Making It Work

in All Posts

I had one of those ‘Where did the time go?’ afternoons. I had a long conference call that occupied most of the morning, and by the time I put the phone down, Henry (and I!) needed lunch.  After, I went on a 2.5 mile run and discovered the note that I had written on my leg earlier in the day.

photo (29)

If I’d written in on my hand, I would’ve washed it away. But the knee!  The knee is safe.


Before I knew it, the day had slipped away, and I was facing one hour to get it all done before I had to leave for the airport for a work trip. I was so frantic in my packing – I know I forgot something important! It was hard to pack, though, because Henry kept crawling into my suitcase and throwing all my clothes out… over and over again…


But, here I am.  In Cincinnati for my layover.  I am doing not one, not two, but FIVE speaking events at three locations over the next two days.


Whew, right?  I am currently enjoying a glass of wine…


Fighting to make the Wifi work…


Eating my greens…


And munching on potato skins. 


Dinner of champions!


Something to Read


Thought you may be interested in this article.  It’s called ‘The Retro Wife: Feminist Who Say They Are Having It All – By Choosing to Stay At Home,’ and it’s about a new ‘trend’ in upper-middle and upper class families for the women to quit her job and choose to stay at home with the kids while the husband works.


It was one of those articles that I was sometimes nodding along to – “yeah, yeah, I can see that!” – and sometimes thinking “whaaaat!??”  As could be predicted, responded with a “oh, no she didn’t" take on the piece.


I’ve been following the recent press about Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg (she has a new book, Lean In, that I really want to read) and Yahoo!’s Marissa Mayer (who has caused quite a stir by banning some ‘pro-family’ business practices, like telecommuting).  Between all that coverage and The New Yorker article on The Retro Wife, I’m left feeling more and more torn about what the ‘new feminism’ is and what it means for a woman like me.  Add to the fact that I’m a new mother with a few small businesses and perpetually feel like I’m choosing between work and Henry, and I’m even more confused.


Thoughts?  I know so many of you are similarly interested in this topic, and even more educated about it than I am (love to hear from you women’s studies scholars!).  I guess I always end up wondering when articles are going to be devoted to men’s choices between work and family…. You know?



  • Kelly March 20, 2013, 8:28 pm

    I think your last sentence sums up my thoughts well. I don’t have kids yet- but I constantly worry about how I will balance it/do it since I know I probably will not be able to stop working, and even if I could, probably would not want to. I doubt my husband worries about these things like I do, and maybe that’s because I’m a stress ball or maybe that is culture. I want all to be equal, but I can’t help thinking I’d be ready to have kids now if I could be the dad… but being the mom, I don’t know if I’m ready.

    • Candice March 21, 2013, 8:25 am

      I 100% agree! Just trying to time a pregnancy with my career is going to be hard enough. I wish I was a man so I could have a child without worrying about if I’ll get maternity leave with pay or without. Or if I’ll need to find a job while I’m pregnant making the search impossible. It’s just not a dilemma that men carry with them. But honestly, I don’t see how it could ever be equal truly.

  • Lauren Perry March 20, 2013, 8:34 pm

    Feminism is allllll about choice. If a woman (or man!) wants to stay home and take care of the house and kids, more power to them. It’s when people start talking about it like it’s a duty of one gender to stay home or like one gender is inherently better at it than another that I start rolling my eyes. Sure, some women are better at being stay at home parents than some men… but I also know a number of women who wouldn’t do so well in that environment (and I know some really amazing stay at home dads).

    You shouldn’t feel like you have to choose work or Henry, but it’s understandable that both take up a lot of your time and you’ll feel torn sometimes. I guess sometimes if we can’t find balance, life forces us to make some sacrifices, but that’s when you should follow your heart, not your “duty”.

    • Stephanie C March 20, 2013, 11:37 pm

      Amen. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      • Sarahf March 21, 2013, 8:44 am

        Exactly. It’s all about choice. Have kids. Work. Don’t work. Don’t have kids. The whole point of feminism is choice.

    • Jen March 21, 2013, 8:42 am

      add another AMEN! ( I was immediatley wanting to click the “like” button after reading your comment)

    • Angie March 21, 2013, 10:51 am

      YES. To me, feminism is all about choice. If you have the CHOICE to work/stay home/talk about gender roles in your partnership, you’re already ahead of the game of many many women.

      I feel incredibly lucky and blessed that we’re in a financial place that I can choose if/how much I want to work, but I have many friends that would LOVE to stay home but have to work because of student loan debt, consumer debt, general bills or insurance issues. I have other friends that would love to work but instead stay home because the cost of daycare is so high, it makes more financial sense. And I have other friends that feel like they “should” do it one way or another, and are miserable.

      Not every woman is lucky enough to get to choose, so to me we still have a long way to go. But I think we’re making progress.

    • Kate S. March 21, 2013, 12:57 pm

      I’d like to offer the perspective that feminism is not about choice–it’s about equality. I think the cultural message that feminism *is* about choice–and the fact that the current wave of feminists believe this–is a convenient way to make us all stop fighting for equality.

      I will say that I think staying at home (if you are able, which brings up the whole other topic of class inequality), can be a wonderful choice for those who want it. I know that if I can cut back on paid work when I have kids, I’ll probably do it because who really wants to work two full time jobs? However, me being a feminist does not automatically make all of my choices feminist choices. I can choose to take my fiance’s name when we marry in July or choose to keep my own, but my fiance has made it clear that he will not consider taking my last name. So if I change my name, is that a feminist action because I had the choice to not do it? It isn’t, because gender inequality informed the choice.

      Again, I’ll say over and over, having choices is a wonderful and valuable thing. YES, you can be a feminist and choose to stay home with your kids, just as you can be a female misogynist and be a 80 hour work week CEO with three kids at home. I just would like for feminists to take pause when we find ourselves settling for choice over equality. If we accept that the fulfillment of feminism is having choices, we’re never going to get equality and we will continue to have to make choices that are inherently informed by patriarchy.

      • Kate S. March 21, 2013, 1:20 pm

        I might also (with deep respect and humility–it is in no way my intent to attack anyone) suggest that it feels good when we hear that feminism is all about choice because it lets us off the hook a bit from feeling like we’re betraying ourselves. I imagine it’s really difficult to identify as a feminist and then make a choice that seems like it’s going against everything feminism has fought fore; this is yet another example of a conundrum patriarchy has placed us in, making decisions that should be individual (i.e. will it be better for my family if I stay home) much more loaded than they would be if we didn’t live in a society that was absolutely saturated with gender inequality. It sucks that in so many decisions we make (do I wear makeup? do I go out alone at night? do I wait for my boyfriend to propose?) force us to weigh feminist values and a desire for equality against personal values and needs. It’s not fair. So when we hear somebody say, “do whatever you want! it’s okay! we won’t take away your feminist badge!” it feels wonderful. It feels validating. It takes away (for a minute) the struggle those of us who question the system live with daily. We shouldn’t have to weigh our desire to participate in the fight for gender equality against our personal needs (not working two full time jobs) or the needs of our families. But we do have to weigh those, because we haven’t reached equality yet. Will staying at home move us toward equality? Who knows. I think it’s probably larger than that. Maybe it’s part of the process.

