In Career, Life, Money, Parenting, Women, Women

Do women just want men to take care of them?

For a while now I have been trying to nail down why this playground stay at home mother bothers me so much.

She is in all respects a great person and I genuinely like her.

She is funny, she is kind, generous and a great confidante but ever so often she will spout gems like:

“I don’t get why women go back to work when they don’t have to, I mean they’re missing out on their kid’s lives!”

Oh, and she is a Know-It-All Competitive Chatty Mother.

You know the type.

Her son has to be as tall or taller than yours, eat better, sleep better, have more troubles than yours and yet she spews advice when not solicited….

She also has to be the center of attention all the time.

I have observed her cutting off other parents to interject about HER son and HIS troubles or achievements or whatever.

Or in the middle of another parent talking, she’ll just blurt out whatever she thinks … about her son of course, without any relevance or bearing on what everyone else has talking about.

No one can get a word in edgewise, and it is like she cannot stand to NOT be the center of the conversation or at least leading it.

Other parents are too polite to say anything but I can see that they’re completely taken aback when she does it. In fact, I can see it on her face some times when she wonders why the other parents aren’t as friendly towards her as they are to me.

They ask me all the time: Are you coming to _____? See you there! but they won’t say that to her unless she brings it up. They’ll also actively come over, sit with me and engage in conversation while our kids play, but they’ll pretty much ignore her.

She doesn’t listen at all to other parents or seem to care, and just natters on. It bothers me less because I’m super Chatty too (but cognizant of being too excited about something and then cutting people off and being super rude), so I can’t be the pot calling the kettle black.

Then it hit me the other day:

It is mostly because she says and stands for all the clichés that I myself fight very hard against and hate to propagate.

AND I STILL LIKE HER to an extent.

I have a thing about clichés about women, and she pretty much is the role model for all of them, yet that is just who she is so I can’t fault her for that…. really. It’s what she believes.

CLICHÉ #1: Women are MEANT to raise children, not men

All this nonsense about women being nurturing and natural caregivers gets my goat.

It is learned in the heart of the fire, I was thrown in the deep end and I have made an effort to learn childcare. It is not something I picked up idly or was ingrained in my genes the day it was determined I would be a girl.

I had no choice but to do it with Baby Bun, so I did.

I hate childcare as much as a man does.

I have even less patience than most men I’m sure and it is only by sheer zen strength and how much sleep I’ve gotten that I can pull myself together to not go off the deep end. I am being told by my partner that sometimes I need to tone it down because I am ALWAYS YELLING AT HIM… but that’s his perception because I see that HE DOES THE SAME THING TOO and he only has Baby Bun for a few hours a day at night, not 24/7!

*twitch twitch*

red-panda-mother-and-baby-animal-cute

CLICHÉ #2: Women don’t want to work / Cannot work to make as much money as men

To clarify, I want to work but not for less than what I’m worth, and this is how much I have worked my entire career & how much I have made.

It just sets a bad precedent.

Basically, I make as much as my partner does when I work which is fortunate.

When I don’t work, I still pay my bills because he and I both know that I can pick up a 6-figure job at any time but I choose NOT TO be a slave to bureaucracy and idiot managers any more.

When my partner doesn’t work, he also pays his half.

It is a 2-way street because it works for us, to be 50/50 split in expenses.

I don’t like hearing from her that women don’t want to work (NOT TRUE), and that if you want to put your family first, you as a woman, and mother, have to sacrifice your career to be the best person possible for your son.

I love my family and my son as much as any mother out there with her children, and wanting to work, and enjoying it, has NOTHING TO DO WITH LOVE.

Where are the men in all of this? Why is the hammer not coming down on them on staying at home to be with their children to give them the best possible life? Hate this double standard.

Also, I hate being told what to do. 😉 I don’t know if you’ve caught that…. my son has picked that trait up from me, being obstinate.

CLICHÉ #3: Men should go to work because that’s what men do

Her husband doesn’t need the money (millionaire, suspect it is not from his business as she claims but from the parents), yet he spends 5 of the 7 days away traveling for business yet she says that he is upset and constantly wants to be with them. Really?

