Author Topic: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms  (Read 1905 times)

JestJes

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I'm probably way over thinking this but I am a natural planner and I can't help myself.

I'm currently getting my boyfriend on board with FIRE. He is basically already frugal(Drives a late model car, not a big spender) but we are just optimizing a couple of thing to get on track to FIRE easily by 55.

We are are on the same page of wanting to have at least one child and are trying to factor in what childcare will do to our plans. This is where the sticking point comes up.

I was raised by my birth parents until I was 16 then I was basically adopted by my Aunt who I now think of as a mother. She is wonderful and caring and taught me how to cook and be a good person. She lives with he son, who welcomed me into the family as sister. She has made offhand comments like,"Its great you and SO don't have to worry about child care because I can watch them." She doesn't work and my cousins wife is a SAHM so they always figured if I were to work that they would watch the children rather than putting them in daycare.

 They are wonderful and I understand they are offering something special but I have one concern. My Aunt was married to a Muslim man for 20 years and she raised he kids accordingly. Her son and his wife are very culturally Arab with highly defined gender roles. He brings in the money, she raises the children.  When I came into the family, I was expected to cook and clean and help care for the men. It was actually really hard to adjust. I'm concerned my children would be forced into the same gender norms that I was when I came into the family.. My SO and I are not religious and I would prefer my children to have a open mind to different religions and cultures but I'm afraid seeing women in the kitchen and men on the couch could effect a young girls perception of what is right.

What do you guys think? Am I being selfish, having concerns when my family if offering me FREE childcare? They will end up seeing the family often but if my Aunt is providing everyday care she will have a greater impact on them.

Would it be worth it to consider putting the kids in childcare part of the week? How would I talk to the family about this?

Should I not even thing about this yet and just let it play out?

Am I overreacting and overthinking this?

MayDay

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2019, 09:18:48 AM »
I would probably have her watch them as babies/toddlers, and then put them in preschool at age 3. Kids aren't aware of too much as toddlers, and preschool is a good natural time to switch.

Cannot Wait!

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2019, 09:25:23 AM »
Take the free!  It's good for kids to be exposed to different religions.  As they get older it becomes "teachable moments" where you get to discuss your beliefs. 
Really, you have no idea what other caregivers might be telling your children if you went somewhere else.  I'd totally vote for a loving Aunt than a stranger.
And yes, you're over thinking it if you're not yet even pregnant. ;)

Pigeon

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2019, 09:27:46 AM »
Personally, I wouldn't have them do childcare for my kids.  I wouldn't like the gender roles and I'm not a fan of religion in any flavor.  I might use them for backup if they are willing, but I wouldn't want my kid around that day in and day out. 

Saving money is great and childcare is expensive, but I think it's worth paying for something you're comfortable with.  I don't think it's something you need to worry about now, given you don't have  a child yet and also things change.  Watching a little one requires a lot of energy and people's health and availability may be different by the time you do. 

cats

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2019, 09:29:31 AM »
I would probably plan for at least PT childcare for a few reasons:

1) The concerns you mention regarding gender expectations
2) Once a kid gets to around 2-3 yrs old, it's good for them to hang out with kids outside their family group.  Preschool/daycare is a good way of doing this
3) Your aunt may find that caring for a young child is more tiring than she originally thought it would be (even if she has raised kids before...it's a physical job and harder as you get older!), and doing 40-50 hrs of childcare each week might be too much for her.


Personally, we don't live close enough to any family to have them providing childcare, but from what I have seen of relatives with similar setups, it's a blessing with strings attached.  You have to balance the needs of your child (or your desires for parenting) with the need to maintain good relations with a family member and those two goals aren't always in harmony.  I do think if you have willing relatives it's GREAT to utilize them to some degree, but not to have them as 100% of your childcare.

Malkynn

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2019, 09:34:49 AM »
I was raised in a similar situation where my daycare, then after-school-care provider had extremely different religious and gender values than my parents did.

It was never an issue and it promoted a lot of productive and thoughtful conversations which helped me love and respect people with wildly different beliefs than myself.

If these people are close family, it's an issue you are going to have to address anyway.

You are definitely thinking far too far ahead though. Wait until you actually have to make a decision, and then trust your instincts. That's what parenting is.

JestJes

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2019, 09:39:03 AM »
Take the free!  It's good for kids to be exposed to different religions.  As they get older it becomes "teachable moments" where you get to discuss your beliefs. 
Really, you have no idea what other caregivers might be telling your children if you went somewhere else.  I'd totally vote for a loving Aunt than a stranger.
And yes, you're over thinking it if you're not yet even pregnant. ;)

Haha year not even trying yet so I'm probably insane! You bring up a great point: talking to children? Who would have thought of that!

 I think FIRE does bring up these wonderful conversations though about what is important to each partner and their expectations for the future. That has been a huge value.

honeybbq

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2019, 09:40:07 AM »
I would probably have her watch them as babies/toddlers, and then put them in preschool at age 3. Kids aren't aware of too much as toddlers, and preschool is a good natural time to switch.

Agreed. Though maybe age 2 would be the cutoff for me, where gender roles start taking shape.

JestJes

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2019, 09:41:29 AM »
I was raised in a similar situation where my daycare, then after-school-care provider had extremely different religious and gender values than my parents did.

It was never an issue and it promoted a lot of productive and thoughtful conversations which helped me love and respect people with wildly different beliefs than myself.

If these people are close family, it's an issue you are going to have to address anyway.

