June 22, 2008

Do women pay a greater emotional price for having children?

Quite apart from the hit we may take in the workplace — compared to men who have children and men and women without children — do we bear a greater burden because we worry and stress out more over the risks to our children?



Ha ha. I love the bit at the end about students writing exams in terms of how they feel. I've noticed for years that students have substituted the word "feel" for "think" when it's glaringly inappropriate — as in: Justice Scalia feels that the Constitution does not protect the right to sodomy.

Here's a longer segment with more context.

31 comments:

rhhardin said...

Derrida on prayer (real audio minutes 5-25)

``There is something very childish here, and when one prays one is always a child. If I gather images from my childhood, I find images of God as a Father -- a severe, just Father with a beard -- and also, at the same time, images of Mother who thinks I am innocent, who is ready to forgive me..''

Somebody transcribed it! so you can follow along to the audio.

rhhardin said...

Do women pay a greater emotional price for having children?

Emotion is a rush for women.

It governs the adding of complexity until a satisfying confusion and impasse is reached.

Where the guy is abstracting complexity away so that a decision can be reached to dispose of the entire matter. Idle hope if a woman is around!

perry masonmint said...

I've noticed for years that students have substituted the word "feel" for "think" when it's glaringly inappropriate — as in: Justice Scalia feels that the Constitution does not protect the right to sodomy.

Now there's the kind of stunning insight that's garnered Ann her well-deserved rep as the Hamilton Burger of the rightwing blogosphere.

Kirby Olson said...

Aristotle is one of the only thinkers who doesn't separate thinking and feeling. They are in fact the same thing, says Mary Midgley. Feeling does depend on having some standards, and standards in turn are dependent on a certain amount of thinking.

At any rate, I do think they are probably closely intertwined, don't you?

john said...

Ann,

So what is this "hit" you take in the workplace?

Can't you file a police report?

Johnny B. Goode said...

Which is more incredible -- that those two drips spend their time making this stuff, or that Althouse spends her time watching it.

What a puzzle!!

P. Rich said...

AA said: do we bear a greater burden because we worry and stress out more over the risks to our children?

Normal women are biologically wired to begin bonding with the child in the womb and continue after birth. The experience is unique to the female of the species and is no doubt an important aspect of species infant survival during the long, slow maturation process of human children.

Why would the notion of "burden" even enter the picture? The situation just is. Prospective mothers should be prepared for and accepting of it.

Pal2Pal said...

I feel when I'm not sure what to think. That's when being intuitive and trusting my gut pays off.

As to kids, the answer is not really. Children make you more well rounded and much better able to handle a crisis, IMHO. Now, the busy bodies that want to constantly interfere in how you raise your children are a problem that brings an extra burden to child rearing, not to the job. It was far easier to raise children and much more emotionally healthy for the children before the rise of the Nanny State, again IMHO, and as a mother who regrets having bought into the canard about "you CAN have it all." Of course, as women we CAN have it all, if we don't give a damn about what it does to the children.

I had a rude awakening one night when sitting with a group of young people whose mothers all had worked from the time these kids were born. Mothers that were friends of mine and who sometimes worked two or even three jobs to be able to give their kids a nice house and all the things they thought they wanted. To a one, these young people, now grown and with young children of their own, were mincing no words on how much they resented their mothers, one even said "hate," which really shocked me, because they weren't there for them when it mattered. One young man said, "I want my kids to grow up with my values, not the values of some daycare worker." One of the girls said, "my 10 Barbies were a sad substitute for my Mom when I needed her and she was at work."

It is hell raising kids by telephone.

Pal2Pal said...

Also, from my first boss and a Regional Sales Manager for a major corporation who would only hire single Moms for his sales crews. He used to say that while it was a pain to have to wait while they called to check on the kids or to give them a ride to take or pick up a child from the sitters, the payoff was a sales rep far more driven to do well in order to take care of their child than one working to make a car payment or for party money.

Richard said...

"Do women pay a greater emotional price for having children?"

I "feel" that the question itself is sexist. Don't you feel it too?

