School is designed to help kids succeed in the workplace. The genesis of compulsory education was to create effective factory workers. Today, enlightened schools realize they are creating knowledge workers rather than factory workers. But here’s the problem: most women don’t want to work full-time. Which means it’s overkill that school focuses so heavily on the workplace. What about home life? Why don’t we educate girls for home life as well?

Maybe you are thinking, “What about the boys? Boys need to learn about home life, too.” But here’s the truth: men do not want to work part-time at nearly the rate women do when the kids arrive. Different genders make different choices. The choice is not about workplace discrimination, because today women earn more than men before there are kids in the picture. And it is not about social pressure, because there is definitely more social pressure to do well at work than to be a good homemaker. But still, most women scale back their career when they have kids and most men don’t.

We should prepare girls for these life choices. Here are three ways to do that.

1. Validate the career goal of being a stay-at-home mom.
Twenty percent of girls have a Myers Briggs score that ensures they will feel most fulfilled staying home with their kids. But we don’t raise girls to be stay-at-home moms. It’s not politically correct. The problem is that these girls get out into the adult world, where they are expected to join corporate America, and nothing feels right. (The Myers Briggs types that are most suited to stay home with kids are ESFJ and ISFJ.)

2. Help girls cut through the propaganda about what lies ahead.
There is a lot of BS coming out of the corporate world about how great life is there for women. This is because so many women drop out of the workforce when they have kids that it’s a competitive advantage for an organization to retain middle-aged women. So you see initiatives like Working Mother’s “Best Law Firms for Women.” But the truth is that all law firms are terrible for women to work for. Women opt for fewer hours and they end up working full-time and getting paid for part-time. And if you want to stay on partner track, it’s impossible to raise children. This is just one example of many professions where the propaganda about women is not conveying the reality for women.

You can tell your daughter she can be anything, but reality will give her a different message. For example, in medical school, the most popular specialty for women in ophthalmology. This is because women are realizing that most medical specialties wreck havoc on family life. So why not prepare her for the real choices she’ll face instead?

3. Recognize that women with high-powered careers are outliers.
Maybe your daughter is someone who will have a huge career. Maybe she will be one of those rare women who can put her career ahead of her kids. There are good examples of this—smart, capable, inspiring women who do not slow down their career when they have kids. (Sheryl Sandberg, or Marissa Mayer). However almost all these women are ENTJs, which comprise only about 2% of the female population.

That’s my niece in the photo. I’m not sure what her Myers Briggs type is, but she’s definitely not an ENTJ because their lives do not look like those of most women. They are more competitive, less emotional, and more driven by power than other women. These women also end up being best suited to marry men who will stay home with kids. It’s probably not what you envision for your daughter—supporting a husband who cooks Thanksgiving dinner while your daughter is on a business trip. But that’s what life is for an ENTJ.

My point here is that we make a lot of presumptions about life for girls that are not helping most girls. The biggest problem women face today is that they were raised to be high performers and they have no mindset for meeting that expectation other than succeeding in the workplace.

We need to redefine success in the workplace in a non-linear way. The lives of women are non-linear with fits and starts, moving in and out of caregiving roles—by choice. School in contrast, is a predictable, linear progression of learning and testing, which confuses most girls as they grow up to craft a non-linear life. Homeschooling life, though, can model a non-linear achievement path, and can prepare girls to be comfortable with the most likely scenario—which is choosing to scale back their path for a while so they can stay home with young kids.

When I prepare dinner with my niece, I want to model for her that cooking and caring is a worthy choice for a strong, smart woman, and that not everyone needs to earn money. But I’ve been brainwashed and I can’t help feeling like a throwback to the 1950’s when I do it.

 

96 replies
  1. Jana Miller
    Jana Miller says:

    Agreed. I love that you say what many people think, but are afraid to say out loud!!

    I love being a wife and mom. After homeschooling my own kids, I recently went back to work part time as a teacher’s aide. (I’m an INFJ.) I love my new job. It’s basically being a mom to a bunch of kids who don’t have family support at home. I work with the kids that are struggling and give support to 3 teachers too.

    I have a business degree and although I’m glad I have it (college used to be much cheaper), it doesn’t even count towards the pay scale at my current job.

    I loved being a stay at home wife and mom. It was challenging and difficult at times but society in general makes you think you are less valuable if this is what you want out of life.

    No regrets here!

  2. Helen
    Helen says:

    Just as background, I am an ENTJ, married with three kids. I work part-time (as a lawyer!) and I homeschool.

    I agree with everything you say here, with the caveat that all choices — including the choice to be a stay-at-home mother — are constrained. Being a SAHM requires marrying someone whose income is large enough to support the entire family, and staying married to that person until he dies (i.e., not getting divorced). Being a SAHM also requires having excellent disability and life insurance on the working spouse, so that if something happens and the income is lost the family is not left in poverty.

    Life is uncertain. I know several divorced women who never, ever thought they would end up divorced, and, well, there they are. People die unexpectedly, people become disabled — even young, healthy people. Just like any other life scenario, if a woman who wants to be a SAHM has thought about these possibilities and has a plan (personal savings if there is a divorce, insurance for disability or death), then being a SAHM makes lots of sense.

    • Tina H.
      Tina H. says:

      Life is always uncertain and we can never plan for every eventuality, so we shouldn’t presume we can’t be SAHMs just because we can’t predict everything. I also think you’re a little off on one point: that a woman who wants to be a SAHM needs to marry a man who can solely support a family. That is true – though a SAHM can also provide income in creative ways from home – but we have to keep in mind that a family can live modestly and still be very, very happy. In fact, most homeschooling families do very well on one income, even if it isn’t very large. We don’t have big houses or fancy cars and we don’t take the kinds of vacations our two-income friends take, but that’s okay. None of that is necessary for true happiness. So it is a myth to say that SAHMs must marry well-to-do men.

      • Hannah
        Hannah says:

        Tina, my reply to your comment below was meant to appear here! I agree with this and my comment reflects how we’ve managed to live off of one modest salary and still not feel the pinch. Cheers.

    • Dee
      Dee says:

      The key is to teach our girls that although they CAN do anything they want, they first have to think about what they want and build a plan around that.
      See the world around you but don’t pick what you do exclusively on that.
      My Mom immigrated at 16 and on her own. She had to make it on her own and taught me that it is good to be able to earn your own living. All true, but what was missing is that it is wonderful to rely on your spouse and count on each other.

      I will strive to raise my daughter to
      1. get to know herself, what she is good at and what she wants over the long term, single, married, Mom-life, then with grown children
      2. I will teach her all I can about home skills and teach her about literature, science, math also.
      3. I will teach her to advocate for herself so that when things change she can make a career change, if needed. If she is blessed with kids, she may want to change things/stay home/work less.
      4. discuss your plans, hopes and wishes with your future spouse to make sure you are on the same page before you buy the house that requires two incomes!

