Marriage 2010 style

j0422233 A recent study released by the Pew Research Center finds that there’s been an economic shift in “traditional” marriage.  Women are now more likely to marry men who have lower education and income levels than they do. For the first time ever among individuals 44 years of age and younger, more women than men have college degrees. Add to that the drop in gender discrimination and the fact that women’s wages have risen in recent decades while men’s have remained stagnant, and it seems as though these findings were inevitable. The study also reports that women with higher levels of education are more likely to get married than women with less education.

In a 1967 poll, two-thirds of women said that they’d consider marrying a man they didn’t love if the men had good earnings potential. Today, 87% of women say that it’s more important to have a man who communicates well, can be intimate and will share the housework.

Continue reading Marriage 2010 style

It’s complicated, but worth it…

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Finally got to see It’s Complicated and I loved it! The movie stars Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin as divorced parents of three adult kids who “reconnect” during an out of town trip. To complicate matters, Baldwin is currently married to his former mistress and Streep is being courted by her architect, played by Steve Martin.

I loved It’s Complicated because at 60 Streep is beautiful, because of her droopy eyelids not in spite of them (one of the funniest scenes in the movie.) I loved it because even in their late 50’s, adults do stupid things, are tempted to repeat the mistakes of the past and are still vulnerable when it comes to matters of the heart. I loved it because there’s a little part of me that (I’m ashamed to admit) was happy that the new, much younger wife go a taste of her own medicine.

Women all over the country looked forward to the movie’s release because it was the first time in a long time we’ve seen men in their 50’s dating and being attracted to women their own age on the big screen.  But the movie’s about much more than that. It’s about relationships ending and us wondering whether they should have. And it’s about dealing with the fallout of divorce and the reality Continue reading It’s complicated, but worth it…

On Motherhood: My two cents and my last two eggs

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Yesterday Rachel shared her views on motherhood. Today Grace offers her two cents, and her last two eggs…

Like Rachel, I’m heading down the road to forty, sans children. It’s interesting to note people’s reactions when they hear that I’m almost forty and have no kids. It ranges from complete surprise – I even had one clown ask me if I was sure I didn’t have any – to pity. I’ve actually seen the “bless her heart” look wash over people’s faces when I tell them I don’t have children. When I hit them with the next line “…and I’m not sure I want any” you could knock them over with a feather. I usually get that reaction from much older men (and some women) who can’t believe that I haven’t fulfilled the one thing they believe women were put on this earth to do. I can almost hear them saying “what a waste!”

I didn’t always hold the opinion that I’d never have kids. In fact as a teenager I did my senior service at Holy Name Hospital’s day care just so I could get the practice. As an adult, I’m the one rolling on the floor with the kids, playing silly games with them and generally having a ball. For a little while. After about the 23rd “do that again!” I’m good with the kid thing for about a month. When it occurred to me that with my own children it wouldn’t be that easy (or legal) to walk away, I started wondering if I was really cut out for this parenting thing. Then I got a dog and realized (to my own shame) that when he tailed me through the house from room to room and sat staring in my face blankly for hours, it kinda got on my nerves (yeah, just call me Oscar the Grouch.) With the dog, I’d throw a bone in the back yard, close the door behind him, get my freedom back for the next few hours and then be glad for his company again. Apparently you shouldn’t do that with small children.

At 39 1/2 I’ve become accustomed to being responsible for myself and myself alone. Some people say that’s selfish. I think it’s actually the opposite. I think being realistic about your age, your situation and circumstances, your strengths and weaknesses, despite the chorus of voices in society telling you that you should have a child, you should be married at your age, is actually a smart thing to do. I think, like Rachel does, that deciding not to have a child until or unless you meet a man who you know will make a great father, is a tough decision, but a wise one. I’ve always said, a man can be a lousy husband/boyfriend and still be a great father, but a bad father will never make a good husband or boyfriend. If he ignores, neglects, abuses or abandons his children, he’ll ignore, neglect, abuse and/or abandon his wife or girlfriend. Isn’t choosing your mate and the father of your children one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your life? Why then should you rush to do it just because you’re almost forty?

