College Kids: Aware of Work-Life Realities?

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

Two things have landed in my inbox in the last couple of months that have filled me with nostalgia. The first was an invitation to my 10-year college reunion. The second was the January issue of a Georgetown student publication, the Independent, which took on the topic of the "Mommy Wars."

The piece looked in-depth at work-family balance, with explorations of at-home fatherhood (hooray!) and perspectives from some of the school's professors. The twist was that this was focused on college students, including an anonymous poll of 70 women on campus. Granted, 70 anonymous Georgetown women can hardly be taken as representative of America's young people, but it's a start.

The poll, interestingly enough, asked students first about where they saw themselves in 10 years (10 years!) and 83 percent of the women polled said "married and working." In addition, the poll also contained this observation:

"The key question -- 'what are the chances that you would stop working for your significant other or your family' -- produced the most surprising results. It must be said, however, that the question does not address the time period for which the women would stay home. Nevertheless, 31% of women reported that the scenario is "possible," 26% answered "likely," and 19% answered "unlikely." The two extremes -- very high and very unlikely -- were less popular answers, coming in at 14% and 4% respectively. The breakdown can be succinctly -- but perhaps controversially -- summarized as the following: 77% of female Georgetown students responded that there is anywhere from a "possible" chance to a "very high" chance that they would stop working for the sake of their significant others or their families."
This raises way more questions than it answers. It's tough to square the 77 percent who expect to have to leave work with the 83 percent who plan to be working. And it doesn't really get to the issue of whether Georgetown men think they'll be home a decade hence.

But what really blows me away is that these kids managed to come up with answers to these questions. Thinking back to my glory days a decade ago, I remember debating and discussing what felt like just about every possible topic; I don't think I spent a minute thinking about work-life balance or childcare or flextime. And I was one of the guys on the fast track, engaged six months after getting my diploma, first child at 26.

Are college students today more informed about work-life balance questions? Are there guys on campus thinking hard on the issue? Or do the conflicting results to the Independent's survey reflect a yawning gulf between what young adults want out of life and what they really expect to get? The mind reels.

I know that the readership here probably skews in the direction of people drinking single-malt Scotch and not Boone's Farm, but if there are any college-aged readers, I'd love to hear your take. (And for those older folks who can still remember college, I'm curious if these issues were on your radar screen back then.)

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  March 22, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Research
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first?????

Posted by: cmac | March 22, 2007 7:30 AM

I think it's great college students are thinking of work-life balance. They may think they'll have the luxury of stopping working for family reasons, but if you look at recent newspaper articles about college tuition costs and the high loans that kids are graduating with, that option will disappear. When tuition is 20,000 to 40,000 dollars per year not including living expenses, graduates are left with owing 80,000 to 120,000 dollars. How then can you make a decision to stop working?

So I won't even comment on the other reasons women shouldn't "opt out".

Posted by: working mother | March 22, 2007 7:34 AM

I can still recall college; no, how to balance a family and work never entered my mind. It was just something everyone my age at the time assumed they'd figure out as it took place after they graduated.

It seems nowadays that people tend to overthink a lot of things, such as this kind of issue. No one in college thinks about what they'll be doing 10 years from then; they're a lot more interested in what they'll be doing on the weekend!

Posted by: John L | March 22, 2007 7:35 AM

Brian, my 10-year college reunion is also this year, and that amazes me!

I can't think of ever once discussing this issue while in school. However, I'm meeting up some college roomies this weekend, and most of us are now married with children and dealing with these balance issues, so I expect it to be a big discussion now. That said, I bet I would have had an opinion on it then if someone had asked me -- but I'm not sure that opinion would have anything to do with what I think now. Such is the nature of life.

Posted by: VAMom | March 22, 2007 7:50 AM

Another class of '97 here...

Never for a second thought about it until I actually got married 3 years ago. Now...all of my friends are married with kids, just about a third at home, a third working and a third part time. I'm at home for now, but looking to negotiate part time with my old place (it's been a year).

Interesting study I suppose, but kids change sooooo much in 10 years, I'm sure their opinions about everything will be different in 10 years.

Posted by: nicola | March 22, 2007 7:58 AM

Did I think of this in college? Not much -- I was more concerned about whether to be an English or Chemistry major (because, you know, the weight of the world rested on that choice), whether to go out for softball, and what the heck was I going to do when I got out and had to get an actual job (see issue 1).

But are these kids really thinking about it either? I doubt it -- at least, not with the kind of intensity and focus that those of us in the thick of it do. I guarantee that if you'd asked me those same questions when I was in college, I'd have been able to give you an answer off the cuff, and sound like I really knew what I was talking about -- not because I'd been thinking intently about the topic, but because we all have preconceived notions of what we want our lives to be like, and so we can pretty easily rattle off answers about what that will be. Luckily, we're usually wrong. :-)

Posted by: Laura | March 22, 2007 8:03 AM

I'm also class of '97. I actually spent a lot of time thinking about this as a college student. By senior year, I'd met the boy I knew I was going to marry, and had enough experience as a nanny to know that I loved kids and taking care of them. Plus, I was a woman's studies minor and a very determined future lawyer. These thing all led to a lot of soul-searching about what I wanted to do with my life.

Still, I graduated college dead set against the idea of ever being what I am today. Yet here I am, happy with my choices (for now at least). It's funny how much things can change in a decade.

Posted by: NewSAHM | March 22, 2007 8:13 AM

'97 was when I graduated high school. I certainly did think about work-life balance in college because I was into feminism and reading about that very issue. It was also important to me to get a degree so I could take care of myself and a family if I had to.

When I met my future husband the year before I graduated college, we talked about this kind of thing. Mainly we decided that we didn't want kids but if it happened, we would both want to keep working. I think it depends on the college kid. There were several married kids in my classes! I'm sure this issue was on their radar screens.

Posted by: Meesh | March 22, 2007 8:17 AM

College class of '05 here -- and for what it's worth, the thoughts did cross my mind in the whole "where do you see yourself in X years" discussions (which were occasionally with advisors, occasionally on very late nights with friends) though never for terribly long. It wasn't in so much a specific way, really, it was more in the pile of "this is an issue that will come up down the line, probably, and I'll have to figure something out when it does -- meanwhile, did anyone actually understand the fifth question on that bio exam?"

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 8:30 AM

I am 4 years out of undergrad and we definitely talked about the work-life balance. I am an engineer and it seems that engineering programs are beginning to focus on retention of female engineers in the field; therefore, addressing these issues has become more important. I actually organized a "Women in Academia" forum as president of the Society of Women Engineers which allowed female students considering a career in academia (as I was) to talk about balance with female profs. I believe it was helpful to many of us to hear what their approach was to balance. It actually influenced my decision to delay pursuit of my PhD (I am going back this fall) for a couple of years and get some experience in industry.

Posted by: belle | March 22, 2007 8:34 AM

this subject will be toast by noon

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 8:36 AM

As a newlywed full-time doctoral student, the work-parenting balance is constantly on my mind. I'll be graduating next summer at 28 and want to get started on having children before thirty. Unfortunately, as someone planning on academia, this will be pretty difficult. I'll have to work basically full time to start making my reputation. Although my husband isn't against staying home for a while, he's planning on going back to school, plus we'll need money since I haven't worked in the last two years.
Sometimes I think the best option would be to have a child now and go part-time for the next two years instead, putting off graduation. That way, I can have some time at home. Also, we'll likely have to move far away for my first academic position, while right now we have parents 15 minutes and an hour and a half away, making things easier for child care.
To make a long story short, both my female friends and I were considering our options back in college, with a range of conclusions. My roommate couldn't wait to be married, have children, and not work ever again. Today she's doing just that, even though she has a Master's degree and loved her job. Another friend is feeling major guilt because she doesn't ever want kids. And I'm in the middle, I suppose. As for our male friends, their only concern about balance is that they will be able to provide. Time issues never seemed to (and still don't) come up.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 8:40 AM

I graduated in the mid of career woman frenzy when women commuters wore sneakers and high heel shoes in the office and masculine suits. This was the beginning of yuppiedom. I recall that most of my GU friends, me including, were interviewing with "money-center banks" in NYC (does anybody now remember what a money center bank is?). I think that this was the year that Newsweek came out with that famous article that if a career woman is not married by the age of 35, she has greater chances of being killed by a terrorist than getting married. Anyway, nobody was asking themselves this question, even people in serious relationships. What I find interesting (and this is pure annectodal research) is that we did not get married until we were in our 30's or even later and had kids in our late 30's. In retrospect, I wish I had given this question some thought because I might have chosen a more family friendly profession:-)!

Posted by: georgetown'86 | March 22, 2007 8:44 AM

I agree with John L about people overthinking things, and Lord knows college students do a lot of that. (Though perhaps less than the people on this blog.) Also, while I don't want to completely discount what the students are saying, I have to take it with a hay-uge grain of salt. At that age and in their situation (future Georgetown grad), to them, the future looks so bright, they gotta wear shades.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 22, 2007 8:46 AM

I agree with John L about people overthinking things, and Lord knows college students do a lot of that. (Though perhaps less than the people on this blog.) Also, while I don't want to completely discount what the students are saying, I have to take it with a hay-uge grain of salt. At that age and in their situation (future Georgetown grad), to them, the future looks so bright, they gotta wear shades.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 22, 2007 8:46 AM

I'd be interested in seeing a poll of male and female graduates of a Ph.D. or equivalent class from 20 years ago and determine how many years, on average, each had spent in the work force.

Posted by: Me | March 22, 2007 8:50 AM

I feel so old.

Nope, never talked about it in college. Always thought I'd be a working mom if I ever got married at all.
Friends of mine have done various things, PT, FT starting own businesses staying home.

Posted by: atlmom | March 22, 2007 8:50 AM

Duke, Class of '76. Went to Yale, received Ph.D. Female. Self & spouse have worked ever since. Married nearly 25 years ago. Have two high school kids. Always wanted to work and I consciously thought about this in college. IMHO, you have to!!! Have kept on working. Happy with my choice & I've been willing to pay for good child care along the way--we have no family to back us up. Kids are doing well in school, have friends, all the usual stuff. What went by the wayside for us? Our own outside friendships which we saw as important since we have no family to speak of. We can't do everything, but we've spent a lot of time with the kids, been involved in their lives, and have continued to advance in our careers. Guess we'll have to work on those friendships once the kids are in college.

Posted by: Arlington, VA | March 22, 2007 8:54 AM

Never thought about it in college but I did in law school. I realized 2/3rds of the way through that my career plans did not mesh at all with my family plans - how could I be an international lawyer jetting around the world and still have the kind of family life I wanted. I shifted gears once in the workforce and wound up at a family-friendly gov't agency, practicing law as a part-timer. Had I thought about it in college I would have chosen a different career path all together (probably teaching). Glad to see these kids are thinking about it and hopefully it will inform their choices.

Posted by: PT Fed Mof2 | March 22, 2007 8:55 AM

Well, I am the old timer here, graduated college in 1989 - so 18 years. Besides worrying about where the good Happy hours were and what road trip I was going to take that weekend, I never thought I would want to stay home full-time. I had a very serious boyfriend that graduated a year ahead of me in College, his mother was a SAHM to him and his 3 brothers and he thought that was the way things were done. He wanted us to get married and I'd stay home after we had kids and do exactly what his mother did - PTA and volunteer work, dinner on the table, June Cleaver all the way. I was so offended. I was a Marketing major and figured I'd end up somewhere glamourous making tons of money living the high life. What I didn't count on was the recession in the early 90's where no one was hiring.

Fast forward to today where I would give my left arm to be at home full-time with no financial worries (ex-boyfriend did very well in the banking industry, I'm sure his wife is June Cleaver). I wouldn't change anything though, I found the right guy to marry and we have a good life. We do well and I work PT and have not looked back.

I haven't thought about my college mind-set in years, or compared my life to what could have been vs. what it is very often. Like Fred mentioned Tuesday - I do think about how one decision/event/chance meeting can change the whole course of your life.

Posted by: cmac | March 22, 2007 8:55 AM

I'm 36 and although sometimes I wish I'd done more pre-planning on a sheerly practical level (like some days I wish I'd gone into a higher-demand field), overall actually I wish I'd spent more time taking risks and doing exciting, interesting things at that time - and not worried quite so much.

Maybe not while /in/ college though; it's too expensive an environment. A year or two in something like the Peace Corps might've been great though.

Posted by: Shandra | March 22, 2007 8:58 AM

'02 grad and while my friends from college (in DC) didn't really talk about it much past the, "after med/law/grad school" and timing of things, the kids I grew up with in Ohio were much more concerned. Could be that they are all married and starting, or on 1+ kids already, and my friends from DC are just starting to go that route. BF from home decided to not go back to grad school and work at her church so that her little one would be in the room next door at the Church's day care. She also has family close and her mom babysits on the nights she has to work late.

For me, life after school was always a gray area. I did the happy hour 2-3 nights a week, out all weekend, every weekend, catching shows, movies, everything, sleeping maybe 3 hours a night. Now that I'm feeling more settled, I want what my friend has. I'm contemplating a move back to Ohio, where, lucky enough, I'm in a field there are actually jobs and my family is all around. Friends of mine in DC call me crazy, and somedays I think I may be too.

Posted by: fed worker | March 22, 2007 8:59 AM

We were married when I graduated from college in 1970 and my wife was still an undergrad. We made a very conscious decision to avoid parenthood in favor of careers for 14 years, then made the committment to have a child while my wife was doing her dissertation research. Part of the decision was that one of us would be a full time caregiver for at least the first couple of years. She got a very good job offer while still ABD and our daughter was five months old, so the stay at home turned out to be DAD. Best investment I ever made.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | March 22, 2007 9:09 AM

I think I did some planning and thinking about this in college, and the rest was luck. My mom drilled it into me that I had to pick a career where I could be completely self-sufficient; she was left with no career and two small children when my father died, and had to go to work as a preschool teacher (putting my sister in the preschool class next door and getting home to meet me after my elementary school let out each day). It wasn't easy, but she was a great role model in this regard. I had to put myself through college and this definitely contributed to my not wasting time with frivolous majors that wouldn't lead to financially fruitful and flexible careers. But I didn't know how lucky I was to get into pharmacy - a really, really flexible field with great pay and a nationwide shortage of job applicants. I think that college students today would benefit from very practical career training so they could rely on more than luck to pick a flexible career, but would they listen?

Posted by: equal | March 22, 2007 9:10 AM

oh, cmac, you're not the oldtimer by a long shot! I was an '85 college grad, and I'm sure there are some further back on here.

I did not think about these things in college, being more interested at the time in launching a "something international" career. I think most college women then were either career-focused or working on the proverbial "MRS." degree. We didn't talk much about juggling the two. For me marriage was a vague future possibility, with kids an even vaguer "someday". I did launch the international career, got married in my late 30s, scraped in child #1 by 40, and still juggle the two. I think the key is marrying Mr. Wonderful.

Posted by: VAtoddlerMom | March 22, 2007 9:10 AM

I'm a professor at a university with a similar student body to the one at Georgetown. In general, the men think they'll all be working--no time off--and the women think they'll work and have families. My sense is that, in fact, these young women are NOT thinking about work-life balance and have NOT considered the contradictions or, ultimately, the choices that they will have to make. They're like Geoffrey Rush's character in Shakespeare in Love--it will all work out in the end. How? It's a mystery.

Posted by: Kelli | March 22, 2007 9:14 AM

I am likely to get married soon (class of 03). I am a big feminist. I feel guilt that the profession that calls me, fiction writing, is best done from at home. I am certain that I will be the primary childcare provider for this reason. My SO is going into biophysics and I will support him through his PhD. Do I want to be a working mom? On the one hand, yes yes yes yes. On the other hand, no -- I want to be a writer. Will I find a day job? Yes, and I bet I'll have it for the next...ten? years.

Posted by: Boston | March 22, 2007 9:15 AM

I am 20 years out of college. I did think about work/life balance in college, but in very limited and faulty ways, because my exposures were limited.

For example, I chose early to switch majors from engineering (which everyone, family and guidance counselors alike, pushed me into, as the practical thing people do, when they're good at science and math) to physics, esoteric theoretical physics particularly. I started following both tracks, only following the engineering one because it seemed arrogant to go against so much advice without even exploring what engineering was. Very soon I confirmed my love for theoretical physics, and that while I was good at both, if nature is a fugue, or a theme and variations, *I* thrilled to discovering and laying bare the fundamental themes, in all the glory of their hidden mathematical structure, while others thrilled to orchestrating new and intricate variations. But then I had to decide whether I dared to follow my heart to choose the impractical. My thoughts there were dangerously incomplete. I remember my work-life balance consideration: since I was a woman, if I had children I'd also have a husband, and so the whole of my family's financial welfare would not rest *only* on my precarious shoulders --- I would have a partner, a safety net to risk pursuing the career of my heart, which culls so many, and readjust later if the dream fell through. . . Mostly I decided that there actually were people in this world who got to make this their life, and by all indications I was among the best who try, so why shouldn't I take a chance to actually become one of those lucky people? Couldn't I settle later on, after making my best try?

I knew nothing of 2-body problems . . . I knew a little of the career path, but not really, not the multiple postdoc-hopping, dealing with 2-body problems at every step (almost every married couple I know in science, with 2 academic careers, has at least 1 year of long-distance separation, to continue working in academic postdocs along the way; it's lucky to get 1 good in-field offer when one needs a new job at the end of a fixed 2-3-year postdoc; geographical choice is rare . . . we did well having only 1 year separated - opposite coasts - very early on) . . . I actually opened my eyes pretty early. As an undergrad the only senior women scientists I met believed one had to choose, science or family . . . in later years I've often led 'women in science' groups or events, and there is a great hunger among grad students, and even undergrads, for a glimpse at the life paths of women ahead of them, to see what the issues are. Though often undergrads start with a very naive impression that we're all equal now, everything works, there are no issues about being a woman in science, it will all fall in place as their lives always have . . . it's not til they get past the very structured, controlled environment of taking classes, submitting homework and exams as 1 of a group of students, which is quite uniform and easily managed, that they see the vagaries of balance and differential treatment/experience as women emerge . . .

On exploring work/life balance in college, though, I did also read a wondrous book in a Women's Studies course: _Lifeprints_, by Baruch, Barnett and Rivers. It was an extensive sociological study, through extended interviews, of many many women with all different configurations of life-work structure: SAH, WOH, etc. They found that those balancing both work and family responsibilities at the same time were happiest on average, and on the most even keel in life satisfaction: they tended to use the rewards and satisfactions of one sphere as a buffer/stress release, when the other sphere was particularly frustrating or unrewarding. They had multiple resources to call on during any particular period, to feel productive and appreciated and find joy in day-to-day life. More than this conclusion, though, this book was for me a fascinating extended look into the lives and accounts of many women ahead of me in life path, to gain insight and a feel for the landscape ahead. I really wish they would update this landmark project, there is a deep thirst for such exposures/insight among young women, as well as older mothers now in the trenches.

Enough from me,

Posted by: KB | March 22, 2007 9:17 AM

Shandra- I'm with you. Wish I'd taken more risks etc befor getting married having kids thing. We talk about traveling more etc and I'm sure it'll happen but it might be a while. We talk about moving and doing other than the corp thing, but we haven't been able to get there quite yet. We'll see where life takes us. We're already planning for when we sell the house when the kids get older- they are only 2 and 5 now.

Posted by: atlmom | March 22, 2007 9:17 AM

First off: to the Doctoral Student thinking of starting a family now. Have the family earlier rather than later. I have friends who took the time (6+ years) to earn a Ph.D., get on the tenure track, not get tenure, find a new place, get tenure, and then try to start a family at 38 or more. Then a good number of them had to get fertility help. There's never a good time to have kids. Watching some really good people (both men and women) with Ph.D.'s from top schools struggle with tenure makes me think it's better to just start the family, since waiting didn't benefit them at all. And this is a field with strong private sector and government demand for these skills. Universities just seem to chew up their newly minted Ph.D.'s, and actually award tenure to select few.

