Should We Rethink the Way We Are Educating Our Daughters?

Women's minds are just as valuable and just as needful of good education as those of men.  Young women hunger intellectually just as young men do and are just as capable (at least as capable!) of benefitting from full educational opportunities.

That should go without saying, but it had to be said — in fact it has had to be asserted recently, and within living memory of probably the majority of women who will read this, so I am beginning this piece with this assertion in order to forestall some anticipated objection to what follows.

The educational opportunities and career choices available to young women today are amazing — given the history of these things — and not to be taken for granted.  They were fought for and we deserve them.  And those of us who remember that, as well as many too young to do so, are justly suspicious of any hint that we might "roll back the clock."  Therefore, I expect to be suspected and I welcome robust criticism of what I am about to say — but I think we might begin talking and thinking about it anyway.

The current "normal" way we are educating young men and women is pretty much a parallel track going from high school to college (at age 18) to entry into a career (4 or 5 years later).  Marriage is often delayed until this track is completed and the young man and woman are "established" in some field or other.  Once the career is in place all the "mommy track" issues suddenly become pertinent for the woman, should children come along — which is generally considered to be optional, albeit desirable, for what is still a majority (though a shrinking one) of couples.  There doesn't seem to be some kind of "faithful Catholic" exception to this plan, other than the robust objections to artificial birth control.  In other words, even very faithful, spiritually astute Catholic families seem to generally have their boys and girls on this same educational/career track.

I want to question whether this is something we are considering deeply or whether we are just kind of going along with the ride that our society seems to have planned out for our kids' lives.  I especially want to ask if it is wise or prudent to automatically assume that our sons and daughters should be on the same track.  Is there something to consider about our daughters that might give us pause here and prompt a different consideration?

 I submit to you that there is something to consider and to put it very bluntly, it is fertility.  Infertility within the population is a serious problem and becoming worse.  There are many factors — use of "the pill" and diseases caused by sexual immorality are certainly factors — but one thing we do know: all other things being equal, delaying motherhood in a population of women will decrease the number of women who can give birth at all.  Fertility wanes with age and it wanes fast, with increased risk of fetal loss in women over the age of 30.  Yes, 30.  Some women will find that waiting until age 30 to have a child means that they will never have one.  A U.S.-Italian Study — published May, 2002 in Human Reproduction, Europe's leading journal of reproductive medicine — noted that a woman's fertility starts declining as early as her late 20s.  The abstract summarizes the finding like this: "On average, the day-specific probabilities of pregnancy declined with age for women from the late 20s onward, with probabilities of pregnancy twice as high for women aged 19-26 years compared with women aged 35-39 years."

So I am just asking here: How much value really are we placing on our daughters' fertility when we encourage them to plan their lives in such a way that their most fertile years are spent getting an education and starting a career?  Do we really view their fertility as a gift from God to be used – yes, within marriage, but used! — to bring new human beings into this world?  Are we buying into the worldly view of what life is all about and squeezing the gifts of new life that God wants to give us in around the edges after we have filled up most of the space and time with our own materialistic pursuits or visions of secular success?  It's something to consider, don't you think?

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  • Guest

         Mary, this is a very valid dilemma.  I am living proof that marriage later in life is often not conducive to childbearing.  In my case, I would have liked to have gotten married much younger than I did, but I didn't meet Mr. Right until I was 33.  However, I freely admit that had I been living a more Christian lifestyle in my twenties, my chances of marrying earlier would have been greater.  On the other hand, I do know women who were living out their Catholic faith all along and would have loved to have gotten married and started families much younger.  Their postponement of marriage and motherhood was not something they chose.

         For those who consciously choose to postpone marriage and motherhood, and for their parents who raise them with this agenda in mind, your points are very valid.  If I am ever blessed with a daughter, I will make sure that she is well aware of the struggles I faced as a result of getting married and trying to conceive later in life, and I will make it very clear to her that it would be in her best interest to do so sooner rather than later if she is able to.  However, I will also make it clear that this does not mean marrying before she is mature enough to handle the commitment of marriage, or marrying the wrong person because she's afraid that if she waits for her God-given spouse it might be too late.  Another consideration is that if our daughters marry young in order to start a family when they're young and fertile, it is important that at least their husbands be educated and marketable so that the babies they conceive have some degree of financial stability.  

          I think it all comes down to priorities.  If we raise our daughters with the expectation that their primary vocation is marriage and motherhood, hopefully the likelihood of them remaining faithful and prayerful and being in a position to meet the right man and marry while they're still young enough to be fertile will be increased.  If they are faithful Catholics and for some reason don't meet their husbands until later in life, it is important for them to know that there is a reason for that, and that the man God has in mind for them is worth waiting for, regardless of the challenges that brings (such as potential fertility challenges).  

     

  • Guest

    I agree with this article in theory, but I believe that not just our daughters must be encouraged to marry and have children younger, but our sons as well.  Otherwise, who will our daughters marry?  Our sons must be willing to marry young as well.   

     As a mother of a son, we have taught our son that it is our wish that he marry while in his early 20’s and have children. I think at his young age (10) that he understands why people date.  I believe he knows that it is the duty of his parents to not only to make sure he has a proper education that will lead to employment, we also are also to help him find a spouse (this comes from my husband’s Jewish religion). He knows we are willing to pay for his education and to help him and his wife financially.  

    Within my husband’s kollel (a Jewish teaching center that is smaller than a synagogue) my son sees young people (around 20years old) marrying and having children with the full support of their parents and grandparents on a regular basis.  He thinks it’s pretty cool.  He’s quite excited to see his 20 year old cousin (my niece) marry this July.

     

    I was the oldest of my parents' daughters to marry at 24.  Unfortunately for me, youth and fertility did not go hand in hand.

     Sam’s mom

  • Guest

    Amen! All of our children should be taught to discern their vocation before choosing their occupation. The question shouldn't be "What do you want to be?" but "Who does God want you to be?" Family members have argued about how a teen could know whether they might be called to family or religious life. And yet, society expects that these same kids make career decisions without any understanding of how those choices will affect their lives or their ability to have a family.

     

    I pray all the time for the young women I know who are in the midst of these decisions.

  • Guest

    Along the same lines, I think that it's worth considering to teach our children that dating is for the sole purpose of discerning a marriage vocation.  My husband and I are seriously considering prohibitions on dating during highschool, other than in large social groups (rather than one-on-one).  Our view is that if dating is in fact solely for the purpose of leading to marriage, then it is inappropriate during highschool, when children are not mature enough to marry.

  • Guest

    I am so glad to see that someone has said this 'out loud'.   My husband and I have 9 children.   I struggle with the fact that so many young couples have to come out of school with 2 large student loan debts only to have the wife want to stay home and raise her children.  What is the answer to this?  How do our young daughters meet said "nice, young, faithful Catholic men" if they don't go to an expensive private Catholic school?  I know it's possible but just not nearly as likely.  I'm not against our daughters who want to be stay-at-home moms getting an education.  It has served this S.A.H. mom very well.  Thank God, I met Mr. Right at a state school and we both had scholarships! Any ideas??

  • Guest

    Well, getting back to Samsmom's comment, I know that Orthodox Jews help their children to marry and start families young by providing financial assistance until the husband's career has taken off.  Many times the young couple (and their first few children) live with the parents till this occurs.  However, this certainly isn't realistic for everyone.  Not all parents have the means to provide this type of financial support to their adult children.

  • Guest

    The other side of the coin is sexual purity. Young people have strong sex drives. They fall in love. They want to have sex. So we tell them to wait for marriage. What does that mean? It used to mean 20 for boys and 18 for girls. Now it means waiting several years longer. That means instead of asking teens to wait a year or two we are asking them to wait 5 years. That is a lot harder to face. Sure they should obey God regardless of how difficult. But we are not to make it difficult for those who are turning to God (Acts 15:19).

  • Guest

    This is like a puzzle and when you touch one piece, you affect the alingment of the others. I thought about making the piece much longer and talking about things like extended or multi-generational families under one roof, our almost natural suspicion of say a 26-year-old man with a career showing interest in courting our 17-yr-old daughter, what kind of different educational institutions might need to be established to give a college-level education to young mothers, etc.  But I figured that these points would all start to come out in the discussion. And they are.

    Like Rach suggests what we need is to move from theory to practical ideas.

  • Guest

    Mkochan, so glad you wrote this.  I've been saying these things for a long time.  With a Master's Degree that I never used, and then working for first 10 years of marriage, holding off on family, out of line with Church teaching, I look back and say, "Oh, what I would do differently if I were to go back and live my life with what I now know and believe as the truth!"  And so we have taught our kids.

    As I posted on article above yours this morning, since my own adult conversion, our kids have been raised with faithful Catholic teaching, including "Theology of the Body for Teens" course.   I have always said that our daughters need to be prepared first to be good wives and mothers.  We are encouraging at least two if not four years of post-high school education because in our society today I believe this lends to good motherhood and ability to contribute generally to the broader society. And it gives them help if at some point they need to support themselves/family.

    But my thinking re' women and education and careers has dramatically changed!  We have always told them they are welcome to live with us and save their money until God brings about their vocational changes (marriage or entry into religious community.)  We see no sense in the common pattern of young women trying to go out on their own at 18 or even 21, getting jobs, and all their money going to rent, utilities, etc., thus leading to the temptation to co-habit to save money, if they do meet someone they care about.

    Our older daughter is about to graduate from wonderful faithful Catholic high school and has decided to put aside some career ideas that would have led to lengthy education and/or separation from possible future family.  She has decided to go into nursing, a wonderful choice that blends well with home and family, and which can provide part-time work if needed for her family.  Funny, it's one of those areas that, from the 70's feminist mentality I was trained in, just was not worthy of my abilities.  In fact, I now realize there were very good reasons why women went into nursing or teaching, careers we "liberated women" looked down on.  These careers allowed flexibility for motherhood, and skills valuable to home and family.  Thank God for conversion!  And thank God for a 17 yr. old daughter with far more wisdom than I had at her age.

    Our second daughter wants to pursue Literature and Writing.  Not nearly as "marketable" but we will encourage her further education in this area, as it will lend a grace and beauty to her family life and her community.  And she is welcome to live with us until she marries, or succeeds in writing the next great Lord of the Rings trilogy.

    And then there is my good friend, who attended college AFTER her children were grown, and has enjoyed a wonderful career as a college professor, writer trainer, book reviewer, and now has retired to enjoy her grandchildren and write her novel, while she is still young.

    As far as the guys, well, is it possible they may need to consider working while in school in order to marry sooner.  And gee, wasn't there a generation when husbands and wives juggled schedules and worked part-time to help one or the other finish education?  Not the easiest way to go, but what about life is easy?  You make such a good point.  I look back and think, what in the world was I doing all those years that was so darn important before my first child at age 36?

    If I had it to do over, I'd start a whole lot sooner, and have a whole lot more (kids!), God willing.

  • Guest

    RWW, you were very lucky to be able to have a child at 36.  As this article points out, young women need to realize that there is no guarantee that their fertility will still be available even at 30, let alone mid to late 30s.

    A friend of mine got married over a year ago at age 35 (as I did a couple of years prior), and waited 6 months before trying to conceive because she didn't want to be pregnant on her honeymoon which was scheduled for 6 months after the wedding.  She did this by using artificial contraception, despite her firsthand witness of my infertility issues that I experienced from day one of my marriage.  Now she's also facing infertility, and it's really hard for me to feel sorry for her when anyone who gets married at 35 should know that there is no time to waste (not to mention the fact that she blatantly disregarded Church teaching regarding premarital sex and contraception, but this didn't surprise me as much as her careless attitude toward postponing a pregnancy).  

    Was having a childfree honeymoon really worth what she's going through now?  She will always have to wonder whether her only chance for a pregnancy might have occurred during those first 6 months of her marriage.

    I'm glad that since your conversion you have raised your daughters with knowledge of the important things in life.  It's time that more women wake up and smell the coffee.  At the parish level, an increase in singles ministries could certainly help to improve people's chances of meeting their spouse sooner rather than later, and leaders of these ministries can make a point of addressing issues such as the importance of making marriage and childbearing a priority once a future spouse is found.

    It would also be really nice to see more infertility support and education within the Church, especially for women who were well aware of the value of early marriage/childbearing but were unable to meet this goal by no fault of their own.  They should not be made to feel guilty about their inability to marry young, and as I said before, it would be unfortunate if young women married the wrong guy out of fear of losing their fertility.  That's another issue that a good singles ministry could address.  Unfortunately,  singles and infertility ministry in my liberal diocese has not exactly flourished (and I have hit many roadblocks in trying to remedy that), but hopefully some of the more orthodox dioceses will start to expand these ministries.  I know that some already have.  

  • Guest

    Note to all posters, please use that enter key once in a while to create paragraph breaks in your posts.  I go in and fix them as I can.

  • Guest

    LOL – I just commented on another article and you put my thoughts into words much more succinctly!  Thank you :-)

  • Guest

    Mkochan, did you coordinate your article with the one on "Delayed Adulthood," that is also in catholicexchange today?  They go hand in hand!

     And thank you for fixing my post.:)

     Claire, I do agree with you, and do not recommend waiting.  By God's great kindness we have three children.  Our girls were born when I was 36 and 38, (I had a miscarriage between them) and our son was born when I was three weeks shy of 42.  We conceived again when I was 44, but we miscarried that baby, which we all grieved.  God has indeed been gracious.  

  • Guest

    I had been thinking about this subject for some time and floated it in an email discussion with several of my friends a few years ago.  When Oswald sent me his article, I thought that it would make a perfect companion piece. I'm glad you agree — and thanks for making friends with that enter key; it makes it much easier to read your fine contributions to our dicussion.

  • Guest

    As a 25 year old, college educated, devout Catholic, wife, and mother to one, I thought I would weigh in on this great topic!

    My husband and I met my Freshman year of college and his Junior year. In the midst of college I stopped to discern my vocation to the consecrated life, ready to give up the degree that I started to earn. 

    My husband and I were married a year after I graduated and a year before he graduated from Medical School. Our son is about to celebrate his first birthday while I am working part time (thanks to Mom for babysitting) and my husband is still in residency.

    And I owe meeting my husband and being prepared for marriage to, of course, the support of my own family, but also to the fact that I went to college.

    My motivation for going to college was to mature my intellect and my being. The person I was Freshman year was much different from the person who walked to get my diploma. And I dare to say that I was much more prepared for married life thanks to the experiences I had inside and outside the classroom at college. (I don't think that many girls – even the good Catholic ones – are prepared for marriage when they are 19!) 

    And I am happy to say that there were many other solidly Catholic, young, marriages that happened thanks to the Catholic community at Rutgers U. And we are in our mid-20s starting to have those babies! 

    So I don't think the expected "parallel track" of education is to blame for marriages occuring later. I think it is a person's own ability to understand and discern their vocation as it is revealed to them.

    So – how do we fix that? We need girls and boys to value who they are - Apostles for Christ – in whatever stage of life they are in! I think if we start with changing the hearts of people we will effect the culture (instead of trying to change the "system" first). If we educate young Catholic men and women so they truly understand the role of family in the Church, I think they will turn out fine and desire their families and see their careers as a means to live and a means to bring the culture back to Christ!

  • Guest

    God loves you .

    One old man to you all – thank you, ladies.

    Of our sons and daughters, and, indeed, for grandchildren – they simply must see that they are ours for some years – they are our Father’s eternally. Try changing grace before meals from ‘Bless us, O Lord . . .’ to ‘Bless us, Eternal Father to us all . . .’.

    Samsmom, Katy, rach, RWW, PurisimaFamily1 and the rest of you – a Hail Mary for each of you. For Claire whom I encounter here over and over, and our delightful editor – MARY KOCHAN for PRESIDENT 2008 – several Hail Marys.

    An Our Father for Randy Gritter – clever enough to hang around with the fine ladies . . .

    Remember, I love you, too .

    In our delighted glory in our Infant King,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell @catholicexchange.com or … yahoo.com)

  • Guest

    Good points, PurisimaFamily1!  Indeed, I met my future husband at the Newman Center at the school where I went for my Master's.  And I sure did need that time to get my act together personally.  I was nearly 27 when we married and he was 30.  It's probably the 10 years working then before having children that I should be talking about.  That was due to the inculcation of the secular culture that I had to "do something worthy of my education."  I like your idea of starting the family a whole lot better as I see things now!

