiving of our two children.

Long term care giving is not something in my experience.

I can't imagine how difficult it may be. During my four days at the hospital, I wondered how people were able to watch their parents decline over an extended period of time. Emotionally, four days just about did me in.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 1:46 PM

Wow. As a parent, while I would hope my children would take care of me it is not expected. They did not ask to be here and my taking care of them if not something that I would ever hold over their heads (as in-i did this for you...).

Posted by: atlmom | April 24, 2007 1:49 PM

BTW, I work full time, and my wonderful boss said to take as much time as I needed. When I returned to work, he said that if I wasn't ready yet, I could go home again.

One of the perks to being a not-highly-paid, not-overly-important, hourly employee :).

Actually, I would have taken that long whether it was OK'd or not, and just dealt with the consequences.

Posted by: 1:46 | April 24, 2007 1:50 PM

Both my mother and MIL died suddenly, mine from a car crash and the MIL from a ruptured intestine. Neither my wife nor I had time to be there or to say goodbye; they were just gone.

My wife did have time to say goodbye to her father; he was in a nursing home and when his health grew worse suddenly, she was able to fly there for the last week he was with them.

Posted by: John L | April 24, 2007 1:51 PM

"Have your parents never made sacrifices for you?"

Sure, but having children is a choice, which makes you responsible for them. They do not ask to be born. When we have them, we should be prepared to make sacrifices for them. It is a natural consequence of our choice to have them. They don't owe us anything in return. What we do for them is not a debt that we can seek to have repaid in our old age.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 1:53 PM

"Care of elderly parents should be split equally between siblings, regardless of their working status or where they live."
Posted by: anon this time | April 24, 2007 01:05 PM

Obviously this poster has not yet experienced the need for care of parents and does not understand the family dynamics that it creates. The poster is also discounting the proclivities, abilities, desires and time available by all members of a family needed to care for a parent.

There is also the possibility that this poster was "stuck" and put upon by siblings to provide total care for a parent.

None the less, this attitude just simply defies reality.

Posted by: Fred | April 24, 2007 1:56 PM

I cared for my father 13 years after my mom died. Over that time he had 2 bouts with cancer, a severe heart attack, numerous mini strokes. He was a stubborn man who wanted to live and drink by himself and never thought he'd live so long disabled.

So he never put energy into rehab, ignored attempts to deal with his alcoholism or heart disease, and got more and more difficult as time progressed.

I was returning to his hosptial room with a soda since I'd gotten up early to drive out and spend the day with him. I heard him telling a social worker that "no, no one had visited him," and it would be better to just release him so he could go home and sit on his porch.

I waited until his story ended then introduced myself to the socal worker as "No one." I explained that in reality a number of people had visited but he was angry because no one had brought booze, which he kept demanding. He wanted to go home and drink.

It was just a grueling hard hard period.

I did it because it was the right thing to do. I have always felt guilty that I didn't do it with a better spirit. It ate huge amounts of time. He was so cranky and demanding and unhappy.

Finally a relitve put it into pespective: She said my dad had chased off all his friends, and that he was often "not a nice man." She complimented me for doing what needed to be done to give him what he wanted, but commented "you're not a saint." She said it was normal to feel resentful, but the important thing was that I was taking care of him. "Don't beat yourself up because you don't like it."

Most people have no understanding of what goes into caregiving for someone who is disabled/elderly until they've done it.

Posted by: Gburgal | April 24, 2007 1:57 PM

Why is it bad to say that women are better at something that is "traditional"? Why isn't it a source of pride that many women are more caring than men? Is this how skewed things have become that we deny the wonderful gifts we have been given in favor of defining success the same way men do? Pathetic.
========================================
Not every woman is a good caretaker. Some of us do NOT have that in abundance in our personalities. Some men do. Some women are hard-driving pragmatists, as are some men.

If we were all the same, particularly within the genders, the world would be a really dull place.

I do NOT have the patience to deal with sick and demanding people, day-in and day-out.

If that is your special talent, brava for you. Don't assume that:

a) every woman has it
b) every woman WANTS it

I don't!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 2:01 PM

Emily -my sentiments exactly. Altho my grandmother has always been proud of her independence, she is in need of assistance and no one in the family is able to provide it. When I suggested to my uncle that we all (her daughter and us grandchildren) start to contribute in order to ensure she can stay where she is-he said-dont worry about it, when the money runs out, we'll just switch her to the place that takes medicaid. He pointed out at some point that his mom had never(implying that she never would) stay with them even for a few days.
He feels as if he has earned his retirement and he is goiing to 'enjoy' it. While my aunt is the one making sure my grandmother has all she needs, etc.

Posted by: atlmom | April 24, 2007 2:01 PM

I am feeling the effects of the sandwich generation. My inlaws are openly hostile towards me and not much nicer to my daughter. My five year old says she only wants to visit when her three year old cousin is present.

My husband is upset because I will not let his parents babysit. She is nearly deft and he has had strokes. Only one door to the house works and my daughter can not open it herself. My inlaws will not come over to our condo because no self respecting person would live in a condo.

Many of the people in our building are surrogate grandparents. They have left toys on our door and greet my DD with a smile. Many have congratulated her for starting kindergarten in the fall. My inlaws thought she should have started school when she 4 years and 10 months like their oldest son did.

Posted by: shdd | April 24, 2007 2:05 PM

He pointed out at some point that his mom had never(implying that she never would) stay with them even for a few days.

This comment could also be parsed a different way--she eschewed staying with them during the good times (she didn't want to? she didn't like him or his family well enough to visit?), so why in the world would he WANT her to stay there simply because now that she is in some sort of need, she gets a free pass on previous snubs?

That's what is happening in my mother's family. Not a single one of them has made any sort of efforts of the past 40 years to come and see her; she also had to make the pilgrimage to see them, find a hotel for herself/family, it was quite clear that they didn't want her company.

Well, now that her parents are elderly and infirm, NOW they want her expertise and her presence.

