How to pick a husband if you want to have kids

You cannot pick a husband to have kids with until you know if you want to work full-time while you are raising them. Some women will say they know for sure that they do want to work full-time. Most women will say that they don’t know for sure. But there are actually only two choices: be a breadwinner or marry a breadwinner. Then, within those two choices, there are a few strategies you can use.

Scenario 1: Be a Breadwinner

If you want to work full-time when you have kids then you had better plan on having a huge job that you love. Because nothing else will seem worth it to put yourself and your family through what they will have to go through.

If you are on the fence about this, here’s a good way to get off the fence: if you’re not an INTJ or an ENTJ you probably won’t be able to compartmentalize enough at work to choose this scenario. You will feel bad about not being with your kids. You cannot control this. It’s how women are wired. I’m sorry. INTJ is the most uncommon score for a woman. ENTJ is the second most uncommon. You can look around at all the big job, high-powered women and see that almost all of them have one of these scores. Sometimes an ENFJ slips in, but they are tortured and don’t last. The F kills them. They feel bad that they are not fulfilling their duty as parents. It’s not peer pressure, it’s internal pressure. It’s how an ENFJ is wired.

Breadwinner option 1: Marry a stay-at-home dad. Let’s say you’re sure you want a big job while you have kids. The first thing is that you will need a stay-at-home husband. The reason for this is if you leave your kids every day for a full-time job, it’s because you love work. And if you love work, you will want to keep advancing. High-powered jobs leave little time for kids. And people who advance past the age of 35 have a stay-at-home spouse supporting them. If you have kids, the top-tier jobs in the business world are two-people jobs. People who have kids and a stay-at-home spouse advance at a much, much higher rate than people who don’t.

Breadwinner option 2: Nannies. If you don’t have a stay-at-home spouse and you want to advance past age 35, you will need round-the-clock nannies. Women who have kids and a big job and no stay-at-home husband have two nannies, and a household staff, because you need to be covered every second of every day because you don’t know what work will need. (Remember: this is from day one of having kids.) And if you don’t have a spouse who is tied to home then you can’t risk having to leave when your spouse isn’t there.

OK. So your choices are would you rather work and have two nannies or work and have a husband at home? There is no right answer, but you need to decide that when you are picking a husband.

How to pick a husband who will coexist with a breadwinner and nannies. If you are picking the two-nanny route, you will need to find a husband who earns more than you. Statistically your marriage is high risk if you and your husband are both in the workforce and you earn more than him because surveys show that you will resent him. This is not logical, or social, it is primal. Statistically, you will marry a guy who does not make as much as you and then you will have kids and get a divorce. Because women hate the feeling of out-earning their husbands.

To be clear: there is no scenario where you have a big job but do not work long hours. That does not happen. There are not those jobs in this world. And that is fair: why should you get a big important job and be home all evening for your kids when everyone else has to work twelve-hour days to have big important jobs? You give something up to get something. Always.

How to pick a stay-at-home dad. If you want a stay-at-home dad type to complement your big job, pick a guy who has an F in his Myers Briggs score, which makes him most likely to be fulfilled taking care of kids.(But stay away from ENFPs—they’re too flighty.) And, bonus: these guys probably weren’t going to make a lot of money anyway, so it’s good for them to be with a breadwinner.

Scenario 2: Be Home with Your Kids

If you want to be home with your kids, you’re going to need a solid plan to make that happen. Pew Research finds that about 60% of all working women with kids want to work part-time and be home with their kids part-time. (Note that Maclean’s magazine reports that women with kids who work part-time are the happiest in the world.) Gallup reports that about 40% of women don’t want to work at all. (Note that this leaves a statistically irrelevant number of women who have kids and want to work full-time.)

Home with Kids Option 1: Work part-time. Let’s assume you want to work part-time, since this is the more complicated of the two scenarios. The problem with this scenario is that part-time jobs don’t offer advancement or a lot of money, so you need to be with a guy who will work full-time.

Don’t tell me that you want your husband to work part-time, because aiming for the impossible 50/50 split leads to divorce. First, because it’s the road to eternal poverty; part-time jobs are low pay, without advancement, and they are the first to go when it’s time to cut jobs. So you create massive financial instability by having two people work part-time. Also, parents who do this say it’s total chaos, and in a 50/50 split the women always end up doing way more.

Home with Kids Option 2: Don’t bother with earning money. If the guy is working full-time, then he is not going to do all the parenting stuff. You are. So you are working part-time and you are a full-time parent. You will have to work hard to not get resentful about this. And really, who could blame you? The best antidote for this resentment is money. If the guy makes a lot of money you can hire people to help you and then you don’t have to be upset that the guy is not helping you.

Or not. Or you can just let the guy go to his job, which, you will certainly know, is way easier than taking care of kids, because every job in the whole world is easier than taking care of kids, and you will be home doing everything else. Maybe you will have a part-time job, but that will not be the focus of your energy because the stuff at home is way harder than your part-time job. Your part-time job will be a break from the hard stuff. So pick a guy who will earn enough to ensure that you are not pissed.

Also, pick a guy who will earn enough so that you don’t have to work. Because statistically speaking, you will not want a full-time job, and you definitely won’t want a job where you have to earn six figures, because that’s way more than full-time.

How to find a husband who is a breadwinner. The first thing to be aware of is that everyone looks like a breadwinner in their twenties. Because most salaries are going up up up because there is nowhere to go but up when you start at entry level. And most people can get jobs pretty easily when their salary is not very high. But at some point, the salary gets high enough that you have to actually be good at what you do to continue getting jobs at that salary. Then some people start getting stuck and they have to rethink what they thought they could accomplish.

Other people simply cannot move up. They are as far up as they will go. This happens to most people around age 30. Definitely by 35. So the best thing to do is to assume anyone over 30 is making as much as they will make in their life. This is playing it safe, but better safe than sorry, right? (By age 40 almost no one’s salary increases.)

A capable breadwinner—someone who does not require a second earner to support a household—usually does not have an F in their Myers Briggs score. I’m sorry to burst a lot of bubbles here. Not that there aren’t exceptions, but marriage is a big deal, so statistics matter. If you are marrying an F and you want to stay home with kids, make sure the F is earning enough to support a family when you marry him. Otherwise it’s not likely he will earn that much.

If you are marrying young, which I recommend, then you’re playing the odds. And here are the types that are the most likely to be high earning: ENTJ, INTJ, ENTP, ESTP, ENFJ, ESTJ, ISTJ, ISTP.

Scenario 3: Denial (Don’t do this.)

There will be people who say you can’t choose who you fall in love with. This is a lie, of course. There are a million people you could fall in love with. If one is impractical, just go find another.

There will be people who say they don’t know what they want until they see who they marry. This means you are not an ENTJ or an INTJ so the odds are you do not want a huge job and you are in scenario two.

Most people just will not like these choices. Nothing here is good. It’s reality, and of course it’s not as good as fantasy. The only good, real thing is that you have choices, and you can figure out who you are and what you need and you can get what you need.