Ron said...

This is probably the single dumbest bloggerheads I've ever listen to. I feel dumber just for having listened to it. Ugh!

Ann Althouse said...

P. Rich said..."Why would the notion of "burden" even enter the picture? The situation just is. Prospective mothers should be prepared for and accepting of it."

If you watch the segment, you'll see that it is about making a rational decision whether or not to have children. So one weighs benefits and burdens. With birth control, there is a choice. So it's not the case that "the situation just is." A woman could decide not to have children.

ricpic said...

"...those two drips..."

That's right. They are drips. All that earnest attempting to understand the female viewpoint. That's the giveaway. All that metrosexual shit. Makes my ears bleed.

Meade said...

The less healthy one's narcissism is, the greater the price one pays for having children.

Chip Ahoy said...

People seldom question their feelings, or their source, nor their beliefs. Just try to pin someone down on it. It's goes all squishy like pushing a worm back into its hole.

These comments here made me laugh aloud. The door's open, my neighbors think I'm all teh loon.

former law student said...

substituted the word "feel" for "think" when it's glaringly inappropriate — as in: Justice Scalia feels that the Constitution does not protect the right to sodomy.

Perhaps. Certainly CJ Burger felt that the Constitution did not protect the right to sodomy: To hold that the act of homosexual sodomy is somehow protected as a fundamental right would be to cast aside millennia of moral teaching. But I suspect that Scalia also started with revulsion and rationalized his position.

Ralph said...

I recall some study found men worked longer hours in the year after the birth of a child. Another one found that was when they were most likely to cheat.

Methadras said...

Who cares if women pay a greater emotional price for having children. Women are simply hardwired for the emotionality of bearing children and rearing them. The emotional toll that it takes on them should be self-evident. However, there are women, who tend to be sociopathic, who do not have the maternal instincts that 99.9% of women have and don't bond with their children in any meaningful way. That in and of itself may carry it's own emotional tolls, but I don't know if it's somethign that has been studied.

Either way, the question is a relatively moot point to even be asked. It's like asking if men would rather piss sitting down for greater comfort. Who gives a shit. Women create biologically and contribute to their children in ways men simply cannot. Men on the other hand create symbolically and contribute to their children in ways women cannot. It is that unique duality which governs us all.

Methadras said...

This reminds me of a joke I heard once.

A man was stranded on a desert island and one day while walking on the beach he noticed something shiny half buried in the sand not to far off. He ran up to it and pull it out and it was an old arab looking lamp. He was rubbing the sand off of it when smoke came out of the spout and coalesced into a giant genie. The genie looked around and saw the man who was holding the lamp and said, "Oh thank you, oh great master for freeing me from the lamp. For doing so I shall grant you three wishes."

Well, the man stood back in shock and awe and studied the genie with some trepidation and said, "Three wishes, huh? Okay, for my first wish, I want to be the richest man in the world."

The genie said, "Done. You will have wealth beyond your wildest imaginings."

The man said, "For my second wish, I want to live forever."

The genie looked at him for a moment and said, "Master, you are now immortal and will never die. So now master, for your final wish, what will it be?"

The man said, "I wish for you to build a bridge from this island to my house so I can always come back here because it's so nice."

The genie looked at him quizzically and with some alarm and said, "Master, this is something that is beyond my ability to give to you. Can you please think of another wish?"

The man thought for a little while and finally came upon his last wish and said, "I want to understand women better."

The genie looked at him and said, "So, how many lanes do you want?"

Methadras said...

This topic also reminds me of another genie joke.

A man finds a lamp half buried on beach not to far from his house. He runs over to it and pulls it out of the sand and rubs it. In rubbing it, he activated the lamp and a genie popped out and looked at the man and said, "Master, for freeing me from the lamp I grant you three wishes."

The man thought for a moment and said, "For my first wish, I want to be the wealthiest man on earth.

The genie looked at him and said, "Done. You are now the richest man to ever have lived. What is your second wish."

The man looked at the genie and said, "I want to be the handsomest man to have and will ever have lived, so I can attract the most beautiful women ever."