  • Guest

    Great article. I remember feeling like such a fraud when I donned my business suit and headed to work so many years ago. All I really wanted to do was have a family. I did both (neither well!), until my last blessing came along. Now my college-aged daughter is struggling with the very issues Mary has raised here. She is very bright, and attending a highly selective college. She's torn between pursuing her "intellect" or going for her heart (teaching). Her school doesn't offer elementary education as the vast majority of the student body is preparing to become investment bankers, engineers, chemist, doctors, or lawyers! So she is surrounded by people who do not offer her much support for those vocations that seem to defy "feminism" (Yikes). 

     

    You know, it is certainly possible to obtain a college degree AND be a mommy. And if one starts a family young, there are plenty of years on the end to pursue careers full-time. Unless God decides to surprise you with your last blessing at age 42! Talk about trusting His plan!!

     

  • Guest

    This article is ahead of it's time. There will come a time when it will dawn on the sages of the next or following generation that something revolutionary has to be done to start, promote and sustain the family. So far most of the comments are rearranging the same furniture in the same room.

    Because society sees men and women as economically equal this view is extended into their respective positions in the family. Their status in the family is interchangeable therefore either one can do what neither one wants to do. The result is procrastination for the purpose of self-fulfillment.

    Teens of both sexes compete for the same schools and drive up tuition. Husbands and wives compete for the same jobs and drive down wages. I know of so many husbands and wives who vote opposing parties thereby canceling each other's vote. Capitalism is about competition for the purpose of having the best education for the best career and the biggest house with the fewest people. That is the practical outcome. There is no competition for a life of sacrifice and giving so that sector of society is flat. Mother Nature is not fooled, late watering produces small fruit.

    The time is coming when two generations will be encouraged to live under one roof. When girls will be educated to complement their mate and develop cottage industries that will bind families. When young men will be encouraged to make an earlier commitment to wife and family so that the may live to see their great-grand children.

    There are so many more possibilities now with electronic communication to give people the challenges and connections to their interests that everyone has without minimizing the family. It will come but the selfishness in our society will first have to be shaken out. That time is not yet and my daughters will just give me a blank stare if I try to develop this thought with them. Mary’s article is nevertheless already looking for solutions to a crisis that will soon be in full blossom.

  • Guest

    I think there are also many great work-from-home options available to young women. Or to the grandmothers helping them with their children. Your daughter will have to be very creative in how she manages her life — and isn't creativity a big part of the "feminine genius?"

  • Guest

    As usual, Mary, your article is great.

    However give a thought (and a prayer)  for all those who through career pressure married late and now find they cannot have children.

    God bless,

    NoelFitz.
    _________________________________________________
    In necessariis, unitas; in dubiis, libertas; in omnibus, caritas.
    _________________________________________________

  • Guest

    We've addressed those issues many times here Noel.  But this article has a different audience in mind and is focused on something we can actually DO something about.  If someone is struggling with infertility or with the effects on her life from poor choices made in the past, she has our sympathy, support and prayers, yes.  But we have to think about the youngsters who have yet to make those choices — they need prayers and support also, but there are practical things we can do for them to keep them from ending up with those regrets.

  • Guest

    Reading all this reminded me of a phenomenon when I attended West Point in the early eighties.  It was the number of female cadets who were getting married to graduating Firsties after Yearling (sophomore)year. We called it getting their MRS degree.

    So is there then some kind of a value in sending our daughters straight to college – even if it is to meet and select the right kind of partner?

    Seems kind of ooky.

  • Guest

    Hi all

     

    I think the concept brought in this article is  pretty interesting and encouraging. However, I do 'reluctantly' have to admit that many women/would-be-moms/(or even) moms simply have to spend those years to study/build their career which would 'presumably' help to build their 'assets' or simply for 'mere/legitimate' survival of themselves, as well as thei r dependants(i.e.: family members , such as: parents/siblings/children) . I completely disagree with women(as well as men) who are wasting their time & money/assets to pursue 'vanities' such as luxuries, promiscuities and other related items/issues. Yet the world economy system nowadays are somewhat full of flaws where many persons(i.e be it families of singles) are really facing a lot of problems just to keep their basic necessities intact (i.e: basic ownership of lodging/home,  standard/basic lifestyle(simple entertainment, transportaion & education) & necessities of life (food, clothing, health). 

     

    If the financial situation of the person(s) are very supportive, then marrying at a younger age (i.e.: 25) might not be of much problems. yet sadly I have to admit so many people (both men & women) have to (are forced to) delay their marriage simply to acquire sufficient level of assets (house & savings)before thei can get married. Nowadays jobs/careers are no longer guaranteed, and income level likewise, yet the cost of living/inflations seems to be always soaring up high endlessly. For those people who are legitimately 'trapped' in these 'legitimate' situations, I don't think we can blame/push them further to get married at the earlier age. Starting Families & Having babies when the family income/finacial level are not secured/sufficient yet would the last things/events that many people wish to experience, including the 'would-be' babies themselves. My prayers are for the deserving persons and families.

     

    On the other hand  the 'decreasing fertility' issue is not a 'myth', it's somewhat a fact also. Assuming all other things equal and normal, the 'quality' of the firstborn babies born by younger(yet at sufficient age) mothers are somewhat of better qualities than those firstborn born by older mothers.  I guess it's just a kind of 'sad' fact&circumstances that most of us(perhaps not for all of us) have to accept and bear with. Regards.

  • Guest

    Hmm.

    It would seem that they only "simply have to" build up a certain level of assets before marriage and children only if they "simply have to" have a certain level of things.

    This ties in, by my dim analysis, to the curious custom of our culture mysteriously expecting (requiring) our children to leave the house after graduating from high school (which is even more curiously bragged about by parents).

    In many other cultures, children stay at home (contributing to the family household) until they get married. Amazingly, the sun still rises every morning. Being countercultural to this trend could help ease the need to "simply have to" pay off school loans or build up enough for a down payment on a house or whatever.

    Plus, courtship in the context of one's family is quite different from dating as an apartment-dwelling single twenty-something.  The latter is a good recipe for getting into bad relationships. The former, while clearly more awkward for the modern American young adult, has worked pretty well in many different cultures for most of human history. Peter Pan need not apply.

  • Guest

    We've been discussing this very issue at our house of late. My oldest child (a daughter) is 16 and a jr in high school. We were looking at different college options, and of course were considering excellent Catholic schools like Christendom, Magdalen, etc.

     

    We are well-off enough that we wouldn't qualify for any financial aid but not well-off enough to actually pay the $80-$100k that it would cost to attend such a school for 4 years, even though we have been saving. Well, we could maybe afford it for 1 child, if we spent our entire savings, but not for 4, and then we'd have next to nothing left to put a down payment on a house when my husband finally retires from the military and we can settle down. Which leaves loans.

     

    My daughter (I think very wisely) observed that it didn't make a whole lot of sense to incur such a huge student loan debt if she felt that she was called to marriage and family, since that would be just one more financial problem, and if you're wanting to start a family, who needs more debt if it can be avoided? And paying back that kind of money is a huge debt.

     

    Anyhow, our conclusion was that she could stay at home with us as long as she wanted…what was the big rush to kick her out of the house? She'd certainly pull her weight around here! And that community college is sounding better all the time, if she wants to get some further education.

     

    PTR, when were you at West Point? I graduated in '88. And promptly married my husband, class of '87. (And now I'm pretty much against women in the military. Go figure.)

  • Guest

    PTR and Stacey, that is a great point.  I've mentioned this before in response to other articles:  our culture (at least in middle class circles) acts like it's a birthright for kids to have the "going away to college experience".  Well, a huge component of that experience involves living in a dorm or apartment complex where the environment is conducive to heavy drinking and plenty of unchastity, and then graduating with exhorbitant student loans.  Unless a child is geared toward a highly specialized field, such as rocket science, there is no reason not to live at home and attend community college and then transfer to the local state university.  It won't socially warp them, it very well might protect them from the temptation to make a lot of stupid choices, and they will start off adulthood without all the debt.  This is what my husband and I will encourage if we are able to successfully adopt.  Our child will know that education is a priority, but the going away to college experience is not.

  • Guest

    staceyjohnson,

    Class of 1983, Company B-2. 

  • Guest

    No overlap, then. C-1 here. DH was in B-1.

  • Guest

    So Stacey when do I get your article about women in the military?

  • Guest

    What a great article on a timely issue.  We have been tackling these issues in our household as our children began graduating from high school. 

    My son and his girl friend (of 3 1/2 years) became engaged this past summer.  They are both 21 and they both will have 2 more years of college to finish.  Needless to say, people are perplexed.  

    1st question – are you pregnant?  No!  2nd question – are you living together?  No!

    How counter-cultural.

    During a "where to attend college" discussion with my now senior in high school daughter, she looked at me with all honesty and said "Dad, I can't wait to have a family". 

    I didn't realize how counter-cultural we were.

        

  • Guest

    As someone mentioned above, we have also pondered the concept of our daughters NOT going to college if they are focusing on being wives and mothers.  Then I wonder how they meet the young men who ARE going to college to prepare to support a wife and family.  And even if they do, I believe there can be, and in Madison WI there certainly IS, a fair amount of educational elitism, which might cause young men to think that non-college educated young women are not as good wife material as their college-educated counterparts, or at least possibly not as "interesting."

     

    Also, my dad, had seen his sister with 7 kids and one of my mom's sisters-in-law with 12 kids both left by their husbands to raise these families alone, without educations, working a life of menial jobs and raising their children in poverty.  Neither family was in a position to take these large families in and help raise them.  My dad was adamant that my sister and I get good educations so that we could support ourselves and our kids if we had to.  Even if our daughters find and marry great faithful Catholic young men, things happen over time, and there are no guarantees.  I do believe in home-based businesses for women, I have one, but these are not always in a position to support the family immediately.  Yes, we do untimately need to trust God with all these things, but we must also be "wise as serpents" in dealing with the world in which we live.

     

     

  • Guest

    Greg, if I may ask, what are your son and his girlfriend planning to do to support their new household?  Your answer could also bless folks following the "delayed adulthood" discussion, if you'd care to share it there as well.

  • Guest

    RWW, you brought up a great point and one that I had considered addressing.  It is that we are making a lot of decisions based on fear.  For ourselves and our children, we make decisions based on being prepared for betrayal.  It is almost like having an unspoken prenuptial agreement. "Yes, I trust you to love me for the rest of my life enough to marry you, but in case you turn out to be a cad, I am ready to take care of myself and my children."

    This is where, I think, the parents have to make the difference for the daughters. The parents who make it their determination to see to it that their daughter and their grandchildren will be cared for in such a contingency free the daughter from having to make a decision in fear. She has to know that she always has parents. I don't see any other way to get past that fear factor. A daughter's a daughter all of her life in the way that a son is not a son.  True independence is available to men in way that it simply is not for a woman with children.  A lot of "feminism" has been directed at changing that, but the only way to do it is to try to circuvent biology. And we all see where that has gotten us.

  • Guest

    Mary,

    if you'd really like one, I'd be happy to put one together. I'm very opinionated. ;o)

  • Guest

    I too believe that parents should be committed to supporting their daughters.  But realistically a family of 12 children could very well be beyond the means of the parents to provide for, regardless of their commitment.  Or the parents could be dead.  Of course women need to enter marriage with faith that it will last.  But life is unpredictable.  Even if the husband is a good faithful husband, he could die.  That's why some decisions, such as purchasing a life insurance policy, have to be made out of fear and/or realism.  It's all a balancing act, and some of the suggestions made earlier can help to protect the wife financially while allowing her to marry and have children relatively young.  A 22 year old woman who has had time for a college degree is still likely to be quite fertile, and probably much more mature and ready for marriage than an 18 year old.  If this woman has lived at home and attended a community college and a state university, she will marry with less debt and be in a better position to start having children right away rather than waiting another 5 years.  If she goes into a family-friendly field such as nursing, she can work very part-time while having children, so that she has career skills in case the unthinkable happens.  If parents are aware of the issues and pass on this awareness to their daughters, marrying young  (if the woman is blessed enough to find her God-given spouse at a young age) doesn't have to preclude financial security.

  • Guest

    I was married midway through university just after I turned 22 around 13 1/2 years ago.     We were the only couple in our circle of friends to marry during university but hardly the only couple to end up 'living together'.  When it comes down to it, if a couple can manage to work out a way to co-habitate, they should be able to figure out a way to marry first.  It may mean having a small wedding with little fuss (my wedding dress came from a cousin and a family friend had simple and lovely bridesmaids dresses that were given to the bridesmaids).  We started married life sharing a townhouse with my sister and a number of friends but we had the important thing each other!

     

    We did wait a bit to have children (our first was born the day before I turned 26) but we did not use artifical contraception  (quite frankly there were points where we were poor enough to really appreciate the FREE aspect of NFP let alone the moral, health and other benefits).  Looking back on it after 13 1/2 years and having 4 children with another due to see the light of day in spring, I most certainly don't regret marrying when I did!

     

  • Guest

    Stacey, I am opinionated too — and I have a daughter in the Marines — but it is not editorial policy around here that every article has to reflect my opinion.  Give it your best shot; I'm sure others would love to read your experienced perspective.

  • Guest

    As my son and his fiance' hit the three year mark of their relationship, my advice to him was either commit or cut loose.  I assured him that just because he gets married, we will continue to support him until he was done with his schooling.  So, he committed realizing that we would continue to support him – and his fiance'. 

    He has a ROTC scholarship and he and his fiance' are willing to work.  The first year will be tough, but according to his cousin (who did the same thing), there might be good fincancial aid for the second year.

    Whether he lives with four other guys while she lives with 3 other girls, or they live together as a married couple…what is the difference financially?  I guess we will find out!!

  • Guest

    I think Stacy Johnson had a lot of sense, but the reality is most catholic girls, when they get caught up in the community colleges will meet young men who most likely will not share their vision of a truly catholic 'open to life' marriage.

    I personally wish our local parishes would at least let parents set up workshops to help girls and boys to learn about the idea of 'vocations' and get some real formation toward choosing one. CCD doesn't work, and 3 to 6 months of pre-cana is nothing.

    Forget "Desperate housewives" and "the Housewives of Orange county"…real housewives walk ALONE.

    A stay at home mom lives a cloistered life with out benefit of a spiritual director or formal formation. Catholic mothers are literally tossed to the whirlwind right now. Being a stay at home mother is very hard and our society does not have the same institutional stops in place to support mothers at home as it did half a century ago. It's lonely being the only mother on the block home during the day.

    I also think it would be really AWESOME if faithful Catholic colleges got radical and offered real womens studies specifically geared toward women choosing to be mothers and wives. Why NOT? Secular universities and colleges don't hesitate to offer their version of 'womens studies'!!! Universities like Christendom, Magdalen college and Ave Maria (and also the evangelical colleges out there) need to get creative and offer affordable 2 yr to 4 yr degree's in something like 'hospitality management' or real teaching certificates with minors in 'womens studies' for women who want to be homemakers and/or home schoolers, but it could also be used in the 'real world' but also in which they can also receive real faith formation, much like a NUN does for her vocation.

    It's not a joke!! I looked it up and the mormans have something going on at Brigham young U. in the area of 'Womens studies'!!!

    It's the only way to completely blow away the liberal educational establishment that is firmly entrenched right now. We have a real opportunity with all the home schoolers out there!! It wouldn't hurt to offer 'mens studies' for men to learn to be fathers leaders of homes.

    just my two cents.

    Madeline

     

  • Guest

    Madeline,

    A couple of thoughts.

    I am surprised there is not a network of Catholic homeschoolers in your parish or area. Have you checked with your parish coordinator or on line?

    You don't have to be under religious vows to have a spiritual director. I highly recommend anyone to get a spritual director, whether you are home schooling has virtually nothing to do with it.

  • Guest

    What about putting together a class of young women who would do the following things starting say as juniors or senior in high school and continuing through the next two or three years after graduation:

    Study Theology of the Body

    Study home economics and child development

    Train to be catechists within their diocese

    Attend together a local trade school and learn somethings like medical billing or website design or some other skill that can be used as an at home job in the future.

    If they made this a real recognized group within the parishe and it was made know that they were actively training themselves to be great Catholic mothers, don't you think that young men would seek them out.

    They could even put on dinners to showcase their culinary and hostessing skills.

    Bet every one of them would be snatched up by 22.

    Don't you think that some of the larger homeschooling groups could pull this off?

