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  1. #51
    violaine
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    @Coriolis: Thank you for explaining your posting style. Directing your comments to me and my posts in the way you have makes it seem like you're trying to uncover something in my attitude or experience that... Isn't there.

    Not a huge point, but I wouldn't say "fortunate exception" with any implication that it is luck and not hard work that has my friends and I where we are. Most of us planned this part of our lives quite extensively. I personally would not have had children living where I do if I did not have the right circumstances. I would have changed something in a dramatic way. Most likely my location. The US is amongst the least progressive countries in the world WRT mandating paid parental leave, so one has to plan accordingly.

    Also, I like to think more men would be involved in the rearing of their children if they had paid paternity leave. Your apparent quarrel WRT inequality of men's and women's roles in child-rearing has as much to do with the lack of mandated parental leave as anything, IMO. I think of it as a consequence of living in a country that has been an economic powerhouse with a government that doesn't mandate such things, leaving those decisions largely in the hands of employers. (I know some states like CA have parental leave signed into law). It's regrettable, but a good reason to try to find an employer with adequate leave provisions. e.g. My fiancé based his last career move seven years ago partially on the kinds of benefits his employer would offer because he knew he wanted children one day. He also left academia over similar concerns around employability. Point being he has had to make sacrifices too. The way I think about all of this at this point in time is forewarned is forearmed.

  2. #52
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I think it's a combination of luck and planning. When you take into consideration the poor level of social mobility in the US right now, many people can expect to have a fairly difficult time finding an employer that offers more than the absolute legal minimum, if that. Even if you start out in a hospitable situation, it's not guaranteed to last. For most of us, if we wait until we have a hospitable situation for parenting, we're approaching an age where fertility, etc has a higher chance of being problematic. With laws and society being what they are you pays your money and you takes your chances. Or not.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
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  3. #53
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by violaine View Post
    Not a huge point, but I wouldn't say "fortunate exception" with any implication that it is luck and not hard work that has my friends and I where we are. Most of us planned this part of our lives quite extensively. I personally would not have had children living where I do if I did not have the right circumstances. I would have changed something in a dramatic way. Most likely my location. The US is amongst the least progressive countries in the world WRT mandating paid parental leave, so one has to plan accordingly.

    Also, I like to think more men would be involved in the rearing of their children if they had paid paternity leave. Your apparent quarrel WRT inequality of men's and women's roles in child-rearing has as much to do with the lack of mandated parental leave as anything, IMO. I think of it as a consequence of living in a country that has been an economic powerhouse with a government that doesn't mandate such things, leaving those decisions largely in the hands of employers. (I know some states like CA have parental leave signed into law). It's regrettable, but a good reason to try to find an employer with adequate leave provisions. e.g. My fiancé based his last career move seven years ago partially on the kinds of benefits his employer would offer because he knew he wanted children one day. He also left academia over similar concerns around employability. Point being he has had to make sacrifices too. The way I think about all of this at this point in time is forewarned is forearmed.
    I say "fortunate" because it is a combination of work and luck, with luck corresponding to those features of the environment outside our control that often do not support fathers taking an equal share in childrearing. Plenty of people are willing to work hard to arrange their lives as they wish, but simply cannot find a job providing leave, or have families that judge and belittle them for not following more traditional divisions of labor. The fact that men have historically not had to work nearly so hard to have a family and a job is a significant indicator of this inequality. Men have not had to "plan this part of their lives extensively" or "change something in a dramatic way". Yes, the lack of institutional support like paid leave is a significant impediment, but one based on the fundamental notion that child rearing is women's work. When that attitude changes, the benefits and structures will follow.

    I find, however, far too many men and women making the same assumptions about family and career as their parents and grandparents did. On an intellectual level they claim to support equality, but their reflexes belie these claims, and when push comes to shove in their lives, the familiar patterns emerge.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  4. #54
    violaine
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    Perhaps things regularly divide along predictable lines due to our differing biology. It takes time to heal after birth and many women want to breastfeed. Doesn't make a lot of sense for the father to be raising the child if that's what the mother needs and wants to do. Most of my partners would happily have stayed at home to raise any kids we had. I want to do it.

    A side point, but how or why would the opinion of a person's family have any bearing on what a couple decides to do WRT raising their children?

    Edit: Also, my fiancé had to rearrange his life in order to be a father. He makes sacrifices every single day. So do a lot of men I know. I'm not disagreeing that things look like they have favored men, but I tend to think these days, it can be tough all over. My guy is a little envious, (though happy for me), that I'm raising our daughters.