  3. Annie Kip
    Annie Kip says:

    Thought provoking…I have a daughter who is arty. She marches to her own beat, but is social, has good friends, gets good grades. She is exceeding expectations within the system, but I don’t think she will be happy working in a corporate environment. When she askes me “why do we have to take physics” I say I don’t know, because I never took physics and I am doing just fine. I think encouraging her to think for herself and be self-aware are the best things I can do to help her find work happiness and success.

  4. Jeanette
    Jeanette says:

    Thank you for highlighting the propaganda from the corporate side. Being a SAHM myself, I never would have realized those trends.

    Its interesting to stop and realize that the pendulum has swung completely opposite to what it was in the 1950’s regarding pc life choices for females.

    I agree with Jana that many people think but do not say it out loud for that very reason.

    Looking at, and understanding the entire arc between SAHM and career maven is a great topic to explore with our daughters. Greater understanding (usually) leads to better decisions.

  5. Amy Scott
    Amy Scott says:

    As an ENTJ, it surprises me that you’d say that we’re best suited to marry men who will stay home with the kids. I could never, ever marry a man who I viewed as weaker or not driven to provide. I think I married an INTJ, and we are well-suited. I also married someone who is smarter than me, and that was super important.

    Weak men (or men whom I view as weak or feminine or “metro”) are not attractive to me at all.

    I stay home with my kids (and admit that it is frustrating for someone who is driven), but the idea of swapping roles with my husband doesn’t work for me. But perhaps that is more of a function of my traditional ideas and religious affection than it is of my personality type.

    • Renae
      Renae says:

      You might also consider it part of your religion and upbringing that you see men who don’t fit the traditional, old-style marriage model as weak and effeminate.

    • karelys
      karelys says:

      Many men who stay at home with kids are not the opposite of masculine.

      Your words let me see that you view stereotypical female gender roles as something that makes people weak. I think I want to change that message in our society. Or at the very least raise my kids to not believe that.

  6. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    I love MBTI because it tells the truth about people, and once you point out the patterns it’s hard to logically argue with it. The PC feminist voices don’t seem to realize that women and men tend to have fundamentally different preferences, and the women who are exceptions to the rule don’t NEED anyone anyone to say “you can be an engineer if you want!” because they already know it. I know because I have one of the rare personality types for women as do a lot of the women in my extended family. I have a biochemist aunt, two female cousins who are engineering majors, a grandmother who was a chemistry teacher. My little sister loves and is great at math and I have a self-directed interest in economics. No one had to tell us what we could do. It’s simply personality, which happens to be genetic.

    • redrock
      redrock says:

      Lisa,
      you are lucky that you have many female family members close by who have paved the path for you. In many families even if a girl wants to become a scientist (or take an unusual path) it is not readily accepted and those are the girls who need to be told that it is totally fine to go the way to science (or insert divergent decision of your choice here). The question is whether you follow your inner path of what you can do well and are fascinated by, or whether you follow the path of your family, environment etc. We all are embedded in our environment and being told repeatedly when growing up that it is the women thing to be a a stay at home mum, that this is what women want makes the decision to follow your heart very difficult. We all are subjected to social pressures, and not all of us want to strive for super-intense careers. In the same manner not all of us want to become SAHMs. I really think that it is good to tell girls that they can do it all – it is their decision where they want to go in their future. For me feminism is not the decision between becoming a CEA or a SAHM, but the freedom of choice.

      • Lisa
        Lisa says:

        “Lisa,
        you are lucky that you have many female family members close by who have paved the path for you. In many families even if a girl wants to become a scientist (or take an unusual path) it is not readily accepted and those are the girls who need to be told that it is totally fine to go the way to science (or insert divergent decision of your choice here).”

        Sorry, you totally missed my point. Interest in science is largely based in background and spurred on by personality. Also, in my experience it is mainly WOMEN that don’t like other women going into science. Men who are interested in science will talk about it with anyone who listens. My dad is an electrical engineer and I grew up with physics lectures. My sister and him talk math for fun. My mom has never encouraged either of us to go into math or science because she is not interested in either of them. The truth is that most people, period, are not interested in science. The ones who are, know that the passion speaks for itself.

        • Lisa
          Lisa says:

          I should add that my mom hasn’t discouraged us, it’s just that she doesn’t have an agenda for us to go into it and it wouldn’t really help if she did. Honestly I really wonder about these supposed women who love science but are being told they’ll never make it. That wouldn’t have stopped any of the women I know. I’m trying to be a writer and I get way more opposition than I did when I told people I was going into biochemistry a few years back. That is despite the fact that most writers are women.

          • redrock
            redrock says:

            My father was an engineer and my mum worked different non-science jobs, and never wanted me to go into science since she was afraid I would loose my feminine ways. When I was in high school I had chemistry and physics teachers who walked into class on a regular basis telling us that the boys should go into science, the girls would not need it anyway. I had a chemistry professor who told us frequently that he did not think that women should study chemistry, and I was one of three female PhD students among 50 male PhD students in physics. I don’t even want to repeat the stuff I had to listen to during those three years. Fortunately not from my advisor.

            Yes, I can assure you there are many women in physics who are/were not warmly welcomed – if they do not have the conviction, will and stubbornness to do it nonetheless because they are sure this is what they want to do… it can be easier to leave. The work environment for women has changed markedly in the last few years, it is by no means as good as it could be, but much improved. And, I have only experienced support from my fellow female scientists – although considering that for 8 years I was the only female faculty in a department of 25 my dataset is not particularly large.

            And trust me, these stories are not just singularities, every single one of my few female colleagues will tell you similar stuff. It certainly is different between departments, and physics and some engineering disciplines are behind the times. The experience of not being welcomed, and not being accepted as equal is rather common for women in the physical sciences – sadly enough it does contribute to women not entering or even leaving the field.

        • GTB Tru
          GTB Tru says:

          I don’t know who’s posted this sentence: <> Is it Lisa? Whoever you are, think about returning to school for a course in English grammar. “Him talk math for fun?” Her, too? Your sister? “Her talk math for fun?” “Him and her talk math for fun.” Good luck.

  7. Jamie {See Jamie blog}
    Jamie {See Jamie blog} says:

    Great post. My girls both want to be stay-at-home moms, but when they say that, it tends to be a conversation stopper. It’s just so unheard of, especially in our rather affluent area where everyone is expected to go to college and “make something” of themselves. It’s really ridiculous. But I love that my girls actually say it!

