The Mistake in 'The Feminine Mistake'

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

I feel for Leslie Bennetts, I really do. Bennetts is the author of this year's polarizing motherhood book -- The Feminine Mistake -- arguing that just about the dumbest thing a woman (or a man) can do is stay home with the kids. And she's a bit puzzled about all of the flogging she's taking online.

Bennetts got some of that flogging during a washingtonpost.com discussion on Tuesday, and she is clearly irritated with the slings and arrows being thrown in her direction. After all, her book does a bang-up job of documenting all the things that can go wrong in the life of a primary caretaker: divorce, illness, inability to re-enter the workforce. Though it may be fair to quibble with some of the stats or raise the question of whether Bennetts is speaking to the experiences of women who fall outside of the usual upper-middle-class book-buying demographic, she's generally right about things: Primary caretakers do get the short end of the financial stick in divorce. Resume gaps are often fatal to career advancement.

Bennetts seems to think that people are giving her a hard time because they don't understand or believe the bevy of facts she's throwing out. But like Linda Hirshman, who has a similar viewpoint on the work-vs-home debate, it is not the facts that get her into trouble, it's her simplistic solutions. The only prescription that Bennetts seems to be able to push with any passion is that women need to do everything they can to avoid being the primary caretaker.

And that's why Bennetts is taking flak. She's telling women (mostly) how to live their lives. She is rejecting out of hand the choice that a huge number of savvy parents have made. And that sort of judgment from on-high doesn't go over well, whether it's coming from her (go to work!), Caitlin Flanagan (stay home!), or Judith Warner (chill out!).

Ann Crittenden, in her wonderful "The Price of Motherhood," lays out many of the same facts (and, in fact, Crittenden has written a glowing blurb for the Bennetts book). But rather than concluding, as Bennetts does, that full-time child rearing is a game for ignorant suckers, Crittenden acknowledges the same huge inequalities and suggests the system -- not at-home parenthood -- needs to change. I read Crittenden's book and wanted to reform the courts, the Social Security setup, the tax code. I got involved in a now-moribund group called Mothers Ought to Have Equal Rights.

In short, I was spurred to action, empowered. And that -- for my money -- makes for much better reading.

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

By Brian Reid |  April 19, 2007; 7:10 AM ET  | Category:  Childcare
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It is nice to be first! Anyway, I do think pounding a message into people's heads is never going to work. I think people make decisions on their own. You can lay out the facts and then discuss different options. Most of the SAHMs that I know, are very happy with their choice. They believe strongly that their marriages will last, have ample life insurance, and enjoy their children immensely. Most (not all) the SAHMs that I know are very aware of the financial and professional sacrifices that they have made. Bravo to them for being happy with their choice. On the other hand, most of the WOHMs are content with their situation as well. Again I think most of the Mommy Wars exists on line and in the media. Life is too busy to worry about what others are doing.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 7:17 AM

Excellent topic and entry, Brian. I've been looking forward to this one --

I also wrote a book jacket blurb for The Feminine Mistake. I did so because Leslie Bennetts is smart, thoughtful writer; the book raises good points; and I'm glad to see how much productive (and provocative) discussion the book has caused.

However, I totally agree that the book's solutions are way too simplified, one-sided, and sublty accusatory ("you're dumb to stay home" being the subtext). It is our "system" that has to change, not parents.

Moms -- and as Brian points out, dads -- stay at home for very good reasons, many because they feel they have to -- it is simply too difficult for some families to have both parents working fulltime.

Bennetts book ignores the point of view of stay-at-home moms. I see this over and over. Working mothers in the media -- journalists, authors, tv producers -- are prone to overemphasizing their own views and justifying their own choices.

Fulltime, uninterrupted working motherhood may the best choice for them. But there are lots of moms (and more and more dads) in our country making different decisions -- to stay home, to take a break for a few years -- that are equally right for them.

These parents deserve to have their stories reported in books and the media, as they were in my own book Mommy Wars, and government's employments laws, as well as our divorce, custody, alimony and child support laws, should respect their choices as well.

Posted by: Leslie | April 19, 2007 7:32 AM

The woman wrote a book. You don't have to buy it or agree with her. If her premise did get people upset, perhaps she struck a chord--perhaps she is right and people are not happy with the truth, not that she is telling it.

And I agree with Brian in that we shouldn't make staying at home totally unfair, but by the same token, I believe that most American women HAVE to work for 2 incomes to just support the family. Most don't have the luxury of the choice to stay at home. And if a family makes that choice, you need to understand the consequences. And in light of a 50% lifetime divorce rate, it has severe consequences for women.

And interestingly in my socioeconomic group (upper middle class professionals), I find few women happy about staying at home. It has become a status thing ("I don't HAVE to work"). Some of my stay-at-home friends would prefer to use their education in the workplace but feel pressure to be with the children (husband, peer group, other family members). I think it is risky--one divorce or death away from poverty.

Obviously people have the right to do as they please and feel is right for his or her family, but understand the consequences and stop taking it out on book authors. If you don't like it, don't buy it. And attacking someone personally doesn't change the truth.

Posted by: anon today | April 19, 2007 7:32 AM

Clarification-- Brian I wasn't saying that you were attacking the author---others have.

And a bit of a counterargument--so you can try to change the "system", but since this change is not imminent, advising women to not stop their careers wholesale is good advice and not "simplistic".

Posted by: anon today | April 19, 2007 7:36 AM

My wife have had this discussion several times when we were trying to work out how to support our family when we have a child. I'd like her to stay at home for at least a few years, both because daycare is so expensive, and I feel it is better for both her and the child to be raised at home without my wife having to stress out about work as well. She's in agreement with this, but wants at some point to reenter the work force on a part time, contract basis (fortunately her occupation suits this very well). My staying at home is not an option, since my salary is roughly 3 times that of my wife.

With the inheritance from her mother's estate, however, our options have increased to the point that she now has the option of staying at home full time or not, as she chooses and based on what our child's needs may be. Options are good!

Posted by: John L | April 19, 2007 7:41 AM

The answer for women is simple, just don't have children. You can bask in your career.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 7:50 AM

I can't disagree that depending on someone else for your financial security is a risk. My mother is a great example. She had to go back to college at the age of 38 (with 4 young kids) when my parents divorced and those were some hard years. She is still struggling in the work force 20 years later.

I also believe the book misses one very strong and growing option: starting your own business. I knew I could not be a SAHM (just a personal choice!) but I also didn't want to travel as I had been before I had children. Starting my business 12 years ago was the best career decision I have ever made. As my business grew out of the home, I went through phases of different child care and coordinating schedules with my husband (who eventually joined my business) so one of us was there when the kids came home from school. Now they are pre-teens - a critical time for parental involvement - and I am able to be home most of the time when they get off the bus while working in my (third) business.

I am personally a better mom because I work and because I own my own business, I am available for my kids more than if I worked for someone else. I wouldn't trade it for the world and now work to help others find the empowerment that I have found!

Posted by: ParentPreneur | April 19, 2007 7:54 AM

ITA with this post. She took the easy way out. It's a lot easier to say what's wrong than what you should do about it. A lot easier to blame women than to blame the system.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 8:09 AM

While I don't agree with the conclusions, the book can be used as a warning of the pitfalls of a parent staying home. My most important advice - stay involved in your profession even if not employed. This is invaluable when you want/need to go back to your career.

We are preparing to send our twins off to college, and the childhood days are unbelievably just about over. My husband took family leave when they were infants, and then I was working part time from home up until they went to High School. Right now, I am so grateful for the option to have spent the time with them. Hard at times, absolutely, but worth it.

Posted by: Kirsten | April 19, 2007 8:09 AM

I think the facts laid forth in the book are useful information to people who don't yet have children. DH and I have discussed what we'll do when we're ready to have kids. Stats about the difficulty of reentering the workplace are useful for making a realistic assessment of your options. While efforts should be made to change realities of economics and the workplace, it doesn't help anyone to fail to inform people of current realities.

Posted by: Newlywed in MD | April 19, 2007 8:13 AM

"The "Mommy Wars" are a media concoction designed to sell magazines, boost ratings, and to distract and divide women. Simplistic "us versus them" rhetoric does not reflect our experience and needs. This isn't a playground and we don't have to choose sides. The Mommy Wars promote ill will where we should be fostering connections. The truth is there are no sides and no real choices. [Click here to learn more at MOTHERS Book Bag]"

From
Mothers Ought to Have Equal Rights.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 8:14 AM

To Mothers Ought to Have Equal Rights: I disagree that there are "no real choices". We can play victim and whine, we can create our own reality, or we can go out and change things.

I choose the the last two. Create your own reality which helps to change things for other people. In creating my company to provide not only myself but my employees with a workable alternative, I proved that I could make a decent proft and have a life at the same time.

Posted by: ParentPreneur | April 19, 2007 8:21 AM

ParentPreneur it is from the website

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 8:24 AM

"The "Mommy Wars" are a media concoction designed to sell magazines, boost ratings, and to distract and divide women"

The "Daddy Wars" are also a big bag of b.s.

Enough already!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 8:27 AM

I have not read Bennetts' book, but I will say that I watched the discussion the other day, and thought she was very defensive. Granted, she's been taking a beating, but she should have expected it given the nature of her topic. I work full time, but I was a stay at home mom, and I try to see both sides. There are a lot of things I love about being back at work, but there's a lot I miss with my kids. Bennetts seems to thoroughly discount any importance or value of SAHMs. I won't be reading this one.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 19, 2007 8:30 AM

I have to agree with the person who said that the author just wrote a book. If you don't agree, don't buy the book. SAHMs can be equally represented in the media by writing books or articles too. But then they'd be working... I'm sure you can find a vast amount of literature on the pros of staying at home with the kids--it's probably mostly found in Christian book stores.

I'm curious to know how people think "the system should change." Realistically, what are the problems that can't be solved by simply working instead of staying at home? It solves the resume problem and the financial independence problem. The only issue is the cost of daycare, which I totally agree is astronomical and should be reevaluated. The other risks are, well, the risks of staying home.

Posted by: Meesh | April 19, 2007 8:31 AM

"The only issue is the cost of daycare, which I totally agree is astronomical and should be reevaluated"

The average cost of day care per day in my area is about $44 per day.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 8:34 AM

Given the current system, it is very risky to give up a career to stay home. I am advising my daughters against it. My mother, who was a SAHM, also advised me against it. It really is putting all your eggs in one basket.

Also, not having read the book, I'd like to hear what "system" changes are recommended. In other books/discussions, I hear about giving social security or tax breaks for SAH parents. I am against any changes the funnel more money like social security to people who are not paying in. I agree they are contributing to society, but not to the social security fund or the tax revenues. Giving more tax breaks or social security $$ to people who don't pay in is welfare in hiding. If we want to have welfare for people who choose not to work, then let's have an open debate and vote on that. Or, if we want to have the option of primary wage earners putting in double for SSA, so they can get more out at the end, then I'd be all for that too.

Posted by: Anonymous for today | April 19, 2007 8:35 AM

I will wait till this afternoon to check back when the blog jumps the shark.

I have not read any of the numerous book referenced in Brian's column, nor do I think I ever will. Are these parenting books in the "self-help" section of the bookstore? Or does "Parenting" now have a section of it's own?

Posted by: cmac | April 19, 2007 8:35 AM

it's probably mostly found in Christian book stores.

huh? I see it in all book stores.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 8:36 AM

Brian, I loved Ann Crittendon's book also and remember being completely fired up after reading it - think I will read it again. Don't think I will read Bennett's book - sounds too much like I will have my same old beef - life is not all about money, and I get tired of it being endlessly dragged into parenting decisions.

Posted by: TakomaMom | April 19, 2007 8:37 AM

I personally appreciate the statistics provided by this book. It says only 30% of stay at home moms who attempt to re-enter the workforce are able to find full-time professional employment. While this statistic isn't particulary helpful to those already at home, it's a powerful tool for those who are on the fence or haven't had kids yet.

Posted by: AB | April 19, 2007 8:40 AM

I'm sure that Ms. Bennetts has some good points to make about a problem facing women. Too bad she chose to wrap them in a book that's very title indicates what her answer will be. Who wants to run out and buy a book whose title might as well be "you're an idiot, and here's why. Now do as I say."

My other problem with Bennetts is that she seems to think that life is uncertain only for SAHPs. Aren't households where 2 incomes are needed to support the family in an equally precarious spot? If one person loses a job, dies or leaves, the remaining spouse can be left with too few resources and not many solutions. I don't see how SAHMs are unique.

Basically, life sucks sometimes. You should spend time thinking about and preparing for contingencies, but you can't structure your whole life around a possible worst-case scenario. I think Bennetts, in her haste to tell people that they should all emulate her life choices, seems to forget this.

Posted by: NewSAHM | April 19, 2007 8:40 AM

Also, not having read the book, I'd like to hear what "system" changes are recommended. In other books/discussions, I hear about giving social security or tax breaks for SAH parents. I am against any changes the funnel more money like social security to people who are not paying in. I agree they are contributing to society, but not to the social security fund or the tax revenues. Giving more tax breaks or social security $$ to people who don't pay in is welfare in hiding. If we want to have welfare for people who choose not to work, then let's have an open debate and vote on that. Or, if we want to have the option of primary wage earners putting in double for SSA, so they can get more out at the end, then I'd be all for that too.

Actually the Congress has been talking for a while at going in the opposite direction. In order to keep SSA trust fund solvent, they are talking about eliminating the spousal benefit. So two working people would recieve their own social security at retirment. You can no longer choose the higher of the two and one income people would only get payments until the working spouse died. Of course this is being talked about being phased in. So current retires and their spouses would not be affected. But SSA wants to move in the opposite direction. If that goes into affect, it would make the trust fund solvent for several generations (estimates from economists). They also want to do away with dependent benefits from SSA. So if you retire or die with a minor child, you won't get any extra money. The idea is pay out to those who pay in. Make money on the actuarial fact, some will die earlier then others and no payment would be made.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 8:41 AM

"They also want to do away with dependent benefits from SSA."

I haven't read this book, but in general, I don't really care what the SAHM do in my neighborhood as long as they don't block my drive way, which they do almost everyday when it's time to drop off the kids at the bus stop.

However, the above statement that foamgnome posted does bother me. If I pay into the system and I die, my husband should get the money I paid to help raise our kids. Why should the government get to keep my money? That is just insane. What if the kid is an orphan and has to go live with his/her grandparents.

Posted by: scarry | April 19, 2007 8:49 AM

"It says only 30% of stay at home moms who attempt to re-enter the workforce are able to find full-time professional employment."

I haven't read the book but I wonder, just looking at that, whether it's controlled for women who HAD full-time professional employment prior to staying at home. And also by age.

If you stay home at say, 25, after 3-4 years of mostly entry-level work experience, it seems to me that your re-entry experience is going to be very different than someone who stayed home for a couple of years at 33, after a well-established series of career moves (and a broader network). On the other hand that person is going to be fighting the grey ceiling too, so... I don't know. But I would like to know, and I wonder if this research was the answer. If I have time to read the book I guess I'll get some answers. :)

I think I'm also skeptical because I have read the Two-Income Trap and I found that argument pretty compelling too. We have always, always lived on one salary as much as possible, and this is what has provided us with a lot of financial stability and ability to roll with the punches.

In my case I work part time and I am content with the risk level that involves. We have good insurance and we established good savings before having kids. The quality of life issues are huge for us and this is our current solution.

I also have been through a career change and weathered some layoffs and I happen to know that although employment /definitely/ helps, it is not a panacea. Look at the post-911 travel industry as an example.

Posted by: Shandra | April 19, 2007 8:50 AM

I also think the statistics she quotes are B.S. The SAHMs I know who've had problems getting jobs are too picky -- they want the option to work from home, have a flexible schedule, get a full time salary for part-time work. That usually only happens for those of us who've put in some time at a company and established trust. Can't get the full monty for nothing.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 19, 2007 8:51 AM

"Make money on the actuarial fact, some will die earlier then others and no payment would be made." I smell the plot of a sci-fi scenario so close to Logan's Run that it's scary.

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 8:53 AM

To elaborate: we would become a parasitic society, with a government fueled and benefitting by the timely deaths of citizens. Extreme, yes, but the slippery slope to vile corruption is slicked with oil already.

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 8:56 AM

There were two things that bothered me about the interview --


First, she makes this statement about how few women reenter the workforce at the same high earning level at which they left -- but does she consider that when women reenter the workforce and renegotiate their salaries, money might not be at the top of their lists? They may actually have more power than she assumes, and might actually say "I'd like less money but I want to work fewer hours and travel less, etc. etc. etc." I also know that my 'returning to work after a hiatus' job search was fundamentally different than any previous job search for one crucial reason -- I was completely unwilling to relocate to other parts of the country, and actually preferred to work less than an hour from home. It wasn't, thus, a job search comparable to other's job searches, where they might actually have ended up making more money.

She makes this strange statement about how "the only women she knows who were left by their husbands were all SAHM's whose husbands found them boring." She claims to be this great analytical thinker, but here she is basically passing along the neighborhood scuttlebutt. And I've never understood that statement about how SAHM's are boring -- my husband says I'm much more boring when I come home from work all fired up about a project and won't shut up about it! Not everyone who works is fascinating -- I hate to tell you that.

Posted by: Armchair Mom | April 19, 2007 8:56 AM

However, the above statement that foamgnome posted does bother me. If I pay into the system and I die, my husband should get the money I paid to help raise our kids. Why should the government get to keep my money? That is just insane. What if the kid is an orphan and has to go live with his/her grandparents.


Posted by: scarry | April 19, 2007 08:49 AM
Scarry, it is the same thing that happens to single people. A single person can pay into the system till age 62. Retire and die the next day. His/Her heirs do not collect anything beyond the burial benefit (around $250). The system works based on the idea that you pay less or nothing to people who die before the actuarial age of predicted death and more for the long lifers. If we were going to pay out all that people put into (sort of like a return on premium), the system would die long before we could pay to a generation of contributors. I am not saying that I think the proposed changes are beneficial to society. I am just saying that beware that this is one of the changes being talked about. Economically it makes the most sense. Humanistically (not sure that is a real word) it is devastating to the elderly and families. But SSA and congress recongize they can't just keep adjusting the age of retirement. Cuts have to be made somewhere and this is the major one being put on the table. I would not be surprised if it does get passed in a decade and the changes would affect people born after 1967 with small phase ins along the way.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 8:58 AM

Along the lines of preparing and being financially smart, how much life insurance (as a percentage of income), should a SAHP have on their WOHS? Should a WOHP have on their WOHS? and vice versa, should a SAHP have on themselves? Should a WOHP have on themselves? My suspicion is most people are under insured if at all. What are the financial people recommendind?

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 9:04 AM

Well, I don't agree that the benefit should be taken off of surviving children. Maybe they should look for other ways to save money, but that is just my opinion.

Posted by: scarry | April 19, 2007 9:05 AM

Armchair Mom,

Bennett's statement about SAHMs being "boring" was pretty much the last straw for me, with regard to whether or not I'm willing to read her book. She definitely seems to have a problem with SAHMs that goes way beyond her professed concern for our well-being. In many of her interviews, she makes no effort at all to hide her disdain.

FWIW, I blogged on Bennett here: paranoidmama@blogspot.com.

Posted by: NewSAHM | April 19, 2007 9:09 AM

Scarry, the economic seminar, where the information was presented, seemed to say their were two reason for the dependent benefit reduction act. 1) older people having children later in life. So your 62 and you have a 6 year old. Again the situation that was presented on balance this week about late in life dads. The economists theory was if you were fortunate enough to have a kid late in life, you are probably fortunate to pay for them. Sort of owner responsibility. 2) purely money point of view. It saves money and non contributors (children and their guardians) do not benefit with out paying into the system. The case of orphan children living with extended relatives or parents did come up. Their answer was if you want kids-get life insurance. Smart but cold answer. Again, I don't agree with those proposed cuts but I do see congress moving in that direction. Like all changes, it won't be a hard and fast cut. It will be phased in gradually. Like a certain group may get a 40% spousal benefit instead of 50%. Slowly reducing the payout till one age bracket will get nothing. The theory is by the time it goes down to no benefit, the contributors would know this a head of time (just entering the work force) and plan accordingly. Good luck with that one. Americans are not too good with saving. But that is the theory as it was presented.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 9:11 AM

A lot of people who comment on Bennetts' book say 'I haven't read it'. I had a lot to say before I read it too, but my words would have been different. I urge you to actually read the book.

It is well written and makes many compelling points. Yes, it focuses on money - but not in a greedy, me-me-me way. Yes, it contains many examples of very wealthy women rather than a better balance across the financial spectrum. But there is so much that every one of us can learn here. Even working mothers.

I'm not ever going to bash a family's decision to keep a parent home or both stay working, but I think these decisions are often made without the big picture in mind (or the WHOLE big picture).

My biggest beef with the book is that it doesn't offer that many solutions. It just nibbles around the edges of personal solutions, and you are right that it does not describe external solutions (government or business changes). There are several excellent books about, and many organizations working on, government and business ends of the issue. As individual parents, Leslie B's book is our call to take responsibility for our end of the bargain. If we wait for government changes to trickle down to our own individual lives, we could be waiting a very long time...way past when they can actually help us or our children.

Creating a balanced, happy, fiscally-responsible life with children is possible TODAY for many, many parents who choose differently. Leslie B. says this too, although she doesn't exactly say how. Most of you know what I would include in the answers, and ParentPreneur may have another good selection. There is no one simplistic answer, but this book is worthy of a full read.

Posted by: equal | April 19, 2007 9:12 AM

Foamgnome, we have $1 million on my husband and $500 K on me. We both wanted to ensure that if the worst should happen, lack of money wasn't going to add to the problem.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 19, 2007 9:13 AM

"Aren't households where 2 incomes are needed to support the family in an equally precarious spot?"

I think this is a really good point. Most two-income households rely on both incomes to pay the bills, which means there are comparable risks. On the one hand, if one spouse gets laid off, you at least have some income coming in to cover some part of the expenses; but on the other hand, with two jobs involved, you have a higher risk of facing a layoff, transfer, etc.

We discovered this the hard way. We always talked about trying to live on one income, but we let lifestyle things creep up -- things like eating out, playing golf, ski trips, etc. Heck, we were DINKs, so it was easy to let ourselves enjoy the moment. It was a big shock when my husband's company unexpectedly shut down. Luckily, we had kept our "fixed" costs low, so we were able to survive. But there's nothing like following the tech crash around the country to make you aware of your own vulnerability -- even with two incomes.

Life is uncertain, and there are risks inherent in every choice. I think it's a fallacy to assume that two-income couples are inherently more financially stable than one-income couples, if both salaries are needed to pay the bills. I applaud the attempt to provide real data to help people weigh the risks and benefits associated with each available option. But beyond that, good Lord, let people make their own decisions.

