A Woman’s Nation: A new report from Maria Shriver tells us just how much women’s lives have changed

Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress commissioned a study of the state of women today – their work life and their home life.

Through polling and interviews, the partnership has produced a VERY meaty report called “A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything.” Time Magazine and NBC news outlets have been reporting the results of this study all week. There is also a Web site with all the findings.

Here is the web site The Shriver Report:  A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything

Here is the link to NBC news with videos from the Today Show and MSNBC.

We can’t deal with the whole report at once so here are few highlights to start us off:

From Maria Shriver’s opening essay:

  • … fully HALF of U.S. workers are female—and mothers have become the primary breadwinners in 4 in 10 American families.
  • Half of all families rely on the earnings of two parents and in more than 20 percent of all families a single mother is the primary breadwinner.
  • Seventy percent of families with kids include a working mother.
  • Shriver says “And more and more of them, like me, are moving into what I call ‘the squeezed generation,’ caring for both kids and our own aging parents.’”

(Shriver found that caring for elderly family members is becoming a huge issue for families.)

  • …Today, women now earn 60 percent of the college degrees awarded each year and fully half of the Ph.D.s and the professional degrees.
  • Almost 40 percent of working women hold managerial and other professional positions.
  • Women make 80 percent of the buying decisions in American homes.
  • “Virtually all married couples told the pollsters they’re negotiating the rules of their relationships, work, and family. An overwhelming majority of both men and women said they’re sitting down at their kitchen tables to coordinate their family’s schedules, duties, and responsibilities, including child care and elder care, at least two to three times a week. Men said it was more like every day!”
  • “In the Rockefeller/Time poll, more than three-quarters of both men and women agreed that the increased participation of women in the workforce is a positive change for society. Both sexes also agreed that men are becoming more financially dependent on women. And both women and men said they’re still adjusting their lives, their expectations, and their assumptions to the change.”

Some interesting stats from Tuesday’s Today Show with Shriver:

  • 86 percent of women who work feel like the majority of housework and childcare still falls on them!

However, Dad are helping more.

  • Since the 1960s, men helping with housework has jumped from 15 percent to 30 percent.
  • Since the 1960s, men helping with childcare has tripled!
  • However, 70 percent of women polled said they feel like they alone are responsible for childcare and eldercare. (There seems to be a disconnect in how much women think men are helping or in how much men are reporting they are helping.)

What do you make of this study?

Are you working? Are you the primary breadwinner? How has that affected your family life or your relationship with your husband?

What do you make of women earning 60 percent of the college degrees each year?

What is the work split at home for housework? For childcare? For eldercare?

Is eldercare becoming a big issue for you?

146 comments Add your comment

Lori

October 21st, 2009
8:34 am

I think the women of the past screwed it up for the rest of us. I’d love to be a stay at home soccer mom, but instead I have to work everyday and not have as much time with my son because I have to leave him in the care of strangers. But the whole “women’s lib” thing changed the entire economy of our country and now it is darn near impossible for a family to survive on one income. (If there are twice as many workers in the marketplace, then the overall salaries are lower.) That being said, I’m pretty lucky in that I have a great husband who actually loves to spend time with my son, and is pretty efficient as housework (minus the laundry!!). I wonder, though, if anyone has done a study to compare the relationship between the rising number of women in the workplace and the rising divorce rate. I’d bet my lunch that there is a direct correlation.

Since no one...

October 21st, 2009
8:39 am

…else seems to want to comment, I will – just another propaganized poll to castigate men – nothing more, nothing less.

But I will agree that women make 80% of the buying decisions – what is newsworthy about that?

And what constitutes “the majority of housework” ” and “childwork”?
Cleaning the house (we have a service).
Carrying out the trash (I do)
Making the beds, daily (I do)
Sweeping the porch/decks (I do) Cooking (she does)
Washing dishes (I do)
Doing laundry (she does hers, I do mine)
Grocery shopping (she does, but not because I don’t but because she thinks she is better at it, and I let her have at it!)
Cutting the grass, edging, trimming, washing windows (I do, I do, I do, I do)
Kid sick; who stays home (we took turns)
Kids have appts (MD, dentist, after school stuff) (we took turns)

Perceptions are what constitutes the 86% -in the female mind! I am not saying that every household is like this, yet I propose that if you poll the spouses of the working females that responded to this poll you would have a different % response.

madmommy

October 21st, 2009
8:46 am

First, I think most family’s need both parents to work since you just can’t get by on one salary anymore. If I could figure it out, we would save half of what one of us earned in order to retire since who knows how much inflation will come down the pipes by the time that rolls around. My daughter attends daycare all day, but I don’t think it has harmed her in anyway and honestly I feel that I need to work. I don’t see myself as being a SAHM unless I had a nanny or friend to swap out with everyday just so I can have a few minutes to myself.

