Care for the Caregiver

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 Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration.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


By Amy Stuart Taylor

I'm a 37-year old married mom of eight-year-old twin boys, currently living in Indiana. I stayed home until my sons were three and then returned to work part-time as a school psychologist. A year ago--bored with testing and diagnosing kids and having rediscovered my love of writing--I quit. This year, I've freelanced and tried to discern where to go next. Now, I'm hoping to dive back into the workforce as a writer or journalist.

Here's my observation. Many of my friends chose careers like teaching, counseling, nursing, ministry, and social work. Now my age or older and with young kids, they have no desire to return to demanding, care-taking jobs. They don't have it in them anymore. So they stay home or maybe work part-time.

Women who stick with the above-mentioned "care-giving" professions full-time seem to get burned-out or bitter. The jobs are taxing and compensation poor, though often there is more flexibility.

I can relate--my family takes about all I have to give. I want work to be challenging, stimulating, and fulfilling, but not emotionally exhausting. Given the likelihood that I'll be taking care of elder relatives in the future, I just don't want my paid work to involve care-giving, too. Really, I know that I can't--at least not without serious costs to myself and my family.

Our society needs healthy, competent caretakers. But it's a lot to ask from women who are usually the main caregivers at home, too. So, how do folks balance all this giving without becoming depressed and angry? Do other societies manage any better than ours? How can we care for those who need care--and ourselves and our families, too?

Amy Stuart Taylor lives in West Lafayette, Ind., with her family. She writes a blog called Widen My Heart for her local newspaper.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  May 15, 2007; 7:45 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
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Comments

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first!

Posted by: Bryn Mawr | May 15, 2007 7:40 AM

Here's a thought -- do you think women CHOOSE jobs that require them to be a caregiver -- or do you think that they tend to take their jobs and make them into opportunities for caregiving? I'm thinking about my own tendency to want to mother my students, even though they're in college. I'm more likely to ask them about how they're coping when I meet with them, to offer sympathy when they're having trouble combining work and family responsibilities and so forth. I could probably have a more businesslike relationship with them -- and many of my male colleagues do -- but that's not who I am. Honestly, if I was an IRS agent or a fireman or a zookeeper, I'd probably turn that into an opportunity to nurture people too. I'm thinking a lot of it's just hardwired, and that many women are just more likely to want to nurture.

On the other hand, I definitely agree about the being burned-out aspect and lately when I'm finding myself getting unnecessarily sucked into the drama of a student's life, I find myself asking, "I wonder how George or another male colleague would handle this?" and subsequently cutting back on the hand-holding.

Also, I think we tend to encourage our daughters into these helping professions -- perhaps more so than we would encourage our sons. (The old saw where you encourage your daughter to be a nurse and your son to be a doctor.) Though I try really hard not to!

Posted by: Armchair Mom | May 15, 2007 7:47 AM

Interesting observation, but I wonder if it has more to do with the fact that the average compensation of those in careers such as "teaching, counseling, nursing, ministry, and social work" is not high enough to cover child care and other employment related costs (e.g., commuting costs). My SIL and many friends were also in those fields prior to having children and they often complain that even if they wanted to go back to work, it'd be a net loss on their family income considering how low these jobs pay.

To me, I think this is the bigger issue.

Posted by: londonmom | May 15, 2007 7:50 AM

"I stayed home until my sons were three and then returned to work part-time as a school psychologist. A year ago--bored with testing and diagnosing kids and having rediscovered my love of writing--I quit."

So how many full-time years of the boring work eventually became "too much" for you? Who supported you and your kids?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 7:51 AM

Do you have aging relatives?

One plus of working full-time is that you have an "excuse" for ducking out on elder care to the extreme as in, "Mom I'll call every day but I just can't come by and have tea every afternoon so you can recite your surgeries."

I have found that the expectation of care-giving by women is so ingrained that it is very hard to avoid it. We all have different qualities but women who are not interested in care giving get pinged to the nth degree by our society.

Posted by: RoseG | May 15, 2007 7:52 AM

Wow! It must be nice to stay home, work part-time, and then quit your job whenever you feel like it!

Where do I sign up?

It's hard to believe you are a psychologist.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 7:55 AM

This blog is right on the money for me. I was much less stressed as a SAHM. My patience, which I worked very hard to develop while I was home with my children, is fast eroding. I hate that. I hear myself sometimes and think "what a b*tch".

I don't know how to balance it all without becoming stressed and angry. I guess maybe exercise? And always keeping in mind what your priorities are.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 15, 2007 8:01 AM

Wow, I see how Leslie feels. We really do judge each other harshly.

I feel like I chose the wrong career--based on my need to please rather than my passion and now I'm working to build a career in which I can make a positive contribution. Freelance writing actually does involve work.

But yes, my husband supports me and we are scrimping so I can build a rewarding professional life, too, after putting everyone else first for the last 8 years. Changing course mid-career isn't easy, but I don't want to wind up bitter and cranky.

Thanks for your comments!

Posted by: Amy Stuart Taylor | May 15, 2007 8:05 AM

This is a really interesting perspective. I'm a lawyer and work p/t for the government. I've often thought I would have been better off going into a "caregiver" profession like teaching or social work because I think family-friendly schedules are easier to find than in law. Plus, it seems so much more personally rewarding to me than what I do.

I can see, though, how doing all the caregiving at home and then at work could be draining. One of my closest friends teaches middle school part-time and she has remarked to me that her job isn't that different from caring for her kids at home and it would be nice to have more contrast. I think one way to make sure caregivers are not burned out is to have flexible, part-time schedules and make sure the other spouse (mom or dad) pitches in as much as his/her schedule allows at home so the caregiver professional gets a break.

Posted by: PT Fed Mof2 | May 15, 2007 8:06 AM

It's funny, because I'm not in a classic "caregiving" profession (lawyer), but I feel this pressure, too. We get and keep our clients by building relationships, and then by meeting all of their needs whenever they come up -- in some ways, it's like being surrounded by demanding 3-yr-olds all day, because everyone NEEDS whatever they want, NOW, with very little concept that other people have needs, too (this week is especially bad, because I have clients expecting me to be in MD, TX, and NJ -- all at the same time).

There are some days I'm just exhausted by 9:00 at night. Not because I worked hugely long hours, or because the kids were exceptionally demanding. But because I went from taking care of the kids in the morning, to taking care of clients all day, then back to taking care of kids in the afternoon and evening, and then to taking care of husband after they go to bed.

I suspect Armchair Mom is right, and it's a little of both. I think society expects women to be nurturers, and then puts pressure on them to fit that mold; and I think some of us just have that nurturing gene anyway, and would turn any job into a nurturing profession.

The way I get through it personally is to remember that my hard times are inevitably followed by easier times. Right now sucks. But last week, I took an afternoon off, had lunch with a friend, went to Wegman's and got all sorts of great food, got the kids early, and played ball in the yard for a couple of hours. And I think of the people who take care of me -- my secretary, who noticed last week that we were running out of my favorite tea bags and ordered more for me; my mother, who is picking up the kids tonight so I can do a deposition without worrying about getting out early; my husband, who took off last Friday to finish tiling the kids' bathroom. Gratitude goes a long way toward sucking the wind out of a case of the whineys.

Posted by: Laura | May 15, 2007 8:08 AM

Frieda taught school for several years after college but also became burnt out. Having needy kids all day, (she was a special ed teacher) and then coming home to family would be abit overwhelming for anyone. As she would say, "I am just touched out." I can understand this. I did help out with her students a couple of times, it was very exhausting.

She finds working in public health less stressful, if you can comprehend that!

Hang in there Amy, some posters can be tough but you will find some good insights posted here. You might even find some people who totally understand and agree with you.

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 8:14 AM

"But yes, my husband supports me and we are scrimping so I can build a rewarding professional life, too, after putting everyone else first for the last 8 years."

"Putting everyone else first?" From where I sit, your husband has had the bulk of the breadwinning responsibility for nearly a decade. Suppose he came to you today and said, "This is just too stressful and I can't take it anymore. I want out of my job." How could you step up to relieve him of that burden?

I have trouble looking at anyone who quit her job because she got "bored" with it and who takes no responsibility for supporting her family as put-upon.

Posted by: Lizzie | May 15, 2007 8:15 AM

Amy Stuart Taylor


"so I can build a rewarding professional life, too, after putting everyone else first for the last 8 years."

As a psychologist, you should know that putting everyone else first is usually not a good idea.

And again, someone else is paying for most of your choices, partly because you have his children.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 8:15 AM

I tend to agree with Laura and PT Fed Mof2. I think the burn-out can come from any job that is demanding - emotionally, physically, in a time-consuming manner, etc. And I think SAHMs burn-out at the same rate as the rest of us.

I think burn-out is just a reality for most moms, especially in the children's early years when their needs for mommy are the greatest and most constant. Though I bet the teenage years are pretty tough as well...

Posted by: londonmom | May 15, 2007 8:15 AM

Amy: West Lafayette, woo hoo! (Purdue U., class of a long time ago :-)

I do take issue with one thing you say. As someone whose mother, sister and niece are all teachers, I haven't seen that many of them get "bitter" or "burned out". (Okay, my niece is still in her 20's, but...) Those who went into teaching with the expectations of what it would be like - what the job would entail, what the environment would be like, what the pay would be like - haven't gotten burned out. They didn't go into it for the "flexibility" or anything like that; they all went into it because they truly loved teaching. (And both my mother and sister were given numerous "teacher of the year" awards, taught at "blue ribbon schools", etc. )

I suspect that that may be the biggest single factor in burnout. If you're doing a job you truly love, it doesn't tend to stress you out as much and you handle it much better. If you're doing it because it's a necessary evil - a way to make money to support your life & family - it becomes much harder.

(As you'd expect from a Purdue grad, I'm an engineer so it's a little different. But I've noticed the same general trend - when I'm working on a job that excites me, it really doesn't seem like work and my life is good. When I get stuck on a task I hate that just has to be done by somebody, then work exhausts me and can impact family life, too.)

Posted by: Army Brat | May 15, 2007 8:17 AM

I try to keep in mind that the 20+ years when I will be actively raising my children (that is, they'll be in the house with us, living under our rules, etc.) is SHORT. If I am lucky and live to be 80, it still represents only a quarter of my life. And as Laura said, most of the time when things aren't going great, there are brighter days just around the corner.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 15, 2007 8:21 AM

Amy, did you have an Eureka moment when you decided to be a writer?

Fred, how did Fredia decide to become a breast freeding consultant?

In the plethora of options, how do women decide what to do, or try, *next*? In my conversations with women, both currently working and non-working, there seems to be this muddling non-decision period. All to often, this non-decision period becomes the decision itself. I'm not sure why...

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 8:28 AM

This is a bit off topic but man... I am really starting to get shocked at the concept that floats around this blog that if someone in a marriage stops earning money for a while that they are being some kind of lazy jerk.

My husband now is sort of off the scale on work, but throughout our thus-far 13 year marriage we have each had times that we made a career change or gave up a promotion in order to live in line with either our values or our dreams. He turned down a lucrative director position because he wanted to do work that was ultimately more interesting to him. I switched career streams for me, which came in handy when it enabled me to travel with him for a year, and took some time off with our son and now work part time because WE value a particular calmer way for our family to live.

We anticipate several more switches too. We are saving now to be able to both take a year off and travel when our kid maybe kids at that point) is in his early teens. That may or may not happen. Also, he will burn out on what he is doing now and may want to take some time off or - who knows? And at that point I will be fine if I am the primary breadwinner. And if not, we'll work it out.

Together.

I am really shocked at the meanness of people who look at a family that is supporting itself and say one partner is getting a free ride. My marriage, anyway, is not about making sure people put equal numbers of quarters in the cookie jar. It's about creating a home and a support structure so that everyone SOMETIMES gets what they want, and SOMETIMES gives up things for others.

Sorry for the rant but I just cannot believe how petty and bitter some of you sound to me today.

Posted by: Shandra | May 15, 2007 8:31 AM

"Amy, did you have an Eureka moment when you decided to be a writer? "

Could you have acted on that Eureka moment if someone else wasn't supporting you?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 8:32 AM

Shandra- well written...I agree with you. Some of the anon comments have, shall I say, an agenda.

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 8:34 AM

"I am really shocked at the meanness of people who look at a family that is supporting itself and say one partner is getting a free ride. "

What else would you call it?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 8:34 AM

Shandra, we're doing the same thing -- saving to take a year off when the kids get older. We want to sail down the East coast and then winter in the Bahamas, homeschooling the kids. It makes it a lot easier to drive older cars and not eat out so much if you've got a dream like that.

My husband is an incurable optimist. He is always saying "What would you do if you knew everything would turn out just fine?" And then his advice is to make that decision. It has worked for us every time.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 15, 2007 8:35 AM

Ignore Amy's career path and answer her questions about how to handle a caregiving profession when you are a caregiver in the rest of your life.

If you you re-read the post - She admits she left the psychologist job from boredom, not burnout and knows she wanted to change her career focus. I have a feeling if she had changed the focus of her pschologist career, (becoming an administrative type, etc) she probably would have avoided all the snarky comments from the posters.

Her individual circumstance does not make the questions she asks unimportant.

Posted by: Robin L. | May 15, 2007 8:37 AM

"I have a feeling if she had changed the focus of her pschologist career, (becoming an administrative type, etc) she probably would have avoided all the snarky comments from the posters."

Duh, she's a psychologist! Shouldn't she be able to predict snarky comments!!!!!

Posted by: Spike | May 15, 2007 8:40 AM

I am a SAHM that works part time. Am I getting a free ride because this is what we chose for our family right now (two small children)? How narrowminded you would have to be to condemn our choice.

Posted by: Semi-SAHM | May 15, 2007 8:42 AM

My stepmother was a nurse, and she could not handle both taking care of her four children and her job. She ended up divorcing her first husband over the job/kids, and then eventually divorced my dad over the same issue. She was so into her job that she completely neglected her role as mom, and her kids ran wild with no discipline whatsoever. My father and her argued constantly over this until they finally split up.

A married friend of mine, a teacher, realized she could not "give" to her job as much when she became a mom, and quit to work for a religious organization where she had more flexible hours and didn't have to deal with children as a job, then come home and do it some more.

Posted by: John L | May 15, 2007 8:43 AM

"What else would you call it?"

I call it "sponging".

But only when I'm burned out, bitter, and cranky from all the work I do. :-)

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 15, 2007 8:43 AM

Amazing anyone guest posts to this blog since there is always so many people ready to insult their choices. At least Leslie gets paid to be insulted.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 8:44 AM

I know someone who left social work because of burnout. I believe that the burnout was strictly due to the difficulty of the job and the population of people that the social worker dealt with. It really was NOT because of 'caregiver overload' caused by caregiving on the job as well as at home. I say this because the social worker was a single man with no children, and he didn't have aging relatives to care for, either.

Sometimes the burnout is just job burnout and not caused because "women do too much".

Posted by: xyz | May 15, 2007 8:46 AM

Staying home with your children isn't getting a "free ride." It's making an important contribution to the family. The breadwinner is bringing in money which helps the family. And the partner is watching the children which helps the family. Both are equally important contributions and no one is getting a "free ride."

Posted by: A Mom | May 15, 2007 8:47 AM

"Amazing anyone guest posts to this blog since there is always so many people ready to insult their choices."

There's one born every minute.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 8:47 AM

I've often wondered if teachers, especially elementary school teachers, feel burned out between their job and taking care of their own children.

Posted by: Is anyone a teacher? | May 15, 2007 8:48 AM

Yes, we moved and I met a neighbor who defined herself as a writer and I was struck. I had forgotten that when I was 8, I wanted to be a writer. Somehow, that natural sense of what I was meant to do got buried in the following years of schooling and life.

I believe nothing is wasted, but I do wish I had gone to grad school in english or journalism rather than psych (I double-majored). Right before college graduation, I woke up in a panic--I knew I was making a mistake, but I didn't know how to undo it. I thought I was supposed to do something to help other people. I missed the fact that I am much more helpful when I am happy and authentic. Giving IQ tests was just not the right career for me, although I found the work more rewarding in Maryland where I could actually do some early intervention with kids. The profession is trying to evolve, but we are behind the times in Ind.

I know I'm fortunate to have a second chance. But I also know I won't always have it and I need to work hard to become the person I want to be.

Posted by: Amy Stuart Taylor | May 15, 2007 8:50 AM

I think that Army Brat is right to a certain extent. If you love the job, you will find the happiness to avoid burn-out.

However, I have a friend who teaches special needs kids and one friend who teaches high school. There is a much higher turn-over rate in the special needs realm because the kids require SO much work and because, frankly, it can be pretty frustrating when your students don't progress.

But we desparately need people in these professions. Maybe taking the time to thank your kid's teacher or your parent's nurse or hospice worker will help ease their burn-out. I know that when I voluteer, a person who shows genuine appreciation really makes it all worthwhile.

And RoseG is right about the expectation in our society for women to be natural care-givers. When my husband's boss asked me (not him) to babysit her kids and I said no, she seemed shocked. My husband had to explain that I'm just not a kid person.

Posted by: Meesh | May 15, 2007 8:50 AM

"The breadwinner is bringing in money which helps the family. And the partner is watching the children which helps the family. Both are equally important contributions and no one is getting a "free ride."

Ha, ha, ha!!!! "Watching the children"; is that what you do? I would call that a babysitter getting a really goo deal!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 8:50 AM

On a somewhat related issue, I would say that I have observed a similar pressure/inclination in men in regards to "breadwinning."

Posted by: David S | May 15, 2007 8:51 AM

My mom stayed home with us, and my dad worked. My mom took care of us, the house, made dinner, did the errands, etc. And my dad made a nice living, provided for the family--and shared in the parenting with my mom when he was home. It was a nice, happy family life.

So, was my mom "sponging," "getting a free ride," etc.? Or, was it an equitable way to raise a family?

Posted by: Was my mom sponging? | May 15, 2007 8:51 AM

To Shandra:

I agree with your comments. I too am a partner in a strong marriage. Each of us plays to our strengths, which can change with time and circumstances. We weather good and bad times, and over all our family and each individual in it are happy, healthy, and whole. People may not approve of the way we achieve that, but why it might matter to them at all is beyond me.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 8:53 AM

"The breadwinner is bringing in money which helps the family. And the partner is watching the children which helps the family. Both are equally important contributions and no one is getting a "free ride."

Ha, ha, ha!!!! "Watching the children"; is that what you do? I would call that a babysitter getting a really goo deal!


Posted by: | May 15, 2007 08:50 AM

_________________

You are just silly!

Posted by: TO: 8:50 | May 15, 2007 8:54 AM

A sahm is about the only profession I know where a person can get burned out from boredom.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 15, 2007 8:55 AM

A sahm is about the only profession I know where a person can get burned out from boredom.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 15, 2007 08:55 AM

________________

Do you truly think it's boring to be home with your children?

Posted by: TO: Father of 4 | May 15, 2007 8:56 AM

I think that people who go into teaching with the expectation that it's going to be fun because you hang out with kids all day, everybody loves you, and you have summers off are the ones who get 'burned out' and quit at the first opportunity.

Teaching is hard work -- like any job worth doing well.

I'm not my students' friend; I am their teacher (I was not my sons' friend either, and I won't be until they grow up and leave the nest). That doesn't mean I'm mean or unfriendly; I give and receive hugs every day, and there is a lot of laughter in my room. I'm told that I'm the 'coolest' teacher and the 'best teacher ever' -- although I don't take it to heart. I'm sure they don't like me so much when they're doing their homework, and that's OK. They don't HAVE to like me; they have to sit still, pay attention, work hard, ask questions when they don't understand something, and try their best. I'm there to be sure they learn what they need to learn to move on to the next grade.

If my main prerequisite for a career was to have everyone love me, I would have chosen to do something else. I don't know what -- is there ANY job for which the performer receives constant affirmation -- but it certainly would not have been teaching or, for that matter, motherhood.

Posted by: educmom | May 15, 2007 8:56 AM

Amy - You go, girl! If writing, whether it be journalism or the creative arts, is your calling, then go for it! Nowhere is it written that we must remain in the career we started out in. Enjoy the journey! May you be energized by it!

Posted by: Murphy | May 15, 2007 8:56 AM

Amy --

BTW, a little off-topic, but your post brought back warm fuzzies to me -- I lived in West Lafayette from @ 7-11, and I have extremely fond memories of riding my bike all over the state park, going to Purdue football games in the crisp fall air, hitting the vending machines in the Purdue student union for jawbreakers (mom was a grad student), and the general freedom that comes from being a kid in a smaller town in the midwest. Of course, I don't know a dang thing about living there as an adult, but it's a great place to be a kid, especially for their current ages.

Posted by: Laura | May 15, 2007 8:57 AM


"Fred, how did Fredia decide to become a breast feeding consultant?"

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 08:28 AM

She had a bit of trouble bf the first child so she received help from LLL. This turned into her being a LLL Leader which (including a lot of seminars and study) turned into a job at the health dept. This has always been a flexible pt job for her.

As to the snarky comments about "sponging", Shandra stated very eloquently that a true marriage is a union of concern and sharing, not a business transaction.

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 8:58 AM

"Shandra stated very eloquently that a true marriage is a union of concern and sharing, not a business transaction. "

And a free ride never hurts. Get real.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 9:04 AM

Meesh,
Slightly off topic but - isn't is inappropriate for the boss to ask an employee to babysit?
I am a nurse and there certainly is a burn-out factor - mostly due to shortages. The hours can be flexible which is nice for some people but, as a new nurse you end up with the worst shifts (nights, weekends). In some places it takes years to get a day job.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 9:06 AM

Two issues, at least, seem to be at play here. One is the notion that women can become dissatisfied with their jobs and quit them much more easily than men. We collectively believe that men's primary responsibility to their families is to bring in the money, and women's careers are 'nice to have' but far more dispensible. This puts a lot of pressure on men. If we could even out the score a bit, both partners could enjoy semi-freedom to get out of jobs/careers they no longer felt matched their authentic selves, but both would need to do so more financially responsibly than we require women to do right now.

The other issue is that caregiving careers can become too much over time, especially for women who own this role with children at home. I would suggest that we even out this inequality as well - men contributing equally to childraising would allow women to get some balance on this front.

I think that every job, as other posters have said, can turn into a caregiving one if we make it that way. Those that are naturally so are more problematic, but they offer the instant reward of directly helping others every day (which makes life more meaningful). The key is balancing all of this out so that there is more room for all of life, and caregiving doesn't consume us.

Amy - best wishes in your new career. Following your gut is important, and I'm glad you're on your way.

Posted by: equal | May 15, 2007 9:07 AM

"so I can build a rewarding professional life, too, after putting everyone else first for the last 8 years."

Honestly, that is very selfish. I plan on placing myself second or third, etc...for the rest of my life.
Right now, my daughter needs me, she is "first", my husband, my job, my family,...They are all more important to me than having a need to "be put first"

It takes a very special person to be in a care taking field- that's why great teachers and nurses, etc are few and far between. The good ones I know have no need to be first.

I'm not saying that they don't get drained, but these jobs aren't for everyone.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | May 15, 2007 9:08 AM

Shandra,
You are very fortunate to be in a stable, loving partnership marriage. I hope you take time each day to thank God, or fate, or karma, for your blessings/luck, and I hope you continue to be blessed/lucky.

To Is anyone a teacher:
I was more stressed when I taught middle school English while my sons were in middle school. I had bouncing hormones literally from morning to night. Also, teaching English is stressful because of the quantity of graded work; it takes much longer to grade 90 persuasive letters than it takes to grade 30 spelling tests, 30 vocabulary quizzes and 30 social studies review sheets. That being said, the reason I left that position had everything to do with the principal and almost nothing to do with the my sons or the grading.

Now that I teach fourth grade and my sons are in high school and college, I think my job is easy. I would teach middle school again, in the right school, but I'm not interested in leaving where I teach now.

Posted by: educmom | May 15, 2007 9:12 AM

Putting yourself second/third/fourth/whatever isn't always a good idea either. Apparently, Amy is lucky enough that her family doesn't need immediate income from her, so she has the opportunity to pursue her dream. Does it mean she's a bad mom? NO! She's a great mom, and is taking the opportunity to put her career on a rewarding path. The fact that her children will see that will do more value to them than if she dropped everything to "put the kids first." She's not selfish...she's smart!

Posted by: TO: SAHMbacktowork | May 15, 2007 9:12 AM

"She's a great mom"

How do you know?


"and is taking the opportunity to put her career on a rewarding path""

That her husband is subsidizing. Sweet!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 9:17 AM

"Do you truly think it's boring to be home with your children?"

Sometimes yes, but I'm so limited in the things I can do. I would love to read to my kids or play catch, or cards...

Actually, I can play the card game "War" with my kids if they are honest about the card I play, but I think they all cheated me because the longest game lasted only 30 minutes instead of the usual 2 hours...

And I always lost!