Posted by: Laura | April 19, 2007 9:16 AM

Foamgnome, we have $1 million on my husband and $500 K on me. We both wanted to ensure that if the worst should happen, lack of money wasn't going to add to the problem.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 19, 2007 09:13 AM

Wow, that is funny. We have almost the opposite. More on me and about 3/4 on DH. My reasoning was if I died and DH had to continue working, he would need a nanny. There is no way he could figure out a balanced schedule. The opposite is true with me. I would be able to work 5 days a week and be able to get my DD from after school care. I never see DH getting out of the office by 5 pm to get our kid. We also have separate mortgage insurance. So we knew our life insurance would completely pay for daughter's college education, house paid in full, and extra money to account for the lack of support the other parent provides to child care. Plus a small buffer. But we both make similar salaries too.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 9:17 AM

workingmomX we have the same thing, but I still don't think it is right. Foamegnome I bet that was an interesting seminar.

Posted by: scarry | April 19, 2007 9:19 AM

Scarry, what do you mean by not thinking it's right? Do you think it's low?

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 19, 2007 9:22 AM

I guess the balance question is how many of your life choices are you going to make to mitigate potential risks and how many of your life choices are you going to make based on other values? I'm a SAHM because that is important to both of us but we are both well insured in case of a disaster. Do I have enough insurance to never work again? No, but I have enough to keep the house and buy myself several years to get trained and/or search for a new career. Certainly if he left me, things would be less comfortable, but I also invested my heart in this man which is no less valuable and no less a risk than my finances in my book. Taken to the nth degree, maybe women shouldn't get married either because it might not work out. As we saw this week, we can't prevent every tragedy so you make your choices and try to enjoy the trip which is the point of the whole thing anyway.

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

Scarry, it was interesting. It was mostly economists and financial people. So I was a bit out of my element. But it was presented by a policy person. So the language was clear enough for lay people to understand the gist. Of course I had limited understanding of the actual economic models being used. There were definite strong reactions for and against the current proposals. I just think the public is a little in the dark about what congress is thinking. I think it is nice to talk on a blog and in books about other government changes. But it seems there is a real disconnect (at least with this topic) between government and the people. Most people have no idea that this is a discussion being talked about in Congress.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 9:25 AM

I hadn't seen this book, but I might see if I can check it out of the library.

Because I love these books that lay everything out as if life consisted of simple decisions. You better believe her publishers helped her edit that book to cause these kinds of flame wars. After all, there is no such thing as negative publicity...

Posted by: Chasmosaur | April 19, 2007 9:25 AM

there were two things about the live discussion that impressed me.

first, the statistic she threw out that 80% of working moms are happy (or were happy ) with their childcare providers. I think this may help parents who are uncertain about whether or not to entrust their child's care to another person be nudged over to giving it a shot-- after all, the odds seem to be good that it will be fine.

Second was how alarmingly defensive she was! the way she treated the mother in Seattle was abominable. The mom from Seattle (I'll call her "Becky") did not attack Bennetts-- Becky merely said that Becky tried to be a working mom, got burnt out from all the daycare pick up and drop off and spit up on her suit, etc. so Becky opted out for awhile, got to feeling well enough to get back into the workforce, got in (maybe this is what annoyed Bennetts?) at a part-time position that is providing a real sense of balance in Becky's life, and now Becky is thinking of just saying with part-time work.

Bennets response? "Good for you honey, it sounds like you did just the right thing to take of yourself and your family. Part time work sound great for your peace of mind right now, and I'm sure you are taking steps to ensure that will be in fine shape if something bad happens like divorce, death or disability of your husband."

NOOOOOO! I can't recall exactly but it went something like "You will have no idea how much you have messed up your life by stepping out of the full-time workforce until IT IS TOO LATE! Bad Becky! You should have just strugged along, stuck in that harness because you really need to look at the long view-- no one ever thinks of the long view." Unbelievably patronizing.

Posted by: Jen | April 19, 2007 9:34 AM

I know someone who is living the Feminine Mistake right now. Her life would be significantly different had she made the choice to complete her college degree, stay in the workforce - even if part-time, and keep her marketable skills current. She did not and now she will be selling her car and house and taking whatever job she can find to scrape together enough to pay the bills - never mind save for retirement or college funds. And her kids are suffering the stress that this financial emergency has put on the whole family. But for those of you who keep screaming about everybody's right to choose for themselves, I agree. However, if your choice backfires, you need to work it out yourself and not depend on others to bail you out of your choice. Same goes for working parents who's choices might not trun out exactly as they had planned.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 9:35 AM

Scarry, what do you mean by not thinking it's right? Do you think it's low?

Sorry that is the lack of caffeine talking. I mean that I don't think it is right that they want to take away the SS benefit from kids. Ihope if they do it, they consider that some people are to poor to buy life insurance and they leave them with the benefit, but then again that seems like socialism. I don't know what the answer is, but it always seems like people (politicians) who have so much are always ready to cut things from people who have little.

Posted by: scarry | April 19, 2007 9:36 AM

Cuts need to be made, but perhaps they can be made in all the wasteful spending and pet projects instead of messing with the simple living resources provided to retired people. On military spending alone, if the money was wisely spent on effective durable armor, it would be a one-time investment and you would not have to keep paying for training new soldiers, paying life-long disability payments/death benefits, or getting new vehicles. Think of the billions of dollars that alone would save. That is just one common sense option... then there's the billions pocketed by corporations and corrupt politicians. No, I don't think the best option is to deprive a surviving spouse or child of the money their deceased loved one paid into the system. It is not fair, as that money was invested in the system for the sole purpose of going back to the family at a future point. For the government to profit on the death of citizens is wrong.

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 9:43 AM

Scarry, the government is moving further and further to a personal responsibility policy. We saw that with welfare reform and the creation of 401Ks. This would be another layer of that philosophy. The eventual outcome would be 1 of 3 things. 1) People get it together and save vast more money and plan more before making the choice to have a family-highly unlikely but not improbable 2) we will have a two tiered society. the educated wealthy class who can afford to have kids and the noneducated poor who can not afford to have kids-highly unlikely because wanting kids is usually human nature, lack of planning, or just a societal norm 3) lots of poor people running around with no benefits-most likely outcome. Government response-you should have taken more responsibility in your financial/family planning.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 9:45 AM

Is it just me or does it seem like women would rather be at war with each other than support each other? Men support each other. Various religious cultures support each other. But women can't seem to stand up for each other.

Posted by: Robin | April 19, 2007 9:46 AM

foamgnome, the bromide that we've heard (from the insurance industry, of course) is that you need enough life insurance so that, if you invested the proceeds, the income from the investments would replace the spouse's salary.

That seems ridiculously high for our circumstances -- I don't need to replace my husband's salary for the rest of my life, because I can support myself, and vice-versa. What we really need is help with the kids' expenses -- given the trauma they would be facing anyway, we want to protect them from the additional trauma of losing the house they grew up in and the like. So we focused on what we would need for the next 15-20 yrs while the kids are at home and at college. And that's basically (1) cost of a nanny, (2) a cushion for unexpected big expenses that come up (like if the roof goes), and (3) some left over to help with college costs. For us, that worked out to @ $1MM apiece.

Posted by: Laura | April 19, 2007 9:47 AM

Cuts need to be made, but perhaps they can be made in all the wasteful spending and pet projects instead of messing with the simple living resources provided to retired people. On military spending alone, if the money was wisely spent on effective durable armor, it would be a one-time investment and you would not have to keep paying for training new soldiers, paying life-long disability payments/death benefits, or getting new vehicles. Think of the billions of dollars that alone would save. That is just one common sense option... then there's the billions pocketed by corporations and corrupt politicians. No, I don't think the best option is to deprive a surviving spouse or child of the money their deceased loved one paid into the system. It is not fair, as that money was invested in the system for the sole purpose of going back to the family at a future point. For the government to profit on the death of citizens is wrong.

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 09:43 AM
Chris, the problem with your theory is SSA is not funded by general income tax. It is funded by the pay roll tax. So saving on pet projects will not increase the money in the SSA account. The funny or bad thing about SSA is non SSA money can not be added, but Congress can raid the SSA trust fund for non SSA usage. Money goes in the opposite direction. That is another one of the problems with SSA. Stop raiding the fund- you congressional idi**s.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 9:48 AM

we will have a two tiered society. the educated wealthy class who can afford to have kids and the noneducated poor who can not afford to have kids-highly unlikely because wanting kids is usually human nature, lack of planning, or just a societal norm 3) lots of poor people running around with no benefits-most likely outcome.

And now that the first step has been taken to eliminate abortion as a legal option, the poor and benefit-less people will also be running around with loads of kids. Yessirreee, society is heading down a great path. Thanks, George W.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 9:48 AM

Robin is onto something here. Any females care to disagree and thus support her? ;-P

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 9:49 AM

Laura: I was thinking in lines of you. With the additional mortgage insurance, we are adequately funded. But I have more life insurance then most people I know. My initial guess is most people are under insured if at all seems to be true.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 9:51 AM

Robin, I agree with you. Don't know why we can't stop judging each other and work to some common goals. Guess the dudes are counting on that. I've generally preferred the company of men - more fun, no judging.

Posted by: moxiemom | April 19, 2007 10:02 AM

Chris - I thought Robin was a male (like Robin Williams, Robin Leach, etc).


Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 10:05 AM

I think Robin is right in the media. But in real life, I find most women supportive of each other's decisions. Even if they have strong feelings one way or another, they keep their mouth shut and realize this is American. People are free to make their own decisions. But the media likes to find the extremes. Most of us lowly people, are too busy to care or really think live and let live.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 10:07 AM

foamgnome

There are several errors in your statement concerning the current system.

Please correct.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 10:08 AM

Guess the dudes are counting on that.

Posted by: moxiemom | April 19, 2007 10:02 AM

Do you think the "dudes" even notice? The mommy wars have very little to do with men.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 10:09 AM

foamgnome

There are several errors in your statement concerning the current system.

Please correct.

If you think you know, help her out.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 10:10 AM

9:48, because we all know that the kids had a say in becoming a burdon. Excuse me, but I was the product of a "welfare-mom" as she was poor, single, and disabled- and encouraged to abort me. She did however encourage my learning and a desire to contribute to society. I have since earned scholarhips, served my country, and earned for myself a respectable position in which I still contribute to the safety and well-being of society. The potential accomplishments of any one child far outweigh any perceived burden they might be. People are always willing to adopt. A system geared towards the positive development needs developed across all classes, not just the elite. When you look down your nose at the poor having kids, you may be looking down your nose at your future boss if the kid uses his smarts and thick skin he acquired from living a tough life to make the right choices along the way to overcome all the barriers and pre-concieved notions that just because his origins are poor that he will not excel. He, or she, might be perfectly capable of climbing the ladder of success. Would you begrudge that right, just because they started out poor? Would you advise an abortion simply because it might pose an immediate difficulty, and thus ignor the long term consequences? Death is a permanent sollution, but with life, comes true possibility and potential for many better sollutions. Some worse, admittedly, but some better, and by declaring who is fit or unfit at a chance to determine their own destiny is playing god- even if you do not believe in such a being. So, had my mother caved to the condescending whims of elitists who would begrudge her the right to have me despite the trouble the prospect of raising a child might present to "society," I would not be here now to say: :-P to the self-centered anonymous dirtbag.

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 10:10 AM

My husband and I also have $1M a piece in life insurance. It sounds like a lot until you consider paying off your students loans and mortgage and then thinking about roofs and daycare, etc.

$44/day is well below the DC average for daycare, to be sure! I think watching my kid is worth more than $5.50 an hour, but of course I want it free! That's human nature. Or, better yet, I want my husband and I to both work part time and stay with the baby part time, while keeping health insurance.

I've asked before and I'll ask again, how do people in DC live on one income? How high does that income have to be? I'd really love to know the nitty gritty of the budgets of an average family of 4 living a modest but comfortable life. You know, 2 used Toyotas, dinner out a couple times a month, a trip to the beach in the summer, a maxed out 401K. That kind of life. And does the worker have a 2 hour commute? Does he/she work over 50 hours/week? Is he/she happy with the arrangement?

Posted by: atb | April 19, 2007 10:11 AM

foamgnome, I agree with you, I suspect most people are underinsured. But I suspect the insurance industry is part of the problem. Specifically, (1) they tell people that they need enough to replace their spouse's income for life, which can be like $2-5MM, especially in this area; and (2) then they try to sell you expensive whole-life policies to cover that. So people look at the monthly cost, figure they can't afford that, so why try?

My insurance broker wanted something like $450/month to provide the coverage that HE thought I needed. We ended up finding term coverage for $1.5MM total on both of us through my husband's industry trade group for @ $65-70/mo. total -- heck, even the small term life policy I got through my insurance agent 15 yrs ago would cost @ 3x that (if you pro-rated it up to the value of our other coverage). But how many people have access to that kind of resource -- or would even know to look beyond their insurance broker? I suspect most people would either throw up their hands at the whole thing or say, ok, what can I get for $XX/month, and settle for that.

Posted by: Laura | April 19, 2007 10:11 AM

If I knew there were errors, I wouldn't post them. So please correct me if I am wrong.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 10:12 AM

I'm sure you can find a vast amount of literature on the pros of staying at home with the kids--it's probably mostly found in Christian book stores.

Posted by: Meesh | April 19, 2007 08:31 AM

This comment doesn't sound like you, Meesh. There's nothing Christian-centric or religious about parents preferring to stay at home with the kids. Did I misinterpret?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 19, 2007 10:15 AM

http://www.house.gov/ryan/speeches_and_editorials/1999speechesandeditorials/ENDTHERAID.html

Here is an article about raiding the SSA trust fund.

Make no mistake, as your Congressman I remain committed to setting aside every dime of the Social Security Trust Fund to provide retirement security for every working American. As such, I will vote against any legislation that would attempt to siphon Social Security funds to help pay for unrelated government programs.

With more than 76 million baby boomers marching toward retirement - we will soon witness the greatest
demographic challenge our nation has ever faced. Quite frankly, the federal government is presently not prepared to meet their Social Security needs. Also alarming is the fact Medicare is expected to be insolvent within the decade. Instead of exercising real leadership and addressing these issues, the White House has chosen to score political points by offering new and expanded programs with little attention as to how to pay for them.

Seniors on average rely on Social Security for 42 percent of their retirement income, while Medicare provides 95 percent of seniors with their basic health insurance coverage. For many seniors, however, Social Security is their only source of retirement income. This said, it is obvious that something must be done. Ending the 30-year raid on the Social Security Trust Fund must be our first priority.

Last May, I authored Social Security "Lock Box" legislation designed to set the Social Security Trust Fund aside for that purpose, protecting it from the Washington money machine that has robbed the fund to pay for other federal programs over the last three decades.

Did I make a mistake in saying that the government could not put money into the system? That may be true. I may have misunderstood. Maybe the proponents of lock box law is saying they don't put money into SSA from the general fund. Which is not the same as they can't. Again, please correct me if I am wrong. I just try to understand the information as it is presented and may be wrong. I am always up to learning the truth.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 10:19 AM

This comment doesn't sound like you, Meesh. There's nothing Christian-centric or religious about parents preferring to stay at home with the kids. Did I misinterpret?

It does sound like her.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 10:20 AM

This whole mommy wars thing is worse than the clone-wars of Star Wars. There ARE benefits of staying home- time with the kids, having fun, raising them, educating them. There are always trade-offs, but therein should be the search for balance, not in some quest to have it all under your control like some puppet master who will inevitibly find themselves tangled beyond all logic and reason. You will find your life has passed you by if you do not learn to seek contentment in little batches along the way.

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 10:22 AM

Robin, I agree with you. Don't know why we can't stop judging each other and work to some common goals. Guess the dudes are counting on that. I've generally preferred the company of men - more fun, no judging.

Posted by: moxiemom | April 19, 2007 10:02 AM

I agree with you both. But I wonder if women are somehow socialized to be super-competitive with each other in an unhealthy way? One-up(wo)manship and all.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | April 19, 2007 10:28 AM

foamgnome

"Most of us lowly people, are too busy to care or really think live and let live."


Ha, Ha! Then why do you seem to have an uninformed opinion on every gosh darn topic under the sun?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 10:29 AM

When a parent dies leaving one or more children (under 18 or in college), each child is eligible for SS benefits as a consequence. I don't know the precise details (because I have no need to), but those who are interested can surely look them up online nowadays. But what I DO know is that DH (who was young when his father suddenly died) collected benefits as a minor child following his father's death, and continued to even after his 18th birthday while attending college FT.

So it's not as though a child loses everything the deceased parent paid into SS (unless his surviving parent or guardian inexplicably chooses not to apply for the benefits, I suppose). And in the case of the death of a young parent of a young child, I wonder if the total benefits could in some circumstances even outweigh what was paid into FICA.

Posted by: catlady | April 19, 2007 10:33 AM

Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to get life insurance. Every time I've applied I've been denied because of a chronic illness. If anything happens to me, my husband will be left to figure things out on his own. We do have a rider on the mortgage ($20/month) to cover the mortgage if something happens to me. And my husband has a life insurance policy on himself.

Posted by: Beth | April 19, 2007 10:33 AM

10:08: OK, I correct myself. I couldn't highlight it in the pdf version. But it seems like OASDI if funded by the trust fund and SSI is funded by the general revenue. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes):


It is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income; and

It provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.

OASDI is the familiar Social Security social insurance program into which participants make payroll contributions based on earnings. Benefits are paid to insured workers and eligible family members when they retire or become disabled and to the survivors of deceased workers.

So if we were talking about Chris' comment, how would the general revenue help? Because OASDI is funded by payroll tax( spousal benefit, retirement benefit).It seems as if SSI which does not include retirement income, spousal benefit or dependent benefit, is the only part of SSA that can accept the general revenue?

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 10:35 AM

But I wonder if women are somehow socialized to be super-competitive with each other in an unhealthy way?

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | April 19, 2007 10:28 AM

Why does it always have to be something external causing women to be less than perfect? Why can't it just be that women are human?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 10:35 AM

"She is rejecting out of hand the choice that a huge number of savvy parents have made."

That's a myth. Do the "parents" really make the choice, or is it the result of pressure from husbands?

Take, for instance, this paternalistic justification from John L.:

"I'd like her to stay at home for at least a few years, both because daycare is so expensive, and I feel it is better for both her and the child to be raised at home without my wife having to stress out about work as well."

HE feels that it's better for his wife if she stays at home.

Wonder what her opinion really is.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 10:35 AM

Sorry Brian - I disagree with you.

The "we need to change the system" cry is OK, as long as you don't quit your job and have your husband die a year later. The system may change, but I think it's a little risky to quit your job assuming that will happen in your lifetime.

I was one of the commenter's on that book talk who told about some of the unexpected things that happened to me that caused me not to quit my job for motherhood.

I'm all for changing the system, but it won't put money in the bank for me tomorrow, or probably even the day after. So I think keeping your job is the way to go.

Posted by: RoseG | April 19, 2007 10:38 AM

10:29, why do YOU seem to have an uninformed opinion, much less the need to share it- especially when it is invariably derogatory in nature. At least when I throw something tasteless out, it has some trivial value. When you post your textual flatulance, it is as a filthy troll, and nothing more. If you feel the need to throw stones, grow a pair first, and then, by all means, please throw them as hard as you can so that you might feel an inkling of the misery you bring to the world with every shallow character you type.

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 10:39 AM

Chris

Is it very interesting that you use the words "quest" and "puppet master."

You seem to have a "hero complex"; intent on being a white knight (savior) and kicking some a*s.

Sounds a lot like a "quest."

Posted by: Jake | April 19, 2007 10:39 AM

foamgnome

"Most of us lowly people, are too busy to care or really think live and let live."


Ha, Ha! Then why do you seem to have an uninformed opinion on every gosh darn topic under the sun?

Posted by: | April 19, 2007 10:29 AM

She does just to torture idiots like yourself. Troll.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 10:40 AM

Furthermore, :-P

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 10:40 AM

Jake, you got me there... it's all those da*n fantasy novels I read growing up. Stupid high-handed good always triumphing over evil and the like. I mean, who am I to attempt to do the right thing no matter what? But therein lies the fix. I am questing for good- trying to bring happiness and joy to all I encounter, while others seek to crush the less fortunate under their heel. So yes Jake, I would rather be identified as a white knight who can kick @$$, than someone with an evil-overlord complex who is destined to fall, simply because good must always triumph. ;-)

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 10:45 AM

That's a myth. Do the "parents" really make the choice, or is it the result of pressure from husbands?

Wonder what her opinion really is.

Posted by: | April 19, 2007 10:35 AM

Do you really believe that? I was going to say the opposite. I think women are in total control of this decision, I have seen women quit their jobs against the wishes of their husbands.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 10:45 AM

Regarding the notion that "the system needs to change":

The system isn't going to change much more than it already has. It's gotten about as accommodating of family issues as can be expected in the society we inhabit. Yet so much of the advice on the blog today is geared toward staving off the negative effects of leaving the workforce. If you do this and this, then you'll be prepared, and everything will be rosy.

This issue is, in some ways, similar to what we were discussing yesterday. What can we do to guarantee that the unthinkable won't befall us?

Can't be done.

Women and men have to make these choices and then live with the consequences. Life doesn't offer the kind of safety net you all seem to be looking for.

"The system" isn't going to protect you any more than it protects the working poor and the unemployed. And, given the attitude that many on this blog have about handouts for people in need, why should it?

Agonizing over difficult decisions is a very human activity. Ultimately, though, you have to make the choice and live with what you've chosen.

Posted by: pittypat | April 19, 2007 10:48 AM

Guess the dudes are counting on that.

Posted by: moxiemom | April 19, 2007 10:02 AM

Do you think the "dudes" even notice? The mommy wars have very little to do with men.

Posted by: | April 19, 2007 10:09 AM

You are oh so wrong. Many men have very firm opinions on whether women -- not just their wives -- should stay home with children. Men I barely know have commented derisively about my work schedule (or perceived work schedule, since all they know is my occupation or whether my car's in the driveway) and suggested that they would never prioritize X over their children. The mommy wars is merely a convenient title for a battle in which most parents have a firm opinion, and express it on a regular basis.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 10:50 AM

To Chris: What you said at 10:39! Also, generally, re the potential of children who aren't lucky enough to be born into or grow up in economically privileged circumstances (this covers DH and me, too).

To 10:29: Foamgnome is one of a number of well-informed posters here who's interested in eliciting light, not heat. She has the courage to admit when she wants to learn more about something, instead of pretending she already knows it all. For this, among a number of reasons, a lot of us treasure her contributions.

10:29, you are the lowest form of troll who is unworthy of even a sage-green cave. Whenever Emily arrives, I'm sure she'll say the same thing to you, only more pithily. So either contribute constructively, or go stifle yourself.

Posted by: catlady | April 19, 2007 10:51 AM

"You will find your life has passed you by if you do not learn to seek contentment in little batches along the way."

But Chris, YOU'RE dictating what women should get contentment from.

Who's the puppet master now?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 10:53 AM

I think it's both depending on the people involved. I've also heard the exact same thing from a husband saying that he wants his wife to work (not that they need the second income) and NOT stay home with the kids full-time. I thought it interesting and wondered what the wife thought.

Posted by: New Poster | April 19, 2007 10:55 AM

catlady - is pithily a word?

