Gender roles and Multitasking parents

Women and/or men who choose to remain at home to look after their children face a torrent of prejudice.

Motherism or fatherism

Dr Aric Sigman, at a conference convened by Mothers At Home Matter warned of the rise of “motherism”; a prejudice against stay-at-home mothers, but for the same matter he could also have spoken about the stay-at-home fathers.
The “motherism” he is talking about could as well be called “fatherism” which is as dangerous for the men as the “motherism” is for the women. Both puts women and men off being stay-at-home parents, which is the developmental ideal in the present society.

There is not only a prejudice against stay-at-home mothers, also fathers who decide to spend some time off work to have more time with the kids are scammed.

writes:

There is a presentation of women who look after their own children full time as air-headed, spoilt and dowdy. However, there is also a prejudice against women who look after their children but aren’t dowdy (yummy mummies); women who go back to work after having had children; women who stay out of work but also employ nannies; women who work part-time and look after their children the rest of the time.

Wanting to stay home

How many mom’s would like to be stay at home Mom’s and how many Dad would like the be stay at home Dad, wonders Colleen Fassler of  Mom Wife Family Health Life.

In Belgium that answer would be clear: No body would dare to say they would like to stay at home to take care of the kids. The few who say that they would prefer to stay at home are looked at and considered to be the weaker elements of this society.

Our youngsters will have to work already until 67 before they can retire, but will only receive retirement allotment for the days they really worked to earn money, over their full career. The kids brought up in a one child family did not learn to share and do not want to share much with others. Many of them do not even find a reason why to marry when it is easier and with no strings, just to enjoy sex without any commitments.

SDT-2013-05-fertility-education-01The after babyboom generation with other aims

From the previous articles you can make up that today moms are different from those of the baby boom generation. They are not only more likely to have gone to university, they also want to realize their assets. To convert their knowledge into cash they are more likely to work full-time, less likely to have more than two children, and less likely to be married than previous generations.

In the United States, Pew Social Trends revealed that, from 2008 to 2011, the number of new mothers (women between the ages of 15 and 44 who have given birth in the past 12 months) with less than a high school diploma declined 17%, and the number with only a high school diploma went down 15%. By contrast, the number of new mothers with some college education fell by 6%, and the number with a bachelor’s degree or more fell by just 1%.

Marital status depending upon educational attainment

Although less educated women are a shrinking share of all new mothers, less educated women still have a higher average number of births throughout their lifetime than more educated women. By the end of their childbearing years, women without a high school diploma have on average 2.5 children, and women with a bachelor’s degree have about 1.7. This gap has closed only slightly over the past 25 years.

There are significant differences in the marital status of new mothers depending upon their educational attainment. While about six-in-ten (61% in 2011) women with less than a high school diploma are unmarried when they give birth, this share declines to only 9% among women with at least a bachelor’s degree. {Record Share of New Mothers are College Educated}

Experts have identified a strong linkage between child well-being and maternal education levels. On average, a mother with more education is more likely to deliver a baby at term and more likely to have a baby with a healthy birth weight. As they grow up, children with more educated mothers tend to have better cognitive skills and higher academic achievement than others. It is difficult to determine whether maternal education is causing some of these outcomes, or if it is serving as a proxy for some other causal factor (for example, economic well-being). What is irrefutable, though, is that on average the more education a woman has, the better off her children will be.

Working as hard as ever, but not at home

Moms are working as hard as ever — but they’re spending more time in offices than at home; as a result, moms and dads are more similar now than ever. For most of the 20th century (and before), parents specialized. Dad worked for money. Mom worked at home. But as female education increased — and mid-century technology made housework less time-intensive — moms and dads became less specialized. More moms worked more for money. More dads worked more at home.

At the moment we still may find many families where mothers are much more likely to do the “dirty work” of child care while fathers are more likely to spend a greater share of their time playing with kids or doing home maintenance, like mowing the lawn. But it’s a closing gap, whereby we have developed to a society where the household jobs are considered the ‘dirty jobs’ or jobs to be done by the uneducated and not useful persons. Being a mother or a father, staying at home is by many considered as profiting of the society and not done.

Social media fakes

Illustration of Facebook mobile interface

Illustration of Facebook mobile interface (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today it is just not done to become a parent or not to be able to show off with all the material wealth we can get today. Instead of spending time to create a real family people prefer to have a virtual circle of friends on Facebook. On Facebook a nice world is presented where the lives are consistently full of happy and wholesome family outings, when there are kids in the house, but mostly it are kidless photo-shoots of far away places with ever changing girlfriends or men.

