25 Comments

A Letter to My Daughter: Career vs Family

(The following is based in personal experience, anecdotal evidence, statistics, and other various reading. As a disclaimer, I know that not every working woman has the experience that I mention, and I know that not every housewife has the experience that I mention. I speak in generalization, so please don’t take it personally.)

Dearest Daughter,

I know you’re still only 2, but already my heart is heavy with how in the world I’m going to raise you. When I was still pregnant and found out you were a girl, I was completely terrified; how can I help you to become a competent, responsible woman in today’s society? That was before your father and I really figured out how to navigate our marriage. I sure as heck didn’t think I could give you relationship advice when the time came, considering how things were going for us.

Back before you were born, I thought I knew the right track to set you upon. We’d send you to a private school maybe, you’d get a solid foundation, we’d send you to college, then you’d go out into the world to pursue your dream job. Go get ‘em, honey! You can do anything you want to! Maybe you’d get married eventually. But now, I question if that’s the way to go. I regret my years spent at college, mostly because of the loans that accrued. I feel like the education I got was fairly worthless for what I’ve ended up becoming. But I didn’t know I’d end up wanting to stay at home with you, possibly homeschooling to make sure you don’t get lost in a public school system that so often lets kids fall through the cracks. As much as I’d love to send you to private school, that isn’t gonna happen.

I don’t want to tell you that you should forgo the corporate career for a family. It’s how I was raised, what was pounded into my skull my whole life. Women should have the same goals as men, right? They should spend years and years in school before ever getting married. They shouldn’t even dream of kids until their 30′s. But no, that’s not a recipe for happiness.

The more I think about it, the more I do believe you should go to college if you want to, BUT, I won’t tell you I’m disappointed in you if you don’t go. Not every person needs to go to college. There are so many other things to do in life that don’t require a college degree. Trade schools are wonderful. Do you know how much electricians get paid? It ain’t bad. You can get many, many certifications in all kinds of areas without wasting time at a 4-6 year college. I wish I’d done that instead of spending 4 years goofing around with nothing to show for it but a crapload of student loans. But whatever you decide to do, leave your options open.

If you meet the guy you want to spend the rest of your life with (this will be a separate letter), by all means, marry him. Don’t put silly time restrictions on yourself like “I want to finish grad school first!” Or “no kids till I establish my career!” Both your aunt and I got married before we graduated college, and it wasn’t the end of the world. I had kids before I figured out what I wanted to do with my career, and it won’t prevent me from finding employment once you’re old enough to go to school (or once you’re out of the house, if I decide to homeschool you). I don’t need to be a doctor or lawyer to feel satisfied with my life, or prove that I can because I’m a woman, and neither do you. Be confident in your femininity, and if you feel driven to start a family, do it, societal pressure be damned.

If you feel called to be a doctor, or a physicist, or a mathematician, or any other career that requires a ton of schooling and hours, consider what you’re trading. Those are careers that you can’t drop for 10 years to start and raise a family. Women are fully capable of handling those jobs, absolutely… But they give away much in return. The rolls of each spouse aren’t as clear cut, which (edit: can) cause power struggles. There is increased fighting because of the strains and pressures, the lack of time to spend together. If he has a job that pays less than yours or that he perceives as “less important” (or especially if YOU perceive it as “less important” and make it known), there (edit: might be) resentment, either blatant or hidden. It’s a tough thing to navigate.

When you decide to have kids, know that the United States ranks the worst in paid maternity leave among the major nations (as in, you get none. 12 weeks of unpaid leave is all you’re entitled to). And if you expect the father of your children to stay home and help you during those 12 weeks, don’t count on it. The US sucks at that too. He’s entitled to none, and will have to use all his vacation time that year for helping you during those first difficult weeks. It’s absolutely absurd.

So you get to hold and care for your precious child for 12 weeks, then send them off to daycare. I really don’t know how career women do it. You go to work for 9 hours a day, and only see your precious sweethearts in the evenings, when they’re absolutely fussy and irritable. There’s so little time to enjoy them, to watch them go through the little and big milestones. They get sick more often because they’re around so many other children. Discipline becomes difficult as they get older, because you may have differing ideas and methods from their day-caregivers. You’re never really sure what questionable things they’re being exposed to by other kids or, God forbid, adults. There are so many daycare horror stories, I don’t even want to think about it.

So really, if you want to have a demanding career, move to Canada so you can get at least some time with your family without being pressured to go back to work before you even have time to heal. But you damn sure better be making enough money to pay for plane tickets between Texas and Canada.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing working moms here. I’m just telling you what you’ll be trading in. Staying at home with your young children brings it’s own set of challenges. It takes self discipline, patience, understanding, and a stomach of steel to deal with all the spit, poop, and vomit. You find yourself craving adult attention, because you’re around children that speak childese all day long. You find it difficult to talk to women without kids, because your half of the conversation always comes back to kids, because IT’S WHAT YOU DO ALL DAY. You lose old friends because of it. You miss the ability to do what YOU want to do for lunch, or after school/work, or just whenever. You can’t call in sick. But watching you and your brothers play, getting hugs from you all day, knowing how you’re being raised, it’s something I personally would never trade in.