Posted by: cmac | April 19, 2007 10:55 AM


Wait sarcasm and snark are allowed on the board? Or is it only allowed when someone agrees with the topic it pertains too, like trolls?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 10:59 AM

You are oh so wrong. Many men have very firm opinions on whether women -- not just their wives -- should stay home with children.
Posted by: | April 19, 2007 10:50 AM

And that opinion is just that, an opinion. That is looked at by you as a hostile expression of sexism. Do you think that it holds any value in the real world? Maybe for weak women who are looking to be supported. But for most women the decision is theirs to make. Most women make this decision with the input and support of their partners, but I think you are wrong in stating men have a large say int this decision.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 10:59 AM

Begone vile troll! I am not dictating what women should get contentment from. ALL should seek contentment on their journey through life at every stage in life, regardless of the challenges they face. I once found contentment in a moment of introspection that scrubbing greasy pizza pans afforded me. Had I not been "in the zone" of that lowly task, I might have missed something amazing- the realization that no matter what you are going through, being positive will see you through. If you judge a certain seemingly mindless task to be a miserable experience, it will definitely be one. But, if you see it as a chance to set aside the other worries of life, and rest your mind, you will find strength to face the worries when you are confronted with them and actually have an opportunity to do something about them.

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 11:00 AM

I feel so naive when I hear people like Bennetts talk about the gloom and doom and destruction of possibly making this choice or that choice. I do not live my life like this. It's not that I haven't experienced problems or obstacles along the way as a result of stupid decisions or random events (hurricane, layoff, etc.), but I try to view them as challenges or at least character building, even when what I'm going through sucks.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Mark Twain said this. It's on my fridge and I try to live it every day.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 19, 2007 11:01 AM

Foamgnome, just an unsolicited suggestion, and I apologize if you've considered this already: I bet that if you researched it, you'd find that upping your regular life insurance coverage is more cost-effective that maintaining separate "mortgage insurance" (I assume you aren't talking about PMI, which benefits the bank, not the homeowner). For the most part, any type of credit insurance is a ripoff - an affordable term policy of the type Laura discussed is a better option. Even if the credit insurance costs more, you have to read the policies VERY carefully - the number of exclusions is absolutely incredible. Credit insurance is a huge scam, and generally is appropriate only for people who can't obtain or afford ANY standard life insurance, which doesn't seem to be the case with you.

Again, sorry for the unsolicited financial suggestion.

Posted by: On the Insurance Issue | April 19, 2007 11:05 AM

catlady, according to the Social Security Web site, survivors benefits are available to children under 18 or up to age 19 if they are still attending high school full time. The benefit to survivors while still full time college students was phased out many years ago. At the time the thinking was that there were student loans programs available to survivors who wanted to attend college and otherwise would have relied on a parent's income to help pay college costs. My siblings and I all received survivors benefits while full time college students. This was a tremendous help to our family. We have all been employed in jobs that required college degrees, and have "paid back" to society in terms of income taxes and contributions to SS. Glad your husband got to benefit from this program too.

Posted by: ss clarification | April 19, 2007 11:05 AM

WorkingMomX- that is enlightened, not naive. So do not let the discouraging crowd make you discouraged. Their sorts of prophesies are often self-fulfilling, and the ones who give them the time of day, waste that much more of their life contemplating disaster rather than working towards something positive. ;-)

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 11:06 AM

I'm one of those people who did take time off (a couple of years), then went back part time for a couple of years, then went back full-time. I also lost my husband when my kids were 11 and 13. Could I have made more money, have risen higher in my work? Probably - but I've made (and make) enough to support us, and we live outside of Boston, so the cost of living isn't cheap. Did we have millions of dollars in insurance? No, but we had enough to pay off the house.

So, while I think it is good to think about these things, the either/or argument seems kinda silly.

BTW, SS pays to each of my kids (so they get half his monthly payment) my husband's SS payment until they're 18. We haven't had to use it yet, but nice to know it was there.

Posted by: RJ | April 19, 2007 11:08 AM

Do you think the "dudes" even notice? The mommy wars have very little to do with men.

Posted by: | April 19, 2007 10:09 AM

And that opinion is just that, an opinion. That is looked at by you as a hostile expression of sexism. Do you think that it holds any value in the real world? Maybe for weak women who are looking to be supported. But for most women the decision is theirs to make. Most women make this decision with the input and support of their partners, but I think you are wrong in stating men have a large say int this decision.


Posted by: | April 19, 2007 10:59 AM

10:59, I was responding to the quote first pasted above, and not making any coment on whether men have a large say or any say in this decision. Trust me, I am not weak, dude - only commenting on whether men care. Many do.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 11:11 AM

cmac asked: is pithily a word?

According to Carrie Ann, it's a word ;-)

Posted by: catlady | April 19, 2007 11:12 AM

Foamgnome, just an unsolicited suggestion, and I apologize if you've considered this already: I bet that if you researched it, you'd find that upping your regular life insurance coverage is more cost-effective that maintaining separate "mortgage insurance" (I assume you aren't talking about PMI, which benefits the bank, not the homeowner). For the most part, any type of credit insurance is a ripoff - an affordable term policy of the type Laura discussed is a better option. Even if the credit insurance costs more, you have to read the policies VERY carefully - the number of exclusions is absolutely incredible. Credit insurance is a huge scam, and generally is appropriate only for people who can't obtain or afford ANY standard life insurance, which doesn't seem to be the case with you.

Again, sorry for the unsolicited financial suggestion.

Posted by: On the Insurance Issue | April 19, 2007 11:05 AM
No problem. I just want to learn. We don't have PMI because we put 20% down. We have separate mortgage insurance to pay off the mortgage in case either one of us dies. It pays it as a lump sum cash payment. So we could pay off the house or invest it. We also have term life insurance subsidized through our employers. It is actually based on your annual salaries. Not a set dollar amount with different options added on. I don't have credit insurance. Not sure exactly what they are. But my term life insurance policy is very affordable but contigent on federal employment. If we were to ever quit our jobs, we would have to look for another term life policy. Thanks for the info.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 11:13 AM

catlady, I think that one of the issues foamgnome was talking out was a potential proposal to phase out these very SSI survivor benefits that you are talking about. And I agree with scarry and others that, if this is really on the table, it's a really bad way to try to balance the budget. It's one thing to tell people like me, who are fully capable of working for a living, that we need to be responsible for ourselves in retirement. But it's another thing entirely to deprive orphaned children of this support, just because their parents weren't smart enough or able enough to provide for their future. If anyone deserves a safety net, it's those kids, who aren't in any way responsible for the situation they find themselves in, and who don't even have the option of going to work to support themselves.

Posted by: Laura | April 19, 2007 11:14 AM

I'd hope that in a healthy couple, both partners have an equal say in how they'll deal with kids, whether one parent should stay home, and who that parent should be.

Posted by: NewSAHM | April 19, 2007 11:15 AM

Beg to differ, Chris.

You said:

"There ARE benefits of staying home- time with the kids, having fun, raising them, educating them. There are always trade-offs, but therein should be the search for balance, not in some quest to have it all under your control..."

To what, specifically, does "therein should be" refer to?

Decoded, this passage says:

The search for balance should begin with the mother being at home, accepting that trade-offs are her lot in life.

Posted by: vile troll | April 19, 2007 11:20 AM

To Laura: I may have misunderstood Scarry. I thought she was saying that children who lose a parent should get back from SSA a lump-sum equal to what the parent had paid in.

Posted by: catlady | April 19, 2007 11:22 AM

I had a nice career and when my daughter was just over a year I lost my job after my company merged. After finding nothing in my area of expertise for 2 months I decided to stay home with her until she got older. I started my own business unrelated to my professional background from home after a few months. Because of my uneven income there were some months we kept coming up short. I was torn about going back to work, and I thought nobody would want me because I was out of the traditional workforce for several years. My husband and I realized I had to back to work and I was very worried. However, within 4 weeks I had three offers that paid more than my old salary and had much better hours than my old job, plus a short commute. I am not saying everyone would have the same experience as me, but the fear that this author tries to instill belies my experience. When I was at home SAHMs did not sit around bashing working moms and at work the parents don't criticize stay at home parents.

Posted by: NoVA Mom | April 19, 2007 11:22 AM

"My siblings and I all received survivors benefits while full time college students."

Same here for me & 5 siblings. We also received monthly benefits from the VA and our state because my father was a (WWII) vet.

Mother mismanaged my father's life insurance proceeds into oblivion.


Flash forward and my husband dies suddenly at age 40. I had learned my lessons well.

Posted by: Tina | April 19, 2007 11:23 AM

For those who have actually read the book- Does Bennetts address in her book the choices made by low-income women as well? For example, I can imagine that a professional woman loses a lot economically if she decides to stay home for a while and then can't return to a similar job at the same level, but what about the Walmart cashier who decides to stay home with her kids for a few years? I can't imagine that it would be _that_ hard to get a new job like that, so all she would be missing out on is a few years of relatively low wages and meager raises. Or maybe there's more than that?

Posted by: randommom | April 19, 2007 11:26 AM

Foamgnome wrote: "So if you retire or die with a minor child, you won't get any extra money."

Laura, maybe I'm just getting all semantic hair-splitting on you guys, but... there's a difference between a minor CHILD (or one over 18 attending college FT) collecting SS following a parent's death, and the surviving PARENT collecting extra money because of having a child.

Based on DH's personal experience, I strongly believe in the benefit accruing to both the child who has lost a parent and to society at large from the continuation of this payment program.

Posted by: catlady | April 19, 2007 11:29 AM

To Laura: I may have misunderstood Scarry. I thought she was saying that children who lose a parent should get back from SSA a lump-sum equal to what the parent had paid in.

Nope, not at all, I was just saying that they should be able to collect the benefit whatever benefit that is. I mean I know I will never get back what I paid to SS, that doesn't bother me. I idea of someone losing a parent and the other parent or for that matter grandparent struggling is hard for me to bear.

Posted by: scarry | April 19, 2007 11:32 AM

Posted by: On the Insurance Issue | April 19, 2007 11:05 AM
OK, I did a little reading on credit insurance. We pay around 30K for the mortgage insurance (which falls under credit insurance). We have a return on premimum. So if we pay off the mortgage and pay into the credit insurance, we get our premium back. If one of us dies, we get the balance of the mortgage paid back. Now you may be right that uping the term life insurance may be more cost effective but we have term life insurance through our employeer. So we have already taken the maximum. If we want to drop the mortgage insurance and pick up a private term life insurance that seems like it could work. But the amount of money on the mortgage insurance seemed low. But I will look into a different term life insurance policy. I liked the idea of the return on premium. Because if we live all we would loose in the invested interest on that premium. Thanks for the tip. I will look into it.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 11:32 AM

By decode, you obviously mean confuse. I am sorry you feel the need to decode things as you can not comprehend them on their own without adding words to smear mud on the valuable point that would be easily gleaned were you not so busy attempting to misdirect and tarnish things all the time. Simply put, you are selling yourself your own feces and enjoying the process and wallowing in the suffering you bring yourself by imagining sexism where it is not. While you may attempt to cipher for sexism and be unsuccessfull, there is however a generous dose of mockery here for you, and plainly written, so you should find no need to decode anything!

I never said mother.

The search for balance should be in the trade-offs of the individual staying home. WHOEVER stays home should seek contentment and satisfaction in that they will be successful in raising a wonderful child- if they do their best. Whoever does ANY job should do their best and seek the contentment a job well done can provide.

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 11:34 AM

Sure, Brian, let's not "judge" anyone. Let's "respect" everyone's "choices." Any choice is just as good as another, just as long as it's a "choice."

I'm so tired of this simplistic outlook.

Can't you see that it could possibly be a bad choice for so many women to let themselves be taken care of, throwing themselves on the mercy of their husbands always supporting them? It hasn't worked for most of our history - not only does it result in women struggling to support themselves when they lose their husbands, but also, when women are the default primary caregivers, they turn over much of the running of society to men.

And it makes it harder for women to establish themselves as individuals, breadwinners, people who change society. Yes, being a caregiver is very important, but it's important mostly to the person who's receiving the care. We need women to be Senators, doctors, attorneys, CEOs, CFOs, computer programmers, electricians.....and please don't tell me that being a good mother is more of an achievement than being a good Senator, etc. Perhaps, but you can do both. You CAN. Aren't most of the male CEOs, politicians, etc., etc., fathers too?

My mom has her own law firm and is a respected attorney, and she is also the best mom I could have hoped for. (My dad too - shout out to you both, mom and dad!) It's not a good example to set for your children that (1) women by default are meant for motherhood, and some also work; and (2) men by default are meant for work, and some also take an interest in being parents.

Posted by: Lilybeth | April 19, 2007 11:34 AM

I liked Ms. Bennett's book (I tried to keep track of how many "I haven't read the book, but...." opinions have already been posted & lost track). I also don't have a problem with people staying at home. That said, I have the same amount of pity for stay-at-home-parents who end up alone & broke as I do for people who have been taken by one of those Nigerian email scams. If you haven't taken obvious, logical steps to protect yours and your dependents' financial and physical well-being (I'd include procurement of health care under physical well-being), then you're a knucklehead. In this day & age, believing "it can't happen to me" (being left by a spouse, etc) is too self-righteous a belief to have when it can seriously damage your dependents' futures.

As an aside, if "Seniors on average rely on Social Security for 42 percent of their retirement income," that is horrifying. Social Security was meant as an insurance program, not as a means for main direct income upon retirement. People should supplement their savings with SSI, or save it for a rainy day fund, not try to pay rent with it.

Posted by: Hmmmm | April 19, 2007 11:36 AM

Foamgnome wrote: "So if you retire or die with a minor child, you won't get any extra money."

Laura, maybe I'm just getting all semantic hair-splitting on you guys, but... there's a difference between a minor CHILD (or one over 18 attending college FT) collecting SS following a parent's death, and the surviving PARENT collecting extra money because of having a child.

Based on DH's personal experience, I strongly believe in the benefit accruing to both the child who has lost a parent and to society at large from the continuation of this payment program.

Posted by: catlady | April 19, 2007 11:29 AM

Catlady: The seminar was discussing the dependent benefit to minor children. So a parent with a child under 18 years of age, would get a reduced or no benefit based on the SS income their parent or parents paid into the system. So in short, parents take out life insurance because after the payee dies, the proposal is stop all forms of payment. So only the payee can accept a benefit. Is that clear?

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 11:37 AM

Chris

Your rantings show that you have some serious anger issues.

Please seek treatment.

Posted by: Liz | April 19, 2007 11:38 AM

In contentment of a job well done, we find confidence, and in confidence (and God) we find the strength to overcome even greater challenges, and down this path we can find success of whatever measure we choose.

If you want to be doom and gloom and ruin your own life, that is your right. I feel sorry for those you convince to drag themselves down with you. Maybe you will look up from the pit you dig someday, and instead of the dank walls you created while digging, you will see some light, and you will climb up notice the mud you scooped out of your pit, and use it to build something great and positive.

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 11:42 AM

Bennetts was inspired to write from her family's own experience. I agree with her because that is the experience for my mother. After her third failed marriage, she found herself over 40 with three kids (two of us under five) and no job skills. Her socioeconomic status plummeted, and we grew up in poverty as a result.

If I had been a stay at home mom, my daughter and I would be in a real mess right now. Some women don't trust child care to friends or professional day-care providers. I didn't trust my child's complete socioeconomic well-being to my ex-husband. This is the guy who said he would love us forever and always be there for us...he's now in Autralia married to another woman and he has never paid any sort of child support. So much for true love forever...for me or his daughter.

Last year I read an article about how middle class women find themselves at the lower end of the economic spectrum in older age because they stayed at home to raise children, and they ended up either divorced or widowed. Many of these women are 60-70 years old and are working low-wage jobs to make ends meet, and they have no plan in place for when they are no longer able to work. (My mother is 80 and indigent).

I absolutely agree with Bennetts, especially given the divorce rate. And then consider how many women are forced to stay in horrible marriages because they fear being poor...

No thanks. I choose to make my own destiny, not throw mine (and my daughter's) into the hands of a man. I am inherently risk-averse.

Posted by: single western mom | April 19, 2007 11:43 AM

Chris

Your rantings show that you have some serious anger issues.

Please seek treatment.

What? Anytime someone doesn't agree with someone the poster is:
1) angry
2) sarcastic
3) stupid
4) lonely or a
5) troll

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 11:44 AM

To ss clarification: Thanks for the update. I'm sorry about your message, but know better than to blame the messenger.

Posted by: catlady | April 19, 2007 11:45 AM

But I wonder if women are somehow socialized to be super-competitive with each other in an unhealthy way?

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | April 19, 2007 10:28 AM

Why does it always have to be something external causing women to be less than perfect? Why can't it just be that women are human?


Posted by: | April 19, 2007 10:35 AM

So, it's "human" for anyone (just happened to be referring to women here) to interact with someone else in an unhealthy fashion? Certainly, personality and attitude play a role. But I think socialization plays a role as well.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | April 19, 2007 11:46 AM

theoriginalmomof2 has already taken a ton of flak for asking: "But I wonder if women are somehow socialized to be super-competitive with each other in an unhealthy way?"

Both men and women are socialized to be super-competitive with other members of their own sex and with members of the opposite sex. Duhhhhh!

Posted by: catlady | April 19, 2007 11:51 AM

Women can't have both. No matter how hard they try, something will suffer for their jugging act - either the kids or their career. Why not accept that fact? Choose to have a career or choose to have kids. Simple, really. Companies can't get much work done if half of their work force leaves at the drop of the hat every week for Timmy's soccer game or Suzy's ballet recital.

Posted by: Childfree | April 19, 2007 11:51 AM

"Wait sarcasm and snark are allowed on the board?"

Dripping sarcasm and venomous snark are preferred.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 11:54 AM

Randommom makes a good point: for women with low-income earning potential, staying at home may actually be more financially advantageous. If she is earning $8/hour, the cost of day care would consume her entire paycheck (unless she were getting subsidized or free childcare).

Of course for low-income single women, there are no real choices: go on welfare for five years and/or work.

Posted by: single western mom | April 19, 2007 11:56 AM

Liz, your inability to see, much less laugh at my silly banter indicates a serious humor issue; particularly the lack of that divinely imparted sense... or a lack of taste. Then again, we all appreciate exquisite things differently. You, in all your condescending glory, might think that the inspired works of Beethoven, Michaelangelo (not the turtle), and even that geek Plato are beneath you. ;-P

Please seek treatment by watching or reading something mind-numbingly humorous. Start with Monty Python and work your way up to Princess Bride... eventually you may find yourself reading funny things in a different light.

However, if you do not enjoy how I wax philosophical while turning a witty phrase, thus solving all of the worlds problems and maintaining a non-chalant attitude, perhaps you should skip my posts or seek enlightenment (true balance) on some other blog, perhaps one in which everyone agrees with you, and nobody steps out of line, ever, not even an eency weency bit! You could start your own... but no doubt it would get awful lonely with yourself and that vile troll to keep you company (I'm sure he (or she) would LOVE tagging along to spread mirth). ;-P

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 12:00 PM

Childfree, I disagree. I have a very satisfying career in public policy, and I have a very well-adjusted child who makes good grades and is well-socialized. I don't take off work every week for some event--my kid doesn't have something going on every week. I may take off early half a dozen times per year...but others in the workforce take off for various reasons as well.

I remember right after I had my daughter, I missed far less time at work than a co-worker who partied all the time and came in hung over...and sometimes was too trashed to make it in at all.

Maybe you cannot balance work and parenthood, but there are plenty of working parents who do. And I am doing it without a spouse.

Posted by: single western mom | April 19, 2007 12:00 PM

See, even the anonymous trolls are defending me. I am thus exonerated, and now in their debt. Hmm... maybe next time they say something mean about someone I will spare them the dripping sarcasm... well, maybe just a drip or two. I must think of my public, you know. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 12:06 PM

Chris,

You left out "Blazing Saddles." A joke every 15 seconds and something to simultaneously insult and humor anyone without regard to gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnic heritage.

Posted by: Fred | April 19, 2007 12:06 PM

Chris

You have anger issues, no question.

Posted by: Liz | April 19, 2007 12:07 PM

To single western mom, who wrote: "he's now in Autralia married to another woman and he has never paid any sort of child support. So much for true love forever...for me or his daughter."

I'm so sorry. Something similar happened to a relative who was sole support of her child for many years because her ex-husband didn't pay court-ordered child-support, either.

Then, after their child was an adult, my relative learned that her ex had recently come into considerable money. So she had a lawyer contact her ex re a lump-sum back-payment of child-support -- with the prospect of court action should he not comply -- and prevailed :-))) This was not charity, but money lawfully due to her child for many years, plus interest, although my relative still resents her ex's years of violation of the ordered support, when it was desperately needed. So keep track of your ex, because there's always a chance to get the money later, if not sooner -- and better late than never.

Posted by: catlady | April 19, 2007 12:07 PM

anon @ 10:35:

Well, my wife and I discussed this issue very thoroughly (as I said earlier). I do feel that she'd be better suited to stay at home for a while with a child rather than trying to work, at least initially, and our financial situation gives us this option rather than forcing her to return to work too quickly.

She agrees with me on this; this was a discussion between two equal adults, not a decree from me to her. Since she's not here I guess you'll just have to trust me on this.

Personally, I'd enjoy staying home with a child, but there's no way to replace my salary if I did that.

Posted by: John L | April 19, 2007 12:08 PM

So, it's "human" for anyone (just happened to be referring to women here) to interact with someone else in an unhealthy fashion? Certainly, personality and attitude play a role. But I think socialization plays a role as well.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | April 19, 2007 11:46 AM

Yes, I believe so. You have chosen the word unhealthy, why is competition unhealthy? I think it is one of our more human traits.

While I agree socialization plays a role, what bugged me about your original quote is that you put the entire fault for women being "super-competitve" on socialization, as if women have no say in how they interact.

theoriginalmomof2 has already taken a ton of flak for asking.....Both men and women are socialized to be super-competitive with other members of their own sex and with members of the opposite sex. Duhhhhh!

Posted by: catlady | April 19, 2007 11:51 AM

A ton of flak? One simple question is a ton of flak? Yeah but the "decoded" version is if it weren't for society, women wouldn't be this way. ;)

I agree with you about both men and women being competitive. I don't believe it is entirely (or even mostly) socialization. I think it sorta proves my point about being a human trait, doesn't it?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 12:09 PM

Brian, I don't agree with your conclusion regarding Bennetts message. Yesterday someone asked her how to manage or achieve balance with so many pressures. Here's her response:

"One thing that can help women to stay motivated is taking the long view rather than giving up on work because of the stress of the moment. In "The Feminine Mistake," I talk about what I call the Fifteen-Year Paradigm. If you have a couple of kids who are two or three years apart in age, the really intensive period of hands-on mothering lasts for 15 years or less. And yet women continue to sacrifice their lifelong best interests because a relatively finite period of time is admittedly stressful. It makes more sense to put those 15 years in the context of an adult life that for many women will span six or seven decades.Work has so many benefits for women besides a paycheck, as I've documented in my book, that it doesn't make sense for us to give it up for misguided or ill-informed reasons. As your kids get older, the juggling act gets so much easier -- I promise!

