Yes, There’s a Gender Wage Gap—And It’s Awesome

It’s #EqualPayDay – Lyndsey and Bethany celebrate women being empowered to choose the careers (and lives) they want. Also, Bethany has huge announcement to make.

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Published in: Culture

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  1. Max Ledoux Coolidge
    Max Ledoux


    • #1
  2. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne

    Dear Bethany,

    Many boring ladies are Moms. My Mom’s friends who are Moms are usually boring. Writers are usually so filled with mental illness and alcohol that they are interesting.

    Also, I’d be unable to talk to you regarding the subject of motherhood. What are you so supposed to talk about with Moms?

    • #2
  3. The Cloaked Gaijin Member
    The Cloaked Gaijin

    A lot of men probably don’t know what to say to a stay-at-home mother.  “Is there a video game simulation to that?”

    Other than cousins who I never see there isn’t anyone in my very small immediate family that has had babies in the past several decades.  I know that I might really struggle to have a proper conversation with a stay-at-home mother especially since as a conservative and an introvert I am mostly severed from most aspects of popular culture.  (Many men typically don’t know what to say to women in most circumstances anyway.)

    I recently started going to church more regularly for the first time in a very long time.  In that setting, I’m the weird one.  Every meeting states that child care will be provided.  “Day care” and “child care” are terms that I didn’t even remember growing up until the late 1980s or the rise of Hillary Clinton.  I think back in the old days everyone had kids young and mostly just relied upon grandparents and other family members.

    I mentioned Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a recent post.  I think she preached that one parent needs to stay at home with the kids.  A super smart MENSA woman I know who was a fan of Dr. Laura and stayed home with her kids and made sure that her daughters-in-law did something similar perhaps with a bit of extended family.  One of my former neighbors works as a policeman.  He and his wife apparently juggled work schedules to make sure one of them was always at home.  He’s supposed to take a test to become a police lieutenant, but he really doesn’t want to pass it as any promotion would put him back on the streets during unusual hours.  His mother told him that he can always try to flunk it.

    Congratulations about having another child.

    • #3
  4. Max Ledoux Coolidge
    Max Ledoux

    I don’t know — I don’t think it’s too hard to come up with conversational material using “I’m a stay at home mom” as a prompt.

    “How many children do you have?” Is an easy place to start….

    • #4
  5. EtCarter Inactive

    Dear LadyBrains,

    I (the male, non-minor, arbiter of all internet activity in this home, and regardless of thumbnail photo and profile info still access communications in and out of this domicile*), thank you ladies for whatever it is you do that causes all of the young women , and girls in this home to obey all my orders if I threaten to restrict them from listening to your “LadyBrains Podcast”.

    (Just using the threat of their having to wait until certain chores are done <and done well> is equally effective.)

    A fan*(Ibid)

    • #5
  6. colleenb Member

    First congrats to Bethany!  Splendid news for you and Seth and the other kids.  Secondly my daughter-in-law is stay at home w/ a 2 1/2 year old and a 3 month old.  My husband and I help as can (we’re not in the same city) but its just hard work for her.  Our son has to be out of town periodically for work which adds to the difficulty.  But but but those beautiful children and their wonderful family are such blessings.  I know that the physical care just takes a lot of time right now so I’m always telling her to rest when she can.  Again congrats – and get some rest when you can Bethany. 

    • #6
  7. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby

    @bethanymandel – My mother (born 1924) had a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics from the University of Maryland. She chose to take more chemistry classes to get the BS rather than the more conventional BA. She did work in a chemistry lab in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s while my father finished his Ph.D. (aerospace engineering) and before I was born. She was a full time mom and hostess for my father’s business functions thereafter. 

    • #7
  8. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby

    I (husband and father) got bigger raises and faster promotions at work because Mrs. Tabby was full time homemaker. She took care of children’s doctor appointments, school tasks, home and appliance repairs, etc. so I could focus on my job. 

    Our daughter and son-in-law have chosen to both continue in the paid labor force* after our grandson was born. Our daughter works from their house, but they both earn very high incomes, so they can financially justify a high quality day care that our grandson seems to get a lot out of. But, since our daughter works from the house, she can do some of the housekeeping tasks during work breaks. We’ll see what happens when grandchild #2 arrives later this year. 

    * Mrs. Tabby objects to the common implication of the question, “Do you work?” that stay-at-home moms (or full time homemakers) don’t “work.” 

    Mrs. Tabby also has had lots of interesting things to talk about even though she wasn’t in the paid labor force. School and church activities. Community activities. 

    • #8
  9. Adriana Harris Inactive
    Adriana Harris

    Congratulations Bethany, on the fourth life you will soon be bringing into the world. I’ll pray for the health of you and the baby and also that you will deliver in the hospital. Mazel tov!

    • #9
  10. Stad Coolidge

    Congratulations Bethany!

    I’m reminded of a joke . . .

    This OB/GYN was walking down the street one day, when he ran into one of his former patients.

    “Hello, Mrs. Smith,” he said. “Long time, no see. You used to be one of my best patients. Why’d you stop after seven children?”

    “Because I got a hearing aid,” Mrs. Smith replied.

