August 11, 2007

"On every level, I'm very resentful... Not of my husband, but of other women who don’t work, or who have a stay-at-home husband."

I can just feel the waves of sympathy rolling in for this woman. She's Joyce Lustbader, a research scientist at Columbia University:
She calls her marriage a good one. She also has the benefit of a once-a-week housecleaner and had live-in help while the couple’s two children were growing up. She did not pursue a tenure track because she wanted to be more available for her children while they were growing up.
Oh, don't you just know the linked-to article is a lifestyles piece in the NYT? Where do they find these people? Bitching at the next table over in the restaurant? You had a good marriage and servants, and you decided you didn't want put in the work to go for tenure. And now what you want to say to the world is that you resent other women?! You made a choice and now you have some regrets. Life could have been different, but it would have to be a hell of a lot worse than that to justify publicizing your resentment, and even then, it wouldn't make sense to blame other women.
“Men lock the door and leave. Things could be a wreck or whatever and it doesn’t affect their other world,” [said NY lawyer Dawn Santana]. “I walk out and worry about the house looking nice, because the kids have play dates, etc. Someone has to worry about that, and it’s usually not the dad.”
You know, someone doesn't have to worry about that. Maybe instead of criticizing the dad for concentrating on work when he's at work, you could learn a little something about compartmentalizing and focusing on what matters. He's right to put a low priority on whether the house looks "nice" when children are coming over to play. Why act like he's the one with the problem? Going into his "other world" -- it's not like he's daydreaming. He's working! It's called work! Try it! Take it seriously.

36 comments:

PatCA said...

In today's world, everyone will get their "15 minutes" of victimhood, and the NYT will be there to help them.

I'm so tired of the whining that passes for deep thought! I remember reading about the women in the armed services in WWII. Their manual said, "act like somebody who deserves respect," and you would get it...or words to that effect. Snap out of it, ladies!

Ann Althouse said...

Pat: I feel like you're referring to this old post of mine.

Meade said...

"But Helen Gurley Brown TOLD me, in 1962 (or was it 1965?) that I could 'have it all' - marriage, children, a career, multiple orgasms, a wife...

She PROMISED!"

Jennifer said...

Oh, please. I get so tired of this working mom vs. stay at home mom bs. There are sacrifices and stresses and regrets involved in everybody's lifestyle choices.

But, ten points to each for finding novel ways to pass the buck on their own issues. Oh wait, maybe I've heard these before...

PatCA said...

Yes, Ann, that's the one! A classic. I think the Army should print it and sell it.

Revenant said...

You know, someone doesn't have to worry about that.

Yep. Just because most women like a neat and tidy house doesn't mean that it is the man's problem if the house is messy. It is pretty much the problem of whoever doesn't want it to be a mess.

Meade said...

Why I [Don't] Want a Wife by [Meade] [(2007)]

(Editors Note: This classic piece of feminist humor [did not appear] in the premier issue of Ms. Magazine and was [not] widely circulated in the women's movement.)


I belong to that classification of people known as [ex-husbands]. I am A[n] [Ex-Husband].

And, not altogether incidentally, I am a [father]. Not too long ago a [female] friend of mine appeared on the scene fresh from a recent divorce. [S]he had one child, who is, of course, with [her] ex-[husband one half of the time]. [S]he is looking for another [husband]. As I thought about [her] while I was ironing [and then fixing the leak under the kitchen sink] one evening, it suddenly occurred to me that I [...would not] like to have a [another] wife. Why do[n't] I want a wife?

[Although]I would like to go back to school so that I can [remain] economically independent, [continue to] support myself, [...] support those dependent upon me. I [don't need] a wife who will work and send me to school. And while I am going to school I [don't need] a wife to take care of my children. I [don't need] a wife to keep track of the children's doctor and dentist appointments. And to keep track of mine, [either]. I [don't need] a wife to make sure my children eat properly and are kept clean. I [don't need] a wife who will wash the children's clothes and keep them mended. I [don't need] a wife who is a good nurturing attendant to my children, who arranges for their schooling, makes sure that they have an adequate social life with their peers, takes them to the park, the zoo, etc. I [don't need] a wife who takes care of the children when they are sick, a wife who arranges to be around when the children need special care, because, [I've already done all of that myself, the children are grown, and now on their own]. [I already] arrange[d] to lose time at work and not lose the job. It [meant] [...cuts] in my [own] income from time to time, but I [...tolerated] that. Needless to say,  [I] arrange[d] and pa[id] for the care of the children while [I] work[ed].