        I suppose what I’m trying to say is we need to cut ourselves some slack but we also need to keep raising our voices about how it is unjust that the female gender has been set up to always have to question ourselves and our choices, and we really haven’t been given an option for how to win this.

        • Jackie March 21, 2013, 4:10 pm


        • Grace March 21, 2013, 4:40 pm

          Yes, this, a million times this. To say “oh, it’s a choice!” is such an incredibly privileged thing to say. For the vast, VAST majority of the 3 billion women on the planet, there is no choice. No choice in work decisions, no choice in family planning, no choice in childcare, no choice in the overwhelming patriarchal societies that are still by far the majority around the world.

          The discussion raised in Sandburg’s book is important, yes, but it effects such a small percentage of women, even within the United States (the poverty rate is disproportionately high for women in the US, above any other Western nation, most of whom don’t get the choice for where to “lean in”). When you follow the stereotypical gender constructs, it is inherently, by definition, not a feminist choice.

          Like anything else, it doesn’t matter what you say – it matters what you do. If you call yourself a feminist but you are strictly conforming to the patriarchal societal norms and doing nothing to address or change them, I think it’s a bit hypocritical. It’s easy enough to pay lip service to the ideas of feminism and equality, but unless you are actually doing something (with your money, your vote, your time or your actions) then it’s pretty meaningless.

          • Ann Bradshaw March 22, 2013, 1:01 am

            Amen, Grace.

            I can’t help but believing those who preach the “it’s a choice” routine have been fortunate enough, or blessed enough, or lucky enough to have had A CHOICE in what goes on or doesn’t go on in their little world.

            I wonder how much effort was made to talk to those “other” women. The ones who work 2 or 3 jobs, who raise kids alone, who have opinions and who have wants and needs and desires that are far different from those who take the luxury of “choices” for granted.

        • meagan March 21, 2013, 5:02 pm

          Yes! Great points. I really identified with those two posts, thanks for taking your time.

        • Chrissy March 21, 2013, 5:33 pm

          I agree with all everything Kate S. said!

        • Stephanie C March 21, 2013, 11:34 pm

          Thanks for this follow up.. I definitely will be reflecting on the my own choices and how those are informed by the culture surrounding me. I very much agree with what you are saying – I think it’s important to respect the choices we make as women as to where we want to be, but I very much believe that our work environments in the US are not welcoming or accommodating to women.
          It’s unfortunate, because in my field.. once people obtain enough hours for licensure, most women apply for the license, have a kid and take a few years off before going back to work because our work environments demand almost all of our time and dedication. I hope that made sense. All that to say, I agree with you both!

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More March 20, 2013, 9:12 pm

    Enjoy that glass of wine and good luck with all of the events!!!

  • Miranda @ Miranda Runs March 20, 2013, 9:15 pm

    It definitely takes communication between the man and the woman! They need to talk it out and decide whether or not it’s possible for her to stay home (financial wise), if she wants to, if he wants her to, what’s best for the kids… the list can go on and on! I’m definitely of the opinion that I want to be a stay at home mom until my kids are 8-10, so I can be there for all their developmental milestones and create that “mommy trust” that’s so crucial!

    • Monica March 20, 2013, 10:44 pm

      Or between the man and man or between the woman and woman and and father-child bonding is equally important…

    • Leah March 21, 2013, 8:16 am

      For the record, I’m mom who works full-time. My daughter trusts me completely and I’ve yet to miss a single so-called “developmental milestone.” Just because I work doesn’t mean I’m not “there” for my kid.

      • Angie March 21, 2013, 10:53 am

        Yeah, that part made me cringe.

      • Emily March 21, 2013, 4:26 pm

        I think there is a huge, huge difference between working, and “being there” for your child. I would bet money that you put in tons of time and energy finding a nanny/daycare/support system that is benefitting your child, as well as the fact that you maximize the time you spend with him or her, and your child will benefit from that investment. We all invest in our kids differently based on our needs as people/parents/families and our child’s needs as well.

        • Stephanie March 21, 2013, 8:16 pm

          I never intended to stay home and actually have an advanced degree in a lucrative field. However, once I had my daughter I felt that I had to. Although I dont blame working mothers I dont feel like its the same level of “being there” for your child as being home. I mean, it literally is not. There is someone else doing a good portion of the childcare. Ideally, I think a part-time situation while the child is young would combine the best of both worlds if feasible. Single parents clearly have little option to do this so I get the full time and when there are other circumstances present, but all in all my mindset COMPLETELY shifted when I had my daughter. I guess I am sort of a feminist housewife.

  • Cynthia March 20, 2013, 9:21 pm

    I agree with Lauren that feminism is all about choice. Staying home with your kids does not make you less of a feminist. I think that feminists fought for our right to choose what the best life is for us and our families. If a woman chooses to stay home, then fine. If she chooses to work, that’s fine too. I hate that some people on both sides make the other side feel guilty for their choice.

  • Leslie March 20, 2013, 9:29 pm

    I occasionally work from home when my kids have a day of no school. It often leaves me feeling inadequate as a mom (because I have to get some work done) and a bad worker because I am not as productive as I am at the office. I prefer to keep my work life at work and get home at a great time and have super quality home time an zero work on weekend. It is what works for me.

    • Angie March 21, 2013, 10:55 am

      Same here, Leslie. I will work from home in an absolute pinch (sick kid, bad weather, etc.) but I’m definitely less productive in every aspect and it’s not ideal. I want to be an awesome employee when I’m working and an awesome mom when I’m at home, so those two need distinct separation for me to be successful.

  • Sarah March 20, 2013, 9:31 pm

    As a SAHM with a master’s degree, I guess I am one of those “retro housewives”. Mostly, I’m just grateful that it was a choice I got to make. It works for our family. Most of my friends are working moms and that’s working for their families. At the end of the day, if mama’s happy, everyone’s happy. You can nit pick and start talking about “equal division of housework” but what is equality? It’s about getting what you need.

  • Jennifer March 20, 2013, 9:41 pm

    I am currently staying home to take care of my son. To be honest, it never occurred to me that I couldn’t be a feminist and a stay at home mom. I just wanted to take care of my son myself and I made WAY less money than my husband does, so me staying home made the most sense.