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 15, 2007 9:20 AM

I am just curious as to what steps you are taking towards becoming a writer. I mean, I couldn't wake up tomorrow and be a psychologist. I've put a lot of hard work into my education and career and find it a little bit conceited of people when they say "oh, I'll just be a writer." Not you in particular, but some people in general.

I don't mean to add to the snark, I am really just wondering. Do you have an undergrad degree in English, are you going back to school, taking workshops, or are you just an exceedingly good writer? I do, however, wish you the best of luck.

Posted by: scarry | May 15, 2007 9:20 AM

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

For the second day this week...

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 9:20 AM

Wow.

Those of you beating the "sponging" drum sound really angry. Why?

You might want to rethink this. I "sponged" off my late husband when I started my freelancing business, and eventually became the primary breadwinner to the tune of 6 figures.

Now that I'm remarrying, I'm working with my wife to let her "sponge" off me while she takes care of the kids/home (hardly a babysitting job) when they're small and figures out her career path. We're doing this because we _both_ think it's the best thing to do for our family. If our circumstances change, we'll adjust.

We both think that we're getting the better part of the deal.

Posted by: Clever moniker | May 15, 2007 9:20 AM

Fred and Shandra have already said it well, so this may be redundant, but I've just gotta respond to the 'free ride' comments.

When we first got married, we both worked full time (as Feds). DW decided to quit her full-time Fed job after child #4 was born because (a) she really, truly hated the job; and (b) with the work-related expenses (childcare, commuting, wardrobe, etc.) what she was bringing home in pay was a pittance - something along the lines of 3 or 4 dollars an hour. So she was a SAHM mom for several years, while I was the primary breadwinner.

I never once, ever, even for a second, looked at her as getting a free ride, or sponging off me, or any of these other terms. We were a couple - a partnership, dividing up the tasks. She was the primary caregiver (although I knew I had to do my share in that regard :-), while I was the primary breadwinner, and together we made it work.

Yes, because of our particular financial situation, we could make it work with her quitting to stay at home, while we could not have made it work with me being the one to quit. (I'm an engineer and even the Federal Government pays engineers more than analysts - it's a "supply and demand" thing.) And yes, there were times when friends of mine were quitting to start their own companies that I was somewhat jealous - I couldn't do that because the family couldn't take the financial risk.

On the other hand, my wife being a SAHM allowed me to take jobs I never could have taken otherwise. When I quit the Feds and jumped to private industry, I took a job that involved a substantial amount of travel all over the world. Travel situations like an afternoon phone call inquiring whether I could be in Stockholm the next afternoon, or 6-day trips to Hong Kong that evolved into 3-week Asian tours because of side trips to Sydney, Tokyo and Singapore. That would not have been possible without my SAHM wife; but at the same time I'm in my current position precisely because I was able to do that kind of traveling.

Now we're at a stage where DW has gone back to work, and I'm in a job with only occasional travel, all in the US. It's still us working together; nobody "sponging" or getting a "free ride" or anything else.

Some of these anonymous trolls just need to get over themselves. If you honestly believe that a stay-at-home parent is getting a "free ride", you need to wake up and smell the coffee.

Posted by: Army Brat | May 15, 2007 9:21 AM

Everyone who comments here must be really well off financially because no one talks about a job as a way to pay the bills. It's all about being fulfilled and challenged and whatever. Most people work so that they can have a life--pay rent, buy food, have children and do things they enjoy in their spare time. It's great to have a job you like but I honestly think that people who get their sense of worth from their jobs will always grow dissatisfied and burnt out.

Posted by: Chris1458 | May 15, 2007 9:22 AM

"She's a great mom"

How do you know? She's a "great mom" because she's showing her kids that you can have a career that's rewarding (not just one that's draining). And she's showing her kids that even if you don't make the "right" decision the first time, with perserverence, you can make a new start in a new direction. Will her kids understand all of the lessons now, at their young age? Probably not. But it's something they'll learn about, and understand, later on in life...and it will be valuable to them as they make their own career choices.


"and is taking the opportunity to put her career on a rewarding path""

That her husband is subsidizing. Sweet! Yes, he's "subsidizing" it. Apparently, he loves his wife, supports her, and is willing to do his part to give Amy this opportunity. Who's to say that a few years down the line, he won't need her to do the same for him. That's what marriage is...it's having a partner, for life...and doing nice things to support each other. Now, if Amy was incapacitated, and her husband cared for her--would she be "sponging"? If her husband was in medical school and she was working to support the family, would her husband be "sponging?"


Posted by: | May 15, 2007 09:17 AM

Posted by: TO: 9:15 | May 15, 2007 9:22 AM

Huh? "Clever moniker", you had a "late husband" and now you're marrying a "wife"?

I don't get it.

Posted by: Army Brat | May 15, 2007 9:22 AM

Hey anon at various times this morning:

Do you get off on being insulting? Your view is one view, but by no means, the only valid view. Accept there are other views of marriage. Ahem, grow up.

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 9:24 AM

"Apparently, Amy is lucky enough that her family doesn't need immediate income from her, so she has the opportunity to pursue her dream."

Yeah, because her husband is underwriting her escape from boredom, and has been for the past 8 years.

Look, I don't care if she's sponging off her husband or if he's sponging off her or whatever. What I care about is that she's got a responsibility to support her children, and she's shirking it because she got bored.

If she's got another income stream and could support her kids if her husband was laid off or disabled or divorced her, then I've got zero problem with her experimenting with different career paths. But I'm not going to apologize for finding it infuriating that so many women don't think they have any particular responsibility to be capable of supporting their children.

Posted by: Lizzie | May 15, 2007 9:24 AM

"are you just an exceedingly good writer? "

Check out her website for the answer.

Hint: she's as good a writer as she is a psychologist.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 9:26 AM

Yes, Army Brat. Happens that way sometimes.

Posted by: Clever moniker | May 15, 2007 9:26 AM

Wow.

Those of you beating the "sponging" drum sound really angry. Why?

You might want to rethink this. I "sponged" off my late husband when I started my freelancing business, and eventually became the primary breadwinner to the tune of 6 figures.

Now that I'm remarrying, I'm working with my wife to let her "sponge" off me while she takes care of the kids/home (hardly a babysitting job) when they're small and figures out her career path. We're doing this because we _both_ think it's the best thing to do for our family. If our circumstances change, we'll adjust.

We both think that we're getting the better part of the deal.

Posted by: Clever moniker | May 15, 2007 09:20 AM

Wait! First you had a husband? Now you have a wife? Are you male, or female?

Posted by: TO: Clever moniker | May 15, 2007 9:26 AM

Lizzie- don't you think Amy and her husband themselves decided how to go forward? It wasn't her sole decision, but rather, a family decision, and as such, should be respected as THEIR decision.

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 9:27 AM

To Chris1458: We're not that well off financially, especially compared to some in this area. But, yes, after growing up watching my father dedicate his life to the Army and my mother dedicate her life to teaching, I wanted to make darned sure that I had a career doing things I really loved. I worked three jobs to put myself through six years of college (getting three degrees in the process) because that was what I needed to get where I wanted. Yes, the work provides money which provides a nice lifestyle for my family, and it also lets me help others, but it also provides me with a deep sense of satisfaction - I can point to what I've accomplished with a lot of pride.

You said "I honestly think that people who get their sense of worth from their jobs will always grow dissatisfied and burnt out." I disagree - I think it's those who DON'T get a sense of worth from their jobs, who view their jobs just as mindless drudgery that's a means to a life, who will burn out.

Now, I grant you that I don't get ALL of my self worth from my job. My family always has been and always will be my number one priority, and with DD #1 about to graduate from high school it's bringing a lot of things into focus. But having a meaningful job that I can be proud of is very important to me, and I think it helps prevent burnout.

Posted by: Army Brat | May 15, 2007 9:29 AM

"Wait! First you had a husband? Now you have a wife? Are you male, or female?"

Glad you guys are focusing on the main point of the story. :P

If it matters (does it?), I'm female.

Posted by: Clever moniker | May 15, 2007 9:30 AM

KLB SS MD, I hadn't considered that. He and his boss are very close. They talk on the phone and hang out, so I figured she'd want him to watch them. I barely know her! But I guess it could be seen as inappropriate for her to ask him. Thanks for the other perspective.

Posted by: Meesh | May 15, 2007 9:31 AM

Amy

"I know I'm fortunate to have a second chance."

Tha someone else is paying for!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 9:32 AM

Amy

"I know I'm fortunate to have a second chance."

Tha someone else is paying for!

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 09:32 AM

GOODBYE!!!!!!! You've won the stupid poster of the morning award!!!!!!!

Posted by: TO: 9:32 | May 15, 2007 9:32 AM

Wow, I am shocked people are attacking her for finding a job that will really interest her. As far as being a SAHP, it sounds like Amy and her husband made the decision jointly. And for all we know, maybe he can adequately support his family financially without a second income. What is wrong with that? She isn't shirking her responsibility of financially supporting the kids if 1) Amy and her husband agree on having one child stay at home 2) they can afford it. It doesn't sound as if they are waiting for the food stamps to arrive each month to support their decision to have a stay at home parent. If she doesn't need the money, her spouse agrees, and she thinks she will be more fulfilled at being a writer, sounds like she made a good decision. Hang in there Amy. Most people spend their life wasting their time on jobs they hate. Good luck on your writing career.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 15, 2007 9:32 AM

"It wasn't her sole decision, but rather, a family decision, and as such, should be respected as THEIR decision."

That doesn't matter even a little tiny bit. What matters is whether Amy is capable of supporting her kids. Right now, I'd say she's not.

If they decided together that it was a good idea to cash in their life insurance policies and blow it all on the ponies, it wouldn't matter that they had made that decision together. It's still a lousy, irresponsible choice.

Posted by: Lizzie | May 15, 2007 9:34 AM

Hint: she's as good a writer as she is a psychologist.

She should find a new hobby.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 9:35 AM

I noticed the gender change in "Clever Moniker's" post as well. Interesting.

As for SAHM's "sponging" off their husband, give me a break. My mom worked as a mom and housewife the entire time she was married to my dad, and no way would either one of them have considered her not working in a paying career "sponging". My father worked varying shifts at his job, and then worked on our farm when he came home. My mom cared for the children when they were young, as well as the various household chores, cooked all the meals (although my sister helped when she got older), and handled the finances and shopping/errands. She also helped out on the farm as needed (planting, gardening, etc). It's a wonder she had any time for herself, but I remember her reading, knitting and doing other restful things after supper was over.

I don't call that "sponging"; I call it the way two adults split the work that had to be done to make a family function properly.

Posted by: John L | May 15, 2007 9:35 AM

"Shandra,
You are very fortunate to be in a stable, loving partnership marriage. I hope you take time each day to thank God, or fate, or karma, for your blessings/luck, and I hope you continue to be blessed/lucky. "

Thanks educmom. I do and I think my husband does too. This is one reason I put up with the chores thing (he does none) I've talked about on here before.:-) No one's perfect! God knows I am not. :)

I just am still shaking my head at the idea of a spouse "subsidizing" another, at least in a derogatory way. I want my husband to be content and proud of what he does, and vice versa. I would be happy, and have been happy, to lower my *material* lifestyle in order to get there, or to be the "breadwinner."

Sometimes you just have to suck it back for a paycheque, yes. Having a child really brings that home, especially when they are young. But neither one of us believes that you have to lead a life of quietly hating what you do *if* you do have genuine choices.

We have the luxury of doing that 'cause we're middle class, because we each went to non-prestigious schools and weren't saddled with vast student loan debt, and also 'cause we have been savers and not spenders overall (err, except for his dream motorcycle we bought a couple of years ago), had good health insurance, and have only gone through very brief periods of unemployment.

Our house is modest, but 50% equity (partly 'cause we bought our first house instead of a fancy wedding/honeymoon, and did ok on it), and our cars are over 5 yrs old and will be driven for years to come, etc.

BTW Amy I am in your new field and it is great fun, if a lot of work. So hang in there. You go girl. :)

Posted by: Shandra | May 15, 2007 9:37 AM

foamgnome

"1) Amy and her husband agree on having one child stay at home "

Huh?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 9:37 AM

"It wasn't her sole decision, but rather, a family decision, and as such, should be respected as THEIR decision."

That doesn't matter even a little tiny bit. What matters is whether Amy is capable of supporting her kids. Right now, I'd say she's not.

---

Marriage is a partnership. This is not a hard concept, unless you refuse to accept it.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 15, 2007 9:37 AM

foamgnome

"1) Amy and her husband agree on having one child stay at home "

Huh?

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 09:37 AM

Correction. Amy and her husband agree on having one parent stay at home.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 15, 2007 9:39 AM

About the "free ride" and "sponging," I have no problem with one partner taking some time off as long as it's reciprocated later on. Being a SAHP counts as taking time off because either person could do it and it is the more desirable position to be in (assuming you love your kids).

My husband and I have that deal. I was out of work, so he stayed at a crappy job. I got a job, and he decided to quit his. I'll be going to school part time soon, which he's helping pay for (I'll still be working though). When I'm done, he'll quit to go to law school. It truely is a partnership, with no one person bearing the brunt of the breadwinning or housekeeping responsibilities.

I think people get fired up when one partner has to be the breadwinner all the time. I think that's unfair because it's a lot of pressure. Same with the housekeeping/caregiving role.

Equal is absolutely right (as usual) in terms of easing burn-out for care givers. With regard to this topic, women caregivers might be less burned out if their partners shared more of the caregiving responsibilities at home.

In general, if more tasks were equally split, I think people would be happier and less stressed out. People hate doing the same thing day after day. Equally sharing resposibility would allow both partners a little wiggle room.

Posted by: Meesh | May 15, 2007 9:39 AM


I'm with Shandra on her comments that all you folks criticizing Anne for quitting her job and switching careers are just petty and mean. A family unit that makes a decision, as a family, to allow one spouse a break or a career change or whatnot is just that: a family unit making a decision for the good of the family. As the primary breadwinner in my family, I can say that while my husband does not make the bulk of the money, he contributes in ways that are far more important to me than money, and he is doing something that will improve not only his future, but the whole family's future. Right now, that works for us. If we ever had to adjust it, we would make that decision as a family.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 9:40 AM

"Marriage is a partnership. This is not a hard concept, unless you refuse to accept it."

Indeed it is. My husband and I both have equal responsibility to support our putative children.

Look, I'm not going to engage about this any more. I've posted on this extensively in the past, so it's not like it's news to anybody.

Posted by: Lizzie | May 15, 2007 9:42 AM

Lizzie,
There are other ways to support your child or your spouse than financially.

STBX makes a pretty good chunk of change -- between three and four times what I make. However, he is the LEAST supportive human on the planet.

I would have been happy had he made half as much money, but been loving, caring, and supportive. As it was, he was the primary support for every bar and liquor store within a 20-mile radius.

I supported my sons all their lives: I went to their plays, concerts and games (sober). I made them study, do chores and play outside. I taught them manners, compassion, empathy and consideration for others. I helped them figure out how to behave well, and how to make it right when they didn't. I showed them how to overcome the obstacles life throws in front of each of us.

The sons cleaned my entire house for mother's day, made me a cake, and bought a flower. He'll be lucky to get a card from them on father's day (they're 17 & 19 -- they can decide what do do all by themselves).

Money doesn't buy love and happiness, Lizzie; it buys stuff. I'm sorry that you have not yet learned the difference.

Posted by: educmom | May 15, 2007 9:43 AM

"Being a SAHP counts as taking time off because either person could do it and it is the more desirable position to be in (assuming you love your kids)."

I disagree with you on this one, Meesh. It might be more desirable to stay at home with the kids for some people, but not for all (and I am making the assumption that ALL these people love their kids). It depends on the personality and temperament of the persons involved. I find it much easier to go to work than to stay at home with children. Being a SAHP is a thankless and relentless job. It is not a break in any sense of the imagination. I love my son, and spend a lot of time with him, but I find working to be more restful than staying at home.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 9:44 AM

"That doesn't matter even a little tiny bit. What matters is whether Amy is capable of supporting her kids. Right now, I'd say she's not."

I wonder if your father left and your mother was unable to support your family. I was in a situation where my father left and my mother was only able to provide minimal financial support. It was a tough way to grow up. Because of my experience, I vowed to never be in a position to be unable to support my children, no matter how much money my husband made.

However, I realize that that is my personal baggage. Other couples who are comfortable with having one breadwinner are entitled to make that choice, as long as they are not asking society to subsidize that choice.

Posted by: just wondering | May 15, 2007 9:45 AM

But I'm not going to apologize for finding it infuriating that so many women don't think they have any particular responsibility to be capable of supporting their children.

Posted by: Lizzie | May 15, 2007 09:24 AM

Where did you get the idea that she didn't think she needed to be capable of supporting her children?? Maybe Amy and her husband have disability and life insurance. Either way, that is one heck of a leap to make based on her blog. She's looking for a new career. Good for her.

My husband makes a good salary and we could get by on that alone. I work part time in a job I really like because I want to. If I didn't like the job, I'd quit tomorrow and either stay home or find a new job that I did like. If my husband wanted to do something different, I could go to work full time and we could trade places. He too has found a job that he truly enjoys (most of the time). It works for our family. What works for others is usually different from what works for you. Either way, the notion that she is shirking her responsibility is silly. She's a member of a family that is doing what works for THEM!

Posted by: MOMto3 | May 15, 2007 9:45 AM

I have to add, when it comes to doing dishes, a sponge is very desirable.

Just saying...

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 15, 2007 9:46 AM

----What matters is whether Amy is capable of supporting her kids. Right now, I'd say she's not.----

Amy has years of experience working as a school psychologist. How is she not "capable" of financially supporting her children should the need arise?


Posted by: MBA Mom | May 15, 2007 9:48 AM

It sounds like Lizzie is advocating being "ready" for a divorce. This is probably a realistic, sensible strategy for some. It's likely a damaging, self-fulfilling prophecy for others. Certainly not a "one-size-fits-all" solution, though.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 15, 2007 9:48 AM

"I could probably have a more businesslike relationship with them -- and many of my male colleagues do -- but that's not who I am. Honestly, if I was an IRS agent or a fireman or a zookeeper, I'd probably turn that into an opportunity to nurture people too. I'm thinking a lot of it's just hardwired, and that many women are just more likely to want to nurture."

Why do some women go out of their way to rationalize all of their personal choices as "hardwired"? It's not hardwired, it's how YOU are. Own it. Love it. But don't assume the way you are is somehow because of your gender and not your choices and preferences. I do not turn any opportunity in my professional world into a nurturing moment. No woman I work with does. Neither do the men - no surprise there.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 9:51 AM

I am frustrated by the stigma attached to "care-taking" jobs, because these roles are so necessary in society. Four years ago I graduated with an undergraduate psychology degree and began my career working as a type of caseworker for mentally disabled adults. Family and friends were extremely negative and discouraging about my career choice.(i.e you are "too smart" for that type of work, social workers are all bitter, etc.) This attitude also continued when I expressed my desire to persue a Master's in Social Work degree. I have a passion for this work, but I am disappointed at the negative perception of what I do, and the lack of appreciation for professionals that sacrifice in regards to time, stress and compensation to work with challenging populations. Perhaps it would be easier for parents in these professions to find "balance" if they did not always have to defend their career choices. I'm not asking for a pat on the back everyday, but it would be nice to speak to others about the "social work" profession with out constantly hearing about what a terrible job I must have. For someone that enjoys the work, it can be a very rewarding profession.

Posted by: kat | May 15, 2007 9:51 AM

"Indeed it is. My husband and I both have equal responsibility to support our putative children."

Well I consider it that we both have equal responsibility to /be able/ to support our son. Which is a big reason for continuing to work, /or/ continue to develop skills and to network, if one is on the SAHP track.

However as I've said before - industries die. Layoffs happen. A job is NOT security, although it can be part of it. Security is about saving, planning, and working - all three - PLUS rising to meet challenges you never saw coming.

Also, burnout and stress of hating your job can take a big toll on one's health. Having a stroke or developing Type 2 diabetes is going to be a strain on a family, and a real burnout - I've seen them; have you? - can mean one person in bed depressed for a year. There are actual sound reasons for supporting people in, gasp, being unproductive now and then!

What your statements are missing is a sense of time. (I found this to be an issue with the Bennetts book too.) If you take the moment in time that one parent is at home fully and one is working fully it can look very inequal.

Yet the SAHP is actually performing two financial roles. One is to manage the house in the cheapest way possible - the Millionaire Next Door which is a great financial planning book goes into this in some detail.

The second is providing contingency space - I think it was the Two Income Trap that talked about this? Meaning, if you build your financial picture based on two incomes, and one is lost, you /can/ be in bigger trouble than if you build it on one income and then if that person loses their job you have two people to try to make up that income, whether that's through two lesser-pair jobs or whatever.

But beyond that, in the life of a marriage, people do support each other. My husband is 4 years older than I am, so when he retires there's an excellent chance I'll keep working (actually I don't plan to retire, although I have planned financially as if I will). OH MY GOD THE HORROR the old man may be sponging off my income, esp. if we keep our retirement savings untouched during that time.

Also I do find it sort of disturbing that parenting is still perceived as no work. We pay our babysitters. If it were no work, people would just say "sure your kids can stay with mine for the day every day for no pay." But that's really really off topic.

Posted by: Shandra | May 15, 2007 9:54 AM

Err, that should read "lesser-paying" - rushing does not pay off!

Posted by: Shandra | May 15, 2007 9:56 AM

re: nurses

"The good ones I know have no need to be first."

BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

KLB SS MD--this is your cue--take it!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 9:58 AM

My wife, after working in a paper-pushing, dead end job for over 10 years, decided she couldn't take it anymore and wanted to go back to school full time. After looking at the financial situation with just me working, we agreed it would work and it was better for her mentally as well.

She graduated with a perfect 4.0 grade and a degree, but had the bad luck to do so during an economic downturn in her chosen career. Eventually she found a stable job, but for a while it was taking temp work and whatever was available to make ends meet.

She did not "sponge" off of me while going back to school; it was a conscious decision by both of us that would eventually result in a happier, more financially stable family for both of us.

ISTM that all of you claiming a spouse is "sponging" off the other one because they stay at home want both spouses working out of the house and making enough money to support themselves if the other one is gone.

How often do both spouses make that kind of money?

Posted by: John L | May 15, 2007 9:59 AM

to kat:
I have 2 year old twins (and a 5 year old) and at least once a week someone tells me "hard and thankless it must be to take care of all those kids." It is a lot of work, and sometimes it is hard, but I haven't found it thankless. After two years of these silly comments, I finally have decided I don't have to defend my family or my choices to these people. I just smile, say that I love my kids and walk away.

Congratulations on finding a profession you truly love. Don't worry about what others think. It's great that you have chosen your work based on a passion.

Posted by: Mom to 3 | May 15, 2007 10:02 AM

Other Chris,
I love my job most of the time (I think everyone has their days where they are faced with something that is frustrating rather than challenging because). It is still a way to pay the bills, and always will be, no matter how satisfying it is. :-) There have been plenty of things I've done in life that were not always the most pleasant, but I was always able to take satisfaction in knowing I did whatever it was to the best of my abilities, and that in doing so I was paving the way to a better life. That said, as long as I have stayed positive and focused on the truly important things, opportunities have presented themselves that allowed me to move to more fulfilling jobs.

Posted by: Chris | May 15, 2007 10:04 AM

I agree with Army Brat, who wrote: "...it's those who DON'T get a sense of worth from their jobs, who view their jobs just as mindless drudgery that's a means to a life, who will burn out."

Which is not to say that every day's unalloyed bliss, just that when you enjoy your work from the wider perspective, it makes it easier to get through the frustrations which inevitably arise from time to time.

To Dotted: I'd written a great deal in the course of traditional employment and had always been recognized for doing it well, yet little of it could be considered very "creative" in the artistic sense. My transition came about serendipitously when I volunteered to proofread a first-draft of a manuscript for a friend of a friend (which in hindsight you could call a networking situation, I suppose). When I emailed back the corrections of the first several pages, I sent two versions -- one with only the most basic corrections, the other rewritten to a (nearly-)finished level -- along with a gentle note asking what the author thought of my more extensive revisions to the first-draft. Long story short: the author was impressed by my rewrite to the point of inviting me to join the project as co-author. And now that the book is out and receiving favorable feedback among its target audience, I'm able to initiate my own projects as well as entertain offers to collaborate with others. Obviously YMMV, depending on the subject matter, nature of your potential readership and the scarcity of people with your skills, among a multitude of other factors.

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 10:09 AM

Educmom,
I loved my "cool" teachers, even when they gave homework, because I understood that they had to give homework as part of their job. They were the ones who made learning fun, and made even the most boring subjects bearable. So, if a student says you are the "best teacher" or "coolest" you CAN take it to heart because to them when they say it, they really do mean it. I would hate to think that somewhere along the line one of the teachers I praised and thanked for being great (especially elementary or middle school), brushed it off as meaningless praise.

Posted by: Chris | May 15, 2007 10:12 AM

"How often do both spouses make that kind of money?"