I think I probably have a couple of good eggs left. Who knows, maybe I’ll meet someone who’ll change my point of view about having children before the expiration date runs out (tick tock). But as my dog sits staring in my face for the cazillionth time today, willing me to do some Jedi dog mind reading tricks and understand his every need and desire, I’m thinking… eh, not so much.

On Motherhood : Does the Bell Toll for Me?

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Today Rachel touches on a topic that’s on the minds of many women at forty – motherhood. If you’re forty or almost there, and you’re not a mom, then people either want to know what’s wrong with you, or they want to know what’s really wrong with you. It seems as though it’s impossible for some people to wrap their minds around women who either choose to wait for the right man with whom to have children or decide that having children isn’t for them.  Rachel helps shed some light on the thinking behind those choices…

I’m nearing forty and I am unmarried and without children. It seems that almost daily I read about a 50+ aged woman who is pregnant or recently gave birth or I see toddlers with parents who look old enough to be their grandparents—which means the parents have to be at least 70 because with Botox, Restalyne and plastic surgery being so popular, only homeless people and hippies look their age anymore, right?

I always wanted to have children. From the moment I got my “Baby Alive” doll, fed her and changed her diaper, I felt maternal pangs and knew that I wanted to be called “Mommy” when I grew up. I became the neighborhood babysitter by 10 or 11 years old. Yes, I know that is illegal today, but back then children were allowed to be mature and independent so I helped with homework, heated up dinner and put younger kids to bed while their parents were out, for about $4 per hour.

I’m a somewhat traditional person and I believe in the institution of marriage and the idea of a two-parent household. No matter how good-looking, charming or successful a suitor was, I was always more concerned with what type of husband and father he would be. While looks, common interests and shared musical tastes may have gotten us to the point where he popped the question and offered the ring, only knowing that he would be a loving and responsible parent could seal the deal. More than one engagement was called-off once I saw a fiancé interact with a child.

My biological clock was on snooze for many, many years because I simply did not feel that any man I met or dated would make a suitable father. I had an idea of how tall he should be and what sort of physique and profession he should have, etc, but most important to me was what values he would instill in our children and how he would treat us as his family. Would he put our well-being ahead of a new 60-inch television? Would he be patient and kind with a confused little person? Would he refrain from screaming and cursing at me during heated moments because he knew he was setting an example for his children?

Continue reading On Motherhood : Does the Bell Toll for Me?

A fool for love: Mr. Big in the real world

carrie mr big Technical difficulties (a malfunctioning laptop adapter) forced me off the computer for much of last week. So instead of spending mindless hours on the internet, I spent mindless hours watching movies. Sex and the City was one of them. I’d like to make a confession. I wasn’t one of the thousands of women who loved Sex and the City while it was on TV. I thought it was smart, interesting and funny and I thought the portrayal of women, friendships and relationships was spot on, but it wasn’t must see TV for me. So when the movie came out, I didn’t rush out to see it that first weekend. Or the second. In fact, I just saw it for the first time earlier this year on DVD. And once again, the portrayals were great and the relationships realistic.  That is until Mr. Big and Carrie got married.

I can hear some of you booing me already. And I’m going to make you hate me even more by admitting that I was rooting for Carrie’s and Mr. Big’s relationship to end. Not by him leaving her at the altar, but by her deciding that she’d had enough of waiting for him to come around. One thing forty years, several boyfriends and watching friends with their boyfriends has taught me is that whoever that man is three months into the relationship is who he’ll be three years in. This is a generalization of course, but many male friends have confirmed this for me. Men know what they want and who they want to be with pretty early on in a relationship.  So, if he was non-committal when you met him, he’ll be non-committal 10 years later.  If he’s ghost on the weekend a month into the relationship, don’t be all “OMG” when you can’t find him on a Saturday night five years in.  And finally, if he was with someone else when he met you, he’ll be with someone else while he’s with you.

Sex and the City was just a movie, but the reality is, Continue reading A fool for love: Mr. Big in the real world