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. Gib Wallis
    Gib Wallis says:

    Penelope, I think if you read more statistics about the 16 types, you would have a very different recommendation.

    A good source is the MBTI manual, which has enough statistics about the types to satisfy an ISTJ accountant: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0891061304/?tag=ptrunk-20+manual

    The stats I’ve seen about type and income suggestion that ENTPs on average earn less than ENFPs.

    There’s also statistics in the manual about relationship obliviousness and type.

    For instance, INTP men are the most likely to think their partner is happy while the partner isn’t. ENTJ women don’t score well there, but ENFP women score worse. ENFP men are not oblivious in relationships.

    Since you’ve already written about the income effects of divorce and the effect of divorce on kids, focusing only on your guess of income (which wasn’t backed by statistics) by type isn’t really a clear picture.

    Also, you seem to only look at an all-industry average. Certain industries are better for some types to become high earners. ESFPs often do well in sales, and ENFPs in PR, INTJs in higher education, etc.

  2. J.E.
    J.E. says:

    “Being self-absorbed AND impractical (despite being logical) doesn’t work well for convincing people to pay you.”

    I smiled at that because that’s how I feel sometimes. Maybe I should just admit, as un-PC as it sounds, that perhaps what I’m really wanting is to be taken care of instead of the responsibility of doing the care taking. Sigh, when you don’t want a big job-or maybe any job, but you don’t want to parent someone else either.

  3. Erin
    Erin says:

    You just nailed me. INTJ; big job, always had a big job, got married, had kids, I work full time because I have to as in I would jump off a bridge if I didn’t but conveniently my husband does earn less than me and I am guessing he is an F so we tell ourselves I HAVE to work. It is a form of denial I guess but we will stay married, kids and marriage have made me a better person but in my perfect INTJ universe I would have married a man even older than my husband that I met at work and would have no children just act pleasant around his children from a previous marriage because statistically they would be around. I am leaving this comment so that you know you are dead-on about us INTJ’s and to not listen to all those softies who think you spend too much time on the numbers.

  4. shilpi
    shilpi says:

    Great article (and comment thread)! This is instructive and validating for me — I’m an I/ENFP reporter who just married a INTP engineer and have started thinking about having children. Your posts have helped me come to peace with my husband’s sort of logical detachment over the whole kids things — he’s open to it, but isn’t emotional and gushy at the prospect, like I am. i now get that that’s fine!
    Career-wise, while I feel extremely proud and motivated by the successes I’ve had, I can see that I’ll feel very drawn to being with my kids.
    As we try and figure out how to manage the potential childcare, it seems like me writing part-time while he keeps pushing forward in his career full speed may be the best option for us. Thanks for helping me clarify my thoughts on this!

  5. Liz
    Liz says:

    Best plan: Move to Sweden.

    As soon as I finish my PhD next year, I plan to move to Sweden, where my partner is from. I will have a fantastic full-time research job an he will have a fantastic job. We will have children, both stay home for 9 months each, and then use the high-quality free child care. We will also be able to work part-time and keep our jobs until the kids are 8! We will still both have decades to continue climbing the ladder at work. We will both be fulfilled in the two areas of life that matter to us BOTH–work and family–and remain interesting to each other.

    This is a unique option, I know that. But you should be encouraging women AND men to fight for these kind of policies rather than pretending there is some innate “internal” pressure women feel to do it all. That is beyond bullshit.

  6. Deila
    Deila says:

    I took the test and I am INFJ. It fits me. I married in my twenties, 35 years ago — I thought I was INTJ (pre-med, wanted to show the world I was more), but I had my first baby in grad school, dropped out and realized I wanted to raise her (even tho some days were boring). Had four more kids, homeschooling, and yet there is a side of me that still wants to be more (against your wisdom I am getting a masters in Education specializing in online education. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it, but I think education is changing and want to be there.)

    I had my first child by 25 — which matches your advice — I just kept having more. My last child is now in college at 17. The other four are married. I would love to hear your advice for my age/scenario group.

    I married a bread-winner — he’s a year younger than me, but his entrepreneur spirit has caused money problems over the years. My INFJ personality goes crazy with the uncertainty of the future of his work — but I’m happy with my choice to have raised my own kids.

