Tag Archives: parenting

women can’t have it all… but, can men?

3 Jul

PepsiCo’s CEO Indira Nooyi explains women can’t have it all. As a career mom myself, I am very much in agreement with her. Here is a link to her talk, the first 25 minutes or so in this video.

I will not add my views here about how much I agree with her. There are many blogs and articles everywhere doing that. What I do want to talk about is the men. Can they have it all? Don’t they face the same challenges as do women? Don’t men have to make the same choices between attending to work and attending school events? The difference is, perhaps, that they are expected to trade-off work for family time. For the few men who want to have successful careers and also be there for their families, there is very little sympathy and understanding. Men develop coping mechanisms by delegating the family tasks to the children’s mothers. That may reduce guilt, but it does not salvage the aching loss of missed opportunities, less bonding with the kids and a sense of having missed-out on the kids’ childhoods.

My comment here is simple – No one  can have it all, be it men or women. Any person who chooses to be a career parent, needs the support and backing of a network of willing caregivers. And corporations would do well to encourage their employees to have better work/life balances. Employees with less guilt and more emotionally fulfilled lives are likely to be more stable and collaborative in the work-place as well.

why i think “princeton mom” is wrong

28 Mar

independent women

Princeton Mom’s article: https://shine.yahoo.com/love-sex/susan-patton-princeton-mom-make-babies-now-231725916.html

So, “Princeton Mom” Susan Patton is advising young women in Ivy League Colleges to find a husband while still in College. While I agree with her premise that College has the highest density of potential eligible men, that is where my agreement with her stops.

For one, she assumes that young women in their late teens and early twenties have enough life experience to pick a good long term husband. If young women get married and have kids too early, they are doomed to a life-long relationship with men who could be life-long trouble-makers like being abusive. Very intelligent men (and women) are also likely to have higher rate of social abnormalities.

Second, having a child too early in life saddles people with high level of responsibilities that there is no escape from. You can switch careers relatively easily, but if you realize parenthood is not for you, you don’t really have many options. It is better to take time and understand yourself, and have kids when you are really ready for them.

Third, having children too early in life significantly reduces your enjoyment of life experiences like adventure-traveling, fine dining etc. You are also limited in hours and energy in building your career. It is much harder to start building your career at age 40 than it would be at age 25. You are older, have less energy, technology has moved on and you have lost a lot of your professional confidence seeing your peers get ahead while you “made other choices”.

Fourth, one parent has to take a step back in their career to raise kids. It doesn’t matter which one. Kids need their parents on-site, and cannot be raised through remote parenting. This dynamic often makes one parent “dependent” upon the other, leading to unequal relationships. If the career-parent is abusive, or suffers from some social/mental disorders, it can be hell for the on-site parent. If the marriage doesn’t work-out, the on-site parent will be under greater financial burden in trying to now take off their own career.

Fifth, with higher life expectancy, people can expect to live until their eighties or nineties. It is unreasonable to expect that most people will be happy with the same spouse they picked in their twenties. People grow and evolve, and sometimes diverge from each other. It is important to gain some life experience, and really understand your own priorities and values, before picking a life partner. Many folks are not even clear on their sexual-orientation until later in life!

Marrying young and having children early has its advantages, but only if you can control every single variable in your life. That is often NOT the case. I would advise young people to wait, and really know what they are getting into. If you meet someone special in College, date them some more. There’s no rush. The world is full of people, and you have a long life!