Darlings, Time Travel With Me

“I’m having trouble logging into the family access to pay registration. Can you help?” -Me

“Are you the head of the household?” -School Secretary

“I believe so.” -Me

“Are you married?” -School Secretary

“Yes.” -Me

“Then your husband is the head of the household. He will have to call in for the password.” -School Secretary

“How’s that?” -Me

“He is the head of your family. He will have to call in for the log in info.” -School Secretary

“Why can you not give me the info? I’m the one who handles this stuff for our family.” -Me

“Most of the moms do, but we can only give the access information to the head of the household.” -School Secretary

“And by default, it is assumed the man is the head of the household?” -Me

“Yes.” -School Secretary

“Why?” -Me

“Well, that’s just the way it is. Your husband will have to call in.” -School Secretary

“No, Ma’am. I gave birth to and nursed this family. I care for this family 24 hours a day for five years and counting. I cook, clean, launder, shop, organize, chauffeur, correspond, and bank for this family. I schedule doctor, dentist, vet, and home repair appointments for this family. I educate, enrich, plan travel and holidays, and provide for this family. My husband sits in an office for 10 hours a day. My husband will not be calling in because he does not head this household. Let me assure you, I run this joint. Now what’s the password, please.” -Me

Comments

  1. HOLY CRAP!! I can’t believe that!! The school could (and maybe SHOULD) get sued for that sort of thing!! Your reply was AWESOME. I hope Smalls was there to see you assert yourself like that. :)

    • Smalls was in her brother’s room, tying him to the rocking chair with gold ribben as part of a mouse trap….again. But she’ll hear me when I bring it up at back-to-school night this evening.

  2. Please tell me she gave you the password after that. Oh goodness. That’s ridiculous.

  3. *Slams forehead*

  4. Queenjulie says:

    I used to get that crap from Dish Network. They absolutely insisted that my husband was the only person who could handle anything to do with our tv cable and Internet service, even though both our names were on the account, and since our satellite went out all the time and they overcharged us on a near-monthly basis, we were constantly having to call and complain. Every damn time, they would tell me that only my husband could do anything about it. You can believe that I explained exactly what I was pissed off about when I finally cancelled their service! And then they said, “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but you can’t cancel your account with us. I need to speak with your husband.” I am not even kidding.

  5. Unbelievable! I can’t believe the secretary could actually bring herself to say those words. Love your reply to her!

  6. Oh, my. Dear, you are very confused. Your husband MUST be the head of the household, because did you know that if he dies, you will be a (gasp) Widow? Here are some instructions for keeping him alive:
    http://thesewingexperiment.wordpress.com/2010/04/14/your-husbands-very-life-is-in-your-pudding-i-mean-your-hands/

    P.S. I wonder how old is the School Secretary? She may be from a Past Era.

  7. Um, in my experience, whoever sends the check is in charge of the information. Ask that lady who pays her and call them out.

  8. YOU FREAKING ROCK!

  9. That’s appalling. My friend once had something similar happen when dealing with a call centre. She put the phone and speaker and yelled out, “Honey, can you come here and take this call? They won’t talk to me because I don’t have a penis!”

    • Mona Lisa Vito says:

      Ha! I get the opposite happening at our call center all the time. I have been the female head of an automotive customer service call center for more than 8 years. I have only 2 male employees both of whom I hired and trained. I am the HBIC. Without fail I will still get the escalated supervisor call that “needs to speak with someone who knows what they’re talking about”. In other words, someone with a penis. Shucks mister, you mean little ‘ol me with the sweet southern accent couldn’t know about cars?

  10. *she put the phone ON speaker, not ‘and speaker’…

  11. *picking jaw up off the floor*
    Head of household?
    Really?
    Wow. Just wow.
    I would be going ballistic on someone higher up at the school for that kind of archaic thinking. Because you know, somewhere, that ideology is going to trickle down to the kids by whoever made that stupid ruling.

  12. Kimberly Herbert says:

    I’m saying this as a teacher please please please escalate this. It should be reported to the head of the department that handles this system. Unless your child’s record is flagged for loss of custody/safety/attempted parental kidnapping either parent should be able to get information.

