Children need mums; and men need their wives 40



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The flowers are wilting, the chocolates eaten, and mothers – having been exalted for one day, as is tradition – are being put back in their place (by the government, that is). And in today’s world, it seems a mother’s place is in the workforce.

But if mothers are working, who’s looking after the husbands?

This may seem an incredibly old-fashioned sentiment on the surface, but is it really? Annabel Crabb, political journalist and author of The Wife Drought, says no matter how much we like to think we’ve evolved, the modern world needs wives – who can be male or female – to continue revolving.

“A wife, traditionally, is a person who pulls back on paid work in order to do more of the unpaid work that accumulates around the home (cleaning, fixing stuff, being around for when the plumber doesn’t turn up, spending a subsequent hour on hold to find out why the plumber didn’t turn up, and so on),” she writes.

“This sort of work goes into overdrive once you add children to the equation, and the list of household jobs grows exponentially to include quite specialised work, such as raising respectful, pleasant young people, and getting stains off things with a paste of vinegar and sodium bicarbonate.”

In The Wife Drought, Jennifer Baxter from the Australian Institute of Family Studies says, “I get a lot of journalists ringing me about stay-at-home dads. Everybody wants a story about how they’re on the rise. But they’re not, really.”

In Australia, 60 per cent of families with children under the age of 15 have a father who works full-time and a mother who works part-time or not at all.

This is particularly true at the pointy end of the corporate sector. In one study Ms Crabb found, 28 out of 30 CEOs had stay-at-home spouses. In contrast only two out of 31 female CEOs had stay-at-home husbands, even if they ran their own business.

The Government says changes to the childcare package, which include removing the cap on subsidies for families on incomes up to $185,000, will encourage more than 240,000 families to work more, including almost 38,000 who are currently unemployed.

In many cases this could put pressure on the whole family to juggle home, work and childcare responsibilities, rather than having clear lines about who is responsible for what in the family unit.

A study by human resources consultant Kenexa worked out that full-time mums should be charging $115,000 per year for the work they do in the home; starting with a base salary of $36,968 plus $78,464 in overtime.

In 2011, Procter & Gamble commissioned research that found a whopping 64 per cent of mothers felt they “had” to go out to work. In 2015, it seems that pressure is still on.

The Daily Mail also reported that today’s mothers yearn for the “golden age” of mothering in the 70s and 80s, which they imagine meant more time with the kids and less pressure to work.

Do you think the pressure on mothers to work today is fair? Were you a full-time mum and wife, or did you work out of the home too?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. the government has totally down graded the role of mums and wives these are the ones who deserve government support not working women earning up to $170,000

    1 REPLY
    • I agree Phil, how can they justify giving the support to the working mothers and not the ones that are giving so much more to their children by being there at home for them. I look at the stay at home mothers as the ones making sacrifices so that their children don’t have to go to aftercare childcare or any other option other than home. I was a child of the 60’s and unusual, but my Mum worked she had a very good job & loved it. I ended up an only child & a very lonely one. I would have loved to come home to her after school, but it never ever happened. I felt I missed out on so much.

  2. My husband worked two jobs so I could stay at home when the children were little. Later I taught swimming for the State Government during school hours.

  3. It’s all very well the government saying more mums in the work force but where are they going to find jobs there aren’t enough now look at the unemployment rate children need a parent to be there when they get home especially young ones

  4. I worked from home when the children were small then went to work when my children were 14 and 9 yrs old and worked for 28 years.Retired 2 years ago.Never received any government assistance for anything

    4 REPLY
    • What about child endowment and publuc funded schools and public hospitals etc etc.
      We have all received government benefits in some way or another.

    • People payed for those services through their taxes! Governments don’t have money to fund schools or hospitals! That’s why it is called publicly funded !

    • Yes and we were never given the large sums of money that a lot of the young mums have been given over the last decade or so.

  5. My husband stayed home & I worked. When he died my daughter was 12 & was on her own before & after school. It made her more independent at an earlier age.

  6. All these people who say they have never received anything from the government.
    Medicare, roads, pokice and armed forces, SES, schools, PBS, public parks, life savers, etc etc.
    We ALL receive government benefits in one way or another.
    Yes, we pay tax, but what each individual actually pays would never cover the cost of these things if we had to pay for each and every thing we have to be thankful for.

  7. All these things come out of taxes! Eg. Gst, income tax and many more taxes! Government only distributes funds, it doesn’t create or earns funds!

  8. Stay at home mothers should be able to put their child in day care for one day a week and get subsidised. One day only. I repeat again. One day only

    8 REPLY
    • Because at the moment they can put them in all week if they want to. In my opinion that is wrong. You can’t tell me it takes all day every day doing housework. Go to coastal areas and see where they are. They certainly don’t stay home all day

    • Why do women need the government (taxpayers) to pay for their child care when they’ve chosen to be stay at home mums and I guess they also take the weekends off when someone else gets the job of minding their children. Get real, go and get a job if you want the government to pay your child care. They’re not missing out going to cafes, movie theatres, live shows, shopping etc, just because they have their child with them as most have special show times for mothers and children. The government is not there to pay for the mother’s leisure time. There are play groups to take your child to socialise in most suburgs which enable mothers to also make new friends.

    • I am sorry Irene Chou are missing the point. I am against child care for stay at home mothers. I am just saying that if you have a child it may need to go to a child care centre to know how to socialise with other kids. They may live in an area where there are no thee kids to play with and if the mother doesn’t have a car it may be difficult to get out and meet other mums

    • I enjoyed my daughters company and her needs were taken care of by me. A. single Parent taught her to read play and enjoy being a child. Had to work part time when she was 4 but the child care centre wasn’t as under as much pressure in the late ’80s then pre school and worked every day but still picked her up from school and I always felt a little sad when school holidays finished. What is my point ??? If you have children try to enjoy the time rather than hand them over to someone else. If you can afford to stay at home . Please do so. If you can’t then I hope you all benefit from the new budget. It’s hard to work all day and then come home to take care of everyone else. Good luck to all Mums.

    • Dont understand why they need child care if they are at home, surely they are taking the place which should go to working Mums. When we did our shopping they came with us, on the bus witha pram, young baby and 2 toddlers.

    • I will give you an example of an only child needing to associate with other children. My nephew and his wife had a child. They shared the parenting by working at home and at work. Then she was offered a partnerdhip with the law firm she worked with. As she was earning more money then my nephew he stayed at home. You talk about mother’s group, they don’t really want a man there and so that is why they put their child into day care a few hours a week. Back in my day it was unheard of a father taking over the parenting skills.

  9. I Don’t believe 60% of Australian children even have a father, let alone the luxury of a parent at home looking after their needs. Mothers, need to stay home with their little ones for as long as possible. Lets start thinking about the rights of the children instead of the rights of the mother/father

  10. When I fell pregnant with my last child, 26 years ago, I was earning nearly double the wage my husband was. There was no question that I would leave work and rear our child to school age, that’s what mum’s do, rear the children, nurture, them, give them as good a start as possible. I never, ever, saw that as ‘demeaning’ me, I know my worth. My kids have since told me that they loved coming home in winter to a warm house and the smell of food cooking, a lot of their friends were ‘latch key’ kids. The government should give women the option, and reward both options.

  11. I’m female I want a wife please!
    But I would like to find a sensible way for one parent either one to be main care giver.

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