As for housework, he takes out the trash and will make a meal for the little one, but that’s about it. Unless you count the 45-60 minutes a day that he allows me to work out, the odd vaccuming maybe once every two months, that’s it. Honestly, I do the rest and I don’t mind it until I see him sitting in his chair, not doing a darn thing, and he can’t even keep the little one out for underfoot while I am cleaning with chemicals. It’s the arm chair ref’ing that he does that really makes me nuts, get off your butt and help then.

I do know of some men who at leat do their own laundry and will do yard work, just not sure how to inspire mine to do the same. Guess until I do something, it won’t get changed. Something else I need to do. :-)

Most women I know do majority of all the work in the home and where childcare is concerned. I feel I owe it to my daughter to be the best mommy I can be to her since I do work and take time away from her. She’ll only be small for so long and my house can be a bit messy in the mean time. (Is there a way to get a man to feel this way?)

madmommy

October 21st, 2009
8:49 am

One other thing, women since the dawn of time have always been the homemakers, just now we have to work a full time job on top of it. I think we are regressing instead of moving forward.

It is nice to hear that more women hold degree’s, just wish that amounted to equal pay or status for men. At least allow us to be equal, that’s all I ask.

pws

October 21st, 2009
8:49 am

Wow, Lori, I guess I am one of those women who screwed it up for you. My husband and I are celebrating our 31st wedding anniversary today, and we have two grown children, two girls, who are 25 and 20 now. I have worked since I graduated from college, not because of the income, per say, but because it was the right thing for me to do. Each woman has to make the choice that’s best for her and her family. I have friends who are stay at home moms, and they did it because it was their choice, it was right for them, and they survived on one income. But some of the choices that they made, were not to have the newest cars, or the newest house every five or six years. This debate has been on this blog many times, about working moms vs stay at home moms, and that’s not what this post is meant to be. It’s just meant to be that it is a changing world we live in, not just in America.

We have instant information, something that 30 years ago wasn’t there. Our kids today are raised on instant everything, because that’s the world they live in. I think every generation wishes that they lived in the past at some point, and we glamorize the “good things” of the past, and forget the bad parts of it. I’m thankful to have been born in the generation where women had a choice, to do what was best for them. I worked because it was best for me, and my kids.

Today, both my girls are sucessful, and partly I hope because they were taught as women to respect themselves, and be who they want to be, not what society tells them they should be.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 21st, 2009
8:52 am

Equal pay was addressed in the report — I believe that women were lagging even further behind than in the 1970s for pay — I will try to find that number —- I was surprised it had gotten worse — (maybe I heard it wrong on TV but I’m sure it had gotten worse.)

I think when I started staying home with Rose eight years ago, the number I always heard for stay-at home moms was 30 percent — the Maria Shriver report said it’s now 21 percent.

Christina

October 21st, 2009
9:03 am

I think the 30% and 21% are the past and present pay gaps, meaning the gap is closing.

I do agree that men are more involved in housework and childcare these days. The thing is, it went from 15% of the work to 30% of the work. Meanwhile, the women in many cases are working just as many hours as the men, but are still pulling an estimated 70% of the household duties.

My husband is more than happy to help at home. He does almost all the yard work (I do the gardens) and helps by prepping dinner on work nights and the occasional vacuuming or laundry. We also split daycare dropoff/pickup duties. But sometimes it just doesn’t occur to him that I’m running just as ragged as he is–and a gentle reminder usually helps him see that I need help.

