Nurturing a Baby AND a Startup Business

A recent New York Times article talks about women who are both mothers and founders of start-ups. The premise of the piece is that venture capital firms discriminate against women because start-ups require so much time and attention that a mother simply can’t do the job.

“If investors meet a male founder of a company, they don’t care whether he has two or three children because they assume that his wife will take care of them, Mr. Craig says. “But with a female founder,” he adds, “it’s a whole different story.”… Women make up 10 percent of the founders at high-growth tech companies, “and they raise 70 percent less money than men do because of their lack of access to capital,” says Lesa Mitchell of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where she is vice president for initiatives on advancing innovation.

“All of the women I know who went to raise money did it when they didn’t have kids,” she says. “There is total discrimination in the start-up world against women who are pregnant.”

I don’t know much at all about Silicon Valley or VC firms and whether it’s actual discrimination or perceived discrimination.

All I see, from my perspective as a dating coach, is how anyone involved in a start-up (or related to someone involved) has to sacrifice personal time.

“Ms. Fleiss’s husband took care of Daniella for three days while she was in Los Angeles for work. They alternate doing the morning feeding. At night, he often puts the baby to sleep while his wife reads and replies to e-mail.” Or, from later in the article, “Outside help is essential. Ms. Roney says: “I barely have time to put on lip gloss. Luckily my assistant fills my work closet with makeup and dresses so I can attempt to look presentable for the potential meetings and TV segments I may have that day.”

This only goes to further my thoughts that

a) A highly driven, ambitious woman needs a man who can take on some traditionally feminine duties OR she needs a lot of paid help to mother her children.
b) Anyone dating a highly driven, ambitious person may come in second to that person’s career. Caveat emptor.

Read the article here and let me know if you’d like to be partnered up with someone insanely wealthy…but insanely busy.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Henriette

    I’d argue that even if a highly ambitious, driven woman doesn’t have children, she still probably needs a lot of paid help.

  2. 2
    susan

    And I’d add that it’s all a choice.  If you CHOOSE to put your career ”ahead” of your family ie that the job takes priority in terms of time and energy, then own that and don’t complain about it.
    And conversely, don’t give those who do the other a hard time either.

    Would I mind being with someone insanely busy? Yes.
    Do I want to be that insanely busy, pay-someone-to-watch-my-kids career woman? No.

    Can there be a balance. Yes, If you’re sensible.

  3. 3
    chris

    I am a consultant to start-ups, specializing in women and minority run businesses. It is difficult for these populations to find capital and financing. It is not because they can’t run a business as well as their white male counterparts, it’s because of societal barriers this article pointed out. Financial institutions, dominated by white males, think women and minorities are a higher risk, and I would have to agree that they could be. But it is not because they are less talented or likely to succeed. In the case of women, it is because of society’s views and values placed on them.
    They are expected to be mothers and wives first. If they want to be more, they need to figure out how to do it often with little help. They are also expected to have to choose between their passions, or do it all without complaint or expectation of help or sacrifice from their partners, or sacrifice themselves, their health and wellbeing.
    When a couple decides to get pregnant, it is still the woman who is expected to do most of the childcare. As stated in the article, if the man “helps” his wife by picking up HIS children a couple days a week, or helping with homework, or feeds them breakfast, he’s considered a hero. Until this expectation by society, women and men alike, is changed, it will be a struggle for women to be able to pursue their passion in the form of a start-up business, or any other career for that matter. It’s not about woman trying to find men that will help out with “feminine duties” (ugh that annoyed me!). It’s about men changing THEIR attitudes toward women (because as in the case of finances, banks, business executives, politics, wealth, etc men still hold the power over women).
    It’s about men who want children to realize that their responsibility is 50/50. If a woman wants to work outside the home, he better be doing half of all childcare responsibilities…picking up the kids half of the days, fixing lunches, breakfast, dinner half the time, cleaning the house half the time, etc. And we woman need to stop giving them excuses that their job is “more important” or “brings in more money” and educate our sons to know how to carry their part of the burden in this society. 
    (I am not referring to all men, so if you are or know a man that carries his full weight in “feminine duties”, no need to get your panties in a wad)

  4. 4
    Ruby

    EMK worte, “All I see, from my perspective as a dating coach, is how anyone involved in a start-up (or related to someone involved) has to sacrifice personal time.”
     
