Nine Reasons I Regret Being a Stay at Home Mom

 

Lisa writes: The most expensive decision of my life I made alone.  There was no realtor, no car dealer and no travel agent when I chose to leave the paid workforce and become a stay at home mom.  There was just me looking at my husband, my children (those inside and outside the womb) and the chaos that was our lives. At no point did I calculate the lifetime impact of diminished earnings and prospects.  I looked at the year we were in and the following year, and I bolted.  No part of my brain sat itself down and thought, what is the price both in both this year’s dollars and my lifetime earnings, to leaving the workforce and is it a decision that a decade or two from now I might regret?  At no point did I examine the non-monetary cost which would loom just as large. At the time it seemed forgone, two demanding careers, two small children and another on the way, two adult lives hopelessly out of control.

One day I was working on the massive trading floor of a London bank, the next I was on the floor of my children’s playroom.  And while it meant I would forgo a paycheck, not once did I think, at age 33, of what the job market would look like for me in years hence and therein lies my most expensive mistake.

youngest-child-1024x683

I stayed home with my kids because I wanted to be with them. I had a job that allowed me very little time with them on weekdays and I felt our time was short. I did not stay home because I believed they needed me or that the nanny I had hired could not do a great job.

Now, on the downslope of parenting, I have misgivings about my decision to stay home.  It would be far too strong a word to say I have regrets.  I don’t know any parent who regrets time spent with their kids, especially kids who have moved on to their own lives. Although I am fully aware that being a stay at home mom was certainly a luxury, staring at an empty nest and very diminished prospects of employment, I have real remorse.

1. I let down those who went before me.

In some cosmic way I feel that I let down a generation of women who made it possible to dream big even though I know the real goal of the Women’s Movement was to be able to dream anything.  One summer in the 1970s, I read The Feminine Mystique curled up on a couch in my grandparents’ home. The book spoke to me, and my mother and grandmother spoke to me warning me not to tread the path they had taken, leaving the workforce after their children were born.   But the book and my mother spoke to a young ambitious preteen, not a young mother.  Betty Friedan or not, I stayed home for almost two decades raising three sons.

2. I used my driver’s license far more than my degrees.

I got my driver’s license after a short course and a couple of lessons in 11th grade.  My post secondary education took six years of hard work and yet, for years, I used my driver’s license far more than my formal education.  And on one level I felt like I was short-changing myself, those who educated, trained and believed in me by doing this.

3. My kids think I did nothing.

They saw me cooking, cleaning, driving, volunteering and even writing, but they know what a “job” looks like and they don’t think I had one.

4. My world narrowed.

During the years at home with my children I  made the most wonderful friends, women I hope to know all of my life.  But living in the suburbs among women of shockingly similar backgrounds, interests and aspirations, narrowed the scope of people with whom I interacted.  In the workplace my contacts and friends included both genders and people of every description, and I was better for it.

5. I got sucked into a mountain of volunteer work.

Some of this work was deeply meaningful and some of it trivial in the extreme. It is very easy to feel as though you are doing something whether it is sitting on a hospital board or raising funds for a nursery school.  Volunteer activities involve a flurry of activity but, at the end of it, those who are running the organization carry on and your job is over.

6. I worried more.

Being around my children so much of the time gave me the chance to focus on them at a granular level. And I feel fairly certain that neither they nor I benefitted from the glaring light it shone upon us. Helicoptering takes time, and I had the time.  If I had worked outside our home I would have still worried about them but might have confined my concerns to more substantive matters.

stay at home mom's kids, brothers, three boys, close brothers

Stay at home mom’s kids grown up

7. With my husband I slipped into a more traditional marriage.

Before our children were born and when they were young, my husband and I did the same job. We left in the morning together and came home together to stare at each other and at our small children through a blinding haze of exhaustion. In every way my husband sees me as his equal but in the years that I have been home our partnership has developed a faint 1950′s whiff. He doesn’t ask me to run to the dry cleaners or fish store, but let’s be fair, they are both closed by the time he gets home.

8. I became outdated.

Through the 1980′s and into the 1990′s, I worked in banking on Wall Street in a technologically cutting edge department. Just as I mastered every new computer it would be whisked away and replaced by newer faster models.  I was au fait with software the public wouldn’t see for years and anything I didn’t understand was explained to me by MIT-trained analysts. I have kept up with technology but not in the aggressive way I once did in my job.  In my world I often use my young adult kids as tech support and endure their snide remarks and eye rolling, knowing deep inside that at one time it was very different.

9. I lowered my sights and lost confidence.

But far and away my biggest regret about my years at home was that I lowered my sights for myself as I dimmed in my own mind what I thought I was capable of.  I let go of the burning ambition I once held because I didn’t feel as though I could hold it and three babies at the same time. My husband did not do this, my children did not do this, I did this.  In the years that I was home I lulled myself into thinking that I was accomplishing enough because I was.  I was raising my children and, as any parent who had spent a day with a child knows, that can fill all of the hours in a day.  What I hadn’t realized was how my constant focus on my family would result in my aspirations for myself slipping away. And despite it being obvious, I did not focus on the inevitable obsolescence that my job as mom held.

If I could wind back the tape, have a do-over, what would I have done differently? Looking on at my grown and nearly-grown sons, I am grateful for the gift of time we had. Yet, I wish I had tried to keep a finger, a toe or a hand in the working world to ease an eventual return. I did not have a job well suited to part-time work, and work at home was technologically impossible at the time. But, the solution required imagination, not capitulation, and with hindsight, I would have recognized that over time, my parenting and career would both ebb and flow, but neither would — nor should — ever end.

+ Lisa Endlich Heffernan



Did you like this post? The +1 tells Google it's great content! We appreciate your support.


Comments

  1. Hindsight and can yield regret. Thank you for your post, gives those of us at the beginning of our at-home journey a gift of foresight…

    • So hoping it was food for thought…clearly I did not think about this enough!

    • Working Mom in Toronto says:

      I think your story hit home with a lot of us because it challenges the working mom perception that our families will be better off and we’ll be better off if we just have more time to spend at home. That’s what I thought when I quit my well-established career a year ago to stay home full time. I didn’t think through the financial implications on our family of losing a full salary. I didn’t think through what it really means to give up my career. I did find real joy in being able to do some of the SAHM things I regretted missing when I was working such as having my son come home for lunch and picking him up after school. So I have two questions for you as I debate whether to go back to work. Were you happy staying at home with your kids? And were your kids happy having you there?

      • I could not agree with you more. I hoped I made it clear that this was my personal viewpoint, based on my experience and nothing more. I do think it is instructive to share our viewpoints as it help each of us to examine our own lives. No judgements, no right or wrong…just personal opinions. Your mother sounds lovely.

    • Susan says:

      This is an excellent article that I feel all woman, no matter how young, should be thinking about and I try to share these ideas with my daughters ages 16 and 18. I went to Ivy League schools, got an advanced degree, worked, then followed my husband to Europe where he was setting up a business. Sounds great so far – since I was giving up my AVP position at an international bank in NYC, I asked if I could follow my dream of working in the field of contemporary art. He agreed and then I spent the next 7 years doing that. Then came the family, 3 kids in four years. We returned to NYC, I did the full time mom thing virtually alone because he traveled so much, maintaining the big city apartment and the country home, being the one to all the private pre-school applications, and volunteering at pre-school so that the kids could get in to good on-going schools, made sure I was home to keep them academically focused when they came home to do homework, etc etc etc. Guess what? After 11 years of this, my workaholic, now very successful husband had found a new love, 10 years my junior, blond and beautiful, age 32, with no kids…There followed a four year horrible divorce where he made the thing much more difficult to be than it needed to because he liked the idea of bleeding the money down, (I should mention that he file for divorce 4 months after I had just started a business in contemporary art because my youngest was now going to kindergarten – imagine the wonderful and deliberate timing of that – and so now I was facing a gruesome divorce fight (I found out that I knew nothing about the person I’d been married to for 18 years and who was ‘very quiet’ and always traveling; he was given custody of the kids 50 percent of the time even though he never intended to be at home, and he had the ‘political correctness’ of being a dad wanting custody so the courts agreed and then he put the kids in camp for 3 months out of the year which he swore he would never do, just so that they wouldn’t be with me – and then he continued to battle me with every stupid detail via 10,000 emails for the next 5 years – and of course, we had to move out of our family home even though he had the resources to let us stay – and the kids now had to move back and forth 3 times a week – that is what is considered an ‘enlightened’ divorce in NYC – it is all about the lawyers’ making money, about the mogul dads feeling they should have 50 50 custody when they don’t intend to change their lifestyles so they leave the kids at home with a nanny while they continue flying all around the world…. and in the end, the people who paid the price are myself (age 54, no career, no partner, kids’ leaving the nest and in fact less attached because he was given 50 50 custody 10 years ago) and my kids are incredibly emotionally upset despite endless sessions with ‘therapists’ who talk and have no answers…and they were beautiful kids but all have very deep scars,, fears, and unhappiness from what happened to them at ages 11 9 and 7…and I was not a ‘mousy wife’ who didn’t dress up or keep our passion alive…he is just a conceited selfish narcissist. So…to make a long story short, I tell my daughters to never ever let this happen to them – and unfortunately with divorce statistics as they are, they can never trust anyone but themselves to be self supporting and also to realize that even in the best of circumstances, kids grow up to lead their own lives…and if you have a partner who is never home, guess what, he is also going to leave – Why My parents didn’t point any of this out while it was going on is amazing to me – they were 1950s parents who despite having extremely difficult moments in their marriage, always taught us never ever to consider divorce…and my mother stayed at home because her mother who worked was always a nervous wreck and thus my mom attributed it to her mother working…so….we can only warn out sons and daughters – there is a new paradigm out there – and both sons and daughters need to choose their partners carefully, let go quickly if they see signs of character flaws, keep their careers and frankly, limit the number of kids you have and decide where is best to live because both women and men can end up in really dead end situations if they don’t make the right chess moves in life. There is age-ism out there, in the work force, in dating, both for men and for women – so I encourage my kids to be pragmatic, to think ahead, to use time wisely and make smart move and to not let emotion carry them too far…to always think ‘what could the worst scenario be’? In the meantime, their dad has done what we knew he would do…he’s never around, he doesn’t really care what happens to him and the therapists side with him because in the meantime I got R A from the stress of his constant attack which a very well paid ‘parenting coordinator’ did absolutely nothing to keep him on track. She was originally supposed to just be the scheduling coordinator and then my ex pulled her in to parenting issues whereby he would refuse to co-parent…and who was there to turn to? The courts? All she did was listen and then after a while, let him have it his way. It’s been a nightmare and it was my one life which started out so incredibly amazing and by marrying the wrong man, and not leaving soon enough with or without children, having that third child in NYC, and not leaving for a healthier climate for them with space and nature and basically staying with someone who was never home…well, my young women and son are hopefully not going to make the same mistakes. But they are scarred and confused. Good luck to all – there are a lot of untrustworthy people on both sides and if you detect that early in a marriage, with or without kids, you’re better getting out, not ever stopping your career, and while you have ‘goodwill’ in the marriage, make sure you live in a place where your support system in the best, i.e. nearer to your family and friends, etc, – so that in the event he leaves, you are in a more supported situation instead of being stranded. Most of all what hurts is how he hurt and confused our beautiful kids. One became very sick from all the strain over 4 years and nearly died – my son has suffered academically and has been drinking and seems disaffected and emotionally distant – and the youngest is having psychological problems because she was taken from her home and her ‘stay at home’ mom when she was only 7 years old. Yes, the NYC courts allow this – and it is wrecking havoc on all of our kids and their mental health. So, women, teach your kids to stay employed, choose carefully where to live and think about the impact kids are having on your life and have them earlier. I was from the generation that believed the myth that you could have kids in your thirties and it was ‘ok’ – well, what about aging, getting more tired, and the fact that you run out of time? What kind of nonsense were we being fed from the Feminist Mystique? They broke down barriers but as well they tried to make it seem as if family life was not important when in fact, as time goes on in life, career becomes less important emotionally and family becomes more important – I just wish the best for everyone and the key is: Marry the right person but make sure that even if you think he is mr. right, he can turn in to mr. wrong and if you don’t plan for that in your life, you can be in a very lonely situation esp in NYC which is a town for 24-40 year olds. The women I know here who are professionals and have great careers, are all unmarried with no children…and getting older and concerned. Where do they go and what do they do? If they don’t have family and friends who are caring enough for them, what do they do? So life needs a plan and we have to teach our kids about the full life spectrum and not be lulled into an artificial reality which the media and many ‘theoreticians’ including therapists lull us into believing. Good luck to everyone and all their families and esp. their young kids!

      • Liv says:

        Susan, would love to give you a big cyber hug…

      • Cindy says:

        I’ve seen what happened to Susan happened to one of my friends and I would be devastated if that were to happen to me because I would not be able to survive financially in that type of situation. Anyways, I just want to point out that may be a necessity for mothers to work because men are losing their jobs as they get older and finding that the job market is looking to hire only younger workers. My husband (I stayed with him for financial reasons so that my children can have the bare necessities) just lost his six-figure salary job and now I am the sole bread winner. Although I do not bring home nearly enough money, we can manage on savings for a few more years – but more importantly, my job allows us to continue having medical, dental, vision, & 401K, etc. – I am very grateful to have that for my family. My husband also suffers from mental illness which has worsened over the years so his job prospects do not look promising. I live in an expensive area, where many mothers need to work to bring home needed supplemental income. My message to mothers in general is choosing to work or stay home may not be a luxury anymore. Mothers need to factor in possibilities of divorce, husband’s loss of income, or even possibility of death. Even so, divorce rates are so high we need to be realistic and plan ahead for our and our children’s sakes. I grew up with parents who did not believe in divorce and stayed together no matter how bad their marriage got. I tell my kids to work no matter what and do not marry and have children unless they can do so without giving up their careers. Unfortunately, that is the sad reality – especially, if you live in high $$$ areas.

      • Mariela says:

        Susan. I cried reading your story. I’m in the same situation now. Except my kids are still 9, 4 and 3. He didn’t leave us for a younger girl. He left us for an older woman called mom! He couldn’t handle the pressure of the third child having severe food allergies. And the divorce is ugly. He wants to play the “I’m a good father” card. He, too is a narcissist.

        • Christal says:

          Good luck and keep strong for the children

      • Christal says:

        I finally have the sense that I am not alone. Earned degree, stable in career for 11 years and homeowner. Married, pregnant 6 months later, stay at home mom plan in place, divorce filed less than a year after our daughters birth. Still not working, no financial assistance in 8 months, spent all savings, maxing credit cards to live and pay for divorce and evicting terrible tenants from my pre-marriage home. I have always wanted to stay home and have been trying to find out how it can still be done but seeing your post has me so confused about what to do with my life. I have the best intentions for my daughter and while thinking that staying home will be best because it was in the plan, I now feel hesitation. Being that you are someone who has been through similar experiences, I would love to have more dialogue with you. Please… Feeling like a failure to my daughter because “The Plan” didn’t work. You seem so knowledgeable because you went through the battle I am facing and could possibly help me with my decisions going forward. Just looking forward to talking to someone who understands.

      • Anne says:

        My heart goes out to Susan. She tells a story of a cautionary tale that we all should teach our daughters and any other young woman. It is about the loss of potential once we give all that we have to raising our families and supporting our husband’s careers. A potential if not stoked and realized can not be reclaimed…at the age of 58 and after 35 years of marriage and now divorce, I know.
        I forward Lisa’s article to everyone…her retrospective viewpoint is expressed without the need for further explanation and well expresses our unique circumstances in a very real way. Perhaps the article is mistitled, as it isn’t really about regrets about raising our kids, but regrets about making choices differently, had we known then what we know now. If you do not build a life for yourself along the way (career life or otherwise); it is difficult in the end to recoup or rest on a shallow foundation. Interestingly a lot of us feel and grieve the same loss…loss of potential…what can we do about it is our next challenge. How do we recreate ourselves and evolve in a way that satisfies our souls. Thank you Lisa for your provocative article.

      • BRIGITTE says:

        Goodmorning Susan ,
        You have a heart that we thrive to find in partners , family and friends, you should drop the anger that he thrives to look in you , it gives him control, to judge you! See not the years as ¨ wasted¨ from your side and all the years you have put in to make a memorable past of your kids and you. I believe that when you show strength they ( your kids) will with time, love you more for it , yourself will compliment you if you give yourself a chance to see.
        You know you were taken for granted but not stolen, you seem to want to feel life again , that is something that cannot be taken from you not by an idiot nor by money hungry lawyers and court system who don’t and never has thought for the children but money first ! You have a want for life if you have given it in the past it is because you had that possibility in you to do so again, wisely this time around , which you owe yourself a bit of happiness so let yourself love again , why not why are you the one to be in constant tears ? It does not take a degree but the love of life to have that gift… To share that love it is bliss… You will awake ( with time) in a different way one day, when you will allow yourself not to be puppeteer ( by him or anything lower) you will find that soul mate that has been burned as well and who wants to live laugh and love, you will have a solid base, to which your ex had with you or will ever experience in his time( left) . You will live again because you trust yourself more then ever ! You will rise in honesty due to the fact you are not a cheat !
        AT HIS AGE , HE HAS MORE OF A PAST THEN A FUTURE , HOW DUMB IS BLONDE ,REALLY ?? SHE IS SMART TO TAKE HIM FOR A RIDE HE HIS SOOOO IGNORANT TO LET HIMSELF BELIEVE THAT SHE IS THERE FOR LOVE HAHAHAHA! KNOWING HE IS OLDER AND WONDERING IF IT IS NOT HIS MONEY OR IF HE IS NOT CONCERN ABOUT HER CHEATING HIM !! When does he sleep?
        While you go on and live …. smart women aren’t we ?

        YOU ARE NOT A NOBODY UNTIL YOU ARE A SOMEBODY TO SOMEONE …
        …SO HELLO !
        BRIGITTE G

      • Amanda says:

        Hi Ladies,

        I am seeking advice from Susan or other ladies out there who are a few years older than I am.

        I made some mistakes in my life. Maybe that is an understantement, but here is my story:

        I met my husband when I was turning 34 years of age, he turning 36. We waited to get married because I was back in graduate school and looking to start a second career. We waited some more because I became deeply depressed and we also wanted to save money for our wedding. In the meantime, we invested pretty heavily into real estate in Florida in 2004. We waited a total of 5 years to get married, and then another 1 year before we had our son. I was 40.5 when I gave birth to our son. I had post-partum for about 8 months. My husband was unable to ‘get over’ my post-partum and our financial straights and did not wish to have a second child. I told him our finances would improve and we could get help if I got depressed again, but he didn’t want to deal with these issues. When I get depressed, I just become lazy and watch a lot of t.v. I still work. I do not abuse substances or get beligerant. I get quiet and watch lots of t.v., have insomnia but am otherwise “functioning”.

