Why alimony hurts gender equality

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I blindly grew up and into my 30s assuming the standard-issue feminist party line:

Women's work is uncompensated and undervalued. When women become stay-at-home mothers, that benefits men's careers, and when the marriage ends, she should be compensated for that lost earning potential. Both partners' lifestyles should be the same when the marriage ends!

Then, I watched my friend get divorced, and face alimony.

He had a high-earning career, and after spending her 20s in low-paid retail jobs, his wife stayed home full-time until the kids were in high school, then worked part-time retail, tried to start a couple of craft businesses that went nowhere, and then started sleeping with her massage therapist.

When they divorced, this couple stayed on mostly friendly terms and would get together with the kids, who were by then in college.

His career continued on while she struggled bitterly. Since they broke up in the middle of the housing and stock market bust, there weren't many assets to divide.

The kids were out of the house, so there was no child support. When they split, he had been laid off and was unemployed, so there was no alimony.

She went from a very comfortable life as a suburban housewife, to struggling very hard to get by, living in a shared apartment.

At the time, I was incredulous about this. He should support her, I screamed in my head. Her lifestyle is so compromised compared with his.

Today, I recognize alimony as a dated, sexist construct that has grown out of its intended purpose, and only holds back women and gender equality back.

In this post, I outline:

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First, some basics on why and how stay-at-home motherhood hurts gender equality:

When I push back against the stay-at-home mom fantasy — the myth that children fare better when mothers do not work, and that this lifestyle benefits anyone at all — I am often met with: “What do you care? We should respect all women's choices in the spirit of sisterhood!”

Wrong.

When women chose to stay home full-time, abandon career and earning, in the name of better mothering, or commitment to family, we all lose, most especially women.

Your choices affect me, and my choices affect you.

None of us live on an island. This is community and society and we are all intertwined. Choices matter, and when you make choices that hurt gender equality, I am hurt by that. All women, children and men are hurt by that. I am responsible to you, and vice versa.

I get the challenges. I appreciate very much that childcare is prohibitively expensive. I recoil at the fact that the United States has some of the worst maternal leave, child care, and health care policies when it comes to working parents. I work very hard in both my personal and professional lives to change that. I also understand very much the incredible social pressure to stay at home full time with children. This pressure is rooted in the misconception (some of the numerous relevant studies cited below) that this is what is best for children. I meet many women who make the decision to fully abandon their earning power and become dependent on husbands with genuine belief that this is what is good for their families. Many others leave the workforce because child care costs make employment unaffordable.

The United States needs vast policy change.

But votes and calls to legislators are not enough.

Each of us is called to make choices for our lives and families that aim for the greater good — including equality for all people. The more educated you are, the more money, access, privilege you have, the more responsibility you have to others to live a life that pushes the envelope for positive change in the world.

That includes working for money.

13 ways gender equality is hurt because women choose not to work

1. You model a stereotypical female roles, which informs your children, spouse, friends and neighbors

If you, woman, are home, your children equate housekeeping, child care and other unpaid ‘women's work' with women. They see their father, a man, earn in the world. That informs their ideas about gender and what is expected of women and men. That is why Harvard professor Kathleen McGinn found, in her study of 34,000 people across 24 countries, that girls raised by mothers who worked outside the home for pay, achieved more academically and grew up to be women who achieved more professionally and financially than their peers who had stay-at-home moms. Boys raised by working moms were more caring for children and older people living in the home than their SAHM peers, and grew up to be men who were the same — all while achieving as much academically and professionally as those raised by SAHMs. In short: kids grow up to be what they see.

2. Stay-at-home moms influence sexism in workplaces

Men — especially the white variety — still very much control corporate and government policy, and are far more likely to advocate for policy that supports working parents if they themselves share in family responsibility because their wives work, too. Researchers at Harvard, NYU and University of Utah found:

“Employed husbands in traditional marriages, compared to those in modern marriages, tend to (a) view the presence of women in the workplace unfavorably, (b) perceive that organizations with higher numbers of female employees are operating less smoothly, (c) find organizations with female leaders as relatively unattractive, and (d) deny, more frequently, qualified female employees opportunities for promotion.”

3. Stay-at-home moms hurt the economy

When you do not participate in the labor force, the world misses out on your unique talents

Recent headlines such as “Closing the gender gap could grow the economy by $2.1 trillion” (CNN) scream that the best way to grow the economy is to better engage women in the professional world. You consumed educational resources that were designed for the benefit of all of society. You worked hard to earn positions, raises or build a business. When you drop out for any significant period, all those collective skills and network are paused — or tossed out. That is a brain drain that we, as a society and world, cannot afford to lose.

4. The choice to stay home with children hurts the hiring and promotion of other women

Your departure from the workforce discourages managers and companies from hiring, training and promoting women since it sets the precedence that women of a certain age will just drop out indefinitely to have babies. Read: “Motherhood Penalty Affects Women Who Never Have a Child” (NBC).

5. Staying home with kids means you abandon the women who stay and fight for equality

My friend Maria, a divorced mom, has fought her way into an executive position at the male-dominated accounting industry where she's worked for 22 years. She told me: “Every time a woman in my company drops out to stay home and ‘be a mom,' I want to scream. I think, ‘I and every other woman in this big company need you to be here in these meetings and fight for them.' I feel let down and, frankly, abandoned. They left me here to fight alone.”

6. Stay-at-home moms shame working moms

Culturally, Americans believe children need stay-at-home moms. Pew found that 60 percent of Americans believe it is best for kids when a parent is home full-time, and a full 40 percent of Americans say that children are harmed (!) when mothers work outside the home. A full 70 percent of U.S. mothers work, and the majority of those who do not would like to work, but do not because child care is so prohibitive, studies find. The majority of moms who work do so because they need to eat, and their children need to eat — not because it is a lifestyle choice. In other words,

When women say, “I don't want to go back to work because I love my children,” that means, “I love my children more than you do. I am a better mom.” We all love our children. Here a very important fact you need to hear right now:

The University of Maryland’s very important meta-study, “How Does the Amount of Time Mothers Spend with Children Matter?” found that for children ages 2 to 11, it makes no difference the number of hours a mother spends with her when it comes to the child’s academic or psychological success.

7. Stay-home moms perpetuate the myth that motherhood is enough to fulfill us

Instead, here are studies that show that mothers who work are happier and healthier, and less sad and angry, than their peers who work for pay. This is old news. Betty Friedan's 1963 blockbuster The Feminine Mystique established this five decades ago. We are having the exact emotion vs fact debate today. Let's move this conversation forward.

8. Stay-at-home moms are more prone to poverty

Whether you stay married for the rest of your life, divorce, or your spouse passes away before you do (statistically likely), you are more likely to be poor. A financial plan in which an entire family is dependent on one income is simply bad planning. After all, you know you should buy life insurance in the unlikely event that you or your partner dies. The chances of that happening are far, far lower than divorce, disability, illness or unemployment — all situations in which a second career could mean the difference between staying in your home or living out of your car. The fewer women living in poverty means good things for all women — and members of the world.

[You cannot afford to be a stay-at-home mom — and flexible careers that help you have it all]

9. Women who do not work are less likely to be involved in family finances

Knowing everything about your household finances is critical in the event that you divorce, or otherwise are forced to manage the money in the absence of your spouse (he becomes disabled, unemployed, dies, is incarcerated or any other horrible things that happen every single day). One study found that women's involvement in household finances is directly proportionate to their contribution to family income. In other words, the more a woman contributes to the family finances, the more involved she is with managing them.

The more involved a woman is with managing money, the more security she and her whole family have. this contributes to making wiser, empowered decisions, and being safe in every sense of the word.

10. Women who do not earn their own money are more likely to suffer domestic violence

A full THIRD of U.S. women will be abuse victims at the hands of an intimate partner, and in 99 percent of those cases, financial abuse is part of the equation. You are in physical, emotional and sexual danger when you do not have your own money.

11. When you divorce, stay-at-home wives and moms are screwed

You have the same ~50 percent chance as the rest of us (though some studies suggest the divorce rate is higher in marriages when one spouse is financially dependent on the other) . Alimony reform is underway in every state, and while you may get short-term maintenance (think about that term: a man who you are no longer involved with is forced to maintain you), you are now expected to earn a living. Statistically women wind up poorer after divorce than men — typically because we have less earning power to start with. Take away any recent work experience, you are s-c-r-e-w-e-d.

The challenges for divorced women with no recent work history run deep. Want to keep your house in your name? Without two years work history, you can't get a mortgage. You also likely can't get a car loan or credit card with a decent interest rate. In short: the pay gap, wealth gap and women's choices overall plummet without earning power.

12. When women stop working, you have far fewer choices, and we all lose.

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a woman’s earnings drop 30 percent after being out of the workforce for two to three years.

This calculator created by the Center for American Progress projects the potential impact to a woman’s lifetime earnings when she takes a break mid-career. A 26-year-old woman earning $50,000 per year stands to lose more than $800,000 in wages, raises and retirement benefits over her lifetime when she steps off the career path for just five years. You also can't get a decent car loan or credit card or mortgage.

13. SAHMs' post-divorce / separation life is tumultuous

When you are in financial straits post-divorce/separation, you are understandably afraid, and acting in fear leads to bad decisions and poor behavior. Any family attorney or divorce court judge will tell you that terrified women and angry men then spend a lot of very contentious time and lots of money with lawyers and judges arguing over money. This conflict bleeds deeply into your co-parenting. It is impossible to share parenting time and decisions in a healthy way if you are duking it out in court. Your children suffer the most. These are the same children who were supposed to benefit from the countless hours you spent with them at home.