  • Sana March 20, 2013, 9:46 pm

    I have never written a note on myself…

  • Ja @Athlete Within Ja March 20, 2013, 9:50 pm

    Hey, I’m from Cincinnati! 🙂 Welcome! 🙂
    I like where you wrote your note… YUP! The knee is the safest place! 🙂 I’ll keep that in mind! 🙂

  • Lizzie March 20, 2013, 9:52 pm

    I so know what you mean! It reminds me of the episode on SATC when Charlotte quits her job to be a full-time wife, and how it’s okay because feminism is about ‘choice’. In a gender and sexuality class I took last year, my lecturer talked about a
    conversation she had with her husband about the lack of options women experience in the workforce and gender discrimination, and he challenged her to think about
    the pressure men face in their gendered role as ‘provider’ and ‘protector’. An interesting counterargument I think..

  • Mary March 20, 2013, 9:52 pm

    Thanks so much for the article!! It was an instant share on my facebook. As a young married woman I can’t help but notice that even without kids, I do most the dishes! LOL.

  • Emily March 20, 2013, 9:59 pm

    PS It’s New York Magazine, not the New Yorker. I read both, but NY Mag is not nearly as well researched or as well written as the New Yorker… as evidenced by this article. Wow, it’s easier for rich ladies in NYC to stay home with their children than to keep working full time? NO WAY. The only reason I wasn’t offended by the article was because it’s so poorly put together.

  • Holly March 20, 2013, 10:02 pm

    Re: “I guess I always end up wondering when articles are going to be devoted to men’s choices between work and family…. You know?” You do get the point of Lean In…right? She is trying to change the narrative so that it ISN’T only women who end up making those decisions. If we improve women’s standing in the workplace (and ensure they receive equal pay for equal work), it will be less of the “go to” option that women are the ones that stay at home. Because unfortunately, right now it makes fiscal sense for most family that the woman is the primary caretaker because she doesn’t earn as much.

    • Ruby Leigh March 21, 2013, 12:29 am

      Spot on.

      • Jackie March 21, 2013, 8:38 am

        For most men, though, it doesn’t matter what a woman makes…they want or prefer her to stay home.

        • Caitlin March 21, 2013, 8:50 am

          That was what this article was about… That women are ‘better’ at home life.

          • Jackie March 21, 2013, 9:10 am

            Sorry Caitlin, I knew what the article was about…I was just responding that it honestly wouldn’t matter how much a woman will make for a lot of men. And that just bugs me. Maybe it’s true…I don’t know. And maybe it shouldn’t bug me.

            But the idea that just because I am a woman I am better at cooking, cleaning, and maintaining the house, does that mean a man should not be equally good also? I guess I don’t see why that is something that is still thought of as women’s work…when EVERYONE should be able to keep a clean and smooth-running house.

          • Caitlin March 21, 2013, 10:23 am

            Oh I didn’t say that to disagree with you, I was just commenting 🙂

          • Jacquelyn @ justjacq March 21, 2013, 12:50 pm

            I didn’t see any disagreement! I have a blog post going up tomorrow. I went on and on and on about this topic lol.

          • Alexa March 21, 2013, 10:13 am

            There are actually quite a few articles out right now about the new generation of hands on Dad, and the “Dad guilt” they feel. Here’s an example:

          • Caitlin March 21, 2013, 10:21 am

            Awesome! Thanks for this link.

    • Amanda March 21, 2013, 8:43 am

      In our house, I made more money, so I kept my day job and our son has WAHD (works two nights/week as an instructor). It just made sense financially. Although, our son has a really kick ass WAHD, I still feel like I would rather be the one to be home and take my baby to activities, put him down for naps, and chores every day. It actually sounds magical. And I do love my work, have an amazing boss, and a great salary to boot. Unfortunately for us, I don’t have a choice right now. To support our family and have quality of life (vacations, need to buy a home, etc.), I must work. I am very lucky to live across the street from work and go home for lunch. So, I am only separated from my baby for 4 hours at a time 🙂

      • Rebecca March 21, 2013, 11:07 am

        Both of my parents have worked since before I was born. My mom probably had maternity leave after I was born, but since then she and Dad have both made money. I went to daycare until I was about junior high age and then I became a latch-key kid–home before my parents. My dad had a work schedule I could never figure out, so he was home some days and not home other days. (So many 12-hour days on and then a couple off.) In our house, the housework is split between who’s got the time to do things. My mom would rather not cook, but she does it anyway because 1) we need to eat 2) we aren’t going to constantly eat out and 3) she has the time to do it, where Dad sometime doesn’t. Currently she’s working TWO jobs (one is like three hours a night and Saturdays) because she feels she needs the extra money that a second job can give. With both kids in college, money is a little tight. Every little bit helps.
        I don’t know how much my parents make, if their salaries are equal (or close) or not, but I think they made the choice together to both work because they felt they needed to to have a good life. I don’t think that my mom would have wanted to be a SAHM, actually. I’ve never asked, but I have a feeling she was going to work no matter what. And I don’t think my dad was going to complain or try to talk her out of it.

  • Kathleen@ New Version of Me March 20, 2013, 10:02 pm

    I feel ya! I constantly go through that struggle – feeling so guilty for working and not being at home (when I really want to) – also with choosing to do something that makes me happy and is good for me vs. spending time with the kids. I keep reminding myself that this time is only for a little while, the next thing we know, they will be grown up! I really struggle with not wanting to miss ANYTHING.

  • Bonnie March 20, 2013, 10:30 pm

    Totally agree with Kelly above – I worry/think about this all the time and feel that I’m already stressed about having kids before they are even here. I know deep down that it will work itself out but it’s hard not to think about how to manage it all. I do find it helpful to look for role models and sort of glean some hope and ‘guts’ from them! I think that’s also why people are so drawn to these women in high positions of power to see how they handle it all.

  • Z March 20, 2013, 10:35 pm

    I don’t have children yet, but I know that I just would never be able to be a stay at home mom, even if we could afford it. I think it’s a very personal choice for families and should be made very carefuly, but it’s not anybody’s job to judge those who choose one way or another. I do not want people judging me when I will be choosing to go back to work (even if it comes to the hubs being a stay at home!) because that’s just what would be best for our family. On the same note, I do not judge those who choose to stay at home. It’s all aobut being able to make the choice and not be forced into one thing or another. Being a stay at home seems like a very hard job in its own right, just like being a working mother. Everyone should do what is best for their family and for themselves.

  • Jessica March 20, 2013, 11:05 pm

    Have you seen the Makers documentary on PBS? You can watch it for free online here: and I found it fascinating! It goes into the history of the feminist movement in America, and talks about its modern incarnations. It really helped my understanding of the movement and of the way it is expressed today.

  • Erin @ Living Made Healthy March 20, 2013, 11:27 pm

    This is confusing to me because I read about Sheryl Sandberg’s new book in Cosmo and it seemed she was pro-“having it all.” Family and career!

