Gas mask and tongs: Who stays home?

Primaflora, while I agree that breastmilk is the best food for a baby, the jury is still out–waaaaay out–on the effectiveness or benefits of variously promoted brands of “bonding.” It could be argued (not my me, mind you) that while breastmilk is important, breastfeeding, per se, is not.

The Ryan, I’m with you. I agree that because of physiology, the sex of the parent cannot be irrelevant. Please consider that word stricken from my original resolution.

One thing, though:

Well, for utilizing technology to allow women to continue working out of the home and to allow men to spend more time with the baby. If those benefits counter the drawbacks of time and effort, then pumping is worthwhile. But it’s a subjective decision, of course.
neuroman, you said:

Well, that’s my point, really. I would like to believe that modern human intellect, coupled with technology, can allow us to move beyond biological imperatives. It can be argued that men have an evolutionary predisposition toward promiscuity, for example, but many of us successfully overcome that imperative. And looking at the Patty Ramseys of the world, it seems that many women have overcome the “nurturing instinct.”

If we men finally have the tools, intellect, empathy, and will to take back some of the traditional burdens women have borne, shouldn’t we?
zen101:

Why?

Like what? (Apart from the silly “man stuff” stereotypes, that is.)

And why can those things not be learned from a parent who is around evenings and weekends, provided that parent sincerely desires and tries to teach?

Am I the only one who is going to question the resolution that it is (always) better to have one parent at home full time?

Daycare arrangements come in a huge spectrum. Some are clearly worse than being with mommy or daddy all the time, others are not. There is no replicable research that I am aware of that finds any difference in health, emotional well-being or development between kids in good daycare and kids in good home care. In fact there have been several studies that suggest that the difference in time spent interacting with kids is very small, due to the fact that working parents focus more on their kids than on their household duties. (Anyone who doesn’t believe this can just eat my dust bunnies.)

Parents come in a variety of types. I, for example, love my kids more than anything, but the idea of being a full time SAHM is my idea of hell on earth.
I don’t want to get into the breastfeeding debate too much, but I do want to disagree with the idea that bottle feeding provides less interaction with the baby. I’ve done both and I didn’t feel any less close with my kids when I was bottlefeeding than I did when I was breastfeeding–and they couldn’t have cared less either as far as I could tell. There are other ways to get closeness and cuddling.

The “women are genetically more nurturant” idea is too ridiculous even to discuss.

You know the answet to both questions is so obvious that I’m tempted to be cryptic and not answer you but I like the sound of my own cyber-voice too much so i will anyhow.

It’s real simple, you see boys have a penis and girls have a vagina. My experience with the penis has been pretty much as an owner of one, while when it comes to vaginas I’m pretty much JAFO on that. I know one when I see one, but I’m not too good on general maintenance and so on.

A bit more specific would be for me to say that despite popular belief and cutsey P.C. bullshit, being a boy and becoming a man is not the same as being a girl and becoming a woman. Either your line of questioning is designed to be provocative or you are ignorant of the basic reality of every day life for those with a gender.

My daughter’s mother went through this change from girlhood to womanhood and as she is a stable and intelligent adult is better equipped to help my daughter do the same thing.

There is a reason why it is better to be trained by someone with on the job experience than by someone who read the manual. The survivors picked up tips that are not in the manual.

As for things I could have learned from my dad that seems kind of obvious too and for the same reason. He knew what it was like to grow into manhood and deal with the same feelings that I was having about it. I don’t want to go into the details of it but imagine “the Beev” trying to talk to his mom about popping a boner over his 7th grade Japaneese teacher. All I can say is that if i ever have a son I will not give my son a lesson on the objectification of women when he shares similar news with me. Are all moms like this? No. But to think that fathers don’t have something special to offer a son or that mothers something special for a daughter is sheer politically correct pap.