The only thing worse than the choices I’ve just laid out is not making a choice. You are pretending that you do not control your life by choosing who you marry, and you will end up marrying someone without having a plan for what to do with that person. If that’s your choice, then you’re leaving your life up to chance. And every life has too much potential for that.

244 replies
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  1. katie
    katie says:

    You are unhealthfully obsessed with averages. The the is, if something is good for even 90% of people, there’s still 10% it’s bad for. Or different for. I’m pretty sure I’m INTJ, and I’m a stay at home homeschooling mom. Sometimes it seems like too much of a sacrifice, but I adore my kids, and my husband is the best thing ever… so we’re weird. But hey, it works. I could totally kick the world’s butt, but I’m up this late because I’m so upset at myself for not doing more. Oh well. The kids will be great. :)

    You need to get de-obsessed with numbers. ;) And this is coming from a math freak.

    • Charlie
      Charlie says:

      Hi Katie:

      I give you a lot of credit home schooling your kids. That sounds very exhausting. Do you do it because you are not happy with your public school system?


    • beth
      beth says:

      The post makes total sense to me!! I love it. Any reader of this blog should know that the opinions are blunt and straightfoward. Thats her style. Besides, using statistics and averages help make a point and are great guidelines for seeing patterns – especially where others cannot. You have to take it with a grain of salt – b/c yes there are always execptions to the norm. But for 90% of the people I bet these patterns and predictions ring true :)

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Katie, I hear that you think statistics are not useful in this arena. But ironically they would have been predictive for you — you have chosen what is statistically most average for women to choose if they could choose anything: marry a guy who makes enough money so you have the choice to stay home with kids and not earn money.


    • AHLondon
      AHLondon says:

      I tend to agree that P is too focused on the personality tests, but some people like to see some sort of statistical evidence. Regardless, she’s spot on about all of this, save maybe the nanny bit. For full time nanny coverage, you might need three nannies. Two, definitely, but depending on the hours they are willing to work, their holidays, etc. two might not be enough, especially if you have more than two children. (Four kids in five years, housewife with traveling husband, used to live away from family, had two brilliant Italian nannies who tandem worked well with me and children but did not want more than 30 hours a week—to have worked I would have needed three nannies.)

    • Rea
      Rea says:

      As another INTJ who plans on homeschooling her kids, I think it’s pretty spot on. My husband is an ENTP and is basically a work-a-holic. I’m giving up in really asking him to help with the kids too much because it’s boring with him. It’s more worth my while to cross my fingers and hope he gets a promotion or a higher paying job so we can afford an au pair and then we won’t fight about childcare anymore, I’ll get more of a break, and maybe have some time to do some part-time “work” (things I’d rather do than take care of kids). I hate hearing how uncommon being an INTJ female is though. It depresses me. I need to find more of them who are parents and homeschooling so I don’t feel like such a weirdo!

    • Valerie
      Valerie says:

      For an INTJ you are not very good at reading. She just says that if you want to pursue the career path then it would be good if you are an INTJ. This does not imply that if you are an INTJ it would be good if you pursue the career option. I am sorry if your math degree did not include a class in logic, but if it did you will understand what I mean when I say that you have changed an A -> B into an A B.

  2. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    Huh…is *that* why I have a hard time relating to other women and thus have so few friends and am going nuts staying at home? (am an INTJ). Ugh.

    • AB
      AB says:

      Don’t marry an INTP if you want kids, that is. I’m an INTP and happily married to an EN something – I forgot the rest of his Myers-Briggs.

      We’ve been together for 20 years, don’t have kids, and both earn 6-figure salaries, which would make it easy to separate if we wanted. We are happy together, but I can definitely see things getting ugly if we had wanted kids!

      • Hope
        Hope says:

        I am happily married to an INTP man who wanted kids from day one. We have four of them so far. I am an ISFJ if it makes a difference. I used to put a lot of weight into these personality test type things until they didn’t work out in real life the way they do on paper.

  3. Maia
    Maia says:

    A very practical approach to finding a husband, instead of the usual soul-mate stuff, but I think you’re right. If the practicals don’t match, then you’ll be resentful and unhappy, leading to a failed marriage. Now how do I discreetly find out what type my date is? Do I need to have a Myers-Briggs test ready at every date :-)

    • TomG
      TomG says:

      This is a great article, but especially for M-B fans. (as an xNTP glad to marry an ENTx who’s enough J to keep me paying bills on time. Unfortunately stable salary for 10 years.)

      On your date, ask if they are clean desk or messy desk people (J or P). Ask about reading books or going out partying, and see if you can go with them to a party — does a group party energize them? (E) or do they really prefer being alone with you (I; or just alone…) and the group party tires them out.

      Abstract (N) or Concrete (S) is discovered by talking about Big Things, in the Abstract (N). Or not; and therefore more specific, concrete. (S)

      How do they make decisions? Based on Feelings? Or cold logically Thoughts? (F or T).
      Is it worse to be merciless or unjust? (F or T) Ask them.

      There are no right or wrong answers, just truth (or lies!).

    • erinn
      erinn says:

      i am also a lesbian who wants kids–so it’s a good thing that you don’t have to have a husband to achieve this dream!!!

      i am an INFP litigator, currently single, and i intend to start working towards my family this coming summer.

      • Andrea
        Andrea says:

        INTP…just as dreamy and delusional as Penelope says. And I’m even going to grad school, which probably makes me doubly undateable. But at least it’s in Speech Language Pathology.

        • Stefanie
          Stefanie says:

          I’m an INTP and yes, dreamy and delusional. But where does Penelope say so? I love reading stuff that helps me further define the boundaries of the rut I dig for myself.

        • Brian
          Brian says:

          I am an INTP and I support my two girls and my wife on my government job I got after retiring from the military. I’ve had to overcome a lot though, it took me until 39 to marry and mid-40’s to start with the children but it can be done.

  4. Channa
    Channa says:

    This all seems a bit overly dramatic. Surely a couple of schoolteachers, or landscape architects, or medical coders or office workers or pool managers could marry each other and spend a few years trading off daycare pickup at 5:30, get a little help from grandma and raise a perfectly normal family. Most people I know don’t take the engineered perfection of their lives quite so seriously. (Although full disclosure – I do.)

    • kokoesquire
      kokoesquire says:

      Its not overly dramatic.

      Funny how we get so caught up in drama that we cant recognize truth.

      I am a mom. ESFP
      With law degree from top law school. Balls to the wall…I wanna be home w/my kid and work part-time. I wish I read this post back in 1998 when I took my first myers briggs test.

  5. Channa
    Channa says:

    Oh and you need to do one for men now too. Most want to reproduce and they can’t all make 6 figures.

  6. Henne
    Henne says:

    Good practical advice.
    But of course, with the best-laid plans, life could still throw you a curveball. We cannot control everything.
    But then again, having a plan to begin with does help!

  7. Bjorn
    Bjorn says:

    Do you resent the farmer and think that the relationship will not last because you make more money than him?

  8. KG
    KG says:

    I am an ISTJ and I love this post. I think Gen Y women are in denial about the fact that they will have a strong biological drive to be with their kids once they become mothers.

