Almost a decade ago, the writer Linda Hirshman exhorted ambitious women to marry men with less money or social capital than they had. In articles and her book, Get to Work, she told women that they should avoid ever taking on more than half of the housework or child care. How to do it? Either marry a man who is extremely committed to equality, or do what she says is the easier route and “marry down.” Hirshman explained in the American Prospect that such a choice is not “brutally strategic,” it’s just smart. “If you are devoted to your career goals and would like a man who will support that, you’re just doing what men throughout the ages have done: placing a safe bet.”
This was a highly controversial piece of advice at the time, but Hirshman might have been right. A new study of Harvard Business School graduates from HBS’s Robin Ely and Colleen Ammerman and Hunter College sociologist Pamela Stone shows that high-achieving women are not meeting the career goals they set for themselves in their 20s. It’s not because they’re “opting out” of the workforce when they have kids, but because they’re allowing their partners’ careers to take precedence over their own.
The study’s authors interviewed 25,000 men and women who graduated from Harvard Business School over the past several decades. The male graduates were much more likely to be in senior management positions and have more responsibility and more direct reports than their female peers. But why? It’s not because women are leaving the workforce en masse. The authors found, definitively, that the “opt-out” explanation is a myth. Among Gen X and baby boomers they surveyed, only 11 percent of women left the workforce to be full-time moms. That figure is lower for women of color—only 7 percent stopped working. The vast majority (74 percent) of Gen Xers, women who are currently 32-48 and in the prime of their child-rearing years, work full time, an average of 52 hours a week.
But while these women are still working, they are also making more unexpected sacrifices than their male classmates are. When they graduated, more than half of male HBS grads said they expected their careers would take precedence over their partners’. Only 7 percent of Gen X women and 3 percent of baby boomer women said they expected their careers to take precedence. Here’s what they did expect: The majority of women said they assumed they would have egalitarian marriages in which both spouses’ careers were taken equally seriously.
A lot of those women were wrong. About 40 percent of Gen X and boomer women said their spouses’ careers took priority over theirs, while only about 20 percent of them had planned on their careers taking a back seat. Compare that with the men: More than 70 percent of Gen X and boomer men say their careers are more important than their wives’. When you look at child care responsibilities, the numbers are starker. A full 86 percent of Gen X and boomer men said their wives take primary responsibility for child care, and the women agree: 65 percent of Gen X women and 72 percent of boomer women—all HBS grads, most of whom work—say they’re the ones who do most of the child care in their relationships.
Of course, marital arrangements aren’t the only force holding women back. Part of the reason these women aren’t advancing at the same rate as their male counterparts is that after they have kids, they get “mommy-tracked.” In many ways, they’re not considered management candidates anymore. “They may have been stigmatized for taking advantage of flex options or reduced schedules, passed over for high-profile assignments, or removed from projects they once led,” the authors note. Other studies support these findings, as they have shown that there is a real, substantial motherhood penalty that involves lower pay and fewer promotions for women with kids, because employers assume they will be less dedicated to their jobs (as do, we now know, their husbands).
But the personal piece of the female achievement gap puzzle is important, and it’s something that’s very difficult to shift. The study’s authors note that while millennial HBS grads are a little more egalitarian than their older peers, half of the youngest men still assume that their careers will take precedence, and two-thirds of them assume their spouses will do the majority of child care.
Based on these numbers, Hirshman suddenly seems prescient. Take a look at the current crop of female CEOs: A lot of them have husbands who don’t work. Xerox CEO Ursula Burns took a page out of Hirshman’s book and joked at a 2013 conference, “The secret [to success] is to marry someone 20 years older.” Her husband retired as she was hitting her career stride, allowing him to take primary responsibility for their kids. If becoming a CEO and having a family is what you desire, you might want to take that advice.
*Article originally published on Slate.
One of the problems with being friends with someone who has a kid is that they can never really hang out. There are always excuses so sometimes it gets to the point where I just stop asking them to go places with me altogether.
I understand that once you become a parent your whole world changes & your child(ren) becomes your priority. I know that friendships are placed on the back burner but they shouldn’t have to be. Even as a new parent you still need to get out every now& then (plus your kids need a break from you too!).
