Wednesday, May 27, 2009

IT guys and marriage

Psychoanalyst Stuart Schneiderman sent me a link to an article he was interviewed for on IT (mostly) guys and marriage. The title of the piece, "IT People Are From Mars: Why Your Marriages Are From Hell or Headed There" is (I suppose) a take-off on John Gray's book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. Apparently, IT people are from another world when it comes to communicating with their spouses.

Eleven men and one woman were asked about what they wished their spouse knew about their job. This is what the men said:

Most of the 11 other respondents' answers to my question expressed some frustration with their jobs or with their marriages, or both. (The one woman who responded to my question wrote about the guilt-trips her kids lay on her for having to work long hours.) Their responses boiled down to the following five themes:

1. I don't want to discuss the details of my workday when I get home.


2. Don't call me at work unless it's an emergency.


3. If I don't return your phone call, it's not because I'm mad at you/don't love you. It's because I'm busy.


4. IT management is not a 9-to-5 job. It's complicated, demanding and stressful.


5. I'm not a tech support person, and I can't fix all of the family's home technology problems, especially when I'm at work. I spend my time on strategic issues and networking with other C-level executives.


The men in the article are seen as the "bad guys," that is, they are seen as uncommunicative and insensitive to their wives--and blamed for their shortcomings. The summary of the piece makes this clear: "your answers spoke more about your communication mistakes at home than they did about your spouse's shortcomings. Read on for advice on how to fix this before a nasty crash."

Perhaps these IT men are a bit uncommunicative or perhaps they do have stressful jobs. But can you imagine if the same author interviewed women who were raising five kids and having a stressful time of it? Say the husband was calling home for some spousal care on the phone in the middle of three of the kids having a temper tantrum. Do you think anyone would be sympathetic to his plight and blame the wife for her communication mistakes? I rather doubt it.

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162 Comments:

Blogger randian said...

It is pretty standard to assert that if a man communicates differently than a woman, or differently than a woman would prefer he communicate, then he is by definition lacking in communication skills. This is the underlying assumption of the piece, and that assumption should be strenuously questioned.

7:49 AM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger javadoug said...

Dr. Helen, you seem to stick up for men quite often.
Being a man, I appreciate that.
Thanks.

7:56 AM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Helen said...

javadoug,

Thanks for your kind comment but it is not just "sticking up for men," it is standing up for what is fair and human, something our culture seems to lack in spades if you are not in the politically correct demographic group.

8:04 AM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger DadInWisconsin1 said...

Dr. Helen,

I am one of those IT men. I agree with Randian, most women assume men are stupid or lacking in communication skills when it comes to their wives. Men might just as well say those women have comprehension problems, but that would start a fight. Why many women/wives don't seem to get it that they are asking for a fight with that attitude no less than a man would be if he questioned their comprehension skills I cannot understand.

My wife doesn't want to know what happens at work in IT, though I would be happy to share it with her. I've been told to shut up over and over, that it sounds like I am bragging about myself. On the other hand when she does talk to me, she regales me with what is going on in her office - and it sounds so self-centered most of the time, I can hardly stand to listen.

Husband and wife should complement one another in their home and work lives, and give each other support. These days if a man does not "support" his wife, he can (and will) be dragged into court and accused of "abusing" her (did he touch her? Who cares? The accusation is enough to jail a man!) On the other hand, women are trained that is it unbecoming to their woman-hood to support their husband. Why how dare he want their support, does he think she owes him ANYthing?

God forbid men and women should have comfortable and well-defined roles to occupy, why that would mean that men and women could be contented in their respective (and negotiated!) roles! Can't have that by any means, can we?

Men long for well-defined roles they can fit into and do well at. But in the current climate, that is very rare. Women are bombarded with doctrine teaching them to take what they want, there are no consequences. Men are bombarded with consequences, and expected to assume the consequences of the actions of their wives. It's not in the least fair or just. But the system is not about fairness or justice, it is about taking from the unfavored and weak (legally) to give to the favored and powerful (legally or otherwise.)

Dad in Wisconsin

8:22 AM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger javadoug said...

Dr. Helen,
I agree with your comments.

Here is an interesting tidbit: my wife is in the same profession as yours, and I'm an IT guy. Couldn't be more different :)
Thanks

8:33 AM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger SuSuseriffic said...

All this says to me is how unfamily freindly American workplaces are (and of course how differnt gender roles are in most American marriages). I am glad I married a school teacher. We live on little, but at least we see each other and he sees the kids a lot.
Great blog Dr Helen.

8:49 AM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Larry J said...

My wife works a stressful job (workers comp case management) and frequently needs to vent. I listen as best I can and be supportive. My job is demanding but due to security restrictions, I can't talk about it very much. We find other things to talk about.

For us, walking is very beneficial. Being empty nesters, we have the time to go on 3-5 mile walks regularly. This gives us time to talk about all sorts of things while getting some exercise. If your family situation allows it, give walking a try.

As others have pointed out, communications is more complicated than "she's right, he's wrong." In basic communications theory, there are three parts: the sender, the receiver, and the message. If she's sending a message (verbally or non-verbally) and he isn't receiving it, the fault is as much hers as his. She needs to adapt the message to the receiver in the same manner as a speaker adapts a speech based on the target audience.

8:56 AM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger JohnMcG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:00 AM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger JohnMcG said...

I'll repost what I posted over there:

I think it's unfortunate that the issues were broken down into easily dismissible bullet points. It seemed that the worst were cherry-picked to make the executives look bad. I think the treatment of the last item was especially shabby -- yes, talking about "C-level" executives is kind of haughty, but Dr. Schneiderman made no effort to get behind the complaint and instead focussed on the superficial "ego trip" parts of it. I don't think Dr. Schnierman would take kindly to an executive who dismissed his spouse's complaints in a similar way.

I think the running theme of these items is that execs would like their spouses (and likely their coworkers) to understand that context switches are expensive. The cost of the 10-minute phone call to reset the clock on the VCR actually costs more than that, because we have to dump the context of what we were working on, and then try to bring it back to get on track. And incurring this cost when the task requires diligence rather than technical expertise is aggravating.

This isn't to say we shouldn't do it anyway, or that techies have no room for improvement in managing their personal lives. But I think the article would have been more helpful if it had a sense that that complaints were being heard rather than brushed away.

9:01 AM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger MikeT said...

I am fortunate in that I married a software engineer who comes from an engineering family. Since she comes from a similar environment, she understands perfectly well what is going on when I say that we have a deadline.

The women who complain about this sort of lifestyle just don't want to understand that there is a price to be paid for having a husband in IT. Software development in particular is at near full employment (we have a 1.8% unemployment rate right now!) but the price is spending a lot of hours at work that require needy women to handle their own problems.

9:50 AM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I suppose, being a programmer, I'm an IT guy. I don't care to talk much about my job outside of work. While I like my job and enjoy many of the challenges, I find it boring to talk about it during my leisure time. I want to do something else.

I usually have time for short phone conversations while at work. But, as JohnMcG points out, context switches are costly which is why I dislike unexpected interruptions at work whether it be a phone call or a co-worker. I lose as much as twice the amount of time the actual interruption took.

I won't use my past marriage as an example because my ex is certifiably "outside the normal limits" as shown by the MMPI and other tests. However, if you, whether man or woman, want to comminucate better with your spouse change the way you communicate. You can control the way you communicate which is much more productive that demanding the world change to suit you.

9:56 AM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger MikeT said...

Schneiderman: "These guys don't understand that women call their husbands for other reasons besides an emergency. They want to check in. They want to connect. The way you deal with that is to preempt it. If you don't want to have a long conversation on the phone with you wife, call her and say, 'I only have three minutes before my next meeting, but I just wanted to tell you I love you.' That will get you a weeks' worth of whatever you want. Little gestures that show consideration and thoughtfulness solve a lot of these problems and allow you to avoid huge conflicts."
It's obviously too much to expect of a lot of women to just be happy that they have a husband who works a job that pays well, and to let him get his work done so he can get home sooner.

9:56 AM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Nora said...

Perhaps because I'm perpetually single, but I can actually relate more to the IT guys than to the wives.

Work is supposed to be work. I don't do IT work, but why is it insulting that a person be asked not to call unless it's a true emergency? I don't have a deadline job like that anymore.

When I did - a job where three months out of the year I was on strict deadline - my family knew not to call unless it was a strict emergency, and I didn't return calls until I had the time. No one was offended. Maybe month after month, year after year it would be bad, but are we supposed to be so insecure in our relationships that we need to call at least once a day to reassure ourselves that our spouses love and miss us?

Look, if it's a true emergency, call. If you want an opinion on dinner, running errands after work, etc, send an email, and if it's time sensitive, say you'll pull the trigger if you don't hear from them, and that if they don't have the time to do it, they can't complain about the results. I'm not talking about major lifestyle changes here, or super expensive purchases which should be discussed, I'm talking about "do you want me to make chicken or steak for dinner". Everyone's got a different threshold, but if they don't have a nine-to-five job, say "under this amount, we don't need to discuss it."

Work out what needs to be discussed in advance - maybe weekly menus, what needs to be decided by both parties and both parties there when the transaction is made, and what doesn't.

10:12 AM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Heather said...

Schneiderman: "These guys don't understand that women call their husbands for other reasons besides an emergency. They want to check in. They want to connect. The way you deal with that is to preempt it. If you don't want to have a long conversation on the phone with you wife, call her and say, 'I only have three minutes before my next meeting, but I just wanted to tell you I love you.' That will get you a weeks' worth of whatever you want. Little gestures that show consideration and thoughtfulness solve a lot of these problems and allow you to avoid huge conflicts." This guy is nuts! Why should the husband cater to his needy wife?