You are definitely thinking far too far ahead though. Wait until you actually have to make a decision, and then trust your instincts. That's what parenting is.

This is great advice. I'm likely getting to much into my head.

Malkynn

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2019, 10:03:02 AM »
I was raised in a similar situation where my daycare, then after-school-care provider had extremely different religious and gender values than my parents did.

It was never an issue and it promoted a lot of productive and thoughtful conversations which helped me love and respect people with wildly different beliefs than myself.

If these people are close family, it's an issue you are going to have to address anyway.

You are definitely thinking far too far ahead though. Wait until you actually have to make a decision, and then trust your instincts. That's what parenting is.

This is great advice. I'm likely getting to much into my head.

WAY too much into your head.

I have a policy of not trying to make decisions for my future self, because I guarantee my future self knows better than I do what she needs.

You're not doing your present self or your future self any favours by trying to make difficult decisions in advance.

remizidae

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2019, 12:25:12 PM »
I think you should channel some of this overplanning energy into conversations with your boyfriend. How are you and he going to model gender equality for your child? Is he willing to be the primary caregiver? How will household labor be split? If one of you needs to take time off work for the child, is he willing to step up? Will you formula feed so that he can participate fully in infant care?

You’re right to think ahead. Parenting in an oppsite sex couple without falling into gender norms is HARD. Check out some of the books that have been written about it, invest in your career, and make sure you don’t have a baby until you’re ready.

Tass

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2019, 02:10:25 PM »
I have a policy of not trying to make decisions for my future self, because I guarantee my future self knows better than I do what she needs.

Whenever I see a really insightful comment in any random thread, there seems to be a >50% chance that Malkynn wrote it.

I think you should channel some of this overplanning energy into conversations with your boyfriend. How are you and he going to model gender equality for your child? Is he willing to be the primary caregiver? How will household labor be split? If one of you needs to take time off work for the child, is he willing to step up? Will you formula feed so that he can participate fully in infant care?

I think this matters more than the situation you're concerned about. There is no way to raise a child entirely outside of conventional gender norms. My strategy would be to make sure the kid can SEE those conventions as the social constructs they are, rather than trying to shelter them from even knowing of the existence of gender roles.

I am not a parent; I am, like you, a young woman pondering how to someday raise kids in a lopsided world.

nessness

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2019, 02:22:22 PM »
In your situation, I would do two things:

(1) Let your aunt watch your kid as an infant and toddler, assuming she remains willing and able. Reevaluate at preschool age. In addition to your concern about gender norms, preschool is great for kids.

(2) Make sure you have a back up plan (like, enough room in the budget to pay for daycare if needed). It might be great to have your aunt watch your kid, but you don't want to be stuck in the event that it isn't.

On the topic of gender norms, in my experience, kids don't really notice gender until age 2 or so, then they get really interested in it from ages 2-3 and start making all sorts of conclusions, many of which are untrue.

Actual things my kids have said:
"Moms don't have jobs" (despite the fact that most moms she knows have jobs, including her own mom (me))
"Boys can't wear pink"
"All firefighters are boys"
"I'm not a shark because I'm a girl and sharks are boys"

Fortunately, all these things were easy to refute with counterexamples (although the shark one threw me for a bit of a loop 😂😂). But it's a strong reminder that young kids are making all sorts of assumptions about what things are "for boys" and "for girls." So I do think it's important to be conscious of what gender roles you're modeling for your kids and exposing them to.


TVRodriguez

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2019, 03:13:47 PM »
In your situation, I would do two things:

(1) Let your aunt watch your kid as an infant and toddler, assuming she remains willing and able. Reevaluate at preschool age. In addition to your concern about gender norms, preschool is great for kids.

(2) Make sure you have a back up plan (like, enough room in the budget to pay for daycare if needed). It might be great to have your aunt watch your kid, but you don't want to be stuck in the event that it isn't.

On the topic of gender norms, in my experience, kids don't really notice gender until age 2 or so, then they get really interested in it from ages 2-3 and start making all sorts of conclusions, many of which are untrue.

Actual things my kids have said:
"Moms don't have jobs" (despite the fact that most moms she knows have jobs, including her own mom (me))
"Boys can't wear pink"
"All firefighters are boys"
"I'm not a shark because I'm a girl and sharks are boys"

Fortunately, all these things were easy to refute with counterexamples (although the shark one threw me for a bit of a loop 😂😂). But it's a strong reminder that young kids are making all sorts of assumptions about what things are "for boys" and "for girls." So I do think it's important to be conscious of what gender roles you're modeling for your kids and exposing them to.

+1

Christof

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2019, 03:54:36 PM »
Kids are influenced by whoever they spend their time with, more when they grow older. We were careful not to impose any gender specific rules. This worked until he was three. His favorite colors where pink and purple. But even then he started separating girls and boys things, although in an unusual way. Blue was a girls color to him because of Elsa (Disney, if you don’t have kids), which he saw in a few books in the library and talked about in day care.

Fast forward three years and his red biking helmet is now a fire fighter‘s helmet, Elsa is a thing of the past and dinosaurs are more interesting. He is still playing with his baby doll, but I guess that will stop soon when he starts school next month and realizes that none or only few of the other boys have dolls.

use2betrix

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2019, 04:02:36 PM »
This is a very interesting conversation and one I have never considered, in my thoughts of how my wife and I will raise our future kid(s).

