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What Working Mother's attack on custody says about dads

When I first became an at-home dad, way back in 2002, I was sure I was part of an exploding trend. The number of at-home dads seemed to be growing exponentially, and all the signs pointed to continued growth.

That was what it felt like. The reality was somewhat different. The number of dads at home had indeed, from a small number to a slightly larger (but still small) number. If you squinted at the statistics the right way, it looked impressive. But the raw numbers told a different story. The number of guys doing the at-home thing was only 105,000. In a country of 300 million, that's a rounding error. That group wouldn't even fill the football stadium at the University of Michigan.

But dads have now officially arrived, according to Working Mother. The magazine this week published a hyperventilating piece on the danger that working moms face in divorce. More and more often, custody decisions are going to non-working fathers, leaving working women worried. It would be great sport to poke holes in this argument, but Greg over at DaddyTypes has already beat me to it. Needless to say, gender roles and divorce is a lot more complicated than Working Mother makes it out to be.

But these kind of articles are cultural markers, and I'll take this one as evidence that dads are being taken seriously as fathers. It used to be that a caregiving dad was an exception, and everything in society subtly reinforced that. The men's rooms without changing tables, the marketing jingles about how "mom" or "mommy" should buy product X, the utter lack of a diaper bag that was designed for a man. And while we haven't exactly hit the tipping point where everything is equal, Jack Spade will sell you a super-fashionable, $150 diaper bag.

Like a made-for-dads diaper bag, the assault by Working Mother is a sign that society at large understands that childrearing is not the sole province of women. And while that may complicate life for some in the midst of divorce, it's good news for the rest of us.

By Brian Reid |  November 20, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Dads , Discipline
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Comments


"super-fashionable, $150 diaper bag"???!!" Fer cryin' out loud, use a gym bag. That's what I always did. Look, if you're concerned about your "image" when you're out by yourself with kids, it's the easy way out. You've probably got a couple of spare ones. If not, you can get one cheap - probably 20 bucks or so. They're waterproof. They're easy to wipe up. They're MADE to contain lots of dirty, smelly, really gross stuff. And you just look like a guy with a gym bag!

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | November 20, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Separate topic, separate post: the WM article is a crock o' stuff. But then again, so is the magazine. (The day care center our kids went to for a few years gave us a complimentary subscription, which we couldn't figure out how to stop from coming - for like 10 years before it finally stopped. So I've seen my share of issues of this rag.)

This sentence is all you need to know about the "quality" of this rag:

"Today, it’s not uncommon for fathers seeking sole custody in a contested case to prevail at least 50 percent of the time."

I'm sorry, but what does that mean?

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | November 20, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

I've got nothing to say on the content of the post, because I'm really not concerned whether anyone other than my family thinks I can raise my kids...

The hyperlink (however "fashionable" it is to insert links in posts) is gross. Whether or not you are, it gives the appearance of you being paid for, and undermines whatever "journalistic quality" there may be in this creation.

Posted by: 06902 | November 20, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

More and more often, custody decisions are going to non-working fathers, leaving working women worried

That doesnt seem right to me. A man should work.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Wow, that bag just looks like an ugly woman's bag - it does not look like a dude's bag at all.

I think the shift is terrific. Seems to me that the best interest of the children is being considered more and I'm guessing that the nod should go to the parent whose primary responsibility has been the raising of the children.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | November 20, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I think the shift is terrific. Seems to me that the best interest of the children is being considered more and I'm guessing that the nod should go to the parent whose primary responsibility has been the raising of the children
moxiemom1

How is that fair to penalize the parent who has to work everyday to support the child? Are you saying he or she cares less?

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

What I'm saying sunflower is that the children need continuity and while both parents want to spend time with the children, its not always in the children's best interest to shuttle around between two locations and effort should be made to keep as much consistency for the children as possible and that means that the person who has been doing the bulk of the caregiving (not loving them more, but the bathing, homework, boo boo kissing etc...) should continue in that role as much as possible. This is how it has been forever, it was just in women's favor before. You can't necessarily have it all. In a family where both parents work and there may be a more equitable division of caregiving duties teh outcome might be different.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | November 20, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

"How is that fair to penalize the parent who has to work everyday to support the child? Are you saying he or she cares less?"

That's the same "penalty" that fathers have been hit with for decades.

Traditionally mothers have gotten custody because they were the primary caregiver. Now that more fathers are the primary caregivers, it only makes sense that they would get custody.

Posted by: dennis5 | November 20, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

sunflower- But that's the way it pretty much already is. Mother gets custody (SAHP or WOHP), father (WOHP) gets visitation. It's not about caring more or less, it's about what's best for the child. I would think that post-divorce the kid staying with the at home parent as he/she has always done would be easier on the kid than being moved to daycare from 7-6 each day, regardless of the gender of the at home parent.

Posted by: atb2 | November 20, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

"That doesnt seem right to me. A man should work."

Wow. So it's never acceptable for a man to be a stay-at-home parent?

Posted by: dennis5 | November 20, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

BTW, the exaggerated daycare hours are assuming the WOHP works full time and does pick up and drop off at a daycare that's not on site at work. Maybe it would be more like 7:30-5:30. It's not a judgment, it's a reality.

Posted by: atb2 | November 20, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

That doesnt seem right to me. A man should work."

Wow. So it's never acceptable for a man to be a stay-at-home parent?

Posted by: dennis5

Personally I wouldn't accept this situation in my life but if it works for other people great for them. I realize this is not politically correct but I would find it hard to be attracted to a man who made less money than me and who was less ambitious. But I was raised to believe a man should be able to take care of his family AND that I should also be a high achiever. I don't understand why so many women are taught now that it is great for them to be succesful but it doesn't matter who they marry.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

The Jack Spade 150$ is dumb, there I said it. We had a backpack, I think it was 20$ at Marshalls.

I agree with Moxie, dennis and atb - if SAHD's are getting custody more frequently due to shifts in care (however small or large), it is for the same reasons that women historically got custody. Is this an issue to be debated? It's just logic to me.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | November 20, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

"I don't understand why so many women are taught now that it is great for them to be successful but it doesn't matter who they marry."

This is pretty much exactly what DW and I are teaching our three daughters (now 13, 17 and 20) so I'll defend the position.

We've always taught the girls (and DS too) that they should be "successful" in life using THEIR definition of success - not mine, not DW's, not anybody else's. If that means "high salary, big house, beach condo, lots of stuff" then go for it. If that means "lower salary doing a job that you think really contributes to society", that's fine too. We want them to be able to establish their own definition of success, achieve that, and then be happy owning their decisions.

Similarly with spouses (spice?). Marry someone who is right for you - who shares your goals, your hopes and dreams, and who will work with you as a team to achieve them. That may mean "marry a rich guy" who can help you get those houses, cars, vacations, etc. It may mean "marry the low-paid teacher who does a lot of volunteer work." It may mean "marry a stay-at-home" who will take care of the kids and cover for you while YOU go get the houses, cars, etc. That's their call; not mine.

That's pretty much the way I was raised, and I've tried to pass that on.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | November 20, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand why so many women are taught now that it is great for them to be succesful but it doesn't matter who they marry.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Maybe because a lot of people feel there are a lot of other things that are important in a partner besides the size of their paycheck. Obviously you are stuck in the idea that a woman has to marry "up". That's great if that works for you.

Here's a question for you. I'm going to be quitting my job in two months to go back to school full-time for 18 months so I can change careers. And when I graduate, my earning potential will be quite a bit below my wife's for the first couple of years. How would you feel if your husband wanted to do that?


Posted by: dennis5 | November 20, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Very well said ArmyBrat.

Posted by: dennis5 | November 20, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

My parents divorced when I was 2 years old. My father got custody of me. This was 35 years ago and in a very, very conservative part of the country. The reason my Father got custody was because it was in my interest. My Mother was, well, not dependable and my Father was quite stable. My Father worked full time and my Mother was a stay at home primary care giver. I think the courts have considered the best interest of the child for quite some time.

Posted by: VaLGaL | November 20, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

That may mean "marry a rich guy" who can help you get those houses, cars, vacations, etc. It may mean "marry the low-paid teacher who does a lot of volunteer work." It may mean "marry a stay-at-home" who will take care of the kids and cover for you while YOU go get the houses, cars, etc. That's their call; not mine.

That's pretty much the way I was raised, and I've tried to pass that on.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | No

Anytime I share this view with friends who dont feel the same way they always think I mean, "Marry for money" or "Be a gold digger" etc. I dont mean anything of a sort. I don't have a beach house, though I have a lakehouse, and my dear husband isn't rich. I am not suggesting you marry someone just for money or someone who is a horrible person but who happens to make a lot of money. What I am saying is I would teach a daughter the same thing that I have been taught-marry a great good hearted Christian who also happens to be very successful.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Sunflower, I think what you are missing is that your definition of "very successful" really isn't universal. Very successful to many of us, has absolutely nothing to do with money.

Posted by: VaLGaL | November 20, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Here's a question for you. I'm going to be quitting my job in two months to go back to school full-time for 18 months so I can change careers. And when I graduate, my earning potential will be quite a bit below my wife's for the first couple of years. How would you feel if your husband wanted to do that?


