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Grow up: Life Has Trade-offs
Townhall.com ^ | June 26, 2012 | Mona Charen

Posted on 06/26/2012 4:47:34 AM PDT by Kaslin

Anne-Marie Slaughter's eye-catching Atlantic article, "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," is being greeted with a certain reverse snobbery. We've been reminded that the choices and challenges of women with advanced degrees are hardly typical and not the sort of thing that should divert us from the problems of the middle class.

Perhaps. But there are millions of women in the upper middle class and the culture they create and reflect affects everyone. Besides, Slaughter deserves some credit for honesty. As she recounts in the piece, when she mentioned to a friend that she was considering writing that women can't have it all, the friend was adamant: "You can't write that. You, of all people." Slaughter explains: "... such a statement, coming from a high-profile career woman -- a role model -- would be a terrible signal to younger generations ..."

Slaughter, the "first woman director of policy planning at the State Department," had been one of those reliable soldiers in the "mommy wars" who had assured young women that, of course, they could have a satisfying career, a high income, a loving husband and 2.5 ego-gratifying, low-maintenance children whose problems wouldn't intrude when they "sipped champagne" at a "glamorous reception" hosted by President and Mrs. Obama. But she has discovered that the "have-it-all" catechism was a lie. Even with a supportive husband who was willing to "take on the lion's share of parenting ... (while) I was in Washington," she found that she didn't want to be away from her two teenaged sons, particularly when one was having trouble in school.

"Want" is the critical word here. Slaughter made a choice, as adults do. She writes, "I realized that I didn't just need to go home. Deep down, I wanted to go home. I wanted to be able to spend time with my children in the last few years that they are likely to live at home, crucial years for their development into responsible, productive, happy, and caring adults."

Slaughter's wants mirror those of other women (high-earning and otherwise). A 2007 Pew survey found that among working mothers with children 17 and younger, fully 79 percent said that they would prefer part-time (60 percent) or zero (19 percent) work outside the home. Only 21 percent said they would choose full-time employment while their children were young. This was down from 32 percent who preferred to work full time in 1997.

Despite endless repetition by Democrats and feminists, the idea that women earn less than men for the same work is fiction. Single women without children earn just as much, and sometimes more, than comparably qualified young men. Women earn less (over their whole careers) because they choose to. And they choose to because they place more value on child rearing than on money or status.

A better feminist would applaud women for this and stress the incomparable contribution mothers make to society. Instead, feminists define progress as the "first" woman this or that and the degree to which a woman's life parallels a man's. Feminists have been missing what's best about womanhood for decades.

They keep up a relentless drumbeat for "better" (by which they mean government-subsidized) childcare and fret that men don't have to make the same trade-offs. But as Anne-Marie Slaughter found, most women don't want more opportunities to farm out our children. Slaughter wasn't even satisfied to have her own husband be the principal parent. She wanted the kind of relationship with her sons that only time -- and lots of it -- can allow.

Most mothers feel that way, and unlike feminists who find this truth to be embarrassingly retro, we freely affirm that we want to be there for the first words, the first independent ride on a two-wheeler, the Little League games, the school plays, the violin lessons, and the thousand little private jokes, shared confidences, and other intimacies that are some of the sweetest parts of life.

We've seen some of the women who are described as "having it all." We see the glamorous careers, the attention and the prizes. And perhaps we feel a twinge or two of envy. But it's an illusion. Something has to give. Too many exhausted women blame themselves for not being able to be Ruth Bader Ginsberg, June Cleaver and Sally Ride all at the same time. They've been lied to about life, mostly by feminists. Slaughter discovered the truth in time. Many don't.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: children; incomeinequality; parenting; womensrights

1 posted on 06/26/2012 4:47:47 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

I am glad she discovered the truth. It’s the feminists who have been making women into second class citizens.


2 posted on 06/26/2012 4:52:46 AM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: Kaslin
Secular feminists and environmentalists have caused more damage to America than any and all external forces combined.

If we fall, they will be to blame.

3 posted on 06/26/2012 4:55:12 AM PDT by grobdriver (Proud Member, Party of NO! Nobama, No Way, No How!)
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To: Kaslin

Men didn’t have it all either. The stress of working 60-80 hours a week to provide for their families is one reason why there are more old women than old men.


4 posted on 06/26/2012 4:58:52 AM PDT by tbw2
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To: Kaslin

Too bad all the women who are working don’t have a choice. Many mothers want to be at home with their children, but their husbands can’t find a job after being laid off, and mothers are the bread winners, like it or not.

We need to have adults in the Oval Office who can do a much better job of running the government so that this nation is again family-friendly. For that, we have to fire the brain-washed Leftists who are currently ruining our society as they force their statist dreams on the rest of us.


5 posted on 06/26/2012 5:02:56 AM PDT by txrefugee
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To: Kaslin

Gosh, men and women are different?

I never would have imagined that. I’m awfully glad that a smart liberal was able to figure it out (sort of) for me.