No doubt men are helping more now – I don’t think my father-in-law ever changed a diaper, but my husband has changed his fair share (nowhere near half, but he doesn’t defer the duty to me). But I do think it’s a shame that all parents are out of the house more now than in the past. (I’m drawing that conclusion on my own–how many people went on business trips 40 years ago? How many people worked 10-hour days 40 years ago? Probably not nearly as many.)

deidre_NC

October 21st, 2009
9:06 am

im sure this is not always true..but i have seen lots of couples where the wife does more than the husband because the wife doesnt think the husband does whatever it is as well…i see this a lot!! women who do it all need to just let the man do what he does and as long as it gets done in a reasonable way let it go…this happens a lot where the kids are concerned…there isnt only one right way to do things…therre are a lot of women who need to just let their husband do it his way…it may not be her way…no one..man or woman..likes to hear how they didnt do it right…

Christina

October 21st, 2009
9:07 am

I also will be interested to see how those figures look in a year or two. Male-dominated industries took the brunt of layoffs and paycuts in the last two years. As a result, more households (mine included) have men who took lower-paying jobs just to be employed, while the women were less impacted and kept their middle-of-the-road incomes. In our case, it means I currently make more than my husband–a drastic change from a year ago. What will the impact be in two years? Will we see that men make the same as women as a result, because they took “lesser jobs”? Will we see more long-term stay-at-home-dads? Will the changes be fleeting, or will they endure? I’m curious to see how it plays out . . .

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 21st, 2009
9:15 am

Christina – you are absolutely right about the layoffs being mostly male — so those numbers are going to change even more —- However, I bet it will be like after WWII though as soon as they can get hired they’ll be gone again (just like the women cam home after the men returned) BUT I bet the women who started working or found higher paying jobs will stay working —

There was another stat that I’m still puzzling over –And I believe I heard this right

Women has added
5 hours to their jobs
and 4 hours to being a parent each week (I’m not sure what they were doing with that time before??)

Men have added
2 hours to the job
and 4 hours to being a parent

I will try to look up that pay gap– I think it was more than what Christina said –

Wayne

October 21st, 2009
9:21 am

I have to agree with “Since no one”: What constitutes housework? Keeping the house clean, orderly and safe for the kids, sure, I’ll go with that. But what about raking the leaves, cleaning the gutters, house repairs/maintenance, car repair/maintenance, lawn equipment repair/maintenance. Painting the house, trimming trees and bushes. How about that door that sticks, or the toilet that needs to be plunged. oh man, I could go on. I make sure that I spend time with my kids, but it’s between working a full day of work, and having a part time job so that my wife can stay home. I also try to help out with the interior housework too, but… I am still responsible for the ‘outside’ stuff too. All I ask is to take that into account when folks do a study like this and speak only to women. How about doing a study of men? What their thoughts are? When I talk about this with my coworkers, we agree that this is a common issue. I can’t believe that we’re the only men that feel this way.

I am not one of those armchair ref’s and I agree that that guy needs to get off his duff and get moving. I also know that I can’t do it all. I’m expected to be this super-human person. I’m not.

Sorry for the long post, but this is something that really gets my goat.

DB

October 21st, 2009
9:35 am

I think that when people think about Women’s Liberation in the 60’s, etc., they forget the major turning point of the whole movement: To give women a CHOICE in what they wish to do, and to support them if that choice included joining the workforce. Somewhere along the line, it became expected that women would join the workforce, or be considered to be lazy and “non-contributing” members of society, simply because they were not paid.

Men in the 60’s didn’t actually support the ERA — but they figured that as long as it was no skin off their nose, why not let the ladies dabble in business? (They’d quit when they had kids, anyway, right?) But as a result, a whole generation of children grew up watching their moms work outside of the home, and somewhere along the line, it became EXPECTED that a woman would work outside the home. Almost no man these days expects his wife to stay at home and exclusively run the house and raise children. As a result, this is a major CHOICE that has been taken away from women — the choice to be a stay-at-home mom. To stay at home in the 21st century is akin to declaring that you are unmotivated, unambitious and perhaps a little lazy.

At some point, perhaps, the pendulum will right itself and the extremes will even out, and people will stop judging a woman’s value (or even a man’s) based on their monetary contributions to a family. I do think it’s interesting that so many women seem to feel compelled to work, because “they can’t make it on one salary.” Sometimes, it seems that families allow their lifestyle choices to run their lives — do you really need a flatscreen TV in every room, does every child need their own computer, do you need a new car every three years, do you really need an expensive house, etc., etc. It’s sad, that parents have been made to feel that they are inadequate when they are not providing “things” for their children — and yet, those children grow up more and more disaffected and emotionally screwed up, because what they needed was time, not things.

Off the soapbox . . .