Posted by: dennis5

Interesting actually because I could see this someday becoming in an issue and I would perhaps have to let my husband do this because he travels extensively throughout the US and abroad and when we have kids I might not want him traveling so much and so perhaps he would need to switch career paths. However, my question to you is why are you going back to school? Do you have a reason like being downsized or needing to adjust your travel/stress level or are you one of these people who simply got bored with their career they choose and now your family has to humor you and make sacrifices? I never understood people who repeatedly go back for new degrees when the new degree doesn't help them make more money but simply because they are finding themselves or whatever.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Sunflower, I'm sorry, but it just sounds to me like you're digging yourself into a shallow hole... shallow being the operative word.

Posted by: youngnovamama | November 20, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Sunflower, I think what you are missing is that your definition of "very successful" really isn't universal. Very successful to many of us, has absolutely nothing to do with money.

Posted by: VaLGaL

I agree that money isn't everything. But what I think many of YOU are missing is that your daughter could find a wonderful human being who could provide a wonderfully comfortable lifestyle for you daughter-why wouldn't you want that? And I am not just talking about material things-I mean security, stability, good values,the best heath care and more options in life. Why do so many people think poor guys=good guys and better off guys must be materialistic A holes?

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

sunflower - I don't disagree; it's just that I think I have a slightly different definition of "successful." To me, doesn't mean "making at least as much money as me." It means "living the life they want to lead and contributing to society."

(I'll leave the "Christian" part untouched. DW and I are Catholic and raising the kids that way, but in my side of the family there's lots of marriages to people of different faiths or in many cases, "no faith." But DW's side of the family would have a serious cow if somebody married a non-Catholic who wouldn't convert. That's a topic for a day on which people are looking for all kinds of arguments. :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | November 20, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

sunflower - you sound like my mother ;)

Posted by: firemom35 | November 20, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Here is another way of putting it-someone is bound to marry the financially successful AND ALSO wonderful guy out there so why shouldn't you teach your daughter it should be her? Why teach your daughters to settle for less?

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

sunflower: nothing wrong with education (as long as I'm not asked to finance it). My cousin went back to school to get a teaching degree. his wife may or may not make more than him now, but they are happier than when he was working in a 'corporate' gig.
Your measure of success is a paycheck - you SAID: well,i couldn't marry someone who doesn't make more than I do. WOW. just wow.
What if you were a high powered lawyer, and your husband was a teacher? Seriously? That wouldn't work for you?
I'm looking for a job now so that hopefully my husband can quit his - he's miserable. It's HORRIBLE to see him every day having to go to work in a place he dislikes. As his wife, I am so sad that he is sad, and I have to tell him: bye honey - go to the place you hate...for us. It's a terrible way to live. And i love him and hate to see him like this.
Apparently, for you, if your husband was miserable, that would be okay, as long as he made more than you do? So you want to be successful, but not TOO successful, cause then you might get a raise and a promotion and make more than the husband?
One day, if I'm working and DH isn't, well, he will make more than me (he's working on his own businesses on the side now, but if he could do it more, he'd make some money). We're a team. We work together to make the family work, however it works.
It works for you I guess, but, wow.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 20, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

"Sunflower, I think what you are missing is that your definition of "very successful" really isn't universal. Very successful to many of us, has absolutely nothing to do with money."

Agree.

I'm not sure what Sunflower is getting at, but her subsequent post stating the following is of the same vein as her post on "very successful":

"I never understood people who repeatedly go back for new degrees when the new degree doesn't help them make more money but simply because they are finding themselves or whatever."

Or whatever! Umm, excuse me Sunny but it's really none of your business why people go back to school. If a husband and wife are comfortable with an arrangment and have planned accordingly I'm not sure why your opinion should make a difference to them. It sounds like you are endorsing the idea that people should poll their friends, neighbors and relatives to come to a consensus on on major decisions in their lives.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | November 20, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

"Here is another way of putting it-someone is bound to marry the financially successful AND ALSO wonderful guy out there so why shouldn't you teach your daughter it should be her? Why teach your daughters to settle for less?"

Who is teaching their daughter to settle for anything, and how is your definition of success a standard? Sorry Sunny, but you are way off base.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | November 20, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Sunflower, I'm sorry, but it just sounds to me like you're digging yourself into a shallow hole... shallow being the operative word.

Posted by: youngnovamama

I don't think it is shallow at all. I find it funny you would say that. Would be different if I was only focusing on the material aspects but I am really thinking about the whole package. I certainly dated guys who were more fun and cuter than my fun and cute husband but I knew that when I had kids I wanted to find someone who along with me could provide them with security, great opportunities, stability, etc. I think my way of thinking is far from shallow-it is realistic. Look at my family situation-my Mom got sick when I was in elementary school and never worked another day in her life. If my Dad hadn't been a great provider then what would have happened after she got sick? And later when my Dad passed away and she was very sick and not working, he had amassed a lot of savings and life insurance for us-what if with his salary alone, because he was a wonderful but underpaid guy, he hadn't been able to save money and afford a lot of life insurance? I don't see what is shallow about being grateful for my Dad and for seeking the same type of husband.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I"m somewhat amused by the discourse so far. Apparently, Sunflower would not consider marrying a teacher, since his earning potential would be limited. Fine. Of course, if she has a duagher, who meets the love of her life at 22, when his future earning potential has yet to be determined, oh well.

On the original topic - I believe most states have changed divorce laws to allow for very limited alimony. Meaning that if one parent was a SAH raising the kids, he/she would most likely have to go back to work within a year or 2, just to make ends meet. CHild support will only pay so much of your rent/mortgage, expenses, etc. So while the short-term decision may be to give full/more custody to the SAH parent, that will probably need to be revisited as the kids get older and the SAH parent loses alimony and must return to work. So a lot of this is temporary. And frankly, I wish more parents going through a divorce would put their kids first - find a way to be civil, to share custody, to make sure the kids know that mommy and daddy both love them, even if they don't love each other anymore. Of course, I'm a single mother, by choice, so all of this is moot to me.

Posted by: JHBVA | November 20, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I don't think she's way off base at all, simply following an optimal strategy. Given a choice between two equally wonderful people, marrying the one who is either more financially stable or has more financial potential makes all the sense in the world.

Posted by: 06902 | November 20, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

However, my question to you is why are you going back to school? Do you have a reason like being downsized or needing to adjust your travel/stress level or are you one of these people who simply got bored with their career they choose and now your family has to humor you and make sacrifices? I never understood people who repeatedly go back for new degrees when the new degree doesn't help them make more money but simply because they are finding themselves or whatever.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I am "one of those people" who is bored with their career. I think (and my wife agrees) that life is too short to got to work every day to be bored out of your skull just because it pays well. So I'm going to spend a couple of years retooling, and then once I'm moving forward again, my wife is going to retool her career to get where she wants to be.

I agree about people who repeatedly go back to school. IMO, it's because they don't put the effort in to figuring out what they really want to do. I've spent four years working on this and making sure that it is truly what I want to do.

And once again, you bring up money.

Posted by: dennis5 | November 20, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Or whatever! Umm, excuse me Sunny but it's really none of your business why people go back to school. If a husband and wife are comfortable with an arrangment and have planned accordingly I'm not sure why your opinion should make a difference to them. It sounds like you are endorsing the idea that people should poll their friends, neighbors and relatives to come to a consensus on on major decisions in their lives.

Posted by: cheekymonkey

I agree it's none of my business in real life and I don't think people should poll their friends. But I am giving my opinion, on here, because that is what we all do, and why is it ok for some people to give their opinion but not me because you disagree? I bet there are people reading this who do agree with me but just don't feel like getting into it with all the other people who want to pretend that money doesnt matter at all.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

"Why do so many people think poor guys=good guys and better off guys must be materialistic A holes?"

That's not a universal mapping, for sure. Lots of poor guys are jerks.

But let's just say that over my career I've worked with a LOT of 'better off guys' who ARE materialistic A holes. Venture capitalists, for one (with apologies to LMS :-) - I've worked with a few dozen and NEVER met a single one whose life wasn't ruled by money, material and "me me me." Oh, there's probably one out there somewhere, but I haven't met him/her.

And don't EVEN get me started on lawyers. (Sorry, Laura!:-)

Okay, I admit, I'm stereotyping and over-generalizing. But I've worked with enough of these folks over the years to get a good sense of what it takes to succeed in that type of business.

(Not to say you can't be pretty successful and be a nice guy. I've been far more successful in my career than I would have ever dreamed possible, and I'd like to think I'm a nice guy. :-) But I've also run into several situations where I could have been even more successful, materially, but it would have required behavior I considered unacceptable. And keep in mind DW was a huge part of my success - I did all the international travel, long hours, etc. only because she was supportive of that and willing to carry the load.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | November 20, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I don't think she's way off base at all, simply following an optimal strategy. Given a choice between two equally wonderful people, marrying the one who is either more financially stable or has more financial potential makes all the sense in the world.

Posted by: 06902

THANK YOU. Finally someone who admits they understand my point of view.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Of course, if she has a duagher, who meets the love of her life at 22, when his future earning potential has yet to be determined, oh well.
JHBVA

I was 22 when I met my husband.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Why do so many people think poor guys=good guys and better off guys must be materialistic A holes?
***

Well, sunflower, the problem with this statement is that no one here has said anything of the sort, but you have said the exact opposite of this - that a less well off man could not be attractive and that is what I find shallow and a problematic thing to teach my child. I would prefer to encourage my child to find a partner who is loving, thoughtful, emotionally supportive, and a good partner to him. And if I had a daughter, I would certainly teach her, as my Father taught me, that she can provide her own comfortable life and need not depend upon anyone else to give that to her.

Posted by: VaLGaL | November 20, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I understand sunflower's point of view, and I don't think it's wrong for her. She has her life goals, and found a partner who shares those goals and wants to work with her to achieve them.