  9. Pj
    Pj says:

    Champion of misogyny! Oh, should I say “championess”? Would you emotive feminazi be mad if I simply said “champion” I regret to say that I am not such a wimp as you to comply!

  10. Pj
    Pj says:

    Jung is turning over in his grave by now, that this string of “practicality” sung by people who are intelligent as led by a blogger in abbreviated typology of letters to imply solidified sexist rationalization totally nowhere near empirical sensibility. Yes, he is turning like a hotdog in a gas station hell. And all of you should be ashamed of yourselves for being dimwitted with your levels of intellect I know you possess, of as deep of minds as this post is hollow. Please, if this blogger surely does not enjoy her job as to spew and take pride in the muck, then she should consider stopping and finding enjoyment in something she will enjoy. It does not bode well to engage your life’s talents in mud.

  11. Jim
    Jim says:

    I keep being confused. I’m INFP. Yet I’m also a high achiever and am not satisfied unless I’m doing something big and seeing it move forward toward success. Which seems so not INFP. You read about INFPs at work and I just don’t see myself, at least not in terms of the results I get. I do see myself in terms of how I relate to people at work day to day. Is there some other vector, some other personality model, that might help round out the picture and explain how this can be?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      That’s a good idea to do one for men. Here’s a quick primer on INFP men. You are a high achiever, yes, but you are motivated but doing good and being meaningful. Which means you’re not motivated by money and power, so you should marry a breadwinner.

      This site says your best match is and ENFJ because they will understand your emotional side so well, and that’s your primary motivation.

      So, marry an ENFJ who likes the two nanny option because you won’t care that she’s making a lot more money than you, and she will appreciate that the work you do — while not lucrative – is meaningful and interesting.

      It would be difficult for you guys to leave the kids with nannies, but not impossible. And really, every marriage is difficult.

      I want to add, though that an INFP is a great great parent. And one of the hardest things for men is that some men are born to be stay-at-home parents, but no one raises a son to be a stay-at-home dad. Society doesn’t encourage it. Society tells men to “do something great” which, of course, does not mean taking care of kids. So what should men — many are INFPs — do when that is that is the role that would fell most fulfilling? Maybe you have an answer for this??


      • Jim
        Jim says:

        The INFP always needs to follow his heart, and if his heart is at home with his kids, then so be it. He will weather the funny looks from society because he is doing the thing that has ultimate meaning to him. The thing about INFP men I’ve known is that we generally struggle very, very much with marching to the beat of our unusual drummer because it can make us seem unmanly. When we get over that, we finally find our real groove.

        In my case, I really like to go to work, and I make outstanding money. In the line of work I’m in (software dev) at the level I’m at (management) I’ve leveraged doing meaningful good into what my bosses care about — results that drive the bottom line — and they’ve rewarded that.

        But if I could afford to stay home with my sons I would be able to happily do that too.

        • JC
          JC says:

          Jim, how did you get into software dev? I am a recent college graduate, also an INFP, and have been struggling recently whether going into tech is right for me.

  12. Becky Castle Miller
    Becky Castle Miller says:

    This is one of the most practical and helpful posts you’ve done. I’ve been married for 9 years, but I still find this helpful in thinking how to optimize the marriage I have. (INFJ married to ENTJ. We’re hard types to get along together, but with a lot of hard work and counseling, we make it work and are happy together.)

    I was going to link to the article about Dutch women working part time, but I see you already did! We’re Americans who have been living in the Netherlands for 8 months, and that article is so true: Dutch women work part time and are very happy. Almost every mom I know here works part time, or at least does some volunteering and community involvement outside of home. It’s very easy for Dutch women to work while having small kids, because children can start going to playschool at age 2 and start full-time school at age 4.

    The Dutch are very good about making work-life balance happen. Part time work is sometimes 12 hours a week, whereas in the US we tend to think of part time as 20 hours a week. Even full-time work here seems to be more like 35 hours…I don’t know anyone who works 60 hours a week (except my husband, who is working remotely for an American company).

    Though the laid-back Dutch approach to work can be annoying to the American expats living here. We walked into a coffee cafe at 5:45 pm and were told, “We’re closed.” We pointed out that the sign on the door said they close at 6 pm, but the woman shrugged and said, “Sorry, I’ve already turned off the espresso machine. Come back tomorrow.”

  13. pastry chef
    pastry chef says:

    If you are an overachiever dominant woman with earning capabilities well above average you either accept most men cannot follow your pace and make peace with it or spend alone the rest of your life. Now that is being realistic.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      There are plenty of men who are not scared of you. I can say that from personal experience, as I am a woman who earns well above average.

      You are uninteresting to men who want a woman to take care of their kids. But that leaves a lot of other men to choose from.

      I think you are scared of the men who don’t care that you are a high earner. Because then you’d have to figure out what else they would value about you. And you’d have to provide them with that since they don’t want your money. What they most likely want is time. And, I’m taking a wild guess that if you’re a pastry chef you have weird hours, which is one of the hardest things to deal with when growing a committed relationship.


      • tj
        tj says:

        Wow – look at this Red Pill answer. So much truth here – especially this part: “Because then you’d have to figure out what else they would value about you. And you’d have to provide them with that since they don’t want your money.”


  14. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    I don’t fit into this generalization, P. I’m happy working full-time and unhappy being home with my children. I’m an ENFJ. And I’m well over 40 and my career is still progressing nicely. And my husband works full time and we have no nanny or home staff. And I think there are a lot of us like me out there. In fact, nearly everyone I know is in my same category. Sorry, P. This time, your argument just doesn’t fly in the face of real life.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Your comment begs the question: Who is with your kids?

      This post is about how to get the life you most want by being realistic and planning ahead. I don’t think very many people would aspire to have both parents at work full-time and having kids without anyone at home taking care of them. It can be done (my parents did it), I just think most people wouldn’t want to plan for it.


  15. Becca
    Becca says:

    Option No. 3: Adopt a school-aged child. (This is assuming you are comfortable not homeschooling them–which I am because I can afford a private school with a student-driven curriculum.)

    That’s what I did. I’m an INTJ/P with a bigger-than-most (but not BIG) job and a single parent. It wouldn’t work for a big job though without a nanny.

  16. Charlie
    Charlie says:


    This is an awesome subject to discuss. We can have anything in life, but we can’t have everything. Something has to give when you have too much on your plate.

    Thanks for describing the different scenarios and the consequences of each. Not many couples think about it before starting a family. Very important to do so b/c there’s no turning back.

    Love your subjects on this site.

    Happy 2013,

  17. Laura
    Laura says:

    This way of deciding who to marry is absolutely the opposite of how I decided, but I have an “NF” in my Myers Briggs score. I went on gut instinct, and it has worked out fine. Not easy, but fine at the core. I was engaged once before meeting my husband, and although that man would have been a much higher earner than my husband, I decided not to go ahead with the marriage because my gut instinct was screaming “don’t do it.” So you can be aware of who you are marrying and their earning potential and all the lifestyle possibilities you list, but I believe you also have to trust your gut.

    Telling women who haven’t had kids yet that they will want to work part-time is important. Thanks, Penelope. You should win a public service award for that one!