Christina

October 21st, 2009
9:38 am

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 21st, 2009
9:41 am

Here’s the quote from the study on the pay gap — I was wrong — it has gotten better — I head that quote wrong — sorry christina!!

woman make 77 cents on the dollar now
in the early 1970s women made 59 cents on the dollar

Although women may make up half of all workers, they have by no means achieved equality in the workplace. The typical full-time, full-year woman worker brings home 77 cents on the dollar, compared to her male colleagues. And, for specific groups of women—such as women of color or disabled workers—the gap with respect to the wages of white men is larger than for white women. And undocumented immigrant workers often fail to receive even minimum wage, as employment practices for these populations go under the radar.

Much of the gap is attributable to the fact that men and women work in different jobs, but a significant chunk (41.1 percent!) cannot be explained by characteristics of women or their jobs. Over time, the gender gap has narrowed—it was 59 cents on the dollar in the early 1970s—but the pace of convergence has slowed to a crawl in recent years.44 The most significant compression in the gender pay gap occurred during the 1980s, but this was because men’s wages fell, rather than because women’s wages rose.

Jesse's Girl

October 21st, 2009
9:46 am

Man..I have absolutely no complaints. I have a husband who works full time AND is getting a PhD. And he still finds time to get the “daddy” stuff done. I find myself making him sit and do nothing….he needs to do more of that frankly. I recently lost my final vocal student due to the economy….and I am fine with that. My job…while it helped pay some of the bills….wasn’t one that we depended on. Thats not to say that I enjoy staying home….I really don’t. I like using my gifts and talents to earn an income. And I very much hope to find something else…I have no issue with either working or SAHM’s….I think we all need to lift eachother up more often. I give thanks everyday for my amazing husband….he may not do things the way I would. But he does them…and he does them with a glad heart. So yeah…we’re good…report or no report:)

Stan

October 21st, 2009
9:48 am

In the case of my wife and I, I’ve found that each of our perception of the amount of work that the other one does tends to be a bit off. I find that I think she does way less house work than I do, and she thinks I do way less than she does. These polls do not take that in account. They don’t measure what each person does and weigh it against what the other person does. BTW, I do WAY more house work than my wife ;)

Lori,
You’re looking at the economy as stagnant, it is not. True there are more workers, that also means there are more consumers. More workers has casued the economy to grow, as more women work, more women need work style clothes, eat lunch out more often, need cars etc. Something that HAS gone up in cost over the years are taxes. We have to work more hours total to pay for the cost of government.

Stan

October 21st, 2009
9:51 am

Another point about both parents HAVING to work to make ends meet, Their are lots of single parents that work one job and pay the bills. They do without a lot of luxuries but they only have to work one job. Lots of married couples have a SAH parent (mom or dad) and make the same kinds of choices. Drive a $2000 car that is paid for, do not use credit cards, shop at thrift stores, don’t see the inside of a resturant etc so that they CAN have 1 parent stay home with the kids.

Priorities folks.

YUKI

October 21st, 2009
10:09 am

My husband and I both work full time. My son goes to a wonderful daycare every day where they teach sign language, do art projects every day, etc…I do not feel like he will grow up “dissaffected and emotionally screwed up” because of it. I had beenworking for 10+ years when I had him, and was used to being with people every day and facing work challenges. I did stay home for the first five months with him and was climbing the walls by the time I went back to work. As much as I love my son, I feel this is the best situation for all of us and I spend plenty of time with him in the evenings and all weekend long. Financially, it is necessary and although we are not big spenders, we don’t drive fancy cars and have no credit card debt, we are trying to save for the future/retirement/college and feel this is the best way to do this.
That being said, I do feel that in my own personal situation I do the brunt of the household duties as well. I finally got a housecleaner to come in once a month so that has helped a lot. When my husband gets home frome work, he feels he deserves to sit in the recliner and watch the news and “unwind”. Yeah, I’d like to “unwind” as well but most of the time I am making dinner, feeding my son, trying to clean up the kitchen as well as playing with and give a bath to my son and eventually putting him to bed. I have been VERY vocal about this and things are getting better but I feel that it’s still falls a lot on the woman to do the household duties even if she is working full time, which I think is BS. Not in all families, but in many.

LeeH1

October 21st, 2009
10:19 am

Women want to control the home, and so it is not a problem of the men doing the housework, it is a problem of men not doing it the same way the woman wants it, on the same schedule. She wants to control how it is done, just like she was taught by her Mom when she was six.