I [don't] want a wife who will take care of my physical needs. I [don't] want a wife who will keep my house clean. A wife who will pick up after my children, a wife who will pick up after me. I [don't need] a wife who will keep my clothes clean, ironed, mended, replaced when need be, and who  will see to it that my personal things are kept in their proper place so that I can find what I need the minute I need it. I [don't] want a wife who cooks the meals, [I am] a[n] [excellent...] cook. I [don't] want a wife who will plan the menus, do the necessary grocery shopping, prepare the meals, serve them pleasantly, and then do the cleaning up while I do my studying. I [don't] want a wife who will care for me when I am sick and sympathize with my pain and loss of time from school. I [don't] want a wife to go along when our family takes a vacation so that someone can continue to care for me and my children when I need a rest and change of scene. I [don't] want a wife who will [...] bother me with rambling complaints about a wife's duties. [And] I [don't need] a wife who will listen to me when I feel the need to explain a rather difficult point I have come across in my course of studies. And I [don't] want a wife who will type my papers for me when I have written them.

I [don't] want a wife who will take care of the details of my social life. When [I am] invited out by my friends, I [don't need] a wife who will take care of the baby-sitting arrangements. When I meet people at school that I like and want to entertain, I [don't need] a wife who will have the house clean, will prepare a special meal, serve it to me and my friends, and [...] interrupt when I talk about things that interest me and my friends. I [don't need] a wife who will have arranged that the children are fed and ready for bed before my guests arrive so that the children do not bother us. I [don't] want a wife who takes care of the needs of my quests so that they feel comfortable, who makes sure that they have an ashtray, that they are passed the hors d'oeuvres, that they are offered a second helping of the food, that their wine glasses are replenished when necessary, that their coffee is served to them as they like it. And I [don't need] a wife who [forgets] that sometimes I need a night out by myself.

I [don't need] a wife who is sensitive to my sexual needs, a wife who makes love passionately and eagerly [only] when I feel like it, a wife who makes sure that I am satisfied. And, of course, I [don't] want a wife who will [...] demand sexual attention when I am not in the mood for it. I [don't need] a wife who assumes the complete responsibility for birth control, because I do not want more children [and have taken responsibility for myself]. I [don't] want a wife who will remain sexually faithful to me [just] so that I do not have to clutter up my intellectual life with jealousies. And I [don't] want a wife who understands that my sexual needs may entail more than strict adherence to monogamy. I must, after all, be able to relate to people as [as real people].

If, by chance, I find another person more suitable as a wife than the wife I [don't] already have, I [don't] want the liberty to replace my present [non existent] wife with another one. Naturally, I will [not need] a fresh, new life; [I have...] take[n] the children and be[en] solely responsible for them [because I love them and care for them and want them to be well].

When I am through with school and [...] job, I [won't need a] wife to quit working and remain at home [and whine and complain about how miserable I have made her life].

My God, who would[...] want a wife?

Maxine Weiss said...

There's been an epidemic of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia striking down only affluent women who live in gated communities.

Meade said...

Maxine: GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. NOW!

SnowDahlia said...

“There’s a well-documented motherhood penalty: women with children are paid less than women without children,” controlling for other factors, said Mary Blair-Loy, a sociologist and author of “Competing Devotions,” a study of executive women who kept working versus ones who discontinued their careers.

Fathers, however, are not similarly disadvantaged and might even benefit at the workplace from being parents, according to more than one study, including one published in March in The American Journal of Sociology.


Every woman I know who manages both career and family spends a good deal of time feeling pretty exhausted. I raised my son by myself, worked 20/hrs a week and went to graduate school all at the same time. Those were tough years. My son is 18 now, and I'm finally getting to wake up late and dawdle over dinner. Would I have traded those tiring, money-stressed years for something easier? Probably not. And I don't think the woman in the NYT article will, either. She's talking about she feels now, and since she can't be speaking just for herself, what's wrong with hearing her out? And the truth is - sorry, everybody - that married/parenting men do tend to juggle fewer balls than similarly situated women, and conventional workplaces are still made primarily for conventional workers, not parents (read moms) with sick kids and teacher conferences.

peter hoh said...