So she'd never marry a teacher; that's fine. Other people have their own criteria. DW's sister vowed she'd never marry a non-Catholic; she split with her fiance when he decided against converting. I have a female friend who's 6 ft 4; she made it clear she'd never marry a man shorter than 6 feet tall, no matter how fun, cute or rich he is. To each her own.

But my point was that sunflower's criteria is not MY criteria, and it's not the criteria we're teaching our daughters.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | November 20, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Look, Sunflower, for one, I get your experience and understand why economic security is important to you. At some level it is to all of us, and the easiest time not to think about money is when you aren't short for the things you really need (rent, food, healthcare, etc).

Of course I hope that all my children, sex irrespective, choose partners who can help secure stability, but whether they help by earning a fat check, by managing the home-economics well, or by providing the home-support that makes stability possible, is really not that important.

My mom also went ill when I was a child and has not been able to work since. As my parents had divorced she did not depend on my dad's income, but on the disability-insurance she had herself paid for during her working life. So, I had, and still have, two financially independent parents. Now that's not a bad thing to pass on, one way or the other.

Yes, if you have two equally wonderful men (or women) who are in all other respects equal, it makes all the sense in the world to go for the economically more stable of the two, but how often does that situation actually occur?

-Wow, Bill and George both wants to marry me, and they have the same level of empathy, sharing of my interests, good looks, general health bill etc, BUT Bill earns 5% more than George and has statistically better prospects of advancing his carreer. I choose Bill!-

No, your basic concern is not stupid, and I will prefer that my children find someone economically stable, as I did, and I think it is sensible to teach them that this is ALSO a quality to consider in the whole picture. But it is only one, a significant one, but only one out of many.

Posted by: Mmex | November 20, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

what if it was the other way around, sunflower? what if your FATHER was the one who had gotten sick, but your mom didn't make so much money cause she thought it unseemly? how would your family have fared then?

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 20, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

On topic, it seems, not surprisingly, that WM's attack reflects an unflattering "have-it-all" mentality, where some women think they should both be able to do all the things that used to be reserved for men (such as good jobs) and keep all the things that used to be reserved (more or less) for women, like custody of the children in case of divorce, irrespective of the home situation.

Well, more power to the new situation, may the important aspect be that they parents continue to co-operate, and if that is impossible, that custody goes to the parent with the main connection to the children.

Posted by: Mmex | November 20, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

How about work-life balance, and how that affects earning potential?

For example, you have a spouse who brings home huge money, provides a lake house (too bad it's not a beach house, poor you), but he works crazy hours to make this happen. So he's not there to help with childcare, because the baby is in bed by 7, and he gets home at 8 most nights. (And trust me Sunflower, once he/she is 4-5 months old, 7 is probably bedtime. Mine is 7 months old, and she only recently started staying up till 7, for a while, after all the stimulation at daycare, and a nap on the car-ride home, 6:45 was the latest she could manage, and that was pushing it.) But because he can pay for a larger life insurance policy and the lake house, he's ok.

Now, what if it's not all or nothing? What if he make good money, but not great money. A nice home, but not a vacation home. But he works 7:30-5, and picks up the baby on the way home. You work 8-6, and do drop off. So you both get one-on-one time with the baby, you have family time every day, your baby spends a little less time in daycare and more time with parents.... Based on your earlier posts today, this scenario sounds like a failure to you. TO me, it's a dream. I make good money, not great. I live in a smaller city, that I like ok, but don't love, and is 350 miles from my entire family. But I have great work-life balance, and good job security. And since I'm a single parent, the ability to come in a few minutes late and leave a few minutes early, as long as my work is done, means my baby spends an hour less in daycare than she might if I worked another job. And if I made BIG money, I might be working even more hours, and see her even less. IN which case, why bother having a kid at all?

Posted by: JHBVA | November 20, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Sunflower,

Why such a double standard? Why can the woman not be the family provider? Why does a woman need to be "taken care of"? A man can get sick as well as a woman; if your husband got sick, would you not take care of him? If it was your father that got sick and not your mother, I would assume that your mother would have worked to take care of the family just as he did.

To point out a personal example - my husband is in the military and I have a civilian job where I currently make double what he does. Does this mean I married beneath me?

I hate my job and am contemplating switching to a career where I have far less earning potential. Does this mean that he now has married beneath him? Does this mean I am a failure because five years ago I chose a career that I now hate?

My point is that while it is normal to want to marry someone "successful" that perhaps your definition of success is narrow minded and shallow. A good provider does not just mean that s/he provides the primary income. I believe that in a true marital partnership, both partners provide for each other and the family. It cannot be a give/take relationship.

Moreover, a person who is a good monetary provider today may not be one tomorrow due to unforeseen circumstances and vice versa. What's more important is their character.

Posted by: mkat2 | November 20, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

my dad was the 'breadwinner' my whole life (okay, til I was in high school, when neither of my parents worked) - and had it not been for my mom, who never worked, well, we would have been living in a box. He's lucky he has a roof over his head now, he would be living in a box if not for someone else (the govt) sending him checks monthly.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 20, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

amen mkat.
Another scenario: my sister married one of the biggest jerks (if not the biggest) i have ever met. he makes a lot of money (when he hasn't been laid off.
They live in the middle of nowhere, his commute is about 2 hours (cause, seriously, he didn't check that when they moved there) he is incredibly abusive to her and the three kids. But hey, it's a big fat paycheck, right?
My sister was looking for 'stable' and 'makes good money/successful'. She got exactly what she was looking for and well, she's sorta miserable (she's the kind of person who's only happy when miserable). And they have three kids, who, well, aren't growing up in the best way.
But, hey, she earns less (well, she earns zero) than he does. So I guess that's a successful marriage?

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 20, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

On topic, it seems, not surprisingly, that WM's attack reflects an unflattering "have-it-all" mentality, where some women think they should both be able to do all the things that used to be reserved for men (such as good jobs) and keep all the things that used to be reserved (more or less) for women, like custody of the children in case of divorce, irrespective of the home situation.

Posted by: Mmex | November 20, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

This goes back to the point that many women want to be in charge of the household. As much as they talk about wanting equality at home, what they mean is they want their husbands to do half the work, but they want to keep control of the decision making. So naturally when a divorce happens, they feel that they are entitled to get custody of the kids and stay in the house.

Of course not all women feel this way, but I've read enough articles and spent enough time on parenting sites to see that a heck of a lot of them do.

Posted by: dennis5 | November 20, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Sunflower - of course you don't think it's shallow - no one ever thinks their own views are. Many others, myself included, do think your position is shallow. It's a dressed up version of "It's just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor man." I think that's pretty shallow. And I know you've repeatedly said that it's not about the money - but your posts always seem to come back to $$, even if you use code-words like "stability" and "security."

Not to pile on, but your claim that there are hordes of people who feel the same way you do, but just don't want to admit it, it intellectually bankrupt.

Posted by: dcd1 | November 20, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

atlmom - funny you brought up the abusive BIL. My own BIL - DW's brother - was dumped by his wife after about 15 years of marriage when she FINALLY accepted the fact that he wasn't ever going to be rich and give her the lifestyle that she felt she deserved. He was happy with his blue-collar job; she wasn't. She divorced him, got a face lift, a boob job, a tummy tuck, and then married a much richer and younger second husband.

'Course he then tried to molest one of the daughters and beat the crap out of her with a golf club when she resisted. (Fortunately, a Cherokee County, GA, assistant DA was a neighbor and made it a personal crusade to lock the scumbag stepfather up for as long as possible.)

After the attack, ex-SIL didn't rule out reconciling with the scumbag, so BIL went to court to get custody of his four kids. Ex-SIL fought tooth and nail; she was the mother and her kids were much better off with her than with their father. The judge made it clear to her that if she ever let the scumbag within 1000 feet of any of her children she'd immediately lose custody. She just considered that so unfair.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | November 20, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Not sure what it means that anyone met their husband at 22, I met mine at 11 but we got married at 28.

Sunny, If what you are after is "making responsible choices in marrying a spouse" - you are doing a really poor job of communicating your points. Your family situation proves that everyone should carry diability and life insurance, not necessarily marry the more affluent of 2 equal suitors. You are making a lot of assumptions and stmts that are from out of nowhere. Poor guys=goods guys? Who the hell makes that assumption?

As far as I can tell a poor or rich guy can be a murdered, thief, traitor, abuser or all around ninnny just as easily as poor guy. The only difference is you are getting murdered, abused or taken advantage of wearing better shoes and carrying a nice purse. Perhaps that's your preference, so if it is so, please state that you like nice things and be done with it.

Altmom makes a good point, change the gender of sick parent and you have a different set of circumstances.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | November 20, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

See AB's post as my example of the scum bag rich person - young, rich and a child molestor. And the wife likes her shoes probably.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | November 20, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I'll weigh in. Sunflower's definition of successful is narrow. It's also transient. Said "successful" husband loses job and has to take a much lower paying one after a long period of unemployment. The less successful alternative sells his big novel, which is adapted to a screenplay, and now is a big cheese. Oops. Guess you made the wrong choice.

How about, you marry a reasonably successful husband by whatever your definition is. Then, you get a big promotion and are suddenly the top earner in the family. Not that different from my own situation, though Mrs. Blade is a freelancer. Up through the first few years of marriage, I made about twice what she does. She has been able to find some lucrative contracts and earns close to what I do. I expect that at some point, I'll be out-earned. So what.