If your intent was for clarity then I appreciate it but if you desire to peddle PC non-sense then sell it elsewhere. Men and women are not the same. Equality (thank god) does not make for uniformity.

zen: *As for things I could have learned from my dad that seems kind of obvious too and for the same reason. He knew what it was like to grow into manhood and deal with the same feelings that I was having about it. I don’t want to go into the details of it but imagine “the Beev” trying to talk to his mom about popping a boner over his 7th grade Japaneese teacher. All I can say is that if i ever have a son I will not give my son a lesson on the objectification of women when he shares similar news with me. Are all moms like this? No. But to think that fathers don’t have something special to offer a son or that mothers something special for a daughter is sheer politically correct pap. *

zen, I think you make some reasonable points here but I don’t see at all how they answer andros’s very sensible question. To repeat: why do you think these things can’t be learned from a parent on evenings and weekends?

Hmmm, maybe I see the confusion here: andros was asking why you think that the same-gender parent needs to be around full-time, and you thought he was asking why the same-gender parent needs to be around at all.

I agree. There are some childcare institutions which are better than parents. Lousy parents. Who would probably just stick their kids in a closet while they go to the Bowling Alley. (for those who did not recognise it, that was hyperbole)
Speaking as one who knows the breeders in question,(;)) I have to say that there could be no childcare which would be as loving, nurturing, and able to raise the child than they are. For their little house monkey to miss out on round-the-clock attention by one of the parents would be a tragedy of less-than-epic proportions, but a tragedy nonetheless.

How about part-time, with your SO taking up the slack? Do you really trust people you don’t know, who often make minimum wage taking care of your child? I wouldn’t even trust a minimum wage earner to make my burger!

Andros, if the Tallahassee job had fallen through, I would’ve considered nannying for ya, but that’s moot.
BTW: what’s the term for a male nanny, anyway?

Nice imagery. Now I’m going to have nightmares. :slight_smile:

Andros

I was not meaning to emphasise bonding ;). I was banging on about the physical realities of establishing a breastmilk supply. A pump simply does not replicate a baby when it comes to getting the milk. If you are committed to giving the baby breastmilk (and if you choose otherwise, please make sure it is a totally informed choice <G>), then access to the mummy is needed in the first few months at least.

blessedwolf:

Yours are exactly the sort of blanket assumptions about childcare that I was ranting about.

I don’t have my children with some “minimum wage earner.” I have them with a woman, a grandmother, with experience caring for over 40 children over the past 40 years. She loves my kids almost as much as their own grandparents do. I realize that it is impossible for people who have made up their minds in advance about what they think is the “only” right way to raise children to believe, but it is true.

My children’s lives are richer, not poorer, for spending their young years with this woman. She is not “someone I don’t know,” she is a dear friend.

It would be lovely if part-time professional jobs were available, but they aren’t. It’s hard enough convincing employers that they don’t own you round the clock, much less convincing them that their employees could be at least as productive if they didn’t have to juggle family and work pressures.

You will just have to take my word that I am a better Mommy doing a job that I love and that uses my talents and abilities, and my husband is a better father for the same reason.

We have made some sacrifices. We could have a big house if we decided to move away from where we work, but we choose to be cramped and have a 10 minute commute.

Actually, it was both, Kimstu.

zen, I’d ask that you give me the benefit of the doubt. I do not know what in your mind might constitute “cutesy PC bullshit,” or any of the other rancorous terms you used, and so I cannot attempt to spare your anti-PC sentiments.

No shit. But it’s hardly simple.

Hey, if it’s general maintenence we’re talking about, that’s easily learned. I don’t have a foreskin, but I bet if I decide not to have my son snipped I’d learn how to teach him to clean his penis.

But I don’t think that’s really what you’re talking about. Correct me if I’m wrong. Bear in mind, though, that single parents deal with this sort of thing all the time. And many of them do very well.

Bear in mind also that I’m thinking more of childcare, and not expecting one parent to assume all parenting duties–just the ones that take place while the other is at work (8-5, monday-friday).

Societally, you mean? I’m not really thinking that far down the road (I’m still focusing on prepubescence).

I’m not really understanding you here. Are you talking about puberty and adolescence here? 'Cos I’m not.

