A woman who is more accomplished academically in a much more intellectually challenging field than nearly any feminist you will ever meet speaks against the feminist fetish of career aspirations. She writes in response to a quote from yesterday's post
"The idea that women are too focused on being intellectual, or shouldn't have career aspirations that would allow them to earn more than their (potential) husbands is absurd and patently offensive."
She's wrong. It's not absurd or offensive, it's straight-up truth. And it's not even so much about the money (although, for the health of a marriage I do believe the husband should be the breadwinner), but about sacrificing career aspirations to do the single most important thing a woman can do, which is to get married and raise a family.
I am a highly intellectual woman with a successful professional career, and I realize now what a mistake I've made by not settling down and having children early. I married 12 years ago, but put off having children in order to finish graduate school and establish my scientific career. Last December, at the age of 42, I had a baby daughter. I realize now that this would've been MUCH easier 10 or 20 years ago. It's not only a struggle to care for a newborn at my age, but making the sudden shift from a woman who has, for decades, been very busy with intellectual pursuits and relatively unencumbered by responsibility to a stay-at-home mom has been unexpectedly difficult.
My own dear departed mother got married at 19 and had me and my brother at 21 and 22 years of age. I look at old photos of her with us as babies, and she looks deliriously happy. She LOVED being a mother. She had that crazy young-person energy you need to raise babies and no established adult life that she felt like she was losing in order to become a mother. Later, when my brother and I were older, she went back to university to finish her degree and enjoyed many happy years as a teacher.
I regret putting off children for so long. I wish I had put off my graduate education and career in order to have had more healthy children. (My first daughter had a fatal chromosomal abnormality and was stillborn. The risk for such problems increases sharply with maternal age -- another reason to start having children young.) The one thing I did right was to learn to cook and keep house, the love and skill of which I learned from my mother at a young age. But motherhood has not come easy at 40+. For that reason, I will tell every girl I know (including my daughter) to not make the same mistake I did. Put off the career. Learn to cook and keep house, find a good man and get married young, and start having babies as soon as possible.
So, who are you going to listen to, young women? Who do you think knows what she's talking about, the woman with both the PhD and the child or the crazy cat ladies with neither physics degrees nor children?