If her company wasn't welcome when they were healthy, why should she go driving 6 hours one-way, to take care of something that can be handled by the relatives who are on hand? She's pushing 62, she's in grad school, she has her own domestic situations to handle.

I think it is called "reaping what you sow".

Your family's back-story may be very different--I certainly hope so.

Posted by: to atlmom | April 24, 2007 2:11 PM

If that is your special talent, brava for you. Don't assume that:

a) every woman has it
b) every woman WANTS it

I don't!

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 02:01 PM

Or that most men don't.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 2:11 PM

If that is your special talent, brava for you. Don't assume that:

a) every woman has it
b) every woman WANTS it

I don't!

Where exactly in the post was the word EVERY. I believe I used words like many and most. The reason that more women than men are teachers and caregivers is NOT because of discrimination, but because MANY of us have that innate gift. Why deny it and why act like its a fault because you seem to lack compassion and an ability to care for others. Too bad for you.

Posted by: pb&j | April 24, 2007 2:16 PM

Cultural Tidbit of the Day

Edgar Degas (1834-1917) was an Impressionist who helped organized the first showing of Impressionist painting in Paris.

Beyond his fame as a painter, he was also a prolific sculpturer. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has several of Degas's sculptures on display.

Posted by: Fred | April 24, 2007 2:16 PM

Well, he was really saying: I'm going to put my mom in a (very good-he did his homework) nursing home-she can't live by herself. She doesn't choose where she lives -she has alzheimer's. He doesn't want her living with them.

Posted by: atlmom | April 24, 2007 2:24 PM

Merci, Fred. Miaou, miaou, miaou!

Posted by: catlady | April 24, 2007 2:25 PM

Gee, Catlady, if you would say that in Latin, I would understand.

Posted by: Fred | April 24, 2007 2:30 PM

Why has this become a gender issue?

Bottom line: MOST people want to do everything they can for their parents while still doing a darn good job for their immediate family. I've seen both men and women succeed beautifully and fail miserably.

It seems that many people equate "balance" with "tit for tat." If so, balance will never be achieved.

Posted by: Jerrie | April 24, 2007 2:32 PM

Why deny it and why act like its a fault because you seem to lack compassion and an ability to care for others. Too bad for you.

I didn't say I didn't HAVE IT at all--I said it wasn't MY special talent. It is yours--brava!

In fact, here is what I did say:

"I do NOT have the patience to deal with sick and demanding people, day-in and day-out."

But that doesn't mean that EVERY WOMAN is "supposed to" grow up to be a teacher or a nurse. (Doctors are more hands-off/administrators than nurses, which is why I don't put them in the same category.) But isn't it interesting how when women ARE the majority in the field, suddenly the salary goes down, or stagnates (nursing, for example).

And yes, there is something very distorted about there being plenty of female teachers K-12, but very few female principals. And when you get to college, the majority of PROFESSORS are male, on the whole. That is a weird tilt.

Posted by: to pb&j | April 24, 2007 2:32 PM

Again, never said EVERY. I'm pretty sure that nurse's salaries are among the highest in the health care field now. Of course there are more male principals and more male professors because there is less nurturing required at those levels. I also never said that women were supposed to grow up and be anything. My point was that the trend has moved such that women are defining themselves and their successes as men have for years which is not right. Women as a group (not every woman) have unique and innate talents that should be celebrated not diminished because they are not the same as the general male traits.

Posted by: pb&j | April 24, 2007 2:37 PM

Hi all.

Nice guest writing today--talk about a touchy subject.

I think Judi is a brave person to write in and discuss how difficult it really is to do, and emotionally draining it is too.

Family history + medical issues + psychological issues + any mental health issues + age.

As others have said, there is no "one-size fits-all" answer.

If Judi is still reading--were you able to, or comfortable with, getting some respite care in there too? Did you join any support groups FOR caretakers of family members? Were any particularly good or bad, in your opinion?

Posted by: MdMother | April 24, 2007 2:37 PM

There are fewer men in k-12 teaching because the pay it so low. Men are socialized to be the breadwinners or...

maybe men as a group have the unique and innate talent of making more money

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 2:45 PM

"I'm pretty sure that nurse's salaries are among the highest in the health care field now"

Well, you'd be wrong.

Geriatric physician--median base salary (U.S.) $157,938. Half earn between $137,021 and $187,278.

Clinical Nurse Specialist--home care (RN), median salary $60,382. (U.S.)

Nursing home staff nurse (RN), median salary $50,469 (U.S.)

Staff Nurse, RN--geriatric, median salary is $51,816. (U.S.)

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 2:48 PM

"My point was that the trend has moved such that women are defining themselves and their successes as men have for years which is not right. Women as a group (not every woman) have unique and innate talents that should be celebrated not diminished because they are not the same as the general male traits."

This is a load of crap. You cannot generalize that women as a group have certain innate talents that are more nurturing. It is just a false generalization. Women were forced into these roles formerly, not because they were better at them, but because a paternalistic society found it easy to limit women to these roles. These limitations are now being removed, and women have other option. The answer to caregiving for children and the elderly is not to insist that women do it because they are better nurturers as a group (which they are not), but to insist that men take up some of the slack. They are, as a group, as good at nurturing as women are.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 2:48 PM

"My point was that the trend has moved such that women are defining themselves and their successes as men have for years which is not right. Women as a group (not every woman) have unique and innate talents that should be celebrated not diminished because they are not the same as the general male traits."

This is a load of crap. You cannot generalize that women as a group have certain innate talents that are more nurturing. It is just a false generalization. Women were forced into these roles formerly, not because they were better at them, but because a paternalistic society found it easy to limit women to these roles. These limitations are now being removed, and women have other option. The answer to caregiving for children and the elderly is not to insist that women do it because they are better nurturers as a group (which they are not), but to insist that men take up some of the slack. They are, as a group, as good at nurturing as women are.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 2:48 PM

maybe men as a group have the unique and innate talent of making more money

Maybe they ask for it, upfront.

More women should do so.