Exactly. My wife and I need to make sure that the family is taken care of if anything happens to me and my income, but we'd have to do the same thing if she were working full time. Since she is not working full time, I'm free to take on a job with more responsibilities that pays more.

And again: the person who takes some time off regular employment to figure out what they're going to do can end up being the main breadwinner. It's an investment.

Posted by: Clever moniker | May 15, 2007 10:12 AM

"I'm with Shandra on her comments that all you folks criticizing Anne for quitting her job and switching careers are just petty and mean"

That's right! They're just jealous. Ignore them! See you all at the Prom Decorating Committee meeting today after study hall!

Posted by: Yankee Doodle Dandy | May 15, 2007 10:14 AM

I've seen her blog. Not jealous in the least.

Posted by: to yankee doodle dandy | May 15, 2007 10:16 AM

"and the lack of appreciation for professionals that sacrifice in regards to time, stress and compensation to work with challenging populations."

Then ask for more money! Don't whine that you don't get respect from your friends & family AND tell us how much you give up for the love of your job.

It sounds like you treat it like a hobby, or avocation.

Let me translate "calling" for you:

Four times the work, one-fourth the money.

I'm thinking of nurses in particular, but it applies to you too.

Amy will always have a fall-back job. There is a huge need for school psychologists.

Posted by: Bedrock | May 15, 2007 10:19 AM

Lizzie nailed it.

There's nothing petty or mean about pointing out that Anne's flexibility to dilly dally around with, first, her initial choice of career and education, and, subsequently, her second choice of career, only exists because her work ethic and career choices are irrelevant to the bottom line of her family.

A man posted a couple of weeks ago that women as a whole don't take seriously their obligation to support their respective families, and that this expectation and burden is imposed entirely on men. Anne's story is one more personal anecdote from a woman who sees her career as all about personal happiness, boredom vs. satisfaction, and entirely irrelevant to the financial health of the family. This attitude leaves her husband without a moment to contemplate personal happiness and satisfaction. Maybe he's on board with this. Maybe he'd like to have the same option to wake up tomorrow and open a store selling hammocks, whether or not he breaks even on that venture for ten or more years.

Posted by: OR mom | May 15, 2007 10:20 AM

You know, this makes me think about an article this year in Money magazine.

The wife outearns the husband. They are okay with it, but neither spouse wants their names in print with it KNOWN that she outearns him.

Why? Is it shameful or something?

I find it a strange attitude.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 10:22 AM

If she is not asking you to support her, I honestly don't think it is any of your business who is supporting her.

Posted by: atlmom | May 15, 2007 10:24 AM

"I've seen her blog. Not jealous in the least."

She isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer and until her Eureka moment, she seems to have led a pretty passive life. Of course, she is not paying for anything. These types generally find someone to support them.

Did she even do a little homework and check out this blog before she posted to it?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 10:24 AM

"A man posted a couple of weeks ago that women as a whole don't take seriously their obligation to support their respective families, and that this expectation and burden is imposed entirely on men."

Maybe if more women viewed their salaries as a pile of food they'd take compensation a LOT more seriously.

Money is access to resources, and a means of stockpiling resources for their future, and their family's future.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 10:25 AM

Shandra eloquently laments "...the meanness of people who look at a family that is supporting itself and say one partner is getting a free ride."

I agree with her and the others who are discussing (what they at least hope will be) a lifetime partnership with one's spouse, including concern for one another's happiness. It means sometimes having to make sacrifices, including scrimping financially.

Those who view one partner's SAH, taking time off to change careers or earning less than the other as "sponging" are taking a view of marriage as just two roommates grimly splitting the bills equally, without concern for the other's feelings.

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 10:25 AM

Emily, I see what you mean. I think I meant something different but didn't say it right. I think SAHPing is "taking off" if both parents want to do it and are able to do it. Then it is a break from work because one person still has to work. Obviously, if one person didn't want to SAH, then it wouldn't be a break.

Not sure if that makes sense. I do agree that some people do not want to SAH. I don't think I'd be cut out for it.

Posted by: Meesh | May 15, 2007 10:27 AM

Can I make a suggestion to the blog organizer? could you please have the "posted by" thing at the top of each blog rather than at the bottom. I've being skipping over the anonymous posts for awhile now (hgihly recommend this tactic) and it would make it that much easier. thanks! (Watch how lots of anonymous commenters will now attack me and my suggestion. Or even better, don't watch, just skip over them.

Posted by: Jen S. | May 15, 2007 10:28 AM

I don't know what your life is like, although I think it's safe to say you are NOT a SAHM. But do you realize how bitter you are? It is blatantly obvious to almost everyone on this blog. Even when you have a valid point, you are so abrasive that it is often lost to those who might benefit.

Tell me why (and I want to ask this of right-wingers as well) is it that you simply refuse to admit that the other side has importance and relevance? Why do you, Lizzie, just write off all SAHMS as being selfish cows who are neglecting their children?

Posted by: to Lizzie | May 15, 2007 10:29 AM

Wow. I have no comment about anyone's employment status, but, taking care of everyone is the classic "Sandwich Generation" dilemma.

The reality is that it is often at your expense, even when you have other things in your life. Caring for yourself is important, but, there's no magic way to do it.

You do what you can do, and, yes it is hard.

http://genbetween.com

Posted by: Elizabeth | May 15, 2007 10:35 AM

Father of 4, why can't you read to your kids? I'm sure you can find their favorite books in braille.

Posted by: MV | May 15, 2007 10:36 AM

Lizzie wrote: "My husband and I both have equal responsibility to support our putative children."

Not exactly. Your equal responsibility is to CARE FOR your putative children -- through emotional, educational and other means, not just financial.

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 10:37 AM

"There's nothing petty or mean about pointing out that Anne's flexibility to dilly dally around with, first, her initial choice of career and education, and, subsequently, her second choice of career, only exists because her work ethic and career choices are irrelevant to the bottom line of her family."

Newsflash: men do this new career thing too. They are usually called "entrepreneurs" by society. And the women who support them are called "wives."

Also, I kind of doubt that the income of a school psychologist now freelance writer is, on balance, irrelevant. I'll use myself as an example again even if it's a little tiring: for years we plowed my salary into savings and paying down our mortgage. Did this make it "irrelevant"?

How about this one: a friend of mine and her husband bought a home. He went to part time hours to renovate it mostly by hand (they hired some trades). They sold it at a 200k profit. Was he "sponging"?

In a lesbian couple I know one of the women stayed home with their kids and their expenses for food and clothing and commuting dropped by 5k a year. Is that irrelevant to their bottom line?

Posted by: Shandra | May 15, 2007 10:37 AM

I appreciate all your thoughts. I'm sensitive enough to feel the zings, but smart enough to know that taking risks is how we learn and grow.

As far as the career work, I do have a B.A. in english. I am contributing regularly to a few publications and seeking advice and mentoring from people in the field to learn what experience and/or education I need to get where I want to go.

Best to you all.

Posted by: Amy Stuart Taylor | May 15, 2007 10:39 AM

Lizzie wrote: "My husband and I both have equal responsibility to support our putative children."

Not exactly. Your equal responsibility is to CARE FOR your putative children -- through emotional, educational and other means, not just financial.

If you can't afford to keep them fed, clothed and in a safe environment, all the rest is irrelevant.

Posted by: poverty isn't ennobling | May 15, 2007 10:39 AM

"Why do you, Lizzie, just write off all SAHMS as being selfish cows who are neglecting their children?"

And why do others say that WOHMS are selfish cows who are neglecting their children,"farming" out their child care and "sticking them" in day care?

Posted by: gidget | May 15, 2007 10:40 AM

Chris,

I don't brush praise off as meaningless! I'm sorry if I gave that impression.

I ADORE it when the kids hug me, and tell me I'm the greatest! I just think of it as an added bonus, and not as the reason I became a teacher in the first place.

In fact, on the days that I dread going to school, and I feel like I couldn't teach a fish to swim, someone invariably tells me I'm the coolest teacher ever, and it means the world to me.

Posted by: educmom | May 15, 2007 10:43 AM

The people (men and women - my brother-in-law is a nurse) who choose nursing as a career are no different that those who choose to be an engineer or airline pilot. They are people who want to do a job to support themselves or their families. It is a physically and mentally demanding job, just like many other jobs. Not everybody can do it. There is nothing wrong with someone who can't. You do get attached to patients which is good and bad. You not only care for patients but you are their advocate; you are also a manager, housekeeper, food service and chauffeur (wheelchair only :-).
I don't think of nurses as being more or less selfless than anyone else. It is the person - not the profession.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 10:43 AM

How often do both spouses make that kind of money?"

Exactly. My wife and I need to make sure that the family is taken care of if anything happens to me and my income, but we'd have to do the same thing if she were working full time. Since she is not working full time, I'm free to take on a job with more responsibilities that pays more.

And again: the person who takes some time off regular employment to figure out what they're going to do can end up being the main breadwinner. It's an investment.

Posted by: Clever moniker | May 15, 2007 10:12 AM

Wait a second! You said you're female, so how do you have a wife?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 10:47 AM

Lizzie, you sound like my (abusive) BIL who gets all of his self worth from how much money he earns and how my sister never earned what he does (she is a sahm). He uses this as ammo against my sister (see, you'll never be as good as I am). Who cares? If you are in a partner ship, then does it matter. When I sah'd, I did mostly all of the shopping and schlepping and planning for meals. So my dh had less pressure on him when I did those things rather than now. He was about to quit his job and start his own business which would not have brought in anything for a period of time.

To us, our income is our income and it does not matter who put it there. We work together to ensure that the kids and the house are taken care of.

Posted by: atlmom | May 15, 2007 10:49 AM


Shandra, Grinding away with thine ax.

Both of your examples -- where one person's contribution to the household is to decrease expenses by 5K and another person's contribution is to add to savings -- require that someone else is burdened with bringing in the income off of which the family's living.

Men do the new career thing because an industry shifts overseas, not because they initially picked a low-paying job and only later realized it also might not be satisfying. It's interesting that in your world of assumptions, men are entrepreneurs and the women who support them are "wives". Have a little respect for real entrepreneurs. It takes cash on hand to be on entrepreneur. It takes zero cash on hand to quit your job and call yourself a writer or a consultant.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 10:52 AM

Shandra

"In a lesbian couple I know one of the women stayed home with their kids and their expenses for food and clothing and commuting dropped by 5k a year. Is that irrelevant to their bottom line? "

5k! Wow! Maybe the couple were bad money managers!

Posted by: Dilbert | May 15, 2007 10:52 AM

Amy,
The general consensus in this blog is that "balance" means having everything in a family "equal all the time". Meaning, people think that both husband and wife should be working. Daycare/nanny-care/whatever is a-ok, and preferable to having a parent staying at home to care for the children--because that's just "sponging." And husbands should be equally responsible for taking care of the children--taking off when the children are sick, caring for them, finding the daycare arrangements, etc. So, the only true definition of "balance" is for both parents to balance work and family. Anything other arrangement--such as balancing as a couple (meaning one stays home and one works), or one having a career that allows them to do more of the childcare isn't balanced in this blog's perspective. And anyone who doesn't share this opinion gets blasted! So...you know what Amy...you have it much, much better than a lot of these narrow-minded people who post here. ENJOY IT! (guilt-free) And as for the comments on your writing ability, ignore that too! This board is filled with mean, critical people.


Posted by: Kat too | May 15, 2007 10:55 AM

altmom

"When I sah'd, I did mostly all of the shopping and schlepping and planning for meals"


Ha, ha, ha!!

Posted by: YLS '85 | May 15, 2007 10:57 AM

I'm disgusted by the snarky, petty rants that pass for comments on today's blog...
Amy, as long as you & your husband & kids are happy, keep doing what you're doing. Life is too short to play by someone else's rules.
Don't let the miserable posters get you down!!

Posted by: Appalled | May 15, 2007 10:59 AM

poverty isn't ennobling wrote: "If you can't afford to keep [your children] fed, clothed and in a safe environment, all the rest is irrelevant."

As Shandra has already pointed out, once a family rises out of basic poverty, it becomes all about decision-making to suit their priorities -- saving vs. spending, more vs. fewer hours spent working for pay by the couple, higher vs. lower pay, more fulfilling vs. more mind-numbing work, etc. It takes self-discipline in our advertising-driven culture to avoid mistaking the "Keeping up with the Joneses" McMansion, private-school, expensive extracurriculars, extra cars, pricey entertainment, frequent dining-out mindset -- as well as earning all the money required to sustain it -- for life's basics.

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 11:01 AM

I'm disgusted by the snarky, petty rants that pass for comments on today's blog...

disgusted, yes, suprised no, not at all!

Posted by: no name | May 15, 2007 11:02 AM

"I'm disgusted by the snarky, petty rants that pass for comments on today's blog..."

What other reason is there to read this blog?

Posted by: Charles Brandon | May 15, 2007 11:04 AM

"I'm disgusted by the snarky, petty rants that pass for comments on today's blog..."

What other reason is there to read this blog?

Posted by: Charles Brandon | May 15, 2007 11:04 AM

Supposedly, to discuss balance from different perpsectives and how we can learn from each other and achieve the balance we want.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 11:05 AM

If you wonder why people post anonymously, look at how personalized the comments targetted toward Lizzie have become.

Anonymous snarkers get away scot-free. Those using names for controversial or offensive viewpoints get this:

"Money doesn't buy love and happiness, Lizzie; it buys stuff. I'm sorry that you have not yet learned the difference."

"But do you realize how bitter you are? It is blatantly obvious to almost everyone on this blog."

"Lizzie, you sound like my (abusive) BIL who gets all of his self worth from how much money he earns and how my sister never earned what he does (she is a sahm)."

I've got no dog in the underlying fight, but am shining a mirror on why this blog encourages anonymous trolls. Just sayin'.

Posted by: MN | May 15, 2007 11:07 AM

"I'm sure you can find their favorite books in braille."

OT to MV: Braille is one of those rare things I tried to learn, and after hours and hours of headaches, I gave up. Failed!

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 15, 2007 11:07 AM

Looks like it's time to move on to another topic...

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 11:07 AM

"...require that someone else is burdened with bringing in the income off of which the family's living."

You seem to assume that all primary breadwinners feel "burdened" by their role. I don't think this is the case. Some primary breadwinners want that role, and having a stay at home spouse frees them to devote their time and energy to their career in ways that would be impossible if they had to participate equally in the home duties. Every marriage is different, and every couple needs to make accomodations for the other. I think that things go more smoothly when people go with their natural strengths rather than insisting that everything be split down the middle equally. If one person's temperament is more conducing to working outside the home and the other's is more conducive to raising children, then why not let each person do what they most enjoy? But I do think that we cannot and should not assume that women want to stay at home and men want to work. When we make these assumptions based on gender is when we get in trouble.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 11:07 AM

to: 10:52

You're saying that women make career choices because they are (essentially) spoiled and sponging and you're getting on my case about assumptions! Please.

We all have assumptions. Yours seems to be that the long-suffering men get into a career or job and stay there forever because their wives are incompetent idiots.

My assumption is that most adults in a marriage negotiate their choices within the bounds of reality and in a way that both can be relatively happy with the results. Maybe this is some kind of odd cultural or generational gap we're speaking across.

But really, give me a break. I've seen plenty of men change careers - often, oddly enough, into the more caregivingy roles like from engineer to math teacher, or corporate lawyer to non-profit director. I'm not sure why you think only spoiled women are supported in making career changes.

Of course job mobility is a really complex thing. One thing the stats do show though is that middle-aged men and older are most likely to be laid off and most likely to only be able to return to part-time or lesser-paid employment.

So probably they will get their time in the sun, so to speak, as their wives who changed jobs and gained new skills and stayed competitive in the marketplace support them. Now THERE's a whack of assumptions. :-)

Posted by: Shandra | May 15, 2007 11:08 AM

Anon at 10:52: "It takes cash on hand to be on entrepreneur."

Umm, no. It takes the ability to raise cash. It doesn't necessarily take your own cash, that you have right now before starting the enterprise. Read Steve Wozniak's book, "iWoz" for the story of how Apple Computer was founded using "other people's money"

And that's far from the only circumstance when that was done.

You also wrote "It takes zero cash on hand to quit your job and call yourself a writer or a consultant."

Umm, if you want to eat and pay the rent/mortgage and other bills, it takes a source of money, whether that be from a spouse, parents, venture capitalist, etc.

You obviously understand entrepreneurship as well as you understand stay-at-home parenting; which is to say, not at all.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 11:08 AM

"Lizzie" and "OR Mom" do not seem bitter or mean. They are making somme good points. So what's really happening is that they point out the negatives of SAH and get blasted while several people are agreeing with Amy and Shandra and others. In fact, right now, there are a lot more posts supporting SAHP.

So re-read their posts. They're saying it's unfair to have the breadwinning burden on one person, and they're saying that it's unwise to not be able to support yourself.

You don't have to agree. They are not bitter because their opinions do not match yours. Who's judging whom now?

Posted by: Meesh | May 15, 2007 11:10 AM

You also wrote "It takes zero cash on hand to quit your job and call yourself a writer or a consultant."

Umm, if you want to eat and pay the rent/mortgage and other bills, it takes a source of money, whether that be from a spouse, parents, venture capitalist, etc.

You obviously understand entrepreneurship as well as you understand stay-at-home parenting; which is to say, not at all.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 11:08 AM

Duh. That's the point, 11:08. I understand it perfectly and said not a thing about stay-at-home parenting, a topic near and dear to my heart since I am -- bada bing - staying at home with my 2 month old. Judge much?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 11:14 AM

Meesh

"You don't have to agree. They are not bitter because their opinions do not match yours. Who's judging whom now?"

The former high school Queen Bees, no matter what their status, go on judging to the grave.

Posted by: Mildred Pierce | May 15, 2007 11:15 AM

"They're saying it's unfair to have the breadwinning burden on one person, and they're saying that it's unwise to not be able to support yourself."


But it's only unfair for one person to be the breadwinner if that particular person doesn't want that role. Many do. And while it's unwise not to be able to support yourself, I do not agree that Anne is unable to support herself. If push came to shove and she really needed the money, I am sure Anne could find decent paid employment. The fact of the matter is that she is able to support herself, but in this chooses instead, with the agreement of her husband, to pursue a different career which involves a transitional period when her husband is the main earner. If he is okay with that, there is nothing unfair in the deal.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 11:16 AM

Yeah, I just don't get why Lizzie's being blasted with comments like these, which she's made today . . .

I have trouble looking at anyone who quit her job because she got "bored" with it and who takes no responsibility for supporting her family as put-upon.

Yeah, because her husband is underwriting her escape from boredom, and has been for the past 8 years.

Look, I don't care if she's sponging off her husband or if he's sponging off her or whatever. What I care about is that she's got a responsibility to support her children, and she's shirking it because she got bored.

It's still a lousy, irresponsible choice.


It's SOOOOOOO strange, isn't it, Meesh? I don't see bitterness anywhere.

Posted by: to Meesh | May 15, 2007 11:16 AM

"You're saying that women make career choices because they are (essentially) spoiled and sponging and you're getting on my case about assumptions! Please."

Shandra. "Spoiled" and "sponging" are only being tossed around by you. As someone wise once said around here, take a step back from the ledge. You might have several good points if your rhetoric was presented without the Internet version of shrieking.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 11:19 AM

"In fact, right now, there are a lot more posts supporting SAHP."

Well I am really engaged today so I have posted a fair amount. But I do want to say that I'm really not sure where changing careers = SAHP. I thought the original point was that a particular career + parenting was difficult, not no career.

Then we got into the economic argument which does touch on SAHP and/or non-traditional career choices (like flipping houses) but it can apply equally to say, a couple where one makes $750k/yr and one makes %50k/yr.

Personally I just find the "sponging" argument disturbing and it kind of does highlight for me where a lot of the balance in my life comes from - it comes from a generous perspective where someone's gain in happiness inside a marriage does not necessarily equal someone else's loss.

If both people are unhappy with their jobs, then they need a plan for BOTH people. But if only one is, why wouldn't they change that together?

If I hated my job where would the gain be to be sure my husband stayed in one that he hated, if my income meant he could change streams or take a step back or even take a year off to think about it? Bizarre.

Posted by: Shandra | May 15, 2007 11:19 AM

"Wait a second! You said you're female, so how do you have a wife?"

In much the same way that one usually acquires a wife.

Incidentally, an entrepreneur does not HAVE to have a bucket of cash to draw from--I did not. If they don't, though, they'd better have a spouse to sponge off of.

Posted by: Clever moniker | May 15, 2007 11:21 AM

Meesh, I'm going to disagree with you on one thing. You say that Lizzie and OR Mom do not seem bitter or mean. Let me quote one of Lizzie's posts from this morning:
_______________________
That doesn't matter even a little tiny bit. What matters is whether Amy is capable of supporting her kids. Right now, I'd say she's not.

If they decided together that it was a good idea to cash in their life insurance policies and blow it all on the ponies, it wouldn't matter that they had made that decision together. It's still a lousy, irresponsible choice.
___________________________

Here, she's making it clear that she thinks Amy's choice to change careers/be a SAH is a "lousy, irresponsible choice". Since Amy's doing the same thing that my wife did (for different reasons) for a number of years, I find Lizzie's post personally very offensive, mean and several other things.

Now, I grant you, this may have been simply poor phrasing on Lizzie's part, but given that she's said essentially the same thing numerous times on this blog, I'd be surprised.

I'm not defending those who are personally slamming Lizzie; especially those doing so anonymously. Lizzie's entitled to her opinion, and to post it on this blog. However, her postings have shown little to no understanding of or tolerance for those who disagree with her, and on several occasions her phrasing has crossed a line into what I consider personal attacks on those who have made the choice to be a SAH at some point in their lives.

Look, having my wife be a SAH for a number of years in the middle of our careers was our choice and it worked for us. I'm not saying that it's the right choice for everybody, and I certainly won't criticize those who do wish to work outside the home for the entirety of their adult lives. But I will also object when appropriate to posts like the one I quote above.

Posted by: Army Brat | May 15, 2007 11:22 AM

"Shandra. "Spoiled" and "sponging" are only being tossed around by you."

Spoiled might have been introduced by me but sponging certainly wasn't!

Anyways my 'net time is exceeded for today. I'm off to go be grateful and pick up a check from a client, on the way to the park with my toddler. :-)

Posted by: Shandra | May 15, 2007 11:22 AM

"Yeah, because her husband is underwriting her escape from boredom, and has been for the past 8 years."

DH does not earn enough to underwrite my escape from boredom, but he wishes he did. Our evenings and weekends are filled with household duties such as laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, running errands, and yardwork in addition to child-related obligations such as appointments, homework help, soccer practice, etc.

He would be more than happy to have me stay home and take care of the bulk of household responsibilities so that the entire family would have more free time together in the evenings and weekends.

YMMV

Posted by: nona | May 15, 2007 11:23 AM

It takes self-discipline in our advertising-driven culture to avoid mistaking the "Keeping up with the Joneses" McMansion, private-school, expensive extracurriculars, extra cars, pricey entertainment, frequent dining-out mindset -- as well as earning all the money required to sustain it -- for life's basics.

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 11:01 AM

It doesn't take much self-discipline to be able to recognize that health insurance and shoes that fit are life's basics, and that a minivan is not.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 11:24 AM

Incidentally, an entrepreneur does not HAVE to have a bucket of cash to draw from--I did not. If they don't, though, they'd better have a spouse to sponge off of.
________________________

Or be able to convince venture capitalists, angel investors, etc. to invest in them. Like, oh, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak at Apple, or numerous others.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 11:24 AM

"Or be able to convince venture capitalists, angel investors, etc. to invest in them. Like, oh, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak at Apple, or numerous others."

That's a bucket of cash. Whether it came from your savings or investors is not the point. You either need cash, or outside income to keep you eating while the business grows.

Posted by: Clever moniker | May 15, 2007 11:27 AM

"Personally I just find the "sponging" argument disturbing"

Until I am on public assistance.....

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 11:28 AM

Or be able to convince venture capitalists, angel investors, etc. to invest in them. Like, oh, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak at Apple, or numerous others.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 11:24 AM

Don't be naive. Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and numerous others didn't start without any funding or support. They supported themselves long enough to develop a proof-of-concept and business model worth funding. Investors and VCs put their money behind something likely to turn a profit. They do not underwrite your personal fulfillment or ideas, unless those ideas have substance and profitability within an industry-reasonable time frame. VCs look for background and expertise, along with trade secrets or patents, in order to justify that risk. They have choices about whom to fund. An entrepreneur does not wake up one day with no background, no funding, and no intellectual property and attract investors.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 11:30 AM

To Meesh, I see your point. I think the backlash came in (justifiable) reaction to those who characterized SAH, or earning less than one's partner, as "sponging."

I also see your point that you "have no problem with one partner taking some time off as long as it's reciprocated later on." I'd add the proviso that the values in a marriage aren't always conducive to being totted up like an account book.

