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Work vs Home

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May. 11th, 2009 | 11:01 am

dragonblink and I were talking about various ways of having more time together and less time stuck and work, and contemplated her being a home maker.

Even if I could afford to support her, there are still costs.

I remember back from my woman's studies classes that back in the 50s and 60s one of the worst things that a woman could do for her mental health was get married (and one of the best things a man could do was to get married). Unfortunately its not really clear why this happened. Was it being trapped at home away from adult company, was it lack of decision making authority, was it housework was dull?

Done properly a home maker does improve the economic standing of a household, by both making it possible for the higher paid person to spend less time having to deal with chores and more time on career advancement, as well as options for reducing costs by producing goods in house (like cooking or making stuff).

Also paying someone else to do your household chores can get pretty pricey, and if you have a child, paid child care can be expensive enough that if you make less than $30,000/yr its probably cheaper being a stay at home parent).

Also when I was working from home I found that it could be really isolating.

However there's also power issues from one partner being dependent on the other.

It seems complicated, and I wish she could have a job that was more like 10 minutes away.

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Comments {5}

John Tkalcich

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from: jmtkalcich
date: May. 12th, 2009 05:30 am (UTC)
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It is a hard situation. My wife hasn't worked in almost two years. i will say that even though I understand why she isn't working, (and frankly I don't think she could get medical clearance to go back right now if she wanted to) it is hard on our relationship. We are a lot more solid when she is also working. You also miss the extra income more than you realized. The hardest thing for my wife is that she goes through bouts of feeling useless, and also the reduction in social interaction is really hard on her.

There are definite benefits to both scenerios. When she is home all the time I see her more, and it makes planning vacation easier.

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Jeffrey

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from: jeffrey
date: May. 12th, 2009 02:21 pm (UTC)
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We haven't really run into power issues at all, but the isolation factor is a big one.

BIG.

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riffraff814

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from: riffraff814
date: May. 12th, 2009 04:15 pm (UTC)
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You might talk with armchairgamer about it. He stays home with the kids and home makes while I go off and work outside the home. Isolation is a big one (which is not helped by natural introvert tendencies).

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no, YOUR mom

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from: theinfamousmom
date: May. 12th, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC)
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The whole premise of The Feminine Mystique was the colossal waste of talent and brainpower that was part and parcel of the "You're expected to get married. Once you get married you stay home and raise kids and that's all you should be interested in" mind-set of the post-WWII era.

My mother should have had a job. As it was, all she had to do all day was clean house, take care of children... and drink. It was a waste of her mind and her talents, but of course in that era nobody's mom "worked" and my mom certainly was not going to do something that nobody else did.

I had a series of disappointing jobs before I chose to become a full-time parent. I do not regret that decision for a moment. But the isolation was terrible. During the day I had no car, no money and noplace to go, and most of our neighbors were away at work so there weren't many people to interact with (and of course in those days the BTK killer was also running around loose, which frightened the bejeebers out of me and everyone else). I escaped to the library three nights a week and read anywhere from 10 to 30 books a week to try to stay sane. At one point F'zer rear-ended someone and smashed the headlights out of our car and the replacement parts took three months to arrive, during which of course I could not go out at night. I thought I would go totally round the bend. And that was with just one small child.

After we moved to California I had a small amount of online time to connect with other adults, but that was only available at night for the first couple years. And of course if I was sitting at the computer while the family was here, no one thought twice about interrupting me repeatedly. I think F'zer resented my sitting in front of the computer instead of interacting with him after he got home from his job, which was a stressful one full of inconsiderate egotists. So he'd interrupt and interrupt and interrupt until finally I had a complete screaming meltdown because I was trying my best to connect with people in ways that might lead to some kind of gainful employment and I couldn't think.

Sigh.

I welcomed the nice elderly Jehovah's Witness ladies who showed up on the porch now and again. It was worth accepting a few Watchtowers just to have an adult conversation with a sympathetic listener.

I think having at least one full-time parent is essential for a child, at least in the early years. But there has to be something for that parent other than parenting.

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: May. 13th, 2009 03:41 am (UTC)
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I'm pretty sure there are a lot more opportunities to do interesting things from (or near) home now than during the middle of the twentieth century.

But the isolation, the stuff I've read suggests that for the typical white middle class american, its actually harder to have options to have companionship.

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