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Friday, May 20, 2005

Penelope Trunk responds to MIC

I sent an email to Penelope Trunk--the writer who offered three easy steps for parenting-career utopia--to let her know that I was disappointed with her suggestions because they offer little-to-no real advice for real life. She was kind enough to write me back. This is her response:
Hi, Suzanne. Thank you for your email. I liked reading your response. I wish all the people I talked to about this topic thought about it as much as you do.

I actually find there is not much disagreement between us. I think it's more of a lifestyle choice: Some people find a partner early some people don't. If you do find a partner early, you can plan early and then you have a better chance of success at shared parenting. Some people choose to dedicate their lives to changing corporate policies and some people say forget it, I need to concentrate on my own life. I think all those decisions are fine, but some lend themselves to setting up shared parenting more than others.

In terms of trends, a relatively new one is for young people to find a partner and a career early-on that accommodate shared parenting. (This was especially interesting to me because I found a partner late, had kids late, and my own version of shared parenting is that we both are at home all day, but my husband had to give up his career completely to do that. Not ideal.)

I found that I actually learned a lot from talking to twenty-two-year-olds about their career aspirations and how they relate to parenting aspirations. Sure, they were idealistic, but there's a lot to be said for idealism -- it raises the bar for everyone, I think.

I hope you keep writing about this topic. More discussion is helpful to everyone. And if you do write more, please let me know- I'd like to read it.

- Penelope
Again, I think it's great for young people to be planning, but I still think that life can so often get in the way of great plans. There were several frothy comments worth reading on Trunk's article as well. Here are a couple of snippets:
Geeky Mom wrote: "I tried to be smart and realist in my late 20s when we were planning babies, but our careers hadn't gotten off the ground yet--and mine hadn't even started yet. We had no idea. There's no way to know..."

Chip wrote: "These people must be very young if they actually think they can plan their life out in such detail in advance...On the other hand, I do think it's important for partners to be on the same page about this kind of thing..."

Angry Pregnant Lawyer wrote: "If the advice the writer is doling out is for folks in their early and mid-20s, that's completely unrealistic. Career aspirations change. In my early to mid-20s, I was in a completely different field than I am now. And at that age, I certainly had no intention of becoming a lawyer...

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