As Shandra (and others in the past) have pointed out, jobs can get pulled out from under people due to corporate decision-making that's beyond their control, yet the economic consequences fall to the entire family to deal with, not just to the earner.

Sometimes, too -- as in the case described by Vegas Mom in her guest blog, when her husband suffered a serious injury requiring prolonged recuperation -- a person can be unable to earn income for a long time due to serious health reasons. Does Vegas Dad now "owe" his wife for his time off, or do I (who suffered a lengthy life-threatening illness last year) have to reciprocate to the Catman -- even though Vegas Dad's and my medical situations were most decidedly involuntary?

Sometimes life in the short run is simply unfair, so you get through it the best you can and then try to get your life back together, perhaps with appropriate modifications. My point is that one must take the long perspective on life rather than being ruled by the bottom-line mentality, like those who tar all SAHs and lower-earners as "sponges."

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 11:30 AM

"Our evenings and weekends are filled with household duties such as laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, running errands, and yardwork in addition to child-related obligations such as appointments, homework help, soccer practice, etc."

You and DH need a course in Time Management.

Posted by: Stella Dallas | May 15, 2007 11:31 AM

My point is that one must take the long perspective on life rather than being ruled by the bottom-line mentality, like those who tar all SAHs and lower-earners as "sponges."

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 11:30 AM

the long perspective is exactly what Amy hasn't shown.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 11:32 AM

Lucky for my husband he's spongeworthy.

Posted by: HappyMom | May 15, 2007 11:32 AM

It takes self-discipline in our advertising-driven culture to avoid mistaking the "Keeping up with the Joneses" McMansion, private-school, expensive extracurriculars, extra cars, pricey entertainment, frequent dining-out mindset -- as well as earning all the money required to sustain it -- for life's basics.

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 11:01 AM

It doesn't take much self-discipline to be able to recognize that health insurance and shoes that fit are life's basics, and that a minivan is not.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 11:24 AM

Does that mean a car is not a life basic or you should not have more kids than fit in a car so that a minivan is not a basic?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 11:33 AM

"It takes self-discipline in our advertising-driven culture to avoid"

No, it takes common sense. What a phony excuse for conspicuous consumption.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 11:35 AM

Amy, thanks for your guest blog.

I think it's fantastic that you are seeking to change careers, and that your husband is willing to support you in doing so. I think that one of the truest joys of marriage is the ability to support each other - financially, spiritually and emotionally - through just this type of change. Helping each other acheive our goals, become the people we want to be, take the chances we want to take is part of what marriage is. It means that your happiness is not yours alone, and giving something to one another does not feel like sacrifice.

I also think that this is related to your point, and Army Brat's, about caregiving jobs. I think Army Brat is right that when you are giving from a position of love and joy, it does not feel draining or depleting. When you are giving from a sense of obligation, it can be very draining. I worked for a brief time in a preschool and always felt drained and "touched out" as Freida would say by the end of the day. There's no way I could have done that job while also being a good parent given the way I felt at the end of the day.

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 11:35 AM

It continually amazes me that many posters in this debate (and all otheres on this blog) cannot grasp the concept that different families require different arrangements - what works for you might not work for other families. Most SAHPs are not sitting around eating bon-bons, content to have someone else take care of them, and most WOHPs are not uncaring monsters who focus on their own career and happiness while ignoring their families. The zealots on both sides of the issue make sweeping statements in support of their positions that engender snarky comments, then snarky responses (what the heck does "snarky" mean, anyway?), then the whole discussion comes off the tracks.

Different families require different solutions - if it's not the same as your arrangement, don't you think there is something to be learned from a different point of view? Why immediately attack it?

Rant over.

Posted by: BLE | May 15, 2007 11:37 AM

Meesh - you don't even have kids - how would you know if being a SAHP is taking a break? YOu don't even want to watch a couple of kids for a few hours!! Just because you want to do something does not make it a break. Does someone who enjoys working as a graphic designer consider their job a break? Please save your theories on child rearing until you have some.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 11:40 AM

Interesting dialogue this morning. Let's try to separate fact from opinion:

Fact: Having one breadwinner makes that person the sole provider

Opinion: Being a sole provider is a burden [this may be the case in some instances but it really depends on the individual, many do like to be the providers for their family]

Fact: Staying at home with the children makes life and career advancement easier for the other partner
Opinion: Staying at home is putting your partner's needs ahead of your own
[More often than not the spouse staying home does so because they earn less/don't like their jobs/have the greater desire to stay home with the kids so it's less of a sacrifice for them

Fact: Staying home is foregoing a paycheck and potential career progression
Opinion: Staying at home is sponging
[In actual fact the working spouse is frequently grateful to the non-working spouse for giving up his/her career either temporarily or permanently for the sake of the kids]

I personally don't see anything wrong with one spouse staying home with the kids given the inflexible American workforce that makes it so difficult to juggle work and family. The problem as Emily put quite well is when we assume the father must be the 100% provider and the mother must be the 100% caregiver. Each couple should be able to make the determination as to where they stay by themselves. It amazes me that we are aware that we are different as individuals but believe we must make the same decisions once we become parents.

Posted by: fabworkingmom | May 15, 2007 11:42 AM

Snarky:

Short-tempered or irritable and very, very British. Commonly used on blogs and in Bridget Jones' Diary, among other popular British novels.

The adjective snarky is first recorded in 1906. It is from dialectal British snark, meaning 'to nag, find fault with', which is probably the same word as snark, snork, meaning 'to snort, snore'. (The likely connection is the derisive snorting sound of someone who is always finding fault.) Most dictionaries label snarky as "Chiefly British Slang." But for the last five or more years, it has become increasingly common in American publications, maybe ones infiltrated by British or Canadian writers and journalists.

Posted by: MN | May 15, 2007 11:43 AM

"Wait a second! You said you're female, so how do you have a wife?"

Must not pull out clue-by-four...

Maybe a flashing neon sign?

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 15, 2007 11:44 AM

"The zealots on both sides of the issue make sweeping statements in support of their positions that engender snarky comments, then snarky responses (what the heck does "snarky" mean, anyway?), then the whole discussion comes off the tracks."

And we need you to keep the discussion on the track?

Posted by: Madame X | May 15, 2007 11:44 AM

"Our evenings and weekends are filled with household duties such as laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, running errands, and yardwork in addition to child-related obligations such as appointments, homework help, soccer practice, etc."

You and DH need a course in Time Management.


Posted by: Stella Dallas | May 15, 2007 11:31 AM

Huh? Unless you have a magic way to make each evening several hours longer, what's the point of your suggestion?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 11:45 AM

catlady-thanks for the story on how you changed careers! I think Amy's story on changing careers is uplifting. Those being nasty need to live more life, imho. They sound like college students out for the summer types...I wonder if they have faced much reality yet. Ahh...ignorance is bliss.

MN-hey, we're trying to blast the anons too, but as usual, they continue ranting.

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 11:47 AM

"Our evenings and weekends are filled with household duties such as laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, running errands, and yardwork in addition to child-related obligations such as appointments, homework help, soccer practice, etc."

You and DH need a course in Time Management.


Posted by: Stella Dallas | May 15, 2007 11:31 AM

Huh? Unless you have a magic way to make each evening several hours longer, what's the point of your suggestion?

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 11:45 AM
...and then you'd have to manage to fit in the time management course.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 11:48 AM

"You and DH need a course in Time Management."

Sorry, we don't have time for the course :).


Posted by: nona | May 15, 2007 11:48 AM

Does that mean a car is not a life basic or you should not have more kids than fit in a car so that a minivan is not a basic?

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 11:33 AM

all minivans are automobiles. not all automobiles are minivans.

the second clause requires such a leap of topic, I'll leave you to determine how you could have read so much into so little.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 11:48 AM

Wow - do people comment merely to attack others' choices - or are we trying to share what has worked and exchange ideas...

I'm a mid-level bureaucrat - I guess I'm mommytracked b/c although I'd like a promotion I'm not willing to work more hours or take a more stressful position - I appreciate the flexibility I have and am grateful for it.

My mom was an elementary teacher when I was growing up. As a child/teenager I think of her as being stressed out, impatient and well not a lot of fun. As a parent I now wonder how she could spend her days w/children and then her evenings w/us - I get why we got on her nerves and why she was a bit of a grouch. So - I get what Amy is saying. (Now that I'm adult I have a better relationship w/my mom - but she's retired and I'm not as much of a pain;)

Posted by: maria | May 15, 2007 11:52 AM

Hey dotted,

Why does it bother you so much if people are anon? Read or don't read their postings and move on. Your complaints about anon posters are as tiresome as some of the anon posts.

People are anon for various reasons. I'm sure that anything written by Lizzie from this point on will be perceived in a different light than if she had posted anon for this discussion and then resumed using her name.

Not all anon are snarky and nasty.

Posted by: to dotted | May 15, 2007 11:53 AM

If women were fine with the idea of staying at home and it being a good thing for the family, then why do some women insist on post-nups? If you have a good partnership and marriage then you would not need this.

I am not saying that staying at home is bad, but just bringing up the point that many women are not really comfortable with it. If they were, they would not need a post-nup.

Posted by: Thought | May 15, 2007 11:53 AM

"Wait a second! You said you're female, so how do you have a wife?"


Visit Brokeback Mountain.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 11:53 AM

It doesn't take much self-discipline to be able to recognize that health insurance and shoes that fit are life's basics, and that a minivan is not.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 11:24 AM

But a minivan is essential to life, just ask Fred!

Posted by: Frieda | May 15, 2007 11:54 AM

Lucky for my husband he's spongeworthy.

hahah, that is so funny. Love it.

Posted by: scarry | May 15, 2007 11:55 AM

If women were fine with the idea of staying at home and it being a good thing for the family, then why do some women insist on post-nups? If you have a good partnership and marriage then you would not need this.

Posted by: Thought | May 15, 2007 11:53 AM

You are desparate for an argument based on stretching to connect these two topics - the occasional person who executes a post-nup and "many women are not really comfortable with" staying home with their children.

The primary reason for the rare post-nup is a dramatic change in earning capacity or inheritance of a family business. YMMV, but I have never heard of a woman requiring or requesting a post-nup simply because she has determined to stay home.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 11:58 AM

"Spongeworthy", now that's a funny word. I'll introduce it to my daughter next time she asks for money.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 15, 2007 11:58 AM

Anon at 11:30 - the point was this: a number of posters (mostly anonymous, but Clever Moniker among them) asserted that you either have to have "a bucket of cash" or a spouse you can sponge off to be an entrepreneur.

I offered a counter example. Neither Jobs nor Wozniak was married at the time Apple was founded, so there was no spouse to sponge off. Yes, they had incomes: Jobs worked at Atari; Wozniak at HP, so they could eat (but not a lot). But that was it. They had an idea; Wozniak designed the computers. They didn't have enough money to buy the parts to build them, so they made a deal - the purchaser agreed to put the money in escrow; the parts suppliers got paid when parts were used, and Apple got its money when the computers were built and delivered. Once they had proven they could build computers that would sell, the VCs got interested.

That was the point. It's not "have an existing bucket of cash" or "sponge off a spouse". There are other options.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 11:59 AM

To "to dotted":
Personally, I don't care if they are anon or not, however, anyone posting anon has to realize they are participating in a discussion. There is no way to identify if one person or a multitude is posting anon. When there are a bunch of posts from anon, it is impossible to continue a conversation.

Just skip my, or anyone elses, posts then. There is nothing here holding your eyes to the screen.

Posted by: dotted (aka MN's N) | May 15, 2007 11:59 AM

Re the self-discipline necessary to resist our advertising-driven culture: I agree that it IS a matter of common sense, and my whole point was NOT to condone conspicuous consumption (although someone apparently interpreted it the opposite way). It's just that some people's notion of "the basics" in life -- and how much they need to earn in order to pay for them -- reach far beyond the true basics, and the need to earn more can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I'm reminded of the story of a high school student whose grades were suffering because he was working part-time at a fast-food restaurant for minimum wage. When his school guidance counselor asked the student why he was working, he said it was to make his car payments; when the counselor asked him why he needed a car, he replied that it was in order to get to his job. Moral of the story: sometimes we get caught in a trap caused by societal expectations, and then it takes a dose of the aforementioned "common sense" and self-discipline to dig oneself out.

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 12:01 PM

ummm, father of 4 spongeworthy was made famous by Elaine on Seinfield. It is in reference to birth control. I geuss it could work in other situations though.

Posted by: scarry | May 15, 2007 12:02 PM

"Why does it bother you so much if people are anon? Read or don't read their postings and move on. Your complaints about anon posters are as tiresome as some of the anon posts."

The prevalence of anon posts in the last several days is proof, if one needed it, that anons tend to contribute to an even less civil blog than most. The discourse shifts to targetted attacks that substantively tend to be along the lines of "you're jealous" or "you're bitter" or "you're an idiot" or "you're nasty" or worse. Not all anons are snarky or nasty. But see the 11:40 attack on Meesh. It's not a bad one, but pointless and adds nothing to the discussion. Anons tend to more often treat this blog like IM.

Why does it bother you so much that dotted posts her view? Take your own advice, ignore her posts, and presumably mine, and move on. or start posting as "gutless coward" which at least indicates a sense of humor and a certain amount of short-term memory.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 15, 2007 12:03 PM

"When there are a bunch of posts from anon, it is impossible to continue a conversation."

Right, this blog comes to a screeching halt every time there is post from anon!

Posted by: anon for today | May 15, 2007 12:04 PM

oooohhh...MN...you rock

Where's Emily? I'm sure she would also love your last post.

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 12:05 PM

Scarry, What does spongeworthiness have to do with birth control?

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 15, 2007 12:06 PM

Catlady,

Fred still needs the minivan!

creepy van, creepy van, doing what it can, that's the creepy van!

creepy van, creepy van, you're better off in an old trash can!

creepy van, creepy van, mucho caliente ain't the creepy van!

Posted by: Frieda | May 15, 2007 12:07 PM

Nomination for

The Post of the Day

"My marriage, anyway, is not about making sure people put equal numbers of quarters in the cookie jar."

Shandra

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 12:11 PM

Re minivans: It's conspicuous consumption of status symbols that's the problem -- and I suspect Fred and Frieda's creepy old van isn't considered a status symbol by many folks, except in a reverse-snobbism sort of way ;-)))

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 12:11 PM

Fo4,

Elaine had a BC method that used spermicidal sponges, but she was running out of them. She determined if a date was "spongeworthy" by asking them a lot of questions before getting in bed with them; if she didn't like the answers, she didn't use one of her dwindling supply of sponges. Presumably she didn't sleep with them at all then.

Posted by: John L | May 15, 2007 12:15 PM

"Moral of the story: sometimes we get caught in a trap caused by societal expectations, and then it takes a dose of the aforementioned "common sense" and self-discipline to dig oneself out."

this is condescending claptrap. Societal expectations and advertising may impact your decision-making and values, but our family makes our own decisions based on our own values. Most of the people on this blog have made it clear that they operate similarly.

Your idea of what is essential is no doubt quite different from mine, but that does not mean I am influenced by society and advertising. It merely means we have different values. It may, in fact, mean nothing more than that I consider fresh fruit and vegetables essentials, and you believe ramen noodles are fine. Being members of a neighborhood pool is essential to my health and well-being, as is high-quality mosquito-repellant for DH, the mosquito-magnet. My library card is enough for me. Others consider it essential to fill their kids bedrooms with owned books. We don't lack self-discipline because we are not you.


Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 12:16 PM

Educmom, sorry, misunderstanding...
-----

Great article on
Brokeback- The Rape of the Marlbro Man
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=48076

Posted by: Chris | May 15, 2007 12:16 PM

catlady

"Re minivans: It's conspicuous consumption of status symbols that's the problem -- and I suspect Fred and Frieda's creepy old van isn't considered a status symbol by many folks, except in a reverse-snobbism sort of way ;-)))"

Only to the millions who have no vehicle of any kind!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 12:17 PM

"Wow! It must be nice to stay home, work part-time, and then quit your job whenever you feel like it!

"Where do I sign up?"

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 07:55 AM

It sure is nice. It's called, "female privilege." If you were born a girl, you "sign up" by finding a man who is willing and able to marry you and support you and your children.

If you were born a boy and you want female privilege -- well, you should have been born a girl.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | May 15, 2007 12:18 PM

Thanks John. I'll can the spongeworthy wisecrack I was going to use on my daughter.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 15, 2007 12:19 PM

I'm not sure of the source of 12:15 PM's animus toward my point, since my values are in fact very close to yours. I was just saying that lots of OTHER folks have problems handling these choices -- and in fact I was urging them to make the sorts of decisions that you and I do, i.e., after thinking them over carefully and logically. P.S. re ramen noodles: ick! I'd much rather have fresh produce, too. Truce?

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 12:21 PM

"We don't lack self-discipline because we are not you."

Oh no! In response, catlady will post another boring "last word" retort (she frequently back tracks her posts at the slightest disagreement). Look what you have started!!

Posted by: Norman Bates | May 15, 2007 12:22 PM

Anonymous at 12:16 wrote: "Re minivans: It's conspicuous consumption of status symbols that's the problem -- and I suspect Fred and Frieda's creepy old van isn't considered a status symbol by many folks, except in a reverse-snobbism sort of way ;-)))" / Only to the millions who have no vehicle of any kind!

Regulars to this blog are aware that F&F live in a smallish town and that Frieda is a lactation consultant -- i.e., she makes house-calls to new mothers having difficulty nursing, a job entailing hauling along quite a bit of equipment and educational materials. Some sort of vehicle is necessary for whoever does that job in that part of the country, and part of the humor re the "creepy old van" is that Frieda isn't driving some flashy new status-symbol but an old flivver that manages to keep on running somehow.

Of course there are some people on this blog for whom no vehicle is necessary. Try to remember that YMMV (so to speak).

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 12:29 PM

catlady

This is your post:

"As Shandra has already pointed out, once a family rises out of basic poverty, it becomes all about decision-making to suit their priorities -- saving vs. spending, more vs. fewer hours spent working for pay by the couple, higher vs. lower pay, more fulfilling vs. more mind-numbing work, etc. It takes self-discipline in our advertising-driven culture to avoid mistaking the "Keeping up with the Joneses" McMansion, private-school, expensive extracurriculars, extra cars, pricey entertainment, frequent dining-out mindset -- as well as earning all the money required to sustain it -- for life's basics."

You said "self-discipline", I said "common sense".

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 12:30 PM

"We don't lack self-discipline because we are not you." / Oh no! In response, catlady will post another boring "last word" retort (she frequently back tracks her posts at the slightest disagreement). Look what you have started!!

Oh goodie, a bully: Heads you win, tails I lose, right? NOT. And a reply without its antecedent is difficult to follow, because there can be intervening posts making the strand unclear.

To quote one of Emily's favorite sayings...

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 12:34 PM

"Why does it bother you so much that dotted posts her view"

I was actually wondering if there was some reason for the complaints that hadn't occurred to me. I was asking seriously why it bothered her, not trying to be a pain.

Without any reason besides those already stated, the continuous complaints do get tiresome. It doesn't stop the anon posters and also doesn't add to the discussion, which is one of the complaints about the anons.

Posted by: to dotted | May 15, 2007 12:34 PM

catlady

"Of course there are some people on this blog for whom no vehicle is necessary."

And there are millions of people who would be delighted to own Fred's van, however humble.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 12:34 PM

"On the other hand, my wife being a SAHM allowed me to take jobs I never could have taken otherwise. When I quit the Feds and jumped to private industry, I took a job that involved a substantial amount of travel all over the world. Travel situations like an afternoon phone call inquiring whether I could be in Stockholm the next afternoon, or 6-day trips to Hong Kong that evolved into 3-week Asian tours because of side trips to Sydney, Tokyo and Singapore. That would not have been possible without my SAHM wife; but at the same time I'm in my current position precisely because I was able to do that kind of traveling."

Posted by: Army Brat | May 15, 2007 09:21 AM

That's called, "male privilege," and it's sure nice to have. If you want a Stay-at-Home Wife to be caregiver to children who are biologically yours and hers, it sure helps to have been born a boy.

One reason for the League to Abolish Stay-at-Home Wives is this very fact, namely, that a SAHM wife allows for a male privilege that is available to very few women. If "Army Brat" feels no guilt for having taken advantage of his male privilege to advance in the World of Work, why -- good for him!

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | May 15, 2007 12:35 PM

I love writing. How on earth does one get paid to write a blog for a paper? I could certainly come up with a few lines of moving (or not) commentary on just about anything! I checked out her blog, and while it is "good," it made me wonder what makes writing opinions something that gets one paid on a regular basis. When you think about it, the regular commenters here on average write more than Leslie and Brian put together, yet none of us are employed by the post... so... the question remains: how on earth can you get someone to pay you to vent/share your opinion?

Posted by: Chris | May 15, 2007 12:36 PM

Anonymous at 12:30 PM wrote: "You said "self-discipline", I said "common sense"."

I said "self-discipline," you said "common sense." So what?

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 12:36 PM

"You and DH need a course in Time Management."
nona

"Sorry, we don't have time for the course :)."

Ha, ha! Pretty cute!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 12:37 PM

Anonymous wrote: "And there are millions of people who would be delighted to own Fred's van, however humble."

Therefore?

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 12:38 PM

"If you were born a boy and you want female privilege -- well, you should have been born a girl."

Or, find a woman who is willing to marry you and have you stay home. Works the same for either sex.

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 12:41 PM

Matt in Aberdeen

"It sure is nice. It's called, "female privilege." If you were born a girl, you "sign up" by finding a man who is willing and able to marry you and support you and your children.

Where can I find these suckers, oops, men?

Posted by: Becky Sharpe | May 15, 2007 12:41 PM

Points taken regarding Lizzie and OR Mom. I will say, however, that the majority of the responses posted as proof of bitterness were actually posted in response to attacks on their original posts. I'd be a little snarky too if someone didn't respect my opinion and wrote something along the lines of "I'm sorry your marriage sucks because it's not like mine."

Anon at 11:40, you're right that I've never SAH, but I've been unemployed (i.e., at home for months so all chores fell to me) and babysat and worked at a camp (i.e., 24 hour a day care for children). So it doesn't take a huge leap in logic to imagine what SAH is like. Plus, I have friends who stay home and I hear about their days all the time. Every single one consdiers it "a break" because none can afford to SAH permanently, so it is a break from work to which they will eventually return. Maybe that's what colors my opinion.

Posted by: Meesh | May 15, 2007 12:42 PM

"I'd be a little snarky too if someone didn't respect my opinion and wrote something along the lines of "I'm sorry your marriage sucks because it's not like mine.""

I'd just laugh!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 12:49 PM

"You said "self-discipline", I said "common sense"."

Trolls has become a petty @$$,
Our topic is growing flat,
For you post this and the other
While they go for this and that.

Goodness knows what the end will be;
Oh, I don't know where I'm at...
It looks as if all balance is gone,
Something must be done.

You say self discipline and I say common sense,
You say ABSURD and I say NONSENSE;
Self discipline, common sense, absurd, nonsense,
Let's call the whole thing off!

You like to post crap and I like post $#!7,
You like the topic and I like to change it;
Post crap, post $#!7, on topic, to change it!
Let's call the whole thing off!

But oh! If we call the whole thing off,
Then we must part.
And oh! If we ever part,
Then the blog might fall apart!
...

Posted by: Chris | May 15, 2007 12:52 PM

I'd just laugh!!!!!


Posted by: | May 15, 2007 12:49 PM


Easy when you're anon

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 12:52 PM

Chris, if I owned a newspaper, I'd pay you to write a blog on it ;-)

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 12:54 PM

Heck, If I owned a comedy club I would pay Chris to perform his parodies in it.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 12:56 PM

To to dotted at 12:34
I posted a direct answer to your question at 11:59, MN gave you another reason a few minutes later.

Oh that's right, you skip whenever someone answers your questions and then call them tiresome.

To quote Winnie-the-Pooh "Oh Bother."

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 12:56 PM

LOL - are you kidding me? In what part of the country is a minivan a status symbol?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 12:57 PM

KLB - I'd love to see Chris perform his parodies too! Now we need to get audio attached to this blog so the we can get virtual performances...or is it virtuoso

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 12:58 PM

I think we could do a paper where I could title my blog "Off Balance" in homage and out of respect for my roots... but maybe "Off Topic" would be a better name so I wouldn't ever have to worry about cease and desist letters from the Post.
;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 15, 2007 12:58 PM

To those responding regarding my issues with after-prom last week:

My son and his date co-decided to not do afterprom at all. There is no school sponsored after-prom. They decided it was just an excuse to drink and they didn't want to do that. I'm glad they decided themselves (though I did get my opinion beforehand)...and I'm double glad they had a great time and came home safely, plus ontime.

A big thank you for all your suggestions and help on this!

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 1:01 PM

"Lucky for my husband he's spongeworthy."

This reminds me of a Seinfeld episode :-)

Posted by: MV | May 15, 2007 1:01 PM

"Or, find a woman who is willing to marry you and have you stay home. Works the same for either sex."