I actually shied away from becoming a professor. No way in he## was I going to be the token woman in a department (like my undergrad dept had), given the worst office. No way. So, I'm a gov't cog, and it's fine.

Okay, as for the topic of the day, I graduated from college almost 20 years ago, and I was aware enough to know that I was entering a male dominated field. I don't think I assumed I'd be lucky and have two gorgeous kids someday, but if I did, I think I always assumed I'd work. My mom and dad didn't have the greatest marriage, and on one occasion, my mom told me she thought of leaving but she wasn't willing to take on the financial hardship. (She quit to SAH with me.) She told me, though, that times have changed, good daycare is out there, and both my parents told me at one time or another to always be financially independent, even my conservative dad.

But as for details? No, I didn't think about nannies, or daycare or other childcare issues? Having kids was just too abstract to think about when I didn't even have a steady boyfriend!!!

Posted by: Arlington Mom | March 22, 2007 9:17 AM

I care as much about what college kids without kids think about their life after having kids as I care about a Catholic Priest trying to understand what it would be like raising kids or frankly, what we Washingtonians think about life in a factory in India- their opinions are worthless and not worthy of analysis. No one who doesn't already have kids understands what it means to have kids. I was a parent for about 2 months before my son came down with a fever that wouldn't break and I stayed up all night with him, drove straight to a critical meeting at work with no shower, and then straight back home to take him to the pediatrician appointment. Prior to that night I thought I was good with kids because I volunteered at a camp or I watched my niece and nephews at our house a few times. The opinions of people without children about parenting are universally worthless.

Posted by: Washington, DC | March 22, 2007 9:19 AM

I went to GU (Class of 92) and did think about these things (minoring in Womens Studies helped) but also I lived off campus/had student loans/worked throughout college. I knew I would have kids but never considered being a SAHM (and never have been, except for maternity leave.) I did, however, think I was going to have a high-powered career, only two kids, not get married until 35, and live in DC/London (none of those things happened.)
Day to day in college, I was def more interested in who was playing at 9:30 club/the latest Betsey Johnson line (as well as my studies.) But I had the long range plan in my head.

Posted by: jessker | March 22, 2007 9:20 AM

I was blown away by the interest from college kids in my book that is coming out this summer on parenting and work.

I thought for sure that the 'parenting' twist on it would turn them off, but I have had young women walk up to me after a presentation and tell me they can't wait to read my book! When asked why, the reply was "I want to have my own business and have kids, and it will be good to read about how others have done that." Wow - I wish I had been that insightful when I was in my 20's!

Posted by: ParentPreneur | March 22, 2007 9:20 AM

I haven't been out of college all *that* long and do remember what I thought my life was going to be. I was pretty sure of it too.
After all, I had a "plan".
My life is almost nothing like what I thought it was going to be. Sure, I'm working, finished college, own a house, and have dogs. That much is right.
But my thoughts of what I was going to be doing for a career, where I thought my relationships were going to be (I was never going to be married or have children. LOL, I changed my mind) are so different.
Sure, college kids have a plan, and that plan may be good for them at the point their life is in right now. However things change, you change, and glitches pop up you didn't forsee. Plans B-Q sometimes need to be enacted.

Posted by: preggers | March 22, 2007 9:22 AM

I'm a female college senior and this issue is absolutely on the minds of women my age. Just look at the proliferation of Facebook groups declaring either "I Want to Be a Tropy Wife" or "I Refuse To Be A Housewife." College women are struggling to define this issue for themselves so that when the time comes to choose a husband and a job, they will know what they want and won't be pressured into doing something they're unhappy with. There is definitely a fear of being stuck in an unequal marriage where the gender roles are traditionally defined. (College guys take note -- you'd better be prepared to share housework and childcare duties.) A lot of us have resolved the issue somewhat by deciding to push having children back as late as we biologically can, once our careers are secure and we're financially stable.

I'm sure this all will go out the window once we start getting married and actually having children. But it is definitely something that is on our minds a LOT. Of course, this is girls only. College-age men just assume they will have no problems balancing family and work and don't think twice about it. Basically all this talk about the mommy wars has succeeded in freaking out young women about motherhood and family, but boys have not noticed at all.

Posted by: college senior | March 22, 2007 9:24 AM

As a college student, it is not shocking to me to see most young adults my age already planning for their future. I don't necessarily see this as naive, however; I see it as a new trend in our nation, one that promotes being aware of your future, and how you would like to live it. I think its great to look forward towards what is to come, but I also don't think that the opinion of college students (especially about parenting children) should really be held in high regard for many reasons. First and foremost, the average college student changes their major 3 or 4 times, so what's not to say they won't change their desire for children? I have met so many adults who say that in college they planned to wait to have children until after having a steady job, and then went on to have 2 or 3 children in their early 20's. With this said, I don't think that these thoughts are completely worthless of analysis. As new generations slowly begin to age, it is important to recognize the new trends because they will inevitably affect our society. I do think that it is important to remark that more young people now are planning for marriage and children than say 30 years ago. What exactly this might mean, I don't know. But I do know that it is significant to the progression of society.

Posted by: Emily Melhorn | March 22, 2007 9:25 AM

Having graduated from college only a few years ago, I have some thoughts. I thought a lot about balance while I was in college. I thought well maybe I'll get married and have kids but then again I can't count on a rich husband to take care of me or even having a husband at all so I have to do well in school. I focused on getting a good job and assuring that I could take care of myself no matter what the outcome was. If husband comes a long (which he did) so be it.

My female friends were all over the place on how they viewed their future...some felt like me and some completely thought there was no other future for them but to be married and with child in 5 years. So did that change a gal's focus in college? Did the one's who were mommy focused push themselves as hard academically as the one's who were more career focused? My unscientific opinion is no they didn't. School just wasn't their passion and that's cool. Some girls never mentioned what job they wanted to do after college but spoke only about their weddings, what they want out of marriage and being a mom. And then there were a ton of girls like me who were in the middle and just finding their way as things progressed and hoping things panned out they way they wanted.

No matter what, all the ladies thought about their future. They embraced it, looked forward to it whatever it maybe. The guys for the most part avoided it. Didn't have any big plans after college besides the old I guess I'll move back in with my parents and see what happens. This unbalance in future planning of course leads to much college relationship drama. The Girl brigs up engagement rings, weddings, the what will become of our relationship after college talk and the Guy freaks out.
This led to:
1. girl guilt trips the guy into engagement that he doesn't want.
2. guy says I don't want to get married so girl says to guy oh me neither but girl secretly complains to her friends that she wants to get married, why doesn't he???
3. girl and guy really do love each other and they are both on the same page when it comes to their future plans and they end up happily ever after.

(I was a 2. Luckily the guy dumped me and I found me a better guy so I'm a 3 now.)

I have found option 1 and 2 happen much more often than 3 and that early on in our careers, the girls have much more career success than the guys. Biased opinion? Maybe. But that's what I see around me. Boy this brings back memories, mostly ones that give me a good laugh now.

Posted by: BTmama | March 22, 2007 9:29 AM

Considering that many college students aren't even sure what major they are going to study in until their junior year (the old "undeclared" tactic), thinking 10 years into the future --after-- graduation is probably a bit of a stretch for them.

It's just too far out from their immediate concerns to worry about at that time, at least for most of them.

Posted by: John L | March 22, 2007 9:29 AM

When I was in college, this was definitely on my mind, although not in the same way that it is now. Now that I am about to graduate from law school (I am 26), the question of balance consumes my life. Seriously. As a woman who wants it all - a successful career, an equal partnership with a loving husband, 2.5 kids and a big, slobbery dog - I spend a huge part of my career planning worrying about balance rather than career advancement.

Looking at jobs, I am pushing aside the tempting starting salaries at big law firms where 70-80 hours/week is the norm for associates to look instead at federal jobs with flexible work schedules, on-site childcare, job security and great benefits.

I also "long" ago (in college) gave up the idea of marrying for money or support. I told my dad once that I had to marry a man who was okay with making less money than me. I have no idea if that will happen (and don't care), but my point stands - modern women of my generation at certainly not looking for men to take care of us. We, for the most part, understand relationships are equal partnerships and approach life decisions - kids, house, career paths - with the expectation that both partners will have to compromise and sacrifice. BUT, when I was in college I was more idealistic and naive - I thought life would just work itself out. While I thought about work-life balance in abstract terms, I now think about it in detail and realize that I have to make plans now to ensure that I have the options I want later. I wonder how much the fact that Georgetown students tend to be white and upper class (and from families with a more traditional set-up???) impacted this survey...

Posted by: scr | March 22, 2007 9:30 AM

I think Chrissy is a fake. Notice he/she doesn't respond with state of residence when asked. Story is made up by some jerk (Single Mom--it's spelled J-E-R-K) who wants attention.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 9:33 AM

"The opinions of people without children about parenting are universally worthless."

Right on! There is no education that can prepare you to be ankle deep in poopy diapers while soothing a sick child!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 9:34 AM

I can honestly say that during my years at St. John's back in the eighties, I never thought about family-work-life balance issues. My concern back then was to find a boyfriend, get tickets to Prince Concert and graduate. The other stuff came much later.

Posted by: NYC | March 22, 2007 9:36 AM

No, it never crossed my mind to think about work/life balance issues at that age. I know my mother did suggest that I become a nurse for work/life balance issues. But I was never interested in the nursing field. But I did not choose my current profession based on anything other then I enjoyed that type of thinking and I could pay the bills. I make more money then I ever planned on and I have less time then I had ever planned on. It is really funny because at that age, you talk non stop about what you think is everything and you think you had all the answers. But one of the most obvious issues (work/life balance) was never even a discussion. I don't think any of my friends thought about it either. We all just figured it would be easy. We did grow up in a generation of mothers who stayed home till youngest was in middle or HS. So we did not have any idea what day cares would be like. We also were very into saving the world and thought we had an endless amount of time to do a 9-5 career type job. I am pretty impressed with young people who at least think about it. Even if their thoughts do not have any realistic tone to it. At least the issue is on their radar.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 22, 2007 9:39 AM

I have been out of college almost 20 years, and to be perfectly frank, I don't think I was thinking about marriage and parenthood back then. My biggest concerns were my exams and papers, my (pathetic) love life (he loves me, he loves me not), who I would be meeting up with for dinner that night, or what we would be doing on Saturday night. Marriage and children did not even cross my radar. In fact, although I was first married in my mid 20s, I did not think about children until I met Mr. Wonderful and married again in my early 30s.

Posted by: Emily | March 22, 2007 9:42 AM

"I think Chrissy is a fake"

I also think there is something fishy about this story. There is a strong deja vu quality about her postings.

The ectopic pregnancy and death excuse for the husband's vasectomy was really over the top!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 9:43 AM

For me (class of 99) college was a time of trying on a bunch of different possibilities. I imagined myself (a) married with two kids by 30, staying home and making granola like my mom did, (b) living alone in a tiny urban bachelor flat writing poetry & having a string of partners, (c) becoming a prof, married to another prof, no kids but a lovely salon-style household with academics and students dropping in. I definitely thought hard about it, but I came up with different answers at different times.

The big obstacle to thinking very seriously about marriage/kids at that age, though, was the extreme unwillingness of my boyfriends to entertain plans as far as next weekend let alone several years down the road.

One thing I never thought about was compromising myself into a soul-sucking job, and I'm very glad I didn't. I figured that if I ended up poor but following my dreams, that would be fine--that assumption allowed me to explore a lot of interesting things before I locked myself into a mortgage.

Posted by: worker bee | March 22, 2007 9:43 AM

I almost spit out my latte from laughter after reading the Boone's mention! Too funny...brings me back...anyway

I'm only 5 years removed from college (I was only 1 year out of college when we conceived my daughter).

Though my husband and I had just gotten married, she was a suprise, and I hadn't really thought about what I'd do, regarding my career, when having a child. But I was suprised to feel immediately that I'd stay home for a few years and then return to work. I never thought of staying home for the rest of my life, and I never thought of going back immediately.

But, was it on my radar even a year before I was pregnant? It sure wasn't. Not actively, but I think a lot of young women think of these things at an early age now, just because the issue just "seeps" into your mind. It's being talked about, debated, and young women are living through it.

I think it's wonderful that young women are taking control of the issue and thinking about it.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | March 22, 2007 9:45 AM

I tell my girl to bag the guy thing and be self supporting. Gag that stupid biological desire for children as they are nothing but pain in the long run. There is too much pain, frustration and compromise in marriage and childrearing to be worth the price of admission.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 9:45 AM

Why would someone go 120K in debt for college if it limits choices so much after the fact? Maybe a state school is a better option...UVA doesn't even charge $20k in state.

Posted by: Anon for today | March 22, 2007 9:47 AM

I am a college professor at a small liberal arts college and I can say with some certainty that students in college, especially those facing graduation or the graduation of their closest friends, appear to have given much thought to the lives they want for themselves (and their significant others) in a post graduation universe. The upperclassmen and women I advise, teach, and talk to seem to be focused most on finding a job, figuring out graduate/law school options, and how they are going to PAY for these wonderful and great plans. Many (but certainly not all!) of these students express a real desire to have a family one day but those who do don't expect to do so until a little later on (you know, when they are "old" in their 30s). Perhaps what this study Rebeldad references shows an implicit expectation, if not a hope, among students that working now and laying that professional foundation will give them some options when and if family responsibilities of any kind come calling. Of course, best laid plans....

Posted by: rosie04 | March 22, 2007 9:48 AM

I graduated in 2003 and I definitely didn't think about work/life balance very much, at least not in the same way I do now. At that point, my friends and I did think about the future, but more to the extent of where we'd live and what jobs we'd have. We talked about marriage, kids, etc. but in the abstract- it was something that was going to happen, but it wasn't a concrete. I always assumed that I would work if I had kids- that's what my parents did and so I would too.

After I graduated and realized that I wanted to change careers to work in public accounting, I started thinking a lot harder about what I wanted in life. Luckily, I found a firm that is flexible and understanding about the need for balance.

Now I am married (as are most of my college friends) and kid-talk has become frequent among us. One close friend is getting her masters is special ed, yet is planning on exiting the workforce to be a SAHM shortly after she gets her degree. Another is now convinced that she doesn't want to have kids.

I always thought I'd have kids by now, yet I still feel like it will be a long time before I'll be ready. I would like to make partner, and although we have a very family-friendly workplace I haven't missed noticing that most of the male partners have children but very few of the female partners do (and only 15% of the partners are female). Will I really be able to balance my career and my family as I always assumed I would?

It will be interesting to see how things stand five or ten years from now and how much situations and feelings have changed.

Posted by: carifly | March 22, 2007 9:56 AM

To Boston: One fiction writer to another... I don't have kids so YMMV but I can say it's easier for me to write fiction on top of a 55-hour work week than it would be to write with kids in the house. The key is interruptions. I've had enough experience caring for others' young ones to know that I don't work very well without focused time.

You likely have already thought about this and have a sense of your own needs so I don't mean to preach... I just know that it's a huge consideration for me whenever I'm making life decisions. Good luck!

Posted by: worker bee | March 22, 2007 9:56 AM

I graduated in 1996 and the only thoughts on my mind were alcohol and girls. If I ever did think of the future, I just assumed everything would work out easily because life was SO much simpler then.

Because I wasn't thinking about these issues, it never crossed my mind that when I moved to DC (mainly to have fun) and started working in a narrow policy field, that I would essentially be "stuck" here since this is where all the jobs are. As a result, I have a 3 hour round trip commute so my family can afford a decent house. And I don't think we'll be able to afford my wife staying home which is what we both want, putting a major strain on any "balance" we hope to acheive.

On a related note, I had my 10 year college reunion last year and was really excited to relive the glory days. Only about 10 people from my class showed up which I found interesting and somewhat depressing. I'm guessing it was due to young families and a lack of time/balance....

Posted by: JDS | March 22, 2007 10:06 AM

KB, I loved your post -- could have been me talking (Class of '88 here). My mom always raised me to do what I loved, because then it doesn't feel like work. So that's what I did. Can't say I ever really "planned" my career path -- just sort of looked for things I enjoyed, threw myself completely into them, and waited to see where they took me, figuring that it'd all work out ok in the end. I don't particularly think that people are more or less like that now -- I just think it's a personality thing.

When I did think of the future, family issues weren't really part of the calculus -- I just assumed that I'd work, and didn't really expect to find a guy who'd put up with me. And in my naivete, I thought everyone thought like me. Let's just say that law school in Texas was a real eye-opener -- first time I'd even heard of people going to school to "get their MRS degree."

By law school I was thinking ahead more, and avoided areas (international law, trial lawyer, etc.) that wouldn't let me have a life, and chose jobs on the same basis. But it wasn't because I was planning to get married and have kids -- it was just because I never wanted my life to be all about my career and nothing else.

Luckily, those earlier choices worked out well when I did find a guy and decide to have kids. But it sure wasn't because of my knowledge, foresight, or careful advance planning. :-)

Posted by: Laura | March 22, 2007 10:06 AM

I'm coming up on my 25th year college reunion and, yes, my hallmates and roommates and I did talk about whether we'd work or get married or do both, even while raising children.

Of course, at that time, so many professions were just then beginning to see increasing numbers of women--rather than a few tokens here and there--so it was full of excitement.

I recall a decade or so after that thinking it was amazing that we thought we had a "choice." This after seeing what salaries were and the cost of living in the DC area.

I'm glad that women--and men, too, I hope--are back to thinking and actually having a choice, rather than blindly assuming they'd be working or staying at home.

Posted by: We talked about it | March 22, 2007 10:09 AM

Why would someone go 120K in debt for college if it limits choices so much after the fact? Maybe a state school is a better option...UVA doesn't even charge $20k in state.

Posted by: Anon for today | March 22, 2007 09:47 AM

As a proud Virginia grad - gimmeabreak.

1. What if you don't get into Virginia?

2. You can't evalaute the cost of a 4 year degree based only on tuition and fees. Room and board are a much larger cost, subject to inflation and whatever the market will bear. Housing for 2 -4th years is, and continues to be, a big issue and a big part of the total undergrad pricetage for Virginia students. It's a great deal more expensive to have to live in apartments and pay rent and utilities in Charlottesville for 12 months than it might be to be at a private school with a grant and 4 years worth of dorm housing.

It's not very thoughtful to discuss school choices while only considering one factor in the financial analysis.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 10:12 AM

"College-age men just assume they will have no problems balancing family and work and don't think twice about it... boys have not noticed at all."

Wow, college senior, thanks for the sexism!

When I was in college, not so long ago, I did think about it. I saw myself as career military, and constantly wondered how that would impact the family life I wanted. I was constantly reassured of the existance of a family friendly military (what a pack of lies where I was) all the way until I got out. I certainly did not see myself as a Senior International Security Specialist- at least not so soon... but life is just crazy like that.

Of course, there have always been the party-types who could care less... maybe these are the boys college senior is hanging out with and forming her opinions from. Maybe she should talk with some geeks and nerds. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | March 22, 2007 10:13 AM

I was talking to a friend whose daughter is in high school, and was surprised to learn that many HS girls are planning to be SAH moms, and in fact, this is all they want to do. They will go to college, but this is only to find a husband. This is very disturbing to me, as it harkens back to the 1950s.

Posted by: Michelle | March 22, 2007 10:17 AM

I think the key is marrying Mr. Wonderful.

Posted by: VAtoddlerMom | March 22, 2007 09:10 AM

Thankfully some "more mature" posters started commenting, but I know you are right about who you marry.

I do agree with John L on the overthinking too, at 18-21 everything is still pie-in-the-sky. Particularly if you are not working your way through school, I had a couple friends that held jobs to pay their own way and were full-time students and they had a hard time. My college years were my "youthful exuberance" years.

Posted by: cmac | March 22, 2007 10:21 AM

Do college kids get it?

NO!

I had great parents who loved me, supported me, taught me how to be independent, and were great role models for married life.

And I was still as screwed up, presumptuous and dogmatic as any other young 20-something coming out of college, assuming I was going to change the world.