    I’d have to say that I’m in complete agreement with Chris #3.
     
    These women are already married, so apparently, their husbands are okay with the arrangement, and being very busy or ambitious didn’t have a negative affect on their marital prospects. I think that’s because they found partners who were similarly driven. Most of these “highly driven, ambitious” women did have help from their similarly “highly driven, ambitious” husbands, which is as it should be.
     
    I did not get the sense that the husbands of these women were coming in “second” to their careers, but rather that women who start businesses do need a partner who is also fully committed to childcare, rather than one who says, “that’s a woman’s job, I don’t have time, and my career is more important than hers.”

  5. 5
    Rachael

    For me personally being insanely wealthy isn’t worth the time, energy, and stress. I would not want to be with someone who had no quality time to spend. My goal in life is to be happy, comfortable and spend a greater portion of my money on experiences rather than material things. 

    I am finding I have to be very strategic in planning my professional life so I can start a family some day. I’ve set myself up in a decent paying career with the option of casual/on call work, and have a 5 year plan for starting a photography business. Both jobs will keep me financially comfortable without being insanely busy. I’m also lucky to live in a place where we are afforded an entire year of 65% paid maternity or paternity leave no matter what a person does for a living.   

    I’m trying hard, but I find little sympathy for these women. I would love to have a baby right now. I would start trying tomorrow. However, if I did that, I would expect that some of my dreams, plans, and goals would either be put on the back burner, or go out the window entirely. My children will be my priority, and I will not have them until I am in a place in my life where that is possible. I may never have them…I may have one by surprise. I am prepared to take on whatever comes with both situations and not complain about it.

  6. 6
    Mia

    This highlights the impossible position women are put into over and over. Getting told by nitwit dating advisors ( not Evan) that they have to fulfill a “feminine” role in which their husbands career must always take precedent and their success will threaten the guy. But many women have the same desire and right to achieve wonderful and meaningful things in life beyond kids. For a man , a wife and kids are an asset– but they’re a burden for women. I’m not sure kids are worth the trade off. Anyone can pump out a kid, but how many people can do something unique and meaningful like form a company, etc? I’m sick of women being made to feel that their primary value is being baby receptacles, penis receptacles, beautiful objects … It seems like we just can’t win sometimes. I know it’s not actually that grim, but articles like this get me worked up.

  7. 7
    Daphne

    @Mia, I am quite knowledgeable about Silicon Valley because my ex is a law firm partner there. The women in the article are tough-skinned or they’d have quit the business long ago. Not to worry.
    However, the hand-wringing over not having enough time w kids is just that. Evan has written about this plenty of times: you do what you *really* want to do. If you sincerely want to lose weight/ get an MD/ raise your kids w lots of attention/ be a Silicon Valley CEO- then you do it ! The way you live explains your priorities. If the kids appear to take a back seat, it’s because they do in your personal list.
    The Valley and San Fran are both jammed w women who have opted out of the rat race so they can actually care for their kids. What is sad is that there are not enough mommy track jobs (35 hours a week, flexible and stable at the expense of upward mobility). Many men would like those as well.

  8. 8
    Michelle

    “Anyone can pump out a kid, but how many people can do something unique and meaningful like form a company, etc?”

    Wow, this statement makes me nauseous.  It’s not unique and meaningful to bring a human beings into this world and SACRIFICE to bring them up to be functioning adults?  Those adults that will be taking care of you when you’re old and gray.  Another example of our society today that devalues human life, very sad.

    We cannot be everything to everyone all the time.  Men are not women and women are not men…it’s frustrating to hear people think that’s the way things SHOULD work, men and women SHOULD feel and be exactly the same, everything SHOULD be perfectly equal, that’s naive.  We’re put on this Earth for unique and special basic roles to carry on the species, we are built differently from physicality to hormones to brain makeup for very important reasons.  Why people don’t embrace and celebrate that is beyond me.

    Women can absolutely do what they want to do in today’s society, we’re extremely lucky to be able to do that.  Something will give though…time with a child that can never be recovered, inevitable damage to the marriage as the man is basically married to another man with a vagina, stress and health issues, depression and disallusionment.  Everyone is on their own path, and we often need to learn the hard way.