Allison Hart, who says she loves her children, and who has also learned that motherhood is a series of shocks and disappointments, disgusting things under her fingernails, horrifying smells and constant irritation, writes:

In between those smiling moments are thousands of other moments which go undocumented on Facebook.

We all want to share our best moments. We all want that person we knew 22 years ago and haven’t seen since to think that we are living the life. We aren’t bored. We haven’t watched 13 hours of TV today. Our kids are as charming as they are cute so I’m never, ever jealous of your child-free globe-trotting life. The world can wait! Right now I’m doing the most important and fulfilling job a person can. Oh, and that one picture of me that I’ve posted within the last three years? That old thing? Gosh, I think the kids must have snapped that one while I was composting our garden. Yes I do that in silk and heels. Duh.

Preferring not to tell

Many mothers and fathers dare not to to say the things that most mothers and fathers have thought, but few have had the courage to admit. Telling others to chose for motherhood or fatherhood is like throwing oneself in front of the lions or facing the jaws.

The ones still daring to become a mother would like to become hyperefficient, which makes them only to fail in their made up world. They suddenly want to do everything at once. Some may learn to delegate, prioritize, negotiate and, when necessary, take the wrong choice to give up seeing friends, hoping to get themselves more time with their partner — hardest of all — sleep.

In one survey  posted for working parents, 88% of the nearly 500 respondents said they had suffered stress-related health problems (like anxiety and depression) since having kids and going back to work. One woman told her that at the peak of her working-mom stress, she started having seizures at night.

Most hostile country in the developed world for working parents of all income levels

Alcorn writes:

Studies like “The Three Faces of Work-Family Conflict” explain that America may be the most hostile country in the developed world for working parents of all income levels. Low-wage workers contend with rigid schedules, no paid time off and a lack of affordable child care, while professionals are often expected to work grueling hours and travel for business. Although we experience the problem in different ways, the result is the same: chronic stress.

To be sure, this is not only a women’s problem. As men become more involved at home, studies show that they too are struggling with work-family conflict. And often they work longer hours than women do. But mothers still do more housework and child care, even when both parents work. Mothers multitask more than fathers and enjoy less leisure time than fathers. And mothers experience more guilt about working full time than fathers do.

It makes sense, then, that women are more at risk for the health effects of stress. We are 60% more likely to suffer an anxiety disorder and 70% more likely to suffer from depression than men. Women may be four times as likely as men to suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. Women are also more likely to suffer from eating disorders, sleep problems and substance abuse as a result of workplace stress.

Showbizz kids

Natalie Portman encounters the Berlinale audie...

Natalie Portman encounters the Berlinale audience and media (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jerusalem-born 32 years old Natalie Portman revealed that she loves being a mother and has learned to be less judgmental in the years following the birth of her son Aleph, two. She had to accept that parenting is an individual endeavour with no real rules of engagement.

‘I love being a mum,’ Portman said. ‘I’m less judgmental than before I had a kid. The biggest thing about parenting is that it is a totally different experience for every person.

‘Everything is cool, there are no rules – I mean, apart from not hurting your kid. Some people breastfeed until their babies are five, and some don’t breastfeed at all.

Showbizz people do not mind letting the world know they want some time to spend with their children. From those actors and actress it is accepted they may take sometime for their children. People are willing to give them some basic support to meet their competing obligations. But for ordinary folks the competitive world have created an impossible situation.

Young having to take care of the older ones

Our society if it is going to have enough young people to work for the payment of elderly their retirement and the non-active population, shall have to review her stance against married couples, parents and parenting.

We do not claim that it is better that women don’t work. They do have to play their role as well as the men and should be able to share the same duties. that means that men also should become equal to the women, and should also have to do tasks people considered a few years ago only for women, now also to be done by men.

Equality of gender a coin with three sides

The equality of gender should go both ways. the population has to give everybody the right to make their own choice about work and leisure? Everybody should be allowed to choose how much time to spend at a job and what to do in the unpaid sector, be it voluntary work or household work.

says:

  • we can’t keep going at this pace. We need more fathers to share the work of raising a family (which means, for many men, working less).
  • We need employers to offer options like telecommuting, flexible scheduling and better part-time jobs to protect all workers from burning out.
  • We need better government policies: things like paid sick leave and paid parental leave, something every developed country in the world except the U.S. offers its citizens.