After all, if you are working and earning a salary, you want compound interest to be working in your favour from the very start when you are talking about your retirement.

Why start further behind than everyone else? Too humble is half proud, you know.

As for, "Well, my husband and I are a team; he'll never screw me over!", that is just not good long-term planning.

If you are a SAHP, unless someone is actually fully-funding YOUR IRA, then you are trusting to someone else's largesse and good will.

It's "nice", but it's also not smart. And your intangible, non-monetary contributions will not get you a good return on your investment if you wind up getting divorced.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 2:52 PM

I'm sorry, that should be "Well, my SPOUSE and I are a team; I'll never get screwed-over!"

After all, jerks are equal-opportunity, even if societal expectations are not.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 2:55 PM

I'm sorry, that should be "Well, my SPOUSE and I are a team; I'll never get screwed-over!"

After all, jerks are equal-opportunity, even if societal expectations are not.

Don't worry abou the SAHM they will just all go get job as a kindergarten teacher if their husband leaves them.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 2:58 PM

They are, as a group, as good at nurturing as women are.

Not to mention that they have a stake in how it all turns out (their children, and how they are taken care of in their dotage). Particularly as both men and women are living longer than ever.

But not necessarily as well as they might like. Remember your Greek/Roman mythology. Who was the man who was granted immortality, but wasn't granted eternal youth? Got changed into a cricket? And his divine paramour felt terribly but...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 3:00 PM

Don't worry abou the SAHM they will just all go get job as a kindergarten teacher if their husband leaves them.

Cue pb&j--isn't now the time to defend the educational standards of teachers?

But let's overlook the high turnover rate for new teachers (within the first 5 years of their careers), shall we?

It certainly can't be due to the paltry pay and outrageous expectations, now could it?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 3:03 PM

They are, as a group, as good at nurturing as women are.


NO, we are not!

Posted by: Men as a Group | April 24, 2007 3:06 PM

But I'm in a marriage not a business partnership. What good is it if you don't trust someone? I would never have married someone I don't trust. Maybe you would.

I would prefer to live every day in my supposed fantasy(at least according to you) then to live every day expecting my dh to leave me. When I was SAH, yes, every red cent we were allowed to put into my ira went there. Because we are a team and my dh understands the idea of compounding as well as I (he an mba).

And I can tell you that most of the time one can tell a couple who will get divorced pretty easily, many times before they walk down the aisle.

Posted by: atlmom | April 24, 2007 3:06 PM

Women were forced into these roles formerly, not because they were better at them, but because a paternalistic society found it easy to limit women to these roles.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 02:48 PM

Everything is aways the mans fault isn't it?

Don't you think that at least some of the women of the past just assumed the kids/home were their job and the providing was the mans job because it made sense to both of them.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 3:07 PM

pb&j wrote: "Again, never said EVERY."

This is just a semantic game. Just because you don't use that exact word (or words like none, no one, never or always) doesn't mean that you aren't still clearly implying as much.

Posted by: catlady | April 24, 2007 3:10 PM

"Don't you think that at least some of the women of the past just assumed the kids/home were their job and the providing was the mans job because it made sense to both of them."

It only made sense back then because women couldn't vote and couldn't get decent paying jobs. So how on earth could they realistically have been expected to be the breadwinners? Take away these obstacles, and it no longer makes sense, for women, as a class, to stay at home any more than it makes sense for men, as a class, to stay at home. In a particular marriage, it might make sense for the woman to stay at home. In another marriage, it might make more sense for the man to raise the kids. But we can no longer generalize based on gender. Yippee!!

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 3:13 PM

But I'm in a marriage not a business partnership.

Marriage is about love. Divorce is about money.

50% of all first marriages end in divorce.

Do you REALLY think that every one of those divorces could be predicted before the "I do's" were uttered?

If that is the case, you have overlooked the greatest home-business venture opportunity of human history.

Posted by: to atlmom | April 24, 2007 3:15 PM

Women are nurturing? Imagine being nursed by Kathy Bates's character in "Misery"

Posted by: To pb&j | April 24, 2007 3:16 PM

It only made sense back then because women couldn't vote and couldn't get decent paying jobs.

Don't forget that once women were married, a lot of them were fired because it was expected that they stay home. Prior to even having kid(s). Married women were NOT to work outside the home. Ever, I suppose.

Excuse me, married WHITE women, of a certain socio-economic background were not to work outside the home. That was for black women and poor/immigrant women.

Posted by: to Emily | April 24, 2007 3:17 PM

That's right. There are no generalizations that anyone can make about any group. tall people are then not better at basketball. Black people do get skin cancer at a rate equal to those of whites. Strong people are not better at lifting things. Short people don't have trouble reaching things that are high up. There are generalizations that are indeed true for the majority of a group. That does not mean it is true for 100% of the group, but that does not mean it should be discounted because it isn't true for everyone. Women, IN GENERAL, are more nurturing than men. They are also 100% better suited to childbearing.

Posted by: pb&j | April 24, 2007 3:18 PM

To 3:17 - Yes, you are absolutely right.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 3:19 PM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/08/AR2006050801344.html

Speaking of teachers!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 3:20 PM

No one should beat up on Judi for feeling frustrated at giving up every Saturday for her mother. How many of you rejoice when soccer season is over, and that's but a few weeks over a few years and you don't go through an emotional situation of watching someone you know and love die during it. You're not going to their place, and caring for them, doing the things you need done for yourself, for them instead, because you don't know how much longer you can get that opportunity. Now imagine a decade of it, on top of your life (or if you still need to go pass judgement, go volunteer for most of a saturday someplace, then come home and still need to do everything else.) Now try to think of all of the things she gave up--the friends she never made, the support for herself she's never going to have, the hours she never slept, the exercise she never got, the taking care of herself that never happened, and wonder why she felt frustrated and dare to condemn her! So many elderly people get dumped by their families, and its such a hard role to be a caretaker! My mother is still active, working etc, but she requires a lot of help from me, and when it finally got to the point where she needed to hire someone to help with yardwork etc (I didn't have time to do TWO houses worth) there was a lot of misery etc. I finally had to explain that I didn't even do that stuff for myself because I had no time anymore and that I was hiring people to do stuff so I could help her more. You people are too quick to condemn people who explain that for every saturday they helped their mothers. I can't say that about myself, but Judi is awesome for having done it, and not having burnt out completely. I can't imagine how she ever went on vacation, etc. My cousins couldn't for the last few years of their mother's life. 24x7 cell phone, had to drive to the nursing home during bad thunderstorms to calm her, poweroutages, etc, horrible. Then the nursing home abused her. horrible stuff. Its hard work. Hooray for today's posters who have been caretakers, and who support caretakers, and who are bosses/coworkers for caretakers and are nice to them.