  18. Anne-Marie
    Anne-Marie says:

    I agree with almost all of this, except:: “because every job in the whole world is easier than taking care of kids”. This cannot be true, for obvious reasons, and its disingenuous to say it.

    Thanks for exposing me to Myers Briggs, BTW. It has really changed my understanding of myself, and the choices I have made. I would encourage people who are married, or considering marriage, to take the test and start thinking about the implications of personaliy type on their relationship.

  19. beth
    beth says:

    There IS another option, although also not perfect. INTJ woman works from home 30 hours per week (to keep benefits) and husband does part time contract work – each staying with child during “off days”. Most likely to be able to do this with a pre-existing, well paying full time job that you ask to cut back hours on.

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer says:

      Well, that’s what we’re doing, except I work 40 hrs from home & it’s really 40 because I’m on a long-term contract.

      I am an INTJ woman, too. Funny how many INTJs read your stuff — one analyst to another, I suppose.

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        The INTJs are really interesting to me. First, INTJs, more than any other type of woman, will have the least conflict after they have kids. They are more able to compartmentalize, like men.

        Second, INTJs are really effective in the workplace. So for a lot of INTJs, a 40 hour week is like a 50 or 60 hour week for other people.

        So I can see how this would work. I’m not sure how instructive it is — 1.8% of the world are INTJs and almost none of them are women. And, I have to say, that makes it remarkable to see how many INTJ women read this blog.


        • D
          D says:

          I’m a male INTJ.

          I suspect your blog attracts TJs because it provides actionable advice. We look for specific steps we can take improve our lives.

          If you were just emoting without much direction, you’d have a different audience.

        • Stephanie
          Stephanie says:

          As an INTJ woman, I love your blog. But everyone I show it to is absolutely horrified at how black and white you are. They think it’s harsh, I think it’s helpful.

        • Mara
          Mara says:

          I also am an INTJ who has been enjoying your blog for years. I wish I had read this post before the first of my two failed marriages. My daughter was the first to read this post and was excited about it – she is 30, unmarried, and looking. Hopefully she will reap the benefits of your wisdom!

        • Mariana
          Mariana says:

          I am a loyal female INTJ reader too!
          I guess we like the “awful truth” that PT distills in every post.

        • SJ
          SJ says:

          INTJ with two young daughters. I read your blog often. I think you are voice the things that INTJ cannot articulate, but recognise when they read it.

        • bluto
          bluto says:

          One thing I’ve learned about the world is the one place that INTJ/INTPs love to interact is online (there’s a good chance that on just about every moderately focused site the people who do most of the commenting will be heavily overrepresented by INTx’s of either type). I was really surprised the first time it popped up, but am surprised now if the majority of commenters somewhere aren’t.

        • Angela
          Angela says:

          Female INTJ here. We like your blog because, not only is it the awful truth, but that awful truth helps us strategize (for our work and home lives), and nobody enjoys strategizing, and playing out different scenarios in the head, more than the INTJ.

  20. Greg
    Greg says:

    “…because every job in the whole world is easier than taking care of kids.”

    Right – all those moms dying every year of black lung disease taking care of children.

      • MrMoo
        MrMoo says:

        Yeah, great one Greg, you the wit. *sigh*

        Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water. I don’t agree with the line either, though I’m not entirely certain their wasn’t a bit of tongue in cheek there. However, it’s a single line (which isn’t particularly relevent to central argument) in an otherwise pretty well written article.

        • RT
          RT says:

          You guys are all stay at home parents then, I take it?

          Yep, little tongue in cheek there. But still, what do you do full time?

  21. cate - yogahealer
    cate - yogahealer says:

    As an ENTJ I now get why I can’t relate to most mom-talk and love my work. Feel fine with my husband making less than me b/c he’s a remarkable dad. While I get what the other commenters are saying about we’re not all types…we’re more than that…

    I think you nailed it, Penelope. We’re infinitely free to change how we show up in our lives, and yet we’re hard-wired pretty specifically, and to a large degree, categorically.

    Thanks for summarizing my life’s frustrations into simplistic explanations. Seriously. It’s objectively helpful.

    Cate Stillman –

  22. Hugh O'Brien
    Hugh O'Brien says:

    I’ve been feeling that the MBTI has gotten more mentions in Penelope’s recent articles, but certain types seemed to pop up again and again. Using the site’s search function, I compiled this list:

    istj – 3
    isfj – 0
    infj – 0
    intj – 7

    istp – 6
    isfp – 0
    infp – 2
    intp – 3

    estp – 1
    esfp – 1
    enfp – 1
    entp – 3

    estj – 1
    esfj – 0
    enfj – 4
    entj – 10

    I’ll leave you to guess which type is likely to notice things and compile lists.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Also, I’m an ENTJ and the Farmer is an ISTP, so it’s not surprise that those are the ones I write about the most!


  23. CL
    CL says:

    I love this post and the frequency of posts! I’m an IN(t/f)J, so I’m not really sure which scenario to pick. It is very helpful to see this though. I’m very (unusually) pragmatic when it comes to romantic relationships (which you say is typical for INTJ), so this MBTI stuff is getting added to my list of things to look for.

  24. Sarah Fowler
    Sarah Fowler says:

    I’m an INTJ and I currently freelance full-time but I would like to marry a breadwinner and become a full-time wife and [homeschooling] mom. It’s how I was raised. I went through a phase thinking I wanted a career, but honestly… nope. I’ll probably always freelance a little on the side as a creative outlet, depending on my kids’ phase in life… but work full-time forever? No, thank you. (If it turns out I have to, I probably won’t have kids.)

  25. Emma
    Emma says:

    I think my personality type is “too ornery to put up with the false choice questions on personality tests,” because whenever I take one I’m like, “wait, why isn’t there a ‘sometimes, depending on context’ answer option?” And then I get different results every time. I think they measure your image of yourself rather than your actual tendencies, and my image of myself is pretty fluid. Can’t imagine making big life decisions based on one result.

    Other than that this seems like pretty thoughtful advice, but does it all need to be so black and white? Isn’t there room for people who want a 9-5 job that isn’t a “big career,” or people moving from part time/flexible contracting for a few years and then back to full time (what my mother did, until she quit her job and started a business a few months ago)? Or do you think those face the same challenges of having to decide between a spouse who will do tons of childcare and a spouse who will earn lots of money? You may be right in terms of time but not money, because lots of people raise kids on relatively small incomes with nobody having a “big job” in terms of pay – the median household income for the US is in the $45-50k range.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      This is really about the issue of how much does a breadwinner have to earn to be a breadwinner. If you can live off of $45K then you can marry a breadwinner who earns $45K.

      The more money you need in order to feel like you have a breadwinner, the harder it is to find a breadwinner.


    • Pamela
      Pamela says:

      I feel the same way about the Myers Briggs test. I feel like I come up with a different result every time, based on how I see myself in that moment. How I see myself is a direct reflection of where I am currently in my job, my relationships, my acceptance of myself, etc. which is an incredibly hard thing for me to pin down and wrap up into a neat little package. Perspective is gained over time, but as a person who lives very firmly in the moment, I find I frequently have none. And thus the Myers Briggs test frustratingly has lead me in several directions since I took my first 8 years ago.