        Now, I am 46 years old. After 2 years of trying for a second child, we know it’s too late now. My husband said yes to second child just 2 years ago.

        Do I just settle for 1 child or give my son, a much wanted sibling through a donor egg?

        I used to want to have 2 or 3 boys that I could raise to be great men. That was my fantasy.

        If I do donor egg, I am not doing gender selection so I could have a girl and so my fantasty of having 2 or 3 boys is just a fantasy.

        Do I give my son a much wanted sibling, albeit via donor eggs or do I just tell him that life didn’t plan a sibling for him? My husband is onboard with a donor egg program.

        I have so many regrets about not having had children earlier: not having designed my life better to have had children earlier. I just don’t want to have another regret when I am older that I should have given my son a sibling.

        Please, I welcome any advise from women who have more life experience. As I said, I am 46 years old. Thank you.

        • Ren says:

          Hi Amanda, I’m so sorry you’re feeling such angst. I’m not sure why people feel such anxiety about ‘giving the child a sibling’ thing. And you can’t spend the rest of your life feeling bad about not having children earlier. You didn’t, and that’s that. Sometimes we have to accept where we are in life. I think 46 is just too old to begin on having a new baby. Cherish the child you have and leave this where it is. You must think of the future of the child. Youve got to do the math ahead a couple of decades. And no, I’m not some young Fertile Myrtile telling you how to think and feel. I’m 48. 14 years ago I wanted one more child desperately. But things were really not working out in my relationship and yet he was putting pressure on me to have a child. Now I thank goodness I did NOT have that last child. The relationship failed with a huge crash as he left me for a younger woman. (Talk about painful. He had an affair with her and she claimed she was pregnant. So he left me in complete and utter heartbreak while she was claiming they were going to have a baby. She lied. They broke up soon after.) But back to the issue, I think it would be so unwise to go against what nature has dictated. That window is past. Why does that have to be a bad thing?

    • CorporateMom says:

      Im from India, was a trailblazer until a couple of months ago when this “I want to lead a guiltless mom’s life” thought struck me…. My husband never really compels me to work or not to…so it was an easy thing for me to get off work and spend time with our 2.5 yr old boy… But trust me, staying at home is just not easy, for someone who’s got used to working. Now, our lil one goes to pre-school and with my parents around the corner who offer to be his loving caretakers, I’m getting back to work in two weeks now! It has neither been easy nor difficult to get a job.. not difficult because I was not working for just a small period of 6 months… and not easy because there’s this frugality of employers that come into picture, they want you to hire at your last drawn salary if not less. All your professional accomplishments are just trophies and don’t add any financial value to your career. I feel I had the experience of a life-time of being a stay-at-home mom… Agree with Lisa on every point she listed. I believe kids look upon to their successful moms more than anything else. We can always prioritize things to ensure quality time is being spent together as a family. My advice from experience: If you’re already a working mom thinking of quitting, please do not! Explore if you can take a long leave or be a part-timer than give up the job totally. Good luck fellow moms!

    • Anonymous says:

      I am thankful that I came across your blog today. I am a first time mom at age 42. It has been a long road… I am a teacher and dread going back to work, but I have been out since last February, and doubt I will have a classroom to go back to if I take anymore time. Everyday, I deal with extreme sadness and anxiety with having to leave my five month old. My husbands mother will be staying here, I’m sick over that cause my husband and I have not been intimate and are not on the best of terms, having his mother here I know will just make us even more on edge. I have tried to talk to my husband, but he doesn’t want to listen and we always ends up arguing….needless to say, I feel stuck…. Since I have to go back due to financial reasons, I think my son should go into daycare for next school year. My husband should drop him off and I will pick him up…. Since I have to be at work by 6:45 am… But, how to i get my husband to talk openly about this and validate my ideas my fears and my concerns….?

      • You have a family member willing to watch your child while you work? This is a perfect circumstance! You child won’t get sick and you won’t have to deal with funding a good daycare. I do not see what the problems is. This is coming from someone who is in college full-time, I volunteer as the librarian at my daughters school, and I have a toddler. My husband is only home 4-6 days a month. I have no one to help me. I am all alone. If I were in you position I would be happy and ready for anything.

      • Jen says:

        Thinking of you and wondering how these past six weeks have been. My MIL moved in to care for our first baby and keeps returning every summer for 6-12 weeks at a time. She took over our house filled it with her junk, rearranged our kitchen cupboards and invited people over for dinner so I would come home from work tired, exhausted, needing to breastfeed my infant, to a messy house full of people. We eventually got an in law apartment just to contain her mess and crazy, but she still keeps inviting people over. This is going on almost a decade. Almost left my husband last year because of her and am dreading her coming this summer. I was out of work for one year due to the recession and it was a wonderful time to be a SAHM of 3. But I have no illusions that my husband and I are going to be in it for the long haul, we are fundamentally incompatible even if we both do our part as parents and breadwinners. So now that I am back to work and not exactly happy, I won’t stop working. I won’t be under his thumb for spending money because he is too much of a cheapskate even with me working full time. I am in kind of a foul mood today, but it was good to read this blog and remind myself why I need to keep working even though it is tedious and stressful and although I would enjoy being a SAHM it is an unaffordable luxury for me.

    • Donna says:

      I loved your comments on why you don’t regret staying home! I quit my very well paid job when my second child was born, now blessed with six children. I have not regretted one moment of being a stay at home mom. I do admit that now they are all in school I have sought many outside things to fulfill my time when they are gone at school, but I am so grateful I am available to be at every crossroads there are for them. I know my children love me being home when they come home from school or whatever other activity they might be at. I have four girls and they are all encouraged to attend college and gain their own education, but I am very pleased that they too have a desire to make their families their focus when they start having their own children. I guess I did something right!

  2. Wow. First of all, it takes some real guts to come out and say this. Kudos!
    I understand every one of these, but I chose to go back to work when my kids started elementary school. And, I quit my job just as my youngest was graduating from high school. The whole time I worked, I felt guilt. After I quit, I felt guilt that I hadn’t stayed home with them, baked cookies, went on field trips and everything else that stay-at-home moms did. I felt the guilt even more acutely in the last two years when I have stayed home, ironically, in an empty nest. But now, I feel regret: of being outdated (the rolling of the eyes by kids I can totally relate to – even though I worked in the software field all my professional life of 18 years) not having the interactions with all kinds of people, not having the necessity to buy “work” clothes…
    Is there a happy medium for women? Not as long as stay-at-home-dads becomes as common a phrase as stay-at-home-moms. I hope I will see that change with my daughter’s generation.

    • Think you have summed it up Guilt if you do and Guilt if you don’t….thank you for your story.

    • Gosh, Sri, I know exactly what you mean. I had the same feelings and thoughts.

    • Well said, Sri. I read Lisa’s article with interest and was wondering what article she might have written had she decided to keep working full time. You only know the consequences of the decisions you have made.

    • Anonymous says:

      I too have recently struggled with the decision I made more than 20 years ago to stay home with my first child. I had given up my college experience to support my husband while he obtained his PhD. I worked full time up until my first child was 6 months old and then managed to work part time from then on. I admit (at 52) I sometimes wonder if I made the right choice in giving up a career, but I truly believe that being there for my 3 children was the best I could have done for them. My oldest has graduated from college, my second is currently in college and my youngest will be leaving home soon. As a soon-to-be empty-nester, I still have managed to stay current with technology, social media, etc. so that I can continue on to a full time career. As other prior posters have mentioned, if you can work part time and be there for your kids, you get the best of both worlds. Believe me, they need you more in the teenage years than when they’re infants. I have been married for 30 years and can’t wait for the next 30!

  3. I know whereof you speak – this was such an excellent post — You did not regret the time spent with your children but your realistic view of what it affected is a truth–like me, are you trying to get back the confidence you lost?

  4. I meant to say : “Not UNTIL stay-at-home-dads becomes as common a phrase as stay-at-home-moms.” in the above comment.

  5. I cannot help but think that #3 is true because you yourself feel it, too. As you expressed it, you felt you were letting others down by embracing the role of mom. It was a waste of an education, and your time, and caused you to become worrisome and petty.

    Do you feel that way about others who choose to stay at home with their children? Or are you only this hard on yourself?

    • Anonymous says:

      This was my response to the article as well.

    • Only on myself. Every family is different, every woman is different and I am so grateful that we have reached a place in history where these choices exist for women. A world in which women did not have the choice to stay at home would be just as bad as a world where women did not have the choice to work. I am speaking only, and I mean only, for myself.

  6. Jenny says:

    I stayed at home when my children were little and have no regrets, sure it is hard work, and sometimes the thought of “the outside world” seemed more fun , but isn’t the grass always greener?
    The thought that a nanny will raise your child just as well as you could, is possible, but I have seen a plethora of nannies, who may really like your child, but they do not have the passion you have for your child, or feel the responsibility that you do, to raise independent, ethical, strong people….to many of these nannies, it is a paycheck…..go to the park and watch the moms/dads with their kids, then check out the nannies….who is interacting with the child and finishing those “teachable moment s” that occur in the young child’s world.
    My little ones are now grown and flown and I have fine tuned my skills and am happily back in the work force, glad to be there but equally glad I spent the time in an equally important job of raising children.
    The most important point the blogger wrote was that each woman should be allowed to decide where she wants to be and what will be best for her family….my advice is to remember , you will never be perfect at what you do, so do the best you can, and look forward, never back!

    • Wonderful story (congrats on the transition back to work) and wise advice. Many thanks to you for jumping into the discussion.

      • Eternally Thankful says:

        I agree with Jenny. I too had six years of education after high school with advanced degrees and the expectation that I could “do it all”. I worked at an investment bank, and got pregnant when I moved to a mangement consulting firm. The pregnancy encountered difficulties when the 80 hour work weeks weren’t allowing me to take care of the “two” of us. The doctor suggested 40 hours work weeks and they put me on disability. I ended up not going back because they warned that the 40 hour week position would destroy any possible professional career aspirations.
        Landing in suburbia was a shock. I tried to find ways to keep the pilot light going and gave up when the “Ideal Nanny” went belly up, and I ended up administering an exam at a local college (I became an adjunct part-time professor) with a 3 yr old in a playpen, a 1 year old on my back in a backpack, and a fetus in the cooker (I’m not making this up). I then tried many “freelance” pursuits that I could manage from home, but ended up the “trailing spouse” when my husband was asked to move, and found that moving 4 kids around the world was in itself a full time job.

        I continued, however, to beat myself up continuously trying to “find that balance”. What I have learned now that the four of them are flying, is that it isn’t fair to beat ourselves up trying to find the balance. It is better to live the balance and to celebrate the small things if that’s what happens to be there at that particular time. If I have regrets they are for not cherishing the moments for what they were, and for always looking beyond at the “should’ve, would’ve, could’ve”.

        I’ve now gone back for another degree and am pursuing my dream career in fine art. My friends say “why are you doing this”, and I tell them because I can–that it was always my dream, and now I have the time, the resources, and the support to go for it. I am very much in the position of “how do I want to spend the second half of my life” and I cherish it. Aren’t we lucky people that we have launched such incredible young adults into the world and still have the health, the brains, and the resources to relaunch ourselves. Yes, we lost confidence along the way. Yes, we beat ourselves up no matter which side of the “to work or not to work” fence we were on. But I have zero regrets. I have incredible relationships with my kids, that I know I would not have if it weren’t for being there for the “little things”. Yes it was narrow at times, yes I let down those who thought I’d run the world and raise the perfect family (including myself most days)–but everything that has happened to me through my choices makes me who I am today, and every choice I make today determines who I can be tomorrow–and for these choices and who I have become along the way, I am eternally thankful.

        • paula says:

          thank you….i needed to read this in my life right now. you are a kind person to yourself and wise…something we all need to strive for. namaste.

        • Jennifer says:

          Brilliant! Just what I needed to hear. Gently wading back into the working world after a nearly 12 year hiatus. Things have most definitely changed, in work and myself.

    • Jaime says:

      This post is just amazing! I have recently entered the SAHM world and have loved it so far but also feel I’ve lost a certain part of my “essence” I know I’m still an important person as I am my child’s world, but on the other hand I do find myself missing my old working career. Jenny your comment made me feel so much better about myself and was really just what I needed to read! Thank you!

    • Anonymous says:

      yes

  7. Kathy says:

    Your writing is wonderful summary of the challenges stay-at-home moms face. I think I may be further down that road so would like to add two points:
    1. You are never obsolete as a mom. The job changes. At almost 60, my mom is still an important part of my life. (I am lucky for mine was exceptional!)

    2. At the end of the road, your impact on those around you and the world’s future will likely be greater because of how you raised your children than how you handled any financial transaction.

    • LL says:

      First of all, beautifully written Lisa. Second, this response speaks to me in a way that truly makes me feel relief instead of regret. That the lessons and values conveyed to my kids during all those (sometimes tedious) years at home will ultimately make a positive impact on the world is a beautiful sentiment.

    • Thank you for this, truly heartwarming. We like to say that Parenting Never Ends…glad to hear if from you.

  8. I am sending this onto my girls. Your honesty is gut wrenching and truly inspiring. Kudos for speaking out.

  9. Lisa,
    I understand. But don’t be too tough on yourself.
    The flip side is far from perfect also. Remember, you left at a high point in your career: you were on the cutting edge of women entering Wall Street, you were in the go-go years, and your were in your thirties when career growth is achievable for outstanding managers. But that was a point in time. Wouldn’t we all like to flash back to points in time where the economy was great, our obligations/commitments simpler and fewer, our life canvass just starting to take on color, texture and depth.
    But life goes forward. Careers don’t spiral up forever, and even when they do, the challenges/pressures/worries in the ensuing jobs are intense and demand stiff compromises that can rob people of time to devote to families, and personal and spiritual development.
    From my vantage point–choosing a career over having a family–there also were prices paid. But if I had been in your shoes, I would have chosen to focus on the family, not the job, because I wouldn’t be able to do both well.
    We can’t have it all. Kudos to you for making a clear, deliberate choice rather than letting things just “kinda happen”. You chose investing in people’s lives. I think the ROI on that is priceless.

  10. Thanks for sharing your very personal thoughts and opening up a wonderful conversation. I have had all 9 of your thoughts over the years.
    I made that same decision and now that both my children are college age, I have found myself thinking that things would have been easier financially if I stayed at that job. But, then I remember how stressed I was doing the job without children, I couldn’t imagine trying to do it with them. I made a decision that was best for us at the time.
    I think it all comes down to the could of did or should of did in our lives. I have to believe that my decision was meant to be.

  11. wheredoigofromhere says:

    This post speaks to me in a way I never imagined anything or anyone could. My three children are wonderful, productive, well-adjusted young people and I am filled with boundless love and tremendous pride. Concurrently, I find myself consumed by the virtually all of the points which Lisa articulates. And the loss of confidence looms largest. At my core I know I possess the capacity to achieve but I am searching for new meaning and recognition as the intensive mommy time wanes.

    • Oh my, you always hope when you are writing to resonate with others, thank you. I wish you strength and insight and the ability to remember that whatever qualities your younger more confident self possessed are still within you.

  12. Wow. Thank you so much for your honesty.

    I’m still on the early end of the parenting spectrum (kids are 9 and 5 – it’s the youngest’s last day of daycare today!), but I have worked throughout their lives. I’m only 35 myself, and so when I was pregnant 10 years ago, I just wasn’t ready to be done with the working part of myself yet. I have often wondered if I will slow down when the kids get older, and I still feel like it’s a possibility, but it’s posts like this that help inform my future decisions. I’m sorry you made that first big decision all on your own, but now you are helping to guide those still deciding. Thank you.

    • Cheryl, thank you. It is so great to hear from moms at every point of parenting. Your comment made me so happy and I cannot thank you enough for being here!

  13. I read this on the Huffington Post but was scared to go to the comment thread there. I can only imagine the range of responses you received.

    I think this is a wonderful piece and would be excellent for young women to read before starting a family. Life is too complicated to be viewed in the stark categories people want to frame things in. It’s possible to have loved all the time you had with your boys and still wished you had made different choices. Thank you for articulating your experience and reflections so articulately and well.

    • Korinthia, it is fair to say that there were a few people unhappy with me, but so so so many who told stories in their lives that touched on the points I made. I am glad that there is a place where people with so many differing views can come together, although some of it got a bit personal…as you so correctly predicted.

  14. Gaye @CalmHealthySexy says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I also left the full-time work force when my first child was very young, but I don’t regret it. Yes, I have had all of the same feelings you had, and have questioned my decision. And I know we could be at a different place financially if I had continued to work full-time, but for me the benefits to our children were worth it. The thing that helped me most, I think, is that I did freelance work when the children were very young and then, when the youngest went to kindergarten, went back to work half-time. As they got older I gradually increased my work until I was working about 80% time when the youngest was in high school. He has graduated, and I am getting ready to go back to work full-time this summer. This schedule worked for us, and I would encourage other young mothers to consider something similar if they are feeling torn between children and career.

    • Your schedule seems to me to be ideal. Half time work, or some other changing percentage seems to be (again only my personal opinion) ideal. Good luck with the transition back to full time and thanks for sharing your story.

  15. This is such a timely post for me, as you know. (And thanks for your comments!) I’m desperately trying to navigate re-starting my academic/writing career (after an absence for getting my doctorate and having my son). It’s so hard. So hard because I don’t want to do either thing — motherhood or my work — halfway or half-assed.
    Thank you for this!

    • Jessica, I wish the best of luck. There are so many women out here, myself included, who have such understanding of your quandary. So glad that you are here…

  16. Stop. Reading. My. Mind.

    I just stumbled across my old (and yet most recent) resume and the date on it is 2006. Blerg.

    Then I was visiting friends in CA (who were roommates back when I was also a hot career gal) who gave me pitying looks. Nothing worse than pity. At dinner they all scrambled to grab the check because I’m now the poor country mouse. And of course I let them.

    Because I’m the poor country mouse.

    I love my kids and stand by my decision to stay home. But it definitely comes with some regret.

  17. Nancy says:

    You have 9 reasons for regretting you stayed at home but I bet there are hundreds of reasons you’re happy you did! For every choice in life, there are consequences. Many of your feelings will resonate with all mothers, not just those who have stayed home. I didn’t stay at home with my children, traveled a lot for business and have spent much of my life feeling that I wasn’t doing a good enough job at anything – business, motherhood, marriage. But, on a good day, I think I did the best I could do, which is all we can ask of ourselves and each other.

    • Yes you are right, every day there were reasons and smile and jokes and moments of anger (mine!!) that I was home with my rambunctious boys. They were thrill and frustrating and like every mom I believe them to be beyond wonderful. The best that we can do, is the best Nancy, thank you.

  18. A thought-provoking piece on the decision a woman faces on whether to stay home or not with their young children. This is a personal decision, with no right or wrong answer. I never thought of staying home as a luxury, but as a choice. It was a choice I decided to take – giving up a rising career, years of hard work in obtaining a degree and making important networking connections.