1. I don't want to discuss the details of my workday when I get home.I will say as a stay at home mom I find this one frustrating and I try to comply. However, if my husband is in a bad mood I would like to know if why. I think that is being supportive.

10:15 AM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Heather --

It's because he wants to let it boil away. Unless mocking them, talking about the dipshits at work simply prolongs the irritation for a guy. It's a compartmentalization thing.

My attitude is: work is work, I don't want it tainting my home life.

10:38 AM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Pete said...

However, if my husband is in a bad mood I would like to know if why. I think that is being supportive.I'll be happy to tell you why, Heather: Because it is the same old bullshit we are powerless to correct. It's the same office politics, the same machine breaking down because some bean-counting SOB would rather lose a thousand dollars of productivity over and over then spend five hundred bucks that has to be justified to fix the damn thing, the same dipshit shirking work and it getting piled on you.

Not only that, even though we can't do sod-all to correct it, it's stil demanded of us to answer "why?" and told to "Make it work."

"How was work?" Same thing as always. Got in the same car. Made the same drive. Punched the same clock. Sat in the same cubicle, in the same facility, doing the same damn thing with the same damn idiots I did yesterday and the day before and the day before and so on back. What would you like? Maybe if I do a tedious play by play of the tedious day I always have, just once, I can just set the fucking recording on the counter and work at forgetting the life of quiet desperation I lead while you hear the same thing, over, and over, day in and day out.

Seriously. Not only is it not exciting, have a whack with the damn cluebat: They have to pay me to do it, it's that bad. I'm glad to be done. Which is why I don't want to rehash it. My home is a refuge from that bullshit, and you want to turn it into a living HELL where I can never get away from it!

11:24 AM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Joe said...

How are any of these conclusions different from most white collar problem solving jobs? I'm a computer programmer, but when I talk to people in other professions they have many of the same complaints. (Helen, I'm sure your husband just loves giving legal advice to family members and loves even more being called in the middle of a lecture.)

11:52 AM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Tether said...

I was going to say something similar to Joe, but he beat me to it.

This dynamic occurs when you have a spouse in a full-time, serious, real job and the other spouse either just sitting at home or behind the perfume counter at Nordstrom's for 10 hours a week.

Housewives want to live vicariously through their husbands - all the drama and status, none of the work. They are bored; they want to be entertained by the husband like at the beginning when they were dating. Women who have never had a serious job themselves also tend to underestimate the work it takes to get and hold a job like that - the husband just has everything handed to him (they think).

I think it IS the men's fault - for marrying a sit-at-home who is not going to understand them no matter what.

11:58 AM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Dogwood said...

I think Pete needs a new job. ;)

Setting aside the somewhat belligerent tone, he is right Heather. Men see our home as our refuge, a place where we can leave the outside world outside and not have to think about it or talk about it for the rest of the evening.

Wanting to know why your husband is stressed is normal and very caring, but most men do not want to rehash the events that created the stress, we just want to shove it out of our minds until we have to deal with the issue the next day.

There are ways to help your husband depressurize from the day, but asking him to talk about his day is not one of them.

If you get home before he does, then greet him with a warm hug and kiss before you say anything to him or ask anything of him. A wife's embrace and affection has the power to melt away the stress in short order.

Then, leave him alone for a few minutes so he can unwind, relax and switch gears from worker bee to husband/father. Then, go for a walk or bike ride together, head outside to check on the garden, or whatever other activity offers a nice change of pace from the work environment he just left.

In other words, the best way to help your husband deal with his stress is to help him make the mental shift from work life to home life. Asking him to talk about his day simply postpones, or makes it impossible, to make that mental shift, which adds to the stress he is already feeling.

12:08 PM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger David said...

Why are these issues considered specific to IT? "complicated, demanding and stressful"...so is the job of a production control supervisor in a factory. Or an airline pilot or an air traffic controller. Or an emergency room nurse or doctor.

The IT profession continues to isolate itself to a much greater extent than necessary or desirable from other aspects of business.

12:11 PM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Dogwood said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:13 PM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Dogwood said...

Housewives want to live vicariously through their husbandsMaybe, or it could be that women deal with stress by talking about those things that cause them stress, so they assume, incorrectly, that the same technique works for men.

12:15 PM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

Re: the calls at work.

I think it kind of matters whether the spouse getting the calls has actually said "please don't call me at work" in so many words.

If he has, and he's still getting the calls, then that is a basic respect issue - not respect that a wife owes a husband specifically, but that one person owes another. If it's the wife saying "please don't call me at work" she deserves the same respect.

If he hasn't, then he needs to understand that it's not helpful to get angry because someone isn't reading his mind. Maybe he thinks she's supposed to interpret his voice tone or his shortness as him saying "don't call me at work", and maybe he's overestimating her perceptiveness there.

12:34 PM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Bolie Williams IV said...

I do not work in IT but my job is still stressful, complicated, and not a 9 to 5 job. It is nominally an 8 to 5 job (does anyone still really work 9 to 5?) but if there is a problem, I could be called in at anytime and I may have to work long hours or on weekends for testing or troubleshooting. I may also have to travel.

This is not an "IT" thing, it's more of a "professional" thing.

12:59 PM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Helen said...

Laura,

Good points. Some of us cannot have phone calls at work. I tell people not to call unless it is a dire emergency and I don't call people at work unless asked to do so. No one is a mind reader, as you point out.

However, I do see many spouses (mostly wives but sometimes husbands) call at the job just to shoot the breeze which is not really a wise idea--and it often makes the other spouse feel on a short leash or just hassled, if they are trying to work.

1:03 PM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Heather said...

Pete and All,

I understand my husband’s view and as I said I comply. It just is frustrating, because there is in fact bleed over.

Of course, we just spent and weekend away for our tenth anniversary, he wanted to talk about the kids the entire time, one of which was teething and had just learned to walk. I really needed the break and he couldn’t understand why I didn’t need to call grandma every 2 hour and talk about them every minute.

So yeah, I can understand.

1:33 PM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger br549 said...

Maybe I'm an idiot, but it seems to me if one has a desk job this day and age, he is part IT person. Male or female.

Anyone who interrupts another at work just to shoot the breeze is a dolt.

And yeah, most men like to wind down when getting home - at least for a while; not immediately start an engaging conversation. Especially if the drive home is also a blast.

I have heard it said a man speaks maybe 2000 words a day, a woman perhaps three times that. A man would like to be done talking when he gets home, where a woman may just be getting started. I'm not saying anything is wrong with either, but that men and women are different. Remember, Newsweek said so!

1:36 PM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger MikeT said...

Housewives want to live vicariously through their husbands - all the drama and status, none of the work. They are bored; they want to be entertained by the husband like at the beginning when they were dating. Women who have never had a serious job themselves also tend to underestimate the work it takes to get and hold a job like that - the husband just has everything handed to him (they think).
The solution to this is for men to make it clear to their bored housewives that they have a few choices:

1) Homeschool.
2) Keep everything immaculate and get all of the work done.
3) Keep themselves in the same shape they were in when they first met, irrespective of age or number of kids they have (if you sit on your ass all week, you have time to spend 2.5 hours a day in the gym).
4) Get a job.

2:15 PM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Wayne said...

"Why are these issues considered specific to IT? "complicated, demanding and stressful"...so is the job of a production control supervisor in a factory. Or an airline pilot or an air traffic controller. Or an emergency room nurse or doctor."

I suspect it's that many people don't see IT jobs as, "complicated, demanding and stressful," as well as time-dependent, the way the other jobs mentioned are. Since the computer will wait until you are ready, they don't understand at the gut level how the distraction of a phone call in the middle of work can disrupt a person for a considerably longer time than just the few minutes of the call.

Heather - If you want to help your husband, ask if he wants to vent. If he does, great. If he does not, then help him take his mind off work so the bleed-over is lessened. As far as the break you needed - simple. Explain that YOUR work is taking care of the kids, and, just like he needs a break from HIS work when he gets home, you need a break from the trials and tribulations of being the primary caregiver. If he doesn't get that, you have a larger issue, or at least need a bigger cluebat.

2:32 PM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Michael said...

I am an IT manager who just hit 18 years of marriage. Many of the people commenting here do not seem to have job problems, but marriage problems. The IT nature can add stress, but cannot be blamed for obvious lack of maintenance of your relationships. Put down your toys and spend some real time with your people.

2:38 PM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Heather said...

Thanks Wayne,

That’s pretty much what I do to try to lessen the bleed over.

I explained to him while I love the kids I needed to unwind a bit. He laughed and said I should have just told him I didn’t want to talk about work.

2:58 PM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Dogwood said...

A man would like to be done talking when he gets home, where a woman may just be getting started. I'm not saying anything is wrong with either, but that men and women are different.In the case of the wife staying at home with the kids, sometimes the wife just wants to have an adult conversation. But you're right, we just want to be done talking when the work day is done.

The key is simply to recognize the obvious, that we are different, then find fun and creative ways to accommodate the differences.

Maybe now that Newsweek is on the case the male/female communications crisis will come to an end in the near future!

6:08 PM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger MB said...

This is just the inequality that's going to naturally occur between someone who has the responsibility of a heavy-duty job and someone who doesn't.

I had this experience in an intense way a decade or so ago. I lived with a woman - it stretched into several years.

She quit her job early on when we moved in together. Despite my pleas for her to get a job, she was focused on "going on vacation".

If we just came back from one, she would slowly start the subtle nagging for the next one - because she just didn't have a whole lot to do without a job. But she wouldn't get one either, not on her life.

My impression: Never again with a woman who doesn't have any interest in work - just interest in you paying for everything. No thanks.