As for what we should be asking from others, I believe that women should be demanding more from everybody. At home, they should no longer be willing to shoulder the dreaded second shift of domestic responsibilities if they're working outside the home; they should insist that their husbands share the load equally. We should all be agitating for our elected representatives to pay attention to these work-family issues and do something about them; all the other industrialized Western countries put the U.S. to shame in terms of their policies regarding work and family, which are far better than ours. And we should all-- men and women -- insist that corporate America begin to address the caretaking needs of parents, instead of ratcheting up the pressure and requiring ever more inhuman hours from workers. If everyone were committed to working to improve these conditions, they would change in a hurry. As for child care, a good caretaker is the answer for many working women; I was extraordinarily luck with my babysitter, but more than 80 percent of American women are satisfied with their child care providers, so it's not nearly as hard to find an acceptable solution as many people would have you believe. It can be done, and millions of us have managed to juggle work and family successfully as a result."

Posted by: MV | April 19, 2007 12:09 PM

Did Chris say something that I missed?

Posted by: scarry | April 19, 2007 12:09 PM

Chris wrote: "I am thus exonerated, and now in their debt."

OK, Chris, how about an original poem today?

Posted by: catlady | April 19, 2007 12:09 PM

Fred, again, I find myself bowing to your wisdom and experience. I am sufficiently chastized and have benefitted immeasurably from your sagely guidance.

Liz, pay attention to Fred. You can learn great things. :-)

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 12:09 PM

There once was a "lady" named Liz
Who couldn't mind her own biz
She said I had issues
As she cried in her tissues
Confused on what is really is.

;-P

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 12:13 PM

Chris and single western mom, what you both said.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 19, 2007 12:15 PM

Guess it's time to morph into yet another persona.

Chris

Please get help.

Posted by: Liz | April 19, 2007 12:17 PM

Women can't have both. No matter how hard they try, something will suffer for their jugging act - either the kids or their career. Why not accept that fact? Choose to have a career or choose to have kids. Simple, really. Companies can't get much work done if half of their work force leaves at the drop of the hat every week for Timmy's soccer game or Suzy's ballet recital.

Posted by: Childfree | April 19, 2007 11:51 AM

perhaps the reason companies don't get much work done is because childfree employees are surfing the internet to comment on a balance blog.

why don't you go to a physicians' blog and comment on cancer while you're at it, particularly since you are being ? you are as qualified to hold forth on that comment as on whether women can balance child-rearing and career. please take your snark and judgmental, uninformed attitude with you. In the alternative, get back to making your company profitable.

Posted by: anon for now | April 19, 2007 12:19 PM

I really don't get it. When will we all learn to just accept that everyone is in a unique situation and needs to do what is best for them and their families???
Seriously. This Mommywars thing needs to stop.
Personally, I don't care if someone stays home or goes to a paying job so long as what they chose is in the best interests of their families. We're dual income because we wouldn't be able to make enough to eat AND pay the mortgage if we werent. Numbers were crunched and it just doesn't work out. It's simply the responsible choice.
I know several other people who quit because "it's what you do if you love your baby" and are now receiving welfare aid to make ends meet and think that's a good plan. Personally, I think they're insane...living off of welfare should never be a choice you make, it should be something used when you HAVE NO CHOICE.
On the other hand, I know several families where they could easily afford to have someone stay home, or at least limit their workweek to a typical 40hrs. Instead, childcare workers, nannies, etc raise their kids.
A parent just needs to see what options they have, the repurcussions, and what is the best situation for everyone.

Posted by: preggers | April 19, 2007 12:20 PM

What MV and Meagan's Neighbor said, and without saying, what I said (of course), oops I think I said it. oh darn. it must be those anger issues creeping up. careful, or I will hurl a venemous ball of humorous rage at you and smite thee with a pun that will make you groan so hard you will be smitten, smote, or smited (as this is al about choice, I'll let you choose!)

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 12:21 PM

Guess it's time to morph into yet another persona.

Chris

Please get help.

I guess I don't see what you are talking about Liz. I see Chris as a funny poster who writes poems with a mix of occasional seriousness and valid opinions. Are we talking about the same Chris?

Posted by: scarry | April 19, 2007 12:22 PM

To MV: Sounds like you want the entire world to change to make that 15 years of mothers lives easier.

It was nice how you went from "As for what we should be asking from others" to "women should be demanding more from everybody.". You skip around trying to sound equal, but the only people benefiting from your suggestions would be mothers. At no point do you suggest men be given the choices women have, nor do cede authority to anyone but women.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 12:22 PM

I really think that men and women who take time off to raise their kids are really naive to think that it won't hurt their careers. I get resumes all the time from women and see the 4 year gaps in them. I know what that means. It tells me that she took time off to raise her kids, and it tells me all I need to know. It tells me that she'll need to be out the door at a certain time each night to pick the kids up. There will be doctors appointments all the time (why are kids sick so much?). Whenever schools are closed for 1/2 inch of snow, she'll need to stay home. She'll need to be off for spring break each year. She'll want special consideration for everything, because she is a mother.

Been there, done that, won't do it again.

So, when I see those mommy breaks, I pass. Won't interview. And I am female, so don't think it is sexism.

I think Bennetts has some great points. People really need to listen to what she has to say. It is harmful to the careers of people who take time off. I see it every single day in the business world. I am not the only one who feels the way I do, trust me.

On another note, I work mostly with men. A couple of the men I work with have wives who stay home with their kids. They talk about how needy the wives are. How they call them all the time because they are going crazy at home with the kids. How they are accused of not being appreciated, etc. These were women with successful careers. Now, they are SAHMs. I see the men losing respect for them. They talk about how the wives just spend their money and call them all the time. I would never want to be that kind of wife. When I am talked about, it's about my accomplishments, what I am doing, where I am traveling for business - me being an interesting person.

Something to think about ladies!!!

Posted by: Worker | April 19, 2007 12:22 PM

shaking with laughter (not an ounce of anger in me) I wrote al instead of all. Please forgive me. LMAO!

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 12:22 PM

"Personally, I'd enjoy staying home with a child, but there's no way to replace my salary if I did that. "

Easy way out, John, isn't it? My husband has been making the same argument for years.

Your making all that much more money than your wife now will have an additional advantage for you once you have kids, EVEN IF your wife decides to continue her career. She then gets to do more child-/house-related work after work while you relax a little - because, after all, you do make more money.

Terrific.

Posted by: Bitter in Boston | April 19, 2007 12:23 PM

Wow, Chris.

You seem to have some pretty heavy preoccupation with filth and scatology.

Liz is right. You really should get some help.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 12:24 PM

"Women can't have both. No matter how hard they try, something will suffer for their jugging act - either the kids or their career."

Childfree, if you follow this reasoning, people without children have only their careers to keep them happy. People without children have hobbies, pets, excercise routines, volunteering commitments, social engagements, clubs, sick parents to care for, and a host of interests and activities outside of work. That's juggling -- that's having "both" a life inside and outside of the office. There's no need to single out the Mothers.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 19, 2007 12:24 PM

Thanks, catlady! And as for that story of getting that back child support, WOO-HOO!!!

My soon to be ex pays whenever he wants. Checks have bounced in the past. He still owes me some $. Most importantly, he thinks contact with his kids only every other weekend (no calls or visits in between) is cool. But tell him he's acting like a deadbeat (although I don't use that word), and there's all this righteous, trembling indignation.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | April 19, 2007 12:25 PM

Actually, "dripping sarcasm" doesn't happen much on this blog. Most of the posters aren't talented enough to do it.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 12:27 PM

On another note, I work mostly with men. A couple of the men I work with have wives who stay home with their kids. They talk about how needy the wives are. How they call them all the time because they are going crazy at home with the kids. How they are accused of not being appreciated, etc. These were women with successful careers. Now, they are SAHMs. I see the men losing respect for them. They talk about how the wives just spend their money and call them all the time. I would never want to be that kind of wife.

Heck, I wouldn't want to have that kind of husband. Talk about unmitigated gall.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | April 19, 2007 12:27 PM

Actually, "dripping sarcasm" doesn't happen much on this blog. Most of the posters aren't talented enough to do it.

Posted by: | April 19, 2007 12:27 PM

And neither are you.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 12:28 PM

"She'll want special consideration for everything, because she is a mother"

So true. And if she is a "single mom", she feels entitled to extra Special Treatment!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 12:28 PM

That's breathtakingly, staggeringly harsh. It's women like you who give working mothers a bad name.

Posted by: to worker | April 19, 2007 12:28 PM

"And I am female, so don't think it is sexism."

Sexism is a gender-neutral opportunity sport. If you would approach a man showing a four-year gap on his resume the same way you approach a woman, that's not sexist, and in fact I agree with you, FWIW. But if you don't -- if it's only SAHMs returning to the workforce that you ding on arrival, you are being sexist.

Being a woman doesn't give you a free pass to judge other women in ways you wouldn't judge a man who makes the same choices.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 19, 2007 12:29 PM

Easy way out, John, isn't it? My husband has been making the same argument for years.

Your making all that much more money than your wife now will have an additional advantage for you once you have kids, EVEN IF your wife decides to continue her career. She then gets to do more child-/house-related work after work while you relax a little - because, after all, you do make more money.

Terrific.

Posted by: Bitter in Boston | April 19, 2007 12:23 PM

If you are so bitter, why did you marry someone who made so much more money? Why don't you make more?

Some of us that make the money wish our spouses did so we could get a chance make some of these choices that women seem to think benefit them. As it stands, I work or our standard of living goes down considerably. Doesn't sound like much of a benefit to me.

Maybe John L really means it when he said "Personally, I'd enjoy staying home with a child,". Maybe he's not an evil man sticking it to his wife by giving her choices he doesn't have.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 12:30 PM

"So, when I see those mommy breaks, I pass. Won't interview. And I am female, so don't think it is sexism."

Nice. Now that's the kind of person I'd like to work for. I'm sure you're actually doing those parents a favor by not subjecting them to your workplace. I know I'd hate to work for someone who thinks like that, whether I was a parent or not. And of course you're not at all missing out on a potentially great employee.

Posted by: New Poster | April 19, 2007 12:31 PM

Something to think about ladies!!!

Yikes! I will go right out and think of ways not to work for ladies like you.

Posted by: scarry | April 19, 2007 12:31 PM

Fred's Cultural Tidbit of the Day

An example of how the connotation of words change over time. Today's example, Dictator

Dictator: Roman magistrate with extraordinary powers, appointed during an emergency. The word dictator originally meant 'the one who dictates' or 'gives orders'. The negative connotation is a later development. Rome's first dictator was Aulus Postumius Albinus, who was appointed in the first decade of the fifth century BCE, when the Latin allies revolted. This was a serious crisis and the Romans thought that only one man with extraordinary powers could solve the problems.

Posted by: Fred | April 19, 2007 12:32 PM

Maybe he's not an evil man sticking it to his wife by giving her choices he doesn't have

well he has to stick it to her if she wants a baby.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 12:32 PM

12:24, as promised, I will spare you a drip or two of sarcasm.

....

ok.

Bad troll, bad. Now back in your cave!
----

Gosh Liz, maybe you should be talking to Bitter about her anger issues... then again it's ok for women to have and express these sorts of feelings. Were I, a mere man, to express any sort of emotion (much less the humor I have already), you would certainly brand me as having issues...oh wait...you already did! hmmm.

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 12:33 PM

On another note, I work mostly with men. A couple of the men I work with have wives who stay home with their kids. They talk about how needy the wives are. How they call them all the time because they are going crazy at home with the kids. How they are accused of not being appreciated, etc. These were women with successful careers. Now, they are SAHMs. I see the men losing respect for them. They talk about how the wives just spend their money and call them all the time. I would never want to be that kind of wife.

Heck, I wouldn't want to have that kind of husband. Talk about unmitigated gall.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | April 19, 2007 12:27 PM

I think in these cases, the women have already lost respect for themselves.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 12:34 PM

scarry

Did you see his rantings about feces and mud, ad barfum?

Read those posts and see if you still think he's that funny, happy-go-lucky guy you like so much.

Posted by: vile troll | April 19, 2007 12:35 PM

Chris,

With your prancing poetry, I'm not convinced you are a man.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 12:36 PM

You or your employer could wind up on the losing end of an ugly and expensive lawsuit if you really discriminate against mothers in the hiring process. And, in gratitude(!) for your corporate concern, as soon as the lawsuit is lost (or settled), your employer would cut you loose in a heartbeat for being such a liability to the firm.

Posted by: To Worker | April 19, 2007 12:37 PM

I think I will classify that post under opinion.

Posted by: scarry | April 19, 2007 12:37 PM

"Did you see his rantings about feces and mud"

Yeah, he's a lot like the VT shooter.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 12:38 PM

"So, when I see those mommy breaks, I pass. Won't interview. And I am female, so don't think it is sexism."

Harsh perhaps but is it true? Or representative of some? many? all? none? employers? Sometimes the job market doesn't play nice and IS harsh and I, for one, don't mind getting reminders of that.

Posted by: information is power | April 19, 2007 12:38 PM

You or your employer could wind up on the losing end of an ugly and expensive lawsuit if you really discriminate against mothers in the hiring process. And, in gratitude(!) for your corporate concern, as soon as the lawsuit is lost (or settled), your employer would cut you loose in a heartbeat for being such a liability to the firm.

Posted by: To Worker | April 19, 2007 12:37 PM

Unfortunately, it would be hard to prove unless some one at her company ratted her out. I still don't get why they assume this is an entitlement of mothers. I see men, women, childfree, and parents all taking off legitimate time at work. So worker, where do you work, so we can all avoid you.

Posted by: adoptee | April 19, 2007 12:39 PM

Fred, and if I recall correctly, wasn't he a farmer who went back to farming and stepped out of the spotlight afterwards?

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 12:39 PM

Make more money than my wife? Hell, I paid more in taxes that my wife made!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 12:39 PM

Bitter in Boston,

I feel sorry for your situation, but mine is in no way like yours.

I don't need to defend our decisions to you or anyone else, either.

Posted by: John L | April 19, 2007 12:40 PM

to Worker:
Those kinds of men probably wouldn't have been the kind I'd have married.
You see, when snowdays come, mine is already home. When schools have breaks and vacation days, mine is home. He also deals with kids all day so would likely have more empathy for someone in a SAHM position...basically his job, without pay, benefits, and with extremely limited contact with other adults (at least he has fellow teachers to talk to).
So all those school plays? Soccer games? Our kids will always have a parent in attendance and no one needs to be taking the day off. Dad already needs to be there because of his job so it works out.
We considered having one of us be a stay-at-home parent. The numbers didn't work out when we went through the finances. It will in a few years, but by then I'll be older than I'm comfortable with for starting a family. The question in my mind when I read your comment, was that 4 year stint just necessary to get the kids in school and on "Dad's schedule"?
Just something to think about when you're screening candidates.

Posted by: preggers | April 19, 2007 12:41 PM

"Did you see his rantings about feces and mud"

Yeah, he's a lot like the VT shooter.

I think this post needs to go Leslie.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 12:41 PM

Wow, Worker, I've got so many things to say about your post, I'm not sure where to start.

So, you'll hire men who have stay-at-home wives and laugh about how they complain about their wives, but you won't hire those wives who come looking for work? Do the men whose wives share the child-rearing responsibilities? Meaning, are they out of work from time to time for kid sick days/snow days/dr. appointments?


Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 19, 2007 12:41 PM

12:38, that was uncalled for and beyond tasteless.

Besides, I'm not Asian!

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 12:41 PM

Try as I might to add levity to their accusation... I find that there really is no way to do it... dang.

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 12:43 PM

Women can be accused of sexual discrimination against other women (or men for that matter) in the workplace as easily as men can. The law is gender neutral.

Posted by: John L | April 19, 2007 12:44 PM

"When I am talked about, it's about my accomplishments, what I am doing, where I am traveling for business - me being an interesting person."

I wouldn't be too sure. You sound like a biyotch to me.

Posted by: to Worker | April 19, 2007 12:44 PM

You're all attacking "Worker" because you don't like what she's saying. But she's really trying to be helpful by letting you know how things really work in many corp environments.

She's showing you the real picture behind the curtain. She's giving you honesty, and you're giving her crap.

You guys are really amazing sometimes.

Posted by: pittypat | April 19, 2007 12:44 PM

"Fred, and if I recall correctly, wasn't he a farmer who went back to farming and stepped out of the spotlight afterwards?"

Right, Chris. Might be a good idea for your next move.

You really need help dude.

Your writings indicate a textbook case.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 12:44 PM

to Worker- What, exactly, is wrong with taking a week off at spring break? Are your employees not allowed vacation? And, is it her fault that the gov't closes with 1/2" of snow? You sound like a horrible boss. And you do sound sexist. As far as the "whiny" wives, perhaps their husbands are expected to work 60+ hours a week by their understanding boss. That's you, you little peach!

Posted by: atb | April 19, 2007 12:46 PM

"You're all attacking "Worker" because you don't like what she's saying. But she's really trying to be helpful by letting you know how things really work in many corp environments."

We're attacking Worker because she's judgemental, unfair, and -- based on the experiences of many of us who are disagreeing with her -- she's NOT representative of the corporate world. She owned all of her offensive statements and didn't purport to be a Corporate America's reprensentative.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 19, 2007 12:47 PM

"So, when I see those mommy breaks, I pass. Won't interview. And I am female, so don't think it is sexism."

I was up front and told my prospective employer that I was a single mother when I interviewed--I was looking at making a cross-country move, and I wanted to be sure I didn't work for someone like the self-righteous "worker" who claims not to be sexist (again, if she discriminates against stay-at-home dads, she is not sexist, just discriminatory against parents).

My boss is fine with my responsibility as a parent. I have never blown a deadline, and on occassion, I have to take work home. We have others in the office who have caretaker responsibilities...for children, for aging parents, for ailing spouses. We are very supportive of one another here.

Posted by: single western mom | April 19, 2007 12:48 PM

Pittypat, if I am "attacking" Worker, it's because she is part of the problem. What she's saying is that she is in a position to hire people, that she's knowingly unfair and sexist, and I find her arrogant as well.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 19, 2007 12:49 PM

You're all attacking "Worker" because you don't like what she's saying. But she's really trying to be helpful by letting you know how things really work in many corp environments.

She's showing you the real picture behind the curtain. She's giving you honesty, and you're giving her crap.

You guys are really amazing sometimes.

Posted by: pittypat | April 19, 2007 12:44 PM

PP: While her post was informative, it was also illegal (if she just discriminates against women and not men with 4 year gaps). It does let us know that people out there are still willing and proud at breaking the law. It tells us to be on the look out. And for goodness sakes, blow the whistle on anyone in your own place of business who is discriminating against people. It was her attitude that has gotten most of the people angry. She seems to have it out for anyone women who doesn't choose to stay in the work force full time. But one point, she thinks women who have gaps on their resume will surely take advantage of the system. So she obviously doesn't think that about fathers or women who stayed in the work force. Do you think they are more likely to be better employees? Fat chance. Everyone takes time off. Parent or no parent. Latest snow storm with school closing in February, half the non parents in my office did not show up either.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 12:50 PM

"I'm sure you can find a vast amount of literature on the pros of staying at home with the kids--it's probably mostly found in Christian book stores.

Posted by: Meesh | April 19, 2007 08:31 AM

This comment doesn't sound like you, Meesh. There's nothing Christian-centric or religious about parents preferring to stay at home with the kids. Did I misinterpret?"

Yikes, no. First let me say that I've never tried to find literature about staying at home. When people say that SAHMs are not equally represented in the media, I assumed that it was hard to find books on the staying at home option. So I mused that, if you were looking, you could probably find it in a Christian book store. Having grown up in a Christian environment, it's safe to say that lots of them recommend that path.

I in no way meant that only fundamental Christians see the value of staying at home.

Posted by: Meesh | April 19, 2007 12:51 PM

Not to be dense, theoriginalmomof2, but what does your soon-to-be-ex have to feel righteous about? Contact with his kids every other weekend? Paying any child-support at all? Not being an even worse tool? Sounds like you're better off without him. Hang in there, theoriginalmomof2!

Posted by: catlady | April 19, 2007 12:52 PM

Social security was originally a program for people who *could not * work, not those who don't want to work. When enacted, life expectancy was 65, and today it is about 80. So it used to be about 30 workers for everyone collecting benefits and now it is closer to 2.

No wonder it is running out of money.

Posted by: atlmom | April 19, 2007 12:55 PM

"When I am talked about, it's about my accomplishments, what I am doing, where I am traveling for business - me being an interesting person."

HaHaHa! That's funny. Of COURSE that's what they're saying. It's actually what I was thinking when I wrote the above post about you being a horrible boss.

Interesting people are very rarely interesting because of their work. Unless you're a spy or something, but you wouldn't be talking about it if you were. We do have a friend with a very hush hush job, which is interesting in and of itself, but it's not like we can talk about it much. My vet friend does have some amusing stories, though they're usually in bad taste.

Posted by: atb | April 19, 2007 12:56 PM

No pittypat she is not trying to help anyone. She is telling all of us mothers that she won't hire us if we stay home with our children. That is discrimination and if she was a man and said, I just want all of you middle aged women to know that I don't like middle aged women, therefore I won't hire you, you would be up in arms over it.

For all she knows, these women could have been off for four years taking care of a sick relative, attending school, or any other number of things. For all she knows, every one of them could have live in help or a husband who stays home. The point is that she doesn't KNOW and is just assuming what she wants about their situation.

It is discrimination pure and simple. Are you the real pittypat?

Posted by: scarry | April 19, 2007 12:56 PM

Arlington Dad,

You say that Worker didn't purport to represent corporate America. Well, this is what she said:

"It is harmful to the careers of people who take time off. I see it every single day in the business world. I am not the only one who feels the way I do, trust me."

I think she was trying to let people know that, despite the fantasies they enjoy about the benevolence of corporate employers, lots of people in hiring positions do the same thing she does.

And how would anyone know? If you cull six top resumes from a pool of a couple hundred, and you note that one of them has the critical four-year gap, and you consequently choose several of the other candidates to interview but not this one, who is going to suspect the real reason? (Unless, of course, other dandidates have access to the resumes for comparison purposes, and that's obviously ridiculous.)

Worker was trying to give women a subtle hint about looking out for themselves. Sadly, she's misinterpreted. Once again, we target the messenger because we don't like what she's telling us.

Posted by: pittypat | April 19, 2007 12:57 PM

While what worker said is discriminatory and sexist (we don't know if she treats men the same way, maybe she does), it has a bit of truth to it.

What do you think balance this blog advocates is really about? It is about all those things she said mothers expect, and right now it is mostly mothers who advocate for those things.

"It tells me that she'll need to be out the door at a certain time each night to pick the kids up. There will be doctors appointments all the time (why are kids sick so much?). Whenever schools are closed for 1/2 inch of snow, she'll need to stay home. She'll need to be off for spring break each year."

These are all things this blog has made a topic of in the past. The reality is that business looks out for business, and only accomodate us workers when it benefits the business.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 12:59 PM

Can't you see that it could possibly be a bad choice for so many women to let themselves be taken care of, throwing themselves on the mercy of their husbands always supporting them?