Red on That 70s Show:

If it wasn't "work," they wouldn't call it work. They'd call it "super-wonderful, crazy-fun time!"

Paul Snively said...

She manages to make a pretty compelling argument as to why men are superior to women. No mean feat in 2007.

Brian said...

Just hilarious.

Feminists hate my family's lifetstyle. I go to work and my wife stays home with the kids! Oh the humanity! She takes care of the kids, the house, the bills, the food shopping, and, God forbid, she does all the laundry!

All that while I go to work and, well, work. I would not have married her if she were a career woman. In law school, I was called a Neanderthal for saying that. Yet, we are a lot happier than many of two-career families that we know.

I say to that woman, I feel sorry for you if you made all of those sacrifices for your kids and all you can think of is what you missed out on rather than think about all that you got to do with your kids. The trade-off for me not having to do any of the dmoestic chores is that my kids, who love me very much and show it all the time, still prefer Mom every time.

MadisonMan said...

that married/parenting men do tend to juggle fewer balls than similarly situated women

I wonder about the regionality of statements like that. No male parent I know (here in Madison WI) is juggling fewer balls than female parents. They all juggle different balls, of course, and I wonder if seeing someone juggle different balls than the ones you're juggling makes you long for the different balls.

By the way, every parent I know is exhausted. Goes with the territory -- it has nothing to do with gender.

dick said...

Snowdahlia,

Actually conventional work places are made for conventional work and to see that the companies make enough money to pay the wages of the workers. It is up to the workers to fit in while the companies do try to accommodate as much as possible. The difference is that when it comes to a choice of getting the work done and the needs of the workers, the company is obligated by the owners and shareholders to get the work done. After all, if the company does not exist, the workers don't get paid. If the company does no accommodation of the workers, then they will not get the workers.

It would be nice if you had a job where you set up your own hours, your own obligations, your own needs first and then fit the works around them. Unfortunately, that only happens if you own the company and then you would have the rest of the obligations like budgeting the upgrades, buying the materials, paying for the research, paying the wages, taking care of the benefits and pensions, meeting all the government standards, paying the rent, paying for all the licensing, taxes and other obligations that go along with owning a business. That means that basically you would spend a whole lot more time there than the employees until you got big enough and you would also have to deal with the unions as well. I know this because my dad did all these things for years and we as a family had to accommodate them to keep the business going.

MadisonMan said...

I guess another way of writing what I did: So what if you're tired? So what if you've had to sacrifice? You're no different from millions of others -- that is to say, you're not special, or doing anything out of the ordinary.

If you don't like your life, then change it. Whining about makes you look ridiculous.

Dave said...

I remember raising kids and working while my wife stayed at home (until the kids were both well into school). We both juggled things. She juggled about a dozen balls while I juggled a bowling ball, a running chainsaw, an ostrich egg, and a cold chisel.

Look, raising a family is not all that easy no matter how you do it or who does what. It's called prioritization, folks. In all probability, two parents bring different skills and different priorities to the job. You can either work this out between you, or one or the other or both of you can seethe about what the other isn't doing right.

Our house was not always fit to be a centerspread in Better Homes and Gardens, but every kid in the neighborhood wanted to play there. As my (now ex-wife) liked to say, it has to be clean enough to be safe, not to perform heart surgery.

She served as a surrogate mother for more than a few children and I think I helped a few kids, too, but I know some women resented her because she wasn't "using her potential." Those women can kiss my rosy, red ...

(She may be ex- but she is a darned fine woman, mother, and human being and I am better for having known and loved and lived with her.)

Stephen said...

As I understand it when women talk like they have in this Times piece we are supposed to "just listen".
It doesn't work.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Gee, that woman should go over to
Romania and explain to the women there what a tough life she's had. If that's too far, she can just catch my Romanian adoptees here in the states. I'm sure they'd find her entertaining.

EnigmatiCore said...

"Someone has to worry about that, and it’s usually not the dad."

Fuck her, that sexist bitch.

