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making compromises

eoshuster at UCDAVIS.EDU eoshuster at UCDAVIS.EDU
Wed Aug 10 18:08:51 EST 1994

Leslie Kay (lmk2 at garnet.berkeley.edu) wrote on Aug 10:

>So, why does it
>impact so greatly on women to have children in their careers?  Is
>it really the case that the male spouses are either unwilling to
>help as much as is necessary to raise the children, or that all
>or most couples are both in high-powered careers? 

  My husband (who is in a high-powered career) helps A LOT (including
"fetching" our daughter so that I could feed her in the middle of the night
during those first few months, continuing to trade off on cooking duty &
other household chores, changing at least half of the diapers and picking
up slack when I'm exhausted and/or pumping to provide enough breastmilk for
the next day).  He also does most of the evening childcare pick up duty &
feeds her dinner (I'm on mornings), but makes up for leaving "early" by
saving a few hours of computer work for each night.  However, even before
we became parents, we had barely enough time to maintain the house &
ourselves while working 60/80 hour weeks and we only rarely had/took time
to enjoy ourselves w/ friends.  Thus, even though he helps a lot, there is
more than "a lot" to do.  

>Is it true that priorities change so much after
>childbirth that the career is suddenly not so important (something
>I've heard many women say), and if so is this a physiological thing,
>since men don't tend to say this as much?   

Physiology definitely enters into it.  Even though he was at the birth &
experienced numerous intense feelings during the process, we both agree
that the experience of watching pregnancy/childbirth is not quite the same
as going through it.  His priorities have also shifted, just not to the
same degree that mine have.  To what extent is this hormonal?  I'm not sure
- a lot at the beginning (lots of hormonal fluxes occur as your body
recovers), but at 8.5 months out?  Maybe someone out there knows more.

>Are their any women out there who have what they consider high-
>powered careers and have a supportive spouse who takes care of most
>of the household stuff, including childcare?  Just wondering if the
>old paradigm works in the opposite direction.

 Yes, I know of at least two (in one case, the woman is fairly high up in a
large biotech company & her husband stays home w/ the 2 kids).

Beth Shuster
Univ. of California, Davis
eoshuster at ucdavis.edu

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