Posted by: ljb | April 24, 2007 3:20 PM

"Women, IN GENERAL, are more nurturing than men."

Based on what? Because they are shorter than men (generally)? Or because they have breasts? Do your breasts make us more nurturing. How about those that are flat chested. Are flat chested women less nurturing than big breasted women? Or is it because we pee sitting down. Or is it because we have less body hair? Can you tell us what physical attribute it is that makes us more nurturing than men? I would love to hear your theory.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 3:23 PM

They are also 100% better suited to childbearing.

The old straw man argument. That is only because they are built to do so. That does NOT mean that they are the only one capable of raising a child.

Orwell's "1984" hasn't been completely realized, yet. And if it were, I suspect there will be fewer girls born (a la the old-fashioned way of exposing them, or some other means). Where are all the female children who should have been born in many countries, after all?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 3:24 PM

Those stats aren't quite right because they don't take into account all the people who stay married thru a year (they take the number of divorces and divide by the number of weddings in a year ).

Anyway, I bet the same for you as me: I am rarely surprised when a couple I know well enough gets divorced. It is usually not a surprise at all.

But again, I am in a marriage, as is my husband. We have similar values and world views. As I said, if I didn't trust my dh, I would not have married him. And yes, I do know people who do not trust their spouses- and I would never have gotteninto those situations.

Posted by: atlmom | April 24, 2007 3:29 PM

It only made sense back then because women couldn't vote and couldn't get decent paying jobs. So how on earth could they realistically have been expected to be the breadwinners? Take away these obstacles, and it no longer makes sense, for women, as a class, to stay at home any more than it makes sense for men, as a class, to stay at home.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 03:13 PM

The last sentance I totally agee with. Well sort of, women still get pregnant, carry the child and give birth. Basically, unable to do some jobs for a long period of time. So if the woman was the breadwinner there would be no "bread" for some finite period of time

The first two, I'm not sure. Kind of implies: that if men had made it easier for us, we would have done it differently. What did men and women do before there anyone voted and there were jobs to be had?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 3:30 PM

Emily, smart people are smarter and more successful than dumb people in general. Honestly, how very very sad that you find nurturing to be a fault. I cannot even begin to imagine what traits you encourage in any of your family members if you consider nurturing something to be looked down upon.

3:24 can you people not read. bearing is not raising.

Posted by: pb&j | April 24, 2007 3:30 PM

"50% of all first marriages end in divorce."

50% of all first marriages DO NOT end in divorce.

Posted by: just sayin' | April 24, 2007 3:31 PM

pb&j - I see you ducked the question. Don't blame you, since I am sure you would not be able to come up with a good answer.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 3:32 PM

pb&j

I don't think that Emily is saying that she doesn't nuture her kids or family, she is just saying that her being a woman has nothing to do with it.

I am a nuturer, my sister is not, but my one brother is. Go figure, it's not all about your sex.

Posted by: scarry | April 24, 2007 3:33 PM

Women can breastfeed, men can't. That fact alone gives the nurturing advantage to the women.

Sorry Emily, your gender wins the nurturing war!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 3:33 PM

From the Washpo on Saturday

"Mrs. Clinton, you may recall, took umbrage at Imus's remarks, branding them "small-minded bigotry and coarse sexism." His words, she said in an e-mail to supporters, "showed a disregard for basic decency and were disrespectful and degrading to African Americans and women everywhere."

Good for her, I say, except it must be asked why she was down in Florida making nice to -- and pocketing big bucks from -- a rapper whose obscenity-laced lyrics praise violence, perpetuate racist stereotypes and demean black women..."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/20/AR2007042001589.html?referrer=emailarticle

Posted by: The Clinton Imus Nexus | April 24, 2007 3:35 PM

Some women can't breastfeed.

Posted by: scarry | April 24, 2007 3:35 PM

But the size of the breast is not a determining factor in the ability to breastfeed.

As to Scarry comments, I would think that a more precise statement would be "a relatively few women cannot breast feed."

Posted by: Fred | April 24, 2007 3:38 PM

3:33 - thanks for saying what I was going to say. I'm guessing that the person with the, ahem, equipment to nurture, would be the more innately nurturing one. Then again, you probably didn't nurse, too feminine for you - maybe you made your husband wear one of those fake breastfeeding suits.

Posted by: pb&j | April 24, 2007 3:39 PM

"Some women can't breastfeed."

Some men can't change a diaper.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 3:39 PM

"Women, IN GENERAL, are more nurturing than men."

Which has the wonderful corollary that men a are more uncaring, violent, etc than women.

I bet you would have got less flak if you stated it this way.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 3:39 PM

Then again, you probably didn't nurse, too feminine for you - maybe you made your husband wear one of those fake breastfeeding suits.

Posted by: pb&j | April 24, 2007 03:39 PM

PB&J: DUCK!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 3:42 PM

You can't reduce all nurturing down to breastfeeding. That is just ridiculous. People nurture their children in so many different ways. We cuddle them (breasts are not necessary for that). We hug them. We talk to them. We read to them. We play with them. In fact, we breastfeed for a relatively short period of time, but still nurture them for a much longer period. Don't feed me that crap about breasts defining us nurturers. I don't buy that weak argument.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 3:45 PM

Emily, You know what - everything YOU say is right. You are overbearing, rude, dismissive and pushy, just like a lot of guys! Bet that makes your day. You are most welcome.