As a citizen, I am affected because courts are jammed up with petty arguing over custody and alimony, while actual abuse and neglect cases are marginalized. As a society, we all suffer, because statistically, when men are marginalized in custody cases — and they are in 80 percent of cases that go to court, in favor of giving mothers primary custody, despite 55 reviewed studies that prove that equally shared time with kids is best for children, once again following in those gender-stereotype  — they tend to drop out of kids' lives all together. This is good for no one. Not you, not me, not the kids, dads or penal systems, which are full of kids who did not grow up with involved dads. Ladies, be part of the solution.

[Going through a breakup now? What to ask for in a divorce … ]

How to raise girls who are independent and strong

I keep hearing the same story again and again from professionally successful women. Variations on:

My grandma told me: “Always have your own money.”

It could be a mother, aunt, neighbor, Girl Scout leader, teacher, cousin, mentor or favorite coach.

What to teach girls about money

An older, respected woman looked her straight in the eye, and in her own but direct way said:

  • “Do not ever depend on a man financially.”
  • “Money is power, and never, ever give up that power.”
  • “You are powerful. Never chose to give up that power.”
  • “You are responsible for your own life.”
  • “You are not a victim.”
  • “I believe in you.”

Many of the women who tell me these stories are in their 40s, 50s and older, and their champions were women of a generation or two more senior than that. This is important because it is clear that women found ways to be financially independent — whether through work, or even squirreling away cash in their own name or shoebox in the back of a closet — even if they had but a fraction of the economic and career opportunity you and I enjoy.

They got it. And they made sure that the women who came after them got it, too.

Somehow, we have not collectively gotten it. By ‘it,' I mean the giant, enormous pressure for women to be stay-at-home moms and abandon their financial power, and therefore, their autonomy as adults.

[How to teach kids about money — at any age]

The simple truth about the gender pay gap

There is a lot of pressure on women in the workforce to forsake their economic power en lieu of family.

Pew found that an astonishing 40 percent of Americans believe that children suffer when their mother works outside of the home. And study after study finds that the 21% gender paygap is a result not of rich white men in C-suits keeping competent women down, but rather women choosing to compromise their careers to care for loved ones. This pressure is so great that women who actually earn a living, falsely label themselves “stay-at-home moms.”

A recent project between my friend time management expert Laura Vanderkam and Redbook magazine found that 62% of described stay-at-home moms contributed to their household income, including 25% who run businesses. I know a blogger who earns $80,000 per year and calls herself a stay-at-home mom — a disconnect that is both common destructive, since it perpetuates the economically oppressive pressure to abandon our livelihoods and lives for our children and husbands.

Meanwhile, all research confirms: It makes zero difference how much time a parent spends with a kid after age 2, and the greatest indicators of a child's future wellbeing is her mother's education and income level.

Let us not forget: Working mothers are far less prone to depression and anxiety, and divorce rates are 50% higher for families in which one spouse does not work.

In other words: We glamorize stay-at-home moms, when science proves again and again that everyone is happier, healthier and more financially secure when both parents work.

After all: Divorce rates have been more or less steady at 50% for 40 years. The other 50% of couples? Unemployment, disability, death and other catastrophes mean a one-career family is a precarious financially agreement indeed. And when these families do divorce or separate, the new paradigm is likely to be very sexist indeed, with the mom having primary care of the kids, and being financially dependent on her ex's child support and/or alimony payments. Which is why I wrote this guide on how to divorce like a feminist.

Listen to my podcast episode on this topic:

Breaking the cycle of the wage gap

So this is what you will do to make sure we break this cycle of women sabotaging their own wellbeing, and that of their children, marriage and for women and society overall:

You will identify a girl. Maybe it is your daughter, or granddaughter. Niece, student, mentee or neighbor. She might be 6 or 16 or a young woman of 26. You will tell her with zero nuance or caveat:

Always have your own money. 

Never give up your ability to earn.

You are not an adult if you chose to be financially dependent on another person. 

In my research, I have found it only takes telling a young person this critical message one time. The message taps into such a primal, visceral need for freedom, power and independence, even very young girls understand it intuitively.

But do not tell her just one time. Tell her again and again. Like you make sure your child knows to be kind, and say thank you and not to chew with her mouth open. Just as you make sure that young people know how to swim and must eat vegetables, this is a non-negotiable.

Knowing this shapes the life decisions you make

Because when a child is raised to reap the magnificent bounty that is the education, professional, political and financial equality that women in this country in the 21st century enjoy, and understand that she will never, ever chart her own course in this world until she embraces it as her duty to exercise it in its fullest, you set her on a certain course. On the right course. It is a course that affects every single vertical of her life:

  • The choices she makes in where she attends college, and how she will pay for it (because when you are wise about your education and related finances, and do not assume that a man will take care of you and your debt eventually, you make better choices).
  • The career path she pursues.
  • The relationships she forges with friends and colleagues (because these are the spine of her entire life).
  • The money she does and does not spend on fun.
  • The money she does and does not invest.
  • The partner she selects (or rejects).
  • The children she choses to have (or not).
  • The age she chooses to become a mother.
  • The way she sees herself in the world, the value she brings to her partner, her children, friends, and the world around her. 

By saying: “Always have your own money,” to a girl you are saying:

“You are powerful. And I believe that you will never, ever give up that power.”

She gets it. She will thank you. And women everywhere, forever, will thank you.

Did an older woman inspire you to always have your own money? Share your important story in the comments.

What is alimony?

Alimony is an ongoing sum of money that one ex-spouse pays to the other ex-spouse after a marriage ends in divorce. Alimony can be referred to as spousal support, and maintenance, as in “ensuring that the woman is maintained in a lifestyle to which she is accustomed.”

Alimony is not child support. Alimony only applies when a couple has been married, and is intended to support the lower-earning spouse (typically the wife) — not the kids.

Child support applies to all separated families, and every state has a child support calculator that will give you a good idea of what you are expected to pay.

Child support is designed to help support children — not the parents. Of course this is complicated, as we will discuss below.

Learn more about child support calculations and laws, as well as how to deal if you are one of the minority of women who pay child support or alimony.

How alimony works

Alimony only applies when a husband and wife were married, and in rare instances, if common-law marriage applies. Alimony is based on the incomes of both spouses, and the higher-earning spouse is ordered to pay the lower-earning spouse.

The spirit of this agreement dates back thousands of years to various cultures in which husbands were required to continue to support their wives in the event that he wanted to leave her — ensuring some financial protection for women in eras when we few legal or financial rights, or career opportunities.

Each state has different alimony laws on its books, and typically, there is a lot of discretion to how a judge may (or may not) award alimony payments.

How to file for divorce in New York, and other questions about separating in NY

What is alimony based on?

Typically a court (or family lawyers negotiating a settlement) will calculate alimony based on:

  • How much income each spouse makes.
  • The earning potential of each spouse, including education and work experience, and recency of the work experience.
  • Expenses of each spouse.
  • If one spouse is disabled in any way, that may be considered.
  • Which spouse has more time sharing with the children.
  • Viability that “the standard of living established during the marriage” would continue for both spouses.

How alimony is calculated

Again, this will vary greatly by where you live, and who the judge is, and details of the marriage and each spouse.

For example, in New York, the alimony formula typically only applies to spouses who have been married at least 10 years.

Then, alimony is set at 30% of the higher-earning spouse’s income, minus 20% of the lower-earning spouse’s income — as long as the recipient's share is not more than 40% of the couple’s combined income. For example, a surgeon making $500,000 a year married to a teacher earning $50,000 would be ordered to pay about $140,000 a year.

Is alimony tax deductible?

For divorces filed after Jan. 1, 2019, alimony payments are no longer tax-deductible for the payor, nor are they considered taxable income for the recipient.

However, old laws allowing for alimony payments to be tax-deductible for the payor, and required to be reported as income for the recipient, apply to those who divorced in 2018 and earlier.

Alimony is received by women

Fact: Per U.S. Census data, 97% of alimony recipients are women.

Tips for women who pay men alimony — and are really angry about it

Alimony is for the rich

Fact: Per the IRS (in the New York Times): “The rich disproportionately deduct alimony — about 20 percent of taxpayers who currently claim the deduction are in the top 5 percent of household income earners.”

Also, the richer you are, the more likely you are to get married. Alimony only applies if you were married. According to Census data reported in this fascinating Institute for Family Studies paper, here is the percentage of Americans aged 18-55 who were married, based on income:

Poor: 26% married 

Working class: 39% married

Middle and upper class: 56% married

Says the IFS: “When it comes to coupling, poor and working-class Americans are more likely to substitute cohabitation for marriage.”

White women get alimony far more than black women

Fact: White women get alimony far, far more than black women and Latinas. While the last report on these figures was based on a 1985 Census figures found that in divorce, white women were twice as likely to get alimony than black women. Those numbers are old, but we know that for the entirety of this country's history, black women marry at a far lower rate than white women. From a paper published by the Department of Health and Human Services:

In 2014, 70 percent of non-Hispanic white children (ages 0–18) and roughly 59 percent of Hispanic children were living with both of their biological parents. The same was true for only a little more than one-third of black children.

Similarly, rich women get alimony far more than poor people.

No marriage = no divorce, and alimony only applies in a divorce.

Also, black women out-earn their black husbands more often. Chicago matrimonial attorney Lester L. Barclay, author of The African-American Guide to Divorce & Drama: Breaking Up Without Breaking Down, told Essence: “African-American women tend to be better-educated and higher-wage earners so when you’re ending a marital relationship the economic factors come into play.”

This observation is backed by an analysis of Census data and reported here, finding that black and Latina women were more likely to be breadwinners (or co-breadwinners) than white women.

How long do you pay or receive alimony?

Increasingly, lifelong alimony is being phased out around the country, in favor of alimony calculations designed to ensure the lower-paying spouse has a financial runway to build up a career and become more financially independent.