      Oh well. I kind of like my job, I love where I’m living, I’m in a pretty good relationship, I have NO desire to have children EVER, and I mostly want money to finance my insatiable need for adventures. So I suppose it’s no big deal.

      Just wanted to say: I agree with you!!!

  26. Jenn
    Jenn says:

    This is funny,

    I checked Penelope’s site this morning and find a new post with 38 comments?!

    I just checked the site yesterday evening and none of this was there. Then I start looking at the times….all early AM hours….I had no idea all this was going on while I’m sleeping and stumbling around my house in my pajamas talking myself into going to work….

    To all who read and commented Monday morning, I salute you. I

  27. Greg
    Greg says:


    I’m an ENFP stay at home dad married to a high earning INTJ. I was a high earner myself but was laid off two weeks after the baby was born, and my wife made more, so we went with it. Seemed a better choice for us than the nanny solution. Its bad enough when my wife leaves before the baby is up and gets home after shes asleep, but we didn’t want a stranger raising our daughter as well.

    I am a little taken aback by your advice to women to avoid ENFP men because they are too flighty. What you suggest is a weakness another might call a strength. But I can see what you mean that my type would never be a long term high earning breadwinner. I hated corporate America, felt the politics and power game was ruthless and cruel, and would have died a little more each day had I tried to keep it up. Losing my job was a blessing, though I do miss the feeling of doing meaningful work on a team, and leading teams. I love being a dad, but the world sure isn’t set up for male parenting. People with high powered careers in the big city where I live don’t know how to react when they get the answer to “what do you do for a living?” I still get odd looks when I’m the one guy in a room filled with stay at home moms, nannies and children. Even though it is more common these days I guess it is still pretty rare, comparatively.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Greg, thanks so much for weighing in on this. And it’s great to hear from a day who is staying home – how it happened and what it’s like.

      I’m starting to think that what we really need to do is start seeing the world more flexibly for men. At this point, I think it might be the men who society force into a box much more than the women.


      • channa
        channa says:

        Yes. Stay-at-home fathers will never be as numerous as mothers but I think the movement toward this will be just as dramatic a change for society as women moving into masculine trades and management roles (which anyway has really only happened in tiny numbers as well – drastically out of proportion with the attention it gets.)

        Personally I see it all over the place – both actual homemaker dads and childless-as-yet relationships that are highly imbalanced toward the woman in earning power with no conflict about that. Just my observation but then again, when researchers do a random sample of married people to ask all these questions they are not identifying trends, they’re identifying the status quo, which includes a lot of older people whose options and opinions have already been limited by the course of their lives so far.

        And this research contains question about finances that are very difficult to ask realistically. Asking someone if they’d rather work part time is kind of like asking someone if they’d like to eat chocolate cake every day. Anyone would like to but given the real-life consequences, behavior is the best evidence of what people truly want. Absent a massive welfare state it seems that Americans make the choice to work in exchange for “stuff.”

      • Greg
        Greg says:

        You’re welcome. I’ve been reading your blog a long time now, and appreciate so much of what you have to say. As for changing to a more flexible work world, I think that might be true, perhaps the work life balance everyone dreams about will only come about if men demand it. Women have been asking for it for years and not much has changed.

        And yes, I’d love a professional part time job. I know, as a man, if i want to remain at home my choices are pretty much limited to some kind of freelance or consulting that I drum up myself. I hope that I can figure that out so I can contribute something to society other than knowing the entire Wiggles song repetoire by heart.

        It isn’t clear to me why this isn’t more readily accepted in the business world. You’d think if one administrative, marketing, accounting, or finance professional is paid $100,000, that you could easily split it into two positions for 50k each (or even 40k…many people would value the flexibility over the salary) and get even more benefit. Jobs could be created where a midday handoff would enable continuous workflow, and so benefitting the company without killing their workers. Instead of pushing employees to work 60 hour weeks for a 40 hr salary, get two people to work 25 hrs for that same 40 hr salary divided in half. The other 10 hrs? They were probably ten hours of wasted time anyway (meetings that are a waste of time, lunch breaks, Internet shopping, web surfing, blog reading, etc). Much of that wasted time or goofing off goes away if you aren’t chained to a desk, if you know you have the afternoon free to go to the store, the bank, to read something that recharges you, to grab lunch…

        Some might argue that a 100k salary is 150k if you include benefits, but dividing into two positions would mean costs would be higher (because two employees need to be managed, two benefit packages, etc)…seems to me that there’s a way you can do that, offer fewer benefits, and come out ahead. I don’t need health insurance because I’m on my wife’s plan, for example. There are others like me out there who could do the same. And when companies need to cut costs, they lop heads, never considering offering longtime staff a choice to drop down to 20 or 30 hrs a week. All the time and money they invested in hiring, training, getting you into the culture of the firm, wasted with that pink slip.

        I’ll never really understand why none of what I wrote above is happening, somewhere in corporate America.


        • TomG
          TomG says:

          Greg, these ideas about more half-time positions echo my own thoughts. I’m convinced that our society will be better off as more women (mothers, especially) but also men choose half-time jobs.

          As you mention, 2 x $50k is actually a quite a bit more expensive for a company than 1 x $100k, altho it also has a LOT of non-direct monetary benefits as well — far more duplication in knowledge, ability to cover for the other, more likely to be able to increase the hours AND production in a crunch crisis.

          I wish the US Fed gov’t would follow this and mandate that the most senior workers go into part-time work, and the highest paid (10%) or so, share their jobs.

  28. Kim Carter
    Kim Carter says:

    Folks, you can’t take this post too seriously. It’s statistically and factually inaccurate. Not sure where most of you live but if you live in a high earning metropolitan area as I do, most people do not cap out salary wise by 30 or even 40 for that matter. Fortunately for us, the sky is the limit regardless of age. And as for the statement that women can’t have a powerful job and have work/life balance….FALSE. With teleworking and mobile techonology, and other flex options being offered by most reputable employers these days, its much easier to split time between the office and home. I know MANY women that do it. With this being said, if you’re single and taking the advice listed above, you’re setting yourself up for even more unrealistic expectations and a less than fulfulling life, marriage etc. Sorry.

    • Casey
      Casey says:

      Most people who telework actually end up putting in more hours of work, not less. And you really can’t do that AND appropriately care for children until they’re a certain age. So even though it’s true that more and more professionals have the option of working from home, that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to take care of a baby without help.

  29. Felicia
    Felicia says:

    As an INFP, I really appreciated the comment you made about INFPs and the link you provided about types and all the information there about relationships, career, parenting and more.

    And yes, this is a tool that can be helpful, with lots of variation among us all about how it fits or does not. I actually did take the Myers Briggs test (and my spouse did too) way back when, and sure enough some of the challenges you now write about were true for us in a general way (and some were other factors).

    I was married for 15 years, together for 18+, and while we ended up divorced we are both devoted parents and have two two grown children. Maybe the Myers Briggs has its limits and can be distorted in its interpretation, but if it and the information here helps others find a more conducive path for being in a relationship, having a career and children, I’m all for it.