Posted by: pb&j | April 24, 2007 3:48 PM

"Don't feed me that crap about breasts defining us nurturers."

You asked, I told you.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 3:49 PM

LOL. Thanks, pj&j. You did just make my day. And I am not always right. But this time, I am.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 3:50 PM

I just read the article about Clinton and Imus. I can only conclude that Clinton is a hypocrite!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 3:51 PM

pb&j, Emily did not say that nurturing was bad.

I, for one, am very tired of reading your opinion over and over again. It's nice that you feel that way, but your opinion is not fact. Repeating yourself does not make your opinion fact. Find scientific support for your assertion that women are more nurturing than men.

I happen to agree that most women are nurturing. I also happen to think that most men are nurturing too. So neither is a "better" nurturer. They are usually both as good. My evidence? All the gay couples, SAHDs, and single fathers who are raising children.

By definition of comparing two like things, women cannot be "better" at giving birth because they are the only ones who can. You can't use a superlative when comparing two different things. Women give birth; men do not.

Posted by: Meesh | April 24, 2007 3:52 PM

3:33 - thanks for saying what I was going to say. I'm guessing that the person with the, ahem, equipment to nurture, would be the more innately nurturing one. Then again, you probably didn't nurse, too feminine for you - maybe you made your husband wear one of those fake breastfeeding suits.

Are you talking to Emily or to me?

Posted by: scarry | April 24, 2007 3:52 PM

3:33 - thanks for saying what I was going to say. I'm guessing that the person with the, ahem, equipment to nurture, would be the more innately nurturing one. Then again, you probably didn't nurse, too feminine for you - maybe you made your husband wear one of those fake breastfeeding suits.

Posted by: pb&j | April 24, 2007 03:39 PM

Next pb&j will tell us that African-Americans are innately more athletic, and Asians are innately better at math, too.

Feed us some more stereotypes.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 3:53 PM

Fred of course you would know, I was just saying that some women can't do it.

I am going to join a group with this baby, so I can have some advice on breastfeeding and help.

Posted by: scarry | April 24, 2007 3:55 PM

i did not join a group for care takers so i can't speak for how good/bad they are. frankly, that would have been one more thing on my plate. my husband was wonderful through the entire time and i did have siblings that helped. i also had friends who, when we brought my mother to bbqs they were having, went out of their way to talk to her. my mother also had a large circle of friends who would visit her when they could.

my mother was lucid for most of her life and she was the one who made the decisions. the idea that she was forced into anything against her will is not true. she decided when she no longer wanted to live alone & she looked at a number of facilities in the area before deciding on which one was the right one for her. she decided everything all the way up to taking a bath the morning that she died. it was really only the last two years of her life that she was really immobile. as somebody said the emotional impact of watching somebody you love fall apart is hard. i can't imagine what michael j fox's wife & children must be going through. this is a woman who 10 years earlier had hiked in nepal & ridden elephants in india.

Posted by: judi nagle | April 24, 2007 3:55 PM

Emily, You know what - everything YOU say is right. You are overbearing, rude, dismissive and pushy, just like a lot of guys! Bet that makes your day. You are most welcome.

Are you gay or do you just hate men?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 3:58 PM

Scarry,
I don't know how it went with your daughter, but when my son was born, I paid for a lactation consultant out of my own pocket. We had quite a bumpy start, and I had not done a lot of research on it, because naively, I just assumed I would be able to breastfeed and that it would be easy. After a bad week, I called a LC and she gave me really good advice that helped tremendously. I would get one lined up in advance if I had to do it over. I am thinking this time around, after breastfeeding my son through his toddler years, I am prepared, so I probably won't need one. But you never know.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 4:01 PM

Emily, You know what - everything YOU say is right. You are overbearing, rude, dismissive and pushy, just like a lot of guys! Bet that makes your day. You are most welcome.

Are you gay or do you just hate men?

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 03:58 PM


That's right, Anonymous, when you can't back up your arguments, just stoop to name-calling.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:01 PM

As to Scarry comments, I would think that a more precise statement would be "a relatively few women cannot breast feed."

Relative to what?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:02 PM

Next pb&j will tell us that African-Americans are innately more athletic, and Asians are innately better at math, too.

Feed us some more stereotypes.

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 03:53 PM

You know, most stereotypes have a basis in truth. I know it is not PC to say it but maybe it is true.

I am sure that if you did a study and measured "nurturing", you would probably find a normal distribution with a certain standard deviation for men and women. I don't doubt that the curve for men would show us a less nurturing. But the overlap between the two would most likely be so great that it would be impossible, given a man and woman, to determine which individual would be the more nurturing.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:02 PM

"Find scientific support for your assertion that women are more nurturing than men."

When you compare the hours women spend "nurturing" children and then compare it to the number of hours that men spend doing the same...

Then if you compare the number of prisoners by gender serving time for abuse, neglect, assault, murder and all other violent crimes...

If you can conclude that men are just as good as nurturing as women...

You are in serious denial!!!

OK, now provide me scientific evidence that men are as nurturing as women.
The evidence is overwhelming.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:03 PM

By pb&j's logic, we women can just get rid of all but a few sperm-source men, and rule the world ourselves. Wait, I just read an article on the news reporting on research that found other ways to produce sperm. So men are an endangered group, ha ha ha!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:06 PM

Emily my daughter wouldn't latch and then I got sick and was in the hospital for 7 days so I gave up.

I think I will take your advice though, thanks.

Posted by: scarry | April 24, 2007 4:07 PM

If women are so much better at nurturing, bearing kids, etc. and should continue doing it, then why, a mere 40 years after birth control was legalized for women in this country, have birth rates dropped precipitously? Why is it that in nearly all countries where birth control is legal and women have the legitimate opportunity to go into the workforce and support themselves, they take advantage of both of these opportunities and the birth rate drops? Particularly if you exclude the birth rate among immigrants in our country, who culturally often have a different experience/expectations for being able and supported to work and take birth control, when women can have fewer kids - they do so! Doesn't seem like a lock-up on the nuture argument to me.