  • Rachel March 20, 2013, 11:37 pm

    I don’t think anyone (male or female) can “have it all.” Life just doesn’t work that way. We have to prioritize and choose what we value most. Ultimately, I don’t think any career can make up for an unhappy family life. After all, it is our relationships that stick with us and matter the most (to males and females). I believe I’m a feminist because I have a right to choose what I do with my life, and also that I should not be judged for those choices. As an unmarried single woman, I am so grateful for women (and men) who paved the way for me to be successful in the workplace. But I would hate to think that the pendulum had swung so far that I would be criticized for choosing to stay at home to mother my children while they are young.

  • Chantal March 21, 2013, 12:06 am

    As a woman in science, I come across these feminism issues a lot… And my opinion is constantly changing. I just think it’s good we’re talking about these things! I want to read Lean In too.

    Really I just wanted to comment to say I love your shoes.

  • Daria March 21, 2013, 12:21 am

    Caitlin, I’m just curious, when you go on business trips, does your husband stay home with Henry? Or does he take him to the clinic? Or do you have some sort of childcare arrangements, like a nanny? Or does DadHTP look after him? How do you guys make it work???

    • Caitlin March 21, 2013, 8:24 am

      Kristien takes off from the clinic and stays at home with him all day. We just push his patient load to the previous or next week and add a day of necessary to accommodate it.

  • Katie @ peacebeme March 21, 2013, 12:23 am

    I just had to comment. I’m a stay at home wife, not really by choice but because I have an inflammatory nerve disorder that makes it hard for me to find a job I could actually do. I’m lucky we can live on my husband’s income. I want to be normal and work more than anything, but I find myself defending myself about not working all the time. I think we have swung too far the other way where even women who have kids (as if that isn’t a HUGE job) are secretly judged for not working. I’ve had many rude comments/jokes thrown my way (by people who don’t know about my health problems, mostly) and how many times have you heard “oh, she’s JUST a stay at home mom”? I believe marriage is a partnership. I do all the cooking and cleaning, etc, and my husband loves me no matter what my disabilities are. I just try to focus on how the only people who’s opinions matter on this subject are mine and my husband’s. I find the harshest judges on this subject are other WOMEN!

    • Jackie March 21, 2013, 8:41 am

      I think that really does depend on where you live. In the South, I have the same thing done to me as a professional woman.

      Women and men need to just stop passing judgment on other people’s choices. If someone chose to work, awesome, if someone chose to stay home, awesome! I’m sorry that you’ve had judgment passed on you 🙁 I have always tried to calmly and politely say my side of the story when that has happened to me.

    • Amanda March 21, 2013, 8:48 am

      They’re just jealous they can’t be home with their kids too. Pay no attention to anyone who says “just a stay at home mom!” It’s an amazing job. I am very envious of moms who have this option. My husband is disabled so is unable right now to earn as much as me, so our baby has a WAHD.

  • miss pip kelly March 21, 2013, 1:15 am

    ” I guess I always end up wondering when articles are going to be devoted to men’s choices between work and family…. You know?”

    THIS is why we need to keep worrying about feminism, you hit the nail on the head there for me. Feminism is simply the freedom to make empowered choices. Men this is just status quo given, but until men’s choices receive as much scrutiny as ours or vice versa, I don’t think we’ve ‘won’.

    I changed jobs last summer and my new position has meant getting to interact with a lot of high powered women in financial services. The majority that I deal with at this level are the main bread winners and either have stay at home hubbies or full time plus nannies.

    Sometimes I think this is great, and sometimes it seems to further reinforce the idea that no matter how ‘successful’ you are- it is far from ‘having it all’. But should they even be what we want?!

  • Mary March 21, 2013, 3:49 am

    I love that you write notes to yourself on your knee! 🙂

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed March 21, 2013, 7:37 am

    I don’t have any babes yet. I always thought I’d want to stay home with them but now I’m an engineer in an office full of men. I’m not sure if my career would ever recover if I took off a few years! I’m not sure what my path will be when I finally do have little ones, I guess it will depend on our finances.

    • Sunny March 21, 2013, 9:23 am

      THIS. I am currently pregnant and I am wondering how they are going to handle the 8 unpaid weeks without me. I do not think in engineering you have the choice male or female to take a few years off and come back. You’ll be so out of the loop and finding that next job will be hard if not impossible.

  • Jamie March 21, 2013, 7:52 am

    Thanks for sharing those articles! In my opinion, you can’t really “have it all” because at some point you will have to choose b/t your spouse, children, job. But personally, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I stay home with my kids but I grew up with a mother who worked full time and did some traveling for her job too. Looking back, I don’t EVER remember feeling like she didn’t spend enough time with me. In fact, we have always had a very close relationship and I admire her for how hard she works.

    I guess the real question is: how much of their parents’ time do kids need? I’m glad I get to stay home wih my kids but I don’t think they are better off than a child whose mother works. And I find the idea that I’m biologically more suited for this job insulting to my husband who is an amazing father. He also multitasks just as well – if not better – than I do. The only reason he works and I stay home is because a) I wanted to, and b) His salary is better able to provide for our whole family.

  • kwithme March 21, 2013, 8:00 am

    I am also a part time WAHM with a masters degree. We decided that I would stay home because 1) we wanted one of us to do so 2) my husband loves his job and I am ambivalent. I am a software engineer and I find that working takes the same (emotional) energy as parenting for me. While I am not in love with parenting, I am a heck of a lot better at it when I don’t work. Now that my kids are in school (middle and elementary), it is like working a split shift. I am “on” intensely from 6-8 in the morning and 3-9 at night.

    Also, if I am solving an issue while working, it is really difficult to put the problem away and be the parent I want to be. It makes me distracted, impatient and ill-tempered. While it is a good zen exercise to not be that way with my kids at those times, it is not how I want to live my life on a regular basis.

  • Kim March 21, 2013, 8:40 am

    There’s nothing wrong with being a SAHM, and I used to think I’d be the last person on earth to say that. I have a master’s in engineering and did the corporate thing for 4 years before quitting to start my own company and be a self-employed WAHM. I don’t feel guilty about it b/c the corporate job was making me sick (physically in a way I couldn’t ignore anymore), I missed my husband, I hated being a “power couple” (nobody ever tells you that power couples don’t get it on!!) and wanted more peace before we brought a kid into the mix. I didn’t quit out of the blue though, I worked two jobs for two years to be able to save up enough to feel comfortable making the switch, and I’m glad now to be able to raise my kids myself, even though an economist would say it’s more cost-effective to put them in day care and go back to work.

  • Lily March 21, 2013, 8:45 am

    Most of the time, I agree with statement that, “feminism is about having a choice.” Whether that is used to be a SAHM or a full-time working mother, it is great for women to make the choice on their own. That being said, many women DON’T make this choice on their own–as evidenced in several of the comments above, spouses are making these decisions based on which partner draws a higher salary. And overall, women continue to earn less than men! So it’s not really an individual or a couple’s choice…sometimes, it’s forced upon them by societal values (or lack thereof) that don’t reflect a females’s true professional worth.