It's part of the age - you are right, others with oceans of experience are wrong, and you will do things your way...the SUPERIOR way, and grudge those who grudge it! (to quote Anne Boleyn) Looking back, probably not the best attitude ;)

Asking a 21 year old college student what their life is going to be like at 30 is just inane. You have hopes and dreams but a small proportion have had really hard experience of how life works. The trade-offs and compromises that are necessary to keep yourself afloat are nearly inconceivable at that age.

My life is a universe away from what I thought would happen to me after I graduated college. And it doesn't bother me, because I certainly didn't know about the paths my life would take. I made some mistakes along the way, but they led me to where I am now so I learned from them, and keep my regret to a minimum.

I look back on my college-aged ambitions now as fondly as I do my life ambitions when I was 5 or 6 - they had equal chances of happening ;)

Posted by: Chasmosaur | March 22, 2007 10:22 AM

I definitely thought about this issue in college (class of '96) - fairly early on I decided on a career path (general ecology at that time - much more specialized now) that I knew was going to require a graduate education....so I deliberately chose an undergrad where I wasn't going to wrack up massive student loans (also b/c I knew that I wasn't ever going to make massive amounts of $ in this field), and I only spent a couple of years after college working before heading back to grad school, since I was worried about the timing and wanted to complete school before having kids.

In retrospect, it didn't matter that much, since I still haven't met anyone that I want to have kids with (and don't want to go the single mother/sperm donor route) - but I still think that the timing is important for young women who are in fields that require massive amounts of post-undergrad education. I had a lot of friends who were in the position of the doctoral student posting earlier. My friends generally waited until they were finished with their research - the moment they started writing up their dissertations they went off birth control. A lot of them ended up defending their dissertations 8 1/2 months pregnant.... (most of them were doing research work that would have been too strenuous or risky to the baby to do while pregnant, so they had to wait until all their data was collected)

Posted by: notyetamom | March 22, 2007 10:24 AM

Been out for 7 years, married, one child, working full time. Thought about this stuff in college - knew that I wasn't cut out for fulltime stay at home parenthood and made decisions over the past 7 years that allow me to be happy with my current situation. Not sure if it matters what "college kids" are thinking about balance - we've had a very hard time getting entry level workers in the past few years who don't feel a supreme sense of entitlement (i.e. - "I didn't come to work here to photocopy" or "not my job" etc), so maybe this entitlement will bleed into work/life balance discussions - "I'm not working OT, I have a life...."

Posted by: smf` | March 22, 2007 10:24 AM

Yeah, I remember college. At the time, I didn't think that I would ever be getting married. Guys were terrified of me. I figured that, at best, that was a consideration for after grad school.

Honestly, I gave no thought to the matter of work/life balance. I assumed that I'd be working, and would need work to be engaging and challenging, lifelong. I didn't think I'd be marrying, much less having kids, but I hoped that I would. Seemed kind of foolish to worry about something that might never happen - whereas I knew that work would!

Posted by: bad mommy | March 22, 2007 10:28 AM


Posted by: | March 22, 2007 09:43 AM

About Chrissy: I got the same impression, there was just something about the whole story that seemed a little too contrived. What is the general concensus on Chrissy?

Posted by: another anon for today | March 22, 2007 10:28 AM

Posted by: | March 22, 2007 09:43 AM

About Chrissy: I got the same impression, there was just something about the whole story that seemed a little too contrived. What is the general concensus on Chrissy?


Posted by: another anon for today | March 22, 2007 10:28 AM

I think she is telling the truth. Why would someone go to great lengths to lie on the internet? Even the ones clearly making up stuff, like momof14, make it pretty clear in one or two posts that it is just a big joke.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 22, 2007 10:30 AM

After graduating from college in 1989, I began my Ph.D., thinking that being a college professor would be a good career to blend with motherhood. Fortunately, that turned out to be the case for me. All of my kids have had developmental delays of one kind of another, and my flexible schedule has allowed me to be a part of the kids' evaluations, therapy sessions, and IEP meetings.

Doctoral student, thinking of having children, Arlington Mom is right. There is no good time to have kids. I had all three of my kids on the tenure track and still managed to get tenure. It can be done, provided you have a supportive spouse and a sympathetic boss.

Posted by: AE | March 22, 2007 10:33 AM

Posted by: foamgnome | March 22, 2007 10:30 AM

Why would people come on blogs just to incite cyber riots? The one thing Chrissy has going for her is that she posted previously about not getting pregnant and came back with her story. Her posts are alittle too neat though.

Posted by: another non for today | March 22, 2007 10:34 AM

Have to agree with Chas at 10:22.

When I graduated in 1977, I had no idea how this was going to work out.
My fiance and I had several differences, but a sense of humor, and a willingness to work have kept us together.

Our oldest graduates in 8 weeks with difficult double major, and 2 part time jobs for spending money.

But they still have no idea how about insurance (especially health insurance), paying for routine expenses (cell, cable, utilities, commuting).

Maybe we should require high schoolers to take a mandatory health class in living that would cover finding a job, commuting, living expenses, etc.

Posted by: father of 2 daughters | March 22, 2007 10:35 AM

"Why would someone go to great lengths to lie on the internet?"

Foamgnome, you are so annoyingly naiive sometimes.

It happens ALL OF THE TIME. I was on a board about 8-9 years ago where a woman shared that she was a widow with a child with cerebral palsy. After a couple of months, her son died. A few weeks later, she died. She conveniently had an acquaintance who started posting at the board right after she did whom she had met in real life in the doctor's office and started chatting and found out they visited the same board, so the friend could share her "death" with us.

It was all a big fat made up story done to suck people in and make fools of them for caring about a faceless person with a sad story.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 10:36 AM

I definitely think today's graduates are much more aware of the options available to balance work and family. I know most of the guys I knew did not expect their girlfriends or wives to quit their jobs and stay home with the kids. None of my friends had parents who stayed home their entire lives. My own mother worked until my brother was born, 6 years after me, then waited until he turned 5 and went to kindgergarten and went back to work. I'm still amazed at how much her attitude changed for the better when that happened. One of my friends pointed out the following after she decided to pursue a Masters and her mother, who recently completed her, told her she should work and get married and raise a family and then go back to school...when our moms were home, it's not like they were always playing with us. They were ironing, or doing errands, or cooking...just because they were there didn't mean that we somehow benefitted directly from the interaction. I think the taking leave question is misleading because I think EVERYONE would want to take leave right before and after they have a baby or adopt...but I think my generation is much keener on fathers getting that time too. But it certaintly was something that we talked about and considered.

Posted by: GW Class of '06 | March 22, 2007 10:36 AM

"I'm not working OT, I have a life...."

I wonder if any of these kids have parents on this blog. hmmm....

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 10:37 AM

Posted by: foamgnome | March 22, 2007 10:30 AM

Why would people come on blogs just to incite cyber riots? The one thing Chrissy has going for her is that she posted previously about not getting pregnant and came back with her story. Her posts are alittle too neat though.

Posted by: another non for today | March 22, 2007 10:34 AM

I hope you don't think I come to incite cyber riots. I don't know why trolls like to stir up trouble. I also don't know why anonymous posters love to attack people either. But the whole blog culture seems strange to me. I just see blogging as something to pass time. I don't know why people would get so angry about a topic or individuals that they don't even know. I think they must be more bored then me.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 22, 2007 10:38 AM

I just graduated from college last May, got married in October, and I'll start law school this fall. My wife and I have thought a lot about work-family balance, even within our two-person family. A few months ago, I turned down a good political campaign job because of the hours it would have required--probably and unpredictable 70-80 hours a week for at least four months. We just couldn't see how we would be able to keep our marriage as healthy and happy as it's been since October with me working 12+ hours a day, six days a week. We realize that I'll have some tough weeks in law school, but I'm determined not to keep the kind of schedule that makes my wife a virtual stranger--now or ever.

This might be our generation's way of reacting against the high incidences of divorce and workaholism that we grew up witnessing in our parents.

Posted by: Enrique | March 22, 2007 10:42 AM

Hey Washington DC and 9:34 (who claim noone without kids can understand what it's like): What about pet owners? For example, our cat didn't feel well for a couple of days last week and we finally took him to the vet to find out he was constipated so bad he needed an enema. After that delightful and expensive procedure, he came home and smelled like the vets office so much the other cat (his sister and normally "best friend") did not recognize him and would viciously hiss, growl, and whine, sometimes at the same time, non-stop if he came anywhere near her or if you touched him and came near her yourself. This went on for 3 straight days in a small house; the first night, we got practically no sleep from the non-stop hissing and commotion. We too had important things to do at work the next day and did so with one eye open.

Pets can be like babies in that many people love them like family, they can't tell you what is wrong if they don't feel good, you can't tell them that it's going to be ok, and they can't understand that you're trying to help them when you take them to the vet or force them to take medicine or do something they don't like - with the exception that a pet never gains that ability after 4 or 5 years like a baby does.

I'm just saying this b/c a) I like to argue with people that make absolute statements like the posters above, b) there's nothing more annoying than other people's kids, except c) parents who think they are smarter than everyone else because of said kids.

Posted by: Stugats | March 22, 2007 10:43 AM

"I think she is telling the truth. Why would someone go to great lengths to lie on the internet? "

As a prank?
For attention?
To show the world what gullible suckers we are for the sob stories of CYBER STRANGERS!!


The death from ectopic pregnancy is the big tip off. It's a story guys have been using since at least the '50s.

Something is not kosher here.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 10:44 AM

College kids NEVER have any idea of the real world. FOAMGNOME hopefully by now you would know that I don't shy away from being truthful so I hope you stick around because your posts are usually reasonable and well constructed and this troll that is after you is just full of sh*t.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 22, 2007 10:46 AM

I graduated in 1983 absolutely hell-bent on getting a job and supporting myself, which I did. I have worked full-time ever since, except for maternity leaves for my three children. My friends and I never discussed work-life balance issues, probably because none of us knew any "working women," much less mothers. I was sure I would marry at some distant future point but very disdainful of students who were seriously romantically involved in college or got engaged. In other words, I was completely self-absorbed, and I think that was a good thing because I met my goals. I feel sorry for young women today who are besieged by negative media images of working mothers to the point that they limit their career choices and their romances....

Posted by: Northwestern83 | March 22, 2007 10:46 AM

"b) there's nothing more annoying than other people's kids, except c) parents who think they are smarter than everyone else because of said kids."

D) people who think pets are equivalent to children.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 10:46 AM

I worked two jobs to pay for college tuition (night school at a very expensive college here in DC). Not a dime from parents or spouse. I was a working adult at the time and was amazed at how clueless the college-aged students were about EVERYTHING! They'd wander around at night half drunk, got money from Mommy and Daddy, blocked traffic while double-parked and having gab sessions in the middle of the street. And annoyed at how rude and selfish they were to carry on non-stop conversations among themselves while the professors were lecturing. I kept wanting to shake them by the shoulders and tell them 'SHUT UP AND GROW UP.' Thank God cell phones and Palm pilots weren't out then or there would be a cacophony of rings going off all the time. My apartment was just a place to change clothes and either 1) go to job 1, 2) go to job 2, or 3) go to class 3 nights a week. The only free time I had was Saturday mornings. Let today's spoiled Yuppie brats try to deal with that.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 10:48 AM

GW 06,
A lot of the guys I went to school with absolutely knew their girlfriends were never going to work. It was actually quite amusing because a lot of my sorority sisters' boyfriends were in engineering classes with me and they would make comments like, "I think she enrolls every semester just to socialize." To each their own...a lot of those girls have Master's Degrees and have never worked a day in their lives.

Posted by: belle | March 22, 2007 10:48 AM

"The death from ectopic pregnancy is the big tip off. It's a story guys have been using since at least the '50s."

So, this is why you think it's fake? They are rare, but not unheard of. Why do you think Chrissy is really a guy?

Posted by: curious | March 22, 2007 10:49 AM

pATRICK: No, as long as I have free time at work, I will visit on balance. I really don't care if a troll hates me. I really did not do anything to any one intentionally. But when the survey goes into field, I will be more busy but plan on visiting once and a while. I like you too. I don't always agree but I think you are truthful and to the point.

I read that you can die from an ectopic pregnancy. It is like 1 out of every 2000 ep leads to death of the mother. Rare but possible.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 22, 2007 10:50 AM

I'm in college (graduating in May!) and I definitely think about about getting finding a decent job and home, getting married and having kids one day. I think a lot of it is financial worries. In order to live a comfortable life and raise my future kids in a similar fashion to how my my parents raised me, I'm going to have to save up a lot more money than they did before they were able to buy a house and have kids. It seems as if everything is constantly more expensive from dishtowels to diapers.

My main concern right now, finding a decent job, is the one that worries me the most. As interesting as it has been to study music, it maybe wasn't the most practical decision after I decided that teaching was not my schtick. Now, I'm going to be left with a BA from a good school, but very little practical knowledge of the business world; and that scares the sh*t out of me.

Hopefully the intensive business class I've signed up to take during summer school can give me the shove I need into the real world from my placid, parentally-subsidized, college bubble.

Posted by: 6th year senior | March 22, 2007 10:52 AM

"I don't know why trolls like to stir up trouble"

Because eventually you will sink to their level by saying things like this

"I think they must be more bored then me."

(or the infamous "they're just jealous" or one of the many other things you've said when you're sputtering in aghast that someone has dared question something you said)

Oh, and why are you bored?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 10:53 AM

"Are college students today more informed about work-life balance questions? Are there guys on campus thinking hard on the issue? "

Why the heck should they be? You're taking yourself far too seriously here. College kids should be figuring out who they are - not scripting the rest of their lives. Not everyone needs to be in an Ivy-League school planning a strategic ascent to the top of an elite profession - I'm not even convinced that it's healthy for the few who do it.

We might all be a bit better off if we'd let little kids be kids, rather than worrying about getting them into the right pre-school. And, we might be better off if we let college kids be young for a while, rather than focusing relentless only adult concerns.

No - not everyone on the planet needs to be thinking about the issues that happen to concern you. Many of them have other fish to fry.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 10:55 AM

Rebeldad, great topic. I thought a little about balance (undergrad '93) but there was no way to have any real perspective. I had no clue that I would be so willing to be flexible with my career to accomodate the people and things that are important to me. School and career were my life then. I wish students were told that you can reinvent yourself and change your priorities as needed and the world won't end.

Boston, I hope you are still around. You can be a feminist, even a strident one, and work at home (or stay at home with your kids or whatever your family decides works). Don't let the 'feminist' label fool ya--it means you can make personal and professional choices for yourself without being constrained by societal gender roles. If that means you want to work as a writer all day and it works for you and your family-great. If that means you want to sit home, look pretty and eat bon bons all day and it works for you and your family-great. Or spend part of your day writing, part taking care of your family and part volunteering for a women's organization. Or do anything in between. You can be a feminist and be a great writer, a caring,hot, happy and supportive wife and a devoted, thoughtful mother all at the same time. Not doing what you wantto do or what your family needs you to do because of a label makes you a follower, not a feminist. Be bold enough to know that being a feminist or making feminist choices means whatever the hell you want it to mean. Hear me roar! :)

Posted by: I bring home the bacon AND fry it up in a pan... | March 22, 2007 10:57 AM

Clap, clap, clap 10:55!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 10:57 AM

Graduated UM December '91 - had first child January '92. Yes, I thought about it. Actually, I thought about it in high school - not actually balancing family & career - but about how important I felt it was for a child to have one parent home when (s)he was home sick, vacation, after school, etc. Never thought I'd have the ability to do so though. Fortunately for me, my husband was agreeable and though it has at times been a big struggle to keep up financially, we've done it - and the sacrifice has always been worth it. Now we struggle with paying the cost of high school tuition and college in the future. But I'll never regret the decisions we made and I fervently believe my children are all the better for it.

Posted by: Homschool | March 22, 2007 10:59 AM

"In other words, I was completely self-absorbed, and I think that was a good thing because I met my goals."

It's normal for children and adolescents to be self-absorbed, but overcoming this is one of the key steps necessary to become a mature adult.

Complete self-absorbtion is not good, not even if it helps you achieve your personal goals. It makes us morally blind, and prevents us from making the personal connections necessary to support a civil and humane society - and that make life truly rich.

Personal relationships are more important than wealthy, power, prestige or education.

Posted by: Demos | March 22, 2007 11:00 AM

We might all be a bit better off if we'd let little kids be kids, rather than worrying about getting them into the right pre-school. And, we might be better off if we let college kids be young for a while, rather than focusing relentless only adult concerns.

Posted by: | March 22, 2007 10:55 AM


What makes you so certain that having these concerns in college are a result of external pressure? My parents thought I was crazy when, at 18, I had a ten year plan. It was just the way I worked. I agree that there are lots of very ambitious parents out there today and some of the things they force on their childern are just short of necessitating institutionalizing them; however, there are those children who are just hard-wired for perfectionism.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 11:04 AM

foamgnome:

You seem very defensive, I never said you were inciting cyber riots, only that it is not unusual for people to post anything on a blog. They do it to get their jollies, get bored, have no life, any number of things. I was just answering your question as to why someone would go to great lengths to post a fictional story. It is not attack foamgnome day.

The ectopic pregnancy scare was strange.

Posted by: another anon for today | March 22, 2007 11:04 AM

foamgnome:

You seem very defensive, I never said you were inciting cyber riots, only that it is not unusual for people to post anything on a blog. They do it to get their jollies, get bored, have no life, any number of things. I was just answering your question as to why someone would go to great lengths to post a fictional story. It is not attack foamgnome day.

The ectopic pregnancy scare was strange.


Posted by: another anon for today | March 22, 2007 11:04 AM

No, sorry. I have been attacked lately. I wasn't trying to accuse you of anything.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 22, 2007 11:05 AM

even if chrissy isn't real, she is more entertaining than most of the trolls who say, you are stupid, why whould anyone do that!

chrissy is certainly more entertaining that that fred person

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 11:07 AM

When I was in high school, I thought I'd be married and have kids by the time I was 25. When I was in college (Class of '00), I thought I'd be single, successful, and without kids forever.

Now I'm 28, happily married for just over a year, and pregnant.

I think it's fully possible that college kids think about all kinds of things - but a lot of people change their minds from 18 to 22, and from 22 to 30.

Posted by: dlm79 | March 22, 2007 11:08 AM

I don't know if Chrissy is real or not. I don't know how real anyone out there is. We are in cyberspace, for goodness sake. I am sure there a ton of wackos out there. But frankly, I don't care. She sure spins a good story though.

Posted by: Emily | March 22, 2007 11:09 AM

I got my BA in 1982 and married a few months later. At that time, neither my husband nor I thought much about kids (we didn't want them that soon.)

Frankly, I went to law school after I already had kids because I realized that to give my children the 1st class educations I wanted for them was going to require more than one salary.

Posted by: lawyermom | March 22, 2007 11:09 AM

I don't know that college kids are thinking of the work/family issue as related. I think they treat them as seperate issues. I'll show my age, I'm class of '99 so college is still very fresh. As a college senior, there was never any doubt that I would have to work. No rich professional husband for me. And there was never any question that if I need "take time" to care for a family member, I would do that too. But did I ever think out the logistics? No. Did the young women in this survey think out the practical implications? Probably not.

Posted by: LM in WI | March 22, 2007 11:12 AM

Am I blind? I came to the chat late today, but I'm scrolling back up and can't find a post by Chrissy.

Posted by: dlm79 | March 22, 2007 11:14 AM

College class of '93. Yikes, that makes me one of the older folks here, it seems! My DH (then boyfriend) and I did talk about kids and family, and I informed him that I was going to be a lawyer, I wouldn't have time for kids (and wasn't even sure I'd have time for him). NO WAY would I have kids just to let someone else raise them (nanny, daycare, etc). People who do that are self-centered and not thinking enough about their kids ... if you're not going to stay home and raise them, why'd you have them in the first place, vanity? a showy accessory?