    I always believed that the work done via “The Feminine Mystique” and Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem and other feminists was this: to allow us to have the privilege of CHOOSING what path to follow. Recently, I went to hear Gloria Steinem speak and this is exactly what she spoke about.

    So perhaps there were menial tasks I performed helping in the classroom, or I grew tired of conversations about new recipes for cupcakes. I knew I made a choice to stay home and raise my child, and that choice was the right one for me. My son is proud of me in every way, just as other children are proud of their mother’s who worked full-time. It’s all about communicating with your children about the importance of a mother’s role, and how you turn it around today as an empty nester.

    I am sure your sons are proud of you in every way, Lisa. As you move forward they will be equally proud.

    Nice post.

    Thank goodness for the privilege of having choices.

    • Cathy, thank you for your very kind comments and yes I too think that the ultimate goal is choice.

  19. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    What a beautifully articulated post, Lisa, and like others have said, I admire your courage and honesty. There is no right or wrong answer, and no matter what the decision, there are sacrifices to be made. I stayed home until my youngest was in middle school and then went back full-time. Yes, I was professionally happy, but wracked with guilt with every school play or softball game missed, and every time my kids had to wait at school to be picked up. Rushing from work to school to home and then cooking dinner and dealing with homework, etc. did not make for a relaxed and happy family. And it was exhausting.

    • I feel we are lucky to be living in a time when women have these choices and the luxury of reflecting on very real options. It doesn’t seem that there is any path that does not involve guilt!

  20. I find your remorse a little sad. I think you are selling yourself a little short. Raising your family was the right thing at the time. Now re-entering the work force might well be the right thing. So buck up that attitude and understand you may have to brush up some to find employment, but you certainly can if you want it. You are personable, intelligent and degreed. You have much to offer and just need to remind yourself just what a marvelous employee you are. Then go forth and present THAT person when you are interviewed and when you make out that resume. The ____years you spend as a household engineer contained a great deal of volunteer work and now you are free to become engrossed in your new career.
    Go for it!

  21. Anonymous says:

    I applaud you for saying this. I had less of a decision to make, since I had already left my high-paying business career and was earning 65% less as a teacher when my kids came. Additionally, people don’t seem to penalize educators as much for taking time off to have kids! However, if I’d gone straight from advertising to being a SAHM like you did with your career – for sure – same issues. Young women who are facing this choice should read your words…whatever decision ends up being right for them!

    • It would be nice if younger women hear a range of views from us Been There- Done That moms, to help them inform their decisions. Thanks for joining the conversation.

  22. Alicia @ Naps Happen says:

    Oops! That last comment was for me (it submitted spontaneously). I have no need to say it anonymously!

  23. Melissa T. Shultz says:

    A brave, intelligent, and thoughtful post. All these skills will serve you well in any career you choose to explore at this stage of life. And this time, you can have that career on your terms.

    You are a very accomplished woman, Lisa.

  24. Lisa, sitting here in my empty nest, desperately trying to find a lucrative job/career at 54 to get us out of debt, I find myself drifting back to that moment when I said “I quit” and walked out the door of my high-paying job, too, and wondering ‘what if…’ I usually don’t believe regrets are valuable, but in this case, they may help some other young mom make their decision. I don’t regret quitting, but I do have regrets in other choices I made over the next twenty years. Wonderful post!

    • Barbara, I agree with you entirely. Regrets are usually not very useful, but if they help us change our lives or change the lives of others…there is the value. Good luck, will be looking to hear how things go.

  25. Annabelle Massey Malloy says:

    Thank you for this–and, you are being very hard on yourself! This is a wonderful list of thoughtful observations. I hope many young women who think they can “have it all” realize what we original second-wave feminists have learned–sometimes the hard way! Yep–you can, but you won’t do your best at all of it! Do it all over a lifetime. . .one or two purposeful pursuits at a time!

    • It certainly is not what we anticipated going to college and thinking it would all be so easy…

  26. Caroll Bancel says:

    I did keep the pilot light on as a consultant during 20 years spent mostly raising kids and volunteering. Now I am back full time, but my job in healthcare is the same one I had before I had my kids. If I had been REALLY thinking about the furure, I would have realized that I should have been working on an advanced degree in a different field, because I am not the same person I was back then, and while I am glad that I am still a professional, I should really have been planning for Act II. Any brief looks at jobs in other fields have resulted in no interviews!

    • It does sound like you did do some great planning, keeping involved. Act II begins whenever you say it does!

  27. I never chose to stay at home because I knew in my heart I wouldn’t be that good of a mom if I was with my kids all day long. I teach and the summers when they were little were very hard for me. I went from working all day everyday to being home and by the end of the summer I was clamoring to be back at work. When I have time away from them each day I spend quality time with them when I am around them. Now that they are older (13 & 15) we do more in the summers so I don’t go as stir crazy, but I still love our school year time.
    I guess it doesn’t matter what you chose as long as you work at what you chose. I knew it would never be right for me to stay at home and I am glad that I recognized that early on and kept moving forward in my job!

    • Jana, this sounds very wise and teaching is one of those great mixes of wonderful professional career and the ability to be home for at least some of your kids breaks. Thanks for your insights.

  28. Marsha says:

    Me, me, me.

  29. Diane says:

    For the most part this article is the summation of the choices that I have made as well. I tell people that I have no regrets, but as I sit here in an empty house and try to decided what is next in my life I guess that there are some regrets.

    Your last statement about lost confidence hits home the hardest.

    Simply…Thank you for sharing and helping me realize that there are many of us struggling with the same thing.

    • Joyce says:

      This article expressed so many of the feelings I have had. I stayed home to homeschool our four children, all of whom went on to college. My husband wisely realized that the empty nest would be hard for me and encouraged me to go on to get my bachelors degree. But like it is said in the article, my lost confidence was what hit hardest. I am back in the workforce, but often wonder where I would be if I had stayed in the workforce, at least part-time.

      Thank you for expressing your feelings so I don’t feel so bad about having the same feelings.

      • Thank you both for sharing that. Not everyone has felt that these are valid points of view and hearing from others like yourselves, Joyce and Diane, is heartening. Time for us to relight those pilot lights.

  30. I could have written this word-for-word myself. I’ve lived an almost identical parallel existence! I too don’t regret the time I spent with my kids, but wish I would have understood the reality I was setting for myself 23 years ago.

  31. Jenne says:

    The author, by wistfully reminiscing about what she “lost” by choosing to stay at home has built herself up in her own mind. It’s easy to “regret” not working and believe, innately, that staying home with your kids kept you from being great. Since there is no way to live both realities, just keep believing this to be true. Maybe you would have failed miserably at your career, lady. You had just as much chance of failing as you did at succeeding. You also had what a lot of us working moms don’t. The CHOICE to work or not. What more can you really ask for?

  32. What an absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and engaging post Lisa. It reads like a novel. Can you turn it into a novel. Made me think of a better-written book for a BlogHer book review selection. You have skills Lisa.

  33. Johanna says:

    Thank you Lisa for your wonderful article, I have to agree with pretty much every point you made. I have been struggling with a similar reality. Although, I am going to down right admit that I have real regrets on how I handled my situation. I wish I had been smarter during the time when I just had my children. I should have fought harder to keep my career going. In reality, it was all so rushed. We were chasing my husbands career, moving from country to another and nowhere did I stop to really understand what greater loss was taking place. I had no idea I had started the path of losing my career prospects, losing my confidence and my education that was top notch was not so much anymore. How was I so blind sighted? A decade later and I am not able to get any work in my field. Even unpaid internships are only offered to recent graduates. I have become obsolete and it feels incredibly lonely. I realize I was present at every decision up to this point. I own the choices. I can’t blame anyone else but myself. I thought I was doing the right thing. The children were small, I had no support network, my husband traveled a lot. I was always living in a new city, trying to find a pediatrician, hardware store etc. I was needed so badly at home. I took care of my kids. I was putting out the every day fires and did not have the time or the energy to even think about next week. What gets me the most is that I did not have the vision or the understanding of what I was really doing. You slowly lose your identity little by little. It is so gradual you don’t even realize it. Now that I am trying so hard to get my career started it not going anywhere. I want to show my children a role model of a woman following her passion, using her education to stimulate, to educate, to better the world, contribute to society. My kids deserve better. Mending that lost self confidence might still need quite a bit of effort. I am working on it along with my resume…

    • Johanna, your story is that of so many moms who have commented or written us. So heartfelt, so compelling. One piece of practical advice. Look at the iRelaunch site. There are tons of resources, and advice and I hope they the very wise women there can help you in some way. If you want to email me at grownandflown@ gmail.com, I can perhaps tell you more.

    • Christal says:

      Johanna, please … do not be so hard on yourself. The job will come and the confidence will come back. You have memories of so many first time moments that didn’t have to be told to you second hand from a nanny or babysitter. I am still home with my daughter and she is 15 months. I am going through a divorce, broke, into debt and my degree sits waiting but I will have the opportunity to clear my debt, make money and use my degree but the time with my daughter and her milestones …. priceless. You sacrificed yourself for the experiences you can not get back. You inspire me. Hope I can continue a lil longer.

  34. The most important thing here for me is that you did it with out any advice or support. There are so many fantastic opportunities for flexible working that are child friendly. I feel so fortunate to have accidently come across a field where I could be a stay at home mum and build my own business. I have also battled with not using my professional qualifications, but life is a journey, and every decision we take allows us to explore something else. Life is harder in someways because we have more choices.

    • The options have increased, but from what I can tell, not really enough for the number of women who would like flexible employment.

  35. Staying at home with your children is a luxury and one I feel fortunate enough to share with you.

    My mother was a working woman and always told me it was quality time over quantity time. Unfortunately she died when I was 12. I will never get back that “quantity time” that I still crave.

    I don’t regret leaving the work force for one minute.

    Everything you do in life has a purpose and I am sure you will figure out “what is next” in a New York minute.

  36. CC says:

    Thank you for this. It takes great courage to look back and consider the choices that we make, and even greater courage to acknowledge that ,perhaps, it was not the best or most thoughtful choice. It certainly gives those of us who are at the beginning of parenthood, and at our own crossroads, something to think about.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment we are always thrilled to hear the thoughts of younger moms.

  37. Wonderfully written and brutally honest post. I left my well-paying job earlier this month to stay home with my kids. While the plan is that I will only stay home for a couple years until my preschooler starts Kindergarten, who knows what will happen. I am sure I will wonder at some point if I made the right choice, I think as moms we feel guilty about the choices we make either way. I’m always thinking the grass is greener on the other side. For now, I”m happy I took this temporary plunge and hope I don’t look back with misgivings when I try to re-enter the workforce. Thanks for sharing! Stopping by from SITS!

    • Thank you Tanya, I am sure by the time you need to make the decision you will thought long and hard about it. Good luck with your journey and thanks for visiting.

  38. I’m sure it took a lot of courage for you to write this post and I just want to tell you, I admire you for doing so because as a woman hoping to have kids someday, this helps a lot.
    Thank you for sharing :)
    Stopping by from SITS.

  39. I am not a Mom at all, but I can definitely see having these same concerns about staying home if I ever become a Mom.

  40. Dana says:

    I am so glad that we have choices. My Mother was a Stay at Home Mom and that was so important to my siblings and I. She put her children above her career and I am so grateful for that. I made the decision 9 years ago and though I am not perfect, I would never change a thing! My children know very well what Hard work is. thinking about what was stated about marriage as a Stay at Home Mom and experiencing a “traditional marriage”, well, what is wrong with a traditional marriage? Think about it, what was the divorce rate during the 40′s and 50′s? Though many think so, It is not about exalting ourselves….

  41. Wonderful post. This is the contemporary mom’s dilemma in a nutshell. Some of the points you raise are the very reasons I opted for a ridiculously short “leave” (one of MY regrets) and have worked steadily as a freelance writer all through my son’s still-young life. Granted, I work at home so my son can always see me, or read on the couch in my office as I write. But for the first few years, I wasn’t “on duty,” during the work day, the nanny was. I have limited time to volunteer in school compared to some of my other mom friends who don’t work outside the home or have more flexible schedules. I made this choice partly because we need to be a two-income family and partly because I knew I wouldn’t be happy without my writing career. And as they say: If Mom ain’t happy, no one is happy. But it’s important to note that no one ever asks dads to make the kinds of all-or-nothing have a career/stay at home with the kids decisions that moms are forced to make. And likely we’ll continue to have this push/pull over motherhood v career until there are substantial changes in the workplace so that ALL parents — Moms and Dads — can have the kinds of flexible working arrangements that allows them to get the job done and still be available to their children. The whole work paradigm has to shift. In the meantime, I’d bet that every mom has the kinds of regrets you’ve expressed at some point, whether they were career women or not. My son’s still young, and as much as I love my career, I occasionally feel like I’m missing out on some of his childhood. And I may regret that later on.

  42. BCE says:

    I stayed home with my children and when my youngest turned 8, I went back to school but only took classes that allowed me to be home by the time the bus was coming down the street. I then was on the go until about 9pm when the house was finally quiet and then I started studying. It was NOT easy, but having the challenge of going to school, meeting people very different from suburban neighbors was incredible. I would encourage any stay at home mom to go back to school even if you have multiple degrees (I did not) and learn new things, you don’t know where it might lead you and even if it doesn’t lead somewhere, it will encourage you to stretch and think in new ways. You will also be able to use the college career center. If you decide to go on the job market once your children are grown, you will have something else to share as well as volunteer work. I also did internships when I was in school which was great for re-entering the work force if that is of interest to you…
    I never regret the years I spent home, though with 3 children it was exhausting. I do feel at times that I wish I had gone back to work sooner, but I think it all worked out the way it was supposed to do so.

    • This is great advice. I went to the iRelaunch back to work conference and they stressed the value of up to day credentials and education.

  43. How brave you are to write this great post. This topic can be such a minefield with women, can’t it? When I had my daughter, I chose to stay home. It was hard going from running a department in a financial services company to doing laundry and dishes. I agree with many of your point’s above. I could make many comments, which is what a great post should do! The one I will make has to do with #1 on your list. I don’t think you are letting anyone down by leaving the workforce. One of the best things to come out of the feminist movement is that women have a choice. Staying home to raise children is a valid choice to make, just as valid as choosing to work. What I believe to be disappointing is if you didn’t exercise your right to make a choice at all. Have you seen the movie Mona Lisa Smile? At the end, Julia Roberts has jumped through many hoops to figure out a way one of her students can go to law school and get married. Roberts’ character is flabbergasted when the student refuses to go to law school and says, “but now you have a choice.” The student (Julia Stiles) makes the point that yes she does have a choice and her choice is to stay home and raise children and that it is just as valid a choice as to be a lawyer. That was a definite Aha moment for me when I saw that movie.

  44. I can totally understand what you mean!! I often think of what the future will be like when the kids are grown and I’ve lost all of my relevance in the work force. Guess I’ll do what I can in the mean time and just hope that I live long enough to get to that point!

  45. I totally feel you on this one! These are all things that I think of very often.
    My husband always tells me that if he could change places with me he would, and I always respond with “I would trade you in a heartbeat!”.
    While I appreciate being able to watch my kids grow, and being able to see all of their special moments, deep down I can’t help but wonder how it would be if he stayed home and I worked.

  46. Wow, this is such an honest and brave post. I think we need more honest conversations like this about motherhood and how we see ourselves and the work we have done, both the highs and the lows. Your post reminded me so much of why I love being a working mom and why I absolutely know it is the right choice for me. But I don’t think you have let Ms. Friedan and others down ~ feminism is about making choices, and respecting those choices. Thanks for sharing your thoughts so honestly.

  47. Nina says:

    A very brave post indeed! I still have young kids and am in the workforce mostly by necessity, but I never thought how I would handle it if I were given the choice to leave the workforce or not. I think if my family all of a sudden came down with money, I would probably still do some sort of work, whether paid or not, just to keep my skills current. Or I would explore other side businesses.

    I guess I’m also fortunate in that my job allows me a flexible schedule so that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on my kids. And that I work in a field that is conducive to freelancing should the need arise.

    It’s very interesting to hear from someone with older children state this especially since you usually hear the debate among new mothers who still haven’t experienced the results that far ahead.

    • We hope that young moms find thoughts on Grown and Flown useful. I know I would have loved the insights of older moms back in the prehistoric ages, before the internet, when my kids were tiny.

  48. Thanks for sharing! I am a work at home mom and it seems to cross over with some of the things you shared in this post.

  49. definitely food for thought. i do miss working sometimes, but not my sitting-in-front-of-a-computer-all-day job. being a SAHM has encouraged me to develop new skills, and find a passion to develop that could possibly be a new career choice for me in the future.

  50. Carpool Goddess says:

    Love this post, Lisa. As a new empty nester I feel I’m at a period of reinvention. I’m no longer interested in going back into the work I was doing before, but crave a more creative outlet…blogging seems to be the path for now. And even with all the child referring, chauffeuring, home organizing, volunteering, etc…on more than one occasion was told by my ambitious adolescent offspring that I wasn’t doing anything with my life in terms of my education and talents. Ouch.

  51. Kathy Schneider says:

    All of my thoughts, exactly. What, now?

  52. I can relate to this post, but for a different reason. I quit my job (and a dollar-for-dollar match toward my retirement fund) at the age of 54 to get remarried and follow my new husband to another state, where he’d been offered a high-paying job. Love was the reason. Love, however, leads with the heart and not the head. It didn’t occur to me that it would be difficult to find a new full-time position at a comparable salary at midlife. It didn’t occur to me that not only would it be challenging to find the money to continue contributing to my retirement account, but that my Social Security benefits would also dwindle as a result of my decision, since I’m no longer paying into the fund. We don’t think of these things (well, I didn’t), when we lead with our heart. I have to say I know I’d make the same decision, but I probably would have taken steps to mitigate the fiscal damage. As for being a stay-at-home mom, I was and I wasn’t; I worked occasionally in my first husband’s law office while my son was small, but I had not yet earned my bachelor’s degree. What I did do while my son was young was return to school. I had summers at home with him and a fairly flexible schedule during the academic term. I suppose I had the best of both worlds in that respect; I was doing something that would–and did–pay off well in the ensuing years. But I cannot imagine what it would be like to have started out with a fabulous career only to leave it in midstream…or I couldn’t, until reading this thoughtful, exquisitely written, and deeply honest essay. Thank you for adding your wonderful voice to an important conversation!

    • Marci thank you for sharing this. We each have a different tale and can learn so much from each other. I so appreciate your thoughts!

  53. As much as we have heard recently on this issue, your comments strike at the heart of what is really going on more than anything else I have read. Unfortunately, society does not view parenting as an actual job. Period. Raising children is a HUGE job. They need our guidance to become responsible, caring citizens of the world. If we aren’t around to give them advice or guidance, they will find most likely find it from someone else.