Men will do the work, but they won’t do it the same way and the same standard and on the same schedule as the woman wants. Most often, the woman won’t let go, and let the husband take responsibility, because he won’t do the work the same way she will.

The end result is a lot of arguments, nagging, and women not letting control go along with the responsibility. If they would just let the men do the work and be responsible for doing it, everything would be fine. However, men know they will be nagged to death, and the women will end up either doing it herself, and earning “burning martyr” points, or will re-do it herself, thus diminshing the man, or stand back and criticise and point out deficinecies.

Give the man the responsiblilty, then shut up. This is something most women seem to be totally unable to do, and is the major cause of the war between the sexes.

Jesse's Girl

October 21st, 2009
10:21 am

It USED to be that way with us…a long time ago. I stopped doing the things that I felt he should help with. It took about a week for him to snap out of it. Now….I seriously have to make my husband take it easy. Our roles are very defined and we still have very traditional takes on things in general…but he has learned that I can’t do it all and I learned that the way he does what he does is peffectly fine.

HB

October 21st, 2009
10:21 am

“To stay at home in the 21st century is akin to declaring that you are unmotivated, unambitious and perhaps a little lazy.”

I think to some degree you’re right on this, DB, but then again, I think working women are often judged for supposedly choosing their careers over their children. I often hear SAHMs say, “Why bother to have kids if I’m just going to give them to someone else to raise?” Sadly, we have a very judgemental society that often leaves women darned if we do, darned if we don’t.

I still love Gloria Steinam’s remarks from a 1999 interview where when asked about how many women have found themselves overwhelmed with full-time careers while remaining the primary homemakers (the 80s supermoms), she basically said that women’s liberation will truly be realized when we realize that men can do anything women can do. They can be just as great at caregiving, homemaking, etc as we are (or aren’t ;p). Men can be stay-at-home dads if they choose. They cook half the meals, take the kids out by themselves, help with homework, attend school meetings. As someone said above, some women don’t give men enough credit and don’t allow them to equal partners at home, claiming they have to do everything themselves or it won’t be done right.

And of course, as several have said here, many families (but certainly not all) choose two salaries to maintain a more frivolous lifestyle. It’s been interesting to me living outside the South to see how much less stuff many people choose to have. I know many well-educated, well-salaried people who choose to live closer to work in smaller homes. No one I know here buys a new car every 4 years. Most families I know have one television and one car. It’s really jarring to me to go back home and hear people complain about how stressed they’ve become trying to make ends meet as they drive their 3-year-old Suburbans with leather seats (that they say they truly NEED because they have 3 kids) to have lunch at the Club. Even more shocking is how many of those families’ homes are in foreclosure now.

madmommy

October 21st, 2009
10:25 am

First off, just because you rely on two incomes doesn’t mean that you are living the high life. Just because we enjoy doing a few things for ourselves, doesn’t mean that we are bad people. Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you have to stop treating yourself to things you enjoy. You still have a life once you have kids and doing things for yourself and taking time out for yourself I think is a very postive thing, esp. a young daughter to see. Life can’t be all work without play.

I still think there is a bit of a pay gap that is going on, but that it is getting better over time. One thing you will notice at least in my office, it is filled mostly with women, almost all are mothers. What does that say? I know of a few who stayed home with their children while they were young, but came back into the office once a certain age was reached. Some women are more adapt to staying home and I love my friends who do and always offer to take the kids so they can run to the store alone, or grab a cup of coffee. We need to lean on each other since none of us can do this alone, nor should we.

Men, I think would help more and he will if I ask him, but just wonder if I didn’t ask would he just jump up and help? As for doing non “women’s work” it all falls on me since he doesn’t know a philips head from a flat head screwdriver which is fine with me since my dad thought everyone needed to know how to do everything regardless of sex. Thanks Dad. Plus, how much fun is it to build or fix things? Much more fun than scrubbing soap scum.

Becky

October 21st, 2009
10:30 am

I do 95% of the housework, he does inside and outside maintaince..We have a service that cuts the grass..I do all of the grocery shopping, he does all of the major buying..I do all of the cooking (inside and outside), I do all of the dishwashing (by hand)..We each wash our own clothes..

Like Stan said, he thinks that because he sweeps the floor once a week, that he does more housework than I do..Does it bother me? Sometimes, but I get over it..