I realize that everyone has different tastes, but how do you "traditional" guys deal with a woman who won't work? (I realize some of you even want that - that is beyond my comprehension). I'm not just talking about feeling used (which you are ...), I'm talking about the nagging to constantly do something "fun" (because they aren't stimulated sitting at home) and the lack of any ability to really TALK to her as a fellow human being. You are just the ATM, not a real person.

6:24 PM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger MB said...

I guess in days gone by, "traditional" men had the fun of being the daddy and the boss to women like I described above.

Not today.

Not today.

She is the boss. You are only the wealth-producer.

From my point of view, these men are incredibly stupid.

6:28 PM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Simon Kenton said...

Re women's communication skills being so good and men's so bad. I tired of this meme, and once told a woman, "If you cared. If you cared AT ALL, you'd pull the engine from that Volvo, get the valves ground, bore it, put in the oversize pistons, replace the bearings, and get it back in the car. If you don't you're just showing that "we" mean nothing to you."

"I can't do that."

"If you cared, you'd know how."

7:54 PM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Dogwood said...

but how do you "traditional" guys deal with a woman who won't work?Sorry, can't help you, don't have any experience with women who "won't work". Apparently, you allowed someone to take advantage of you, then in your resentment, project her laziness or selfishness onto all women who choose to stay home.

My wife worked until we had kids, then she stayed home to take care of them. Now that both children will be in school full time, she is going back to work.

But, as a stay-at-home mom, she managed the house, worked at home as a part-time book editor for a friend of ours, volunteered at school and pre-school, volunteered at church during youth night every Wednesday, trains for marathons and triathlons, is director of an annual charity bike ride, serves on the regional board of the Red Cross, and cooks fantastic meals for our family.

We're a traditional family in every way possible, which means we work together to do what needs to be done.

Guess the short answer to your question, though, is choose your partner very carefully. Make sure you share the same values, beliefs and goals, then share in the effort necessary to live those beliefs and values while working to achieve your goals.

9:17 PM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Doom said...

I cannot say all women are like this, but... Many of the women I have had relationships with not only do not understand me, when they get upset, they don't understand themselves. Oh, yes, of course, I was called all wrong... until I secretly recorded a number of "sessions". A woman, when she is upset, sometimes anyway, makes absolutely no sense.

After recording a session, when things became calmed down, I asked my last to listen and explain both what she said and what she wanted. As it turns out, neither could she understand what she had said nor did what she could understand of what she said have anything to do with what was "wrong".

And that brings up another issue. Women are so used to lying that they never really do come out with what the problem is or was. I really do not deal with women unless they can first figure out what the problem is. They often have no clue, and just as often what is wrong has nothing to do with me.

So, as for women being better communicators, I simply do not believe that. Most women, in my experience, and definitely within relationships, are more childlike than superior. I have not been married, but I have lived with women for 8, 4, and 3 years (different women), and had numerous shorter term relationships. I am not sure if children might change things, though I seriously doubt if marriage itself would.

The "communication problem" has nothing to do with men, for the most part, whether IT or not, I should think. Just saying.

11:00 PM, May 27, 2009  
Blogger Rob Fedders said...

Please support this.

1:49 AM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

One aspect that may be somewhat unique to IT jobs is the higher rates of people, usually guys, with Asperger's syndrome who go into computer related fields. I am not sure what the rates are, but the folks I know and work with who have Asperger's are quite often computer guys, and what they gain in logic and technical intuition they typically lack in the ability to read non-verbal cues and process emotions.

I wonder if that is a variable in some of the perspective in the article.

Trey

9:37 AM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

You're probably right, Trey.

Also there's this FTA:

"Presumably, these guys know how to manage people, but they're not using their management skills at home."

I would not presume that these guys know how to manage people. As stated before, I've had management training, which was thought necessary because I'm a technical person; and I believe it was, because I learned some stuff that was not intuitively obvious to me. Maybe it is to other people. It isn't to some other technical types I've worked with.

And there definitely was spillover into non-work relationships, including those with my husband and child. For instance, before you hold someone accountable for something, you have to make sure that person understands what she is supposed to do and has the capacity to do it - this is important in dealing with homework expectations on a child as she grows up and matures. You can't assume that the kid can do X just because you can, or you think you could have at that age, etc. You deal with her as she is. I think sometimes people are more merciful with employees than they are with their own kids.

Larry J says, "In basic communications theory, there are three parts: the sender, the receiver, and the message. If she's sending a message (verbally or non-verbally) and he isn't receiving it, the fault is as much hers as his. She needs to adapt the message to the receiver in the same manner as a speaker adapts a speech based on the target audience." This is part of it too - a management skill needed at work that carries over to the home.

11:27 AM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Laura, I wonder if many technical folks are less likely to pick up interpersonal cues. Is the capacity an either or situation? I bet we all know people who have both, but I think I know more people who are either tech or people savvy.

Trey

11:57 AM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

Trey, with age and experience people can learn things that didn't come to them easily.

One thing that I've seen people miss is that a "skill" is something you learn. One person may be more apt than another, but that other person can still learn it. One of my daughter's elementary school teachers said that she needed better organizational skills. Well, you don't go out and pick those off a tree, do you? Since the teacher didn't step up to the plate to teach those, I did. And since she's a lot like me, I was able to teach her some strategies that really work for her.

I think it's the same with people skills. Observe what works and what doesn't, and put some effort into figuring it out. Nontechnical people can learn technical stuff too, they may just have to try a little harder. It comes down to deciding whether the payoff is worth it. If your marriage is suffering b/c communication is poor, is it worth giving a little thought to what the problem is and how to fix it? It's worth at least as much energy as you might put into complaining about your partner, right?

12:09 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Target said...

How do you rate someone's ability to be "people savvy", TMink?

Are you personally "people savvy" (?), and if so, according to whose definition (?) (you seem to rub a lot of people the wrong way on this board - that doesn't sound like "people savvy").

The absence of technical skills is not equivalent to the presence of "people skills".

12:44 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Locomotive Breath said...

I'm an engineer who does design. I'm still working to get my wife of 25 years to understand that it takes about an hour to wrap my head around some of the difficult problems that I have to solve. Even a five minute interruption for the thought that just popped into her head means pushing the reset button all the way in and I pretty much have to start over from the beginning.

Which means I get home late.

1:10 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Dogwood said...

Target,

Tmink doesn't rub people the wrong way, his ideas rub people the wrong way, and it tends to be those individuals who personalize differences who get hostile towards him, such as yourself.

Tmink is discussing generalities and then you pop in here and start making it personal. Chill the f/ck out and try to have a normal, non-hostile conversation.

Some of your ideas/thoughts may have merit, but your hostility makes people skip over your comments because they would rather not spend the emotional energy dealing with your outbursts.

1:35 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Target said...

I think you better get back to work, Dogwood - you've got a sit-at-home to pay for.

As a side note - and I'm not going to pursue this - he very much has rubbed people the wrong way with his personality.

In any case, I'm glad you've appointed yourself sheriff here, but I don't recognize your authority. Sorry, but like I said, you best be gettin' back to work.

1:42 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Larry J said...

I'm an engineer who does design. I'm still working to get my wife of 25 years to understand that it takes about an hour to wrap my head around some of the difficult problems that I have to solve. Even a five minute interruption for the thought that just popped into her head means pushing the reset button all the way in and I pretty much have to start over from the beginning.From a long ago CS class, I remember learning about a concept called flow. IIRC, it was from a 1968 book called "The Psychology of Computer Programming." As taught, flow was a state of highly focused concentration. It commonly took 45 minutes or longer to achieve flow but it could be broken by any interruption. As a former programmer, I achieved flow many times but almost never in a cubicle environment. While in a flow state, hours melted away and I achieved amazing productivity. One interruption, though, and I'd be back at square one. That's why I got so much work done after hours.

1:47 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

"I think you better get back to work, Dogwood - you've got a sit-at-home to pay for.

As a side note - and I'm not going to pursue this - he very much has rubbed people the wrong way with his personality."

How do you think you rub people, Target, with your charming personality? Do you care? Clearly you don't, so why should Trey?

1:53 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger pockosmum said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:02 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Target said...

Whenever there's a discussion of housewives, invariably some of them will come on here and justify THEIR OWN LIFE as a response.

Who cares about your autobiography.

And I notice that the justifications mostly involve some kind of part-time or volunteer work. It's like having a general discussion about criminals, and then criminals come on and say that they personally are OK because they didn't commit any crimes.

WTF?

In Dogwood's justification of paying for a sit-at-home, almost all of the stuff he lists (that his wife supposedly does) is either low-paid work (part-time book editor) or non-paid work (various forms of volunteering, activity on a regional board etc.).

******************
Dogwood says: "But, as a stay-at-home mom, she managed the house, worked at home as a part-time book editor for a friend of ours, volunteered at school and pre-school, volunteered at church during youth night every Wednesday, trains for marathons and triathlons, is director of an annual charity bike ride, serves on the regional board of the Red Cross, and cooks fantastic meals for our family."
*********************

The long and short of it is that YOU have to pay for her, not me. So you can play whatever games you want.

The way that parasitical housewives DO affect others arises because of what they become in all of their sit-at-home glory.

They become hard-to-deal-with bossy bitches. They use their husband as a weapon (especially if the husband is a cop, lawyer, judge, really big guy, former wrestler/boxer, really rich guy, really connected guy etc.). They get into petty fights with people in the neighborhood and in public because they don't have enough to do. They get very judgmental and tell unemployed men they better get a job (that's my favorite hypocrisy). In short, the get used to exploiting the husband and think it then applies to all other people in the universe. Let them eat cake.

2:14 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Target said...