The bottom line is this: we have to stop making mothers choose between financial stability and their own health.

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Young Woman Mother with Daughter Girl

Young Woman Mother with Daughter Girl (Photo credit: epSos.de)

Preceding articles:

Connection between women and environmental sustainability

Having children interferes with work

Poverty and conservative role patterns

Surviving Motherhood: things to get excited about, right now

Gender Roles, What?

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Please do also find to read:

  1. Parenthood made more difficult
  2. Gender equality and women’s rights in the post-2015 agenda
  3. Do stay-at-home mothers upset you? You may be a motherist
  4. Motherhood Gave Me a Nervous Breakdown
  5. Avoiding the big questions
  6. How Motherhood Is Changing Dramatically—in 11 Graphs
  7. I want to get paid for changing diapers, but i don’t want to run a day care
  8. I started off with the little things….
  9. I’m not a Mooch

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  • College Education – Talking It Out With Your Folks (degreesinusa.wordpress.com)
    the rising costs of getting college education can be daunting for some parents to bear. If your parents were not able to save for the day you have to go to college then it will be all bad news. That is why before you set your sights on getting post-secondary education, it is best to consult your parents about your decision. Here are some great tips that you can use in order to convince your parents that getting a college education can immensely make your life better.
  • No more apologies (inadifferentvoice.co.uk)
    Instead of being able to identify with any positive model of what I’m currently doing with my life, I frequently feel obliged to delineate all of the things I am Not. Granted, in small stages, and in comparison to the enormous inequalities of the world, these niggles are a drop in the ocean. I move on with my colossal buggy to face the tuts of another innocent childless pedestrian. It is only when I stop and consider the bigger picture, or talk to other parents, that I find that it is the experience itself which is mind-numbingly pedestrian. To be a SAHM mum is to be a disparaged vacuum.
    +
    I find perspective in unexpected places; conversations with older women for example who have highlighted that in their day it was the working mums who faced approbrium (thanks Norma), or from men who want to be more involved but feel childcare is still left in a box reserved for women.
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    Feminists are fairly agreed in their critique of the 1950’s housewife model (despite that many women couldn’t afford not to work anyway), yet it seems to have swept over the fact that despite six decades of development, much of the actual work of the SAHM remains unchanged. I cook, bake, organise activities, tend to children, shop and clean (for visitors, sometimes). I do many housewifey things. But when I look to feminism for positive reinforcement of that, I often feel there’s just a dark swirl of snarky remarks, lack of understanding, and an image of Audrey Hepburn in a flowery frock, shrugging vacantly.
  • The rise of ‘Motherism’ – prejudice against stay-at-home mums (telegraph.co.uk)

    Dr Sigman, a fellow of the Society of Biology and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society, has argued in the past that evidence about the long-term effects of sending very young children to full-time day care is being ignored because of a political and economic agenda.

    Addressing a conference organised by the Mothers At Home Matter group, he said that evidence from biosciences showed that mothers provided “unrivalled benefits” to young children that other people, including fathers, cannot.
    +

    Many working families see “full time” parenting as a luxury enjoyed only by those wealthy enough to live on one wage or those on benefits.

    Dr Sigman, who has four children, said that the derogatory attitudes towards stay-at-home mothers appeared to be the result of a mix of political and economic agendas.

    “I suppose the older feminism, liberal-Left feminism, has ended up a strange bedfellow with Right-wing capitalism.”

