If you want to have children, then you need to make wise choices

Why are millenials acting like children into adulthood?
Why are millenials acting like children into adulthood?

My good friend Lindsay has written a post about women, and the choices they make.

Most women will tell you that they want to be married and have children “some day”. But many of them don’t really mean it, they’re just trying to fit in and appear a certain way to others. How can you tell the ones who mean it from the ones who don’t? Simple: you need to see which ones are making choices right now that will really move them to marriage and children in the near future.

Here’s Lindsay’s introduction:

The common feminist advice given to women to live in the moment, travel the world, go drinking, hook up, and have fun in your 20’s and even 30’s and then settle down and be a mom when you’ve had your fill is absolutely terrible advice for many reasons.

Here are the ones I want to talk about:

1) A woman’s fertility is not guaranteed. Waiting until the 30’s or 40’s to have children all too often means not being able to have them at all. Not naturally, anyway, and often reproductive technologies can’t even help. Fertility, unlike travel or luxuries, won’t wait. Use it while you have it.

4) Being a party animal doesn’t prepare a woman for being a wife and mother. Quite the opposite. It teaches her to live for her instant gratification and not consider others or the future. It teaches her to resent children as little burdens that stop her from doing what she wants to do. It teaches her to care only about herself. In short, it turns her inward rather than outward and fuels her natural selfishness, which is exactly the opposite of what is needed in a good mother.

5) Partying, drinking, and hooking up make a woman a bad wife, and bad wives are also, by definition, bad mothers. The kinds of habits that cause a woman to be a good wife, to knit her heart with her husband’s, and to put others before herself also help to ensure that her children will grow up in the stable, married home they need. Premarital sex undermines marital stability. A habit of selfish indulgence doesn’t magically end when the wedding is over. The habits we make follow us for a lifetime.

7) Smart, loyal men who want to settle down and have a family don’t pick partying women for that role, and for good reason. The 30-something living weekend to weekend just to party or hooking up with a string of different men is not good wife material. So when she finally decides, in her mid-30’s, after being all used up, that she wants a husband and children, she is very likely to find she has zero prospects. Men aren’t going to marry her now. They’re not stupid.

Here’s what I’ve found out about young women by meeting a few who said they wanted marriage and children, but did everything except the things that would lead to marriage and children.

First of all, it’s important to note that marriage and children cost money. If the woman is still in debt at age 30, and still in school at age 30, and still avoiding getting a real job and paying off her debt and saving money, then she isn’t interested in marriage and children. Men today are paying 40% of their income to taxes. It’s expected that women will make good choices to study hard things (STEM degrees!) and then get to work in a full-time job, as soon as possible. And then keep earning and saving, until the first child arrives. Money is needed for things like a downpayment on a home, etc.

Second, I have talked to women who delayed marriage for perpetual travel, perpetual school, and serial cohabitations with younger, penniless, unemployed students. Some of these women were raised in church-going intact-marriage homes. When I talk to them about why they are indulging in skydiving, ziplining, traveling, and serial relationships with little boys, they tell me that they are being adventurous. They don’t want to settle down and focus on marriage and child-bearing early because that’s boring. They also tell me that my plan of doing hard degrees, hard jobs, and saving money is boring. If a woman’s first priority is to have fun, then you know right away that her life us not going to be focused on things that require effort and self-sacrifice. There is no “fun” way to be educated in fields that pay well. Every degree that that results in a good paying job will be challenging, i.e. – “boring”. If the woman has a fear of not having fun, then her fear means that she isn’t going to be disciplined enough to be able to marry and handle the needs of children.

Women who prefer to stay in school rather than growing up and getting a job are not good for marriage or children. People learn more at work than they do at school, and work actually pays you, unlike school. And the money you earn and save by working is what gives you the ability to marry, and the ability to have kids. People who can barely take care of themselves certainly can’t take care of children.

Houses are not free, and houses are needed to put a roof over the head of the children. Not only that, but child care, education, health care, etc. all go much better when money has been earned and saved. Money gives you freedom to raise kids how you want, and to counter the culture. You can’t bumble away your peak earning years, and then wonder why your children lost their faith. Why do couples divorce? It’s often caused by lack of money, or poor stewardship of money.

Not everything that takes effort produces practical results
Not everything that takes effort produces practical results

My older advisers tell me that working does not get any more easier or more fun after age 50. It gets harder to do the later you start. Hard things are easier for people who have a pattern of doing what needs to be done, and doing the things today that lead to where they want to be tomorrow. Do what works. Feminist Dance Therapy and Electric Engineering cost the same money, and take the same time and effort to complete. Students in both programs think they are working hard and studying interesting things. But only one degree is a step towards getting married and having children.