  9. 9
    nathan

    Michelle #8 There’s a big difference between having a child and raising a child well. Plenty of people end up having children, and raising them poorly. I’m guessing that’s what Mia was talking about. 
     
    “inevitable damage to the marriage as the man is basically married to another man with a vagina,” You don’t seem to have any respect for women who choose to live their lives differently from the old norms. Nor the idea that men have a diverse range of views about what constitutes a good partnership. While you say “everyone is on their own path” and that women are “extremely lucky,” it’s clear that you don’t really support those statements.
     
    I agree with you that our society doesn’t value human life well enough. But it’s not because of shifting, more flexible gender roles. Moving beyond the idea that it’s the duty of men to be sole financial providers and women to raise children actually supports those children you’re so concerned about. If you want to talk about destructive values, let’s talk about the excessive material greed so many Americans have. Or the focus on entertainment and pleasure above service and helping others. Something will – and already is – giving because of issues like this.
     
     

  10. 11
    Lesa Mitchell

    Chris I love you and will forever be in your debt for writing this.  As stated in the article, if the man “helps” his wife by picking up HIS children a couple days a week, or helping with homework, or feeds them breakfast, he’s considered a hero. Until this expectation by society, women and men alike, is changed, it will be a struggle for women to be able to pursue their passion in the form of a start-up business, or any other career for that matter. It’s not about woman trying to find men that will help out with “feminine duties” (ugh that annoyed me!). It’s about men changing THEIR attitudes toward women (because as in the case of finances, banks, business executives, politics, wealth, etc men still hold the power over women).

  11. 12
    Goldie

    To me, what most of these women do is not about generating “insane wealth”. Rather, it is about utilizing their talents and making a difference.
     
    I  completely agree with Chris, Ruby, and Mia on this subject.
     
    @Michelle #8: “it’s frustrating to hear people think that’s the way things SHOULD work, men and women SHOULD feel and be exactly the same, everything SHOULD be perfectly equal, that’s naive.  We’re put on this Earth for unique and special basic roles to carry on the species, we are built differently from physicality to hormones to brain makeup for very important reasons. ”
     
    I agree that it is naive to expect that everybody should be exactly the same. However, I do find it ironic that, in the same paragraph, you seem to insist that all women SHOULD “feel and be exactly the same” — in a traditional role, staying home, having babies. If that’s the life you want for yourself, great! But why do you need to force the exact same role on every woman on Earth? Granted, there are billions of women who could never run their own company, because their talents lie elsewhere. Likewise, there are billions of men who also do not have the skills to run a company. And then there are some people, both women and men, who are natural leaders and business people, and are good at starting and running their own companies. So can we let them do what they’re good at, regardless of what’s between their legs, because the latter is frankly none of our business?!
     
    Ugh. Sorry, this post got me worked up too. Must be my ladybrain, um, I mean my brain makeup.
     

  12. 13
    Fusee

    It truly is an humanity achievement that a woman’s life purpose is no longer defined by her genitals. Being a woman with pretty much no desire for children, I’m glad I was a born in this era and I’m grateful for the freedom of choice.
    However at this time, there are still a couple of hard facts to take into consideration despite a tendency to ignore them:
    1. There are only 24 hours in a day.
    2. Women – not men – grow new lives and give birth.
    3. Each person has a unique physical and emotional make-up that greatly differs from the next person.
    Some people – women included – have exceptional physical and emotional stamina. I know such a woman and she truly is brilliant. She needs little sleep, has a strong body, and the ambition to “do it all”. If someone can do it all, she would be a good candidate, and so far, she’s been pretty successful in giving birth to her third child by being a junior faculty in a prestigious university. And she is pretty, fun to be around, and generous to her friends.
    But! She gets a lot of help from her mother, and her marriage/husband being at the bottom of her priority list, I’m predicting that this is the fragile part of her “doing it all” path although everything still works fine at this point.
    There really is no way – no matter how little sleep you need and how strong you are – that you can be a really good wife + a really good mother + a really good career woman all at the same time. If you have the stamina, the ambition, the random luck, and either the help or the financial means to buy the help, with careful planning you can do it all in stages. Marriage and kids early on and then growing your career when the kids are already self-sufficient. Or growing a career, and entering a marriage and raising children when the career is on track. It’s impossible to do it all and really well and all at the same time. There really are only 24 hours in a day, and majors relationships (a marriage and parenthood) have to be nurtured NOW and IN PERSON. You can’t buy help for those, unless you do not care about being your husband’s wife and your children’s mother. And sadly lot of people see these relationships as “to-do list” items and not as the priorities that they must be in a happy and harmonious life.
    We now see amazingly successful women, but we also see a 50% divorce rate and kids being raised in front of the television or by expensive nannies. I’m certainly not into sending women back to their homes, but as women we need to prioritize and realize that we are still the primary emotional care-takers of our husbands and the primary educators of our children. Until days become longer, men bear children, and sleep is no longer needed, we’ll have to make choices.
    At this point it’s unlikely I’d become a mother. I’m not really interested in taking up this huge role. But if I do I will focus on being an excellent wife and mother. Relationships are priority. For me that will mean stepping out of the workforce at least until the kids will be grown up. It’s about understanding that we can’t be everything to everyone at all times and choosing who deserve our energy in priority.