The "Comment deleted" above mine was Pockosmom justifying her existence as a housewife.

2:15 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger pockosmum said...

"Apparently, you allowed someone to take advantage of you, then in your resentment, project her laziness or selfishness onto all women who choose to stay home."

Thank you. You said it much better than I was going to. What MB describes is not 'traditional' but parasitic. Over the past 20-30 years we've seen a warping of what the term 'traditional wife and mother' originally meant. A traditional wife kept the house clean, cooked wholesome food, took care of the kids and instilled some manners in them. Kept track of the finances, made a house a home, in many instances made their kid's clothes. Women who lived on farms worked even harder.

THAT'S 'traditional'. Not some broad who spends all her time on the couch watching Oprah or in Starbucks while she palms her kids off on nannies and day care.

I stay at home now (ducks). I worked till we had our son, I stayed home and did teaching at home as well as proof-reading and editing of papers for the local university medical department so I could be a mother to him and we'd still have additional income. I went back to work (full time) when he went to junior high.

I quit work once again to take care of my father-in-law with Alzheimer's (I tried to do both and almost ran myself into the ground). Started back part time after he passed away, and am now home again as MIL has AD now. She's in a facility but still needs a lot done for her and I'm not getting any younger. I can't do everything for us, and handle all her finances, insurance, and other needs etc and work a full-time job.She also comes home for 10-14 day stretches every couple of months, and will until she progresses too far to come home any longer. Not many jobs give you 10-day vacations every two months!

I do, and always have, kept an immaculate house.I also do all the gardening, our food is always home cooked from scratch. Now that I'm home again, all cleaning/fixing/shopping/errands are done by 5 pm on Friday, that way nobody has to do anything all weekend. My husband owns his own business and works way too many hours as it is, I'll be damned if he works more at home. That's MY job.

What I've done has been out of love for my family, so I'm not trying to either brag or to paint myself as some kind of martyr. It's just that I take my role as a wife seriously. If that's what I'm going to do, I'm going to do it right....I was the same way about my job. I also want to say that I have absolutely nothing against women having careers at all. It would not work for us, for our situation and the way things worked out over the years, for me to have had a full-time career.

So, that's why I'm home, and the road that got me here. Now, step into my shoes and have someone ask 'What do you do?' and watch the sneer as you say 'I stay at home'.

2:18 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Target said...

And to get back on topic - an IT person has a sometimes difficult job in which he has to concentrate and produce something on a regular basis. He/she (mostly "he") has to realize that a non-working person who doesn't appreciate work or achievement is not going to understand a WHOLE lot.

You have to weigh if the sex is worth all the rest of the trouble. As you get older, it won't be enough to put up with the rest of her dopey crap - so be very careful of a commitment.

2:18 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger pockosmum said...

I simply wanted to edit it,it was too long, here it is again,just took me a few minutes.

2:19 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

I wish somebody would explain to me what "shaming" language is when a woman does it, and how it differs from Target's comments here.

2:22 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger pockosmum said...

And, dear, 'explaining' not 'justifying'.Wee bit of a difference there.

'Whenever there's a discussion of housewives, invariably some of them will come on here and justify THEIR OWN LIFE as a response.'

What else would you have me explain being a stay-at-home wife than....the experiences of one? I suppose you'd like to just post things like this--

'They get into petty fights with people in the neighborhood and in public because they don't have enough to do. They get very judgmental and tell unemployed men they better get a job (that's my favorite hypocrisy). In short, the get used to exploiting the husband and think it then applies to all other people in the universe.'

unopposed, as it justifies your view of women and the world.
You're here giving your opinions on something you obviously know absolutely nothing about, so why not hear from the other side?

2:30 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Dogwood said...

Actaully Target, much of what my wife does is called community service.

You know, like raising money that funds college scholarships for local high school kids, or running blood drives so when people like you are in tragic accidents, the hospital has the necessary blood type on hand to keep you alive.

As for book editing, hardly a low-paying job.

And yes, much of what she does is part-time, because her first priority is raising our kids, which is more important than anything you or I do in this world.

As far as justifying my life, that was not the intention of my post for I need not justify my life to you or anyone else. I was simply pointing out that MB's stereotype of housewives as "women who won't work" is not an accurate portrayal of reality for many of us and I used my own wife as an example.

I know many housewives, but don't know a single one who sits around watching Oprah all day. Sure, there are plenty who do or her show wouldn't exist, but MB's depiction of housewives doesn't reflect my life, or my mother's life, or grandmothers'.

MB asked how we traditional guys handled women who wouldn't work and I responded honestly and forthrightly that this traditional guy doesn't have such a wife, nor would I want one.

If my responding to a question from a fellow commenter bothers you, then I suggest you seek counseling.

Perhaps Tmink can help you work through the unresolved issues responsible for all the anger, bitterness and resentment you spew towards those who have mutually beneficial relationships with members of the opposite sex.

3:00 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Target said...

Like I said, Dogwood, you have to pay for her, not me. So believe your nonsense if you want (I understand that you have to rationalize it in your own mind or you WOULD feel used).

If she bothers me or anyone around me in public or in any other way, it may come back to you. You are going to be paying for any court judgments on your wife; she sure as hell isn't going to pay anything.

So if she's the typical bossy housewife, put her on a short leash.

Otherwise, get back to work, dude, your sit-at-home isn't going to pay for herself.

3:09 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Dogwood said...

If she bothers me or anyone around me in public or in any other way, it may come back to you.You're delusional.

3:12 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Target said...

Dogwood,

If you read my massive rant above (and I will excuse you if you haven't), I talked about one of the characteristics of many housewives I've seen getting into petty fights with people in the neighborhood and in public.

I've actually seen it quite a bit. If you keep your eyes open, you will also see it. They simply don't have enough to do.

And they DO occasionally cross the line. Everyone just kind of lets them slide because they are 1) women in general and 2) sit-at-homes.

I DON'T let women / housewives slide on their bad behavior. I sue and have sued and have won.

3:15 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Target said...

And the "real party in interest" - the person who's going to be paying the judgment - is the husband / sap / dope who's supporting her.

Good. Maybe he'll wake up.

3:16 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Professor Hale said...

I used to tell my wife that I couldn't talk about my work because it is boring. She lost respect for me. Now I tell her I can't talk about it because it is classified. Same job. Same level of information. Totally different level of consideration from the wife.

3:20 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Target said...

Whether you believe it or not, Dogwood, nothing against you. My distaste extends to housewives, not hard-working men supporting them. I think the latter may not be fully clued in to reality, though.

3:39 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Dogwood said...

"I think the latter may not be fully clued in to reality, though."

Yes, yes, I think we are mere victims of a hegemonic matriarchal system...the bastards.

Seriously Target, you have reduced an individual's worth to nothing more than their paycheck. In this regard, you are like a radical feminist who believes that a stay at home mom is a traitor to the cause and not really a woman.

Maybe someday you will come to realize that there are many ways to go through this life, and that it is okay for people to choose a life path that doesn't conform to your prejudices or confirm your resentments, and that such people are undeserving of your harsh judgment, especially when you don't know them personally.

There are good, decent and caring women out there and I'm thankful to have found and married one of them.

3:49 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger JohnMcG said...

I'll be sure to be on the lookout for bored "sit-at-home" wives eager to get into a petty fight with me today.

So far, I've managed to avoid them, since most of the mothers I know are too busy taking care of their families to pick fights with acquaintances, but I'll be on the lookout. Perhaps I should have an attorney on retainer for when one of them "crosses the line."

4:04 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

Wasn't Mary Winkler a housewife? Yeah, I think she was. And a lot of them do think they can do whatever the hell they want. Not just her.

4:10 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

... and what is a bit disturbing: They think they can do whatever the hell they want ... because they CAN for the most part.

4:11 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

Susan Smith was also a housewife. Who really, really cared about her kids. Until the negro kidnapped them.

4:13 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Dogwood said...

JG,

You're right, they were housewives. So apparently, all housewives are now potential child and husband killers.

Nice logical argument there.

Geez Louise.

4:21 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

Nope, just a few examples to counter the example that they're all innocent angels.

And that's exactly how they maneuver into that position: By pretending to be innocent angels (Susan Smith was really good at that).

Because even the dopiest man is not going to support a woman if he knows that she is just using him and laughing behind his back.

That's why - ummmmmm, duuhhhhh - no woman does that. To his face.

4:24 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger JohnMcG said...

Yup, 2 in 15 years.

I'll be sure to check the backseat of my car for bored housewives before a climb in to drive home tonight.

4:24 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

I was slandered by a housewife in my neighborhood 20 years ago. I never did anything about it.

"JohnMcG": Are you a man or a woman?

LOL

4:29 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

I knew you were going to say that.

Oh, sorry. I guess I have to wait until you answer.

4:30 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:40 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger JohnMcG said...

Thank you for that startling omission. I'm sure that took a lot.

4:42 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

But no, most housewives don't murder.

We can be thankful for that.

In fact, they don't do much of anything.

4:42 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Dogwood said...

"that they're all innocent angels."

Please show me one individual that stated all housewives are innocent angels.

The only people making blanket statements around here are those who declare all housewives worthless parasites, while getting hot under the collar when some commenters provide examples that don't conform to your negative stereotype.

4:52 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger pockosmum said...

Target, I read your rant and I have to say that those women are the way they are because of poor upbringing, not because they are housewives. That's just extremely low-class behavior, period. Boredom does not make one a harridan, that's inborn and fostered by parents who raise little princesses.

There are NO nasty overbearing women in the workplace? No woman who earns a paycheck has ever said a cross word to you or anyone you know?

Please don't make me laugh.