  • Guest

    This is FaithFalcon's mom, and I have been following this discussion with great interest, as I have four daughters who will very soon have to be making these kinds of decisions. My question is: What are some good "family-friendly" jobs/careers towards which we might try to steer our daughters as they consider higher education? I know nursing and teaching are two excellent ones- does anyone have any other suggestions?

  • Guest

    I like your post, Madeline. Now we're thinking outside the box. Studies that highlight and strengthen the skills that most women inately posses. The best kept secret out there is that most men are looking for homemakers and would double their efforts at being a provider if they were facing that challange. The man who has a lot of provisions on the table supplied by the woman is a lazy hunter.

    There are now more business opportunities available for women than ever. Our service economy wants the skills that women bring to child care, food service, fitness and nutrition, design and so much more. We just need to provide educational and financial support to get them started. I'm helping my daughter build-up her gym. I may even end up working there instead of in manufacturing.

  • Guest

    While I agree that we as parents need to do everything we can to support our daughters, I think trivializing the value of higher education would be a great disservice. We should want our sons to go on and pursue college and careers, but not our daughters? To protect their fertility? Having a college degree and experience in the real world will not only allow her to develop her mind and broaden her horizons, but she will also be better prepared for the trials of motherhood. Not to mention, she will have more exposure to the good Catholic boys. :)

    We need to raise our daughters to be strong independent women. The notion of the woman staying home and making babies, while the husband provides for the family is lovely, but this is not always the case. Life is full of the unexpected. The family provider could get in an accident, leaving him unable to provide for the family, he could leave the family, he could die. Our daughters need to be prepared in order to take over and provide for their children.

    You mentioned fear and contingency plans in a comment above. I don't believe that these decisions are made out of fear. I believe they are based upon reality. It is a preparation for life. We cannot know what is going to happen, so the best we can do is be prepared. Also, what happens if the daughter's parents are no longer around? Who is going to take her in then? No, she will not ALWAYS have parents, unfortunately.

    As for fertility, I do not know at what age it really begins to drop. I know that it slowly declines from the 20's with a sharper drop somewhere in the 30's. For those who do choose to get established in their marriages and careers first, it is not an automatic ticket to infertility problems. More and more women DO get pregnant these days in their late 30's and beyond. And for those who cannot, let's not forget about adoption.

  • Guest

    Madeline, you go girl! 

    My daughter plans to live at home and pursue a degree in nursing.  She came to me excitedly today saying she found they also have courses in early childhood development, and wants to see if those might be used as electives.  We have embarked on a program of teaching her homemaking skills, and I have begun sharing thoughts on spiritual perspectives and attitudes that are useful for wives/moms.  

    For those who are not at home, the idea of perhaps getting older women in the parish to teach these things to young women sounds great.  Isn't that Biblical even?  I plan to pass this on to our young adult staff person at our church.  

    Wow, if the Catholic colleges caught on…then you'd be getting something for your money!  I went to high school when there was a "Home Economics" track.  Why not bring that back?!  

    Mkochan, can we continue this for a few more days?  We're really getting somewhere now!  Do they have to post a new article tomorrow, or can we keep this one going for awhile?!

    We did homeschool, so I regret I did not do more with home skills for my girls before sending them off to their super Catholic academy.  But I will say the homeschool support group was sure the base for my sanity as a SAHM and for great catechesis for me. 

  • Guest

    Stacey, I think I would have very similar viewpoints on women in the military as an ROTC grad (Loyola, Baltimore, '88) though I am sure my Drill and Ceremony was not as detailed as yours :)

    The military (and other high powered, traditionally male fields) can catch young women up in a feeling of obligation to be tough as nails (and what a lie it is, anyway–I met very few (ok, NO) women in the 101st who were lugging the 150 lb rucks that the men in the unit were!); to ignore or suppress the "feminine mystique" our dear Pope John Paul II referenced; and be totally clueless about how to "power down" and accept the beauty of staying at home and serving and loving husband and family. It took me two years (AFTER giving birth to oldest 2!) to finally be comfortable as a mom, and to realize that I was not a failure for not using my degree and experience to "help provide for" the family, that I was actually fulfilling a unique, critical need as wife and mother.

    My husband and I married at 23 and had our first almost immediately, with now 6 from ages 16-3. I stay home and we homeschool most of our children. Our parents are terrific. They see what we are trying to do with our children and wholeheartedly support us without being overbearing about it. I would love to read an article about how important grandparents are in giving the "vision thing" to their grandchildren. It must be crushing to not have supportive parents, especially regarding staying at home with children.

    The article and comments are so helpful, because I am realizing that we are not discussing a few details with our older children, esp our almost 16yo daughter.

    Blessed week!

  • Guest

    Folks the articles are always available — if you click on tomorrow's Edge article, you will see this one in the blue box.

  • Guest

    FaithFalcon, some of the other family-friendly careers are things that Mary mentioned, such as home based internet businesses.  This generation is so computer-savvy and has so many opportunities, such as graphic design, medical transcription,  etc.  If I had it to do over again, I would have definitely pursued something like graphic design.

     

    Shan, it's true that marrying later doesn't automatically result in infertility.  Someone who marries in their late twenties/early thirties might have some fertility challenges, but will most likely eventually be successful in achieving a pregnancy.  However, it is risky to wait if the opportunity is available earlier.  And you are so right that adoption is always an option.  It's not something that everyone is called to, but for women who were sincere Catholics and really wanted to marry young but didn't meet their husbands till later in life, it could be because God's plan was for them to adopt a child who needed a home.

     

    RWW, even if this article isn't on the front page tomorrow, it can still be accessed.  If you go to The Edge section, to the right is a box of recent articles.  This one will be on the top, and you can just click on it and continue to post (I'm sure that others will, too).  It took me a while to figure that out;  my computer skills are pathetic!  (Hence my reluctance to pursue a second career in graphic design, and thus in my household my husband will have to be the stay-at-home parent!) 

  • Guest

    Shan,

    "Having a college degree and experience in the real world will not only allow her to develop her mind and broaden her horizons, but she will also be better prepared for the trials of motherhood. Not to mention, she will have more exposure to the good Catholic boys. :)

    I agree, and I would add that an authentic (ie, Catholic!) liberal arts education–where she will truly develop the ability to think, and reason, and absorb history with Christ the King as Lord of history, and experience serving others–paid or volunteer. HOwever, the $80 K price tag for Catholic school is staggering. Our family is pondering this as we near this fact with our oldest.

    "We need to raise our daughters to be strong independent women. The notion of the woman staying home and making babies, while the husband provides for the family is lovely, but this is not always the case. Life is full of the unexpected. The family provider could get in an accident, leaving him unable to provide for the family, he could leave the family, he could die. Our daughters need to be prepared in order to take over and provide for their children."

    I think that sometimes women can be raised so strong and independent, they lose sight of their God-given "feminine mystique," which I find is much more authentic and tough to live out than the "independence" which is ingrained into our society. I don't think I was taught to deeply trust God, and I was not taught the beauty of service for Christ's sake. I am learning slowly now!!

    We live in an extremely expensive part of the country, and though we are financially blessed, and, yes, I have a degree (political science–now THAT's practical! :) ), but some of our homeschooling friends and aquaintances are not/do not (including a dear friend who was widowed and continues to homeschool), and make enormous sacrifices to stay home.

  • Guest

    Shan, how about the scenario of the daughter dying right after college, or  in college. We could never cover even half of the uncertainties so it's best to leave them for the Lord.

  • Guest

    What makes a woman strong and confident (why not use that instead of independent?) are skills.  The same is true of a man. Some of those skillls may be marketable ones, some may not be, but are still valuable within the home. What does Proverbs 31: 10-31 tell us?  Do we not still see that as an ideal of womanly accomplishment?

    Kirbys, please write to me privately.

  • Guest

    If the daughter dies during or in college, she never has a chance to get married or have babies, so it's a moot point. This is assuming that she waits to marry until finishing her education. Since the article focuses on encouraging our daughters to marry quickly and start their families, I based my scenarios on the husbands, who are to be the providers.

  • Guest

    I think 'independence' is a more appropriate term. My point is, we should teach our daughters to be able to be independent if an unfortunate tragedy, such as the death of her husband, were to happen.

    Skills are not the only things that lead to strength and confidence (and independence). Life experiences in a college environment and beyond are great teachers. 

  • Guest

    So if her husband dies, she should leave her grieving children in a day care center and go to work? Wouldn't it make a lot more sense for the parents to help the young couple fund a substantial life and long term disability insurance policy to cover both of them?

  • Guest

    kirbys – that is an interesting thought. But are the two (feminine mystique and independence) mutually exclusive?

  • Guest

    Oh and btw, having a child and managing a home are life experiences too.

  • Guest

    If she needs to support herself and her children, then yes, that may mean putting them in a daycare, at least temporarily. Or better, if her parents are able, they can help care for the children while she earns a living. It is not an ideal situation, but neither is having your husband pass away. Can she support the family on a life insurance policy forever? 

  • Guest

    Yes I agree. Of course parenting and managing a child are life experiences also. But a girl of 18 years will not have the same life experiences and skills as a woman of 30 years. With age comes wisdom. :)

  • Guest

    No, but her children won't be young "forever."

    Don't you think that a woman with half a million dollar (or more)insurance policy and the house paid off (mortgage insurance) could live for several years very comfortably, go to school part-time perhaps, maybe sell the house and move back with parents so the kids would have granddad's day to day male presence.  Again, this is contingency planning that does not take God's gift of youthful vigor and fertility and use it all up "getting an education."

  • Guest

    A woman of 22 who has spent four years at college doesn't have nearly the "life experience" of a girl of 22 who married at 18 and already has 2 kids, believe me.

  • Guest

    Those are all very valid options. For me, I feel it is important to have the skill sets in place first, instead of playing catch up later if they are needed. And moving back in with my parents would not be an option for me. ;) I love them dearly, but I don't think I could live with them.

  • Guest

    Let me throw this thought out there into the mix:  Do any of you know what Church law is regarding the ages at which a man and woman can marry?

  • Guest

    There are more mothers than fathers that die during childbirth (hmm!), so let's not get distracted by death threats. We were developing some good ideas. The thinking is to stop educating women as if they were men. Still too revolutionary for our time.

  • Guest

    Death in childbirth is so rare nowadays and the death statistics for men continue to be greater than those for women even while women are bearing children, so that is hardly a factor.  Men die more because they are more reckless in driving and sports and because they do more dangerous jobs.

  • Guest

    I didn't get married at 18, so I really can't say. I did however spend 4 years in college, and the experience was invaluable. If I had married the 'boy' I was dating at 18…. wow, I would quite miserable today. I am NOTHING like I was at that age. College, and quite a few years of working in my industry has made me who I am today. This is why I fear encouraging our daughters to marry young. At that age, most girls are much too immature and still do not really know themselves. At least this was true in my case, and everybody I know.

    I think it's great to teach our daughters to be good Catholic women, and all about the importance of the vocation of marriage. But, I think they also need to be aware of the educational opportunities available to them, if they so choose to pursue them.

  • Guest

    I agree. The whole death scenario was just one caveat to my thought. 

  • Guest

    Marriage and education is NOT an either or!  Emphasizing one at the expense of the other is the mistake!

  • Guest

    If you had married that boy — and if you were having sex you SHOULD have been married to him — after several years of marriage and a couple of children neither you NOR he would be ANYTHING like what you were the day you got married. You would both be wiser, more mature, and more holy. You would not be more miserable if you were striving to live together for Christ. We find out who we are by making a total gift of ourselves to another, not by living for ourselves.

    And I hope you won't take offense at my noting that unless you were chaste in college the "experience" you have had was damaging to your soul and to your future spouse, no matter what worldly benefits you obtained from it.

  • Guest

    I agree Greg.  We need to highlight the educational opportunities that can be taken advantage of even while making a family.

  • Guest

    Do you know of any statistics regarding the percentage of the marriages of couples that married young that last 10 years? I'm curious to see how many girls who married at age 20 or so are still married.

    The experiences I gained are not that of a sexual nature, so I'm not even going to address that.

     

    Is that really what the entire article and view of non-parallel education really boils down to? Keeping our daughters chaste and marrying them off quickly before they succumb to pressure? By your latest comments, I'm getting that impression.

  • Guest

    Wow, what a thought-provoking article!  I see from the numerous responses that I am not the only one interested in the subject.  In fact, earlier today I posted a link to this article on our moms matchmaking group and got quite a lively response there, too!  Thank you for bringing this topic to the front of our minds! 

    Leila

    http://www.CatholicMomsMatchmaking.com

  • Guest

    Here is some of what I posted on http://www.CatholicMomsMatchmaking.com, in response to this great article.  Sorry for the length:  

    My daughters know they will be going to college. They know that education is highly valued in our home, and in our faith tradition (hey, Catholics founded the university system, after all, and we LOVE knowledge and truth!). However, while my husband and I have constantly and consistently talked of a college education for all the kids, we also have talked about their vocations being the most important thing they ever do or discern. So, while college is pretty much non-negotiable at the Miller home, it is also undisputed that their future family life (should they be called to it) is far more important than making money, or what university they attend. For the girls, career is secondary to marriage and family. (And to answer a question, yes, there is a vocation to the single life, for a small minority of people; but most will be called to marriage, and some to religious life).

    Okay, so on a personal note, I graduated third in my high school class of 500, then graduated summa cum laude from a highly-ranked private university. I imagine that "great things" were expected of me career-wise by some folks (not necessarily my parents, who always knew that I wanted to be a wife and mom). However, despite my academic success, I never had a high-paying job. In fact, the most I ever made was about $16,000 when I was newly married and my husband was in grad school. We were expecting our first child, and I knew that I would stay home with her when she was born. So, I never did the "great things" that the world said I should. Am I disappointed or do I feel my education was a waste? No, I wouldn't change what I did for the world, except to go to a college that was authentically Catholic so that I could have learned even more!

    My thoughts, even during college, were that I wanted to find a nice husband. I wasn't a fully practicing Catholic at the time, so I didn't go about any of it in the right and holy way, but I did have a sense that an "MRS" degree was not a bad thing! It's what I wanted! My girls know that in going to a solidly Catholic college, they will increase their chances of finding a wonderful Catholic man to marry. Do I cringe? No, I am thankful. And I have no problem if they do not have "careers." If they do feel that God calls them to a career (one daughter wants to be a Catholic theologian or pro-life attorney), then I will encourage that. But as soon as the babies come (if God graces them with children), each of my girls expects to be home with those children, unless necessity takes them away from the home.

    My boys? I expect them to be much more serious about their career planning, as they will likely be providing for a large family one day. Here is the distinction, though: I expect my boys to be more serious than the girls about their career planning, but I expect both my boys and my girls to be serious about their education! Does that makes sense? It goes with my understanding that education (i.e. seeking what is true, good and beautiful) transcends any career path and is a good unto itself. My children, male and female, are to understand the value of such an education.

    So, as it applies to me, I have no "career" to speak of, yet I feel I am fairly well-educated, and that education is invaluable. I need it to raise well-informed, culturally astute, morally grounded adults. Being a mom and passing along the Truth to my children is the most powerful, empowering thing I can do… as it has its source in Jesus Christ and His Church.

    So, should we educate girls differently than boys? In the substance of the education, no. In the expectation of what to do with that education, yes.

    http://www.CatholicMomsMatchmaking.com

  • Guest

    When I was in high school and discerned that my vocation was to be a wife and mother I left it in the Lord's hands. I did not go to college because we could not afford it, especially since I had no plans of a career. So after graduating #10 in a class of 578, I went to work waiting tables and continued living at home. It did not take thousands of dollars to a good Catholic college for me to meet a nice Catholic boy….I just left it in God's hands. I went to Mass on Sundays and many Wednesdays, and was active in the music group and attended prayer meetings….So where did I meet my husband? At the local ice skating rink! I knew as soon as I found out he was Catholic that he the answer to my prayer. We were informally engaged 10 days later, formally engaged 2 months after that and on my parents advice waited 6 months for the wedding.

    I feel that at age 18 I was prepared for marriage. Did I have the maturity that I do now (30+ years later)? Of course not! But I did enter into marriage knowing that it was a lifetime commitment. I Knew that it was to be open to life. We knew that there would be challenges and difficulties at times, but that God would bring us through these. As a 19 year old mother did I always make the best decisions in child rearing? NO! What parent always makes the best decisions? My younger children have the benefit not so much of my age, but of my experience as a mother which was only gained by having children!