Third example (a friend) Husband in a decent earning job for a mutual fund; wife works for a nonprofit. His job brings in money, but he's far more interested in other activities (acting, sports). They don't plan to stay on the east coast as both have family out west. They also have a young child. She gets an opportunity for a big deal job
on the west coast. Mutually, they decide to move west and he became a SAHD. The *family* is more successful than it was. Income a little lwoer, but with a much lower cost of living. Both are more satisfied in their work. He's also been active in a few sidelines such as eBay and web development. Perhaps he'll return to a full time job after the kids are in school or perhaps these sidelines will develop into his work. Again a case where the husband was

If you marry for prospects rather than compatability, it's going to be rough once circumstances change.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | November 20, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"someone is bound to marry the financially successful AND ALSO wonderful guy out there so why shouldn't you teach your daughter it should be her? Why teach your daughters to settle for less?"

Because it's a false choice. Total strawman. I've never met two guys who were equally "wonderful," to whom I was equally attracted, but with significantly different financial prospects.

And because I don't buy the notion that valuing men for things other than their income is somehow teaching my daughter to settle than less. You have a pretty strict hierarchy there: a financially successful man is the "best"; anything else is "settling for less." That is true if your only yardstick is money. But I care about the non-monetary tradeoffs, too. High-earning jobs = a lot of time at the office and/or on business travel = time that is not available for the wife or family. Even investment bankers can't earn more than 24 hrs in a day.

Not saying that's bad. If my goal in life is to stay at home, that may be a tradeoff I'm willing to make. But I want my own career, maybe not. That teacher you disapprove of makes less money, but he gets to be home at 4:00 every afternoon. So if I want a career, and marrying the teacher lets me both pursue my own dream and have a family, how in the world is that "settling for less"? I know a lot of folks who have happily made that decision without remotely feeling like they've "settled" (my mom among them).

AB already said it so well, I should just stop talking. But, well, I'm still me, so I won't. :-) I have a daughter, and I have a son. And what I want for both of them is exactly the same: I want them to find their passion in life. And I do not want that search to be limited by what they think a man or woman "should" be or do. If my son really wants to teach -- and understands/accepts that that decision means no nice lake house -- then he should go be the best teacher he can be.

And then I want them to find a partner whose hopes and dreams mesh with their own. Someone willing to work together to find a way for each partner to pursue his or her own goals (yes, even if that includes quitting a good-paying job to go back to school). Someone who loves them for who they are, not in spite of it. Everything else is just details.

Posted by: laura33 | November 20, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

and in marrying that teacher, well, he/she can have summers off - or do what my cousin does and be a camp counselor, kids go to camp for free, he gets some sort of salary, and he drives the bus and makes some tips.
Two kids, 8 wks day camp? That's got to be at least $10k per year (plus he makes money on top of it).
And so when they go to sleepaway camp, same thing, i imagine...but then he's 'bringing home' even more.
Of course, without him being the counselor, they may not have gone to the nice camp anyway...another tradeoff?

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 20, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

marrying rich (or whatever) is the same as my parents wanting us to marry jews (in a sense).
So my dad was kvelling (so proud) at my wedding and said soemthing like: oh, my three girls, they all married jewish boys, oh, it's so great.
Well, he is completely eating his words because even HE can see how awful his son in law is. So what if he's jewish? he's still a jerk, and it would have been better in so many other scenarios, but marrying him.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 20, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

"Two kids, 8 wks day camp? That's got to be at least $10k per year"

Way, way off topic, but what kind of day camp costs that kind of money? We sent our kids to a fairly expensive day camp this summer and it was about $400 week for both of them. For the kind of money you're talking about, that's over $600 a week per child.

Posted by: dennis5 | November 20, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

dennis: i know the camp I went to as a kid is about 8k (almost, maybe $7k for 8 weeks). I know he's not a counselor there, but I figgered other camps on LI were expensive, so i guessed.

The camp I mainly send my kids to in the summer is $200 per kid, but I'm here in 'backwoods' (ha, just well, that's what my relatives in NY think) GA. Or, well, we mainly try to stay in that budget for whatever camp.

I believe that sleepaway camp is about $1k per week.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 20, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

So he does dry-wall. Nice guy. Plays pool too.

"OH, and he's sooooo cute, and he drives a red pick-up truck and is taking me out to the Dave Mathews concert. Isn't He's absolutely wonderful!!!"

Yeah, I heard my share of this kind of talk at my job where I worked in the female dominated world of hairdressing. Then I heard all about the wedding, pregnancy, held the baby, and 6 months later I heard all about the divorce and custody battle.

You are darned right that I suggest to my daughters that if they want a nice stable relationship that includes a house, white picket fence, kids and a dog - go for the educated, geeky type. Hint: they are more likely to be found at a church than a bar.

Let's face it, the most important decision in life that a woman will ever make is the man she decides to mary. If she gets this one right it'll be happiness ever after.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | November 20, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Again as to the prospects...

I married a nice, stable, but by far not rich university teacher like myself.

Then he got an interesting offer from out former boss about going taking work in big business.

Now I am married to a nice, stable, rising-star business executive, who earns more than twice what he used to, in spite of still being on "beginners' salary" for his position.

Pity about the working hours, but they weren't that great at university either. Now he works longer Mon-Fri but often less in the weekends (corrections swallow your time).

Anyway, the person who had rejected him as a teacher would now wonder how she had missed out on this nice executive. I, on the other hand, am happy that he is still a teacher at heart.

Posted by: Mmex | November 20, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

"go for the educated, geeky type. Hint: they are more likely to be found at a church than a bar."

-Funny, Whacky, I would have said, hint: they are most likely to be found at the university...
-Worked for me, didn't it!

"Let's face it, the most important decision in life that a woman will ever make is the man she decides to mary. If she gets this one right it'll be happiness ever after."

-In as far as one marries I would ten to agree, but I wouldn't limit it down to women, I figure it goes for men too.

Posted by: Mmex | November 20, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"tend to agree"
-sorry about the typo

Posted by: Mmex | November 20, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I just want to give a shout-out to the SAHDs out there, for helping to make some women as successful as they have been. My husband and I both work full-time, but I have observed that the vast majority of my "most successful" (in a career sense) girlfriends have husbands that are either SAHDs or at least have very flexible jobs. If it weren't for the SAHD movement (and/or the Dads that do their fair share at home), I think us women wouldn't have the career opportunities and success we have today.

As for the divorce situation, most sane people without emotional investment in a given situation recognize that it's almost always best for the child(ren) to stay with dad if that's what had been happening pre-divorce.

And as for Sunflower, glad you found what's right for you. But I hope you become more true to yourself when you have your kid... ArmyBrat & Laura & so many others have said it well. It's never just that simple of a choice.

Posted by: JenDC | November 20, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Sunflower, did you just have guys lined up around the block waiting to marry you? I am trying to think of one woman I know who had the choice between "nice poor guy" and "nice rich guy."

Posted by: floof | November 20, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I strating skipping posts due to the drama, so forgive me if this was already mentioned. What bothered me most about both the mommy article and the follow up daddy article was the complete focus on the parent about "their" rights. Isn't the primary focus of being a parent to protect your kids' rights? Mommy article devoted two paragraphs on the last page to working together as parents. Daddy was more about the feelings, so didn't get into it.

Since the first article didn't say whether the dad was asking for primary custody as a benefit to the children or as a slap at the ex-wife, I can't help but feel for the dad, and think his being there would be a blessing to the kids. Mom's attitude of self entitlement doesn't need to be passed to the next generation.

Posted by: Sara | November 20, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"Sunflower, did you just have guys lined up around the block waiting to marry you? I am trying to think of one woman I know who had the choice between "nice poor guy" and "nice rich guy."

LOL! If there is a large group of men that have been turned down by Sunny - perhaps she'd like to share them with the group. I have a couple single friends that aren't as picky!

Wacky, you are full of beans. The educated, geeky types provide no guarantees. A common set of values, compatible personality and a couple other character traits that are deemed important (to the spouse shopper) are a good way to start.


Posted by: cheekymonkey | November 20, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"So you want to be successful, but not TOO successful, cause then you might get a raise and a promotion and make more than the husband?"
Atlmom

She better be careful how much time she puts in at work! Wouldn't want to be seen as TOO successful ;)

Posted by: youngnovamama | November 20, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Wow Sunflower. I don't know you but I've read your posts in the past and usually enjoyed them. I guess I've been fooled. For what it's worth, I have no respect for you or your opinion on this matter. Your definition of success seems to be tied solely to money. In this economy, things can change quickly. I hope that your opinion of your husband isn't as fickle.

Posted by: pipe1 | November 20, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

" But I am giving my opinion, on here, because that is what we all do, and why is it ok for some people to give their opinion but not me because you disagree?"

By all means Sunny, keep posting. It's not your right to an opinion I am arguing with, it is your opinion that I find rather offensive.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | November 20, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Men can raise children as well as women. That's the bottom line.

Posted by: jckdoors | November 20, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

dennis: i know the camp I went to as a kid is about 8k (almost, maybe $7k for 8 weeks).

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 20, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I can't imagine paying that kind of money for a day camp. That's just insane.

Posted by: dennis5 | November 20, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like women don't want equality, they want it all.

Posted by: jckdoors | November 20, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Hey, it's 2:00 and I've got 3 more hrs to kill, errrrrrrrrrrrrr work. I DEMAND a sunflower rebuttal to keep the day flying by.

Thank you.