    I don’t believe that all women should decide to stay at work while their partner’s take on household duties, but I also don’t see how women continuing to pull out of the workforce will help lead to the change that needs to happen. This is a tough situation, and maybe even a moral dilemma for some people. I’m just glad the conversations are happening, so that more people are aware of their options and the reasons behind them.

    • Charise March 22, 2013, 9:14 am

      A very good point! I am all about choice feminism, and want families to make the decisions that work best for them individually. However, as you and others have said, it isn’t always about choice. To advance the feminist cause, there are fundamental issues that still need addressed that won’t always be solved by women making whatever choice they want to individually – things like women making less than men, being less likely to move up the corporate ladder, societal/cultural norms about who is better suited/”innately better” at childcare and housekeeping, etc. It’s definitely a struggle between finding that balance that works for individuals and what will ultimately lead to more equality.

  • Charity Dawn March 21, 2013, 8:51 am

    I read both of those articles and have so many thoughts on it. I believe my blog post tonight will be regarding this topic as well 🙂
    I grew up with a working mom. I do not have a good relationship with her. I do not remember her ever being present in our lives. When she got home from work, I remember her reading. She did not engage with us. My aunt was also a working mom, she was always going places with her children and taking an active role in their lives. I really believe its how you handle the situation. Some ppl can “have it all” a career and a good family life. Yes there will be events missed by mom or by dad but as long as one of them is there, that’s what matters.
    I am still on maternity leave (YAY Canada for 1 year paid leave) but will be going back to work in 6 weeks due to finances, technically I still have 3 months left. However I will be working night shifts. My husband will be working day shifts. So he will work 7am-3:30pm and I’ll be working 5pm-1:30am. Yes this means I will not sleep. Yes this will take a while getting use to. But one of us will always be there with Alexander until he’s 2 or so. We have chosen to do this for a few reasons the first being finances. While we both have ok paying jobs for our area we want to be able to afford to give Alexander the things we want him to have. We also believe its important for him to bond with both of us not just mommy. This will help that a lot. While we feel child care will eventually be an important part in his life we want to have a good solid home life for him before we put him in full time child care. (plus the cost of child care drops 200$ a month once they turn 2)
    I also feel its important for me to return back to work so I’m not just “MOM”. In my opinion working gives you an identity. You need to have your own interests and hobbies and activities other then being mom. It’s super healthy for you mentally and emotionally and its healthy for your child to see you engaged in rolls other then being their care giver. While you feel like your choosing between the two I believe as long as you are present when you are with Henry and active in his life, I think he will learn from an early age how strong his mama is. 🙂

  • Jackie March 21, 2013, 9:06 am

    I’m curious as to what a SAHD or WAHD has to say about the notion that women are better suited to stay at home with children. Is that because we were given dolls when we were young and they were given cars? Is it how we were raised because men were the physically stronger half when physical strength was important in providing for a family? I don’t know – I don’t know if this is a learned trait or a natural trait. I think it very well could be a little bit of both.

    I just feel like that discounts everything that dad’s do. And I also think so many men believe it because they were raised to believe it. A lot of my guy friends in engineering want their wives to stay home because 1) they believe a parent must stay home with the child and 2) that women are much better suited because they have more patience, more nurturing feelings, etc. They have said, on occasion, that women are better suited to be parents. I personally do not want to have a child with a man who does not think he can be a good parent…but that could just be me. 🙂

    • Caitlin March 21, 2013, 10:23 am

      Agree with last thought times a million

  • Kara March 21, 2013, 9:11 am

    Any womens’ studies scholars are surely going to stay home with their kids because there are no jobs with that degree.

    • Christine March 21, 2013, 11:14 am

      Not sure if this is supposed to be funny, but it’s actually quite offensive.

      • Kara March 21, 2013, 4:13 pm

        Didn’t mean to offend, being a mother IS a full time job. I read articles all the time about how it should pay over 100,000 a year and that sure is a comforting fact.

  • Sarah March 21, 2013, 9:14 am

    Whether being a working parent is a choice or not, it definitely throws life into a bit of chaos when there is no “housewife” at home. When I went back to working in an office (after many years of freelancing or working from home), it certainly put new pressures on our family; buying groceries can seem like a gargantuan task, and a lot of our so-called domestic bliss has dissipated now that we both have a ‘second job’ at home. Even with a really helpful partner, or with splitting things 50-50, it sometimes feels there are not enough hours in the day. With a young baby we are muddling through, but I can see how it’s going to get more complicated when that baby is a school age kid with a million activities to prep/shop/plan for. I am happy with my choice to work (even if it was driven by economics), but I am aware that something is lost in the process. It’s hard to start dinner at 8, go to bed at 9:30, and do it all over again all the while feeling guilty that you are on your laptop when you should be on the floor playing with your kid.

  • Wendi @ A Southern Yogi March 21, 2013, 9:30 am

    My question is – why does it have to be either or? Why do we have to be so focused on black and white and not just accept that sometimes, there can be both. We can have women who choose to fight the battle of women in the workplace – who choose career over family – who help women get equality in the workplace – along with women who decide to stay home because that’s what they want to do – or a woman who decides to do both?

    It doesn’t mean that any of them are wrong. I feel like if we really want to battle feminism in society, we should focus on things that degrade women like the unreal expectations society has about what our weight should be, how women are portrayed as sex objects in the media, etc. That seems like a battle that’s important to the cause. If men could learn to see us as partners instead of something to conquer in the bedroom, then maybe we can respectfully choose whatever we want to do without it having to be a representation as our value.

    • Nicole March 21, 2013, 10:52 am

      I don’t think men are the only roadblock in women’s choice. So many women have traditional gender roles so ingrained in their belief systems that they’re just as guilty. Women can subvert women, just like men can. This is society’s problem, not just men’s problem. I can’t even tell you how many WOMEN I’ve heard say they don’t want a female president, making jokes like, “Well, I know what I’m like during my time of the month, so I know that doesn’t make for a good president!” Or how women treat other women who choose to have sex with multiple people. Or how breastfeeding moms judge non-breastfeeding moms. Or how executive women with excellent performance are most often told that people “just don’t get along with them”, whereas men are rarely told that, and it stems from belief that women executives are ball-busters, bitches, cold, etc. These things are not all male-driven. Women perpetuate these things just as often as men.

    • Jackie March 21, 2013, 12:03 pm

      That should be the case, and I fully agree with you. I think where that becomes muddled and hurts a woman’s case to work is the notion that women are “better suited” to home life…and how the perpetuates in all men, and how the creates unrealistic expectations for women to do it all, etc.

      Women who stay home are awesome. Being a mom is awesome. Working women are awesome. People should be free to choose whatever they want. But women shouldn’t be the first pick to stay home (if they don’t want to) because they are supposedly better at it.