And exactly how many of these women do you personally know?


Posted by: say what? | May 15, 2007 1:02 PM

Thanks catlady.

I think were a voice option available, I would spare everyone the misery of listening to me render up monstrosities acappella. Sometimes some things are best left to the brilliant imaginations of the readers. ;-)

Posted by: Chris | May 15, 2007 1:04 PM

Some sort of vehicle is necessary for whoever does that job in that part of the country, and part of the humor re the "creepy old van" is that Frieda isn't driving some flashy new status-symbol but an old flivver that manages to keep on running somehow.

---Doesn't Fred drive an Infinity?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 1:06 PM

WorkingMomX -

Your advice is the best I've gotten in a long time, so I will repeat it (with edits):

"What would you do if you knew everything would turn out just fine? Just make that decision. It has worked for us every time."

I would add that you need to be prepared for the worst, as well -- but the advice is a good framework for decision making. Thanks!

Posted by: Leslie | May 15, 2007 1:06 PM

I don't think it's snarky to answer someone as 'assertive' in her views as Lizzie; IMHO the tone of her posts was not very pleasant and her views seem calculated to offend. If I had to guess, I would say that she posts to provoke an argument, and she probably views the discussion she wishes to start as healthy.

It's also possible that she simply believes she has the only correct opinion on whatever subject she is choosing to address.

I don't recall her previous postings, so I have no idea which of my theories, if either, is correct. It doesn't matter anyway; she has every right to express her thoughts. I may not agree with her, but she was clear and honest.

I simply stated my opinion of her opinion, and the conclusion I drew based on her writing. I was not insulting, rude or mean.

I realize many readers may not share my opinions, either, and that's fine. I still have the right to express them.

Posted by: educmom | May 15, 2007 1:07 PM

Speaking of sponges, I have spotted Today sponges at Walmart. I feel so unclean as to have been AT a Walmart.

I think that is one of the few Seinfeld episodes I enjoyed. I knew just how she felt (before I discovered I could get them in Canada).

Speaking of jingles, does anyone here automatically "hear" the People's Drug tune everytime they see a CVS or one of their ads? It's so weird, I wouldn't be surprised if it happened to me alone.

Posted by: MdMother | May 15, 2007 1:09 PM

""Or, find a woman who is willing to marry you and have you stay home. Works the same for either sex."

And exactly how many of these women do you personally know? "

Several in my own life, and I believe there are several on this blog as well. Saying something is hard is one thing - a man who wants to be a SAHP will face more challenges than a woman, sure. But it's not impossible. To whine about having to be born a woman is a total cop out. Women and men have long fought social expectations and done so successfully; if all those before us had just said, "Oh well, I can't be a doctor or a lawyer because I wasn't born a man" or "Oh well, I can't be a nurse or a flight attendant because I wasn't born a woman" we'd live in a dramatically different world than we do. Is it hard? You bet. Is it impossible? No. So if that's really what you want, go after it. That's how things change.

Posted by: MEgan | May 15, 2007 1:13 PM

Fred,

I posted something for you on yesterday's blog. In memory of your mom.

MdM

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 15, 2007 1:15 PM

"And there are millions of people who would be delighted to own Fred's van, however humble."


Posted by: | May 15, 2007 12:34 PM

And the a/c blows very cold! A very nice comfort way down here in New Orleans!

But I am driving my other car today.

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 1:16 PM

Hey Fred, were you off cheatin' on us with Weingarten last hour?

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 1:19 PM

Megan: three cheers!

And I would be quite happy to support Mr Bee (if either I made a lot more than I do, or his stereo-purchasing habits could be a lot more restrained than they are). In fact we are hoping in a few years that Mr Bee can pursue his dream of house flipping instead of corporate life, which will certainly require me to be the stable income for a while. We have three other couples among our close friends where the wife is the primary earner.

Posted by: worker bee | May 15, 2007 1:20 PM

---Doesn't Fred drive an Infinity?

No, I drive an Infiniti.

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 1:21 PM

Speaking of sponges, I have spotted Today sponges at Walmart. I feel so unclean as to have been AT a Walmart.

I think that is one of the few Seinfeld episodes I enjoyed. I knew just how she felt (before I discovered I could get them in Canada).

Speaking of jingles, does anyone here automatically "hear" the People's Drug tune everytime they see a CVS or one of their ads? It's so weird, I wouldn't be surprised if it happened to me alone.

Posted by: MdMother | May 15, 2007 01:09 PM

That's because CVS bought out People's.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 1:21 PM

What say you Washington Post? Give Chris an early semi-retirement and support his laziness *ahem* creativity with a paycheck? I would submit a paragraph or two every day on whatever topic I wanted, and people would comment on it, bash it, and or talk about whatever they wanted. I would even weigh in from time to time to call people ignorant trolls, stir up controversy, or encourage them (but only if they agreed with me). I could do all this opining from a home in the mountains tucked securely away from all the traffic, smog, filthy politicians, and other pollutants. :-)

Posted by: Chris | May 15, 2007 1:22 PM

"Money doesn't buy love and happiness, Lizzie; it buys stuff. I'm sorry that you have not yet learned the difference.

Posted by: educmom | May 15, 2007 09:43 AM

"I simply stated my opinion of her opinion, and the conclusion I drew based on her writing. I was not insulting, rude or mean."

Posted by: educmom | May 15, 2007 01:07 PM

Was educmom's 9:43 comment rude or not? you be the judge.


Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 1:22 PM

MdMother,

yes, I saw those! Sainted mother always loved a good joke or better yet, a snarky one!

Catlady,

Forgot about Gene today, I was out getting parts to fix Frieda's ice maker! My most important mission of the day!

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 1:23 PM

PS- if I ever got canned for not being PC enough, I would of course get a golden parachute of $40,000,000. You would have my word that I would spend every typing moment trying my hardest to earn that. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 15, 2007 1:25 PM

"Was educmom's 9:43 comment rude or not? you be the judge. "

It's the truth.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 1:25 PM

LOL - are you kidding me? In what part of the country is a minivan a status symbol?

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 12:57 PM

Where, other than NYC, is it not? In the last ten years, we've lived in three cities east of the Mississippi. In each one, across the board, the minivan is a status symbol that says, my wife is toting our tow-headed son and 4 of his closest upper-crust teammates to the t-ball game while our 18 month old daughter is home with the nanny.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 1:26 PM

Fred, how much ice does Frieda need, anyway?

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 1:26 PM

"Was educmom's 9:43 comment rude or not? you be the judge. "

For this blog, no.

Some people are verry thin skinned.

Posted by: Judge Judy | May 15, 2007 1:27 PM

"Or, find a woman who is willing to marry you and have you stay home. Works the same for either sex."

And exactly how many of these women do you personally know?

Posted by: say what? | May 15, 2007 01:02 PM

I personally know eight women supporting their spouses. So what does that prove, 1:02?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 1:28 PM

"Where, other than NYC, is it not? In the last ten years, we've lived in three cities east of the Mississippi. In each one, across the board, the minivan is a status symbol..."

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 01:26 PM

I don't think that the creepy van (or any mommy van) is much of a status symbol. I think that it is green but since it has not been washed since last August, I am not sure. (The Infiniti is washed on a regular schedule.)

But the creepy van does haul breast pumps and other stuff on occasion. That is the van's contribution to the common good!

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 1:31 PM

1:28, that there are at least 8 lucky men in the world... but maybe not so lucky if the women are not models, don't cook, or have lousy paying jobs cleaning ash-trays at the truck stops. I think we need more info.

Posted by: Chris | May 15, 2007 1:33 PM

to anon at 1:26

Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill is an area where a minivan is not a status symbol. BMW and Lexus are, but not a minivan. In fact, I don't know anywhere in NC where a minivan is a status symbol. Get out much?

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 1:34 PM

"Was educmom's 9:43 comment rude or not? you be the judge. "

It's the truth.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 01:25 PM

apparantly, you couldn't answer the question.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 1:35 PM

Chris,

Britney Spears, Doris Day and a LOT of women in show business have supported their husbands and kids.

Posted by: Judge Mathis | May 15, 2007 1:36 PM

to anon at 1:26

Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill is an area where a minivan is not a status symbol. BMW and Lexus are, but not a minivan. In fact, I don't know anywhere in NC where a minivan is a status symbol. Get out much?

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 01:34 PM

yes, dotted, I do. and speaking of snarky . . .

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 1:36 PM

"Was educmom's 9:43 comment rude or not? you be the judge. "

For this blog, no.

Some people are verry thin skinned.


Posted by: Judge Judy | May 15, 2007 01:27 PM

sorry, rude is rude. You may find it amusing, but it doesn't change character because you say it here.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 1:38 PM

read the thin skin comment recently, especially if you think that was snarky.

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 1:39 PM

Infiniti minus creepy green van (dirty) equals what - Honda Accord?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 1:39 PM

Catlady: nice sentiments. When my dh could not stand one more minute at his job, he was thankful that I was working (one reason I went back to work was so dh could quit job if he wanted to start his own business). He said it was great when evaluating current job he could say no-he was not obligated to say yes only because we would need the income

We talk about this a lot-making decisions from a place of strength rather than from fear. From his soul searching he realized the job could be great and he took it+not because he was afraid but because he wanted it. He know nows that he doesn't need a job-so if he gets fired or he hates what he is doing, he can walk away (or I can).

It is a great feeling and we have done a lot of preparation to get here-i never in my life wanted to feel as if I didn't have options-ie, that I couldn't just walk away from a job.

Posted by: atlmom | May 15, 2007 1:39 PM

"apparantly, you couldn't answer the question. "

No, I had to forward the question to the Supreme Court for opinion. But I know how to spell "apparently".

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 1:39 PM

Those who post anonymously abdicate the right to object to criticisms of their arguments, because the mere fact of their posting anonymously is inherently snarky. If you're too big a coward to post messages using a consistent nom-de-blog, then you have no grounds to whine if you think someone said something mean to you.

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 1:41 PM

These days, I suspect many marriages go through a lot of give and take in terms of a spouse staying home, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. A key ingredient to surviving these ups and downs is indeed Shandra's well-put analogy to putting quarters in a jar.

In my marriage, I was the main breadwinner for a year while my husband returned to school, and for another 18 months or so while he built up his freelance business. He received workers comp while he recovered from his accident, but the fact that I was bringing home a paycheck made a huge difference in our life.

He supported me while I spent about a month recovering from surgery that ultimately saved my eyesight. He did the same so that I could take a full 90-day maternity leave that was largely unpaid, and again when I was laid off and looking for a job for a couple of months.

More to the spirit of Amy's post about caregivers though, we are currently discussing having Vegas Dad take 4-6 weeks off from his free-lance business so that he can go across the country to help his dad manage the logistics of moving his mother (who suffers from Alzheimer's) to in-patient care in another city. This will involve moving both of them out of their house, moving his mom, and getting his dad settled in a new home/apartment of some kind. I'm proud of my husband for taking on a caretaking role that traditionally falls to the women in the family. He wouldn't have it any other way.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 15, 2007 1:41 PM

atlmom-
excellent post and a rebuttal to all those attacking Amy's blog entry this morning. A good partnership you have!

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 1:41 PM

to anon at 1:26

Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill is an area where a minivan is not a status symbol. BMW and Lexus are, but not a minivan. In fact, I don't know anywhere in NC where a minivan is a status symbol. Get out much?

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 01:34 PM

anon comments that he or she has lived in three cities east of the Mississippi. You respond that, based on your experience in part of a single metropolitan area in NC, that anon is a hillbilly or living under a rock. Nice.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 1:42 PM

Worker Bee - right back at ya! I hope that things work out with the house-flipping someday (although sounds like stereo flipping might be good too, ha ha). My husband is currently working on starting his own business and it's awesome to see him go for something he has always wanted to do.

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 1:42 PM

To KLB re Honda Accord: I resemble that remark!

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 1:42 PM

catlady

"Those who post anonymously abdicate the right to object to criticisms of their arguments, because the mere fact of their posting anonymously is inherently snarky"

Indeed, high school Queen Bee!

Posted by: Judge Alex | May 15, 2007 1:45 PM

It sure is nice. It's called, "female privilege." If you were born a girl, you "sign up" by finding a man who is willing and able to marry you and support you and your children."

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | May 15, 2007 12:18 PM
"You and your children?????"

Hmmmm - I've always assumed that when a couple have children, they are THEIR children, not just the woman's. :)

Posted by: london eye | May 15, 2007 1:45 PM

I thought Britney got divorced and drove around with her kid on her lap?

Doris Day had 4 failed marriages.

I would hardly paint either as an example of successful support.

Posted by: Chris | May 15, 2007 1:46 PM

Tp atlmom, dotted, Vegas Mom and others: You're right about a couple being in a partnership, where it's understood that life's vicissitudes ebb and flow.

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 1:47 PM

I don't feel like being 'nice' is a part of my job description: I will call out ludicrous statements.

fyi, minivans aren't status symbols in PA, VA, MD, NC, FL, CA, HI, MO, OR, SC or anywhere else I've resided. The thought is ludicrous. Anything ubiquitous as a status symbol? nah....

catlady: my passat resembled that remark too...dirty grey though

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 1:47 PM

catlady

"Those who post anonymously abdicate the right to object to criticisms of their arguments, because the mere fact of their posting anonymously is inherently snarky"

Yes, those who are anon in any way (possibly) because they are discussing childhood abuse, rape, and domestic abuse are the scum of the earth!

How dare they be so snarky.

Posted by: Dandra Day O"connor | May 15, 2007 1:48 PM

Vegas Mom,
Wow - that is a huge undertaking for your husband and his parents. My heart goes out to you all.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 1:50 PM

To Chris: One of Doris Day's marriages was brief when she was very young. In another (long-term) marriage, the husband turned out to have embezzled massive amounts of her money. It can't be easy finding a spouse when you have to keep wondering whether that person loves you more for yourself or your money -- not that I would know (LOL!), of course. That's one reason I don't own a newspaper where I could pay you to blog, or even rhyme!

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 1:51 PM

catlady:
what kind of cats do you have? I have a ragdoll cat. I'm upset with him right now.

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 1:52 PM

Our cat is a rescued domestic shorthair.

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 1:56 PM

Judy Garland could really pick 'em, too.

Posted by: gutless coward | May 15, 2007 1:56 PM

To dotted: I assume you're familiar with the old joke that dogs have owners, but cats have staff.

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 1:57 PM

I know that CVS bought out People's, it's just funny that I always "hear" the words to the song. No one is actually singing them anymore!

I must say, the local business scene just hasn't been the same since Haft and his hair died.

Hmm, I wonder if the word is more properly "sponge-worthy" when discussing the Today sponge?

Grammarians! Over here please!

Fred,

I have more. Many more.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 15, 2007 1:58 PM

But why is it HER money if she was supporting him? Wouldn't it be their money? Surely if it was the other way around she would just have been spending it how she wanted... ;-P This "wondering" is a problem men seem to have had for ages.

---
Also, as an opinion writer, I would reserve the right to make accusations (whether founded or unfounded) about my newspaper, its editors, owners, or anyone else, and if they didn't like it, there's always that $40,000,000 golden parachute. ;-)

Posted by: Chris | May 15, 2007 1:58 PM

Judy Garland could really pick 'em, too.

Posted by: gutless coward | May 15, 2007 01:56 PM

But she always supported herself and that monkey on her back!

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 1:58 PM

kudos to gutless coward for having a sense of humour...

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 1:59 PM

Vegas Dad sounds like a caring son and husband. And Vegas Mom, you'll be taking on an extra share of responsibilities while he's away, which is caring of you, too. Hope everything goes smoothly for your whole family. Best of luck.

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 2:00 PM

Md Mother,

Post away, the blog needs some humor today!

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 2:01 PM

My husband has a female colleague with two kids under three, one on the way and two teenage stepchildren. She has been lobbying for him to take on some of the more labor intensive and unpleasant tasks in her job. Her husband is a full-time student, hoping to finish his teaching degree this summer.

Last week she and another female colleague (single mom) stated that my husband has an unfair advantage over them because he has someone at home taking care of his ADL's (activities of daily living). He should have to shoulder more at work.

Truthfully, over the ten years we have been parents together he has been able to focus on his job while I take care of things at home. In the end it has given us lot more freedom to have the type of family we want.

This is the root of the so-called mommy wars. I believe they are actually co-worker wars.

Thank goodness my spouse is "sponge-worthy". We're able to work together and complement each other as a team. He would never characterize what I do as his ADL's. I would never look at him as a paycheck. People who miss out on that are going to have a lot more to regret than financial trouble if there is a job loss or illness.

Posted by: HappyMom | May 15, 2007 2:02 PM

To dotted and other ailurophiles:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwCEnFhr6gw
(scuba-diving cat)

Posted by: catlady | May 15, 2007 2:09 PM

"This is the root of the so-called mommy wars. I believe they are actually co-worker wars."

HappyMom, what an interesting way of putting it. It does seem like as often as not, the questions of the mommy-wars invoke much broader issues concerning how much of ourselves and our lives we should be expected to commit to our jobs and still be considered successful. I'm glad that you and your husband have found a situation that works so well for you.

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 2:10 PM

Jerry Falwell just died - RIP.

Posted by: news alert | May 15, 2007 2:11 PM

Off-Topic: CFLs (Compact Flourescent Lightbulbs) and even normal flourescent tubes contain hazardous levels of Mercury (warning- don't break them). They "should be recycled" instead of trashed.
Apparently (according to earth911, worldnetdaily, and newswithviews) there are hardly any places where they can be recycled unless you want to drive 80 miles to drop off your old bulbs. Isn't that just great? I guess I'll look into mailing them off when they start burning out a few years from now. Hopefully by then we can switch to even better LEDs!

Posted by: Chris | May 15, 2007 2:14 PM

Chris, That isn't funny! You are not allowed to be serious after 2pm.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 2:16 PM

"Jerry Falwell just died - RIP."

He can pray with Judy Garland now!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 2:17 PM

Hey, at least Judy had talent!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 2:18 PM

"Judy Garland could really pick 'em, too."

I heard she was very good at some latin sex terms......

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 2:19 PM

Are people seriously arguing that a man with two school-age children who quit his part-time job to spend a year trying to "discern where to go next" while his wife supported the family would not be considered "sponging"? Because that's how most people would characterize it, and I don't see why women should be treated any differently. The double standard is why our jobs are not taken as seriously.

Posted by: Tues pm | May 15, 2007 2:25 PM

Geez - have you ever heard the expression, "those who live in glass houses should not throw stones?" Are any of you perfect? Highly unlikely. Some of you people (Lizzie and others who hide behind anonymity) are so incredibly rude that it seems obvious you are just overcompensating for some deficiency you sense in your own life. Why do you care whether someone else has made a choice that works better for her family? For all you know, her husband may have his own needs met by their arrangement. I don't know, and I don't really care. Here's an idea: if you disagree with Amy's perspective, then articulate it in a useful, not spiteful, manner. I am scarfing a salad at my desk and looked to this blog for a fun lunch break for a few minutes, but I see that, per usual, many people on the blog (a) have too much time on their hands, and (b) are entirely too judgmental to sound at all intelligent.

Posted by: Lori | May 15, 2007 2:25 PM

"Jerry Falwell just died - RIP."

This is a man who claimed that gays were responsible for 9/11. Teletubbies were an abomination because one of them was purple-the gay pride color.

How much are you willing to bet that he had little boys on the side pleasing him?

Good riddance.

Posted by: whatever | May 15, 2007 2:26 PM

pATRICK

"Judy Garland could really pick 'em, too."

I heard she was very good at some latin sex terms......

Sounds like a good title for the self-help/motivational book Judy is working on with Jerry Falwell!

Is there rehab in Heaven; is there a fat farm for Jerry?

Posted by: gutless coward | May 15, 2007 2:28 PM

Hey, that teletubby carried a purse!

---
In other news, multi-vitamins are tied to prostate cancer.

Posted by: Chris | May 15, 2007 2:30 PM

whatever

The obese preachers always give me the creeps. Talk about gluttony, yuck!!!!!

Posted by: Britney | May 15, 2007 2:33 PM

fyi, minivans aren't status symbols in PA, VA, MD, NC, FL, CA, HI, MO, OR, SC or anywhere else I've resided. The thought is ludicrous. Anything ubiquitous as a status symbol? nah....

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 01:47 PM

Having trouble agreeing to disagree, dotted? I've lived in Virginia, Georgia, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and New Jersey and continue to disagree with you and agree with the original poster, ludicrous as you label any disagreement. It might be you that needs to get out of your upper class neighborhood more.

Posted by: acquaintance of gutless coward | May 15, 2007 2:33 PM

""Jerry Falwell just died - RIP."

This is a man who claimed that gays were responsible for 9/11. Teletubbies were an abomination because one of them was purple-the gay pride color.

How much are you willing to bet that he had little boys on the side pleasing him?

Good riddance."

AMEN!! His close-mindedness is all that is wrong with this country.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 2:33 PM

"Jerry Falwell just died - RIP."

This is a man who claimed that gays were responsible for 9/11. Teletubbies were an abomination because one of them was purple-the gay pride color.

How much are you willing to bet that he had little boys on the side pleasing him?

Good riddance.

Posted by: whatever | May 15, 2007 02:26 PM

whatever, maybe no one told you, but on this blog, we're all supposed to play nice when idiots bite the dust. See the ANS blog for numerous, "if you can't say something nice . . ." posts. You best duck.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 2:35 PM

"It might be you that needs to get out of your upper class neighborhood more.

Posted by: acquaintance of gutless coward | May 15, 2007 02:33 PM "

Sorry to break it to you- but a STATUS symbol usually comes from UPPER CLASS neighborhoods. I have lived in the Southwest, and 3 different East Coast cities (1 poor, the rest wealthy) Minivans aren't status symbols anywhere. Poor people don't want them, rich people would rather die than drive one (especially those wealthy enough to have a nanny) The alternative: It's called an SUV.
maybe in white trash land, but not in any place I've ever been.

A minivan is a joke

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 2:38 PM

Here's an idea: if you disagree with Amy's perspective, then articulate it in a useful, not spiteful, manner. I am scarfing a salad at my desk and looked to this blog for a fun lunch break for a few minutes, but I see that, per usual, many people on the blog (a) have too much time on their hands, and (b) are entirely too judgmental to sound at all intelligent.

Posted by: Lori | May 15, 2007 02:25 PM

So sorry we failed to meet your needs, Lori. I see that you are quite comfortable being judgmental about who does or does not an excess of time on their hands, so maybe one is only being judgmental if she disagrees with you.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 2:38 PM

Maybe Leslie would have us compare similarities between Falwell and ANS.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 2:38 PM

What's ANS?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 2:39 PM

"whatever, maybe no one told you, but on this blog, we're all supposed to play nice when idiots bite the dust. "

I messed that memo too! Dang!

Posted by: Judge Mathis | May 15, 2007 2:40 PM

Chris - on the compact flourescents, although they do contain mercury, my understanding is that the reduction in power plant emissions from using them reduces mercury emissions so, most likely, depending on your source of electricity, you still get a net reduction from using them. But I don't have time right now to verify that, so just for what it's worth...

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 2:40 PM

Supposedly, to discuss balance from different perpsectives and how we can learn from each other and achieve the balance we want.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 11:05 AM

As long as the "one" is female.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 2:40 PM

ANS = Anna Nicole Smith

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 2:42 PM

What's ANS?

A woman who used methadone and other drugs while she was pregnant.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 2:42 PM

ANS= Anna Nicole Smith

Ah, what a day that was!

I hope porn queen comes out of hiding again

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 2:43 PM

Falwell and ANS: similarities? Discuss amongst yourself.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 2:46 PM

Well, they were both extremists

And neither had much brain power

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 2:49 PM

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/jerry_falwell;_ylt=AvURa3Wymq9Wt_UGbiuPOZGs0NUE

Tells some good and bad about Falwell.

I don't think that it was his closed-mindedness that is what is wrong with this country because the same case could be made for the other side. Extremists abound there too who would strip away freedoms and choices in the name of other "freedoms" and "choices." Pot meet kettle.

This guy did manage to do a lot of good building schools, homes for unwed mothers, and homes for alcoholics (no mention in the article if these were one and the same though- haha). ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 15, 2007 2:49 PM

"A minivan is a joke"

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 02:38 PM

Yup! but it can carry 4x8 sheet of plywood, sheetrock and many other items shielded from the weather. Try to even fit these items in most pickups without putting down the tailgate and putting on a flappy tarp!


BTW, that was not me who called out to the porn queen but...

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 2:50 PM

Oh, I'm still here....

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 2:51 PM

Oh, I'm still here....

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 02:51 PM

You know that I respect your identity but if you even wanted to reveal it (just to me), just write me at my email.

F.