Posted by: TheRealTruth | November 20, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

dennis: I TOTALLY agree. On a whim a year or so ago, I looked up the cost of the camp I went to as a kid. I was flabbergasted. And here, in the atl, you can pick and choose - go one week here, one week there, etc, but this camp said: you must pay for all 8 weeks, etc, no discounts for vacations etc
It is a highly regarded camp, but no, if I were living up in NY, I probably wouldn't send my kid there. :)

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 20, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Cheeky, I am not full of beans. I had chicken for lunch.

Yes, as for going for the educated and geeky, there are no garentees in life, however, as a father, I want to teach my daughters that falling in love with a guy because he's cute, likes to drink and listen to music are very poor qualifications for a life long commitment.

Looking for a man that has either the potential or has already gained economic stability, I think would be a much better choice for a woman to marry if she wants the life long commitment that raising kids demands. As for finding him at church, wel, most women agree that there is something to be said for a guy who is willing to get on his knees, heck, he might even be willing to do that to scrub a toilet or kitchen floor every now and then...

And I hate to say this, but the only stay at home fathers I've met, with only 1 exception, were either alcoholics, had minor mental disorders, or had a very limited skill set which, when bumped out of the work force, had little other choice but to play the role of the stay-at-homer. (not that there's anything wrong with that)

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | November 20, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

wow, whacky.
So, well, I know a few SAHDs. I've been crashing their 'meeting' at the coffee house for a while now.
1) - SAHD whose wife got a great job, but they had to move. So they did. So rather than put kids in day care while dad went to look for a job, they decided why not have him stay at home? He's considering a political career now. (degree in engineering)
2) got a job offer in another city where they did not want to live. wife has a great job, so they decided he wouldn't take the job and he'd stay home. (degree in business)
3) had his own real estate business, but retired. Wife has good job, I don't know if they were going to have kids, but they have one (they are both older, with kids from first marriages in college). So he stays home with kid May/may not go back to work when kid is in kindergarten.

Shall I go on?

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 20, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Yes Atlmom, please go on.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | November 20, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

This article scared me. I work outside the home and DH doesn't work (he's looking) and would likely be considered the primary care giver from the outside. Even though he only has him at home with him 1-2 days a week. The baby is in daycare 3 days a week (DH does pick-up and drop-off) and usually will spend a day with family on the days he isn't in daycare.

In child custody cases, I never thought it was fair to punish the working parent just because they worked. I agree it should be about the best welfare of the child. It kills me to think that because I work, and DH doesn't he is automatically the primary care giver and I would lose custody. I can tell you I would FIGHT with my last dollar and breath to keep custody of my son. Not because DH isn't a good person or he wouldn't do a good job, but because he has the chance to be a full-time SAHD and he doesn't want to take it, it's just too much work for him.

I'd give anything to have our roles reversed.

Posted by: BankingDetroitStyle | November 20, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I basically agree with what Sunflower is saying. Love and compatibility are needed. But no one should turn a blind eye to economic reality. More than a few have married that terrific artist or playwright or freelance journalist to find only resentment later on when Mr. or Ms. Wonderfully Fulfilled still can't contribute to the economic stability of the relationship.

The woman, Juile, in the Working Mothers column was resentful of her ex. "There was more: Julie had to pay $850 a week in child support and $450 a week in spousal support. She stopped listening. All she could think was I’m being punished for supporting my kids, while there’s this guy who refused to work."

This despite her ex took fulltime care of the children for 5 years while she was out starting and growing her business.

Yes, Love is grand but it doesn't pay the bills.

Posted by: anonymous_one | November 20, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Got busy with work. Darn job! Anyway, I think the strong reaction on here about the topic of money is interesting. Clearly some of you have "money issues" much more than me.I think many people associate being successful with just showing off and wasting a lot of money. The funny thing is that people who know me in real life don't consider me materialistic at all-we live below our means, save a lot, are generous with family members and work hard. I think many of you hear that I want a successful man and jump to conclusions based on popular culture. And I find it very insulting that some of you suggest that I would leave my husband if he lost his job or got sick. I would never do that. And, yes, I did date other people seriously that I could have married. Lastly, I do not hold myself back so that I am less successful and my husband encourages me to be successful. If someday I was more successful than him it wouldnt be a problem though he has such a headstart I find that unlikely. My point is why not aim for the best you can at the beginning? Find someone with potential at least-and in the future he could get sick or you could make more money-but at least start out strong with someone with potential. Frankly I find it very narrow minded and shallow that so many of you are jumping on me about this.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Love is grand but it doesn't pay the bills.

Posted by: anonymous_one
--------------------
Nice cliche (or possible lyric), but bills are what arise when you buy something that you can't afford. Love has nothing to do with that.

Posted by: pipe1 | November 20, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

"The woman, Juile, in the Working Mothers column was resentful of her ex. "There was more: Julie had to pay $850 a week in child support and $450 a week in spousal support. She stopped listening. All she could think was I’m being punished for supporting my kids, while there’s this guy who refused to work."

This despite her ex took fulltime care of the children for 5 years while she was out starting and growing her business. "

And this is different from what fathers have traditionally faced.... how?

Look, DW quit her job as a Federal employee about 12 years ago because she hated it and we agreed that we could make it as a team on my salary. Then I went into private industry and did all that international travel while she was a SAHM. (She's now back to work; although it's a much lower paying job than she used to have). There's not a doubt in my mind that, if we had divorced for whatever reason during those years I was traveling and DW was staying home with the kids that she'd get primary custody, I'd get visitation and I'd pay spousal support and child support. I'd be "punished" for supporting my kids!

So this is different from the woman in the WM article...how?

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | November 20, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Nice cliche (or possible lyric), but bills are what arise when you buy something that you can't afford. Love has nothing to do with that

================================

I guess that housing, utilities, transportation, food, education and other such items are available to you at no cost?

The lyric is "You say that money isn't everything. But I'd like to see you live without it." Tomorrow by Silverchair

Posted by: anonymous_one | November 20, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, sunflower, maybe people are jumping on you because you keep talking past our point instead of addressing it.

"My point is why not aim for the best you can at the beginning?"

OK. My point is that I AM aiming for the best I can -- did it myself, doing it with my kids. I just define "best" differently than you.

Seriously. I haven't seen anyone here argue that you should go settle for someone who doesn't meet your standards. What I see is a lot of folks pointing out that those standards don't always have to be based on whether the guy has the "potential" to support a woman in the lifestyle to which she would like to become accustomed. If that's narrowminded and shallow, then so be it.

Posted by: laura33 | November 20, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Frankly I find it very narrow minded and shallow that so many of you are jumping on me about this.

Posted by: sunflower571
---------------
Sunflower, where have you been for the past few years. That's how it goes around her. When the initial topic isn't very interesting, we turn on ourselves.

Thanks for making for an interesting Friday afternoon session. We couldn't have done it without you.

Best of luck and don't take any of this personally. It's a blog...We don't know you. And by the way, most of the people on here don't have money issues as you stated...just alot of time on our hands.

Love,

Posted by: pipe1 | November 20, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

And as for Sunflower, glad you found what's right for you. But I hope you become more true to yourself when you have your kid... ArmyBrat & Laura & so many others have said it well. It's never just that simple of a choice.

Posted by: JenDC

I am being very true to myself. And, yes, it is a matter of choice. Many things in life are a matter of choice. Things do happen that we have no control over-death, illness, etc-but that doesn't mean we should stop trying altogether to reach the best outcomes. Maybe I feel so strongly about this because of the life experiences I have had with my family. I don't want to generalize and say people with happy secure childhoods are more Pollyana about things because it's not always the truth but I have noticed that amongst my friends those of us who had some diffculties growing up tend to be more aware of economics whereas some of my friends who never had to worry about anything economic are the ones marrying the fun or artsy guys.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Nearly everything sunflower has posted today was deeply offensive to me and my family!

First, DH and I were both professionals in the same field when we met. We were both serving in the Air Force at the time so our pay scales were identical. When our enlistments ended, his first civilian job paid about 30% more than mine did.

Fast forward a few years, and I got laid off. The little start-up company I worked for was slowly committing suicide, and I could be cut because my DH was earning more than me and all my coworkers were men with non-employed wives and families to support.

So, I started looking for a new job. We'd always wanted to move "back home" to the west coast and I found my next job in the San Francisco bay area. Nice salary increase too - about 30% based on the cost of living here instead of in St. Louis.

Then four months later (DH was still in St.L trying to sell our apartment building) I found out I was pregnant. Complete surprise - we'd given up on the fertility treatments three years earlier, because the drugs I was willing to risk taking didn't work on me.

We'd always planned that one parent, DH, would stay home and raise our kids once we had them. We chose him because of our different personalities, preferences and experiences. Before the Air Force, DH had worked in a residential treatment center for severely disturbed adolescents - he had the training to be the better parent.

I had a family history of child abusers and a mother who'd been in and out of various mental hospitals because she couldn't handle being a SAH with four kids under school age, and I was just like her.

It turned out that we chose better than we could possibly have imagined. Our first child has autism, and DH's experience and training were absolutely the best possible for raising a kid with a serious developmental disability. Today, older son is 17, and while his autism will be with him for life, he's considered "high functioning". He's now a high school senior with friends at school and an impressive GPA.

Yeah, we could have attempted sunnflower's prefered roles - me staying home with the kid(s) and DH earning the family income. The most likely outcome would have been a failed marriage (both of us miserable with our lives), me abusing my kids until CPS took them away, and/or me getting myself locked up in the nut-house like my mother did (over and over again! I think she just wanted to get away from her kids.), and DH might have followed his father's example and committed suicide when the economy went south and the pressures of supporting his family got to be too much for him.