  13. 15
    Ruby

    Miimi #14
     
    Anne-Marie Slaughter’s job was a different animal, though. She was not an entrepreneur with the flexibility to set her own schedule, and her home and family were almost 4 hours away, not to mention that her boss was the POTUS. Plus, she still had a tenured academic position to fall back on.


     

  14. 16
    Ana

    Mimi@14: I read this article a few days ago. My problem with it is that she is only talking about rich married women with demanding high-profile jobs (the NYT wrote about it in an article called “Elite Women Put a New Spin on Work-Life Debate”). Any parent, male or female, who is in an “elite” job is not going to be much of a hands-on parent–that has nothing to do with gender.

    So the article doesn’t address the reality for most of us, who are not in elite jobs and rich. She doesn’t speak at all about the challenges facing single parents, and conversely, she is very dismissive of women in elite jobs who are single and childfree. Which seems to be a good lifestyle to choose if you find that you are one of the few people who have the talent and opportunity to get one of those jobs.

    Sure, if you’re a guy you can easily find a woman who aspires to be a housewife. And now we’re seeing the emergence of the househusband, so things are looking better for ambitious women who want to find compatible partners. But in the article she’s talking about sharing responsibilities equally, which doesn’t work if you can’t hold up your 50% at home. If she had a househusband she might not have written that article.   

    That said, who really believes that they can “have it all”? What does that even mean? Life is hard.

  15. 17
    Mimi

    Evan,

    Please let your friend Lori Gottlieb know that there is no Nobel prize in mathematics: Alfred Nobel’s wife ran off with a famous mathematician.

    Other than that, her response to the Atlantic article is spot on. 

  16. 18
    Fusee

    @Evan #17:
     
    Wow, wow, and wow! I just had a look and have not read the whole article yet, but from the first page I realize that her opinion is pretty much what I was trying to cumbersomely convey @13! Looks like I’m going to nod enthusiastically at my computer screen when I’ll be reading her whole paper : )
     
    Some people totally get it!!

  17. 19
    David T

    @Fusee 13 
    You wrote a lot, so this may have been careless wording. I disagree with you if you meant this as written
    as women we need to . . . realize that we are still the primary emotional care-takers of our husbands . . . 
    That sounds more like parenting than partnering and not part of a healthy marriage. Granted there are always crises where it might get like this temporarily, but this can’t be the norm. A healthy adult is their own emotional care-taker. A healthy relationship is where two equal partners provide one another support and comfort when asked for, but do not try to manage each others emotional well-being.

  18. 20
    sarahrahrah!

    @ Michelle – #8
     
    ““inevitable damage to the marriage as the man is basically married to another man with a vagina,”
     
    You know I couldn’t let that pass, Michelle.  :)
     
    Let’s we forget, mothers have *always* been full-time working mothers outside of their role as caretakers for their children.  Women’s labor has always been critical to the survival of the family unit, tribe and greater clan group.  Before the industrial revolution, women in hunter-gatherer societies focused on the “gathering,” which was a round-the-clock process.  Likewise, women in agrarian cultures worked tirelessly in order to help to ensure that the family unit had enough to eat and/or trade.
     