9 thoughts on “If you want to have children, then you need to make wise choices”

  1. I was going to write this in a different post of yours:

    It’s college application season. Many people think applying to (college X) is like buying a lottery ticket and being accepted = winning the lottery, because it will change your life. It’s not like that. Applicants aren’t going to suddenly change overnight, over a week, over a month, over a semester, or even over one year, to be magically be the star football, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, soccer, track etc. athlete at whom universities throw athletic scholarships. Applicants aren’t going to suddenly change in the same time frame to become an elite college admit. One long-time college interviewer for my alma mater (not a Christian) has the firm belief that there are ‘markers’ (traits, characteristics, minor achievements, etc.) throughout school and students who are bound for this college start demonstrating exceptional ability as early as sixth grade (at the age of 11) and continue to do well throughout all of high school.

    Many applicants of these elite schools will start early in life to train for these elite schools. I was 13 and off to eighth grade (public high school where I lived) when my dad and I had the birds and bees conversation, but also, we talked about high school as preparation for college.

    What many applicants don’t realize is that people who would be accepted at would thrive anywhere else — so it’s not necessarily the school that “makes” the applicant. The applicant is who he or she is, because of the hours of hard work and studying and honing various skills. That is to say, Michael Jordan would have thrived at UNC or any other basketball program. It is not that UNC made Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan trained — really hard. He was the first to arrive, earlier than the rest of his team, and stayed later than everyone else.

    Argument from lesser to greater: if preparing for college or a basketball program is important, why should we see preparing for marriage as any less? (Yes, I know it’s a little unconventional to think about “training for marriage.”)

    We can also think about it from the (very in-demand) college’s point of view. I can’t think of a good reason why Harvard would accepted a student with a transcript and recommendations that say something like, “This guy/gal was lazy and just smoked weed and wasn’t interested in studying or working hard.” Why on earth would Caltech accept someone like, “This guy/gal isn’t into STEM. In fact, he/she is more interested in Candy Crush Saga and even playing it during class.”

    Your friend Lindsay in saying “Smart, loyal men who want to settle down and have a family don’t pick partying women for that role, and for good reason” — that’s a great observation.

    Look, a high quality man in his 20’s and 30’s who doesn’t want to merely sleep around is very much the in-demand commodity. This kind of man has choices.

    So let’s be a bit amusing and use marketing/business speak.

    “What’s your brand differentiator?”

    If some girl is just some party girl and/or just slept around and/or are a hedonist and/or have no other viable skills other than trying to bait some rich guy with sex … sorry, hon, that won’t fly.

    The young Investment Banking scene in New York (you can google tons of articles about this) is an illustrative microcosm. Young women hang out at bars, trying to snag one of these supposedly wealthy men (sometimes cheating on their current boyfriends to do so). The young men may sometimes pose like they have more money than they do and make good use of their opportunities. Does this sound great? Nope. Sounds a bit like Hell to me (like the description of Hell that C.S. Lewis talks about in Screwtape Letters — where people are trying to take advantage of others but are being taken advantage of).

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    1. I agree with everything except this:

      “Look, a high quality man in his 20’s and 30’s who doesn’t want to merely sleep around is very much the in-demand commodity. This kind of man has choices.”

      Not in demand with 20-something women.

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      1. True, I guess with the non-Christian/secular 20-something women and the nominal Christian 20-something women — they are more interested in having fun and living it up and have “relationship” whenever it’s convenient.
        The marriage-minded Christian 20’s somethings women generally find there are more women than men looking for marriage.
        When it hits 40, finding a good marriage partner for Christian women is like hitting the lottery, according a number of single devout Christian women friends I know who are 40.

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  2. This post has much to commend in it.

    The part I struggle with is the notion that having a family is only viable if both husband and wife are earning professional salaries outside the home (or at least are on track to do so). If having a family is that expensive, such that the only way to feed, clothe and shelter our children is if we earn lots and pay someone else (a nanny, child care centre or school) somewhat less to look after and effectively raise them, what’s the point?

    Now I’m not saying that a wife and mother should be idle at home. But if we assert that she has to assume a quasi-masculine role of co-provider, there’s a big problem somewhere.

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    1. No no no. I don’t think the woman should work when children arrive. I’m saying before she married she should not be in debt. She should have studied serious things and worked serious jobs and saved her money. I think one salary is enough for a family, but the man has to be serious too.

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  3. Great post. This sums it up for me, “Money gives you freedom to raise kids how you want, and to counter the culture.” We have been able to remain debt free from the wise choices we’ve made. As a result, I’m able to homeschool our children. Given the state of public schools this has been the best option for us. Between our curriculum, co-ops, and other classes, our children receive an education that surpasses state requirements while remaining in my and my husband’s control.

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  4. I knew one of those “party women”. She was that way because, like most of them, she had no father, as he died in an accident when she was very young. We all knew what not having a Father present can do. She was a mess, and so was her life. She accepted Christ and changed. We met a few months later. We’ve been marrIed for nearly 30 years now. She has been the best mother I could ever ask for and a wonderful wife, and a very hard worker and a Godly women.

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