I’m 31 and my wife 25. We’ve been together over 7 years. She has almost never worked as she has traveled with me for my contracting positions all over the country. At this point, her earning potential would be around 1/10 of what mine is, so from a financial aspect it adds no value to us, as opposed to the rewards of her not working.

I wonder if our relationship norms will influence our kids and their expectations. I suppose we will have to make it very clear that we are not the modern day “norm.” Granted - by the time we’re to that point we’ll likely be at or near FIRE, so the household tasks should balance more.

MayDay

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2019, 05:38:52 PM »
This is a very interesting conversation and one I have never considered, in my thoughts of how my wife and I will raise our future kid(s).

I’m 31 and my wife 25. We’ve been together over 7 years. She has almost never worked as she has traveled with me for my contracting positions all over the country. At this point, her earning potential would be around 1/10 of what mine is, so from a financial aspect it adds no value to us, as opposed to the rewards of her not working.

I wonder if our relationship norms will influence our kids and their expectations. I suppose we will have to make it very clear that we are not the modern day “norm.” Granted - by the time we’re to that point we’ll likely be at or near FIRE, so the household tasks should balance more.

I would say not at all if she (assuming it would be her with the kids 90% of the time) verbalizes and shows that lots of families do things differently and that men and women can BOTH do anything they want.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2019, 05:56:18 PM »
I with everyone that would take childcare the first 2-3 years but then go to daycare. I would fight hard against any gender situation that has women in vulnerable roles. That imprinting starts early and persists unless combatted.

Villanelle

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2019, 06:18:45 PM »
You could also consider splitting the difference.  Have the free childcare for 3 days, and find a two day a week program.  And you can always tell family, if you don't want to have the hard conversation with family, just tell them you want him/her to have socialization. 

calimom

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2019, 08:04:43 PM »
I have two daughters: DD1, adopted, and DD2, bio. There is a brother in between them. AFAIK DD1 has never worn pink except for a pink pussy hat for a women's march. DD2 went through a very pink stage between about 3 and 5 or so. She'd come home from Montessori and put on a rustly gown to water the garden in, or to watch 'Arthur'. I was always enthralled by DD1's early feminism, and amenable to DD2's hyper feminine princess state (which has evolved as she's gotten older) All of my kids have mostly known me as a working parent, though DD1 has a clearer memory of my time as a SAHP. We know women who do all kinds of things from having a fishing boat to being a bank executive to being at home with kids.

My point, if I have one, ha!, you just don't know what you know till you know it and even then it might not be what you think it is.

Zamboni

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2019, 09:44:18 PM »
Don't accept free child care from anyone but a spouse/co-parent. Period. Insist on paying the provider the prevailing wage for child care even if you are paying it to a family member.

Because if you accept free child care from a cousin/aunt/grandparent, then any teeny tiny suggestion you make about what happens during the child's care while you are working may be seen as you being ungrateful and pushy. Seriously. No free child care. I'm not kidding.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2019, 05:31:44 AM by Zamboni »

Hula Hoop

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #21 on: July 30, 2019, 05:00:08 AM »
Yes you are waayyy overplanning this.  Your life and outlook are going to completely change once you have a hypotehtical kid in ways that you can't imagine ahead of time.

That said, I'm interested in your own gender dynamic.  Unfortunately, I've seen many 'progressive' marriages fall into stereotypical gender norms once kids enter the picture.  If your partner going to be a primary parent?  Does he do half of the house work now pre-kids? 

I'd vote for using the aunt as childcare if she's willing.  She sounds like a lovely person and would be a great influence on your hypothetical child.  I agree with others that babies don't really notice much and this wont' be an issue until around pre-school age.  At that point, maybe put the kid into part time pre-school.  In my experience, kids at around age 3 enjoy some socializiing outside the family so preschool is good for them. 

You're very lucky to have such a loving relative who is willing to provide childcare.  Sounds like she might also be willing to help out when things come up, which is also very useful.  We don't have any family childcare help and it can be really tough when things happen like kids or we get sick.


Zamboni

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2019, 05:38:33 AM »
If you accept free child care from your aunt, then you are drastically devaluing traditional "women's work" and thus directly contributing to the problem of women not being fairly compensated for their labor. This will lead to her remaining dependent upon men for her very life since she will not even have a decent social security check of her own because she wasn't paid for her work . . . if she ends up an indigent widow some day, it will be at least partly your fault.

Something to think about since you are sensitive to not perpetuating gender norms.

Edited to add: So, the title of you post could be changed from ". . . Free Childcare vs. Traditional Gender Norms" to " . . . Free Childcare  Perpetuates the Cycle of Traditional Gender Norms"
« Last Edit: July 30, 2019, 05:46:25 AM by Zamboni »

Hula Hoop

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2019, 06:06:46 AM »
If you accept free child care from your aunt, then you are drastically devaluing traditional "women's work" and thus directly contributing to the problem of women not being fairly compensated for their labor. This will lead to her remaining dependent upon men for her very life since she will not even have a decent social security check of her own because she wasn't paid for her work . . . if she ends up an indigent widow some day, it will be at least partly your fault.

Something to think about since you are sensitive to not perpetuating gender norms.

Edited to add: So, the title of you post could be changed from ". . . Free Childcare vs. Traditional Gender Norms" to " . . . Free Childcare  Perpetuates the Cycle of Traditional Gender Norms"

This is an excellent point.

