Friday, January 14, 2005

The ever eloquent and scathing Ms. Maureen Dowd wrote a follow up commentary regarding a study that was done recently. The study said that men prefer their subordinates to their bosses for romantic relationships and marriage. The disturbing part of all of this, was not that men preferred these unequal relationships, but that it was because they didn't think a super successful woman would be faithful to them.

Marriage between two high-powered execs is all well and good until children are involved. Then somebody's job has to give, or you have to be able to afford to hire a professional army of caregivers and housekeepers to do the work of somebody who has a less demanding job. It's the hallmark of my generation that I'm most proud of: We spend more time with out kids (both the men and the women) than the boomers did. We do this at the cost of our careers because we see our families as taking precedence over them. For example, my husband turned down an offer to interview for a new company in Boston because he would have had over 50% travel for the first 2 years.

Do we 30 something have something figured out that maybe our parents didn't? A lot of us would rather have less money than never see our kids. I think our careers proceed, just much more slowly than if we weren't worried about that. The whole career vs family thing is a huge dilemma for a lot of us. When Rich goes back to work, somebody's career is going to be back-burnered for a while. I chose to work where there isn't much of a career path, but at least I have lots of vacation time and flexible hours. I don't get wrist-slapped for taking the bulk of a week with partial and sick days because my child was too sick to attend day care. But I am learning new things. I get to be an adult for a few hours a day. If I were more ambitious, perhaps this choice would be more painful.

Marriage between two high-powered executives is all well and good, but one of those two people will usually try to do something less demanding after they have kids. I think the solution is more part time professional work for working parents.

Just a thought.

Update later that same day...
I can't stop thinking about this and I have more to say. My husband is more high powered than me at work, (when he's working!) but that doesn't stop us from having an equal relationship at home. Since when does your level at your office dictate your sense of equality with your spouse. If you're married to a total twat (male or female) that uses money as a weapon in your marriage, then it's a problem. People use money to control their spouses regardless of how successful they are on the corporate ladder. But most couples I know have joint checking accounts regardless of whether or not one of them makes more money than the other.

Do men want "Mom" type spouses because they want to be mothered? Maybe. But SOMEBODY needs to play the "MOM" role in a household with small children. There's meals to be made, diapers to be changed and bellies to be zerberted. And while it's OK to leave that to a professional caregiver part of the time, it would be really tough on a family if neither parent was at home on weekdays. At my house we split it for the most part. With the exception of cooking (which I do) the other work, including caring for our son, is split between the two of us. My son goes to bed at 8, if we both worked late on a regular basis, we'd NEVER see him.

In our family I think our priorities work something like this

1. Eric
2. Each other
3. Extended Family
4. Careers
5. Worrying about what Bush is doing to make the world a worse place (OK that's mine, not Rich's)
5. House and home

My point is that I don't think we're atypical in this. If somebody in a marriage wants to have a big career, the other one will most likely pick up the slack at home. Perhaps Men aren't the big Pussies that Dowd makes them out to be. Perhaps they're realists.

If these 40-something career woman had been willing to compromise a little on a spouse choice in their 20's or 30's would they have found themselves in the predicament they are today?

My problem with the whole thing is to equate professional success with personal success. They're not the same thing, and having great success on the corporate ladder whether you're male or female doesn't make you a good person or a good spouse. One of my favorite TV couples is Carla and Turk on scrubs. He's a surgeon and she's a nurse. Professional unequals, yes, but she kicks his ass all the time. I don't find it unusual at all.

OK enough rambling for now.


Blogger Roberto Iza Valdés said...

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Blogger Roberto Iza Valdés said...

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