@ThatGuy yes we are from similar social classes.
Would be curious to see market in reference/details on the sacrifices women make in their work life. My general attitude towards that sort of thing is that it’s not a problem that women make more career sacrifices for children than men do—that’s just down to preferences/comparative advantage, and family is worth making sacrifices for. The problem is when their non-economic contributions aren’t valued, as is often the case. I also think there’s a certain type of feminist attitude which claims something like women shouldn’t make (more) career sacrifices for their children (than their male partners) and doing so is demeaning or unempowered. Imo this is just another way to of devaluing motherhood. If parenthood is valuable just like career—which I think it is, birth rates are plummeting—then saying women shouldn’t contribute more to it than their male partners is as wrong as saying they shouldn’t make more money than their male partners.
On the age gap thing, yes, I’ve also seen first hand many small age gap couples fail. I think women mature faster than men: for one, they have more career success in their twenties and are more likely to buy a house etc. at a younger age. Relatedly, if you ask a 20-year-old boy whether he wants kids he’s usually like “maybe, eventually, haven’t thought about it much”, whereas since about age 15 I've been like YES ASAP. I had boyfriends my own age before, and those relationships failed, in part because of this asymmetry.
The implication that Austin is just with me because I’m young and hot or something is very off: Austin is definitely prettier than me, and also is currently in his objective “prime” (i.e. he looks better now than when he was my age, imo). And I think the positive correlation between finishing college and marital success is because of the mutual correlations with financial stability, emotional stability, and intelligence, rather than because college causes you to be better at marriage. We have all of those other positive factors even though I haven’t finished college. (I did not leave college because I couldn’t finish or didn’t care about my career, I left because I had more exciting projects to work on.)
That is all to say, Austin and I, especially I, occupy a very strange demographic, and the stereotype that comes to mind when you think “20-year-old college drop out marries 28-year-old man and they want to have kids soon” is very far off from who we are.
(I am 21 now but was 20 when we got married)