    This was one of your best posts — love it and thanks for being so frank, forward and on the money. Great advice.

  7. Temecula Paralegal
    Temecula Paralegal says:

    As a legal professional, I believe a “warning” should issue with this article that, depending on your individual state laws, a “stay at home dad” could expose the wife to GREAT financial vulnerability (as in spousal support) should the relationship later sour. That is the case here in California as we are a no-fault divorce state and regardless whether the wife does or does not want a divorce, if proceedings are instituted, the divorce will occur.

  8. Hazel
    Hazel says:

    I think there is a major flaw in your analysis. Your conclusion that couples are unhappy if they share household duties equally is based on an assumption that the cultural factors that influenced the outcome of the study you cited will remain in the future.

    As society changes, working couples who share childcare and housework duties might end up more functional than those who force one spouse to take on all of the child/household work or depend on paid staff. If families in which the woman is the breadwinner can be successful and more accepted than they were in past generations, there is no reason why the equal partnership relationships can’t work out.

    • Casey
      Casey says:

      I went to Wesleyan, majored in Feminist, Gender and Sexuality studies, and then moved to Brooklyn. That’s just to say that I live and travel in socially progressive circles, and I am so ready, intellectually, to accept a world in which more women are breadwinners and men stay home. It makes sense for some people. But definitely not for me.

      A few years ago, my live-in boyfriend at the time decided to quit his job in finance because he hated working, and wanted to pursue other interests. We decided together that I would be the breadwinner.

      We’d been talking about marriage at that point, but within two months of the new arrangement I’d lost all my previous attraction to him and began to seriously resent him. In actual practice, I HATED supporting a man, found it thoroughly un-sexy, couldn’t imagine having children with him, and the relationship quickly failed.

      I think progressive-minded people who have never actually tried this arrangement and who haven’t seen it in practice much sometimes underestimate how deeply ingrained some of our gendered behavior really is. I was deeply ashamed of the feelings I started having when I was supporting my ex, but eventually I had to accept that I had them and that we weren’t going to be right for each other in the long-term because of it. If you’re waiting for society to change enough for people to not have what might be false consciousness about these roles, you will be waiting a long time. Penelope’s advice is very practical right now for most people.

      I’m very happy in my marriage, in which my husband and I share household duties to a great extent (we will actually be splitting childcare duties almost in half once our first baby comes; since I’ll be breastfeeding and work fewer hours by design, I understand that I’ll do a little more) but in which he out-earns me and is okay with supporting me and my ventures. Though I never would have believed this at 22, and didn’t fully get it until all my pregnancy hormones started kicking in, I really don’t want to be the primary breadwinner in my family, unless I can do it while still being a mostly stay-at-home mom (passive income somehow?). I just wouldn’t want to miss those early years for anything, and I also like that my husband is sensitive and helpful, but still sufficiently masculine (in the traditional sense) to be able to stoke my fires, so to speak.

  9. Bob
    Bob says:

    We should just have a giant supercomputer match everyone to the nth degree for maximum efficiency, including both friendships and relationships.

    With enough research, we could even match people to jobs in which they would perform the most efficiently, and even organise their entire day based on statistical efficiency.

  10. Beth
    Beth says:

    I am an ENFP and I’m not sure which option I would pick, but this article makes complete sense to me. Why does the idea of a “trade-off” piss people off so much? I think we’ve all been conditioned by Hollywood to think that a fantasy version of reality is possible. It isn’t. Grasping reality is refreshing, and that’s exactly what Penelope is helping us to do via this blog post.

    Where do ENFP women fall in all of this?

  11. E.S.
    E.S. says:

    I quite like being a single parent. Maybe that’s an INTJ thing too? I wonder which Meyers Briggs personality type is the happiest being a single parent? I bet its INTJ.

    Single parenting is not nearly as hard as a lot of people think. In fact, I feel like its easier then married parenting. Husbands are almost as much work as kids.

    I had my son when I was 18, So, I’ve never had to deal with the work/family situation. By the time I graduated from college and entered the workforce my son was school aged. Now my son’s a middle schooler, and I’m a middle manager. I’ll be 35 in 5 years, and don’t think that being a mother to a 17 year old is going to cause a problem for me professionally. If I fail to progress any further in my career, it will be because of me, not because I’m single or because I’m a parent.