  • Comment: In pursuit of gender equality and work-life balance (sbs.com.au)
    Sociologists have spent decades looking at work-family conflict and the stress associated with combining work and family roles. The bulk of the research identifies which individuals report the most work-family conflict. Not surprisingly, they find that women, professionals, people who work longer hours and people with greater workplace flexibility are more likely to say family conflicts with work.This research, of course, validates many of our experiences. Yes, there is gender inequality. Yes, people in professional positions struggle with balancing work and family roles. Yes, your boss can hear your toddler harassing the kitty while you are on the phone. And, yes, these are real problems that deserve real solutions.
    +
    in the most gender-equal societies, such as Sweden, Norway and Finland, this pattern changes. Fathers in these countries are the most likely to report family interferes with their work life than are mothers or individuals without children.So what gives? Why are Swedish dads having such a hard time? We suspect that Swedish men may not be able to opt-out of childcare responsibilities while at work like men in lower gender-equality countries because they have an institutional structure that encourages gender equality.
  • “Superwoman: Can Today’s Women Have It All?” (katelynbudroe.wordpress.com)
    The history of women working outside the home began when women entered the workforce during WWII. Men went to war and vacated jobs which required a labor force. In a world where the average housewife did not work outside the home a marketing campaign ensued. The U.S. government lured women with the iconic symbol of “Rosie the Riveter” with the underlying message that it was their patriotic duty to work. After the war when men returned to their jobs there was a new social shift in America and a new generation of women. America had to contend with a new playing field as women’s outlooks and attitudes toward work were born.
    +
    In real life there are far too few women among the highest ranks of the professions, and millions of everyday women struggle to make ends meet and to juggle work and family.
    +
    The increase of women working outside the home has caused an increase in divorce rates. During the recession when many men lost their jobs, women were able to find work quicker than men. This is usually attributed because men could not find jobs that paid them the same salaries as they had before they lost their jobs and women were filling jobs at lower wages. The realization by women that she can be a good provider may be an indication that a working wife will choose divorce over and unsatisfactory marriage. But the reverse is equally probable. Financial problems cause tension and often play a key role in ending a marriage. The lack of two incomes forces men to stay home and sometimes causes a rift in a marriage as the gender roles are reversed and men feel less competent and is no longer the provider. For married women it is difficult to maintain a happy marriage as she becomes the primary breadwinner and more independent.
  • Why “Working Mother” Is A Redundant Term, Part 2 (sarahsiders.com)
    When one of my best friends, someone who vigilantly linked arms with me in our efforts to empower women, decided to leave the workforce and stay home, we both had some philosophical wrestling to do.
    +
    Being a stay-at-home parent sounded impossible. In fact, my day job felt like an escape. I got to run off into my area of competency all day, got to look knowledgeable and pretend to be “the expert”, with opportunities for acknowledgement for all my contributions.
    +
    So back to the “working mother” business. This term has got to go. It not so subtly implies that stay-at-home moms like my friend aren’t working, that they are just sitting there catching up on 30 Rock episodes while their Roomba vacuums and a nanny totes the children about to various activities. Hardly.
  • Why Gender Equality Is Not Just About Equal Rights (theage.com.au)
    According to a newly released report from the World Economic Forum [pdf], Iceland is the No. 1 country in the world for gender equality, for the fifth year in a row. And that equality is helping propel Iceland and its fellow Nordic nations to new economic heights. Turns out, the smaller the gender gap, the more economically competitive the nation. Even when that nation is totally freezing.
  • Motherless Mom. (tdawneightyone.wordpress.com)
    For me, there are no words available that will allow me to convey what it is like to be a motherless daughter.  It means something different at every stage in my life.  Hope Edelman wrote in her book “Motherless Daughters” about wanting to shout to everyone that her mom died because it sums up so much of who she is and I get that. The only thing that has impacted me greater than losing my mom at the age of 15 has been becoming a mom myself.
  • Breastfeeding support for mom (utsandiego.com)

    Breastfeeding. Women have been doing it since the beginning of human history, though the practice has gone in and out of vogue many times since then. For some women, it’s harder now than ever to take on the task.

    “There is definitely a very clear understanding in our society … that breastfeeding is absolutely best for babies and mothers,” said Diana West, media relations director for La Leche League International, a mother-to-mother breastfeeding support organization that formed in the 1950s.“The problem is mothers understand that intellectually but then the baby is born and they have difficulty.”

  • Lessons in Feminism, From my Father. (thisclimbingbean.wordpress.com)
    It was the mid-80s. We were Anglican Church-goers, and the idea of women in the priesthood was not new, but it was by no means widely accepted, especially not in our small West Australian diocese. My father was a deacon by then, having assisted as a lay person during services for some time. But even though women did help in the service occasionally, and were involved in other areas of the church family, they were not in leading roles.Yet my father didn’t go into any of this. He simply told me that if I wanted to be a priest, then I could. By the time I was grown up, he suggested, there might be lots of women who were priests.
    +
    once he had showed me that the world could certainly use more strong women, and that I could be one of them, he would turn this around on me. I’d bring home a report, I’d do well in a competition, and he would shrug, then say, eyes twinkling, ‘Yeah, it’s alright I guess. For A Girl.‘Because he could throw that line at me now, knowing that I got the joke. It’s not that others had moved beyond that attitude, that prejudice. It still existed. It still does. But it was his way of pushing me, and of praising me without having to say the words.
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