I have talked it over and my partner and I just don’t get it.

If you want to be at home, and you don’t need to work, you stay at home.

Otherwise, it’s just talk.

It’s pretty simple.

work-travel-career-desk-cafe-study

I suspect it is similar to what other colleagues have confessed to me under duress at our lunchtime chats — that it is EASIER to be away from a toddler monster than with them.

You can deal with them easier when you’re home because you’re only home for 2 days.

Staying in a hotel alone, sleeping full 8-9 hours a night is right now the ultimate fantasy I harbour as a parent right now.

I would love to be a man and pretend I don’t have innate child caring abilities to develop out of necessity.

CLICHÉ #4: She says she’s financially independent when she really isn’t, she is 100% dependent on her husband

The one thing that irks me about this is that as she is a Competitive Mother, when I mentioned ONCE when we bought the place, how proud I am to have been able to save enough to pay for my half of the place in cash (we talk about money guardedly), she says:

“Oh that’s no big deal.

He bought our place (double the price of ours), in cash too.”

Um. Thanks.

Or this gem:

“$300,000 is not a lot of money to have saved to hand over in a cheque, I’ve seen way more than that…”

I thought at the time: way to knock down someone else….

….but upon reflection I think it also stems out of insecurity in that she also doesn’t own the place they live in. He owns it 100% and gives her a credit card to use on whatever she wants to buy, which is very much the definition of being financially DEPENDENT.

It is stressful, being so dependent. You feel like you need to be perfect. I can understand where she is coming from when I think of it that way.

piggy-bank-money-cash-saving

Anyway, she has zero rights to whatever they own and constantly talks about it, which underlines the insecurity she feels about her situation. It’s sad if you think about it.

Feels a bit Big Brother to me and kind of unstable, yet she talks about how strong and solid they are, how perfect they are for each other, bla bla bla.

She also talks a lot about when she worked and how independent she was… but that’s all in the past. She isn’t that now, and it seems to bother her subconsciously yet she pretends it doesn’t. I just listen. I’m part therapist 😉


They have an arrangement which I call the Sugar Daddy arrangement except he is not that much older.

He pays for everything and is apparently happy to do so and she is happy to be “taken care of by a man”, yet it seems to be fraught with issues she has to validate each time to me every time she mentions money.

She keeps saying: “We have an arrangement, we both agreed on it, and I am fine with it”, but the way she says it, makes me believe it is anything but fine and she is anything but OK with it but can’t seem to figure out why.

She keeps saying it SO OFTEN (every other conversation we have) that it has taken on an aura of her probably feeling like a paid escort of some kind, with the kinds of jokes she makes about the situation (along the line of sex work). She said it, not me.

I also think she feels like she has to be a Super Mom to live up to all this.

She is the epitome of a Pinterest, Stepford Mother where her child has the perfect outfit ALL THE TIME (not like mine), she always has to have her own perfect outfit on to match his too (not like me either, but I dress up like she does), and she bakes & cooks like a maniac all the time (NOT ME EITHER).

A photo by London Scout. unsplash.com/photos/mE9DC6I1_8I

Maybe I’m reading too much into it.

But the truth is, I’m also a bit jealous at not  having to think about spending anything, and then I rethink it over, and I’m not.

She actually thinks a lot about her spending because it is not her money and he sees the bill. She says he trusts her, and that trust, makes her very scared to actually spend money even when needed.

There is good and bad in every arrangement and this one seems more emotionally unstable & insecure than the situation I have, no matter what she says.

Talk is cheap.

Earning & saving  & investing my own money has given me a kind of security and financial confidence that no one can ever take away and I am damn proud of it.

Given her situation and mine, I ultimately choose mine.

At least I’m free to do as I please without anyone looking over my shoulder or monitoring me, no matter how innocent.

THAT SAID…

She has been a great emotional and mental support in terms of talking about children in general and the hassles of raising a toddler alone (so to speak), but now, at least that I have nailed down why she bothers me sometimes, I am better able to deal and cope with it.

