We should all have the same opportunities and the same pay for same work.
What does this mean for child care when finally, they arrive in my life? Do children need 24 hours of care from parents (read mother) to turn out well? To feel stable, to feel loved, to feel acknowledged?
One of my favorite quotes on equality is by Thomas Jefferson regarding how to treat people un-equally.
“There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people.”
We are turning 30. Friends and acquaintances all round are turning 30. Turning 30 seems to come with babies or baby plans.
I meet people, even close acquaintances, colleagues & almost friends who have children and children have become enough of a life. I feel so impressed.
Often, it is the woman who has stopped working, has decided to stay at home and take care of the child or children. The man continues to work. It is a smart calculation because the man often (not always) earns more. So he can support the growing family.
It becomes a catch 22 situation because women continue to earn less if they are away from work for long periods. It also leaves the policy setting and rule making to the men for those years when women are away being good mothers.
I am not making this all up. There is data to show how the loop repeats itself.
Apparently, to be a good mother, you need to dedicate your whole life to the child/children. I haven’t understood yet if this is a matter of feeling, appearing or wishing to be considered & therefore treated as a good mother.
Rarely have I met a man who has completely given up work to be home with the kids. Once, I met a man who took 2 years leave from his work, to follow his wife and children to New York, where, the wife had gotten her dream assignment. He was to be home with the two kids for 2 years.
He was back to work, working 50% from home, after one year. The taking care of the kids became too tedious and monotonous for him. He is a very good father.
In Sweden, to be home means that you are not “saving” any money to pension. That could make a very miserable life after retirement in Sweden, especially if you should divorce or husband should die early.
Nevertheless, those women who choose to be home with children make it sound like the best decision they have made with their lives. During the years they are home with their children.
When I worked with old people during my studies, most women who had been housewives had so bad income, they were dependent on the state and/or on the children they stayed home to raise. Since not so many children become stinking rich, most adult children have very little money to spare to make their old parents’ lives comfortable.
So old parents feel cheated that they can’t have more income from anywhere, which keeps them stuck at home on low budget. This time, no children to take care of during all the day’s hours.
The bitterness from both sides is so toxic you can smell it at Easter lunch instead of eggs. The guilt. The pity. The loneliness. And the lack of money.
The parents who worked and contributed to the pension are off traveling or playing golf after retirement. They can also afford better housing and care during old age.