Just a generation ago alimony was a feminist coup, giving women with scant financial opportunity a way to support themselves and their families in the event of divorce. This made sense when women had scant financial or professional opportunity. Those days are gone.

Alimony reform

In many states lifetime alimony is being challenged, and how the growing numbers of (successful, professional) female judges have little sympathy for women who do not work outside the home, and are denying them alimony.

New York City family attorney Morghan Richardson, says that women are often stunned to hear their soon-to-be ex-husbands confess that they never really wanted her to abandon their careers and stay home. They are also stunned to hear divorce and child support judges demand women work full time — no matter how many or how little their children are. In the mommy wars, the increasing numbers of female judges (who are firmly in the working mothers camp) have their say. And they say being a SAHM does not count as work.

In other words: You can argue all day long that staying at home raising children is a full-time job. But the legal system decides, and the legal system disagrees. So does your husband.

I've see this attitude in many of the men I've dated. These are progressive, feminist men who maybe at one point conceded that it made sense for one parent to stay home full time with the children. Then the kids got older. He was under a lot of pressure to be the sole breadwinner and he resented it, especially since there was another educated adult in the family. He went to work each and every day with women — beautiful women — who worked fulltime and raised what seemed like perfectly healthy children. And now they're divorced and he is so, so angry that he pays her bills since she makes so much less than she could have had she stayed in the workforce and “pulled her own financial weight,” which may have saved the marriage!

The reform is the result of petitions by groups who feel that alimony hurts men by making them pay an unfair sum to women they are no longer married to, and who have opportunity to be financially independent. Reform is just beginning.

This new shift away from guaranteed, lifelong maintenance is tough for women who did not prepare for the financial realities of divorce and chose to be dependent on their husbands. I sympathize with some of these women — those who have disabled and special needs children who require intense, and extensive care long beyond age 18, women who are mentally or physically disabled themselves, and women who are in their 70s and older and came of age when there truly was not economic gender equality.

But for everyone else, I applaud this move to limit alimony. This is good for women, and what is good for women is good for families and the country.

The many ways that alimony holds women back (alimony arguments debunked)

Alimony was a huge feminist coup in the 1960s and 1970s when divorce rates first skyrocketed, and women had scant professional, education, legal, political and financial standing (Sisters: we were not allowed to hold a credit card in our own names until 1973!).

Since then, the world has changed, laws and opportunities have changed, and so, too, must what we expect from marriage — and life post-marriage.

Thankfully, alimony reform is underway in almost every state in the United States, and lifetime maintenance is more or less over.

Despite the blaring reality that men and women should always have a way to support themselves, women are still pressured painfully to be full-time stay-at-home moms.

Pew Research found that 40 percent of Americans believe it harms children when mothers work outside the home, and 80 percent of respondents told Working Mother magazine they feel guilty for working.

Nevermind the fact that the vast majority of mothers need to work so they and their children can eat, or the mounds of both research and anecdotes that prove that children, mothers, marriages and the economy thrive when moms are employed — we are still told that at-home is best.

Today I understand that turning down alimony and supporting women in financial independence is the real equality coup.

If you, like me, assumed that alimony was good for women, was a source of fairness and justice, you likely have one of these arguments the ready. Let's break them down:

Alimony argument: 

We had an agreement — He would work and earn, and I would stay home with the kids. He broke that agreement and now owes me.

I am all about approaching marriage as a business deal, and in fact, you did have a deal.

Business deals end every single day, and I know of zero exits in which one business partner is ordered to compensate the other in perpetuity for hurt feelings and lost earning potential.

Divorce, just like in business, includes splitting the assets, debts, and finding an equitable way of managing and taking care of any outstanding obligations (like child rearing).

In business, no one is monetarily punished because the cafe couldn't turn a profit, or the bicycle shop burned down, or the software company went belly-up in a recession.

In business, when shit happens, both partners suck it up and do their best to move on with their respective lives, like two adults.

First of all, a full-time stay-at-home mom is not full-time work after our kids turn age 3. For our great-grandmothers, housework was a full-time endeavor. It hasn't been since the 1950s. Instead, nearly all housework is automated and outsourced to clothing and linen manufacturers in China, commercial farmers and food manufacturers, makers of washing machines, dishwashers, coffee makers, vacuum cleaners, self-cleaning ovens — and every other modern convenience that makes the idea of a “housewife” laughable.

In fact, helicopter parenting not only holds kids back, but it makes women broke.

Child care and housekeeping do of course still need to be done, though all research finds that children ages 3 and older do far better at quality child care centers, and benefit zero from long hours with parents. Even for hours that mothers do spend with children have a market rate. Again, if you argue that you should be paid alimony for your house and child care duties, that rate should be based on market rate — not a percentage of your husband's income.

Child care centers costs on average, nationally, $4.90 per hour, according to a survey by Care.com, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that house cleaning averages $11.46 per hour.

That means that if you were enjoying a lifestyle that corresponds with more than, say, a $20,000 annual income, you got a great bargain.

And if you were living at or below the poverty line during your marriage, then a judge probably wouldn't grant you any of your ex's income — because there simply isn't enough to go around.

Recently there was a very interesting discussion in my Millionaire Single Mom closed Facebook group (join us!) that addressed the challenges of dating men whose first wives were full-time stay-at-home wives. A number of women refuse. Reasons include:

Men whose only example of a long-term romantic partner is someone who cared for the daily minutiae of running a home and family is incapable of overseeing the basics of life, and will treat any future partners like, well, wives:

If a guy has had a stay at home wife, I won't date him until he's lived in his own for at least a year and has had his eyes open that some fairy doesn't take care of his shiznit in the background. They're overgrown children. — Lynette 

Others are bitter about their own marriages that were informed by exes who were, in turn, informed by their own stay-at-home moms:

My ex was/is sooo used to his mother doing everything. So when we were together I ended up doing everything because he was either incapable or oblivious. Realizing I was already doing all the parenting/housework and working (from home) was the trigger for me to leave. I figured out I was doing it all anyway, why have him around? Didn't need him… It was a freeing and very empowering. — Rebecca

Other moms felt that these men simply did not get them — Ambitious, independent women who are thrilled to earn and achieve on their own terms:

I recently dated a man — long distance — whose ex-wife stayed at home. She never finished college, so her career choices were limited. I thought it interesting that he just assumed I'd give up my 20+-year music career in a large city to move to his mid-sized town where there were zero opportunities in my field. He even once said, ‘We'd be OK if you had to take a pay cut.” I briefly turned into Cruella De Vil: Why on Earth would I take a pay cut when I've worked REALLY REALLY hard to get where I am?? It was that presumption that a woman would give everything up and fold into him that was the deal-breaker for me. — Prianka 

Other moms said they found these men to be the bitter ones — feeling they'd been taken advantage of financially (since women without careers often are awarded alimony, at least in the short-term), and often when it came to unfair parenting schedules, with courts defaulting to archaic gender stereotypes in which men work and financially support women who stay home and care for babies.

Alimony argument:

He needs to compensate her for lost wages

You may say: “It is not fair. I forsook my career and earning potential to stay home / work part-time / take a lower-paying job, which allowed him to build his career, and now I am SOL. He needs to compensate me for that lost earning potential, and for helping him to build his career.”

First of all, you say that this was a mutually agreed-upon arrangement, and perhaps it was.

But, the real story likely includes some element of at least one of these scenarios:

  • You got laid off/ fired / your business tanked and you just never got back in the career saddle.
  • You weren't very good at your chosen career. Your business never worked out, or you never had much of a career to start with.
  • Your husband urged you to work. Begged and pleaded with you, and you refused.

Maybe it is a little bit of all those stories. These things can be complicated, open for interpretation.

Child care is crazy-expensive, and at the time, it very likely seemed like you had no choice but to stay home.

No matter. The reality: You took a risk, and decided not to have a career — or down-ramped to a lower-paying job with less potential.

You chose to be dependent on a man, even though there are no financial experts in the world who would support that as a wise move.

You knew very well that divorce rates have hovered around 50 percent for 40 years, yet you did nothing to financially protect yourself or your children against that.

Breakups aside, there is pretty much a 100% chance that your husband would

a) Become disabled

b) Become unemployed

c) Become chronically ill

d) Die

You likely have life and disability insurance, which you are far less than 50% likely to need.

But you did nothing to maintain your earning potential which would protect your family in any of those scenarios, either.

That was a risk you took. It didn't work out, and you lost. I'm sorry about that. I really am. But it is not another person's responsibility to compensate you for your loss. Scratch-off didn't win? You don't sue the bodega owner.

As for the notion that you made your husband's career … OMG. First, if you were, in fact, a co-owner of a business, then hopefully you got that legally locked down, and then there are mechanisms for divvying that up, or, in some cases, ex-spouses go on to successfully co-run businesses. Pretty cool.

But if you think that taking care of the kids and house makes a man, guess again.

  1. That man goes to work every day with successful women who are also wives and mothers — many of them single mothers. And plenty of them are really hot. Women can and do it all. (But not entitled ones.)
  2. Increasingly, judges who insist that stay-at-home moms get back to work ASAP are often females — judges who themselves had to claw their way to the bench in a chauvinist industry, while their children enjoyed perfectly nice child care. Male judges are sick of educated, competent, healthy women arguing that they should not have to work — as many of of these guys have professionally hard-working wives (or ex-wives to whom they bitterly pay alimony). The sympathy for this thinking is simply out of step with the times.

Alimony argument:

I do work! I am building a business / doing art / going back to school. We agreed I would get this off the ground, and he would support me!

Again, I get that was the verbal contract, and it is now not being honored.

That happens, and it is often unfair. I am sorry.

In the real world, every upstart endeavor has its limits. Startups answer to investors who demand returns on their funding. Your startup did not have those real-life limits.