I just have to remember that she is probably insecure, and I have to approach it with empathy and sympathy for the fact that she is most likely overcompensating for her lack of contribution to the finances, and therefore feels the need to pretend & bluff her way through life.

It’s her cross to bear and I can understand that.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? GOT ANY FRENEMIES? 😉

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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15 Comments

  1. Tania

    I feel that some women have difficulty seeing different lifestyle/career choices by other women without feeling defensive about their own. I’m talking about her, not you btw. I can see it in her responses when you expressed your pride over saving and paying cash for your home. I can also see it in her comments that women must be the sole one to sacrifice in the family to raise a child. She gave you passive aggressive digs to validate her own choices in life. I suspect it’s insecurity but have never understood it really. Every family situation is different, what works for one may not be the arrangement that works for another. I get similar passive aggressive digs as a childless woman (which is totally insensitive if one is not aware of why someone did not have children, it could be a hurtful topic for some). I think you don’t dislike her because of it because you’re secure enough to know it says more about she feels about hersefl than how she feels about you.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I only came to that conclusion after I gave it some deep thought about continuing our friendship, or at least lessening it. It just kind of always made me feel strange hearing such things… but my partner made me see the other side of it.

      Reply
  2. SP

    Sound intense! Does she really not have any rights to the house? I don’t think that would work in the US, especially in states that have laws counting assets obtained during marriage as community property. I think where situations like this become scary is because even if you get half of everything if you split up, half of everything with no way to make more money is still a precarious position.

    I don’t know if I could be friends with someone who was like this – I can handle friends having different lifestyles and views, but there is nothing worse than feeling like someone is competing with you when you are just trying to do your thing (and aren’t in a competition).

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      None, she is common-law. Unless there is a common-law prenup stating she gets half, she gets NOTHING. I think it puts her on edge and I feel for her.

      Her name is not on the deed, she isn’t an owner. She MAY be entitled to bring him to court for at least child support until the kid is 18, but that’s it. The law does not provide for common-law couples.

      I’m common-law, and I knew that going into my relationship, and was good with that because I have my own assets. I think they will be fine, they seem very solid together and like a good couple that match well, but you never know, right?

      Reply
    2. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Oh, and as for competing friends, I think this only starts when you have children (if you choose to have any). It is very common to compare kids, you are desperate to figure out whether or not your offspring is a moron or a genius (LOL NO IN BETWEENS!).. so you compare height, weight, sleeping, eating, education, personality… it is a bit exhausting but we are all just nervous we’ll end up with bad eggs 😉

      Reply
  3. Michael

    I’m a man. Let’s first get that out of the way. What I’ve learned is that true financial security trumps it all, including trust. It is the only real freedom and from it flows that golden gift “choice”. Without it you are a slave and a hostage to misfortune and, yes, fortune. Never ever be either to another. Being an emotional slave and hostage is another thing. It is a choice. Having your own money can fix that. It is also a mighty freind to help avoid your children being slaves and hostages. Think you’re an exemplary mother? Then, if you won’t do it for yourself, do it for them! Ok, I know, shut up.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Hey, I hear you. I am exactly of the same thought — having your own money and assets is freedom. You are not owing anyone anything, and you are able to do things on your own (lends to a sense of self confidence).

      I also stick to being a working mother because I feel like it shows Baby Bun that I am a strong role model for him, which will be a good thing for when he grows up and perhaps comes across others who think that women / girls cannot be as strong as men / boys. He’s going to say: No, look at my mother!

      That’s not to say that stay at home mothers can’t be strong role models either, but this is the path I am taking to show him I am financially independent too, and that is who he should aspire to me, and look for in a partner as he grows older.

      Reply
  4. ArianaAuburn

    This chick needs as many ribbons as her kid has. I dont have frenemies because I usually end up being blunt out of exasperation and end up turing a frenemie into an enemy.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      It’s just so hard when you’re a mother, particularly a stay at home one. You’re trying to find friends and adult conversation on the basis of having children of the same age.. pickings are slim 😉

      Reply
  5. Kathy

    I do not have frenemies because I don’t have any desire to hang around a person who always makes me feel bad, or at least tries to. I’m sure this person in your life is very insecure, immature or both with her life situation so in an attempt to maker herself feel relevant, she has to say these things. Interesting comment about the desire to work. When I was young and we had our son, I felt like I needed to work. I wanted to work. But as time passed, I wished that I would have stayed home with him. I suppose it is the grass always being greener……..