  8. Hannah
    Hannah says:

    What a shocking, un-PC post. While I happen to agree with it wholeheartedly, I can tell I’ve been brainwashed too, because it almost seemed indecent to write what you did. Viva la difference!

  9. TLC
    TLC says:

    Do you teach your sons to be stay-at-home dads, too? Because they have an equal chance of staying home to raise kids in the future.

    When you teach your daughters not to have any economic power, they will be fully dependent on a man (or the government) for support. This leads to women being in abusive relationships. Raise your daughter to have the skills and CONFIDENCE to work in the workplace or to earn a living wage in something. Then, if they choose to be economically dependent on someone else, they aren’t necessarily stuck there if things get bad.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      My point here is that its much more likely, when a man and a woman have equal skills, that the woman will want to go part-time so she can spend more time with her kids and the men won’t. This is widely known research and even shows up in data from places like Catalyst, which is a feminist oriented organization to help women rise in the workplace. So boys and girls should not be raised the same. Men simply do not have the self-imposed stress of scaling back their careers for kids to nearly the same degree women do.

      Additionally, by the age of ten you’ll have a pretty good idea of what your kid’s Myers Briggs score is. Based on that, you can customize what you prepare your kid for, since obviously all kids cannot do all vocations.

      Penelope

      Also, you can look at a ten-

      • Amy
        Amy says:

        How much does that have to do with the fact that is much more socially acceptable for a mom to leave or scale back on her career than a dad.

  10. Bird
    Bird says:

    One way to keep the retro-ness at bay is to keep in mind that a large demographic slice of at-home moms want to work part time from home. Getting girls ready to do this poses all the same challenges of finding work that you can do and that is meaningful to you. Most women will spend some time in the work world; we need good cooking skills but that’s not all we need.

    Plus we’re in particular need of juggling ability. I’m a homeschooling mom in a cooperative and I often envy my husband his dedicated work time. Women have an extra need to figure out how to get important things done with severely minimized child-free time.

  11. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    Oh goodness. There you go again, saying something I so desperately want to high-five you for. I think, if I’d recognized that it was ok to WANT to be a sahm, I’d have had a much happier experience in my 20’s, and my choice of majors in college would have been drastically diffferent. I can’t wait to see how this ‘forward -thinking’ benefits my daughter.

  12. Mother of two girls
    Mother of two girls says:

    I agree with the idea that we need to prepare girls for the real world. There are women on both sides of the fence who do not feel fulfilled.
    “You can be anything” is not reality, even for boys. We need to provide a variety of role models and discuss the pros and cons of different choices. I work in a university educational setting where students are paying for six years of private school tuition in order to get a graduate degree in a field that will likely pay $35k/year. (That blows my mind. Oh, and most of them want to be SAHMS.)

    However, I disagree with your premise that a K-12 academic education prepares students only for the workplace. I think that school learning and knowledge is an end, in itself. I get so much joy from learning about people and the world around me (science, history, math, social studies, geography, civics). I loved school. The structure of school also helped me with character traits like attention to detail, consistency, how to learn from others, how to relate to others, how to organize my time, be on time, etc. Whether I am a SAHM or at work, I appreciate being surrounded by those who have the same appreciation for knowledge and value for education. I think that makes me a better (and more interesting) mom, wife and friend. (Do I think formal school=educated person? No. But it worked well for me and my friends/family.)

    Why are you implying that school should prepare students for adult home life? That is the responsibility of parents, in my opinion, whether their children go to public school or homeschool.

    I strongly believe that girls should be taught that it is their responsibility to provide for themselves. Everyone DOES need to earn money! I will encourage my daughters to pursue a career that they love, which will also have part time opportunities. What if they don’t meet someone and get married until they are 30 or 35? Or perhaps they remain unmarried? Or perhaps they marry, have children, and become widowed. My daughters want to be moms when they grow up, but I’ve made it clear to them that the future doesn’t always work out the way you like, and that they need to figure out a way to earn money, too. And that separately, being educated (could be self-educated) is of value, not just as a means to earn money.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Smart women who want to be moms make it a priority to get married by age thirty. Because by the time you’re 35 there is a 1 in 250 chance the baby will have Downs Syndrome and a 1 in 200 chance that the amniocentises to test for Down’s will kill the baby.

      So, if a woman is making it a priority to grt married by 30, then as early as 25 getting married needs to be a higher priority than a career.

      It’s not fair, but the reality is that women have biological clocks and men don’t.

      The idea that everyone should be able to support a family is absurd to me. Some people don’t want to spend the day with kids. Some people don’t want to spend the day making money. The two types can just marry each other.

      Penelope

      • Mother of two girls
        Mother of two girls says:

        “Some people don’t want to spend the day with kids. Some people don’t want to spend the day making money. The two types can just marry each other.”

        As a startup guru, may I suggest a dating website?

      • Isabelle Spike
        Isabelle Spike says:

        This is so true, and no one will talk about it. Everyone likes to attribute meeting a compatible spouse and then getting married to 100% luck, and that just isn’t true, or at least- it wasn’t for me. If you put your energy there, and are smart about it, you will make it happen.
        A big part of the solution to this problem can be -and you’ve talked about this but it seems no one else will- is that having kids in your 20’s can allow a woman to actually have both a career and kids. You don’t have to do the big “ramping down ” if you wait until your kids are a bit bigger to ramp up in the first place. So far this “method ” is working for me… 28, married 4.5 years, currently taking a break from my business to care for our 5 week old. (And, it took us – 2 healthy young people- 18 months and fertility drugs to conceive. Another part of the equation that no one thinks about until it’s too late- infertility.)

        • Meg
          Meg says:

          I like your point. A similar point was made to me by a woman from India, who was married at 15 (and she was patient with my initial shock and dismay to hear about it) and had completed her family in her early 20’s, and at 25 was in college pursuing the credentials for a career she would never have to “ramp down” from because of having kids, because she was getting started when her kids were school-aged. My conundrum is, what if a woman doesn’t want to send her kids to school? How does this nifty solution work then? I am raising a daughter, and homeschooling her. If she agrees that homeschooling is important for her own children, the formula of starting early enough, and then ramping up for a career once the youngest is in school, breaks down. I am genuinely interested in all aspects of this problem, because I value homeschooling, value my daughter’s future and sense of self, and don’t know what to advise her in coming years.