Art patrons expect quality, marketable work after a certain period — or other favors. You were in a cushy arrangement in which you did not have to answer for your lack of success.

The good news is that I can attest to hearing countless stories of women who left an unhappy marriage, only to find themselves surprised by their success — and a bit dismayed at the realization that they'd held themselves back professionally, creatively and financially for the sake of pandering to a man's ego.

That was my story.

Ladies, the free market is a beautiful thing.

Too much cushy support with no accountability is good for no one.

This is scary, I know. You can do it. Trick: When I find myself really scared about making it, screwing up my kids, living on the street, I have a mantra:

Dumber people have done this successfully.

Again, if alimony is even a consideration, you are very likely to be rich. Get over yourself, get a job.

Alimony argument:

He has so much more than I do. It's not fair.

You know who has a lot more money than I do? A whole, whole, whole lot of people.

Some of them I know personally.

Do I expect these rich people to write me a check every month to equalize our lifestyles? No, because I didn't earn their money.

You are no longer married to this man.

You do not get to enjoy a lifestyle you did not earn just because once upon a time you were attractive to a man who was able to provide a lifestyle higher than one you earned yourself. I don't care if you are very, very beautiful, charming, from an impressive family or have a golden, fur-lined pussy.

You are not entitled to anyone else's anything if you did not earn it yourself.

He is free to go on and build and enjoy whatever lifestyle he wants. You are, too. That is the beauty of divorce.

The sooner your bank accounts and homes are separate, the sooner you will both go forth, and hopefully, create happy lives.

Perhaps you have a career — even a very successful one — that happens to earn a lot less than your now-ex.

Again, that is your choice. You chose that career, knowing its earning limitations.

Your ex chose a different career — one with a higher cap. Perhaps you love your work, and he hates his.

Do you owe him a slice of your professional fulfillment each month?

Further, by insisting that your lifestyle be attached to his income only perpetuates the sexist message that a woman's worth is directly related to the social class of the man she marries/has sex with.

NOT A GOOD LOOK.

Argument: This is not money for me; it is for the kids.

No, and you know that. Child support is for the kids; alimony is for the lessor-earning spouse to “maintain the lifestyle in which they are accustomed.”

To fulfill that promise, you are putting untold energy, time and money into finding ways to get money from a man with whom you are no longer romantically involved. If you get that money, you will be forever financially dependent on him.

That isn't a good look.

Alimony argument: 

I was always taught that it is best for children and marriages when the mom stays home, and if the marriage ended, then we were protected by alimony. Now we are all SCREWED.

If you have been arguing with me as you read this, you are likely really angry at your ex, the world, and there is likely a deep sense of shame about decisions you made.

I understand. I was a stay-at-home mom for about a year, and I decided to leave a high-paying career that I loved passionately, without any critical thought at all, because I blindly bought the presumption that being a full-time stay-at-home mom is what is best for children.

Pew Research found that 40 percent of Americans believe it actually HARMS children when their mothers work outside the home!

Turns out, you and I were totally wrong. Research by Harvard's Kathleen McGinn found, after studying 30,000 families in 20 countries, that both boys and girls with working mothers fared better than those with stay-at-home moms.

A University of Maryland meta-study of more than 30 other pieces of research concluded that after age 2, it doesn't matter at all how many hours parents spend with their kids. Stunning. Totally against what we were taught, and what we assumed.

Which brings us to your point: This isn't fair. It isn't fair. You were fed one line, a path for success and family health, and you obediently obeyed. Then the script changed, you divorced, and you are left high and dry.

Here is what no one will say to you: I'm sorry, but too bad, you still have it damned good.

We are in the middle of a war on sexism. A revolution for gender equality. In war and revolutions, there are casualties. Historically, these casualties are lives and limbs and eyesight.

Today, the fallout is that you might have to move from a large house to an apartment.

Or from your own apartment to sharing a home with a relative or friend. You may have to work in a job below your education level.

I imagine that is hard and embarrassing.

Yet, you are not dead or dismembered.

Here, in the divorce wars, the casualties are children — and it is all connected to money. Statistically, the #1 reason for divorced spouses returning to court, again and again, is alimony.

When you are fighting with your ex, you cannot co-parent. When money is at stake, lesser-earning parents (moms) are prone to fight for unequal parenting time, so as to qualify for more child support.

When parenting time is unequal, the lesser-time parent (dads), are statistically likely to check out of their children's lives. Fatherlessness is a critical issue in this country. Money is central to it.

The goal is to raise young women and men to presume financial and logistical responsibilities for themselves and their children.

That won't happen if mothers and grandmothers are modeling financial dependence and traditional gender roles.

That won't happen if young people do not have a model.

When you are going through the life-fuck that is divorce, you likely feel powerless. Every vertical of your life is in upheaval, and the sense of loss of control can be crippling.

The reality is that you have enormous power here. You have the power to focus on your beliefs and morals and act accordingly.

When you tell your ex: “I know I can go after more of your money, but I won't so we can both get on with this,” or “You know I am totally broke here, so if you can agree to pay me alimony for 18 months so I can get back on my feet, we can both move on with it already,” you are so powerful.

You are expressing to him grace and maturity (even if he doesn't deserve it, and I understand that he may not!). You are expressing to your children the importance of co-parenting, and therefore their well-being and security.

You are telling every young woman who is watching you the importance of caring for her own financial self throughout her life.

And you are modeling to everyone watching you the power of forgiveness and strength in the face of adversity — and that includes forgiveness of yourself.

What to do instead of fighting for alimony

Now look: I know and, you know, the dismaying statistics around finance and women and divorce and moving on after you have been out of the workforce for a long time.

Those numbers are real, and I hope that women far and wide read and heed those facts so that one day we can all stop talking about alimony and gender equality, and move on to repairing the environment and wealth disparity.

Here are some other facts: Women get on with it every single day. Figure it out.

Start new careers, rejuvenate old ones. Launch and build businesses. They do incredible things.

Things they never dreamed they were capable of. Things they could not imagine.

These women all have one thing in common: They are not entitled.

They are not sitting around waiting for someone to hand them anything. They did not take anyone to court for what they felt entitled.

They did not refuse to marry their longtime, live-in boyfriend so they would qualify for alimony (who are these greedy emasculated boyfriends? So much wrong here).

No.

The women who thrive after divorce — including those who had little or no money of their own — hustled their asses off and got results.

These women have something else in common.

They will all tell you this: There is nothing as delicious as money you earn your own damn self.

Did I scare you into upping your income? Feel sad or guilty at the thought of being away from your kids for long hours? Here is how to move on in this new phase of life:

Self-care after divorce

Warning: Self-care is not expensive if you can't afford it. When you are broke, or trying to be financially independent of your ex, over-spending just creates debt, stress and misery.

Focus on enjoying your own company, affordable travel with your kids, quality friendships, exercise and other positive physical and mental health practices.

9 mindset shifts that will help you get over single-mom stereotypes that keep women broke, alone and overwhelmed

Therapy can be a great tool for some people. If your health insurance doesn't cover counseling, or you find time or a lack of quality therapists in your area keep you from seeking the support you deserve, consider online therapy.

Reputable online therapy sites like BetterHelp allow you to connect with thousands of licensed counselors through email, phone, chat or video connection, privately (no bumping into your neighbor outside your counselor's office!). Fees start at $40/week for unlimited sessions.

Check out BetterHelp now >>

Create a lifestyle you can afford after divorce

Create a budget, downsize your home to something you can easily afford, and focus on being financially independent in all areas of your life.

Should you keep the house in the divorce?

Build your career post-divorce

Thanks to technology and a changing work culture that values parents and is happy to offer flexible, temp, telecommute, remote and other work-at-home opportunities, there are countless quality, legit jobs and careers that pay well, and also provide the flexibility to spend time with your family, working out, build a side gig, or otherwise enjoy life.

In fact, working from home tops my gratitude list most days, as it has allowed me to devote concentrated sums of time building a business that I love, pays well, and allows me to spend as much (or little! Let's e real here!) time with my kids as I need to.

This is my list of top, high-paying careers that you can do from home.

The list includes careers that often pay $100,000 or more:

My favorite job board for moms is FlexJobs — the leading job site specifically for telecommuting, part-time, flexible-time, online, work from home, and other alternative work arrangements that make such a big difference in families’ lives.

FlexJobs was started by Sara Sutton-Fell, a real-life mom who wanted to work from home, earn a good living, and spend time with her family. Check out FlexJobs.com now>> (use promo code FLEXLIFE)

If you need fast, extra cash (not necessarily a new job or career), here is my list of 101 ways to make extra cash, quick. Advice includes easy ways to sell things you have, the best online survey companies, online English tutoring, and rent stuff you own, like your home or car.

Start dating after divorce

I was terrified to date after divorce, and only went on a date after a full year because my friend forced me onto a blind date. I had never dated as a single mom, my body had changed, and the world had changed (hello, smart phones, online dating, and sexting!).

Today, I can attest that dating as a single mom is truly wonderful, as many women can attest. I write all about the reasons in this post on why dating after divorce is so thrilling (including the sex).

Online dating can seem intimidating or desperate if you've never done it, but surveys find that is the No. 1 most common ways for marrying couples to meet. I have gone on hundreds of dates that originated online, including my three-year relationship with my current boyfriend.

Learn about all the popular online dating sites and apps for single parents in my rundown.

For finding a serious relationship, a boyfriend or a husband, eHarmony is the leader:

  • Free 150-point personality report
  • Apps for iOS and Android
  • 100% of members are proven to be real (no catfishing or married people!)
  • Free version
  • For paid memberships, eHarmony has one of the lowest prices, with costs starting at $7.90/month.
  • 3-month free guarantee
  • A+ Better Business Bureau rating
  • Video dating

Learn more about eHarmony in my review.