Pigeon

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2019, 06:35:20 AM »
If you accept free child care from your aunt, then you are drastically devaluing traditional "women's work" and thus directly contributing to the problem of women not being fairly compensated for their labor. This will lead to her remaining dependent upon men for her very life since she will not even have a decent social security check of her own because she wasn't paid for her work . . . if she ends up an indigent widow some day, it will be at least partly your fault.

Something to think about since you are sensitive to not perpetuating gender norms.

Edited to add: So, the title of you post could be changed from ". . . Free Childcare vs. Traditional Gender Norms" to " . . . Free Childcare  Perpetuates the Cycle of Traditional Gender Norms"

Very true.

charis

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2019, 08:49:27 AM »
Don't accept free child care from anyone but a spouse/co-parent. Period. Insist on paying the provider the prevailing wage for child care even if you are paying it to a family member.

Because if you accept free child care from a cousin/aunt/grandparent, then any teeny tiny suggestion you make about what happens during the child's care while you are working may be seen as you being ungrateful and pushy. Seriously. No free child care. I'm not kidding.

Not necessarily, it depends on the dynamic of the relationship and understanding of the parties involved.  My (long retired) mother requested to watch her grandchildren a few days or afternoons a week, refused all payments that we attempted to make, and consistently referred to the parents for direction on how to conduct the care.  We could afford full time paid childcare and it was quite inconvenient to accommodate her request by having to obtain part-time and back up child care to fit her schedule and travel plans. 

The unanticipated drawback to this arrangement was how overly involved the grandparents became and their assumption of a certain amount of time with and access to the grandchildren.  But we did set boundaries (gently) and it's been a relatively small price to pay as time passes and they all age out of those roles.

Rosy

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #26 on: July 30, 2019, 09:05:04 AM »
If you accept free child care from your aunt, then you are drastically devaluing traditional "women's work" and thus directly contributing to the problem of women not being fairly compensated for their labor. This will lead to her remaining dependent upon men for her very life since she will not even have a decent social security check of her own because she wasn't paid for her work . . . if she ends up an indigent widow some day, it will be at least partly your fault.

Something to think about since you are sensitive to not perpetuating gender norms.

Edited to add: So, the title of you post could be changed from ". . . Free Childcare vs. Traditional Gender Norms" to " . . . Free Childcare  Perpetuates the Cycle of Traditional Gender Norms"

Yes, this is something we all conveniently ignore when we take advantage of free childcare or in most cases this would not occur to a young couple in their twenties.
The harsh reality for many people that I know is simply that without free childcare by a family member they couldn't hope to ever pay back student loans or even live a comfortable life - it is a financial lifeline for them.

This is one reason why the US started SS, to provide for widows.
As a survivor, she is eligible to receive her husband's full SS and if she was divorced but married for at least ten years she still has a claim.
If she were single, never married she has no claim unless she worked the required years to make her eligible at least for the minimum.

In the aunt's case, the only way that being paid for childcare services would make a difference to her is, - if - the OP were to engage her services long enough for her to reach the minimum required years/compensation for her to receive a minimum SS of her own.
Then, she could claim her minimum when she retires and her husband still his full SS, thus making them both better off:)
Once the husband dies she would give up her minimum SS pmts and file to receive his SS instead.

It is actually currently on the agenda of the Republican Party to do away with SS eligibility for anyone who never paid in - sounds reasonable on the surface, but it will be devastating financially for millions of women when they reach SS age.

Back on point, I think it is a bit too early to contemplate:) since there is no child on the way, yet. A lot of things can change between now and then.
In my opinion, what matters is that the child is brought up by loving, responsible, trustworthy adults.
In most families there will be clashes on how to raise a child, that's just normal, it gives your child the opportunity to experience more than one way.

As long as your child is a baby it will only know that it is loved. It doesn't know or judge religion, Muslim or Arab, gender will be a topic by the time they are ready for pre-school and by that time you can have parent-child conversations.
Parents face tough decisions for their kids, what counts in the end is if they are good people, who will love your child but also do not have a hidden agenda and both of you are willing to make allowances - yet they will accept how you want certain things done differently.

If you are well enough off, you can have a stranger come into your home to bring up your child - a Nanny may be the ultimate solution, certainly better than a place to drop off your child with rows of cribs.
But even Nannies have opinions that may on occasion clash with yours:).
Just pointing out that being a parent is not an easy job.



JestJes

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2019, 09:08:25 AM »
If you accept free child care from your aunt, then you are drastically devaluing traditional "women's work" and thus directly contributing to the problem of women not being fairly compensated for their labor. This will lead to her remaining dependent upon men for her very life since she will not even have a decent social security check of her own because she wasn't paid for her work . . . if she ends up an indigent widow some day, it will be at least partly your fault.

Something to think about since you are sensitive to not perpetuating gender norms.

Edited to add: So, the title of you post could be changed from ". . . Free Childcare vs. Traditional Gender Norms" to " . . . Free Childcare  Perpetuates the Cycle of Traditional Gender Norms"

This is a very interesting perspective. She is already entirely dependent on her son and has been for the last 5 years so I doubt anything I could pay her for a period of 2-4 years will change that. From my understanding she doesn't plan to work for the next 20-30 years of her life  and my cousin is perfectly happy to support her entirely along with his young wife and child.

The gender norm issue is something that we are going to have to confront because it is a part of my family's every day life. Its hard to even describe how central it is to their family structure. With this discussion, I think I understand this will be a discussion I will need to have often with my children anyway, because they will be around my family which is structured differently than I would like my family structured.  I think the best advice is to keep the conversations open both with my family and my boyfriend.


