Posted by: penelopefly | November 2, 2008

Have Moms Really Ditched Their Careers to Stay Home?

This article raises an interesting question regarding why women leave the workforce in the first place. I always think of myself as having left my career to pursue a higher calling of staying home full time with my daughter. However, when I read my journal from that time, I am reminded that I actually attempted to go part time and reduce my travel. For a few months post maternity leave I balanced a high pressure job as the leader of a state-wide advocacy organization with caring for my child. I worked a mere 12 hours per week.

The reduction in hours, quickly turned into a recipe for failure. In just six months, I was offered the option of returning full time (over 50 hours per week) or losing the entire organization in our state.  By summer I’d lost my job. The organization I’d spent three years creating was dissolved. I had my daughter, but I grieved the loss of my “work family” for a year.

Sometimes I wonder what my family’s life would have been  like had the reduced schedule worked, had I gotten the staff support that I needed, and even if it had been possible to train a replacement.  When I see that my work has become a foundation for a new organization in this state, I should feel proud of what I was able to accomplish.  Yet, often I’m left thinking about the change we could have made in the lives of children and families if things had happened differently. On the flip-side, had the part-time schedule worked out, might I never have taken the risk of becoming a writer?

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