Hey, sunflower! Now do you begin to understand why some of us might not think your choice is universally the right way to do marriage?

Posted by: SueMc | November 20, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

whereas some of my friends who never had to worry about anything economic are the ones marrying the fun or artsy guys.

Posted by: sunflower571
-------------
Are they happy?

Posted by: pipe1 | November 20, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Best of luck and don't take any of this personally. It's a blog...We don't know you. And by the way, most of the people on here don't have money issues as you stated...just alot of time on our hands.

Love,

Posted by: pipe1

Thanks for the reminder:) I got a little fired up after a couple hours away to come back and find people suggesting I would leave my husband etc. I suppose I didn't express myself well enough on here and came across like it's all about the money or something. But for me it's about security and I guess I have just always been more attracted to Alpha Male types.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

But the thing that really prompted me to respond was this:

"I agree that money isn't everything. But what I think many of YOU are missing is that your daughter could find a wonderful human being who could provide a wonderfully comfortable lifestyle for you daughter-why wouldn't you want that?"

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 10:12 AM

I don't have daughters - why shouldn't I want the exact same thing for my sons?

Answer: I was raised to take care of myself, not to depend on anyone else to take care of me. If I had to depend on a man for support, I could never have left my first marriage - and he didn't want kids, and wouldn't have stood by me and supported me while I was doing the fertility stuff, like DH did. I want my sons to be able to take care of themselves, to be able to walk away from a relationship that's not working for them if that's the best choice. I think my sister and brother are raising their daughters (and son) to be self-sufficient and self-supporting too.

By the way, my sister is a single mom, and my brother and his wife have a traditional man=breadwinner, woman=SAHM arrangement, and it works great for them.

The problem I have with sunflower's posts is that she doesn't seem to understand that one-size-doesn't-fit-all. I respect her right to make the choices that are best for her, but I'm deeply offended that she thinks there's something wrongwith my DH because the choices we've made in our marriage mean he's not the primary wage earner. She said couldn't respect him if she were in my shoes out-earning him.

I'm here to tell you, he works hard *every single day* to give both our sons the very best. I couldn't do what he does, it's simply not in my make-up. I can earn a decent living for the family, and not get over-stressed and depressed by the work world. He may not bring home a bigger paycheck than I do, but his contribution to our family and our marriage is at least as big as mine, and at least as important

Posted by: SueMc | November 20, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

The problem I have with sunflower's posts is that she doesn't seem to understand that one-size-doesn't-fit-all. I respect her right to make the choices that are best for her, but I'm deeply offended that she thinks there's something wrongwith my DH because the choices we've made in our marriage mean he's not the primary wage earner. She said couldn't respect him if she were in my shoes out-earning him

I don't think there is necessarily something wrong with your DH. I simply said I personally wouldn't be attracted to him. One of my best friends always dates artsy vegetarians who are really creative but never manage to make much money. She always tells me that she loves my husband but doesn't find him attractive personally because he is always on his Blackberry, eats meat, hunts, and knows nothing about art. etc. To each her own.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Sunflower,
If its all about security, then you should be focused on your career and education so you can take care of yourself regardless of whether you have a husband or not. Obviously having a working spouse makes things easier but its not a guarantee (layoffs, illness, etc)

Imagine if your husband were on another blog saying the same thing about you (but in a male way): "I married my wife because she was beautiful. When she has our baby, if she gets fat I'm leaving her"......sounds really shallow huh? Well that's the way your comments sounded to me. And I stress "to me".

Posted by: pipe1 | November 20, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, we could have attempted sunnflower's prefered roles - me staying home with the kid
-suemac
Answer: I was raised to take care of myself, not to depend on anyone else to take care of me
-SueMac

Who said I want you to stay home with your child? I plan on working when I have my child-I am already lining up childcare. And I was raised to take care of myself. I have a successful career and could suppport myself and my child with it. I think many of you are taking what I say and running with it-we could have a whole separate day's procrastination from working talking about why women need to be self reliant and why it's good for them to work outside the home, etc. I am simply saying I want a man who is ALSO successful and self-reliant. And someone said something about wanting a man to support my lifestyle-you guys watch too many Real Housewives of Atlanta or NY or whatever that show is called. I am not one of those women talking about snag a rich man so you can shop all day. Jeese.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Very interesting from the perspective of a woman with a SAHH. Does he make a lot of money? No. Could he support our family if the need arose. Yes. Would he? Yes. Lavishly? Probably not, but he could and would cover the basics. So why do I love him if he is not a rich go-getter who can keep us in style? Because he is easygoing, kind, responsible and great with kids and with me. Because we share the same values and goals. Because he makes me happy and because the kids adore him. In a nutshell, because he makes me happy as a package deal.

I was married before, to a man who worked longer hours, made more money, and perhaps on paper, was more financially successful. He was a nice guy in many respects, and I would not say he is not the perfect guy for someone. He was not the perfect guy for me, and all his careeer and educational success did not make him a better choice for me. So again, the Sunflower's choice is false. No two people are identical except for money. So you choose the person that will make your life more happy. Of course that means that the person has to be able and willing to pitch in when necessary and contribute to the family economically or otherwise. Being responsible and accountable to your family are a huge part of the equation. But money, by itself, means very little in the scheme of things.

Posted by: emily8 | November 20, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

The anonymous internet existence known only as TheRealTruth has a lot of respect for the persona known as SueMc.

Posted by: TheRealTruth | November 20, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Sunflower,
If its all about security, then you should be focused on your career and education so you can take care of yourself regardless of whether you have a husband or not. Obviously having a working spouse makes things easier but its not a guarantee (layoffs, illness, etc)

Imagine if your husband were on another blog saying the same thing about you (but in a male way): "I married my wife because she was beautiful. When she has our baby, if she gets fat I'm leaving her"......sounds really shallow huh? Well that's the way your comments sounded to me. And I stress "to me".

Posted by: pipe1

I do have a career. I can take care of myself. Why do you think because I made sure to marry someone succesful I must be some slacker? Also, I am not suggesting you tell your daughter to only marry for money. Don't know how many times I have to say this. You can find someone successful AND nice. And not saying you necessarily marry the richest guy you can find. I dated a wealthy guy who was supposed to inherit his Dad's business, we met his parents at their country club for dinner on Fridays nights, they lived in the nicest part of town as did he and he drove a great car. He dressed well and had cool friends. But he clearly didn't want to be bothered with a sick MIL, he was a slob, I doubted whether or not he would have been that successful had his parents not already created the company. Then you have my husband. I met him and I hated that he drove a truck, his parents are lovely people but neither went to college, they are blue collar but very religious and family oriented. He put himself through college, bought a nice house that isn't in the trendiest area of town, only buys cars he can pay cash for, and when my Mom was alive, he would happily wheel her wheelchair on our dates, help me take her to the doctors etc. Oh, and yes, he is successful. But that isn't what won my heart.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm... let's see...

Your first post today said "That doesnt seem right to me. A man should work."

By your own definition, that was work for a wage:
"Wow. So it's never acceptable for a man to be a stay-at-home parent?

"Posted by: dennis5

"Personally I wouldn't accept this situation in my life but if it works for other people great for them."

I said that DH worked for a wage when I met him - the Air Force paid, and his civilian employer (for six years, before the kids came along) paid him very well. I think you might have been wa-a-a-ay more attracted to him back then.

But with your attitude about the proper way to run a marriage and family, I can promise that he wouldn't have been the least bit attracted to you once he'd gotten to know you. He'd have run fast and far away from any possible long-term relationship.

We met 25 years ago, and we've been married 22 years because I saw the whole man, not just his potential to support me - and because he saw all of who I am, not just a hot 20-something in a string bikini at the base swimming pool.

Posted by: SueMc | November 20, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

his parents are lovely people but neither went to college, they are blue collar but very religious and family oriented.
Posted by: sunflower571
--------------
Sunflower,
Be careful where you put the "but"s in your statement. Someone might get the idea that you consider these negative traits. Just saying...

Posted by: pipe1 | November 20, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

In defense of sunflower, I think she's made it reasonably clear that she wouldn't leave her husband should he become unable to work, suffer a significant loss of income, etc.

But here's the crux of the issue:

- sunflower says she didn't want to marry a man who wants to be a SAH. That's fine; we've had men post over the years about not wanting to marry a woman who wants to be a SAH.

- further, sunflower says that she's attracted to "Alpha Male" types and wouldn't be attracted to someone who was content with a blue collar job or with middle management. That's actually okay, too; I know others like that.

BUT: some men want to marry a SAH, and some women want to marry a SAH. And some men are content to make less money than perhaps they could, and some women are content to make less money than perhaps they could, due to other factors (contribution to society, less stress, fewer hours, less travel, etc.)

AND sunflower has repeatedly said that she doesn't understand why other people could possibly be like that - why would a woman want to marry a man who wants to be a SAH, or who's happy with a lower paying job? And other posters have provided examples of people who did want to and have married people like that, and are very happy. So, they're hoping sunflower starts UNDERSTANDING that, while she made different choices than they did, there are such people and they do make such choices and it's okay.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | November 20, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

"My point is why not aim for the best you can at the beginning? Find someone with potential at least-and in the future he could get sick or you could make more money-but at least start out strong with someone with potential. Frankly I find it very narrow minded and shallow that so many of you are jumping on me about this."