JestJes

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #28 on: July 30, 2019, 09:19:42 AM »
If you accept free child care from your aunt, then you are drastically devaluing traditional "women's work" and thus directly contributing to the problem of women not being fairly compensated for their labor. This will lead to her remaining dependent upon men for her very life since she will not even have a decent social security check of her own because she wasn't paid for her work . . . if she ends up an indigent widow some day, it will be at least partly your fault.

Something to think about since you are sensitive to not perpetuating gender norms.

Edited to add: So, the title of you post could be changed from ". . . Free Childcare vs. Traditional Gender Norms" to " . . . Free Childcare  Perpetuates the Cycle of Traditional Gender Norms"

Yes, this is something we all conveniently ignore when we take advantage of free childcare or in most cases this would not occur to a young couple in their twenties.
The harsh reality for many people that I know is simply that without free childcare by a family member they couldn't hope to ever pay back student loans or even live a comfortable life - it is a financial lifeline for them.

This is one reason why the US started SS, to provide for widows.
As a survivor, she is eligible to receive her husband's full SS and if she was divorced but married for at least ten years she still has a claim.
If she were single, never married she has no claim unless she worked the required years to make her eligible at least for the minimum.

In the aunt's case, the only way that being paid for childcare services would make a difference to her is, - if - the OP were to engage her services long enough for her to reach the minimum required years/compensation for her to receive a minimum SS of her own.
Then, she could claim her minimum when she retires and her husband still his full SS, thus making them both better off:)
Once the husband dies she would give up her minimum SS pmts and file to receive his SS instead.

It is actually currently on the agenda of the Republican Party to do away with SS eligibility for anyone who never paid in - sounds reasonable on the surface, but it will be devastating financially for millions of women when they reach SS age.

Back on point, I think it is a bit too early to contemplate:) since there is no child on the way, yet. A lot of things can change between now and then.
In my opinion, what matters is that the child is brought up by loving, responsible, trustworthy adults.
In most families there will be clashes on how to raise a child, that's just normal, it gives your child the opportunity to experience more than one way.

As long as your child is a baby it will only know that it is loved. It doesn't know or judge religion, Muslim or Arab, gender will be a topic by the time they are ready for pre-school and by that time you can have parent-child conversations.
Parents face tough decisions for their kids, what counts in the end is if they are good people, who will love your child but also do not have a hidden agenda and both of you are willing to make allowances - yet they will accept how you want certain things done differently.

If you are well enough off, you can have a stranger come into your home to bring up your child - a Nanny may be the ultimate solution, certainly better than a place to drop off your child with rows of cribs.
But even Nannies have opinions that may on occasion clash with yours:).
Just pointing out that being a parent is not an easy job.

They are wonderful, loving, and giving. I think they would be really good with my future children. I don't think they have a hidden agenda or anything like that just a different belief system.

This conversation was brought up by planning for retirement. How much will we need a year and the childcare is a huge factor. We could of course make it without the help but having it would make it easier to be secure. I do wish I would have known about this earlier so we could be FIRE before we have kids but as a almost 29 year old I know that's not possible. We are not especially well off although I am studying for a MBA which I hope will increase my earning potential but we still have debt to pay off so we are easily 10-15 years away from FI even without children.

Zamboni

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #29 on: July 30, 2019, 11:11:22 AM »
Yes, this is something we all conveniently ignore when we take advantage of free childcare or in most cases this would not occur to a young couple in their twenties.
The harsh reality for many people that I know is simply that without free childcare by a family member they couldn't hope to ever pay back student loans or even live a comfortable life - it is a financial lifeline for them.

I take bags of groceries to too many penniless old ladies to have any sympathy for the "but if we pay her, then we can't have the life we want and we'll never get ahead" mentality. We are all conditioned to think women don't deserve to be compensated for their labor, it seems. From what I'm reading here, it seems to be a common idea that women don't even want to be paid for their work. That's some world class cultural brain washing right there.

Insist that you need to pay her, $10 per hour, minimum ($15 if you have high pay.) If she doesn't feel comfortable using it for her own expenses (aka Stockholm syndrome), then suggest that she could save the money for her own grandchildren. She will likely accept that idea. Paying for work people provide for you is the right thing to do. Otherwise, I don't want to read any more haughty "but we are so enlightened about not subscribing to gender norms" rationalizing.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2019, 12:26:52 PM by Zamboni »

TVRodriguez

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #30 on: July 30, 2019, 11:40:39 AM »
Yes, this is something we all conveniently ignore when we take advantage of free childcare or in most cases this would not occur to a young couple in their twenties.
The harsh reality for many people that I know is simply that without free childcare by a family member they couldn't hope to ever pay back student loans or even live a comfortable life - it is a financial lifeline for them.

I take bags of groceries to too many penniless old ladies to have any sympathy for the "but it we pay her, then we can't have the life we want and we'll never get ahead" mentality. We are all conditioned to think women don't deserve to be compensated for their labor, it seems. From what I'm reading here, it seems to be a common idea that women don't even want to be paid for their work. That's some world class cultural brain washing right there.

Insist that you need to pay her, $10 per hour, minimum ($15 if you have high pay.) If she doesn't feel comfortable using it for her own expenses (aka Stockholm syndrome), then suggest that she could save the money for her own grandchildren. She will likely accept that idea. Paying for work people provide for you is the right thing to do. Otherwise, I don't want to read any more haughty "but we are so enlighten about not subscribing to gender norms" rationalizing.