The genie chuckled at his vanity and said, "Done. You are now the most handsomest man that will ever have lived. So now master what is your last wish?"

The man thought about it for a second and had a gleam in his eye and said, "I wish to have my cock be so long that it touches the ground. This will make me perfect to those beautiful women I will get. Do it now genie."

The genie looked at him for a second and said, "Done, your cock now touches the ground."

The man smiled from ear to ear with pride at his new enhancement and looked down at it to appreciate it, but realized that his legs had been cut off.

blake said...

If you watch the segment, you'll see that it is about making a rational decision whether or not to have children.

Nah, give it a miss. Someone else will do it for you.

Fen said...

The genie looked at him and said, "So, how many lanes do you want?"

My friends went through a round of jokes making fun of women, until my wife responded with this:

Q: How are men like Linoleum?

A: You lay them right the first time, you can walk all over them for years.

Pete the Streak said...

Fen, Methadras' joke didn't appear to me to be condescending toward womwn. The guy apparently wanted to understand women better, and the genie's response showed how difficult it is for men.

A little bit different from your 'walk all over them - yuk, yuk' example.

Just my opinion.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

Methadras' joke didn't appear to me to be condescending toward women.

Yah, sorry. I didn't mean to imply his joke was condescending. Just having a lil fun.

TMink said...

"my 10 Barbies were a sad substitute for my Mom when I needed her and she was at work."

Yep, our kids need someone available for them. That is twice as easy in an intact family. But single mom's raise Democrats, so I wonder how that conflict of interest plays out in Congress.

Trey

P. Rich said...

AA said: If you watch the segment...

I did watch the segment, actually, but my comment was obviously in regard to your question, which implied the existence of offspring and went on to supposed effects of parenthood unique to the mother. Or so it seemed to me. And, though I did not mention it previously, there was a passing whiff of woman-victim in your response to the discussion which I believe emanated from "burden". I could just be overreacting, though probably not.

Donna B. said...

"our mothers encourage us to think what we feel is the most important thing in the world"

What????

Not my mother, and certainly not me or my daughters who have children!

The kid falls down and cries. A mother who doesn't want the rest of her life ruled by a whiny crybaby checks to see they didn't hit their head too hard and for blood.

If no serious injury is apparent, she says "you're all right, no need to cry."

Father's do the same thing!

How odd.

What moron thinks loving fathers aren't emotionally involved with their children?

There are unloving parents of both sexes. I think this is one of the dumbest "conversations" I've ever heard.

Ralph said...

A mother who doesn't want the rest of her life ruled by a whiny crybaby
These mothers seem to be increasingly rare.

In Jim Webb's novel about the USNA, plebes weren't allowed to say "I think" (because they don't), they had to say "I believe." "I feel" would probably earn them 20 pushups.

Riemannzeta said...

The distinction between thinking and feeling is a false dichotomy. They're both brain functions, and both convey important but different information. We shouldn't get upset with how people choose to express themselves ("I think" vs. "I feel").

But maybe we should have less of both -- whatever you call it, it goes without saying that we're trapped in our senses and our ability to process them (including through social interactions) into a perception.

blake said...

A friend of mine--back when we were both teenage boys--switched from saying "I think" to saying "I feel". I found it repulsive.

I most often won't use either. For example, "You're a candy-ass mush-headed doofus" versus "I think you're a candy-ass mush-headed doofus."

Saying "I feel you're a candy-ass mush-headed doofus" smacks of sarcasm.

I'm the one talking. Unless otherwise noted, I'm saying something that I think (or feel or believe), and not communicating someone else's state of mind.

Also, when you say "I feel" you're really saying "these are my feelings and are therefore not subject to scrutiny or rational thought because, really, they don't stand up to either."

It's a passive-aggressive way of talking trash without being held accountable.

"I feel like you ate the last mallomar, and that hurts me."

"But you ate the last mallomar, remember? In fact, you ate the whole box! I don't even like mallomars!"

"I can't help how I feel!"