Again, not sure of your point. I assure you, if I ever have a girl, I very much intend to let my SO or another woman handle menstruation, thank you very much.

You’re right–they arent. Are most moms like that? No again. Most women aren’t all that shocked by their teenage son getting a stiffy. But I certainly expect my SO to be able to deal with it with sympathy and without embarassment. Just as I would expect to be able to deal with effects of female physiology with my daughter in the same way. I could and did talk to my mother about just such things. I’m sorry if you got lectured about something over which you had no control, but I don’t think any opportunity to inform and teach should be passed up. While lecturing a kid isn’t the right way, dismissing everything as “boys will be boys” is equally wrong.

Once more, however, this is not my point, and likely fodder for a completely new thread.
(But while we’re on the subject, I want my daughter to understand cars and lawnmowers. I want her to be able to wear pants and play with trucks. I want my son to be able to play with dolls if he wants, and to be able to cook and sew and kiss a booboo. I want my children, regardless of sex, to look upon themselves and others first as people and only secondly as male or female. I want my kids to be able to reject the traditional arbitrary roles of “manhood” and “womanhood.” I don’t want my children to have to fit into a societally defined role.

I will teach my daughter. So will my SO. My SO will teach my son. So will I.)

I don’t recall saying such a thing. I do remember talking about which, if either, parent should work full-time and which should become, if only for a few years, a homemaker.

But ya know, I find the notion of “teaching a boy how to be a man” to be sheer traditionalist pap. Neener neener.

I hope I’ve made it clear that I have asked no questions I do not wish to receive answers to. And i’m trying very hard not to take offense at your tone. I hope I’ve succeeded. If I have not, my apologies.

My only question remaining then, is one I asked a bit further up this interminable post. How many of the difference between the sexes are innate and how many are societal? And much more importantly to the OP, how important is it that the parent of the same sex as the child spend the most time with the child in his or her early years?

Primaflora, I’m all with you. My SO and I very much intend to breastfeed.

But a couple issues remain, one question and one observation.

While a pump and bottle obviously cannot fully replicate actual nursing, in my theoretical situation the mother would be working only 8 or 9 hours a day. The remaing 15 or 16 hours every day she would be available to nurse directly. I understand that every baby is different, but assuming for a moment a child that does not reject breast in favor of bottle, and a mother willing to pump and preserve at work, what harm can it do either mother or child to be separated while mom’s at work?

The observation: My biggest problem with enthusiastic endorsement of breastfeeding is that it can lead to negative consequences for women who simply cannot nurse, for whatever reason. If they have been convinced that breastfeeding is the only good way, and they cannot, they begin motherhood feeling as though they have failed. A very dear friend of mine recently went through such an experience, and it about broke her heart. Her son’s happy and healthy, but she still wonders if she hasn’t ruined his life because she couldn’t nurse.

Tell that to my father, who raised all four of us at home. While my mother worked outside the home, he worked at home. Raising us.

My father is/was/ever shall be a nurse. He knows as much about female stuff in general as my mom does. And it was always apparent to us that if we were at home and Daddy couldn’t answer a question, Mama was at work and could answer, though you should probably ask your older brother (me) or the encyclopedia.

As for learning how to be a man . . . I’ve yet to meet someone who has definitely learned that.

I’m afraid you missed a very important word. I said that MOST childcare intitutions are…

Remember, I agreed with you. A full-time professional childcare worker who knows and loves the child is the next best thing to a parent who can afford the time and energy to raise the child him/herself.

Relax, Cher3…step back and reread my post. Can you honestly say that people raising their own children isn’t the best scenario? How did you get the impression that this is what I meant?

Umm…bullshit. She’d laugh her ass off!

It all depends on which school of thought you subscribe to. Personally, I beleive that, as Desmond Morris says, men and women are genetically geared toward separate societal roles. Women are more nurturing as a whole than men (yes, it’s a blanket statement, and certainly not true in every situation), and men are more driven to reproduce (probably due to the fact that their our role in the reproduction process is infinitely more fun) and provide.
Many sociologists have spoken about this, and even comedians have pointed out the differences between man/hunter-woman/gatherer. And as we all know, Dennis Miller and George Carlin wouldn’t lie to us.

