When you’ve had a baby, aside from asking when you’re going to have another one, there’s one other question that’s hot on everyone’s lips…whether you’re going back to work?
One new mum who’s found herself fielding countless conversations about returning to her job, has turned to the Internet to ask why her husband is never asked the same thing.
“I’m on mat leave and have been asked 30+ times if I’ll be going back to work and, when I say yes, if I’ll be part time,” the mum wrote on Mumsnet.
“My DH has never once been asked about his working hours since our DS was born,” she continued.
“And if I say yes I am going back to work I get “oh, will your DS go to nursery/will you get a nanny?” The idea that my DH could look after DS for some of the time while I’m at work just doesn’t even enters people’s heads.”
The woman went on to say that though she didn’t blame people for asking, she wanted to understand why it’s naturally assumed that the woman will stay home.
“I see so often on here people saying that their OH couldn’t go part time or is the higher earner. But all the latest reports suggest women in their twenties are now out earning men so that can’t be true for the majority. Is it just a cultural thing?”
And the internet was quick to offer opinions on the subject.
“Ingrained societal sexism. It’s needs to be challenged or it’ll never change. Tiring but necessary,” one user wrote.
“Because we’ve got a long way to go with equality yet, and because frustratingly, most people still seem to see mothers as the primary parent,” another added.
Others thought it made sense for the women to provide the lion’s share of childcare either because of breastfeeding or the gender pay gap.
“It makes sense because men don’t actually get pregnant, give birth, breastfeed and need maternity leave for their body to recover,” one mum wrote.
“I think that a big part of this is gender bias – it is assumed that the mother will want to be the main carer and that her career will be less important to her/less well paid,” one woman added. “This means that even where the mother is the higher earner society expects her to want to be the main carer. Of course, in many cases the father will be the higher earner since jobs traditionally by women are generally lower paid. Therefore it’s usually expected that the family finances will be better off if it’s the mother that cuts her hours.”
Other users believe that men don’t have the same maternal urge to stay at home with their children.
“Aspects such as BF are the main contributing factor to women staying at home while the children are young,” one user wrote. “It’s nature for the female to look after the babies isn’t it? I don’t see it as sexist at all. Nothing wrong with stay at home dads but I just think women are biologically made for this role.”
Another woman pointed out that the changes to shared parental leave have made it easier for dads to stay at home, but couples don’t seem to be taking it up.
“Since the changes last April, shared Parental Leave allows couples to share up to 50 weeks parental leave and 37 weeks pay with their partner,” she wrote. “If more couples choose to share it, I guess the question will also be asked more to those fathers. But of the mothers I know personally, none of them have chosen to share with their DPs, even when their DPs have wanted to.”
And other mums expressed the same frustration as the original poster that they were always being asked about returning to work, while the same questions were never addressed to her partner.
“Yes this happens to us too. Both work part-time. Apparently the male is ‘amazingly brave’ to do this. WTF?”
What do you think? Is there still an assumption that women will provide the majority of the childcare? Let us know @YahooStyleUK