Whoohahaha - hold on as I wipe the tears from laughing so hard - throw myself on the mercy of my husband - wait, wait, wait - let me get another grape out of the gilded dish I didn't pay for while I watch Oprah on the t.v. I didn't pay for and enjoy my life of luxury granted at the mercy of the man I call my husband. Thanks for the awesome ab workout from laughing. Now I'm going to go fix the garage door.

Worker - people who only talk about themselves and their work are some of the most boring and boorish people in the world. As someone said before, having paid work does not automatically make you interesting.

Posted by: moxiemom | April 19, 2007 12:59 PM

Unfortunately, it would be hard to prove unless some one at her company ratted her out. I still don't get why they assume this is an entitlement of mothers. I see men, women, childfree, and parents all taking off legitimate time at work. So worker, where do you work, so we can all avoid you.

Posted by: adoptee | April 19, 2007 12:39 PM


And you think no one in the workplace would rat her out? You can probably make a safe wager that she's not as beloved and respected there as she thinks she is, and that someone will put it altogether, maybe even one of her superiors.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:00 PM

pittypat: Your missing the rest of her post. Yes she is saying this happens. Again several posters have said it was valid information. But then she goes on to say she is a) participates in this illegal practice b) feels justified, c) makes judgments about women who SAH with working husbands. It is her attitude that stinks. Anyway, you put it. Just because it is done doesn't make it legal. We can't say we will just not look at resumes with anyone with a Jewish or Arab (or insert group) last name because we think .... Sure it would be hard to catch them. I said that. But doesn't mean that she has a right to that opinion.

Posted by: adoptee | April 19, 2007 1:02 PM

"Did you see his rantings about feces and mud"

Yeah, he's a lot like the VT shooter.

Posted by: | April 19, 2007 12:38 PM

so you don't agree with Chris. If you react to everyone with whom you disagree by suggesting he or she resembles a mass murderer, you might want to take a teensy, weensy step back from the ledge.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:02 PM

About competition among women and "sexist" women, let me explain a tennant of feminism.

We live in a patriarchal society wherein men have made the rules and established the stereotypes that benefit men (give men the power and the options and keep women oppressed). To perpetuate this society, boys and girls are raised to fit into the stereotypes. Therefore, girls can be sexist because they are parroting the patriarchal agenda (women have to stay home; women don't need to work; etc.). Part of the "woman" stereotype that girls are raised to fit in to is that other women are the enemy. We are raised to compete against other women to get a man's attention. We are also raised to shame women who do not fit into the stereotype. When I hear "I prefer men--they are less judgemental," I cringe. It really supports this theory.

Posted by: Meesh | April 19, 2007 1:03 PM

Maybe worker is the Michael Scott of the Balance blog. Who shall we mark as Dwight?

Posted by: moxiemom | April 19, 2007 1:03 PM

Unfortunately, it would be hard to prove unless some one at her company ratted her out. I still don't get why they assume this is an entitlement of mothers. I see men, women, childfree, and parents all taking off legitimate time at work. So worker, where do you work, so we can all avoid you.

Posted by: adoptee | April 19, 2007 12:39 PM


And you think no one in the workplace would rat her out? You can probably make a safe wager that she's not as beloved and respected there as she thinks she is, and that someone will put it altogether, maybe even one of her superiors.

Posted by: | April 19, 2007 01:00 PM
Well I hope someone does. Depending on the company there may not be enough checks and balances. Love to know where worker works.

Posted by: adoptee | April 19, 2007 1:04 PM

Sadly, she's misinterpreted. Once again, we target the messenger because we don't like what she's telling us.

Posted by: pittypat | April 19, 2007 12:57 PM

no. we target the messenger because she's a pompous, judgmental fool. The message was never the problem.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:05 PM

I have hire/fire power at my job and I see resumes every day. Many, many people have gaps. I just interviewed a man yesterday who had a 1.5 year gap. I asked him about it, and he said he'd received an inheritance and for once in his life, decided to through caution to the wind and travel for as long as the money would last. The rest of his resume is stellar. I'm pretty sure we'll be hiring him.

If every "ism" was at play in the hiring process here, I would not be able to hire a human being.

I think Worker is totally overblowing her perspective and her arrogance is leading her to beleive others feel just like she does.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 19, 2007 1:07 PM

That should be "throw", not "through". Hanging head in shame . . .

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 19, 2007 1:08 PM

"You can probably make a safe wager that she's not as beloved and respected there as she thinks she is"

You got that right!! In and out of the workplace, hubris runs rampant!!

Posted by: Officer Krupke | April 19, 2007 1:08 PM

Pittypat --

"Once again, we target the messenger because we don't like what she's telling us."

Obviously, we don't like what she's telling us, but more important we don't believe what she's telling us. I'm sure what she describes is the case when she hires, and I'm sure she's not alone, but I don't believe its a dark, universal policy.

And let us not forget the possibility that at least some of these women with the strike against them could be ridiculously qualified for this job and capable of superior performance.

What I really don't like is HOW she says it, and what her deeper implications are. All that talk about leaving work on time, taking sick time, attending your kids' events... Does that apply only to women who took four years off? Don't all working Mothers face this? What about working fathers marriend to working mothers? What about childless employees with cancer-stricken parents? Sounds like she's pre-judging a whole lot of types of people.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 19, 2007 1:08 PM

"But doesn't mean that she has a right to that opinion."

adoptee --

Unfortunately, she has every right to that opinion. What she doesn't have is the legal right to make that the basis of her hiring decisions.

I don't agree with what she does, and I recognize that it's not a legal practice.

My point is that it happens a whole lot more than any of you want to believe. She's telling you that straight out.

Hate her if you like, but heed her words. There are lots more where she comes from; they discriminate as she does; and they do it in ways that are very hard to prove.

So, pay attention, and stop sticking out your tongues at people who say things you don't like. Learn from them even if you loathe them.

Posted by: pittypat | April 19, 2007 1:09 PM

. . . and "believe", not "beleive". Ack! Must. drink. more. coffee.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 19, 2007 1:09 PM

You guys are really amazing sometimes.

Posted by: pittypat | April 19, 2007 12:44 PM

Thanks! You, on the other hand, are not. Your reaction to worker's post suggests you are neither a careful reader, nor are you concerned about accuracy in your posts.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:09 PM

We live in a patriarchal society wherein men have made the rules and established the stereotypes that benefit men (give men the power and the options and keep women oppressed). To perpetuate this society, boys and girls are raised to fit into the stereotypes.

Posted by: Meesh | April 19, 2007 01:03 PM

Bull*(t. It is certainly a different view from the other side. Sorry, am I looking at you as the enemy?


Part of the "woman" stereotype that girls are raised to fit in to is that other women are the enemy. We are raised to compete against other women to get a man's attention.
Posted by: Meesh | April 19, 2007 01:03 PM

So you think this is unique to women? Men don't compete with other men for the attention of women? What a one sided view of the world you have.

Swallowed that womens studies crap hook line and sinker didn't you?

What is this power you talk about. While there may be mostly men at top of the patriachial food chain, most men are just as "oppressed" as you are.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:12 PM

I'm with moxiemom on that. As fancy as my job title might be, it is not what defines me. I choose not to be defined by what I do. I'm sure if I talked about my great efforts and scope of job responsibilities it would hold everyone's interest for all of 10 seconds- and then I would be that dull guy who talked about saving the world time and time again, and not the guy with the delightful wit. ;-)

Actually, 12:44, I would gladly resign myself to a quiet life of farming- provided I was first granted the power to make everything right and do as many good things as possible for everyone of my country- which was the intent of the Romans. But, until I am elected, I will have to stick to snarking. ;-P

In all fairness, what I do is satire. What you do is libel.

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 1:12 PM

Pittypat: Your right, I should have said she doesn't have the right to discriminate. I said the information was valid. So where do you get that I was sticking my tongue out at someone?

Posted by: adoptee | April 19, 2007 1:12 PM

Wow, WorkingMomX, you call Worker arrogant but begin your post with "I have hire/fire power at my job."

Who's impressed with herself?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:12 PM

back it up, back it up

Posted by: pitty's theme song | April 19, 2007 1:13 PM

Pittypat --

You said "My point is that it happens a whole lot more than any of you want to believe. She's telling you that straight out."

But how do you know that? Why do you assume Worker has legitimate points? (I'm sure you are wondering why the rest of us so easily dismiss her!)

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 19, 2007 1:14 PM

Pittypat: Your right, I should have said she doesn't have the right to discriminate. I said the information was valid. So where do you get that I was sticking my tongue out at someone?

You didn't. She made it up to make you look bad.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:14 PM

pittypat: If she said she refused to hire anyone with the name Leroy or Keisha because they might be black. And we all know Black people are lazy and are not good workers. And everyone else does this racial profiling. Would your advice to be just take heed of the warning that there is blantant racial discrimination in hiring?

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 1:15 PM

"...but I don't believe its a dark, universal policy."

Well, I'm not alleging a conspiracy, Arlington Dad. I just think this practice is more widespread than people realize or can accept.

Posted by: pittypat | April 19, 2007 1:15 PM

What about childless employees with cancer-stricken parents? Sounds like she's pre-judging a whole lot of types of people.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 19, 2007 01:08 PM


Maybe she only hires orphans.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:15 PM

Hardly. But thanks for the laugh. Would you have preferred that I said "I have the power to extend offers of employment and terminate poor performers"?

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 19, 2007 1:15 PM

WorkingMomX- Things are interesting enough today that noone should have to target you for spelling mistakes. Those are usually very boring days. Not unlike listening to people going on and on about their jobs and how important they are.

Posted by: atb | April 19, 2007 1:16 PM

"So where do you get that I was sticking my tongue out at someone?"

Sorry, adoptee. I was saying that about the blog, at large. I should have made that clear.

Posted by: pittypat | April 19, 2007 1:17 PM

atb, I know, but grammar, punctuation and spelling errors are a pet peeve of mine. I can't help beating myself up just a wee bit. :)

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 19, 2007 1:18 PM

I will not hire anyone named Liz as they might be a Lizard. It is bad enough we have that darned gecko on TV trying to subvert human dominance on this planet. We certainly can not allow the reptiles to take over. We can certainly see from todays postings how cold-blooded they can be. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 1:18 PM

But how do you know that? Why do you assume Worker has legitimate points? (I'm sure you are wondering why the rest of us so easily dismiss her!)

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 19, 2007 01:14 PM

Because it makes sense. For most jobs, there will be competition, many more resumees than positions. When this happens, you weed out the unqualified and undesireable. It is easy for me to see that one of the undesireable traits could easily be "gap in the resume".

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:20 PM

Sorry, adoptee. I was saying that about the blog, at large. I should have made that clear.

You can't say anything she doesn't like without being targeted.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:20 PM

WorkingMomX, 10 ANGRY lashes with a wet noodle.

LOL!

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 1:21 PM

"Not unlike listening to people going on and on about their jobs and how important they are."

or listening to one person, pittypat, scold every poster with whom she disagrees.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:21 PM

Chris- You finally made me LOL. I've been waiting. You had me at "I will not hire anyone named Liz as they might be a Lizard."

Posted by: atb | April 19, 2007 1:21 PM

"They talk about how needy the wives are."

MIL is the poster child for the Needy Wives & Mothers Club.

She has the "helpless routine" perfected to a science.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:23 PM

1:12, you obviously don't believe what you see. I didn't take a woman's lit class, but I can see oppression for what it is.

I can give you example's of men's power, but I don't think you'd accept them for one imagined reason or another. Please feel free to give me examples of how women run the world. And try to keep your composure. It's very hard to take people seriously when they rant, FWIW.

Posted by: Meesh | April 19, 2007 1:25 PM

"or listening to one person, pittypat, scold every poster with whom she disagrees."

You gotta wonder about some folks who are looking for love in all the wrong places...


Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:26 PM

Don't forget about Gordon Gecko.

Posted by: To Chris | April 19, 2007 1:26 PM

Childfree, if you follow this reasoning, people without children have only their careers to keep them happy. People without children have hobbies, pets, excercise routines, volunteering commitments, social engagements, clubs, sick parents to care for, and a host of interests and activities outside of work. That's juggling -- that's having "both" a life inside and outside of the office. There's no need to single out the Mothers.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 19, 2007 12:24 PM

Right - We do have hobbies. But they do not require us to skip work or leave early. Those hobbies are on our personal time, not company time. Big difference!

Posted by: Childfree | April 19, 2007 1:27 PM

Re: Life Insurance

Foamgnome (and probably many others) said that she carries the bulk of her life insurance through her employer.

DH and I did this until DD was born. After she came along, we decided to purchase a 20-yr. term policy for each of us. This is the bulk of our life insurance.

I still have a pretty generous free policy via my employer, but I don't pay for the optional extra coverage like many of my co-workers. My husband has one as well through his union.

We decided to buy private insurance because, with a child, we weren't comfortable putting all of our life insurance "eggs" in the employer "basket." One of us could get laid off and die between jobs. Or get injured and be unable to work (and said injury would probably significantly increase the cost of life insurance). This arrangement just feels safer.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | April 19, 2007 1:29 PM

I'm taking requests for stats today.

Posted by: blog stats | April 19, 2007 1:29 PM

Right - We do have hobbies. But they do not require us to skip work or leave early. Those hobbies are on our personal time, not company time. Big difference!

Posted by: Childfree | April 19, 2007 01:27 PM

What about your hobby of slamming parents on blogs? Or have you cleared this time with your boss?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:29 PM

"Right - We do have hobbies. But they do not require us to skip work or leave early. Those hobbies are on our personal time, not company time. Big difference"

Come on, don't you "childfree" people jet off to Europe at the drop of a hat? Or go to the Nationals games during the day in the middle of the week?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 19, 2007 1:30 PM

atb, I'M SERIOUS!!!! Lizard people are NOT to be trusted... well, except that lizard from Enemy Mine. It was an exception. ;-)

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 1:30 PM

Those are usually very boring days. Not unlike listening to people going on and on about their jobs and how important they are.

Posted by: atb | April 19, 2007 01:16 PM

You gotta wonder about some folks who are looking for love in all the wrong places...

1:26, you gotta wonder about someone who can't read the post. pitty's routine scolding is merely boring, not hurtful. Dull. dull. dull.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:31 PM

"I'm taking requests for stats today."

Not interested in cyberspace anonymous stats.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:31 PM

Paying any child-support at all? Not being an even worse tool?

Ding-ding-ding! That would be why, catlady (my guess, anyway). Thanks for your kind words.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | April 19, 2007 1:32 PM

Childfree- If it's approved leave, what difference does is make whether it's for a school play or to go rockclimbing? I'm sure you've left early before, because of illness or for fun. This goes right along with my not understanding why taking a week off at spring break is a big deal.

Posted by: atb | April 19, 2007 1:33 PM

I would hire a woman who took time off until her kids went to school under one condition: she is the last employee available on this planet. In my field if you choose to take time off you are considered to be not so enthusiastic about the field. Not that I would never hire a woman with children, mind it. But it will be a Chinese or Indian woman with extended family living under the same roof, and strong work ethic.

Posted by: The Company | April 19, 2007 1:34 PM

"As someone said before, having paid work does not automatically make you interesting."

This blog pretty much proves your point.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:35 PM

Right - We do have hobbies. But they do not require us to skip work or leave early. Those hobbies are on our personal time, not company time. Big difference!

Posted by: Childfree | April 19, 2007 01:27 PM


And you never miss a minute of work because your parents or siblings need anything from you, because your work always comes first. Oh, wait, maybe you were hatched.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:35 PM

Chris - LOL - my kids love the gecko which is why we don't let kids vote - they'd vote for the gecko.

Blog stats - I vote for "stupid"

Anyone know how to fix a garage door?

Posted by: moxiemom | April 19, 2007 1:36 PM

I would hire a woman who took time off until her kids went to school under one condition: she is the last employee available on this planet. In my field if you choose to take time off you are considered to be not so enthusiastic about the field. Not that I would never hire a woman with children, mind it. But it will be a Chinese or Indian woman with extended family living under the same roof, and strong work ethic.

Posted by: The Company | April 19, 2007 01:34 PM

Golly, I so hope you tell us where you work so we can send in all of our African-American colleagues and they can sue your a$$ for racially discriminatory hiring.

Problem solved. Your company goes under.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:36 PM

1:35, now that was good. Bravo! Now pick a name so that we might heap praises (and abuse) upon you. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 1:37 PM

I'm taking requests for stats today.

Posted by: blog stats | April 19, 2007 01:29 PM


OK, how about the number of times people post this board's blogging stats on this board?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:37 PM

"Did you see his rantings about feces and mud"

Yeah, he's a lot like the VT shooter.

Posted by: | April 19, 2007 12:38 PM

so you don't agree with Chris. If you react to everyone with whom you disagree by suggesting he or she resembles a mass murderer, you might want to take a teensy, weensy step back from the ledge.

Posted by: | April 19, 2007 01:02 PM

_________________________________

Amen, sister (or brother)!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:37 PM

Blog stats, no requests, but please don't do "feminism." I'm afraid I'd be exposed as the "militant" feminist on the blog :)

Hey, can you do emoticons? That would be interesting. What about "DC" or "Washington"?

How about pejoratives (sp?) like "snark" or "troll"?

Posted by: Meesh | April 19, 2007 1:37 PM

I can give you example's of men's power, but I don't think you'd accept them for one imagined reason or another.

Posted by: Meesh | April 19, 2007 01:25 PM

Yes, please do.

Never said women run the world, just said that most (99.9%) men don't.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:37 PM

"Ack! Must. drink. more. coffee"

Coffee is bad for you, stains your teeth, and makes your breath stink.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:38 PM

"Wow, WorkingMomX, you call Worker arrogant but begin your post with "I have hire/fire power at my job."

Who's impressed with herself?"

Ah, yes, the unjustified anonymous snark. Just not seeing how stating a relevant fact is arrogant. "I have hire/fire power so that makes me better than you": arrogant. "I have hire/fire power at my job so I can tell you how we do it here": useful data.

I have hire/fire power at my job, too -- it's called being the hiring partner for this office. Does it mean I think I'm better than everyone else here? ROFLMAO -- it basically means that sh*t flows downhill and I got "delegated" the task from a more senior partner. But it sure does make me more qualified to talk about how we make hiring decisions. Which, for the record, would not be anything like what Worker described -- but then again, I also wouldn't discount that some places do act that way.

Posted by: Laura | April 19, 2007 1:38 PM

blog stats, how about "neoultraantisociodisestablishmentarianism?"

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 1:38 PM

blog stats: any word that has to use a special character because it's naughty.

Posted by: atb | April 19, 2007 1:40 PM

Just call me Chris's idol.

Posted by: 1:35 to Chris | April 19, 2007 1:41 PM

What? A liberal elitist snob telling others how to live and that their choices are stupid? That their lives would be better if they listened to her? What is the world coming to? (DEEEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPPP SAAARRRCCAAAASM)

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 1:42 PM

Which one?

Posted by: To pATRICK | April 19, 2007 1:44 PM

the number of times that you have posted stats. (hint, everyone of them as they are all assinine.)

Posted by: to blog stats | April 19, 2007 1:45 PM

"Anyone know how to fix a garage door?"

Cut it's nuts off.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 19, 2007 1:46 PM

"Which one?

Posted by: To pATRICK | April 19, 2007 01:44 PM "

Leslie Bennetts, Good thing for her, her mom ignored her advice.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 1:46 PM

Request: Go away. Your annoying.

Posted by: to blog stats | April 19, 2007 1:47 PM

Laura, now I'm ROTFLMAO. Boy, does the sh*t ever flow downhill at this place. Also, I've learned that having the ability to hire a person also means it's totally your fault (even if you're only one of the the first stops in the process, like I am) if the person is hired and then turns out to be a whack job.

Wouldn't it be fun to trade stories about people we've interviewed? Some days I think I should just quit and write a book about that. . .

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 19, 2007 1:49 PM

your = possessive of you
you're = you are

its = possessive of it
it's = it is

Posted by: learn it, live it | April 19, 2007 1:49 PM

"Ah, yes, the unjustified anonymous snark. Just not seeing how stating a relevant fact is arrogant. "I have hire/fire power so that makes me better than you": arrogant. "I have hire/fire power at my job so I can tell you how we do it here": useful data."

Its not the fact, its the way she said it. Why not just "I do some of the hiring for my company"?

"Hire/fire power" is a power-trip phrase.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:51 PM

Spoken like someone who wishes they had hire/fire power.

Posted by: Hey 1:51 | April 19, 2007 1:52 PM

your = possessive of you
you're = you are

its = possessive of it
it's = it is

Posted by: learn it, live it | April 19, 2007 01:49 PM

yet, again--who cares!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:52 PM

I was hired even though I had a 1 1/2 year break in employment. The interviewer asked what I did. I said that I took a sabbatical. Been here for 5 years now.

Posted by: a regular but anon for this one | April 19, 2007 1:53 PM

I was hired even though I had a 1 1/2 year break in employment. The interviewer asked what I did. I said that I took a sabbatical. Been here for 5 years now.

Posted by: a regular but anon for this one | April 19, 2007 01:53 PM


Obviously, "Worker" would never hire you. Lucky you!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 1:54 PM

I was hired even though I had a 1 1/2 year break in employment. The interviewer asked what I did. I said that I took a sabbatical. Been here for 5 years now.

Posted by: a regular but anon for this one | April 19, 2007 01:53 PM

you're anon for this message? What, like this pre-employment fact is going to out you? how unique do you think this is? I'm kidding, really.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 19, 2007 1:59 PM

KLB, you have serious anger issues.

bwahahahahaha LMAO! That was great!

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 1:59 PM

For what it's worth, Worker's not interviewing people she thinks have a parent gap isn't "illegal." Employment is a private contract between two people/person & institution (unless it is a government job, so for purposes of this comment, I am assuming Worker is not a governmental worker). You can interview or not interview anyone you want. Antidiscrimination laws in this country (which, by the way protect race, sex, ethnicity, religion but not lifestyle choices like parenthood) are meant to govern governmental action and institutions that are "public accomodations" such as restaurants, transportation, etc. Most examples I can think of (again, exempting gov't.) can hire/fire at will. So you may think Worker's thoughts are odious, but they aren't illegal.

Posted by: Lawgal | April 19, 2007 2:01 PM

I was hired even though I had a 1 1/2 year break in employment. The interviewer asked what I did. I said that I took a sabbatical. Been here for 5 years now.

Posted by: a regular but anon for this one | April 19, 2007 01:53 PM


That's what you are supposed to say. Never mention th ekids, you are opening a can of worms.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 2:01 PM

Laura, if you ever hired me, don't think for one minute I would ever stop demanding you to make tasty treats. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 2:01 PM

"Never said women run the world, just said that most (99.9%) men don't."

So who runs the world, men or women?

Evidence that men run the US:
~ Women were not allowed to vote until the 20th century
~ No woman has ever been president of the US
~ Women are over represented in poverty, welfare, and homelessness and are under represented in government and the workforce.

What is your evidence to the contrary?

Posted by: Meesh | April 19, 2007 2:02 PM

But you'd have to write Laura lots of poems.

