Monday, February 8, 2010

A Gen Y Woman Acknowledges Gold Digging's Resurgence

I received this email from a reader, who subsequently gave me permission to post it here.

Hi Marty,

What a refreshing blog! I'm a single 25/F. I appreciate many of your strong opinions, even the ones to which most women would likely take offense - regarding the stay-at-home mom/beast-of-burden epidemic. It's discussed all too seldom and maybe it's even a little taboo:

I know a number of women who seem to have little guilt in putting the financial burden solely on their unassuming husbands/boyfriends to establish and maintain
comfortable lifestyles. These women want a big wedding, children, and a house for those children all without putting in the time and effort to actually earn it. They leave that to their husbands.

I don't see a problem with a woman devoting her life to being a housewife (although I don't necessarily understand it either) so long as her husband can afford it (and wants to afford it) alone. However, the aspect that you touch on so nicely is what happens when the husband can't afford it and the wife refuses to make it any easier. Most of the 20-something men I know don't earn enough to support all the things that come with maintaining a comfortable lifestyle. For instance, to live comfortably on Long Island, a family should be pulling in close to six figures, and it's not fair to leave it all up to the man.

Before they receive their first post-college paychecks, these women want a house, an SUV, 2.5 kids, and the time to go back to school and pursue a graduate degree. Going back to school, as you said, is just a way for many to avoid getting a real job, although it is often disguised as a means to a better end. What it usually turns into is a bitter end, as college loans pile up on top of costly preschool tuitions.

It is unfortunate that so many women can manipulate this sort of existence from their men. I really feel that, despite what Oprah says, being a stay-at-home mom is not quite the same level of "hard" that's required to keep a decent paying job.

Lisa Green
Long Island, NY


Anonymous said...

Your letter writer is from Long Island, which can be a very expensive to live.

I don't think that many couples find themselves in a position where the wife can expect a 20k wedding, house, vehicle and kids before 30 and without doing any work on her own.

For those who find themselves lucky enough to be negotiating that kind of deal, from either side: congratulations. Get a prenup.

Anonymous said...

The other side of the coin is that many men do not want to marry women who have their own careers and are independent, yet solvent, and not materialistic.

Anonymous said...

I agree, and I'm a woman, that staying at home isn't the same "hard" as going out to work. (For a while, growing up, I wanted to believe that a woman's work in the home was equal to a man's work in the field... but I can't justify that touted equality.)

I also see many people struggling to live the lives they think they "should" be living. They hide behind traditional gender role stereotypes, yes even in this day and age. When they are able to accomplish this gender role, they feel successful and like meaningful human beings. The husband bends over backwards to provide; the wife stays home or some work, to be sure, but in either situation, they live a life of home, kid(s) SUV's and a pretense of subscribing to a class -- to which they don't actually belong, if you crunch the numbers.

The wife expects the ring, the house, the lifestyle, and the man expects to be able to provide for her/them. They both need the other to live out their expectations.

My brother and his wife live like this. They are sincerely trying to live the life they think worth living, to be good people. And to provide the "best" for their daughter. But in the process, I see my brother killing himself: hypertension, overworked, stressed, exhausted. And his wife killing them all: she refuses to stop smoking like a chimney. In addition her heart palpitates... They present in a more stable, financially secure manner.

On the one hand, it all seems to superficial and meaningless to me. But I am sure I have my own version of life's expectations. On the other hand, I think that people really do try.

What's lacking: people don't assess their habitual patterns.

I am single. (I guess I have to assess that.)


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