Proof-reading, especially for universities and conferences, is not low-paying. 300 abstracts from one conference, one month to do it, $5,000.Time-consuming though, I don't recommend more than 3 of those a year if you have a small child at home. A basic scientific paper, $200-$300, more of course if I translated.Those can be fit into a family schedule much more easily. Seasonal work like thesis papers another chance to stash away cash. It's not money to sneeze at. That plus teaching classes, another $1500 a month.

4:53 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

Dogwood:

I assume that most men would not support a woman who outright stated that she was using him for his money. And who then laughed in his face.

And I say "most", because I know that there are so many man with extremely low self-esteem problems (society just beats it out of men) that they WOULD support a woman even under those conditions.

If you think about that, a woman is much more likely to get a guy to support her if she does NOT act like that. Although "innocent angel" is exaggerated, the concept here is not unrealistic.

4:58 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

Work is also good in that it drums a certain amount of egotism out of people. If you always act like you are the center of the world, you may well get fired. Then you will not be working.

With housewives, all of that is thrown out of the window. She only has to get the stupe to marry her in the beginning. There are far less constraints on her behavior after that - in terms of letting your ego fly and becoming a bossy, demanding person.

5:00 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

"How do you rate someone's ability to be "people savvy", TMink?"

Sorry, I have a patient coming in, here are a few good resources on current Interpersonal Effectiveness research. Each carries a section of the history of the body of research, and should be very helpful in getting a basic understanding about the field.

The PONS Test and the Psychometric Approach to Measuring Interpersonal Sensitivity - Hall, Judith A., Northwestern University.

New Handbook of Methods in Nonverbal Behavior Research - Harrigan, Roesnthal, & Scherer

Interpersonal Perception - Kenny.

And since I make my living working with people talking about their most painful experiences and deepest fears, my interpersonal skills are killer. I gave up trying to please everyone decades ago. 8)

Trey

5:03 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

TMink:

Why don't you grow a goatee and effect a kind-of-fake Austrian accent.

That would be really COOL.

5:06 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Dogwood said...

JG,

Not arguing against the concept of gold diggers, they have been around forever, in both genders, just against your and other's statements that all housewives are parasites.

Such patently false statements make it difficult to take you and the others seriously, even when some of your other points or concerns may be valid.

Your over the top anger, bitterness and hostility towards women undermines any argument you are trying to make, especially when you launch ad hom attacks against those who argue the opposite position.

5:10 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

"Susan Smith was also a housewife."

Wrong."Susan, not wanting to work in the same place as David, took a job as a bookkeeper at the largest employer in the area, Conso Products. She was eventually promoted to the executive secretary position for the president and CEO of Conso, J. Carey Findlay." And she was working there when she killed her children.

5:13 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:16 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Dogwood said...

Interesting post you deleted JG.

So in your mind, the only value Susan Smith had as a human being was as a corporate employee? Is that the point you were trying to make?

By that logic, her children were worthless because they didn't have jobs. Guess they were just parasites lacking intrinsic value as human beings.

You have a very dark soul JG. I think I'm more afraid of people like you than I am of the Susan Smiths of the world.

5:37 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Actually, I already have a goatee! Southern accent though.

Dogwood, I appreciate your reading skills. And it was not even my comments that offended people, it was my question!

But two or three guys have had a bee in their bonnet concerning me for weeks. I don't make blanket statements about women being horrible, that makes me the enemy I guess.

Trey

10:53 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Actually, it is true that most murdered children are murdered by a woman. I am not sure about the houswife statistics though. ;)

My wife stayed home to get the triplets to school age. I would not have traded jobs with her, even with all the bon bons she ate and Oprah she watched. 8)

Seriously, it was time well spent and monetary sacrifices well made. The kids are doing well in school and are happy. We had to scrimp, we still do, but having a loving mom at home to care for the kids, protect and raise them in our faith was worth it. And she did NOT keep the house immaculate, she was out numbered.

Trey

10:58 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

Decent childcare for triplets must cost the earth. Your wife, Trey, would have had to pull down a fortune just to break even.

11:04 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Laura, you are correct. And then there is the possible cost in developmental terms. Her being a stay at home wife and mom was the best for us and the wee ones.

Trey

11:15 PM, May 28, 2009  
Blogger Mom on the Run said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:21 AM, May 29, 2009  
Blogger Dogwood said...

"I don't make blanket statements about women being horrible, that makes me the enemy I guess."

Yep, but you're not alone.

1:24 AM, May 29, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:10 AM, May 29, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

TMink sez: "I don't make blanket statements about women being horrible, that makes me the enemy I guess."

---------

No, my memory of the reasons why you ruffle feathers doesn't have anything to do with the substance of your arguments.

As an example, and there were other issues, I distinctly remember people pointing out to you that you try to set yourself up as the chivalrous hero and try to brag about what a swell guy you are.

You seem to have difficulty in seeing reality and really listening to what people are saying. That would be fine if you weren't in an occupation that requires exactly those skills and if you weren't suggesting sometimes that you have those skills.

3:15 AM, May 29, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

"As an example, and there were other issues, I distinctly remember people pointing out to you that you try to set yourself up as the chivalrous hero and try to brag about what a swell guy you are."

OK, is this shaming?

7:53 AM, May 29, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

The hero comment came from one of you guys actually. One of you accused me of having a hero complex and I said that my work in stopping child sexual abuse and putting sexual predators in jail had a little heroism involved. I stand by that completely. It is satisfying and Godly work.

I wish you had something in your life that you knew was right and true and good JG. Helping people who were raped as children meets all those criteria. It is spiritually and emotionally satisfying work for the greater good. I am proud to be involved in it.

You should find something heroic for yourself. It would help you.

But I will not appologize for being proud and satisfied for helping children and adults heal. That would be foolish. God calls us all to wonderful and great things. He is the one who deserves the credit, but it is us who have to listen to and follow Him.

Trey

8:32 AM, May 29, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

TMink,

Another example of your confused thinking - I almost put a caveat below my post regarding this.

You asserted a self-serving reason why you are apparently the "enemy".

My response was to say that your self-serving reason was WRONG. That was not what people were alleging.

And that WASN'T what people were alleging about you.

But instead of seeing that as my point, you drone on with arguments about what the people were alleging and you also try to get a jab in on me that I do nothing heroic in my life.

-----------

Short comic-book version of my point:

NO, you are not the "enemy" because you don't make blanket statements about women being horrible.

That is not what anyone said.

8:49 AM, May 29, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

As an aside: What a bloated ego.

8:51 AM, May 29, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:56 AM, May 29, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:07 AM, May 29, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Why is it so difficult for you to see me proud of me work? You say you are familiar with and a participant in the men's movement. Have you not read The Hero Within by Pearson? How about King, Warrior, Magician, Lover by Moore and Gillette? The language I am using has a long and rich history in the men's movement.

Do some reading, catch up, overcome your pettiness. You will be happier and more successful for it. Pride in one's work is nothing about ego.

Trey

9:30 AM, May 29, 2009  
Blogger slwerner said...

TMink - "The hero comment came from one of you guys actually. One of you accused me of having a hero complex and I said that my work in stopping child sexual abuse and putting sexual predators in jail had a little heroism involved. I stand by that completely. It is satisfying and Godly work."
Trey,

While I was some what aware that you were in the counseling/therapy field, I was not aware that you specifically worked with child victims.

And, while from what I've come to learn about you, I'm certain that you don't make yourself out to be some sort of hero - yet, that work is, in fact, rather heroic.

As a prosecutor in Colorado, my wife is currently working a stint in her offices Child Victim Unit (CVU). It is such highly emotionally stressful task that they are only allowed to do it for a maximum of two years, every ten years. It is not atypical for prosecutor who been doing it for any length of time to need counseling themselves.

I am, unfortunately, often "treated" to the details of cases my wife is handling. The things that people do to children makes me both sickened and angry (If she did it for more than two years, I'd need counseling!).

Through her time CVU, I've also gotten to know the fine folks at the North Metro Children's Advocacy Center (http://www.nmcac.org/), and get to hear still more stories of tragedy and of triumph from them.

So, what I'm saying to you, and anyone else who might read this is that since I understand (more than I ever would have wished to) the nature of the subject that you deal with, I, for one, certainly do have a great deal of admiration and respect for you. You may just feel that you're doing God's will and doing your job, but I can only imagine that there are any number of children who will consider you a hero for helping to lead them through such darks times in their young lives.

Hang in there.

1:03 PM, May 29, 2009  
Blogger Target said...

I don't know if I share your worship of the amazing and heroic TMink, Slwerner.

Lots of people do good things for society in their lives and jobs - although you personally may not - but TMink sure makes sure we know about it. Again and again - and his version of things.

5:48 PM, May 29, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Yep, you got me nailed Target. Look at the history of my posts, they are all self agrandizing. I wrote a little poem for the occasion:

"I think that I shall never see,
A man more manly and fine than me."

I am thinking of having it published.

But give me a break, since you have the market on calm discourse, fair comments, and peacemaking cornered, a guy has to find something else to do.

Trey

6:21 PM, May 29, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

SLW, only some of my work is with abuse survivors. I do not think I could deal with it all day long. But it is very gratifying work, both helping the survivors and helping prosecute the perpetrators.

Tell your wife thanks for her work! And thanks to you for supporting her. You two are part of the solution and part of God's healing. I know He will bless you both for that.

Peace brother.

Trey

6:25 PM, May 29, 2009  
Blogger Target said...

TMink,

You and Chuck Pelto are the two absolute ego-maniacs here. Unwarranted ego-maniacs, I might add. But of the two, you are the dense one.

Pride goeth before the fall, Binky.

6:37 PM, May 29, 2009  
Blogger susanna in alabama said...

