Maybe you have not said all of these phrases, but you have said one of these, and you need to own up to it. Because all the #metoos of the world are not going to change things without you taking personal responsibility for the ways you put down other women.

“I could never stay at home with kids. It’s too boring.”

The implication here is that people who stay home with kids require less stimulation than you do. Maybe they are dumber than you are, or more simple than you are. Maybe they don’t have the incredible potential to change the world that you do. You were born for better things.

Most people who stay home with kids have a choice: they could work full-time at an interesting job, or they could focus on raising their kids and taking care of their family. The people who are home with their kids did a cost-benefit analysis for the family as a whole and decided the extra money they’d make working was not as beneficial as the extra time they could give to making their family run well.

This does not mean the person is boring or stupid. But it might mean you are boring and stupid to assume that people who stay home with kids are not as interesting as people who work all day. And if IQ is what you’re concerned about, consider that an Ivy League education makes moms more likely to stay home.

College-educated women who are home with kids are brave enough to do what most makes sense to them instead of doing what society values. So when you say you have nothing in common with women who are home with kids, what you really mean is you have no respect for the job of taking care of kids, and you’d hate to have to identify as someone who does that.

The reason this is misogynist is that you are grouping a huge swath of the female population and declaring that they are shallow, boring and have nothing to talk about.

“You’re so smart, you can do anything!”

We say this to girls. All the time. The smart girls who follow all the rules at school outperform the boys on everything school-related except football. We tell these girls they will go to a great college and doors will open up and they will “do great things” the world.

And some do great things in the world. Until age 30. Then most women choose to give more time to family than their career. Women don’t want to be the breadwinner. And women don’t want to work the ten-hour days that are required of people who have outstanding careers. Because they won’t see their kids.

So when you congratulate your daughter for getting good grades so she can go to a good college to get a good job, you devalue the job she is most likely to gravitate to: taking care of a family. You degrade that job as not a valid choice, the same way people in the 1950s degraded math and science as not a valid choice for girls.

When you tell girls what they should do with their future, you undermine the achievements of women’s rights in the 20th century. When we constantly devalue the choice most women are making — to scale back their career and focus on family — we take away the pride girls have in who they are: smart, educated, hard-working. You can be all those things and still decide taking care of family is most important.

Parents should validate that option as much as they validate the option of being president or running a science lab. Because your smart, educated daughter is much more likely to stay home with kids than do any of those jobs that require never seeing their kids.

“I’ve never fit in with other women.”

I hear this all the time from high-performing women. As if they are fitting in with the men.

But they are not. Men and women are very separate once there are kids. There are relatively few married women in full-time office jobs who are over 35 and have school-aged kids. By choice. In most cases, the women who fit this description are the primary breadwinners (and it’s usually not what they wanted to be doing.)

What women mean when they say, “I don’t fit in with other women,” is really, “I win the competition with other women. I am competing with men.”  For the most part, men don’t compete with women; they compete with other men.

Women generally choose to scale back their career to take care of kids, and men usually do not scale back. So if you are a woman, it’s pretty likely that you do, indeed, fit in with the other women. You just wish you didn’t. And that’s misogynist.

How you can be part of the solution

The reality is that adults fall into very few categories. Here they are:

1) People who are the primary caretakers of kids.

2) People who have full-time jobs that matter to them.

3) People who do not fully commit to family or work. They don’t do either working or parenting as well as the other two categories because they refuse to choose one. (Or they are devoted to something that does not involve money or family, like painting.)

If you think you do not fit into any of these categories, you’re wrong. The most accomplished people commit to something and go at it with huge energy and devotion. Those are the first two types of people. Ironically it’s the third group that is most frequently involved in conversations about how they are too good to identify with other women.

Between the ages of 30 and 40, women face lots of difficult choices. Regardless of the choices they make, women who come out of this difficult time with their self-esteem intact are those who respect and admire women who stay home with kids.

This is true for you, too. Yes, you, the one who “could never stay home with kids,” the one who “never fit in with women,” the one who pushes your daughter to overlook caretaking as a valid choice. Women have fought so hard to have choices. Now the fight is for self-respect. And it starts with you.

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  1. MillenialWannabeHouseWife
    MillenialWannabeHouseWife says:

    I am 28 years old. I started my career when I was 21 and I was extremely driven career-wise. Now at 28 I feel like my career is winding down. I’m ready to retire, get married and have kids. Having a career as a woman is so OVERRATED. I think there was a generation of women that worked because having their own education/career/money meant freedom to them and they pushed their daughters to do the same. I think that women who stay at home full-time are the most powerful women of all. I think marriages with a stay at home wife are stronger and more satisfying to both the husband and the wife. I don’t want to be in the career world. I want to be at Target on a Monday morning in yoga pants. #Honesty

  2. Pomsky
    Pomsky says:

    I personally feel that staying home is always best for the kid (as in my case with my boys). I still found some part-time centers I sent ’em to so I could get a break and work on the “from scratch” recipes though as Jesus it’s impossible to recipe plan or cook when they’re awake! And.. nighttime is “me time” where I keep my mind active and pursue my interests. Staying home with kids isn’t free is all I’m saying as you’ll need a break for your own sanity (unless you have grandparents that will help out). I spent (spend) a LOT on classes to enrich them as well. Also, once the youngest turn 4, she can go back to work and hopefully get a better paying job so THEIR kids don’t have to get loans.