    If she had been trying to verify your id that would be different. Parents that want into our grade system either have to have 3 pieces of information given them at registration and can do it on line or they have to come in and meet with the principal and show valid ID.

    • Hi Kimberly -
      I will look into it further; I complained once already this past spring when we began the process of kindergarten enrollment. We are brand new to the school, and to public schooling in general as this is our kindergarten year, and I don’t want to start the year going in with proverbial guns blazing. But I do take issue to the way the School District defaults to the man being the “head of the household”, and that the moms cannot be given information about their children. I will work to get it changed, I just have to figure out how best to go about creating that change.

  13. As funny as this sounds now, I can believe it. Whenever I call about cellphone service, I get the same problem. My husband set up our service originally, so they want to talk to him. Now with the school, don’t they know you can just show up and ask for the info? Silly lady!

    • I worked for a cell phone company for six years. The reason he has access and not you has nothing to do with gender. Who ever used their social security number is the account holder. Federal law states that cell phones are NOT joint property and therefore the spouse does not have any legal right to access unless the primary account holder gives him/her access. It also means that you can not put two social security numbers on the same account. One account, one account holder. Because I handle all of this type of thing in our house I always put things under my name then make sure that my husband has 100& full access to everything that he legally can. Now if your husband did give that direction and they still wouldn’t let you have access, that’s a whole other problem. But the policy with cell phone companies (and I’m sure cable and internet as well) has to do with laws they must follow, not their personal opinion of men vs women. I hope this helps give a little insight into why companies do this?

    • When my husband and I first moved in together I made the mistake of setting up all of the utilities in his name. No one would deal with me since it was set up in his name. My husband wouldn’t know who our service provider for anything was let alone how to pay/fix/change/or cancel something.

      Thankfully though my husband has a girls name and I have his social and date of birth memorized. I am sure there is something probably illegal or fraudulent about me saying I am him in order to get our phone/electric/water/cable/credit cards/bank fixed, but seriously I don’t care.

  14. I’m so glad you did this. I got so mad at a credit card company once that I had David call and cancel (while I walked him through the process) because they would not deal with me about a problem. I asked, “so if he dies does that mean I’m not responsible for paying any outstanding balances?”

    Also this reminds me of what I (jokingly) tell David sometimes. “These kids are MINE. You make think they are yours, but all you did was have some fun. I worked for them, and that makes me the boss of them.”

  15. I LOVE that response! Way to tell them and stand up for yourself and the endless work that you do!

  16. any chance you can send her to a different school? because i sure hope that attitude doesn’t permeate the entire school……

  17. Oh my goodness! I am appalled. (Though not as much as I should be, because unfortunately I feel like this is probably more common than we think). Like another commenter suggested, I would work to change this ridiculous policy. I cannot even fathom being told that by my child’s school!

    • And here’s a question…all she asked was whether or not you were married? What if, say, you were married but not to the child’s father? Would she still have tried to insist that she speak to your husband? Or would she then have demanded to speak to the child’s father? What if he lived in a different country? Boggles the mind!!

      • Or, further, what if you were gay and married to another woman? I have to wonder what the response would have been then. It boggles the mind that these archic ideas continue to pervade public policy.

  18. Truly unreal. Does this person not think about what she’s saying at all? Wouldn’t you think that by definition, the person making the call to fill in the registration IS the head of the household. Why else would they be calling? “Hi, I don’t normally do any work for this household, but today I thought I’d change it up and register somebody’s kids for school.”

    And you know what? As brutally ignorant and stupid (and unsafe!) as this policy is, I believe in it’s existence. Why? Because as someone who was once the stay-at-home dad, and is now a single dad, I get this exact same crap all the time. “Take this field trip form home to your wife, she can fill it out.” “Could you ask your wife if your daughter will be attending on Friday?” “Remind your wife that it’s hot dog day tomorrow, so no lunches!” -facepalm-

    Schools in general just seem to be incapable of grasping the concept of TWO people being involved as parents.