As for SAHM vs. “working” Moms. I think it just depends on the person and what they are willing to do without..My oldest sister only worked weekends,so that she could be at home during the week while her husband worked, then he was home with the kids all weekend..They did without a lot of stuff, so that they could do for the kids..I, like someone else said, could not see myself as a SAHM..I do not blame women of the past for how “rough” women of today have it..

joe

October 21st, 2009
10:38 am

A family consists of two parents (one male and one female) in order to raise children properly. It takes two, not a “village”. There are many wonderful characteristics about the man however, these include: Your last name stays put, car mechanics tell you the truth, you can be president, same work, more pay, you can be butt ugly and still be a rock star and the world is your urinal!

FCM

October 21st, 2009
11:05 am

Maria Shriver Schwartnagger has not got a clue of the average American woman. She born as part of the social elite (Kennedy) family, raised to have a liberally concious mindset, without having to suffer any material discomfort. PLEASE let her go back to being the first lady of CA, or even the woman talking on a cell phone.

As to the findings of the polls. That is nothing new, I worked up those same kind of figures in Women’s History, Sociology, and a Political Science class in 1990 – 1996. Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinheim both liberated the female and enslaved them to new issues. If you want to know why I feel this way I suppose I can go find those papers I wrote for the classes or you could trust this is just my opinion based on my own research.

Did anyone else catch that a blogger on USA Today is getting heat for taking his 11yo son and his friend to Hooters?

FCM

October 21st, 2009
11:07 am

LORI

“I wonder, though, if anyone has done a study to compare the relationship between the rising number of women in the workplace and the rising divorce rate. I’d bet my lunch that there is a direct correlation.”

My papers in the 1990s did just that. Durn it I should have gone on for a Phd so I could publish.

Ironically I ended up a single mom anyway.

Becky

October 21st, 2009
11:11 am

@FCM, what’s worong with taking your son to Hooters? Were they there just to “oogle” the waitress or to eat?

Another SAHM

October 21st, 2009
11:12 am

I used to deal with the corporate grind until my hubby landed a dream job that allowed me to stay home and raise my son. How ANY career can fulfill a woman as much as raising a child is beyond me. My son tells me EVERY day how much happier he is now that I have more time for him. I’m not rushed in the morning getting him ready for school…I actually have time to listen! I’m there when he gets home in the afternoon. I don’t need a degree, title, paycheck or high-end material things around me to validate who I am as a person. I am a mother first. Things have changed for the worse for families because there is no one raising the kids. And you women can scream and justify that yes you can have it all and that the duties are split. That’s b.s. Kids DO NOT have the direction and groundedness of the generation of kids who were lucky enough to have SAHMS. I’ve been on both sides raising my son and know that my availability to him with my heart, mind and soul brings way more benefits than hitting the grind and stress everday of an 8 to whatever on the time clock!

Vork

October 21st, 2009
11:14 am

@FCM

You are awesome….I’ve been trying to come up with something constructive to say on this topic and keep it short and to the point to not go all MJG on you and could not come up with anything….you have basically said what I was thinking…..keep up the good work.

Vork

October 21st, 2009
11:16 am

Also I see absolutely nothing wrong with taking the kids to Hooters….the wings are pretty good….;)

Vork

October 21st, 2009
11:21 am

Gang,

Amber Alert: She is 7 and has been missing 2 days. ~ That seals it. Never letting my kids walk home alone.

http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/special/somer/news-article.aspx?storyid=146938&catid=338

FCM

October 21st, 2009
11:22 am

Becky I never said I did or didn’t have an issue with it. I just thought it was interesting the guy is taking a wrap of being a bad dad because he took his son to the place.

My dad took my brother (probably around that age) to go see the Falcon’s spring training. My brother took a camera. When the film was developed it was a bunch of pictures of Cheerleaders with some football going on in the backgound.

Whether the 11yo was oogling and eating or just eating (he did get his pic taking with the waitress as that was part of the blog) I am not sure it matters. I think the 11yo was being an 11yo at least if the boys in our neighborhood are any indication.

My 4th grade daughter, who discovered boys her age were interesting to look at while at the pool this summer, is a bit frustrated to find those boys aren’t interested in 4th grade girls. They are however very interested in the girl from the HS who comes to help in their class. I just reminded her that until recently she wanted nothing to do with those boys (and honestly Mom could do with her still being that way right now) and had her sights set on Zac Efron.

