The topic of taking a career break in order to solely focus on family resurfaced in the social media space last week in reaction to Judith Warner’s New York Times’ piece, “The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In.”
As timing would have it, I also featured the lovely Ilene from The Fierce Diva’s Guide to Life on my site as she shared a moment when she knew she too needed to step away from a demanding corporate career and re-calibrate.
I’m always curious about how other women manage the juggle of career and family. Is there a secret? Are there tips to keep your edge at work, but at the same time ensure your family thrives? How are the kids faring in homes where mom stays home? How are the kids doing who are cared for by grandparents or outside caregivers during the day? If you step away from a career, how difficult is it to come back? Do you lose too much ground? Do you lose part of yourself? Do you care?
Some women might claim to have the answers, but the only truth I’ve discovered in my nine years of motherhood is that there is only one truth – my own.
Each family is unique and has different needs. Each husband-wife team negotiates differently. Some careers offer more flexibility, some offer less. One woman might light up with her work, making her a better person, mother, spouse. Another woman knows staying at home is her calling. Some families need two incomes, others need one.
I only have the knowledge and insights to make a decision that’s best for me and my family, because I’m living my life. I know our finances, I know my kids, I know my support system, I know my career goals, I know the future I want for me and my kids, and I know what our present feels like.
Sure, there are articles and resources to help you save more, plan meals, ease morning stresses. If there is a way to optimize time, I’m all over it.
But, there is no secret solution or site to tell me what is best for me or my family. Only I can decide. And the same goes for every woman out there wrestling with the juggle. Yes, people will judge you, especially other women, but only you can decide what is best for your situation, your kids, your life.
Like every other woman in America, I’ll continue to get sucked into the media frenzy about motherhood and work. I’m curious. But I’m not reading to find a solution or pick a side. I used to think I would discover my truth that way, but as I’ve learned, those answers only come with soul-searching and gut checks. And the beauty is – you can always change your mind.
Do you believe the “Mommy Wars” are still a part of our culture?
Do you feel judged by the choices you’ve made when it comes to work and raising a family?