  3. Abigail Simpson
    Abigail Simpson says:

    Parenting can be one of the most unrewarding and thankless jobs you’ve ever done. Sleep deprivation mixed with endless sickness and snotty noses, changing nappies and negotiating biscuit deals is mentally and emotionally draining. Hours can feel like days and days can feel like months. Playing games holds little appeal when it’s longer than five minutes. Add in the frustration of the million inexplicable toddler rules to abide by and you have a recipe for pulling your hair out. I admire those mums who revel in being with their children all day every day. We’re all different after all and there’s no right or wrong. But, for those of us who do get bored, know you’re not alone.

  4. Diane Kern;
    Diane Kern; says:

    What I hear from women who work is ‘I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.’ My take on that is, sadly; it’s the end result of being in too many structured school programs which tell you what to do constantly. You’ve lost the natural quality of inspiration that will drive you to find many ways to educate yourself, develop yourself, learn new things, etc. As children we ‘followed our nose’ so to speak and discovered what we loved. Moms that stay home relax, enjoy their children, and rediscover what they love. It may be art, music, reading, writing, swimming, imagining new ventures, starting a catering bus. There are no limits. Great guys are happy to support happy wives doing a great job lovingly allowing children to be raised in their own homes.

    • Davanna
      Davanna says:

      Yes, artists can be as committed to their work as those who work outside the home.

      I tried to digest this article. Was lead here by Jordan Peterson whose wisdom I appreciate. There is some wisdom here, too. But I never take anything whole cloth. Women and men are finding ways to navigate life together with their children. There is so much that can pop up to challenge and even destroy us, we need to help each other. There are working women who look down on stay-at-home moms and vice versa. This has been going on since the 60s when women started to work outside the home more. it is a pointless argument. I was a stay at home mom. It had its rewards and drawbacks. As does everything in life. Period.

  5. Elana
    Elana says:

    It would be great if we lived in a world where well-educated women with the ability to pursue their dreams really could stop and decide whether they truly wanted to stay at home to raise their kids or have a career. But that’s not what’s actually happening for the most part.
    What we actually have, are a large number of moderately educated women whose earning potentials fall far short of the cost of daycare for their children, and who are therefore trapped and unable to actually pursue professional interests. These women have no choice but to stay home and are very often the ones who parrot the line about “making a choice to sacrifice for my family”.

    When I say “I couldn’t stay home because it’s too boring”, that’s not a judgement of women who stay home. It doesn’t at all suggest any thought about their intelligence or need for stimulation. I have no doubt that women who stay home crave stimulation every bit as I do, which is part of the reason I think staying home is so challenging – because that stimulation can be hard to come by.
    Staying at home would be too boring for me because the tasks I would no longer be able to afford to outsource (mostly laundry and cleaning) are boring TO ME. My choice is to go to work and use some of my income to pay someone else to do those things.

    With respect to the intelligence of women who stay home, I disagree with you here, as well. I have met intelligent and educated women who stay home with their children. Some of them have done mind-bogginlingly good jobs of filling their children’s worlds with incredibly educational, thought-provoking, amazing lessons and activities to develop their minds and characters. These women are truly inspiring and I stand in awe of the awesome work they do. I do not believe I have the capacity to offer my children what they offer theirs. That said, these women are in the extreme minority. Far more numerous are the women whose children spend a great deal of time watching TV and not doing a whole heck of a lot until they go off to kindergarten or grade 1. Why these women are held up as serving their children better than a working mother whose income allows her to send her children to an outstanding centre of early childhood education, is beyond me.

    Jordan Peterson thinks that anyone who disagree with the author will attack her and vilify her. I certainly wouldn’t. I do very much disagree with much of what she’s written. But my overall problem with the piece relates to Jordan’s suggestion that it is something new, or value, or that furthers the conversation about women’s work-life balance/choices. It doesn’t. It’s just more of the same in this tired old debate.

  6. Danijela
    Danijela says:

    It’s SO true! I had my diploma on high respected Faculty (electrical engineer) 26 years ago and I worked for some time, but when my first child was born I decided to “stay home”. I have 4 children and in the meantime I have heard so many times remarks such: “When are you going to work again?” (as I’m not working at home!), “So shame you had studied so hard and you are home with kids now.” and so on. I felt angry and humiliated so many times, but I fought eagerly back this wrong opinions and I think things are now slowly changing in my country and my society. So, my hard faculty diploma was not in vain, after all :D

  7. Kala
    Kala says:

    When I decided to quit work and stay home with my daughter for three years people would invariably ask me what did I do all day.
    My answer was “I do a variety of unstructured activities”. LOL

    Feminism has become a religion and feminists feel the need to prosthelytize for converts. It’s nobody”s business what I choose to do.