    While I love to work (especially on my own), career has had its challenges for me, even on the other side of raising children (where you can amazingly do all kinds of things you may not think you can do when it’s just you). I have studied and pursued careers on the INFP “list” (writing and counseling at least), in hopes of finding that balance of working and bread-winning, which definitely goes in waves for me.

    And while I’m not a big fan of online dating sites, the comment by Christina about starting one which includes Myers Briggs types is intriguing…….

  30. ella
    ella says:

    ENFJ here, married to a… IsomethingTP (at a guess.)

    We fit into the one category missing from your typology:

    We are decently-paid intellectual/creative types working full-time (decent hours — 8-5 and with benefits!) and a small child (18 months old.)

    I was able to stay home for the first year and loved/hated it. I’m much happier now that I am at work full-time. We split everything 50-50 (cooking, cleaning, and child-care) and our son is in daycare (which costs an arm and a leg, but is worth it.)

    We won’t have a ton of money, ever, but we have a wonderful, hot, and egalitarian relationship. And we have stability.

    Ideally, we would both work part-time and raise our son together… but that doesn’t pay enough and is way too unstable.

    We are very lucky to be employed and working at family-friendly jobs– but I wanted to post to show that it could be done and there are other options.

    We want to have another child and then it will be incredibly expensive and difficult while they both are in day-care… but that will only be a couple of years.

    happily mothering, happily married, happily working.

  31. Dusti Arab
    Dusti Arab says:

    This is almost exactly how my partner and I function now that we have leaned into what we want to do. While we met before familiar with Myers-Briggs, we knew we had very different ways of looking at the world. For reference, he’s an INTJ and I’m an ENFP.

    Now, I’m shifting into working part-time, and he’s working towards being an engineer. I’m not going to worry about money because I don’t care. I need a cause, not an income – which is easy enough since I write books. It’s more important for me to be around to be the facilitator in my kids’ education (homeschooling) than it is to get my panties in a bunch over not being a high earner.

    At 24, this makes perfect sense to me. I spent college getting settled, finding a partner, and figuring out what I actually wanted to do instead of screwing around trying to figure out how to make more money. I don’t understand why more under 30’s don’t opt out and have kids since they want to anyway.

  32. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    Penelope, thanks for writing this! I’m an INTJ in my 30s, and this is great, super-practical advice. I’ve spent a long time dating dudes who are not a good match, and have decided to make this the year I find a long-term partner. Knowing to orient myself towards ENTPs and ENFPs is a distinct advantage for long-term happiness.

  33. anne
    anne says:

    I am an example of an ENFJ who slipped through…. I worked 50+ hours a week– so when I was at work I wanted to be at home and when I was home I just wanted to be on my blackberry. I created my own world of hyper-frustration. Now I work part-time for many reasons, while not the perfect scenario, it works for me right now

    • victoria
      victoria says:

      I felt very much the same way! (I’m an ENFP.) When my daughter was young I worked from home, mostly around her naptimes and after she went to bed, and I really hated it. It made a ton of sense at the time (in addition to having a young kid I was having some health problems that would’ve made a job with set hours difficult or impossible), and I’m glad I have that job on my resume rather than nothing for that time, but I found it terribly frustrating! I felt like I wasn’t doing anything well. I might have considered just doing the SAH thing despite the fact that it would’ve been a bad fit for me, but I was seeing close friends have a terrible time rejoining the workforce if they took that time off, and I didn’t want that to happen to me.

      Now that my daughter is in school the balance is so much better. It took me about two years to find a job that was a clear step up, but I ended up with a part-time job that gives me a decent amount of intellectual stimulation and lets me set my own hours. While the pay’s not great, it’s not bad for this market and the benefits are outstanding.

  34. Kenneth W. Gronbach
    Kenneth W. Gronbach says:

    I respect your candor and accomplishments. I would like to weigh into this conversation with a bigger picture, a macro look at the concept of having children. I am a demographer so fertility (the rate couples have babies) is always an issue in forecasting the future of zip codes or continents. Two critical issues are prevalent in the United States: One, our fertility is dangerously close to falling below replacement level of 2.2 children per couple. Market economies and cultures in general face long term peril and extinction when this occurs. The European Union, Eastern Europe and most of Asia stopped having children above replacement level fertility thirty years ago and now have serious economic and social problems that cannot be corrected. Two, half the babies born in the United States are born to single moms with no responsible dad of record. We have plenty of fathers, not enough dads. Will all of this have long term ramifications? More than we can imagine.
    We need to look at having children from a different perspective than choosing a career or deciding to live in the country. From a macro demographic perspective families are not optional, they are essential. Cultures and countries cannot continue without them.
    So you see, it’s not if we are going to have kids, its how are we going to have kids? Without them there is no future, none.
    Kenneth W. Gronbach

      • Passingby
        Passingby says:

        Yeah, because I’m having kids to meet a replacement rate. Unbelievable.
        Really, I agree with Channa; let’s be more flexible with immigration policies and forget about popping out babies as a civil duty.

      • Ruby Lennox
        Ruby Lennox says:

        Immigration is not a solution, including but not limited to the following reasons: Firstly, immigration to the US is falling, and will continue to do so in a bad economy, including both immigrants who are financially self-supporting and those who are not. Secondly, immigrants as a whole are a net drain on public budgets, which exacerbates instead of repairing the looming problem of not enough workers and private-sector economic activity to support said public budgets. Thirdly, birthrates are falling in countries that have traditionally supplied many of our immigrants as well–Mexico for example was at about 7 births per woman in the 1960s and they are now sitting below 3.

        • Passinby
          Passinby says:

          Ruby, having children to fulfill a replacement rate is medievalist concept, at best. But then, that’s my opinion: My parents were raised in a socialist country, and I’m extremely suspicious of this type thinking. Even selecting their careers were based on “the greater good of the country”. Sorry, I’ll pass.

  35. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    The problem with PT work is that professional level positions don’t exist, unless you have worked long enough, made yourself valuable enough and are lucky enough to have an employer that will let you go PT, after you have kids. Other PT work is low-level and low-pay work, and will barely cover the cost of childcare while you work, so what’s the point?

    Even in my professional level position, if I were to reduce my hours by only 20% (1 day per week), I would take home approximately 60% less pay, because my children are still young enough to require childcare, and I don’t get a reduction in childcare for only reducing 1 day per week.

    PT work is useless financially.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I totally agree. It’s hard to believe it until you are doing it. Like, it doesn’t make logical sense. But it’s true. Which is why if you know you want to work part-time you still have to marry a breadwinner. It’s too much pressure to have to find an enjoyable part-time job AND find one that provides a good salary.


      • MrMoo
        MrMoo says:

        While I won’t disagree that PT Professional work is hard to come by, saying it doesn’t exist is highly inaccurate.

        I’m a professional civil engineer, specialized in road construction. While most of us work full time, I have run across many people working part time in my field. Because of the need for accurate record keeping when you’re playing with millions of tax payer dollars, it’s not uncommon for large construction projects to employ some “retired” guys part time to help with the documentation. The State requires that all of the daily reports are double checked for accuracy, but as this isn’t as time sensitive as getting them done in the first place, it can be left to PTs to get to as time permits.