The best way to make a troll go away is to ignore him. The best way to maintain a reasonable dialog is to ignore the unreasonable comments. That doesn't mean ignoring those who disagree, just those who engage in ugliness. There is no value in trying to reason with an unreasonable person. Seems to me some selective ignoring would have improved this discussion.

As an unmarried woman who has supported herself for more than 20 years with no help from a man, I thought I'd weigh in on this. First, about women at home. Most of the women I know who have chosen a career as wife and mother are among the hardest workers I know. I actively discourage them from saying "I don't work" or "I don't have a job" when asked what they do. It diminishes the perceived value of their very valuable job. I am grateful that my mom chose to be home with us when we were young. My brother and sister in law are raising three lovely young girls, and doing a bang-up job. She is a full time wife and mother, and I would happily subsidize their income if they needed it to allow her to continue to do so. I think it's that important for their children. There are people in every profession, including wives and mothers, who aren't worth the cost of a bullet to shoot 'em. Doesn't do to extrapolate, though.

As for IT guys - I'm a bit of a nerd myself, so I've been around a lot of guys with IT inclinations. It seems to me that the way to build a strong core in any relationship, with IT types or otherwise, is to always keep in mind the need to nurture your partner in the way he/she wants to be nurtured. And to care enough to find out what that is. If both husband and wife do that diligently and lovingly, and see themselves as a team rather than as two individuals each seeking only self-gain, then you're set. Not easy, but rewarding.

I liken it to buying my dad a Christmas present. I love to shop for clothes and electronic gadgets, so I'd love to buy him clothes and electronic gadgets. He cares zero about those. So... I buy him fishing lures and other such things. One year he asked for a box of shotgun shells. That's what I got him. I felt like an idiot buying them because I know nothing about guns, but it wasn't about me.

7:17 PM, May 29, 2009  
Blogger Bruce Hayden said...

I did appreciate the comments about "flow". I have the Psychology of Computer Programming somewhere, and need to dig it out again. That was one reason that I have tended to work the noon to midnight shift. And, yes, I too can tell the epic stories, like when I was on a benchmark, and everyone left me at about 7 p.m. I spent the night looking at maybe a foot of assembler code, and after what seemed like an hour or two, they were back in (around 7 a.m. now), and I understood the foot of code AND had solved the problem.

Now, I work as a patent attorney. Usually less stressful than IT work, but not always. So, my girlfriend, who is used to calling me up to a half dozen times a day for trivial stuff gets ignored, and she gets pissed at that. Sorry. But that is the job. And she doesn't want to hear about what I think is interesting about my day (since that is invariably technical) but only what is going on socially or interpersonally.

In my part of the law, the "flow" or zone is important, but maybe not as much so as when I was in IT. Still, it is 6:30 Friday night, and I expect to work to maybe midnight, not having gotten as much done as I would have liked, due to the interruptions (including said girlfriend).

9:24 PM, May 29, 2009  
Blogger Tether said...

Susanna in Alabama sez: "As an unmarried woman who has supported herself for more than 20 years with no help from a man, ..."

-----

Those are certainly impressive credentials. I don't get much help from a man either. Oh, I forgot, I am one.

That's what you're friggin' SUPPOSED TO be doing. Is there some unspoken requirement that men are supposed to support you that I'm missing? Bejeezus.

6:45 AM, May 30, 2009  
Blogger Tether said...

As an unmarried man who has supported himself for more than 20 years with no help from a woman ...

... I feel uniquely qualified to comment on stuff here.

6:46 AM, May 30, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

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6:13 PM, May 30, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:14 PM, May 30, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:18 PM, May 30, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

Susanna in Alabama:

I realize that your point was to say "as a woman who doesn't leach off a man, I'm like really in favor of women who ..."

Or something like that.

But since EVERY SINGLE woman I have run across in my almost 50 years on this planet has either demanded of me, or shamed me, or screamed at me, or pushed me into "equality", then I am going to be a bit that way with you.

WhyTF did you even write that?

Independent people on this planet - that also includes female independent people - SHOULD take care of themselves. Whether many or even most females DO that is another question. And a question I probably don't dare give an opinion on, given the real He-Men here.

7:19 PM, May 30, 2009  
Blogger susanna in alabama said...

In today's society, being single doesn't mean you aren't or haven't been part of a living-together couple. I was merely noting that I am a woman who as an adult has never depended on someone else - specifically, a man, since that was the issue at question - financially. Thus, my view that being a stay-at-home wife/mother is a valid and valuable career choice and not "leaching" is not colored by self-interest nor a defense of my own earlier choices.

So, perhaps it would have been better to say, "I am one of the sex being identified as leaches, so I want to establish that I have never engaged in the behavior you identify as leaching before I opine that the behavior is *not* in my opinion leaching, but a very valuable and honorable choice." I apologize that my unclear wording elicited your consternation.

10:11 PM, May 30, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

I've got to remind myself to just quit arguing this on message boards. I'll absolutely never have a housewife, so it doesn't impact me.

I just don't get it.

If a woman has small children at home or if she's homeschooling, that's work (although sometimes there's the issue of dumping all real-world responsibilities on the husband, but whatever).

But otherwise, I personally look forward to being at home. Work is work and home is home. And I just "worked" all weekend at home (for instance, I put in a completely new faucet in the kitchen sink). That's not the same as work, though: No stress, I'm just doing it for myself etc.

OF COURSE they're parasitic leeches. But I get the same feeling an 8-year-old child would get if he starts to suspect that Santa Clause doesn't exist. ALL of the adults talk about Santa being over Canada on his way there etc. All of the adults appear to absolutely believe in him.

And I sometimes see men who have trumpeted about their sit-at-home having the "hardest job in the world" changing their tune when it comes to a divorce. All of a sudden a far different opinion comes out.

I just don't get it, but then I don't have to.

4:24 AM, May 31, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

That's the very definition of the word "parasite": Housewives couldn't survive without a "host". If they get their fat ass out and work, they are no longer housewives.

4:29 AM, May 31, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

Final point:

When I come back from work, my house is exactly as I left it.

If you have a man going to work for 10 hours a day and a woman sitting at home, all of the mess that is created is DUE TO HER.

All her empty yoghurt cups and TV dinners and newspapers and all the rest is HER doing. And some housewives don't even want to pick THAT up. The man damn will better do "half" the housework when he comes home, before he even gets started on his Honey Do list of repairs and "men's work".

Why some men seem to even want this situation is just light years beyond me. Maybe it's their upbringing, or society telling them to be a Real Man (TM).

5:54 AM, May 31, 2009  
Blogger br549 said...

TMink, I can't honestly sit here and say that I'm "wrapped tight". I have lots of shortcomings, but I try hard.

But I know I love my children, and can't imagine the horrors you must deal with, the damage that gets done. The same with slwerner's wife, and of course, Dr. Helen.
I can't explain how angry it makes me, for one to do evil things to those who are absolutely powerless to defend themselves. What do the survivors become when they are adults? The same?

It is a successful argument for the death penalty, as far as I am concerned.

6:41 AM, May 31, 2009  
Blogger Mom said...

The bottom line is this-at work is at work-if there's no flames or blood, don't call. That gets us home sooner and we can talk about whatever all night if we want.

8:58 AM, May 31, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

I used to have a boss who said that when an emotional response is all out of proportion to whatever the issue is, there's something big that's not being said.

Have to wonder about people who go into a blind rage about stay-at-home wives and empty yoghurt cups, when they themselves live alone. Or who insist that they're happy with their choices and absolutely cannot tolerate the thought of other men having made other choices, let alone those other men being happy with theirs.

You'd think that a man who lives alone by choice, and is happy with that, would be utterly indifferent to the way other men choose to live their lives. The desire to explain to those other men how wretched and stupid they are would never cross such a man's mind. He wouldn't care that much, and it's none of his business anyway.

" JG said...

But no, most housewives don't murder.

We can be thankful for that.

In fact, they don't do much of anything."

" JG said...

Work is also good in that it drums a certain amount of egotism out of people. If you always act like you are the center of the world, you may well get fired. Then you will not be working.

With housewives, all of that is thrown out of the window. She only has to get the stupe to marry her in the beginning. There are far less constraints on her behavior after that - in terms of letting your ego fly and becoming a bossy, demanding person."

JG, given that you don't and never will have a housewife, why the emotion and indignation?

9:23 AM, May 31, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

No big secret Laura.

I've seen housewives use and manipulate friends and family members. The friends and family members didn't get it at first.

And I have a general distaste for parasites - whether men or women.

Other than that, no big dramatic secrets that I'm going to announce on Oprah or Dr. Phil.

9:31 AM, May 31, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

I have to get a kick, though, out of the people who are vigorously arguing IN FAVOR of parasites. LOL

That would seem to be a losing argument, but apparently it's not here. That shows that conservative thought patterns can also be as illogical and dopey as left-wing thought patterns.

9:33 AM, May 31, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

JG, do you think it's possible that other people have had experiences that lead them to different conclusions than yours? And do you think those conclusions could be valid?

Because it's kind of arrogant to think that you know other people's circumstances better than they do, and you know what's best for them better than they do. Frankly, that's the way left-wingers tend to think, in my experience. It's our side that's usually live-and-let-live.

9:40 AM, May 31, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

Most people here are holding up housewives as some kind of Donna Reed plus lots more.

I wonder what planet or parallel universe you live in. Maybe I'll move there.

The housewives I've seen don't take responsibility for themselves, they act like children in part (petty bullies sometimes) and they are simultaneously demanding and lazy.

The husbands just don't want to see it. Women apparently have far different standards applied to them. Sometimes the husband finally sees it in a divorce situation, sometimes not even then.

