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Author Topic: 'Life goals' based on gender
LilBlueSmurf
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I, personally, try very hard not to fall into stereotyping people into gender roles ... As in, men get the jobs and women stay home and have babies. I think it is SO SO wrong and i'm constantly correcting people when they say these things in front of me. I mean, my partner and i intend for me to work and HIM to be the stay at home parent. How unconventional is that? [Razz]

And yet, i found myself doing it with my own family ... With my sister. She's been with her boyfriend for a few years now, and i just assumed she'd want to get married and have children. Knowing her, i thought i knew she'd want children. She's going to school to be a teacher ... !! How could you love children as much as she does, and not want children of your own?

I was wrong. Not only was i wrong about her not wanting to get married and have children, i was wrong to assume. She didn't seem to phased by this assumption, and i apologized.

Has anyone ever assumed you'd want something in life, solely based on your gender? Does it bother you? If so, how do you let them know that this is not okay with you?

Have you ever made this mistake? Was the person you were talking to offended? How will you ensure that you do not make this mistake again?

Discuss [Smile]

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zeta
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Hm, wonder about unconventionality -my boyfriend, too, is very comfortable around kids and housekeeping, while I am alarmed by miniature humans and understand housekeeping about as much as a hamster. If we ever get kids -we're not decided on that but if -it's obvious that he'll be staying home with them and I'll do the career thing.

I think the reason why more ppl don't do it that way 'round, really, is because women tend to earn less than men -I am so very unwilling to stay at home with kids that if I can't make enough to support kids and house-husband, I'll just be childless. Thass ok too. But most ppl are a bit ambivalent, and if the guy earns more it sort of makes sense he not stay at home.... But that's something that should change.

You're right that it's a bit messed up to assume everyone will go for the husband and kids -route -it really hurts people who aren't even heterosexual, or who cannot have kids, or who otherwise can't fit in that mold even if they want to.

But I don't see why wanting marriage and kids, if one does, should be a gender assumption. I mean, why should one expect someone wants marriage and kids because they're a woman? Guys want those things too. I mean, if you had a brother who was a teacher and really liked kids, and who had a long-term committed hetero relationship, wouldn't you be tempted to assume he was thinking of marriage and kids? Don't see why that would go with being a woman....

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I don't get even, I get odder

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Beppie
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With me, it's people assuming that I have definite plans to have children at all-- I've even had people tell me that I SHOULD be having children ASAP (in spite of the fact that I'm in the middle of a post-graduate degree right now).

The one I get more often though, is people assuming that I'm dying for my boyfriend to propose to me, or at the very least, that I'll be getting engaged soon. Because it's totally impossible for a woman to be happy in a long term relationship WITHOUT getting married...

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Gwaihir
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quote:
Originally posted by zeta:
if the guy earns more it sort of makes sense he not stay at home.... But that's something that should change.

Yes, I think so too. .but I think the most ideal scenario would be for both parents to stay at home and raise their kids together. I realize that this is hardly possible for many people and is certainly not the norm, sadly. I was extremely lucky in that regard to have grown up with parents who's primary occupation was raising my sister and me. My mother always said she tried just about every job under the sun and it wasn't until her 30s that she decided she wanted to be a mother.
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kitka
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People have seen one of my career choices as a negation of my ability and gender; they've told me that, because I'm a woman, I've made the wrong choice by participating in a masculine-hierarchial institution. So far, that participation has earned me a decent amount of money and taught me valuabe skills, while not detracting from my other career choice.

I myself am not too enthused about the prospect of having children. I get along much better with large animals than children; in fact, I think I would be just as satisfied "mothering" a herd of horses and pack of dogs. Unless I marry someone who's committed to raising children equally so that I don't have to sacrifice my entire career, I won't have them at all.

I don't think marriage and children should be a gender assumption either, particularly because of the financial and social pressure that women face compared to men when it comes to childbearing. I made my career choices in part to ensure that I was going to have financial security no matter what.

There is one gender assumption I haven't run into yet - the inverse of Beppie's situation. Lo! be the person who asks me why, at 28 or 29, I am still single.

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DarkChild717
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Oddly, I seem to have fallen into what could be assumed as gender-based life goals.

I want to be married. I want to have at least one child, though, depending on how my partner and I feel about the first one, there may be more. I've got a general timeline to have kids (because I want to be established in my career first).

I don't mind when people around me ask me if I'm engaged. It's a logical assumption on their end, because the rings I wear to emulate an engagement ring. (One my partner gave me 3 years ago as a gift, and the other is my deceased grandmother's wedding ring.) I'm anticipating getting engaged sometime in the relatively near future, and my partner and I have begun dicussions on where, when, and how we wished to be married.

I don't know if I want to be a stay at home mom. I, like my parents, don't enjoy staying home for long extended periods of time. What made school breaks bearable wasw the propsect of returning to school. On the other hand, my partner and I have seriously discussed homeschooling our kids, and this would require at least one of us to be home some part of the week to facilitate that. Who it would be, I don't know. I suspect my partner would love to teach.

As far as household chores are concerned, those seem to have mostly panned out to be even. Both my partner and I enjoy gardening (though his thumb is greener than mine) and we both love to cook. Our smallish disagreements often center around who gets to cook. That's balancing out mostly because I really enjoy baking, while he prefers to experiment with entrees and different styles of cooking.

I'm not totally sure how I came to be in this place. I know that my personal life goal is to be something like my grandmother--loved, respected, and surrounded by an extended family. If I can acheive even a portion of what she did, I'd feel succesful. For me, the logical step to be that grandmother is to first have and raise a successful child. Successful, of course, being a well rounded, polite, respectable kid who's proud of who they are and where they came from. I want this, because of who my grandmother was to me. I wish to be that for my own children and grandchildren.