This is not to say that over the past 3000 years society has not reinforced this behaviour. Until very recently in the history of civilization, these roles were all but set in stone.

When World War II hit, and the men were all sent off, we, as a society–bear in mind that I’m talking about Western society only–had to re-evaluate our gender roles. Most of the men were gone, and the providing was left to the women to do. Rosie the Riveter, A League of Their Own, and all that. In the past 45-50 years, the lines have been blurred.

So, Andros my friend, don’t worry. If Mrs. Andros is the breadwinner and you have to stay at home and change poopy diapers, it doesn’t make you less of a man. If anything, your emotional strength and ability to cast aside our culture’s preconceived notions without complaint makes you more of a man.

zen101 - I thought the OP was about raising infants to childhood. Is it really that important that a mother be around to advise her daughter about menstruation and boys…before first grade? Get real. After the kids go off to school it doesn’t matter whether a parent stays home or not, as long as they’re both there at night.
Or…are you saying that in all cases the same-sex parent should be the one to stay home? That’s different…but what about families with two young-uns of different sexes? Both parents have to quit their jobs and stay home? That won’t go over well.

In any case, the OP explicitly stated a two-parent household. He’s not talking about a situation in which one parent is flat-out not around. He’s saying that either parent can work outside the home for up to 9 or 10 hours a day, five days a week, and not do any harm to the child or children. The other 14 or 15 hours a day the working parent is at home, available to the kids, for whatever sorts of bonding are suitable.
primaflora - Odd you should say that. It’s been my (admittedly limited) observation that babies get milk just as easily out of the bottle than they do out of the breast. So why not use a pump and bottle? I feel sorry for andros’ friend who was unable to breast feed - but unless I misunderstand you, andros, that was a problem of not being able to produce milk, not of being unable to pump it. If you can produce it, you can pump it. If you can’t produce it, you can’t produce it and whether you work outside the home or not is irrelevant. I think I understand better if I revise what primaflora said - for the child’s health, it is imperative that the milk be available on demand, not that the mother be available on demand.

blessedwolf- I think that one of the defining characteristics of civilization is that it enables us to overcome those biological imperatives you mention. I mean, the biological imperative of procreation has been used as a courtroom defense for rape, but it didn’t hold up. We don’t buy that.

And finally, andros- why do you feel obliged to leave menstruation up for your SO to discuss with your daughter?

Felice

Are you really so eager to give up our biological imperatives? That leaves the door open to justify things like breast augmentation and anorexia. If we can’t accept our nature, and end up fighting against it, we lose touch with our selves.

The “biological imperitave for procreation” is, of course a lame excuse for rape. Any man who claims he raped someone so that he could father her child is full of shit. We all know that rape is a crime of violence, not lust.

Would YOU feel comfortable discussing…say, premature ejaculation with your son? Hell, I’m willing to bet you would be reluctant to discuss it with your boyfriend or husband.

I’m not sure exactly what you’re saying. I assume your example of anorexia is an example of overriding the biological imperative to feed ourselves? Well, I think it’s like all the other explicitly self-destructive habits we have. Take another imperative: to eat as much as possible whenever possible because, traditionally (for X millions of years) that was the best way to survive - you never knew where your next meal was coming from. Now that food is plentiful, in this country, this imperative has given us a nationwide problem of obesity. And all the dieting we do is an attempt to override that ol’ biological imperative.
Yes, I guess I don’t see any reason not to give them up. And certainly I see no reason to use them as justification for hardly anything.

As a matter of fact, it’s never been an… um… issue… in my current relationship, but certainly we have discussed it in the abstract. And I have, in fact, discussed it with other close male friends for whom it was an issue. So I hope that I would be as confident discussing it with my son, at such time as he’s old enough to encounter it. Or discussing with him the boner he gets looking at his zeventh-grade japanese teacher, to reference an example given earlier. I would want my child to feel comfortable discussing things with me, and therefore, I need to feel comfortable discussing them myself.