Posted by: To Chris | April 19, 2007 2:03 PM

Blog stats, I am endlessly entertained by your offerings. Keep it up!

Posted by: Meesh | April 19, 2007 2:04 PM

Meesh are you going to let history rule your life?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 2:04 PM

Chris, It's a gift!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 19, 2007 2:04 PM

Meesh, my wife, who lets me think I run everything. Also, my cat, who lets my wife think she lets me think I run everything. You see, us men are so far removed from actually running things it's scary. Those lizard people could just step in and take control at any moment- that is if the cats let them, which they never will... so we are safe in the status quo.

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 2:05 PM

"I mean I know I will never get back what I paid to SS, that doesn't bother me."

Gee, can I borrow your crystal ball? There are people who retire at 62 and die in their 90's who collect beneftis for 30+ years. Some people die before they collect a penny.

Social Security is a social insurance program, it is not a personal savings account. If you have health insurance and are healthy, you may not get benefits equal to what you have paid in. Do you complain about that? Some people get more SS benefits than they have paid in and some get less.

It was never intended to be sole support, but was intended to be a supplement to retirement savings. Life isn't fair, but overall, SS has been a safety net for many people. It has made the difference for many families who would be living in poverty without it.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 2:05 PM

For what it's worth, Worker's not interviewing people she thinks have a parent gap isn't "illegal." Employment is a private contract between two people/person & institution (unless it is a government job, so for purposes of this comment, I am assuming Worker is not a governmental worker). You can interview or not interview anyone you want. Antidiscrimination laws in this country (which, by the way protect race, sex, ethnicity, religion but not lifestyle choices like parenthood) are meant to govern governmental action and institutions that are "public accomodations" such as restaurants, transportation, etc. Most examples I can think of (again, exempting gov't.) can hire/fire at will. So you may think Worker's thoughts are odious, but they aren't illegal.

Posted by: Lawgal | April 19, 2007 02:01 PM
The part that people thought was illegal is that worker would refuse to hire women with that gap but hire men with the same gap. Is that illegal?

Posted by: to lawgirl | April 19, 2007 2:06 PM

Identify by the speech patterns, grammar, preferred expressions, and other similarities which personas are really a split personality. Subtask: which anons are really certain regulars. Please, nothing illegal, don't publish their IP addresses.

Posted by: Request for BlogStats (hard) | April 19, 2007 2:06 PM

"Ah, yes, the unjustified anonymous snark. Just not seeing how stating a relevant fact is arrogant. "I have hire/fire power so that makes me better than you": arrogant. "I have hire/fire power at my job so I can tell you how we do it here": useful data."

Its not the fact, its the way she said it. Why not just "I do some of the hiring for my company"?

"Hire/fire power" is a power-trip phrase.

Posted by: | April 19, 2007 01:51 PM

__________________________________

If you believe in a "hire power" do you even need to have "fire power?"

Posted by: Hmm . . . | April 19, 2007 2:10 PM

Just wandered on the board and noticed a post by "Lawgal." Just wanted to clarify Lawgal is not me.

Posted by: lawgirl | April 19, 2007 2:12 PM

please note the following from the EEOC website:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) cover all private employers, state and local governments, and education institutions that employ 15 or more individuals. These laws also cover private and public employment agencies, labor organizations, and joint labor management committees controlling apprenticeship and training.

So if the company has more than 15 employees and Worker only throws out resumes with gaps if they are women it appears she is in violation of the civil rights act.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | April 19, 2007 2:12 PM

Identify by the speech patterns, grammar, preferred expressions, and other similarities which personas are really a split personality. Subtask: which anons are really certain regulars. Please, nothing illegal, don't publish their IP addresses.

How do you know that more than one person is not posting from one IP address?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 2:14 PM

Lawgirl, I understand, but, and I know you know this, the non-lawyers think we're all fungible anyway, LOL.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 19, 2007 2:15 PM

Do you complain about that?

I am complaining about rich politicans trying to take a benefit off of children whose parents worked for it. By your standard they are the "social insurance" reason for it. I have a 401K. I am not relying on SS for myself.

Posted by: scarry | April 19, 2007 2:17 PM

"Identify by the speech patterns, grammar, preferred expressions, and other similarities which personas are really a split personality. Subtask: which anons are really certain regulars. Please, nothing illegal, don't publish their IP addresses."

This is, frankly, creepy. I don't like anon posts, either, but get a life already, requester.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 19, 2007 2:17 PM

the non-lawyers think we're all fungible anyway, LOL.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 19, 2007 02:15 PM


Ooooo, I love it when you talk dirty ;>)))))

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 2:17 PM

Blog stats: how about number of posts referencing drinking? (Guess what I'm thinking about right now?)

And for anyone who cares, "Worker" is not me.

Posted by: worker bee | April 19, 2007 2:18 PM

I stayed at home for 6 years with little Sapington & Muffy.

I had no trouble re-entering the workforce.

Posted by: Jackie O | April 19, 2007 2:18 PM

I sometimes forget to sign my posts and don't really care who posts anon.

Posted by: scarry | April 19, 2007 2:19 PM

WORKER sounds like a lovely person to work for.........Not. Probably one of those who has no life besides deciding whether to wear red shirts or blue on casual friday. Then goes home bitter to their empty home.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 2:20 PM

"Antidiscrimination laws in this country (which, by the way protect race, sex, ethnicity, religion but not lifestyle choices like parenthood)"

Ahh, but not hiring a woman b/c she is a parent and you don't want to deal, IS sex discrimination.

"You can interview or not interview anyone you want."

True, but don't be caught doing it for discriminatory reasons.

"Antidiscrimination laws in this country (which, by the way protect race, sex, ethnicity, religion but not lifestyle choices like parenthood) are meant to govern governmental action and institutions that are "public accomodations" such as restaurants, transportation, etc. "

I disagree. Antidiscrimination laws do protect people in the workplace, including private workplaces, to which the laws would apply.

"Most examples I can think of (again, exempting gov't.) can hire/fire at will."

True. But at-will employers cannot hire/fire for discriminatory reasons. Depending upon its size, employers are still subject to Title VII, FMLA, etc.


Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | April 19, 2007 2:20 PM

"This is, frankly, creepy. I don't like anon posts, either, but get a life already, requester."

Somebody's fiesty today..;)

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 2:21 PM

I think that worker is probably right in that there are some employers out there who do discriminate against mothers, and who think that laws aside, it is perfectly okay to do this.

But worker wasn't just saying to beware of this sad reality. She was advocating such practices. Not only does she discriminate against working mothers, but on top of that, she has this disdain for SAH mothers, whom she considers needy and uninteresting. She says she is judged by her accomplishments and because she is an interesting person (presumably because she works), while the men who work with her find their wives needy and boring. Yikes. She is offensive not because of the warning she gives, but because of the way she expresses disdain against working mothers as well as stay at home mothers.

There are (sadly) people out there like that. But I don't think it's the norm. I have worked for quite a long time, and for the most part, I have found my employers to be quite friendly to working mothers (with only one exception). But it is a good idea to be aware of the jerks out there. I know a SAHM who freelances now and then (when she has time, but not very often). Her resume says she is "consulting" during this period. As long as her skills are up to date and she has some references, she does not have to say how often she consults.

But frankly, I would rather know the jerks up front so that I can avoid them. Not all employers are like that.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 2:21 PM

Well, history does rule our lives, but that doesn't mean that I'm falling for the brainwashing. Step 1 is learning how to recognize patriarchal traps. Step 2 is avoiding them and realizing your own goals. Step 3 is helping others do the same.

Chris, in reality, my life is ruled by my dogs. They dictate every aspect of my life, from daily activities like going to the dog park to long term decisions like how long we can go on vacation before we have to worry about mutiny.

Posted by: Meesh | April 19, 2007 2:21 PM

WORKER sounds like a lovely person to work for.........Not. Probably one of those who has no life besides deciding whether to wear red shirts or blue on casual friday. Then goes home bitter to their empty home.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 02:20 PM


Our greatest consolation will be when her employer gets sued, and she has to take the fall.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 2:23 PM

hmmm... "a hire power" that was clever. Pretty soon EVERYONE (except Liz and her pet troll) will be bandying about puns and we will all live happily ever after... YAY! :-)

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 2:24 PM

See, now I would agree that dogs run things, but the cat raised our dogs, so I guess there is even one more layer of the fur ceiling that keeps me down. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 2:27 PM

Let me tell you that WORKER reminds me of a lot of corporate types I run into. Their life is their job which is sad. Yesterday I had lunch with one whose wife was ill, had two kids who he said wanted to play more sports but couldn't because of his wife's illness and his job and he had a two hour commute each way. His only thought was how he was going to put in the extra work to get promoted. A POS in my opinion, we avoided him like the plague while he was visiting.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 2:28 PM

"I have a 401K. I am not relying on SS for myself."

Scarry, I'm with you on this. I don't like the idea of the child benefit being taken away. It would leave a lot of children out on the streets. But I do think that one way of curbing spending would be to set income limits to those who receive it. For example, if you make more then 200K a year, you should not get the SS benefit, no matter how much you put into it. It should not be a supplement for the wealthy.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 2:28 PM

But frankly, I would rather know the jerks up front so that I can avoid them. Not all employers are like that.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 02:21 PM


The problem is she wouldn't dare be upfront about it when considering or interviewing job applicants.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 2:30 PM

The problem is she wouldn't dare be upfront about it when considering or interviewing job applicants.

She meaning "worker"

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 2:31 PM

I wonder if Worker discriminates only against moms who have been SAHMs, or if she extends her prejudice to anyone who has kids. After all, every parent is at some point responsible for dealing with sick days, school events, etc. What makes a former SAHM any different?

FWIW, I have no illusions that I will re-enter the workforce where I left off. I was an associate at a large law firm, and even if I could return to that job and lifestyle, I don't want to. Instead, I'm using my time off to get licensed in my new state (passed the bar! woohoo!), and to get myself up to speed in a new specialty that will offer more flexibility (though less money). Even if I have to start all the way at the bottom again, the time I've gotten to spend with my DD is worth it.

Posted by: NewSAHM | April 19, 2007 2:32 PM

"The problem is she wouldn't dare be upfront about it when considering or interviewing job applicants."

True, but since I am a working mom, she would never hire me, which would be a good thing for me since I would never want to work for her. As much as I disagree with her way of doing business, I would personally prefer that she pass me up as an employee than that she hire me and then make my life miserable because I have a child. My question is, what does she do with her female employees who go on to have children after they are hired? They are the ones who are most vulnerable to her.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 2:33 PM

My question is, what does she do with her female employees who go on to have children after they are hired? They are the ones who are most vulnerable to her.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 02:33 PM


Probably does everything in her power to keep them from coming back.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 2:36 PM

And she'll grow old and bitter, all by herself, and eventually die alone.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 2:39 PM

"My question is, what does she do with her female employees who go on to have children after they are hired? They are the ones who are most vulnerable to her."

No children are born as there are BCPs in the water cooler.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 19, 2007 2:40 PM

"Do you complain about that?

I am complaining about rich politicans trying to take a benefit off of children whose parents worked for it. By your standard they are the "social insurance" reason for it. I have a 401K. I am not relying on SS for myself."

Scarry,

Again you are twisting things. I was responding to your statement "I mean I know I will never get back what I paid to SS.", not to your concerns about surviving dependent children.

Posted by: anon at 2:05 pm | April 19, 2007 2:40 PM

Chris: I propose a fair swap: I will provide pies/cookies if you provide the re-done song lyrics. But as all-powerful and mighty hiring partner ;-), I get to pick the songs.

Posted by: Laura | April 19, 2007 2:40 PM

For what it's worth, Worker's not interviewing people she thinks have a parent gap isn't "illegal." Employment is a private contract between two people/person & institution (unless it is a government job, so for purposes of this comment, I am assuming Worker is not a governmental worker). You can interview or not interview anyone you want. Antidiscrimination laws in this country (which, by the way protect race, sex, ethnicity, religion but not lifestyle choices like parenthood) are meant to govern governmental action and institutions that are "public accomodations" such as restaurants, transportation, etc. Most examples I can think of (again, exempting gov't.) can hire/fire at will. So you may think Worker's thoughts are odious, but they aren't illegal.

Posted by: Lawgal | April 19, 2007 02:01 PM

____________________________

Are you out of your flippin' mind? Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as numerous state anti-discrimination laws, prohibits employment discrimination (including discriminatory hiring practices) for various protected classes.

Looks like someone needs to go back to law school.

Posted by: Huh? | April 19, 2007 2:42 PM

"Do you complain about that?

I am complaining about rich politicans trying to take a benefit off of children whose parents worked for it. By your standard they are the "social insurance" reason for it. I have a 401K. I am not relying on SS for myself."

Scarry,

Again you are twisting things. I was responding to your statement "I mean I know I will never get back what I paid to SS.", not to your concerns about surviving dependent children.

Posted by: anon at 2:05 pm | April 19, 2007 02:40 PM

Scarry, I think what 2:05 is trying to say is SS works by paying more to some (live longer then the actuarial age of probable death), less to others (die sooner the the age of probable death-life expectancy, and break even on others. At the end of the day, you hope to make money off some and pay out less on others. So you in essence break even. What 2:05 is saying is you don't know which category you will fall into. It is impossible to know if you will die early, live longer, or die at exactly the predicted life expectancy. One of the reasons SS is having trouble is that people are living longer. So we are paying out more to people then we thought we would based on old actuarial numbers. Even if we could accurately predict the life expectancy, people do not want to push the age of retirement so far. It would force people to work longer and no one wants to do that.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 2:46 PM

The character groups "cr*p", "sh*t", "a$$", "b*tch", " ass ", " damn ", and " crap " appear in 893 posts by 341 different contributors.

Our top 10 posters with the filthiest keyboards:

11 Emily
12 pittypat
13 Mona
16 Fred
19 scarry
22 Everybody knows...
22 Lizzie
25 Megan
26 Megan's Neighbor
32 Laura

Shame on all of you!
(* pointing left finger and rubbing it with right finger *)

Posted by: Blog Stats | April 19, 2007 2:46 PM

Emily, she would probably just find an excuse to "let her go" and hire a new person who will work for less anyway. I bet she thinks it's a "smart and practical business strategy." Not to mention heartless... but for the people who care about only themselves and scrambling to the top, that's fine enough for them and who cares how the non-elite whine.
For everyone else with an ounce of compassion and heart, we just keep doing and hoping for the best.

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 2:47 PM

PS, Chris, forgot to mention: the other day when you did your "Blackberry sorbet," as I was heading out to pick up the kids, I turned on the radio, and -- I am not making this up -- they were playing "Raspberry Beret." I almost drove off the road I started laughing so hard.

Posted by: Laura | April 19, 2007 2:47 PM

Dang, and I am not on that list!

Laura, you're on! I love a challenge. Do I get back pay? ;-)

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 2:50 PM

As an FYI, I (Robin) am a woman. And it's not just in the media that I see the lack of support for fellow women. I heard a femail coworker say yesterday that she could never work for a woman boss ... she much preferred working for me. Why is that? Why can't we just stand up for and support each other as women. I do think there's something to the comment about us being raised to be super-competitive.

Posted by: Robin | April 19, 2007 2:51 PM

Sorry, I'm at home sick today and obviously can't spell ... I meant to say "female" coworker.

Posted by: Robin | April 19, 2007 2:52 PM

Scarry,

Again you are twisting things. I was responding to your statement "I mean I know I will never get back what I paid to SS.", not to your concerns about surviving dependent children.

I am not twisting anything. I guess I didn't understand the point of your post. Your point was that I am complaining about what? I have a 401 K I don't care about getting my money back, and frankly, by the time I retire I don't think there will be any SS anyway. However, I do think that if I pay into it and I die then it should be there for my children. No need to get testy.

Emily, I agree there should be limits for the wealthy, but I am not sure if 200 should be the limit, I don't know what a good limit is though. I mean a spouse who makes 200 could very well leave the other spouse with nothing after they are gone. I don't know what the answer is, but I know it's not to cut out the benefit.

Posted by: scarry | April 19, 2007 2:53 PM

Men are super competitive too, they have p*ssing contests and compare whose is bigger.

Posted by: To Robin | April 19, 2007 2:53 PM

Are you out of your flippin' mind? Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as numerous state anti-discrimination laws, prohibits employment discrimination (including discriminatory hiring practices) for various protected classes.

Looks like someone needs to go back to law school.

Posted by: Huh? | April 19, 2007 02:42 PM

So, SAHMs are a protected class now? Please explain that to this non-lawyer.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 2:55 PM

Sorry, I'm at home sick today and obviously can't spell ... I meant to say "female" coworker.

Posted by: Robin | April 19, 2007 02:52 PM


"Worker" would never hire you.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 2:56 PM

But when push comes to shove, a man will stand up for another man long before he'll stand up for a woman ... spouses not included.

Posted by: Robin | April 19, 2007 2:56 PM

"Worker" would never hire you.

Let me guess ... this was posted by a woman?

Posted by: Robin | April 19, 2007 2:57 PM

I know women who were SAHM's, including my mother, who were in a terrible financial mess when hubby left. I also know several SAHM's who quit work when they had children and didn't return to work until children were high-school age or older. Their husbands didn't leave them and they have had perfectly fine lives. I know a woman who had twins and quit to be a SAHM in her early 30's. Sadly, her husband died unexpectedly when the twins were toddlers. This happened about 5 years ago, and she still hasn't returned to work.

There is no one model for the families in America.

Posted by: tillie | April 19, 2007 2:58 PM

"Emily, I agree there should be limits for the wealthy, but I am not sure if 200 should be the limit, I don't know what a good limit is though. I mean a spouse who makes 200 could very well leave the other spouse with nothing after they are gone. I don't know what the answer is, but I know it's not to cut out the benefit. "

I am not sure what the limit should be either. I just shot that our there from the hip, and am not familiar enough with how the system works to really decide what a fair limit should be. All I'm saying is that wealthy retired people should not receive social security. I think it was originally established as a safety net to the elderly who could not get by without help. I think it should go back to that. If people are on the edge of poverty or in poverty, they should receive it SS as a supplement. If they are living well off their retirement savings, they don't need it, and should not get it.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 2:58 PM

But when push comes to shove, a man will stand up for another man long before he'll stand up for a woman ... spouses not included.

Posted by: Robin | April 19, 2007 02:56 PM

And a woman will stand up for another woman long before she will stand up for a man. What is the problem?

Actually, judging by this blog, women will stand up for their dogs before a man. ;)

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 2:59 PM

Yes, Emily I agree on that one. It's like the people who put all their assests in their kid's names so they can get help from the government. It's a shame.

Posted by: scarry | April 19, 2007 3:02 PM

Emily, I agree there should be limits for the wealthy, but I am not sure if 200 should be the limit, I don't know what a good limit is though. I mean a spouse who makes 200 could very well leave the other spouse with nothing after they are gone. I don't know what the answer is, but I know it's not to cut out the benefit.

Posted by: scarry | April 19, 2007 02:53 PM
SS tries to deal with it in two ways. One way is you only are taxed up to the social security intergration level. I think it is around 90K right now. So more then half of the 200K earnings of an individual is not subject to payroll tax. The second way, is that lower wage earners receive a higher percentage of the benefit. And higher wage earners recieve a lower percentage. So if I make 30K at the end of my career, I make get back 8K/year in a benefit. So I recieve a 26% of my last year salary each year. But say a 90K earner gets 13.5K each year. Even though they get a higher $ amount, the percentage is smaller (26% versus 15%). I know a couple of decades a millionaire was going around trying to get other millionares to voluntarily forgo their SS. Guess what. Most of the millionaires still wanted their SS benefit. I think the Amish fought the government not to collect SS and won. Now they do not have to contribute to SSA because they do not collect.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 3:02 PM

If you have FIREPOWER (ooh, off I go on another power trip), it is not difficult (though it is tedious and may take a while) to get rid of someone you don't like or who is underperforming. It really isn't. Two or three verbal warnings, two or three written warnings, probationary period, termination for cause. Fairly simple. Granted, you have to be a bit of a f*ck up (desperately trying to get on the next blog stats list of dirty talkers) to be terminated while on probation, but it's funny how some people just don't get it.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 19, 2007 3:02 PM

Robin, I was behind you 110% until you said that. I'm afraid I am going to have to withdraw my support. ;-P

I was raised on a concept of chivalry and always doing the right thing, no matter what, and to treat everyone fairly- especially when push comes to shove.

I mean if you won't stand your ground when push comes to shove, I guess that would make you a shove-over, right?

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 3:04 PM

25 Megan
26 Megan's Neighbor

Did you see this???

Posted by: cmac | April 19, 2007 3:04 PM

Robin

"Femail" was at least an interesting spelling error.

"I heard a femail coworker say yesterday that she could never work for a woman boss ... she much preferred working for me."

Aren't you a woman?

Posted by: I LOVE BUSH | April 19, 2007 3:05 PM

I meant to say a couple of decades ago.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 3:05 PM

If worker is employed by one of the big accounting/consulting firms and her comments were connected to her, I think she would be risking her job. She would actively be undermining the firm investment in recruitment.

One major firm is spending bucks on a program called Full Circle, aimed at keeping new parents connected to the firm. Parents (of either gender) separating from the firm to dedicate themselves to FT parenting are eligible for training, reimbursement for licensing, and invitations to networking events for five years. This firm also has an alumni relations group to try to recruit former employees.

Doesn't sound like this firm minds the gap. I doubt a firm investing in these types of programs for recruitment/retention would value a manager who is likely to bleed employees just because they become parents. Maybe these huge firms are further along in implementing these ideas, but I doubt it's out of the goodness of anyone's heart. These firms understand the high costs of recruitment and retention. I know these efforts don't always work on an individual basis, but there is some $$$ commitment to seeing gaps as part of the larger picture of work-life balance.

Posted by: Marian | April 19, 2007 3:06 PM

WORKER sounds like a lovely person to work for.........Not. Probably one of those who has no life besides deciding whether to wear red shirts or blue on casual friday. Then goes home bitter to their empty home.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 02:20 PM


Worker probably still gets all dressed up on casual Friday, to remind everyone of her importance.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 3:07 PM

"I know a couple of decades a millionaire was going around trying to get other millionares to voluntarily forgo their SS. Guess what. Most of the millionaires still wanted their SS benefit."

I'm not surprised. People seem to think that since they paid into it, they should get it back, whether they need it or not. But I think the mindset should be changed. SS should be considered a tax to help the elderly in need, rather than some kind of savings account that you can rely on come hell or high water. If we continue to think of it as an entitlement to help fund a cushy retirement, it will be gone anyway and then nobody will be helped. If we are able to curb it so that only those who truly need it get it, then at least it would remain as a safety net for those who need one. And those that are well off will be fine without it.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 3:07 PM

"Guess what. Most of the millionaires still wanted their SS benefit."

Yes and VERY wealthy movie and TV stars have been seen in line collecting their Unemployment Benefits .

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 3:10 PM

agreed. I also know people who act like they have mental issues to collect SSI. My sister has lupus and cannot work and she and her doctor had to fight for it.

Posted by: scarry | April 19, 2007 3:10 PM

Yes and VERY wealthy movie and TV stars have been seen in line collecting their Unemployment Benefits .

