Its been a year since my Papoo passed away. It doesn't feel like a year, more like a month. I still think of him every day and can feel his hand holding mine. Each time I drive around the Eastside, out of habit I grab for my phone to call Papoo.
I know he would be incredibly proud of me this past year and wish he could have seen the exciting things happening in our family. For me personally, it was buying my first home and becoming a director at Porch while taking on business development responsibilities.
With a big grin on his face he would have said "My darling girl, who loves you?"
Papoo, I miss you.
You may have heard these statements before from family or friends. I know I have. Kudos to Jennifer Aniston for emphasizing to the world that her path is her's and her's alone. Women are too often scrutinized solely on the choices they do or do not make maritally or maternally.
"You don't want children? Are you really that selfish?"
"Still single huh? You just haven't met the right one"
"Don't you want to get married?"
"Living with someone is a big mistake. Men will just use you and never marry you."
It's 2016. Stop defining us (and I mean me as well) based on our marital and/or maternal status. Take a look around at women making incredible achievements in the fields of politics, technology, and more and CELEBRATE us - don't tear us down or question our path.
We may have our FIRST female president in Hillary Clinton.
A friend, Amanda, has co-founded a company dedicated to delivering products to the developing world.
My boss and Porch's Chief Operating Officer leads our partnership with a Fortune 50 company, Lowe's.
One of the richest women in the world, Oprah, has changed media.
Let me start by saying that addressing gossip is something I have never done. I don’t like to give energy to the business of lies, but I wanted to participate in a larger conversation that has already begun and needs to continue. Since I’m not on social media, I decided to put my thoughts here in writing.
For the record, I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up. I’m fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of “journalism,” the “First Amendment” and “celebrity news.”
Every day my husband and I are harassed by dozens of aggressive photographers staked outside our home who will go to shocking lengths to obtain any kind of photo, even if it means endangering us or the unlucky pedestrians who happen to be nearby. But setting aside the public safety aspect, I want to focus on the bigger picture of what this insane tabloid ritual represents to all of us.
If I am some kind of symbol to some people out there, then clearly I am an example of the lens through which we, as a society, view our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, female friends and colleagues. The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty. Sometimes cultural standards just need a different perspective so we can see them for what they really are — a collective acceptance... a subconscious agreement.
We are in charge of our agreement. Little girls everywhere are absorbing our agreement, passive or otherwise. And it begins early. The message that girls are not pretty unless they’re incredibly thin, that they’re not worthy of our attention unless they look like a supermodel or an actress on the cover of a magazine is something we’re all willingly buying into. This conditioning is something girls then carry into womanhood. We use celebrity “news” to perpetuate this dehumanizing view of females, focused solely on one’s physical appearance, which tabloids turn into a sporting event of speculation. Is she pregnant? Is she eating too much? Has she let herself go? Is her marriage on the rocks because the camera detects some physical “imperfection”?
The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. I used to tell myself that tabloids were like comic books, not to be taken seriously, just a soap opera for people to follow when they need a distraction. But I really can’t tell myself that anymore because the reality is the stalking and objectification
I’ve experienced first-hand, going on decades now, reflects the warped way we calculate a woman’s worth.
This past month in particular has illuminated for me how much we define a woman’s value based on her marital and maternal status.
The sheer amount of resources being spent right now by press trying to simply uncover whether or not I am pregnant (for the bajillionth time... but who’s counting) points to the perpetuation of this notion that women are somehow incomplete, unsuccessful, or unhappy if they’re not married with children. In this last boring news cycle about my personal life there have been mass shootings, wildfires, major decisions by the Supreme Court, an upcoming election, and any number of more newsworthy issues that “journalists” could dedicate their resources towards.
Here’s where I come out on this topic: we are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone. Let’s make that decision for ourselves and for the young women in this world who look to us as examples. Let’s make that decision consciously, outside of the tabloid noise. We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own “happily ever after” for ourselves.
We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies.