FF 9.5 years, and I am a lawyer, but traded the financial fortunes promised by law firm life (which was every bit as all-consuming as I had predicted in college, the one thing I got right!) for a comfortable yet stable 40-hour-week job as an attorney for a federal agency. That freed me to have my first of two sons, who are lovingly and ably cared for every day by a daycare staff that feels like part of our 'extended' family. I still have twinges of the 'old me' that thinks I 'should' stay home, but then I have to admit that I love my job and it fulfills a different part of me, which makes me more authentically me - and therefore has to be good in the long run for my boys, too.

In sum, things look much more black and white when you're young and naive without real-world life experience. *sigh* I miss those days, in a way.

Posted by: KJS | March 22, 2007 11:14 AM

if you don't think Chrissy is real, ignore her posts. Why are we spending time commenting on this blog to comments posted in response to yesterday's blog? If she is a fraud, there's no harm, no foul, in having extended good wishes yesterday. If she's not a fraud, this speculation could be quite hurtful.

Either way, these speculations about whether Chrissy is a fraud are unrelated to Brian's column or any posts today, and today's readers and posters may not have any idea what these comments are about. If you want to act like only insiders and regulars are welcome here, you've chosen the right approach.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 22, 2007 11:15 AM

dlm79, you are not blind. the person identified as Chrissy posted mid-afternoon yesterday.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 11:16 AM

ah, so i'm just slow. LOL thanks!

Posted by: dlm79 | March 22, 2007 11:17 AM

Worker Bee:

Thanks for the words of advice. I work best in small spurts with distraction in between, so my (possibly idiotic) idea is that I'll be able to do it in fourty-five minute bursts. Of course, my SO will be the perfect co-parent and try to give me two hours a day on the weekends. Unfortunately, for medical reasons, I may have to have kids early...'round 30.

Posted by: Boston | March 22, 2007 11:18 AM

"In sum, things look much more black and white when you're young and naive without real-world life experience. *sigh* I miss those days, in a way."

actually choices are easy when you don't actually have to make them. sacrifices are easy when you don't really have to sacrifice. when push comes to shove its when we find out who we really are and what we really value - clearly being "authentically me" is your more important value.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 11:20 AM

To Michelle:

Why do you assume women go to college only to find husbands? There are lots of reasons people would want education before getting married -- learning can be fulfilling, open you up to new experiences, help you to wrap your mind around your current situation, help people to figure out what they want, give people training to hedge their bets in case marraige doesn't work out, etc etc. Perhaps "finding a husband" is part of this, but I don't think people do things for such simple, reductive reasons.

Posted by: Rita | March 22, 2007 11:22 AM

"What makes you so certain that having these concerns in college are a result of external pressure? My parents thought I was crazy when, at 18, I had a ten year plan."

Many times it does seem to be driven by parental expectations. Other times, family, neighborhood, social circle and school environment work together to create a whole set of expectations. Some people do it to themselves.

It is important to learn discipline and responsibility. There are other life lessons that are also important, though. Whatever the reason, college kids miss out if they focus too hard on becoming adults too soon.

Posted by: Demos | March 22, 2007 11:22 AM

"But what really blows me away is that these kids managed to come up with answers to these questions...I don't think I spent a minute thinking about work-life balance or childcare or flextime."

There's really no indication from Brian's blog that "these kids" were thinking about work-life balance, either. Until someone shoved an anonymous poll in their faces and asked them to answer questions.

Ya gotta figure that the average Georgetown student would be capable of "coming up with" answers to simple questions like these.

Furthermore, the results are hardly surprising. Asked what one expects to be doing in 10 years, it's a cinch that the average Georgetown female will say "married and working." Otherwise, why spend all this money on G-town?

Asked if they would stop working for a significant other or for their family (presumably the question had no deeper context), 26% answered "likely." Well, duh? The fact that a quarter of the sample evinced a traditional value system is hardly breaking news.

Brian further notes: "It's tough to square the 77 percent who expect to have to leave work with the 83 percent who plan to be working."

No, it's not. You ask people nebulous questions about possibilities 10 years in the future, you have to expect that they'll interpret the questions broadly.

The conclusions drawn from this poll are utterly ridiculous. All they demonstrate is that Georgetown students can think on their feet and answer easy questions they may not have expected to hear.

Let's hope Georgetown is preparing them to function on this level!

Posted by: pittypat | March 22, 2007 11:22 AM

Ever watch MTV Spring Break? I don't think college kids are missing out on a single thing. Being too adult is not something these kids can be accused of.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 11:26 AM

Boston: Sounds like a great idea to me, and your SO sounds great & supportive too. Hope it works out for you!

Isn't it strange that 30 is early for kids now, but not that long ago would have been considered late? I can't have kids at all--still thinking about adopting though (which is why I haunt this blog, I guess) so I'm projecting much later, since the biological imperative is out of the picture.

Posted by: worker bee | March 22, 2007 11:26 AM

We might all be a bit better off if we'd let little kids be kids, rather than worrying about getting them into the right pre-school. And, we might be better off if we let college kids be young for a while, rather than focusing relentless only adult concerns.

Posted by: | March 22, 2007 10:55 AM

If you're old enough to go to war, you're old enough to be focused on adult concerns. The idea that college age kids should still be sheltered from adult concerns and not to have thought about their future is a crock. No wonder they all want to move back home at 22 to the 5 bedroom McMansion with their fine arts-related bachelor's degrees. If you don't expect them to think about the future, they might just heed your advice, major in something because they like the classes regardless of whether that major prepares them to support themselves, and expect that life will all work out despite their failure to plan.

Glorifying extended immaturity and failure to take responsibility for choices gets you a 25 year old who does not know what he wants to do with his life while his parents are footing the bill.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 11:27 AM

Megan's Neighbor

"Either way, these speculations about whether Chrissy is a fraud are unrelated to Brian's column"

Didn't see the rule that all posts had to be related to Brian's column, so who died and MADE YOU QUEEN BEE??

You don't make the rules!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 11:29 AM

High School (8 years ago): I thought I would never get married and never have kids. I wanted a career I loved and planned to devote a great deal of time to it.

Undergrad (4 years ago): I planned to marry (and did), but did not plan to have children. Again, I wanted to invest in my career.

Law School (recently): I am married, with no kids, and none on the horizon. I do spend a lot of time working and love my job. I sometimes have concerns about having a life outside of work, but have family, friends, and other interests.

But none of that answers the question, "Do College Kids Get It?" Get what? Of course most 20-somethings don't consider work-life balance. Most of us need to focus on getting our careers established first. It is a lot easier to negotiate things like part-time, work-from-home, etc. when you have a track record as a good employee and good connections. You can't get that right out of college -- it takes years of work.

Posted by: lawgirl | March 22, 2007 11:29 AM

"The conclusions drawn from this poll are utterly ridiculous. All they demonstrate is that Georgetown students can think on their feet and answer easy questions they may not have expected to hear."

Perhaps the best way to look at these responses is as a measure of what students at an elite school understand the current social norms to be.

Seen that way, it provides a fascinating insight into what young women believe the correct answers to be.

1) They fully intend to work.

2) They should be willing to stay home for some period of time if absolutely necessary

How many discussions on this blog are driven by these social norms?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 11:31 AM

I bring home the bacon:

I hear you, and I agree with you, but for me the choices are more loaded than that -- on the one hand I don't want to sacrafice my personal joy for the good of a movement, on the other hand, it can feel two-faced to not be practicing what I preach. I am not the kind of person who expects others to do something I am not willing to do myself. How could I expect my SO to support the family when I may not be willing to do it myself? Staying at home fulfills the traditional stereotype of womanhood in a certain way, even if you put your own spin on it as my mother did. If I want to agitate for change, why not try to live an exemplary life myself? Furthermore, financial dependency on others, even a spouse, worries me. Yes, I know that when you get married "your money" becomes "our money," but in a certain way, because our consumer society places a high premium on money, there is (in me at least) a subtle feeling of being worth less, of not pulling my weight. All the studies on how much stay at home moms are really worth cannot change this feeling. And if I were to have a daughter, what would I want for her? I would want her to be able to make freely-willed choices about work...and how can she do that without flexible leave policies and affordable childcare...and how can I agitate for these things if I have not positioned myself on the inside of this struggle? So yes, I will be a feminist wherever I go and whatever I do (I have my own feminist lit mag, actually), but there is also a real ideological struggle for me, and I have to make sure that after making choices I can still respect myself in the morning.

Posted by: Boston | March 22, 2007 11:33 AM

I think folks who had to work their way through college, like myself, have a much better understanding of work-life balance than folks who didn't have to. If you're used to working and doing other things, it's easier to fathom. I graduated from undergrad 2 years ago, and now I'm working full time and doing grad school part time. Can I imagine having kids right now too? No. But then again, I wouldn't get myself in that situation. I don't think we're as oblivious as you think.

Posted by: Meg | March 22, 2007 11:34 AM

The reason why the military likes their recruits young isn't just because they are at the peak of their physical fitness. Their emotional and mental maturity hasn't fully developed yet, making it easier for the military to teach them to do things that a rational, thinking person may stop and question before acting on.

That's probably the reason why so many college students don't think about the future; they really haven't developed the maturity to start thinking long term yet. To them everything is "here and now".

Posted by: John L | March 22, 2007 11:35 AM

"Perhaps the best way to look at these responses is as a measure of what students at an elite school understand the current social norms to be."

Waaaaaaaait a minute...now Georgetown is "elite"? Cough, cough. Can you say...safety?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 11:36 AM

Hey 10:46 - For the record, I don't think pets are equivalent to children, and never claimed that in my post, so I also agree with your "D", and will see that with people that put clothes on their pets.

If I must elaborate for the denser half of the poplulation, which you seem to be a card-carrying member of, here goes:

I was simply using pets as one example of another life experience that can be similar to having a kid to make the argument that just because someone has a child doesn't magically make them smarter or tougher than people that don't, which some would like to believe. Every living class of creature on earth has the ability to reproduce - even the dumb ones.

Posted by: Stugats | March 22, 2007 11:37 AM

I think that college students think about this more than you'd think. Well, at least many of the people that I know do. I graduated from college last year and am currently in law school. Many of the people I know make some kind of career (and yes even major) decisions based upon thier future life goals. It could be that is because it's Nebraska and MANY people get married right after undergraduate school. (We're a little behind the times, haha.) Even some of my law school collegues have chosen a certain career path because they know that most legal jobs are not conducive to having a family.

I think it's a little dangerous to over generalize, though, so I can really only speak for myself. I have a basic plan about how I want to live my life. I have to be honest and say that it doesn't include children. Why? There are things that I want to do and a person I want to be and there's no way I could do that and be the kind of parent that I would want to be if I had children.

On the flipside, though, I think that while I and other young people think about life/family/career goals, we don't really have a great grasp on what the struggle can really be like. I have a sister who has a real job and her (female)coworkers often struggle with the job/kids dichotomy, esp. in terms of the guilt. If they aren't at work because they're home with a sick child they feel guilty. If they are at school because the child isn't sick enough that they need to stay home they feel guilty because they aren't with the child.

The reason I went on that little tangent is this: I hope that maybe our potentially rising awareness of the problems of "having it all" will lead to some kind of generational push for an increased emphasis on quality of life. Parents today are more involved in the lives of their children than ever before, but we also work more than most nations in the world. Eventually we're going to have to do something about it or crack.

But then again, we also have to battle our generation and the next propensity to think that things can fill our emotional needs.

Posted by: polyscigirl | March 22, 2007 11:38 AM

"How many discussions on this blog are driven by these social norms?"

How many of life's decisions are driven by social norms? More than many people would care to admit.

Posted by: eddy | March 22, 2007 11:39 AM

Each generation learns from the generation before..

In The Living Years
Mike and the Mechanics

Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door

Kids do learn by witnessing their parents. I witnessed my parents struggling to make ends meet on their 8th grade educations raising 9 children. and I said "My adult life will not be like that". I accomplished that by completing college and getting a nice job. However, my kids have learned that I didn't work hard enough (nor their dad) to save their marriage and our family life.. that we worked hard to get our college degree and a comfortable lifestyle, but in the process the most important thing - our family fell victim.

So, I do hope today's generation does understand the concept of balance.. and that your family is more important than anything. Even if you have to take off time to spend more time with your family - what a wonderful investment.

Posted by: C.W. | March 22, 2007 11:40 AM

One more thing. Is it a big deal that college students probably don't have a good handle on reality? No. Reality will come hurling at them soon enough and they will have to adapt as necessary.

Posted by: lawgirl | March 22, 2007 11:42 AM

I just graduated from college this past May and am now working in DC. I recently became engaged to my (fabulous!) Fiance who is in his second year in law school. I absolutely think about this all the time. First of all, my job is really not great. I had a hard time finding a job and found that to get a job that I would want, I would need more education - for which I have neither the desire, nor the funds for at the moment - or a willingness to make less. Second, I know that I want to stay home with our kids for a little while after they are born (maybe until the youngest is in elementary). The plan for now is to get married next summer and start thinking kids like 2-3 years after that and THEN I will go back to school or find a new job. I just think I'd prefer to have kids young and then focus on my career rather than the other way around. We've spoken about this a LOT and we both feel like this makes the most sense - especially given how unhappy I am working for now. Even if I didn't go back to school, I'd like to have the luxury of working for a company/organization that I really care about even if it's for less money (which I can't do now because I'm supporting us with him in school).

Posted by: Rach | March 22, 2007 11:44 AM

"Either way, these speculations about whether Chrissy is a fraud are unrelated to Brian's column"

Didn't see the rule that all posts had to be related to Brian's column, so who died and MADE YOU QUEEN BEE??

You don't make the rules!!

Posted by: | March 22, 2007 11:29 AM

anon at 11:29, you don't appear to be disputing my statement that comments about Chrissy are unrelated to Brian's blog, so I don't know what you're beef is with me personally or why it requires multiple exclamation points in addition to capital letters.

I'm not queen bee, whatever the heck that title means, and am not imposing rules, and the quote above suggests neither. Just stating the facts, defensive ma'am.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 22, 2007 11:48 AM

"If you're old enough to go to war, you're old enough to be focused on adult concerns. The idea that college age kids should still be sheltered from adult concerns and not to have thought about their future is a crock. . . . Glorifying extended immaturity and failure to take responsibility for choices gets you a 25 year old who does not know what he wants to do with his life while his parents are footing the bill."

Cool your jets. No one is "glorifying extended immaturity." Nor is anyone suggesting that college students not be given any responsibility. But kids in their late teens are still generally learning who they are, what they're good at, figuring out life, and yes, learning responsibility - and that's exactly what they should be doing. They do not need to be playing strategic chess with life plans for 10 years down the road.

Making good decisions about school and majors is a different matter - and yes, I do think that should be driven as much by what they discover about their skills, talents, interests and what really, really turns them on as it should be be what job they expect to have at age 32. Frankly, the economy is such that you can't script your career that way any more. (I've been laughing at the people who feel so old admitting to be class of late 90's - I'm class of 82, and can remember when ads the the back of magazines touted "key punch operator" as the "job of the future.") And life is about much more than maximizing income.

On a similar point, I was raised by a man with a totally useless college major, who nevertheless did just fine in business. We tend to place way too much emphasis on getting into the "right" school, or taking the "right" class, or getting the "right" internship. All of those things are important, but look around - most of us didn't choose the optimum major at a top school, and are doing just fine.

I have to say, while rhetorical flourish "if they're old enough to go to war" is a wonderful old tag line, it's completely irrelevant here. Old enough to go through basic training doesn't mean they're old enough to know everything about life they'll need to figure out their families and careers. Firing a weapon is easy - raising a child is hard (and keeping a marriage going for 25 years can be even harder!).

The lessons you have to learn from 18-22 are absolutely vital, and hard enough for anyone - there's no need to load the issues of the 30 year old parent to boot.

Posted by: Demos | March 22, 2007 11:49 AM

Boy do you not get it.

These young ladies don't see it as "having to leave work" they see it as getting to stay home and make an important contrtibution to their families that no one else can make.
Women can find fullfillment different ways and we need to stop making them feel like something is wrong with them if they want to stay home for a period of time.

Posted by: Jaime | March 22, 2007 11:52 AM

Has anyone ever seen "Balance" by Christoph & Wolfgang Lauenstein -- the 1990 Oscar winner for best animated short? It applies metaphorically to this blog board, as we examine what life is like trying to balance work, family and all of life's other demands. On view at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJWT3p7uM6Y

Posted by: catlady | March 22, 2007 11:53 AM

It was all a big fat made up story done to suck people in and make fools of them for caring about a faceless person with a sad story.


You know, if the worst thing about people reading and posting on a blog is that they are empathetic to another poster--even if someone IS lying--that's far better than NOT giving a damn. It's not like Chrissy was asking us to send her money or something.

So, real or not, I would prefer to be concerned about someone who purports to be having difficulties, rather than the one snickering up my sleeve at how "clever" (mean) I am.

There's are terms for the sorts of people who enjoy manipulating others. None of them are nice.

As for being in college--I thought long and hard about the fact that I had no intentions of being financially dependent upon someone else. I earned a B.S. rather than a B.A. because of it. That was in the late 80's. My elder child feels the same way.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 11:54 AM

Sorry, my fingers got crossed, I meant to write "There are terms", not "there's are terms".

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 11:56 AM

I had one goal in college- get into a tier 1 law school so I could make enough FU money.

Mission accomplished!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 11:56 AM

I think the big question is:

Are you trying to fit kids into your career? Or trying to fit your career around your kids?

I think the value of having kids young is that both the woman and her husband make choices everyday, as a young family, as to what works for them. I think it's a MUCH harder discussion to have when you've been working for 10 or 15 years and have to rework your entire lives for the kids.

Both my career path- and my husband's (yes, I have a good one!)- is being shaped to include what we feel is best for our daughter.

I think if we would have waited 10 plus years, it would be a much more difficult question.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | March 22, 2007 11:57 AM

GU grad '03. I think about balance a lot, but I think that has to do with my parents. My mom, (an adjunct prof), has always told me that if I wanted to have kids, I needed to pick a profession where I wouldn't be working fulltime because she thinks its unfair to the kids to not be a SAHM. Just her 2 cents.

Posted by: anon | March 22, 2007 11:59 AM

"If you're old enough to go to war, you're old enough to be focused on adult concerns. The idea that college age kids should still be sheltered from adult concerns and not to have thought about their future is a crock." So true... yet until a year ago I was not allowed to rent a car when I visited home.

"Glorifying extended immaturity and failure to take responsibility for choices gets you a 25 year old who does not know what he wants to do with his life while his parents are footing the bill." Amen again...

My younger brother and girlfriend are being leeches and I see nothing changing anytime soon as my family has yet to draw a line to teach them they need to take care of themselves and not rely on the complete support that is robbing from my own familiy's future in order to pay for their "slacker now." So many people are oblivious to the need to think beyond today- not worry, but just plan reasonably... but then again they are but the average products of society in the age of American Idol.

I may not know for certain what I want to do in the future, as life is change. However, when I grow up, I want to be old. So, I make the best choices I can now- in order to ensure the best possible outcome- and either find a way to take control of events presently outside of my control, or let them go. Worrying accomplishes nothing- but burrying your head in the sand and living at home while life passes you by is bad and even less responsible. Balance, people, BALANCE!

Posted by: Chris | March 22, 2007 12:01 PM

C.W. - may I add "Teach Your Children Well"? Older song, but great message - for both generations.

Posted by: Demos | March 22, 2007 12:01 PM

"My mom, (an adjunct prof), has always told me that if I wanted to have kids, I needed to pick a profession where I wouldn't be working fulltime because she thinks its unfair to the kids to not be a SAHM. Just her 2 cents. "

Just her "2 cents" is worth this advice is worth!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 12:01 PM

"I think if we would have waited 10 plus years, it would be a much more difficult question."

I think it can work both ways. I did not have a child until my mid thirties, and by then, I had an established career. I found it pretty easy to fold motherhood into working, and since they knew me at work, they gave me the flexibilities I needed. I also had a lot more money than I did in my early 20s. School loans were paid off, and I had bought a home, so money was much less of an issue than it would have been in my 20s.