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 2:54 PM

"This guy did manage to do a lot of good building schools, homes for unwed mothers, and homes for alcoholics"

Why? Were more needed when Falwell was preaching? PTL

Posted by: Judge Alex | May 15, 2007 2:55 PM

Just one more tidbit--I did support my husband while he made a major career shift pre-kids. He's now doing something he loves and I want the same. If I could reword my initial posting, I would. "Bored" was a flippant word for a much more complicated issue.

Thanks to everyone who shared in the spirit intended and reserved judgment. Snarky makes for good reading, but being on this side has been an eye-opener.

Posted by: Amy Stuart Taylor | May 15, 2007 2:56 PM

Jerry Falwell gave a voice to thoughts lots and lots of people had, but the media ignored. We should thank him for lifting the rock.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 2:57 PM

Stop knocking Judy and Doris. It's hard to find a good man in Tinseltown!

Posted by: Lana Turner | May 15, 2007 2:57 PM

Supposedly, to discuss balance from different perpsectives and how we can learn from each other and achieve the balance we want.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 11:05 AM

As long as the "one" is female.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 02:40 PM

huh?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 2:57 PM

Falwell HATED. He spewed vitriol against gays. He was a hateful person. Anyone who devotes a career to that kind of agenda makes me sick.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 2:58 PM

""Jerry Falwell just died - RIP."

How much are you willing to bet that he had little boys on the side pleasing him?

Good riddance."

AMEN!! His close-mindedness is all that is wrong with this country."

Oh gosh - a old man dies and folks respond with snarky comments? His corpse isnt even cold yet! He had a wife and 4 kids who must be upset. Even if one doesn't agree with anything he said, surely we can all remember our 'shared' humanity & be a lil nicer.

Or am I being incredibly naive?

Posted by: london eye | May 15, 2007 2:58 PM

Jerry Falwell gave a voice to thoughts lots and lots of people had, but the media ignored. We should thank him for lifting the rock.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 02:57 PM

WHAT??? WHAT??? WHAT??? We should thank him for lifting the rock??

This is the Washington Post- not the Middle America Living in the Past Post.

Believe me, the media does not ignore him and the crazies who agreed with him. I wish they did- I wouldn't have to be tortured by the crap they spout.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 3:00 PM

Judge Mathis, see london eye's comment for the first of the chastisers.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 3:00 PM

Porn queens fake it!

Posted by: Ron Jeremy | May 15, 2007 3:01 PM

london eye

"Or am I being incredibly naive?"

Yup. Look how fast some folks got over the VT shootings.

On to the next big story.....

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 3:02 PM

I was hoping it would be another hour or so before someone picked up on Falwell's passing, if only to lessen the vitriol ratio.

Amy-your kindness to those being overly judgemental without knowing all the facts shows you are a classy lady!

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 3:02 PM

Oh gosh - a old man dies and folks respond with snarky comments? His corpse isnt even cold yet! He had a wife and 4 kids who must be upset. Even if one doesn't agree with anything he said, surely we can all remember our 'shared' humanity & be a lil nicer.

Or am I being incredibly naive?

Posted by: london eye | May 15, 2007 02:58 PM

Naive it is.

Should we be sad of Hitler's death? Or when one of Saddam's sons was killed??
Didn't think so.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 3:03 PM

live a little longer, 3:00. Pre-Falwell's emergence, and the establishment of the Moral Majority, the Post was King of ignoring all but the most jaded, urban values systems. Its writers were perpetually shocked whenever a poll or election or referendum indicated that everyone didn't toe the liberal line.

Up until 5 or so years ago, the Post didn't even acknowledge that several of us believe in God.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 3:04 PM

gay should only mean happy. Why did they go and ruin a word? They already have a word!

Posted by: Chris | May 15, 2007 3:04 PM

"I was hoping it would be another hour or so before someone picked up on Falwell's passing, if only to lessen the vitriol ratio."

Why? He was a creepy hypocrite dressed in sheep's clothing.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 3:04 PM

Porn queens fake it!

Posted by: Ron Jeremy | May 15, 2007 03:01 PM


"Ron jeremy"- good one!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 3:04 PM

"Oh gosh - a old man dies and folks respond with snarky comments? His corpse isnt even cold yet! He had a wife and 4 kids who must be upset. Even if one doesn't agree with anything he said, surely we can all remember our 'shared' humanity & be a lil nicer.

Or am I being incredibly naive?"

No you are not. You are just seeing the rank hypocrisy of the left who spout "diversity, diversity" like a parrot unless of course they disagree with you then you are a racist, sexist, homophobic bigot. Pay them no mind.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 3:04 PM

Chris,
And it matched! We can't even call it a man-purse!

Posted by: educmom | May 15, 2007 3:05 PM

You are just seeing the rank hypocrisy of the left who spout "diversity, diversity" like a parrot unless of course they disagree with you then you are a racist, sexist, homophobic bigot. Pay them no mind.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 03:04 PM

pATRICK, a racist, sexist, homophobic bigot is what he is whether or not I agree with him.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 3:08 PM

gay should only mean happy. Why did they go and ruin a word? They already have a word!

Posted by: Chris | May 15, 2007 03:04 PM

Chris - you're speaking TIC, right?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 15, 2007 3:08 PM

pATRICK:

It's all good so long as it's not your son's ass that's being violated, right?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 3:09 PM

"Should we be sad of Hitler's death? Or when one of Saddam's sons was killed??
Didn't think so.


This is a disgusting trend among leftist nuts. Anyone who they dislike, they flippantly compare to Hitler or even Saddam. Could you cheapen the deaths of millions anymore? You make me sick!

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 3:09 PM

TIC?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 3:10 PM

"It's all good so long as it's not your son's ass that's being violated, right?"

How about my wife's ass being violated?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 3:11 PM

By the way, what is so terrible about pointing out that there is more to life than a person's net worth?

I have no issue with people who make good livings; I have nothing against the wealthy, either (and there is a difference).

I simply believe that one should not measure a person's value according to his or her bank balance. Money is nice, if you can get it, but it's simply a means to an end. It IS possible to be (HORRORS) middle-class (and maybe even poor!) and be happy.

Posted by: educmom | May 15, 2007 3:12 PM

Frieda is happy as long as the ice maker, the breast pumps, the a/c and the children are all working!

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 3:15 PM

'It sure is nice. It's called, "female privilege." If you were born a girl, you "sign up" by finding a man who is willing and able to marry you and support you and your children."'

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | May 15, 2007 12:18 PM
"You and your children?????"

'Hmmmm - I've always assumed that when a couple have children, they are THEIR children, not just the woman's. :)'

Posted by: london eye | May 15, 2007 01:45 PM

There must be a difference between British and American usage here. Americans (at least, Yankees) say "your" to mean either a singular second person possessor (replacing the archaic "thy") or plural possessors at least one of whom is a person being addressed. When I wrote "your," it was in this latter sense, meaning "your and his."

Maybe Britons have a different pronoun that y'all use for plural possessors, instead of the American "your."

We in Maryland enjoyed the recent visit by your Queen -- may she live to 120 years old!

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | May 15, 2007 3:16 PM

My tongue has nothing to do with cheeks! That's just gay! ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 15, 2007 3:17 PM

pATRICK- i agree with you. There, I've said it. I agree with pATRICK.

Throwing the H(itler) Bomb is an obscenity in and of itself.

Fred-duck, know you what is coming your way...

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 3:18 PM

As opposed to right wingers hating people simply because they are attracted to the same sex?

Or thinking all women are inferior?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 3:18 PM

"It's all good so long as it's not your son's ass that's being violated, right?"

"How about my wife's ass being violated?"

That might not have been his preference. Most people who are so staunchly homophobic recognize thos urges in themselves and use it as a cover for who they really are.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 3:19 PM

"pATRICK- i agree with you. There, I've said it. I agree with pATRICK.

Throwing the H(itler) Bomb is an obscenity in and of itself.

Fred-duck, know you what is coming your way..."


Hell just froze over, I feel dizzy....

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 3:19 PM

I'm happy if I can pay the rent on our apartment, pay child care, eat meals everyday other than pb&j or eggs or spaghetti, and get cable tv.

Sadly, to do that in this area, you must be in the upper middle class- upper class range. We barely make it on 80. That doesn't make me happy.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 3:21 PM

"This is a disgusting trend among leftist nuts. Anyone who they dislike, they flippantly compare to Hitler or even Saddam."

Actually, this is a disgusting trend among nuts of both sides of the aisle, like for example, Tom Delay.

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 3:22 PM

"This is a disgusting trend among leftist nuts. Anyone who they dislike, they flippantly compare to Hitler or even Saddam."

And the religious kooks compare anyone they dislike to Satan.

Posted by: Judge Roy Bean | May 15, 2007 3:25 PM

Hey 3:18, don't stereotype. Hate the sin, not the sinner. That Christian attitude alone is at least positive disagreement, which is more than I can say about the people who want to take away free speech in the guise of outlawing "hate speech" or take away the choice of an American to defend themselves in the guise of protecting people. Anything can be twisted to appear extremist- and both extremes are, by definition, extremes. (this logic should sound familiar, re: over-scheduling)

Side note:

I bet you can burn an American flag and get away with it, but if you try to burn an Iranian or Mexican flag you will be called intollerant, or hateful, and possibly even charged with something.

What is right?

Posted by: Chris | May 15, 2007 3:27 PM

"This is a disgusting trend among leftist nuts. Anyone who they dislike, they flippantly compare to Hitler or even Saddam."

Actually, this is a disgusting trend among nuts of both sides of the aisle, like for example, Tom Delay. "

Really? when and whom did Delay say this about? And if he did, it is still disgusting. I hated Clinton and Kerry, NEITHER of them deserve to be called Hitlers or Saddam and neither does Bush or Falwell. You do a great disservice to the victims of the NAZI war machine to call them that.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 3:27 PM

educmom says: "By the way, what is so terrible about pointing out that there is more to life than a person's net worth?"

Nothing, if you'd stopped your comment after "stuff". Try rereading what you actually posted.

"Money doesn't buy love and happiness, Lizzie; it buys stuff. I'm sorry that you have not yet learned the difference."

Commenters on this blog have a tendency to recall their statements as more innocent and neutral than they are. In many other contexts, this habit is referred to as revisionist history.


Posted by: OR mom | May 15, 2007 3:27 PM

I bet you can burn an American flag and get away with it, but if you try to burn an Iranian or Mexican flag you will be called intollerant, or hateful, and possibly even charged with something.

That is because the left can't tolerate any possible whiff or "intolerance". They have no problems insulting their countrymen and stripping away free speech though.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 3:29 PM

"My husband has a female colleague with two kids under three, one on the way and two teenage stepchildren. She has been lobbying for him to take on some of the more labor intensive and unpleasant tasks in her job. Her husband is a full-time student, hoping to finish his teaching degree this summer.

"Last week she and another female colleague (single mom) stated that my husband has an unfair advantage over them because he has someone at home taking care of his ADL's (activities of daily living). He should have to shoulder more at work."

Posted by: HappyMom | May 15, 2007 02:02 PM

I agree that HappyMom's husband has an advantage over his female colleagues because he has a stay-at-home wife. But I fail to see why his advantage is an "unfair advantage."

"Truthfully, over the ten years we have been parents together he has been able to focus on his job while I take care of things at home. In the end it has given us lot more freedom to have the type of family we want." (HappyMom)

That's the key: "the type of family we want." Certainly, employers ought to help out workers who, for one reason or another, cannot have wives at home taking care of their children. That's why I support tax-free worksite day care centers, as well as tax-free vouchers that employees can use to pay for off-site child care or for at-home child care by a nanny or a relative. That way, those for whom "the type of family we want" is a two-career family will more easily be able to make that choice.
However:

"This is the root of the so-called mommy wars. I believe they are actually co-worker wars." (HappyMom)

There's more to the "mommy wars" than just ENVY and RESENTMENT. Still, a story like the one HappyMom tells demonstrates that in some cases, workers who cannot have stay-at-home wives taking care of their "ADLs" do indeed ENVY and RESENT their colleagues who do have stay-at-home wives. Ideologues, including the late Simone de Beauvoir and former Brandeis professors like the late Susan Moller Okin and (distinguishing between dead and living) the retired Linda R. Hirshman appeal to this kind of ENVY and RESENTMENT to stir up sentiment against SAHMs.

Too bad. We don't -- or at least, we ought not -- make public policy on the basis of ENVY and RESENTMENT.


Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | May 15, 2007 3:33 PM

Care for the Caregiver

I'm really confused. How was Amy a caregiver? She was "bored with testing and diagnosing kids".

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 3:35 PM

"Hell just froze over, I feel dizzy...."
Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 03:19 PM

That is because I got the new part for Frieda's ice maker!

You are wELCOME, pATRICK!

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 3:39 PM

"You and your children?????"
'Hmmmm - I've always assumed that when a couple have children, they are THEIR children, not just the woman's. :)'

Posted by: london eye | May 15, 2007 01:45 PM

There must be a difference between British and American usage here. Americans (at least, Yankees) say "your" to mean either a singular second person possessor (replacing the archaic "thy") or plural possessors at least one of whom is a person being addressed. When I wrote "your," it was in this latter sense, meaning "your and his."

Maybe Britons have a different pronoun that y'all use for plural possessors, instead of the American "your."

We in Maryland enjoyed the recent visit by your Queen -- may she live to 120 years old!

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | May 15, 2007 03:16 PM

Thanks for this Matt. Very nice of you to be so gracious about my mistake.

England & America - two countries separated by the same language. (giggle)

:) The Queen is a wonderful lady. Her Mother lived to be 101 - so she's got great longevity genes.

Posted by: london eye | May 15, 2007 3:40 PM

Matt in Aberdeen

"Too bad. We don't -- or at least, we ought not -- make public policy on the basis of ENVY and RESENTMENT."

It's all too weird. I don't know or want to know the personal details of my co-workers' lives to the point where I am screaming "Unfair Advantage". It sounds like Gomer Pyle screaming "Citizen's Arrest"!

Posted by: Officer Krupke | May 15, 2007 3:42 PM

Too bad. We don't -- or at least, we ought not -- make public policy on the basis of ENVY and RESENTMENT.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | May 15, 2007 03:33 PM

Matt, Got a CapsLock problem? Depress it again and you won't find yourself screaming every other word.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 3:51 PM

"---Doesn't Fred drive an Infinity?

No, I drive an Infiniti. "

I am starting to warm to you Fred. I have a 2007 g35 what do you have?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 3:51 PM

I simply believe that one should not measure a person's value according to his or her bank balance. Money is nice, if you can get it, but it's simply a means to an end. It IS possible to be (HORRORS) middle-class (and maybe even poor!) and be happy.

Posted by: educmom | May 15, 2007 03:12 PM

But nobody is measuring a person's value, they are measuring the persons contribution to the family.

"Money is nice, if you can get it". WTF? Money is necessary, not optional. You can't be considered middle class without at least some of it.

I am going to get skewered for saying this but I'm going to say it anyway.


Women often talk about "male privilege" and when us guys say we don't see it, they say "of course you don't, it is so ingrained, you just don't get it."

I think what educmom just said is an example of the complimentary "female privilege", the assumption that "money is nice, if you can get it" is something that most men wouldn't even think, let alone say. It is based on the "fact" that most women (society actually) expect men to work for money. (Just as men expect women to be caretakers) That the financial support of the family falls first on the man then on the woman. And that any financial support they provide is in addition to, not in place of the support the man provides. Those of you who disagree, I could say, "you just don't get it"

This is not a belief that everone acts on or even agrees with, yet it is there. How can we accept with little argument that women are the (primary) caretakers, and yet argue so vehemently with the complimentary concept that men are the (primary) providers?

Posted by: devils advocate | May 15, 2007 3:57 PM

To anon (2) at 2:38, your comment doesn't even make sense. You clearly just need to argue, and in doing so, you proved my point. You'll note that I never said that everyone on the blog has too much time on their hands. You, however, DO have too much time on your hands if the only reason you read this is to come up with some witchy comment roughly every 14 minutes. Do yourself and everyone else in the metro area a favor - take a breath and stay off the roads.

Posted by: Lori | May 15, 2007 3:57 PM

No, I drive an Infiniti. "

I am starting to warm to you Fred. I have a 2007 g35 what do you have?


Posted by: | May 15, 2007 03:51 PM

(whoever you are 3:51)

I had an '03 G-35 until it was stolen so I bought an '06. The '07 were just coming out but I could not stomach the extra money for the 07. There is not a line item in the F & F budget for replacing stolen autos.

But the creepy van is used extensively for house rebuilding and breastfeeding purposes.

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 3:58 PM

"I am starting to warm to you Fred. I have a 2007 g35 what do you have?"

Mine is bigger than yours is!

(Sorry, couldn't help myself :-)

Posted by: spineless b*stard | May 15, 2007 3:58 PM

"It is based on the "fact" that most women (society actually) expect men to work for money. "

Where are these suckers, oops, men who will support women to the grave?

Sign me up!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 4:00 PM

"I had an '03 G-35 until it was stolen so I bought an '06. The '07 were just coming out but I could not stomach the extra money for the 07. There is not a line item in the F & F budget for replacing stolen autos. "

I had a 04 which I traded in, they bought out my lease (6 payments)sweet! I loved my 04 but the 07 is a quantum leap forward in every way. Highly recommended!

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 4:01 PM

Falwell also opposed embryonic stem cell research and didn't believe global warming exists.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 4:02 PM

"It is based on the "fact" that most women (society actually) expect men to work for money. "

Where are these suckers, oops, men who will support women to the grave?

Sign me up!

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 04:00 PM

Do yo have point?

Posted by: devils advocate | May 15, 2007 4:07 PM

Moral Majority was neither.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 4:08 PM

Can Falwell help Jack Bauer now from the pearly gates?

Posted by: Lulu | May 15, 2007 4:11 PM

Devils Advocate, you are wrong because women are quite often the primary financial providers for their families (ever hear single parent families? and the vast majority are headed by women) AND by looking at the stats that indicate that mothers are far more likely to the caregivers in the family than men. I personally earn twice what my husband does at this point, but I was also the one who took off almos two years of maternity leave. My family may be an extreme version o fwhat is happening, but i think it reflects the truth that mothers are often not only the caregivers but also the breadwinners of the family.

Posted by: Jen S. | May 15, 2007 4:12 PM

"Really? when and whom did Delay say this about? And if he did, it is still disgusting"

In his book, "No Retreat, No Surrender: One American's Fight" he wrote of the people who prosecuted him for violating campaign finance laws: "liberals have finally joined the ranks of scoundrels like Hitler." There are plenty of examples of other prominent politicians and activists on both the right and the left using the analogy, and as you said, no matter who says it it's disgusting.

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 4:17 PM

"I had a 04 which I traded in, they bought out my lease (6 payments)sweet! I loved my 04 but the 07 is a quantum leap forward in every way. Highly recommended!"

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 04:01 PM

Absolutely agree with you. The 06 is still a terrific car but the 07 had just been formally introduced. I mean the same week I was needing a car and the dealer only had the $40k plus model on sale.

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 4:19 PM

Amy, thanks for sharing a little of your life with us today.

Staying at home for 3 years to raise your twin boys must have been challenging, rewarding, satisfying but also hard work. Working part-time whilst still juggling a home and young kids cannot have been easy. Having the courage to change career paths and strike-out for one that's more fulfilling for you is to be commended.

A few posters (and y'all know yourselves) appear to believe that if a person stays home with twin boys for 3 years (gasp, horror), goes back to work part-time for 4 years, and then goes free-lance while taking time out to change career paths is a 'sponger'. That's an extremely unfair characterisation. I believe Amy's life spells h-a-r-d-w-o-r-k-i-n-g.

Please do try to ignore the negative comments and dont allow yourself to be hurt by them. The vast majority of folks on here understand that you and your family are trying to balance your lives in the very best way possible. Just like most of us are albeit in our different ways.

So Amy, a toast: You and your husband are to be applauded for the unity you share in making choices that work for your family unit. Here's wishing you and your family all the very best with your new career path.

Posted by: london eye | May 15, 2007 4:22 PM

"A few posters (and y'all know yourselves) appear to believe that if a person stays home with twin boys for 3 years (gasp, horror), goes back to work part-time for 4 years, and then goes free-lance while taking time out to change career paths is a 'sponger'"

Yes, if someone else is paying for the ride.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 4:26 PM

Devils Advocate, you are wrong because women are quite often the primary financial providers for their families (ever hear single parent families? and the vast majority are headed by women) AND by looking at the stats that indicate that mothers are far more likely to the caregivers in the family than men. I personally earn twice what my husband does at this point, but I was also the one who took off almos two years of maternity leave. My family may be an extreme version o fwhat is happening, but i think it reflects the truth that mothers are often not only the caregivers but also the breadwinners of the family.

Posted by: Jen S. | May 15, 2007 04:12 PM

You just don't get it. ;)

So, us men are generally useless? Women provide and caretake more and better than men.

You still couldn't bring yourself to say men do most of the providing (because it is expected). Which was my entire point, you know it's true but you just don't see it. You look at the 'stats' on caretaking (I assume SAHp, hours spent doinghome related tasks) and accept that women do more of it. Yet, you look at those stats and hours worked, and the number of men in the workplace and come to the conclusion that women provide too.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 4:32 PM

Yes, if someone else is paying for the ride.
Posted by: | May 15, 2007 04:26 PM

There's been no 'ride'

Amy stayed home for 3 years bringing up both their kids, worked outside the home for 4 yrs, and then has began working freelance, while changing career paths.

So for 8 yrs, Amy has been contributing as a care-giver and also financially to her family's well-being. And she is continuing to do so.

Pray tell, where is this vaunted 'ride'?

Posted by: london eye | May 15, 2007 4:34 PM

Yes, if someone else is paying for the ride.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 04:26 PM

By "someone" does that mean a supportive spouse or the government? There's "no ride" in raising children. There's no taking advantage of if the spouse's agree to what's best for their family. Just because a spouse does not work doesn't mean they aren't contributing to the family. It might not be a financial contribution but perhaps a more flexible life or less stressful life contribution--things that those in the workforce consider "benefits" which a paycheck doesn't cover but are highly considered in the job/career decision making process.

Posted by: Native VA | May 15, 2007 4:35 PM

Devils Advocate, you are wrong because women are quite often the primary financial providers for their families (ever hear single parent families? and the vast majority are headed by women)

Posted by: Jen S. | May 15, 2007 04:12 PM

And yet, when this single family goes on welfare, who is expected to pay the government back? I'll give you a hint, it isn't the mother.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 15, 2007 4:35 PM

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 04:32 PM

That was me. Don;t want to be an anon troll.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 15, 2007 4:38 PM

"That's called, "male privilege," and it's sure nice to have. If you want a Stay-at-Home Wife to be caregiver to children who are biologically yours and hers, it sure helps to have been born a boy."

It doesn't have to be "male privilege," Matt. My husband does the bulk of the parenting and housekeeping so that I can concentrate on work. It works well for us that way. I call it "the privilege of those who can think independently and not cave to societal expections about gender roles." Not as catchy a name as "male or female privilege," but a truer depiction of what can happen when people make choices based on their particular situations rather than on gender based stereotypes. You tie yourself down with your sexist beliefs. Open your mind, and experience true freedom.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 4:40 PM

Hey - did I wander onto the Warren Brown Car blog?
:-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 4:40 PM

klb - okay, I could google Warren Brown, but I'm sure your explanation will be better. Illuminate me...!!

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 4:41 PM

Ding, Dong, the witch is dead!!

Posted by: Jerry Fallwell died | May 15, 2007 4:41 PM

Dotted,
He does (or did) write the automotive column for the Post.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 4:42 PM

Warren Brown is the Washpo writer for autos. He likes the G-35 very much btw.

(Better than talking about you know who!)

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 4:42 PM

Dr Oz says that having sex >200 times per year can increase your life span by 6 years!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 4:43 PM

Devil's Advocate and Jen S., you might find this story on Slate interesting - it's about a study showing that when both market work (work for pay) and home work (child care and house work) are accounted for, men and women work about equal hours. http://www.slate.com/id/2164268/

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 4:44 PM

"I call it "the privilege of those who can think independently and not cave to societal expections about gender roles." "

Go Emily!

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 4:46 PM

devil's advocate - I think educmom's comment "money is nice if you can get it" was meant more along the lines of "more money than necessary to support a middle-class lifestyle is nice if you can get it" than some expectation that women think someone should provide for them. She, like almost all women, certainly seems aware of the fact that money is necessary to buy goods and services. The issue is more about how your choices in career and work relate to your feelings on the importance of more money. Thus, if someone wanted to pay me a gazillion dollars to do what I do, that would be nice. But at this point, I choose to do what I do, rather than something more lucrative, because more money is not that important to me now. It has nothing to do with not thinking I should support myself; it's a choice about the lifestyle I feel the need to support myself in.

