Author Topic: Why do men tend to say they are retired when they are really stay at home dads?  (Read 6543 times)

Sam

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 I’ll be writing a post about this topic. Input welcome.

Have you noticed that when a man quits or negotiates a severance and doesn’t return to the workforce, he likes to tell people that he retired early. Whereas when a woman quits or negotiates a severance, she doesn’t say the same thing? Instead, she is classified as a stay at home mom or stay at home spouse.

 What’s going on here? Ego? Pride? Delusion?
Regards,

Sam

Hayden

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I think that it comes down to just a difference in the needs between a man and a women. Whether or not your agree, the fact of the matter is that men and women find self worth in different things. Women tend to find their purpose in raising children and pleasing their husband, aka, building a home. Men usually find their self worth in the idea that they can go out and hunt things and build their career in order to give their family the resources that it needs. Men want to feel in control and powerful in their homes (mostly).

These two ideologies go back thousands of years to where men were the hunters and women were the cooks and teach the kids how to clean and so on.

The stigma that a stay at home dad may feel is that they have lost a bit of their worth if they say they are a stay at home dad versus they retired early. When you hear a 35 year old man say he is retired you think he either got a nice chunk of change when papa passed, or he built a brand that generates passive income so he does not have to drag himself in the office for the weekly managers meeting Monday morning. However, when you hear that the same 35 year old man gloats about being a stay at home dad, most people assume that he relies on his wife to go build her career while he takes care of the house, which is out of the norm and so therefor more people find it as lower status versus an early retiree.

In the same regard, most women find pride in building their home and teaching their kids how to read, color, and write. If a women tells all of her girlfriends that she has retired early, they might think that she has lost her marbles or does not know what that even means, or even look negatively toward her. Instead, she can say that she stays at home and invests her time into her kids and husband instead of investing her time at the office which among stay at home mom's is a much more pride filled thing to say.

Not to say either role is wrong for the other, but there are definitely social norms and stigmas that lead to the label on both men and women when it comes to retiring early and staying at home.

Thoughts?
Very Respectfully,
Hayden

romeojeremiah

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I’ll be writing a post about this topic. Input welcome.

Have you noticed that when a man quits or negotiates a severance and doesn’t return to the workforce, he likes to tell people that he retired early. Whereas when a woman quits or negotiates a severance, she doesn’t say the same thing? Instead, she is classified as a stay at home mom or stay at home spouse.

 What’s going on here? Ego? Pride? Delusion?

I haven't experienced this. Well, I guess I don't know many men or women who are "self-professed" quitters or severance package negotiators? Is this a trend you've noticed with commenters on the blog?

jsmooth

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I think that it comes down to just a difference in the needs between a man and a women. Whether or not your agree, the fact of the matter is that men and women find self worth in different things. Women tend to find their purpose in raising children and pleasing their husband, aka, building a home. Men usually find their self worth in the idea that they can go out and hunt things and build their career in order to give their family the resources that it needs. Men want to feel in control and powerful in their homes (mostly).

These two ideologies go back thousands of years to where men were the hunters and women were the cooks and teach the kids how to clean and so on.

The stigma that a stay at home dad may feel is that they have lost a bit of their worth if they say they are a stay at home dad versus they retired early. When you hear a 35 year old man say he is retired you think he either got a nice chunk of change when papa passed, or he built a brand that generates passive income so he does not have to drag himself in the office for the weekly managers meeting Monday morning. However, when you hear that the same 35 year old man gloats about being a stay at home dad, most people assume that he relies on his wife to go build her career while he takes care of the house, which is out of the norm and so therefor more people find it as lower status versus an early retiree.

In the same regard, most women find pride in building their home and teaching their kids how to read, color, and write. If a women tells all of her girlfriends that she has retired early, they might think that she has lost her marbles or does not know what that even means, or even look negatively toward her. Instead, she can say that she stays at home and invests her time into her kids and husband instead of investing her time at the office which among stay at home mom's is a much more pride filled thing to say.

Not to say either role is wrong for the other, but there are definitely social norms and stigmas that lead to the label on both men and women when it comes to retiring early and staying at home.

Thoughts?

Definitely agree with this.