I have grown tired of being part of this narrative. Yes, I may become a mother some day, and since I’m laying it all out there, if I ever do, I will be the first to let you know. But I’m not in pursuit of motherhood because I feel incomplete in some way, as our celebrity news culture would lead us all to believe. I resent being made to feel “less than” because my body is changing and/or I had a burger for lunch and was photographed from a weird angle and therefore deemed one of two things: “pregnant” or “fat.” Not to mention the painful awkwardness that comes with being congratulated by friends, coworkers and strangers alike on one’s fictional pregnancy (often a dozen times in a single day).
From years of experience, I’ve learned tabloid practices, however dangerous, will not change, at least not any time soon. What can change is our awareness and reaction to the toxic messages buried within these seemingly harmless stories served up as truth and shaping our ideas of who we are. We get to decide how much we buy into what’s being served up, and maybe some day the tabloids will be forced to see the world through a different, more humanized lens because consumers have just stopped buying the bullshit.
Wow, did this article speak to me. Kudos to the writer for being so incredibly transparent. I highlighted in bold the conversations I have had with myself or another party. Despite the fact I've never married, I certainly share the same sentiment as the writer as she self reflects on her role in and out of partnerships.
This article originally posted on the New York Times.
By: Karen Rinaldi
By the time I was 33, I had already been married and divorced twice. There were no regrets. I loved each man I married and carry with me great affection for them still, even though the end of each union came with its own pain.
My first marriage fell apart when my husband’s struggle with sexual identity manifested itself in lies that eroded my trust and ultimately ended his life.
It was the early days of the AIDS epidemic. When he discovered he was H.I.V. positive, he lied to me about his secret life with anonymous men and blamed his infection on my previous boyfriend.
He admitted the truth only after we received the good news that I had tested negative. I was tested every six months for the next two years and lived with the terror that I would seroconvert. We divorced, but he asked me to be the keeper of his tortured secret, and we remained close until the day he died just before his 33rd birthday.
I married my second husband after only one date. I had been so wrong about my first, I wondered: What would happen if I married someone I didn’t know?
I was testing the universe.
He was handsome, strong, accomplished and funny. But after a few years of dating backward (we married without knowing each other and spent the next three years becoming familiar and intimate), I realized I couldn’t live with him. He was possessive, and my need for freedom didn’t make for a secure marriage. He referred to me as “my wife” even when speaking to my own father.
Besides the two marriages, I cohabitated with two other men and dated others. A serial monogamist, I found that at every turn I was constrained by issues of, well, maleness. There was a kind of inherent dominance that tipped the balance of power away from me, and I often felt I was playing a role.
Money was often a factor in these early relationships, and eventually I came to believe in these unassailable truths:
1. If the man made more money, then you were doing things his way.
2. If he was broke, he resented your ability to support him.
3. If there was economic parity, he made sure you knew who was really the boss.
Once, when I was breaking up with a long-term boyfriend, my therapist asked me why I was anxious. “Is it because you are afraid you will be alone?” he asked.
“No,” I told him. “It’s the opposite. I am afraid we’ll break up and there will be another right behind him.”
My mother tried to figure it out as well. “Why have you had so many failed relationships?” she asked.
“You see them as failed,” I told her. “I see them as successful, but finite.”
It was the finite part that felt most right. She has been married to my father for 60 years, which some may call successful. While I love my parents dearly and respect their endurance, I didn’t want to repeat their dynamic.
She had a lifelong fear that he would cheat on her. He monitored all of her spending. He had a social life outside of the house. She didn’t do anything without him. Their marriage was based on an age-old patriarchy, and they didn’t see anything wrong with it. I did not wish to live my life similarly.
Once my second husband moved out, I was resolute about never getting married again. I bought myself a coveted band of gold with sapphires from my favorite jeweler that I put on my left ring finger and wear to this day.
I cherished living in my village apartment alone; lovers could come and go as I pleased. There were no schedules or egos to contend with. I was happy. Resolved only to having children, I needed a plan.