      It was only in the past century when men “went off to work” outside of the home that women were supposed to only sit around and play with kids without a vocation of their own.  Not that playing with children isn’t a lot of work, but to say that women who work with something other than children are “another man with a vagina” is not only ignorant, but an insult to our hardworking female ancestors — without whom we wouldn’t be here today.
     
    @ Evan
     
    Thank you for posting this and advocating for smart women.

  19. 21
    Mia

    Michelle – I didn’t mean to be offend anyone with the statement that anyone can pump out kids. But I do find it puzzling when people think that the main purpose of life is to have a child and raise the next generation. What’s the point – then, is THAT child’s main purpose once they’re an adult to have another child to raise another generation? What, independently, is the purpose of living? I’m mixed on whether I want kids, but could tell you unequivocally that if I was, say, 35 and childless down the line, a much more meaningful thing for me that I’d be overjoyed to do would be to adopt an infant from a third world country.

    That’s not me bringing something into an already overpopulated world that wasn’t there before, that’s me literally saving a needy person from poverty. I know most people wouldn’t think of it in those terms, perhaps I’m unique here, but it strikes me that if you are already on this earth there are a hell of a lot of things you could be doing to have a major impact on the world that have nothing to do with creating children and being focused on one partner in your own insular little world. And it’s a shame that women do better in school, but then get so many mixed messages throughout their lives about what their value and place is in society that they don’t seem to do as well in the professional realm.

  20. 22
    Michelle

    Unfortunately, there were assumptions in my post that are not accurate.  I know it’s difficult for many people to think big picture.

    I’m shocked there were no other comments on the much more important statement that raising a human being is not unique and meaningful–speaks volumes about today’s society where human value is devalued on a daily basis.

    I held the progressive career in my family and was the main breadwinner.  I was lucky enough to be able to take 4 years off when my 2nd child was born (worked part time at night).  Then I went back to my full time, demanding but rewarding career, then in 2007, went back to school AND worked full time when I finished in early 2010.  All with a supportive and beta husband.  I’ve had both worlds, I “get” them both.

    When I was with my kids when they were very young, this is true, I didn’t go out an gather berries for dinner neither did I sit around and ‘play’ all day–I find this insulting to women who run households and raise children.  However, I did a lot of other modern day tasks during the day, which benefited the family because we had more time together to relax and spend weekends together, rather than doing the routine tasks needed to run a household and family since I had done those during the day, during the week.  OUR FAMILY UNIT WAS LESS STRESSED, and how can that EVER be a bad thing? 

    When women are taking on masculine roles (doing, conquering, competing), it’s very difficult to transition into a feminine role (being, nurturing,emotional).  So we often become just another man in a woman’s body, that’s our energy vibe, that’s how we’re acting, like men.  Many, many women struggle with this, and it often hurts marriages.  

    #13, EXACTLY, very well said!   I’m saying similar things, and bringing up other points that I’ve realized over the years and with my maturing.

    as women we need to . . . realize that we are still the primary emotional care-takers of our husbands . . .    

    I agree with this and understand what you are saying.  I also loved your point about just ‘hiring’ someone.  There IS a difference betwee spitting out a baby and raising a functioning human being, and so many people think nothing of hiring someone else to do that for them.  

  21. 23
    Fusee

    @David T #20: thank you for your wise words! I think I’m currently identifying myself too much in the role of an emotional care-taker as I’m supporting my boyfriend emotionally a lot these days. He is able to – and does – take care of himself of course, and he does support me as well, but I might be on some slippery slope where I focus too much of my energy in supporting him emotionally.
    Thank you for the valuable reminder!

  22. 24
    Jon

    I shake my head when I read about women having children with the expectation that now there will be someone to take care of them when they are “old and gray.” This might have been a viable expectation in the economic boom years after WW2, but this is no longer a viable expectation. Today, developed economies are highly unstable and it’s harder to get a leg up. People are living longer, even with disabilities. And adults are more mobile, often relocating in pursuit of jobs. What this means for the dependent elderly:

    1) Not enough money to go around. The next generation is delaying careers, marriage, and childbearing. Their lifetime earnings may never match that of their parents. The timeline is off: They’ll have kids entering college and parents needing help at the same time, but they’ll be perhaps 10 years behind in earning power.