      • Sam
        Sam says:

        It’s really not true that men don’t have biological clocks. The probability of a child having a number of conditions, ranging from autism to schizophrenia, increases as the age of men’s sperm increases. Research in developmental psychology has shown this to be true in a number of studies. Our society just chooses not to focus on this…

    • Meg
      Meg says:

      On the note of schooling imparting organization, promptness, relating to others, and various other virtues you attributed to it? I went to public schools, and was invariably late, messy, disorganized, never did homework, etc. My relationships with others were bad or neutral, except for 2 other girls in my primary years: one went back to Israel, the other was Chinese and we lost contact when I moved.
      But the reason I didn’t learn those positive traits from school, was because I wasn’t learning them at home, because my mother didn’t have time to teach me or lead by example. She was run ragged working 2 jobs, plus weekends, and finishing grad school while suffering from new no-fault divorce laws.

      Somehow, the other girls who did seem magically to learn all those positive things from school, were the ones who had a homelife that could teach it to them. If school really were the source of such excellent character formation, it certainly didn’t provide me with much, in absence of a solid homelife. Which begs the question of the authentic source of such learning.

  13. toastedtofu
    toastedtofu says:

    There is an obesity epidemic that says you shouldn’t feel guilty about teaching your niece to cook. Everyone needs to know how to cook a few good and nutritious meals, regardless of their gender or Myers Briggs type. Home Economics was taught only to girls when girls at the time were taught by their mother’s example to be homemakers. I think the public education system could use more life skills classes, because if public school truly is just a babysitting service, part of that service needs to be teaching kids how to look after themselves.

    Since you can’t even give a full Myers Briggs to a child, it is important to not assume what their life choices will be. Any woman who has a full-time career doing something they love doesn’t have to be in a high power position to be a success at what they do (think for instance of teachers, ENFJs, 5.5% for women and 2.5% for men). Likewise, men should feel that it is socially acceptable to work part-time and pursue either other interests or family endeavors and not feel like a failure as a man for not being ambitious or a high-earner, because only 5.5% of males are ENTJs.

    I think that is really the point of most of your posts, that homeschooling allows kids (of either gender) to carve out their own niche in the world and define their own success. I agree.

    However, I would like to see the effect that raising a baby boy as a girl and vice versa would have on their Myers Briggs, because while hormones like testosterone will make someone more aggressive, from the moment children are born they are treated differently. My SIL recently had a baby, and just for fun she will switch up the baby’s gender/name when talking with strangers. He’s a Boy = “oh look how big and strong he is, how handsome!” vs. She’s a Girl = “Oh isn’t she so cute and sweet, how precious!”. If you people watch enough, you will notice that people bounce baby boys on their knees, and cuddle baby girls gently. Since most of our important development happens before we are 5, I think it is important to look at how we treat our infants.

    Also, you can read countless stories from transgender people about how completely differently they are treated as adults presenting as one gender vs the other. They would be the exact same myers briggs type because they are more or less the exact same person, but society DOES give them different roles depending on their perceived gender.

    Gen Y has already made the workplace more adaptable and dynamic, and I think gen Z and home schooled kids will create many more roles that are not part of the past/current “rat race” that so few women are currently willing to be a part of. Part of creating new roles is creating new definitions for success for both men and women.

    • Ebriel
      Ebriel says:

      Every point in your reply is spot on, and much better phrased than I could put it!

      So much of how we’re treated is how we’re perceived: gender-wise, culturally, racially. These interactions shape how we view the world, and our place in it.

  14. Daniel Baskin
    Daniel Baskin says:

    It’s true that MBTI does not indicate a person’s interests. But you can be fascinated by pursuits that you are not prone to ever be good at or enjoy without added stress.

  15. Angeleena
    Angeleena says:

    Why should we assume that all girls will want to be moms, and mold their lives around this assumption? Are there so few of us women out there who actually don’t want kids?

    (P.S. I love your blog, Penelope, but this is one idea I disagree with.)

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      The idea is to not make so many assumptions about a kid and instead learn to read the kid. It’s not a mystery which people end up not wanting to have children. It’s almost always people who are very very driven to do something else. And it’s not a mystery which girls want to grow up and be caretakers. They are caretakers when they are eight years old. While other girls are building rockets.

      My point is to look at the girl. And just as we should not close off math or choosing to have not children, we should not close off choosing a caretaker role.

      Penelope

    • Meg
      Meg says:

      Yes. Statistically, there are that few women, who never want to have children. The overwhelming majority, do. Just being factual.

      • redrock
        redrock says:

        but should it really come down to the question: do you want to have a career which is, for example, lawyer, doctor, store manager, 2 jobs to bring food to the table, scientist etc. OR do you want to have kids? Do I have to decide not to have kids just because I am superb at a certain job? That is what many women object to – not to neglect the nurturing side of their lives – but also to be able to nurture their intellect (or other strong ability). I can recommend the book “The Marie Curie Complex”; while it focusses on the life of scientist, it very clearly show this conflict. And the very different approaches women took over the last century.

  16. CJ
    CJ says:

    I tell both my son and my daughter the exact same thing that I have learned over my lifetime to be really calming and encouraging and that is to take heart that you really CAN have it all! You can make just about everything you want turn into reality regardless of perceived societal limitations… you just CANNOT have it all at once. I very much like your comment on telling girls that there may be a time to scale back on their path for family life- because that is where I am at, but I also tell it to my son- because that is where my husband is at. He is quite successful, but he has much greater earning potential should he choose to work a lot more- he chooses work/life balance and he is with us a lot, rather than climbing at work. That works for us for now.

    Some of what you say I certainly agree with and I truly believe that one of the greatest benefits of HSing is that real life takes the forefront over fabricated life, such as your cooking example. People need to know how to cook, get laundry done, balance a checkbook, plan a budget and all these things I think most HSers learn consistently long before their peers at schools where they are told algebra is more important than self sufficiency. But, I also think it is more complex than you are suggesting. Demographically, Younger people are getting married less, wanting less children, trending less and less religious and more and more independent politically. Women need to be prepared for self-sufficiency in no less a way than men do. If they choose family and home life, awesome! But, we are telling a big lie to our daughters if we only validate the home life choice. Women need to excel in the professional world, sciences, the arts and so on, just as they already are. Although I do strongly agree with being honest about biological clocks, fertility and real challenges in the professional world so conscience choices can be made.

    I thought Pediatrics was the most selected by women in med school?

  17. Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot
    Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot says:

    Our daughters (and nieces) are so lucky that they do have choices and relatives who will encourage them to do whatever they want to do – including “just” being a mum. My parents encouraged me to be a secretary as in their minds, that was the only acceptable profession for young ladies.

    PS. I had a female medical school friend who studied ophthalmology but she said it was because she wanted to get as far away from the bottom as possible…

  18. channa
    channa says:

    These are good tips for raising both boys and girls because they should be taught that different choices are valuable and legitimate so they can be respectful and non-judgmental of their spouses or peers who make those choices.