I was already supporting myself. I figured I would manage as well with a child, so the idea of being provided for was moot. Besides, I preferred having my own money and therefore my own agency.
The notion of protection was not only outdated and unnecessary, it was an idea that had failed more than it had succeeded, both historically — men have never really been able to protect women from other men — and personally. As far as procreation, I needed a second gamete and I would be on my way to motherhood.
I called a friend and asked: “What’s a man for, really? If not to provide, protect or procreate, why do we need them? Face it, it’s the end of men.”
She laughed and admitted it was a confusing time. After many long conversations with her, I decided to conceive with a willing gay friend and committed to being a single parent. The only questions he and I had to decide on were: To baste or not to baste? Or do we do it the old-fashioned way?
Because life does not work according to plan, I then fell in love — most inconveniently — with a man who was married and had a family. We had grown close as confidantes. As a friend, he told me about the problems in his marriage and difficulties in his career as a writer. I told him of my frustration with coupledom and my plans to parent alone.
The fact of his marriage was initially a welcome barrier to the possibility of a romantic relationship. Once we became lovers, he told me he didn’t want me to have a child with my gay friend. Instead, he wanted me to have a child with him and share our lives together. An affair I had entered blithely had turned messy and emotionally wrought.
That shouldn’t have come as a surprise: What affair isn’t messy and emotionally wrought? But it shattered my sense of certitude about what I wanted. I had finally shaken the binds of convention I had been raised to accept. Now this.
My father interjected this time and asked, “Why do you make your life so complicated?”
I only objected to the word “make.” I wasn’t trying to complicate things; I was trying to simplify them by figuring out something essential that eluded me. What did I need a man for?
Clearly I kept coming back around to that strong pull, one I couldn’t reason away. Was it an atavistic urge? An evolutionary imperative? I didn’t buy that.
Still, my attraction to men and my desire for a deeper connection with a partner was as unavoidable as my need to breathe. I loved living life by following my own compass, and yet somehow this had entangled me in a monogamous relationship again, one with major consequences.
I still had doubts that women and men could live together in anything approaching harmony. We had a long way to go to become equals, both in the world and in the home.
And the historical and political implications were personal for me. I was certain of three things: I didn’t want a husband, I did want a child, and I wasn’t sure how it all stacked up.
Twenty years and two children later, I am still with that same man. I don’t need him, but I want him in my life. He doesn’t protect me from others, only from my worst instincts. And as far as procreating, well, we did it the old-fashioned way and that will never get old. When I made him promise never to propose marriage, he said, “O.K. … ”
Ironically, six or seven years into our relationship, our accountant persuaded us to head to the town hall. Marrying allowed us to capture the tax benefits that marriage confers.
My husband and I still don’t know the year and date of our civil ceremony without consulting our marriage certificate, wherever it is.
We have shared the joys of raising our two sons and his two daughters with balance and grace — except, of course, when we have failed to find either balance or grace. But we have muddled through.
I go to work every day and he stays home to write. He does laundry and cooks during the week. I do the same on the weekends. He takes care of our home. I pay the bills.
He is comfortable in his masculinity and doesn’t need to remind me of who is boss, because in our relationship there isn’t one. Our lives are shared at every level and I realize now what a man is for.
He is a true partner. He is a lover and a friend. He is the father of my children and the only one in the world who cares about the minutiae of their lives like I do.
What could be better than that?
I don't care how much you earn, I don't have any friends who pay full price for clothing and fashion these days. And it seems like we are not alone.
Today, according to CNN:
"Ralph Lauren (RL) was the latest big brand name consumer company to announce layoffs, saying on Tuesday that it was looking to cut about 1,200 jobs -- 8% of its full-time workforce. That news follows recent layoff announcements from Macy's (M), Nordstrom (JWN) and Walmart (WMT). Several other retailers -- including Gap (GPS), Sears (SHLD) and J.C. Penney (JCP) -- have announced plans to shut stores, which could lead to even more retail employees being let go. And then there are the bankruptcies. Pacific Sunwear and Aeropostale both filed for Chapter 11 protection in the past few months. And Sports Authority is going out of business. Much of the pain in retail is due to the upheaval in the apparel industry. According to data from the U.S. government, nearly 13,000 jobs have been lost at clothing and clothing accessories stores in the past three months."