But if you do have children & are wondering why you are not on the top of anyone’s call list, here are the top 5 reasons why you’re probably not being asked to hang out with your friends anymore:
- You always say no anyway – Who likes to be rejected? If I am continually asking you to different places & you pretty much always say no, then at some point I will just give up. You’ll need to call me if you wanna go out.
- Going out costs you extra –Babysitting fees or calling in favors for somebody to watch your kids is just a part of being a parent. This is something that I don’t even have to worry about but it doesn’t mean that I don’t sympathize. Just know that spending a little bit of money now will be worth it later on J
- You are always checking your phone for “emergencies” – This is terribly annoying. How would you like it if someone starting checkin’ their phone while you were trying to have a conversation with them? It’s very rude. If you are so concerned that something is going to happen to your babies while you aren’t there, then simple – don’t leave them in the first place! So if you are going out with your friends be courteous & only check your phone if you NEED to.
- You can’t hang out as late as I can – Did you know the real fun doesn’t go down until after you leave? Going out from 9-11pm does not constitute a REAL “Ladies Night Out”. I get the fact that getting out of the house may take a lot on your end, but if you’re only staying out for less time than it took for you to get ready then why bother?
- You won’t be as much fun because you’ll be thinking about your little ones – The whole purpose of going out is to get your mind off of everything that’s going on in your life. This includes family, friends, work, etc. No one wants to hear all that! Let it loose!!
Parents, I know that you deserve to go out just as much as single people do. But please remember, if you’re going out to have fun then do exactly that – HAVE FUN (don’t worry about your kids; they’ll be fine)!
What is Spina Bifida?
Spina Bifida literally means “split spine.” Spina Bifida happens when a baby is in the womb and the spinal column does not close all of the way. Every day, about eight babies born in the United States have Spina Bifida or a similar birth defect of the brain and spine, making it the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States.
What causes Spina Bifida?
No one knows for sure. Scientists believe that genetic and environmental factors act together to cause the condition.
How is Spina Bifida Treated?
A child with Meningomyelocele usually is operated on within two to three days of birth. This prevents infections and helps save the spinal cord from more damage. More often than not, the child is not paralyzed and grow up just fine.
What can you do to prevent Spina Bifida?
Expectant women should take folic acid before and during the first three months of pregnancy. Because half of the pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, the Spina Bifida Association asks women to take a vitamin with 400 mcg (0.4 mg) of folic acid each day during the years of their lives when they are possibly able to have children.
Women who have a child or sibling with Spina Bifida, have had an affected pregnancy or have Spina Bifida themselves should take 4000 mcg (4.0 mg) of folic acid for one to three months before and during the first three months of pregnancy.
What conditions are associated with Spina Bifida?
Children and young adults with Spina Bifida can have mental and social problems. They also can have problems with walking and getting around or going to the bathroom, latex allergy, obesity, skin breakdown, gastrointestinal disorders, learning disabilities, depression, tendonitis and sexual issues. People with Spina Bifida must learn how to get around on their own without help, by using things like crutches, braces or wheelchairs. With help, it also is possible for children to learn how to go to the bathroom on their own. Doctors, nurses, teachers and parents should know what a child can and cannot do so they can help the child (within the limits of safety and health) be independent, play with kids that are not disabled and to take care of him or herself.
Can Spina Bifida be detected before birth?
Yes, there are three tests (parents should know that no medical test is perfect, and these tests are not always right):
- A blood test during the 16th to 18th weeks of pregnancy. This is called the alpha-fetoprotein (AFP screening test). This test is higher in about 75–80 % of women who have a fetus with Spina Bifida.
- An ultrasound of the fetus. This is also called a sonogram and can show signs of Spina Bifida such as the open spine.
- A test where a small amount of the fluid from the womb is taken through a thin needle. This is called maternal amniocentesis and can be used to look at protein levels.
Can children with Spina Bifida grow up and live full lives?
Yes. With help, children with Spina Bifida can lead full lives. Most do well in school, and many play in sports. Because of today’s medicine, about 90 percent of babies born with Spina Bifida now live to be adults, about 80 percent have normal intelligence and about 75 percent play sports and do other fun activities.