Or get started for free with eHarmony now >>

Build your own wealth after divorce

You likely left your marriage poorer than when you were married, even if you did get the house and a share of investments.

Keep going.

If you don't already feel confident about investing, learn. Here is my guide to investing for women.

Build up an emergency savings account (CIT has one of the highest money market rates on the market, at 1.9% APR as of March, 2020).

9 ways to get your single-mom financial act together, now and forever

The alimony gravy train (get off it!)

Nearly 400,000 divorced women receive alimony — a critical topic when considering post-divorce life, feminism, the pay gap, and women's empowerment — financial or otherwise. I feel very strongly that every single woman (indeed, 97 percent of people who get spousal support are women) should turn down any opportunity for alimony, aka spousal support, as it is a took to keep women to be dependent on men and not take full responsibility for themselves.

Here are all the reasons why:

Alimony is legislated dependence for women

An end of alimony would force each able-bodied person to be financially responsible for themselves.

Suffragists and feminists before us fought bitterly (and sometimes joyously, one would hope) so you and I have financial and legal parity with men. We have a way to go, but for the most part in this country women have the opportunity to support themselves. With opportunity comes responsibility. You choose to be financially dependent on someone else (like a husband), you take a risk. If that marriage ends and you have little career equity and low earning potential as a result, you must pay the consequences of the downside of that risk. Taking that responsibility away from women, and perpetuating a model in which women are financially dependent on men, infantizes all women. We are not infants. We are capable adults with untold professional and financial opportunities.

Take alimony out of the career-planning equation and we force women to take full responsibility for their careers and finances from the beginning of adulthood. This is critical if we are going to close the pay gap, which has little to do with workplace sexism, and more to do with women choosing lower-paying professions and stepping away from careers to devote to family life — all in the name of being a “better” mother who spend countless time with her children, even though all the search proves that children fare better when they have moms who work, and benefit none from endless hours with their parents.

Harvard professor Kathleen McGinn found, in her study of 34,000 people across 24 countries, that girls raised by mothers who worked outside the home for pay, achieved more academically and grew up to be women who achieved more professionally and financially than their peers who had stay-at-home moms. Boys raised by working moms were more caring for children and older people living in the home than their SAHM peers, and grew up to be men who were the same — all while achieving as much academically and professionally as those raised by SAHMs. In short: kids grow up to be what they see.

I talk about this on this blog, my podcast, and book, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), and am very proud to say I have converted many moms to getting off the alimony gravy train (one of my favorite reader book reviews: “Thanks for ruining alimony for me forever, Emma!”). Many women say that this message has propelled them into a life of autonomy independent of the man to whom they were once married. Nonetheless, there continue to be lots of vintage thinking about money, marriage, family, and gender, and in this post, I explain why all the typical arguments in favor of alimony are wrong.

Why stay-at-home moms hurt gender equality

Listen to my interview with McGinn:

Alimony makes divorce so much harder, more expensive, and dragged out

Alimony adjustments, enforcements and arguments, are the No. 1 reason that divorced couples return to divorce court, or otherwise spend money on expensive family lawyers. Think about it:

There are countless ways to fight about alimony:

  • You suspect or know his income increased, and therefore believe you are entitled to more.
  • He suspects or knows you are earning more (good for you!) and therefore he should be paying less.
  • He believes (or says) his income decreased, or his living expenses went up, so he should pay less.
  • One of your remarried, or is in a relationship or living with a girlfriend or boyfriend, and therefore your financial situation has changed, and one of you believes the payments should be adjusted, too.
  • Someone believes income is earned under the table, is not reported, or otherwise being hidden.

And on and on. It's exhausting, toxic, keeps you enmeshed in the emotional part of the divorce for ever and ever, and the only people who benefit from this are the divorce lawyers, who laugh all the way to the bank.

Take alimony out of the equation, the co-parenting relationship improves, and the divorce is far more amicable from the start. In fact, you may even be file a no-contest, DIY divorce, for a few hundred dollars.

How to file your own divorce papers

There are several quality online programs that will help you work through all the necessary discussions, write an agreement, have it looked over by a family lawyer in your state, and then file it.

CompleteCase is a leader in online divorce, with fees starting at $299, including unlimited document creation and instructions for filing in your state. Read more about CompleteCase in my review, or checkout CompleteCase now >>

More about online divorce programs in our Top 10 roundup of DIY divorce.

Alimony contributes to the wealth gap

When women earn their own money and think like breadwinners, the wealth gap will shrink. One study found that women’s involvement in household finances is directly proportionate to their contribution to family income. In other words, the more a woman contributes to the family finances, the more involved she is with managing them. Consider these alarming figures on female financial literacy from workplace wellness program firm Financial Finesse:

  • One-third of women feel confident about their investment allocation, vs half of men
  • 66% of women report a general knowledge of investing, vs 85% of men
  • 63% of women report having a handle on cash management, vs 78% of men
  • 47% of women indicate that they have an emergency fund, vs 62% of men

One, a stay-at-home mom told me at our kids' bus-stop that if she ever got a divorce, her husband would have to pay her out the nose for all her “sacrifice.” Never mind he was perpetually unemployed in a middle-class job. Where did she think that all that money would come from? Bottom line is she was relaying the common assumption that men always pay women when they have children together, and this woman had no money, a neglected career and a low-income husband.

Ending alimony would be a boon for family financial security, ringing a clear, screaming alarm that you, woman, must plan for the very real chance that both spouses’ income will be likely critical to the family. What will it take for people to realize — and plan for — the fact that divorce rates have hovered around 50% for decades? Divorce is just one risk.

Maintaining a career is about being a responsible member of your family. Even if you have the hottest, most committed marriage that lasts until the end of one of your lives, there are other realities you must plan for. And if you are divorced and dependent on income from your ex, never forget that he could lose his job, die, become disabled, chose a lower-paying career, see his business tank, or go MIA. You have no control over that, and if you depend on his income, you live in fear every single day it will go away. Shift that energy into your own income and career, which you do have control over, and watch your life change.

Unemployment. Nearly four out of five U.S. adults will face severe joblessness, near poverty or being on welfare. Men in recent history have been far more likely to suffer in an economic downturn. During the recession – from December 2007 to June 2009—men lost 5.4 million jobs while women lost 2.1 million. Again, this is a numbers game. Betting on your husband to support you and your family simply is not a good financial move.

Disability. Nearly 5% of all eligible adults receive disability insurance benefits.

Life. Crap happens. Accidents, psychotic breaks, natural disasters and fires. You have no idea what is in store. So you do smart things. Like keep a career going, which boosts your family’s financial security by 2x at least.

Alimony (and child support) keep you passionately attached to your ex

I have a friend who abandoned a thriving small business she’d built for 15 years when she married a successful New York City tax attorney and had a baby. The marriage ended. He pays her a sum each month that keeps her in an Upper East Side two-bedroom, three-story townhouse, while she struggles to rebuild her business. “Tell your readers to never stop working,” she told me recently.  “There is nothing worse than being dependent on a man who you are trying to separate from.”

Also, there is nothing better than knowing that your own life is entirely of your making. That is the definition of empowerment — gender or otherwise.

I was on WCCO CBS in Minneapolis speaking about this win my friend, anchor Jordana Green who receives alimony. “Isn't it unfair if you're used to living in a $500,000 house but have to move into an apartment when you divorce?” she asked.

My answer? “If you want a $500,000 house, pursue a career that affords you one.”

As one alimony reform activist emailed me: “Alimony law was created to ‘keep the lesser earning spouse in the lifestyle in which they are accustomed.' Using that logic, wealthy parents should be legally obligated to support their kids throughout their lives.” I agree.

Alimony makes co-parenting very contentious

Alimony and child support are the main reasons that people return to family and divorce courts again and again. There has never, ever in the history of divorce been a person who pays money to another person who they believe is capable of supporting themselves. Since your ex is angry about paying alimony (and child support), that anger will manifest in all sorts of ways in your relationship, which has now been reduced to coparents. May not be fair, may be court-sanctioned, but you are lesser co-parents because this money came between you. 

29 ways to be a better co-parent—even the most toxic ex

Dana Lin was a stay-at-home mom for most of her marriage, and admits there was a measure of pride in not pursuing alimony or child support in her divorce, even though she could barely support herself — selling her wedding and heirloom jewelry to make ends meet, and not eating for days on end when her children spent time with their dad. She was entitled to $3,000 in monthly support alimony.

Lin, the mother of two grade-school daughters at the time, also didn’t want money complicating her relationship with her children’s father. “I never wanted him to be able to say, ‘I can’t spend time with the kids because I have to work long hours to support you,’” says Lin, who at the time of the split worked part-time as a school office manager for $20 per hour. Today, she says, she has a very friendly relationship with her ex, who “is an amazing father now,” while he was only marginally involved while married.

If you receive alimony, your ex is likely really angry about it. He will question all your lifestyle choices, want to know why you are not earning more yourself, and be resentful of any man who comes into your life — especially if you live together or otherwise share expenses.

All of this makes it so much harder to co-parent. So much more tension, suspicion, and anger — all of which you both need to shed in order to move on with your own lives and come together for your kids.

One of the first co-parenting apps, and widely used app, OurFamilyWizard, which features chat, information storage (like pediatrician and teacher contact info, prescriptions, etc.), and financial record-keeping. 30-day free trial, discounts for military families, and a program to provide OurFamilyWizard free to low-income families. Each parent can add unlimited numbers of other people for free, including children, grandparents, step and bonus parents, as well as attorneys.