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Hmm. That’s a good point about staying at home / grass is greener.. I guess we’ll never know.

      I’m thinking I’ll do the wishy-washy route!!! I am going to stay at home with Baby Bun half the time and work the other half 😉 Just like what I have been doing my whole life since I started my career & went independent.

      It seems to be the best work-life balance, I get to enjoy him, but then I also get to have a brain again.

      Reply
  6. raluca

    No, I don’t have any frenemies, mostly because I don’t have enough time to keep in touch with my real friends, so I won’t give up time to spend with people that would irk me.

    It’s weird, because I don’t agree with everything my friends tell me either. We have different lifestyles, we don’t earn the same, some of us have inheritances, others (like me, don’t). The thing is, it doesn’t bother me that some of my friends have chosen to stay at home with the kids for a longer time and be supported by their partners, or that others say that they do not have a maternal instinct but have a cool career.

    I guess, in the end, it’s because we have the same values: money is not as important as life. And because we trust each other enough to talk about how life is hard and trust the other person/persons to empathise with us, rather than make it about themselves.

    The person you are describing does not seem to have this trust with other people. It seems to me that she says one thing about a situation and you believe the opposite is true, so perhaps you also don’t trust her? Anyway, nobody ever said that friendship is easy, or that it comes fully formed and it never needs to grow. So perhaps with the passage of time, trust will be developed and your friendship will evolve.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Perhaps I don’t trust her. I think it is more an instinct. I feel like she is trying to make her life rosier and cooler than it really is, masking her insecurity with the fact that she is dependent on her husband and not at all independent, though she says she is.

      I think it is also because she talks too much about the subject and keeps voicing worries about it for me to think she’s fine with it. I mean, I have worries and problems with my partner too, but I carefully cherrypick what is relevant to the both of us so I can ask for advice, so that I don’t just slag on him.

      With her, it just comes all out like a big blurt of words and fears but then a lot of “BUT I AM OKAY WITH THAT” couched sentences, which I think is masquerading as something else. If she has an issue with it, she should say it bluntly and frankly, and not pretend it is OK.

      I’d rather have her tell me: I feel weird being taken care of. I don’t like it, and I am going to change it. I also am not an owner, I have very little in assets and I trust him but I need to learn how to trust myself.

      Something like that…. she seems to overdo it in an attempt to keep her life golden.

      Reply
      1. raluca

        I see myself in your friend, unfortunatelly. My younger self. Not because I was dependent on other people for money, because that has never been the case since going to the university.
        But because I too was (and maybe still am) tone deaf to people (strangers) in conversation. When it comes to people I care about (my husband, my friends, my sister) I can let go, I can trust them and I can show vulnerability and show them my insecurities and hurts, because I know they will not take advantage of that.
        When it comes to strangers (or work colleagues or acquaintances), I retreat behing my walls and I am carefull to show no weakness. So I will exagerate the strength of my oppinion even when I know that it’s really rather weak and I will try to shut down any contra-arguments they might present. As you can tell, it’s not an endearing quality and I have tried for a long long time to change it.
        You might discover that indeed, she is quite aware that her situation is less then stellar. You might further find that if you move the discussion away from her life to a hypothetical discussion of feminism, for example to the discussion of equal pay for women that is currently going on, that she might actually be a very “good” feminist, that she indeed thinks that women can bring home the bacon.
        But I believe that either she does not want to apply that though process to her life or, and this is what I believe, given my history, doesn’t trust your friendship enough to really show her vulnerabilities to you. The fact that she is so protective of herself in no way is a commentary on your character, it’s a commentary on hers. Trust takes time for me and I suspect, for her too.

        Reply
        1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

          I still like her and we still hang out, I just try to avoid those topics because they rile me 🙂 She is very helpful though, and I try to help her in return.

          Reply

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