I keep arguing because I get the same feeling I would get if everyone were arguing IN FAVOR of shoplifters or purse snatchers or something. About what wonderful people they are, and I don't see that at all.

9:45 AM, May 31, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

Laura, I don't think my opinion is the be-all-and-end-all.

I really don't.

I just can't reconcile what my eyes and ears tell me with what people say.

I can literally think of the names of a few of the housewives who were our neighbors when I grew up. I can literally think of instances of what they were like.

I DO think that men are subjected to a constant drumbeat of "be a real man, support the woman, be a real man, support the woman". Maybe that's why they don't see what I see.

9:47 AM, May 31, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

I also know that I've never had a life-changing event that would modify my basic philosophy of how life works.

But I personally know divorced men who have had their entire view of the world turned upside down. They literally have no idea what to think anymore after having the rug pulled out from under them by a *housewife* - and they were only supporting her because they assumed something (maybe she didn't do much to counter the assumptions) that obviously turned out not to be true.

If these men go through a fundamental change in their thinking - and come round to something resembling my way of thinking - maybe there is something wrong with THEIR view of the world.

9:52 AM, May 31, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

"The housewives I've seen don't take responsibility for themselves, they act like children in part (petty bullies sometimes) and they are simultaneously demanding and lazy."

You realize that you are on the outside looking in. The men in those relationships experience something you don't, simply by virtue of them being the one in the relationship.

Also, if you hear your male friends griping about their wives, surely you have the sense to know that you are hearing one side of the story, and the wife would tell an entirely different one. And that the truth would probably lie somewhere in the middle.

It seems to me that if a man who presents himself as reasonably intelligent and possessing common sense tells you that he's happy to have a stay-at-home wife, the fact that you don't get it probably ought to tell you that you're missing some piece of information, not that that man is a fool who needs your enlightenment.

9:57 AM, May 31, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

I think you're conflating "the world" with individual personal experience.

My husband has a wife who is the breadwinner. That is his experience. He doesn't try to extrapolate it to the world b/c it wouldn't apply.

10:01 AM, May 31, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

Also, you're saying this:

"I DO think that men are subjected to a constant drumbeat of 'be a real man, support the woman, be a real man, support the woman'."

Autobiography here - I was born in 1960 and grew up in a small town in Mississippi. For me, a girl, to be interested in science was thought extremely odd. Most of my peers basically treated me like a freak. It hurt my feelings, of course, but it never crossed my mind not to be true to myself in order to get other people's approval.

What I don't get is why you and others concern yourselves so much with what you think society's expectations are. Really, why do you give a rip?

10:04 AM, May 31, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

Laura, you are making lots of assumptions.

I don't really give a rip about societal expectations, but I'm wondering if it DOES INFLUENCE other men. I'm looking for possible explanations of their behavior. I'm not saying they influence me.

Second, you made the assumption above that the men I talk to (who may be quasi-happy in their marriage at present) WANTED their wife to stay at home.

I know that happens in the movies - the wealthy man says: "Let me take you away from all of this" and sets her up at home.

What I've more likely seen is that a woman who wants to become a housewife will simply quit work a while into the marriage on a unilateral basis. The man may not like it, but what's he going to do about it? He then just gets used to it.

10:11 AM, May 31, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

Did it seem to you that Dogwood's wife or Trey's wife unilaterally decided not to work?

I have personally known men who wanted their wives at home with the kids. Perhaps you are unaware of the "mommy wars" - those of us who worked outside the home when our kids were small didn't love them enough to make them a priority, shouldn't have had them if we weren't going to raise them, just wanted to see two SUVs in the driveway (as if), etc. We get hit with that all the time, and it's almost totally from the conservative side, so it's like "et tu, Brute". It doesn't bother me for myself, b/c I thought through my choices and am comfortable with them. It bothers me for my daughter, because the assumption is made that she is somehow damaged b/c she was in daycare as a baby. It bothers me on her behalf, not mine.

If I need vindication, it's the fine young woman she's become. My daughter just graduated earlier this month with a B.S. in biology. She started looking for jobs on Careerbuilder before she left school, and was corresponding with a headhunter in between graduation events. They couldn't wait for her to get back here to interview for a job - which she did, and which she got, even though she had no lab experience (focused on maintaining her grades to keep her scholarships). So I'm guessing she knocked their socks off in the interview. It's night shift work, 6-day weeks, but she's gutting it out. Words cannot express how proud I am of her. I think I've set her a good example. And if she meets Mr. Right one of these days and gets married, as she hopes to do, I think she'll be a great wife and mother. So the mommy wars people can kiss my butt. But they could still hurt my feelings, if I let them.

I don't let them.

I guess the point is that there are people who will outsource their worldview to "society", whatever that is, and people who won't. It doesn't pay to take other people's choices and views personal. That's on them, not me and not you.

10:47 AM, May 31, 2009  
Blogger Target said...

JohnMcG (who won't specify his/her gender) sez: "I'll be sure to check the backseat of my car for bored housewives before a climb in to drive home tonight."

--------------------

That was pretty funny, and it was funny because it is ridiculous - you aren't in the target group and have nothing to fear.

Now if you are a small, helpless child, and your mother is Andrea Yates, it's a bit different.

And that's not an individual case: Lots and lots of children are beaten to death every year, and of the two biological parents, statistically the MOTHER did it. Yes, Mommy. And I won't get into the massive (unknown) numbers of children who are beaten but who do not die from it. You can extrapolate egocentric Mommy there too.

Still grinning from the funny joke?

It's a matter of target groups. Mike Tyson doesn't have much to fear from serial killers in the Ted Bundy line, but young, attractive women may.

8:56 AM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger Target said...

And I guess another difference is that Ted Bundy fried for his crimes, but housewives/mothers are uniformly provided with excuses for their crimes.

And if you want to see a real egocentric, exploitive bitch of a housewife, look up the Betty Broderick / Dan Broderick case from San Diego.

Now THAT'S a housewife.

8:58 AM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger Target said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:07 AM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger Target said...

And the core point is that lots of lesser infractions stem from the fact that housewives get USED TO being able to dump the responsibility for anything onto someone else (e.g. the husband). They are used to having other people work for them. They are used to being a domestic terror without any repercussions.

And it ain't just a few.

On the other side, there was a case recently in which the woman killed the kids and went to jail, but the husband was ordered to continue to pay her alimony. Imagine that - and it shows whose side society is on. I would choose to go to jail for non-support before I would give a woman who killed my kids a dime.

These laws stem from chivalrous men. Idiots.

9:08 AM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

JG wrote: "If a woman has small children at home or if she's homeschooling, that's work"

You said it. My wife was laid up for 5 weeks with ankle surgery, this was recently, the kids are 6 and 14. I wore myself ragged making sure everything was done at home and doing my usual work gig. And this is with the kids being 6. The amount of work my wife did from birth to Kindergarten was prodigious.

She wanted to go back to work to get some rest. No joke.

Taking care of small kids, especially more than one, is a BIG job.

Trey

10:01 AM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

br549 wrote: "What do the survivors become when they are adults? The same?"

The statistics whow that people who were sexually abused are less likely than the general population to sexually offend. Apparently domestic violence is a weak, but the best predictor of sexual acting out.

Many of the survivors become gay or lesbian. Some struggle with sexual issues all their life, some do quite well.

The most recent research shows that it is the relationships the survivors have with important people in their life. If they have a good relationship with the people they tell, if they are believed, if they see the people they tell and who know about it get angry at the perpetrator and feel sad about the abuse, if the survivor can be angry with the perpetrator, this all helps.

Of course, the opposite relations can really, really hurt.

And buddy, I thank God for my ADHD every day I do tough clinical work! I can write it down for the notes and then just forget it for awhile. Praise God, I do not know how I could stand it if I had to remember it all the time, it would be horrid.

Trey

10:06 AM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Target wrote: "On the other side, there was a case recently in which the woman killed the kids and went to jail, but the husband was ordered to continue to pay her alimony."

That is completely insane. Government enforced susidized infanticide of your own kids. The mind boggles.

Trey

10:08 AM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger Lydia said...

I'm a homemaker. I'm driving a brand-new Mercedes, fresh off the showroom floor, and you boys here with your precious work don't sound like you could afford a new anything. Or an old anything without some baling wire.

When you drop dead of a stroke from your precious work, I'll still be kicking with a great life. And who's the stupid one? Haha.

11:20 AM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger randian said...

Taking care of your kids is definitely labor, but I dispute whether or not it's work. The key difference between work and labor is that when you work, somebody else judges the quality of your labor, tells you when and where that labor must be performed, and can remove you from the job if any of those things isn't up to snuff. By contrast, a mother is lord of her realm. She gets a pass on anything less than gross negligence, she can perform her tasks on any schedule she likes, and she's almost impossible to remove. I dare you to work your job to that low standard. Absent gross negligence or outright abuse, nobody can enforce any particular standard upon her.

11:33 AM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

"Absent gross negligence or outright abuse, nobody can enforce any particular standard upon her."

Husbands complain when things are not good enough. While compliance of any kind is difficult to enforce, once you have married a good person, the rest is pretty easy.

Trey

12:03 PM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

Randian sez: "Taking care of your kids is definitely labor, but I dispute whether or not it's work. The key difference between work and labor is that when you work, somebody else judges the quality of your labor, tells you when and where that labor must be performed, and can remove you from the job if any of those things isn't up to snuff. By contrast, a mother is lord of her realm. She gets a pass on anything less than gross negligence, she can perform her tasks on any schedule she likes, and she's almost impossible to remove. I dare you to work your job to that low standard. Absent gross negligence or outright abuse, nobody can enforce any particular standard upon her."