  8. Lara
    Lara says:

    how did you get so sanctimonious? your post is all about “you say X but you mean Z”. how do you know?
    actually, how can you know if you never even consider that there are women that don’t want kids? there is no reference to them, as if they didn’t exist. the same for single moms – why aren’t they represented in your text.

    in this text you seem to be speaking to defend yourself and your choices. you’re better than that.

  9. D Bennetttttt
    D Bennetttttt says:

    I am a single father who has returned to study and will never be a CEO or a Nobel prize winner. It was worth it.

  10. Laura
    Laura says:

    What this conversation is missing is a) the working class and b) student debt.

    Men don’t always make enough money to support the household, especially those working hourly jobs around minimum wage.

    On the other hand, college educated men and women often have student debt, but aren’t high paid enough that one income can cover the home/family and the debt for both spouses. Women HAVE to work, at least a little, to keep the family afloat. Ivy-educated women are more likely to stay home, but how much debt do they have (did their wealthy families pay full freight or did they get 100% of need met as many ivies do?) and how much did they earn while working/how much do their husbands earn. Were they able to save and are their husbands alone making 6 figures? This is not the same as regular joe teachers and office workers.

    It is not that women who work are flawed in personality in that they can’t commit to one thing, it is that they simply financially can’t not work, especially after the kids are in school and there’s no cost for childcare.

  11. John Colvin
    John Colvin says:

    I cannot make any sense of the “I’ve never fit in with other women.” section. What is the line of reasoning supposed to be there?

    If someone who does get it could try explaining it to me then that would be great :)

  12. Sundshine
    Sundshine says:

    Thank you for your insights! Internationalist feminists have a stealth campaign against family life. Take the mother out of the home, so she will be a marginal force in raising her own offspring. Convince her often, sadly, to abort her own children. (Sorry to say something so crass but true.) Mothering is an art, a gift, and a necessary skill for the survival of the species. Sadly, feminists work to undermine mom at every turn. Then, they kick the father out of the home. They downplay the child’s need for the father. Children want and need two parents who love, protect, and nurture and teach them to live healthy productive lives.

  13. Paul Neubauer
    Paul Neubauer says:

    So, when will these career women marry men who want to stay home and be with the kids.

    Or we never get that choice because we have to work to support the choices of women.

    And every women who fills one of those hot career positions removes a man who would qualify as woman’s husband.

  14. Burt Michaels
    Burt Michaels says:

    We were a rural family in the 70s. Dad worked 16-hour days at the factory, when he wasn’t out on strike or laid off or injured or out cutting wood for our wood-burning furnace. And so, in the early 80s, Mom went to work, too – not as a “career woman”, but in retail, the only work she could get. And she, too, ended up working 6 days a week, mostly 3p-11p. I was an early latchkey kid. I don’t have much memory of spending time with my parents and I joined the Marine Corps at age 17. I’ve held professional jobs in IT and project management for 30-some years since, and never felt adversely affected by my parents’ “absence” – they weren’t at home, but I knew exactly where they were, and why.

    I’ve never spoken to my mom about it, but she doesn’t seem to regret what she and dad did. She didn’t miss us terribly – she just did her job. We love each other and have a good relationship.

    I don’t believe there is an imperative for anyone, male or female. to choose either commitment to kids or work, exclusively, and to expect certain specific consequences for either choice. In the same way the author correctly identifies the divide between men, who often prioritize work over all and conscientious moms who don’t, there is a divide between rural and urban societies, poor and middle-class: when you’re poor, you don’t have the luxury of choices. Life is work; work is life.

  15. Joan
    Joan says:

    It’s also very misogynist and insulting to assume that women without children are selfish or that they ‘look down on’ women who stay home with kids, or to suggest that a childless woman is somehow less a person because she doesn’t raise a family. Very misogynist and patriarchal attitude. There are various reasons some women don’t have kids, sometimes by choice, sometimes by circumstance. Just because you choose to have a family doesn’t entitle you to paint childless women as if they are ‘less than’ or somehow misogynists (!) for not making the same choice as you. This is actually a really annoying trait of entitled women who act like everyone must bow down because they became MOTHERS. They view childless women with condescending disdain, as somehow flawed or not fulfilled because they made a different choice than your traditional ‘family’ role.
    How about you just enjoy raising your kids, and not judge other women’s life choices or circumstances?

  16. Pat
    Pat says:

    You know what’s misogynistic? This article. This article has to be one of the most simple-minded, over-generalization-making, condescending things I’ve read in a while. What statistics is this blogger using to make these claims? Why is the writer lumping “everyone” into broad categories? Why is she assuming so much, based on nothing?

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