    Not as many men want to scale back but in order to be good fathers and husbands, men should be willing to consider it when they have children. Depending on who they marry their willingness to do so might make the difference in whether they get to have children at all. In a perfect world both parents would have the flexibility to scale back and enjoy their families at the same time.

    Not to mention that what adult men want now is not necessarily a good proxy for what our sons will want 20 or 30 years from now. Changes are taking place and of course gender differences are innate but they are also hugely exacerbated by culture. Cultures change. In the last 50 years the roles of women changed tremendously for the better while men’s hardly changed at all. How can we say in the next 50 years men’s desires will stay the same?

  19. Sadya
    Sadya says:

    so the girls nurtured with a career goal of being stay at home moms, have to find a husband by 23-27. And if the husbands fall ill, die or runaway, they should immediately start looking around for a replacement.
    And any interests in physics, arts or athletics should shelved until the kids are in college, after which these girls can pursue careers or whatever else is out there.

    Hmm, you know even in Pakistan we don’t think that way anymore.

    Why isnt this post geared at African-Americans, Latinos, 2nd-3rd generation Asians living in the US? It reads like a page of those Housewives magazines in the 1950s.

    • lilah
      lilah says:

      Hell they need to start looking for husbands when they are 18, I mean do you need a college degree to be a parent?

      Are they supposed to be working while they look for a husband or should they practice being stay at home daughters first?

    • Simone
      Simone says:

      As an African-American woman, I find your comment offense. What Penelope has written has nothing to do with race, its a gender issue which touches all women. (I had my third-generation 28 year-old Vietnamese roommate read this and she too agreed..that your an idiot and with Penelope).

      We both have great careers and would give it up in a heartbeat for the right man and the chance to raise our children ourselves and not outsource it to the School-State or the Nanny Industrial Complex so prevalent here. We would have loved to have had ALL the options explained, valued and open to us including being a stay at home mom.

      And not this bullshit “having it all” that’s running women to the ground. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-belkin/quitting-law-life-work-balance_b_2104259.html)

      Nature exist whether you die-hard feminist like it or not, and in nature procreation is the single, relentless rule.

      Its not men, patriarchy or Penelope Trunk responsible for the internal struggle every women must face between Hera:hearth and home and Athena: power and careers. Its your goddamn period. Have your convo and shake your fist at Mother Nature, and as a New Yorker who just experienced her awesome wrath and power, you will never outsmart, outrun or outargue the bitch with your women’s rights and equality bullshit speech.

      Once again, kudos to you, Penelope, for opening up the dialogue where others would like to shut it, as if theirs is the only opinion on the matter and speak for people they really fucking shouldn’t.

      (And a double fuck you, if your a minority. Zero excuse because if anyone you really should know better than to speak for any race of people).

      • CJ
        CJ says:

        How nobody else wrote back how offensive this commentary is to women that are feminists…I don’t know?

        Fine with me that you tell someone to fuck off….fine we are fucking off, but NOT FINE to tell them they are an idiot because they disagree with you. Name calling? Really?

        I am a A MUTT from NY. A strong feminist and take big time offense to your aggressive insult toward feminists. You can have it all, just not all at once. Insinuating that we all want the same thing because we have vaginas….well now, that is silliness times like a billion! To be a feminist MEANS we want to be recognized as no weaker, no stronger, no less, no more inferior/superior, no less or more deserving. Gloria recently said how silly it is that we even ask this Q, “Can women have it all?” Frik! Do we ask men that every blippen day? NOOOO!

        Being a SAHM, passionate unschooling woman that has had career success before and expects to have it once again in the future, after being an engaged parent, and I still wear combat boots sometimes!!! YEP, makes me…..ummmmmmmm…….a “die-hard feminist” to the bones.

        Common………….!!!!!!!!!

    • Simone
      Simone says:

      As an African-American woman, I find your comment offense. What Penelope has written has nothing to do with race, its a gender issue which touches all women. (I had my third-generation 28 year-old Vietnamese roommate read this and she too agreed..that your an idiot and with Penelope).

      We both have great careers and would give it up in a heartbeat for the right man and the chance to raise our children ourselves and not outsource it to the School-State or the Nanny Industrial Complex so prevalent here. We would have loved having ALL the options valued equally and open to us including being a stay at home mom when we were growing up by our parents or school. As if being an astronaut could be any more valuable than being a mother.

      Fuck feminism, you can have it back and your bullshit “having it all” that’s running women to the ground. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-belkin/quitting-law-life-work-balance_b_2104259.html)

      Nature exist whether you die-hard feminist like it or not, and in nature procreation is the single, relentless rule.

      Its not men, patriarchy or Penelope Trunk responsible for the internal struggle every women must face between Hera:hearth and home and Athena: power and careers. Its your goddamn period. Have your convo and shake your fist at Mother Nature, and as a New Yorker who just experienced her awesome wrath and power, you will never outsmart, outrun or outargue the bitch with your women’s rights and equality bullshit speech.

      Once again, kudos to you, Penelope, for opening up the dialogue where others would like to shut it, as if theirs is the only opinion on the matter and speak for people they really shouldn’t.

      (And that goes double if your a racial minority….zero excuse cause you should know better than to speak for any race or group of people).

  20. sandyb
    sandyb says:

    I just posted your post to my Facebook page, where I know a lot of my friends (new moms with daughters) will read it. I like that you mention to support the stay-at-home role, since for many women it’s a struggle to pit that inner nurturer who wants to raise kids against the woman who wants a high-powered career. If we really can’t have both (and be happy/sane) then maybe acceptance and validation of girls’ early choices is the answer. Great post.
    ~sandy.

  21. Kjerstin @ Homeschool101.net
    Kjerstin @ Homeschool101.net says:

    I LOVE this! It’s needed to be said for a while, and you did it well. Sharing on Facebook… I’m sure all my feminist friends will have something to say, and I also have a feeling it’s mostly going to be along the lines of “Amen!” (Am I the only one relieved to find that the feminist movement has finally realized the idea is “women should have a CHOICE between working and being stay-at-home moms,” not “all women should work full-time and have stellar careers!” I think it’s such a good transition and I’m glad we’ve finally reached it.)

  22. lilah
    lilah says:

    I think it’s important to raise childen who know how to cook, keep a home clean , do yardwork, keep a budget etc. because those are important life skills and are needed whether or not you have children or get married

    I think that our culture is slowly changing in favor of encouraging men to be more and more of an equal partners in raising children. My husband is a very nuturing person and is verry family oriented so for him it was important to have a job he can leave at 4 so he can come home to his family. But it won’t change unless more men fight for family friendly hours, paternity leave, etc. The idea that family friend/work life balance only affects women is a farce.