Posted by: Emily | March 22, 2007 12:03 PM

"I think it can work both ways."

What!? NO. Nothing can work both ways on this board. How dare you suggest something so rational? I demand a full redaction!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 12:10 PM

"I think it can work both ways."


What???

Make decisions based on logic and reason instead of raw emotion and social pressure?!?

How can that be??

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 12:13 PM

"Posted by: Homschool | March 22, 2007 10:59 AM"

This may be a tipoff on why "hom-schooling" is bad for kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 12:14 PM

That's nice 11:56 - just remember, the tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut by the lawnmower.

Posted by: John Deer | March 22, 2007 12:16 PM

Public college prep HS Class of '97 - probably 75% of my class is married or parenting or both.

Private conservative Women's College class of 2001 - of my friends, I am the only one married, only one parenting.

I don't think it's insane to expect college kids to be looking at their futures. I know I was. I just didn't expect to get sidetracked, decide to get an M.B.A., marry someone with a child, or be in the field I'm in now (and enjoy it!). Things change.

Posted by: Rebecca in AR | March 22, 2007 12:17 PM

I haven't read all of the responses yet, but would like to comment from the in college now camp. I will be graduating in a couple of years and will be getting married sooner. My fiance and I have talked about a wide variety of situations and scenarios and how to make things work for us. Ideally, he wants to work from home so he can be available to our kids if they have an emergency, and I would like to be a SAHM while they are not yet in school. We will encourage education at every opportunity but do not want to plan every minute of every day when they should enjoy being kids. I feel very strongly about having them learn languages while they are younger, as I struggled in high school to understand any of it. I have been with my fiance for 6 years now, and we have always been open about children and marriage and our individual goals.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 12:18 PM

Of those who answered the questionnaire, 31% said it was "possible" they might leave work, only 46% that it was "likely" or more than likely. To say something is "possible" seems to me to be merely realistic: who can say at the age of 20 that something about the future is "impossible" when they haven't come up against the constraints of real life yet? So I wouldn't lump those 31% into the total of those who expect to leave work, much less leave work permanently.
The contrast from my generation (college class of '66) is enormous. To the extent that one thought about work and children at that time, they were viewed as incompatible. It was still somewhat dubious for middle-class women to work for any length of time after marriage, even when young children were not involved. My mother, who worked until her marriage in 1942 at age 28, never went back to work after we grew up despite the urging of her two teen-aged daughters, who thought it would help relieve her depression. My father thought it would reflect badly on his ability as a provider if his wife worked. This attitude became even clearer when, near the end of his professional career, he divorced my mother and remarried a much younger Asian woman. Although she would have liked to work, and they could certainly have used the money to supplement his retirement income, he was adamant that she should only take English lessons and do volunteer work.
The generational change hit me hard while watching a recent community theater production of Neil Simon's "Barefoot in the Park." In the opening scene, a new bride is settling into her new apartment at the top of a many-story walkup. In a telephone conversation she mentions that she recently quit her job. My immediate reaction was, "Why on earth would she have quit her job? They don't even have any children yet." I had completely forgotten that in the late 1960's, middle-class married women were supposed to become stay-at-home housewives even before they became stay-at-home mothers.

Posted by: jhurwi | March 22, 2007 12:20 PM

It's John Deere, not John Deer.

Posted by: to 12:16 | March 22, 2007 12:21 PM

Maybe it's just me, but man are people judgemental!!

I like advice from everyone. I don't have kids, but I do have a career and a husband. A parent can give me great advice on where to take my nieces. I can give a parent advice on what kind of pet to get. I can give a college kid advice on the workforce, and he or she can give me advice on grad schools and fun clubs.

We can all learn from each other. It is narrow-minded and limiting to exclude groups of people because "their opinions are worthless."

And I think most college kids are very aware of the future and are planning for it. They are not usually the hard-partying drunks that you older folk seem to remember from Woodstock or the Animal House movie (how's that for judgemental! TIC).

Posted by: Meesh | March 22, 2007 12:22 PM

At least it wasn't Dear John.

Posted by: Chris | March 22, 2007 12:22 PM

I do think some college students worry about work/life balance whether they are at Georgetown or community college. Let's not be elitist, everyone whatever their social-economic background worry about this issue. Unfortunately, there only so much advanced planning you can do. Since no one knows what they will be doing 10 yrs after college, I think is best to keep your options open, be flexible and define your life based on your needs and values.

Posted by: Lisa | March 22, 2007 12:23 PM

Meesh, see article on binge drinking... as much as I like to think of my generation as "the future leaders of America" I realize we are seriously screwed if enough of us do not get our acts together. LOL

Posted by: Chris | March 22, 2007 12:24 PM

"I had completely forgotten that in the late 1960's, middle-class married women were supposed to become stay-at-home housewives even before they became stay-at-home mothers."

My jaw drops at the notion. I wonder if the tax laws were written that a wife was a dependent? You know, as a write-off?

Posted by: Eww! | March 22, 2007 12:26 PM

"And I think most college kids are very aware of the future and are planning for it."

You obviously haven't met my daughter. Not quite animal house but the parties may be the favorite part of her college experience so far. She's a freshman, so I'm hoping she will turn around - I hear many do.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 12:26 PM

They are not usually the hard-partying drunks that you older folk seem to remember from Woodstock or the Animal House movie (how's that for judgemental! TIC).

That is hysterical. I guess you didn't go to college.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 12:27 PM

12:26 Either they turn around, drop out, or find a way to keep partying a bit longer by getting into porn... especially those wild freshmen. :-P

Posted by: Chris | March 22, 2007 12:28 PM

Meesh, see article on binge drinking... as much as I like to think of my generation as "the future leaders of America" I realize we are seriously screwed if enough of us do not get our acts together. LOL

Posted by: Chris | March 22, 2007 12:24 PM

Chris,

What were your parents (or grandparents) doing when they were in their 20's? If you don't think they will give you a straight answer, ask their sib(s), if they have any!


Posted by: to Chris | March 22, 2007 12:29 PM

"whether they are at Georgetown or community college."...

there's a difference?

Posted by: Yale '98 | March 22, 2007 12:29 PM

Meesh,

I never meant to imply that college students are "hard-partying drunks." I do think, though, that many of us are pushing our kids too hard (or, as has been pointed out, in some cases not at all).

There are important lessons to be learned in every stage of life. We need to take the time to learn them.

Posted by: Demos | March 22, 2007 12:31 PM

As a current college junior, and a woman, I can tell you that this is a huge topic of conversation among myself and my friends. We all want to follow our passions, and work hard for causes and organizations we believe in, and most of us want families as well. We don't have any answers yet about how we'll balance the work and home life, but it's definitely something we're thinking about.

Posted by: Emily | March 22, 2007 12:32 PM

"I wonder if the tax laws were written that a wife was a dependent? You know, as a write-off?"

Well, I've certainly spent enough on mine!

;-)

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 12:33 PM

Demos, I think you're being too kind when you say college students are hard partying drunks. Many just party and work just hard enough to get by . . .

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 12:33 PM

"Demos, I think you're being too kind when you say college students are hard partying drunks. Many just party and work just hard enough to get by . . "

Hey, I didn't say that! It may or may not be true, but I didn't say it!

Posted by: Demos | March 22, 2007 12:34 PM

Oh I binge drank in college. I still do (no kids, remember?)! But I still got a great GPA and have a great career. It's not the excessive drinking that will do you in. It's the skipping class, failing class, and spending ridiculous amounts of money that usually show that a college kid doesn't think about the future. And all my friends graduated. We were all thinking about the future (even if it was over a game of beruit).

Posted by: Meesh | March 22, 2007 12:35 PM

I think the big question is:

Are you trying to fit kids into your career? Or trying to fit your career around your kids?

I think the value of having kids young is that both the woman and her husband make choices everyday, as a young family, as to what works for them. I think it's a MUCH harder discussion to have when you've been working for 10 or 15 years and have to rework your entire lives for the kids.

Both my career path- and my husband's (yes, I have a good one!)- is being shaped to include what we feel is best for our daughter.

I think if we would have waited 10 plus years, it would be a much more difficult question.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | March 22, 2007 11:57 AM


I think it can go both ways as well. I wasn't trying to create a have em' young v. wait debate- because I believe either can be perfectly good choices.

I just think that the questions and the balance issues change quite a bit depending on the age of the parents and place in life.
I know I'm going along a different path than I had originally though I'd be on due to starting my career with a little one. And I'm happy for that because I can start a family friendly career.
Most of my mom friends are 10 years or so older than myself- and their problems stem from trying to fit the kids into demanding careers and it's so tough for them- I really feel for them so much. They have the money (that I envy sometimes!) but I seem to have had the chance to create balance from day 1 (which they envy).

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | March 22, 2007 12:36 PM

The fact you, Brian Reid, did not consider these issues is probably highly related to the fact you are male. I - and many of most of my over-achieving friends - certainly considered these issues. (None of us have kids yet, so we'll see what happens.)

Posted by: Jennifer | March 22, 2007 12:40 PM

"whether they are at Georgetown or community college."...

there's a difference?

Posted by: Yale '98 | March 22, 2007 12:29 PM

Therein lies the reason to NEVER even contemplate attending Yale.

Some of us enjoy learning with down to Earth classmates without the pretentious attitude.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 12:41 PM

If all these women are going to college to find a husband, they are in for big disappointments. Well more than half the student pops are female and that number is growing every year.

Posted by: atlmom | March 22, 2007 12:42 PM

I had more of a plan coming out of high school ('94) than college ('98). Coming out of high school, I was going to be married and well on my way to a network anchor spot. Coming out of college all I knew was that I was going to live in either NY, DC, or Chicago and wanted to work in event planning.

10 years later, I'm just off a 3 year stint in web development sales and now running a tiny trade association.

I didn't think about work-life balance until my husband and I were getting serious. For awhile, I wanted 4 kids and to stay at home while husband worked. Now, I'm down to 2 kids - maybe 3 - considering adoption due to not wanting to go through with needed fertility treatments and thinking that it wouldn't be such a bad deal for my husband to stay at home.

Posted by: Danielle | March 22, 2007 12:43 PM

"If all these women are going to college to find a husband, they are in for big disappointments. Well more than half the student pops are female and that number is growing every year."

Some of the women are looking for girlfriends, not husbands.

Posted by: YLS '85 | March 22, 2007 12:45 PM

Oh gosh yes, I'm 22 and I worry about it a lot. A LOT. More than is healthy. Seeing other women at my work with these balance issues makes me quite worried for my own future.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 12:46 PM

Doh!

Posted by: John Deer | March 22, 2007 12:46 PM

The college binge-drinking tangent may be taking over the blog. College drinking it is probably important to about 50% of the students, whereas the SAHM vs. WOHM (or dad) topic is important to maybe 10%. OK - 25%.

As for asking your parents about their drinking in college - I had to laugh. My dad was at GW, married, in the Air Force reserves, held 2 part-time jobs and had 2 kids. There was very little binge drinking mainly because they didn't have the money and no time. I had it very easy compared to my parents - I thank them all the time.

Posted by: cmac | March 22, 2007 12:49 PM

Only because you asked:
Grandad had built some houses and small office buildings and ran off with the secretary- leaving my grandmother with the house and a couple of office buildings to try and manage and rent out. He left his kids nothing in his will, and the caretaker got millions. My parents were into drugs and split when I was 2.

To expand: I was raised by a disabled mom on welfare. As previously stated, she taught me to read at the age of two and I went to kindergarten early- I learned my vowels from illustrations she had made on the inside of a cigarette carton. I developed a love for reading and that gave me a drive to do something with myself. In college the sociology teacher asked how many kids had parents in certain income brackets- in decreasing amounts. Nobody raised their hand in the 20-30k bracket... she said that she thought nobody was left and wanted to make a point when she asked for anyone whose parents made under 20k to raise their hands. I did and her jaw hit the floor. She got flustered and tried to apologize stating, "I'm sorry, I was just trying to prove that people from low incomes don't make it!" I just smiled and gave her a keep digging look. LOL. She really was a great teacher though- especially because she was not above changing her mind on something!

Anyway, one can blame "the system" for much of the problems- but at some point people have to take personal responsibility and say I want to change my lot in life! Realize it may take time, but if you push and stay positive, good things can happen.

Posted by: Chris | March 22, 2007 12:49 PM

I'm a junior in college, and it's something I've been thinking about. I don't think that I really understand what that balance entails, nor do my friends; my ideas of it are based on having watched my own mother. I personally don't think I'd be happy staying at home, a fact which surprises many of my friends. Their surprise surprises me.
So, yes, I do think that at least some young people are thinking about it, but I have doubts about how fully we understand what we will actually be able to do and what the consequences involved are.

Posted by: gabs | March 22, 2007 12:54 PM

I know SAHMbackto work said she didn't intend to start a young vs. old debate, but i just have to say: I think younger is better.

I waited until I was 36 and it is a straight up nightmare! I married a man with a 6 year old nephew- his sister in law was 26 when they had him. We've since become friendly and I envy her 26-yr-old motherhood!! They didn't have much money and it was a struggle at first, but they really became a FAMILY instead of just fitting the kid into their already-in-place lives. It wasn't "How am I going to do this since I just made partner?" (my husband) It was "Maybe I won't go for partner at all- I would be happy being a corporate lawyer with more predictable schedules" (his brother).

His brother is a MUCH happier man. He chose his job and managed his life according to their family, right from the beginning.

Maybe I married the wrong brother! lol.

Seriously, I very much am jealous of them! They made it through their younger years together and they look forward to being only 44 years old when their son goes off to college!! I'll still be dealing with elementary school at that age!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 12:54 PM

Person who mentioned girlfriends knowing they won't work....


wow. I definitely saw people at GW who didn't WANT to work, and were dying to hang their hats on somebody who let them not work at all, but even they had plans for cushy ltitle jobs in NYC in PR or something. I will say, not to generalize....that it seemed to be a regional thing at times...there were a LOT of girls from the South who were still taught that the right husband was the No. 1 thing

Posted by: GW Class of '06 | March 22, 2007 12:54 PM

Chris

What is your point?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 12:55 PM

"there were a LOT of girls from the South who were still taught that the right husband was the No. 1 thing"

Same here.

Everything and I mean everything in a girl's future hung on the girl landing the right husband. Ha, ha!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 12:59 PM

12:55, read the final sentence, or go back to school and try to figure out what you want to do with your life. :-P

Posted by: Chris | March 22, 2007 1:00 PM

How about Jenna and Barb Bush as role models? They seem to be only playing at working till they can get engaged.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 1:06 PM

I sort of thought about work/life balance when in college (class of 1994). I knew I didn't want work to be my life. The purpose of work was to pay the bills. I wanted my jobs to be engaging, but they didn't have to define who I was. I knew even then that my vocation (or life purpose or whatever you call it) was to be a husband and father. Work was a means to support that vocation.

I started college thinking I wanted to be a foreign service officer, but eventually realized (I can be a bit slow) that it was just the type of work I didn't want - because of the long hours, time away from family, overall level of commitment it required.

I don't know that I thought much about the question of who would watch the kids. I'm sure I assumed my future wife would. Guess the joke's on me now, since I'm looking for a part-time job so I can stay home with the kids while my wife works!

Posted by: Rockville Dad | March 22, 2007 1:07 PM

Ok! Time for word association:

down to earth...without pretentious attitude...learning...

Nope, didn't think "Georgetown" for any of those, sorry.

Posted by: Dartmouth '04 | March 22, 2007 1:07 PM

"Ok! Time for word association:

down to earth...without pretentious attitude...learning...

Nope, didn't think "Georgetown" for any of those, sorry."

Might depend on the year.

Posted by: YLS '85 | March 22, 2007 1:11 PM

Hey, Dartmouth '04. You DO realize that the model for "Animal House" was a frat at your own dear old alma mater?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 1:16 PM

I believe that one of the Bush girls is a teacher and just wrote a book about a young woman with HIV. Doesn't sound like playing to me. Both admirable pursuits.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 1:18 PM

Speaking of Georgetown - how did Clinton finance his education there? The public details are pretty skimpy.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 1:19 PM

Almost 20 years out of undergrad, my life has played largely as planned - which I didn't really expect when making the plans. Married while still in college, this topic was definitely on my mind. Also, attending college on scholarship, I had to work nearly FT to pay for room and board - and still had a blast partying, loved my work and yes, understood the real world.

I grew up with 2 FT working parents as did everyone in my neighborhood. I did not meet anyone who grew up with a SAHM until I was an adult. This definitely factored into my decision making as I did not want the out of balance life my family of origin lead - long hours and kids at home by themselves for too long.

I knew my planned career would require a phd, so the plan was to have kids early on while my DH and I were grad students and unsettled, it was easier for us to mix PT work with FT school and relocating for postdocs and other opportunities. Everything worked out fine, my youngest child was born shortly after I finished my graduate career. DH got his phd a few months later. We continued both working PT, I as an adjunct, him 30 hr/wk govt agency which got us FT benes. We continued thus until youngest was starting kindergarten and I went FT, he continues PT, now all the kids are in HS, oldest is a senior. I loved PT as it gave me time to do research and publish, something I couldn't manage working FT due to my job committments. I also came in at a high level position despite not working FT for 9 years - an unexpected development.

What freaks me out is my son's girlfriend, brilliant girl, top of her class at elite girls only private school is talking about not working at all after getting married...

Posted by: Rockville | March 22, 2007 1:19 PM

Certainly wasn't patterned on a CSS, we could not afford all that expensive booze!

Posted by: From a CSS | March 22, 2007 1:21 PM

The model for Animal House was Southern Illinois University, Carbondale where John Belushi actually went. The "college" sweater was printed in Carbondale.
Don't ask me how I know this. ;-)

Posted by: Chris | March 22, 2007 1:22 PM

What freaks me out is my son's girlfriend, brilliant girl, top of her class at elite girls only private school is talking about not working at all after getting married...

Who on earth would want a brilliant girl taking care of their grandchildren full time. That's quite a dilemma!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 1:22 PM

And if Jenna Bush didn't have a ghostwriter, I'd be amazed.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 1:25 PM

"You DO realize that the model for "Animal House" was a frat at your own dear old alma mater?"

Is that supposed to be some kind of insult?

Posted by: D '04 | March 22, 2007 1:26 PM

Pretty sure Clinton attended Georgetown on scholarship. After all, he'd been an outstanding HS student both academically and in terms of leadership, and he came from a relatively poor family. Plus, perhaps a consideration of geographical diversity, him not being from the Northeast US.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 1:27 PM

Maybe Clinton had an "understanding" with the woman in Admissions...hehehe

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 1:28 PM

"You DO realize that the model for "Animal House" was a frat at your own dear old alma mater?"

Is that supposed to be some kind of insult?

Posted by: D '04 | March 22, 2007 01:26 PM


If the shoe fits.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 1:29 PM

What is interesting to me about this conversation is that many people were different people in college than now. I doubt that I would recognize my 40 year old married with 2 children, churchgoing, finance career self if I ran into my 20 year old quarters drinking game playing self. I would have never believed it. My parents still don't sometimes. I loved that car commerical that played that theme.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 22, 2007 1:29 PM

"If you don't expect them to think about the future, they might just heed your advice, major in something because they like the classes regardless of whether that major prepares them to support themselves, and expect that life will all work out despite their failure to plan."

Yes, because God forbid people actually "major in something because they like the classes[.]"

I think people who are natural-born planners tend to think of those who aren't as incompetent, as not serious, as flakes. Get off your high horse. It's a personality characteristic, not a character flaw.

Failing to have your life planned out from the age of 3 doesn't mean that you think it's ok to mooch off your parents, or to fritter your life away, or to run up big credit card debt. For me, not planning is because I know how much I do NOT know. How can you conclude that following X path is the best, when you can't possibly have the slightest clue what X entails until you get there?

I did choose a liberal arts college, specifically so I could try a bunch of different things and figure out what I enjoyed and was good at. Which I did. And yeah, my BA in English didn't really qualify me to do much beyond flipping burgers. But it was good enough to get me into law school. Of course, I still had no clue what being a practicing lawyer would be like, so that was a big leap of faith. Luckily, I loved it.