  • Britt@MyOwnBalance March 21, 2013, 9:42 am

    My husband and I do not have any children yet but the thought of whether I’ll work or stay home once we do have kids has come up on occasion. Why is it assumed that I would be the one to stay home? Well, for starters, even though I have a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and a law degree, I continue to make less than my husband who holds only a bachelor’s degree. So practically speaking, losing my income has less of an impact. But there is also a nurturing component that I have more than him. I love to plan fun evenings for the two of us or cook something special. For me, doing these things is more important than any job. My husband loves his work and could never give it up. All that being said, if I do stay home, I like to think that I would still have some ability to work from home while caring for my child(ren). We’ll have to wait and see though!

  • Emily March 21, 2013, 9:44 am

    Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to read….super interesting topic! I always though I’d NEVER want to be a stay at home mom, but now that I’m married and thinking about kids in the near future, I hate that I feel somewhat guilty that now I think it would be nice to have that option. It’s such a strange dynamic the impact on women to men!

    BTW, love the note on your knee! 🙂

    • Angie March 21, 2013, 11:05 am

      I had the exact opposite! I always thought I would be a SAHM, and couldn’t get back to work fast enough after maternity leave 🙂 Love my little boy of course, but I’m a much better mom and wife getting into an office 2 days a week!

  • Heather March 21, 2013, 9:51 am

    I work full time, but as I read the retro article, I didn’t see anything she said she did for her family, that I don’t do for mine. My husband and I focus less on all things being equal and more on areas in which each of us excel or find enjoyment. I think every person’s situation is unique. We don’t exist in a vacuum and what might be best for one family won’t be best for another. I do not believe having a parent stay at home is always best for the children and I don’t believe having both parents work is always best for the children. However, I do believe all too often women carry guilt for whatever choice we make because we are always comparing ourselves to others we think are doing it better. All too often women take an opinion that differs from their own as a personal insult which makes it difficult to ever have meaningful conversations about these types of topics.
    I don’t think we’ll see articles about men choosing between work and family not only because of gender stereotypes, but also because men aren’t as likely as women to take the bait dangled by the media and work themselves into a hot debate/frenzy.
    I did see a lot of truth in the statement “so many women want to control their husband’s parenting”. I can’t even count how often I hear another mom complain that her husband doesn’t do enough or that she can’t get away because someone has to take care of the kids only to discover the problem has more to do with her letting go of total control and accepting that it not being done her way doesn’t mean it is being done the wrong way. I don’t think this is intentional, but a result of a feeling that if everything isn’t perfect (or at least doesn’t appear to be perfect), then we are failures.
    I think we put many of these burdens (guilt, perfectionism, jealousy) on our own shoulders and we can choose to remove them.

  • Lindsay March 21, 2013, 10:21 am

    Love potato skins! But where were you able to find them without bacon? Just wondering if there is a franchise out there that makes them. Would love them sans bacon.

    • Caitlin March 21, 2013, 10:24 am

      Max and Ermas!

      • Anne March 22, 2013, 7:37 am

        The salad looks so… sad.

  • Nicole March 21, 2013, 10:41 am

    It’s interesting that you mention men’s choices, because I think society often mis-perceives those as being a side-effect of women’s choices. They think that OF COURSE men would only choose to continue to be providers, and so if that’s not what they’re doing, it must be because of the woman. My husband and I have talked about him being a SAHD and me working if we ever choose to have kids. Family has been very judgmental about this–why him, why not you? It doesn’t ever cross their mind that maybe my husband doesn’t really LIKE working and would rather stay at home. They see it more as me refusing to give up my career. So to them, it’s not his choice, not our choice, but MY choice.

    The same can also be said about our current choice to remain childfree. We’ll both be turning 27 this year, and honestly don’t really see kids anytime soon (if at all). People don’t ever judge my husband negatively, but they definitely judge me and see it as fully my choice (when in reality, it was completely mutual). They think I must not be maternal, I’m cold, I’m selfish, etc., but my husband never gets that. Again, everybody blames the woman for doing something non-traditional.

    I feel like society at large blames women for being progressive/alternative/non-traditional, and think that the man is just being ensnared by the woman or something. They never think that maybe the man wants a non-traditional lifestyle as well. It makes me feel that being a feminist is still very much seen as “silly” or “bad”. I also think a lot of older people tend to look down on people like me and think I’m just going through this silly non-traditional phase that will be over as soon as I turn 30. It’s so frustrating.

  • Bobbie March 21, 2013, 10:46 am

    I have also been wanting to read the “Lean In” book. As a mother of three children who gave up my career to stay home I can speak to the fact that you never stop questioning your decisions/choices when it comes to this.
    I hate to admit that sometimes after a rough day with the kids I find myself bitter towards my husband who leaves for 10 hours a day and probably feels more of a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day. I try to explain to him that I do the same things over and over day in and day out. Each day starting the same list of endless chores. I ask him to imagine going in to work each day and finding that someone has undone all he has done the day before b/c that’s what my work is like. I do it, it comes undone, gets messed up, gets dirtied and I do it again.
    Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m doing an important thing here (raising 3 happy healthy girls) but sometimes I don’t feel very appreciated or accomplished.
    Sometimes I feel like I should just go back to work even at least part time but then when I think about leaving my girls with someone else for 40+ hours a week, or even 20, I know it’s not the right choice for me. I don’t want to miss the school parties, first words and everyday drama. 😉
    My point is that no matter what, as a mom, you are always going to question whether you are doing enough, doing the right thing..being a good parent. I don’t think men struggle with this as much because obviously their role is more defined as a provider.

  • elizabeth March 21, 2013, 11:10 am

    I loved reading all the comments on this post! I never thought and still don’t think being a stay at home mom or dad is weird. And that’s coming from someone who had parents that worked full time through my childhood. I came home from school to a babysitter each day. But I don’t have negative feelings towards my parents for doing what they felt was right, I think it only encouraged me to follow my gut and do what I feel is right for me. Not what others think is right.

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action March 21, 2013, 11:36 am

    I love this entire debate! A few weeks ago, I was listening to the radio and they were discussing how a recent “study” said that in couples where the men do more chores, the couple has less sex. It made me laugh because as anyone who’s ever taken a statistics class nows, correlation does not equal causation. How would they ever test this? I think they just asked couples how often they did it, and then how they split the chores.

    I feel like it’s related to this because it’s this idea that women should be the one who stays at home and is more “nurturing” so should cook, clean and prepare the home for her man. Which is ridicolous!

    A great debate Caitlin!