  5. #55
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by violaine View Post
    Perhaps things regularly divide along predictable lines due to our differing biology. It takes time to heal after birth and many women want to breastfeed. Doesn't make a lot of sense for the father to be raising the child if that's what the mother needs and wants to do. Most of my partners would happily have stayed at home to raise any kids we had. I want to do it.

    A side point, but how or why would the opinion of a person's family have any bearing on what a couple decides to do WRT raising their children?

    Edit: Also, my fiancé had to rearrange his life in order to be a father. He makes sacrifices every single day. So do a lot of men I know. I'm not disagreeing that things look like they have favored men, but I tend to think these days, it can be tough all over. My guy is a little envious, (though happy for me), that I'm raising our daughters.
    Every so often I hear a man say he is envious about his partner's time with their children. Few are envious enough to change things, though the comment usually brings them sympathy. Families (and men) routinely make sacrifices, though, so mom "doesn't have to work".

    Yes, biological considerations surrounding birth are different for mothers and fathers, but to me this reality suggests a different division of labor. Mom already lost work time and focus with prenatal appointments, childbirth and recovery, and may lose more due to nursing, if she doesn't have a good experience of pumping. Instead of making more claims on her time, balance things out by having Dad do most of the other stuff, so she can resume her career/studies as soon as possible.

    Family opinions are felt in (at least) two significant ways. First, they strongly influence the formation of one's outlook, values, and habits as one grows up. Second, many families are very close, and individual members do not want to risk ostracism or hard feelings by flaunting the expectations of parents, grandparents, or others. Yes, in an ideal world grown-up children would stand up for their own wishes, but the world is far from ideal, and family pressure/expectations can be a significant influence.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  6. #56
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Every so often I hear a man say he is envious about his partner's time with their children. Few are envious enough to change things, though the comment usually brings them sympathy. Families (and men) routinely make sacrifices, though, so mom "doesn't have to work".
    In my case I can't take paternity leave, paid or unpaid. My employer does not qualify under the FMLA. Under no circumstances will my wife be putting her career on hold. We're fortunate in that we'll have lots of family support and we make enough to hire my mother as a full-time nanny. I think nuclear families are BS and extended families are the way to go, but that's a discussion for another thread.

    Yes, biological considerations surrounding birth are different for mothers and fathers, but to me this reality suggests a different division of labor. Mom already lost work time and focus with prenatal appointments, childbirth and recovery, and may lose more due to nursing, if she doesn't have a good experience of pumping. Instead of making more claims on her time, balance things out by having Dad do most of the other stuff, so she can resume her career/studies as soon as possible.

    Family opinions are felt in (at least) two significant ways. First, they strongly influence the formation of one's outlook, values, and habits as one grows up. Second, many families are very close, and individual members do not want to risk ostracism or hard feelings by flaunting the expectations of parents, grandparents, or others. Yes, in an ideal world grown-up children would stand up for their own wishes, but the world is far from ideal, and family pressure/expectations can be a significant influence.
    My wife's career is the priority. I've already put my own career on hold for 3+ years for hers, so we're not messing that up. Fortunately, she works in a field where having a child won't really hold her back.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  7. #57
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    In my case I can't take paternity leave, paid or unpaid. My employer does not qualify under the FMLA. Under no circumstances will my wife be putting her career on hold. We're fortunate in that we'll have lots of family support and we make enough to hire my mother as a full-time nanny. I think nuclear families are BS and extended families are the way to go, but that's a discussion for another thread.

    My wife's career is the priority. I've already put my own career on hold for 3+ years for hers, so we're not messing that up. Fortunately, she works in a field where having a child won't really hold her back.
    For every couple making the choices you have, there are I bet at least 25 doing the opposite. But is families like yours that are showing others, just by your example, that other ways of ordering their lives are possible and even sensible. Yes, the shift to nuclear vs. extended family is significant here and not irrelevant to the discussion. The "tradition" of Mom staying home to devote her time to raising children is largely a myth, realized mostly in the 20th century. For centuries before that, poor or lower class women had to work: in factories, cottage industries, farms, domestic service, etc. Even ordinary housewives spent much of the day doing work with obvious economic value: spinning, weaving, sewing, soapmaking, food preservation, butter making, herb drying, etc. Elders and siblings did much of the childcare. Industrialization forced a greater separation between work and family, one which haunts us to this day.

    Men as well as women stand to benefit from addressing what are often labelled "women's issues", such as availability and quality of child care, flexibility of work schedules and locations, family leave and health insurance. Especially with the ongoing bad economy, most people are happy just to have a job. Where possible, however, employees and job-seekers need to make these options a factor in career decisions. When employers have attractive applicants or highly performing employees turn down or leave jobs to get more family-friendly working conditions, they will start to take notice.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

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