    As for the part about how “we don’t have to earn money” well not everyone has that luxury, Being a stay at home mom is a luxery that not every family can afford and it’s a luxury that can be taken away from a family, at even a moment’s notice. My grandmother was a happy stay at home mom to three children when her husband had a heart attach adn she was left with three teenagers to raise by herself.

    I also dislike the whole “all or nothing” approach to careers. Not many people end up being high powered CEOs. It’s not fair to say that if you aren’t a CEO it’s not worth it to hold a job.

  23. Tina H.
    Tina H. says:

    As a very smart, very capable woman who was raised by a competitive father who attempted to live vicariously through his kids even as he denigrated his at-home wife, I THANK YOU for this post! I was not raised in a Christian home, but I am an evangelical Christian now, and we see the value of women in the home…where I am now, joyfully homeschooling my two daughters by choice. However, sadly, the view of folks like me is often dismissed or even demonized. However, coming from someone with your background, it just might be given some credence. You are very, very right…so thanks for writing this.

    • Hannah
      Hannah says:

      This is exactly right. It describes my family’s life perfectly. We live off my husband’s public school teacher salary, homeschool our kids, have two used cars (paid for), a small but adequate home, lots of friends and family nearby. My husband and I both went to state schools so that we could make use of scholarships and save so we graduated with no debt. We shop for clothes at consignment shops–even our puppy was a rescue mutt from the pound and not a designer dog. Here’s the thing: We are happy. Money isn’t everything. Of course we need food, a roof over our heads head, and some kind of plan. But we don’t need NEARLY what we think we do in the end. After living for three years in India, we know that now more than ever.

  24. someone in WI
    someone in WI says:

    How could no one have said that your niece is adorable and she looks just like you?!? I really thought it was a picture of you from when you were little. :)

  25. Meg
    Meg says:

    You have my rapt attention. This topic looms large in my conversations with, and thoughts about, my daughter and her future, because she’s only 8, but that means I have a scant 10 years more to get her launched, and to be well-positioned before having kids, she’ll need a running start. I hope to hear more about the homeschooling choice, because the benefits of homeschooling have already begun revealing themselves to her, and being a SAHM for MORE than the first few years of children’s lives, means an entirely different approach to what constitutes independence, and success, and personhood. I want her to live her life on her own terms, regardless of the terms set forth by groups with agendas to prove. What are girls to do, to form an idea of their future, if they both want to nurture and most likely homeschool their kids, but also want to thrill to what accomplishments they can offer humankind? I’m an INTJ, and I have no idea what that makes me, in terms of being a homeschooling mom.

  26. David
    David says:

    While it is true that so-called public schools do not overtly recognize raising kids as a legit profession, the schools do not overtly recognize ANY profession as legit. The school system is set up to be a broad curriculum for preparation for any job, including raising children, in adulthood.
    Public schools no more suggest becoming a philosophy professor one day any more than they suggest being a home-schooler one day. Though the public school teachers may have contempt for staying home with one’s children (or even being a midwife or dula) as a career, it is up to the parent to broaden children’s minds as to possible careers, including child-raising.
    This column reads like a whine-fest. Boys and girls are both brainwashed and browbeat into submission at public schools, which, by the way, girls usually find more enjoyable than boys, according to scores of polls on the subject. The public school system no more prepares kids to be computer programmers or physicists or RNs or psychologists or Human Resources managers or CEOs or entrepreneurs than it does home-makers.
    So, what’s your point? And why do you state the Myers-Briggs 20% number as if it is fact and then call the corporate facts “BS”? Of all the thousands of women I’ve met in my life, 90% of them wanted to work their whole lives. Many of them took time off for home-making and then got back to another career. I, myself, have changed careers three times, even though I got a journalism degree in college. What’s the difference? More than 50% of college degrees now go to women. Do you think so little of women’s brains and free will to think that they go to college because they are brainwashed?
    Even if the Myers-Briggs 20% number is correct, that means 80% of girls DON’T want to stay at home. And yet you say that girls are brainwashed into thinking they must do something “corporate.”
    And why do you think that there should be a “model” for girls concerning staying at home? That is indeed BS. The only model that girls (and boys) should see is a parent who does exactly as the parent wants to do with her/his life — whether that begins with home-making or nursing or sports or whatever. A parent finding happiness in work is the true model.

    • TLC
      TLC says:

      Thank you, thank you, thank you. You make excellent points, David. K-12 schools teach very few vocations (aside from curriculum tracks designed for that). In fact, curricula are now designed to teach students to think. An immense improvement from the education most of us received. Critical thinking skills are needed for every career and non-career role in society.

      Beyond that, I really can’t get past the notion of raising any child to be economically dependent on someone else. Making it a goal to marry and have children by a certain age also makes me queasy. That’s how bad decisions get made.

      Every healthy person needs to have the ability to support him/herself and any offspring he/she brings into the world. It’s part of being responsible. If a woman relinquishes that responsibility to someone else (the very thought makes my head spin), she is taking a risk. Husbands die. Husbands turn out to be bad guys. (And, believe it or not, some of our sweet little angel girls turn out to be non-marriage material, too. Even–gasp–home-schooled ones.) The point is, ALL people need to know that they can support themselves and their family. The best gift we can give our kids is security. That security goes well beyond seeing mommy at the window as they walk home from the bus stop; it’s just as important for them to know that mommy is capable of providing for their physical and financial needs.

  27. emily
    emily says:

    There are so many ways to have family. I think the worst thing is to feel is that without bearing children yourself you’ll be destined to be alone and worthless. Not that I think you espouse those ideas, but I do think the best way to get a family life is to feel like you’ll have one if it works out that way – and then if you’re lucky, it does.

    I think the very best thing to do in life is to just not give a fuck and to live life as if there aren’t any barriers or boundaries at all. This is probably the best way to end up doing a job your love and getting a partner that wants to make a family work as much as you do. Guys do this all the time.

    Not that I think going and getting a big career before you have kids makes you any better prepared. I just don’t think that actually focusing on family before you’re 30 makes it any more likely you’re going to have a happy family life. Ideally those two things, family and work, come together. But what if you just can’t make those two things happen? Should you really put everything else aside just to be sure you have kids?

  28. Tammie
    Tammie says:

    Great article. I had just been thinking I need to teach my daughter to cook so she can take care of herself and later a family, if that is what she chooses.
    As a family it would be “easier” if my husband stayed home and I worked full time. We did that for my daughter’s first year. The problem was that I wanted to be home and my husband wanted to work. So the compromise is I work mornings (my job provides the health care) and my husband works full time. Thankfully we have grandparents to help with morning childcare. But most important, we are both happy and can fully be there for our girls when we are home.