How is Spina Bifida managed?
As type and level of severity differ among people with Spina Bifida, each person with the condition faces different challenges and may require different treatments. The best way to manage Spina Bifida is with a team approach. Members of the team may include neurosurgeons, urologists, orthopedists, physical and occupational therapists, orthotists, psychologists and medical social workers.
This information does not constitute medical advice for any individual. As specific cases may vary from the general information presented here, SBA advises readers to consult a qualified medical or other professional on an individual basis.
How Can You Help?
SBA’s National Resource Center on Spina Bifida (NRC) provides high quality, confidential information and referral services. Every year the NRC responds to as many as 10,000 questions about health care, education, employment, benefits, and more. The NRC is the only clearinghouse of information exclusively dedicated to Spina Bifida. The NRC can help:
- Find the closest SBA Chapter or Spina Bifida clinic
- Locate support resources in your area
- Help facilitate your questions and answers through our Ask the Expert feature
- And much more!
Whether you are an adult living with Spina Bifida, the parent of a child with Spina Bifida, or just found out that the baby you are carrying has Spina Bifida, the NRC is here to help. To access the NRC, simply submit a question using our Ask the Expert online form, send an email to email@example.com, or call 800-621-3141, ext. 35. You can also check them out on Facebook & Twitter
September is the most popular month to give birth. With close to 4 million births last year, it’s apparent that the majority of these newborns were conceived in those winter months (which will be coming up soon!). According to Baby Center, the most popular day for babies to make their entrance into the world is Tuesday, followed by Monday. Sunday is the slowest day. Scheduled C-sections and induced labors have a big influence on the fact that fewer babies are born on the weekend but spontaneous (non-scheduled) deliveries occur less often on the weekend too.
So…….since this is the most popular birthmonth, I thought I’d share some of the most interesting pregnancy photos I’ve ever seen. Enjoy viewing these expectant mothers (along with my commentary, of course) –
This is actually pretty funny. She is doing everything you’re NOT supposed to do when you’re pregnant but everything you CAN do after you have the baby. Cheers!
Um, I thought the sonogram was supposed to be on the inside of the stomach, not the outside.
This is just creepy.
Cute – both have big bellies. Except hers is excusable, his is not.
I hope this picture means she’s having a girl. If not – AWKWARD!
Why is he pushing in her belly button? Does he think it’s a doorbell or something?!
And what’s with the all black outfits? Having a baby is supposed to be a joyous occasion, not a tragedy
I hope she’s not seriously riding a horse while she’s that pregnant. This pose would be okay for her wedding day, but not for an “I’m pregnant” photo.
Is that moss? What in the world?! Where is she & what scene is she trying to recreate? I just don’t get it…
Okay, now they’re just showing us how they got pregnant in the first place. Gross!
I hope they’re having a boy. Otherwise, this is just weird.
Okay, I hope this couple is having a girl. Otherwise, what in the world were they thinking? And why is he wearing a pair of jeans & a sleeveless shirt in a dance studio? Could he be any more under-dressed for this picture?
I’m not quite sure what’s going on here – maybe she’s supposed to be in the ocean or maybe she’s like the fetus inside the womb. I’m not really sure. But whatever look she was going for, it’s not working for her.
Okay, I get what they were going for here. Not all that funny, but they’re young so I guess it’s kinda cute.
Just plain weird.
Who uses their actual belly for the countdown to when they give birth? This reminds me of the movie Shawshank Redemption, in a strange sorta way.
It’s a BOY!
(But then why are you in a flower field?!)
I’m not quite sure what this is supposed to represent. The belly of Life? Or that your baby is “underground” waiting to blossom? Coincidentally, this is exactly what a funeral plot in a cemetery looks like.
This is different! But I think I would much rather have a basketball cake than a basketball belly.
Instead of taking this photo, I think the photographer should be calling 911. I hope that’s not how she takes a nap because she looks catatonic to me.
Gosh, this is a tough one. They all look so pregnant, actually the men more than the woman! But this will make for a funny family Christmas card!