DB

October 21st, 2009
11:28 am

LeeH1, I think that in many families, the men still consider it “helping”, instead of taking responsibility for a portion of the household administration. As long as it is considered “helping”, that means the responsibility is still assumed by the woman. Many men (don’t take it personally, I’m saying that many men, not you, exclusively!) will do whatever they are told – but that means that the woman still has responsiblity for a) identifying what needs to be done and b) negotiating the assignment to have it done.

It seems like many men don’t WANT the responsibility — they want to “help” when it’s convenient (i.e., in between football games, poker games, golf games, etc.) I don’t mean to paint all men with the same broad brush, but most men, growing up, didn’t have a strong male example of what it’s like to participate 50/50 the running of a household. Neither did their wives — they saw their moms doing it all (or at least, they THOUGHT she was doing it all), and somehow feel inadequate if THEY aren’t doing it all, too.

I think you’re right about the nagging, though. It took me a while to learn how to let go of things. I’m anal enough that my fingers still itch to refold a towel so that it’s folded neatly into thirds, then fourths, seams in, and placed just so on the shelf. But I’ve learned to just leave ‘em be — what difference does it make how the d*mn towels are folded, after all? :-D

FCM

October 21st, 2009
11:32 am

DB

While I wrote the papers in college…I TOTALLY agree with your assessment. That was actually why I wrote the papers to figure out what impact was had due to women controlling their reproductive systems and ascerting their desire to be outside the house working. In the process we also devalued Men and their roles both in the workforce and more importantly at home

Men, generally speaking, tend to associate their worth with their work. The ability to provide for their families has historically been a motivator and a sense of pride. With more and more women showing they can run a home, raise children, and bring in a reasonable income…the devaluing of men was increased.

I am reminded of both the Charlie (perfume) commercials and Erma Bombeck’s The Daddy Doll.

While I am a single mother I was a SAHM at one time. My own husband said that I should not be allowed to make financial decisons since I did not contribute to the family income.

I am deeply in favor of SAHM. I am deeply in favor of Moms who can work PT or flex.

However, for moms like me who find that the family supporter is spending money on other wine, women, and song– I am deeply grateful to have a job that provides for my children.

FCM

October 21st, 2009
11:32 am

sorry about the multiposts. Guess this topic struck a cord.

Hunter of MILF

October 21st, 2009
11:40 am

FCM are you a hottie?

DB

October 21st, 2009
11:40 am

Re: Hooters. Oh, good grief, who cares? The 11 year olds see the same kind of clothes on women every time they go to the mall. I go with my husband every once in a while — he likes the wings and, I’m sure, the scenery — and we laugh at how different the waitresses are when a woman is with a guy vs. an all-guy table. My son and my husband commented that the waitresses were very attentive taking orders when it was just the guys — kneeling by the table, making eye contact, etc. But when I’m there, they are pleasant, but unobtrusive. I’d say the waitresses were pretty savvy!

DB

October 21st, 2009
11:43 am

FCM: Or that stupid Enjoli commercial: “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never ever let you forget that you’re the man.”

GAGGGGGG!

Hunter of MILF

October 21st, 2009
11:54 am

@FCM

What does the “F” stand for?

@DB

What does the “D” stand for?

Kendall

October 21st, 2009
11:56 am

I totally agree with SAHM. Families are suffering because women are working outside the home. I understand some have to but those who CHOSE to? There is something terribly selfish about that. How can a working mother be effective when she has to split her thoughts between her kids and work projects/deadlines. Especially if there’s an 8:00 meeting the mother will be giving latest sales figures/projections, etc. She can’t possibly give her undivided attention to the family when she is going over the meeting in her head. The way I see it is a woman is not fulfilled by being a mother, don’t have kids if you can’t give ALL of yourself. I stay home as well, by choice, and my husband LOVES coming home to a home-cooked meal every night. None of that drive-through garbage, frozen dinners or late dinners because I work. Plus my kids get their homework done early when they get home from school because I’m THERE to help! Bet you CAREER women can’t say that. Definitely, women’s lives have been set back by this new generation. I think my mother had it better when VERY few women worked. I know I had it better because my mother WAS there just as I am for my children. Shame on you ladies for choosing career over family!

Becky

October 21st, 2009
12:02 pm

FCM, I didn’t say that you were having an issue with it..I was just wondering if there was more to the story..Like DB said, the way some young girls and grown woment dress, they see this all the time..

b

October 21st, 2009
12:06 pm

After 28 years of marriage and two kids, I can say that my husband has gotten better at taking some responsibility for chores around the house. I have always worked, sometimes at two jobs, because my husband’s career is in a field where layoffs are commonplace. Many times I have been the one with the income, health insurance, etc. I cannot imagine not working as the fear factor of being dependent only on his job is too overwhelming.