Felice

Felice:

I don’t feel obligated–never said I did. But if my female SO is there, she’s more suited to deal with it than I. She knows the mechanics of pads and tampons, knows cramps firsthand, knows how to get bloodstains out of undies, and so forth.

Which I think is the point that Zen is making.

If my 11 year old daughter came to me one morning to tell me she had gotten her period, I’d certainly take it in stride. Just as with popping a hard-on in school, it’s one of those biological functions that no one should be ashamed or embarassed about.

Blessedwolf:

Not to the kid’s face. We might share a chuckle over it later in bed, but certainly not at his expense.

Have to? No. Choose to, possibly.

And felice is handling the “biological imperative” question pretty well, IMO. I’ll let you know when I disagree with her.

Almost. I’m referring more to body issues. People have different body types, and lately, we’ve taken great strides in trying to change our natural body/fat ratios, etc. Granted, that’s due to media influence, but many women think that their breasts aren’t the right size (excuse me? right size according to whom?) or that they’re too fat (15 lbs. overweight! No more food for me!).

So what I’m saying, and I really didn’t word it properly (the downside of not having internet at home–I had to got to a bar to get online): We each have individual body types, and far too many people are trying to deny this and conform to an artificial ideal. I don’t like artifice. Our nature is just that–our nature. Trying to change it will just come around and bite us in the collective ass.

[disclaimer]
Keep in mind: this is, in part, a mental exercise on my end. Yes, I do believe what I am saying, but not with so much conviction that I think it’s the absolute Truth.

Almost. I’m referring more to body issues. People have different body types, and lately, we’ve taken great strides in trying to change our natural body/fat ratios, etc. Granted, that’s due to media influence, but many women think that their breasts aren’t the right size (excuse me? right size according to whom?) or that they’re too fat (15 lbs. overweight! No more food for me!).

So what I’m saying, and I really didn’t word it properly (the downside of not having internet at home–I had to got to a bar to get online): We each have individual body types, and far too many people are trying to deny this and conform to an artificial ideal. I don’t like artifice. Our nature is just that–our nature. Trying to change it will just come around and bite us in the collective ass.

[disclaimer]
Keep in mind: this is, in part, a mental exercise on my end. Yes, I do believe what I am saying, but not with so much conviction that I think it’s the absolute Truth.

Firstly apologies for an earlier agressive tone in my posting. I get my back up on these issues and and when I find myself having to defend “traditional” ideas. I suppose the current trend in dismissing tradition as a matter of routine just irks me.

Now I will try to clarify and address some valid questions about my previous statements.

Well I’m of the opinion that one begins to identify with his or her gender at a younger age than puberty. I used some examples of events that occur during puberty for shock value and am suffering no the results of doing so.

Having been primarily raised by my mother since infancy (70% of time spent with mom) I can tell you that as early as kindergarten I was different from most other boys. I lacked the skills to communicate with other boys, and in fact, I was somewhat intimidated by their actions and manners. I pretty much played with the girls (now, don’t get ideas. I mean I could Holly Hobby with the best of them.). Maybe this isn’t all that major to most people, but to me I still have problems forming lasting friendships with men. I try, but I can’t honestly say i have any male friends that I remain friends with for any more reason than convenience. I have always felt I was missing something because of this.

So IMHO learning how to fit in IS important, or at least learning how to fit in if you want to. If you decide you don’t want to do so later then it is your descision, but at least you have the tools at your disposal.

I must head off misunderstanding with this statement. * I am not talking about creating Barbie or Ken here.* I just mean that helipng your child to know herself or himself better and thereby providing him or her with the tools to get to know others. A child can be an individual and still be able to associate with others. In fact it is much easier for shildren who know themselves to get to know others who are different w/o falling prey to every faddish movement that comes along.