  12. GingerR
    GingerR says:

    I think if you find someone you want to marry and you marry them that you’ve nearly won the battle. Children from families where the mothers are married have a huge advantage.

    Find someone you love who loves you back and don’t worry. If you focus on getting married and staying married things will work out.

    I’ve noticed that many not-married or used-to-be married people are clustered together. Once you get married, hang out with other married people.

  13. Thisbe
    Thisbe says:

    This advice make me very nervous for women who might take it. Many marriages end indivorce; I know it is Penelope’s advice not to do that, but in face one cannot retain a spouse by force. A women who leaves the workforce to raise small children and then returns takes something like a 20% reduction in salary for every year off, and that gap is never closed. Women who leave the workforce for too long may never really be professionally employable again. As long as you have a breadwinner, fine – but if he divorces you or dies, there you are raising children alone with drastically reduced earning capacity.
    So what if the cost of infant care means that part time work barely breaks even? The baby will grow up and start school, and the total lifetime earnings gained by not dropping out of the workforce are more than worth it. Not to mention the financial security for the family of having a mom who can make a reasonable income.

  14. Emilee
    Emilee says:

    Penelope-

    Do you think ENFP women are too flighty to have kids as well… or just the men? I am an ENFP woman and am on the fence about having kids.

  15. cortney
    cortney says:

    uh, i’m a single woman, an INTP, 31 years of age and i make about $250 a week at a part-time job. so, salary-wise, that’s it for me? i don’t want my own kids, as i think you once acknowledged about INTPs. the idea that my salary–let’s say $500/week, adjusting it to a full-time rate–is the maximum i can make scares the [crap] out of me.

  16. Annie Kip
    Annie Kip says:

    I love your anaylsis in such clear terms. I don’t know anyone else willing to lay it out like this. I totally agree that you have to take action on your own behalf to make your life the way you want it to be. Great info for this effort!

  17. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    I’m a 25 year old INTJ married to a 26 year old ISFP.

    This is earth shattering for me because the plan was for me to stop being the breadwinner when he gets his advanced degree and enters the workforce.

    I wanted to homeschool and stay at home with my kids.

    But now I’m wondering if I should keep my workforce momentum going and let him stay with the kids and do contract stuff part time.

    But my husband has no idea how to homeschool, whereas I was homeschooled all my life and idolized being a SAHM.

    And I want us to be happy, and he’s a nurturer, and I’m go-getter. Argh! Big life decisions ahead.

    • Jenn
      Jenn says:

      I’m an Isfp woman and I would never have children and quit work and depend on an Isfp to support me. Err, asking for trouble on that one. He may survive, but the stress will eventually turn him into a man you don’t like being around.

      • Stephanie
        Stephanie says:

        Wow, thanks for that response. He says he can handle it, but the thing he most wants in life is to be a dad.

        He’s also a very creative, tender soul and resents the corporate environment.

        If you have any more advice, I’d be glad to hear it.

        • Jenn
          Jenn says:

          Stephanie,
          You have forced my hand.

          The truth is I am the breadwinner in my marriage, and have happily made the majority of the income for myself and my husband for 12 years.

          The ISFP personality can change dramatically when under pressure. Major depression is my nemesis. I believe for ISFP men this translates more into Anger issues. At my worst I quit my job and never told my husband until the Monday morning came and I had no place to go. Two weeks previously I had become so upset at work I gave notice right there.

          I don’t have children, but have overheard through cubicle walls what men who work and have wives at home full time have to deal with, and I have to say, I can’t believe the demands some of these women put on their husbands. You seem like a thoughtful person so hopefully your husband would never be one of those guys.

          My husband does almost everything at home. He packs my lunch, scrapes ice off my car, and basically does anything I ask of him.

          We have a non-traditional relationship, but it works for both of us, we know what the other can handle, and we try not to ask for more. Take what the other can give and be grateful for it.

  18. Susan Henrie
    Susan Henrie says:

    I really like the logical flow of argument and this is a very important question for me. As a young women, I have thought over and over again whether I will be happy staying home or remaining at work. I think I want to keep working as household chores and childcare drive me crazy and usually make me rush back to work. However, I continually worry about what is the best path. I think I am an ESTP and I do not know if that will mean I am better for work or homelife. Sometimes, I think it would be so much easy to be a man.