We have gone full-cycle, from no kids, two good jobs, to two kids, only me working, no home ownership, one old car, back to two good jobs. If I quit working everytime he got a new job, I would have lost so much careerwise, and many times we would have been without income, health insurance, etc for months at a time. We don’t have a lot of extras, although we consider ourselves fortunate to have a home we own (actually still have a small mortgage), two cars that are paid for, and no other debt including no credit card debt.

Today (and I mean today not a generalized time frame) we both are working, able to pay our bills, help the oldest with college expenses, send our learning disabled child to a school with the resources to help him achieve, and finally we are able to save some for retirement.

If I had not worked, none of this would have been possible. I think that this is the situation in a lot of families and I for one, cannot see myself relying solely on his “possible” income. My job is demanding, I travel, but his is also demanding and requires even more travel. We tend to share carpool responsibilities, although I am the “scheduler”. He is responsible for outside work, gardening is his hobby; I am responsible for laundry, housework between cleanings by an agency, and the day-to-day financies (he does the long-term stuff). Cooking and shopping are shared depending on who is available. I deal with almost all school-related items although he will go to conferences if available. Until we got cleaning help, I did it and really resented not getting any help. That expense has been the best thing we could have done and I will not be happy to give it up should the need arise! No arguments about cleaning! All in all, I would say that we have found a equitable solution.

FCM

October 21st, 2009
12:20 pm

FCM = Fulton County Mom. The regulars shortened it to FCM years ago. Hunter you made my day, I have seen you ask that question of just about every ‘lifer’ on the board but me, I was starting to get a complex ;)

Hate Working

October 21st, 2009
12:25 pm

The two previous posters about SAHMS make a good point. I hate working but I don’t have a choice. I do not have a degree so my paychecks don’t go far but are necessary to pay the bills. I hate getting home late at night. Dinner at my house is not very creative or very good…it’s boxed mac-n-cheese, spaghetti with RAGU sauce, baked meat, hotdogs, hamburgers, etc. I don’t have time to make a variety of tasty meals because I don’t have the luxury of two hours in the kitchen. My weekends are spent cleaning and doing laundry so I’m always stressed and tired. My kids are old enough to get themselves ready now but it was only a few years ago I was choosing their clothes, preparing their breakfast, making sure they had what they needed for school that morning…a never-ending rat race. I would give ANYTHING to be a full-time mother. Women’s lib as added to the problems us mothers and wives have to deal with. Because not only are we expected to take care of the home but bring home a check as well!

Hate Working

October 21st, 2009
12:29 pm

One more comment…Maria Shriver is a silver-spoon baby and never had or does adjust to the problems most working women face. She has enough money to hire cleaning help, nannies, chauffers, cooks, personal shoppers, personal assistants, etc. It always kills me when someone of financial wealth is given the chance to speak on a subject like this.

Vork

October 21st, 2009
12:33 pm

Oh look this has de-evolved into mommy wars between the stay at home moms and the working career moms. STOP IT, you are irritating and neither one of you is better than the other.

To each their own…..we are all human and as such we learn to adapt to situations that we are forced to deal with. For some, two incomes is an absolute neccessity, to others being able to have one parent stay home is fine and dandy but consider yourself fortunate…..because you are now the exception, rather than the rule.

But neither way of raising children is superior to the other as everyone is different and everyone will do what is best for themselves and their families.

I do find it interesting though that it is the stay at home moms that rush to defend their position long before any of the career moms even say a word.

Hate Working

October 21st, 2009
12:38 pm

Vork…that’s because working moms are defenseless. What CAN they say? “I would rather have a job than be there for my kids?”

Hate Working

October 21st, 2009
12:39 pm

That should read Career women…some like me work for necessity..not by choice.

Kendall

October 21st, 2009
12:43 pm

Excuse me Vork…the article is how women’s lives have changed. Working outside the home falls under that category as we didn’t used to have to. The movement of women towards “working and finding themselves” has attributed to the decay of families and marriage!

Vork

October 21st, 2009
12:53 pm

@Kendall

That doesn’t mean that this has to turn into childish mommy bickering over who is better than who in terms of how you raise your children. I’m just saying.