Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Women, Divorce, MBA ... ah, the juicy headlines (actually, you can "have it all")

I have been pondering whether to respond to Caitlin Weaver (who writes a most excellent blog)'s post on the WSJ article regarding the divorce rate among professional women but happily Tinydancer and commenters did the work for me.

You can "have it all" - it's called childcare, housecleaners, and take-out. (Alternatively, try a little diversity in your spouse.) Problems solved.

Look, whether you are married to an MBA type or a diaper-changing-soccer-practice-scheduling-cake-baking-TLC-providing-happytomovearoundthecountryforyou type, ambition can be dangerous for any marriage. Non-MBA types are likely to get sick of their MBA spouse's never ending work week - who wants to be on the receiving end of endless the honeyI'mstuckintheofficelateagain phone call? And MBA+MBA types will be be on the receiving and delivering end of this phone call resulting in no TLC for anyone. Ever. So how do you "have it all"? Buy time. Get some good childcare, a trusty housecleaner and order take out. You're making the big bucks - so spend it, save up and retire early. MBA men end marriages to MBA women because they don't have time to pack the kids' luches? I have a feeling that's not the problem. (Unless it's an east coast thing ...)

But, MBA ladies, if you can't find a sane MBA men who understands the power of hired help, marry yourself a nice non-MBA. Worked for me. I don't get the idea that my perfect mate should be someone just like me, but with balls. Since when did a sane work week = not successful? Since when did a willingness to be a stay-at-home dad = not attractive? If you love your career (therefore don't mind working), why wouldn't you want to come home to a beautiful man and a home cooked meal (or any meal, for that matter) and a conversation about anything but the credit crunch? Have you lost your sense of reason?? Apparently, spouse diversity works for MBA men. Well it works for MBA women too. I know a gaggle of great men who happily ride along while their high-powered wife earned the big bucks. Why not? Not every man wants to be a CEO/hedge fund manager/etc. Plenty want to work a reasonable job, not worry about money, and just enjoy life. If you can't find these guys, you're not trying hard enough. Or maybe you're in the wrong part of the country...

Frankly, while it's great if two career-obsessives can work it out, I think it makes the more sense to diversify a marriage. Once upon a time that meant husband earns money, wife works at home. Happily we all have more options now. Enjoy.


Caitlin Weaver said...

First of all, thanks for the link to the Naked MBA! I'm glad my post on women MBAs and divorce generated some discussion.

I'm in total agreement with you about the power of hired help, however; I think the larger issue is that no matter how mainstream having a nanny or a housekeeper becomes, lots of women still feel guilty about not being there when their kids get home from school--no matter how supportive their spouses are. Let's face it, it's hard to get out from under the thumb of several decades of gender roles and happy homemaker images. I can only hope that this will begin to change with our generation, as less and less of us grew up with mothers who were there to greet us at the door with milk and cookies.

Bianca Reagan said...

Stay-at-home dad = very attractive to me. Who else is going to take care of my kids, er, our kids?

tinydancer said...

Thanks for writing about this! I think your viewpoint is refreshing and a nice change from all the people "cautioning" us women from setting our expectations to high!

jeff said...

I would love to marry an MBA woman. I am a non-MBA man who didn't get accepted to B-school. The GMAT just wore my brain out. Not all of us men can handle the intellectual rigors of an MBA program, law school or med, whereas more and more women are excelling in these demanding programs. Yet, I have a college degree, well traveled and pretty well read. I am laid back, love smart(MBA or whatever) women and want to be a very involved father. There are lots of us guys like me. It's 2008, why can't women "marry down" I hate that term.