    As a mother of two, I have experienced everything since my first child was born – working full-time in a demanding profession, working part-time and not working (in a paid position) for a couple of years. I have found – without a doubt – that working part-time/freelance in your industry is truly the best route to take as a mother. In this capacity, you keep your foot in the door and keep your skills updated while keeping your confidence level up and maintaining intellectual stimulation. Your children are interested in Mommy’s job but you are also able to spend the necessary time needed to really parent your kids – teaching them life skills, listening to them, reading to them and just being there to make them feel happy and secure.

    The challenge becomes whether or not you have a job or skillset that is conducive to working from home or working freelance hours. Unfortunately, not all of us have this opportunity. I just happened to get lucky and I thank God for that. Bottom line, as my daughter gets older and begins to explore her own career choices, I will implore her to please, please, please find a career that she finds fulfulling but that also gives her the possibility of having flexibility in the future. I never want my daughter to have to choose between being at home with her children or just completely ending her career. That is the real tragedy here. There has to be a middle ground and we have to teach our daughters that they can have a balanced life — it’s just a little trickier for us and takes a little more creativity.

  54. Lisa says:

    The major fallacy in this piece is the assumption that whatever career path one WOULD have embarked on would be inevitably rewarding – personally and financially – and always on the upward climb of success. Clearly that is not always the outcome.

    Not every job is fulfilling and enjoyable – let’s face it: except for the elite, most people work because they need money to live, not for personal gratification. It’s unrealistic to think that if one had opted to stay in the professional world – instead of full-time motherhood – that this choice would inevitably lead to success and satisfaction each and every day on the job. Every job – including stay-at-home mothering – has its ups and downs, aggravations and disappointments. Some careers fizzle and burn out due to changing economics, industries or technologies…it’s not exactly all sunshine and roses in the professional sector…think of how many middle-aged managers are cast aside by their respective companies or industries like newspaper journalism, which is dying a slow death. It’s not much different from having one’s kids grow up and leave home, really.

    So there are many different paths…but mostly we can take pride and pleasure in having raised our children ourselves – instead of the hired help. I have no regrets.

  55. Cheryl says:

    Wow! Powerful. I think you said exactly how I felt staying home (as well as being a trailing wife). Staying home was never on my radar ever in my life so when I became the primary caregiver, everything about who I was was challenged. Women who stay home for the good of their kids development are looked at so differently than the person they used to be. Now I find myself hustling that much harder now that I am building a new career. When I look at how amazing my kids are, I do not have regrets; when I look at my career and passions I have only regrets.

    • SO well put! Wish I had thought to say this…”When I look at how amazing my kids are, I do not have regrets; when I look at my career and passions I have only regrets.”

  56. Hi Lisa,
    I wish I had known you were blogging. I don’t know how I missed it. I read your piece in the HuffPo and I was like, wait, I KNOW her.

    I really appreciated your words. I am back to work part-time after leaving the hospital and having my son. I’m also writing, which is something I love. I still struggle with what is next for me.

    I know you’ve received a lot of backlash and frontlash from the piece. I just wanted to say that in my time working with you on that hospital board, I was in awe of you as a smart, accomplished and dedicated woman and leader. And I know everyone else on the team thought the same thing and more (because they knew you longer). I won’t dwell; I just wanted to let you know what my immediate reaction was.

    Look forward to following your writing. Deb

  57. Kudos to you for writing honestly about it. I quit my job last year when my second was born, am totally glad that I did, but can already see how I may relate to these points as time goes on. I have been pondering part-time freelance options and always appreciate the perspective of others who’ve been there. Good food for thought. Thanks for writing.

  58. Lisa I saw you on Fox News this morning and you said everything I am feeling. When I wanted to go back to work part time when my daughter entered high school my ex said supportively “What would you do?”. I am still looking for myself 5 years later and my divorce during the recession added to my dilemma of now trying to support myself at 50 with no specialize work skills. My regret is my daughter grew up so fast. I was grateful I could staying home with her but I regret loosing myself.

    • I many comments have been: I am glad I stayed home with my kids, but…. Wonder what we would tell young women now that we know that caveat is out there.

  59. Help4NewMoms says:

    I loved your spot on Fox and Friends this morning and I think you are a very brave girl! This was a very interesting segment and I wish it was longer.

    To the Mom on the couch who worked from home a created a career for herself…terrific…but it is a shame that a woman HAS to do both…SAHM which is a full time job in itself AND create a job for herself. It is really difficult for a Mom to do both especially when the kids are young. Many SAHM women who I have interviewed never sleep! How is this a great deal for Moms? Isn’t the job of SAHMotherhood hard enough that we have to add “keeping our own career alive when we decide to return to it” on top of everything else? If you go that route, it works out best for everyone in the family except the Mom! She ties herself into a pretzel to accommodate everyone else’s needs! It would be easier for the Mom to go back to work full time! Sheesh!

    BTW, being a SAHM is a sacrifice and a job whether you have money or not. Do not feel that you need to apologize because you and your husband have money and you choose to stay home! Most of the SAHMs out there have NO Money. I know because I have met them. They sacrifice furniture and trips and fancy food in order to be home with their kids. All moms, no matter what they choose, are amazing if you ask me!

    • Ahhhh thank you love your joyful, understanding approach to this subject. I wish the segment had been longer too there was so much to say….might need to engage more conversation right here. Thank you.

  60. Anna says:

    Thank you for reminding us that going to or staying in the workplace is a choice, just as staying at home with your children is a choice. (At least it is a choice for some of us who are very fortunate.) Neither is a good choice or a bad choice, just a choice. I worked at my job the whole time my children were growing up, but never one time, did they ever get confused about who their parents were. Their day care teachers and school teachers served as wonderful “helpers” for my children’s upbringing, but my husband and I were still their parents, the most meaningful people in their lives. I stayed exhausted most of the time, but I didn’t let the children lose access to their mother because of it. The joy of spending time with them, helping with homework, taking vacations together, far out-weighed fatigue. Now they are both grown and married to wonderful young women I am proud to call my daughters-in-law. I am still working and they say they see me as a role model — a woman who raised great kids and worked. One great blessing from my years of work is that both of my sons went to college and graduated with no student debt. I put money in their college funds from the time they were born and was able to pay for their school (along with their help from earning some scholarship money). Another very positive outcome of my years in the workplace that I am just now really coming to understand is the benefit of having a pension and a 401K for my retirement. My husband and I will not retire wealthy, but because of our years of work, we will be financially independent.

    • Anna this is a wonderful story. What you didn’t mention is what a great role model you were for your sons in showing them how a successful woman manages home and work. I love this story, thank you.

  61. I understand this very much. I worked until I got laid off so I didn’t have a choice to be an at home mom. I never wanted to be one but now after 3 years of being at home I am suddenly labeled as one and I like to tell people I am a Stay at home mom looking for work that will pay enough for daycare because daycare is expensive and I can’t work for nothing. My son does not think I work either because as he says I am on the computer all day but little does he know I am working while I am on the computer all day. I think this is a great look into how most women feel. I love being there for my kids but I want to make money too.

  62. Laurel says:

    This makes me sad. I will concede your personal fulfillment sacrifices. But the impact on your children’s lives will have made up for economic sacrifices. Unless of course you hated it. (My sister-in-law did and went back to work, right decision for her). Money and things are way less important than people. Every time I tried to go back to work my daughter got sick (autoimmune recurrences) so finally I decided she was way more than worth it and stayed at home. I learned as much from volunteer leadership as I ever had from studying and teaching business administration. I’m incredibly proud of my adult children, am still interested in a myriad of things in the world and may yet do that postponed Masters degree. I hope you find a new path that grants you fulfillment. And I hope your children give you recognition.

  63. Ouch. As others have said, kudos for having the courage to look so long and so hard at your choices and their consequences. It sounds like you and I are in the same boat: I quit practicing law when my daughter was a year old because I couldn’t stand her having all these “firsts,” developing and growing, that I missed while she was in day care. I did try to work part-time, and my company turned my proposal down. I even went back to work once both kids were past kindergarten, but I felt like they didn’t do as well (in school, with friends), and it was so hard to try to balance work and family. So I quit again after less than a year. And now I seem to be unemployable.
    But I hope you were just having a down day, and don’t really believe all the self-deprecating things you said. I have often felt less-than because of being a stay-at-home mom, but then I realize that I have used my lawyer training — to help people in meaningful ways — again and again over the years. As for my husband’s and my roles, we joke about doing 50′s stuff, but he respects my intellect (and other abilities) tremendously — and has the good sense and grace to tell me so. I’d be surprised if your husband didn’t feel the same way, because who wouldn’t? :-)
    Keep posting — very good food for thought indeed.

    • Thanks Susan, he doesn’t think of me in the 1950s role, but life as a stay-at-home mom lends itself to that. We went from equals, doing the same job to Mad Men, in a very short amount to time, without changing our beliefs a bit. So glad to hear your story, thanks for the comment.

    • Susan, thank you for sharing your story. If you are still looking for a way out of limbo, check out my blog. I would love to chat with you.

  64. This is a really interesting perspective. I just had my second child and have taken an extended period of time off of working. Then I will be faced with the decision to resign or go back to work. Right now I have no idea what I want to do. Thank you for your honesty!

  65. elizabeth says:

    this sounds like it comes from my own heart but I never actually entered the workforce. I never thought highly enough of myself or invested in a career. Actually, I never took the time to get to know myself after college and instead banked on a ‘sure thing’ and followed my husband around the country for his job. I’m very grateful I had the chance to stay home with my kids – I never saw the grass as greener – but I also knew I wasn’t happy. Now that my kids are 19, 17 and 15 I have the time to figure out who I want to be when I grow up and I’ve been investing in myself. I like to call it my ‘No Mom Left Behind’ campaign. It wasn’t well received by everyone at frist but I think they all saw it was absolutely necessary that I finally started putting myself first.

    The benefit to starting now? For starters, the internet but there are fewer financial worries (with the exception of tuitions) and the possibilities are limitless. Thank you for sharing and saying what I felt so eloquently.

    • I didn’t really get into the issue to technology but it is huge (and beyond the scope of a short post). It has changed so much about the workplace all to moms benefit. Love your “No Mom Left Behind”.

  66. I always wished I could clone myself so that I didn’t have to make the choice and could lead parallel lives of working at home and working at my office job. Since that was not possible, I wondered how different my life and my children would be if I had chosen the other path? I also do not regret staying home with my children, but I do regret not having a professional career.

    • Mo, thanks for your thoughtful comment. If you found a way to clone yourself, I am sure that you would have many followers. I think your final sentence says it all.

  67. Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom says:

    Thank you for this honest perspective. It really made me think, and, to be honest, gave me a little encouragement as I continue to work part-time while my 6yo constantly begs me to be a helping parent in her classroom (I work while she’s in school).

  68. You are brave to write this because it goes against popular opinion. Kudos to you! I had a different experience. I was excited to leave the workforce. I had never really found a career that I loved. I was excited to be at home and work on my home and my family. With that said, it did get a little boring, monotonous and I often feel unappreciated…until…I started my blog – or at least focusing more attention on it. I’ve found that what I really enjoy is writing and making people laugh. I don’t know if I would have discovered this about myself had I stayed in the field I was in – food safety/biology – and not come home, even part-time. Often times, my kids have been my inspiration for what I write – they were definitely what got me started. I hope to never go back to the field of my college degree. I like what I’m doing now – writing and hanging out with my kids. But, I do hope that when they’re off at college, that I’ll be writing full-time…or at least part-time. :-)

  69. I’m sorry that you feel like this – and sympathise with some of your points. I think I’ve lost some confidence in my abilities too and also wonder where the equality in my relationship went. I hope to use your article to spur me on to pick up where I left off, although prior to kids I was a self-employed writer so perhaps not quite so ‘outside the home’ as yourself. Part of the problem, is however how little value society attaches to the ‘job’ of nurturing children (and therefore future citizens) – perhaps that’s where the real conflict lies…

  70. Anonymous says:

    What a great post – very honest and open. The thing that amazes me most is that you seem to have touched a lot of moms’ hearts, both working and stay-at-home, with your openness about your experiences over the years, and your very respectful replies to the responses you are getting here. Not easy with such a sensitive topic!
    All parents (moms *and* dads) need to weigh the long-term consequences of the choices that are open to them, and you have succeeded in making them more informed than they would have been. Realizing what lies ahead before they make their choices, makes it easier to have no regrets later on, whichever path they felt was the best one for them and their families. Thank you!

  71. I found this post very interesting because I had never really thought through the long term implications of leaving my job. I would, however, like to make a couple of points… one is that, in my opinion, women and guilt tend to go hand in hand, guilt for working throughout our children’s lives, guilt for staying home, guilt for not being there enough, guilt for giving up on ourselves, guilt, guilt, guilt, I imagine, though of course no one can know for certain, that had you stayed in your job, furthered your career, a few years from now there may have been a post titled nine reasons I regret being a working mom. As far as your comment of a nanny being a viable alternative for a mother (during the workweek, of course, not in general) I agree that it is a perfectly valid alternative, but as a person who was raised mostly by nannies, alongside other children being raised mostly by nannies, I can say with perfect confidence that from the child’s point of view a nanny is never the preferable alternative. And lastly, though I completely understand the idea that while you worked you felt relevant and technologically with the times, I honestly don’t think that had you kept working and still been up to date on all the advances your children would have eye rolled any less.
    I’m not trying to be critical of your post, I think you made some really valid points, I just don’t think you would have been much happier had you kept your job, you would just have had different regrets. Life, in my opinion is a series of choices, choices that lead to losses on the one hand, and gains on the other, the important thing is keeping them balanced with possibly a little extra on the gains!
    I left work when my second child was born because I was constantly distraught at leaving my first child with a nanny. They are still little, and for now I don’t regret it, but who knows what the future holds…

    • Bonny You make some excellent points, yes I did give up things to get things. I guess my larger point is that although we know that fact as we are going through the process, it is only later that the full magnitude of those sacrifices become clear. I truly appreciate your thoughts and insights here, thanks.

  72. S says:

    I really liked this post. As a SAHM for going on 8 years (with 2 1/2 of those a part time SAHM due to a then-fantastic corporate work situation), I have struggled with the same questions and emotions. Recently, I’ve become fortunate enough to have a new family business that has put me back into the workforce, but from home and with my own hours. But, though I honestly have the very best work situation in which to use my hard-earned education and for my family situation, I still feel guilt when I have to tell my kids I don’t have time for something because I have to work. That said, however, the point of view all of us mothers should remember as we beat ourselves up for not being what we consider perfect (which, as good mothers, we are all bound to do, no matter how hard we try NOT to!) is that of the women our age who never even had the opportunity to experience motherhood – but who desperately wanted to. I have had the opportunity recently to befriend many women my age and older who are focused on their careers, recreation and fun friend times — but who would give anything to just experience mere moments in the meaningful life of a mother. That realization alone has made me no less stringent in my desire to achieve perfection in my world, but it HAS caused me to jump my thoughts ahead by 20 years and realize that, while I may feel outdated and as if I’m starting over, I have built a family who will support each other and me unconditionally forever, and that is something not just to be proud of, but take comfort in at the time when I will be attempting to reintroduce myself to a world I “left” when my children were young.

    • It is truly something to be proud of and it sounds like you found a wonderful situation. Thanks for adding your insights and reminder to stop beating ourselves up!

  73. Sarah says:

    I can really relate to this post even though I have been able to continue working in my field part-time (except for 6 months full-time) since my oldest son was born. I desperately wanted to stay home after my third son was born, but my husband more or less insisted that I keep working. I find it amazing (as my oldest son is heading off to college) that I am now mostly happy that I did not stay home full-time, for many of the reasons listed above. I am actually working fewer hours with lots of flexibility now, but this is great for visiting colleges, helping elderly parents, etc. I think overall I was able to find a good balance, and I know this is a struggle for all of us, no matter how we are making our way through parenthood.

  74. I thank you for this article. I too left a career where I was on a fast track and truly enjoyed. When my first child was born, my husband and I both worked an incredible amount of hours and we faced the reality of needing childcare for 80+ hours a week. After considering the expense of me continuing to work (nanny, commuting, etc..) the amount of money I would have been left with was so pathetic that I felt it would be selfish to not raise my own children for “peanuts.” My husband also was very adamant that his mother stayed home when he was a child and that’s what he wanted for his own children, and did his best to ‘convince’ me that it was in everyone’s best interest. I now have two beautiful children, and have spent over 6 years as a stay at home mom. I don’t regret the time I’ve been able to spend with my children, having the opportunity to never miss a special moment with them has been wonderful. But I actually do regret walking away from my career now. Little did I now, was that my husband, who assured me “I’d never have to worry about anything” used this opportunity to delve into his double life. He has a career that requires long, hours and it was never a set schedule as to when he’d get out of work. Knowing I was home, quite a distance away from his work location, he frequently “worked late” and I later discovered his late work hours involved hanging out with his 20-something coworker/ mistress. Well here I am now, a recently divorced stay at home mom. I’ve been applying to every single job I see with normal M-F work hours. Part-time, Full-time, whatever I see on my DAILY research into new job postings. It’s been over 8 months and it’s getting frustrating and depressing. Most places don’t even respond. The few that do state “although your experience is impressive, we’ve filled the position with another candidate” or “thank you for applying, but we regret you do not meet the minimum requirements for the position.” The latter comment I found to be the most insane. It was for an entry level clerical position, and yet I used to supervise multi-million dollar accounts and oversaw a small staff! I’ve seen receptionist positions posted with “Bachelors Degree required, Masters preferred”. REALLY?? This job market is horrible, especially when employers can request a Masters degree for a position that 15 years ago would be attainable with a high school diploma. I will keep on throwing the line in, and I hope eventually someone, somewhere will bite. But looking at my situation now, I can honestly say that with the way marriage is treated like such a joke nowadays, ladies keep your jobs!!! If you ever find yourself in my shoes, you will at least have the comfort of an income, and not have the fear of becoming obsolete to the market. Protect yourselves and never rely on someone else.

    • Your story and other who have posted similar ones is a caution to our daughters to remember the cost of dependence. Divorce is certainly a risk, but husbands lose jobs and change careers. There can be many reasons why a women needs to keep and enhance her income earning capacity. Thanks for sharing.

  75. I would like to think that the Woman’s Movement was about giving women the freedom to choose their own destiny, not to pressure them to chose the destiny their mothers and grandmothers weren’t allowed.

  76. Carla says:

    I was inspired by the truthfulness of our article. I have 2 daughters, one is 3 and my second is 10 days old. I am just starting my maternity leave. Since the birth of my first I carry the guilt that is expressed in the article and in comments, I went back to work full time. It is so hard to work a full day and come home to try to dedicate meaningful time to husband and kids. You have definitely given food for thought. Thank you.