You know what?  I'm kind of embarrassed that I didn't think to mention that in my first reply.  When my sister had her first kid, she and her husband both worked full time.  They used a daycare for a few days a week, and my mom babysat my nephew the other 2-3 days a week, and she charged my sister.  It was a small amount ($25/day?), but my mom was adamant that she be paid b/c she said that my sister needed to value childcare.  They were living with my parents, too, and my mom also charged them rent (less than they would pay on their own, but still rent).  My dad was not too happy about that, but my mom insisted that they learn to live on what they earn.

charis

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #31 on: July 30, 2019, 11:51:48 AM »
Yes, this is something we all conveniently ignore when we take advantage of free childcare or in most cases this would not occur to a young couple in their twenties.
The harsh reality for many people that I know is simply that without free childcare by a family member they couldn't hope to ever pay back student loans or even live a comfortable life - it is a financial lifeline for them.

I take bags of groceries to too many penniless old ladies to have any sympathy for the "but it we pay her, then we can't have the life we want and we'll never get ahead" mentality. We are all conditioned to think women don't deserve to be compensated for their labor, it seems. From what I'm reading here, it seems to be a common idea that women don't even want to be paid for their work. That's some world class cultural brain washing right there.

Insist that you need to pay her, $10 per hour, minimum ($15 if you have high pay.) If she doesn't feel comfortable using it for her own expenses (aka Stockholm syndrome), then suggest that she could save the money for her own grandchildren. She will likely accept that idea. Paying for work people provide for you is the right thing to do. Otherwise, I don't want to read any more haughty "but we are so enlighten about not subscribing to gender norms" rationalizing.

Since you are making a generalization and I specifically posted about the retired grandmother refusing payment (when discussing her request for special arrangements), I should have noted that the retired grandfather was equally involved and even more inclined to decline payment.  I see your point on no/low pay for what many consider "women's work," but my husband (primary care parent) and I intend to do the same for our own children, should the opportunity arise. 

JestJes

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #32 on: July 30, 2019, 12:20:37 PM »
Yes, this is something we all conveniently ignore when we take advantage of free childcare or in most cases this would not occur to a young couple in their twenties.
The harsh reality for many people that I know is simply that without free childcare by a family member they couldn't hope to ever pay back student loans or even live a comfortable life - it is a financial lifeline for them.

I take bags of groceries to too many penniless old ladies to have any sympathy for the "but it we pay her, then we can't have the life we want and we'll never get ahead" mentality. We are all conditioned to think women don't deserve to be compensated for their labor, it seems. From what I'm reading here, it seems to be a common idea that women don't even want to be paid for their work. That's some world class cultural brain washing right there.

Insist that you need to pay her, $10 per hour, minimum ($15 if you have high pay.) If she doesn't feel comfortable using it for her own expenses (aka Stockholm syndrome), then suggest that she could save the money for her own grandchildren. She will likely accept that idea. Paying for work people provide for you is the right thing to do. Otherwise, I don't want to read any more haughty "but we are so enlighten about not subscribing to gender norms" rationalizing.

This is really interesting. I am a women and a lot of the work I do for the extended family is unpaid. Editing term papers, figuring out health insurance, scheduling moving trucks, doctors appointments, taking the dog to the vet. I'll actually be leaving to pick up my Aunt from the airport this afternoon. Should I be paid for this work or is it only childcare? How do you manage a family fairly without making monetizing every transaction?

I basically always was taught, you do what you can for family and that just feels right. I've borrowed money from my cousin because I was in a bad spot and he never charged me interest.

I guess I'm wondering where to draw the line between normal things you would do as a family and services that need to be paid for?

Zamboni

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #33 on: July 30, 2019, 12:46:21 PM »
Let me ask you this: would you feel differently about it if it was your 25 year old male cousin doing the child care work? Would you feel like he should be paid for making a commitment to this 9-5 job? What if it was your 50 year old uncle who being supported by his working daughter?

You are talking about having an MBA, which equates to high wages, and then accepting free child care from an older woman who has no other source of independent income. Yet your initial main concern is that your future child not be too indoctrinated into gender norms. That's really interesting.

Here is a person who would be investing a HUGE amount of time doing something you need for multiple hours daily and would have to pay a large sum for otherwise. It is $1000-$2000/month for infant care where I live. She is not part of your family financial unit, like a spousal partnership, which is different.

It is not the same as me running over to granny's to mow her lawn every two weeks on a Saturday. It is not the same as me running my work colleague by the airport once in awhile. You know that.

CindyBS

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #34 on: July 30, 2019, 12:49:15 PM »
Don't accept free child care from anyone but a spouse/co-parent. Period. Insist on paying the provider the prevailing wage for child care even if you are paying it to a family member.

Because if you accept free child care from a cousin/aunt/grandparent, then any teeny tiny suggestion you make about what happens during the child's care while you are working may be seen as you being ungrateful and pushy. Seriously. No free child care. I'm not kidding.

I totally agree.  Free childcare is never free.  That is probably overly simplistic and not 100% true, but overall - expect that if someone gives that much free childcare (I'm not talking about an occasional night out or favor - but many hours every week)  that person will be invested like a parent and will want to do their own thing - especially if they have had children of their own before.  Then when there is conflict or a problem, it will be an issue. 

So, so many people have to accept a relative's (typically mother-in-law's) crap and have their boundaries invaded because the relative either provides a lot of "free" childcare or gives the family money. 