Posted by: wondering | April 24, 2007 4:07 PM

That's right, Anonymous, when you can't back up your arguments, just stoop to name-calling.

What argument? She is the one who said nasty things about Emily and men.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:08 PM

"Next pb&j will tell us that African-Americans are innately more athletic"


Um- THEY ARE

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:10 PM

Women can breastfeed, men can't. That fact alone gives the nurturing advantage to the women.

Bottle-feeding, even bottle-feeding with breast milk is quite commonplace.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:11 PM

"Find scientific support for your assertion that women are more nurturing than men."

When you compare the hours women spend "nurturing" children and then compare it to the number of hours that men spend doing the same...

Then if you compare the number of prisoners by gender serving time for abuse, neglect, assault, murder and all other violent crimes...

If you can conclude that men are just as good as nurturing as women...

You are in serious denial!!!

OK, now provide me scientific evidence that men are as nurturing as women.
The evidence is overwhelming.

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 04:03 PM

Look at the number of hours men work compared to women and compare it to the number of hours women work.... you can conclude men are better workers than women.

You can prove anything that way, correlation does not equal causation.

I could infer from your second paragraph that men are just better at everything, especially violence.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:11 PM

And just because men are socialized differently than women does not mean that the tendencies toward particular traits are innate. Often, they are just a result of socialization.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 4:13 PM

Maybe it was those mean men who forced women to take birth control pills so they could have sex with their wives more often without fear of as many resulting pregnancies?

Posted by: To wondering | April 24, 2007 4:13 PM

1995 % of first marriages ending in divorce

Men: 43.7%
Women: 42.5%

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:15 PM

As to Scarry comments, I would think that a more precise statement would be "a relatively few women cannot breast feed."

Relative to what?

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 04:02 PM

For the general population of women who attempt to BF, only a few are biologically incapable of it. Don't make me break out the Breastfeeding Answer Book and quote you statistics!

Posted by: Fred | April 24, 2007 4:15 PM

1995 % of first marriages not ending in divorce

Men: 56.3%
Women: 57.5%

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:17 PM

And just because men are socialized differently than women does not mean that the tendencies toward particular traits are innate. Often, they are just a result of socialization.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 04:13 PM

Do you really believe this? Are you really 100% on the nurture side of the nature/nurture question?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:20 PM

"Next pb&j will tell us that African-Americans are innately more athletic"


Um- THEY ARE

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 04:10 PM

The beauty of the truly ignorant is that they always out themselves.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:21 PM

How do you account for the stunning racial imbalance in the NBA?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:22 PM

pb&j,
I don't know if women are more nurturing than men. Maybe they are, maybe they aren't. But let's assume that they are. Does this necessarily mean that women should be stay at home moms and care for their children and/or aging parents as you imply in one of your original posts? That argument makes as much sense as saying that because tall people are better at basketball, they should become basketball players.

Posted by: Cville mom | April 24, 2007 4:23 PM

"Do you really believe this? Are you really 100% on the nurture side of the nature/nurture question?"

It depends on the situation. I think to most people, their sexuality is probably innate. You can't (and shouldn't) nurture gayness out of a gay person. And I think that men are probably more innately aggressive (they have that testosterone thing going on). But I think that in most other respects, men and women are much more alike than different, and that the disparities in how we behave are more attributable to socialization than to innate characteristics that are gender based.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 4:24 PM

Next pb&j will tell us that African-Americans are innately more athletic"


Um- THEY ARE

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 04:10 PM

The beauty of the truly ignorant is that they always out themselves.

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 04:21 PM

I think you can make the case that the African Americans descendant from the slaves probably are. You can base this on the selection of slaves. When slaves were selected, the most physically fit and strongest were chosen. It makes sense that these genes would still be present 4 or 5 generations removed.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:26 PM

How do you account for the stunning racial imbalance in the NBA?

How do you account for the stunning racial imbalance in Snow sking & figure skating?

Culture & Opportunity maybe?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:27 PM

And I think that men are probably more innately aggressive (they have that testosterone thing going on).

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 04:24 PM

Isn't that just a different way of saying women are more nurturing? (they have that estrogen thing going on)

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:28 PM

Interesting twists & turns.

Given how clingy my son is, and how much kind attention he gives to babies and little kids, I certainly will categorically state that boys are not "nurturing". Not to mention how talkative he is too. I never wonder where I stand with him! So much for the "silent male" stereotype.

I have no interest in socializing these behaviours out of him. I think they will stand him in good stead, now and in the future.

A lot of our socializing diminishes boys AND girls. Historically we don't encourage our girls to be competitive or overtly aggressive (then we get to talk about how "catty" and "back-stabbing" girls are, instead). Nor do we encourage our boys to admit to their fears, hurts and moments of doubt ("Suck it up!", "Be a man!").

I hope it changes significantly and quickly. Behaviour is NOT 100% gender-specific. There is plenty of room for all.

As for my daughter, she is outspoken, but not rude (as a rule). And she doesn't dumb herself down in order to get attention from boys her age. Good thing too, as she has stated that she intends to earn scholarships for college. I can't help but encourage THAT.

Posted by: anon this time | April 24, 2007 4:30 PM

I think PB&J has only gotten hold of half of the rhyme,

"Sugar and spice, and everything nice, that's what little girls are made of."

Spice means NOT SWEET.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:33 PM

From what I understand, there is a definite link between testosterone and aggressive behaviour. I don't think there is a similar link between estrogen and nurturing behavior. Not the same thing.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 4:33 PM

Why aren't there more black superstars in baseball? If being black means you are naturally more athletically gifted?

Umm...it requires more SPACE and/or MONEY for equipment than a basketball court?