    Having been through pregnancies as a teen, in my 20's, 30's and 40's, I do not recommend delaying motherhood unnecessarily. Believe me, pregnancy is physically much easier in the 20's than at older ages. I don't know how I would have handled things without my older kids to help out around the house! Also the pressure from the medical community on older mothers is incredible…scaremongering for oftentimes dangerous tests, etc…

    I am not opposed to higher education for those who want to pursue it, male or female, but I think that we as a society are placing too much emphasis on it. Most certainly we should at the very least acknowledge and make known to our daughters the possible consequences of delaying marriage, so that they can make an educated choice as to how/if/when they want to pursue further education.

    I also notice an increasing number of "well-educated" people who cannot do anything for themselves in practical terms, such as sewing on a button, hemming pants, changing the oil in the car, or doing minor household and automotive repairs. And still it seems the expectation is that everyone should go to college and have a career. So where are we supposed to find the mechanics, plumbers, electricians, painter's seamstresses and others to do the necessary tasks we no longer can do for ourselves?

    Regarding the percentage of marriages of younger couples that last beyond 10 years, I would venture a guess that in the course of history the greatest percentage of marriages have been of younger couples and it is only in recent times that the divorce statistics have climbed for all age groups. Perhaps we need to be educating our children to expect their marriage to last, not in a bury-your-head-in-the-sand and ignore the statistics manner, but knowing that there will be difficulties but God is there to see them through. Educate them to see Marriage as the Sacrament it is, which when entered into with the proper disposition promises the graces needed to live out that vocation. Teach them that while it may not always be easy, the strength need is there for the asking.

    But that education is not just for the girls, but for all of our children!

     

    Momof11

  • Guest

    Momof11, that's great that your marriage worked out so well.  There's nothing wrong with marrying at 18 if you are mature enough to discern that the man you're in love with is the man God intends for you to marry.  However, 22 year olds aren't exactly over the hill, either!  Some 18 year olds simply aren't mature enough to make a lifelong commitment.  A few more years of growth can make all the difference between starting out a marriage on the wrong foot.  It just depends on the individual and their maturity level.  A 22 year old has not wasted God's gift of fertility.  There's a difference between taking a few years to go to college, and then marrying in the early twenties and starting a family, versus the extreme scenario of a woman who goes to four years of college, then graduate school, then spends years developing her career, postponing motherhood (whether she's married or not) until she's in her thirties. I think we have room for a happy medium.  And of course premarital sex is immoral.  But marrying the wrong person because chastity seems too challenging could be a recipe for disaster.

  • Guest

    No, Shar, we cannot "marry them off" as that would not even be within Church law (God's law) which respects their freedom and forbids coercion in the reception of a Sacrament.

    Also we need to distinguish between education and college because you can have one without the other and the same goes for career preparation. Your defense of the staus quo is sad because it has already done so much damage. It may be that you simply will not understand that for a number of years.

    As for the crux of my argument above, you seem to have missed it.

    I did not notice anyone take a stab at what Church law says about age and marriage.

  • Guest

    Mom of 11, I love your post because one of the things I was thinking about mentioning for both boys and girls and was the advantage of trade/technical schools.  A lot of times credits in these institutions can be transferred to college later, but they very quickly prepare someone for a good paying job. Many places in the country offer FREE or nearly free education to their citizens at these schools.  There are no dorms and young people can commute from home.  Many classes are also online. Like I said, we need to ditinguish between "going to college" and "education" and "career preparation."

  • Guest

    Leila, this is the first I have heard of your site?  How long have you been around?  Would you or Lisa Graas please write an article for us about how you got started and what your experiences have been so far.  I would love to feature it on our site. Just send it as a Word doc attached to an email to mkochan@catholicexchange.com.

  • Guest

    I think what this article points out is the need our society has to steer girls in a way that helps her and the greater good.

    This article brought back memories of a venerable old home economics teacher we had in Jr High…this lady was a dear soul, and would tell us girls to 'cover up' (dress modestly) and make cooking fun. As far as an education, I would have all young women get at the very least a 2 yr degree in liberal arts and a skill that will serve them as they go thru life, even if it is one as simple as hair cutting, because women must be able to fall back on something if the man in their life can not or will not fulfill his obligations.

    This article makes me think of that passage in the bible, (wisdom?) where  it articulates how a father worries about his daughter.

    Madeline 

     

  • Guest

    Mary,

    Catholic Moms Matchmaking has only been around a couple of months and we are off to a great start!  I would be pleased to write an article for you!  Thank you!

     

    God bless,
    Leila

     

     

    http://www.CatholicMomsMatchmaking.com

  • Guest
    "It is imperative to give suitable and timely instruction to young people, above all in the heart of their own families, about the dignity of married love, its role and its exercise, so that, having learned the value of chastity, they will be able at a suitable age to engage in honorable courtship and enter upon a marriage of their own." (CCC, Section 1632 )

    This is the closest reference that I could find as to the age of marrying persons. Suitable age then depends on the maturity of the individuals and is case dependent.

    We know that a freer, more comfortable lifestyle with more options tends to postpone maturity.

  • Guest

    Canon 1083.1 A man cannot validly enter marriage before the completion of his sixteenth year of age, nor a woman before the completion of her fourteenth year.

    This does not of course mean that ALL teenagers are at the suitable age.  It does mean certainly that the Church recognizes that some teenagers MAY have the requisite maturity.

  • Guest

    I do not see what is damaging about encouraging our daughters to use the gifts that God has given them and to pursue whatever they want in life. That could be marrying early and beginning a family (this is assuming she meets Mr. Right early), or going into a trade, or going to college/grad school and pursuing a career. It is quite possible for her to have a career AND a family. I think that if we tell our daughters that the best way to live out their womanly vocation is to settle down and start having children early, and not even to think about a career, we are shortchanging not only them, but our society as a whole.

     

    I just don't agree that educational goals of our girls should be different than that of boys.  

  • Guest

    Shan, using gifts is exactly the point. Education in the faith and ability to think and reason should be no different between boys and girls.

    When did I ever say that women should "not even think about a career"?

    The point is that fertility is also gift — one ofthe greatest ones we possess – and it is one that is very frequently being abused.  Consdier tithing.  We are supposed to give the "first fruits" to God. Not the spoiled leftovers.  Yet that exactly what most young women are encouraged to do with their fertility.  Taketheir most fertile years and use them in worldly pursuits — education for a "career" along with all the other terrible advice like "see the world while you are young and have the chance" etc. — and then after all those years of great health and vigor are used for selfish pursuits she decides to "settle down" and start to raise a family.  Sorry, Shar, but that is a completely unChristian and unCatholic way to look at life and at the purpose of it and the purpose of sexuality.

  • Guest

    PTR,

    any recollection of a Joseph R Garrison at West Point?

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest

    It is unChristian and unCatholic to call my views wrong and that my defense of the status quo is sad. I don't agree with you. A woman going to college and working in her field is not really going to cut into her fertile years that much. I graduated college at 21. We shouldn't scare girls into thinking that if they decide to get their marriage and jobs in order (for the man or woman), and THEN get to starting the family, that they will suffer from infertility. Of course pregnancy is easier to handle in your early 20s, but that should not be enough of a reason for a girl to sacrifice a career should she want one.

     

    The impression I get is that the only suitable careers are teaching and nursing. Both are fine professions, but not right for most people. What if she wants to be a doctor, or an architect?

  • Guest

    Shar — we don't go by "if she wants" or "if I want" as the basis for decisions. I am not telling you that you are wrong personally to make the decisions you have made.  If you have been chaste and if you are called by God to marriage and if you are preparing for that vocation with at least as much energy and seriousness as you are preparing for a career, then good for you.  But you are wrong if you do not understand that the status quo is harming a lot of women and preventing the birth of a lot of children and contributing to the destruction of the moral fabric — if there is any left by now — of society. You really have not addressed any of my argument other than to assert personal automony — again, not a Catholic concept.  Did you actually read the article?

  • Guest

    I'll take a stab at the Church law on age.

    14 for a woman, 16 for a man, in Canon law, with discretion to the ordinary to set older ages in his diocese.

     OOPS! I posted before I saw your quote of the Canon Law.  I wasn't positive, but thought that was what I had read.  Although I never attended college, I do try to be well educated, especially in matters of the Faith, so it is good to know I remembered correctly.

    Momof11

     

  • Guest

    I did. I am basing my comments from what is being said in other comments.

     

    I think that the article takes an extreme. There is a happy medium where a woman can find the right career/trade for her and one that also will work for her family. It does not have to be all or nothing. A woman still has fertility in her late 20s or 30s. Using 5-10 years on education (or traveling, or working….) is really not going to affect her fertility by that much.

     

    I was very serious about my vocation to marriage. That is one reason why I waited to get married. I knew I was nowhere near ready in my teens and early 20s. Had I not been serious, I would have married right out of high school. 

  • Guest

    Really, in what other matter is decreasing something by half considered "not affecting it that much"?  If I took half the money out of your bank account right now would you think that I had not affected it by much? If your car suddenly decreased its fuel efficiency in half (meaning it would need twice as much gas) would you think that it had not been affected that much? Try asking a woman who has six children if not having three of them would not be affecting the size of her family by that much.

  • Guest

    Another thing to consider:  If someone thinks an 18 year old is too immature to marry then why do they consider them mature enough to decide on a career path and the decision to spend thousands of dollars and 4 or more years of their life in education to that end.  How many would benefit from a few years out in the "real world" before entering college or vocational school.  Why do we expect our children to have their life plans in place at 18, or at any age.  We need to be educating them to be open to God's calling in their life and trust in His provision to live up to that calling.  Also we need to remember that very few careers are vocations, and if choosing a career that is a vocation such as medicine, a long prayerful consideration must be taken before combining it with the vocation of marriage.  Of course this goes against the "wisdom" of society today, but for the most part careers are tools to help fulfill the vocation of being a husband and father or perhaps a wife and mother.  A means of providing income to be able to care for the family, or in the case of those called to the single life to give them the means to help others in various ways  If it can be something that the person enjoys doing, so much the better, but no one said living out our vocation will always be fun!

    Momof11

  • Guest

    I really like the idea of parents being instrumental in helping their children to find their spouse.  Not by "marrying them off", but by facilitating the process.  They can steer their children toward faithful Catholics in the community, maybe through homeschooling circles?

  • Guest

    Now this is a question of family size. Is a mother who has 2 children less worthy than one who has 6?

  • Guest

    I agree with what you said Momof11. I think few people know what they want to be when the grow up. :) I know I changed my mind quite a few times in my years of college. That is why there are 2 years of required courses and many electives. It gives the person a chance to 'try out' different things. It was by taking an elective completely by chance that I decided upon my path. Taking some time in the 'real world' is also extremely beneficial to a person discerning what God wants of him/her.

  • Guest

    I agree with your statement as well Claire. Parents need to help steer their children towards suitable mates. Getting the child involved in the church in some way would help – youth programs and the like. I don't homeschool so that isn't an option for me. But the church has a plethora of activities for kids to get involved.

  • Guest

    14 and 16? Yaykes! talk about robbing the cradle. Those numbers were also in the crevices of my brain but I thought they were outdated and updated since. Let's not forget that in many parts of the world marriages are closer to that age than what is considered suitable in our world. In the West you marry late, rich and only Mr. Right. Three yrs. later you divorce and try it again… later, richer and more right. Double the numbers for all practical purposes.

    That's why the answer lies in getting our young women to see themselves as engineers of families, now there's a career. If let's say 60% saw themselves in those most dignified and rewarding roles than the remainder could be astronauts or religious or just mermaids.

  • Guest

    Momof11, you are SO right!  It is completely unrealistic to expect an 18 year old to know what they want to do for the rest of their life.  My bachelor's degree was in social work, but I never really worked in that field.  A few years after college, I went to nursing school and have worked as a nurse every since (one of those "family-friendly" fields).  I went to a private college and graduated with a lot of debt.  At 18, I didn't understand that "financial aid" meant lots of loans.  I could have really used some good parental guidance at that time, but got very little.  That's why if I am able to become a parent (through a successful adoption), we will steer our kids toward community college where they can get some basic credits under their belt.  If they don't have a good career direction when its' time to start considering a transfer to a state university, then we definitely would encourage entering the workworld (and/or marriage and parenthood if the opportunity is present) so they can develop some marketable job skills and figure out what direction to head in.

  • Guest

    A mermaid! That would be a fun choice. :)

  • Guest

    I agree with all of momof11's comments… perhaps because I am a momof11!  I have 7 daughters and we have discussed this issue.

    Paramount is the ability to make moral decisions.  I think Mary was trying to address this with "Shar".  The following book, which was endorsed by John Paul II, is an excellent tool for teaching young people, and not so young people, the decision making process.

      It is called Ethics: The Drama of the Moral Life – Piotr Jaroszynski  and is widely available.  It was written by a Polish professor to help post communist era young people learn to make ethical decisions.

    Mary, thanks for the topic!

    As an aside, if I hadn't graduated from Va Tech, I wouldn't have had a team to cheer for in the Orange Bowl!  (Okay, they lost…) and I wouldn't have met my Hokie Husband!

  • Guest

    Fact of the matter is that you cannot, despite what society might say, "have it all." If a woman decides that she wants a career, sacrifices will be made, somewhere along the line. If she determines that she wants career and family both, something has to give. We seem to be forgetting the primary purpose of marriage here, which is the procreation and education of children.

    As parents, we are ultimately responsible before God, for the education of our children. Without getting into all the arguments over the best way to educate children (public school, private school, home school, etc) we must also recognize that education is not limited to where our childen go to school. It encompasses every aspect of their lives.

    A woman who chooses to work outside the home of necessity gives over some of the education of her children to someone else. There are certainly some ways to combine career and family that minimize (or even eliminate, but that's a lot harder) the amount of delegation of care for the children to someone outside of the family, but let's not pretend that there are no sacrifices being made somewhere.

    Either the career is sacrificed in some way (ie, not being concerned with certain advancements because the woman chooses to take time off to have babies, starting later after the children are grown, working part time while they are in school, etc) or family life is (ie, limiting the number of children so that they do not interfere with the career as much, having babies but almost immediately turning their care over to someone else…even if that's Dad, very young babies need things from a mother that even the most loving father cannot provide.)

     And I believe that children know, inately, where they fall out in a list of priorities. I think that's got to affect a whole lot of things, if they believe that mom's career was more important than they are.

  • Guest

    I see nothing extreme about an article that merely points out the facts of how delaying marriage and procreation poses the risk of an increase in infertility and suggests that we do our daughters a disservice when we encourage them to pursue higher education and careers without taking the facts of fertility into consideration.  Nowhere do I see the suggestion that we forbid our daughters entering college, or insistence that they must marry right out of high school.  

     "There is a happy medium where a woman can find the right career/trade for her and one that also will work for her family"

     I personally do not feel that I am called to find happy mediocrity in living up to the vocation to which I am called, but rather to live it fully to best of my ability with the graces given to me to do so.  Having a 10-year plan, while in the eyes of the world may be a very good thing, can easily lead to thinking that we are/should be in control of our lives, and close our hearts to the possibility that God may ask us to vary from the path we have planned.  Did Mother Theresa have a 10 year plan or did she live her vocation minute by minute, in constant prayer for knowledge of God's call?  

    I married one year out from high school and I took my call to that vocation very seriously.  I have a young homeschooled friend who married 2 months after her 18th birthday.  She also takes her vocation seriously and at 27 years old is the mother to 5 children and supportive spouse to her husband as he furthers his education and career. 

    Perhaps we would do well to consider educating our teenagers to start taking their lives and the existence of a vocation seriously before they graduate from high school.  The gift of fertility and the decline of said fertility with age are factors that must be a part of the equation. It really doesn't take thousands of dollars spent on a college education nor is there a magical age in the mid 20's when suddenly maturity strikes.  Also there is something to be said for a couple maturing together, as long as they have a strong foundation in faith. It is much harder for a 35 year old man (or woman!) to adjust to the inevitable noise and chaos that occur having children in the home than it is for a 20 year old.

     

    Momof11

  • Guest

    Woman can have it all and they do it every day. It takes a lot of work, and teamwork from both parents, but it can happen. If the bulk of the parenting falls on the mother, which is often the case, this can be more difficult. :)

     

    No, the 10-year plan is not right for everyone. It worked for me however. I was open to what life brought me, but I also had a plan and direction in mind. I did not sit by waiting… I made it happen. 

     

    The article does not specifically say we should forbid our daughters from going on in their education, but it does imply that because of fertility, their educational tracks should be treated differently. I don't agree with that.