Villanelle

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #35 on: July 30, 2019, 04:39:57 PM »
Zamboni's point is really interesting and thought proviking for me.

I'm not sure I 100% agree though.  A friend got LOTs of free childcare/babysitting from her parents.  (Or do we consider parent labor differently than aunt labor?)  While both her parents contributed, her father was the one doing most of the free child-minding.  Is that more okay because it flies in the face of the gender norm? 

To me, these are things family tends to do for one another when possible, and that is independent of gender.  Forging it is a bit like refusing to wear pink because it's the "girl color".  One shouldn't opt for pink because it is expected of girls and women, but I'm not sure one should necessarily opt out of it for that reason, either. 

Zamboni

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #36 on: July 30, 2019, 05:48:45 PM »
I think date night or morning to run errands type babysitting once in awhile is just in a completely different category than full time child care to allow both parents to work. There's a completely different expectation level there, and a completely different commitment and fatigue level for the care providers involved.

If someone is watching your kids full time so you can work, then they have to plan their other activities and vacations entirely around your working hours. 45 hours a week is much different than a 5 hour evening or even 20 hours a week. It's just not the same. 45 hours a week should be paid, especially if you are pulling in a big check and the person doing the care giving doesn't have a big pile of their own money already. This is a life philosophy for me, and I've lived it.

I do think parents are somewhat different than aunts as well. My parents are elderly and I'm having to figure how to cope with their dwindling resources, failing health, and associated changes right now. The expectation of our entire society is that it is on me. For my aunts and uncles? My cousins deal with it instead. There is a sense of reciprocity and obligation in the parent-child relationship that doesn't normally exist in other relationships (unless their is truly a guardian relationship established for various reasons).

JestJes

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #37 on: July 30, 2019, 06:06:49 PM »
I think date night or morning to run errands type babysitting once in awhile is just in a completely different category than full time child care to allow both parents to work. There's a completely different expectation level there, and a completely different commitment and fatigue level for the care providers involved.

If someone is watching your kids full time so you can work, then they have to plan their other activities and vacations entirely around your working hours. 45 hours a week is much different than a 5 hour evening or even 20 hours a week. It's just not the same. 45 hours a week should be paid, especially if you are pulling in a big check and the person doing the care giving doesn't have a big pile of their own money already. This is a life philosophy for me, and I've lived it.

I do think parents are somewhat different than aunts as well. My parents are elderly and I'm having to figure how to cope with their dwindling resources, failing health, and associated changes right now. The expectation of our entire society is that it is on me. For my aunts and uncles? My cousins deal with it instead. There is a sense of reciprocity and obligation in the parent-child relationship that doesn't normally exist in other relationships (unless their is truly a guardian relationship established for various reasons).

I think this does matter. I consider this person a parent and will be there to take care of her when the time comes. She tells everyone that we meet that I am her daughter and I am her medical POA.  She will never be penniless as long as I have a cent to my name.  My cousins and I have discusses her being able to move between our homes as she pleases in old age and my SO understands she will likely be at least partially my responsibility in the future. If you had thought I was taking advantage of her to leave her to waste away alone in her older years, then I have misrepresented myself.


Zamboni

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #38 on: July 30, 2019, 06:49:56 PM »
Awesome!

So, when you are blessed with kids, you can take that first important step in your pledge to take care of her by compensating her fairly and promptly with money for any child care she provides. Besides giving her freedom to live her future life as she pleases beyond floating between extended family homes like a nomad, this has the double bonus of extricating you from any sticky "gender norms" double standard of expecting women to care for your kids without pay.

And, since there is no dead horse emoji on this board, I shall take my leave. Good luck to you!

charis

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #39 on: July 30, 2019, 08:40:37 PM »
Sorry, I don't agree with overly broad generalizations but I completely agree that the OP should not prioritze FI over paying her aunt for child care. You need to insist on payment. Every grandparent I know who provides free care is financially independent, not dependent on anyone else while providing said care. It seems unethical to contribute to someone's financial fragility with the promise to move her around in old age.

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #40 on: July 31, 2019, 02:31:54 AM »
Sorry, I don't agree with overly broad generalizations but I completely agree that the OP should not prioritze FI over paying her aunt for child care. You need to insist on payment. Every grandparent I know who provides free care is financially independent, not dependent on anyone else while providing said care. It seems unethical to contribute to someone's financial fragility with the promise to move her around in old age.

I agree.  I did not realize originally that your aunt is financially dependent on her son.  You need to really insist on paying her a fair wage for her work.

Pigeon

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #41 on: July 31, 2019, 07:29:27 AM »
I think date night or morning to run errands type babysitting once in awhile is just in a completely different category than full time child care to allow both parents to work. There's a completely different expectation level there, and a completely different commitment and fatigue level for the care providers involved.

If someone is watching your kids full time so you can work, then they have to plan their other activities and vacations entirely around your working hours. 45 hours a week is much different than a 5 hour evening or even 20 hours a week. It's just not the same. 45 hours a week should be paid, especially if you are pulling in a big check and the person doing the care giving doesn't have a big pile of their own money already. This is a life philosophy for me, and I've lived it.

I do think parents are somewhat different than aunts as well. My parents are elderly and I'm having to figure how to cope with their dwindling resources, failing health, and associated changes right now. The expectation of our entire society is that it is on me. For my aunts and uncles? My cousins deal with it instead. There is a sense of reciprocity and obligation in the parent-child relationship that doesn't normally exist in other relationships (unless their is truly a guardian relationship established for various reasons).