A few year ago, I tallied up the amount of money I spent on clothing and almost threw up. My parents had always told me that that shopping for excess clothing was like throwing money down the toilet. It took me a decade or so to figure that out. Perhaps it was because I was in the fashion industry (or so I tell myself now)?
According to my Mint budget, my shopping habits have dramatically changed to furniture and home improvement vs. restaurants and clothing.
Like the economy and trends indicate, putting your money into real estate (buying a home) or remodeling an existing property will make you money, not lose you money.
Retail has changed. As long as we live in an Amazon Prime world, those retailers that accommodate the customer by offering unique services and competitive pricing will survive.
I truly don't know the last time I set foot in a mall. But I can count the last time I was spending hundreds of dollars at a Lowe's or Costco.
It's every weekend.
I'm over the moon now that I have a place I can call my own. Owning a home feels like the American Dream; being able to care for and inhabit a space that is yours. I feel so lucky that I had the most incredible team working on my behalf, from my lender Caliber Home Loans (Allie Lord's team is amazing) to my realtor Seamus Pelan at Windermere Mercer Island who fought so hard on my behalf, I couldn't have asked for a more delightful experience. The market here in the Greater Seattle area is rough, low inventory combined with buyers going way over asking prices. However, it is my belief that your team is what will take you across the finish line. And that's exactly what mine did.
That being said, now that I've moved in, I've had way too much fun decorating and investing in new things! My go-to places are Wayfair, Lowe's, Rejuvenation and Pottery Barn. Also, you'll find some really great deals at Marshalls and T.J. Maxx for kitchen wares.
Here's some of the things I've had on my eye on (if it isn't in my home already!)
This article originally appeared in the New York Times.
The Don Drapers of the world used to marry their secretaries. Now they marry fellow executives, who could very well earn more than they do.
With more marriages of equals, reflecting deep changes in American families and society at large, the country is becoming more segregated by class.
“It’s this notion of this growing equality between husbands and wives having this paradoxical effect of growing inequality across households,” said Christine Schwartz, a sociologist who studies the topic at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
From Cinderella to Kate Middleton, fictional and real-life fairy tales have told of women marrying up. But it has been a long time since women said they went to college to earn a “Mrs. degree.” In more recent cultural touchstones — like “The Intern,” with Anne Hathaway, and “Opening Belle,” the novel and soon-to-be Reese Witherspoon movie — the protagonists are highly successful women with husbands who don’t work. (Spoiler alert: Conflict ensues.)
Alena and Matt Taylor at home in Oakland, Calif. A management consultant, she earns 40 percent more than her husband, a nonprofit executive. “It has felt like a nonissue,” Mr. Taylor said. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times These changes have been driven by women’s increasing education and labor force participation, new gender roles, and the rise of what social scientists call assortative mating.
Assortative mating is the idea that people marry people like themselves, with similar education and earnings potential and the values and lifestyle that come with them.
It was common in the early 20th century, dipped in the middle of the century and has sharply risen in recent years — a pattern that roughly mirrors income inequality in the United States, according to research by Robert Mare, a sociologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. People are now more likely to marry people with similar educational attainment — even after controlling for differences between men and women, like the fact that women were once less likely to attend college.
Even though the typical husband still makes more than his wife, the marital pay gap among opposite-sex couples has shrunk significantly in the decades since women started entering the work force en masse. Today, wives over all make 78 percent of what their husbands make, according to an Upshot analysis of annual survey data from the Census Bureau. That’s up from 52 percent in 1970.