Who?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 3:11 PM

does anyone who read the book have an idea of how long Bennetts think is safe to take off for maternity leave?

I took off one year unpaid -- my employer guaranteed my job back on return. We had saved up the money to do it, so it much of a financial risk.

I ask because if she is the type of person that thinks women should go back to work immediately after childbirth regardless ofwhat maternity leave is available to thme, then I will not waste my time on her at all. I think such an attitutde is a diservice to those moms that need time to recover from the physical act of childbearing and time to get breastfeeding established, etc.

But if she supports parents taking all the parental leave available as long as they have the money saved up to do it, then I'll give the book a chance as it does sound like it does relate some interesting facts.

Posted by: Jen | April 19, 2007 3:12 PM

I bet most of those 'millionaires' who wanted to continue receiving SS were just ordinary people who saved all their lives. It isn't difficult to become a millionaire if you save (even a little) and then add time.

Posted by: dotted | April 19, 2007 3:17 PM

"Worker probably still gets all dressed up on casual Friday, to remind everyone of her importance."


That is so funny you say that. The corporate guy I lunched with said" we have casual fridays but I always wear a suit". So obsessed he can't even lose his tie. That spell major insecurity to me. Glad to see him get back to NY.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 3:17 PM

Women and minorities qualify as protected classes under Equal Opportunity. So yes, SAHMs would qualify . . .

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 3:17 PM

All other circumstances being equal, I think a female should thank you graciously if you hold a door open for her. And if she should get to the door first, she should just as gladly hold it open for you, because that would be more convenient.

If she is burdened with many packages, it would be gracious for a man to offer to help her carry them. And vice versa.

Just basic human courtesy.

Posted by: To Chris | April 19, 2007 3:17 PM

No - I don't need to go back to law school. She is refusing to interview these individuals because she doesn't think they have the right attitude/work ethic for her company. Parenthood is not a protected class. She isn't not interviewing women per se BECAUSE they are women, she is not interviewing women because they made a lifestyle choice that she believes indicates they would make a poorer employment choice than another candidate. It is akin to refusing to rent, as a previous poster noted sometime this week, to people with bad credit. If they happen to all be of one race, but you can prove you are not renting to them because of their credit, NOT because of their race, you are not required to rent to them. I suspect Worker hires women, and even mothers, but she prefers not to interview those who have proven to have other priorities and responsibilities, who were staying at home. Stay at home parents are not protected by the Civil Rights Act just because many of them are women and sex happens to be a protected class. Just like people with bad credit are not protected under the Civil Rights Act if most of them are of a certain race or ethnicity because it is a lifestyle decision that makes them undesirable to enter into a contract with.

Posted by: Lawgirl | April 19, 2007 3:19 PM

I'm not surprised. People seem to think that since they paid into it, they should get it back, whether they need it or not,


DAMN RIGHT! Every penny! It was taken from me by law, i want every penny back. This liberal , "you don't need give it to someone else stuff" is crap. I will decide if I need it not you!

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 3:20 PM

Jen
"But if she supports parents taking all the parental leave available as long as they have the money saved up to do it, then I'll give the book a chance as it does sound like it does relate some interesting facts."

1. Check out the book from the library; no financial risk to you.

2. Skip the parts of the book you don't like; no time risk to you.

3. There are book reviews all over the Net; they cover the highlights/lowlights..

Posted by: Lucy | April 19, 2007 3:20 PM

The idea that women can team together to pull themselves up by their own brawstraps is laughable. Women will get much further when they learn to work with men instead of against them.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 3:20 PM

That spell major insecurity to me. Glad to see him get back to NY.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 03:17 PM


Nixon used to wear a business suit and dress shoes when he'd walk on the beach at San Clemente. 'nuff said.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 3:20 PM

3:17........HAHHAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHhahahahahahahahahahah.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 3:22 PM

I bet most of those 'millionaires' who wanted to continue receiving SS were just ordinary people who saved all their lives. It isn't difficult to become a millionaire if you save (even a little) and then add time.

Posted by: dotted | April 19, 2007 03:17 PM
This was several decades ago. There were a lot less millionaires back then. Now it is very possible to become a millionaire if you count in 401Ks and equity in homes. But the point is, whether they need the money or not, people want the money because they feel it belongs to them.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 3:23 PM

Laura, I don't think I'll do any pro-Bono work. I was considering doing Where the Trolls Have No Name... but I changed my mind. ;-)

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

"Nixon used to wear a business suit and dress shoes when he'd walk on the beach at San Clemente. 'nuff said."

Sounds like keeping your socks on during sex.............

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

Hey foamgnome,
A million in the bank doesn't spring enough cash to live on. And that retirement cash is taxed. I, along with all the other regular joes, will need the SS to continue living the same lifestyle I enjoy before retiring.

Posted by: dotted | April 19, 2007 3:26 PM

does anyone who read the book have an idea of how long Bennetts think is safe to take off for maternity leave?

I once knew a woman who went into labor late on Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving. Friday was a workplace holiday. She was back at work on Monday.

Posted by: To jen | April 19, 2007 3:26 PM

Here's what DeLoitte & Touche is doing under their Women's Initiative program (boy these accounting firms like to burn money on those useless women who decide to take time off--NOT!):

"We're also piloting Personal Pursuits a program that allows Deloitte professionals to step out of the workplace without stepping out of the network. The program is designed for employees who wish to leave the workforce for one to five years with the intention of re-entering thereafter. Participants stay connected and their skills stay up-to-date through Deloitte-sponsored ongoing training, mentoring, networking events, continued licensing accreditation, and even ad-hoc assignments each designed to keep their skills and relationships current.

And I should have said these firms wouldn't value a manager who is likely to bleed employees just because decide to take up to five years off when they become parents.

Posted by: Marian | April 19, 2007 3:27 PM

"I don't think I'll do any pro-Bono work"

Huh?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 3:28 PM

Take you leave, enjoy your baby, who cares what this woman thinks!

Can another lawyer please way in on the "worker" issue. I am not buying that it is not discrimination.

Posted by: scarry | April 19, 2007 3:29 PM

A protected class is a group of people, not a situation. So parenthood wouldn't be a class, anyway. But sex is a class. Also, if some women are discriminated against, it is still discrimination. A company that has women employees can still discriminate by not hiring certain women (like pregnant women, like women with children, like women who take off to care for children). And said company can be sued.

But why, why, why am I even bothering to write all of this?

Smacks forehead.

You can go into court and argue what you want. I would be curious to see a judge's reaction to your arguments.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | April 19, 2007 3:29 PM

Bono, U-2, Where the Streets Have No Name... it was a pun.

Posted by: Chris | April 19, 2007 3:31 PM

Stay at home parents are not protected by the Civil Rights Act just because many of them are women and sex happens to be a protected class.

Since (thus far) only women can give birth, there are legal protections for women against discrimination based on pregnant status.

Posted by: To lawgirl | April 19, 2007 3:31 PM

"Nixon used to wear a business suit and dress shoes when he'd walk on the beach at San Clemente. 'nuff said."

Sounds like keeping your socks on during sex.............


Posted by: | April 19, 2007 03:24 PM

two comments:

1. who knew "crap" would ever appear on a list of offensive words? Heretofore, I thought it was the most innocuous euphemism I could use. I shall be more creative in the future. Note to self: develop longer list of words meaning, "excrement" but still acceptable to the sort of person that would find the use of "crap" worthy of note.

2. Some of us are fungible, but we still have cold feet.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 19, 2007 3:38 PM

What WORKER and other short sighted people don't know or refuse to see is a coming worker shortage that will dwarf the 90's. Pretty soon her type of companies will be starving for talent.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 3:39 PM

FYI, the 3:19 regarding the scope of the Civil Rights Act is not from me.

Posted by: The Original Lawgirl | April 19, 2007 3:40 PM

"In its filings with the Federal Elections Commission, John Edwards' campaign disclosed that the candidate received two $400 haircuts from a Beverly Hills stylist this year."


Mr. Two Americas himself. Just another hypocritical self serving politican. Give me a man like Harry Truman running on this theme. I could respect that, but this millionaire trial lawyer makes me sick.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 3:47 PM

and you were in such good humor, pATRICK. Don't troll the web looking for things to get peeved about. You can find it all right here with less effort.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 19, 2007 3:49 PM

And my two cents on employment discrimination is that certain classes are protected, one of which is sex. Sex discrimination includes discrimination based on pregnancy. The protection applies to hiring practices.

That being said, it is discriminatory to not hire women. It's probably not discriminatory to not hire anyone, regardless of sex, who has a significant employment gap -- that gap could be due to anything and there are numerous legitimate reasons to not hire someone with a gap, and courts generally don't inquire too deeply into the hiring practices of businesses absent a showing of pretext.

When you get into the area of only refusing to hire women with an employment gap, as opposed to anyone with a gap, that starts moving back toward the sex discrimination area. However, I wouldn't say such a practice is a slam-dunk either way. A lot would depend on the particular facts.

Posted by: The Original Lawgirl | April 19, 2007 3:50 PM

Re Edwards' haircut: How many lives did it cost that Rumsfeld wouldn't pay for decent body armor for some of our troops in Iraq?

Posted by: To pATRICK | April 19, 2007 3:51 PM

Well, folks, if the system needs change
why are we all goofing around here
berating each other over whether we stay
at home or go out to work? We are all
so past the time to rise up and direct
our energy to elected representatives,
our employers, and other people and groups
who have a hand in this. When will there
be the Million Mom March? Until then,
this is lots of energy running down some kind of a drain...

Posted by: SFMom | April 19, 2007 3:51 PM

thank for the info "to Jen"-- how typical is that, do you think? I'm hoping that with my second birth I'll be more prepared and also able to get right back into things, but I was frankly so wiped out by childbirth, etc. the first time that I don't know that I should bank on it. I am inspired by that basketball coach too that coached hours after giving birth, but still it seems an anomly.

I hope I'm not perptuating the "Weaker Sex" idea-- hey, if men were able to give birth, I think they'd be pretty wiped out for awhile too! I do want to get back to work quickly, but I just don't know that I can trust that I can physically do it.

If you want to get back to work ASAP after childbirth, what is the typcial amont of time you should assume you will need for rest and recovery?

Posted by: Jen | April 19, 2007 3:52 PM

"If you want to get back to work ASAP after childbirth, what is the typcial amont of time you should assume you will need for rest and recovery?"

For what job? firefighter? greeter at Wal-Mart? accountant?

I could have returned to my job within 4 or 5 days, had I wanted to do so. My commute is short. My job requires no physical labor.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 3:54 PM

Re Edwards' haircut: How many lives did it cost that Rumsfeld wouldn't pay for decent body armor for some of our troops in Iraq?


This is an idiotic response. By the way, MEGAN'S NEIGHBOR you are right. You seem to be on a roll. Keep going.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 3:55 PM

Hey foamgnome,
A million in the bank doesn't spring enough cash to live on. And that retirement cash is taxed. I, along with all the other regular joes, will need the SS to continue living the same lifestyle I enjoy before retiring.

Posted by: dotted | April 19, 2007 03:26 PM

Dotted:agreed. But like I said this was several decades ago and the number of millionaires was a lot less. It was probably compared to billionaires of today. See the difference.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 3:57 PM

Chris, LOL (big U2 fan here, so would have appreciated that one).

Re: discrimination:

(1) parenthood is not a protected class

(2) gender is

(3) If Worker treats both men and women with resume gaps the same way, that is stupid but likely not illegal.

(4) If Worker uses parenthood as a pretext to discriminate against women (ie, she reserves her special judgment for women but not men), that is likely both stupid and illegal.

(5) Proving discrimination is very, very difficult, because people who do this are usually smart enough not to come out and admit discrimination or do overt things.

(6) But anyone can file a lawsuit for just about anything at any time, and it is extremely difficult to get even the worst suit dismissed before you've already spent months of time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees defending against the claim. Most corporate behavior I know is driven by fear of being involved in lawsuits, much more than by fear of actually losing one.

(7) Which is why most employers are smart enough to have policies that avoid even the appearance of discrimination (such as, say, categorically refusing to interview certain candidates who have specific traits that, while possibly valid considerations, are also typically associated with a protected class). I think it's more typical to interview people based on certain specified objective criteria, and then just ding the people who don't meet your unstated subjective criteria -- no guarantee of protection OR fair treatment, but a lot "safer" from the employer's perspective than just not even looking at moms with resume gaps.

Posted by: Laura | April 19, 2007 4:01 PM

Dotted: my point is no matter what the number you give (million, billion, trillion), a certain percentage of the very rich will still feel entitled to their SS benefit. So Emily's suggestion of cutting off benefits for people in a much lower bracket (200K), won't work. If the very rich feel entitled, you can bet the upper middle class feel entitled.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 4:02 PM

Here's what DeLoitte & Touche is doing under their Women's Initiative program

What abotu men who want to be SAHDs? This sounds really disciminitory to me.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 4:03 PM

Laura,

Well put. Back to work for me.

Posted by: The Original Lawgirl | April 19, 2007 4:06 PM

FOAMGNOME why do you think getting back YOUR money is somehow a sense of entitlement? It is YOUR money after all not welfare.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 4:06 PM

Proving discrimination is very, very difficult, because people who do this are usually smart enough not to come out and admit discrimination or do overt things.

But if the whistle is blown from the inside, there would be a paper trail of disparate effect discrimination by Worker, except for what the company could get shredded in time.

Posted by: TO Laura | April 19, 2007 4:08 PM

FOAMGNOME why do you think getting back YOUR money is somehow a sense of entitlement? It is YOUR money after all not welfare.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 04:06 PM
Because it is technically a payroll tax not a retirement account. Again, it isn't about me. I, personally, hope to collect my benefit. It is about people's expectations versus the good will of human nature.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 4:09 PM

Aaaargh. "Stay at home parents are not protected by the Civil Rights Act just because many of them are women and sex happens to be a protected class. Since (thus far) only women can give birth, there are legal protections for women against discrimination based on pregnant status." Pregnancy and stay-at-home PARENTHOOD are NOT COINCIDENT. Moms AND Dads can stay at home, which is why this lifestyle choice, and the people who make it, DO NOT CONSTITUTE A PROTECTED CLASS. This is partially why the Family & Medical Leave Act protects men and women, moms and dads, to take time off after having a kid or to care for a sick relative. As Laura stated, this is a very, very gray area - for example, the courts have historically found in favor of religious schools they they ARE able to discriminate against hiring/employing pregnant women if they feel women should stay at home with their kids. Also, the 8th circuit (I believe, correct me if I'm wrong) also just recently found that it is NOT discriminatory to not cover women for birth control on a company's insurance policy even though pregnancy should be considered an illness in legal terms, and birth control could be used to stop such an illness like other medications can stop illness. By the way, how, exactly would a plaintiff prove that Worker didn't hire her because she was a woman, per se, and not because of her work history and habits?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 4:10 PM

"Emily's suggestion of cutting off benefits for people in a much lower bracket (200K), won't work. If the very rich feel entitled, you can bet the upper middle class feel entitled."

I agree that it probably won't work. People feel entitled. But Foamgnome, since you seem to know so much about this, do you think the SS system will run out of money if some changes aren't made. Because people can feel entitled all they want, but if there ain't no money, there ain't no money. I do think it is sad that people feel so entitled that they would rather take the benefit away from orphaned children rather then give up receiving it when they don't truly need it.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 4:12 PM

By the way, how, exactly would a plaintiff prove that Worker didn't hire her because she was a woman, per se, and not because of her work history and habits?

Posted by: | April 19, 2007 04:10 PM


Disparate effect discrimination, discovered by going through applicant recrods that Worker processed.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 4:15 PM

Emily, I need to go soon. I don't know a lot as I was corrected today. But I have seen various studies that seem to imply that we will definitely run out of money. The question is when. No study that I have read seems to imply that OASDI (to be exact) will be self sufficient indefinitely. But some are dooms day reports of the bankruptcy sooner then others. Personally, I think cuts need to be made and taxes need to be raised. Both unpopular with voters. The question is how much of both and to whom? or is it who?

Posted by: foamgnome | April 19, 2007 4:15 PM

Hey Worker-

A couple of years back, we had two people in our office take off a whole bunch of time unexpectedly for family issues, and it left the rest of us swamped with extra work, but we coped.

Oh- I should mention that the two people happened to be the only two single, childless people in the office, who were suddenly faced with critical health issues for elderly parents. And those of us who covered? We all had kids. (And since the two singletons who had to take a lot of time off had always been helpful to us, we were happy to return the favor.)

So, Worker, I assume that the message you will get from this post is not to hire anyone with a parent who is over 50?

Posted by: randdommom | April 19, 2007 4:15 PM

So, two workers work for their entire lives, maxing out SS along the way. One worker is frugal and saves for the future, forgoing expensive vacations, luxury items etc. When (s)he retires, has a nice little nest egg that provides an small income forever plus another small income from SS. Therefore having more than a small income.

The other worker spends from paycheck to paycheck, going on extravagant vacations buying a new car every year, etc. The person retires and gets a small income forever from SS.

Those of you that want to means test SS would punish (deny SS) the first but not the second?

Seems to reward the wrong behavior to me. Seems like we should just call it welfare for the irresponsible.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 4:16 PM

So, Worker, I assume that the message you will get from this post is not to hire anyone with a parent who is over 50?

Posted by: randdommom | April 19, 2007 04:15 PM


Nope, she'll only hire orphanned only children.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 4:16 PM

"So, two workers work for their entire lives, maxing out SS along the way. One worker is frugal and saves for the future, forgoing expensive vacations, luxury items etc. When (s)he retires, has a nice little nest egg that provides an small income forever plus another small income from SS. Therefore having more than a small income.

The other worker spends from paycheck to paycheck, going on extravagant vacations buying a new car every year, etc. The person retires and gets a small income forever from SS.

Those of you that want to means test SS would punish (deny SS) the first but not the second?

Seems to reward the wrong behavior to me. Seems like we should just call it welfare for the irresponsible"


Beautiful, just beautiful. Kudos

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 4:18 PM

I agree that it probably won't work. People feel entitled. But Foamgnome, since you seem to know so much about this, do you think the SS system will run out of money if some changes aren't made. Because people can feel entitled all they want, but if there ain't no money, there ain't no money. I do think it is sad that people feel so entitled that they would rather take the benefit away from orphaned children rather then give up receiving it when they don't truly need it.


Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 04:12 PM

Just to be clear the millionaire experiment took place several decades ago. The orphan benefit reduction is a recent proposal. In the last few years. So different group. The recent proposal takes into account that all kinds of people expect to get back their SS benefit.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 4:18 PM

Yay! My blog stat suggestion got picked! What do I win?

Jen- Are you serious? You want to go from 1 year maternity leave with #1 to days with #2? Who cares what Bennetts or Worker thinks? Hang out with your baby as long as you can! FWIW, 6 weeks is the recommended recovery time for a vaginal delivery, 8 weeks for a C-section.

Posted by: atb | April 19, 2007 4:19 PM

WORKER just called. Her job got outsourced to Indonesia. She been sedated because she discovered she's pregnant too (Corporate Fling). She needs some referrals about companies that are family friendly (She doesn't know of any).

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 4:23 PM

Deloitte's pilot program is found in the Women's Initiatives section of the website. To clarify, the program is called Personal Pursuits. It does not appear that there is a gender requirement to participate. This program may be listed elsewhere on the Deloitte website, I don't know. I was using it as an example of a program that was likely developed with parents wanting to take leave in mind. I don't know the percentages, but the accounting profession is heavily populated by women. These firms take the long view to the skilled labor shortage of the future to which pATRICK alluded. They realize they will need those women accountants, and they don't want to alienate them because of a gap. Here is an example where what had the seed of a woman's issue can improve work-life balance for all.

"We're also piloting Personal Pursuits a program that allows Deloitte professionals to step out of the workplace without stepping out of the network. The program is designed for employees who wish to leave the workforce for one to five years with the intention of re-entering thereafter."

Posted by: Marian | April 19, 2007 4:23 PM

I saved and invested so that I could "buy" the ability to stay home while my child was young. I loved those years, and my husband and I still have plenty of money, and I've paid plenty of taxes and SS. I returned to work pretty easily and now I'm back in a career track.

How was that a mistake? One size doesn't fit all.

Posted by: Eileen | April 19, 2007 4:24 PM

"Seems to reward the wrong behavior to me. Seems like we should just call it welfare for the irresponsible."

Call it whatever you want to call it. But if the system is going bankrupt unless changes are made, then it makes sense to make some adjustments so that we don't end up having to establish poorhouses for the elderly who are poor or on the fringe. The adjustments may be painful. Believe me, I want my SS benefit as much as anyone else, if it is feasible for me to get one. But if I know the system will go bankrupt on the terms on which it is run now, I would rather see it reformed and have a safety net for the poor so that we don't end up with homeless senior citizens (even if they were irresponsible). If that means I will have to give up my second home in Florida, or live more frugally that I otherwise might have, then so be it.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 4:24 PM

WORKER just called. Her job got outsourced to Indonesia. She been sedated because she discovered she's pregnant too (Corporate Fling). She needs some referrals about companies that are family friendly (She doesn't know of any).

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 04:23 PM


Bravo, pATRICK!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 4:25 PM

EMILY the sad thing is with that type of money prudently invested, it should NEVER run out. They have essentially left it in a passbook savings for generations. I can tell you being a financial advisor that it should be freed at least in part to the owners-you and me. I can't imagine telling my clients to put a substantial part of their retirement savings in a savings account for 40 years.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 4:29 PM

My point is that whether or not worker's practice of not hiring mothers with gaps is discrimination in the legal sense, at least two major employers in the business of analyzing business practices have concluded that it's worth spending money on a program that aims to retain employees who separate from employment due to parenthood. These firms are also smart enough to know that this benefit should be extended to all employees and cite examples on their websites of employees who have used these "sabbaticals" in the pursuit of a variety of personal interests.

I doubt that providing these benefits was anything but a business decision for these accounting/consulting firms.

Posted by: Marian | April 19, 2007 4:32 PM

"I can tell you being a financial advisor that it should be freed at least in part to the owners"

Perhaps. But the problem with that is that as the system currently is run, the money we are now putting in is paying for the current group of retirees who are collecting. I may be wrong, and correct me if I am, but from what I understand, the system right now is a big pyramid scheme where the current retirees are living off the payroll taxes that current workers are paying. If they freed up that money so that we could invest it ourselves, how would the current retirees be funded?

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 4:34 PM

Emily said: The adjustments may be painful.

Well, only to those of us who are responsible. To the irresponsible, it will be free money for getting old.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 4:37 PM

"WORKER sounds like a lovely person to work for.........Not. Probably one of those who has no life besides deciding whether to wear red shirts or blue on casual friday. Then goes home bitter to their empty home.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 02:20 PM"

Why is it that, when a woman says something a man doesn't like, he retaliates by sayng that she has a pathetic and lonely life?

This seems to happen a lot on this blog.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 4:37 PM

Proposed solution: Let all the undocumented workers in this country have legal work permits and tax i.d. numbers. Collect Social Security from them, with the promise that, if they follow the process and become permanent legal residents (green card) or citizens, they too will be eligible for SS benefits.

