Advice from PhD Scientist: Put off Career, Get Married Earlier

Susan “Princeton Mom” Patton created a firestorm by writing this editorial for the Wall Street Journal.

The feminist establishment has their panties in the mother of all twists. If you don’t believe me, read the comments for that article.

Reinforcing Patton’s advice, Vox Day has followed up with this, where a PhD scientist, who married in her 40s and has quit her job to be a SAHM, chimes in.

“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.

I really like Vox’s statement: “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?”

Some will read what Vox and myself are saying, and think we are misogynists who seek to keep women from achieving and being their best.

Quite the contrary; while I cannot answer for Vox, I simply have observed that, as a general rule, women want to get married and have kids. In their heart of hearts, they want this more than they want a nice career. This is normal and to be celebrated.

I’ve met ZERO old fogeys who married early and had kids and ditched their career aspirations only to regret it. I’ve met plenty who forsook marriage and family life for careers and wish they had done the opposite. I’ve met plenty who forsook marriage and family life, and now cannot find a man to marry. I’ve met others who married later but now must rely on technology to conceive a baby.

I have a good friend at work who is in her early 40s, debt-free, in great condition, doesn’t (to the best of my knowledge) ride the carousel, and wishes she could get married. In her most fertile years, it didn’t work out for her. Some of that is on her, some of that is on circumstances. Sure, she’s liberal. But she’d otherwise make a good catch for someone. Trouble is, her best marriageable years are behind her. She has baggage, and has acquired cynicism as a result. Not only are other men skeptical of her, she is skeptical of them in ways she would not have been 20 years ago.

Here’s the thing, though: we put a lot of emphasis training boys and girls to prepare for adulthood. We insist that they go to college, get degrees, and pursue the professional career paths. What we DON’T do–as a society–is train them to prepare for marriage and family life. We do not teach them about the economic tradeoffs and challenges because that would appear sexist or misogynist.

And for those who don’t like what I am saying, I have some honest questions for you:

(1) If this were no big deal, then why does Kate Bolick even get any press? Why is it even a news story that women who don’t marry early will have a harder time marrying?

(2) If this were no big deal, then why the outrage over what Susan Patton is saying?

Now some might also ask why we should consider Patton–or Stickwick (the gal who wrote to Vox)–over the feminists?

I would suggest this: the feminists have more to gain with other women being as miserable as they are. It’s a strength in numbers thing.

I have met very few single women who are older than 30 who are happy. And I mean very few. Almost all of them wish they could get married. The conservative, non-feminists HATE being single and WANT a husband and kids.

But here is the thing: even the feminists want that. They just don’t want to admit. The very few happy feminists I know, have a strong husband and at least two kids.

As for the single feminists I know? They are the most miserable of people. And the thing that they despise the most: the happily-married conservative woman. Particularly if she has more than two kids. It’s unbridled envy.

So, feminists, what is the problem with Patton’s column? Is it that she expresses a truth that you don’t want to accept? Is it that she is speaking to your situation and you know she is right?

Or is she just wrong?

If she is wrong, you are more than welcome to make your case here.

8 thoughts on “Advice from PhD Scientist: Put off Career, Get Married Earlier

  1. “When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.”
    “Be careful what you ask for…you could get it.”

    These women who followed the siren call of feminism do not have my sympathy — they were warned, but they chose of their own free will to believe the pretty lies. And spit poison at those men who warned them.
    “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle”, remember that?
    Well, the bicycles have realized that they don’t REALLY need fish, neither.
    And it is sweet schadenfreude to hear about these old fish, who can’t now attract the Happy Bicycles that they now regret driving away.

  2. i loved getting married young. there’s something about growing up together, learning together, doing life together, that just (imo) cannot be compared to doing things alone. older women i know who have never been married *are* lonely, and they all long to be married.

  3. “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle”, remember that?

    Yes. And the woman who said that, feminist icon Gloria Steinem, shocked many when she got married in her 60’s.

    I don’t recall reading anything like this when I started college in the late 1970’s. I can’t help but wonder how many of my female classmates may have charted a different course if similar advice had been given in those days. Who knows, maybe I wouldn’t have been shot down as much when I was trying to date as a younger man.

  4. I wonder why you are focusing on marriage so much rather than just simply having a baby. Isn’t that the part of it that needs to be done early? I am a female scientist who is having a baby as a single mom. I would recommend my pathway over trying to force a marriage of convenience just for the sake of “having a father.”

    It often appears to me that there is almost a Victorian-type stigma that exists among well educated people regarding single parenthood. Why? 40% of all births in the US are out of wedlock, it should not be a big deal anymore.

    • Setting aside the social issues associated with unwed motherhood–the stigma of which predates the Victorian era by millennia–what you are missing is that women, in general, WANT to be married.

      This is why there are no small number of articles out there–by liberals and conservatives alike–warning that women who do not marry in their 20s will face declining marriageability. If that were not important to women, then those types of articles would get no traction in mainstream media.

      Kate Bolick’s piece in The Atlantic generated such popular response that she got a television gig over it. Maureen Dowd of the New York Times has managed to make a nice living writing about that very issue for the better part of the past two decades.

      That you (in particular) may be ambivalent about, even resistant to, marriage, does not change the reality that women, (as a group), want to marry.

      I’m not picking on single moms or even women who desire to remain single; I’m just pointing out that women, as a group, want to marry. (That they wish to do so before having children is actually a logical choice that has higher-percentage economic and financial consequences.)

  5. Assuming there is roughly an equal male-female ratio until age 55+, what is the difficulty in a 35 year old woman finding a husband? And isn’t adoption just as good as having a biological child?

    • Here’s the problem…

      (1) When a woman is 35, she is finding herself competing with women ten years her junior for the men that she wants.

      (2) When a woman is 35, she is more likely to be less-desirable to the men who would logically be in her age bracket, particularly if they have substantial baggage.

      The optimal marriageability window for a woman is from the late teens to about 25. After that, the more desirable men are “taken”, and once she hits 27 her fertility starts declining.

      Given that my wife and I are seeking to adopt, I can speak to the adoption issue. Here is the short answer: adoption is a complicated mess that has substantial financial costs–with huge risks–and takes a great emotional toll. Domestic adoptions take lots of time–there are more couples seeking to adopt than there are babies to adopt–and foreign adoptions require extensive travel, paperwork, and even more red tape than domestic adoptions. The process is stressful on a level that exceeds natural pregnancy and childbirth.

      While MrsLarijani and I will have the same love for an adopted child as we would for one born from my loins and her womb, the fact remains: men and women are going to want to have children from their own body. That is how we are wired.

      If men are desiring to be fathers, they are not going to want to marry women whose best fertility years are behind them. This is because adoption is seen as a last resort. They aren’t going to be thrilled about spending extensive amounts of money on fertility treatments, nor are they going to be relishing the prospect of sinking large amounts of time and money into the adoption process.

      Women, as a group, are hard-wired to want to bear children. Men, as a group, are hard-wired to want to father their own children.

      I’m not saying this to put older women down, nor am I saying this to disrespect those seeking to adopt–as I am seeking to adopt.

      I am just stating the reality as it is.

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