In opposite-sex marriages in which both spouses work some amount of time, 29 percent of wives earn more than their husbands do, up from 23 percent in the 1990s and 18 percent in the 1980s, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The marriage pay gap varies by education, profession and class. Husbands who are dentists have the greatest pay difference with their working wives, who earn 47 cents for every dollar their husbands earn. Generally, couples in which men have high-earning, white-collar jobs have the largest marital pay gap, while men in service jobs like bartending and child care earn less than their wives.
These differences have to do with the nature of the jobs. Hourly workers have a smaller gender pay gap in general. High-paying jobs generally have the least flexibility and the longest hours — which means someone has to pick up the slack at home, and families can afford for one spouse to work less.
The marital pay gap still exists in part because women earn less than men in the economy as a whole, making 79 cents for a man’s dollar.
It reflects the stickiness of gender roles at work and at home: Marriage significantly depresses women’s earnings, and the arrival of children has an even stronger effect. Men, meanwhile, tend to earn more after having children, and studies show that’s because employers see mothers as less committed to work and fathers as doubly committed to breadwinning.
The nature of marriage itself is changing. It used to be about the division of labor: Men sought homemakers, and women sought breadwinners. But as women’s roles changed, marriage became more about companionship, according to research by two University of Michigan economists, Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers (who also contributes to The Upshot).
Now, people marry others they enjoy spending time with, and that tends to be people like themselves.
“Husbands and wives had different roles in different spheres, so that was the opposites-attract view of marriage,” Mr. Wolfers said. “Today you want people with shared passions, similar interests to you, similar career goals, similar goals for the kids.”
Another reason people are finding mates like themselves is that they are marrying later, so they know more about their partners’ prospects and increasingly meet at work. People were least likely to marry those with similar educational backgrounds around the 1950s, according to Mr. Mare’s research, when people married very young. Americans are increasingly able to make their own romantic choices based on personal preferences, free from family or religious expectations, he found.
American society has also become more segregated geographically; people tend to live near others with similar educations and earnings. Researchers have linked the increase in so-called power couples, in which both partners have a college degree, to the fact that educated people are more likely now to live in big cities — so the people they date tend to be educated, too.
Technology could also play a role: Dating apps and sites let people filter their potential partners before they even have a conversation.
The change is happening internationally, too. In 40 percent of couples in which both partners work, they belong to the same or neighboring income bracket, up from 33 percent two decades ago, according to 2011 data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which includes 34 countries. Two-thirds have the same level of education.
Despite being more common, these marriages are a break from tradition, and that can present problems.
Marriages in which the woman earns more are less likely to form in the first place, which accounts for 23 percent of the overall decline in marriage rates since 1970, according to a large study by the economists Marianne Bertrand and Emir Kamenica of the University of Chicago and Jessica Pan of the National University of Singapore. Using census data from 1970 to 2000, they analyzed the choices people made in so-called marriage markets, based on age, education, race and where they lived.
When such marriages do form, the women become more likely to seek jobs beneath their potential or to stop working entirely, and the marriages are more likely to end in divorce. Paradoxically, wives who earn more also do significantly more housework and child care than their husbands do, perhaps to make their husbands feel less threatened, the economists said.
Bill Doherty, a marriage therapist and professor at the University of Minnesota, said he had seen women who were more professionally successful than their husbands compensate by building up their husbands’ careers and playing down their own.
“It’s kind of like if he’s shorter than she is, she doesn’t wear heels,” he said. “It’s in the cultural DNA that if anyone should be bigger, richer, more successful, it should be the man."
When these couples struggle, it is often over issues like sexual desire or the division of housework and child care, Dr. Doherty said, particularly if the woman loses respect for the man and the man feels insecure about his role in the family.
Yet that dynamic seems to be changing, he and other researchers said, because young people have more egalitarian views about marriage and the division of labor.
Alena Taylor, 28, a management consultant, earns 40 percent more than her husband, Matt, 31, a nonprofit executive. “It has felt like a nonissue,” Mr. Taylor said.
They said they knew that conflict could arise over their division of labor when they have children, including because she travels more and he has greater flexibility. “Because my earnings potential is much higher than his, over time we’ll have to figure that out,” she said.