6 posted on 06/26/2012 5:03:26 AM PDT by snowrip (Liberal? You are a socialist idiot with no rational argument.)
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To: Kaslin

I have a 25 year old daughter with an MBA and a job she likes very much. All of her girlfriends graduated from college. Most are now married and several have a child. From what I see, marriage and children are much more important to them than a “career”. They have good jobs but love their families more than their jobs. My daughter will be getting married next spring and wants kids right away.

I always worked when my kids were young and I would have much rather stayed home with them. It is not healthy for our children to be raised by strangers. Feminists have sold my generation a bill of goods. I think this generation will be more likely to appreciate motherhood and reject the lies of “having it all”. JMO.


7 posted on 06/26/2012 5:06:35 AM PDT by ilovesarah2012
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To: Kaslin
I found out that ‘having it all’ just means you have to do it all. I have been in the same career for nearly 40 years. When my son was small, I was able to work part time. When we moved to California I had to work full time due to the expense of living in California. I have never been able to get back to part time. Feminists are not for all women, just Liberal women. Feminism is a crock that many of us children of the 60’s bought into and now regret. The Democrats are so busy pandering to every special interest group, it is like juggling. When the interests of the ‘specials’ clash, the balls all fall to the ground. Which group is most important? Republicans treat ALL PEOPLE equally. The country needs to awaken to that fact.
8 posted on 06/26/2012 5:10:44 AM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: txrefugee
Women are now working because people got greedy in the mid 60’s - the 80’s.

They started working in union factories and were bringing in two living wage incomes.

Inflation ran wild and the economy adjusted to where there had to be two bread winners.

The unions demanded more and more until the factories closed or moved overseas.

Now they are stuck with a two worker economy and few good paying jobs.

9 posted on 06/26/2012 5:19:58 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Free Republic -- One stop shopping ....... It's the Conservative Super WalMart for news .)
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To: Beagle8U

Well said.

I also suspect that the “to get a good job, get a good education” advertising campaign, coupled with cheap money for tuition also affected the numbers of people who entered the jobs markets able to do something productive


10 posted on 06/26/2012 5:38:09 AM PDT by John Galt's cousin (Principled Conservatism NOW! * * * * * * * * * * Repeal the 17th Amendment!)
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To: Kaslin

One of our big problems as a society is that we tend to reject what are biologically evolved social systems, because we do not understand them, and think they are frivolous. And these can be pretty harsh. Here are some:

1) Not everyone is designed to reproduce. For whatever reasons, only a percentage of people are supposed to breed, and are equipped to be good parents. And biology has come up with a lot of ways for non-breeders to not interfere with breeders. This includes homosexuality, prostitution and post-menopausal sexuality. However, our society is so oriented to breeding that it has no “social place” for non-breeders.

2) Marriage has a *biological* purpose. Marriage is a far better system than just typical mammalian reproduction, as it benefits the husband, the wife, and especially, their children, giving up sexual liberty in exchange for monogamy. But marriage only works when it is culturally *enforced*, to prevent outsiders from interfering with it.

3) The underlying biological purpose of marriage can be undermined through the use of the dowry and arranged marriages. This led many to assume that marriage was frivolous, so should be dispensed with, or at least not socially enforced. They were joined in this by non-breeders who wanted to sexually function at a more animalistic level, not responsibly reproduce, just have sex.

4) The advantages to children raised by a male-female married couple are enormous, as they are raised with an mode of success and improvement. Children raised by a single parent are raised in a “default” mode of survival, which is why they are 60% more likely to criminally offend. They lack adequate family support, so their lives are dominated by needs, not wants.

5) If somehow we can scientifically determine which people are oriented to breeding, and which are not, society can set up cultural means to protect breeding couples, and encourage non-breeders to develop a career path. This does not mean coercion, but recognition that breeding couples need societal support and protection for their marriages.


11 posted on 06/26/2012 5:44:08 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: grobdriver

Secular feminists and environmentalists have caused more damage to America than any and all external forces combined.

They are two faces of the same coin.


12 posted on 06/26/2012 5:44:46 AM PDT by Josephat (`)
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To: Kaslin
Feminists have been missing what's best about womanhood for decades.

The whole direction of the funding puddle in womyn's studies is toward population reduction, and failing that raising a generation of compliant wards of the almighty state. They are the pawns of disaffected elitists wanting 'less for you' and thereby, 'more for me.'

13 posted on 06/26/2012 5:47:58 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (The Slave Party: advancing indenture since 1787.)
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To: Kaslin

God made women to instinctually want to nurture their children until they are ready to survive on their own. He used the same technique on most species, but the duration of dependency varies greatly. Unlike the barn swallows I’ve been watching, who are soaring after a few short weeks, the human infant takes many years to be able to survive on its own. It is God’s plan that their mother’s be there to teach them and I have never seen an instance where it is a good idea to buck God’s plan. The feminist movement is but another example of the left trying to undermine God’s plan and the results, as usual, are very detrimental to our society.


