Many of my college friends live on the west coast. I went to visit for a (very) long weekend recently. I stayed with a friend who has an eighteen-month-old and a seven-week-old, and who is still on maternity leave. We drove around to see lots of other old friends and their babies. Everyone out there is happy I'll be around next spring.
They're all ambitious and successful. They got just enough post-graduate training to get terrific jobs—but not enough to be bitter. Since they plan well, they've all spawned at least once—they got started in their early thirties. They're working on second kids, or talking about thirds. They mostly make more than their husbands, despite having cut back their hours to get more time at home.
None owns an SUV or has hired a nanny. All their husbands do diapers and day-care dropoffs. They make far more than twice what I do and live in houses that are half the size, but cost three times as much. (They were all very interested in what I thought about The Two-Income Trap, which they haven't had time to read.) They think tenure is kind of weird—do I really want to spend the rest of my life in Granolaton?
It's quite an exercise in life comparison to go visit.