Ditto for skiing, speed skating, figure skating, gymnastics, world-class pianists, etc.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:35 PM

Thank you, anons at 4:35 and 4:27. Well said.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 4:37 PM

Clip from 1997--no time to look for more recent articles. Anyone?

"Most people have been taught to think of estrogens as female sex hormones and androgens as male sex hormones. "But that's simply not true," notes Donald W. Pfaff.

Indeed, a pair of studies by Pfaff, a neurobiologist at Rockefeller University in New York, and his colleagues has unveiled estrogen's previously unrecognized depth and breadth in establishing gender-specific behaviors in both males and females.

Estrogen and other hormones operate by binding to receptors on or in cells and triggering the production of one or more chemical products. Pfaff's team worked with mutant mice born without the normal receptors for estrogen. These males, which don't respond to estrogen, had trouble mating in adulthood. Their reproductive organs "looked all right," Pfaff notes. Moreover, the animals tried to mate, he says, "so their motivation was not affected." What had been compromised was their ability to penetrate the female and release sperm, suggesting that their problems trace to some neurobiological defect, Pfaff says.

This wasn't their only behavioral peculiarity, observes coauthor Sonoko Ogawa, a behavioral neuroscientist at Rockefeller. The mutant males proved far less aggressive and exhibited less stereotypical masculine social behavior than their male littermates, which responded normally to the presence of estrogen. The team reports its findings in the Feb. 18 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:39 PM

http://psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-20020301-000025.html

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:40 PM

"Women can breastfeed, men can't. That fact alone gives the nurturing advantage to the women"

Therefore adoptive mothers can't nurture? Don't buy it.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 24, 2007 4:41 PM

From what I understand, there is a definite link between testosterone and aggressive behaviour. I don't think there is a similar link between estrogen and nurturing behavior. Not the same thing.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 04:33 PM

The estrogen thing was a (bad) attempt at a joke.

But the comment is the same. Isn't womens' lack of testosterone, which you believe results in less aggressive behavior, the same as saying "women are more nurturing". I know aggression and nurturing are not exactly complimentary behaviors, but they are close.

My point is, you are willing to accept some traits as innate but not others. Why are you so sure nurturing not one of them?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:42 PM

How do you account for the stunning racial imbalance in the NBA?

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 04:22 PM


Are you talking about all those Europeans players? And Yao?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:44 PM

The article posted by anon at 4:40 is fascinating. To all those who are interested in the question of whether nurturing traits are innate or not based on gender, you should read it.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 4:48 PM

But I dont see a capacity for nurturing as being the opposite of a capacity for aggression. They are not opposites, or even, IMO, complimentary. In fact, I think they can exist side by side in the same person.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 4:49 PM

Both my boys love babies and are infatuated with them. They like to take the baby stroller and the baby doll and play with them. They do love babies. Does that mean something?

Posted by: atlmom | April 24, 2007 4:50 PM

How do you account for the stunning racial imbalance in the NBA?

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 04:22 PM


Are you talking about all those Europeans players? And Yao?

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 04:44 PM

The NFL is 65 percent black, the NBA is nearly 80 percent black, and the WNBA is 70 percent black.

It wasn't me, but from these stats, I don't think so.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:51 PM

It wasn't me, but from these stats, I don't think so.

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 04:51 PM


And what % of MLB is black? I recently heard it was only 8%.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:52 PM

And what % of MLB is black? I recently heard it was only 8%.

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 04:52 PM


What % of the NHL is black? Forgot, not much natural ice back in Africa. And ice time at a rink costs a lot to learn to skate.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 4:54 PM

Emily - how are things going for you over there?

Ditto Scarry

Posted by: dotted | April 24, 2007 4:55 PM

Good so far. Had an ultrasound last week and there was a heartbeat. So cross your fingers. Maybe this one will stick.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 4:57 PM

Great news! I'm thinking good thoughts your way!

Posted by: dotted | April 24, 2007 4:59 PM

But I dont see a capacity for nurturing as being the opposite of a capacity for aggression. They are not opposites, or even, IMO, complimentary. In fact, I think they can exist side by side in the same person.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 04:49 PM

Fair enough, I disagree, but whatever.

Do you beleive that mens innate aggression can account for some of the inequalities we see in the workplace?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 5:00 PM

Good so far. Had an ultrasound last week and there was a heartbeat. So cross your fingers. Maybe this one will stick.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 04:57 PM

Fingers crossed here, wishing you good outcome.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 5:02 PM

stepping into the middle of a minefield here:

what is this with some anon's gender bashing? "mens innate aggression"???? How about human innate aggression? The term catfight is certainly saying there is aggression in females too. The most aggressive people I know are in these subgroups (sometimes in both) female executives and mothers rushing to pick up their children from school.

Posted by: dotted | April 24, 2007 5:03 PM

Do you beleive that mens innate aggression can account for some of the inequalities we see in the workplace?

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 05:00 PM


If the shoe fits...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 5:04 PM

so 5:04 is agreeing with their own message at 5:00...so what?

Posted by: dotted | April 24, 2007 5:08 PM

I see lots of young aggressive women giving other drivers the finger on a daily basis. Aggression nowadays is more situational than related to gender.

For a true picture of aggression stand in the way of a group of women trying to catch the bridal bouquet :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 24, 2007 5:08 PM

dotted things are going well. I am about 15 weeks and going for a check up this week.

Emily, the docotor told me that a heartbeat was a really good sign. Ilooked at her funny and said, well I should hope so. Good Luck.

Posted by: scarry | April 24, 2007 5:10 PM

woo hoo KLB...You said it woman!

bought some wasabi almonds from Southern Season last weekend. I haven't opened them yet. aren't you wasabi'd?

Posted by: dotted | April 24, 2007 5:10 PM

stepping into the middle of a minefield here:

what is this with some anon's gender bashing? "mens innate aggression"???? How about human innate aggression? The term catfight is certainly saying there is aggression in females too. The most aggressive people I know are in these subgroups (sometimes in both) female executives and mothers rushing to pick up their children from school.