Sunny, who is saying to aim low? Who is saying to marry someone without potential? It is the definition of potential that is the argument. Some people just want to be happy.

You have a real problem erroneously stating what others say and responding to those comments, it's a bit bizarre. If you read back over these comments and try to match up what you are accusing people of saying and what they said - you won't be able to.

Your indignation is duly noted, and your position on this oh-so-important topic will be remembered for future discussions. Perhaps you should do some research to find out how all your spurned suitors are doing to make sure you made the right choice. I think you'll be surprised at how happy all 6 dozen of them are doing.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | November 20, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Go back to the original offensive WM story - Julie, the mom, went on about how her husband "refused" to work. The story made it seem like it was not a mutual choice for him to be a SAHD; he did that unilaterally against her wishes, for at least five years.

The WM article never addresses that issue, which is a major part of the story if it's real. If one partner wants to be a SAH, and the other partner DOESN'T want to support a SAH but wants both to work, that's a big problem. I'm not sure how you let it go on for five years. I understand that people can become unemployed due to their employer being moved to China or due to injury/illness, and then that person discovers that s/he LIKES being a SAH, so things change. But if the other partner objects I can't see it remaining in that state for five whole years!

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | November 20, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

All of this makes me want to divorce my working spouse and marry SueMc's hubby.

Is gay marriage still legal in S.F.?

Posted by: anonymous_one | November 20, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, AB.

Understanding!

Exactly!

That's why I like you - you understand that other people aren't like you, but you try to understand their perspective anyway. (And seem to succeed most of the time.)

I have a sister just like sunflower (not the single-mom-sister, another one), and it's a toss-up whether my sister dislikes me more because she won't (or maybe can't?) understand me - or whether I dislike her more because she doesn't even *try* to understand me (as far as I can tell, anyway).

Posted by: SueMc | November 20, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

"Is gay marriage still legal in S.F.?"

(Channeling jezebel, who's been mysteriously absent from this whole chain) NO - Proposition 8 passed. FOCUS!!!

:-) :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | November 20, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

All of this makes me want to divorce my working spouse and marry SueMc's hubby.

Is gay marriage still legal in S.F.?

Posted by: anonymous_one | November 20, 2009 4:36 PM

No, unfortunately. Prop 8, and all that.

And bigamy has never been legal here - so I'm afraid there's just no hope for you since there's no way I'd ever give up my sweetie! (wink)

Posted by: SueMc | November 20, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I think you'll be surprised at how happy all 6 dozen of them are doing.

Posted by: cheekymonkey


LOL. Not 6 dozen. But I have checked up on some of them and these seem perfectly happy. But I wouldn't have been happy with them.

But night I met my husband his friend hit on me first. We met in a bar-some of ou think that his horrible, I know. Funny thing is his friend and I were having a nice conversation until I found out how he voted and then I promptly stopped talking to him and switched to my future husband. Anyway, I have since learned that his friend is pretty darn successful. But I am still glad I married my hubby:)

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

successful AND nice - snort, as if nice were some kind of universal thing that works for everyone.

they are blue collar but very religious and family oriented.

Translation: They are blue collar but this negative is mitigated by the fact that they are religious and family oriented.

I doubted whether or not he would have been that successful had his parents not already created the company - I would doubt whether he really is successful, since to me, to be successful means you earned the success yourself.

I hated that he drove a truck - Why?? That that make you feel insecure?

his parents are lovely people but neither went to college - So? why the "but?"

Oh, and yes, he is successful. But that isn't what won my heart - I would bet that yes, he is successful, but not because he earns a good living. That is not the measure I would use.

Your husband, by the way, sounds fabulous. I wonder what it feels like to him to be married to someone who is so concerned with material appearances that she can't see that his successfulness has nothing to do with the paycheck he earns. Yikes.

Posted by: emily8 | November 20, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

TheRealTruth deeems sunflower to be forever known as shallow, and scores a knockout victory for everyone else.

But TheRealTruth also thanks sunflower for providing an extremely amusing diversion and therefore earns the coveted Poster of the Day Award.

Posted by: TheRealTruth | November 20, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Suemc: I hope you show your DH some of these posts. I'm sure he'd be incredibly touched.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 20, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

You have a real problem erroneously stating what others say and responding to those comments, it's a bit bizarre. If you read back over these comments and try to match up what you are accusing people of saying and what they said - you won't be able to

I have simply copied and pasted people's comments then commented-not like I paraphrased. If I quoted the wrong person after I copy and pasted I apologize.

And I do understand where some of you are coming from. I am simply asking you to understand where I am coming fom.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Focus AB, it was a bit of levity!

Posted by: anonymous_one | November 20, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Emily8 and altmom,My husband knows exactly how I feel. I have told him that I wouldn't have started to date him if he wasn't successful but I wouldn't have married him if he wasn't wonderful and if I didn't love him. I have made it clear if we have a daughter I plan on raising her this way. He just kisses me forehead and says I am crazy and don't say this stuff in front of his sister cause she is a dentist married to a guy who barely got his bachelors and will soon be a SAHD.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

"Focus AB, it was a bit of levity!"

Hey, I gave you TWO smilies in my reply! How much more levity do you want? :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | November 20, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

TheRealTruth deeems sunflower to be forever known as shallow, and scores a knockout victory for everyone else.

But TheRealTruth also thanks sunflower for providing an extremely amusing diversion and therefore earns the coveted Poster of the Day Award.

Posted by: TheRealTruth

Not shallow. Just realistic that life costs money and also that I want someone that works as hard as I do.

Also, to those of you somehow amazed that I dated a lot, there are books out there that explain great ways to meet people, dating strategies, how to find the right person for you, etc.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

"He just kisses me forehead and says I am crazy and don't say this stuff in front of his sister cause she is a dentist married to a guy who barely got his bachelors and will soon be a SAHD."

Sunflower, your biases are showing, and you know what? It ain't pretty. God bless your husband for loving you. Somebody has to, I guess.


Posted by: emily8 | November 20, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

.TheRealTruth deeems sunflower to be forever known as shallow, and scores a knockout victory for everyone else.

I wouldn't say so much shallow as incredibly insecure.

Posted by: emily8 | November 20, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I just notice something. When sunflower addresses me, she's consistently changed my handle to one of her own choosing. I'm a "mic" from the Irish McXxxxx line, not a "mac" from the Scots MacXxxx's. My handle is SueMc, not SueMac.

I don't point this out to pick on sunflower, but as cheeky noted, she seems to have a real problem with misunderstanding other's posts. Perhaps it's something related to dislexia, and she's simply misreading everything here, including my identification.

If it'll be easier, you can just call me "Sue". I even answer to it in real life.

Posted by: SueMc | November 20, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Sunflower,

I think most people here "know" you as a nice person from your regular postings.

I also think that few would say that economy is totally irrellevant to the happiness of a couple (when the trough is empty the horses start biting), and in fact I think few of those who post here are in desperate economic circumstances.

The problem, apart from too much time to spend on a Friday, is that while you repeatedly state that you understand the rest of us, your specific examples always seem to be economic.

I'm not saying that's all you care about, but perhaps to support a slightly different point, that's what we hear.

My sister has twice been married to men who are basically smart and nice people, but who never managed to bother to finish an education, who consequently had very unstable incomes, and yes, that WAS a contributing factor to the divorces (my sister, like the rest of our family has an MA and professional work). Not because my sister is shallow, but because providing for the family while also having to do the full "female role" (aka cleaning, doing most of the care for the children, etc) just became too much.

My brother out of law is a nice man, with many good qualities, including the will to take almost any job. But to have him work all day for peanuts, then coming home too tired to do anything but watch telly with the children, when he had dropped out of two-three educations that would have provided better jobs, no, that was a killer.

So repeating myself, I can see where you come from, and I think many can, but many of your examples... that's the rub

Posted by: Mmex | November 20, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Sunflower, you never did answer my question. How would you feel if your husband wanted to go back to school so he could go into a lower-paying career that he would enjoy more? Would you support his decision? And how would you feel if that resulted in you became the primary breadwinner?

Posted by: dennis5 | November 20, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

The way I view it is that SueMc, Emily and Sunflower are really in basic agreement. The difference is in degree. As SueMc and Emily state, both have spouses that have shown at some point both the desire and ability to become a bedrock of the family economic unit. Other conditions in those families have resulted in other arrangements.

Sunflower has the same desire (or need due to family history) to have her spouse continue his monetary contribution to the family as she does also. As she points out, her family life and those of her friends have influenced her thinking.

I would agree with Sunflower that I would encourage my (future) children to have as a requirement for a spouse a person who does have the ability and desire to contribute. A teacher is quite acceptable. A starving artist, a drummer or another waiting for the world to discover their greatness is, on average, not such a good bet in the long run.

You can't eat love, just doesn't meet the daily requirement for nutrition.

Posted by: anonymous_one | November 20, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

altmom, I hadn't thought about it, because we tell each other pretty frequently (at least several times a day) how much we appreciate each other.

I will mention your suggestion about my posts today to him, but DH probably won't bother to read them. He's just not interested in blogs at all, and he knows of my semi-addiction to this one. I've even tried to get him to come post here, but it's never happened and probably never will.

Posted by: SueMc | November 20, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

"Sunflower has the same desire (or need due to family history) to have her spouse continue his monetary contribution to the family as she does also"

I understand the need to have a responsible, reliable partner in life you will contribute to the overall good of the family either by working for pay or by raising children or some combination. I agree that love does not pay for the groceries.

