Career, Family and Love: Can American women (and men) truly have it all?


(Above left: An attentive matchmaker Hellen Chen helping a young bride at her big wedding day.)

A recent published letter by Susan Patton, a human-resource consultant and alumnae of Princeton university, offering her advice to Princeton women students to “find a husband on campus before you graduate,” has sparked waves of heated discussions on the web.

Patton wrote , “ Smart women can’t (shouldn’t) marry men who aren’t at least their intellectual equal. As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market. Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are.”

Writers and bloggers from various college editorials to mainstream publications like Huffington Posts and Wall Street Journal weighed in with their views with thousands of public comments, mostly critical about Patton’s views.

One issue, however, was not addressed in the midst of all the debates: After finding an “intellectual equal,” how modern women actually have a hard time balancing the role of a mother, making advancements in their career while maintaining a satisfying relationship with a spouse.

Ann-Marie Slaughter, also a Princeton Alumnae and who was the director of policy planning for the US State Department, wrote an article in the Atlantic last year called “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All.”

Slaughter decided to leave a job of power in Washington DC to spend more time with her teenage sons and after her decision, she routinely experienced reactions of disappointments to condescending comments to the tune of “I wouldn’t generalize from your experience. I’ve never had to compromise, and my kids turned out great.”

Slaughter wrote, “…the decision to step down from a position of power—to value family over professional advancement, even for a time—is directly at odds with the prevailing social pressures on career professionals in the United States.”

What is not talked about in Slaughter’s analysis is the phenomenon of marriages hitting the rocks from couples simply having ‘no more time’ to talk to each other due to their career commitments or the issue of raising latchkey kids with the latest gadgets to play with, but never having sufficient attention and time of their working parents.

Best-selling author Hellen Chen, a matchmaker for over 10 years marrying more than 100 singles — and an marriage expert interviewed on both independent radio and network shows with FOX, ABC, CBS and NBC, observed that most couples do not plan to fail, but fail to plan.

“Most people have waited too late to fix the problems in their household. Parents who find children that do not talk to them, or couples who find that they have drifted apart after some years, are always at first thinking the problem is light and so they simply ignore it.” Chen said.

“And one day, something major happened and the whole relationship breaks. At that time, how much money one has made in one’s career and how high one has risen in the ranks would not matter.” Chen added.

With the purpose of educating both singles and married couples to learn the ropes of balancing careers and marriage and the relationship with their children, Chen ran comprehensive workshops in Asia and in the US to help career professionals find their footings and resolve marriage problems.

She has counseled countless married and divorced CEOs and professionals like doctors, accountants etc and also executives, managers and students.

“The ability to love and care for your family and spouse despite all the obstacles that could arise within the household or outside, is an ability that needs to be learned. It is no different than all of us needing to spend time to learn our profession well to excel in it.”
Chen smiled.

Chen’s next workshops will be held in Los Angeles on May 4th.


Hellen Chen interviewed on radio.

Click below to play.

Radio Interview



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