It’s a trade off, and you MUST consider carefully when you’re planning your life. I didn’t give it any thought and drifted through life till your father and I figured out what works for us. We’re working so hard to get by on one income. We’re not “lucky” that we can do it, as I’ve heard said to me many times… We make it work. And that is something to consider when looking for a mate, when considering going into debt for a car or school, when you’re trying to decide what you want to do with your life. Where are your priorities?

This assumes that you want kids, of course. If you don’t, I won’t lie to you, I will be disappointed, but I’ll get over it. I’ll love you desperately no matter what.

I’m sure I’ll write more of these letters as you grow. I’m still scared thinking of how you might grow up and make bad decisions, but we all make a few. All I can do is try to impart my wisdom on you the best I can, better than my parents did

I love you,
Mom

25 comments on “A Letter to My Daughter: Career vs Family

  1. No right answer in life, just decisions and results of those decisions. I work in an office where I’m one of six “family men”, and am the anomaly with the only one with a spouse who works. Certainly trade offs and I married a career orientated woman who does her best to balance.

    “The rolls of each spouse aren’t as clear cut, which causes power struggles. There is increased fighting because of the strains and pressures, the lack of time to spend together.” I make slightly less than Mrs. AMD, but would say there’s never really been power struggles, our time is valuable together so we have to utilize the team approach and have been much happier after I’ve taken the lead in the overall household hierarchy.

    One final note: we men aren’t entitled to time off either, but like women, we do have access to Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) just like the moms. If you plan ahead, you can save and take advantage of this. For our second child, I took over a month off (some unpaid) to help with the new baby as well as a two-year old who was figuring out the new rules. Helped immensely.

    We’ll be having similar conversations with our children as well on the college/trade school stuff.

    • Thank you, I’m going to be editing the letter to flesh it out a little bit, because I don’t always have the best way with words. :) I do want to give this to her a stack of letters, eventually.

      I guess that should say “can cause power struggles”… That was 80% of our arguments early on, when we both had jobs before the kids. Having a red pill foundation would kick that in the butt, I’d imagine. Letter for another day.

      I didn’t realize that husbands were entitled to unpaid leave under the FMLA, but even so, it wouldn’t have been an option for us. Maybe if we didn’t have the debt.

      I think that, if the homeschooling doesn’t work out (I go back and forth everyday), I’ll probably go to a trade school of some sort. I’ve got a friend that’s getting her cosmetology license right now, and I’m jealous.

  2. This is a beautiful letter. And a great idea…think I should do something like this for my three. Thanks for sharing.

  3. That’s a great letter! Would love to read what you would put in a letter to her regarding marriage and the red pill life vs blue pill life that the media will push upon her. Keep up the great work!

  4. Heartfelt. I love it.

    A woman has the right to become what she wants provided she has ALL the information available to her and knows what rewards/consequences follow her choices. There’s nothing worse than getting somewhere and realizing it’s not what you thought it was going to be because of what ‘others’ told you, and then feeling cheated and lied to.

    I learned that once i realized no matter how much of a feminist/mangina/white knight/nice guy i was.. it didn’t earn me 1 cent of value towards women or rewarding relationships, only years of abuse and celibacy. I was sold a bill of goods, from a man’s point of view. I know better know, but felt cheated out of my most valuable resource.

    Time.

    Women must know every point of view, not just the dogmatic narrow view of feminism, to make the best possible choice for what they want from their lives.

    • Definitely. I think that’s pretty solid advice for just about anything in life: educate the hell out of yourself, from all sides of the issue.

      And the letters that I’ll write for her won’t be only for her benefit; it’ll be to the benefit of whatever man she decides to marry. I feel like I have a pretty big responsibility to him too, whoever he may be.

  5. ps-love your gravatar ;)

  6. My mother homeschooled me when I was 7 for a year, along with my younger sister (then age 5). When I went back to school I was so far ahead I had to be put up a year and never looked back.

    She also homeschooled, at various times, all of my 5 younger siblings (many of whom are dyslexic, one or two quite severely so). Most of them are now in some form of formal education but are still homeschooled part-time, and have all turned out well. It’s bloody hard work but can be very rewarding and extremely successful (tiny class sizes, for one thing).

    I also chipped in with some Latin teaching, which got me started on the teaching path, and now I do some part-time private tutoring. It’s a sweet little earner.

    If you do go down this route and want some tips let me know!