    2) Many years of dependency. People are living longer and healthcare is better. It is also extremely expensive. In the last year of life, care for a diabetic costs around $1 million. Assisted living costs roughly $80,000/year. Overall, the health of Americans is in precipitous decline–healthcare costs for diabetes alone will skyrocket in coming years. Who will be be able to pay for a parent’s many years of end-of-life care?

    3) Pension plans are a thing of the past. Social Security payments are not enough to live on. If someone retires at 65 or 70, how will s/he finance 15 or 20 years of retirement? Especially if that person is in poor health? How can an adult child pay for this?

    4) People relocate more today than at any other time, often for a job. Will the dependent parent move, too? How will this affect the adult children and grandchildren? If, instead, the dependent parent is in a facility, how will you pay for that? 

    I understand that many women see “a good man” as the answer to all of these questions. But even a good man has limits to his resources, if not his willingness to fund fantasy and denial. If you want a traditional marriage relationship that’s fine, but part of your emotional support (if that’s what you offer in exchange for financial support) might be to approach every relationship with the understanding that no one has to “take care” of you.   

  23. 25
    nathan

    Michelle: “When women are taking on masculine roles (doing, conquering, competing), it’s very difficult to transition into a feminine role (being, nurturing,emotional).”
     
    This is an artificial divide. It’s difficult to transition because too many of have never bothered to question at depth the gendered roles that are given to us. Too many simply assume that men have little capacity to nurture, for example, or women aren’t really capable of running successful businesses (or being political leaders, or whatever). Even though strides have been made on both ends, it’s really not enough in my opinion. 
     
    Men and women can and should learn how to move across the so called masculine and feminine roles. Instead of insisting that we’re born to do and be certain things, why not instead develop an education and community cultural system that emphasizes more fluidity and training around these roles? I’m not just talking about children here, although children tend to learn quicker and easier than adults. While I’m talking about this on a society-level scale, it can – and already is being done on much smaller scales. I’ve personally been a part of programs with kids where skills that once were gendered were taught across the board. Boys who can cook and easily feel empathy grow up to be better partners. As are girls who can fix cars, direct groups, and develop business plans.
     
    As for the point about women feeling pressure to “take care of the emotional needs of boyfriends and husbands, I say this: a lot of men need to grow up emotionally. We need to step up, and stop training each other through hazing and “guy code” mentalities, which reinforce adolescent norms instead of lead to more mature adults. Operating on a more equitable give and take, where supporting and nurturing are shared and coming from love and wanting to, as opposed to duty and/or guilt, should be a base level focus of all partnerships. Single women and men would do well to advocate for this while dating, and married folks with excessive imbalances would do well to reassess.
     
    This is not about pushing for everyone to be exactly the same. Nor is it a suggestion that men and women have no differences. Those are bs extremes that simply allow people to ignore questions about how gender has been socially constructed, and how often roles have been cultivated and socially assigned, as opposed to being a part of one’s biology. What’s amazing to me is how commonplace arguments of biological determinism and essentialism have become these days. The points Sarahrahrah makes are entirely lost on many people because actual history is absent for a good percentage of society. The role of “male breadwinner” and female “housewife”, for example, were created only a few centuries ago, and so if you want to look at the stresses and often conflicting needs in families, that’s a good place to start. Looking at how family structures were forced to adapt in response to male led industrial capitalist development. Again, I’ll say that unaddressed, pervasive greed, the devaluing of communities and sharing with neighbors, and our collective obsession with being constantly entertained (often at great financial expense) are all major factors in the stresses of modern families. Individual families can make some changes to lessen a fair amount of this stress, but of course that takes time, effort, and priority shifting. 
     
    Along these lines, an excellent documentary to consider is Learning from Ladakh. There’s background info. here. http://www.localfutures.org/ladakh-project and you can view the video in four sections on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oI2lD5Nre08&feature=relmfu
     
    “So we often become just another man in a woman’s body, that’s our energy vibe, that’s how we’re acting, like men.” This experience fits right in with the history I’m speaking about. Although the way I see it, what you say is “acting like men” I argue is acting like men who have conformed to the norms in order to fit in, “succeed,” and survive in many cases. It’s what they learned about “being a man” growing up, as opposed to the biological differences in our bodies. Certainly men and women often nurture, for example, in somewhat different ways, but I’d sure as hell rather celebrate those differences than the essentialist argument that men are X and women are Y and that’s that.
     