  • Guest

    Shar, was it in college that you were taught to twist words in such a perverse and sophistical manner?  Did I say or even intimate that women who have fewer children are "less worthy" than women who have more? 

    However, there will certainly be women (and men) who will find out in heaven that God wanted to give them a good number more children than what they had, but that their own selfishness or being influenced by worldly propaganda, caused them to forfeit those gifts — irreplacable for all eternity.

     

  • Guest

    No, this is not a question of family size.  It is a question of do we or do we not value the gift of fertility that God may give to us.  I do not think God gives gifts in order that we put them on a shelf and admire them but not ever put them into use.  How many children a woman has does not determine her worthiness in God's eyes.  How a woman uses the gifts given to her is what matters.  We are not ordered to have as many children as humanly possible.  Not all are called to be parents of large families, but always we must be mindful of the fact that fertility is a gift.  It is not  a right.  It is not a curse.  It is a God given gift.  There has never been a person whose existence was not the will of God. It should always be with great thought, prayer and a certain sense of sadness  that we decide the time to use the gift is not now.  Never should the gift be thrown away, or set aside thoughtlessly assuming it will be there whenever we in our infinite wisdom decide that now we are ready to use it.

  • Guest

    No one can have it all in this life.  There are always trade-offs.  Perhaps you think you have it all, but what about your children.  Do they have it all?  Does your husband?  What is "it all" anyway and why do you want it?  

    Re: 10 year plan and making your life happen….so where does God fit in?  Do you allow Him any say in your life?  Does He ever make things happen or are you totally in control?

     

    Momof11

  • Guest

    There is no word twisting involved. :) By the direction of all the comments, this is what I am getting:

     

    I wasted my gift of fertility by waiting until my late 20s to marry and a few years after that to have children.  

    No. I did not meet my spouse until my late 20s, which is the same time I happened to really feel the vocation of marriage. That worked out well. I am lucky – I was still fertile. I know that is not the case for all women, but the rate does not drop by much in the late 20s and early 30s.

     

    I should not have strived to be autonomous. 

    I don't see how being autonomous is a bad thing. I am putting to use the gifts and talents I have received.

     

    I did not use my gift of fertility to the fullest because I 'wasted' a chunk of it getting an education and excelling in the workplace.

     What if this was the plan all along? What if I was only meant to have 2 children so far (and maybe more on the horizon… who knows!). Not all of us are meant to have large families.  I don't consider pursuing my education and career goals as a waste by any means. I can now help provide for my family, as well as be a wife and mother. That is perfect for me.

     

    The whole debate boils down to this – why can't our daughters have the same education/career/training as our sons?

     

    Here's another thought I'd like to throw out there – what about husbands who decide they want to be the ones staying home with the children? Does that affect how we should view our daughters and their education? More and more dads are choosing to stay home with their children. I think it's something worth looking into. 

  • Guest

    The article does not specifically say we should forbid our daughters from going on in their education, but it does imply that because of fertility, their educational tracks should be treated differently. I don't agree with that.

    I think this seems to be leading to the fact that male and female are different, and as such should not be treated as though they are the same.  Facts are facts, even if you don't agree with them.  "Male and female he created them"

    Momof11

  • Guest

    momof11 – I really do think I have it all. I'm very lucky. I know it is not the norm. And by 'all' I do not mean wealth. We are not wealthy by any means, but we have worked out our children/career lives that really work for our family. Like everything else… it's different for anyone. There is no 1 'right' way.

     

    I said I was open to whatever life brought me. I really felt that God was pulling me in one direction concerning my major in school. I wanted something completely different. I found myself pulled in a completely different direction, and what do you know…. it was the right fit for me. That was all God's doing. :) 

  • Guest

    Women can do anything men can do. Why should we tell them differently?

  • Guest

    We aren't talking here about women doing what men can do; we are talking about women doing what men CANNOT do.

  • Guest

    No, women cannot do everything men can do, anymore than men can do everything women can do.  Neither is able to procreate without the other.  As far as other things, can doesn't always mean should!  Just because my 17 year old, unmarried daughter can have a baby doesn't mean she should, and I would be remiss in my duties as a parent if I didn't tell her that!  Just because a woman can combine a career and family doesn't mean that she always should.  Just because doctors can fertilize human eggs in a test tube and implant the resulting child/children in the womb of a surrogate doesn't mean they should.  

     We need to have someone start telling people that can doesn't mean the same thing as should and there are shoulds and should nots in this life.

    And no, I'm not saying that no married woman or mother should ever have a career, but we need to stop educating our daughters as if a career is the preferable, expected norm, and the only/best way to go.  Why should we not take into consideration the facts of fertility?

    Momof11

  • Guest

    No, women cannot do anything men can do. Women cannot be fathers. Women cannot be priests.

     And just because a woman can do something, doesn't mean that she should.

    Conversely, men cannot be mothers. Even a man who wants to stay home with his children so that his wife can work is not going to do that as well as a woman. He is not wired (nor plumbed) the same way. His brain works differently. Why do you think that it is that a man cannot watch "the game" and have even a semblance of a conversation with you at the same time, but a woman can talk on the phone, feed the baby, entertain the toddler, and make dinner all at once? Woman are designed, not just in the physical aspects, to be mothers. They are designed to multi-task because that is what mothers need to be able to do. Men and women have different gifts. God made us complementary, not interchangeable, despite what the feminist movement would have us think.

  • Guest

    Obviously, Momof11 and I share a brain.

  • Guest

    Mary,

    one reason you might have a hard time discussing this issue with young people is that the culture has been brainwashing women for years into believing that their fertility is a "curse".  Monthly cycles and the effects of them are a "disease" to be cured.  The Pill allowed the lie to flourish. The fruit of the Pill is that women don't even need to know they're women through the reminder of monthly cycles.  It effectively neuters them. The language of fertility as "gift" doesn't exist. 

    Who teaches their daughters to offer up cramps, headaches,pms, etc…as a "Todah" sacrifice of thanksgiving for signs of fertility? How many mothers teach their daughters to offer up the very real suffering menstruation may cause in reparation for sins against chastity?

    Personally, I have seen every ovulation as potentially my last one. I never take a cycle for granted since one never knows what tomorrow will hold.  When looked upon like this, I think decisions about how to use fertility take on their proper perspective.

    Mary, I think your premise is precisely on target.  Women and men do not appreciate the value of the gift of fertility.  They do not understand that co -creating with God an eternal soul has infinite value and a successful "career" is a "vanity of vanities". Women and men have sold their birthright for a pot of lentil soup. This is all part of the Culture of Death.

    That said, I do believe discussions such as this one must be held so that we can discern what God's Will is and work out our salvation  in Time for Eternity.

  • Guest

    Off topic, Mary….

    but Baby Jesus must have been kidnapped by one of the Wise Men!  He has gone missing in our house–yet again!  I made the discovery at family prayer time! 

  • Guest

    A woman who is pregnant and nursing is vulnerable in ways that a man will never be. It is simply ridiculous to pretend otherwise. She is in need of support in order to bear and care for the baby. The only way she could pursue a course of action to "do anything a man does" would be by endangering herself and/or the baby or by neglecting the child. There are even a lot of things that women can do who are not pregnant or nursing that a pregnant or nursing woman cannot or should not do.

    This vulnerabilty and extra care that mothers need is exactly what so many feminists want to deny — and in so doing it is the children who suffer.

  • Guest

    DTG,

    I knew a Joe Garrison, who became a UH-1 pilot. Any relation?

  • Guest

    Another consideration is that we need to reorient the way we think of things when we make decisions about our lives. Decisions need to be framed by trying to discern what, out of the many options available to me, is going to give the greatest honor and glory to God, what is in conformity with His will, rather than what give me personally the most fulfillment, as I see it and is still not sinful.

    Fertility is a tremendous gift and the ability to raise children up for God is a huge honor and responsibility. God did not have to choose to use us to populate the earth. He does not need our help in anything. Yet He has given us an incredible privilege and our culture has lost sight of that completely.

    As Catholics, we HAVE to be countercultural here. How we live our lives can be witnesses to the truth, but that doesn't work if we've bought off on the lies that society is selling.

    You only get this one chance with your children. Even as a stay at home mom, I have to remind myself of this every day. When I die, I will have to stand before God and account for how I raised my children…He will want to know that I did everything that I could to not lose one of these little ones that He entrusted to me.

  • Guest

    Apparently! ;-)Momof11

  • Guest

    As a father of 7, may I suggest The Privelege Of Being A Woman, by Alice von Hildebrand. She correctly slices and dices feminism, and a couple of other ism's for that matter, that are in direct conflict with what God, and Jesus, had intended from the beginning.

    Medically, and forgive me if this has been mentioned, a woman receives a certain amount of eggs at the time of her own development in the womb. Given the sophistication of today's educated woman, if the male of our species was provided with a only a certain amount of spermatazoa, would she be concerned with this information?

    In Christ,

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest

    Stacey – not true in my case. My husband can and does do all those things. He is not your typical guy, and that is why I married him. :)

  • Guest

    While I am thoroughly enjoying this lively debate, I feel this is just going in circles. No, men and women are not interchangeable. But, we should not short-change our daughters and make them feel that their only role in marriage is to solely be the caretaker of children. There is so much more in our roles than that! Girls need to be aware of ALL of the opportunities available to them. I am not going to tell my girls that they should not entertain the ideas of being a doctor, or lawyer, or veterinarian, or going into the military, or whatever they choose to do simply because that is for the boys.

     

    And no, I'm not a feminist. I just believe that my girls can go be doctors if they want to, and I am not going to tell them that they are not fulfilling their roles as Catholic women if they do so. It's a balance. It's compromise. 

  • Guest

    went down to Fort Rucker, Alabama? a couple of tours of duty in Korea?

    Oldest brother

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest

    So do you women think it is a bad idea for a man to stay home with his children if he chooses to do so? I am genuinely curious about this topic, as it is becoming more and more prevalent in our society. Would that be going against the role of a man?

  • Guest

    Shan, 

    To roles:

    mommy, mommy help me I'm so confused …and somewhere in this gilded world a figure allows himself a slight smile as if there were a chance for victory.

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest

    We aren't talking here about women doing what men can do; we are talking about women doing what men CANNOT do.M

     Exactly!  We need to be educating our daughters in a way that lets them know that they can do something that men cannot do, and that that something is not static,waiting for their timing, but should be used in God's timing. 

    Men and women are different and have different roles.  Fertility is a gift.  Fertility declines with advancing age.  Why are these facts threatening to some people?

    Momof11

  • Guest

    What is important is that young children be provided consistent care at home, preferably by a parent, but in case of serious need by a grandparent or other family member.

    But for a nursling the optimum care can only come from mom.  There would have to be extremely compelling reasons for that infant to be deprived of his mother and being nursed. Her "career" or her "education" is not a compelling reason for this deprivation — not ever.  Dire economic necessity such that the family would go hungry or lose a place to live would qualify. However infants in our society are very routinely deprived in just this way for the convenience of their parents or for reasons that are not in anyway compelling.

    Study after study shows the detriment of day care, but it is ignored, just like these statistics I gave about fertility are ignored.

  • Guest

    Shan,

    I am not syaing that a man can not do what a woman does in terms of child care, I am saying it emphatically. God has programmed the woman in such a vastly different way in this regard, not to mention the physical complications of "feeding" that has our modern world believing that Similac is better than breast milk. This could not be more wrong from a nutritional and psychological standpoint; the ramifications of which we are still uncovering today.

    In Christ, 

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest

    David – what is the child confused about?

    Momof11 – Who's threatened? Yes, fertility declines. in the 20s and 30s, woman still can have babies! It's one thing for a woman to spend 15-20 years working, then whining that they are having problems conceiving. It is another for a young women to spend a little time out in the real world, in school, working, whatever, for 5 or so years before settling down and starting a family. Why is that so threatening to some people?

  • Guest

    A woman may be called to be a doctor, but I'm not sure how that reconciles with being called to be a mother. With the amount of time and money spent on education, not to mention the demands of the job once she's educated and out working, I don't see how she does both without depriving her children of their right to a mother who is deeply involved in their care.

    As to the military, after this discussion, I can see that the article that Mary mentioned is even more needed than I thought! I'm already started on it, but suffice it to say that the main reason that I am opposed to women in the military has to do with the needs of their children. For that matter, I am opposed to single parents in the miltary as well, be they men or women. It's just not fair to the children and only time will tell how seriously we have erred in allowing this to go on.

  • Guest

    Women take leave from a job to tend to nursing and newborn care. If a woman so desires, she can even pump breastmilk from work for the child. Thankfully, the work environment is becoming more and more sensitive to this issue, and that is a good thing.

  • Guest

    Re' men staying at home with the kids:  When we first had our kids I was the one with the "super" job and my husband stayed with our kids part-time.  He brought the babies to my office for me to nurse (which he could not do) which I was lucky enough to be able to do, as I had a private office AND my boss was very supportive.  Advantages many women may not have. 

    As time passed and I discovered I REALLY WANTED to be home with my children, my husband's career was in no way ready to support us.  But as I became pregnant with the 3rd, and there was no way my "career" would allow part-time work, I decided money would just have to come, as I couldn't take it any more,and was coming home.  So there we were, now with three kids and barely able to support ourselves, and both in our 40's!  What a picture!  Not to mention the hit my husband's ego took! 

    We are now in our 50's, striving to stay on our feet financially, and now facing the fact that it will take tons of effort, creativity and mercy from God to be able to help our kids with college or even think about retirement!   Oh, if I had it to do over with what I know now! 

  • Guest

    Perhaps she is never called to be a mother?

  • Guest

    That's a tough situation RWW. I sincerely hope you guys can make it work. Start looking into those scholarships! :)

  • Guest

    They have scholarships for retirement?  

  • Guest

    Shan,

    You wrote, "what is the child confused about." Please do not take offense, but do you live in a pineapple under the sea? Do you know what is taught in public schools? The television? Movies?

    In your response to Momof11 and Mary, may I say that I do not think you grasp their intent which may be summed up in your statement from a previous post, "… Not all of us are meant to have large families.  I don't consider pursuing my education and career goals as a waste by any means. I can now help provide for my family, as well as be a wife and mother. That is perfect for me."

    In Christ,

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest

    Ha Ha! I don't think they have scholarships for retirement. Wouldn't that be great though! :)

  • Guest

    Shan, I am not taking aim here, but this is one of my buttons! :)

    Anyone who has been in the military or a physically demanding field knows that a woman can NOT do everything a man does. In fact, when you artificially place a smart, capable, well-educated woman in a combat unit (on the post-modern battlefield, there are no "rear detachments"–recall the young SINGLE MOTHERS killed early on in Iraq–supply and maintenance units, I believe) , she starts to believe the myth that she is one of the guys–although physical capabilities are a bit different, and her fertility cycles kind of interfere with being out in the field for months at a time (and I know plenty of women are deployed, God bless them, but ask the supply officers if women's toiletries are part of their personal nightmare!).

    She may recognize her "limitations", and start to resist or resent them, though they are at the fundamental core of her very humanity, but going to the gym frequently keeps her in better shape, and sometimes even alleviates the monthly "female problem" she has (ie, no ovulation and menstral cycle). Of course, getting married and having kids would make her look like the overwieght housewives she sees at the commissary. When she's making fun of them with her (young, attractive, male) platoon sergeant, who is assuring her that she'll never look like that, Ma'am, well,how's a well-educated, in-shape, tough, cocky, going-places woman going to  feel about settling down to a mundane life of raising those pesky rugrats?

    And, even if she is a completely ethical, upstanding, prudent woman who knows to stay away from the bars which are frequented by her platoon members, what affect is she having on the environment of men around her? How many marriages in the past 40 years have become absolute train wrecks because of workplace romance, even in "Catholic situations"–and most intense careers which can be considered vocations (such as the military) usually generate long hours and devotion, which can be way too tempting for male and female co workers. Well, there's always that solution, the Pill.

    I hope that our daughter will have a thorough indoctrination of frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament and a deep love for Christ and His CHurch,  a sense of the unique gift of womanhood, a love of home life and children, that her main goal is heaven and bringing all of the souls entrusted to her along with, and the most thorough and best education she is called to, with the practical issue of debt and purity of intention resolved …

    There's also that fact that large numbers of women, by choice, dominate the workplace (sometimes doing mundane, routine things-not really "vocational", though evangelization in the workplace would certainly be excellent!) leaving the "mundane, boring, you-don't need much education or genius for this" task of raising unique souls entrusted specifically to them to "care-givers" who may care less. THis 40 year trend means that the vocational choice of staying home is either impossible or imposes extreme burdens on other women (and their families!)

