Friday, May 11, 2012

The broody men left bereft by wives with high-flying careers who refuse to have babies

Daily Mail
‘We were discussing a friend who had just announced her pregnancy when Sophie suddenly said she never wanted children,’ he recalls. ‘I was taken aback, but parenthood was an abstract idea for me at that stage and I assumed at some point her biological clock would tick and she would change her mind.’
. . .
It wasn’t until Philip reached his early 30s that he felt the pull of parenthood in earnest. . .When Philip broached the subject of babies again, however, Sophie was unequivocal. ‘Her exact words were: “Don’t make me laugh,” ’ he recalls.
. . .
‘Her drive was one of the things I loved, but it would have been easier if she was less ambitious and more of a home body.’
. . .
For years, Philip silently seethed as he deliberated over whether to remain in the relationship.
‘At times, my foot was half out of the door,’ he says. ‘But I’ve never known anyone as suited to me as Sophie. I knew no other relationship would be anywhere near as fulfilling.
So, Philip chooses to marry a woman who doesn't want kids. Then he chooses to stay married to her after he decides he wants them. And he somehow expects sympathy for the results of his choices? And he was apparently a horrible husband for a long time to boot. I can only imagine how this whiny self-absorbed character would have been as a father.
Martin Stent is certainly familiar with the sacrifice involved in dating a successful career woman. His wife, Carla, is the chief operating manager for Virgin Management. Her career entails 12-hour days and frequent overseas travel. Now 41, she made the decision a decade ago that her job wasn’t compatible with motherhood.
. . .
Of course, Martin could have given up his own career — a decision he says he is thankful he didn’t make.
While Philip and Martin may have reluctantly accepted their wives’ decisions, it’s a dilemma an increasing number of men is likely to face. And many may not be so selfless.
Martin is whining about his wife making the exact same decision he did. How is that selfless? Putting the blame on the woman who chooses to work rather than the man who chooses to work is overtly sexist (and the Daily Mail is just as guilty of this as Martin is) and unbelievably self absorbed. I'm actually seething a bit about the way the article lays the blame on "career women". As if that is even a thing. What is this, 1960? Oh, you gals and your "careers". Why do we never hear the term "career men"?

As the spokesperson for No Kidding who spends a lot of time talking with childfree women all over North America, I'm calling B.S. on this. Childfree women are not shelving a desire to have kids because we're mindless slaves to our careers. We just don't want them. It is this that a lot of pushy parents and British journalists can't wrap their minds around. It's not a linear decision-making process. It's messy and complicated and causes and motivations are all wrapped in together in the human consciousness.

Indeed, it is just as likely to be the other way around - women who don't want children then decide to find meaning in their careers. The childfree women I know find fulfillment in success, in devoting themselves to meaningful if humble work, or in hobbies while working as little as possible. We're not all the same, but what we have in common is the desire to find fulfillment without the need for babies.

I also know plenty of career-driven women who have, or plan on having, children. It isn't easy, but they make it happen. They don't suddenly decide to give up what they really want because there is something else they want more.
Pretending that these women are single-minded, opting out of motherhood solely because of career ambitions, is a very clever way to enforce a subtly misogyny that demonizes working women, denies our psychological complexity, and attempts to convey a sense of "otherness" on the ordinary decision to find meaningful work. Well done, Daily Mail.

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