Posted by: Hailey | April 19, 2007 4:39 PM

"I also know people who act like they have mental issues to collect SSI."

How do you know they don't have mental health issues?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 4:40 PM

"Well, only to those of us who are responsible. To the irresponsible, it will be free money for getting old."

If the system goes bankrupt, all those poor retirees will end up on welfare anyway, and you still won't get your benefit. You won't have gained a thing.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 4:40 PM

"WORKER sounds like a lovely person to work for.........Not. Probably one of those who has no life besides deciding whether to wear red shirts or blue on casual friday. Then goes home bitter to their empty home.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 02:20 PM"

Why is it that, when a woman says something a man doesn't like, he retaliates by sayng that she has a pathetic and lonely life?

This seems to happen a lot on this blog."


I have not spared men either who are like this. Men/women it is irrelevant, they are one type only separted by gender. A POS knows no gender boundaries.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 4:41 PM

So if everyone is free to just take what would be their SS payment amount and invest it, what happens when their investments fail? THAT is why SS was created, as some have pointed out -- it is NOT your retirement fund, it is a safety net.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 4:41 PM

The reason that there was a big push to "privatize" SS is because all those people who suddenly could invest their SS money rather than having the government invest it for them, would most likely use an investment company and buy mutual funds. Who win? The investment companies would reap huge amounts in fees.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 4:43 PM

"Let all the undocumented workers in this country have legal work permits and tax i.d. numbers. Collect Social Security from them"

Actually, I don't think that's a bad idea. As a group, immigrants also have more children. Make them legal. Have them pay taxes and contribute to the system. It would be a win win situation.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 4:44 PM

So if everyone is free to just take what would be their SS payment amount and invest it, what happens when their investments fail? THAT is why SS was created, as some have pointed out -- it is NOT your retirement fund, it is a safety net.

I said a part. Take a look at what a passbook generates in 50 years and then move up the food chain, the difference of a one dollar investment is like 12 dollars vs. 12,000.00. Kind of like the difference between financial certainty (like a minimum wage job) vs. Financial Security-like a commission based job with unlimited earning potential.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 4:46 PM

The reason I want to get back to work faster this time is because I feel more needed back at work this time.

Plus, because there is such a need for me at work, I have the leverage this time to dictate flexibility -- like working from home or even working part-time, whereas the first time i didn't have that leverage-- managemnt's mentality was either work full time at your desk or stay home unpaid.

Management has changed, work load is more interesting, AND (almost forgot the most important part!) I have given up a lot of my fears about someone else taking care of my children.

As a SAHM, I hung out with the nannies and saw that there were wonderful nannies out there. No mother in my family (or husband's) was working mom (at least not for the early years) so I had no one that I could trust to tell me that being a working mom fine. So I had some fear and trust issues to get over. Plus, my personality then was rather greedy/petulant (i.e., why should I go to work while the babysitter gets to play with my baby all day? of course, it wasn't "playing all day" but the idea that someone else would be having those special moments that I was missing out on burned me).

Now I've matured (somewhat)and I am more willing to share my child(ren) with others. My eldest never had a nanny-- went straight to daycare. And so I also saw that daycare can be WONDERFUL for the development of a child.

So basically I'm just way more relaxed about childrearing than I used to be-- not such a Type A as before.

But we will see! when I had my first, I was confident that I would be back at work pronto, but was really struck by how difficult it was to be a parent and figured I should not try to be both a parent and a workerbee. (And as I mentioned above, I was suddenly struck by all sorts of doubts, fears and jeolousies about others.) i was glad I had the money in the bank to opt out and I decided to take the extended maternity leave.

Maybe the same will happen again. Luckily I again have the $ to take the time off if it looks like that is the better way to go.

Posted by: Jen | April 19, 2007 4:46 PM

DAMN RIGHT! Every penny! It was taken from me by law, i want every penny back. This liberal , "you don't need give it to someone else stuff" is crap. I will decide if I need it not you!

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 03:20 PM

Sorry patrick, but you won't be the one making decisions. The govt will tell you how much you get, and that's that

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 4:47 PM

And by the way, thank you to CalPERS for the corporate governance standards that force corporations to do the right thing where legislation doesn't. Here's an example of a major pension provider using stock purchasing power to influence the decision-making and accountability of corporations.

Posted by: Marian | April 19, 2007 4:47 PM

Undocumented workers who are using fake SS numbers are actually contributing to SS now but will not likely collect the benefits because, of course, there is no record of their contribution. This is one of the arguments for a program to give them legal work permits tied to real tax i.d. numbers. Some workers have actual, legal tax i.d. numbers now and pay SS, but won't get the benefits while they are undocumented.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 4:48 PM

"Who win? The investment companies would reap huge amounts in fees. "


This is the kind of person that is deaf to reward potential. Let's see, I was making 2%, now I net 10% but I am mad becuase someone else makes 3% off of me. Go buy a CD the banks love people like you. Guess what they still make 3% off you and you get a pittance.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 4:49 PM

Our top 10 posters with the filthiest keyboards:
...
16 Fred
...

I am glad that I made the list. I have not been on the last few.

So dammit!

Posted by: Fred | April 19, 2007 4:51 PM

"Can another lawyer please way in"

"weigh in"

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 4:51 PM

Or people could educate themselves about investing and invest in no load mutual funds, which are commission free.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 4:51 PM

If the system goes bankrupt, all those poor retirees will end up on welfare anyway, and you still won't get your benefit. You won't have gained a thing.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 04:40 PM

There are many way to prevent bankruptcy, stealing from those who put in the most is just the easiest to justify in the minds of some. Raising the retirement age is the most logical.

Me, I think spousal (not dependent) benefits should go. This is the age of equality, if you want to get something out of SS you should have to put something in.

How about, since women live longer than men, we require women to retire later, therefore equalizing the payout by gender.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 4:52 PM

Bono, U-2, Where the Streets Have No Name... it was a pun.

not if nobody got it

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 4:54 PM

"How about, since women live longer than men, we require women to retire later, therefore equalizing the payout by gender."

Then who is going to take care of all those decrepit old men while their wives work? :)

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 4:54 PM

Or people could educate themselves about investing and invest in no load mutual funds, which are commission free. "


They tried that in the 90's. Everyone was an "expert", then the bear hit and the "experts' were wiped out. I had son in law dentists coming to see me so they could put mom in that "hot fund". I refused, guess what? MOM got wiped out. I don't read law books when I have a legal problem, I go see a lawyer. Same way with investing.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 4:55 PM

":Same way with investing."

Patrick, I'm betting you work on commission, right? :)

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 4:56 PM

Emily,

When my parents were living in an area with a high concentration of retired people, my mom said some of her widowed women friends were often courted by widowers looking for "a nurse and a purse."

Posted by: Marian | April 19, 2007 4:57 PM

"hey, if men were able to give birth, I think they'd be pretty wiped out for awhile too!"

It's a well-known fact that, if men gave birth, no couple would have more than one kid.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 4:58 PM

Salary and commission. Do you really think that anyone in business does not? They may pay a salary but it is all the same. The difference is I tell you. Do you think all these lawyers here dispense their advice for free? They are on a billing system, which is also commissioned essentially. I also liked your comment that you would give up your florida home for homeless seniors. Nice comment for a blog but not naive and untrue. How about your kids college educationm for homeless seniors?

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 5:02 PM

"They tried that in the 90's. Everyone was an "expert", then the bear hit and the "experts' were wiped out. I had son in law dentists coming to see me so they could put mom in that "hot fund". I refused, guess what? MOM got wiped out. I don't read law books when I have a legal problem, I go see a lawyer. Same way with investing."

But seriously, in answer to that comment. People should go to financial advisors who do not work on commission. There are plenty of they who work for hourly fees. They can advise you about the best investments without steering you to products from which they receive commissions. So you can get professional advice without paying a commission. I have always been wary about "financial advisors" who make a commission off the stuff they "advise" you to buy. They are salespeople and are looking our for their own pockets. Better to go to people who charge hourly fees and are not affiliated with any particular products. They can give you more disinterested advice.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 5:02 PM

"It is YOUR money after all not welfare."

WRONG. That's exactly what it is -- welfare. No getting around it. Because, people collecting SS nowadays (or even a decade ago) get a sh**load more money back than they ever put in.

Fairly soon after you start collecting SS, you're already into money you didn't contribute.

As you all know, I have no objection to social welfare programs. But let's call them what they are -- even when they apply to us!

Posted by: pittypat | April 19, 2007 5:03 PM

"hey, if men were able to give birth, I think they'd be pretty wiped out for awhile too!"

Flo Kennedy said if men could get pregnant abortion would be a sacrament

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 5:03 PM

Emily, you seem like a nice person, just naive. I guess by your standards I should go to those public defenders if I need legal help. Those high powered attorneys are just trying to rip me off.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 5:05 PM

"Do you really think that anyone in business does not?"

YES!!! There are lots of people who give financial advice and charge fees for their time, but not commission. I go to one, and she gives great advice. I have seen my retirement savings grow and grow since I have gone to her. And I don't worry that she has a conflict of interest, because she doesn't sell any products or make commission off her sales. She is a true financial advisor, not a sales person.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 5:06 PM

If the system goes bankrupt, all those poor retirees will end up on welfare anyway, and you still won't get your benefit. You won't have gained a thing.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 04:40 PM

There are many way to prevent bankruptcy, stealing from those who put in the most is just the easiest to justify in the minds of some. Raising the retirement age is the most logical.

Me, I think spousal (not dependent) benefits should go. This is the age of equality, if you want to get something out of SS you should have to put something in.

How about, since women live longer than men, we require women to retire later, therefore equalizing the payout by gender.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 5:07 PM

PITTY as usual you are wrong. Getting more than what you paid in is your investment return. Getting welfare is a check that you did not earn, contribute to, It is a hand out. Strange how liberal have compassion only for those who do not contribute.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 5:08 PM

"Emily, you seem like a nice person, just naive. I guess by your standards I should go to those public defenders if I need legal help. Those high powered attorneys are just trying to rip me off."

Patrick, your comments are very self serving. And I understand that. You need your commissions. But I would not compare my very savvy, Wharton educated, very high earning advisor to a public defender. She is a player in her field, and I would bet she earns more than you do (she certainly earns more than me) because she is so sought after.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 5:09 PM

YES!!! There are lots of people who give financial advice and charge fees for their time, but not commission. I go to one, and she gives great advice. I have seen my retirement savings grow and grow since I have gone to her. And I don't worry that she has a conflict of interest, because she doesn't sell any products or make commission off her sales. She is a true financial advisor, not a sales person.

Not exactly. Average Joe is not going to pay me upfront 500 to build a plan and 1% of assets to manage. You are looking for pro bono work. Chances are she gets paid on assets under management. Guess what? The more you invest the more she makes. Back to the "evil" commissioned salesperson.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 5:11 PM

Emily, you seem like a nice person, just naive. I guess by your standards I should go to those public defenders if I need legal help. Those high powered attorneys are just trying to rip me off.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 05:05 PM

patrick, think you could get any more condescending?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 5:12 PM

Strange how liberal have compassion only for those who do not contribute.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 05:08 PM

I call myself a Liberal, but I think as I get older, I am becoming a fiscal conservative. Please help me?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 5:12 PM

"The more you invest the more she makes. Back to the "evil" commissioned salesperson."

Perhaps. But I would much rather pay her directly to invest my money wisely (and know that there is no conflict of interest, she works for me) than have some other company (like a company that sells whole life insurance policies) pay her to direct me to crap investments that do me no good while making them rich.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 5:16 PM

"PITTY as usual you are wrong. Getting more than what you paid in is your investment return. Getting welfare is a check that you did not earn, contribute to, It is a hand out. Strange how liberal have compassion only for those who do not contribute."

Patrick,

Here's what's wrong with your explanation. Putting money in SS isn't an investment. It's a legally required tax to provide a social safety net.

You don't have a choice; it's not optional; you have to contribute.

Ultimately, you're getting a huge handout. If this were not the case, SS wouldn't be going bankrupt.

Posted by: pittypat | April 19, 2007 5:17 PM

I have not spared men either who are like this. Men/women it is irrelevant, they are one type only separted by gender. A POS knows no gender boundaries.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 19, 2007 04:41 PM

pATRICK, you, too, have been on a roll. This is one of your best.


however, psssttt, salary means capped compensation. That would be me, and a truckload of other attorneys. No matter how hard you work, you make X. Commission means, if you produce more, you make a commensurate amount more. Apples meet oranges. The best compensation goes to Laura, a part-owner of a profitable business venture.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 19, 2007 5:17 PM

"Or people could educate themselves about investing and invest in no load mutual funds, which are commission free. "

That's what I did and i have no regrets. I have my money in low-cost index funds. I didn't pay anyone anything to get them. I did my reasearch, saw that even the professionals who spend their lives studying the market rarely "beat" the index, so I decided, why should I try to beat the index, or trust someone else with my money to beat the index. Just buy the index and let it ride.

At the time, i think my hestiation to hire an outsider was based on trust issues, but now I'd like to think I am just wise enough to appreciate that they are the best value.

My husband actively manages his own stock portfolio-- I don't know if he does better or worse than I do with his $. Probably the same-- and I don't spend any time worrying about what is happening with some specific stock-- and I'm not wasting $ paying someone else to worry about it either. butit's hobby and makes him happy.

I can't understand why people would spend money on financial experts, whether they get money by the hour or by commission, it still is unlike to get as good a return as an index fund.

I think SS funds should be better invested by the Gov't-- perhaps a mix of index funds in bonds or stock, etc. It's pathetic what little interest it earns as is. but I agree that having people invest the money themselves could be disasterous.

Posted by: Jen | April 19, 2007 5:18 PM

WAL-MART GREETER

A very loud, unattractive, mean woman walked into Wal-Mart with her two kids, yelling obscenities at them all the way through the entrance.

The Wal-Mart Greeter says "Good morning and welcome to Wal-Mart. Nice children you have there. Are they twins?"

The ugly woman stopped yelling long enough to say, "He** no they ain't. Oldest one's 9 and the other one's 7. Why the he** would you think they're twins? Are you blind or just stupid?

"I'm neither blind nor stupid," replied the greeter. "I just couldn't believe someone has sex with you twice."

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 5:21 PM

But I would much rather pay her directly to invest my money wisely (and know that there is no conflict of interest, she works for me) than have some other company (like a company that sells whole life insurance policies) pay her to direct me to crap investments that do me no good while making them rich.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 05:16 PM


Actually, didn't some brokerage houses get into trouble a few years ago for conflict of interest in the investments they recommended?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 5:21 PM

"Never said women run the world, just said that most (99.9%) men don't."

True enough. The world is run by people at or near the top of hierarchies. Hierarchies are like pyramids: there's not much room at the top.

"So who runs the world, men or women?"

Posted by: Meesh | April 19, 2007 02:02 PM

Men run the world. Not all men; just those who have climbed to the top of their hierarchies.

Meesh continues:

"Evidence that men run the US:
~ Women were not allowed to vote until the 20th century
~ No woman has ever been president of the US
~ Women are over represented in poverty, welfare, and homelessness and are under represented in government and the workforce.

What is your evidence to the contrary?"

Posted by: Meesh | April 19, 2007 02:02 PM

Don't need no evidence to the contrary. I agree with Meesh that men run the world. People do what they feel most comfortable doing. Men are more likely to feel comfortable climbing hierarchies than women are. If there were societies where women were at the top of the hierarchies -- and I mean women in large numbers, not just the occasional Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher or President Hillary Clinton -- it would show that women are just as comfortable climbing hierarchies. But there are no such societies.

To get a society where equal numbers of men and women ran things, one would have to hold back some men from climbing the hierarchies they like to climb, while at the same time forcing women to climb hierarchies who are uncomfortable doing so. Such a society would be more equal, but less free.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | April 19, 2007 5:23 PM

The ignorance on this blog is abysmal

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 5:28 PM

Matt, you are so full of it.

Back in the days when humans were hunters and foragers (these societies formed the basis for human social evolution) men and women were pretty much equal. Women provided much of the food by foraging. Men did the hunting, but what they provided was less reliable and steady than what women provided. Both sexes participated equally in the raising of children. Women tended to have less children and they were spaced about 4 years from each other. This is because forager women were very lean (foraging is very physically demanding), which made their reproductive capacity less efficient in terms of having children, but more efficient in terms of overall survival. The power structure was very much equal. These hunter forager societies were the most long lasting type of society in the history of human evolution. They existed for many more thousands of years than the agrarian societies that we have seen in the most recent few thousand years. And they show that men and women lived on pretty much equal ground for many thousands of years before the shift to agrarian societies caused women to become subjugated to men.

When the shift to agrarian societies happened, it changed the power structure. First of all, the society was no longer nomadic. Men tended to work the farm and take care of business matters out in the world, and women became more tied to the home and children. And they were having more children because since they are no longer nomads, they were not as lean and their reproductive systems became more efficient. Because of the agrarian system, which is an economic one, men acquired more power over women, for the simple fact that women were no longer contributing as much to the economy, they were tied to the home, and they were tied down by children. The fact that this happened is not by any means indicate a predisposition by virtue of gender to climb the power hierarchy. It is the direct result of an economic structure that placed women at a disadvantage.

But that is changing again, at least in this country. Women are out there working and contributing and making their voices heard in the real world. You may want to write us off as being less competitive, but don't be so sure. You may be in for a very rude awakening.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 5:38 PM

way to go Emily

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | April 19, 2007 5:45 PM

"The best compensation goes to Laura, a part-owner of a profitable business venture."

Hahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!

Don't get me wrong -- not complaining. Just laughing at being very low end of totem pole, in a reverse-pyramid structure -- yeah, it's a nice totem pole to be on, but it's not like I can sit back and rely on all those associate billables to fund my retirement. :-) (I actually think I make less than some senior associates!)

But I also think the "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" books actually did a good job debunking this theory. Yes, professionals can be very well-compensated -- but at its base, our compensation is tied to our own labors and abilities, and since there are only so many hours in the year (and only so many of those that I'm willing to work), there's only so much I can accomplish myself, and only so many others I can supervise. So my compensation, while potentially very good, is also inherently limited.

The best situation, compensation-wise, is someone who can run a business that is not limited by one person's time and skill (ie, you make your money off of other people's time). If I can make a 10c profit per widget, and it doesn't take any special abilities to make that widget, then I can hire 100 or 1000 or more people to make those widgets for me -- my profits are limited only by the market demand (or, if I get really big, the point at which the organization itself gets too unwieldy). Alas, I have not found such a great widget opportunity, so will just have to dance with the one that brought me. :-)

Posted by: Laura | April 19, 2007 6:17 PM

Emily, you are a ball buster. Who can stand you?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 6:38 PM

Laura,

Shucks, Laura. I'd thought that you were at the point where your direct efforts were pretty much irrelevant. I'm curious -why did you agree to take on the generally non-compensated Hiring Partner label? My favorite clients are the ones I bring in and drink with, and others do all the actual work and supervision, LOL.

Besides it's more fun to respond to you than to consider the annoyance that is Matt's opinion on How The World Works.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 19, 2007 6:38 PM

"Men are more likely to feel comfortable climbing hierarchies than women are."

What a load of waste-product. (I do not want to be on Blog Stats list).

Posted by: Anon for today | April 19, 2007 6:39 PM

I'll say it. What a load of feces. What a load of excrement. What a load of crap.

Oh, and to anon at 6:38. Thank you!! What a lovely compliment.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 6:42 PM

Emily, you are a ball buster. Who can stand you?

Posted by: | April 19, 2007 06:38 PM

Answer: secure people

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 6:42 PM

Emily, you are a ball buster. Who can stand you?

Posted by: | April 19, 2007 06:38 PM

If the best response you can summon to a reasoned, non-inflammatory submission is to insult the femininity of the submitter, you are a sorry, worthless waste of space.

Take one sociology class and call us in the morning.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 19, 2007 6:52 PM

Emily,
Isn't there a man out there that you need to castrate or something? Shouldn't you get going?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 6:52 PM

Anon at 6:52. Keep on singing. Louder please. Don't stop. I love a high pitched voice.

Posted by: Emily | April 19, 2007 6:54 PM

6:38 and 6:52: Lift your knuckles off the carpet of your home office and go find an inanimate object to demean.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 6:56 PM

The feminazis are out in full force tonite.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2007 7:02 PM

Quick comment, as far as SS pyramid scheme. I think this is sort of true. Currently more people pay into ss then receive it. I think it is like two pay to one gets. And the baby boomers are going to strain the system because their is twice as many of them as the following generation. But here is what they never bring up. There are twice as many baby bust generation (children of the baby boomers) then the gen X ( I think that is what they call the generation following baby boomers). So for a while we would have an inverted pyramid. But if we manage to survive that period, the pyramid should flip again to more paying in then getting a benefit. But that is just my take on it. Any economists can help us out. Am I right?

Posted by: foamngome | April 19, 2007 7:33 PM

I propose a contest, with a prize to the most dismissive reply to "Emily, you are a ball buster. Who can stand you?"

Posted by: catlady | April 19, 2007 8:18 PM

Actually, I think Emily can take care of herself just fine, so after all the foregoing replies, she wins the contest.

Posted by: catlady | April 19, 2007 8:33 PM

MN, if you're still checking back in: I accepted the (completely) non-compensated role as hiring partner because (a) we all have obligations to do nonbillable work that supports the firm, and (b) the guy who had previously been doing it is also managing partner for the firm and working 3,000+ hrs/yr, so I was glad to take a little bit of the burden off of him.

Posted by: Laura | April 20, 2007 7:58 AM

"I also know people who act like they have mental issues to collect SSI."

How do you know they don't have mental health issues?

Well when you live on welfare until your oldest child is 18 and then you start acting crazy when you otherwise just acted lazy, I would say that you are a liar and just don't want to work. These are the people who should not be on SSI.

Would you like me to give you their address so you can go evaulate them.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 20, 2007 10:19 AM

If a woman wants to drop out of the workforce indefinitely, that is fine and her choice. However, if she winds up old and with no retirement income and no work skills to get a job - she should accept responsibility for the choices she has made. Hopefully, she won't blame society. After all, no one forces a woman to marry and have kids.

The reality is, its harder to get a job after age 50, even for people who have stayed in the workforce.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2007 9:46 AM

I know too many SAHMS who act jealous of my career, and that has convinced me to stay in the workforce and keep forging ahead. At any rate, my kids are in school during the day, why should I sit at home?

If SAHMS are so happy with the choices they have made, they would not criticize working women. The fact is, we can work if we want to. There is nothing the SAHM can do to "stop" us from working. Perhaps these militant SAHMS could move to a country where its illegal for women to work (like Iraq, when the Taliban was under control).

Posted by: Kelly | April 27, 2007 9:51 AM

Oops, meant to say Afghanistan. The Taliban was over Afghanistan, not Iraq.

Posted by: Kelly | April 27, 2007 9:53 AM

I think SAHMS are jealous of working women, period. Jealous of our incomes, jealous of our educational levels, jealous of our financial security that THEY DON'T HAVE.

Posted by: Nora | April 29, 2007 10:55 PM

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