    BLessed Mother, Pray for all of us, especially our children!

  • Guest

    Sorry David. I really have no idea what you're talking about.

  • Guest

    Oh I agree with you kirbys. And obviously, this is a button for me too. :) I really do appreciate the intelligent debate about this very important subject.

     

    I do realize that women do have limitations, and men have theirs. In my statement up above (previous page maybe?) my intention was as far as education and career tracks, not physical abilities. I should have made that more clear. 

  • Guest

    I had my homeschooled 8th grade daughter write on this topic for today's writing assignment.  Here follows the conclusion to her essay:

    After a lot of thinking, I've come to the conclusion that women should go on to college.  College is a good place to find out where or what God is calling you to be.  It is a place where you can learn knowledge through study and maybe even find a husband.  You learn life long skills too that will help you interact with your world. You can be inspired to reach for what you are called to be.  "When women thrive, all of society benefits, and succeeding generations are given a better start in life."

     

    I have discussed the issue with my college Sophomore daughter at other times.  She has actually changed her major from pre med because she discerned that it was incompatible for her with being a "career mom".  She told me that she doesn't see herself as a "career woman".  (Although she does recognize that she does need to know how to earn a living and provide for herself.)

    It is interesting to see how young people, who still have major life decisions before them, approach this issue (as compared with an old hack such as myself who has already made enough mistakes to be opinionated!) 

  • Guest

    elkabrikir:

    Out of the mouths of babes! :)

    HOw's the baby, BTW?! (I am a frequent lurker and infrequent poster!)

  • Guest

    Oh, yeah pump the breastmilk.  They even have pumps that fit into the lighter in the car.  Turn the women into cows plugged up to an automatic milking machine. Mom is reduced to a thing that gives milk.  So much for dignity. Thank you, feminism.

    What about looking into the eyes of that baby, huh? What about paying with the little fingers and toes while nursing? What about singing to the baby?

    People have just lost their minds if they think all that doesn't matter. We are making human beings here, eternal beings created for love. And the family is their first school of love, so how do we show we believe this — by making their first experience one of abandonment?  And we have Catholics thinking that is ok. Sad.

  • Guest

    Shan,

    You wrote, "Sorry David. I really have no idea what you're talking about."

    I am talking about confusion .

    See Mary's last post for more clarification.

    In Christ,

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest

    Nope. Sorry David. Still don't get what you're trying to say. Why don't you just tell me?

     

    Mary – so the breast pump came from the evils of feminism? First, I'm not a feminist, so I'm not going to address that again. Secondly. Even women who stay at home sometimes need to pump. It's not evil. Moms of preemies are encouraged to pump. I don't think the baby is going to feel abandonment if dad gives her a bottle of pumped milk every so often. Maybe he wants to have that bonding experience too. Oh, but the dads do not matter. It is the women who are responsible for all things dealing with nurturing a child. Seems they got the short end of the stick. 

  • Guest

    You think women buy car lighter breast pumps because most of their days are spent with the baby but on rare occasions they want to give dad a chance to bond…

    Honey, you are living in a fantasy.

  • Guest

    No pumps are not inherently evil and there are lots of good reasons to use them, but there's a world of difference between pumping for a preemie who cannot nurse because he's too weak and can only take nourishment through an N-G tube and pumping so that a woman can go back to work sooner and leave the baby with a bottle and someone else can feed it while she feels virtuous about providing the best nutrition.

  • Guest

    But why should the education and career track be the same for men and women if the physical abilities and the very core of their being are different?  Why should we ignore that which is different and deny the reality of the differences?  Physical abilities do have an effect on career possibilities. 

    Back to the core issue of the article, the gift of a womans fertility and how we educate our daughters.  Do we  do a disservice to our daughters and to God, the giver of the gift,  when we encourage them to follow the same educational/career paths as their male counterparts, which may endanger that gift without even giving thought or acknowledgment to that possibility?  Are we ignoring the fact of their being a woman and denying their value as such. 

    Why do you feel there need to be "more" for women than "just" bing a caregiver of the children. And who says women who do not pursue careers outside the home are just caregivers to the children?  Am I not also a helpmate to my husband, daughter to my mother, and friend?  Am I not also available to help others, do work at church , make quilts to give to charity and to pursue my God given talent and creativity?  Are only those things for which someone is paid of any worth?  

    Momof11

  • Guest

    When my daughter, a HS senior (in public school) arrived home from school today, I posed the topic to her. She happened to have written a quick essay on a similar topic recently. Here is an excerpt from what she wrote:

     

    My stated dream of being a surgeon is not going to occur without headache and heartache. It is going to take a lot of work to become a doctor let alone a surgeon. However, it is a goal that I am very focused on achieving. Even if I can handle the workload, I am going to run into some obstacles. What happens to my dream of becoming a doctor when I want to get married? What will my future spouse think of the idea of me being in Medical school for 8-10 years? This thought has occurred to me many times. What will happen when we want to have kids? I know plenty of female doctors who are married with kids, but their parents or in-laws take care of their kids. This is going to have to be a decision that I will have to make when the situation arises, but I still think about it as I make my plans for the future. I do not know if I want to give up being a mom in exchange for being a surgeon. I know these are obstacles that I will have to face in order to achieve my dream of becoming a surgeon, but I really want to be one. I want to be one because I want to be a witness to women everywhere that we can be as good if not better than men in the workforce. I never could understand why girls would do so much better in school, but then end up being the nurse of the doctor, but now as I look into my dream of becoming a surgeon, I an starting to see why. They feel called to be mothers. I think all women have a motherly intuition about them, and this is why they allow men to override them in the workforce. Because I understand this going into my preparation for the workforce, I can plan accordingly. I can try to find a way around being taken away from my family 24/7. My friend’s mom is a dentist, and her Monday and Friday workdays are half-days. Maybe I can figure out a way to achieve my dream of being a surgeon as well as becoming a mother. I do not want to give up either one, but I may have to make sacrifices in both in order to achieve the greatness that I know I can achieve in becoming a renowned surgeon as well as a terrific mom.

     

  • Guest

    I want to be a witness to women everywhere that we can be as good if not better than men in the workforce

     

    I do not understand this at all. What on earth does ANYTHING important have to do with who can be "best" in the workforce? When are being judged at the end of our lives, is God going to base it on how good we were in the workforce? I think not. I think that it's wonderful to want to help people, but we can do all sorts of good things from entirely wrong motivations. None of us is called to seek out fame. Not one. Perhaps fame comes our way, but if "renown" is our goal, well, here on earth is where we are likely to have our reward, to paraphrase some Man who lived in the Middle East about 2000 years ago.

  • Guest

    Dear Kirbys, and I do mean DEAR,

    thank you for asking about the baby. Annaliese is 5 weeks old. I have a breast infection.  This weekend my husband had a stomach flu, the two toddlers had a high fever virus, my HS daughter is getting over the flu, and the baby has her first stuffy nose.  Other than that, we're doing fine. This is life.

    I've figured out that raising a family strips you of everything: your finances, your health, your personal pursuits and hobbies, your prayer habits.  You are left hanging on the cross, like Christ, offering the only thing you have to God:  Your life.  Praise be God for the gift of being able to provide a certain path to sanctity if discerned and lived.

    All of you CE bloggers are close to my heart.  Mothering an infant is a precious, but exhausting time.  I stay united to Jesus and Mary during during this time of joy and sacrifice.  My husband and I perceive God's truth for us in the matter of raising a holy family.  All of you and your prayers for me and families everywhere do make a difference.  All of these articles and posts help keep me focused. Thank you so very much.  You are close to my heart as well.

     

  • Guest

    Confusion of roles. Confusion about the meaning of being a man or woman.  Confusion about the purpose of marriage.  Confusion about what it means to be a parent.  And so we have people believing that who cares for the children in inconsequential, so why not just hire a nanny or put them in daycare.  And people believing that it is the things you can give to your kids that count, so buy them the best clothes, the finest schools and everything will be just fine…but no thought to human relationships. We must give our children the best of everything and so may deny them a sibling.   And then the sexual confusion, after all if all that matters is that I "feel" fulfilled what difference does it make who or what acts I turn to to get that feeling. 

    How will children learn the truth about these things if they only see lies and denial of God given meaning in human relationships? 

    Momof11

  • Guest

    Creating a loving homelife is the most important, unique "career path" of all. It's often a struggle. THis quote is from an article in which a man was struggling with his calling to become a priest. Everything in his life was going well, and he was serving others and living a virtuous life. A nun said to him, "Don't let good be the enemy of best."

     Spending time in higher education, and even a career path, especially when there's not a man or a call to religious life in sight, can be a good thing, but if one is not spending time with Christ, and realistically planning for some kind of vocation (like not entering into huge amounts of debt, which hampers both), and ignoring the reality that fertility is an issue, and that eventually time spent at home with children (and serving husband and children) is BEST–well, the purity of intention may not be…pure.

     

  • Guest

    Might be time to interview a few successful surgeons to find out how becoming "a renowned surgeon" blends with working part- time, pregnancy, and maternity leave.  Just for a reality check.  This young woman sounds very thoughtful and insightful.  So the interviews would be well used by her.  Also gives one pause, back to the original article, of whether or not to invest the vast sums of money it would take to pursue education for surgery.

  • Guest

    maryk,

    perhaps you need a new front line section for "women's issues!"

     

  • Guest

    I'm sorry elkabrikir, and it's not that I think that your daughter is a bad kid, but there is just so much wrong-headed thinking in that paragraph that I can barely pick my jaw up from the floor. But it is very ordinary thinking in our society.

  • Guest

    I've figured out that raising a family strips you of everything: your finances, your health, your personal pursuits and hobbies, your prayer habits.  You are left hanging on the cross, like Christ, offering the only thing you have to God:  Your life.  Praise be God for the gift of being able to provide a certain path to sanctity if discerned and lived. 

    elkabrikir,

      Isn't that the truth. We cannot be saved if we don't acknowledge our neediness and ask!  We are all the same in that respect.

    I'll be praying for you! 

    Momof11

  • Guest

    Shan,

    You wrote, "It is the women who are responsible for all things dealing with nurturing a child. Seems they got the short end of the stick."

    This is where our children need to be re-educated. No, Shan, women are not on the short end of the stick. This is the confusion that has enveloped the mindset of the western culture. It is with great dignity and honor that God has created woman in His likeness and His image. Together with man He called them to be one that they may know the love that the Father has for the Son and from that love they, together, will bring forth abundant fruit, the same way the love of the Father and the Son brings forth the Holy Spirit.

    In Christ,

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest

    I agree there is something screwy about the motivation — as though she sees surgery as a man's field and wants to prove herself in it. Would she still want to be a surgeon even if there were already a lot of famous women surgeons and women surgeons were as common as male surgeons?  If not, then she isn't called to be a surgeon, because being called to it is something that is not dependent on how many others are called to it or are working in that field or whether they are male or female.

    The granddaughter that I am homeschooling also wants to be a doctor. So this is going to a matter of discussion here also. I can tell you that she has a very deep interest in the workings of the human body. She is not thinking at all about competition with men. I think women are needed in the medical field, as physicians, researchers, etc.  But how that level of education will be accomplished with family in mind remains to be seen. I don't think it all has to be done at once!

  • Guest

    David, I think she was saying something even more odd — that men get the short end of the stick because women get to nurse and so that dad should have the chance to take over the feeding to bond with the baby.  You see, God just really didn't know what he was doing giving women breasts.

  • Guest

    At this point I'm just skimming the comments, because frankly, I am really feeling annoyed that I am being vilified for the choices I have made and the path that God has led me.

     

    elkabrikir – kudos to your daughter! What she wrote was very thoughtful and insightful. I hope she realizes her dream and saves many, many lives. :)

  • Guest

    Read it again. I said MEN got the short end of the stick.

  • Guest

    Honestly… are you saying that men should not have the opportunity to feed their children too?

  • Guest

    staceyjohnson:

    with my daughter's permission I posted an excerpt from her short essay.  A part edited was that she wanted to help people since so many doctors (her opinion) have a heavy case load and seem to be in medicine for the money.  She wrote that money would not be her motivation–helping people would be.  Part of the beauty of youth, in my opinion, is their zeal.  Of course, it must be properly ordered and I think her writing shows her respect for the dignity of motherhood.  I agree that at 17 she doesn't have the mysteries of salvation figured out.(And yet, realizing this, I still posted her essay, thus making her vulnerable to personal attacks for being inculcated with wrong thinking.)She is a kid.

    Also, one must realize that I posted the thoughts of a 17 year old precisely because she is in the position of working out these issues without the benefit of all the life experience we  have.  Frankly, it's irrelevant to me whether I should pursue xyz career.  My vocation is set. (unless tragedy strikes)  The young are actually discerning decisions in an oftentimes hostile world, not just cyber space which is why I thought  it was relevant to post her thoughts.

    I know this type of medium, short posts, can be the cause of miscommunication and imprecise conveying of ideas.  Therefore, given the pitfalls of blogging, I hope I have been charitable in this response, because I appreciate a community where insights can be shared. 

  • Guest

    I also want to note that elkabrikir's daughter just may be blessed with incredible gifts from God to be world renowned surgeon. It would be wrong of her to NOT to use this gift and talent given to her by God. She just needs to follow her heart.

  • Guest

    Shan,

    and I encourage you to do the same, read again that is, and forgive me as I get a little annoyed when something that is clear seems to be avoided so as to maintain ones position, especially one that is flawed.

    So, while you are giving kudos to elkabrikir's daughter for saving lives, Mary, as well as many others thanks to this article, is wondering if any lives will be lost in the pursuit of that self-absorbed, women are as good as men, mentality. Forgive me elk as I am very flawed as well.

    In Christ,

     

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest

    I'm not avoiding anything. I simply did not understand a thing you wrote. It honestly made no sense to me. I asked for clarification.

     How is my position flawed? I followed my  heart and I am living out my vocation. I am married, and I have children. I am going to encourage my daughters to see all the options available to them. I am going to teach them to be strong, confident and independent Catholic young ladies. Really, tell me… what is flawed? 

  • Guest

    Women aren't as good as men??? Really??? Wow.

  • Guest

    I have to say – the course of this discussion has really made me thankful for the path my life has taken and where God has led me. I thank God and my parents immensely….

  • Guest

    Mary – If a woman needs to pump in order to keep giving her child the nutritional benefits while she is away, wonderful. Companies are starting to take notice of this and things are slowly changing. I think it would be great if women could take a year off after the birth of a child. 6-8 weeks is not a very long time for maternity. She could, however, take an unpaid leave of absence for a year. Or just quit working at that point – temporarily or permanently. 

     

    Do you think giving a baby food through a bottle is not good? What about formula. I'm just curious here. How the discussion turned to the ways a woman chooses to feed her child I do not know… 

  • Guest

    Elkabrikir,

    I thought that your response was charitable, where mine may have been overly blunt, though I don't think that saying that someone's thinking is wrong-headed is necessarily personal.

    Our schools especially have turned so much into a man vs. woman thing. "Girl Power" and all that nonesense. Just the other day, I even saw folders for kids to use in school that had cartoon pictures on them that said that girls are smart and boys are stupid (not in those precise words, but that was the gist of it..there were a number of different designs). There were no reciprocal folders where the girls are weak and whiney…no surprise there.

    Girls are taught that they can do "anything" boys can do, and usually even better. "Why shouldn't you be anything you want to be?" society tells them (because, after all, it's all about you), and on top of that, "Being a stay at home mom is a waste of your talents and besides, he'll probably leave you and then what will you do?" Small wonder, then, that so many women feel the need to leave their children in the care of complete strangers so that they can have a "career." Or not have children at all because it's just too much of a bother, though they still want sex, thankyouverymuch.

    So I guess your daughter's essay struck a nerve, because the sort of issues I mentioned above bother me so very much. Probably I could have found a more tactful way of sharing that.

  • Guest

    The idea that any of us is "independent" is flawed, for starters.

  • Guest

    I'm not talking about our dependence on God. Of course He controls everything. No one is arguing that. But independence in our lives and choices? How is that a bad thing? Who should I be dependent on?

  • Guest

    Elkabrikir, what you are experiencing as a sacrificial mom is certainly not lost on your H.S. daughter.  It is surely being processed in her dream of becoming a first-rate surgeon. 