14 posted on 06/26/2012 5:56:04 AM PDT by Josephat (`)
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To: Beagle8U

Bingo. Making a huge, society-wide change like that has market consequences, which even the non-feminists routinely like to ignore or deny.


15 posted on 06/26/2012 6:11:16 AM PDT by Boogieman
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To: Josephat

No, they caused lots of damage, but Marxism has caused much more, especially when you consider that both of those movements were simply pawns used by the Communists to undermine our society.


16 posted on 06/26/2012 6:24:36 AM PDT by Boogieman
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To: Kaslin

NO ONE can have it “all.” It just isn’t possible. Something has to give.


17 posted on 06/26/2012 6:26:10 AM PDT by smalltownslick
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To: Kaslin

I have noticed a disgusting phenomenon which is the dads trying to get the kids away from the moms and thinking it is a good idea to have the moms pay child support. These men are not doing it for the kids but to hurt the women.


18 posted on 06/26/2012 6:53:26 AM PDT by yldstrk ( My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
If somehow we can scientifically determine which people are oriented to breeding, and which are not, society can set up cultural means . . .

Ah, you're one of those! Five-year plan? I smell the ghost Lewis out of That Hideous Strength? with that swelling brain in a vat seeping out while under examination. If ever the soul pops up after amputation, give it another regulated dosage.

19 posted on 06/26/2012 7:05:20 AM PDT by cornelis
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To: Kaslin
I realized that I didn't just need to go home. Deep down, I wanted to go home.

. . . to hear your daughter or son practice Grieg's piano concerto!

20 posted on 06/26/2012 7:28:44 AM PDT by cornelis
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To: Beagle8U
Bullsh*t. In the middle of the 60s and 80s is the 70s, when Nixon cut the gold window and inflation ran riot. It was the 70s inflation that forced 2 income families, not the other way around.

More folks producing more stuff does not create inflation, it usually creates deflation if the money stays stable.

21 posted on 06/26/2012 8:22:13 AM PDT by slowhandluke (It's hard to be cynical enough in this age.)
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To: cornelis

I was afraid someone would read it like that. But the idea is not to oppress anyone, but to protect married couples by bringing back common sense laws that were discarded, such as making adultery unlawful, and discouraging divorce. And the culture needs to change to again make adultery and divorce less socially acceptable.

When a couple gets married, this needs to be respected by the rest of society. Married people need to be seen as “no longer on the market”, and those who try to horn in to their marriage need to be given a firm “no!”, legally if necessary.


22 posted on 06/26/2012 8:30:47 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
I was afraid someone would read it like that. Isn't that the very problem? People don't read the law right? Laws don't generate respect. Or am I missing something?
23 posted on 06/26/2012 9:55:58 AM PDT by cornelis
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To: slowhandluke
Sorry, it started in the mid 60’s and ran to the early 80’s when the bottom fell out of the jobs market.

It wasn't high output that drove the inflation, it was the dual incomes of bloated union wages and the spending spree that resulted from that.

24 posted on 06/26/2012 11:38:42 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Free Republic -- One stop shopping ....... It's the Conservative Super WalMart for news .)
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To: cornelis

Good laws originate from what is called the “social sanction”, which are the unwritten rules created and enforced by the vast majority of society. Written laws hope to codify and rationalize social sanctions so that they are more orderly.

In this case, there needs to be the public realization of the importance of male-female marriage, with the importance it used to have before being discarded for poor reasons. Once this has happened, then the written law will follow.

The law has tacitly admitted that the rationales for marriage were correct, and has tried to duplicate them with ideas like child support. But these are unsatisfactory, compared to the biological benefits of marriage.

Some states have tried to help by creating “covenant marriage”, which is much more difficult to break, but still leaves married couples unprotected from sexual predators who seek to involve themselves with one of the partners.

So, should the activities of serial rapists like Bill Clinton be outlawed? Bill’s motivation is to “fool around” with married women, some willing, some not, then use his power to evade punishment for those things that are still criminal. But his underlying motif is technically legal, that he may try to seduce married women without sanction.


25 posted on 06/26/2012 11:44:23 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: Kaslin
I wanted to be able to spend time with my children in the last few years that they are likely to live at home, crucial years for their development into responsible, productive, happy, and caring adults."

Too late, they are not going to hear a word you say if they are over 15 years of age. All they want from a parent at that age is money, cars and for you to not be around!! "The crucial years" are long gone, while you were making 6 figures in the world, someone else raised them.

26 posted on 06/26/2012 2:53:33 PM PDT by thirst4truth (www.Believer.com)
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To: Beagle8U
High output provides for both the higher incomes and for the increased amount of stuff to buy. It can't cause inflation.

Well, maybe it can for a Keynesian economist but they believe all sorts of strange things.

Milton Friedman wrote "Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon." Unless those dual income families you complain about were working at the Federal Reserve, what they did had nothing to do with causing inflation.

27 posted on 06/26/2012 5:23:16 PM PDT by slowhandluke (It's hard to be cynical enough in this age.)
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