Posted by: dotted | April 24, 2007 05:03 PM

Hey, I was just taking what Emily said here:

And I think that men are probably more innately aggressive (they have that testosterone thing going on).

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 04:24 PM

And trying to carry it to its logical conclusion.

I was trying to point out the logical error in her statement: that if one thing can be innate to one gender, why can't other things.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 5:10 PM

dotted,
what are you waiting for? Open that there can of almonds. But when you are in need of an intervention don't blame me. A co-worker tells me on a weekly basis that she hates me for getting her hooked.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 24, 2007 5:12 PM

Emily, GREAT news! Fingers crossed for you.

Posted by: Laura | April 24, 2007 5:12 PM

probably doesn't infer always

has anyone seen the unmarked *minivans* handing out tickets on freeways? (e.g., I85)

Posted by: dotted | April 24, 2007 5:14 PM

"I was trying to point out the logical error in her statement: that if one thing can be innate to one gender, why can't other things."

Hey, don't put words in my mouth. I didn't say other things couldn't be innnate. I just said that I don't think that the capability to nurture is innate. But sure, other things might be.

And people who pointed out that women can be plenty aggressive are right. Maybe it's a fallacy that men are naturally more aggressive. Maybe it's all nurture.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 5:15 PM

Oh Scarry, I can't wait until I get past the first trimester. I want to be where you are. I wish I could just skip these first few weeks.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 5:17 PM

How many weeks are you now Emily? I counted them down week by week. I think everything is going to be okay for you this time. I am thinking good thoughts for you.

Posted by: scarry | April 24, 2007 5:25 PM

And people who pointed out that women can be plenty aggressive are right. Maybe it's a fallacy that men are naturally more aggressive. Maybe it's all nurture.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 05:15 PM

Maybe you're right, but what I see is that what people want to believe is innate and what is nurture is directly linked to their socialization.

You are pretty quick to believe that men are innately more aggresive because it fits with your existing beliefs (patriachal society, etc). The same reason you don't want to believe women are more nurturing.

This is what I think is true for most human traits:

I am sure that if you did a study and measured "nurturing", you would probably find a normal distribution with a certain standard deviation for men and women. I don't doubt that the curve for men would show us a less nurturing. But the overlap between the two would most likely be so great that it would be impossible, given a man and woman, to determine which individual would be the more nurturing.

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 04:02 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 5:27 PM

Definition of nurture:
1. to feed and protect: to nurture one's offspring.
2. to support and encourage, as during the period of training or development; foster: to nurture promising musicians.
3. to bring up; train; educate.
-noun 4. rearing, upbringing, training, education, or the like.
5. development: the nurture of young artists.
6. something that nourishes; nourishment; food.

Looks like something dads do as well as moms.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 24, 2007 5:31 PM

Looks like something dads do as well as moms.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 24, 2007 05:31 PM

I agree.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 5:33 PM

How many weeks are you now Emily? - '

7 weeks yesterday. It feels like ages.

Posted by: Emily | April 24, 2007 5:46 PM

Next pb&j will tell us that African-Americans are innately more athletic"


Um- THEY ARE

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 04:10 PM

The beauty of the truly ignorant is that they always out themselves.

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 04:21 PM

I think you can make the case that the African Americans descendant from the slaves probably are. You can base this on the selection of slaves. When slaves were selected, the most physically fit and strongest were chosen. It makes sense that these genes would still be present 4 or 5 generations removed.

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 04:26 PM

and here I thought we put this old canard to rest back in the '80s when Jimmy the Greek and Al Campanis were respectively fired and run out of baseball.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 5:57 PM

How do you account for the stunning racial imbalance in Snow sking & figure skating?

Culture & Opportunity maybe?

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 04:27 PM

Because the brothers don't like to compete in sissy sports!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 6:25 PM

Or until recently, Golf? Tennis?

Posted by: atlmom | April 24, 2007 6:54 PM

and here I thought we put this old canard to rest back in the '80s when Jimmy the Greek and Al Campanis were respectively fired and run out of baseball.

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 05:57 PM

Because the facts go away when you prevent people from speaking them?

I am not saying it is true or false, I am saying you could make a case for it (without being racist).

In that way of thinking, I can't even say African Americans are innately darker skinned than European Americans.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 7:04 PM

Golf ain't a sport!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 8:25 PM

Golf is a good way to ruin a nice walk.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 24, 2007 8:41 PM

Hey, KLB, are you quotin' Mark Twain?

Posted by: catlady | April 24, 2007 9:17 PM

Golf is a good way to ruin a nice walk.

It's "Golf is a good walk spoiled"
Get it right!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 11:39 PM

Golf is a good way to ruin a nice walk.

It's "Golf is a good walk spoiled"
Get it right!


Posted by: | April 24, 2007 11:39 PM

The snarky anon has spoken.

Posted by: Bedrock | April 25, 2007 8:15 AM

Anon, there were no quotes marks. Heaven forbid anyone should ever paraphrase.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2007 12:16 PM

Golf still ain't a sport

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2007 12:18 PM

Thank you for this blog subject. I admit that I am relieved from having to read every post on this one but want to tell you that I too stuggle with the impending position I will be in with my aging parents. Thank you for reminding me how important it will be to make sure my son will learn from his experience in this. He may never admit it until he's so much older, but he will never forget. My housework will never come before them, EVER!!!

Posted by: cj | April 30, 2007 11:28 AM

Wow!

This blog needs a "comment moderator" to keep out all the way-off-topic stuff and pointless rants. I have not read it for awhile and see that it's still way too much trouble to wade thorugh the drek to find useful or insightful comments.

Leslie, Please hire a moderator or earn your salary by doing it yourself.

Posted by: boomerette | April 30, 2007 11:28 AM

One more needed improvement: Let commenters post "replys" directed to a specific comment so that they all appear together in a bunch. Then we can at least skip the off-topic sideshows.

See WTOP.com comment system for example. They also moderate theirs but not always enough in my opinion.

Posted by: boomerette | April 30, 2007 11:49 AM

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