  77. I shook my head when reading Lisa Endlich Heffernan’s post. Her article actually prompted me to write a post on my blog about passing the baton to the next generation. I love that she set up a conversation for girls coming up in the workforce. Now all we need is for our country to embrace better life/work/balance and for politicians to stop cutting services that help families. Here’s my response to the post: http://thatgirlisback.com/passing-the-baton/

  78. Krisztina says:

    this article really saddens me. and for all nine reasons. I hope you will find some closure to your mourning over “the life” you did not live, because you dedicated yourself to your kids. just sad.

  79. Krisztina says:

    we cannot have everything, the feminist lied,

  80. Thank you! Wonderfully written. Love your honesty. You named (out loud) our secret regrets – the ones we are almost afraid to express, or admit. Relevant, especially to those of us with teens who will be soon leaving the house. You nailed it.
    We had chosen this same topic at our new blog SheSaysPost, because it is what our friends are all talking about. We made two videos about it. Different perspectives – my friend has fewer regrets than I do. We both would have done it a bit differently.
    It’s good for new moms to have all the facts – be aware of the consequences of the choice. You don’t have to make a different choice, just be aware. Thanks! And thanks to a friend for send me your link. I am now following your blog.

    • Kim Page says:

      Yes, thanks for your honesty. I have to say, parts of the post made me uncomfortable.
      It’s too bad you didn’t enjoy the time spent with volunteers and volunteering. I was lucky and met the most amazing group of women and men while my 2 kids were in pre-school and elementary school. Editors, chefs, doctors, lawyers, actors and musicians. All still good friends today, i.e. my co-blogger Ann @ SheSaysPost).
      But also, I have to say that it was quite a shock (and continues to be) when I stepped away from my SAHM job and started looking for work outside of the house. I agree with you and all your blog followers that looking back — we should have kept in touch with colleagues, grabbed freelance work that came along and stay on top of those pesky computer skills.

      Happy to be following your blog!

      • SO happy to have you. And thanks for your thoughts. I did meet amazing women (and some men) and I did do some wonderful things. I just should have been more careful and strategic and used volunteering as a step back into work. My mistake.

    • Going to check you blog our right now! Thanks.

  81. I am just now finding this. I am going through these exact feelings. I didn’t hesitate when becoming a stay at home mom but in the back of my mind I have had regrets and I am feeling guilty over that. I have now been asked to return to my old job. The likelihood of me returning to work is low. Hopefully, I will have peace with this decision the second time around. Thank you for this. It helps.

  82. Hey, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility
    issues. When I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it
    has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
    Other then that, superb blog!

  83. Tamara F says:

    I understand where you are coming from. I am city funds lawyer. Worked at one firm for almost 10 years, hated it and following some health issues decided enough was enough and left to take an indeterminate career break. I ended up taking a contract role 3months later when I came to some of the same conclusions as you have, but in doing so reminded myself that what one might expect to be a black mark on the cv or a real challenge to your own confidence isn’t always. I often think that making women feel that returning to work post mat leave is a huge challenge is an institutionalised way of putting women off. The job hasn’t changed in your absence so why would it be. I realise you have been otherwise engaged longer than both my break and a normal mat leave, but are you sure it would be that difficult to get back in if you wanted and that it isn’t “just” dented confidence talking? Would you be willing to renter the work place at a lower grade just to get back in? In the scheme of a potentially long career ahead of you, is it not premature to think it is over? Just some thoughts. Good luck in any event!

  84. Laurie says:

    Wow, did this hit home. My son is going to college this month, and I feel I have made a huge mistake after all these years! I gave up many material things, which really didn’t bother me, but now we are facing 40K a year college costs with only one income. After all this time, with a college degree in history, I probably could get a $10 an hour job, which will be taxed at my husband’s rate. Going back to school is barely an option since we are struggling to pay for my son’s education, and our other child goes to college in two years. I tell my daughter that she needs to have a career that will easily allow part time work and that she should NEVER quit, no matter what. Even if it costs almost her whole paycheck for childcare. In my neighborhood, the moms who worked while I so devotedly volunteered for nothing are laughing now. They have good incomes, vacation time, higher self esteem, and I have…a 12-year-old car and shabby furniture. Their kids turned out as well as mine did.

    • Laurie I am afraid that I agree with so many things you said, hence the post. Go to my good friend Carol Fishman Cohen’s site for some new ideas on how to get back to work. She can help http://www.irelaunch.com

      • Laurie says:

        I will check out her site. Thanks for your kind reply. A week from today, we drop off our oldest at school. Smiling through the tears.

    • Melissa W. says:

      My mom worked part-time for years as a teacher so that my parents could pay the daycare/babysitter’s bill. It wasn’t the most ideal situation, but it worked out and my mom was able to many things later on in her career that she probably wouldn’t have been able to do if she had stayed at home instead.

  85. alice says:

    I really enjoyed your post and found it interesting and thought-provoking. In reading through the comments however (in this post and also in the NYTimes article about the original Opt-Outers), I keep coming across people who have a holier-than-thou attitude about staying at home, which drives me nuts. I respect the very personal decision to stay at home or not, but please don’t automatically assume that your kids will be better off if you do! My mother was one of those who had no choice to stay home (we never had much money) and my sister and I managed to grow up successfully. We did not have a slew of after school lessons and activities or summer camps – we played with our friends, biked to places and entertained ourselves. There were no elaborate birthday parties or home-baked goods, but my mom always made dinner. Somehow we never felt deprived. My sister and I both attended Ivy League colleges and have successful careers and personal lives. We are both extremely close to each other and with our mom and I am happy to say that my mother is still my mother even though she had to work when I was growing up and I would be amazed if someone told me she didn’t raise me. Raising kids does not have to be a 24/7 activity, unless you make it that way.

  86. ipad social networking says:

    After I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added-
    checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the
    same comment. There has to be a way you can remove me from that service?
    Kudos!

  87. Kt says:

    Very honest. I’m a SAHM mom of 16 years… I have 2 degrees. What I hear you saying is that you wish you had kept your hand in something now that you are on the other side of dishes and laundry. Thank you.

  88. Erika says:

    Thank you so much for this awesome piece. I first read it on Huff Post, and I’m glad to see that you have this site. As a young attorney, I’m starting to think about how kids will fit in with my other professional and personal goals. I come from a large city of enthusiastic professionals and knew very few at-home parents growing up. It isn’t a popular choice, here. In recent years though I’ve had a few friends make the decision to stay at home based on (1) their overriding love of their new child and (2) financial ability to do so. It has left me wondering where this choice will leave them in 10 or 20 years. Your article confirmed my lurking suspicions. Staying at home with kids was never something I’ve seriously considered (I’ve never aspired to be a nanny or a housekeeper in my own home or someone else’s, nor do I think being a great parent requires 100% of what I have to offer the world). But, this article was basically the last nail in that coffin of that potential path. Thank you for your candid, thoughtful reflection.

  89. Laura says:

    1). My children knew I had a job before they were born. I managed the finances in our household, my 10 year pre-baby career had been in finance and banking, they knew what my job skills had been. They learned that work means many different things, not just 9-5. But more importantly they learned that intellect is not coorelated to the job you hold. My son learned about economics and philosophy and marketing before he was ten years old. By the time he was 14, he was reading the Stoics and Roman History just for fun, but also to share and discuss with me. My kids know me really well, they know my brain. And most importantly they know that the job you hold does not define your worth or your intelligence. Plus they know how successful I’ve been with our personal finances- they have the debt free college educations to show for it, I am the first one they turn to for financial advice.

    2) My world narrowed a bit, too. But, I no longer had to have a business persona. I became much more authentic in my relationships, choosing to be with only people who really interested me! Ha! Happy to no longer be putting on the smile for the SeniorExec who was a sexist bigot. I’ve built a rich group of friends, male and female, young and old, working and non-working, Americans and not.

    3) I worried much, much less than most moms, working or not. I could see from a very young age that both of my children had everything they needed to be happy and healthy. Both were born with strong intellects and had excellent social skills, in my view, they didnt need much more than that. My children were given a tremendous amount of freedom, largely because I felt so confident in their abilities. Our house was the hub of activity (and sleepovers) for all of their friends. They were good friends to each other and to others. It was a trait we encouraged, valued highly and modeled.

    4) I have never lost confidence in who I am. In fact, having more time these last several years, finally, I’ve had time to really work on enjoying and appreciating who I am. I can’t imagine giving my free time to paid labor now. This is the time I’ve been waiting for! Grown children, empty nest. Time alone with my husband. Time for me to be free. Ha! I LOVE my life more than ever before and I am so so grateful to be happy and healthy and free. I have books to read, art to study, languages to learn, technology to learn, people to meet, music to hear, places to travel to, new sports to learn, all while listening to and supporting my husband and children and friends and family.

    Maybe someday I’ll return to a job, but I wouldn’t want to give up time for it right now. Not while life is so good and I’m so happy.

  90. Bruce says:

    I am 50 years old. I am a white male. I am one of nine children. Mom stayed home.
    I got a education as did the 8 siblings. I got married at 27. I been married for over 23 years. We have a daughter now 15 and a son now 12. I had a great career going as did my wife. Our daughter was born my wife stayed home for about 18 months. She went back to work. When she went back to work about 13 years ago I decided to stay home thinking I would last the three weeks vacation I booked off work. Hire a nanny and all would be perfect in the world. While I have been home now about 13 years looking after my two children with my wife who went back to work. I would never change a thing in fact it’s the best thing that ever happened to us as a family. I have no remorse at all about spending time with my children and my wife over my career. I do not feel as though I have settled for less of anything. I remember one stay at home mother, nice lady, in the neighborhood realize who my daughter was and she blurted out ” but she is so bright and well behaved” . It was then I realized any doubts I had about my choices were unfounded. I do not expect my children to know what I do for them they are children. When they become parents they will realize what being a parent is and what I did just as I did about my mom raising nine, and with dad, getting us all a top notch education. My wife is happy my children are happy and so am I. No one will recall what I did for a living but many will remember what kind of father and husband I was and that is far more important then a yearly bonus. Staying home opened my world no narrow it. I never felt I short changed anyone or myself and most importantly my wife and children. I see friends divorced, I see friends with troubled children I see many many friends unhappy about whatever it is they are unhappy about it. That is to bad. I have never felt obsolescence as a stay at home father. I was free to do what I wanted after my family responsibilities where taken care of. I went and got my pilots license. I coached Little League and Hockey, ringette, and managed the gymnastics team. My daughter won top marks in her grade 8 class. She worked hard for it. My son does well at school and is good at baseball and hockey.
    You write about regret as a stay at mother, I have no regret as a stay at home father. Jobs careers come and go some by choice most are forced upon us. But my children well they well always be and as my father said who had a traditional marriage said, no one ever asks for just one more day to spend it at the office. You may be the exception.

  91. Mad Housewife of the Rockies says:

    So very, very true, Lisa.

    I’ve been home with my family for 12 years now. I’ve experienced everything on your list. And more.

    For those of us not in the 1%, there is constant money stress. The working spouse has to singlehandedly earn enough to support the family. There’s always the danger of some calamity or other. Your family will often resent you for not bringing in an income. You will often resent your family because caring for them robbed you of your capacity to bring in an income. You won’t have the money to travel or go visit long-distance family members or help them out much in their old age. You’ll be too broke to pay for help to dig your way out of the trap. You may not be able to afford your kid’s college. Your Social Security will be much less than it would have been if you’d stayed in the workforce. You may never have enough money to go back to school or to retire. If your husband doesn’t have a cash-value life insurance policy, you may be out on the street if he dies after his term insurance ends or if he has no insurance at all. And yes, your spouse might just take a hike one day and leave you and the kids in the dust.

    At first, playing house is kinda fun, but eventually you’ll wake up and realize you’ve just become a slave to the thing. So forget about having time to brush up your skills or look for work. You also won’t have nearly as much time with your husband and children as you think you will, because you’ll be consumed with maintaining the household and doing all the endless repetitive things you have to do just to stay alive.

    Your health will suffer because you’ll be so busy caring for others that you won’t eat right, exercise, or sleep well. If your waistline expands from all the stress, or you never had the time to lose all the weight you gained during your pregnancy, your career options will correspondingly contract, and just finding career clothes will become insanely difficult. You’ll get arthritis from being on your feet all the time, and your hands will age much faster from household chemicals, etc.

    The SAHM social scene can be quite alienating. You may lose your previous professional friendships, find you have little in common with other SAHMs for one demographic reason or other, realize that people in the workforce look down on you, etc. You won’t have much time to go out and meet people.

    If you are an extrovert SAHM, you’ll often be lonely. If you are an introvert SAHM, you will lament the loss of your productive and energizing solitude because you will live your life in a near-constant state of distraction and randomization.

    Your family will become overly dependent on you because you’re always there to pick up the slack.

    You will be pressured to do volunteer work (especially in your kids’ schools), even though you’re already working your tail off for free. Unfortunately, volunteering is not always a good mechanism for helping the world in any meaningful way, much less for meeting people or growing/maintaining one’s job skills — too many entrenched interests and obsolete perceptions in the non-profit world.

    Your schedule is not your own. Every plan you make is always subject to being randomized by your family in one way or another. Your time will be chopped up so it’s hard to get traction to work on substantial projects — unless you decide that today, you’re just going to work on through and to heck with dropping everything to make lunch, which of course brings its own sets of problems.

    If, like me, you become a SAHM not out of deep prior conviction but because you somehow fall down that particular rabbit hole (maybe because of a spouse’s job transfer), it’ll probably be a long time before you have much of a network in the new area, and nobody you do meet will be able to envision you as anything other than a SAHM.

    Finally, if you are honest with yourself, you will eventually realize that you actually didn’t have that much influence over how your child turned out — so much is determined by genetics, after all. How else to explain that the kids of the working moms turned out just as well as yours did? Makes the SAHM sacrifice seem a little meaningless now, doesn’t it?

    Enough now. If you’re not convinced not to become a SAHM by now, all I can say is, may your mileage be better than mine! I struggle every day with the guilt that I profoundly failed my family and myself by letting myself get caught in the SAHM trap, and it will be the challenge of my life to get back into the workforce in any capacity at all.

    If I could rewind the clock, I would: Stay in the workforce full-time. Outsource the household grunt work (or simply refuse to do it). Unhesitatingly send our daughter to daycare for a few years. (From what I’ve seen, it’s not daycare that’s so damaging to kids — it’s the public schools.) Rent or go condo on the housing front. Take better care of myself physically and psychically. And never, ever waste time volunteering in the public schools. Even if I paid out every last cent I earned for a few years, I think our family would still be better off.

  92. Linda Hirschman wrote Get to Work and Get a Life Before it’s Too Late ( http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/825971.Get_to_Work )in 2007, and it was the most life-affirming book I had read in some time. It was so nice to be ENCOURAGED to be a working mother, rather than feeling like I was being tolerated as second-rate.

    My son has said to me on many occasions, “Mom, your work is so cool” (I work at a TV station). And he’s right, it is cool, and I didn’t want to give it up. And I still do the laundry, most of the cleaning, shopping, and other errands, and much of the cooking. Etc, etc, etc. Some bloggers say to SAHMs to “embrace the yoga pants.” I just come home from a day of work and put on my yoga pants for the 2nd shift!

  93. Susan Fisher says:

    I have no regrets about my years as a stay home mother. I was unwilling to leave the work of bringing up my children to people who could not help but care less about them than I. I listened to them, talked to them, read to them, explored the world with them, and found resources to help them learn and grow in those areas that appealed to them. Time well spent. I found them interesting as children and now that they are adults, they are still wonderful to be around. They have had the confidence to travel and pursue education and careers in new locations; they maintain a good relationship with each other and both their parents. None of the three have had drug or legal problems or horrible relationships, and as I talk to many of my contemporaries, I see that I have been very lucky in this regard. I don’t know if having parents who were available (my husband largely worked from home in software) made their lives more stable, but I suspect it may have.

    I took classes and finished a degree when my children went to school and was always a very active volunteer in arts and education, I had time to read, think, and sometimes travel. I did not feel cut off from the world or as if I did not contribute. I took advantage of chances to express my creativity.

    What I did see as a problem after my children were older was that (in America) there is very little in the way of opportunities for middle-aged women to enter back into the workforce. This is not the fault of taking time off to be a stay home mother as much as a lack of social insight as to the value of women with years of problem-solving experience. It should not be so difficult to help women like me use all the gifts they have developed. As a volunteer, I could organize and run a program, but no one will pay me an actual salary to do the same kind of work, especially now that my hair is gray. Success is judged in dollars earned and little thought is given to accomplishments that were done for any other reason or reward. Ex-stay-at-home-moms are an underused resource in the job market simply because work that is seen as “traditional women’s work” is discounted on principal–a very narrow viewpoint.

  94. Writermom says:

    Thank you for writing this. I am at the beginning of my mom journey. Although you wrote this out of regret, I actually felt some envy for the life you lead. I have been wanting to be a SAHM (who wrote parttime) since my son was born almost five years ago, but my husband has not been able to find steady employment and then recently injured himself in an accident. I am finally throwing in the towel on my SAHM dreams and beginning an aggressive job hunt today. My heart already breaks for the time I will lose with my children. Now I must find ways to stay close to them and to guide them as they grow and to see them reach milestones as I attempt to keep our family housed and fed. I never want them to think I chose my career over spending time with them but I also don’t want to “blame” my husband (their father) for not supporting the family financially as this will only lead to bitterness. Trying desperately to stay positive as I make this transition into the working mom world.

  95. I am a stay at home mom of a one year old girl and i enjoy being at home spending time with her ,but its good your story showed me what we may have to go through and its good i enjoyed reading it …i have recently started my own blog which shows the funny side of a husband n wife relationship based on true events ,which i go through becoz i stay at home all the time soo sometimes its pretty hard too…my blog is successfulhousewives@blogspot.com please do visit my blog ok god bless you ,have fun…

  96. Hi there i am a stay at home mom too and its fun but its hard too i have a one year old baby girl ,you have showed me what i have to expect in future and thats good it was very helpful i have recently startef my own blog about the funny side of a husband n wife relationship based on true events coz i go through them on daily badis haha please visit its successfulhousewives@blogspot.com
    Have fun,god blesd you. …

  97. Thanks for sharing this story. I found that joining a group of online professionals with goals more ambitious than my neighborhood SAHMs really helped out.

  98. ImpartialVent says:

    This article came to me at a time when i most needed it..this is a great revelation for me …would definitely influence my latter decisions in life in a big way!!
    Thank you so much :)

  99. markjamesdesign says:

    worse for stay at home dads

  100. Potamiaena says:

    My mom said about childrearing, “Damned if you do and damned if you don’t”. So true. So easy to think now that you could have done it all. But you couldn’t, for all the reasons you mentioned above.