The irony is, I followed precisely the same path that a lot of "planners" would choose. I just got there by chasing what I loved to do and what interested me.

Oh, and I never had to move back in with the 'rentals.

Posted by: Laura | March 22, 2007 1:31 PM

Most of my mom friends are 10 years or so older than myself- and their problems stem from trying to fit the kids into demanding careers and it's so tough for them- I really feel for them so much. They have the money (that I envy sometimes!) but I seem to have had the chance to create balance from day 1 (which they envy).

This was my experience 18 years ago, I was 23 and every mom in the local newbaby group was in their 40's (this was in Alexandria). Most of whom had adopted and decided to stay home, they had had their careers and were ready to move on to another phase. I learned a lot from them and they were envious of my youth. However, now as a 40 something, I don't feel any less energetic which is a good thing as you don't get much sleep with teens...

Posted by: Rockville | March 22, 2007 1:32 PM

"Pretty sure Clinton attended Georgetown on scholarship. After all, he'd been an outstanding HS student both academically and in terms of leadership, and he came from a relatively poor family. Plus, perhaps a consideration of geographical diversity, him not being from the Northeast US."

Logical assumption, but does anyone know the facts? Was there any part time work, student loans, other financial aid?

No need to ask about Hillary. Her rich Republican daddy paid for everything.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 1:40 PM

I should ask my parents as they were at GU at the same time. I think they were two years behind him, but knew him socially.

Posted by: re: Clinton | March 22, 2007 1:45 PM

With the help of those scholarships and loans from the government, he was able to attend Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 1:46 PM

I used to work with a man who sent his daughter to college solely to find a husband. He said she'd find a better one there than working after high school. My opinion of that dropped about 2000% after he said that. I also recall girls in the high school yearbook wanted to get their 'Mrs. Degree.' How cute and clever! Gee, I wish I was that ambitious at 18. I'm single, earning a GS-12 equivalent salary and own my own home without the help of daddy or a spouse. I wonder that those old high school gals are doing now. Half are probably divorced by now.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 1:47 PM

1:47... I can tell you are looking forward to your reunion! LOL

Posted by: Chris | March 22, 2007 1:49 PM

"If the shoe fits."

ZING! Wow, your cleverishness is astouderific. (I used big words for you my G'town friend). Anyhoo, yeah, the movie was written in part based on a dude who was in Hanover in the early 60's. How a fictional account of a raunchy (albeit hilarous) comedy from 1978 has any relevance to today?...hey whatever floats your boat.

Posted by: D '04 | March 22, 2007 1:49 PM

I graduated in 1991, and I definitely thought about work-life balance, and how I was going to organize my life if I got married and had children. Maybe that was because I was the only daughter of a single mother who divorced when I was one, so the problem was right in front of me since babyhood. I remember being worried about how I was going to do it all, since I planned to move to a part of the country with no family nearby, and the way my mom handled her situation when I was growing up was to leave me with one of my grandmothers every day after school. (It never occurred to me to count on having a lot of help from my husband, not having ever seen a father in action.) But I think part of my uneasiness was also because I was starting to realize that I really didn't want kids, I wanted a serious career, and I lived with a houseful of girls who took it for granted that they'd be married and have several children before the age of 30, which they would stay home to take care of for several years. I think I was unusual in my awareness of the issue because of the circumstances of my growing up, though. None of my housemates seemed to devote a lot of thought to the problem, or even to be aware that there might be a problem someday.

I ended up not having kids, by the way, although I am married. So I guess you could say I never really solved the problem of balance, I just avoided it.

Posted by: 91 grad | March 22, 2007 1:53 PM

They are living up to social expectations and what our social constraints allow -- women get to contemplate staying home with kids or working and having kids, men get only one choice -- to work.

Posted by: Colorado Kool-Aid | March 22, 2007 1:54 PM

Now we know! D '04 writes for Colbert.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 1:57 PM

Kool Aid, I agree... with an emphatic OH YEAH! Though things do appear to be changing a little bit as men who get to stay home get a bit more publicity.

Posted by: Chris | March 22, 2007 2:01 PM

You bet I was thinking about work and family balance, even 20 years ago. I watched as various female parents of the seventies bought into the "I can have it all theory" and made a royal mess of their family lives in some cases. Often it was because women back then were the ground-breakers in the "women to work" movement, so they felt they had to give their jobs everything in order to prove themselves worthy -- mentally and timewise. Kids definitely got the short end of the stick in this scenario, and I saw many get screwed up by it. I graduated from college way back in 1986, and after observing how it was a myth that women could have it all (full-time career and raising children), at least without any sort of healthy "balancing", I decided to make it part of my job searches to look into companies that were at least somewhat flexible. Even back then, there were a few, especially within the federal government and smaller private companies. Now bigger companies have jumped on the bandwagon. I did indeed find a good balance through working for an employer that is flexible and am very happy to say that still, after 20 years of working (13 of it part-time), it has paid off to work with my employer to come up with a healthy life-work balance. I've worked everything from 16 hours a week to 32 hours a week part-time, depending on a combination of my own and my employer's needs at any given time. I still get prorated benefits (leave, medical, life insurance), and I've still gotten promoted. I enjoy my work, they've paid for two masters degrees for me, and I, along with my husband, are the main ones raising our three children.

Posted by: ArlMomof3 | March 22, 2007 2:04 PM

Chris, for what it's worth, the Wikipedia entry for Animal House supports the claim of "1:16" that it is based on Dartmouth, and not Carbondale; go to the "Origins" section: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_House

Posted by: Rosslyn | March 22, 2007 2:05 PM

I definitely thought about the work/family balance in college (class of 01). So I was going to be a teacher - summers off with the kids. However, college/grad school debt led me to a nice government job. Now my husband stays home with our 13 month old and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Posted by: AL | March 22, 2007 2:05 PM

Kool Aid, I agree... with an emphatic OH YEAH! Though things do appear to be changing a little bit as men who get to stay home get a bit more publicity.

Posted by: Chris | March 22, 2007 02:01 PM

DH was willing to stay PT, be the more hands on parent while I went on to a demanding FT career, however, he doesn't advertise the fact. Most people are oblivious to the hours that others work, especially with older kids. Maybe I should push him to be more open about it...

Posted by: Rockville | March 22, 2007 2:06 PM

"With the help of those scholarships and loans from the government, he was able to attend Georgetown University in Washington, D.C"

Are these facts or political propaganda?

It is a little difficult to picture Clinton making student loan payments...

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 2:16 PM

Seven years ago I graduated from a women's college where work-life balance was hammered into me from day one. I thought about it a lot and I wanted to work full-time and be a good parent too. I was surrounded by working mother role models in the university setting and they told me I could have it all - fulfilling work, healthy kids, and a loving relationship. We were expected to live up to the ideal because the feminists before us had worked very hard to achieve balance. But as soon as I entered the world of work, I encountered the real working mothers. A few handled work and kids with grace, but many did not. I saw the stress that these women were under, and I felt like I hadn't been told the real story when I was in college. I think we need to get college-age men and women to think more about work-life balance, but to show them a more honest view of the world.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 2:18 PM

"women get to contemplate staying home with kids or working and having kids, men get only one choice -- to work."

I really don't get this. You have control over your life, you make your choices. If others are going to give you a hard time about it, that's too bad. Make the road by walking, as they say - that's what women entering the workforce have done. My husband has been a full time SAHD and now works part time; I sympathize with the difficulty in breaking out of societal expectations but if you really want it you just have to do it.

Posted by: Megan | March 22, 2007 2:22 PM

Jaime writes:

"These young ladies don't see it as "having to leave work" they see it as getting to stay home and make an important contrtibution to their families that no one else can make.

Roger that. In college and graduate school, when I thought about marriage (not often -- only when I wasn't studying or shooting pool or playing in the band or working at the radio station), I thought in terms of marrying my then girl friend, an only child who often said she wanted six children just like herself. I never thought about "balance," assuming that, of course, she would stay home and take care of the six little ones, and that everything would work out just as it does in the stories.

By the time I got to law school, I had read assorted feminist works ("Sisterhood is Powerful" comes to mind). So I knew that things don't work out as in the stories, and that I would not get any stay-at-home wife unless I found a bride who saw "getting to stay home and make an important contrtibution to their families that no one else can make" (Jaime's words) as very important to her. By this time, the college and graduate school girlfriend was long married, with a professional career in another country. And most of the girls I took out were highly educated and also wanted careers, although in the USA. Finally, I found one (with a Master'd degree) who thought like Jaime, and she found me.

"Women can find fullfillment different ways and we need to stop making them feel like something is wrong with them if they want to stay home for a period of time."

Doesn't anyone see that it is un-Ivy to make *anyone* feel like something is wrong with her just because she is not living her life according to some outside agitator's "vision" of how people should live?

The other day, I saw an article in National Review Online criticizing the poor immigrant from Mali who lost a wife and several children in the terrible row house fire on the top floor of 1022 Woodycrest Avenue in the Bronx. Why was the article criticizing this guy while he's still grieving? Well, it seems he had another wife and several children living on another floor of 1022 Woodycrest. That was his way of "balancing" work and family. But because this family was not living according to the Christian "vision" of "one man, one wife," he is fair game for the Bible-thumpers. Doesn't he feel bad enough already without people saying things to make him feel worse?

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | March 22, 2007 2:28 PM

where, oh where, is Texas Dad of 2?

He wanted topics that weren't female-specific or female-exclusive. Here it is.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 2:28 PM

"I was surrounded by working mother role models in the university setting and they told me I could have it all - fulfilling work, healthy kids, and a loving relationship"

I also fell for this hook, line and sinker. I didn't see the backstory that supported these women that is no longer legal/appropriate.

ALL of my professors, male and female expected their secretaries and graduate students to "pitch in" and provide free babysitting services and run errands.

The professors could bring their kids into the classroom while they were teaching (more free child care).

There didn't seem to be a whole lot to balance.

Flash forward years later to the real world. I wouldn't dream of asking my staff to watch my kids, clean my breast pump, water my plants, take the dog to the vet, pick up my dry cleaning, etc. Elsewise, I'd be the target of a juicy lawsuit.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 2:30 PM

Well then... if the publicly editable wikipedia said it was true...

Seriously- http://www.thesouthern.com/articles/2006/05/08/top/16234773.txt

http://www.gustos-graphics.com/story.aspx

I rest my case.

Posted by: Chris | March 22, 2007 2:31 PM

I've been out of college of 7 yrs now. Honestly, I didn't think about SAHM v. WOHM debate at that point... just trying to find the perfect career fit for myself.

After school (when reality hit) I found a job that wasn't paying what I wanted, nor was satisfying, and gained a renewed sense of purpose. Ended up saving and going to grad school on my own, and now have a job I like very much.

During it all I met the man of my dreams who was in his 4th year medical residency with dreams of being an OB/Gyn. I started to think about the Balance Issue constantly. Not only was I in grad school full-time, working PT, but planning a wedding and juggling his insane schedule too.

I kept thinking - if we can't do this, how are we ever going to do it in the future with kids?!

Real life has a way of hitting hard and fast.

But, I can honestly say that thinking about this issue in undergrad wouldn't have changed anything I did. At that time I was dealing with the question of whether or not to marry my college boyfriend and stay in Minnesota for the rest of my life (which is what would have ended up happening...).

What I'm saying is that we all deal with life as it comes, no matter how much thinking and planning we do.

Posted by: Seattle | March 22, 2007 2:39 PM

Chris, I didn't say it was true - I said "for what it's worth", meaning take it or leave it. Do you have trouble reading or something?

Besides through common sense, it's been beaten into everyone's heads that the stuff on Wikipedia may not be true without your reminder. Most if not all entries do have references however, and you can follow up on them to judge for yourself how accurate the information may be.

Posted by: Stugats | March 22, 2007 2:40 PM

I just never thought about having kids or getting married in college. My parents and family were so miserable I couldn't imagine actually wanting that. Living on my own and supporting myself were my only goals-graduating during a horrible recession (91) meant that I was waiting tables with all the other college grads (then thought-hey this sucks and went to grad school).
Honestly, if I thought about it at all, I thought I would work and dh would SAH. Or we'd both work.
And honestly never wanted kids until I w as in a loving relationshhip and it hit me- hey I want a baby. I always thought it selfish to have kid"s of one's own when there are so many kids out there in need of a loving home, but here I am, with two of my own. What can ya do.

Posted by: atlmom | March 22, 2007 2:44 PM

Please oh great one, forgive my inability to convey a playful tone of banter. :-P I truly meant no offense in my post. Spare me your abusive questions as to my reading comprehension skills (or something, whatever that some thing you write of may in fact be) for I am but a product of the poor education system and home without balance and can not possibly be held accountable for what I post here, where I lurk in hopes of learning how to bring balance to the Force, the world, or maybe even if I am perchance possessed of an ounce of luck, my family. ;-)

Posted by: Chris | March 22, 2007 2:52 PM

I kept waiting (in vain, it turns out) for Fred's Cultural Tidbit of the Day. So, in its absence, here's my earlier post, now under the CTOTD title:

Has anyone ever seen "Balance" by Christoph & Wolfgang Lauenstein -- the 1990 Oscar winner for best animated short? It applies metaphorically to this blog board, as we examine what life is like trying to balance work, family and all of life's other demands. On view at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJWT3p7uM6Y

Posted by: catlady | March 22, 2007 2:59 PM

interesting post. along with 2 others to this point, i also teach at a liberal arts type of setting. i ask my students to write a page or two telling me where they see themselves in 20 years. when i read these, i do see gendered differences: women tend to explicitly express concern with balance more than men. however, i think that this may be changing very slightly (this is all anecdotal, though it's been over the course of 6 years, and probably about 300 students), as men are also explicitly considering the balance, and taking a more active role in childraising rather than simply mentioning they want a wife and kids.

i'm not positive the students fully understand what this balance will entail. for example- i get some 'partner in renouned law firm AND most dedicated parent that volunteers at kid's school, chauffeurs, coaches, best cook, etc.'. but i also get some that clearly are thinking about HOW they will balance these issues in an informed manner.

i would imagine this will continue to change, as long as research centers on this issue and blogs such as these continue to grow, and reflect perhaps the changing norms of considering these issues.


Posted by: jer | March 22, 2007 3:01 PM

"Failing to have your life planned out from the age of 3 doesn't mean that you think it's ok to mooch off your parents, or to fritter your life away, or to run up big credit card debt. For me, not planning is because I know how much I do NOT know. How can you conclude that following X path is the best, when you can't possibly have the slightest clue what X entails until you get there?"

In case it is not obvious, acting like a responsible adult between 18 and 22 is not equivalent to having life planned out from age 3.

The plan described above worked for Laura because she is smart, lucky and had the resources to choose the path she chose. Life does not necessarily work out as well for all young people who incur substantial education debt, major in French, get Bs because they haven't thought far enough ahead to consider grad school, graduate in a recession and don't have a job by the time the grace period for loan repayment ends, and date cute losers because some day those young men might grow up.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 3:06 PM

"As for being in college--I thought long and hard about the fact that I had no intentions of being financially dependent upon someone else. I earned a B.S. rather than a B.A. because of it. That was in the late 80's. My elder child feels the same way."

Don't quite follow the logic here.

You decided, after long and hard thought, to get a lesser degree in order to make sure you'd never be financially dependent on someone else?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 3:08 PM

"I think if we would have waited 10 plus years, it would be a much more difficult question."

Now, you'll never know, will you?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 3:11 PM

Some undergrads I knew had their futures carefully mapped out in detail, down to the year. Others figured they'd just play life by ear. The planners tended to wind up with real-life disrupting their plans to a greater or lesser degree -- whether through illness, job-loss, divorce, unplanned pregnancy/infertility, caring for ill/elderly parents or other relatives, etc. The less planning-prone ones generally turned out OK, certainly more adaptable to life's vicissitudes. I'm more in the second category, so found the most obsessive planners to have been arrogant while in school: some eventually learned to be more adaptable, others couldn't cope once their plans fell through. The middle road may be best.

Posted by: catlady | March 22, 2007 3:14 PM

I have to disagree with Demos here for a minute: "Personal relationships are more important than wealthy, power, prestige or education." I'm all for personal relationships, but are they really more important than an education? An education is your ticket to your dreams. Will personal relationships buy dinner to feed your family? Will you tell your kids to forget going to school because they have family to depend on?

My point is that a college education is not a selfish pursuit for fame or wealth or power. It is a means of preparing yourself to support a family.

Another point--Jamie and Matt agree that: Women can find fullfillment different ways and we need to stop making them feel like something is wrong with them if they want to stay home for a period of time."

I don't think anyone in the history of this blog has ever said that there is something wrong with women who want to stay home for a period of time. I think it's physically impossible for a woman not to spend any time at home.

This survey acutally supports what you claim is being attacked: most women in college think that they'll stay home with the kids. How are you offended? Because other people have said that they don't want to stay home and have been happy? There have been the same number of people saying that they've stayed home and been happy. Can you just be happy with your decision like the other posters?

Posted by: Meesh | March 22, 2007 3:18 PM

"I had completely forgotten that in the late 1960's, middle-class married women were supposed to become stay-at-home housewives even before they became stay-at-home mothers."

Well, no, that's not really accurate.

I was born in '57, my brother in '66. Both of my parents worked fulltime, and most of the women in their social group worked fulltime.

This was a middle-class, mid-western family. The idea that a woman would quit work upon marrying just wasn't part of the equation.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 3:18 PM

"They are not usually the hard-partying drunks that you older folk seem to remember from Woodstock or the Animal House movie."

Isn't that exactly what the Bush twins were in college?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 3:19 PM

"As for being in college--I thought long and hard about the fact that I had no intentions of being financially dependent upon someone else. I earned a B.S. rather than a B.A. because of it. That was in the late 80's. My elder child feels the same way."

Don't quite follow the logic here.

You decided, after long and hard thought, to get a lesser degree in order to make sure you'd never be financially dependent on someone else?

Posted by: | March 22, 2007 03:08 PM

seems clear to me. A B.S. is more marketable than a B.A. in any year, but even more so during a recession. A B.A. is a great precursor to law, MBA, or other graduate and professional degrees, but if you seek to move into the workforce without an advanced degree, a B.A. qualifies you to choose between selling life insurance or taking an administrative job in NYC akin to the one the protagonist had in The Devil Wears Prada.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 3:22 PM

The middle road may be best.

Posted by: catlady | March 22, 2007 03:14 PM

Good Day, Fellow middle roader!

Posted by: CMAC | March 22, 2007 3:23 PM

" "I earned a B.S. rather than a B.A. because of it. That was in the late 80's. My elder child feels the same way."

Don't quite follow the logic here.

You decided, after long and hard thought, to get a lesser degree in order to make sure you'd never be financially dependent on someone else?"

I'm pretty sure the original poster meant a Bachelors of Science instead of Bachelor of the Art, which is not a lesser degree. I assume the point is that often science degrees lead more directly to employment opportunities than English or Philosphy type degrees (though I'm not voicing any opinion on the accuracy or importance of that understanding).

Posted by: Megan | March 22, 2007 3:25 PM

Why, thank you, CMAC!

Posted by: catlady | March 22, 2007 3:25 PM

"I believe that one of the Bush girls is a teacher and just wrote a book about a young woman with HIV. Doesn't sound like playing to me. Both admirable pursuits."

Don't believe everything you read.

She interned for a few weeks and then wrote a little book for kids. For which she got an obscene advance. Says it's all going to charity.

Yeah.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 3:27 PM

"Pretty sure Clinton attended Georgetown on scholarship. After all, he'd been an outstanding HS student both academically and in terms of leadership, and he came from a relatively poor family."

He went on to get a Rhodes scholarship, as well. He was waaaay smart, and poor enough to make it count.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 3:30 PM

Re the BA, around here it's pretty much what a high school diploma used to be. (I live in Canada though so YMMV.) A job applicant had better have something else going for him or her--extensive workforce experience, a trade school certificate of some kind, an additional degree etc. In fact, in my social circle, some skipped the BA completely and went straight into entry level jobs out of high school, and most ended up ahead of the rest of us who still had to do those same entry level jobs upon graduation. Loved my education and everything, but a meal ticket it was not.