  • Jacquelyn @ justjacq March 21, 2013, 11:52 am

    I work in finance and have Bloomberg TV on behind me all day so I have been hit to death with Sandberg and Mayer. There is also an article in Marie Claire about this issue. I don’t know what to think… on one hand Sandberg’s comment that there is no work-life balance bothered me. Either she or someone else in the MC article said if you want to get ahead in business you have to give up everything else. Immediately my back went up and I thought, “why can’t we have it all? Why can’t we get ahead in business and have whatever else it is we want?” I got pretty indignant (that’s my favorite word, btw) but then I realized, hey these ladies are probably right and it’s about time someone says the truth. When you want to excel in one area of your life, be it work, family, health, anything, then other parts suffer. It is impossible to give 100% to multiple things and you have to make a choice. It might have to be as black and white as the ladies in the MC article was making it, but there is a give and take there. I really liked what the founder of said in response to Mayer. She said that every business person has to make a decision that is best for their company and she doesn’t know what kind of situation Mayer was in when she made that change. For, it works in their environment for people to work from home. It is so important to remember that we don’t know the real reason behind Mayer’s decision… maybe too many people were taking advantage and work was suffering? Who knows. Overall, I think it is important to define this for yourself and not worry about what others are thinking. okay, this post warrants it’s own blog post.

  • Bridget Miller March 21, 2013, 12:20 pm

    thank you for posting such great articles!!!

  • Liz March 21, 2013, 12:49 pm

    I really recommend “Why Have Kids” by Jessica Valenti! She is an amazing feminist with a young child who is juggling her career and child. She answers your question — why aren’t there articles or discussions about men’s work/family balance? She breaks down the social structures and culture that makes career/life balance an issue in the first place. A must read for all women!

  • stacy March 21, 2013, 12:52 pm

    New feminism will be when women and men stop criticizing the choices of other women, and let every woman do what she and her family decide is best.

    It’s so annoying that this women was like “No professional sacrifice is worth it if my children aren’t taken care of the right away!” To assume only a mother can care for her children in the “right” way is so ridiculous…I was taken care of by neighbors, family, and preschools while my mother worked…sometimes my dad cared for me if his work schedule allowed it, and I don’t believe myself to be not raised “right.”

    Likewise, it irritates me when working women say that stay at home moms should do something “more important.” That is ridiculous as well. If she wants to stay at home, it is her business!

    This conversation is SO TIRED.

  • Leslie March 21, 2013, 12:59 pm

    I think that my biggest concern with all debates of this nature is that they presume such significant things: that women always have the choice of whether or not to work, and that the decisions that educated women in committed relationships make are the only ones that define modern day feminism. Not every person, let alone every woman, is equally career-driven/family-oriented, and so many people that would love to choose one over the other are not in a financial or physical condition to make that choice. Additionally, ‘having it all’ doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. The very idea that we are still trying to put labels on ourselves and our choices is proof that we haven’t learned to respect one another enough to understand that we are all trying to do the best we can with what we have to work with.

  • Zulkey March 21, 2013, 1:00 pm

    you know, I react more to these New York Mag type stories more with cynicism about this style of reporting than the story itself. is this really a trend that’s sweeping the nation? Or did the writer find a few examples that fit a topic that the editors knew would rile people up? Now that I’m a mom I just CAN’T with these “mothers today are…” stories. I’m not working because it’s the hot thing to do: it’s to pay the mortgage and yeah, it kind of suck when I feel like maybe the baby has a better time at daycare than he does at home. And I know moms who stay at home who are doing that because that’s what worked for them and it’s not all sunshine and roses either. but middle ground and shades of gray don’t make for attention-grabbing pieces.

  • Kristi March 21, 2013, 1:19 pm

    Growing up I always wanted to eventually be a SAHM b/c that’s what I grew up with and in my affluent area it was pretty much the norm. Most of my friends had SAHMs and the moms that worked usually had ‘hobby jobs’ that were PT. When I got my masters degree, got married, and started working I realized the world was an expensive place and I had been lucky and spoiled as a child. Then came a few years of volunteering abroad in latin america where women take care of the house, kids, and cook 3 meals a day from scratch. The whole experience gave me a break from the rat race and made me realize that I was only going to get one chance at life. I’m now a SAhM with a 4mo old and it has been a major adjustment but I love it. And honestly, in the area I live now my income would cover childcare and not much else so actually the smarter financial decision for us was for me to stay home.

  • Lisa March 21, 2013, 1:29 pm

    I have a bachelors degree.
    I stay home with our 2 year old.

    Gotta be honest. When it says women are “better” I think they’re just saying women are “often” better.
    Staying home isn’t something “most” men can/even want to do.

    Can/do some? YES
    Are they awesome at it? YES

  • Kathy March 21, 2013, 1:29 pm

    I worked the entire time my children were growing up. Not by choice. My husband’s mother worked and he thought it made sense that I also work. I never wanted to work once I had children. My mother stayed at home. She was the one that taught me about life. I learned her values, her ideals, her morals, I had her love and assurance. Working from home, to me, would be much like being at home with your children all day. Yes, you set aside specific work time, but you are still available if your children need you. It is every woman (and man’s) prerogative to work or not, but I personally believe if mothers (or fathers) were to stay home and raise their own children, there would be a lot less teen problems later in life. Children need security, love, acceptance. They need to have confidence and assurance. They honestly don’t get that from babysitters or people outside the family. I know. My children went through a lot of childcare providers. And to most of them it was a ‘job’. It was hard on them. I never wanted my children to grow up learning the values of other people. Their standards did not always agree with my standards and my children were pulled in what to accept and believe. I don’t know anything about the feminist movement. I only wanted to do what was best for my children. However, on that note, with the economy like it is today, most families need to work outside the home in order to make ends meet. It is a tough situation. But one that must be made by the individual family.

  • Rachel March 21, 2013, 1:56 pm

    I think the topic is interesting. I think both of the articles are right for certain women. I think they are both wrong for certain women. Why should all women behave a certain way? The new feminism should just be doing what makes you happy. If it makes you happy to be a stay at home mom, be a stay at home mom; if it makes you happy to work really hard and be a CEO of a company, be a CEO. And if you want to be somewhere in between, that’s fine also. The problem lays when we make women who want to be CEOs stay at home (or vis versa). Feminism was about giving women the choice and realizing you cannot have it all (be a CEO and stay at home) but you can have what makes you happiest, and people (and society) should allow women to do that guilt free.

  • Lori March 21, 2013, 3:36 pm

    personally , i am so sick of “this gender is better this, this gender is better at that” when it comes to work, home, any/and everything. when will people just admit that it’s about personality. some men gossip. some women love yard work. some men can multi-task and handle 3 children while out and about while some women woulod have a breakdown. some me are better cooks. some women understand electrocics better. my husband is just as capable of taking care of our child and house as i am, and we are both great employees at our jobs. having it all is a state of mind. either you are happy with what you do or you aren’t . it isnt about gender. i hate that this is perpetuated by the media and everyone who participates in this kind of pitting men and women against each other. i think its bullcrap that men make more than women in the workforce. this world is just F’ed up all we can do is whats best for our families and if you are up to it, fight the good fight for equality FOR ALL

  • Anna @ On Anna's Plate March 21, 2013, 3:44 pm

    Can I just say that I hate the idea that women can (and should) “have it all”? To me, it reeks of the entitlement that our generation seems to have cultivated for itself. We all want it all– the high paying job, the adorable kids, the beautiful house, the problem-free marriage– we want ALL of it, but we’re not willing to work for (or make sacrifices for) any of it. The woman featured at the beginning of the article says that she wants her daughter to strive for a job that “she can walk away from at the drop of a hat”– wow, what a great lesson to teach your kid. I think the problem isn’t just that we want to have it all– it’s that we want “having it all” to be easy, and frankly, it’s not. I have a job. I have a one year-old. I LOVE my job. I LOVE my one year-old. But neither one of them are easy. And neither one of them are something that I could just walk away from at the drop of the hat, and I think that’s a GOOD thing.