  19. redrock
    redrock says:

    Following statistics can be problematic: lets assume that you read that 80% (0.8 in terms of probability) of a certain personality type are a great fit with your type, 60% of that personality type will be a great earners then your probability of having a partner who is a great fit and a great earner is…. only 48%. So choosing only the most likely wonderful attributes gives you still a low probability of having all of them.

  20. galen
    galen says:

    Wow, what a horribly boring way to live – planing your life out by Briggs Meyers. Something you will learn as you get older (which you should have learned earlier) ‘The best laid plans of mice and men……..’

    My advice to women: Don’t make any rash decisions based on something you read on the internet. Follow your gut instincts.

  21. Fayaz Pasha
    Fayaz Pasha says:

    Quite an interesting post. Its very true that we all live by our choices. It is for this reason that we should be able to make more mature choices concerning our life-long journey. If you would love to read more about the wedding journey, do pop-in my blog: http://www.muslimweddingflight.com

    I would love to have your valuable comments.

    Have a blessed day

  22. JohnC
    JohnC says:

    Wrong to rely on Briggs-Myers; people are more complex than that, they behave differently in different situations, they change.

    It seems to me that the key indicator of long-term marriage success is the attitude to commitment that both people enter it with. i.e. do they really, really, expect to be married to this person for life.

  23. maria
    maria says:

    Penelope,you are writing about the same meanings over and over again.
    You have become the teacher of the good housewives!
    What has happened to you?
    Where is your creativity?

  24. Storey
    Storey says:

    Thanks for this post. It plays well into the ideas I’ve been having for cutting back to part-time work. I’m an INTJ and was happy to hear that plays into why I’ve always been happy for the “break” of work from my kids. But lately I’ve been feeling like I want to be with them more. As they enter school age I want to be around more to take take them to after school activities and the like. And honestly just want a little more free time for myself. Luckily my husband is an INTJ and high earner, but he’s been unhappy with his job too and is talking about launching out on his own. I’d love for him to be able to do this, but our timing to both cut back our earning (hopefully only temporarily) is terrible. And I feel like I need to come to terms with my career progress slowing down, or being permanently damaged, if I choose to go part-time.

  25. Cass
    Cass says:

    Women can often be impractical, and usually we can’t help it. I appreciate this article because it’s the truth, whether we like it or not. There are always exceptions, but you cannot count on those. It’s at the very least something to consider.

  26. Dave
    Dave says:

    Your analysis is a great thought exercise, but I can’t imagine how anyone would seriously think they could plan all this out. You can have these discussions and what you learn from your prospective mate and how they talk about it with you might have some value, but life changes constantly. You can be married with no intention of having kids and both be fired up to pursue type-A careers, then re-assess that after 5-10 years and start a family. You may find that by living simply, you maintain your standard of living and don’t need to over-achieve anymore. Then 5-10 years later, maybe you get tired of that too and decide to do something else. I just suggest people don’t put too much faith in long term plans and focus on how the communication and values work about things that matter today. I’m your classic GenX INTJ.

  27. labergerbasque
    labergerbasque says:

    I think sometimes you find love in the most unlikely palces and you can’t help it. I am married to a sheep farmer in the south of France. We are as different as night and day; I have benn formally educated quite well have worked internationally ALL my career. He has not gone beyond “lycee” and yet he is the smartest man I have ever met. He has never set foot on a plane. I would never have “intenionally” picked someone from such a “scenario”, but I could not be happier

  28. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    I’m an ENFJ AND have been the breadwinner since my son was three (he’s now 13). First it was because my husband didn’t “feel” like working, and then it was because I became a single mom who wasn’t getting child support (see previous sentence about not “feeling” like working). Have there been time when I felt guilty? Yes! But, I know that I do not have what it takes to be a stay at home mom, so I’ve put myself through school, landed a pretty decent job at a great company, and I don’t regret that my kids see that they have a mom who works hard for everything we have.

  29. NB
    NB says:

    Great Post!

    I was an INTJ in my teens and twenties. I was driven toward $ and promotions in the city, yet I saved and invested my earnings.