    I am a part, part, part time CPA and a full time Mom. I worked while our children were in Mother’s Day Out and two days a week during school hours. The thing that I am most proud of is that I stayed home with my children throughout high school. I didn’t miss a moment. I have no regrets. No matter what choices my children make, I have done all I could.

    I loved being a mom–fixing dinner, driving them, and loving them. I loved my volunteer jobs. I always chose a job that stretched my skill set. I feel I am a better employee now with all my time management skills, decision making skills, and leadership skills!

    Now I will enjoy the rest of my life with my husband! We have a traditional, wonderful marriage. On to the next half of my fantastic life!

  101. D says:

    Your article was enlightening for me as a mom on maternity leave, and considering a future career as a housewife. What is wrong with a “traditional” marriage? We have a “traditional” marriage, and we both love it. There’s something very sexy about a woman who can cook the meals, clean up and look great for the husband when he comes home from work, and the man who can fix the computers and work on the cars. It is the pride that says that we must be “equal”. The moment men and women are born they were different; we can never be equal.

  102. KikiLou says:

    I stumbled on this article this morning, and almost fell out of my chair. The writer’s candid and brutally honest piece mirrored the state of my life. I have thoroughly enjoyed being there for my children, but that desire to nuture them, cook and clean has been replaced by a restlessness within me to be gainfully (financially and mentally) employed. The once enjoyable daily rituals of school runs, AAU road trips, cooking and keeping house have become mundane and forced. I am home, but don’t always expect a clean house or a home cooked meal anymore. I am over the whole thing.

    I know this write loves her family, to pieces I am sure, but as human beings, we are constantly on the verge of wanting something more. At this stage in my life, after 13 years of being home, I want more. I am so grateful for this piece; good to know I am not alone.

  103. Wisniewski says:

    I was at home mum for many years & still am. My daughter’s r at uni & I keep helping them as much as I can. I came to this country from Eastern Europe & I had no access to education if I made choice to b young mum. I don’t understand ur regrets regarding “being mum at home” as I had most wonderful time while doing all those unimportant jobs where no diploma is given, but I fully enjoyed it & perhaps that’s the difference. Once my kids completed year 12, I have enrolled into school and became counsellor with diploma. Education was an empty spot in my personal development & by receiving diploma I had higher education then some, who thought I’m just not good to complete any study. My kids had no opportunity to know what I c do…and I did it, not for others but for myself. Ur post seems bit depressing, perhaps personal crises, but I can say with confidence, in well developed countries, no matter what age u r , doors to education r always open. U can enroll & be whatever u wish to be & perhaps you will gain inner fulfillment as well. We go through stages & we change jobs with time. Older we become, we feel necessity to do work that will satisfy us spiritually. I’m sure while being at home u were able to recognize ur best qualities &.gifts u r ready to share. Staying at home has advantages as well, learn what u like, dislike, b great in multitasking observations, judgements etc. and free from stomach ulcers from stress working mum can’t avoid. Put ur head up my dear, do not spread fear to other mums, sit down & make decision what u r interested in. U r mature enough to take on law, psychology, teaching..don’t ever think of urself as not good enough. Running business from home is an option too..u can learn everything if u r willing. Take care, let us know in two years …

  104. Tonya says:

    I am 39 years old and have been married for over 17 years. We have 6 children (13, 11, 8, 6, 3, 1) who I home educate while my husband travels extensively for work. I adore my husband and cherish my children but I have never figured out how to have what “I” wanted. My whole life, has and does, revolve around him and our children, this has made me wonder…

    We were married very young so my “career” so to speak never took off. I got out of the military because I could not figure out how to manage military life and a family. This article touch a nerve within me that has been REALLY jumpy lately. I have the feeling that I need to “do something” for myself; something tangible that belongs to me once the kiddos leave.

    I think the frustration of not being able to have it all causes us to lack contentment; looking back over our lives in wonder and amazement and disappointment and worry. My best friend works a very high powered, demanding job and yet her children are well-rounded and intelligent. It makes me wonder if all my sacrifices have been for naught. I have given up so much (of myself) and what I enjoy that I ask “what will be the end result?!?” I often think about if my choices are the right ones for myself because I know once I live this life I cannot go back, and hind-sight is always 20/20!

    Women are trapped in a paradox…we are expected to remain beautiful and young, stay slim, bear children, be intelligent, be independent and help financially all while “knowing our place!” SMH!! when will this insanity end and who wrote this twisted story into our lives and said we had to abide by it?

    I hope that all women can find their happy medium. I hope the working woman can empathize with the sacrifices that the at-home-mom makes and I hope that the at-home-mom can empathize with the juggling acts of the working-mama. After all, this life came with no instructions SO perfection must not be required!

  105. Elizabeth says:

    Wow. A very feminist approach for sure. And to have everyone on here calling this “brave?” I don’t get it? It’s what every working mother out there really stands for – sheer selfishness. That’s why the whole feminist movement started – because women chose to start thinking of themselves above their husbands and children. What a shame.

  106. Anonymous says:

    So when you are on your death bed, you are going to look back at your life and say ” gee I wish I would have worked more and spent less time with my children. And made more money and wow I really let all the feminists down?” wow you better think about that a little more. I’m quite outraged that you wrote this article. The feminists took things too far. You can’t have the best of both worlds. You want to work fine, good for you, but don’t have kids being raised by someone else. You can never get those memories back of their firsts and all the things they do or say. And they happen when your not there! Your going to let the gift of having children just handed to someone else? I hope there aren’t any childless mom’s reading this. I actually feel sorry for you because what I say here won’t even matter to you and you will find some excuse of why I am wrong. I pray you will find the truth and steer young mom’s in the proper direction!

  107. One of the saddest prospectives I’ve read. Why have kids at all but since you did, they would have been better off with their nanny than a Mother who didn’t fully embrace the gift, who felt suppressed, and who was more worried about letting down the feminists who opened the door for her to “roar”. What I just read was a Mother who completely missed the point of what’s important. You should have just kept on your suit and tie and gone to work.

    • I truly do not regret one moment with my kids, but that does not mean that as they get ready to leave I am not fully cognizant of the price I paid in being home. Think there is a better balance than the one I found, and I hoped by airing some of these thoughts, I might hear of how other mothers found it.

  108. mrsj says:

    I guess I should be grateful I’ve never had burning ambition for a certain career. For me a job is something to do to make money so I can live my life. My job is not my life. I quit working at 30 when I got pregnant because financially it didn’t make sense for me to work. My entire paycheck would have gone to daycare. I started working part time (28 hrs per week) when I was 39. I work while the kids are at school and then I’m around when they get home. I’ll never be a millionaire but that’s ok. I really like not feeling stressed out about either work or kids. I do see some of my friends who have been SAHM for 15+ years and I wonder what they will do when their kids move out. Their entire world revolves around their kids. I ask them to go to the movies or go grab a coffee but they are “too busy” with volunteering and the billion activities they have signed their kids up for. I suspect they try and stay “too busy” so they won’t have to really look at their lives. I’m sure they think I’m lazy, only having my kids do one or two activities. And my friends who work full time think I’m lazy because I don’t have a career, just a part time job. Who knows? Maybe I am lazy. I like hanging out with my husband, reading books, going to yoga etc. more than sublimating myself to either a career or kids. Je ne regrette rien!

    • Doesn’t sound like you are lazy, sounds like you have found what we all seem to be looking for, balance. Your story sounds like a very good lesson for women much younger and still trying to figure this out. Hope they hear you and thanks for sharing.

  109. Dawn McDonnell says:

    Hi Lisa-
    As I comb the internet for inspiration and a loud voice to tell me “its ok you did the right thing” you followed your husbands career moved out of NYC, NJ followed him God Forsaken SOUTH Atlanta and now Jacksonville to a land you never knew to start all over banging out 3 kids and a miscarriage from ages 35-40 livin the dream of the feminine mystique thinking you can be the Hot Mom, stay in great shape, put dinner on the table do the soccer mom thing, 2 hrs of homework, maintain the household, finances recreation doctors, volunteer and still think you got it in the bedroom only to realize your to wiped out cuz Saturday mornings for 15 years your at the sports field and then M-F your at multiple sports fields just trying to get it all in- ohhh then feel like you should be working a full time job! Then you move into the bubble bust economy and find out in the south the going payrate is 10.00 an hour- what you made in NY when you were 15! After working 15 years in Manhattan in high level sales to realize its a stuggle to try getting your 2 year old to put on her seat belt! You can run a company but handle a 2 year old ?
    Well I am here to tell you after attending a Food Summit and Listening to Ann Cooper from the Ross school in NY we are in big trouble as a country!
    Diabetes 1 out of 3 kids by 2025, 400% increase in ADHD and stressed out parents and kids all over…..
    Maybe we all might just be thankful for our choices and know that you do what you gotta do and you can’t do it all at once- Our health is suffereing and our kids are stressed- McDonalds is our kitchen and Nannies are our moms-
    For what?
    Hail to the women who make it all happen- one day at a time
    Balance is key and the only thing you can depend on is yourself- I say all the women out there band together! Many of us have wonderful skills that are sitting on the shelf getting dusty! Do what is passionate to you and get with others..
    I myself am going through a tremendous metamorphis at age 52 when I feel and look younger than I am- My 2 sons are getting ready to go off to college my daughter 12 still needs a moral compass in this crazy world!
    Yes, I would love to find the next chapter in my life- I’m looking.
    Why can’t there be a massive get together with all these women who want to make something happen- A RAVE like meeting in a fun place to exchange ideas-
    I would challenge anyone to this idea – picking a hotel spot with motivational speakers so all women who have made the choices they made can come exchange ideas and help our fellow sisters- businesses can be started with a whole new crowd funding for women only…….
    I throw that out there for those of you who are amazing women looking for the next exciting chapter in life!

    Thank you for your thoughts ,I believe you are expressing the quiet thoughts of many women who invested in their education and passion to love, raise a family and follow the I can have it all dream- Only to realize we can’t do it all at once- something usually gives.

    • sleepless says:

      Any advice for a SAHM who is constantly made to feel unimportant? I am a new mom who stays home. We can afford it. It’s just that there’s never enough for my husband. We pay for health insurance and my husband wants me to find a job with a pension and medical so when were older were covered. It is ridiculous to me bc 1. We are not struggling and 2. I intend on returning to work once my child is in school. I just want these few short years with him. Every day I’m reminded of how hard he works but I never get recognition. I’m up with the baby, changing diapers (my husband changed maybe 2), cooking, etc. All I get is berated over it.
      I’m viewed as a princess and only seen as an entity in this house that isn’t making him money. He’s angry all the time jealous of the time I have with our child and just miserable. And ill add that he always work ed this much even before we had children so even my paycheck wouldnt lighten the load. I just wish I was valued and appreciated.

  110. I appreciate your honesty and I’m sorry that you have some remorse from that decision. But as a mom who gave up quite a few years to stay at home herself, then went back to work when my kids were in school to a job that allowed me flexibility to be very available, I know I was truly blessed to be able to stay home with them. I realize not everyone can do that, but as for me, I feel it was the most worthwhile investment I ever made. My kids are amazing young adults now. Every family has its own challenges and circumstances and I would never put my preferences on another, but I will say that I do NOT regret staying at home with my kids. They are worth every sacrifice I made.

  111. Anonymous says:

    Wow you are selfish

  112. You isolate the fact that your marriage was more traditional as one of the “downsides,” illustrating the chief problem with feminism….. instead of listing the downsides of traditional marriage as bad, you see the traditional marriage itself as bad…. shaming literally billions of women who choose this lifestyle. For shame.

  113. Bern Cranston says:

    Would you REALLY want someone else to be there to experience your kid’s first words? Their first steps? Would you really want someone else to be raising your children, molding their personalities?

    All because of money or some misguided liberal notion that being a Mom isn’t the most important job in the world?

    Money comes and goes but relationships are forever.

  114. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this article. I stayed at home as my kids grew up and my husband’s career blossomed. I naively thought that I was fortunate to be there for practically every moment of my children’s lives. When my husband came home one night and said he wanted to leave, that he didn’t want to be a husband and a father anymore, my world changed. I got a job in retail, but have lost my home, my health insurance and my safety net. My kids are young adults beginning their own lives and it is very lonely trying to carve out a new existence at 50. I really don’t know how I will manage, but I just take life day by day now.

  115. Eve says:

    I wasn’t able to stay home when my kids were young. They are now nine and eleven and I want more than anything to stay home now. I feel that I have not given my children and husband what they needed over the years. I feel a very strong desire to redeem myself. I don’t have a six year degree but I do realize that by the time the kids are out of school. I will be 50. This leads too so much pain and struggle for me I feel like I’ve totally failed my family. Perhaps if my job was one that fulfilled me instead of burning me out I would feel differently. I’ve actually wished it was 1950 again. I think it is a case of the grass is greener. If you had not stayed home, how much do you think you would regret it now. I know I regret not being able to. If I had though, God only knows how I would feel about it.

  116. Nina says:

    I stayed at home and never regretted the decision to raise my two children as I am still doing. However, going through an awful divorce in my fifties with no career and few job prospects has created a place inside if me that wonders how our society, many attorneys, and the courts and legal system has let women like us down.
    It seems they don’t see any value in the important role of a mother staying home to raise her children – one of the most important things any one can do in life.

  117. MadDog20/20 says:

    Stop complaining. You could of very well wrote a list of 15 reasons you wish you would be a stay home mom. Every one has to find some reason to complain about every thing. Especially you “list makers,” bloggers who I imagine by some of the content you write that you settle for some of this bs for the simple fact you can’t think of nothing else.

    Your kids will grow someday, they’ll appreciate you more. All of us with children know this. And you and only you will have had the pleasure of watching them grow-some day you’re going to really miss those days-your husband isn’t going to know what you’re talking about-in concept he will, but he’s out of the house 8 to 10 yours a day, and as kids get older, they’re out the house 8 to 10 hours a day! (school + playing)… So you’ll be the missing link, the one who was there for it all.

    From where I stand, you have a special job-the greatest in the world. Stop looking at the minuses and look at all the pluses! People like me who hardly see their kids get pissed off hearing parents like you complain about this garbage..!

    Peace..

  118. oipbwrg

  119. I don’t regret for one moment staying at home with my kids and being there for everything. I will be something I will treasure the rest of my life.

    My biggest regrets are that I didn’t stay “relevant” in the work force somehow. I was talked into quitting college, marrying and raising kids by someone who told me continually that no one would ever love me like he does only to find at the age of 52 I am facing divorce and entering the work force with little to no marketable work experience. Can you say “fear”?

    All that I can do at this point is try to network and work on a way to create an income for myself since my husband has practically left us financially destitute.
    Thank God for a the support (emotional) of those close to me!

    • Dee,
      That is super scary and I know that we are not your “real” friends, but we are here and would love to be supportive. This is something I would love to write about, learn about…keep in touch?

      Thanks.

    • I looked for a way to contact you. If you happen to visit this thread again, please drop me a note on my blog. I would love to chat with you.

  120. Anh says:

    The reason I think your feeling empty is because your talking about your boys you raise them in a way to where they have no respect for you. By rolling their eyes at the question you asked them. They make you feel worthless. If you raise kids that have respect you feel being a mom is something really rewarding. We are created to teach our children that a nanny or someone else jobs. We are meant to be a mom when we decide to have our children.

  121. Tai Pailet says:

    Stephen: I am interested in your Letters in the Mail subscription. I am a high college English teacher, and that i assumed this may possibly be a good way to obtain my students to write responding to the letters. Having said that, We have to be certain that the topics from the letters will likely be appropriate for my students 9, 10, and 11th graders. Will you please comment on what the topics is going to be in general? Thank you.

  122. Befuddled says:

    You say you made the decision to become SAM alone and likened it to a big decision made without a car dealer, travel agent or realtor. Those people aren’t helping you in making the “right” decisions either they are interested in you for monetary reasons and the moment you sign on the line they are done with you. Trying to find a similar in that seems silly. You did not make the decision alone, you made it with the most important person, your other half, your co-parent, your financial and emotional support. You didn’t make your decision ill informed, you speak of higher education and working in a fast paced banking setting, you understood the financial ramifications.

    In your article you say regret is too strong of a word yet it is your title and you use it twice later in the article. If I were your child I would feel guilt over you regretting your life with me. You say it’s not the time spent but the time away from other things but anyway you say it you regret the choice you made which was to be a SAHM.

    There are so many points in your article I’d love to address and go over with addressed fine tooth comb but frankly I don’t have the time or the inclination to be that detailed. So instead I’ll offer a glimpse of what being a SAHM can be like.

    I choose my kids over work because it’s a luxury we can afford. I enjoy my children and my time with them. They will only be little for a while and then they will leave and I still won’t have an empty nest. I’ll have fostered a love of family in them and they will visit often, have families and visit with them. My husband and I will enjoy one another in a different way than we can while our kids are home.

    I tell everyone don’t say you will do something and act begrudgingly about it. If you agree then do it happily. Same for volunteering, what goodness did you do when you didn’t want to be here or resented it later? I volunteer. Many organizations need volunteers to run at all. If I want my family to benefit from that we have to give to it as well. My kids volunteer as well. We also volunteer for those less fortunate simply because we can.

    I live in a suburban neighborhood, have a dog, and take my kids to the local park. That doesn’t mean I am limited in my life experiences. The only person who can limit you is you. I have friends with children similar ages to mine and yet our backgrounds and lifestyles are extremely different. For years 5 of us moms would take our kids to gymnastics and then go to lunch once a week. Every one of us was a different religion, parented differently, extremely different lifestyles. In no way did “doing the mom thing” restrict me to a certain type of person. I also have do regular outings with men as well. Just because I am SAHM doesn’t mean I can’t interact with the opposite sex. You can choose to restrict yourself to like minded people or rejoice in differences with others.

    You made a choice. You later felt the sting of your choice. You decided that being a SAHM hindered your life and could hinder others lives if they make the same choice. You believe that in being a SAHM you are sacrificing a piece of who you are as a person, as a professional, and as a woman. I know that it is not because you are a SAHM that anything in your life was hindered or regretted but rather how you went about it abound the choices you made along the way. I am sorry you don’t feel fulfilled at the end of your journey. I, as a SAHM, am happy, full of rich experiences, have my own interests, have a fantastic marriage, have a variety of friends as eclectic as anyone could imagine. I think you make being SAHM look as if it’s a negative thing but it can be truly wonderful. If done right you are an asset both to your family and to the world and of course to those pesky volunteer jobs you got roped into.