        Additionally, the three companies I’ve worked for have been smaller companies. At all three the HR director (who makes more than I do on an hourly basis) is a part time person with benefits (my current HR director only works 2 days/week). At my old company the CFO was part time with benefits. The key is these positions are not directly involved in the creation of the company’s product, so their work is not time sensitive. The companies are just big enough to need a “real” Professional heading up HR or Accounting, but not so large that the person has to work 40+ hours.

        Similarly, at my old company we outsourced our IT (we’re just simple cavemen in civil engineering). While the IT company we hired had many full time employees, our primary IT tech was part time. He handled all the standard maintenance, upgrades, equipment purchases, and non-critical SNAFUs with 16 hours a week (I believe he was a stay at home dad). If we had a critical problem, he might dial in to diagnose, but his company would just send someone else to handle the actual repair.

        The point is, while I admit to only having a few data points to offer, I find it hard to believe I just happened to work at the three (well, four counting the IT company) in the country that found these practices workable. Certainly, large multi-nationals probably can’t accommodate that sort of arrangement. However, over 50% of people are employed by small firms. Even if it isn’t the SOP, I don’t see any reason why competent people can’t sell the idea to their employer.

        Free Market reigns. If you came to me as an employee and said “I only want to work 3 days a week”, as long as you don’t expect to get paid for 5 days, my only question will be “Explain to me how this is going to work, and how you’re going to ensure your responsibilities are adequately met without burdening your fellow employees.” Which incidently is exactly what happened with my cousin, who is a sales professional with a farm equipment manufacturer. She brought the idea up to her boss, and he just made her put together a business case for it.

        Especially in industries where workers are directly billable to clients, I can’t imagine why a company would not be open to the idea of a PT Professional. 10% profit is 10% profit.

        Come to think of it, both of our female senior engineers (hourly rates at $35+) only work 3 days a week during the summer. Both have kids less than 8 years old. I don’t work directly with them, but I think the key is the company simply assigns them to projects that aren’t expected to have time sensitive, critical components.

        Just some observations from my field for you to consider.

        • Andrea
          Andrea says:

          I didn’t say they don’t exist, I said, “they don’t exist, unless.” All of your scenarios fit into my “unless” qualifications.

          • MrMoo
            MrMoo says:

            Well, but that qualification can be applied to all professional jobs period. You don’t become a “Professional” until you’ve worked long enough and made yourself valuable enough. They didn’t make me a Professional Engineer right out of college. Heck, no job exists at all until you’ve “made yourself valuable enough”.

            Would you call someone a “Professional Accountant” right out of college? I’d call them a chimpanzee that learned to do algebra.

            Rereading your post, it starts to feel as if you’re lookng for something that logically can’t exist, a “Professional” position that doesn’t require experience. By that standard, you are right that PT Professional positions don’t exist. In my first example I talked about retirees, but that’s just because they’re the folks willing to work part time in this industry. There’s no reason someone with 4-6 years experience couldn’t do the same job. They might not get quite the same rate, but there’s no reason they couldn’t make $30/hour (Chicago). That may not be rich people money, but I hardly think it qualifies as “low pay”.

            Similarly, my cousin is 33, and has been working her PT gig for 5 years. A quick check on Linked-In shows that my old HR Director started her gig at that company in her mid-30’s.

            So, while yes you do need to put some time in, it’s not that much. Given that people are getting married later, and having kids later, it doesn’t seem at all incompatible with the family plan of life.

            And, contrary to popular mythology, there is no reason you shouldn’t put off having kids until you’re in your 30’s. If you want to get into facts and figures, the average human lifespan is constantly getting longer. More importantly, the age at which you start to have even minor loss of physical ability is going higher even more rapidly. New medical understandings are allowing us to greatly enhance our body’s ability to repair it’s self.

            Many of my peers, mid thirties, who haven’t already had kids are already giving up on the idea. “If I had a kid today, it’s be practically 60 before it left the house!” That’s technically true, but tomorrow’s 60 isn’t today’s 60.

    • econobiker
      econobiker says:

      Not all part time work is financially useless. If you can get and/or stomach an underground and tax free job, you often can make more than people working above the table positions…

  36. Alina
    Alina says:

    This hits close to home. I 31 yrs old, I am an INTJ. I thought I had planned for children by marrying a mature man(turns out to be ISFJ) who had an established career that paid six figures. He lost this job in 2007 when our first baby was 6 months old. This was due to circumstances I had forseen and warned him about but he didn’t follow my advice.

    He works hard and has had 5 jobs since… paying 20-40k. I have started and closed a business, had various 10-35 hours/wk part time jobs, and am now volunteering while staying at home. We have worked opposite shifts but it really makes for a crappy quality of life. No money + no time = yuck. We have tried various childcare arrangements over the years.

    I have the skills and drive to build a new business or embark on a well paying career path. A large part of me is pulling towards this however I feel deep down that my marriage will not survive that choice. I struggle with how to determine if my need for financial security and fulfilling work takes priority over my husband and children’s needs for a stay at home wife and mother.

    So for now I am spending my days admist domestic duties and trying to cram in web/marketing projects between diapers, homework and a toddler that wakes up constantly.

    I very much want to hold out hope that he can find a better paying job with benefits and then I will be able to afford childcare to work on interesting projects that feed me. After almost 6 years I am losing hope.

    Once my youngest (15months) is in school I will be free to work, but right now that seems like an eternity to wait.

    • Jenn
      Jenn says:

      Don’t know if you will come back to read replies but, I was re-reading comments and yours is quite touching.

      The weakest spot in your situation appears to be more that you will get fed up and leave and prefer being a single mother, than your husbands lack of income. As commenters on this post have stated, INTJ’s make great single moms.

      But that arrangement may work better for you, but your kids need their Dad.

      My mom is an ISFJ and a teacher….so I got to thinking about your situation. What if your husband home-schooled your children? This could free up your time to pursue the income-making endeavors you have stated. And for your husband it is an important contribution he could make to the family. It is non-traditional so that may be hard for him to warm up to, and it sounds like perhaps he is older too.

      But I would recommend you and your husband read some of Penelope’s home-schooling blog. It may inspire you both to try some different arrangements.

      Sorry if these seems intrusive, if it helps that is good, if not I will mind my own business. :) – Jenn

      • Alina
        Alina says:


        Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply, sincerely appreciated. I have been reading all of the comments, fascinating discussion!!


  37. Rose
    Rose says:

    This is the BEST darn article i’ve read in a good while! Thank you, Penelope. I am turning 25 this May and I need something like this to light a fire under my ass and make some decisions.