Try OurFamilyWizard for free for 30 days now >>

Read OurFamilyWizard review on Wealthysinglemommy.com >>

Alimony hold you back professionally, personally and financially

In most courts, you only get child support or alimony if you earn less than your ex. If that is always on your mind, it is easy to consciously or unconsciously earn less in order to qualify for alimony. That money often makes women less ambitious, less professionally fullfilled, and more resentful of your ex. This is bad for you, a bad example for your children, bad for women, and bad for the pay and wealth gaps. Meanwhile, plenty of women flip the script. Dana Lin was guaranteed alimony as a stay-at-home mom with a high-earning ex-husband. But she turned it down.

“I was very ambitious and had great earning potential,” says Lin, 43. “I didn’t want anyone to say I couldn’t make it without him.” Lin pursued her dream of being a screenwriter, today working as a script doctor and ghostwriter. Two years ago with a partner she launched Zen Life Services, which provides stress training management skills to law enforcement employees. “Living lean taught me to be more disciplined,” she says. “Sometimes if you have too much of a cushion you’re not as aggressive in pursuing your dreams.”

The takeaway? Keep a foot in the workforce, even when your kids are babies. Accept as fact you have a 50 percent chance of being divorced, and even if your husband seems to fully support heading a one-income household, deep down he likely feels very differently — or eventually will. Regardless of what everyone feels, the only feelings that really matter are the judge's. And as more women take the ranks of the courts, there is less legal inclination for alimony — especially when the petitioner is an educated woman who chooses not to earn a living.

Related:

The real reason your ex doesn’t see the kids

Close the pay gap? Get dads involved? 50-50 visitation and no child support

A dad explains: “Why I don’t see my son.”

Parental alienation: A call to change parenting culture — and law

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist and author. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Emma's Top Single Mom Resources.

106 Comments

Single man, never married, no kids, financially successful, serial dater, socially and politically conservative. Wait! Don’t leave! I believe and am convinced that legal equality in marriage laws are the only conceivable next step improvement from the disastrous, dysfunctional position legal marriage is currently in. The rights of husbands, fathers are minimized under the current system while the risks and obligations are greater than they’ve ever been in history. I’m also convinced it won’t happen for the same reason ERA wasn’t passed in 1970s unless we see a drastic backlash. Women, in the majority, don’t want actual equality.

Actual equality isn’t simply equal rights between the sexes. Actual equality means equal rights, responsibilities, obligations for both sexes in marriage and everywhere else in as much as I t’s possible. The truth is actual equality would be one hell of a step down from the place of privilege most women in the West are presently in. Do the majority of women in the West want military draft obligations, selective service? Mandatory 50% child custody, no child support, no alimony following a divorce? Fault based divorce? I could go on.

I’m all for traditional gender roles personally but these were legislated out of existence decades ago and aren’t coming back. Short of a complete societal collapse Forget about it. Even Trad-cons seem to have forgotten that traditional marriage had obligations for women too, not just men. Most modern western women are trying to stand with one foot on the privileges of traditionalism and the other on the privileges of feminism. Avoiding the obligations of both. Men are finally starting to see this now. It’s grotesquely abusive to men and we’re getting sick of it.

The backlash: be it PUA’s, MGTOW or ordinary men standing around the golf course or fishing hole. Men are down on marriage.”Don’t get married, don’t have kids”. We hear it all the time. Without the biased, discriminatory legal marriage system most of women’s power to manipulate men goes away. What then? Perhaps we’ll get the chance to negotiate an equal arrangement, if civilization survives.

I think this article is extremely sexist. Feminism is about empowering women to have the freedom to decide what THEY want to do, and what works for THEM. Its not anyone else’s business to judge them or call them less of an adult because they made the decision to stay home with their children. Telling a women that she is less than because of that decision is sexist.
I agree with the point that women who stay home should not pass judgment on those who work. I agree that its totally wrong and completely sexist to make judgments like that, but I think this article does the same exact thing to women who stay home. If I wrote an article about why working women are bad for the family then that would be sexist right? How is this any different?
Consider my situation. My husband did not have a college degree when we met. He had dropped out and he had been working full time as a bar tender. He did not have much opportunity to go back to school at this point because he had to meet his financial needs as well. Luckily for me I had already finished school and was working as a teacher. I was earning enough money to fully support us both while he went back to college.
I supported him financially for 5 years until he was able to get a job working in software.
After another 3 years of us both working full time I fell pregnant and we made the decision to have me stay home while he worked. There were many reasons for this decision including the fact that childcare is expensive, hiring a maid would have been very expensive, and after giving the physical stress of a complicated birth I wanted nothing more than to take some time off for myself and my daughter. Thats what made the most sense for us.
Are you saying that because of that decision that I made after 5 years of supporting my husband that I am somehow no longer an adult?
Think about that.

“Feminism is about empowering women to have the freedom to decide what THEY want to do, and what works for THEM.” What about what their husbands want to do? What if those men do not want to support a woman for the rest of their lives? What about what is best for children? Society? Gender equality? Feminism is not just about self-interest, just as public health is not about individuals choosing to wear a mask or not during a pandemic.

“Feminism is about empowering women to have the freedom to decide what THEY want to do, and what works for THEM”

This is selfishness, dressed up. The article goes at length about certain choices woman make and how it hurts others, both men and women. But no, never mind all that. I want to do what I want to do

Thank you for talking sense. Even my mum, who quit her job to stay home with me (much to my displeasure AND hers), says in hindsight that it does not make sense to rely on another person to provide for you financially. Not a decision I was ever encouraged to make. Luckily my dad did not have trouble finding work, but I remember knowing throughout my childhood that we would be absolutely screwed if anything ever happened to him. A single-income household is not a recipe for financial security.

I have a thing about stay-at-home mothers. Honestly, I do not know too many women my mother’s age who honestly enjoyed staying home with their children. That was simply the expectation at the time. Their frustration made itself known in how they treated their children. I really struggled to understand what mum staying home with me facilitated, other than us arguing constantly. All anecdotal evidence of course, nothing that would hold up to scientific scrutiny – but it really rubs me the wrong way when people extol the values of stay at home parents as if they are all saints.

Wow, THANK YOU! I am a successful woman dating a now divorced man, who pays his stay-at-home (of school-aged children) ex wife an insane amount of child support and alimony, along with the remaining sum in his retirement. Within 6 months of her filing for divorce, he loses his very lucrative job at a company that did away with his elevated position. To make ends meet, he got a job making 1/4 the amount he used to (and that is still the amount he makes.) Although, she had the audacity to go into court demanding she be paid child support and alimony based off his old salary… all while she voluntarily quit her job that she held for 6 months. During the marriage, he paid for her four year degree and she earned a BA at a well-renowned university. After over one year of dragging out the divorce, she got a job as a receptionist for 6 months, but voluntarily quit before trial to show the courts she was unequipped to make money. She has since resorted to substitute teaching here and there, claiming 12,000/year is the best she can do. It is so frustrating to watch a man work so hard and be bound to an ex. The money he works so hard for isn’t even enough to pay his mortgage after paying her child support and alimony every month. Some women have a really twisted notion and very entitled attitude, especially coming from the stay-at-home mom, I’m sorry, housewife, world.
This is brilliantly written.

Exactly. Well said. Getting back into the workforce, unless you had a high demand, specialized profession is extremely difficult. People who have left traditional careers for a long period are screened out before anyone even sees their resume and this massive discrimination women face by OTHER WOMEN who never left the workforce is the worst. And dont even get me started on ageism… over 50 and forget it. This article is extremely condescending and belittling to the valuable contribution stay at home parents make to their families and the community. Many volunteer many hours. How about we encourage more opportunities for parents to get back into the workforce? How about we start paying wages to the stay at home parent and take that work seriously. Of course my staying home helped my husband advance in his career and my not helicopter parenting, but advocacy, enrichment and support for their unique needs within the public school system in our urban area was a contributing factor to all three of our sons receiving merit scholarships to undergrad and grad school. No one else could have provided for them as well as I was able to. I believe every child should have that support and opportunity. BTW the work and time got more involved after they started school. It didnt ease up… and I always noticed how I and the other SAHP were in effect subsidizing the working parents through all we were contributing to our schools and organizations. I had to roll my eyes at the sometimes demanding an snooty ” Well SOME of us have to work” attitude. Anyway… this is clearly a touchy subject and hell yes. I will expect and deserve alimony until I’m able to attain income parity (if I’m ever able to do so).

I get where you’re coming from but singling out stay at home moms seems a little sexist in my opinion. I think having one parent who is willing to stay at home to be actively involved at least in the early part of childhood is great for kids. I know plenty of men (including my brother) who are married to women who earn more than them and made the sacrifice of staying home with the kids until they started school.

I don’t think the article is singling out stay at home moms…. In fact it is the other way around… I have seen many stay-at-home-moms judge and shame working moms. It’s time they stop doing that. If their choice was to stay-at-home they should not posture in front of working moms as the ‘better mom”. Happens too often and that is NOT ok.

You sound exactly like a right-wing conservative here when it comes to earning your own money yourself, but then you could hear left-wing Feminist SJW talking points interspersed in this missive.

I agree with the right-wing talking points heavily, about people getting off their ass and working in a free-market capitalist society.

Join us in the right. We’d love to have you.

Emma, I kinda became a right-winger for my wife and her SAHM values, even adopting her religion. I remember when we first met she would be struggling with “adulting” and I would lovingly tell her to put her big girl pants on- she HATED when I would say that. but I would always bail her out. Now, after 5 kids and my good income she is now becoming very progressive. I am now revisiting my progressive upbringing thanks to you.

Prellis is kinda right about you, not only do you sound like a right winger, I couldn’t believe it was written by a woman.

Not only is what you said kinda “right-wing” but it is what every young boy hears when they need to become a man. Grow up, get out of the house, get a job, quit complaining, don’t make excuses, nobody owes you anything, if you fail its simply your fault, all your baggage is there because you made it, etc.