  19. Sad to say but our preschool by default uses the Dad’s email for all communication. Boo. If they want something to actually happen it needs to pass my eyes.

    • Our local rec center just did this!! They called my husband, who was working, and told him the time/place of the first volleyball meeting. What happened? hubby got the time wrong and kiddo missed the first practice. Oye. And I even put MY name and phone number first on the form!! I don’t want to leave his phone number completely off (we both carry cell phones, no land line) in case of an emergency but I may have to start!

  20. Perhaps I missed something here, but what year is it anyway? I think you handled this brilliantly. I just found your site a couple of days ago, and I cannot stop reading. I want my girls to feel beautiful because they know they are. To feel smart because they know they are. To feel important because they know they are. Not sure that makes sense, but it made sense in my brain. ;)

  21. Good grief. I’m the one who always called about school-related things. My husband wouldn’t have had a clue. I can’t believe she didn’t want to give you the password.

  22. Love it! More woman need to find these words and use them!

  23. I recently experienced a similar thing with my bank regarding OUR mortgage. Apparently even though I’m the one who does most of the banking they could only ask for my husband because his name appears as primary. Well, since my name comes first in the alphabet and I earn more money I think I should be primary…oh yeah AND I KNOW what’s going on with the damn mortgage@#$%!

  24. Let me just join in with the crowd saying that it’s unbelievable that this just happened to you. Is it their weird way of trying to “force” fathers to be involved, under the assumption that they aren’t? How could they possibly make a unilateral decision like that? It’s not like a two-parent household is a new situation in the world. Their system should be set up to accommodate two parents being able to each log in and make decisions and do what needs to be done.

    A couple of years ago, I had the cable company come out to install. Only my name was on the contract. This was going to require placing some new lines and drilling holes in the wall. My boyfriend and I had already discussed where the lines would go. I walked the cable guy around the house showing him where we wanted it all. He then asked me “Is this ok with your husband?” I literally froze, just staring at him, because I had absolutely no idea how to respond to it. I finally managed to say “Excuse me? I’m the one telling you that this is where the lines go. My husband isn’t here and I am.” He later told me that he only asked because he’s been in situations where he’s installed for a woman and had to go back to the house later to “fix” it because her husband was unhappy with her decisions. Well, boo-fricking-hoo. It happened to you once. Get over it.

    And then, of course, there are the times I’ve been car shopping and brought a (male) friend along just for a second opinion. I’m the one doing all of the talking, asking all of the questions, and yet the salesman directs EVERY SINGLE ANSWER at my friend. I felt like shaking him and saying “He’s not the one with thousands of dollars to give you, I am! Stop ignoring me!!”

  25. Who even uses phrases like head of the household any more anyway?

  26. My wife has this problem to sometimes, but in our relationship there is no head of household, when we got married we became one, remember your vows? So when this happens I kindly call the company that she is having a problem with and give them an ear full and then tell them to add my wife to my account information and that she can access or change our information at any time. If they have a problem with that we cancel our account and go elsewhere! I recently payed off my student loans and they had a special note added to their system saying the the loan holder was a female. This was one of the results of my little conversation I had with them because the gentleman I was speaking to laughed about the note and then I explained it to him.

    Keep up the great work. Just remember not to expect double standards. Equality does mean equal and some women get upset at the loss of chivalry when they are treated as equals. Just keep the lines of communication open and let us guys know. Then we know! Keep up the awesomeness! Maybe you could start blogging about the boy side because I have boys that are full of Awesome too!

  27. Mark Lebowitz says:

    Wow. I’m used to dealing with religious schools, some of which have, um, well, let’s just say a conservative mindset. But your story beats anything I’ve heard from any of them.

    My wife is the undisputed head of our household. She oversees our financial matters, not just our social ones. I’ve always worked long hours away from home, and she’s mostly worked FROM home, so it just made sense to do things this way. I can’t imagine making a major decision without consulting her, not just because she has a better handle on how things fit in our budget, but also because she sometimes notices details that I miss and has a talent for spotting dishonest businessmen. Anybody who isn’t willing to deal with her directly gets little attention and no business from our family.

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