I agree with this completely.  I'm close to retiring, not all that much earlier than traditional retirement age.  I have told my  kids that I would be happy to be occasional backup child care, if their regular providers are sick or on vacation or otherwise unavailable.  I will babysit once in a while so they can get a break or have a date night.  I will not be Plan A, however.  That's in a totally different category.  It ties you down all the time, and essentially means you never really retire.

And it's disingenuous to pretend that this expectation is gender neutral.  Yes, family helps out when they can.  But it's overwhelmingly women who do child care.  I've seen a current generation of nieces and nephews who seem to think that their mothers, having worked full time while they were growing up, will "retire," only to watch their grandchildren full time. 

charis

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #42 on: July 31, 2019, 09:32:03 AM »
And it's disingenuous to pretend that this expectation is gender neutral.  Yes, family helps out when they can.  But it's overwhelmingly women who do child care.  I've seen a current generation of nieces and nephews who seem to think that their mothers, having worked full time while they were growing up, will "retire," only to watch their grandchildren full time.

It's 100% fine if you don't want to provide regular day care for your grandchildren.  But I don't know why you would assume that everyone else feels the same way.  There is a certain number in the "current generation" of retired grandparents with the unspoken expectation that they will watch their grandchildren full time.  I see it frequently in my social circle and personally had to deal with it.  Looking at it from the outside, people assume the opposite, and theoretically it should be a nice problem to have, but trying to set boundaries has led to many unpleasant conversations and strained my relationship with my parents, probably permanently. 

Imma

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #43 on: July 31, 2019, 09:54:34 AM »
I think date night or morning to run errands type babysitting once in awhile is just in a completely different category than full time child care to allow both parents to work. There's a completely different expectation level there, and a completely different commitment and fatigue level for the care providers involved.

If someone is watching your kids full time so you can work, then they have to plan their other activities and vacations entirely around your working hours. 45 hours a week is much different than a 5 hour evening or even 20 hours a week. It's just not the same. 45 hours a week should be paid, especially if you are pulling in a big check and the person doing the care giving doesn't have a big pile of their own money already. This is a life philosophy for me, and I've lived it.

I do think parents are somewhat different than aunts as well. My parents are elderly and I'm having to figure how to cope with their dwindling resources, failing health, and associated changes right now. The expectation of our entire society is that it is on me. For my aunts and uncles? My cousins deal with it instead. There is a sense of reciprocity and obligation in the parent-child relationship that doesn't normally exist in other relationships (unless their is truly a guardian relationship established for various reasons).

I agree with this completely.  I'm close to retiring, not all that much earlier than traditional retirement age.  I have told my  kids that I would be happy to be occasional backup child care, if their regular providers are sick or on vacation or otherwise unavailable.  I will babysit once in a while so they can get a break or have a date night.  I will not be Plan A, however.  That's in a totally different category.  It ties you down all the time, and essentially means you never really retire.

And it's disingenuous to pretend that this expectation is gender neutral.  Yes, family helps out when they can.  But it's overwhelmingly women who do child care.  I've seen a current generation of nieces and nephews who seem to think that their mothers, having worked full time while they were growing up, will "retire," only to watch their grandchildren full time.

While childcare is usually the responsability of women in the family, there are other expectations of men that are equally big, at least where I'm from. My grandfather helped build both his daughters' homes and did all their DIY and this is not uncommon where I'm from. I know a lot of people whose fathers helped them build or extensively renovate homes (the 6 months fulltime type of job, not helping someone out on a Saturday) . In general there is a strong expectation of helping out family for free in the small rural community I grew up in.

I am no longer part of that community so I was never helped that way and no one expects me to help them. We live far away from our mothers so childcare would never be an option.

My mother first paid a nanny (a family friend) so she could go to work. When she could no longer afford that, my grandma stepped in and watched us before school, during lunch break (kids eat lunch at home in my country) and after school for about a decade. She received a small amount of money and some big gifts every now and then because she really hated to get paid. She also did most of the housework. My grandma made a big sacrifice so my mother could remain in the workforce when most women of her generation didn't. This allowed her to eventually divorce. As a result I'm also super close to my grandma, she's like a second mother. I'll always be grateful for the sacrifices she made for my mum and her grandkids.

JestJes

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Re: Planning Advice: Free Childcare vs. Conventional Gender Norms
« Reply #44 on: July 31, 2019, 10:49:18 AM »
While you have given me a lot to think about, I want to highlight some things.

1.She has told me conversation after conversation that she wants to be plan A. She has encouraged me to start a family early as I will have this option.

2. I am not taking her out of the work force. She stopped all work for pay years ago ( she is early 50s). She is not culturally required to work for pay if she doesn't wish to.He sons and the family will support her forever. If Son A dies, it is the responsibility of Son B to support her and so on. If somehow all 10 people in the family died she would go to the extended family over seas.

3. She is like a parent to me and I plan to take care of her in old age. She game me a home away from my abusive and drug addict birth parents to go to school and I will never forget that.  I think of it as trading child care for old age care. Given the outrage that people have voiced, I'm considering setting up some kind of account that she can access as she ages as I know she will flat out refuse and be offended by direct payment(as I said in the beginning very conventional gender roles). I'm thinking a trust so if anyone has any idea please let me know. She has very low cost health insurance and all of her daily needs are covered as well as a couple of cruises a year.

While I understand that many women are taken advantage of, my family values taking care of each other at any costs. It would be insanely shameful for the family for her to even want for anything.