Like mother, like daughter

My former husband was one of the first househusbands in the United States.  Douglas quit his job in 1981, when our son was two, because A.) We discovered that the nanny left Colby lying in the crib all day B.) My husband preferred to stay home with Colby than to work at a job he disliked C.) I made more money anyway.

Douglas was quite a novelty around the neighborhood, especially with the moms in the playground. Many of them became his good friends.  Parents Magazine even asked him to write a diary of his experiences.  I was thrilled was the arrangement. It was a relief to know that our son was in good hands. And I could stop stressing about needing to leave work to be home by 6.

My goodness, things have changed. Consider these statements from an article in today’s SundayStyles section of the New York Times:

Wives are now the primary breadwinners in 22 percent of couples, up from 7 percent in 1970.

..as men take on more housework and women earn more outside the home, divorce rates in the United States have fallen. In states where fewer wives have paid jobs, divorce rates tend to be higher.

Women who no longer need to marry up educationally or economically are more likely to pick men who support a more egalitarian relationship.

FOF women sure did set the stage for our daughters. And I’m proud of it.

5 Responses to “Like mother, like daughter”

  1. Sala says:

    There are many feminists, past and present who DO insist that women must have careers. Would you like me to supply quotes/references? I’d be happy to.

    “In states where fewer wives have paid jobs, divorce rates tend to be higher.”

    But your “thrilled” when your husband doesn’t have a “paid job”? Why is it if your husband doesn’t have a “paid job” it’s thrilling, but when women don’t have paid jobs, they’re heading for divorce?

    “support a more egalitarian relationship”

    You’re in favor of egalitarian relationships, but your husband being dependent on you is thrilling? How does your husband staying at home different from a woman staying at home? How do you define “egalitarian relationship”? You’re stating that women who don’t have “paid jobs” are in non-egalitarian relationships and are more likely to divorce. Yet your husband not having a paid job is “thrilling.” Surely your husband being financially dependent on you is not “egalitarian.” And surely his not having a “paid job” made you more likely to divorce just as you’re saying that other marriages involving a spouse who does not have a “paid job” made them more likely to divorce.

    “I am proud of setting the stage for my daughter.”

    By that I assume you mean you would like to see your daughter become a stay at home mom, rather than have a “paid job” just like your husband? Wouldn’t you be thrilled?

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  2. Geri says:

    Hi Sala,

    I am thrilled when people–men and women– are able to do things in their lives that make them happy and feel productive. A job isn’t necessarily a prescription for happiness. I know many happy women who chose to stay home and be moms. I also know many women who worked and were miserable. Feminists didn’t “insist” women should have careers. They simply wanted women to have options. I’m not encouraging anyone to stay at home because my husband did. Everyone should choose what works best for him or her.

    I was thrilled when my husband stayed home because that’s what he wanted to do and I agreed. I am proud of setting the stage for my daughter.

    Geri

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  3. Sala says:

    You’re proud of what? Men staying at home are a fraction of the number of women staying at home. But I’m not sure what you feel there is to be proud of in someone staying at home. According to Betty Friedan, women who stayed at home were all miserable, depressed, and unfulfilled. And would have made themselves and their families happier if they had had careers instead. So since we now assert that there is no difference between men and women, men who stay at home must be equally as depressed and unfulfilled, and their families would be better if they had careers. So why all the “gushing” about househusbands? Are you saying feminists are wrong when they insist women should have careers rather than stay at home? Shouldn’t we then be encouraging women to stay at home as much as you’re encouraging men?

    Why were you thrilled with your husband not having his own career? Are you also thrilled when women stay at home?

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  4. Nomi says:

    My former husband was a stay-at-home dad too. It worked out well for the kids, but not so much for the marriage. As far as I’m aware, he had no issues not being the breadwinner. Alas, he enjoyed only too much hanging around all day during playdates with various stay-at-home moms. In all the gushing articles about the rise of househusbands, I never see any discussion of THAT problem.

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  5. Linda McCoy says:

    “FOF women sure did set the stage for our daughters. And I’m proud of it.” Indeed! My four year old grandson was visiting and he was upset because his favorite t-shirt was torn. I said “don’t worry, I’ll sew it for you.” He said “What’s sewing?!” I think there may be a few things I missed teaching my daughters…
    Linda

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