  38. Casey
    Casey says:

    Here’s what we’re doing, and so far it looks like it’s going to work (our baby is due in June, so we don’t really know yet):

    I picked my husband because in addition to being a wonderful boyfriend, I knew from the beginning that he is great with kids and genuinely enjoys them. (He’s a teacher, and an ESFJ.) I am an ENTP, and in recognition of the fact that I wanted to be able to control my schedule and how much money I earn to the greatest extent possible when I had kids, I started my own business more than a year before we got married. I don’t earn much yet (still), but I also don’t work a lot of hours (I earn an average of $1500/month, and work about ten hours a week. This is a meaningful contribution to our household budget, and less than what he earns, so I’m satisfied with it.) Meanwhile, his income steadily goes up every year, and will probably double in the next two years since he has finished his masters’ and is getting special ed certification (he is working in private schools now, and will move to public with 10 years of experience). We live frugally; neither of us are very materialistic, and we love each other and our budding family more than anything, so we’re really happy. This summer when the baby gets here we’ll both take lots of time to recover and bond. In the fall, I will be totally devoted to child care the mornings, and he will be with the baby in the afternoons after school while I work. We’re really hoping that we’ve beat the system. Now we’re just praying that our baby is healthy and that some unforeseen circumstance doesn’t mess things up! :::fingers crossed:::

  39. B
    B says:

    I have girlfriends who married men making significantly less and are perfectly happy but they are rare exceptions. Most of my girlfriends in this situation are miserable or have already gotten divorced. It seems like something you can live with when you’re 25 but by 35 you resent him for not moving up in his career (and they don’t want to be stay-at-home dads either). If you want the greatest chance of success, I say marry a man that makes more or is already well on his way to moving up (a little bit of a gamble when you’re both young). If I have a good job and like to lead a certain lifestyle, I’m not marrying a poor man no matter how wonderful he is because eventually I’ll resent him for lowering my standard of living.

    I also think it’s important to be aware that salaries are fairly stagnant by 40. Some older successful people will still become even more successful but if you haven’t achieved much by 40, you’ve most likely hit your ceiling. There are always exceptions and it shouldn’t stop you from trying but I think it is typically true. My friends and I have all done some online dating and it seems the group in their 40’s and up that struggles the most is men with undesirable jobs (other than men and women with below average looks). It’s not so much the salary itself but a dead-end job coupled with a low salary. Personally, I would extend that to dead end jobs with decent salaries. I know uneducated, low-skilled people who lucked into good jobs but those low-skilled jobs will eventually vanish. They’ll either be replaced by machines or the jobs will go overseas and then they will be paid according to their skill level.

    Marrying purely for love only worked generations ago when women had no options. What it really meant is the woman would compromise on everything to make the marriage work.

  40. Thomas
    Thomas says:

    Hey Penelope

    You never mention grandparents in your parent/work scenarios. Where is the need for full time nannies (especially two) when you have a grandma at home who would love to do all that (saving on the nanny and on the retirement home for the mother!)

    • ladycatherine
      ladycatherine says:

      Right, because a person who needs assisted living is definitely capable of caring for a toddler.

      • careless
        careless says:

        Just how old do you think the average new grandparent is? Even at 30+30 (which is on the higher end for generation length), you’re talking about a 60 year old.

  41. Another Elizabeth
    Another Elizabeth says:

    I’d be interested in any research that shows when and how personality type changes over time. When he was in college and just afterwards, my husband looked like an ENFS….not particularly hard working or driven and certainly not up for long hours. I didn’t expect him to be a huge breadwinner, but he seemed to shift after taking on the responsibilities of marriage and fatherhood. Today he tests as an ENFJ. He’s 36, advancing in his field, works long hours, and makes over 6 figures. In college I tested as ISTJ and now test as INFJ…5 years ago I was given a long maternity leave and realized how much I enjoyed my baby and having time to peruse whatever I wanted, so I went back to work part-time instead of full-time. Haven’t looked back.

  42. J.E.
    J.E. says:

    I posted this comment for another post, but that was a while back and I feel the comment would work here as well.
    I read both Penelope’s blogs and from these posts related to women’s issues, I feel like an anomaly and don’t know where I fit. I just got married six months ago at the age of 32, which by Penelope’s timeline is late, but I wasn’t emotionally ready/mature enough to get married before then. Plus I stayed too long in relationships that weren’t a good fit and before I knew it my 20s were gone. I didn’t even start dating my now husband until I was 30. I have one of the more nurturing personality types-INFJ, but my husband and I aren’t even sure we want kids at all, and he’s 17 1/2 years older than me. As for work I’m not a corporate type at all. I’ve worked mostly in office positions in higher education. I have no desire to be the top person in charge with all the responsibility and stress that comes with that. I’m content to go in, work my hours and go home. I’ve mostly viewed work as something I had to do to pay for the things I wanted to do. As long as I always had enough money to live I was fine. I’d rather have less money and a life than make tons of money but live at work. I guess I’m like those women who get out into the world and nothing feels right. I enjoy my job ok, now but mostly for the social aspect because I work with good people, rather than the actual work itself. What I actually enjoy doing is volunteering with arts organizations working on short term events when I want to rather than have to.

    If it’s seen as un PC to stay home with kids, then there’s even more of a backlash against not working or only working part time if you don’t have kids. My husband makes good money (quadruple what I do in fact) but I feel like I’m “supposed” to work full time if we don’t have kids. So I when I read these posts, I don’t feel like I fit anywhere. Doesn’t help that INFJ is one of the rarest personality types (less than 1%) and made up of unusual characteristics.

  43. Daniel Baskin
    Daniel Baskin says:

    Wow. Lots of comments here. I found it super funny that all “T” types were represented except for INTPs. Being self-absorbed AND impractical (despite being logical) doesn’t work well for convincing people to pay you.


    • cortney
      cortney says:

      with a quick search, i see this blog has mentioned intps twice in a meaningful way: (1) “If you are an INTJ or INTP you are most likely to not want kids.” (2) “The INTP can’t get their head out of the clouds.” i don’t think you can generalize that INTPs are space cadets from that. i’m an intp who is pretty practical and thinks about others–my bigger issue is that i don’t like to talk to others at work and i am in my head thinking about problems most of the time. people don’t want an inaccessible (or emotionally unavailable) woman in the office. time and time again, i am told i am “unenthusiastic” simply because i do not verbalize my enthusiasm or smile enough. i forget to do these things, even though i’m not against it, because it just doesn’t occur to me naturally. and i really don’t think there are a lot of women intps, so many people do not know what to make of us.

      • Mary
        Mary says:

        Cortney, you need to get a different job: if you’re in a job or place that doesn’t appreciate your brain power you need to move on. You can easily work for a tech company – and you don’t need to be a programmer. Don’t waste your brain power on someone who doesn’t appreciate it.

        That doesn’t mean you couldn’t put a small mirror on your desk that would allow you to smile at yourself here and there:)

        – From a fellow INTP who struggled through jobs until she became self employed, paid for her brain power and much happier :)

        • TP
          TP says:

          I completely agree with what you say Mary. i think thats why I am in the situation I am in, starting my own business and not having to worry about smiling when all I want to do is get these ideas out of my head. I think in my relationship I am going to be the breadwinner, which is fine with me. Not married yet, but its getting close, now I’m wanting a kid…for experimental reasons, lol. I’m a kid at heart and want to see if I can create a mini me w/more guidance than my parents had with me. If they only knew I was an INTP, they could have saved me from myself at times, b/c we are our own worst critics.

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