Do Stay-At-Home Moms Want To Go Back To Work?It's been ten years since the media highlighted what they called the Opt-Out Revolution, the trend of women with high-paying, prestigious jobs leaving their careers to become full time mothers. Now, a follow-up article in the New York Times magazine revisits the issue after a decade that's seen radical shifts in the economic climate and job market.
By Sam Lansky
Surprise! It's tough out there for the opt-out revolutionaries, many of whom were unable to return to their careers with equal success after years out of the workforce. Although most found work, the jobs were more junior and less lucrative than their former posts.
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But the more subtle consequence, as drawn in the piece, has to do with shifts in the power dynamics of their marriages - husbands reluctant to see their wives abandoning responsibilities they've since come to associate with women, but frustrated by their wives' inabilities to contribute financially during tougher times.
The news wasn't all bad; as writer Judith Warner explains: "The 22 women I interviewed, for the most part, told me that the perils of leaving the workforce were counterbalanced by the pleasures of being able to experience motherhood on their own terms."
Still, it's more complicated than that. "[W]hat haunted many of them," Warner explains, "as they reckoned with the past 10 years of their lives, was a more unquantifiable sense of personal change."
Generalizing about the issue is near-impossible, and much of the data presented is anecdotal, so the story feels like another frustrating entry in the ongoing conversation about whether women can "have it all," even as Warner thoughtfully explores the subject with a lot of subtlety. In short? Even for elite, well-educated women with super-successful jobs, the struggle is still real. Sigh.
Read more at Cosmopolitan.com!
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