  29. J.E.
    J.E. says:

    I read both Penelope’s blogs and from these posts related to women’s issues, I feel like an anomaly and don’t know where I fit. I just got married six months ago at the age of 32, which by Penelope’s timeline is late, but I wasn’t emotionally ready/mature enough to get married before then. Plus I stayed too long in relationships that weren’t a good fit and before I knew it my 20s were gone. I didn’t even start dating my now husband until I was 30. I have one of the more nurturing personality types-INFJ, but my husband and I aren’t even sure we want kids at all, and he’s 17 1/2 years older than me. As for work I’m not a corporate type at all. I’ve worked mostly in office positions in higher education. I have no desire to be the top person in charge with all the responsibility and stress that comes with that. I’m content to go in, work my hours and go home. I’ve mostly viewed work as something I had to do to pay for the things I wanted to do. As long as I always had enough money to live I was fine. I’d rather have less money and a life than make tons of money but live at work. I guess I’m like those women who get out into the world and nothing feels right. I enjoy my job ok, now but mostly for the social aspect because I work with good people, rather than the actual work itself. What I actually enjoy doing is volunteering with arts organizations working on short term events when I want to rather than have to.

    If it’s seen as un PC to stay home with kids, then there’s even more of a backlash against not working or only working part time if you don’t have kids. My husband makes good money (quadruple what I do in fact) but I feel like I’m “supposed” to work full time if we don’t have kids. So I when I read these posts, I don’t feel like I fit anywhere. Doesn’t help that INFJ is one of the rarest personality types (less than 1%) and made up of unusual characteristics :-)

  30. The Dame Intl
    The Dame Intl says:

    I dont agree with your simplistic either/or view here, at least that is how I read it.

    I feel that we should encourage girls to be whatever they want to be and to recognise social conditioning. Perhaps most of the girls who’s scores said they would feel most comfortable as a stay at home mom is a result of social conditioning and because they are unaware, at such a young age, that they have other choices.

    I certainly wasnt. I had to figure it out after 7yrs in corporate straight out of high school that I could actually choose to not do 9-5.

    Little girls are given toy babies and toy stoves to play with, it’s no wonder they are programed to aim to be a stay at home mom.

    Thats why I am right behind women who invent gender neutral toys or engineering toys for girls, like Goldieblox.

    I dont agree with the schooling system as it is because yes, it forces us to think and grow in limiting parameters but we must also question how we are conditioning our kids through our own ideas of what is expected/acceptable and giving them gender specific toys.

    • The Dame Intl
      The Dame Intl says:

      Oh, I am ENTP, dont want kids and work from home as writer and animal care volunteer. If I did have kids however, I would home school them or send them to a Montessori/Steiner school on the grounds they were encouraged to be whatever they want to be.

  31. CSmith
    CSmith says:

    I WISH I had been given this advice when I was young! You’ve put into words exactly what I’ve suspected for a really long time. Thank you!

    I always thought I’d never get married and/or have children. I did both, not in the same order, and I’m having a blast! When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I’d planned to return to work (I was a professional temp at the time) after my three month leave. It will be thirteen years tomorrow since then and I’m still home with my girls. No regrets. I wouldn’t trade one minute of this experience, there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing still much to the chagrin of many family members. Oh well.

  32. Rebecca Ray
    Rebecca Ray says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article. If someone had prepared me for how I would feel after I had kids, it would have saved me a lot of heartache. I wouldn’t have spent nearly as much time floundering for a career or being miserable at work waiting to be able to get off and go pick my kids up. When the company I worked for went bankrupt in the recession and I was able to come home to be with my kids, it was the best thing that ever happened to our family.

  33. Karla
    Karla says:

    I would add that we:

    (1) teach them to develop meaningful peer relationships
    (2) teach them how to make choices that are right for them (and be accountable for those choices)
    (3) teach them to develop their own opinion and have the courage to voice it

    As an ex-lawyer who quit to stay home with our three kids and start my own business, I have struggled with how to explain this shift to my children in a way that both honors my accomplishments as a bright, highly-educated, and talented woman, and supports my choice to put those accomplishments towards something other than a high-powered career in law.

    These three points were key to enabling me to come to terms with my own choices, and play a critical role in how I am re-educating my children.

    k (www.totthoughts.com)

  34. Firasha
    Firasha says:

    As a woman who is both ambitious in my career goals and concerned about a future family, I heartily disagree with this post. I think the biggest problem with our social education is not the lack of acceptance for girls that want to stay at home, but rather the lack of acceptance for boys that want to stay at home. Personally, I’m attracted to men who have ambitious career plans but also want to take part in raising a family; however, the American system is not at all designed to support men who want to stay home with their families, even for a limited period of time, nor does society actually support men being involved fathers as much as it claims to do.

    This social attitude combined with discrimination in parental leave policy is the most important influence on the choices made by men and women about their careers and families, rather than being the result of inborn gender preferences as this post implies. There is hard evidence to back me up on this: for example, in 1974, Sweden implemented a gender-blind leave policy that provides for 390 days of parental leave per couple, which can be distributed between the two parents as they see fit. As a result, Swedish women now suffer less employment discrimination and are taking less time off of work – allowing fathers to fill in the gap. Divorce rates have also dropped. (Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/10/world/europe/10iht-sweden.html?pagewanted=all)

    Something this post also overlooks is that men can be ESFJs and ISFJs, too, and they need to feel supported in that decision as well. (Although I also disagree with citing MBTI personality traits as the main determinant of whether or not someone would be happier being a stay-at-home parent.) A close male friend once asked me in confidence if I would consider marrying a man who wanted to be a stay-at-home dad – it was an option that he had seriously considered, but he instinctively feared that it was not a choice that would be socially accepted in practice. The fact that this question must be asked at all (of someone who’s not a love interest, that is) is not a sign of a society that accepts individual choices that aren’t based on gender norms.

    In sum: I believe that a society that doesn’t discriminate against women must be a society that doesn’t assign gender roles to choices that should be based on individual preference – and that means not trying to fit men into gendered boxes either.

  35. Kimberly
    Kimberly says:

    This is a great article. Growing up, being a stay-at-home mom was not an option. I don’t think I ever even knew what one was until I was 18.

    Society is pushing for something women don’t even want anyways. My mother would have laughed and criticized me harshly if I ever said I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom when I was young, but now she bemoans the fact that she didn’t do so when I was young.

    Instead of constantly trying to fit women into the mold of men, which they are not, we should be trying to give our girls the necessary tools to be stay-at-home moms if they choose. That would include learning how to live on one income (a very difficult skill) and possibly creating an income from home.