Social norms can take a very long time to change - much longer (I think) than intellectual consensus. So while many (most?) people would agree that the trend towards more SAHDs is great, and provides better opportunity for women, the norm for a single-breadwinner-household is for the mom to stay at home. This is the reality that people see every day, at playgrounds, schools, stores, etc.

So I think we should give a lot of respect to men who are comfortable enough to say they are a SAHD!

defomcduff

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Agreed on all the points here.  Saying "retired" shows accomplishment and creates envy, which is important for male social status (probably more so than females).

Although, most "retired" folks I know in their 30s and 40s are quietly industrious building their next business.  That it, not "retired" at all, as I think of the word.  Just my observation.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2018, 07:12:09 PM by defomcduff »
DeForest
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Hayden

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Agreed on all the points here.  Saying "retired" shows accomplishment and creates envy, which is important for male social status (probably more so that females).

Although, most "retired" folks I know in their 30s and 40s are quietly industrious building their next business.  That it, not "retired" at all, as I think of the word.  Just my observation.

I find this point interesting as I have seen the same thing. Someone in their 30s or 40s might claim that they are 'retired', but they are working more than 40 hours a week to build the next passive adventure or brand. Like in some other posts here on the forum I think 'retiring early' just refers to not working for the 'man' any more and instead, having ultimate freedom with your time and resources.
Very Respectfully,
Hayden

defomcduff

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Like in some other posts here on the forum I think 'retiring early' just refers to not working for the 'man' any more and instead, having ultimate freedom with your time and resources.

Why use the term “retire early” if we mean leaving one type of work to pursue another type of work?  Seems like a bit of a misnomer.  It seems more like “I could retire, if I wanted to.  But, I’m still working because meaningful work is part of a good life, but doing it on my own terms.”  I wonder if another term would better capture that notion?  Serious question.
DeForest
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Hayden

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Like in some other posts here on the forum I think 'retiring early' just refers to not working for the 'man' any more and instead, having ultimate freedom with your time and resources.

Why use the term “retire early” if we mean leaving one type of work to pursue another type of work?  Seems like a bit of a misnomer.  It seems more like “I could retire, if I wanted to.  But, I’m still working because meaningful work is part of a good life, but doing it on my own terms.”  I wonder if another term would better capture that notion?  Serious question.

I think people use that term because it is a sense of status when you can say that you 'retired early'. People automatically assume you might be some big hot shot that is too good for the average working man. I completely agree that this is not an accurate term. I think a more fair term would be 'financially free' or 'financially independent' to describe leaving the corporate life to pursue your own wants and desires. However, I am not wild about those terms either.
Very Respectfully,
Hayden

Money Ronin

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I don't care for either term.  Retired (at my age) suggest a certain amount of laziness and abundant free time (definitely not true).  Stay at home dad suggests that I couldn't hack it in the working world and gives me more credit than I deserve with regard to helping around the house.  My wife works full-time and does quite a bit at home.

I am going to go with Trophy Husband--even though I'm more than just a pretty face.  It makes my wife sound like a winner, ......, right?  It's a badge of honor when men have trophy wives, so why not?
« Last Edit: October 30, 2018, 06:47:04 PM by Money Ronin »

Sam

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I’m down with Trophy Husband!

Gonna use that from now on.
Regards,

Sam

Pennymenny

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You could also say you are supported by a “sugar momma”.  ;) :D

In my experience, high active income households supported comfortably by one person tend to require the other spouse to be a “house spouse”. In other words, one person is playing the traditional “house wife” role irrespective of genders. Thus, even if the man is at home, it is easier to say he is retired than to explain he has a high earning wife etc which bucks at traditional gender norms / requires further explanation for his life choices etc.

I think the mix of ego and ease of explanation causes men to say they are retired vs stay at home dads.

Cheezus

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Sam, your wife stays home too, right?  In which case I consider you both retired - not stay at home anything.  To me, a stay at home dad implies the wife works and the dad stays home.  Vice versa for stay at home mom.

Sam

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Sam, your wife stays home too, right?  In which case I consider you both retired - not stay at home anything.  To me, a stay at home dad implies the wife works and the dad stays home.  Vice versa for stay at home mom.

Yes, she is stay at home as well.