I've made assumptions myself, too. This mostly comes from talking with one of my best friends, whose child is nearly 2 1/2. My assumptions come from her expanding her family, though, there were with some basis in fact. She DOES want another child, she just hates being pregnant. [Smile]

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greenapp1es
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I've not so much focused my life around gender goals, I've had comments made at me by others who have assumed.

My parents, for example, from the time I was in high school would jokingly go back and forth about having another child, then stop and look at me very seriously and say "oh, we don't have to worry about that....we'll just wait until we have grandchildren." This bothered me significantly...as at the time I had no interest whatsoever in getting into a relationship of any kind...and was not all too convinced I ever would. When I mentioned that I very well may not ever get married and have children I got a shocked look and surprised response "well...you don't want to be an old maid do you?" grrrrr.

Also, I'm dealing with similar now. My boyfriend has made it very clear that at some point he wants a family. I very well may have significant fertility issues due to PCOS, as I don't ovulate regularly and therefore won't be able to conceive as easily as other women might. I brought this up to him...questioning what would happen to our relationship if I didn't want to or COULDN'T have kids. I'm still waiting for an answer on that one...which concerns me a bit...but anyway...

So yeah... not exactly me making decisions, but closely related as I have been on the receiving end

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Jordan
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Personally I think taking turns staying with the kids would be best, Then you wouldn't be bored going back to work, and you'd love being with your kids all the time, and you both would have an income,which in todays world helps alot.

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Beppie
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Greenapples, just to go a bit off topic here, but you can always suggest that if you have reproductive problems you could adopt-- this is a particularly great thing to do if you're willing to adopt children who often end up in orhpanages/foster care their whole lives, such as children who aren't white (sadly, the demand for adoption is only high for caucasian babies [Frown] ) or children from a third world country.
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notmenow
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I'm personally torn. Part of me wants to be that "soccer mom" and stay with my kids at home. However, I'm a slave to academia, and I'm going to obtain a profesional degree in a field that isn't always welcome to women - especially when they want to have children. Knowing these things is discouraging - does it really mean I have to choose between being the mother I want to be and having the career I want? I definitely do not want children now, so I'm just focusing on my career. We'll see what happens, I suppose.
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zeta
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ningirl: so assuming you won't be a single parent, what is the problem with sharing the child care with your spouse? Stay home for a year and do the soccer-parent thing, then go back to academia and have the other parent take over? It doesn't have to be either/or, right?

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notmenow
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quote:
Originally posted by zeta:
ningirl: so assuming you won't be a single parent, what is the problem with sharing the child care with your spouse? Stay home for a year and do the soccer-parent thing, then go back to academia and have the other parent take over? It doesn't have to be either/or, right?

Well, in a perfect world, we could have opposite schedules so he could watch children at night, and me during the day, and vice versa.

The field I'm going into doesn't really permit just taking a year off if you want to climb the ladder. However, times they are a-changin'. We'll see what happens.

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summergoddess
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My partner and I are about to be married in three weeks. In terms of lifetime goals and such, i want and I know that I can be both a full time mom and a full time career woman.

We've had the assumption from family that we'd have kids right away once we're married. We want to wait. We want to enjoy still a few more years of just us two and accomplish our goals/dreams before we conceive our first child.

We aren't planning on having kids for a while (for at least about three years). We want to have everything settled in--our house, our jobs, our cars, and everything else before we enter the parenting world. I love to work more than my partner does. If things go well where I can full support everybody including our kids, my partner is willing to be the stay home parent. He wants to do that rather than be at work, but for now until we can afford to be solely on one income, we're both working.

so that's that.

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~Jules

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Heather
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To bring this a little more back to topic, I've experienced assumptions on both polar ends of this issue.

Because I've been some form of teacher nearly all of my life, and because I'm female, it has been assumed that because I clearly love kids, I'd want them of my own.

(However, sometimes, the older you get, the less and less this is assumed, because the assumption becomes, "if she hasn't had any yet... she must not want any, or may not be able to have any.")

On the other hand, it's been assumed just as much if not more so, that because I'm feminist, because I'm concerned with population issues, because I'm outside of the "norm" of women (as if there were one) that I probably do NOT want to parent, become pregnant, etc. Living as a queer woman very clearly compounds this, because when I'm partnered with women, the assumption that I would want to, or should want to, procreate happens a lot less often than when I'm partnered with a man.

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Heather
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While I'm still thinking about it, another big one I got coming of age, through college, and especially as I was in my mid-to-late-twenties, was that eventually, I would want to "settle down."

For a lot of my life, I very much enjoyed casual sex (to be frank, when not in a monogamous partnership, I still do), and it was a common perception that either a) I'd stop enjoying it the minute I could "settle down," -- as if that weren't something I could seek out just as easily if it was what I wanted -- or b) I was having casual partners in a desperate attempt to try and find someone to "settle down" with, and my enjoyment was in using sex as a balm for my loneliness OR it filled a void that would not exist if I was married.

Very few of the men who had similar habits to mine that I did or have talked to got that same message. In fact, for most, the message THEY got was that enjoying casual sex was a mark of their immaturity, and when THEY "settled down," they'd still WANT and ENJOY casual sex as much, but would simply have the good sense not to seek it out.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Ecofem
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In terms of assumptions about having or not having children, I've noticed how people will use this as a tool for dissing. I know of a couple who married later in life, who really, really wanted kids, who tried having their own (bad phrase!)-adopting-etc. but nothing worked out. There was an occasion where someone with children, who was clueless to their history, basically charged them with not having kids because they "selfishly" wanted more free time to themselves. Which was not only ridiculous and mean but also so far from the truth.
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