    “A hearing aid?” the doctor said. “How did a hearing aid stop you from having children?”

    “That’s easy,” Mrs. Smith replied. “Every night before he turned off the light, my husband would roll over and say, ‘Do you want to go to sleep or what?’ And I’d answer, ‘What?'”

    • #10
  11. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby

    By the way, we (Mrs. Tabby and I) are figuring out another transition of roles around the house now that I have retired. 

    • #11
  12. Barry Jones Thatcher
    Barry Jones

    Congratulations Bethany! Can’t wait for the birth story on this one (hopefully not the front seat of a car and no paramedics involved this time…although it was that podcast that got me started listening to LadyBrains…


    • #12
  13. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne

    Barry Jones (View Comment):

    Congratulations Bethany! Can’t wait for the birth story on this one (hopefully not the front seat of a car and no paramedics involved this time…although it was that podcast that got me started listening to LadyBrains…


    Hopefully it won’t be a Hillbilly whiskey runner birth.

    • #13
  14. Stad Coolidge

    Barry Jones (View Comment):
    hopefully not the front seat of a car

    Amen to that.  Bethany doesn’t need another hilarious story to tell – once was enough!  If she’s not better prepared, this baby might be born during a LadyBrains podcast . . .

    • #14
  15. leahanngr Inactive

    I listened to this podcast the day it came out. It’s been on my mind more than anything else I’ve read or listened to this week. The discussion brought up feelings and insecurities I thought I’d well matured passed.

    I was an officer for eight years after West Point. I was married during my entire time on active duty (still am). When Lyndsey mentioned “dependaponomouses” I laughed because it’s a term I know. Especially when I was on active duty, I saw milspouses not as bad, but definitely as “other.” I never quite fit in, but quietly enjoyed that I didn’t. When I got pregnant, I chose to get out, but my husband stayed in the army. About to have a baby and moving to Germany, I didn’t have ample opportunities to start a new career path before entering into motherhood and sometimes struggle with personal identity as the baby years wane and I try to find things that enjoy that fit in my family’s schedule of moving every 2-3 years.

    I’m now a stay at home mom. @bethanymandel mentioned a past inclination to prioritize talking about her career over motherhood. I know this tendency, but also consciously dropped it, too. I try to leave my prior service out of conversation until I know I’m not bringing it out of pride (the bad kind of pride). Sometimes deployments, airborne school, and other topics provide me with a means to interject “I did those things too!,” but now I check myself more and being “the wife that used to do what your husband does” seems sadder and doesn’t really foster closeness with other wives.

    Still, the milfamily life can leave me feeling in limbo/lacking identity. When it comes up that I work part time at my kids’ preschool I  downplaying: “it’s really nothing.” Or I self-deprecate when asked about becoming a yoga instructor: “Eh, anyone who pays for the training gets certified.”

    To truth is I get a lot of out of doing those things and in some ways, more than I did being a soldier, but I think I get scared that when I admit it, I have assumed the classically womanly role and sold out in some way. I’m scared I’ll be looked down on the way I probably looked down on other “dependaponomouses” in the past.

    Those types of thoughts are rarely at the forefront of my mind now and but I acknowledge that they might not completely go away. They are kept in check because some of the smartest and ambitious women I’ve met are milspouses and haven’t had “real career” or whatever that means.

    There is something humbling about becoming someone that in a past life I looked down on. I’m a better person for having experienced it.

    (Thanks for this comment space. I felt a strong need to put it in writing for some reason.)


    • #15
  16. JHy Inactive

    Congrats Bethany and family!

    Let me preface the following anecdote with this note that I can share many years later, light-heartedly…POTTY TRAINING MY BOYS NEARLY KILLED ME. They had already basically broken me (I was a control freak and toddlerhood cured me of that), but potty training pushed me to my absolute limit.

    The last time I felt the need to pad my resume in social situations regarding being “just a mom” was after a conversation I had with a friend who had the same age children. She worked full time and her kids were in daycare. Our 2nd kids were both potty training. She recounted her long and terrible struggle talking with the caregivers at daycare who were having a near impossible go at potty training her daughter. TALKING. A. LOT. To the caregivers.

    It was then that I zoned out like a deer in the headlights mid-conversation. While I was cleaning floors/toilets/clothes/toddlers for the umpteenth time, she was conflicting with adults. Yes, she cleaned up when her kids were with her. But the onus of training clearly wasn’t on her. It was more like a manager responsible for results, but not execution. After I snapped back into the conversation, my acceptance of my own choices was solidified. My job was in-home WORK just as much my friend’s was out-of-home.

    • #16
  17. LisaEastKy Inactive

    When Lyndsey said, “it’s not a gender wage gap, it’s a choices wage gap,” that really caught my ear. What a succinct and apt way to put it! And thank goodness we have the freedom to make those kinds of choices. Life is long and circumstances change as the decades go by; it’s pretty great to be able to do different kinds of work at different times in life. I stayed home when my kids were young, but I’m divorced now, in my 50s, and the kids are teenagers. But I’m also a few years into a new full-time career that I really enjoy, and I’m very grateful for that. I regret nothing!

    • #17
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