For 2019, I will make it a point to get out of the house more.
Regards,

Sam

nganix123

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My husband is what you can say--a stay at home dad. we both used to work but it came to a point where we spent too much money on the babysitter--we have 3 kids...and we worked so much that when our youngest started sleeping with the nanny more than he slept with us--we decided that one of us has to quit.
I ended up being the breadwinner since i earn more than my husband and he is a better parent with  the housework and cooking anyway..
I initially despised him for that,but ultimately it worked out fine for our family. My husband is okay with saying he is a stay at home dad..I,on the other hand tell everybody that he is retired. i guess i'm the one who has the issue.

Sam

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My husband is what you can say--a stay at home dad. we both used to work but it came to a point where we spent too much money on the babysitter--we have 3 kids...and we worked so much that when our youngest started sleeping with the nanny more than he slept with us--we decided that one of us has to quit.
I ended up being the breadwinner since i earn more than my husband and he is a better parent with  the housework and cooking anyway..
I initially despised him for that,but ultimately it worked out fine for our family. My husband is okay with saying he is a stay at home dad..I,on the other hand tell everybody that he is retired. i guess i'm the one who has the issue.

Fascinating! Thanks for sharing.
Regards,

Sam

bob

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My two sisters have stopped working:

One in her mid - 40's after a layoff from a top tier IB.  She has no problem saying she is retired, but will sometimes say she is a "lady of leisure''.  Kids are away at boarding school

One in her early 50's after a nervous breakdown from a sh*tty boss (she was a teacher, union wanted her to sue, but she wanted to put it all behind her)  Kids have left home.  She just says that she is unemployed (but doesn't register officially as such)

My father retired at 52, my mother always did PT voluntary past age of 23. 

The protestant work ethic is not strong in the Bob family!

As for me. 49 and still working.  Hoping to go at 50 (NW is between 4.5-5m US) but has been delayed by partner's cancer, so health benefits required for a few months yet & required to stay in Singapore (first class treatment available)

« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 11:11:46 PM by bob »

Old_Arpad

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Re: "lady of leisure", there is a slang term among British folks, "ladies who lunch".  Those are the wives who sit on volunteer committees and lunch with each other every day while their husbands work.  ;)  They tended to be formally dressed and carefully made-up, it was almost their career.

My mother was a lady who lunched. Her kids were at boarding school too!  I think my mother's world is rather a vanished world now.

My father would never have retired early. He's retired now but retired at a normal age, in his 60s.  He did keep a seat on the board at a couple of companies after retirement but it was as an executive director where he only went to board meetings 4x year.  I think his generation was much more into their status being invested in their job than our generation is, if that makes sense.  He jokes that he is a "professional vacationer" nowadays.

Sbsfin

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I ended up being the breadwinner since I earn more than my husband and he is a better parent with the housework and cooking anyway...
I initially despised him for that, but ultimately it worked out fine for our family. My husband is okay with saying he is a stay at home dad..I, on the other hand, tell everybody that he is retired. I guess I'm the one who has the issue.

Sam

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I ended up being the breadwinner since I earn more than my husband and he is a better parent with the housework and cooking anyway...
I initially despised him for that, but ultimately it worked out fine for our family. My husband is okay with saying he is a stay at home dad..I, on the other hand, tell everybody that he is retired. I guess I'm the one who has the issue.

 Fascinating that you say he is retired when other people ask! After being a stay at home dad for 2 1/2 years, I absolutely believe that being a stay at home parent for the first three years is way harder than any job out there.

What were the reasons why you resented him for staying at home?
Regards,

Sam

Sam

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Re: "lady of leisure", there is a slang term among British folks, "ladies who lunch".  Those are the wives who sit on volunteer committees and lunch with each other every day while their husbands work.  ;)  They tended to be formally dressed and carefully made-up, it was almost their career.

My mother was a lady who lunched. Her kids were at boarding school too!  I think my mother's world is rather a vanished world now.

My father would never have retired early. He's retired now but retired at a normal age, in his 60s.  He did keep a seat on the board at a couple of companies after retirement but it was as an executive director where he only went to board meetings 4x year.  I think his generation was much more into their status being invested in their job than our generation is, if that makes sense.  He jokes that he is a "professional vacationer" nowadays.

 I’ve always wondered what parents do all day once their kids go to school full-time. I guess this is it! Brunching and rose all day!

Don’t you think that parents would want to do some at least part-time work? Could be stimulating.
Regards,

Sam