Pardon my french, but damn. That is a really ignorant and sexist statement.

ron st.amant said...

as a stay-at-home dad of nearly two years I can tell you that I worry about everything, as much as my wife worries about everything...
of course because I'm a white male I also have to find time to worry about how I've oppressed the rest of the world. I mean sometimes I sit and ask myself, "did I oppress today?...did I *try* to oppress today??"

the more I live in this world the more I want an escape pod

PatCA said...

Ron,
Most of us think American men are wonderful. So stop worrying, stand up and take your place in the sun and stop watching The View!

dave in boca said...

Just by coincidence, I just blogged about another set of complaints by liberals searching for the cloud around the silver lining.

These posters are whining to alicublog that wealthy people who have lots of kids are.....somehow bad people? The original piece was by Instapundit, who noted along with his wife, that rich Americans nowadays tend to have a lot of progeny, unlike other countries who don't follow the same pattern.

My blog should be reachable at the link below.

Kory said...

Well, you know, all those women on TV have such flawless, easy lives.....with perfect, mannerly kids and homes straight out of a magazine layout, and they don't have fat thighs....why isn't my life like that? Whaddya mean, that's fantasy?

If this broad actually thinks like this, I sure hope her health insurance covers prozac and a good therapist. She's got some major issues that need work, stat!

Just another pathetic attempt by the media to stir up some non-existent "mommy wars". Please move along, nothing to see here.

Teune said...

"In today's world, everyone will get their "15 minutes" of victimhood, and the NYT will be there to help them."

...but only if you live in Manhattan and have 'servants!' I've no opinion of the gender politics of the article - there is hardly any new ground being broken here - but I am literally getting sick of how transparent the NYT's pandering to its 'target audience' has become. I'm as upper-middle-class-cosmopolitan-profesional-liberal as the come, but I can barely stand to read the thing anymore. Actually, RATHER than shedding tears for the Columbia Research Scientist OR the poor downtrodden Silicon Valley multi-millionaires from last week, I'd just like the news...k?

K T Cat said...

Brian,

I would not have married her if she were a career woman. In law school, I was called a Neanderthal for saying that. Yet, we are a lot happier than many of two-career families that we know.

ROCK ON!

As a single dad whose ex was/is a career woman and who now does 100% of the parenting with 50% of the time, I can tell you that you made a great choice!

Life is a playground for these NYT women. They can play at being professionals and then play at being mothers and flip between the two when one role gets too onerous and no one can say "boo!" to them. They bring nearly nothing to the table, either. I already have a career. If I was looking for someone with a career, I'd marry myself. If I was looking, I'd be looking for someone who brings skills and assets that I don't have.

Kimberly said...

"If I was looking, I'd be looking for someone who brings skills and assets that I don't have."

I've been determined to be a "career woman" since I was 19. Two men I dated between the ages of 19 and 22 knew they were not the determined career-types, and proposed that they be the house-husband while I brought home the bacon. Had I wanted kids, I may have taken them up on the offer - and you know what? It probably would have worked out fine.

I'm married now and childless, and I'm still clearly the "career" person in the marriage. It's not about having it all. It's about being honest about what you do want, and realistic about what you got. How someone can bitch about having a wonderful marriage and servants is beyond me. That sort of person could have millions of dollars and a beautiful shape and still be pissy about what other folks have.

PatCA said...

"I'd just like the news...k?"

Amen! If they offered every section but their "news" I might buy it.

If you're ever in the library with nothing to do, check out newspaper stories from, say, the '80s. No weasel words like "analysts fear," or "growing concern." Just the facts.

John said...

Men are naturally violent and horny but society makes men control their nature.

On the other hand, women are naturally unhappy but society encourages this destructive behavior. You go girl!

Carolynn said...

I am a mother of a one year old. I work full-time from home, have a part-time nanny (my baby is mine every single afternoon and evening), and a once a week housekeeper.

My husband does all the cooking and the grocery shopping. I do most of the non-nanny child care.

My life is freaking GREAT!

Guess I'll never be in the New York Times...

Freeman Hunt said...

Area Woman Discovers That Choices Have Trade-Offs And Men Are Less Concerned With Housework Than She Is ... story at eleven ...

Galvanized said...

I've got a problem with anyone who gripes either way. One has only one life, so a person must take charge so it's truly living, and not hate those who are happy with their choices.