    May I share what my H.S. daughter has been discovering?  Since middle school, as a cadet in Civil Air Patrol, she was following her dream of becoming an F16 pilot AND wife and mom.  Along the way she began to get first-hand info about the effects of life as a fighter pilot on motherhood, and decided that the price she would have to pay in terms of effects on motherhood was too high.  She dropped the F16 dream.  

    Next she began to look into health professions, and expressed a strong interest in becoming a doctor.  She said that she wanted to become "all she knew she was capable of," and not stop short at something like nursing.  Once again, however, in learning from the experience of a young mom of two currently doing various med school rotations, sleep deprived and rarely seeing her family, my daughter decided that she would instead pursue nursing.

    Your daughter is seeing from you what motherhood takes.  Some live info from some successful surgeons could help her think with greater clarity. 

  • Guest

    Oh my gosh!  Forget about abandoning a career to raise a family;  I need to quit my job just to keep up with this discussion!  ( I wonder if my boss will buy that one?)  I've been a CE viewer for about 3 years now, and I don't think I've ever seen an article that yielded 6 pages of discussion!  It makes me feel like I should be sending in a check pretty soon… I am so grateful to have a format for important issues like this.

     

         Elkabrikir, I'm so sorry to hear that your family has been sick.  I am especially sorry to hear of your breast infection (I assume it's mastitis?).  I'm assuming that in the course of nursing 11 babies you've experienced this before and know how to deal with it. 

     

    Shan:  I wanted to respond to your question about stay-at-home-fathers.  If my husband and I are blessed with a successful adoption, he will be the primary caregiver for 4 days out of the week.  Unfortunately, I am the primary breadwinner in our family.  It's a long story…my husband never thought he would marry.  When he was younger he abused drugs and alcohol;  when he finally got his life back together, he felt called to discern the priesthood.  He ruled this out a few years before I met.  In the meantime, all those years that he was discerning he never really developed a career;  he just worked at low-paying, unskilled jobs.  I was 35 when we got married, and I had a decent job (I'm not rich by any means, but comfortable).  At that point we had a choice:  my husband could continue to work fulltime and go to school at night, trying to develop a real career, or we could accept the fact that I would be the primary breadwinner and his income would be supplemental.  He was willing to go either route;  we decided on the latter because my priority was having time with my husband.  Marrying at 35, I felt like I was making up for lost time.  As it turns out, with the infertility, adding school on top of his already busy schedule (on top of his fulltime job, he has been fixing up our house, and is the primary caregiver for his elderly mother) would not have helped any. 

     

    Being the primary breadwinner would not be my first choice. I would love more than anything to be a stay-at-home wife and mother.  However, because I have a good job, it seemed like given the factors I mentioned above, it made sense to take advantage of that.  Regardless of the fact that I would prefer to be the one at home, I feel very blessed that we will not have to use any daycare at all once we have a child.  I work flextime and have Thursdays off, so my husband will be home M-W and Friday, and I will be home while he works on Thursdays and Saturdays. 

     

    I can't remember whether it was Stacey or Momof11 who mentioned that women tend to be better at multitasking.  This is definitely the case at my house.  My husband tends to be absentminded and forgetful, and this worries me.  I have already talked to him about ways to avoid catastrophe, by limiting how many errands he goes on with the baby, and limiting outings to once/day.  I have also suggested that he do housework only when the baby is napping.  The baby's safety is worth more to me than coming home to an impeccable house.  And he is very attentive and responsible, so I think that with a few safeguards in place he'll do well.  He is also a much kinder, gentler and loving person than I am, so that will be good for the baby.  I have asked him to seriously consider whether being home with a baby all day would be boring for him, and he honestly has no concern about that.  I believe him, because he is able to find joy in just about anything, and he is a fun-loving guy who looks forward to playing with the baby all day.

     

    Another concern I have is regarding the baby's speech and language development.  I am a talker (aren't you shocked, given the length of this post?), and any child of mine would likely be a very early talker, as was a baby that I nannied for 13 years ago.  I have repeatedly stressed to my husband the importance of constantly talking to the baby, and he seems to get it. 

     

    As far as breastfeeding, this won't be an issue for us since we're adopting (yes, I have heard of adoptive breastfeeding, but this is not something I plan to pursue).  If I had had a fullterm delivery, I would have definitely attempted breastfeeding.  I agree that the ideal is to have the mother be the fulltime parent, particularly during the breastfeeding phase.  I recognize how the feminist agenda has made it more difficult for women to be home and breastfeed fulltime, and I am not happy about it.  But since it has to be that way for some of us, I'm glad that breastpumps exist.

     

  • Guest

    Elkabrikir, I was extremely impressed with your daughter's writing skills.  You have done a great job educating her.  As you said, she's still a kid, and she will figure it all out eventually (hopefully sooner, rather than later, given the fertility decilne that this article speaks of).  As Mary alluded to, there are seasons in life.  There's no reason why she can't be a brilliant surgeon, but in order to excel as a mother, being a surgeon might have to wait till later in life.

  • Guest

    David, I know you meant that a "women are just as good as men mentality" is self absorbed.  My daughter is far from that. The motivation for her dream is to be an orthopedic surgeon in order to help athletes such as herself.  (for brevity I left that out).  I think the fact that she allowed me to post her comments at all indicates a desire to engage in a discussion about a serious topic that has serious ramifications for her personally and for society as well. 

    She specifically mentioned that motherhood is such a strong drive in women that they sacrifice their dreams in order to pursue raising a family.

    It is difficult for people her age to discern what to do with regard to education since she has no clue if God has a spouse chosen for her.  She needs to live the moment as it unfolds for her. 

    She is an idealist teenager, like many of us used to be.  She has the characterist hubris of youth, which God willing time and life experience will manifest to her.  She has a strong faith life, prays and reads scripture, is dedicated to the Catholic faith, and knows where to turn when making decisions.  I feel certain that she will live a life worthy of the calling God has for her.  That said, I pray she continues to grow in grace.

    Thank you for any insights you may have into helping youth pursue education for eternity. 

  • Guest

    Great post Claire! A man I know was raised by his dad, at least part-time. It did wonders for him! I think the father being primary caregiver is often overlooked, but for some families, it works. In my own household, we are able to schedule our primary caregiver roles 50/50, and I'm thankful it worked out that way for us.

     

    I do know my husband is definitely better at multi-tasking than I am. :) 

  • Guest

    Interesting point to ponder, elkabrikir!  A young woman might make educational  decisions based on preparing for motherhood, for example forego pursuing medical school and do nursing instead, and then God might never bring her a husband.  Hmm.  Could have been a doctor all along.  

    So, maybe the idea is to pray, do the best possible to discern direction, pursue it with all she's got, and if God brings husband along, be prepared to prayerfully seek and discern at that time.  She might then find a way to re-direct, or work out compromises, or even sacrifice it all to be a SAHM, knowing that in God's economy nothing is ever wasted.  Her education will be used somewhere along the way.  

  • Guest

    Shan, I wish he could give my husband lessons!  As a veteran multitasker, I get impatient sometimes at his lack of skill in that area!

  • Guest

    Elk, {I apologize for forgetting your name},

    Thank you for comprehending, may it spread like wildfire in these fora. :O}

    In Christ,

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest

    Shan, let's start with the obvious: that you wouldn't be here at all without parents to depend on at some point.  Then there is your dependency upon the entire fabric of the society in which you live, from the inspectors and engineers who make sure that the bridge you drive over will not collapse to the truck drivers who deliver food to your grocery store to the people at the electric company who provide juice for your computer.  We are all interdependent — none of us is independent.

  • Guest

    Well that is obvious. But that is not the independence of which I speak. I don't live on an island, and to my knowledge, neither does anyone else in this discussion.

    Independence – In the simplest form – Not dependent on others. 

    Let's take an example of a young girl just starting out. She's out of high school and living on her own. Can she pay her bills,  or do mommy and daddy have to support her? Can she gain employment using her own God-given talents, or does she depend on mommy and daddy to take care of her? Can she balance her checkbook, pick out clothes to wear, drive a car, grocery shop for herself, cook herself a meal, or does she have mommy and daddy taking care of her? That is independence. It is not saying a young girl doesn't need her support system (i.e. parents), it means we can rely on ourselves to live our day to day lives. 

  • Guest

    What virtue is exemplified by that?

  • Guest

    And show me the just out of high school college student who "independent" and "paying her own bills."

  • Guest

    Is it preferable that a young girl not know how to take care of herself and take care of the tasks that go with living in the world? Is it better that they never learn this independence, and instead go from mommy and daddy providing for them and telling them what to do, to a husband providing for them and telling them what to do? Is that really what makes a good young Catholic girl?

  • Guest

    Not many fresh out of high school girls can do that. :) But, they can start while in high school. She can start learning how to take care of herself. Perhaps she has an after-school job and learns how to save. I am not one of those people who say 'you are 18… time to move out'. I left home at 17 and started college. But if I had chosen not to go to school, I know I would have lived with my parents for a little while until I saved enough money to move out into my own apartment, or into an apartment with friends. I did know quite a few girls at the time who did leave home before, or at age 18. They moved into apartments with their girlfriends and worked.

  • Guest

    There was certainly more room for earlier financial independence before everyone "had" to go to college and both spouses worked. Now one or both are almost an economic necessity.

    And where are our boys and young men in this equation? THey are hard wired to be protectors, and should be encouraged  to be sacrificial and self giving in a masculine way, like St Joseph. Often nowadays, young women form the hard shell of "I'm independent, I don't need a man, I am furthering my interests and careers" and then wonder that when they are "ready" for marriage and family, so many of the men their age are either already married to women who were ready, or are still self-absorbed adolescents (hey, if you can get the milk for free…).

    Are women willing to allow men fill the natural, God given role of protector and "do-er" (can't think of term!) or will our society be twisted even further?!

    And it doesn't mean a woman should be a doormat, or unintellectual! The spiritual, human, intellectual and apostolic formation begins at home, with mom (or, in some cases, dad–Claire, my husband's dad stayed home b/c he was retired. My husband is a strong. loving father and husband as a result, I think! :) ) In most cases, grandma and grandpa, however well-intentioned, may not have that in mind.

     

    ALso, the blessed Mother, the model for all women, went directly from her parents' care to St Joseph at an early age, then was in the care of St JOhn after Our Lord died. SHe was an intellectual, spiritual giant, pondering all that had been revealed to her. She also accepted, as a perfect woman, the guidance of the imperfect St Joseph. (He even got the most angelic visitations!) This is all meaningful for all of us, in every age. Was she independent?! (Was Christ?!)

     

  • Guest

    That was a completely different time. There is no comparison between Mary leaving home and marrying Joseph at… was it age 14? to the youth of today.

     

    Independence does not necessarily mean that the young woman 'does not need a man'. I could pay my own bills and take care of household chores myself, but when my husband came along, of course I needed him. Did I need him to support me financially? Nope.

  • Guest

    What about the homeschooled girl living with her parents who at 17 can care for an infant sibling when needed, do first aid, handle money, clean a home, host a party, plan and prepare meals, sew, plant and care for a vegetable garden, tutor a fourth grader in math, drive a car, fix a flat, check the oil, play the piano, mow the lawn, groom a horse, paint a room, follow a football game and write pro-life letters to the local paper.  But in your book she doesn't rate until she lives apart from a family — on her own — depriving herself of the assosciation of her parents and siblings and depriving all of them of her service.

    The Little Flower who went into a convent at 15 always had someone telling her what to do — now she is a doctor of the Church.

    What you value is so sad.  "Autonomy" "Independence"

    What does God value? obedience, self-giving, service.

  • Guest

    Also I should add, that I WAS looking for my spouse at that young age. I just didn't find the right one until years later.

  • Guest

    And can this young woman be obedient and self-giving, and still live on her own? Can she not help out with ministries of her church? Apparently she can only write pro-life letters from her parents' home.

  • Guest

    Now who is twisting words Mary?

    Those things are all great. Everyone needs to know those things – both boys and girls. I was not home-schooled, but I had some of the things on that list checked off.

    Really, why do you view a young woman being able to take care of herself as a bad thing? What if that spectacular Mr. Catholic husband just never comes along? What if he does not come until she is age 40? Should she be sitting at her parents house staring dreamily out the window until he drives up? What is wrong with a woman taking care of herself. It is perfectly acceptable and encouraged for a young man but not a young woman? Why?

     

    I value ALL individuals, male and female, to be able to take care of their own basic needs. That goes from cooking a meal to paying their bills. I just don't understand why you see such basic skills as those as somehow making one less of a 'good Catholic woman'.

  • Guest

    There is a definite, direct comparison. God could have chosen any time, place, method to reveal his Son. He chose a poor, dependent, (perfect) young girl who completely submitted to His plans, including being more in the dark about immediate plans than her imperfect husband. Despite all of those "handicaps", she is–well, 2000 years and countless theologians and saints can describe her more accurately than  I. How can our young people, how can all of us, gain an insight from that?!

     Well, of course we are not being "married off" at young ages, though it's been a recent development of history to have this independence. However, we would all benefit immensely pondering her interdependence, when she could have said no, and went off to live a good life within the confines of the customs of her time. Materially, she probablt would have been much better off.

    I am just wondering if there is some kind of inference that, unless we "have it all" and come into our vocation independently, of a sufficient age or income level, there is something quaint or backwards about early marriage or no college.

    I was in the same position. Full scholarship, good school. Top notch career prospects. I did all of that. I think you might be missing the point.

    Look at society, look at what is happening to the femininization of our society, our colleges (55 percent women, 45 percent men– look at the last issue of the college report edition of US News and WOrld Report. )

    No one is saying that women shouldn't further themselves intellectually, spiritually, financially, etc. I think many of them, though, are sent naively off to college with a scornful view to those "weak women" who are striving for MRS degrees, and thinking that the best way is their own way. It is quite difficult to recover from that and go on to be a servant-leader (with my husband) in a family and community. I know if which I speak, unfortunately, and I think God is allowing me the humility of the "hausfrau" extra pounds to make up for the pride I felt when I had it all!

    I just don't want my daughters stumbling about (albeit successfully in the world's eye!) the way I did. I want them to ask God what HE wants for the salvation of their souls and the souls entrusted to them.

  • Guest

    I definitely see your point kirbys. It's not about having it all, however. Now I'm just talking about a girl being able to take care of her basic needs. 

  • Guest

    I think we should all get some sleep and thank God for the gift of the internet to the Catholic community. It is mind boggling, that, by GOd's grace, we might someday all meet in heaven, in perfect unity, in His Love and Grace. I know I have been posting way too much and neglecting dishes and  schoolwork. God bless all of you, thank you for the thought provoking article, Mary.

    Good night, John-boy! Grannie!

     

     

  • Guest

    But you seem to think that she should be able to take care of "her basic needs" even after she marries and has children even if that means the hell with the basic needs of her babies — which is to have HER taking care of them and nursing them, etc.  She is supposed to make herself irreplacable to her employer, but perfectly replacable to her own children.

  • Guest

    No. She should be able to take care of her own basic needs until she is joined with another in marriage. If that never happens, she can take care of herself and live out a single-hood vocation.

     

    Once married, she can either let her husband take care of all the household needs, she can contribute to taking care of the household needs, or she can take care of the household needs herself. It's all about choices. What works for you Mary, does not work for everyone. It most certainly does not work for me and my family. I see and recognize your choice, why can you not respect the choices that are different from yours? Is that the only 'right' way? You don't know a thing about me. You don't know what my family life is like. So please stop judging the decisions that I and my husband have made in respect to our marriage and family life.

    In some families, it is just not possible for the mom to nurse her child. What about that? She can take care of the child, or the father can take care of the child. For me, it is preferable for at least one parent to be taking care of the child. I would like to avoid daycare, and have so far, but for many woman out there, it just is not an option. We do the best we can and we make the best decisions we can for our families with the help of God. I don't know a more clear way to say that.

  • Guest

    shar, I have tried to make it clear that I am not talking about you.  We have been talking about hypothetical "shes" and then you keep saying it is you.  Well to me the hypothetical people we are talking about have not been you.

    My response has been to your assertion that females don't need to consider fertility in their decisions until after 30 somewhere and that there is no need to consider having different educations for boys and girls.  That is the status quo.  It delays marriage in many cases to the point of drastically reducing both family size and even the total number of females who are fertile at all.  It has precipitated a demographic crisis. It has placed societal pressure on young women to believe something is wrong with them going from the protection of their father's house to the arms of their husband, to think that only paid work is of value, to place careers over motherhood and farm out the raising of their children. Yet you defend it.