    At age 30 I feel in love with a guy who wanted to be a stay-home dad (an ESFP). We got married, had a kid, and my friends changed, my world view & jobs changed, and my reflective self increased. I had changed into an INFP.

    Now I work from our rural home and as the sole breadwinner. I have a niche specialty and work as a corporate consultant. It is deadline-driven, includes occasional travel, but I decide how much I want to work, and draw upon my observations and creativity. My husband does laundry, shopping, and cooking, and we have a cleaning lady 2x/month. I’m happy with the set-up; he says he’s happy – but I think his testosterone dropped when he left the work force, plus he misses his working friends. But we both really enjoy the time we spend parenting.

    My point is two-fold: your personality type could change over time; if it does, home location and income really matter. If I hadn’t been a good PAW (Prodigious Accumulator of Wealth) back in my high-earning INTJ days, or if we had stayed in NYC, our current lifestyle would not be possible. Secondly, I think it is very hard to buck the system with gender roles; if you do it, just know that it is harder than you think.

  30. Jenn
    Jenn says:

    I have always thought the, “you can’t help who you fall in love with” was a cop-out for people who don’t know what they want or are covering up the fact that they married someone incompatible with their life goals.
    I married an INTJ on purpose. I wanted someone who could afford for me to stay home with children if I chose to leave my career.
    I left my career 12 years ago and he has continued to be a very good breadwinner. My support at home gives him the freedom to work his ass off. We are both happy because we got what we wanted from a mate. By the way, I am an ENFJ.

  31. Angela
    Angela says:

    Spot on Penelope. You speak the truth. My husband and I both worked full time, until recently. We have a toddler. I am INTJ married to ESTJ and yeah, resentment accrues. The only nice thing about losing my job is that I stopped resenting my husband so much.

  32. kathy
    kathy says:

    The assumption here is that we cannot overcome who we are and how we are wired. I agree if we are doing it in our own strength. If on the other hand, we ask the Lord for help and direction nothing is impossible! I obtained a degree,had a high powered position, flying back and forth to our home and then had children. We opted to homeschool them all and I poured my intellect and energy into, as I believed the most important job on the planet. I can say now, that it was totally worth it! No amount of money, strokes, etc can compare. The Lord equipped me and my predominantly F husband became very involved. He did not work crazy hours,advance up the ladder,etc but we were ok, ate rice,macaroni etc :) I feel like my job has “eternal” value:))

  33. Ann
    Ann says:

    This is surely the most painful conversation I’ve ever listened to regarding the application of Myers Briggs scores to determine one’s life choices. Seriously, people, this isn’t the use for which the test was designed or how it should be used. If human beings and their attributes could be as so easily and accurately evaluated with one short test like MB, then we could all ignore our prospective mates’ family upbringing, educational, sexual and life experiences and simply assign ourselves to marriages and careers on the basis of our MB scores. Likewise, if the author’s and commenters’ understanding of the MB instrument and how it should be used without harm were greater, this conversation would be a lot funnier. Instead, this conversation reads like an Aldous Huxley novel or a Scientology gathering full of sheeple.

  34. phan
    phan says:

    Penelope claims raising kids is harder than any other job. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan since her Yahoo! days, but obviously she has never had a real job. Oh, I’m sure she has worked some long hours, but not a technically-challenging job that takes many hours of uninterrupted, deep concentration. Because I have done that, and I have also spent plenty of time raising my two boys as a single dad who has them four (4) nights per week. And while single parenting is a lot of work, it doesn’t compare to my previous routine. I’m enjoying the Dad thing a lot more, and I don’t even like kids (except of course I love my own to death).