What the heck were these expectant parents thinking? I wonder how long it took for them to look back on these photos in shame. If you know anyone who took “crazy” pregnancy photos, why did they do it? Furthermore, did anyone try to stop them? Please share in the comments section below –
My Dearest Second Child,
As your arrival into this world approached closer and closer, I began making my rounds. I visited with aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and anyone else I could think of to reminisce about all the fun times we’d had. I convinced myself that once you came, being the mother of two children would drive me to boarding up the windows and becoming a recluse. We would be a very happy family, just pale and sensitive to the light. As it turns out, adding another child was more difficult, but it became the norm very quickly, and we did eventually leave the house — mostly for nipple cream and Motrin, but we made it out nonetheless. But it hasn’t been without a few hiccups. You are only 11 months old, and I have already raised you very differently from how I raised your brother at that age. Which is why I decided to write this apology letter now, so that perhaps later on in life you will know that, if nothing else, at least I’m aware. So please read the following and remember that mommy loves you.
I’m sorry I dropped you.
I did. Honest to God, I dropped you, and this one was a toughie to get over. You were sleeping on my chest in my bed and just rolled off. Splat. I think I was more damaged than you, though. You cried for a few minutes and then started smiling. I was convinced at that point serious damage had been done. In my defense, it was a crowded bed. There was your dad, and then your brother crawled in and pushed me to the edge. And remember, I was exhausted from staying up all night nursing and holding you. Don’t forget that part. I thought about having a specialty cliff-diving suit made for you. You know, the one that makes you look like a flying squirrel. But instead we just decided to invest in a bigger bed.
I’m sorry I don’t know any facts about you.
Your brother’s baby book contains so much information about his first year, he could look back to discover every time he spit up. I was on him like a crazy woman. “Oh, did you see that. His lip went up like Elvis. Oh my God, so cute. What’s today’s date? What time is it?” “Oh my God! All his toes wiggled at the same time. What’s today’s date?” And just today, I turned the corner after your brother called me to “help wipe the poop off his butt,” and there you are. You’re standing up, holding the Swiffer, which is somehow helping you to balance. Wow. You are already a tightrope walker and I had no idea. When you open your baby book to reminisce when you’re older, it will read, “Place photo here,” and you will know that mommy didn’t have time to write down silly stats. I was too busy loving on you. And wiping your brother’s butt.
I’m sorry I let your brother pee near you.
I’m lying. He actually peed ON you in the bathtub. Specifically on your arm. Perhaps some remnants of spray may have landed on your face, but mostly your arm. In fact, I’m sorry your brother does bad things to you daily. It’s not so much he’s mean, but he literally acts like you don’t exist. If you’re crawling in his path, he will run right into you until you topple over. If you have something in your hands, he walks by without hesitation and takes it from you. But you laugh at everything he does and you follow him everywhere he goes despite his abuse. I correct him every time, and I make him give you hugs and kisses but right now it’s just not in the cards. One day, you will be great friends. But right now, I just have to help you get back at him because you haven’t grown into your deviant side yet. When we get your brother an icy pop, you lick all over it first before I hand it to him. It would make him crazy if he knew that. Also, when he’s at school, I let you play in his room. And when he asks why his train tracks are messed up, I blame it on an earthquake. It’s our little secret, buddy.
I’m sorry you look like a candidate for “What Not To Wear,” baby edition.
Your brother had all brand-new, super-cute clothes, and you wear mostly his hand-me-downs, so that’s why it’s hard for me to figure out why you are always so disheveled. Getting two children ready to go somewhere is like participating in a 5K scavenger hunt. But we reach our destination, oftentimes late, and then your brother runs off to cause chaos, and I look down at you as I take a breath only to discover in shock that you are wearing a very interesting get-up, and you have what appears to be a 5 o’clock shadow on your face from the food I forgot to wipe off at lunch. If “hobo baby” becomes a trend, you will definitely qualify as a trendsetter. But I think this is a good lesson: It’s not the clothes that make the boy. It’s all about the attitude, and you seem very happy.
I’m sorry I don’t love you less.
