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12 May 2006 @ 03:07 pm
Debating a mother's worth  
Once in awhile on "Wife Swap" I see a husband who acts like a parent doling out an allowance to a kid when he gives his stay at home wife some cash. She, of course, has to beg for this money. He never seems to get that his wife is saving the family a lot of money by making the sacrifice of staying home and raising the kids, running the house, and doing a thousand other thankless and unpaid tasks. If that wife were suddenly to disappear he would have to hire a nanny and a housekeeper at the very least. One could imagine 30-40K being spent on that.

So I was interested to see that Salon's blog "Broadsheet" had a post directing our attention to a debate about the actual value of what the stay at home moms do.

At least people are talking about it, whether or not they agree on the numbers.
Mari Adkinsmariadkins on May 12th, 2006 10:56 pm (UTC)
My husband has no clue what it takes to run this house every day.
crushednchurned on May 13th, 2006 05:35 am (UTC)
Start talking conservative "family values" and all of a sudden stay-at-home moms are the backbone of civilization. One thing no one mentions is that moms (both stay-at-home and working) run public schools, too. Moms are increasingly being pressured to donate time, effort and money to the community without compensation. They volunteer the most time in schools, run the PTA, organize the field trips, the programs, etc.

Moms are working it and dads are nowhere to be seen. It's interesting because I've noticed that there is some contempt for mothers who work and cannot volunteer. No one mentions dads. They aren't expected to be there. There are articles now on websites advising women how best to donate all their free time not just for home, but for the community. I read one recently. One of the things the woman advised was work for the community could be done 10 minutes here and there - instead of enjoying life?

I don't know how to react to the power struggle between husbands and wives for an equal share. As a single mother, there's no man around to help run things. I'm accustomed now to rarely getting a break but I don't envy people who sit there calculating what they're worth and how much more they deserve from someone else. It's an emotional space to be in, filled with frustration and anger. "He owes me this, she owes me that." Husbands and wives seem to get obsessed with splitting things down the middle and get in raucous fights over any kind of imbalance. It's definitely not enviable.
Tapatitapati on May 14th, 2006 09:41 pm (UTC)
It's true that men should be expected to help out in schools too, if working mothers are expected to.

I think in good marriages they don't sweat this stuff but if there is already a problem with mutual respect in the marriage, then these economic and work equity issues become bones of contention.

I'm glad I don't have one of those kinds of marriages. :)

You're right, no marriage is better than a bad one.