  35. Laura David
    Laura David says:

    What about Option 4: Don’t have kids?
    That’s what my husband and I have decided, and we’re pretty happy with our choice. We’re 40-somethings and live in Silicon Valley, which has a high cost of living, but as DINKs (dual incomes, no kids), we can have a nice lifestyle. Our friends without kids seem pretty happy, too…

  36. berick
    berick says:

    Wow. So many assumptions and leaps. To tackle one key, you say:
    “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.”
    To quote that fountain of human wisdom, The Princess Bride, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
    Or turn to Homer, Shakespeare, or so many in between.
    Or you can quote me: “What a load of…”

  37. camilla
    camilla says:

    Any advice for an ISFP female? No mentions in your site of ISFPs. So far I’ve made every wrong decision imaginable having had zero guidance (if only this post had been around 30 years ago!) and a tendancy to romantic delusion. Past childbearing age now, a commitment-phobic ENFP boyfriend 10 years older than me who no longer makes much money, and a low-paid drudgery job. It really doesn’t read well. I need a kick up the ……. All or any life and work advice for ISFPs would be hugely appreciated.

    • Jenn
      Jenn says:

      Hi camilla,
      I am an ISFP and have read Penelope’s blog a long time and have never seen any mention of ISFP. Either in the blog itself or the commenters.

      I think we are kind of not-desired in the entire work world or the parenting world which is why there is no mention; the blog is generally about getting ahead at work (which ISFP’s can’t really do) or being a stellar parent (which from what I”ve read ISFP’s have to be very disciplined to be a good parent, I don’t have any kids, thank god).

      But I would be interested in what decisions you have made (for good or bad) and we could compare, because I have kind of been wandering in the desert these past 40 years too.

  38. Ann
    Ann says:

    Hello everyone!
    Am ann from usa,i want to share a brief testimony of what the great man of our time (dr mazula) the spell caster did in my life for bringing back my husband. And i love my husband so much. it happens sometime ago when we had a quarrel , that make my huband to devoice me. I pleaded with him for forgiveness but to no availe.i told my friend who had the same expeperience. she ask me if i believe in spell casting and i said know and she told me of her experience with dr mazula and she assured me that after i must have done the neccessary things that my husband will come back after three days. And i did as the man require of me. after three days i had a knock on my doo, behold my husband kneeling down with a flower on his hands begging me for forgiveness.
    If u have similar problem you can contact him on his email: mercifulspelltemple@gmail.com

  39. ElizaStelle
    ElizaStelle says:

    Love this for the clear delineation of possible paths. I’m 43 so I stumbled into this vs. planning for it, but it worked out exactly right. I married a man comfortable with being a SAH dad and because he is home with them, I’m able to build a fairly big career of work I love and have a lucrative job that supports us.

    Two caveats:

    I’m ENFP and certainly have my flake moments (I figure that’s just the ADD) but I’m a well-respected businesswoman who knows my stuff.

    And, I feel hugely guilty even though my kids (now aged 9 and 5) appear to be well adjusted and happy. I worry constantly although my husband is a great dad and this is the only life they know. But it’s okay.

    Life is about trade-offs.Think that’s the real crux of this post and it resonates with me pretty profoundly.

  40. Hope
    Hope says:

    INTJ woman here in my mid-40s, with two grown children (I married early but not by design) married to the same I-forget-his-MBTI guy for 25 years. He is an unusual combination of high breadwinner but home-based — he works for himself from home, and he can handle things on that front while I’m away all day.

    When our kids were young, he worked full-time outside the home and I worked full-time days, part-time nights, part-time days, home freelancing, home not freelancing — just about every type of situation. All of it pretty much sucked.

    You know, the happiest I’ve been is now when I don’t have to worry about my kids and can focus on career.

  41. nova
    nova says:

    Very interesting article. It’s just that in my experience, high achieving men usually look for high achieving women. So one route to find a high achieving man is to be high acheiving and then stay at home and take care of the kids and love it but beat yourself everyday on why you have lost you path to rising in your career!

  42. jim
    jim says:

    Wow, talk about First World/White People Problems.

    As a white First Worlder, I know them when I see them. :-)

  43. simon kenton
    simon kenton says:

    I’m a retired INTJ; my spouse is an employed INTJ. I raised my kids while working, owing to a very poor choice in first marriage (after the marriage she was hospitalized a few times as a danger to self and others). I was a useful employee because I created systems that average people could use to get work done. For me the real uses of being an INTJ are 1) being smart and 2) being systems-savvy. You can use that that excess intelligence to learn how to invest, reaching a point where the investment income reliably equals the previous employment income, and all the debts are paid (except the ones other people are paying for you). You can also use it to set up operations domestically so the marriage runs smoothly and the income continues to rise.

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