I know as you get older, mean people will try to tell you that the second child is loved less. That there is no way you can love another one as much as the first. Well, I’m sorry to say that’s a lie. And as you continue to grow, you will hear more and more of them. They say, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” From the second the doctor placed you on my chest, I have never been more sure of anything in my life. It is possible to love so much it hurts, over and over and over again. I would give my life for you and your brother without hesitation. I will love you just as much as I love him for eternity. Don’t you ever believe anything other than that. I may have accidentally dropped you a few times, forgotten to document your first fart, let a little pee fly and dressed you like an idiot, but I have also loved you with every piece of me, and you will never hear an apology for that.
With all the love in my heart,
*Article originally posted on Huffington Post.
August is SMA Awareness Month!! Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA, is a disease that most people don’t know about. SMA is a motor neuron disease. It refers to a group of inherited diseases of the motor nerves that cause muscle weakness and atrophy (wasting).The motor neurons affect the voluntary muscles that are used for activities such as crawling, walking, head and neck control, and swallowing. It is a relatively common “rare disorder”: approximately 1 in 6000 babies born are affected and about 1 in 40 people are genetic carriers. In a person with mutated genes, this protein is absent or significantly decreased, and causes severe problems for motor neurons. Motor neurons are nerve cells in the spinal cord which send out nerve fibers to muscles throughout the body. Since SMN protein is critical to the survival and health of motor neurons, nerve cells may shrink and eventually die without this protein, resulting in muscle weakness. As a child with SMA grows, it is difficult for his/her weakened muscles to keep up with the demands of daily activities. The resulting weakness can also lead to bone and spine changes that may cause breathing problems and further loss of function.
SMA affects muscles throughout the body. In the most common types, weakness in the legs is generally greater than in the arms. Sometimes feeding, swallowing, and respiratory function (e.g., breathing, coughing, and clearing secretions) can be affected. When the muscles used for breathing and coughing are affected and weakened, this can lead to an increased risk for pneumonia and other respiratory infections, as well as breathing difficulty during sleep. The brain’s cognitive functions and the ability to feel objects and pain are not affected. People with SMA are generally grouped into one of four types (I, II, III, IV) based on their highest level of motor function or ability.
Here are some Spinal Muscular Atrophy facts (according to the Families of SMA organization):
- One in every 6,000 babies is born with SMA
- SMA can strike anyone of any age, race or gender
- One in every 40 people carries the gene that causes SMA
- The child of two carriers has a one in four chance of developing SMA
- 7.5 million Americans are carriers
- SMA does not affect sensation and intellectual activity in patients. It commonly is observed that patients with SMA are unusually bright and sociable
Read one mother’s journey about life with Spinal Muscular Atrophy – the ‘Tiffany Moore’s story’. Click here to find out how she dealt with amazing twin sons who were born with SMA. Learn about their personal story & the challenges they faced. You can also support the #MoreForMoore campaign by purchasing the Moore Campaign T-shirt and raise awareness for SMA!
So how can YOU make more people aware of SMA? Here are three great ideas:
1) Tell everyone
This idea has the benefit of not costing a thing. If you have a child with SMA or you have SMA yourself, you probably find that people are curious (to say the least). Don’t ignore them … teach them. Tell them about the disease and what it does, then tell them about this website and how they can help.
Fighting a killer takes money, and while we understand that times are tight and it costs a lot to care for someone with SMA, a donation of any amount can help. Your gift to FightSMA will fund life-saving science and research, and also makes possible programs offering support to families battling SMA. Click here to donate.
3) Lobby your legislator
The National Pediatric Research Nework Act will soon be up for a vote in the U.S. Senate. This legislation would drastically improve our ability to find a treatment for SMA and could make finding a cure a reality. Click here to read help with how to contact your senator.
Unfortunately, at this time there is no cure for SMA. However, research aimed at finding a treatment or cure for SMA is moving rapidly forward. Much of this research is focused on SMN2, a gene that partially compensates for the function of the gene (SMN1) that, when mutated (abnormal), is the cause of most cases of SMA.
Thanks to the support of our community, there’s great reason for hope. We know what causes SMA and what we need to do to develop effective therapies, and we’re on the verge of major breakthroughs that will strengthen our children’s bodies, extend life, and eventually lead to a cure.
