January 15, 2005


Empty Nests, and Hearts: Women now have more choices in their lives, but the choices don't extend to how they want to sequence their lives. (DAVID BROOKS, 1/15/05, NY Times)

Over the past 30 years, the fraction of women over 40 who have no children has nearly doubled, to about a fifth. According to the Gallup Organization, 70 percent of these women regret that they have no kids. [...]

It might make sense, for example, to give means-tested tax credits or tuition credits to stay-at-home parents. That would subsidize child-rearing, but in a way that leaves it up to families to figure out how to use it. The government spends trillions on retirees, but very little on young families.

I suspect that if more people had the chance to focus exclusively on child-rearing before training for and launching a career, fertility rates would rise. That would be good for the country, for as Phillip Longman, author of "The Empty Cradle," has argued, we are consuming more human capital than we are producing - or to put it another way, we don't have enough young people to support our old people. (That's what the current Social Security debate and the coming Medicare debate are all about.)

Hurry up, so those unappreciated stay-at-home Dads don't have to find jobs...

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 15, 2005 10:18 AM

Has there been a study on stay-at-home dads? I know of two with widely different backgrounds both of whom did a really good job with their kids. I'm not sure their wives value their efforts any more than the husbands of my stay-at-home-mom generation valued us.

That would be a study I'd value seeing. I'm a stay-at-home-mom who had a career starting when our youngest was a senior in high school. Luckily in those days we had our kids in our early 20's, so I was about the same age as today's new moms who had their careers first and their babies second -- about 40.

I like my sequence better. Maybe I didn't conquer the world as well as I might have if I started at an earlier age, but I didn't have teenagers and menopause at the same time either. Also my kids had younger grandparents. I had to wait until 60 before one of my three offspring had a child. Not complaining mind you. I'm grateful I now have six. For a while there I despaired having any.

Posted by: erp at January 15, 2005 10:54 AM

Look at the age - tail-end boomers.

We adopted. I'm going to be 45 (GACK).

When my mom was 45, I was 22. Big difference.

erp, my grandmother was 48 when I was born. She raised me cos my mom had to work.

Posted by: Sandy P at January 15, 2005 4:00 PM

I'm certain you're not "unappreciated"!
But, to ensure you stay in that status, perhaps you should study the "Lileks Model" and start a JuddRant, the writings of a TheoCon's every day adventures, especially those including his progeny.
I know I'd love it, but, of course, I'm very prejudiced in your favor.

Posted by: Mike Daley at January 15, 2005 8:32 PM


I'm certain of few things in life, but one is that no one cares what goes on in Juddville, thus our attempted avoidance of self-reference.

Posted by: oj at January 15, 2005 9:12 PM

Women have babies when their friends do.

Posted by: Randall Voth at January 16, 2005 8:40 AM

Mr. Judd;

Not even your in-laws? Speaking as someone who does run a "tales from the home front" weblog, let me say that it's the only thing that keeps me in She Who Is Perfect In All Ways' family's good graces, especially her mother. A happy mother-in-law is worth quite a lot.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at January 16, 2005 11:24 AM


Theyt just want pictures of the kids...

Posted by: oj at January 16, 2005 11:30 AM