Posted by: worker bee | March 22, 2007 3:31 PM

What freaks me out is my son's girlfriend, brilliant girl, top of her class at elite girls only private school is talking about not working at all after getting married...

Who on earth would want a brilliant girl taking care of their grandchildren full time. That's quite a dilemma!
_________-

Anyone else bothered by this? Heaven forbid, a "brilliant girl" be a SAHM! Only dumb woman should be able to do that!
*smacks forehead*

Posted by: dlm79 | March 22, 2007 3:33 PM

What freaks me out is my son's girlfriend, brilliant girl, top of her class at elite girls only private school is talking about not working at all after getting married...

Who on earth would want a brilliant girl taking care of their grandchildren full time. That's quite a dilemma!
_________-

Anyone else bothered by this? Heaven forbid, a "brilliant girl" be a SAHM! Only dumb woman should be able to do that!
*smacks forehead*

Posted by: dlm79 | March 22, 2007 3:33 PM

"if I ran into my 20 year old quarters drinking game playing self."

pATRICK --

Do you mean that game where you walk over a cup and drop a quarter in (I won't say from where)?

How good were you?

Posted by: Hiding out today | March 22, 2007 3:33 PM

Catlady: I think that there is more than one way to get an education and college is not for everyone. Soon you'll need a degree just to get that job at burger king. Everyone can't have the same path in life. I makes for a pretty boring world.

Posted by: atlmom | March 22, 2007 3:33 PM

Hiding out today: Quarters is usually trying to bounce the quarter in a cup, if you make it you give away a drink. If you make 5 or 10 in a row you make a rule. Break the rule and you drink.

Posted by: cmac | March 22, 2007 3:36 PM

Honestly, if you ask college students their opinions on anything, I think you'd get a pretty solid answer. It's not as much that they thought thoroughly about the next ten years, but moreso about the fact that college students are opinionated and form these opinions quickly and strongly. It would have been interesting for this poll to ask both where these woman saw themselves, and also where they WANTED to be in ten years, which is definitely not always the same thing.

As for myself, I graduated in '05 and probably would told you that I fully expected to work full time and raise a family. I also wouldn't have said that I'd give up a job for a significant other. It's funny how much opinions change just two years down the road... :)

Posted by: Amy | March 22, 2007 3:36 PM

Sorry - hit submit too fast - bounce the quarter off the table into the cup, not the floor.

Posted by: cmac | March 22, 2007 3:36 PM

What freaks me out is my son's girlfriend, brilliant girl, top of her class at elite girls only private school is talking about not working at all after getting married...

Who on earth would want a brilliant girl taking care of their grandchildren full time. That's quite a dilemma!


I think the original poster was shocked that the girl does not want to work after she is MARRIED. No mention of children. I have known a couple of women like this myself. All southern. One of them had an extravagant wedding with all the southern trimmings and registered for four different sets of china, two sets of silver, etc. She has two kids now and a full time nanny and is the secretary of the junior league. BARF. Your basic nightmare.

Posted by: MomNC | March 22, 2007 3:40 PM

cmac, who knew you'd be the best source of concise descriptions of the rules for '70s/'80s (that's all I know, maybe it was popular earlier or later as well) era drinking games, LOL?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 22, 2007 3:42 PM

This "stay at home and take care of the kids" attitude is not limited strictly to Southern women. My family is full of "Southern women" who have both careers and children, or careers only, and had no intention to marry only to stay at home and raise children.

Please avoid stereotyping.

Posted by: John L | March 22, 2007 3:44 PM

"seems clear to me. A B.S. is more marketable than a B.A. in any year, but even more so during a recession. A B.A. is a great precursor to law, MBA, or other graduate and professional degrees, but if you seek to move into the workforce without an advanced degree, a B.A. qualifies you to choose between selling life insurance or taking an administrative job in NYC akin to the one the protagonist had in The Devil Wears Prada."

The only fundamental difference between a BA and a BS is that the former requires study of a foreign language. Beyond that, the BA student can study all the same things the BS student can, and vice versa.

You're saying that a BA with, say, an emphasis in economics or international marketing wouldn't trump a BS?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 3:45 PM

No, John L, I don't think I will avoid sterotyping. I'm a southern woman myself and I call 'em as I see 'em. Also, please note that I was talking about a unique breed of southern girl who want to find a sugar daddy so they don't have to work at all after marriage. In fact, most quit once they're engage. After all, they have a wedding to plan.

Posted by: MomNC | March 22, 2007 3:49 PM

3:06, I think you missed my point. The earlier statements (yours?) clearly equated failure to plan with irresponsibility -- ie, if you choose classes just because you like them, expecting "that life will all work out despite [your] failure to plan," then you're necessarily "glorifying extended immaturity and failure to take responsibility for choices."

I just don't see the correlation between those two things. Yes, the "having your life planned out since you were 3" was hyperbole (although it pretty much applies to my mother). And yes, some people who don't plan are irresponsible. But "not planning" and "responsibility" are not mutually exclusive concepts. Just because at the age of 18 you don't know what you want to do doesn't mean that you're not a responsible adult and don't consider the future.

I guess I'd call it "responsible un-planning" -- I believe it's entirely ok not to know what you want to do, but you still need to take responsibility for your own life. Rule No. 1 is being willing to live with the consequences of your choices -- if that French degree means you end up only making $25K/yr, then learn to live on that if you love it enough, or find something else to do. And Rule No. 2 (corollary to Rule No. 1) is, if you don't have a clue what you want, leave your financial options open -- be smart enough not to go to a school that requires $40K/yr in loans unless you know for dang sure that you want a career that will cover that and are willing to forego new cars and buying a house for 10-20 yrs.

And yes, I was both smart and lucky (though for the record, I did graduate law school in a recession). But I am laughing at the "having resources" comment. My mom made $11K the year I went to college -- my only "resource" was that she knew enough to fill out the FAFSA and to help me negotiate with the schools for the best deals (I put that in the "luck" column). And part of my decision was choosing cheaper schools with better financial aid packages -- my mom pushed me to attend the best college I could get into, and was even willing to take out a second mortgage on the house, but I didn't WANT to depend on her or lock myself into huge student loans without a clear idea of where life was going to take me.

Posted by: Laura | March 22, 2007 3:50 PM

A resume with a B.S. is more appealing to many recruiting managers than a B.A. BTW, I have a B.A. and loved my degree and course of study. I have encountered many hiring managers of companies who do significant hiring of new grads. Every one of them has admitted that they approach hiring with the assumption that, on average, a B.S. generally represents a more difficult course of study and students who opt to pursue it are better hires. I have no comment on the fairness or accuracy of that assumption.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 3:51 PM

"No, John L, I don't think I will avoid sterotyping. I'm a southern woman myself and I call 'em as I see 'em. Also, please note that I was talking about a unique breed of southern girl who want to find a sugar daddy so they don't have to work at all after marriage. In fact, most quit once they're engage. After all, they have a wedding to plan."


Golddiggers come from every region, give it a rest, Steel Magnolia.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 22, 2007 3:51 PM

"In fact, most quit once they're engage. After all, they have a wedding to plan."

And some ribs to barbeque!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 3:51 PM

I think the BS/BA distinction is pretty much BS. Hahaha
It depends on the person.

There are very few undergraduate degrees (unless they are highly specialized and technical) that fully prepare you for the working world. Even a law degree doesn't fully prepare you for practicing law. Most of what we learn in college involves not job skills, per say, but rather, analytical thinking and writing skills that can be applied to a multitude of jobs. I went to college to learn how to think. And the education served me well. (It was a BA in English Lit).

Posted by: Emily | March 22, 2007 3:52 PM

As for being in college--I thought long and hard about the fact that I had no intentions of being financially dependent upon someone else. I earned a B.S. rather than a B.A. because of it. That was in the late 80's. My elder child feels the same way."

Don't quite follow the logic here.

You decided, after long and hard thought, to get a lesser degree in order to make sure you'd never be financially dependent on someone else?

Bachelor of Science, not Bachelor of Arts.

I never said it was lesser, but I recognized that I was more likely to find a better paying job right out of college. I didn't incur any debt to go to college, and I didn't want to go to graduate school. I wanted a JOB and I wanted to start my retirement fund, right away!

I'm very happy with my choices. Not to mention knowing that I outearn my husband. That is salve to my soul as well.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 3:52 PM

Oops, I meant: *it* makes, not I makes.....

Posted by: atlmom | March 22, 2007 3:55 PM

This may be a little unorthodox, but I feel very few degrees prepare you for the working world. They are just tickets to the dance, no one cares much what you did in college once you get several years into your career. I have never figured out people going 60-70 k in debt for a degree that produces a 40-50 k job.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 22, 2007 3:56 PM

Matt

I am completely flabbergasted that a windbag like you could find a woman willing to mate with you, much last marry you.

Did your earning potential have anything to do with it?

The mind boggles!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 3:56 PM

Oh please, so I got a B.S. I also minored in history and English lit., took 5 years of French (jr. high and h.s.), 3 years of Latin (h.s.) and a year of classical Greek in college. I also scored 660 on my verbal SATs and ACT, as well as a 740 on my literature ACT. I earned a 5 on my AP English test. It got me out of freshman English in college and I was able to take more interesting classes right off the bat!

I simply found science more challenging and therefore more interesting. I simply loved the labs. Nothing like seeing how things work, or don't!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 3:58 PM

Someone said "A resume with a B.S. is more appealing to many recruiting managers than a B.A. BTW, I have a B.A. and loved my degree and course of study. I have encountered many hiring managers of companies who do significant hiring of new grads. Every one of them has admitted that they approach hiring with the assumption that, on average, a B.S. generally represents a more difficult course of study and students who opt to pursue it are better hires. I have no comment on the fairness or accuracy of that assumption."

This is absolute hogwash from a recruiting perspective. A Bachelor's degree is a Bachelor's degree. Both are 4-year degrees, which is the important thing. Additionally, the requirements for a BS vs. BA vary from school to school. I've been in HR for Fortune 500 companies for almost 20 years and we have never made a hiring decision based on BA/BS.

Posted by: Your HR Rep | March 22, 2007 3:58 PM

I pretty much agree with you, Patrick, on the idea that undergraduate degrees, at least, aren't great preparation for the working world. But I do credit undergraduate degree with helping learn how to think things out and write them down. If you can do that, there are a lot of jobs out there for you, as long as you pick up some technical skills along the way (and you don't always need college for that).

Posted by: Emily | March 22, 2007 4:00 PM

Actually that is not true with the BA/BS argument. Some universities and colleges offer a BA in mathematics and it is exactly equivalent to the BS in mathematics. It is the subject matter of the Bachelors degree that is more or less marketable. Not whether it is a BA or BS.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 22, 2007 4:00 PM

if I ran into my 20 year old quarters drinking game playing self."

"pATRICK --

Do you mean that game where you walk over a cup and drop a quarter in (I won't say from where)?

How good were you?"


That was a variation I have heard of but never played, we generally hit it on the table into the cup. But yours sounds infinitely more interesting.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 22, 2007 4:01 PM

As a former BA student, I can testify that it gets you nowhere (career-wise) without grad school.

Now I love the fact that I was a history major, but without my MPA I wouldn't have a roof over my head.

Posted by: Seattle | March 22, 2007 4:04 PM

As a 25-year-old living in Italy, in the fourth of five years of law school, I don't understand the need to rush marriage and family into one's early 20's. Here, it's seen as highly unusual for a 22-year-old to be thinking about marriage and family, and rightly so: without the experience of living independently and making your own ends meet, how can you understand the value of work and of family? It's all a nice fantasy until you're graduated and facing the realities of adult responsibility. I'll gladly admit I'm too immature to be married or be a mother, without shame.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 4:05 PM

"Some universities and colleges offer a BA in mathematics and it is exactly equivalent to the BS in mathematics."

Foamgnome, I would like to know what schools you're referring to. I've never come across one, and in 20 years of checking references, I feel like I've hit them all, believe me! I've found that there's a slight difference which can range from a language requirement to more core courses in the chosen major to additional math and science electives.

Posted by: Your HR Rep | March 22, 2007 4:08 PM

atlmom wrote: "Catlady: I think that there is more than one way to get an education and college is not for everyone. Soon you'll need a degree just to get that job at burger king. Everyone can't have the same path in life. I makes for a pretty boring world."

I think you may have been referring to worker bee's comment at 3:31. Could you please check?

Posted by: catlady | March 22, 2007 4:08 PM

re"Anyone else bothered by this? Heaven forbid, a "brilliant girl" be a SAHM! Only dumb woman should be able to do that!"
Only dumb women SHOULD do that.

Posted by: anon | March 22, 2007 4:10 PM


On the B.A. versus B.S. issue --- this is very dependent on the college/university. Liberal arts colleges often call all their degrees B.A. degrees, and they can be quite serious degrees even in the sciences. In the sciences, university departments often offer both a B.S. and a B.A. degree, the B.S. being a degree fully preparatory to graduate work in the subject, and the B.A. degree being more of a second major/ dabbler/ liberal arts degree --- that is, substantial exposure, in between a minor and full grad school preparation, for someone going in a different direction after their degree (pre-med, pre-law, science writing, MBA, whatever). In this case the B.A. is clearly a lesser degree than the B.S., the only difference being lesser departmental requirements (distribution/language requirements being the same, usually set uniformly by the college for all undergrad arts and science degrees, though BBA's (business) and BSE's (engineering) often differ).

So, one can't make across the board claims --- the transcript is always a better indicator that the degree.

Posted by: KB | March 22, 2007 4:11 PM

Hi, Linda Hirschmann!!

Posted by: to Anon at 4:10 | March 22, 2007 4:11 PM

"Oh please, so I got a B.S. I also minored in history and English lit., took 5 years of French (jr. high and h.s.), 3 years of Latin (h.s.) and a year of classical Greek in college. I also scored 660 on my verbal SATs and ACT, as well as a 740 on my literature ACT. I earned a 5 on my AP English test. It got me out of freshman English in college and I was able to take more interesting classes right off the bat!"

And the point of your glowing recitation of achievements is ... ?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 4:11 PM

Hey- I have a BS in math *and* had a language requirement.

*and* I *could* have gotten a BA in math instead. There wasn't a huge difference in the two, but there was a difference.

Just sayin'

Posted by: atlmom | March 22, 2007 4:13 PM

Re BS vs. BA: My CSS offered Chemistry majors with both degrees. The difference? The BS required little in the way of humanities and social science coursework, incl. no foreign language and only a quarter of English Comp. Naturally those with weaker writing and language skills tended to flock to the BS program, while those with wider talents and interests chose the BA.

One of the hard realities of hiring is that employers (and grad schools) prefer candidates who can write well. So the BA often winds up being the preferable degree in the long run.

Posted by: catlady | March 22, 2007 4:14 PM

LikeKB pointed out some liberal arts colleges grant all their degrees BAs. Skidmore College is one of them that gives a BA in mathematics if you majored in mathematics. It is definitely equivalent to BS in mathematics at other schools.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 22, 2007 4:14 PM

"It got me out of freshman English in college and I was able to take more interesting classes right off the bat!"

You and thousands and thousands of others.

Look up humility in the dictionary; you ain't nothing special.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 4:15 PM

Matt

I am completely flabbergasted that a windbag like you could find a woman willing to mate with you, much last marry you.

Did your earning potential have anything to do with it?

The mind boggles!!!

Posted by: | March 22, 2007 03:56 PM

I am flabbergasted that you, in your brilliance, would even waste time commenting on Matt's submissions much less apparently reading them. After all, he does identify himself.

Posted by: to 3:56 pm | March 22, 2007 4:16 PM

KB -
And then there are those of us who earned BAs in some fields of engineering before it was deemed 'engineering' (it was called 'applied physics')...same degree at same school now is a BS... The degree name is a floating piece of flotsam in history.

Posted by: dotted | March 22, 2007 4:16 PM

Oh please, so I got a B.S. I also minored in history and English lit., took 5 years of French (jr. high and h.s.), 3 years of Latin (h.s.) and a year of classical Greek in college. I also scored 660 on my verbal SATs and ACT, as well as a 740 on my literature ACT. I earned a 5 on my AP English test. It got me out of freshman English in college and I was able to take more interesting classes right off the bat!

Posted by: | March 22, 2007 03:58 PM

psst. you and everyone else in D.C. can say this.

next?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 4:18 PM

One of the hard realities of hiring is that employers (and grad schools) prefer candidates who can write well. So the BA often winds up being the preferable degree in the long run.

Posted by: catlady | March 22, 2007 04:14 PM

In the long run, sure, but if you can't get the initial interview and your June 1st rent is due, the long run is not relevant.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 4:20 PM

to MomNC - but the poster mentioned "grandchildren" so I assumed she was planning on having kids and staying home with them. Regardless, though, why should it matter how smart someone is? Some couples are content to have the woman stay home and be a "housewife" and it shouldn't matter how smart/dumb anyone is. It's a personal choice.

(Granted, I've had a job since I was 14, but some people just aren't cut out for it, I guess...)

Posted by: dlm79 | March 22, 2007 4:20 PM

"I earned a 5 on my AP English test. It got me out of freshman English in college and I was able to take more interesting classes right off the bat! "

My school district was too poor to offer AP classes and I was so thrilled to be in college that I never "got out" of any classes.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 4:21 PM

FoamGnome,

Did you attend Skidmore?

Posted by: Mom-in-Chief | March 22, 2007 4:21 PM

(I hope you actually get to read this comment since you now have hundreds)

As a recent graduate, I can say that college women these days are getting really conflicting messages about what they should want. There is definitely a strong pressure to be successful, get ahead and get a career. But there is also a subtle pressure, especially from one's peers, to be successful in one's personal life, and that, for a lot of people, means get married and stay married. I also think there's somewhat of a backlash to hardcore feminism in that a lot of women *do* want the traditional life now, and aren't ashamed to say so.

Obviously not everybody can have both a great marriage and a great career, but we seem to be a generation that wants it all. It's too early to tell what the implications of that are. Will we be figure out how to have it all or be perpetually frustrated? Either way, although I think it's significant that the Georgetown women surveyed in this article want both career and family, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. They'll figure it out eventually.

Posted by: GW 06 | March 22, 2007 4:24 PM

Blown away? If asked a question, I would offer my opinion. I don't think college students think any more about the realities of work-life balance today than they did back in 97', 87', or 77'. Students are aware of the issues and are able to offer their opinions.

Posted by: J | March 22, 2007 4:26 PM

Anonymous at 4:20 wrote: "In the long run, sure, but if you can't get the initial interview and your June 1st rent is due, the long run is not relevant."

Actually, that IS the relevance. I was comparing job-applicants with the SAME major -- some with a BA, others with a BS. HR will generally prefer the candidate with better communication skills, which are likeliery to have been polished in a BA degree program where more humanities and social science courses are required -- especially when those with weaker communication skills in the first place will tend to avoid such courses in college.

Posted by: catlady | March 22, 2007 4:26 PM

"likeliery" -- oops! Meant "likelier" (before the troll pounces again).

Posted by: catlady | March 22, 2007 4:28 PM

catlady

"HR will generally prefer the candidate with better communication skills, which are likeliery to have been polished in a BA degree program where more humanities and social science courses are required -- especially when those with weaker communication skills in the first place will tend to avoid such courses in college."

Likeliery?
Is this the polish you are referring to?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 4:28 PM

"Oh please, so I got a B.S. I also minored in history and English lit., took 5 years of French (jr. high and h.s.), 3 years of Latin (h.s.) and a year of classical Greek in college. I also scored 660 on my verbal SATs and ACT, as well as a 740 on my literature ACT. I earned a 5 on my AP English test."

This reminded me of a broker I once tried to train. Smart, but absolutely useless in our business setting. Couldn't get a client to buy water from them if they were dying of thirst. Not to denigrate you too much but besides ordering a coffee in france and having something to talk about a cocktail party, what good is all that in the real world?