I don't think that her being worried about a messy house is wrong. But if she's angry with a spouse for not being worried enough when it's not even her priority to be there, then that seems to be wrong.

A bit of disclosure here -- but I used to be the woman who worked and hated all women who got to stay home with their kids. But then I realized that I was making a choice everyday I left them with someone else, all for the sake of having more "things," which is nothing shameful. But one day, I decided to quit griping and hating those women and make that choice, too. What I found, having lived both ways, is that there is great sacrifice on both sides. I'm much happier now, and I would never balk at someone living the life they enjoy living ever again. Lesson learned. :)

These are really the issues that should be got at before marriage. But as many of us have learned, we had absolutely no idea what we were in for. LOL :)

richard mcenroe said...

"In today's world, everyone will get their "15 minutes" of victimhood, and the NYT will be there to help them."

OK. here's the deal. I will forfeit my 15 minutes of victimhood and you won't have to hear me whine about it if you just fork over the bennies and cash I was going to demand up front.

Remember, I have a keyboard and I know how to use it.

SnowDahlia said...

Dick,

It's funny, because actually I've been able to manage just the kind of job you speak of - I work at home, pretty much set my own hours, and am trusted to get my job done on my own terms. It's no coincidence that I work for a small social services agency run by a woman; her view is, we work hard, don't get paid a whole lot, and damn it, we're going to be able to take care of our kids when they get sick. You're assuming that this kind of telecommuting arrangement - which the Energy Dept. is now encouraging in federal agencies, by the way - must necessarily hurt a company's bottom line. The most successful companies, I would argue, are the ones who realize that the workforce has changed, and will continue to change as the Gen-Yers come on board. Since when is caring about your workers, or responding to their needs, bad for business?

And about this whining business: whining about the so-called whiners counts as whining too, doesn't it? No one has a monopoly on it.

Anna said...

I thought I'd put in an example of a husband who actually does a lot for the family.

My friend has three small kids (all pre-K) and his wife stays at home to take care of them.

He gets up at 4 AM every weekday to get some work done at the office (he's a lawyer), then gets home at 6:30 AM just as the kids are waking up. He helps out with feeding them and getting them ready for the day.

He runs back to work until lunch, when he runs back home (when he can), again to help with the feeding, etc. Back to work, and back home by afternoon, again to help with the feeding, bathing, and finally reading to his kids before they fall asleep.

Weekends are spent playing with the kids the whole time, taking them to museums, parties, and whatever else kiddies do on weekends.

He's perenially tired (can't blame him), but he insists this is the way he wants to do it. He's bringing home a lot of money, to boot. His wife is very put-together emotionally and manages the kids fine by herself, too, but I don't know how long that would last without her super-husband.

I can almost say that his wife has it easy compared to what this guy does. Sure she does the laundry and cleans the house, but he does a lot of the child-rearing parts in addition to high six-digit income brought home to the family. Of course he does the home maintenance stuff, too.

I've always suspected it's got something to do with his own childhood (I happen to be married to his father), and that he thought his dad (a doctor) wasn't "always there" and was working too hard.

For whatever reason, though, I think this guy is an amazing dad and husband. Oh, and I still have to hear him complain. The closest he came to "complaining" was when his wife arranged for babysitters for the kids so that the two of them can go wine tasting. He moaned jokingly to me that he'd "really rather just get some sleep."

Apostolic Anchoress / Rowena Hullfire said...

WIFE is an acronym: Wash, Iron, Fuck, Etc. If you don't want the job, don't apply for it. It's a VOLUNTARY tour of duty.

Caring too much about a clean house will make a person unbearably crazy. Either do it out of love without whining (a la FlyLady.net) or lower your standards and don't worry about it.

She had the resources to go tenure track and chose not to do it and I think she's regretting that choice now that she's experiencing the consequences of that choice. Why she blames other women...pure anti-feminist misogyny.

Me? Always hated housework, never wanted kids, always wanted to be the author of my own life, happier on my own...tenured and worked damn hard for it.

I have ZERO gripes against any woman who makes other choices based on what she wants.

It's a free country. Make your choices, be happy, and quit whining like a little girl. It's unattractive. Now that the kids are grown, and you're older, the more you whine, the more you tempt your hubby to look at happier and younger women. ZING