You have made me see my wife in a whole new light. I felt so angry and guilty and confused that she would abandon our trad lifestyle, but the truth is she CHOSE to have a 5 kids when I wanted to stop at 2, she CHOSE to leave her career field and home school, she CHOSE to stop going to college. I always simply supported what she wanted, both emotionally and financially, and I even enjoyed it right along with her. Now I am done supporting her flirting around with single men at the gym and half-assing homeschool. If she wants to be progressive she can get a full time job and help me pay all this debt!

Right wingers don’t hate women, that is propaganda. If you simply start off with the assumption that everyone has always been told, that mothers should be home with their kids and you should not outsource the upbringing and warehousing of your children to a daycare, then it follows that right wingers love women and children. Even the progressive wealthy white women you deal with have been told the traditional model works, and social studies show that wealthy white couples live very trad lifestyles no matter how progressive they might be. They live in the whitest towns, send their kids to white shcools, shop at white malls, marring within their race, on and on.

Read the book “Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood In the First Three years Matters” by Erica Komisar. She cites numerous studies and research the demonstrate the importance of the loving presence of mothers for young children.

Emma, no one can disagree with you because a few “studies” tell you what you want to hear. Well there have been many studies throughout the years that say the exact opposite of what you think is “fact.” Anyone who acts like one perspective is the only way sounds ignorant. You sound ignorant and angry. You also sound like a mother that is worries about EVERYTHING except your children. I feel very sorry for them. Love is what matters. Money and capitalism seems to be the only version of success to you. Once again, what a shallow life to live.

Wow …. look at you … telling someone how to live their life. The fact that you feel the need to name call the author who posted a logical article supporting it with facts says a lot about you and your insecurities. Love is what matters, but there is no need for another woman to justify to you how much she loves her kids if she’s working also. Live and let live…. You make your choice but don’t judge women who don’t choose to live the way you do. Period. It’s THEIR CHOICE. And that does not make them a worse mom than any other stay-at-home-mom

*Please disregard the first submission and post this one.

You claim that you provided evidence, but the citations used as your evidence to support the arguments were not all coherent.
Here are the ones that I noticed. The article you cited to prove your point 3 “Stay-at-home moms hurt the economy” doesn’t prove that women who drop out of workforce hurt the economy. It would be more accurate to say that the article points out that a society where unpaid work is inequitably shared, and the lack of parental leave and the lack of on-site childcare at work could be preventing the economy from growing. Also, this following refutes your points. https://www.thetrumpet.com/16255-how-homemakers-help-the-economy
As for point 4, the citation doesn’t support your argument that choice to stay home hurts the hiring and promotion of other women. The article shows that it’s the prospect of women getting pregnant and having children that puts all women in a contingent position. It doesn’t point out that the departure of women discourages the managers and companies to from hiring and promoting. In point 10, you claim, “Women who don’t earn their own money are more likely to suffer domestic violence.” If you read the link you provided “the signs of financial abuse”, it’s clear that women who work and earn income can fall into victims of financial abuse as well. In your point 12, you write, “When women stop working, you have far fewer choices, and we all lose.” However, you don’t provide the proof on how ‘all’ women lose instead of just those who stopped working. By the way, the link provided seems to not work.
Your targeting women who leave workforce seems to have roots in your perspective of the point 5 “Staying home means you abandon the women who stay and fight.” However, blaming stay-at-home moms for your frustration towards the fight against gender inequality is not the right strategy to tackle the issues that all women face. I’m afraid it will neither improve the status of women as a whole nor inspire women who do not share the same view.
You’re doing a great work to make changes in gender inequality. As you said, “We can’t have equal numbers without equal participation.” You might not want to alienate those women who have chosen to stay home if their participations matter.

A great article. You raised many good point supported with evidence. There is a lot of pressure on women to have children and to be stay at home moms or feel guilt about not doing so. I for one, had a stay at home mother and really wish she would have gotten a job. It would have been so much better for the whole family if she had had a job outside her home for many, many reasons. I for one, would have had a much better role model and later probably a better relationship with her when I started my own work life. As a working woman, I have very little in common with my mother and our relationship is just civil, but we are not close. I intend to keep my job and autonomy and be a very different kind of role model for the children in our family.

I can see a lot of negativity and misunderstandings in the comments You were very, very brave to write this, but it should be discussed.
Thanks again.

I was married 23 years. To a no good cheater who had a 12 yr work wife, and a girlfriend on the side at the same time! Anyhow, i got alimony, and he new damn well i deserved it because he agreed to pay me 25,000 a year….he already had a RN he was seeing so he knew he wouldnt miss the 25,000…well, he never wanted me to work because every time I did he made my life hell! What no supper ready!! You need to be in the home, he would say! So I never worked! I tried! Once I found out about the cheating, I was done! Anyhow, he did stop the alimony, because his RN slut was bow his new wifey and she was jealous about our seperation agreement. I didnt care at this point. I should have fought it, still could actually! I wonthe priceless prize though! His own 2 sons who are 26 and 24, and his daughter 20 dont speak to him. All college educated and daughter in college still…that alimony did pay her expenses also while in school. So he is a pos! He now has 3 step adult daughters who get the money now…i laugh because the RN will quit her job soon…Men who are cheaters need to pay alimony! Poor man (lol) had to pay 170 a week for her child support …poor man tried to stay in the home with me until she turned 18 but I kicked his ass out! So this article is so lame and sounds written from a bitter fool. Also, if not for me he wouldnt have been hired where he works the past 23!!!!!!! I got him his career, because I knew the boss!! My brother in law!

Married for 23 years. My wife had many lovers during that time and like an idiot I stayed. She stayed home for 7 years with our children (who reside with me full time). She did not cook or clean. She didn’t take them to doctors appointments or pick them up from school. She didn’t pack lunches or make them breakfast. She didn’t get up in the middle of the night when they were infants. They didn’t go to her when they were sick or scared in the middle of the night as they got older. They came to me. My girls are my everything, my world. My emotionless soon to be ex wife left us over a year ago. She was staying off and on with her mother and friends and 2 different men up until now. We are finally almost divorced. She dropped her child support request because the girls do not want to stay with her and it would get messey. Now we are just dicussing alimony. Apparently, she just rented an apartment. They are brand new too! The rent is 2300 per month. My rent for my 3 bedroom home is 1800 per month. There are many 2 bedroom apartments, homes, townhomes etc in our town for rent and they vary between 1300-1800 per month. Now I am in a position where her monthly alimony is needed more than food for our children. I am told I made too much money last year (overtime from a bad winter with a lot of snow). $125,000 for the year. She made $45,000 for the year. I am deducted medical and pension on my paychecks so my take home is much less than the average person. With everything taken out of my pay my normal pay is just under $4000 per month. I have 4 daughters. So, I am supporting a family of 5. She has requested $2500 per month in alimony. I have been sick to my stomach these past few months. I was a good husband but I am a proud and devoted father first. I spoke to our children to let them know things needs to change. My older daughters need to help me with bills as they have jobs now. I am not that person who can take money from my children but I don’t know what else to do. I had told my soon to be ex that taking food out of our daughters mouths so she can have a luxury apartment is heartless. She honestly just doesn’t care. She doesn’t even care that her girls don’t even want to go see her new place. She just claims she only wants what is owed to her. All I can think about is what am I owed from this marriage? I will say as far as the court system goes, it def favors women. I understand that my situation is not that common as a lot of men are jerks but it has been so difficult for me when dealing with the courts. I am relieved that the custody issues have calmed down but realize its because she is doing whatever she can to make sure she gets the most amount of money. Alimony is the key to get her the most money.

Wow…yes you have hit all targets Emma for sure! Haha I have to agree with most points here, as a woman who quit her job to follow a successful husband, and has had difficulty getting back to the workforce, to the cost of fighting the ex wife over lifetime alimony because she wants to live in southern California and work part time while traveling to foreign countries (and shes Japanese, comes from a rich family) this goldigger is stealing from my family , its been 12 years…she makes more per hr than I do, and shes trying to collect money for our deceased stepdaughters school tuition, thats disgusting. Ive always worked and made my own way, I didn’t even want to include my assets in the court hearing because they were all acquired before the marriage, but we didn’t have a choice. Oh and shes engaged and the boyfriends been living with her for over a year . The system is certainly one sided…luckily our judge thinks shes tacky and sounds like this may be ending finally, 130k later. I believe in compensation but theres a point where its abuse. I compared it to my friend whos husband died, she doesnt get any alimony, hes gone, thats the hand life dealt her…yes there was some life insurance but not much…just because you were married doesnt mean they take care of you forever.

Well written Emma , and thankyou for your balance and analysis .
I’m not an American , but have always been staggered by the utterly ridiculous concept of Alimony and who actually receives it , child support can be understood , but the concept of Alimony has no place in a separation today , well passed the used by date .

Thanks again .

This is the dumbest article. I am so thankful to be a stay at home mom. Raising a 10 month old and being 6 months pregnant is exhausting. I dont know how I would survive if I had to rush my kid off to daycare and work all day then come home exhausted to a grumpy and tired kid.

Staying home has kept my child healthier, happier and more content. He and I have really formed a strong bond. He loves to snuggle up with me during naps and I wont complain! I’ll take all the snuggles I can get. They dont last forever.

I am the one who decided to have children. They are my responsibility. So, why would i want to drop my little one off at daycare into the hands of a stranger to raise? The kids are mine and by having them I decided to take on the responsibility to care for them. I couldnt imagine putting my baby in daycare.

Being at home means I know the care my children receive. I’m in control of their schedules and they have the freedom to choose when to nap and eat. They can freely play and relax in the comfort of their home. They feel safer and I know they are not being bullied or being forced to sit in soiled diapers.