Posted by: Kathrina | May 15, 2007 4:47 PM

KLB, no but we do get teary talking about our Infiniti's! Feeling very verclempt! Talk amongst yourselves.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 4:48 PM

pATRICK,
You know I am kidding, right? Oh the evils of off topic blogging. U have NEVER gone off topic (haha).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 4:51 PM

I find that comments that minivans are status symbols very amusing. In my part of the country, a minivan is the ultimate UNstatus symbol. I have one, and I am only slightly ashamed of it, but that's because I am a pretty confident person.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 4:52 PM

OOPS - should have been I have never gone off topic (haha).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 4:53 PM

I call it "the privilege of those who can think independently and not cave to societal expections about gender roles." "


Which is fine until your wife decides she is tired of being the breadwinner and you sponging off of her and finds another man. (Which by the way is what happened with my wife's "liberated" friend.)Not to my great surprise by the way.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 4:54 PM

It doesn't have to be "male privilege," Matt. My husband does the bulk of the parenting and housekeeping so that I can concentrate on work. It works well for us that way. I call it "the privilege of those who can think independently and not cave to societal expections about gender roles." Not as catchy a name as "male or female privilege," but a truer depiction of what can happen when people make choices based on their particular situations rather than on gender based stereotypes. You tie yourself down with your sexist beliefs. Open your mind, and experience true freedom.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 04:40 PM

What a condescending bit of cr^p.

It is nice that you have a life you want, but to assume that that life is available to any man who wants it is ridiculous. The the fact that SAHD are outmumbered by SAHM by (I don't know that stat, but would bet it is at least 20:1) doesn't affect the opportunities for men to choose that role, is like saying to a woman of the 50s that she doesn't have to be a teacher or a nurse, she can be anything she wants to be if she frees herself from her sexist stereotypes.

It can happen, but the chances are pretty slim that it will.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 15, 2007 4:55 PM

pATRICK,
But what happened to your friend can and does so easily and often go the other way. I know of many physician's wives who support them thru medical school, internship and residency. Once they are established they run offwith a younger nurse, physician, office manager.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 4:56 PM

"is like saying to a woman of the 50s that she doesn't have to be a teacher or a nurse, she can be anything she wants to be if she frees herself from her sexist stereotypes."

Which is exactly how we now have plenty of women lawyers, doctors, etc etc - women went into those fields in spite of the social pressure and resistance - they did free themselves, and future generations, from sexist stereotypes. Nobody's going to make the change for you or for them.

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 5:00 PM

'"That's called, 'male privilege,' and it's sure nice to have. If you want a Stay-at-Home Wife to be caregiver to children who are biologically yours and hers, it sure helps to have been born a boy."'

'It doesn't have to be "male privilege," Matt. My husband does the bulk of the parenting and housekeeping so that I can concentrate on work. It works well for us that way.'

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 04:40 PM

Each couple decides what is best for them and ought to be able to do it without outsiders picking at them.

'I call it "the privilege of those who can think independently and not cave to societal expections about gender roles."' (Emily)

Whatever you call it, it's a privilege that can only be conferred by a willing spouse, and the point of my posting was that it's a lot easier for a man to find a wife to SAH than it is for a woman to find a husband to SAH. I didn't invent the term, "male privilege." Radical feminists perceived that men are far more likely to have this privilege than women are -- a situation which many of them bitterly RESENT and would like to abolish. The problem is, a free society cannot abolish this kind of inequality without interfering with each couple's freedom to decide what works best for them. Surely that is a freedom that Emily supports as much as I do.

We can (and should) make it *easier* for couples who decide to have stay-at-home husbands, but we have no business trying to make it harder for couples who decide to have stay-at-home wives. Constructive policy builds up; constructive policy supports people's choices. Destructive policy, based on ENVY and RESENTMENT, tries to tear down; destructive policy tries to pressure people into feeling guilty about, and then abandoning, their choices.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | May 15, 2007 5:00 PM

pATRICK,
But what happened to your friend can and does so easily and often go the other way. I know of many physician's wives who support them thru medical school, internship and residency. Once they are established they run offwith a younger nurse, physician, office manager.

That is a different dynamic. That falls under cheating I think. The other is a gender thing. If a friend of yours starts dating a man what is the first question you ask? -What does he do?- Probably. I ask my friend, -What does she look like?- These questions are gender related and speak to core issues of men and women.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 5:00 PM

A special thanks to those of you who are giving me more credit than I deserve. On the other hand, it certainly hasn't been all pedicures and bonbons.

I think we're all under a great deal of stress, trying to make ends meet. Balancing work and family in today's world is not for the fainthearted.

Happy evening to you all.

Posted by: Amy Stuart Taylor | May 15, 2007 5:03 PM

The double-standard here pisses me off as well. When I decided I was "bored" of my job, I went back to school part time while working full time. I pay for school out of my paycheck and out of what gets reimbursed from my work. True, my husband makes more than me. But that doesn't mean it's his responsibility to totally throw away his standard of living just because I made a bad career choice a few years ago.

My sister quit her job about 2 years ago. Because her husband makes okay money, and they get help from his well off family, they can do that. No kids, she just sits at home all day and debates different kinds of careers she may or may not go into. If a guy did this, he'd be considered a freeloader or bum. But when a woman does it, even without kids, it's accepted.

At my workplace I take a lot of flack from "the guys" for still working, they ask why don't I just stop working, and let my husband support me, so I can finish school sooner. Then they go and badmouth their wives who quit working a few years ago and have been sucking off their salaries ever since. I think it's fine if the wife stays home to begin with as caregiver for the kids, lots of families need to make that choice. But when there are no kids, or it's an after the fact decision when the kids are older but the wife just wants to stay home, she is a freeloader and a bum. And this is why women get such a bad rap these days because they want to have their cake and eat it too. Well you either work and get taken seriously and equally in the work place, or you go home and make a sandwich. End of story. And sorry to the woman who posted this, but boy how many of us would like to just "quit" because we don't like our jobs. There is no way I could just quit, me and most other men and women in the working world need to have another job offer on the table before we can do that or we risk financial ruin for the family.

Posted by: Miles | May 15, 2007 5:04 PM

Devil's Advocate and Jen S., you might find this story on Slate interesting - it's about a study showing that when both market work (work for pay) and home work (child care and house work) are accounted for, men and women work about equal hours. http://www.slate.com/id/2164268/

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 04:44 PM

I know that, that is what bugs me about blogs like this (or any female dominated blog) is that the caretaking is viewed as the only measure of taking care of the family.

I am only trying to point out that the expectation that men work for pay is so ingrained in our societies way of life that it is completely taken for granted. Women continually talk about the choice to work, but that choice is entirely based on the assumption that the man will provide. Because if it wasn't, there would be no choice.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 15, 2007 5:04 PM

pATRICK,
I can honestly say that "what does he do" is not my first question upon meeting someone or being introduced. It mostly depends on the reason for meeting someone relative to starting a conversation.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:05 PM

"That is a different dynamic. That falls under cheating I think. The other is a gender thing."

WHAT? Explain, please, how it is cheating if the man leaves his wife for another woman and "gender thing" when a woman does the same thing. That makes no sense.

"If a friend of yours starts dating a man what is the first question you ask? -What does he do?- Probably. I ask my friend, -What does she look like?- These questions are gender related and speak to core issues of men and women."

No, this speaks to the core of what you are interested in. There are men who are not like you and women who are.

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 5:05 PM

Perhaps what I said was condescending, but it wasn't crap. It was absolutely true.

To compare men's limitations on becoming SAHDs to the limitations that women faced in the workforce back in the 50's is crap. Women in the 50s were pigeonholed as nurses, secretaries, and teachers, because people wouldn't hire them in other positions. In this day and age, a man's limitation to become a SAHD is mostly self-imposed. I know plenty of women who are the primary breadwinners in their families, because it works for their families and they like it that way.

People assume it was hard for me and my husband to switch the traditional gender roles when it comes to working and raising children. It wasn't hard. It was easy. It was the solution that best made sense to us. But it was easy because neither of us gave a flying flyswatter about what other people thought about our arrangement. Men and women who feel they need to conform to traditional roles these days are limiting themselves. Society no longer has the strict limitations on gender roles that existed a few decades ago. For persons who want to try something different, the possibilities are endless and available.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 5:08 PM

Megan,
Let us not forget the women who ask "what does he drive".

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:08 PM

"pATRICK,
I can honestly say that "what does he do" is not my first question upon meeting someone or being introduced. It mostly depends on the reason for meeting someone relative to starting a conversation. "

You missed my point. I was referring to "girl talk" or "guy talk" between friends. Not meeting the actual person.

OFF TOPIC posts keep this thing form being a bloated stinking carcass of boringness. IMO. Keep em coming!

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 5:09 PM

Emily,
You go girl!
Now if you could just figure out to have your husband have the periods and birth all would be perfect.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:10 PM

I read this blog to review interesting comments by confident people, not whiners and insecure flame throwers. Below are your two posts, either of which would earn you an A in Whining 101.:

Geez - have you ever heard the expression, "those who live in glass houses should not throw stones?" Are any of you perfect? Highly unlikely. Some of you people (Lizzie and others who hide behind anonymity) are so incredibly rude that it seems obvious you are just overcompensating for some deficiency you sense in your own life. Why do you care whether someone else has made a choice that works better for her family? For all you know, her husband may have his own needs met by their arrangement. I don't know, and I don't really care. Here's an idea: if you disagree with Amy's perspective, then articulate it in a useful, not spiteful, manner. I am scarfing a salad at my desk and looked to this blog for a fun lunch break for a few minutes, but I see that, per usual, many people on the blog (a) have too much time on their hands, and (b) are entirely too judgmental to sound at all intelligent.

Posted by: Lori | May 15, 2007 02:25 PM

To anon (2) at 2:38, your comment doesn't even make sense. You clearly just need to argue, and in doing so, you proved my point. You'll note that I never said that everyone on the blog has too much time on their hands. You, however, DO have too much time on your hands if the only reason you read this is to come up with some witchy comment roughly every 14 minutes. Do yourself and everyone else in the metro area a favor - take a breath and stay off the roads.

Posted by: Lori | May 15, 2007 03:57 PM


Posted by: to Lori | May 15, 2007 5:11 PM

"Megan,
Let us not forget the women who ask "what does he drive". "

KLB, also: "Is he hot?" and "Was it good?"

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 5:11 PM

OK - off topic I go:
If you meet someone (male or female, doesn't matter) and when they arrive at your house and are driving a Hummer are you impressed or disgusted?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:12 PM

"No, this speaks to the core of what you are interested in. There are men who are not like you and women who are."

I will put money on it. I have known a lot of people and YOU may not want to admit it but your "enlightened" men friends are still men and when they interact with other men they are relatively the same. As I suspect women are when men are not around.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 5:13 PM

Disgusted and amused.

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 5:13 PM

Women in the 50s were pigeonholed as nurses, secretaries, and teachers, because people wouldn't hire them in other positions. In this day and age, a man's limitation to become a SAHD is mostly self-imposed. I know plenty of women who are the primary breadwinners in their families, because it works for their families and they like it that way.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 05:08 PM

And my point is that men are pigeonholed into providers is because people (i.e wives/mothers) won;t hire them into the position of SAHD.

As you state above, all the choice belongs to the female in this situation. The fact that you don't see it is an example of "female privilege".

Posted by: devils advocate | May 15, 2007 5:15 PM

Megan,
Now you know we don't (blank) and tell. Hotness of course. I have talked to my friends about this ad nauseum and we have all decided that the things we look at/care about in the initial meeting with a man are, in no particular order: smile, eyes, teeth (must have and they can't be green), and hair (clean - no combover).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:15 PM

KLB SS MD - I wouldn't be impressed. Maybe disgusted is too strong a word. I just am not impressed by people who think that cars are status symbols. It doesn't matter to me if it's a Hummer or a Mercedes or a Toyota. In the end, it's still just a car.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 5:15 PM

Thanks for capitalizing YOU, pATRICK, it really explained for me how I am in denial based solely on your experience.

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 5:16 PM

ummmmm.....if I lived in a place where offroad was possible (and I've lived in such), then impressed...otherwise, disgusted.

I might also check to see how tight his jeans are. :)

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 5:16 PM

"OK - off topic I go:
If you meet someone (male or female, doesn't matter) and when they arrive at your house and are driving a Hummer are you impressed or disgusted? "

The car in question should be a minivan and I say I would then be disgusted.(With all apologies to Emily's pimped out 8 year old minivan)

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 5:16 PM

OK, guys: if men don't have the same options to stay home with the kids when they're small, how many of you have talked with your wives* about doing just that?

If you haven't, why not? As the women going into non-traditional fields discovered, the only way to change the rules is to change them unilaterally and put up with some crap while you do.

Personally, I do not want to stop working. I'm glad that my wife is happy to be the primary caretaker when they're young, since that means that I can keep doing what I'm happiest doing. Do you want to keep working, or would you like to be the primary caregiver?

*Given the shock earlier when I had a wife, I assume most of the men have wives, not husbands.

Posted by: Clever moniker | May 15, 2007 5:18 PM

I stand corrected - disgusted is not the right word. Amused is good.
You know what "they" say about men with big/expensive cars - they have small.....(just kidding, really).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:18 PM

"And my point is that men are pigeonholed into providers is because people (i.e wives/mothers) won;t hire them into the position of SAHD."

But if men keep on applying for the SAHD jobs, as women kept on applying for the doctors and lawyers jobs in the 50s and 60s, eventually, it won't be considered an aberration anymore, and SAHD's will eventually become as common as women doctors and lawyers. Come on, we women got through the gender stereotypes. Men can do it too. Yes, they can. All they have to do is try. Don't be afraid. It's really not that hard.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 5:19 PM

I'm with Megan on the disgusted and amused, but I can honestly say I've never met a Hummer driver! I just think disgusting and amusing thoughts as they drive by!

FYI, after my first date with Vegas Dad, my mom's first question was "What does he drive?" I was disgusted and amused (by my Mom's question, not Vegas Dad's car).

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 15, 2007 5:19 PM

klb- which is why I would check out the fit of the jeans.

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 5:20 PM

It is amazing how many Hummers there are in DC/Suburban MD. Lots of off road opportunities in Chevy Chase and Bethesda.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:21 PM

That is a different dynamic. That falls under cheating I think. The other is a gender thing. If a friend of yours starts dating a man what is the first question you ask? -What does he do?- Probably. I ask my friend, -What does she look like?- These questions are gender related and speak to core issues of men and women.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 05:00 PM

I guess it depends on how old you are, pATRICK, LOL. When a friend of mine who is roughly my age (give or take 10 years) starts dating a man, my first question is, does he have one item of baggage or a matching 4 piece set?

Next is, is he hot?

Third is, does he have a reliable job? I don't care what his occupation is as much as that he shows stability and maturity.

You've suggested before that women are all alike when men are not around, and, typically, when you provide the context, it makes me very, very glad I know the women I know and not the women you know. We don't think and act as you assume or as is consistent with your experience. I know I won't change your mind, but . . .

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 15, 2007 5:21 PM

Dotted,

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:22 PM

"ummmmm.....if I lived in a place where offroad was possible (and I've lived in such), then impressed...otherwise, disgusted."

Dotted, have you seen the little bit at the end of the movie "Cars" with the Hummer who had never been off road?

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 5:22 PM

I don't like Hummers either for a variety of reasons. They are huge but offer little real space. They are underpowered, they guzzle gas. They are just worthless on every front. They are overpriced. The worst car is the dirty disgusting car no matter the model. That makes me think the person is unclean.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 5:22 PM

klb is speechless!

I must see Cars...

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 5:23 PM

dotted,
that was supposed to be a giggle but it didn't make it.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:23 PM

My first question when it comes to men is "is he intelligent, kind and does he have a sense of humor?" When I get to know him better I want to know if he is any good in bed. Men always think they are, but mostly, they're not.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 5:25 PM

I guess I consider driving a Hummer in DC a perfect example of conspicuous consumption and assume that the person is lacking something somewhere (self-confidence for example). Just me.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:26 PM

klb - I knew you were never speechless

ummmm...what if the car is a BMW?

My husband drives a older BMW ragtop, so I admit to being partial.

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 5:26 PM

Did anyone see the consumer satisfaction survey saying that Hummer owners were dissatisfied because the cars were loud and got poor gas mileage? That just cracked me up. It's a Hummer, for crying out loud, what did you think you were buying??

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 5:27 PM

You've suggested before that women are all alike when men are not around, and, typically, when you provide the context, it makes me very, very glad I know the women I know and not the women you know. We don't think and act as you assume or as is consistent with your experience. I know I won't change your mind, but . . .

MN, this is not true. I suggest that all people are somewhat similar. I also think that there is a lot of posturing that goes on here sometimes. That's dissapointing. At least some women here admit that they like a guy who looks hot in jeans etc. not "because he fulfills my wishes as a feminist" or some other claptrap.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 5:27 PM

Sense of humor is essential - goes along with smile. If a person can't laugh at themself then I don't get along with them very well as they are most likely too serious.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:27 PM

BMW is fine as long as he doesn't wear a driving cap and driving gloves (saw a guy one day on GA Ave and laughed my butt off all the way to work).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:29 PM

Devils advocate, i think you just joking around-- you really expect me to believe that men are just poor defenseless creatures that are focred to do things at the whim of women? Devil's Advocate indeed!

My favorite part of the Slate article is the last paragraph-- it's funny because it's true (I think overall, SAH parents of either gender have more leisure time than working parents of either gender-- I lived the life and I NEEDED more leisure time (i.e. sleep) to recover from the exertions of being SAH!:

Many women with demanding careers tell me that it is women working full-time in the market, not women overall, who work more than comparable men. This study cannot settle that question because it does not report work time separately for people with and without market jobs. But if women with careers work more than men, while women overall work the same amount as men, then women without market jobs must work less than men. Men can use that argument to hit the couch in the afternoon. Or to end up there at night.

Posted by: Jen S. | May 15, 2007 5:30 PM

pATRICK,
No man can fulfill a woman's wishes as a feminist - she can do that all by herself.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:30 PM

Patrick, I'm with MN. The people I know just don't think the same way as your friends do. I think your expectations of what people are thinking are based more on your limited social circle than on the diversity of people and beliefs that truly exists out there.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 5:30 PM

BMW is fine as long as he doesn't wear a driving cap and driving gloves (saw a guy one day on GA Ave and laughed my butt off all the way to work).

That is too funny! I would have driven off the road laughing.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 5:31 PM

klb - He likes to wear his cowboy hat, but no gloves alas. Driving gloves? That would scare me into thinking he needed them for some reason - or else he was turning into an effete European...

spelling challenged this late in the day...

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 5:32 PM

And it was a convertible - going 25-30 mph!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:32 PM

"I suggest that all people are somewhat similar"

"These questions are gender related and speak to core issues of men and women."

Really? So which is it? Are we somewhat the same because "girl talk" can be just as nasty as "boy talk," or is that all men are just like you and all women are gold diggers? Or am I just posturing again for wanting to evaluate the people as I know as individuals?

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 5:33 PM

dotted,
Cowboy hats are HOT! Gloves and driving cap (picture golf cap) are exactly what you said - effete Euro dude.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:34 PM

Yes, if someone else is paying for the ride.

Posted by: | May 15, 2007 04:26 PM

What's it to you? Are you the marriage police, or what?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 5:34 PM

clarification:

cowboy hat(s). My husband has a wonderful hat and shoe collection. Incredible actually.

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 5:34 PM

I would be disgusted.

Posted by: scarry | May 15, 2007 5:35 PM

dotted,
Shoes or boots? Boots are also hot (unless wore with shorts). Same thing goes for sandals with socks. Ditto for guys with polo shirts at the gym.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:36 PM

Clarification - boots are hot - sandals with socks and polo shirts are not.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:37 PM

"Patrick, I'm with MN. The people I know just don't think the same way as your friends do. I think your expectations of what people are thinking are based more on your limited social circle than on the diversity of people and beliefs that truly exists out there. "

EMILY, I agree given that we are on different ends of the spectrum.I feel that people like you live in a hall of mirrors socially also, much like Pauline Kael, the woman when Nixon was elected was shocked because she didn't know a single person who voted for him.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 5:37 PM

Talking about turn-ons and turn-offs

Hot
Nice hands
Good in bed
Cowboy hats
Long hair
Knows how to cook

Not Hot
Pinky rings
Comb-overs
Extravagant cars (or other stuff) that don't make financial sense
Sexist attitude
Mean to waiters

Anyone else?


Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 5:38 PM

klb -
shoes and boots. We're not vegetarians or anything so there are many different kinds of leather (croc, gator, roo, etc. etc.) His cowboy boots are especially awesome.

sandals with socks? Boots with shorts (unless they're australian)...aren't good looks.

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 5:38 PM

Another not good look

Wears dress socks with shorts.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 5:40 PM

"Megan,
Let us not forget the women who ask "what does he drive"."

Know what would impress me? "He doesn't--he walks." Gotta love someone who cares about the environment, exercise, and not abusing his wallet with a big toy that depreciates the minute you drive it off the lot. Right now I'm a hypocrite because I do drive, but my car is being sold or donated in July, and thereafter, I will bike, walk, or take the bus where I need to go. I'm not using it at the moment, and I'm taking advantage of Metro and my legs. It takes a lot more time, but I like it.

Of course, I fly a lot, which is even worse, but I still have to admire someone who can work out a way to avoid driving everywhere he/she goes.

Posted by: Mona | May 15, 2007 5:42 PM

Emily, totally agree on mean to waiters.

Long hair can go either way - sometimes it just makes him look vain.

I'd add good smile and good posture to the hot list. I can't stand a man who slumps.

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 5:42 PM

Megan,
I totally agree on the good posture thing. The first man that I ever loved passionately and hopelessly had incredibly good posture. Too bad he broke my heart.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 5:44 PM

Not hot
No sense of humor/can't laugh at self.
Doesn't like dogs
Worries about getting clothes dirty

Hot
Laughs alot - esp at my jokes
Helps with the dishes
Doesn't hog the blanket/sheets
Puts the toilet seat down
DOESN'T SNORE (yes - that is meant to be capitalized)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:45 PM

hot
holds my eye as he talks/listens
good conversationalist
tall
shaves it off when > 50% gone
laughs

not hot
mustaches
beards
tells me what to think/do

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 5:46 PM

"Know what would impress me? "He doesn't--he walks." Gotta love someone who cares about the environment, exercise, and not abusing his wallet with a big toy that depreciates the minute you drive it off the lot."

That really cracks me up MONA. You remind me of that girl in SOULMAN, the movie, who was forever in some leftist cause.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 5:46 PM

re: snoring

I must have been really lucky through the years. I've never known what it is like to try to sleep with a snorer in the room.

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 5:48 PM

Mona,

Refreshing to hear a woman out there that thinks like you do regarding a man's choice for transportation. I know there are others out there, but I rarely run into them.

Posted by: Anon | May 15, 2007 5:48 PM

Mona,
Don't let Patrick get you down. What I love about you is your passion for the causes you believe in. If you are not passionate when you are young at least, then you lack a little bit of soul. I hope that your passion never leaves you.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 5:49 PM

Not hot
Patronizing
Racist/tells racial jokes/uses racial slurs

Hot
Holds doors for anyone, not just women
Says thank you (totally agree with not being mean to wait staff. Wouldn't go on second date when a guy wouldn't acknowledge wait staff or say thanks)
Respects his mother, sister, co-workers

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:50 PM

Emily, so sad!!

Hot: Good dancer. mmmmmm mmm. My husband cannot dance to save his life, but being a musician more than makes up for it.

So, how does everyone feel about hairy chests?

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 5:50 PM

Hairy chest is ok - hairy back not so much.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:51 PM

"Mona,
Don't let Patrick get you down. What I love about you is your passion for the causes you believe in. If you are not passionate when you are young at least, then you lack a little bit of soul. I hope that your passion never leaves you."

Just because I find MONA's passions entertaining doesn't mean that I don't admire her on some plane. Better to do what you believe in then be a puppet. Even if I don't like it.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 5:52 PM

hairy chests-
teens: no one had a hairy chest!
20s: a smattering
30s - present: hairy chest is okay by me

It was difficult to guess who would have a hairy chest back in the day.

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 5:53 PM

Hot
Recycling

Not hot
Throws everything in trash
Litters

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 5:53 PM

My husband snores. But all I have to do is turn him on his side and all is well. It is a flaw, but he is so dear in other respects that I would never complain about a little snoring. In fact, sometimes, in the middle of the night, listening to the rhythmic buzz as it harmonizes with the crickets is a small reminder that he is there with me. And then I make him turn around and fall back asleep, with my legs wrapped around his.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 5:53 PM

littering! big no no...

Have to run! Have a great evening! Big blue sky out there!

Posted by: dotted | May 15, 2007 5:54 PM

Not hot
Smelly feet or long toenails.
Packrat

Hot
Loves good music
Did is say nice hands?

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 5:57 PM

My husband snores too. It doesn't bother me except when he's been drinking, which for some reason makes him snore much louder and also makes it harder to get him to move so he'll stop. The answer, of course, is for me to drink too, so I sleep through it ;)

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 6:02 PM

EMILY, I agree given that we are on different ends of the spectrum.I feel that people like you live in a hall of mirrors socially also, much like Pauline Kael, the woman when Nixon was elected was shocked because she didn't know a single person who voted for him.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 05:37 PM

Oh, come on, pATRICK, "people like you"?