Posted by: pATRICK | March 22, 2007 4:28 PM

Why catlady, I believe you are correct. Sorry about that.

Posted by: atlmom | March 22, 2007 4:30 PM

re"Anyone else bothered by this? Heaven forbid, a "brilliant girl" be a SAHM! Only dumb woman should be able to do that!"
Only dumb women SHOULD do that.

Posted by: anon | March 22, 2007 04:10 PM

Its o.k. if you think I'm dumb. I have 8 exquisitely happy kids munching on apples and playing on the playset in my backyard embracing Spring time. So I may be dumb, but my kids and I couldn't be happier.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 22, 2007 4:30 PM

To anonymous at 04:28 PM:

I KNEW you'd dismiss a sound argument over a single typo, because otherwise you'd have nothing to attack.

Posted by: catlady | March 22, 2007 4:32 PM

To atlmom: I was sure it was just a tiny oversight. No harm, no foul :-)

Posted by: catlady | March 22, 2007 4:33 PM

By the way - all 8 aren't mine. I've only got two. The rest are neighbors.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 22, 2007 4:33 PM

By the way - all 8 aren't mine. I've only got two. The rest are neighbors.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 22, 2007 04:33 PM

moxiemom, I did pause to wonder whether your past comments indicated you were raising your very own basketball team :>)

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 22, 2007 4:34 PM

Oh, moxiemom: You're always setting the bar lower for us ;-)

Posted by: catlady | March 22, 2007 4:35 PM

moxiemom, I did pause to wonder whether your past comments indicated you were raising your very own basketball team :>)

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 22, 2007 04:34 PM

Yikes, no. The beauty is that they will all leave in an hour to be cleaned and fed by another. I would have to hang at the On Parenting blog if that were true. Again, so glad you didn't disappear.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 22, 2007 4:35 PM

"I KNEW you'd dismiss a sound argument over a single typo, because otherwise you'd have nothing to attack."

You are right, typo attacks are the white flag of intellectual surrender. I think a gong should go off on after a typo attack. Kind of like they did on THE GONG SHOW.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 22, 2007 4:36 PM

To Megan's Neighbor: Whaddya mean, moxiemom's "very own basketball team"? If she joined them she could field a baseball or softball team!

Posted by: catlady | March 22, 2007 4:36 PM

"I also scored 660 on my verbal SATs and ACT, as well as a 740 on my literature ACT"

Isn't the ACT scored out of 36?

Posted by: Megan | March 22, 2007 4:37 PM

"I KNEW you'd dismiss a sound argument over a single typo, because otherwise you'd have nothing to attack."

You are right, typo attacks are the white flag of intellectual surrender. I think a gong should go off on after a typo attack. Kind of like they did on THE GONG SHOW."


Of course I just HAD to have a typo...RATS!

Posted by: pATRICK | March 22, 2007 4:38 PM

Thank you, pATRICK -- and please notice how attentively I typed YOUR name :-)

Posted by: catlady | March 22, 2007 4:38 PM

Megan's neighbor - I have been drinking and playing games for a long time now. I was particularly good at quarters and loved seeking revenge on guys that thought they ruled the game. My best friend in college had the face of an angel and could chug a beer in less than a second. We used to bait guys at bars to challenge her to chugging contests - she won every time. It was more of a competitive thing then a drinking thing - if you can believe that. ;)

Posted by: CMAC | March 22, 2007 4:40 PM

""Oh please, so I got a B.S. I also minored in history and English lit., took 5 years of French (jr. high and h.s.), 3 years of Latin (h.s.) and a year of classical Greek in college. I also scored 660 on my verbal SATs and ACT, as well as a 740 on my literature ACT. I earned a 5 on my AP English test."

Patrick, these are not my credentials, but they are very similar. Without intending to brag, these skills have done me a huge amount of good in the real world. I had a job that required some international travel, and it was sometimes nice to schmooze with clients in their own languages. They always appreciated the effort, and it gave us something in common. Also, being able to think and write critically is key to most jobs. Knowing something about the humanities makes you a more interesting person, both to other people and to yourself. My English degree and the literature I was exposed to (as well as other courses I took) have provided me with the foundation for much enjoyment in these areas even after college. The key to an education in the humanities is to learn how to think critically. You can apply those skills anywhere.

Posted by: Emily | March 22, 2007 4:42 PM

"typo attacks are the white flag of intellectual surrender"

So true, pATRICK, and a nice turn of phrase at that.

Posted by: Megan | March 22, 2007 4:42 PM

cmac- you rock and rule....

Posted by: dotted | March 22, 2007 4:43 PM

What Emily said.

Posted by: catlady | March 22, 2007 4:43 PM

I went to a large univ where I had to take social sciences and humanities for my bs in math. And language.
And all majors were required to take some sort of writing course in jr or sr year related to one's major-but since I didn't at the time see myself going to grad school I opted to take the business writing rather than the sci writing class. Had to get permission for that, but it was doable.

Posted by: atlmom | March 22, 2007 4:44 PM

Well, EMILY I stand corrected. Probably similar to the poli-sci thesis I wrote on the impact of soviet communism on private farm production and its political implications on foreign affairs. I enjoyed that for the critical thinking and far ranging ideas I had to incorporate. Yet it would bore the average person to commit hari-kari.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 22, 2007 4:46 PM

"typo attacks are the white flag of intellectual surrender"

Very wise words, Patrick. (sorry, it is too much trouble to do the uppercase/lowercase thing). I know you'll forgive me.

Posted by: Emily | March 22, 2007 4:47 PM

Patick, I'm not saying it was all interesting. But it obviously did teach you how to think, as you are no intellectual slacker. :)

Posted by: Emily | March 22, 2007 4:49 PM


Dotted,

That reminds me of a statement I once read --- I think in a biographical snippet on Donald Knuth, or another of the early CS eminents --- about the emergence of computer science as a discipline. This person said, that before then, there were all these people spread across many disciplines who thought just a bit differently, who didn't quite fit in, who were fascinated by process and algorithm and meta-problem solving (that is, not so much by actually solving their discipline's problems, but by the process of systematizing ways to solve the problems. . .) Then suddenly computer science emerged and they found an intellectual home, nomads drawn from math, physics, engineering, all coalescing to their true calling . . . That image always struck me, maybe because theoretical CS is my DH's intellectual home, and I have a good feel for the different emphasis --- for example in our house he's focused on discrete math, and I on continuous; he's a theorem/proof guy, and I'm not. Me, I'm still a bit nostalgic for a few centuries back, when physics was natural philosophy, and the whole vista of physics and mathematics spread equal-opportunity before you . . . (not to mention many of those guys taking a few years to engineer --- how to better aim cannon balls or better irrigate a countryside . . ) But then, so few people actually got to do academics then, they needed to be born male and favored by a princely sponsor . . .

>And then there are those of us who earned BAs in >some fields of engineering before it was deemed >'engineering' (it was called 'applied >physics')...

Posted by: KB | March 22, 2007 4:50 PM

Oh, dear, pATRICK. Now I'm really starting to worry about myself, because I think your Poli. Sci. thesis sounds interesting.

Posted by: catlady | March 22, 2007 4:51 PM

Animail House was based on Chris Miller's experience in his fraternity at Dartmouth. He was one of the guys who wrote the screenplay along with Herold Ramis and Doug Kennedy (one of the founders of National Lampoon).

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 4:55 PM

"Oh, dear, pATRICK. Now I'm really starting to worry about myself, because I think your Poli. Sci. thesis sounds interesting."

Make yourself a rum and coke and go lie down, the feeling will pass......

Posted by: pATRICK | March 22, 2007 4:56 PM

"Oh, dear, pATRICK. Now I'm really starting to worry about myself, because I think your Poli. Sci. thesis sounds interesting."

Make yourself a rum and coke and go lie down, the feeling will pass......

Posted by: pATRICK | March 22, 2007 4:56 PM

"Obviously not everybody can have both a great marriage and a great career, but we seem to be a generation that wants it all. It's too early to tell what the implications of that are."

Not really.

The two generations ahead of you also wanted it all. Lessons can be learned. You guys aren't blazing any trails.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 5:00 PM

kb....ah, Knuth...I remember volume 1 (art of computer programming) and volume 3 (sorting and searching) well....

I was process and meta-programming back in the day.

ironic, how the coalescence into computer science became the dissolution into computer science and computer engineering, with various permutations.

Posted by: dotted | March 22, 2007 5:02 PM

pATRICK wrote: "Make yourself a rum and coke and go lie down, the feeling will pass......"

Maybe a nice mug of hot chocolate, with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

Posted by: catlady | March 22, 2007 5:03 PM

This just in, ANS's autopsy will be released this comming Monday!

thought that you would like to know!

Posted by: important news flash | March 22, 2007 5:05 PM

"Yet it would bore the average person to commit hari-kari."

Not a very intellectual sentence, pATRICK. Perhaps you're flying your white flag today?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 5:07 PM

I took 7 years of Spanish (jr. high and h.s.), 3 years of Latin (h.s.). I also scored 740 on my verbal SATs, 660 on my math SATs, and earned a 5 on my AP English test.

*sticks out tongue and says, "na - na- na - nah - nah*

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 5:07 PM

This just in, ANS's autopsy will be released this comming Monday!

thought that you would like to know!

Posted by: important news flash | March 22, 2007 05:05 PM


Is she still dead (like Franco)?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 5:07 PM

"Maybe a nice mug of hot chocolate, with a dollop of whipped cream on top."

And a shot of good irish whiskey!

pATRICK, I had the same type of comment for law review in law school - when I told people what I was writing about they looked at me in horror, assuming I had been conned into the topic by some evil professor, but it was my own and I loved it.

Posted by: Megan | March 22, 2007 5:08 PM

We can only HOPE so!

Posted by: important news flash | March 22, 2007 5:09 PM

"Yet it would bore the average person to commit hari-kari."

Not a very intellectual sentence, pATRICK. Perhaps you're flying your white flag today?

Posted by: | March 22, 2007 05:07 PM


Maybe you'd rather he'd said seppuku?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 5:10 PM

I didn't actually go to Yale. I just thought signing that way would inspire extra hostility. It is fun to play with you people sometimes.

Posted by: Yale '98 | March 22, 2007 5:12 PM

You play with yourself instead. I bet it would be even more fun, fake yalie!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 5:15 PM

Ehhhh, I am not a real human being, but AI. I love to fool all of you people.

Posted by: important news flash | March 22, 2007 5:15 PM

I am not a real newspaper man but I played one on TV.

Posted by: Guess Who? | March 22, 2007 5:17 PM

We seem to have strayed a bit, but I just got home from work and would like to respond to Brian's original comment. This survey finding does not surprise me one bit.

I taught at Georgetown during the 2004-2005 academic year, on detail from the U.S. State Department. Along with my professorial duties, I also had recruitment and mentoring responsibilities. A year's worth of Seniors flowed through my office, interested in career prospects as a diplomat, or curious about the day-to-day work after having received a job offer from State.

Without exception, every single female student who sought me out for career advice was full of questions about family life and spousal employment opportunities, in addition to the regular questions any prospecitve employee would ask. Of all the men who came to see me, not one asked a question in this category (not even those in committed relationships), though they were full of queries about the nature of the work itself and prospects for advancement.

My husband, myself, a male colleague, and his wife did a special program for interested students on career options for diplomatic spouses. All attendees were female save one -- he was engaged to a woman who had already been accepted into the Foreign Service and wanted to know what he was in for.

It was shocking to me. Across the board, only the female students (regardless of their current relationship status or career prospects) thought to consider the long term family implications of the career choices they were considering as they prepared to enter the working world.

This must reflect some fundamental difference in where the sexes are in their thinking about long term planning at this developmental stage.

Posted by: diplocat | March 22, 2007 5:20 PM

diplocat, Do you think this had anything to do with the fact that such careers oftne involve foreign postings? It seems like it's harder to balance career & family when there's no nearby network of relatives & friend for backup.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 5:25 PM

Hey Numbers! Where are you? We need a count today!

Posted by: the original anon | March 22, 2007 5:25 PM

It was shocking to me. Across the board, only the female students (regardless of their current relationship status or career prospects) thought to consider the long term family implications of the career choices they were considering as they prepared to enter the working world.

This must reflect some fundamental difference in where the sexes are in their thinking about long term planning at this developmental stage.


Posted by: diplocat | March 22, 2007 05:20 PM

The only fundamental difference this reflects is that men know better than to discuss these concerns in an interview or professional environment. Young men do not disclose their personal priorities to work or professional contacts.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 5:30 PM

knew a girl in high school that had the next 5 or 6 years of her life planned out. she thought i was beneath noticing because i didn't. step 1 of her plan was to go to william & mary. she did not get accepted into w&m. i always wonder what happened to her after hs. did she ever recover from not getting into w&m? the problem with plans is that life happens. sometimes a plan is good because it gives a direction & sometimes it can be bad if the plan falls apart & that is what you were relying on.
when i was in college (1982) i figured i work because there was so much i wanted to do. quitting work wasn't something i even thought about. now, i'd quit in a heart beat.

Posted by: quark | March 22, 2007 5:32 PM

332

Posted by: Numbers | March 22, 2007 5:32 PM

A plan is not much of a plan if it doesn't allow for contingencies.

To say that no plan is better than a limited one, though, is to let other people and circumstances control your destiny.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 5:47 PM

Numbers,

Apprecite it. Do you have a breakdown by posters?

Posted by: the original anon | March 22, 2007 5:50 PM

I think most of our posters are already pretty well broken-down.

Posted by: Numbers | March 22, 2007 5:51 PM

I graduate in '03 and definitely thought about balancing kids and work before I graduated. Sure, if someone was looking for advice they shouldn't have asked me then or now, since I don't have any children. But I think that certain people such as myself like to think through the future, even if there are no definite plans made. Maybe it has something to do with how young women are socialized now? My friends and I certainly had this conversation over pizza late at night.

Posted by: Al | March 22, 2007 5:53 PM

Emily - 8
Foam - 7

Who else do you need?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 6:22 PM

I am currently a student at George Washington University in Washington. I think that this issue is a part of a larger debate happening on college campuses at the moment. There has been much discussion in college newspapers at my school and others as to whether relationships with men (both during and after college) and with future children will be restrictive upon the careers of women after they leave universities and get jobs. This has very obvious effects at the present, with less women (at least at GW) willing to enter into prolonged relationships. I think that there is also an idea that both people in a marriage must equally bear the time burden of raising a child. So essentially, yes, the issue of work-life balance arises, but part of the reason that it does so often may just be the type A nature of my fellow classmates.

Posted by: Eric | March 22, 2007 6:43 PM

This has very obvious effects at the present, with less women

FEWER!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 22, 2007 7:13 PM

Hey New PhD:
There is no good time to have kids. Grad school is great because it is flexible, but AWFUL because you have no status, no rights, and no money.
There are many people who will think less of your potential and commitment whenever you have them - some of these people may be important to your future (i.e. your chair, your committee, potential coworkers.)
If you are looking for a "first tier" academic job, there's no such thing as part time in graduate school - kid or not. You may take longer to finish if you have a baby while in school, but don't EVER tell a professor you are "part time."

As for having that baby: People do it. I did it. You do what's best for you. You either interfere with graduation or interfere with tenure.
Most of the women I know who got pregnant during the PhD dropped out.
Most of the men did just fine with the "balance."
Sorry to be such a downer. You can have kids in school, but don't think it will be costless to your academic potential.

Posted by: me | March 22, 2007 8:06 PM

i have a friend who was working on the dissertation, her advisor paid her for 12 weeks leave, and she took it (cause she was working in the lab and actually had a job - even if her pay was terrible cause she was a grad student).
So it can be done - it just partially depends on your funding and your advisor, etc.
She just had kid #2, actually, and is still a post doc, but has been offered a full time faculty position (this is a different school that where she got phD).
She has to work during the next 12 weeks when she's going to be 'off' cause getting this position is partially dependent on getting her visa changed - and so she has to do all sorts of work on that at the moment, but otherwise, I think she'd actually have the time off.

Posted by: atlmom | March 22, 2007 9:05 PM

Yes, I went to Skidmore.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 23, 2007 10:04 AM

I'm one of the many over-25 students at Mason and I can say that the college kids I'm surrounded by are very aware of of work-life balance issues. Indeed, the friends I have in medical school and residency are gravitating to specialties that have relatively normal work hours, like radiology.

In particular, I've noticed that pretty much every 20-something guy I know is eager and willing to be a house-husband if the opportunity presents itself. I think they have fantasies of being able to play video games all day with the kids while their breadwinner wives slave away at the office.

Posted by: Foreoki12 | March 23, 2007 1:19 PM

I hate to point out the obvious from that article, but they surveyed women. I finished undergrad in '04. In college and now, when we are all young and starting out in our careers, my friends and I often fret over our career paths and the choices we need to make. It pains me that, while the topic of balancing work and children/family is common when I'm with a group of female friends, it doesn't come up when I'm with my guy friends. It's just not something they worry about as they plan out their career path.

Posted by: 20-something | March 23, 2007 3:21 PM

I said:

"As for being in college--I thought long and hard about the fact that I had no intentions of being financially dependent upon someone else. I earned a B.S. rather than a B.A. because of it. That was in the late 80's. My elder child feels the same way."

You said:

Don't quite follow the logic here.

You decided, after long and hard thought, to get a lesser degree in order to make sure you'd never be financially dependent on someone else?

Posted by: | March 22, 2007 03:08 PM

I said:

Oh please, so I got a B.S. I also minored in history and English lit., took 5 years of French (jr. high and h.s.), 3 years of Latin (h.s.) and a year of classical Greek in college. I also scored 660 on my verbal SATs and ACT, as well as a 740 on my literature ACT. I earned a 5 on my AP English test. It got me out of freshman English in college and I was able to take more interesting classes right off the bat!

I simply found science more challenging and therefore more interesting. I simply loved the labs. Nothing like seeing how things work, or don't!


Posted by: | March 22, 2007 03:58 PM

Why? Because I wasn't running down a degree in the humanities nor was I implying that it was of lesser value. I was trying to point out that not everyone who gets a B.S. is incapable of writing. All the jokes notwithstanding.

I still feel that everyone should take physics and I wish that Latin were still available in the public high schools. I was lucky to go to one that offered it.

Posted by: Trawling for trolls | March 26, 2007 8:13 AM

Hi, I only just now read this column, but I thought I would still chime as a female college sophomore (at a women's college) that college students and young people (even in high school) are definitely aware of the issue of work-home balance and trying to make decisions about it early on. It's hard to avoid, from issues of Time and Newsweek focusing on it, to seeing our own parents and friends' parents dealing with the issue. The women (and men) I know have a range of answers-- from putting aside having children in deference to a career, to hoping for an at-home job to close the boundary of work-home/private-public; from those who want to be traditional homemakers to those who want to split the time at home with their husband, wife, or partner.

I'm still a little unsure myself, as I don't like the idea of having kids at an older age (I'd want my first kid before 28, ideally), but I also want to go into law and be able to rise in my field without an awkward 2-year haitus of having a child.

So I don't know what we will all do, but we are definitely thinking about it.

Posted by: College Woman with Ambitions | March 26, 2007 10:47 AM

With one year left in college not a day goes by, that I don't ponder and plan the 10, 20, 30 years of my life. I may not have anything set in stone, but it is hard avoiding the subject. I want to be a successful woman, but then see how some women are criticized for not spending time with their children. What I do know is that the time I have right now I am using to study hard and see the world.

Posted by: Jen | March 26, 2007 4:18 PM

Yes, we are all painfully aware of this issue. There probably isn't a week that goes by when I don't hear talk of marriage and life plans and career choices. I'm sure many of us are overthinking things, but we all understand that we're about to make some very important choices. Right now, most of us don't even know for sure that we're going to get married, and yet we are being asked to make choices that could have an enormous impact on our future families.

Posted by: In College | March 30, 2007 2:48 AM

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