Your children are what matters most. Their wellbeing is all that matters. Listening to a stupid feminist society should be the last thing on your mind. You are really going to put a bunch of pink hat wearing parading women before your own children? Who cares what they think. Motherhood is a gift. Children are a blessing from God. Taking care of them and raising them right should be top priority.

I was a stay at home mom for 10 years (due to the difference in age in my kids). My husband convinced me to help him with his business by staying at home longer, never EVER even ONCE helped out with his own kids, I left school so he could pursue his dreams, and now that he wants a divorce because I finally spoke up about the abuse I’ve been suffering, I don’t deserve the same chance he got? Wow. You are certainly mommy bashing. The fact of the matter is by helping him, giving him the opportunity he WILL not have once we aren’t together, I gave up my earning potential, and recently even got rejected from Aldi for a job because I’ve been out of the force for so long. So, yeah, he does owe me so I can finish what I need to, school wise, so I can move on with my life. He got help and sacrifices from me, a s**t ton of them, now it’s my turn. Furthermore, I have a lot less time before retirement to earn a decent income. He’s had twelve years, and if I’m lucky, I’ll start putting retirement money away a year from now when I get a “real job.” I wouldn’t be surprised if this article was actually written by a white chauvinist male….

I loved this article as one of the 3% of women who pay their ex-husbands alimony. Thank you for this well thought out and articulated piece.

Fyi-we were neighbors, I lived on the “sandwich side” of lake holiday from 1984-1991…so howdy ole neighbor :-)

I can make a case for working mother’s destroying the economy, can even cite studies, will that change how you live your life??

Yeah, didn’t think so.

However, just simple common sense will tell you that if one parent in each household leaves the workforce for 15-25yrs, there are now more open jobs, leading to lower unemployment, & therefore higher pay for those who choose not to have children or the working parent in the household.

Through several anthropologic & archeologic projects, internships, & research, my oldest daughter can tell you that loss of gender identity & gender roles has been the downfall of almost every civilization in history! That’s a scary thought!!

Not to mention that i can typically pick out all of the daycare kids on the playground…there IS a difference!

As for those denigrating volunteer work by stay at home mom’s, you truly should be ashamed of yourselves!! It is amazing that we have talented and compassionate people willing to expend their resources to selflessly help others-while all of society benefits from their efforts, & their children learn wonderful humanitarian lessons!!

Not to mention, what about personal choice??? I have 5 kiddos, 4 daughters, my oldest is just starting school to enter the world of law/politics(after internships in anthropology, archeology, politics, law, geology, & paleontology, plus many many community volunteer hours…all made possible because I am a SAHM & she choose to be homeschooled). She made this decision in part to be able to dictate a career that will allow flexible employment when she has children as she recognizes the importance of having a parent always there for you, but also thinks she wants to work-she isn’t 100% yet…ps she will work, mom knows. (#2 is a boy-who wants his wife to choose, but hopes she wants to stay home since he is on his way to becoming a pilot-if she chooses to work, he is hoping they will live near one of us to help with their kids.) #3 is head strong & still young, but i have a feeling she will follow close to #1s footsteps, for now she just wants to be an olympic gymnast & have me change all her baby’s poopy diapers(honestly, this is the one that may never have kids-&that’s an ok choice too!! :-)). #4 is a different type of kid, she is a nurturer & it would likely hurt her deeply to have to work and be away from her children. She will be happiest as a wife & mother. The type that throws together grand last minute dinner parties, hosts all the neighborhood kids, & can dance backwards in high heels all night long ;-) #5 is head strong, tough, & is the one that will either have a house husband or maybe want to be a force in her career & submissive at home-it could go either way.

My point in this is that all people, all women/girls are different, with different priorities, hopes, dreams, & ultimately different paths…they are all valid paths!! Me being a stay at home mom did not negatively impact my children, if anything it made them more cognizant about their choices & the future impacts, realizing that they wanted the flexibility to do both! To stay home AND work :-)

Most of us stay at home moms tell our children(even our daughters)that they can be anything they want to be!! Whether that anything is a working mom or a stay at home mom or President of the united states, because we believe in a woman’s right to choose her own path in life!!! And most of us will be right there beside our children/daughters to help and encourage them through their chosen path!! I cannot ever imagine limiting my daughters choices as you have!!

The real questions…
Would you think less of your daughter if she chose to be a SAHM??? How about your son if he & his wife decide for one of them to stay home??

Just food for thought.

Simple common sense will tell you that we can’t have equal numbers without equal participation. So we can’t have it both. It’s really as simple as that. If a woman does leave her career to support her family … she can’t expect there to be an equal number of female leadership in her career when she jumps back in (or if her daughters decide to work). And if leadership is all men … she can’t expect there to NOT be a glass ceiling. She can’t expect her daughter NOT to get harassed or told to smile more or propositioned. Because she is not there to protect her. I don’t make the rules. Reality’s sucks, doesn’t it?

Check yourself before ripping a woman who is fighting the battle for your daughters on your behalf.

It looks like Tammie wants to do the fighting for her own daughters. What a novel concept?!?! It doesn’t look like she needs you, or anyone else, to do the fighting for her, or her family. Simple common sense will tell you that identity politics aren’t what drive strong economies. All they drive is bigotry. Check yourself before ripping a woman, simply for being making her own decisions.

Thank you for your response! I hold a Masters in Education K-12 School Counseling. I worked in public K-12 schools for 7 yrs, taught at the college level for 5 years and for the 1 1/2 yrs I have been the Director of a Childcare Center. While teaching college, I was able to work part time and raise our daughter. I was not able to stay at home when my son was born. I have been a full time worki g mom watching someone else raise my child and watched my child get what was left of me at the end of the day. I have been the part time working mom who enjoyed spending time with my child, raising my child, volunteering, pouring time into hurting friends and having time to do things as a family. These past 2 1/2 yrs have been rough working full time (40-60 a week) pouring myself into other people’s children, teaching and training staff to only have them leave within 6months, dealing with the daily “guilt ridden” mom who feels bad that she has to work and leave her child at childcare, fighting the historical “babysitting ” mentality of everyone, yet trying to assure that children’s developmental needs are being met through our program. All the while, my children are getting what is left of me at the end of a very hard day.

Long story short, I was not made to work like this. I’m a giver, a helper a nurturer. I want to stay home, yet society frowns upon it. I want to assure that my children, family and home is taken care of. There are things I can do to bring in money to help my husband, but I believe the best help I can be to him IS by being home. The only way two working parents work is if BOTH take on home responsibilities, which doesn’t always happen.

To claim that stay at home mom’s are increasing the pay gap and gender inequality is just ludicrous! Why is moeny aleays the most important? If a woman xhooses to make her career her life, then you better have a great husband whonis willing to help out with the kids and the house, otherwise, don’t have kids!! It’s not fair to a child to be raised by childcare centers. I’m glad there are people out there that love kiddos, but unless you are sending your child to a center with degree holding teachers and childcare providers, STAY HOME! There is tons of research to show the detriment to child development and increased long term societal burden of low level care childcare/daycare.

So, societal burden and long term effects???? Let’s look at all sides and let’s women stop being so selfish. When you chose to marry, have kids, or just have kids regardless of marital status, you have lost the right to be selfish.

I hope that Emma can read my comment before it gets removed. As an educated, intelligent strong-willed mother I find your judgement and generalizations disgusting. If I could speak to your face the only thing I would say is FUCK YOU!

Some research shows that people who use profanity are happier, healthier, and more intelligent than those who don’t. :)

I commend you for your hard work and being a single mom. And thank you for writing this article because it’s a conversation we all need to be a part of. Whatever your gender. You know what? You can’t make people believe your truth and vice versa. Emma wants to live her life according to scientific studies. So what? She is killing it according to what she believes to be important and live by. She bases her truth on what she is being ztold by science. That is her right to do so. Basically any of us can find scientific studies to help wage our war. It is unfortunate that this article and other recent movements are forcing women to fight against each other. But maybe it’s time for women to divide and conquer. How else can such a varied and great population reach equality: “the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities.” This article is only focusing on status. What about my rights? My opportunities? Opportunities will always mean something different among women because we all have different interests, skills and principles. It’s our right. So, I don’t think the answer here is for women to join the workforce even if it means being a cog. It’s more complex than that, just like women. A good place to start might be mutual respect. But what do I know? I’m just a SAHM who creates shame in other women apparently.
To be clear, I am at home, full time with my children, I run our finances, have never been close to being abused by any definition, could go get a decent job at any point, have an amazing and honest relationship with my husband who only encourages and respects my growth as an individual–what else? Oh and I cannot control what other women think or feel based on how I choose to live my life. No one can.

We can’t have equal numbers without equal participation. So we can’t have it both. It’s really as simple as that. If a woman does leave her career to support her family … she can’t expect there to be an equal number of female leadership in her career when she jumps back in (or if her daughters decide to work). And if leadership is all men … she can’t expect there to NOT be a glass ceiling. She can’t expect her daughter NOT to get harassed or told to smile more or propositioned. Because she is not there to protect her. I don’t make the rules. Reality’s sucks, doesn’t it?

Good thing I don’t care about “equal numbers”… I only care about equal opportunity. If there aren’t exactly 50% men and women in the workplace, so be it!

So what if I’m perpetuating stereotypical gender roles? Is that inherently bad or something? Just the idea that if something is a stereotype it’s bad and should be changed. I could never wrap my head around that.
Also, this woman’s #1 priority is money.
That’s what she cares about and it shows in her blog posts.
And she said in one of her comments something along the lines of, “you’re doing what’s best for your family at the cost of gender equality.”
LOL.
This woman is truly off her rocker.

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