I work and socialize with all sorts: gun owners, non-gun owners, primary breadwinners, dual income kids, DINKS, Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians, old, young, real breasts, fake ones, Episcopalians, Jews, Baptists, and atheists, and I am a Yankee living in the South married to someone from the by-God Deep South. My friends and colleagues have made different life choices than I have, have different incomes and debt loads.

Pretty much uniformly, though, what all those people have in common is not politics, but that they don't approach the world with Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus assumptions. Even the most rabid pro-gun, Alan Keyesian tax policy promoting, Christian Conservative Republican with the SAH wife I know raises his hand to say MAFM, WAFV is a bunch of hooey.

Megan,

Hairy chests? ok, but I don't care
Hairy backs and shoulders? a dealbreaker

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 15, 2007 6:05 PM

Hot
*Kind eyes
*Good with his hands (there's just something about a man who is confident about using tools, who can build/repair things on his own, that is VERY hot)
*Can laugh at himself, and at my annoying foibles as well
*Good cook (see good with his hands)
*Independent

Not hot
*clingy, needy men who want to spend every free moment with you
*men who can't follow package instructions
*men with a chip on their shoulder, with no sense of humor about themselves

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 15, 2007 6:06 PM

MN,
What part of yankeedom are u from?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 6:08 PM

Neighbor, as usual I agree with you on all points, from hairy backs to WAFV/MAFM.


Follow up on hairy back and sholders - what if he waxes/shaves? Does that make it better or worse?

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 6:10 PM

MN. you missed the thrust of my post. It is what people say when the other sex is not around. I have seen men lie through their teeth when their wives walk up. I have lied, because fighting it out was not worth it. I freely admit it. Men and women do a lot of accomodating in mixed company. I can never prove my thesis for what women do or say in secret away from men, only suggest. I know damn well what men say away from their wives.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 6:12 PM

On hairy backs -
The guys on my side of the family tend to have hairy backs. And I can tell already that my precious incredibly handsome little boy will have one too. Sigh. But at least he is drop dead handsome, and a sweetie to boot. Some lucky woman will just have to learn to love the hairy back.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 6:12 PM

Not hot
Unibrow

Waxing may be ok but shaving back not so good

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 6:14 PM

Follow up on hairy back and sholders - what if he waxes/shaves? Does that make it better or worse?

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 06:10 PM

worse - it means he cares too much. I like men who understand that, on occasion, the solution to the need for a shower is to put on a baseball cap. shaving or waxing your back is for metrosexuals -- not that there's anything wrong with that -- they're just not for me.

pATRICK - didn't miss it, but thrust is a nice word to toss in, on occasion :>)

KLB - upstate New York. Moo. *shiver*

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 15, 2007 6:15 PM

Patrick,
You will believe what you believe no matter what. It's what you choose to believe. Perhaps you imagine that I don't know there are sexist, racist, bigoted, provincial people out there. I realize that. I've met some. I just realize that not all people are like that. Not all people think the same way, or have the same values. Big world out there.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 6:16 PM

"Some lucky woman will just have to learn to love the hairy back."

Aw. Seems to me the things we think will be deal-breakers can melt away when you fall in love, which is a lucky thing for all us, hairy back or no.

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 6:17 PM

"pATRICK - didn't miss it, but thrust is a nice word to toss in, on occasion :>) "

You are a rascal!

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 6:18 PM

Just thought I'd add to the lighthearted minivan-as-a-status-symbol debate by pointing out that whoever posted above that in Virginia a minivan is a "status symbol" must be joking. Virginia is home to the wealthiest congressional district in the country, some of the oldest money in the country and some three or four of the ten wealthiest communities in the country, per Washington Post.

I've got to agree with Dotted (although she may cringe at being associated with the woman who differentiates between elite and non-elite schools) that in places like these, minivans are certainly considered subpar. Perhaps the original poster meant SUV, as in BMW X5, Mercedes, Volvo XC90, Lexus, etc?

As an aside to educmom, your comment to Lizzie was indeed as rude as anything anyone else has said, and I, having been on the receiving end of a past rude comment (something about snatching the Burberry satchel out of my snotty hand), think it's funny that you act as if you're above that sort of thing.

Before anyone attacks me for my elitist view of autos, I will add that I post this entirely in good spirit and not with any mean intent toward anyone on this blog who drives a minivan.

Posted by: Cream of the Crop | May 15, 2007 6:18 PM

MN,
I know you have heard this before but to those of us who are TRUE Yankees (CT) folks from NY are not. There are of course only 6 New England states and NY isn't one of them. It is the only thing I am a snob about :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 6:18 PM

"I have seen men lie through their teeth when their wives walk up. I have lied, because fighting it out was not worth it. I freely admit it. Men and women do a lot of accomodating in mixed company."

pATRICK -- did you every think that perhaps the accommodating was being done while speaking with the same-sex group? The men that I've known with very set views of gender roles can be unkind to the men who disagree. Don't assume the men you're hanging out with are being their "true selves" -- they may be talking the talk to get along with "the guys."

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 15, 2007 6:21 PM

KLB, so what region would you say NY is part of? East coast? I get kind of tickled by the way people from different places divide the country up into regions. I remember when I went to college having to explain over and over to the kids from the east coast (which was the majority of them, it seemed) that there is a part of the country that is not the mid-west and also not the west coast, it is just the west. One still refuses to believe me.

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 6:24 PM

Vegas Mom,
Are you talking about the knuckle dragging cave men? They will never admit to anything other than they love meat, beer and football.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 6:25 PM

Years ago, when I was on vacation in Vermont, some locals that we met referred to us as Southerners. We are from the DC area. It's all relative, I guess, because I would never think of myself as a Southerner. Not a Yankee either, of course.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 6:26 PM

Megan,
Yes, New York is an eastern state but not an Yankee state. That is the only difference.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 6:26 PM

"pATRICK -- did you every think that perhaps the accommodating was being done while speaking with the same-sex group? The men that I've known with very set views of gender roles can be unkind to the men who disagree. Don't assume the men you're hanging out with are being their "true selves" -- they may be talking the talk to get along with "the guys."


Also possible, men are notorious liars. It cuts both ways. It reminds me of my friend whose wive walked up and out of the blue said "Steven wants a vasectomy, right honey?" "Right Honey?" Steven told us earlier that his wife was pressuring him and he was lukewarm about it. He got very angry and walked away. Very Interesting.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 6:27 PM

Talking about turn-ons and turn-offs

Hot
Nice hands
Good in bed
Cowboy hats
Long hair
Knows how to cook

Not Hot
Pinky rings
Comb-overs
Extravagant cars (or other stuff) that don't make financial sense
Sexist attitude
Mean to waiters

Anyone else?

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 05:38 PM

pATRICK,

So you know all of us purported leftists don't all agree with each other, a great car is very, very hot for me, and a cowboy hat and long hair are turn-offs. Extravagant is in the eye of the beholder. An extravagant performance car is hot - to me. An extravagant interior without a good engine? blccch.

Emily, I am sure some lucky woman will wisely scratch "hairy backs" off her list when she meets your wonderful son, in the same way that "smelly feet", "packrat" were scratched off my "not" list and "leaves the toilet seat down" was eliminated from my "hot list.

"Loves good music", "knows how to cook" and "good in bed" were more heavily weighted than other criteria that feel by the wayside.

Cream of the Crop - good to see you back on another day.


Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 15, 2007 6:29 PM

Within the USA, its popular meaning has varied over time. Historically, the term usually refers to residents of New England, as used by Mark Twain in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. During and after the American Civil War, its popular meaning expanded to include any Northerner or resident of the Union, and included any resident of the Northeast (New England, Mid-Atlantic, and upper Great Lakes states). Over time, however, the term has since reverted to its original geographic indication of New England.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 6:29 PM

"They will never admit to anything other than they love meat, beer and football."

And what is wrong with that?

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 6:30 PM

I've always heard it said that DC has the hospitality of the North and the efficiency of the South.

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 6:30 PM

MN,
# 1 hottest thing?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 6:31 PM

Nothing wrong with it Fred :-)
Most yankees consider anything south of the mason-dixon line as "southern".
Yankee: a native or citizen of the United States or, more narrowly, of the New England states of the United States (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut). The term Yankee is often associated with such characteristics as shrewdness, thrift, ingenuity, and conservatism

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 6:33 PM

Megan,
In other words, you are saying that we are neither hospitable nor efficient.

I think you are probably right. LOL.

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 6:33 PM

Hades, I consider anything north of I-10 as yankee land. That goes from CA. to Fla.

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 6:34 PM

pATRICK,
What your friend's wife did was inappropriate and mean. That isn't something that is light cocktail party conversation.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 6:35 PM

pATRICK,

So you know all of us purported leftists don't all agree with each other.

MN,I never thought of you as a "leftist". If you like cool cars there is hope for you yet.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 6:35 PM

MN strikes me as a women who knows a SOHC from a DOHC and what Hemi really means! A women after my own heart!

So sad that those breast pumps have me tied down! :)

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 6:37 PM

Patrick,
I agree with KLB SSMD. Discussing a vasectomy is a very personal thing that should not be done in public. I would be mad too if my husband told a bunch of people that I wanted to tie my tubes (even if I did want to).

Posted by: Emily | May 15, 2007 6:37 PM

How about this for a topic one day? Can a girl who was brought up a Republican Yankee ever change even after 23 years in the military?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 6:38 PM

KLB - you are, of course, free to disagree, but I'm not sure what your basis is for saying that the term has reverted to meaning residents of New England. Even in DC, that's not been my experience of its common usage. It's certainly not true in suburban Virginia and other points south and west. If a state fought on the side of the federal government during that late unpleasantness, those born in that state are commonly referred to by everyone below the Mason-Dixon line as "Yankees" which is synonymous with "Carpetbaggers", but it's easier to curl your lip while uttering, "Yankees".

Vegas Mom - I agree with you. The posturing occurs in both situations.

Posted by: MN | May 15, 2007 6:38 PM

KLB -- If you're referring to the groups of men who I assume are complaining about their wives in my response to pATRICK, then, yes, I guess they're knuckle draggers. ;>)

My husband works with a lot of men who fall into this category. He actually bought their line of bull, and used to come home and tell me what a "great wife" I am because I don't behave like his friends' wives.

Then I pointed out that I might turn into a nagging shrew too if I were married to a loud beer-drinking man who regarded everything related to the home and children as "my job" and who bad-mouthed me to his friends at every opportunity.

Really, it's easy to be a "great wife" when you're married to a man who cooks dinner, helps out around the house, and doesn't consider taking care of the kids to be "babysitting."

And just to give equal opportunity here, I'm guessing it's easy to be a "great husband" when you're married to a woman who doesn't nag, insist on having every job performed "her way," and complain about her disgusting lazy husband to her friends at every opportunity.

If any of you read Gene Weingarten, his advice about talking about one's spouse behind their back is really spot-on, in my opinion.

This has nothing to do with gender roles and everything to do with mutual respect.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 15, 2007 6:39 PM

"Before anyone attacks me for my elitist view of autos, I will add that I post this entirely in good spirit and not with any mean intent toward anyone on this blog who drives a minivan."

Posted by: Cream of the Crop | May 15, 2007 06:18 PM

Glad that you said that, otherwise, I would have to run the Infiniti into the mommy van. (Both of which are mine, not Frieda's)

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 6:39 PM

My basis was just copy and paste from the Encyclopedia Britannica on-line :-) I am just kidding really. We are all Americans and that is it. There are rude people everywhere NC, NY, ND - people are people.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 6:41 PM

"Patrick,
I agree with KLB SSMD. Discussing a vasectomy is a very personal thing that should not be done in public. I would be mad too if my husband told a bunch of people that I wanted to tie my tubes (even if I did want to)."

I agree but it was par for the course with her. She drove all of us away, she put a subtle ultimatum out to him, her or us. We lost, which is not surprising, most men will not pick their friends over their wife. I wouldn't either but I lost a friend of 13 years.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 6:41 PM

Vegas Mom has hit the nail on the head!!! Best post of the day IMHO!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 6:42 PM

Emily, what can I say, it's a great city you live in ;). Actually, I used to visit DC a lot for work, and my dad lived there for a few years, and I rather liked it. But I missed the mountains too much to stay on the east coast, north or south.

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 6:43 PM

"This has nothing to do with gender roles and everything to do with mutual respect."

Now that is a good post. Congrats!

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 6:44 PM

pATRICK,
Sooner or later he will wake up and smell the coffee and see her for the manipulative ..... she probably is. There is never an excuse to air personal dirty laundry in public.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 6:44 PM

Vegas Mom, I concur with KLB, great post. I don't know what Gene Weingarten's advice is or even who he is, but I'm just assuming based on everything you said that I'd agree with that too.

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 6:46 PM

"pATRICK,
Sooner or later he will wake up and smell the coffee and see her for the manipulative ..... she probably is. There is never an excuse to air personal dirty laundry in public."

I think it was a form of control. She liked being on top. No innuendo intended

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 6:47 PM

Glad that you said that, otherwise, I would have to run the Infiniti into the mommy van. (Both of which are mine, not Frieda's)

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 06:39 PM

Just as long as you don't run it into my very large gas-guzzling Hummer.....

Posted by: Cream of the Crop | May 15, 2007 6:48 PM

pATRICK,
I rest my case!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 6:48 PM

ah, Fred *blushes*: Talking about great cars is hot.

I appreciate the beauty and simplicity of the I-10 standard.

and you have to like any group of people who take their relationship advice from Weingarten.

Vegas Mom, what if he only THINKS he's good with home repairs and tools, but, in fact, you'd both be better off if he'd pay someone who knows what he's doing? I have a friend whose husband refuses to hire a professional and has no business using a power tool. For her sake, I wish he had enough confidence in his manhood to admit it and hire a pro.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 15, 2007 6:49 PM

Megan -- I understand how you feel. When I moved from the west coast to the southeast, I missed having the mountains always on the horizon. It took getting used to. Now, I'm glad to be back to a region where I see mountains every day.

Have a friend who was raised in ND, and later moved to CA. The mountains made him felt a little claustrophobic as he was used to wide open spaces.

It's interesting how geography influences us. I imagine the presence (or absence) of water would cause similar feelings.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 15, 2007 6:49 PM

Cream of the crop,
I figured you for a Porsche driver :-) Hummer is so rich blue collar contractor (ducking).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 6:49 PM

MN,
Is it better to take relationship advice from Hax or Amy?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 6:51 PM

When I moved from the west coast to the southeast, I missed having the mountains always on the horizon. It took getting used to. Now, I'm glad to be back to a region where I see mountains every day.

Have you considered Pittsburgh? Once again America's Most Livable City, and we have mountains too!!!

Posted by: In da 'Burgh | May 15, 2007 6:52 PM

I think HAX is lame. All of her "letters" to her sound like they are written by the same person.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 15, 2007 6:53 PM

In da 'Burgh,
And you have Inclines too!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 6:54 PM

If you're so inclined, KLB ;-)

Posted by: In da 'Burgh | May 15, 2007 6:55 PM

pATRICK,
Like the letters in Playboy?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 6:56 PM

Vegas Mom - exactly! Growing up on the front range I love both the mountains and the praires, so I missed both the big blue sky and open space and the mountains. I can sympathize with your friend from ND. I constantly feel grateful when I am out and about and can see all the way from Pikes Peak in the south to Longs Peak and beyond to the north - it's fantastic.

Cream of the Crop, I too would picture you in something much smarter than a Hummer! What about a Jaguar?

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 6:56 PM

MN,
Is it better to take relationship advice from Hax or Amy?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 06:51 PM

this is not a close call, my friend: Hax. Amy is consistently superficial and finger-wagging. Hax is a thoughtful goddess with a superb sense of humor. and shoes. she loves shoes.

on Hummers, the few that are driven in this area are not owned/driven by blue-collar contractors. They are driven by boys of a certain age who have run out of other things to do with their money (they already live in a house that's valued in excess of $800,000), want to impress their tasteless, also-conspicuously wealthy guy friends, and want to drive something no one else has, and that everyone knows costs a lot. There's no other vehicle that would accomplish all three goals in the Triangle.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 15, 2007 6:57 PM

MN, We agree on Hax vs Amy (thank goodness as we seem to have been at odds today :-)

And are people impressed by the boys and their expensive toys?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 6:59 PM

MN,
# 1 hottest thing?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 06:31 PM

#1 hottest thing: loves me dearly.

Posted by: MN | May 15, 2007 7:00 PM

MN,
Awwww.....

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 7:01 PM

MN, that is just too cute.

Have a good night all, I'm outta here! Further afiant sayeth naught, as they say.

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 7:02 PM

LOL, we're not looking to relocate, but I'll keep Pittsburgh in mind. Have a good friend who is originally from Pittsburgh. Hear ho-hos are popular there!

I wasn't asked, but I would take Hax advice over Amy advice any day of the week and twice on Sundays. I suspect the writing looks similar on letters because the letters are re-written for clarity, etc. I've noticed that with Miss Manners and Marguerite Kelly too -- the letters definitely have a style.

Yes, I have a long-standing weakness for advice columnists!

MN, I'm glad I'm not married to your friend's husband. I'd be tempted to override and call a contractor or handyman. Hope he's not doing anything electrical!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 15, 2007 7:03 PM

Vegas Mom,
I like reading the advice columnists but only to make myself feel better about my life! How can I not when I read about a woman who is having her step-father's baby when she is really in love with the father of her third child's father who is also her brother in law who beats her and her mother who is also on welfare and steals from her boss?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 7:05 PM

Cream of the crop,
I figured you for a Porsche driver :-) Hummer is so rich blue collar contractor (ducking).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 06:49 PM
Cream of the Crop, I too would picture you in something much smarter than a Hummer! What about a Jaguar?

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 06:56 PM

KLB SS MD & Megan, it's true; I can't picture myself in a Hummer either, although I'm still laughing at the blue collar contracter reference-I supect any contractors on this blog are deeply offended at the notion that they might drive an underpowered gas guzzler.

But I won't admit to what I drive (it's neither a Porsche or a Jag, but you're not far off) for fear of it being thrown back in my face on a later date. And because I don't want to get added to the "not hot" list someone started above.

Posted by: Cream of the Crop | May 15, 2007 7:08 PM

KLB -- yes, advice columnists do have the effect of making me feel like I'm not nearly as screwed up as I thought!

However, I have not been able to tranfer that to the advice columnists' cousin, the daytime talk show. Oprah, Dr. Phil, et. al., just make my head hurt. I guess I need the filter of a good writer to make all of this at least appear civilized. When the woman who's having her stepfather's baby is there on the stage screaming at said stepfather and professing her love for the father of Child #3, with the children off in some backroom playing with toys and looking sad, all the yelling and posturing gives me a headache. If I'm "lucky" enough to be home sick and watching daytime TV, I hit reruns of L&O, my guilty pleasure!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 15, 2007 7:15 PM

Cream of the Crop - I hope for your sake that you're not parking a BMW in a DC parking garage, and living with the daily angst brought on by having to check it over for new scratches and dings as you leave work each day.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 15, 2007 7:16 PM

speaking of "status symbols" can we just give out stickers to the 200 or so people who DON'T love OBX? It would be easier that way!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2007 7:20 PM

Oh, come on CTOC, you must tell!

Even thought you and I disagree about some stuff, I am all about cars, if you know how to drive them that is. Like maybe taken a high perfromance driving school.

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 7:21 PM

Well, I'm used to being the clueless one, so I'll ask.

OBX?

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 15, 2007 7:28 PM

OBX?

The Outer Banks, North Carolina -- frequent vacation destination for those DC and 'burb residents who don't go to the Delaware / Maryland beaches.

There are many competing vacation decals, including "MV" for Martha's Vineyard and "VT" for Vermont (purportedly the first such US destination to succumb to Europe-wannabeitis). The white oval decals indicate that it's very, very important to the car's owner that other people on the highway think he vacations somewhere cool -talk about insecure and desparate for approval.

Posted by: MN | May 15, 2007 7:38 PM

OBX disliker here. Redneck heaven! The family dragged ne there once and made me go to this honky-tonk place with "live music"--a guy with a guitar singing bad Jimmy Buffett covers. It was on the beach, so when I contemplated jumping out the window to end the misery, I noted that I'd probably just be injured instead of killed when I landed on sand, and then I'd be stuck there listening to yet another rendition of "Let's Get Drunk and Screw" while I wait for the paramedics.

Instead, I just drank more tequila. It made him sound better when all I could hear was the buzzing in my ears. ;-)

Posted by: Mona | May 15, 2007 7:42 PM

Last post from me today: Megan's Neighbor wins the prize.

Fred-there you go, I spilled the beans. That said, there are so many of us living with the daily angst of checking for scratches given the plethora of "status" cars in DC that I can remain comfortable in my anonymity. :) (And for what it's worth, I love my car.)

Good night to all.

Posted by: Cream of the Crop | May 15, 2007 7:48 PM

Mona,

uhhh, it's my favorite place on the planet :>) It's only redneck heaven if you, um, hang out with rednecks - not that every man who owns his own construction is a redneck, btw. Should you ever re-visit, go with those who like to kayak, fish, surf, hang-glide and enjoy a pitcher of margaritas at the end of along day, on the deck with their friends, staring at the stars until 3 a.m. and listening to great tunes - oh, and who know where the fun locals hang out. There are many.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 15, 2007 7:50 PM

Mona, insert "company" after construction, if you please for a coherent statement.

and, thank you, Cream of the Crop for my prize. I am, after all, an attorney, LOL.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 15, 2007 7:53 PM

Wow, what a surprising post today. I left a job that was pretty intense for teaching, and I love it. I have never thought of myself as a caregiver, even though my profession has been in the early childhood education field for my whole career (20+ years). I now teach preschool special education, which is demanding, but I rarely take my work home with me, literally or emotionally. Before, I worked all year, 9-5:30 or 6, and if I didn't take work home, I thought about things. People called me at home before work, after work, and sometimes on the weekends. Now I work 8-3:30 or 4 and then I am out the door until tomorrow. I work hard when I am at school, but if I take time off, not that much piles up for me to do when I return. No one looks askance at me if I take leave to go to a meeting at my daughters' school or if someone has a doctor's appointment. I can go to the grocery store after work before picking the girls up. I have sufficient time off (school breaks) to recharge myself. I can't think what is not to love about teaching, except the salary, but the intangible benefits are what sold me on this job.

Posted by: single mother by choice | May 15, 2007 8:04 PM

The Cultural Tidbit of the Day is going on hiatus.

(Fred's bosses are soooo unreasonable as they will not let Fred see the new exhibit of painting down at the NO art museum. The joint is only open during working hours.)

But fear not, intrepid readers and admires of , of, of, Fred, an new (almost) daily comment will be forthcoming!

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 8:27 PM

Fred,
Say it aint so! Whatever shall we do wit no cultcha?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 15, 2007 8:29 PM

Now appearing daily, or whenever Fred's boss doesn't work him so hard,

Fred's Official Quote of the Day

(FOQOTD)

The inaugural winner is Shandra!

"My marriage, anyway, is not about making sure people put equal numbers of quarters in the cookie jar."


Shandra wins her choice of (a) a ride in the creepy van in any location south of I-10 or (b) the breast pump of her choice from Frieda's collection! (provided Frieda is asleep and Fred can sneak one out!)

Posted by: Fred | May 15, 2007 8:42 PM

"It's only redneck heaven if you, um, hang out with rednecks"

Oh no--I've given myself away! You've found me out. I'm sure there are nicer areas of OBX. I just haven't seen them, because...well...what you said. ::blush::

Posted by: Mona | May 15, 2007 9:08 PM

OBX --I'll be there in two weeks. For us it's an 18 hour drive, but soooo worth it. People here in the midwest can't figure out the license plate and that's good.

Posted by: HappyMom | May 15, 2007 9:24 PM

wow, i missed a bunch.

"Some lucky woman will just have to learn to love the hairy back."

Aw. Seems to me the things we think will be deal-breakers can melt away when you fall in love, which is a lucky thing for all us, hairy back or no.

Posted by: Megan | May 15, 2007 06:17 PM

My hubby has a hair back, but i love him anyway.

I married a southerner, and you can be d*** sure that his parents think I'm a yankee carpetbagger (I've lived in the south almost 15 years, 13 in atlanta).

I'm from NY. Ya know, there's LI, the city, westchester and upstate.

If you're in the know, you can figger out which part of NY I'm from...

Posted by: atlmom | May 15, 2007 9:45 PM

I really enjoyed the outer banks (ocracoke). We rented a house and didn't really get to any bars (I don't think there was more than one on the island, tho).

It was quite peaceful...

Posted by: atlmom | May 15, 2007 9:47 PM

Fred, I'll keep the breast pump in mind for the next baby. :)

Posted by: Shandra | May 16, 2007 9:26 AM

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