*** Somd people have rebutted my statement regarding a son telling his mom about his burgeoning stiffie. Stating that they or their SO would handle it well.***

Well I would try to handle my daughter’s first period well but she would have to want to come to me about it. Seems like getting your kid to talk to you is the hardest part and that one is not up to you. Anything I can do to make sure that when my daughter has a crisis the person she wants to talk about it with is at hand at the time of the crisis is available to her right then is my responsibility as her parent.

Again, the whole puberty thing wasn’t so much a part of my argument but more or less an attnetion grabber that backfired forcing me to type more. :slight_smile:

Why is this a bad thing? Perhaps you define a man differently than I do? If I have a son I want him to grow into a man. I kind of think it is my job to provide him with a good example in that regards. Maybe the problem is that many people think that “makin’ yer boy a man.” is about teaching him to abuse women (if not stated, there seems to be subtle subtext to implay as much) or kiling furry animals (which I have no problem with if either my daughter or son shows interest in. I think if you eat meat you should know where it comes from), or hating people. Well please know that my definition of a man is pretty much a general description of any good person. He just happens to be a “he”. The problem is that men an women are different, and weather this is learned or genetic isn’t my bailwick. Nor do I care much about sexuality. I don’t think that has much to do with being a man either. I don’t have much in the way of macho idealism here. I do believe in some things that people regard as “macho” but more from a practical sense. Neither of my parents can fix cars, but i can and my daughter is learning (she does ok for an eight year old), my daughter can fight and shoot too. I a believer in self reliance and the kind of self confidence that can only be gained by it. I’m certainly not making my daughter into a “man”, but it would seem that were I teaching the same things to a son then some people would think I were doing some bit of stereotypical “naughty”. At least this is the vibe I get when words like “tradition” come up in the negative.

I don’t get what is wrong with all tradition. Some of it is good and has merit and an intelligent being can discern that. I think throwing the baby out with the bathwater is just bad reasoning.

** It had been mentioned that I did not adress issues where there are more than one gender of child at home to raise**

It’s a valid point and one I never tried to address because I was under the assumption that this thread was a “what would you di in a perfect scenario but stipulating the following…” hind of thread. So other matters didn’t come into play. The assumption for my was “Either parent can support the family financially and either parent can take care of the childs basic needs. So whcih one would be better based on gender.”.

Now the question itself makes a statment: Gender is important or at lease we think it is. So it all comes back to the root of my argument in favor of my position “When do we begin learning who we are? And can we learn how to know ourselves better from people who we have more in common with when it comes to gender?”. Obviously I think we can.

Again I apologize for my reactionary nature. Another example of my bad people skills. Mia Culpa.

Please consider this, “what is wrong with tradition?” Yes if you accept it all blindly then you are likely to swallow a bitter pill indeed but if you are rational then you should be capable of sifting out what is good and right from what is not.

But you realize that can be used as a copout, though, right?

“I couldn’t help it, it was in my nature.”

Again, I’d like to think that there are some aspects of our nature that we are mature enough as a species to overcome.

I guess, Zen, that I still don’t understand why it requires a man to raise a boy and a woman to raise a girl. I mean, you said:

Which indicates to me that it shouldn’t matter much–all it takes to turn kids into good people is the example of other good people, regardless of sex. But then, as you say, there are differences between men and women. I contend that the bulk of those differences are biological, and the rest are taught.

Being different isn’t bad. Really. Personally, I would much prefer my child understand that than learn how to “fit in.” But I understand your point–it’s hard to be different in a culture that so highly values conformity.

I’m sorry if I have you the impression that I’m opposed to all tradition simply on principle. That was not in any way my intention. But I am opposed to the traditions that define roles based on sex. Women are still real women if they don’t wear makeup, buy shoes, or have babies. Men are still real men if they don’t run their household, drive the car, or hammer things. Women are still real women if they don’t wear bras or skirts. Men are still real men if they’re gay or don’t watch football.

Those are the sex-based “traditions” I wish to eliminate.

There are all sorts of ways to be a man. None of them are wrong.

YMMV.