  123. TX-CA says:

    Staying home is HARD! If you don’t want to read all of this, just remember, get a support system with the same value system that you have. And reach out to other moms and even parenting mags and blogs as a type of connection. This blog did not adequately the loss of self esteem or the dismissal of a stay at home moms by society and even their husbands. My husband and our friends started to just dismiss me and I did not feel like I had time to do more than listen to NPR while cooking. I was out of it with regard to pop culture, etc. My husband traveled a lot in the first decade of our children’s lives. I tried to work part time twice a week as an RN for two years but gave up when the 2nd was born and our income had increased. A nurse’s hours schedule does not jibe with child care. I had no idea how wrapped us my self esteem was in what I produced and is being recognized by others. I was to 3 percent for college admissions, super bright and high achieving. Always top of the class, etc. All of a sudden I was at home and seemed to produce nothing. Luckily, I am married to a wonderful man and we made it through all those years. And I think we only did make it because we cared about the kids. I stayed at home because of my husband’s constant travel and difficulty in meshing child care with my career as a nurse. We were in a rural community. As the children got older we worked hard on our marriage and communication and are still working on it. I felt so isolated. I volunteered and worked hard much as she describes when the children were older. I lost self esteem and could not figure out why I did not have a perfect, clean house with perfect clean kids since that was my entire job. I felt I was failing at my job. Self doubt was rampant and horrible. All my friends worked or never had children so I had no support system for years until they were school age. And then the other moms were just very different from me because I am a humanist and very altruistic but not religious. We were in a very right wing judgmental environment so it was difficult to listen to some things they discussed and believed. Long hard road. Moral: if you stay at home make sure you are in an environment that you feel comfortable in and realize that as you enrich your children’s lives there will be a long term payoff. Your house will not be clean but you will smile more if you do not have too high expectations for what you “accomplish” daily. The guilt will remain about not contributing income but try to remember that you are contributing to your childrens’ ability to empathize and enjoy learning or whatever your mission is for staying at home. Connect with your husband often. Be assertive when dismissed. Do some self affirmation. Value yourself. The payoff is wonderful at the end of all those years when everyone is happy but it is the hardest job I’ve ever had. I think the internet will makes it a bit easier for stay at home moms now to connect and self affirm. I ran across this through something I googled because right now I have empty nest after having sent my child off to one of the top 30 universities in the world. We moved across country after my husband’s early retirement. Now I am trying to find “me” after all these years of child care and taking care of very ill relatives for months at a time. Who am I? I have to start over. It’s like the feeling I had when I graduated from high school.

    • Fergie says:

      Thank you for sharing your story. I can’t even say enough how lonely and unable to talk to anyone about this but what you said is almost you reading the journal of constant thoughts in my head. How are things going for you since this last post you made?

  124. Tamiko says:

    I really, really appreciate this article. I live in Silicon Valley, nice home, husband has a good job. I have been out of the workforce for 10 years.

    In retrospect, even with the love/hate relationship that I had with my job, leaving it was one of the absolute worst moves that I have ever made. I’m especially reminded of this around the end of the year, when the serious bills are made, and the finger-wagging upon final inspection of the annual finances is made.

    Am just now thinking of serious career options because the timing is right.

    I accept 100% that this is a self-made “issue”, and that others would be happy to trade places with me. I married a man with traditional values. It smacks of the 50s as you stated. I myself grew up in a home where my divorced mother experienced her own kind of oppression -the oppression of having a deadbeat dad in her life and having two kids to fend for.

    True, I once had the same hausfrau ideals as my husband but now that I see how empty, isolating and depressing being a SAHM can be I have decided to at the very least go part time so I can have some sort of financial stability and feeling of self-worth because caring for a family of three just isn’t enough. I never feel appreciated, just “there”, kind of like a maid or a dog.

  125. zaituna aumraan says:

    I am the mom with tree children so we need two bedrooms and one bathroom that is what we need in are apertmint or in are house and we need help for a very very cheep house rant becase l don’t have a job.

  126. Fergie says:

    Thank you for this article. I’m 25 years old and expecting our first child. I currently am a stay at home wife and have been since my husband and I married last year in August. We are currently working on our own business together. However, when my husband and I reunited I was a career woman. And I loved it! It wasn’t a job it was a career. That was a huge plus/turn on to my husband I know it was. And due to my Crohn’s disease flaring up 5x last year he wanted me home. I never imagined myself at home and honestly I’m terrible at it. I don’t like to be bossed around or rely on my husband to give me money and etc. plus if I’m upset about something he doesn’t want to hear it because he is tired and I need to get over it. Which I know he is tired he does work very very hard mentally and physically. But he knows I want to work so badly but he wants me home. I’m sorry i need to stop. Thank you for sharing this article. It gives great thoughts for future and present.

  127. Jaqueline Friedberg says:

    Your outlook in our life most often changes our viewpoint. Sometimes this change is good and sometimes this change is bad but it is our paradigm that controls the way we feel.

  128. Jaqueline Friedberg says:

    It is your point of reference in life often changes our viewpoint. Sometimes this change is good and sometimes this change is bad but it is our outlook that influences how we feel.

  129. I’m not sure I understand the struggle. I am a single parent who stays home with my children full time and work from the house. I homeschool them too. I cut down my expenses to the basics. Mortgage, car, water, elec, internet (for homeschooling, phone through google voice, skype). Everything else is not needed. My suggestion is to move to a less expensive area, find a work from home job or business and keep the kids at home with you. The lessons they learn from watching you make it at home are enormous in comparison to the crap they learn in school. No entitlement issues here. Design your life – and theirs – for success. As for fighting with the ex in divorce court, I’ve done it Pro Se. Evidence wins over argument every time. Just get loads of evidence. Present it to the judge. You don’t need an attorney. Be blessed…

  130. lisa says:

    I am so glad I discovered this blog and I would so like you to continue this discussion. I was a SAHM for 15 yrs after having worked in law for a several years and then my husband became disabled and I have had a hard time getting back in the workplace. So many entry level jobs seem to have disappeared and many jobs require a lot of computer know-how. I did go back and learn MS Office but it is difficult to retain without a function in my job to use it. I have never felt so vulnerable – the risks and costs of dependence. I have been able to find full-time work but it is almost entry level and I do fear for my job security. I don’t know how my husband and I will fare in our retirement years. What I regret also is all the funding and effort that went into my getting the law degree – my father helped me so much with it – and now I really have nothing to show for it. I feel ashamed at how mindlessly I made these decisions but I did make them alone and that was a problem. Now I do try to consult friends and family before making any decisions. Please, please keep this discussion going especially for the benefit of displace homemakers

  131. Anonymous says:

    What a pathetic self centered post! They whole POINT of staying at home with your kids is that it IS a sacrifice, even, heaven forbid a financial sacrifice. Haven’t you discovered yet as an adult that the feminist movement and “having it all” is a total mirage, created just to leave you empty at both ends. Give your head a shake.

  132. April says:

    My husband says he would gladly be a stay at home dad if I want to pursue my dream job. I’m a stay at home mom and I KNOW all the tedious things of the day. Just don’t know if I can feel secure and not worry he would do what needs to be done. I just know I can be more valuable here at home and he is more valuable out there. Plus I try to focus all my energy on the boys. I loved my mom being home with us. I now appreciate it as I’m older. She had the most selfless job in the world. She made our lives easier and secure. I want to teach my boys all the things I know. Like piano and painting and gardening. I enjoy living simply and I hope they embrace it too.

  133. Maggie says:

    We all regret something. Mothers most of all. I’m not speaking of “Evil Deeds” obviously! I’m speaking about our choices. I was young when I had my first 4 children. They were 31/2 yrs. apart. I had a plan, (I know about GOD laughing). I was going to have my children young and go to work when they were old enough. I also have a fear of leaving my children w/non-family members). My 1st husband & I had made it work for a time. He had switched to steady hours but. into a less interesting job. He is a kind man & rationalized that since I supported him for half of his career, he would make this sacrifice for me. We never saw each other and we grew apart. When we divorced, we were still young despite our 11 yr. marriage. Most people who knew our settlement. (Extremely few) told me to go after more $. I told them that I felt that he had made it possible, through extremely hard, dangerous work, which he did the most OT as possible to support a family of 6! I have never cared too much of other’s opinions, unless they were from family members or very close friends I trust. While I struggled in the beginning with a certain amount of guilt in leaving my grade school aged children, I told myself,”My daughters will understand that it is possible to have a family & career”. They would be inspired!
    It didn’t turn out that way! I remarried & became pregnant quickly. I won’t leave my children w/anyone until they are able to communicate! That is not a suggestion. It has to do w/my personal experience, so please don’t think it’s a opinion at all! My 2nd husband & I discussed this & since I made more & money, he was going to be a Stay at Home Father. It was going o.k.. My next pregnancy was quickly after my 5th child. This time I suffered morning sickness, but had to work because I NEEDED to stay at home for at least 6 weeks paid. I excused myself, vomited, cleaned up & quickly returned to my work. This was a daily occurrence for the typical 1st Trimester, (with my 2nd daughter, I suffered horrific morning sickness the whole pregnancy and had broken blood vessels all over my face & the whites of my eyes, SCARY!). I became injured at work and worked on & off for years before I retired w/My Disability Pensions. My point is that it may be a great situation for women who are better than me at compartimilzation but, I wasn’t that organized. I would have to wear breast shields at work because a crying baby would well ruin my shirt! I am grateful for both in my life but my children are more important. It’s strange now, 1 daughter had my grandchild young and stays home, another is completing her career choices though she does want children. My experience is extreme since 6 kids make A difference. I just want to give just 1 piece of advice, A LOT of TEENAGERS need a lot of supervision! They can’t help take advantage of your working status! That is not true of all teenagers! I know there are moms with “perfect” teenagers. I hope you can find work in this economy and I wish you well!

  134. Suzanne says:

    Everyone has to do what is best for them. I had two children after 13 years of marriage. I took off 6 weeks only for both. I had a great daycare situation on the campus where i worked. I did very well in my career. My husband and i also did a lot of things with our kids, we took them to sports events, we traveled. We went to church. It was hard but fun. Once when they were 7 and 10. I was feeling guilty and asked if they wished i would stay home. They had a look of fear in their eyes and said “no mom, we like our life the way it is!” Later when my husband retired early when they were in high school, they begged me to find him something to do other than help them with their homework! Today they are both successful and happy, one is married. We still do things together like dinner or sporting events. Oh and i didnt cook much, we ate out alot. In fact my son as a 6 year old told a waitress: “sometimes we eat at home”.

  135. I appreciate your honesty with yourself in this article – I saw on the SITS FB post that you said it was easy to write, but hard to feel. I imagine acknowledging these feelings was a big step – after writing it, how did you feel? I’m also a SAHM, but my job was a little easier to leave (it was truly a J-O-B, not a career). I, too, got sucked into the mountain of volunteer work and although some of it was rewarding, it wasn’t always what I wanted to be spending my time doing. My kids are tweens now, so I have a few years left before they head out onto their own, but I’m already thinking about the “what’s next?” question.

  136. That makes me tear up. <3

  137. Great article…. I too left an executive position to become a SAHM….I often say it was the best decision for my family but not necessarily for me. People often give me a quizzical look but realize I am just speaking the truth. I don’t regret my decision at all, the pros for me certainly out weigh the cons. I am on the 5 year plan right now as that is when all 3 of my children will be in college. It helps keep me sane and focused on another chapter of my life that will be here before I know it. Thanks for a great article!

  138. This was a bold post and something I don’t see in any of the blogs written by mom’s I encounter. It’s so important to see both sides with open eyes and you did a big favor for a lot of women out there – to shining the light on this topic from the other side.

    • sorry for the type-o. Omit the “to” in that last sentence!

  139. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for this very insightful article, Lisa! I have four children – one at college, a sixteen year old daughter, a twelve year old daughter and a nine year old son. I am newly divorced and have just returned to the work-force after being a stay-at-home mother for 18 years. I was hired as a congressional staffer on a part-time basis which has worked out beautifully, but was recently offered the job as full-time. Until I read your article, I was really struggling with the idea of not being there for my children physically and perhaps mentally at the end of the day. This is an incredible opportunity, one that offers incredible flexibility and even working from home part of the time. After reading your article, you made me realize that I have an opportunity to bring another version of my best self to my children. I love this new job and I feel as though it has awakened a part of my spirit that may have laid dormant for the past 18 years. You have given me such a gift, to be able to see this opportunity as a way to feed my soul and my future.
    Thank you so much. You are a very wise woman, your children and the world are blessed to have you in it.
    I can now finish my proposal I am submitting to our chief of staff. I look forward to the adventure ahead!

    Jennifer

    • Jennifer, Your comment warmed my heart. Thank you. It sounds like an amazing opportunity and I can only say that I am jealous and happy for you. Wishing you the very best in this transition and would love to hear from you about how it goes either here or on grownandflown@gmail.com. Good luck

  140. Lisa, my mother is exactly like you. Highly ambitious, talented in arts and worked as a professional chef but decided to stay home after a burn-out, since chefs are always overworked and underappreciated. She decided to stay home and take care of me, and as much as I thank her for that, I really wish she would focus on herself more every now and then now that I’m older.

    When I was younger I used to be happy even when she would buy herself some new clothes, because all of her time was about me. Most of the women in my family are very generous yet they have got taken advantage of, not necessarily by men, but by friends who didn’t value what they gave and only arrived when needing something.

    Passionate about movies, now I plan on heading into a career and there are certain moments where I take time for myself- not a lot, just to recuperate from the hectic real world, while still balancing school and responsibilities. Sometimes my mother will call me selfish, or be annoyed because I don’t often enjoy cooking with her, since I don’t want to be pushed into that Stepford world where a woman has to be the perfect multi-tasker, since multi-tasking leads to very little getting done.

    As for family, that’ll come eventually, but I will attempt to manage with the ongoing career, and hopefully a husband who contributes with the chores to balance the tasks- after all, there’s two parents for a reason!

  141. Oh Lisa,

    Thank you for your bravery in sharing this post and realizing that sharing it would not hurt your children but instead empower other women! I am on my own journey as a mother of two children under four years of age, and I’ve just returned to get my master’s degree in special education for many of the reasons you’ve listed.

    I am actually doing a research project on the effect of mother’s working on childhood development and what parts of their cultural upbringing influenced their decisions to work (or not to work). I would really love your feedback on the post! It’s entitled, “What happens to kids when mothers work?” You can find it at http://amandasteeley.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/working-mothers/

    Thanks again for sharing your story. :)

    Amanda

  142. Search For Unclaimed Monies And Start A Home Business

    unclaimed monies, unclaimed funds, small business Australia, home business Australia, Work from home,Work from home Australia,Work from home Melbourne,Work from home Jobs,Work from Home Mums,business opportunities in australia,make money from home australia,work from home perth,work from home sydney
    Many people always say they will find unclaimed monies very soon. And they always refer to “soon” to in the “future”; but today is the right time to search for those lost monies. Starting a home business of your own mostly requires a large capital, which can be very difficult to produce; Check this out: http://www.workfromhomeaustralians.com/search-for-unclaimed-monies-to-start-a-home-business/
    # unclaimedmonies
    # WorkfromhomeAustralia
    # homebusinessAustralia

  143. Strikingly, your regrets about staying home are about yourself. But even worse are the effects these things you write about had on your kids.

    My mom stayed home to raise me. I wish she hadn’t. By not working , she too became smaller. That meant she couldn’t offer a strength that comes from working and contributing.

    Situations are different and some kids need more than others. My mom lived in another time and simply followed the expectations of the time and her upbringing, but the moms I know who stay at home beyond when kids go to school seem to be expressing their own desires (and fears too, of being out in the world). They seem to feel fulfilled by being a mom first. They seem to take it as a given that their choice will be the best for the kids, but I don’t think so. I think the best thing you can do for your kids is be the best person you can, keep learning and growing and contributing.

  144. AnonMama says:

    I enjoyed reading this, thanks for posting it. The comments have been quite interesting too – so many different thoughts.
    I’m a SAHM with baby #4 due in 3 weeks and currently unschool our 6yo. I never had a career before babies so I don’t have regrets along those lines but one thing I have realised is that to be a successful SAHM involves far more than just keeping my children nappy. Just as in any job you want to love, there’s a strong need for me to have goals and achievements, to see some progress in the journey. I think that for many SAHMs priorities get confused and life becomes unfulfilling drudgery. I love an ordered house but do I feel fulfilled by spending hours chasing around after my children trying to keep it from becoming a bomb site? Uh no :) Changing my perspective means I declutter all the crap, keep things really basic, train my children to put things away when they’re finished, and cut down on my own stress levels. Do I feel successful when I stay in pjs all day? Uh no! Organising my wardrobe so I have a comfortable, child-friendly yet chic mummy uniform of sorts, so I can chuck on an outfit without any stress and know I look put together gives me a real boost of confidence. Being a SAHM can leave you with this feeling that you have to be everything to everyone. Best way to burn out people! I have a written manifesto of what my role entails, what my goals are for my areas of responsibility, as discussed with my husband. Just like any job, I know why I’m here and where I’m going. Anyway my rabbit trail point ( what can I say, my pregnant brain rambles ;)) is that by keeping up your self-confidence, by stepping outside the square and figuring out how to get what’s important by the most efficient route (I.e having a consistently organised home by cutting out the crap and giving yourself less to tidy instead of spending all day stressed and overwhelmed by all those toys/washing/dishes) and by writing down your goals to help you from becoming sidetracked and over-scheduled, you create the time to give to yourself.
    I have a houseful of babies, I make most things from scratch and preserve lots of our food, have chickens and a vege garden to help with our very small budget and I keep our house clean and tidy. By streamlining, by figuring out what’s important and how to achieve those things simply, I also have time to get a facial every fortnight, work out daily and study part-time with the goal of working from home in 5 years. I have date nights with my husband (at home haha but still…) and prioritise knocking his socks off regularly. I keep my days with my children relaxed and in a rhythm where we thoroughly enjoy each other’s company and for the most part we stay refreshed and positive. I refuse to allow clutter of any kind in our lives and I embrace my needs as an individual. That means budgeting to have coffee with a friend, buying nice underwear and studying something I enjoy. It means donning an apron to bottle 10kg of cucumbers then sitting down at the computer to do some studying, then taking my babies to the beach to run around naked while we practice speaking in French, then coming home to baths and a 3 course meal because I’ve been trying out new recipes for fun. I don’t know if I’ll look back in 20 years and have similar regrets as this article, but I do know that reading this encourages me to continue to take the time to look after myself now. It reinforces my belief in the need for balance, whether a SAHM, WAHM, WOHM, or even SAHD ( though they seem to get the balance right so much easier ;)). It reminds me to not take myself for granted. Thanks for that!

