“So why did I decide to give up a career just as it was beginning to get exciting? I had earned a reputation in both the policy and political arenas and was in the perfect position to “cash in.” Was I pressured by my husband to abandon my business and focus on the children? Certainly not! He was none too pleased at the prospect of cutting our income by more than half. But as I came closer to motherhood and then when my first child was born, I was firmly convinced that there was nothing more important that I could be doing for both the immediate and long-term well being of my family than to stay home and raise my children. Here I had been writing about the importance of family since my college days. As much as I enjoyed what I had been doing, I believed it was time not to just talk the talk, but walk the walk.
Has it been easy? Not always. There is a powerful social stigma thanks to the resounding success of the radical feminist movement at making stay-at-home moms second class citizens. Psychologist Michael Lamb writes, “Especially in professional and middle class circles, it is often rather shameful to admit to being ‘only a housewife and mother.’” I have felt the sting at cocktail parties when professionals, having discovered my primary occupation, make a quick exit from my company. Many days the thought of going off to work, leaving the hassle of home and children to someone else certainly has its appeal. Do I feel fulfilled? Stimulated? Appreciated? These needs have been touted by the feminist movement as only achievable in the workplace, and we as a culture have bought into that. I have encountered many who say, ‘Oh I wouldn’t be happy or fulfilled staying at home. And that would not be good for the children. It’s better for them that I work.’ Try asking the children what they think about that. . .