-------------

I agree. And stuff that you do at home is FOR YOURSELF. I did a bunch of repair and installation work on my house this weekend, but I'm not clamoring for someone to pay me for it.

I occasionally see feminist calls for women to be paid for stuff they do at home (I presume by the "government", i.e. a housewife salary).

I've asked proponents of that on other message boards if I will also get paid for building a shed in my backyard. That was a ton of work, or rather labor. Or if unemployed men will also get paid for cleaning their own house. No real answer no that yet.

3:50 PM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

And when I see this thing about "unpaid work" on the part of housewives, I think some of them are living a very high lifestyle for someone with no income. They are getting paid "in kind" and some of them are being paid at a rate that would boggle the mind if it was broken down to a per hour basis (and for the simple skills they have to have).

3:52 PM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

"The key difference between work and labor is that when you work, somebody else judges the quality of your labor..."

Here's one difference I've seen between what I do at work and what I do at home.

At work, if I set up a control chart in Excel and explain to my boss how this will result in his getting better analytical data (because I can identify and throw out bad runs) and and 95% confidence limits, he tells me that's really cool and mentions it in my performance evaluations. If I bust my butt to get out a certificate of analysis so we can ship a railcar of material on time that meets customer specs, that goes to my paycheck - and everybody else's, and they appreciate that.

At home, if I reorganize the kitchen drawers I may take the same amount of time as I did to set up that control chart, and it may be twice as tedious, but nobody cares but me. I can wash a trainload of dishes, but the same dishes are in the sink, dirty, tomorrow. And none of what I do there ties into my paycheck at all - it's just for my and my family's comfort, and half the time they don't even know what I do.

So a homemaker's satisfaction has to come from a completely different source than a person whose work is paid work outside the home does. I just think the two are apples and oranges. And it's pointless to try to assign a monetary value to what the homemaker does - UNLESS it's for the purpose of calculating life insurance needs: if a woman is home with the kids and doing the laundry and cooking and so forth, and then if she dies, her husband will have to replace all that and it will not be cheap.

(Lydia, you might as well not say "you boys", because by your reasoning I'm stupid too. Whatevs, princess.)

4:56 PM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

"her husband will have to replace all that and it will not be cheap."

Some things are irreplaceable.

Trey

6:07 PM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

"... if a woman is home with the kids and doing the laundry and cooking and so forth, and then if she dies, her husband will have to replace all that and it will not be cheap."

------------

Don't overrate it: The only issue is kids. I moved out from living with a woman and noticed nothing. Just a lot more peace and quiet. Yeah, throwing my laundry in the machine is a real bitch (LOL). I mean it takes almost 2.5 minutes. But I did that anyway when I lived with a woman.

As far as kids go: My sister's husband was single for a long time with custody of his two kids. No child support or help from the ex-wife, of course.

I believe his description that when you no longer have a demanding nag (ex-wife) dragging you down, the rest is easy. Granted the kids were already 12 or older and in school.

But let's not overrate things. It's not like people live in the Bush with nothing like public schools and modern conveniences.

6:26 PM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

I mean: Umm, sorry to throw some reality into this.

I realize that modern life is just a drama in 10 parts, and TV shows us who the victims are and who the villains are.

I'll try to snap back into the Kodak commercial of life.

6:29 PM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

"Granted the kids were already 12 or older and in school."

Sure. I meant little kids. 12-yr-olds don't need daycare - maybe afterschool care, probably not even that. And they can pick up the slack on household chores, too. They aren't smearing their peas on the wall or trying to stick a fork in the electrical outlet every waking moment.

Of course it's not a big deal to do your own laundry. Presumably you don't spit up on your clothes five times a day and have your diaper leak all over your bed.

7:34 PM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

"Presumably you don't spit up on your clothes five times a day and have your diaper leak all over your bed."

--------

No, I'm probably several decades away from that.

And at that point - I probably won't care.

7:37 PM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

"Of course it's not a big deal to do your own laundry."

---------

But you'd be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't) about all of the assertions I've seen on other message boards about how difficult housework is.

I can only conclude that the women asserting that think that no man lives on his own and does all of his own housework (for that matter ... I'm a bit of a neurotic perfectionist sometimes ... so I did most of the housework when I was living with a woman). And the men asserting that must be mamma's boys who went right from the parent's house to a marriage with a housewife. Or something.

Otherwise, I have no idea why people assert the idiocy they do. I keep a clean house, and my housework is really minimal. I kept a clean house with a woman, and I seem to usually pick very smart, but very sloppy, women.

I don't have a problem with that - much better than living with a stupid woman who cleans up a lot. But I have a problem with all of these bizarre assertions about how hard housework is (and how sitting at home on your butt is "the hardest job in the world").

8:08 PM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

Housework itself is not hard.

Taking care of babies and toddlers is brutal. It has its rewards, of course, when the little arms go around your neck and so on, otherwise the human race would have died out long ago.

My daughter had pneumonia when she was four and I stayed home with her for about a week. She wasn't seriously ill, just slept a lot (I caught it from her and damn near died, which is typical) and by 11:00 each day I was bored to tears b/c the house was spotless and I had nothing to do. So I feel you on the "housework is the hardest job in the world" thing.

I have to say, though, that I derive a lot of my self-esteem from performance on my job. People at work mostly know what I do. I do all kinds of things at home that no one even knows about, because I don't go around all "I cleaned out the refrigerator today!" and stuff. And as you say, it's not rocket science anyway. So I imagine those things are an attempt to do the kind of positive feedback and appreciation that people get on their jobs all the time.

8:39 PM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

Laura, I think you said that you have a husband who doesn't work outside of the home (correct me if I'm wrong).

This is an honest question:

Don't you ever feel like you are being used or exploited a bit for money?

I would in your situation. I'm frankly very surprised that you haven't said anything about feeling that way.

8:42 PM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

JG, he is working part time.

When we moved to Florida, we moved because I got a job offer here. I was the primary breadwinner anyway. I was very aware of not wanting to call the shots (not b/c I'm the wife, but b/c I think these decisions ought to be reached together) and my husband was very clear that he absolutely was ready to leave Memphis and wanted to come here. (Every now and then at random moments he still looks at me and says "thank you" and I know what that's about - it's about moving us here.)

Anyway, we thought he'd get a job right away and he didn't. Unemployment hit here before it did anywhere else in the country. It took a year, and what he did find was part time and not in his field. I couldn't feel used or exploited for money because he was so depressed about not being gainfully employed. He was putting in for jobs, taking his resume places, had several promising interviews, but no dice.

I do think that as a man, he was conditioned to think that a man's rightful contribution to the household is monetary. It irked me on occasion that he did not do more housework than he did - I knew he was depressed and I tried to be nice about it. Had to mop the kitchen floor one day and I stopped and said, "I know you're looking for a job. I see you sending out your resume and going for interviews. But you don't have one yet. And while I'm working and you're not, I shouldn't come home and find this." pointing to the dirty floor. He agreed and it got a little better. I think if it had been I who couldn't find a job, and he was supporting us, I'd have been looking too, but I would have also been challenging myself to keep an absolutely perfect house, have dinner on the table for him every day, etc. I guess that's the difference between people.

8:55 PM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

OK, I'm not trying to pry, I'm just very curious about how other people feel about that situation. Thanks for an insightful answer.

It just seems that it's a situation that's very easy to exploit, so I have avoided housewife-types like the plague in my own life.

9:02 PM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

Sure.

If he wasn't looking for work, and I didn't come home to a spotless house and my dinner on the table, I promise there would have been words.

9:04 PM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger pockosmum said...

It's easy to exploit if you have no sense of honor or fairness.

11:28 PM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger Tether said...

"It's easy to exploit if you have no sense of honor or fairness."

----------------

If the wife does nothing after the kids are all in school - or especially if there are no kids - it's easy to make the point that SHE has no honor or fairness. Period.

Just brutal leverage. Pay me to sit on my ever-widening butt or I'll divorce you and take everything.

How romantic. How beautiful.

3:50 AM, June 02, 2009  
Blogger Tether said...

I think at a certain point, though, the husband knows that the long-term housewife is unable to do anything in the real world. At best she would be earning minimum wage, spending it all on herself (every penny) and maybe having a fling or two from guys she meets at work.

So from that point of view, I DO see why a lot of men would just rather have her home.

Still, there's nothing honorable or fair about getting your whole life financed because you are an incompetent zero.

3:56 AM, June 02, 2009  
Blogger pockosmum said...

'it's easy to make the point that SHE has no honor or fairness.'

That was exactly my point, that any woman at home who does not pull her weight, who does nothing, has no honor nor has she a sense of fairness. Missed the point again, "Target".

10:18 AM, June 02, 2009  
Blogger MB said...

When my father was around 60, he married a woman who had been a career housewife. She was wealthy in her own right, so we didn't think she was after my father's money. She had worked a total of around a year (in her whole life) as a secretary. She cleaned up big in a divorce, then got the sole inheritance when her second husband died.

My father developed Alzheimer disease, so what did the caring housewife do? Naturally she got all of his assets (that she could) put into her name or joint names and then promptly divorced him.

The only reason men support some housewife is that they think she is loyal and true to them and all that. That's the only reason why these women get a free ride in life, in fact sometimes a VERY nice ride.

Huh.

5:28 AM, June 03, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

MB, something very similar happened to my friend's mother. Her parents were wealthy and she had been told to expect a substantial inheritance. After her mother died, her father remarried. His second wife appeared to care about him and make him happy. Upon his death, it turned out that somehow there was no money ... he too had developed dementia of some sort and she had parceled out his money, while he was living, to her relatives. So there was nothing for my friend's mother to inherit.

7:17 AM, June 03, 2009  

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