    When I ask you what virtues the life style you defend develops, you do not respond.  When I asked you for what precious thing other than fertility you would call a 50% diminishment "not much" you do not respond. Or I should say, you respond by asserting "independence" and "right to make decisions" and etc. You do not speak to virtue, or holiness, or the common good.

  • Guest

    "Once married, she can either let her husband take care of all the household needs, she can contribute to taking care of the household needs, or she can take care of the household needs herself. It's all about choices. What works for you Mary, does not work for everyone. "

    Writing above the entrance gate to hell:

    Down here there's no right or wrong, it's whatever works for you.

  • Guest

    Goral, are you insinuating I am damned because I decided to go to school, work for 5 years, find my husband and get married, and have children a year later? Judge not lest ye be judged.

  • Guest

    It's 'SHAN'.

    What you value is so sad.

    That certainly sounds like you are talking about me.

    You speak about a woman believing there is something wrong with them if they go from their parent's home to their husband's home. I am defending the young women who in your world may feel there is something wrong with them if they do not feel ready for marriage at a young age. And for all the young women who just may want to pursue something else before settling down with a family. Yes, they need to know the possible fertility challenges they may face if they delay the family for too long. But in the end, IT IS UP TO THEM. We do our jobs as parents, and at some point we need to let go and let them live their lives.

     

    Never once have I said only paid work is of value. It is absurd for you to insinuate that. It is also absurd to think that all young girls are called to motherhood, and at a young age. Some just are not.

     

    I don't believe that placing a child in daycare, or school is 'farming out raising a child'. As I said before, I've avoided daycare so far, but I certainly have nothing against it for those who choose that option.

     

    RE: Virtues. Not really sure what you mean by 'my lifestyle'. I suppose you mean the evilness of taking care of my family? If so, then yes. I think all the virtues are covered in some facet of my family life.

    Chastity – Embracing of moral wholesomeness and achieving purity of body and thought through education and betterment.

    Check.

    Temperance – Practicing self-control, abstention, and moderation.

    Check.

    Charity – Generosity.

    Check.

    Diligence – Decisive work ethic.

    Check.

    Patience – Forbearance and endurance through moderation. Resolving conflicts peacefully.

    Check.

    Kindness Pursuit of Charity

    Check.

    Humility – Pursuit of Modesty

    Check.

     

    Marrying young, having babies does not automatically make one virtuous. There are other facets of their lives too.

     

    RE: Fertility:

     

    "Although we noted a decline in female fertility in the late twenties, what we found was a decrease in the probability of becoming pregnant per menstrual cycle, not in the probability of actually achieving a pregnancy," says David Dunson of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in North Carolina.

    A woman aged 28 should take only a month or two longer to become pregnant than a woman aged 23, he says.

    The study was based on 782 healthy couples in the US and Italy. The team found that, if intercourse took place at the peak time for conception and the partners were the same age, women aged 19 to 26 had a 50 per cent chance of pregnancy in any one menstrual cycle. This fell to around 40 per cent for women aged 27 to 34. For women aged 35 to 39, it was less than 30 per cent.

    The research also showed that men's fertility starts to decline from as early as their mid-thirties.

     

    Journal reference: Human Reproduction (vol 17, p 1399)

     

    From those figures, it looks as if it's a 20% drop, not 50. And that is for ages 35-39. That is putting off starting a family for 15 years, assuming the 'optimal' age for starting is 20.

     

    I think that just about covers it.

  • Guest

     Mkochan's statement above:

    "She is supposed to make herself irreplacable to her employer, but perfectly replacable to her own children."

    Exactly, this is invariably what happens. You cannot serve God and mammon. Let's face it there always have been and will be bad mothers. The covalescent homes are full of independent old women who's children are staying away pursuing their dreams.

  • Guest

    When I talk about a babies need — NEED — for its mother, shar, you say that there are women for whom staying home and caring for their baby "is not an option." Fine.  But do you also recognize that there are millions for whom it IS an option but who selfishly, or because they have been misled by worldly propaganda and false values, deprive their babies?  Or do you just not care because what matters is that they made a "choice," not the content of that choice.

  • Guest

    Again Mary… It's 'SHAN'.

     

    Goyal – That is probably true. They may also have residents there who were 'good virtuous Catholic women who persuaded their daughters to not pursue their dreams'. Instilling the idea that a daughter should not bother to pursue higher education because that is not her role does not preclude one from being a bad mother.

     

    Putting a child in preschool or school is not 'depriving' a child.  

  • Guest

    I don't believe that placing a child in daycare, or school is 'farming out raising a child'. As I said before, I've avoided daycare so far, but I certainly have nothing against it for those who choose that option.

    Then honestly, you don't know much about daycare. It may be a necessary evil for some, but an evil it is, nonetheless. For some enlightening reading on the topic, I'd suggest:

    The Daycare Deception by Brian Robertson

    Home-Alone America by Mary Eberstadt

    Your Baby in Daycare by Seyla Vee

  • Guest

    Gosh no, Shan. It's just that your statement jogged my memory of that fictitious (maybe not) inscription. I can assure you that there have been plenty of times that the devil benefited from my words and deeds.

    It's just fascinating to me that a woman (substitute man if you want to) would not give the keys to her new BMW, so that a co-worker might take a joy ride, yet she'd leave the most prescious infant with a near stranger or someone who is so much less willing or capable of giving this helpless life what it most desperately needs.

  • Guest

    Goral – good.  :) Just making sure…

     

    Oh I agree that there are better alternatives to daycare. Ideally for our family, one parent will stay home with the children until they are schoolage. Luckily for us, we have been fortunate to be able to work that out. But I do sympathize with those who just do not have those resources available. 

  • Guest

    Excuse me, Shan, for getting the name wrong.  Thank you very much for clarification of the statistics. However, within the population it still stands that the fertility of the population decreases drastically with age. There is more to consider than simply the day specific odds of conception. The rates of fetal loss increase every year as well. Male fertility declines as well. What I said remains true — for some women delaying marriage and pregnancy for the sake of building a career will mean that they do not have the child or children they would otherwise have had — that God would otherwise have given them.

    I think we have exhausted this and I would like to take the discussion back to the practical points that had started to be discussed earlier in the thread. For those of us who do think that God's gift of fertility and youthful vigor deserves the chance to used while it is at its peak for the purpose of bringing new life into the world, how can we support this?

  • Guest

    Just as well. I think I'm done. :)

    Thank you ladies for a very spirited debate!

  • Guest

    We need to educate our children in the importance and dignity of the vocation of motherhood from an early age.  They must also learn what it means to be a father.  Pray for them and for their future spouses.  Teach them to pray for their future spouses or vocational call.  Explore options to keep student loans to a minimum if used at all.  Make sure that they know that just because they start college right out of high school doesn't mean they must finish in 4 years if a different path opens up. A woman who chooses to "drop out" to get married and become a full time mommy is not a failure and has not wasted the time and money spent on her education.  As grandparents, if it is an option (not all young couples live near parents) we can offer babysitting help for a young parent to take a class or two at a time if that is their desire.  If we are able to help with tuition that should remain an option in the event of an early marriage and parenthood. But we must be careful not to push.  It is perfectly okay  to never get a college degree or even pursue higher education.

    We might also do well to question the "need" for college just what education really means.  

    Instead of spouting statistics about the failure rate of teen marriages, maybe we should be asking why do most teen marriages today fail. What was different in the past?  I strongly suspect that chastity before and in marriage makes the difference.

    We also might consider that our daughters may marry men who are older than they are.  My own daughter is married to a man 15 years her senior (just 5 years younger than myself).

    It really seems that maybe we need to take a few steps back in time.  Plenty of people used to marry straight out of high school and lots of young couples worked their ways through school together.  How did they do it back then?  Maybe we make things too easy on our kids and they expect too much, or maybe we expect too much!  Whatever happened to efficiency apartments or renting a room over the garage? Thrift store furniture and second-hand clothes?

    Momof11

  • Guest

    She is goodness
    Like the Mother
    In the Trinity
    The Daughter and the Mother
    She is goodness,
    Compassion
    Without end and without respite
    The intercession that compassion
    Supports and uplifts.

    This describes our Lady and our Queen, and she provides that which should be emulated by a good Catholic woman. She deserves contemplation and devotion. Through her, women should discern the path to true motherhood. I pray she intercedes for us all in these difficult times.

    In Christ,

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest

    As with any social malady, the problem is muti-tiered, having different implications depending on one's financial foothold. Part of the problem is the profiteers in these life choices. Herein lies a good place to start gaining an understanding on how to correct the flawed message of these blood suckers who proffer that the only way to gain security and peace in this world is through higher education, and that if you can not provide such for your children than you should stop having them, delay them or spend every ounce of flesh and silver you have to give them that education.

    In Christ,

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest

    David, that's a great point.  It kills me to see people who work two jobs so they can save for their children's college education.  It's not worth saving for college if it deprives children from time with their parents.  That has to be the highest priority.  It's also foolish for parents to compromise their own retirement savings in lieu of college savings.

  • Guest

    Claire and other like minded men and women,

    Obviously, Mary brings out some issues that need to be addressed. While we can all give the proper guidance to our own and their friends who see the value of listening to a Catholic perspective, how do we reach the rest of the world that has bought into the notion of materialistic success first and foremost?

    We are living on average until about 70, some well beyond without much need of assistance?  Commercials portray retired men and women skydiving and mountain climbing. Why not chastity loving, HVP free, NFP practicing, college entering 35 year old wise, battle tough mothers of school age children with a husband financially able to support all in loving response to her gift? 

    In Christ,

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Lucky Mom of 7

    Sorry to be joining so late.

    St. Gianna Molla put her kids in daycare. Google her and read her story. I think that staying home is optimum, but daycare isn’t inherently evil.

    My husband and I started our family when I was 22. I still had a year of college left. That was in 1993. I just finished my degree 6 kids and 14 years later! I don’t have any regrets. Sure, there were plenty of times that I wished I had the best of both worlds, but I know I did the right thing becoming a stay-at-home mom. Now in my mid-30′s, I have plenty of friends who put off having babies to get the careers established and now cannot conceive. It’s tragic. I felt marginalized by other educated women when I was young and staying home with my babies. Educated women had careers after all. Now that my childbearing years are winding down, I’m planning to start on professional projects as my kids get older. I have a family and will one day have satisfying pursuits outside my home as well. Despite all the naysayers (including my own mom) when I was young, I think I did it right.

    Lucky

  • darzaga

    After reading this article and some of the numerous comments, I have to say I’m a bit disgusted with this article and the comments made. Speaking from my own experiences not every woman is called to be a mother and that even includes good faithful Catholic women. There are many paths a woman can follow in life and pigeon holing all”daughters” into the MRS category automatically is dangerous.

    I am 26 years old. I attended a selective private university for my undergradate and graduate coursework and have been in the work force for some time. I just realized recently I am being called to a life of marriage and motherhood. I was never against it, always open to the possibility but never out there actively seeking an MRS degree. My main goal in college was not finding a husband but growing as a person to be the best person I could be. Volunteering, working on service projects, being involved in campus life and doing well in the classroom.

    I did all these things because my Catholic family raised me to be the best person I could be and to always serve others. Maybe it is because we are minorities that my grandparents and parents thought it was of extreme importance that my sister and I go to college, but our family was never absent from our lives during these years. If anything I think our family relationships grew because we were all maturing.

    Going back to the whole marriage and motherhood, all my grandparents got married young and had 4 to 7 kids each. They did not want to see my sister and myself let opportunities they could never dream of pass us by, especially since they’ve seen our cousins get married and have children early. Maybe I am generalizing but from my experience, my Catholic college-educated friends all value family, not necessarily starting their own, but developing and maintaining current relationships within the family. Providing for younger brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and cousins be it financial or not. Raising children and living in Southern California is extremely expensive. And even with a large extended family assisting with child care and such there are only a finite amount of resources within any family.

    Basically, what I am saying is that we live in a society that does not value families, mothers and children. We need to have family friendly policies in place if women and men want to take off a year of work to care for a new baby and still have a job to come back to like in Sweden. I think if we had policies similar to these in place more people in general and certainly Catholics would have more children.

    Just saying that our daughters need to be educated differently, again I think that is dangerous. What can be done is offer young women opportunities to explore different avenues of career, employment, service, education, marriage and motherhood, whatever. Giving young women positive role models is important to show that there are other ways. Saying that motherhood and education is mutually exclusive is not the right direction, everyone can benefit from CPR, parenting, basic finances type classes.

    The world and the country is changing. The demographics are shifting the workforce is greying and maybe this provides us with an opportunity for flexible work schedules and more split shifts where mothers and older workers can work together to be able to provide for their families.

    On another note, my male friends, whom I have known since attending Catholic high school together, state the only reason they don’t date is because they want to be financially ready before they meet their future wife, basically be able to buy a house and start a family.

  • darzaga

    “The covalescent homes are full of independent old women who’s children are staying away pursuing their dreams.”

    I find this comment a terrible generalization of individuals in convalescent homes. As person who works with older adults, most older individuals who are in homes are they because they are in need of 24/7 care that their family cannot provide for whatever reason or they do not have any family (living or in area). Yes, it is a very sad situation but sometimes their spouses have died or they can no longer care for them, especially if they have dementia or mobility issues.

  • mother of 8 girls

    Ms. Kochan raises a good point, but does not offer any alternatives.  What should a bright, young woman to do? Should she not attend college/university in the hopes of marrying early?  What if it is not her vocation to get married? At what age should she be cognizant of that possibility?  I think it is wise for a young woman to prepare herself for a career that utilizes the gifts God has given her, but keeping in mind that these plans might be put aside for the greater good of raising children in marriage, if that path opens for her.  I think that to do otherwise would be like the parable of the 10 Talents, with the unprepared young woman playing the part of the ungrateful servant who buried his talent in the field…

  • Ahawkins77

    Mary, contrary to your expected dose of critisim here, I applaud you!!!! I am a devout Catholic Stay at home mother of six and have encouraged my children to pray about their vocations, their possible future spouses and children and the path that God is calling them to. It is very difficult to swim against the tide that is our secular society, especially as a parent raising children to know and love God and follow His will for their lives. I’ve raised my three daughters to be true to their desires to be mothers and that if that is Gods call for their lives to be the one who raises them, not a paid daycare service. Yes, I have encouraged them to higher education, but that has always been secondary to what Gods plan is for them, and for women its always motherhood, whether physical or spiritual!

  • Archinop

    I think what is important is to fully support those young women who choose marriage and young motherhood as just as important and worthwhile as that women who desires to further her education.  Truly God supplies the spouse meant for a woman when and where he desires, but I must say that attending a solid Catholic college is a wonderful opportunity for a woman to meet a Catholic, Godly man.  My daughter went to Franciscan University of Steubenville and found a faithful and faith-filled husband plus got her nursing degree.  His major and career will never allow them to have more than the very basics.  She works 2 days a week, gets them medical insurance for their growing family (this July they will have 3 young ones within 3 years of marriage), and helps with a mortgage payment on their very small, modest house.  Bottom line, I guess, is it doesn’t have to be either/or … you can have your degree and be buiding your family while still only 22 or 23 years old.  

  • Anonymous

    There are additional considerations.  I determined to get my college degree because even as a stay at home mom, things happen, and I did not want to be one of those women totally dependent on a man who turned out to be abusive, or have nothing to fall back on if something happened to my husband, etc.  And of course, it allowed me to help contribute to a nest egg for my spouse & I when I did meet my Mr. right.  :-)

  • read

    Keep in mind that those very women who are to raise the next generation need to have an education in order to educate their children.  Education is important for everyone and we must not rely on the government to ensure our children get the education they need. The more you know the better off we all are.

  • mother of 6 girls

    I agree with mother of 8 girls….from mother of 6 girls.

  • bt

    I agree with the “mother of 8″, up until the very end. I think it’s true that there are women who are not called to be wives or mothers. We are each special and we don’t all have the same talents, and therefore, are not called to the same lives or vocations. But “mother of 8″ goes on to say that a woman should always be open to the “greater” calling of being a wife (and possibly mother).
    If being married isn’t the life I’m called to – then, frankly, it’s not a “greater” calling. How can you possibly instill the confidence in young Catholics to bravely follow their OWN calling if you qualify it like that?

    What if you’re daughter were called to religious life? Should she feel like a failure because she’ll never achieve that “greater” calling of motherhood? Honestly, I think the social-Catholic pressure to be married keeps a lot of young women and men from answering their true calling to religious and single lives.

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