     
     
     

  24. 26
    Ruby

    Michelle #23
     
    “When women are taking on masculine roles (doing, conquering, competing), it’s very difficult to transition into a feminine role (being, nurturing,emotional).”
     
    This sounds like a very narrow, traditionally defined view of gender roles. I think that women – and men – are capable of so much more. Many, many women do both, every single day, and it doesn’t make news, like single moms where there’s no, or minimal, father involvement, and two-income families, where both parents HAVE to work to make ends meet. Some women might be overjoyed to be able to stay home with their kids, but others might dislike it, and I don’t see one way as necessarily better than the other, but in any case, not everyone has a choice in the matter. 
     
    And no, I don’t believe that women need to be the primary caretakers of men’s emotional needs. Men are sentient beings who should have responsibility for their own emotional well-belng.
     
    Really, this notion of “having it all”, is laughable when “it all” is thrust upon so many people who don’t really have a choice.

  25. 27
    SS

    Michelle @23
    “I’m shocked there were no other comments on the much more important statement that raising a human being is not unique and meaningful–speaks volumes about today’s society where human value is devalued on a daily basis.”
     
    I agree with you and was shocked as well. I understand that everyone does not want to have kids or give birth to kids.
    I also say that there’s no way that one can compare the raising and nurturing of human life to material endeavors and attempt to “rank” them on levels of importance and meaning. 

  26. 28
    Goldie

    @ Jon #25, excellent point, I was going to comment on it too! So many things wrong with that statement, “your children will take care of you when you’re old”. In addition to your points, here are a few of mine.
     
    1) A child is a person, not an investment that the parents expect to pay off in 30 years with interest. That’s a pretty utilitarian way to look at a human being, your close family member no less.
     
    2) Our children have no obligation to support us in our old age. If they don’t want to, we can’t make them. They will however have obligations to support their own families, and that comes first. I certainly wouldn’t want my grown children to take resources from their own families and give them to me.
     
    3) Bad things happen. It’s possible that our children won’t physically or financially be able to support us in our old age, even if they want to. Heck, what if my son marries a woman who wants to be a stay-at-home mom to fifteen kids? There’s no way he’ll be able to support me then, even if he’s so inclined. I do not have the financial resources to support my own parents right now, fortunately they love being self-sufficient and I’d have had the hardest time forcing my money on them anyway.
     
    Basically, having children for the reason that they will support you in your old age is same as marrying a man for the reason that you don’t want to work outside of home… a recipe for disaster.

  27. 29
    Jon

    SS28: There are many life experiences that are unique and meaningful, that nothing else compares to. These are personal value judgments, by their nature intangible. I can respect that raising a child is the most meaningful experience for you (if that’s what you’re saying), but please respect that for others it is not.

    To bring the moral puzzle to the forefront here: If giving birth to and raising 1 child is meaningful, is giving birth to and raising 10 children more meaningful? I’m imagining that most people would think that at some point having kids loses its meaningfulness. Who decides where that line is?

    SS28: There are many ways to nurture human life–material endeavors among them. There’s just a lot of work to be done.

  28. 30
    SS

    Actually Jon, I don’t have any children yet, but I’ve always felt this way.
    Creating and nurturing life and completing material endeavors aren’t comparable concepts, as far as I’m concerned. If you noticed in my post, I said that one can’t rank them on the same levels of importance… that goes both ways.
     
    If raising a child is not someone’s desire, that’s perfectly fine. Then I say those people don’t get to make the comparison to raising human life because it’s something they haven’t done.
    I certainly can’t say my material achievements are more important than having a child and raising one, because I haven’t done the latter. And even if I had, I really couldn’t compare the two because that would be like comparing apples and oranges… who’s really to say that starting a company is more meaningful than having a child? (Or vice versa if one doesn’t want children?)
    The value judgment was made when the original statement was typed that minimized child-rearing.
     

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