* If you know someone who has been recently diagnosed with SMA please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to request a free informational packet. For more information, visit any of the following organizations:
She asked me the question because she was on the fence about whether she should have a baby. I remember that time in my life. I think I’m still at that time in my life. Should I have kids? But she was asking me seriously. I was her closest friend with real baby insight. What was the deal? Do the heart-melting moments outweigh the bad stuff and make it totally worth it?
As usual, I am a focus group of one. There seem to be a lot of people out there who think having (and rearing) babies is The Most Fun Ever. They are all like, “Oh my God! And then I get to quit my job and FINALLY buy that house in the ‘burbs and make crafts All. Day. Long. and sing songs and, OMG, I cannot wait!” And I think those people are incredible. (Don’t get me wrong, I love crafts as much as the next gal. I just like to do adult crafts. Alone.) Those people have a different genetic makeup than I do. I think my kid is awesome. All two hours a day I spend with him after living the working mom dream. And then I like to put him to bed and think about how I can’t go anywhere because it’s basically illegal to leave the house. JUST IN CASE. (There’s a lot of “just in case” in parenting. I want to tell people to go ahead and stop talking to me, just in case I get violent.)
But when posed the question, “It is totally worth it?”, I really can’t answer simply. On the one hand, I have a tiny
person: I own a 28-inch human being. He has tiny human pants and little New Balance sneakers and he thinks I am awesome. Like, really awesome. He sees me and he’s all, “Oh thank God it is you! I have been waiting on you since forever and I have no concept of time so that’s basically my whole life!” And he smiles and makes “ahhoooohhh” noises that are pretty funny because he thinks I’m absolutely following what he’s telling me. Mimic him and his mind is blown. We speak the same language!
No, shrunken human, I have no idea what you’re getting at.
But then other times he is a tiny life terrorist. He’s the biggest, most selfish ass in the history of the world. He wants what he wants when he wants it and that’s exactly 30 seconds before it’s humanly possible for me to have it. All the toys in the world are meaningless compared to an outlet or a live wire or anything else that could instantly kill him. He stole everything I knew: my life, my professional life, my social life, my sex life. I now spend evenings putting meat into a blender and then tasting it. Pureed meat! Sh*t ain’t right. He’s turned our cat into a manic-depressive who no longer stares out the window, but rather throws his body against the screen in an attempt to break through and plunge to his death.
And some of those things, like slaving over homemade baby food and losing the love of the family cat, are OK. His cuteness does make those things worth it. But the other stuff? The loss of anything that resembles my former life? That’s where things get complicated. When he wakes up screaming bloody murder just moments after I put him down, right as the wine is about to hit my lips, only to smile and laugh when I go into his room, I frankly think him a deviant little f*ck. A tiny human who was sent to this earth to make me think long and hard about who I am and what I believe.
But that’s not an answer. So I answer like this:
Having a baby is like losing your leg and winning the lottery. Winning the lottery does not make it OK that you’re without your leg, but it does give you enough of a distraction that you don’t completely lose your mind. Yes, your leg is missing, but you’re on a yacht. Would you rather be in a trailer with a leg? Who knows. Guess it depends on whether you felt like going for a jog.
My leg is gone. Blown to smithereens. I have to relearn to walk and dance and run and do everything else I used to know how to do, but I won the lottery, so that’s going to help.
Of course I miss not having a baby. When people say things like, “I don’t even remember what it was like!”, I cannot relate. I remember exactly what it was like. IT WAS AMAZING. I drank in real bars on weeknights. I made last-minute plans. I could get on an airplane without two Xanax and a booster brew and a sincere prayer that the small boy doesn’t freak out at 30,000 feet. When I made a decision, it was with very little other than my own comfort and convenience in mind. Those things come dead last now. If they come at all.
I can’t tell you whether having kids will be worth it for you. And that whole, “We are waiting until we’re ready” thing? Right. You are never ready for this. When the tiny human cometh, all bets are off. And from then on, the question is never again whether or not it’s worth it. The question is how you make it worth it for them.
*Article originally published on Huffington Post.