What I do not understand about Sunflower is her tendency to disparage the contributions of SAH spouses, as if somehow, that contribution is less than that of the working spouse. She has a clear need to look down on those that either don't have formal educations (or even those who barely got their bachelors)simply because she assigns a certain status to money and education. In short, she is a class bigot.

Posted by: emily8 | November 20, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Sunflower, you never did answer my question. How would you feel if your husband wanted to go back to school so he could go into a lower-paying career that he would enjoy more? Would you support his decision? And how would you feel if that resulted in you became the primary breadwinner?

Posted by: dennis5

He sometimes jokes (or yikes maybe he isn't joking!) that someday he might want to do just this because the travel and stress of his job wears on him. Frankly, most of you can probably guess I wouldn't be thrilled. But my Dad had a heart attack at a young age probably due to stress so if he gets to a point where he really wants to then I would probably have to support him.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

In short, she is a class bigot.

Posted by: emily8

Actually I have more respect for people who do very well for themselves without a ton of education-you have less debt from it and I think it shows a real drive. We have a neighbor at our lakehouse who is in his 60s, never graduated from high school let alone college, and is a millionaire. You have to give him credit.

Sue, I apologize for messing up your name.

I am going to be making up work this weekend since I wasted so much time on here today! But it was a fun distraction:)

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

He sometimes jokes (or yikes maybe he isn't joking!) that someday he might want to do just this because the travel and stress of his job wears on him. Frankly, most of you can probably guess I wouldn't be thrilled. But my Dad had a heart attack at a young age probably due to stress so if he gets to a point where he really wants to then I would probably have to support him.

Gosh, that sounds so grudging. Doesn't it worry you even a little about the effect of a job that clearly wears on him? Are you so self-involved you wouldn't celebrate his moving into a less stressful field that makes him happier and healthier?

Posted by: emily8 | November 20, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I have more respect for people who do very well for themselves without a ton of education.

Again, the bottom line is obviously money.

Posted by: emily8 | November 20, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

incredibly insecure.

Posted by: emily8 |

Actually I am pretty secure. I know what I want and I strive to get it and I am not afraid if it's not politically correct.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh, just to get back to the original blog topic today.

DH and I went through a very rough stretch of about 4 years when the boys were very young. I got as far along the divorce-process as spending an hour crying my eyes out in a lawyer's office once. Because I was WOH and DH was the SAH, I fully expected that he'd have custody of the kids. And I felt (and still do) that the continuity of their care would be the best thing for them, so I wouldn't have tried to get custody.

Posted by: SueMc | November 20, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, that sounds so grudging. Doesn't it worry you even a little about the effect of a job that clearly wears on him? Are you so self-involved you wouldn't celebrate his moving into a less stressful field that makes him happier and healthier?

Posted by: emily8

Yes, I do worry. Hence I plan on continuing to work after the baby so he could do something lesser paying if he really wanted. I think he is too addicted to his career to change though.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Sunflower, thanks for the reply. The fact that you would support him even though you dislike the idea says a lot.

Posted by: dennis5 | November 20, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

dennis5,

Even though you and I don't always agree, I respect your opinions and enjoy your posts.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

so, when we got married, i NEVER in a million years, thought I would ever be a SAHP. But, well, I got laid off in my 8th month of pregnancy, couldn't fly to interviews that people wanted me to, a baby was coming and well, we were in the middle of a renovation. And, DH had been hinting I should stay home.
So I did. And no.2 came. And I was ITCHING to go back to work. So I did. So we became a 2 income household - with the idea that DH would at some point quit and start his own business.

well, he didn't but i couldn't take the two of us working full time - so I told DH hey, YOU can quit. He said: no, YOU quit. So I did. And here we are, both looking for jobs. We'll see how it goes...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 20, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Sunflower - Just one more question. From what I gather, both you and your husband have highly demanding, responsible, jobs.

What are you going to do with that baby when the daycare closes or the kid gets sick. Or are you going to get a nanny? How much actual time do either of you plan on spending with this child? Because in all practicality, something usually has to give. I have found that yes, we can have it all, but not usually at the same time.

Posted by: emily8 | November 20, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

In short, she is a class bigot.

Hmmm, does that come under EEOC or ADA regulations? On a scale of bigotry, where does this fit? Although I have never seen one formalized, I would guess that racial bigotry is at the top of the scale, with misogyny being next, then misogamy and the lowest form being hatred of the color red. Of course, on this blog, misandry qualifies as something else altogether.

Posted by: anonymous_one | November 20, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

emily8,

Started to talk to daycare centers but havent been impressed so far. My husband just mentioned that one of his coworkers just hired a nanny. Right now focusing on finding family members to watch our baby. That is what his sister has done so far but as I said her husband is considering staying home.

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

so the point was, you can plan and plan and plan, and, well, soemtimes it doesn't work out.

Also, I saw Dr. Phil a while back an dhe was talking with people who only wanted to date rich guys.

So his wife said something like: well, you woulda passed up dr. phil, cause , well, he didn't have 2 nickels to rub together when we got married. Just sayin'

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 20, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

No, being a class bigot is perfectly legal.

Does anyone watch PBS's Keeping Up Appearances? Maybe Sunflower is an older version of Hyacinth.

Posted by: emily8 | November 20, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

sunflower, same here. Fun debate today!

Posted by: dennis5 | November 20, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

anonymous_one

Whoa just because I wanted a successful husband doesn't mean I am a racist!! Some of you take my ideas and really run with them!!

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 20, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

anonymous_one

Whoa just because I wanted a successful husband doesn't mean I am a racist!! Some of you take my ideas and really run with them!!

No, I did not say that. I was quoting Emily8 from 5:11. She said "In short, she is a class bigot."

Sorry. I should had put that in quotes and given the source.

Posted by: anonymous_one | November 20, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Besides, Emily8 said it was perfectly legal to be a class bigot.

Posted by: anonymous_one | November 20, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Class bigotry is not racism. Two different things.

Posted by: emily8 | November 20, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Sunny, You didn't copy and paste anything. You made erroneous remarks and replied to them.

I think you are in for a bolt awakening when you do have a child, and I agree with your husband - you are crazy.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | November 21, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

cheekymonkey ,

Sweetheart, yes, I did copy and paste remarks. Perhaps you should check again. And my husband says I am crazy lovingly-I suspect some of you with senses of humor also joke with your spouses. As for a bold awakening when I have my child-I am much more in touch with reality than many of you who live in lala dream land. But I am tired of this topic-have things to do today. Have a fun Saturday and don't be so bitter against people who are happy in life and know what they want and work for it!

Posted by: sunflower571 | November 21, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Comment on this thread-- sunflower-- *I believe* that you're not a parent but very active on parenting blog- interesting.

Comment on the blog topic- I think that as more women are in the workforce and more Dads stay home, it's natural that custody is going to shift.

But, the Working Mother article is an important read. Here's a woman who poured her heart and soul into her business to sustain the family, begged her husband to work and is now being punished.

This probably happened more to men when we were growing up.

Either way, as mentioned here, marriage is about being on the same team. When one person starts to get lost, the family needs to jump in and help him or her find their way back.

The WM woman should not have had to shoulder all the work if that was not the original expectation of their marriage.

Just like the woman on this discussion who talked about wanting to help her husband get away from the job he hated, how could the WM husband be a loving partner and let his wife endure their situation?

We should all do a better job of checking in our spouse's happiness.

Posted by: BarelySaneParent | November 23, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Money is handy stuff to have. Is there any reason I shouldn't teach my sons to marry for money? Even if their future wives don't pull a single paycheck after the first kid, they can bring a nice 401k, savings account, car and house down payment (via her parents?) to the party. They aren't gettin' anything from me, that's for sure. Ah, who am I kidding - there's no talking to kids once they fall in love.

Seriously, Sunflower's attitudes reflect her family story and some of her stresses from growing up. Such things have a greater impact on our parenting than any blog, book or amazing factoid.

Posted by: KS100H | November 23, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure being so long after the original post, no one is checking back here anymore, but I have to say something anyway.

Everyone who has been talking about different definitions of success are of course completely correct. The part that has only briefly been touched on though is the sexism. If Sunflower truly wants to teach you can marry someone successful and that you love, then she would not say "daughter" she would say "child". But we know she does not really mean this since she says a man must work (apparently for a woman its either/or) and that she would not be married to someone who earns less than she does (despite saying its not about money). Security and stability are great, it just doesn't matter what is between the legs of the person providing it or if they are doing it completely jointly.

Wacky - who you marry is the most important decision a woman will make?! First of all, do you mean person or woman? I don't believe either is true, but 1 is obviously sexist as well. I've made many important decisions in my life, who to marry was only 1 of them. But you imply a person's life can't be complete without being married. As much as I love my husband, I certainly wasn't miserable in my life before him. By the time we got married at 25, I had a master's degree, a great career, had traveled the world, and was getting ready to buy my own home. The fact that I was super independent and didn't "need" him actually really appealed to him - it meant I had him around for no other reason than I truly WANTED him there. He never had any doubts about my true feelings or motivations.

Many men feel proud of the fact that they can support a stay at home wife and family. So why shouldn't I feel equally proud that I can support us and put my husband through school? It seems that you guys think the guy should be happy as the provider, but because I'm a woman I should feel cheated.

I earn 3 times what he does, maybe always will or maybe he will even surpass me, but who cares? There are no set "roles". I could not have been happy with anyone else.

Wacky - it would be nice if you once posted something that wasn't sexist. I have yet to see one.

Posted by: EAR0614 | November 24, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

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