Are Stay At Home Mothers Killing American Men?
January 4, 2007
Are American women killing their husbands under the guise of being the stay at home mom? Marty Nemko’s site raises some interesting points. Here are some of the mined nuggets we discovered at Marty’s place.
Many men live bleak lives: work 10+ hours, commute home, and drop into the couch exhausted. And their reward: an early grave. Despite obesity being more prevalent among women, there are five widows for every widower. Yet all we hear about is another fundraiser for breast cancer.
A recent New York Times article reported that the number of stay-at-home moms has increased 13 percent in less than a decade, and among working women, 2/3 work part-time. This is true even of graduates of prestigious colleges, women who were bestowed a fiercely competed-for slot at an elite college on the assumption they would use that coveted degree to make a big difference in the world.
Adding to the unfairness, women, on average, are more motivated than their husbands to have children to begin with. The man is often pressured, subtly or not subtly, into parenthood, with all its added financial and time demands.
These women use various excuses to avoid working, most commonly:
It’s better for the children. In fact, the data is equivocal about that. And anecdotally, I’ve seen many examples in which a stay-at-home mom overprotects a child, resulting in a less self-confident child than if the child were in a high-quality child-care program.
I don’t have earning potential. The definitive book on the subject, Why Men Earn More by Dr. Warren Farrell (Amacom, 2005) finds that for the same work, in many fields, women earn more than $1 for each dollar men earn. Even low-skill required jobs such as waitressing can yield $50,000-$100,000 a year.
Being a homemaker is at least as stressful as being in the work world. These women point to their having to deal with a frequently crying baby or claim that being at home is a three-ring circus. But fact is, a significant percentage of many stay-at-home moms’ days are spent on low-stress tasks such as supermarket shopping, playing with the baby, making dinner, and chatting with friends while baby is napping.
That life is much less stressful than most out-of-home jobs, which are filled with unpredictable commutes, ever increasing workloads because of the relentless downsizing, bosses with unrealistic expectations, co-workers who don’t pull their weight, and tough tasks, which if not completed satisfactorily can result in criticism or even firing.
Men the unsung heroes.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more that 95 percent of the people in the 10 most dangerous jobs are men: from timber cutters to construction laborers. Coal miner, which is 99 percent men, isn’t even in the top 10. We are in an era, in which men are widely portrayed as boors, crooks, or at best, beer-guzzling football watchers.
The vast majority of people who work in iron foundries, coalmines, and other clanging, polluted environments are men. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 92 percent of workplace deaths occur to men.
Yes, men, who are willing to go into our basement to eradicate a rat population, dig into our sewers to ensure our toilets don’t back up, fish the Icy Alaskan waters to catch the salmon the doctors urge us to eat, build the homes we live in, the buildings we work in, and the highways and vehicles that take us there. In today’s era in which so many features extol the contributions of women, I believe it’s fair to say that men are unsung heroes.
Yes men are dying every day. As we die from our hard efforts to bring money home to the family unit, women are spending that money as soon as we men earn it. Since 2000, despite the economic downturn, the number of spa visits nationwide, the vast majority of which are made by women, has doubled!
Marty informs us: Women don’t just spend on day spas. They’re, overall, the bigger spenders. Yes, men buy more tools and technotoys but women, even when they contribute little or nothing to the family income, are the predominant spenders: clothing, jewelry, therapy, home redecorating of no interest to the man, etc. Most shopaholics are women. Every expenditure loads additional pressure onto the primary breadwinner, which is usually the husband.
Usually, the wife won’t kill the husband, but often will divorce him, at least in part because “he wasn’t a good provider.” And most courts reward her with custody of the child and a requirement that the father pay child support and/or alimony.
An article on askmen states: In the post-divorce wasteland, a man will feel like he just crawled out of a bunker after a firebombing. His community is gone and the world is cold. When he walks into his favorite pub, he’s a foreigner. The world hasn’t changed, however — only he has. While he was saying “yes, dear” to dinner parties, he lost track of college football and can’t even remember who played in the Super Bowl last year.
The wasteland phase is utterly depressing, and men are prone to making poor decisions in the aftermath. According to WebMD, divorced men are two and a half times as likely as married men to commit suicide. Although women must walk the wasteland, too, they tend to cope with the fallout in a more constructive way. Men go for flings and seek out old flames. A failed marriage is a millstone around a man’s neck, and because men tend to stifle their pain, they suffer alone. Case in point: According to a Yorkshire Building Society study, 56% of divorced men say they rue their failed marriage, while only 45% of divorced women have regret.
Finally, Marty reminds us to “remember that men die much younger than women, with stress being a major killer. Do you really want to be a beast of burden so your wife can live a cushy life, and then after you die, inherit the money you’ve earned so she can continue her lifestyle?”
Men, I urge you to be more conscious about whether you are allowing yourself to be turned into being a beast of burden to pay for the expensive house, kids, and all the material “stuff” that you might well be willing to trade away for a more pleasant life.
And if you’re single, consider whether your life will be better if you hold out for a woman who will share responsibility for the family income. Besides, by requiring that, you’ll know that the woman wants to be with you because she loves you, not because—as a surprising number of Marty’s female clients have admitted in the privacy of his office — that she considers you a cash cow.
All excerpts: © Copyright, Marty Nemko, 2006 (martynemko.com.) All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.