    I think for those homeschooling girls, they should keep this in mind. As I homeschool my daughter, I’d like to keep in mind that she may want to create a job for herself at home. I don’t want to leave her empty handed when she grows up and decides that she may want to raise her own children.

  36. KendraJ
    KendraJ says:

    I am struggling making a decision on becoming a SAHM or a career driven mom. I’m 22, my partner & I will be getting married in a couple years (just need to save up a little more). I dropped out of my first year of college, and now want to go back to get my Social Work diploma. My hunny & I started our own construction business, and anticipate it will do well, so I am struggling with ‘Do I go back and spend $20000 to get the rest of my education?’ ‘Will it be worth it if I have children after I earn my diploma or degree? Some people say no then schooling isn’t worth it but I can”t imagine when I do go back to work, having to go into retail again (i think I’m an INFP or INFJ). I don’t want to be a SAHM forever, just in the younger years. My parents raised me to think I can do anything, so here I am wondering which way is the way for me!

  37. Jennifa
    Jennifa says:

    The flip side of this is old men who have run through all the women willing to take care of them. I have seen a few, and they are pathetic, potentially more pathetic looking than a stay at home mother suddenly finding herself without a wage-earning partner. But there aren’t any posts about the mis-education of boys who may find themselves at the age of 58 when wife number 3 has left and they can’t remember to pay the utility bill and am confounded that laundry has to be done so often. Usually these louts have a daughter who will step in and help them.

    When traditionally male dominated endeavors are considered ‘good’ and female dominated endeavors are considered lesser, it messes up thinking for everyone, even men who think they have it all figured out. Many of them ride the gravy train for a long time, thinking they are the ones making the world go ’round, only to not understand why their old age is going so badly.

  38. gabby
    gabby says:

    This is silly don’t under cut the girls in favor of the boys you need to know how to go out into the work field. It is a strong possibility that your daughters will not marry and/or end up being the main income in a family better to be prepared then not prepared. Also let me assure you a girl can learn the basics of cooking and child care in a short period of time.

  39. Emily
    Emily says:

    This article is not okay. It’s factually incorrect, relies heavily on a personality test that is significantly losing any form of recognition in the realm of professional psychology, and, most importantly, seems to be based upon the assumption that nearly all women desire children. That’s simply not true. I wouldn’t care your harmful opinions, except for the fact that somehow your articles are ending up on actual news sites, and your harmful opinions and misrepresentations are being spread. Quite honestly, if I was not trying to maintain politesse I would speak more scathingly, but here is what my point boils down to: stop crediting women’s lack of potency in the workforce to “the difference in genders”, as you yourself are then contributing to the societal power structures that are the actual reason for this corporate misrepresentation.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Emily do you live under a rock? This story – of women making choices to downshift their career — has been on the cover of Time magazine, The Economist, Business Week, the New York Times magazine…. it’s just widely accepted that men and women have an equal shot in the workplace, but men want to put their energy there more than women want to. It’s a choice. And it’s a fair choice. Men are not pulled to spend time with their kids in the same way women are. I’m not saying anything controversial, and I’m not telling women what choices to make – I”m reporting what choices they make on their own.

      Penelope

  40. SIMRAN
    SIMRAN says:

    In my religion, our god restricts us to create any boundation to girls. they can do wahtever they wanna do and in my family we;ve been provided equal responsibilities and support. ( being it boy or girl ) and i feel proud that i’m belong to that religion and family.

  41. Helen
    Helen says:

    I was really loving this blog until I read this. No, PLEASE, teach your girls to expect more from their partners. Why should women have to give up a fulfilling career and why should men have to give up spending time with their kids? I have seen women who have managed to be the bread winners (shockingly it took some dedication, as the men they dated didn’t like them earning more, just took finding the right man) & women who have worked part time in concert with their husband (equal work and home duties shared). I find it deeply offensive to my daughters to suggest teaching them to accept the status quo, I want them to change it!! I feel that choosing to be a stay at home parent is a very valid choice, but it needs to be an educated choice and NOT based on gender. Men taking on more parenting roles needs to happen before equality can be achieved, and for that the stigma of caring for kids being less valuable than paid work needs to change. Certainly teaching girls to accept part time employment or no employment, is not going to change a thing. It will just continue to devalue women and devalue parenthood.

  42. Helen
    Helen says:

    Emily is not living under a rock, women are making the choice because it is still considered a women’s job, when men are not only capable of being the primary careers, but would actually like to be more involved then they are. The fact that more women give up their careers isn’t because we are better at parenting, it is because we have pressure to do so. The workforce needs to change to accept parents (not just women).

  43. Logan
    Logan says:

    I’m a little confused why cooking and taking care of others would be considered gender specific to women. All the top chefs are male. Men also typically make the best mentors for women in the corporate world, not other women, ironically.

    Personally speaking, a lot of the top executives I know also happen to be big foodies and love to cook and throw lavish dinner parties.

    I think this, “I don’t cook, I’m a career gal” mentality is a throwback from the 70s era when companies were attempting to brainwash people en masse into buying frozen ready made TV dinners.

    But I’m veering off topic. I think in response to the miseducation of girls, that the biggest problem lies in the media. Girls are taught that their only metric of value is their sex appeal and body image. Let’s compare how many stories in the news do we hear of boy geniuses starting their own companies vs how many stories of girls (even Ivy Leaguers) becoming porn stars and prostitutes? For every Mark Zuckerberg, we have 1000 Paris Hiltons in the media and young girls are affected negatively with this constant barrage of women being treated as mere cattle. There is a rampant objectification of girls and women and this inundation of media derived education is at the root of the problem, and not that home economics is no longer a viable major at university.

    If we want to rectify the miseducation of girls, we have to first understand who their role models are, and what they value most about their own selves, and rarely do they value their minds nor strength of character.

    Our American society teaches them to be shallow, to be purely focused on appearances, and to only worship money, even if it means selling their bodies and souls. We do not teach them to value themselves.

  44. ,k
    ,k says:

    this is so stupid. -ENTJ. (the same way you see men cooking is how i see women cooking) what does cooking have to do with anything anyway? Most great chefs are men.. so pick a more suitable specialty.. maybe being subhuman? educate yourselves. the real world welcomes the 1950s … but it’s everyone’s freedom (the only reason I see for this and if you can make it work); Obviously someone first needs to bring the bread and butter home so you can work with it.

  45. Nita
    Nita says:

    I don’t think it’s as cut and dry as that. So many things come to mind about how direct our girls but culture and opportunity plays a big part. Not many girls in my culture are taught that they will be taken care of. So the consideration of being a sahm is unrealistic and risky. Now for some cultures it’s acceptable but to be honest when I think back there was not 1 woman in all of my 5 aunts that didn’t work -even if they were married.

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