    Articles like this piss me off because, not only do they perpetuate the idea that all women have an inner-June Cleaver just waiting to be unleashed by a fetus, but they also insinuate that men are worthless around the house, and worthless when it comes to raising kids. How insulting for the man! They perpetuate the doofus dad, Homer Simpson stereotype that is JUST as harmful for men as the June Cleaver stereotype is for women. And, frankly, it’s a stereotype that I have found just doesn’t hold true. The dads I know who work long hours away from their kids miss those kids like CRAZY. It’s just as hard for many dads to be away from their kids as it is for moms.

    Sorry, long post, long rant– articles like this just drive me up a wall.

  • Suzanne Harmon March 21, 2013, 5:01 pm

    Society has changed so much over the recent years and it is not uncommon to see stay at home Dads. I personally know 3 in my small world and one is my husband. It works for us.

  • Emily March 21, 2013, 5:10 pm

    I think this is the problem I have with feminism and why I don’t identify myself as a feminist. Its so focused on women (obviously!), and I think these issues are much bigger.

    I totally disagree that women are better at looking after homes and children. But that’s not just a feminist issue: the other side is the idea that men are worse at it. And as we know, men are not worse at it. I think a really, really sad part of this story is that if a woman wants to be a SAHM she can make that choice and society supports her. But if a man wants to stay at home, society (in general) does not support him.

    I also think this isn’t just a feminist issue because so much of it depends on socio-economic status. People at the bottom of the income scale feel compelled for someone to stay at home because childcare is unaffordable. People at the top of the income scale get the luxury of choice either way. People in the middle get forced to work to make ends meet. These issues require practical policy solutions, not just conversations about gender stereotypes.

    Sweden is often hailed as an excellent example of how to do it right. Generous maternity benefits, comprehensive childcare, etc etc (tax rates of 60%). They have a very high rate of female (and mother) employment. However, even in this brilliant system they have found gender roles have crept in: women are very disproportionately employed in care related jobs, and are over-represented in the public sector. (BBC has an article on the child care in Sweden today:

    From an historical POV, in the UK, the SAHM thing was always a bit of a myth anyway. The surveys from the 1950s onwards showed the soci0-economic difference. In middle-upper class households women did tend to not work (they also tended to have nannies). In lower class household women continued to work outside of the home after becoming mothers. If they did not work outside of the home, they generally had additional responsibilities (caring for an elderly relative, another relative’s children etc) or took in ‘piece work’.

    I’ve noticed some changes happening in the UK over the last few years. In public policy terms, paternity leave is being enhanced so that after the first two weeks (which a new mother must take off) leave can be shared between the parents (up to 12 months, as a right). These policy changes are following a developing public discourse. Previously the focus was on women, women’s choices, women’s responsibilities towards care (basically family as a ‘women’s issue’). But now I am reading more stories about dads who take time out of work, reduce hours or change their working pattern. Or how dads share child responsibilities when both parents work.

    I think frequently feminist debates (from either side of this) make children and families ‘women’s issues’ when they are not women’s issues: they matter to men too.

    For your personal situation Caitlin, I think everyone should just do what feels right for their family. I always think a child needs two parents and when I read about your set up I think its wonderful that Henry gets not just a wonderful dedicated mum (who is also setting an excellent career example), but also a wonderful dedicated dad who is fully involved in his care. Team parenting is fantastic. And a bit of help from wider family even better! (“ takes a village”)

    I don’t have children yet, but I think I would like to be a SAHM. The thing I worry about is that the father might miss out and the kids miss out on a father. It would be pretty selfish for me to make him work loads so I get my dream to take care of the kids. So maybe the sacrifice I’ll have to make is not in giving up a career, but in doing some work so that their dad can do some staying at home too!

  • Jelena@FabLifePhD March 21, 2013, 6:37 pm

    Oh, this is a topic that bothers me a lot.
    My mother is an engineer, and she worked full time with 2 kids. We grew up in comunism, childcare was pretty cheap and you could get 1 year 70% paid leave for every child. All of my friends had their mothers working, and we were fine. Considering that in Serbian society it was not typical to see a man ironing shirts and cooking every day (not saying that my dad is not supportive and great in taking care about cars, fixing things and such), I assume she had a lot on her mind back then. The only think that I can imagine she lost, was a bit of social life and girlfriends, which she missed a lot once we got older and able to iron our clothes.
    I don’t think I will ever be able to SAHM. I went to school for 21 year up to now, and I am not sure if my genetics and biotechnology knowledge would help me be a better caregiver. My current dillema is if I should stay in science (that I love) and try to have it all, or find a less challenging job in a company with fixed hours and longer conracts. My boyfriend is also a PhD student and he is having same doubts. It’s not just about it that our kids should have his paycheck, they should also have their dad with them.

  • Tahlia March 22, 2013, 7:17 pm

    I think a lot of women feel like they have to uphold this image of having a degree/good job, balanced family life and look amazing and effortless while they do it. In reality it’s often not the case. women make the best out of any situation and yes that sometimes means prioritizing certain aspects of life over others. I really am in awe of women who do juggle the work/family life and am equally impressed with women who are SAHM’s if that is an option for then (I realize some women have no choice). I think feminism is a broad topic at best and sparks huge debate but personally if I feel can live my life with no guilt over whether I’m being the best wife/mother/worker in the world then I’ll be a very happy and content person 🙂

  • lindsey April 4, 2013, 9:40 am

    what brand of shoes are those!? they look fabulous for running!

  • Dottie May 2, 2013, 8:36 pm

    I’m a little late posting this, but after reading all of the opinions here I’m kind of surprised that so many people seem to feel like being “equal” means “being exactly the same”. The truth is, women and men ARE different, and I think equality is about celebrating differences rather than denying that they exist. I feel like at least some of the “typical” gender roles must have come about because of the biological and physiological differences between men and women, and while that’s NO excuse for judging people for their own personal situation, I don’t feel like it’s bad to follow our biology when making these types of decisions. I think it’s odd that we seem to have redefined feminism over the last few decades into something that kind of robs men of their masculinity, and women of their femininity. Am I crazy, or does anyone else see that?

Previous post:

Next post:

Healthy Tipping Point