  7. I guess for me it comes down to what will allow my daughter the greatest opportunity to meet a quality person. Her education and career may not increase her sex rank appreciably beyond her physical looks (since we keep hearing that over and over again) but being in that environment will expose her to a lot more guys with higher income potential that will allow her to have the choice to work/stay at home. Going to college to get your MRS. degree is not all bad. And if you meet your future husband there I’d say it’s worth the loans!

    • It will also expose her to a college hookup culture, whereby, since men are in the minority on an increasingly large number of campuses/courses, dating is now a thing of the past and the natural alphas/betas who have learned game have free rein to do quite literally whatever they like, since they’re the ones in demand. Hard to meet your future husband under those circumstances.

      http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2012/11/a-plan-to-reboot-dating/264184/

      This isn’t changing any time soon. Frankly I foresee it getting worse.

      • I’ve read that article. Hook up culture is not exactly limited to college campuses. I get it, hell, I lived it–I just don’t see recommending that my daughter forego college as a viable strategy for marrying someone who can support her (if that’s what she wants). Any suggestions? No good solution other than have some good girl game, right? Frankly, I think the level of “game” on the part of college guys is overstated. I’m hoping to teach my daughter how to game the gamers.

  8. This is something my husband and I have been discussing, too. We have two daughters and the older one (4) wants to be a doctor and a mommy. We know she will change her mind many times but as she gets older, she definitely needs to be informed about how those career decisions will impact her life and marriage.
    M3′s comments totally describe me about feeling cheated and lied to. I went to college and earned an engineering degree. I worked my way up in my company where I was managing a team and million dollar projects, and I HATED almost every minute of it. That’s what I was supposed to do though, right? Compete in a man’s world, act like a man, and succeed. It almost destroyed our marriage. Quitting my job to be a wife and mother changed our lives for the better. My girls can be whatever they want but they need to go into their choices with eyes open. I felt cheated out of being a young, energetic mother and lied to because doing what I was supposed to didn’t make me or my husband happy. Sorry for the rant. I’m still working through some of the bitterness and regrets from my decisions and don’t want my girls to go through that. The various red pill women blogs have actually been a huge help to me as I work through the anger.

    • Don’t be sorry for ranting! The red pill sucks for both sexes, in different ways. The best thing we can do is educate who we can, most importantly our own kids. Your experience speaks volumes.

  9. Thank You.
    I have been up for months praying, rocking back and forth and sometimes biting my nails over this.
    Grad School vs Get married soon. I’m glad that I have not rushed into anything. Your letter highlighted ever aspect that I thought of. Thanks for reminding me of the trade offs! I feel refreshed :-)

    • You’re so welcome! Making a commitment to either (or both) will have a huge impact on your life, it’s great that you’re considering without rushing in. Good luck finding your path. :)

  10. RPW, I just found your blog! Yay!

    I was a career woman and loved loved loved my job. It was high paced and energetic and I felt important and made lots of money…and there were tons of cute guys.

    Then I had my first kid. 6 weeks later, he’s in day care and I’m devastated. We did the whole thing where he got sick constantly. Finally ended up in the hospital for a week with RSV. My pede tells me to get him away from other kids and keep him healthy to prevent asthma.

    So, what to do? I didn’t think I could afford to quit. See-sawed for about 6 months and finally took the plunge. Never looked back. We’ve been so stinking poor. lol But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Not sure we should have had 5 kids…that’s pretty much insanity. But I’ve loved staying home with them.

    Do sometimes miss the stimulation of a job, though.

    • Oh your poor kid! RSV is so awful :( We were originally planning for 4, and we’ve got 3 now… I’ve been told by my friends with 5 that once they outnumber you, it’s all just chaos, no matter how many it is, lol. I hear you about the stimulation. I do miss that. Sigh.

      Thank you for sharing your experience!

  11. Dear RedPillWifey’s Daughter,
    Have a marketable skill to fall back on. Avoid debt like the plague. Don’t let yourself get pregnant unless you and the child’s father both WANT to get pregnant. You’ll land on your feet, kid.
    Love,
    KathrynTheGreat

    • Oh yes, debt is another topic of conversation to be had. Yes yes yes. Letters about marriage and pregnancy will be forthcoming as well :D

  12. [...] 5) We can’t “do it all”. When our moms told us that, they were setting us up for failure. No one can do it all. You cannot have enough time for both an overly demanding full-time career and a family. One will suffer. We have been set up for failure if we try. If your career can’t handle days off for sick kids, getting out early for snow days when school is cancelled, and a significant amount of maternity leave, you’re in for a hard time. See A Letter to my Daughter. [...]

  13. Great letter! Sums up my thoughts quite nicely. Homeschool all the way! Definitely. Glad to find your blog, my hubby has been going on about this stuff for a few years but only today am I properly questioning how I fit into this, what is my role etc. I’m excited!

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