Researchers say the rise in assertiveness is closely linked to income inequality. The two have increased in tandem, Dr. Schwartz, the sociologist from the University of Wisconsin, said: “People who are married tend to be more advantaged, and on top of that, more advantaged people are marrying people like themselves, so those people tend to be doubly advantaged.”
The effects could become more pronounced in future generations. Studies tell us that parents’ income and education have an enormous effect on children’s opportunities and achievements — and children today are more likely to grow up in homes in which parents are more similar than different.
You're fabulous, gorgeous, smart, funny and everyone loves being around you.
We're so lucky to have you as our Mom. Love you for all you do for the familia. >3
This article originally appeared on Bloomberg.
I'm in the market to buy a home. When I began my search in January, I soon had the sad realization that as a single female earner, it is far more difficult than a couple or single man to fulfill my dream of being a home owner. Why is this when there are so many successful unmarried women? And now that we are right around tax season, unmarried single women are taxed more than married people. I remember saying to my Dad one night, "So I'm being punished by Uncle Sam for not meeting the right one?" I am really looking forward to reading All the Single Ladies and this is a great review.
The working woman gets a lot of marriage advice. There’s Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg’s manifesto for high achievers, which advises readers to find a supportive husband; Marry Smart has words of wisdom from Susan Patton, aka the Princeton Mom, on meeting your mate in college; and Spinster, a memoir by Kate Bolick, offers a road map for how to avoid the ball and chain. All the Single Ladies doesn’t belong on this list, even though it takes its name from a Beyoncé song that tells men to “put a ring on it.”
The book from New York magazine writer Rebecca Traister avoids defining single women as women who aren’t married. Rather, she sees them as a distinct group with their own agenda—which, of course, isn’t news to them. It’s just taken this long for society to start catching up.
The world is difficult to navigate as a single woman; it’s made for married people. Today only 20 percent of Americans wed by age 29, and yet our workplace practices have remained essentially unchanged since about 1960, when 60 percent of young people tied the knot. “By simply living independently,” Traister writes, single women “face an additional set of challenges.” Until the mid-20th century, wives mostly stayed home. The workplace didn’t have to account for what we now call work-life balance: Men made money, and women took care of everything else. But as of 2011 there were more than 30 million unmarried female workers in the U.S. (Not because they’re getting divorced, either. The proportion of women younger than 34 who’ve never gotten hitched is up to almost 50 percent, 12 percentage points higher than it was a decade ago.) These trends are concentrated in cities, but they span classes, races, religions, and regions. Add in the gender wage gap, and the single lady’s position becomes precarious.
Single Ladies’ vision of workplace reform starts with equal-pay protections and a higher federally mandated minimum wage—guarantees that a woman’s labor isn’t discounted because of the presumption that she won’t be alone forever. It also calls for shorter workdays and guaranteed paid vacation—“If we want to account for growing numbers of unmarried people in the professional world,” Traister says, “we must begin to also account for the fact that it is not just brides, grooms, and new parents who require the chance to catch their breath”—as well as federally mandated maternity leave, family leave, and sick leave. Traister stops short of attaching actual numbers to these ideas. The book is more a declaration of rights than a policy proposal.
Not all of Traister’s ideas are mere fantasies. Two-dozen municipalities, including New York and San Francisco, have adopted paid sick leave, and California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey mandate paid family leave. “Like a lot of things, when left up to states or municipalities, there will be very uneven adoption,” says Mary Tavarozzi, who leads group-benefit practices at HR consulting firm Willis Towers Watson. Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are running on paid family leave, but Tavarozzi doesn’t think we’ll see a change at the federal level anytime soon. Partisan gridlock and simple inertia are working against it.
All the Single Ladies isn’t making a case against matrimony. Most Americans marry at some point in their lives; Traister did so in her mid-30s. More people, however, are spending a bigger chunk of their lives solo. Making their lives livable in the meantime, she argues, gives people the choice to wed because they want to, not because they have to.