  145. Monica Maxwell says:

    Hello to every one out here,Am Monica Maxwell, from United States am here to shear my the unexpected miracle that has happen to me few days ago, I came across a post online talking about how she got her ex back to her with the help of the great spell caster who happens to be high Dr OSIAN, that he helped her though i never believe this because i was just wondering how could this be, but i gave my self hope and i contact the spell caster. this is the unbelievable that has happened to me this December I was happily married and we had three kids, we lived together as one because we both loved each other but before i knew it, my husband started acting funny and cheating on me later on, he told me that he cannot continue with me so that was how he left me and my three kids without noting but there was noting i could do to stop him or bring him back to me I work so had to pay the children’s schools fee and other responsibility i did this for good five years. I cry all day and night because i don’t know what else to do to have my husband back to me until this faithful day i saw the post from on one site a woman testifying how the high priest helped her to get her ex back I just wanted to try my luck because i never believe it will work but to my greatest surprise, am singing a new song i contacted the great priest on 2nd of December and he told me not to worry because once he finish caster the spell, that i will get my husband back the unbelievable happened on Friday when i got a call and I was surprise to hear my husbands voice apologizing to me that he is so sorry for keeping alone and came back home and we are happy together again wow, i really appreciate your good work great Dr OSIAN, God bless you and your good work for there noting else i can say than to tell the world about you. So if any one is out here seeing this post and you have similar issue like this, worry no more and contact the only man that can help you this email:osianspelltemple@yahoo.com

  146. Taylor J says:

    I don’t see why choosing to stay at home is returning to the 1950s. I mean, every SAHM I know CHOSE to stay home…they wanted to. In my opinion, that is a drastic change from the 50s. Kudos to those who chose to work as well, I think it’s admirable. My mom chose to work, and I turned out just fine. Basically, whatever works best for you and your family is what you should be concerned about. The last thing on your mind should be what others think, even other women. Let them make their choices, and you keep making yours – on your own terms.

  147. grace says:

    Hi guys, If your interested in wanting to be apart of a great
    home business opportunity that is legit. Then email me at graceynee@gmail.com
    this home business is legit and it works. I’m also apart of it and my experience with it has not been false but that it’s real and that one can make a residual income from it just by making the right connections with the right set of people that are motivated to put effort and succeed.
    - Must be a legal resident of USA

  148. CHILD OF A STAY AT HOME MOM says:

    I agree with you on every level. Im a child of a stay at home mom and as an adult I see what that did to my mom. My mother has so much regret, she won’t admit it but its all over her face. All her children are grown and my father is not a man that likes to talk or take vacations. All her friends have married and moved on. She gave up her career to stay at home , while Im grateful but also sad that she gave up so much of her life. No women do not stay at home to much will be given up that you will not get back and your husbands will contuine to keep their lives. This is a message from a child of a stay at home mom. Thank you

  149. If this is a dream believe me i don’t wish to wake up,After 10years relationship with my lover Tom Walker he just decided to have a divorce with me because he was having an affair with another lady and the lady told him to break up with me so she can come and took my position when Tom told me that he was no longer interested that he is tired of me i was like after 10years now you are tired of me so the next thing was a letter from the lawyer saying Tom said he needs a divorce when i saw the letter tears rushed out of my eye i composed my self and said wow this world has around turned round against me.So i decided to try all my possible best until one day when i was listen to the radio where i saw people giving testimony how there divorce was cancelled within 24 hours i was like this is same problem am having i just say people testifying in the name of this great man called Dr sabo for what he has done for them how he has helped them to bring back there lover i waited for the problem to finish and they dropped Dr sabo cell number and email,Immediately i gave dr sabo a call and shared my problem with him he just told me not worry that he assures me that Tom will tell the lawyer to cancel the divorce within 24 hours really what Dr sabo said came to past within the 24 hours was a call from tom crying that he his just coming from the lawyers office that he does not need a divorce anymore that he wants me back home that he his sending that lady away so when he said that i was so happy now Tom came home brought all document and told the lawyer that he his willing everything to me and that he wants me to be the right owner of everything he owns i was so happy,I bless the day i meant dr sabo meeting him was never a regret please clean your tears dr sabo is here to solve your problem you can contact him on drumasabospelltemple@gmail.com

  150. Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your experience and bringing up an important topic for women to consider. No matter which side of the equation one lands on, any of us can find ourselves in need of new dreams for the days ahead. That was my situation as well.

  151. If you are interested in this topic, you may also be interested in our research study on women’s career breaks. We are looking for women who voluntarily left their jobs for one year or more to complete a short online questionnaire about their experiences. This study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board at the University of Georgia.

    Please copy the link below and paste it into your address bar if you are interested in participating in this study:

    Link:
    https://ugeorgia.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_bJX2mhOTobg5snH

    Participants who are eligible may fall into one or more of the following categories:

    • stay at home moms or caregivers
    or
    • looking to re-enter the workforce
    or
    • those who have taken a substantial break from their jobs and returned

    To learn more about Dr. Clark, you can email her (clarkm@uga.edu) or visit her research lab webpage: http://psychology.uga.edu/clarkm/pages/index.html

  152. Everything is very open with a very clear description of
    the challenges. It was really informative. Your website is very
    useful. Many thanks for sharing!

  153. Joyce says:

    Hi everyone, I do hope my post gets read and hopefully helps somebody along the line.i will never forget the help Dr Papa temple render to me in my marital life. i have been married for 4 years now and my husband and i love each other very dearly . after 3 years of our marriage my husband suddenly change he was having an affair with a lady outside,i notice it then i was praying for divine intervention the thing became more serious i told my pastor about it we prayed but nothing happen. my husband just came home one day he pick up his things and left me and the kids to his mistress outside at this time i was confuse not knowing what to do again because i have lost my husband and my marriage too. i was just checking my mails in the office when i saw someone sharing her testimony on how Dr Papa temple help her out with her marital problems so i contacted the email of Dr papa i told him my problem and i was told to be calm that i have come to the right place that i should fill some information concerning my self i did after 30 minus he called me again congratulating me that my problems will be solve within 48 hours. he told me what went wrong with my husband and how it happen.that they will restored my marriage but i will make a free donation to their Papa home anything my heart told me. to my greatest surprise my husband came to my office begging me on his knees that i should find a place in my heart to forgive him i quickly ask him up that i have forgiven him.friends your case is not too hard why don’t you give Dr papa a try they work surprises because i know they will also bring back your husband. contact him via supremetemple@hotmail.com(supremetemple@hotmail.com)

  154. kim says:

    What I hate the most is feeling like less of a person and more like a doormat. Since I don’t bring home a paycheck, I am less respected by my entire family, including my husband. It is very degrading to have to ask for money to purchase personal things. Worst of all, my kids see that and I wonder…did I do the right thing? Now my daughters think this is how a woman/wife/mom should be treated by her husband and children and my son thinks that women are not to have the same “respect” as men because they don’t bring home money. Here I thought I was doing the right thing by staying home and making my family number one. I actually ended up being seen as the “help”. I used to run an office with 17 people under me, held the top two accounts and was 2nd in charge…of a top 500 corporation by the way. I won many awards for my work and not only cracked the glass ceiling but completely shattered it. My entire personality has shifted from confident to unimportant and ignorant. It really hurts. And if I tried to go back to work, I wouldn’t even get a second look because what have I been doing over the past 16 years, oh yes, I remember…sitting on the couch eating bon bons.

  155. Jordan Smith says:

    Your children will never regret that you were able to be with them and raise them with the same values, work ethic, emphasis on education, and learning that you have. They will never regret being raised by their mother and not by a person at child care. You made a sacrifice for your children that will see them grow to be exceptional people. I am almost certain that you can give 9 really good reasons for being a stay at home mom and why you don’t regret it. When you think of yourself and what you lost there are definitely sacrifices you have made and I sympathise with that. Society doesn’t applaud those sacrifices made by women in the home and i’m sure it doesn’t help seeing what your peers have accomplished by making a different choice to continue with their careers and leaving part time parenting to childcare workers. In my opinion without comparisons to others and the voice of society that is saying to release women from the “prison sentence” that is being a stay at home mom there may be more articles with the headline “9 reasons I don’t regret being a stay at home mom.” You could produce this article I am sure and many others as well who have the same regrets. This would provide greater balance to the debate and the benefits of being a stay at home can be identified as well as the sacrifices. I commend you and mothers everywhere who make the sacrifice for the benefit of their little ones they bring into the world.

  156. I do believe all the concepts you have presented on your post.
    They are really convincing and can certainly work. Still,
    the posts are very quick for novices. May just you please extend them a bit
    from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.

  157. Cenovia Adelleh says:

    I was with a guy for 3 years, he always told me he loved me and that we wouldn’t break up because if you love someone

    you make it work. We could never work out a time when we were both free and just a couple days ago he said we should

    just be friends. I know he dont me love anymore. When we were dating he said to everyone that I was his girlfriend and

    introduced me, told his friends he really liked me and told me he loved me, I wanted to be with him again but I never

    knew what to do. I tried for a long time with other spell casters to get him back but dr.marnish was the ONLY spell caster

    that could do the love spell for me that worked, if you need help call him +15036626930, he will always come to your aid,

    Obviously dr marnish is the REAL DEAL!
    Cenovia Adelleh

  158. Veronica says:

    By saying that is a regret to being a stay home mom you are not given yourself credit for all the things you have done for you and your kids,I’m a stay home also and I know the sometimes I loose it and can’t take it anymore and everyday is a challenge to keep going ,but they are my motivation, to me now that am at home my job is to make sure that my kids see the beauty of life, and to make sure that they have the most beautiful childhood that they can possible have since I didn’t have that.its true that I don’t have a paycheck every week for now. I’m only 28 with 2 kids but that doesn’t mean that I would let myself down an anyway and I’m sure that what ever I do next my kids would be next to me and even if I’m not as successful as I ever want it to be and sure that my kids would always be proud of me.

  159. Luiza says:

    Hello, I am a working mom with three kids and I think stay-at-home moms should give themselves credit for doing all the things possible. I wish I was a stay-at-home mom. I am really good at what I do at my job but my heart is at home. I feel so guilty not spending as much time as I could with my kids. I feel so guilty for not being at home and providing caregiving to everyone. I feel that I am a natural nurturer and caregiver and I would love to have that role.

    • plan for your own destiny and protect your future says:

      Don’t feel guilty! You can do it all and not everyone can!! You can be employed and a great mom at the same time!

      • Tom says:

        But can you? Can you really balance enough work for two seperate people?

        I have no doubt that Luiza does good for herself and her children. But there is only 24 hours in a day, is that enough time to invest the time needed for a healthy family and a good job?

  160. angie says:

    I am a full time worker & mother of 3. I think we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. If we work we are judged for not spending as much time with the children. If we stay at home, we are “lazy”. My 3 girls respect me for being able to do both jobs. That is why they are all productive citizens and great people. I think it is selfish to put all of the pressure on the man. I think everyone can do both.

  161. Do your kids regret you being a stay-at-home mom?

  162. My name is shannon, i want to share this great testimony of my life to
    every one. I was married to my husband wilson dawson, i love him so much we
    have been married for 8 years now with two kids.He went on vacation to
    England were he met a lady called Jenny, he told me that he is no longer
    interested in our marriage any more. i became so confused and started
    seeking for help, all effort to bring him back failed until i met an old
    friend called Clara and i told her about my problem then she introduce me
    to a man called Dr osun momohodu who caste a spell for her that brought her ex
    back to her within 3days. I contacted Dr osun to help me bring back my
    husband and he ask me not to worry that the gods of his fore-fathers will
    fight for me. He told me by three days he will re-unite me and my husband
    together. After three days my husband called and told me he is coming back
    to sought out things with me, I was surprise when I saw him and he started
    begging for forgiveness.if you need his help you can contact him via:
    dromiosun@outlook.com

  163. Stay at home dad here. Im glad I stayed home. After losing a mom and dad my wife and I realized how short and precious life is so we started a family. No way we were going to give away all those precious moments to a stranger in day care. It is hard leaving the working force but you can re-enter and earn good money again if you are smart about it. In a way I wish the author could lose all those moments, drive a better car, live in a bigger house and weep over the only thing money cannot buy – time with the ones we love the most…

    • Great perspective, Dono! As a SAHM to 4 kids (who are now all in school), I often remind myself that at the end of my life people won’t talk about how much money I made and how successful I was… but they will talk about my family and loved ones. MONEY ISN’T EVERYTHING!

  164. trica says:

    After being in relationship with my husband for nine years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email is (LAVENDERLOVESPELL@YAHOO.COM } tel.+2347053977842) you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or

  165. Yes, but she made the CHOICE to stay home. So shut up and quit whining. Some of us who aread Feminine Mystique were thrown out of the workforce for getting pregnant right at the start of the recession. By other women, no less. Women who were on the partnership track but found themselves pregant with another child. I tried, in vain, to get back into the workforce before giving up after 3 years. So I’d say leave that sisterhood dream behind, suck it up and be effin’ grateful you have a husband that makes enough to support you.

  166. Susan Higgins says:

    I had 3 children worked part time then fulltime. My children benefited from me working because they became more independent. It was tough but I considered this also; if something happened to my husband how would I take care of my children. A BIG consideration. My children are grown now very successful and well adjusted and proud of me for all that I did and that I held down an extremely important job. I think me and along with their dad showed them what it takes to make it work.

  167. Sean says:

    Reading this article, it seems to be all about you! Frankly, anyone of either gender who is obsessed with themselves and their precious career shouldn’t bother getting married. Marriage is a bad financial decision. Building or buying or renting houses and rearing kids – as an old bitter alcoholic bloke in our local bar once remarked, “no money in any of that”. You’d surely want a more balanced perspective than that!

    Marriage certainly does get in the way of all those hours you could be living the corporate dream in the office / boardroom, doing powerpoints, immersing yourself in office politics, having power lunches (the guilty sandwich hunched over the PC). All that meaningless corporate sh1te that women are conditioned to think is wonderful.

    Fact: most normal blokes would quit their waste-of-life “high-powered” well-paid jobs tomorrow if we could afford to.

    Most people of any sense would say you did a great job. You’ve held a marriage together and raised some great kids. Look at the amount of people who can’t manage to do either ffs.

    Your nine reasons could just as easily be argued the other way:

    “I let down those who went before me”
    Right, the dead sisterhood is more important than my kids. Is marriage evil? What about focussing on those who come after you – like your kids? Do you regret having them? Have you told them yet?

    “I used my driver’s license far more than my degrees.”
    Now you’re regretting letting down your so-n-so lecturers. Any other randomers you need to apologise to? What about that waiter you were rude to in 2002? So what about degrees; they don’t require much intelligence to acquire and having one signifies very little other than that anyone who has them is a suck-up conformist. (Einstein was chucked out of university.) I’d keep quiet about the degrees.

    3. My kids think I did nothing.
    They sound very old-fashioned. You should down tools for a week and maybe then the ungrateful baftards would appreciate you and all you’ve done for them. I never appeciated my parents until I had kids of my own. Send them to a pre-natal class to open their eyes a little.

    4. My world narrowed.
    Well, you’ll certainly meet people of both genders at work; but to suggest you meet a wide range of people at work is nonsense. All careerist white collar people mostly think alike. That’s why they remain employed. There’s no room for mavericks in Dilbert cubicles. All the interesting people I ever met were non-work people.

    5. I got sucked into a mountain of volunteer work.
    I agree with you on that. Though it wasn’t an inevitable feature of being a full-time parent. But you could have said “no”.
    .
    6. I worried more.
    Yep, you could have been worrying about your job instead. We all worry about aspects of our jobs, even though deep down we know it’s all b/s. I’m a worrier. I’ll find things to worry about. But given a choice, I’d rather worry about my kids than some poxy small-minded work nonsense.

    7. With my husband I slipped into a more traditional marriage.
    You somehow seem to feel diminished that you’re no longer as exhausted as your husband. You think your husband’s lamentable, boring, treadmill existence (don’t worry, they all are – anyone who is normal and happy in themselves has no interest in workaholicism) is something to re-aspire to. Instead of thanking your lucky stars you got out.

    8. I became outdated.
    It takes a weekend to master any piece of software. There are numerous good courses (MIT does them for free) and manuals. And there’s more to being a good employee than technical skills. You can have all the technical skills in the world and still be an over-educated idiot who can’t make a sensible (or any) decision.

    9. I lowered my sights and lost confidence.
    You have this classic Western guilt about “not accomplishing enough”. Who the heck are you trying to please this time? Your burning ambition to do what? Frankly, the only material ambitions that matter are those ambitions you have to work for yourself – whether it’s starting your own business or writing that mythical bestseller etc. Fretting about lost opportunities to climb someone else’s ladder is an illusion.

    I genuinely think you’re a star who’s done great and you maybe need to give yourself a pat on the back and celebrate the wonderful balanced life you’ve achieved so far. Lighten up and quit worrying about careers. It’s so undergraduate, frankly. You’re better than all that omphaloskeptic nonsense.

  168. My sister indicated I may this way site. This individual had been completely proper. This particular upload definitely built my personal time. You are unable to look at purely the fact that whole lot time I did used for this details! Thanks!

  169. Tom says:

    I’m sorry that raising children and keeping the house together wasn’t rewarding enough for you. But I’m sure at least your husband appreciated it at least.

    I’m guessing you’re more of a liberal woman because that’s the only type of person I could imagine that would think they wasted their time by spending it on their family.

  170. About to take the leap... says:

    Soooo, I’m 6 months pregnant with our 3rd child. I have a $32k job as a proram specialist in a University division that is under a reorg. They have sent in a woman that is rude, socially enept and looks a numbers more than people. She will leave behind, in June, a hostile, untrusting environment. Many people have retired, will retire, have quit, or found other jobs. I was the “money maker” for at least 3 years running. I came off of maternity leave early and stashed my infant behind a registration desk b/c I was so committed to the job. My parents took care of my kids more so than we did because we both worked. I’ve been away from my family for almost a month at a time running conferences in other states. I’ve had my children locked in the office with me on weekends and on nights til 2 AM for the job’s sake. None of this has been appreciated. For the past 2 months true colors have been shown. This interim associate v.p. has tried to use my pregnancy against me. She’s stripped me of half of my duties in a most disrespectful way and given then to my “one time” assistant. Has insulted me and my family numerous times and now, that my “one time” second assistant has turned in her resignation, is trying to “play nice” because of a conference coming up March 2 that she wants me to stay at least through the 28th of February to prepare and train someone for – should I choose not to reapply for a job with the division. I want to go home and finally be mommy to my 3 and 4 year old and this new baby. I want to leave the ingrates and stress behind. I want to do my own laundry (my mom and/or church family helps with that right now). I’m so tired. I would really love a stay at home position similar to what I do now and I may have an opportunity via some of the presenters I’ve worked with over the past 5 years to be that at home event planner – but I don’t know what type of money it’ll bring in. My hubby’s been out of work for 6 months. We’ve tried SO hard, applying to SO many places to get nothing out of them. He has a degree in commercial recreation, has been a director in the past but still we have nothing secured. We’re hoping that a position at a military base he formerly worked at is secured next week – but that’s still next week – AND it will only be about a $22K bring home annually. Right now we’re barely making it on a $32K income. I’ll received unemployment for 4-6 months then it’s up to his job and the big “if” that I can make at least $10K – $15K from this side event planner gig. I’m so nervous but I SO want to be at home at least until this new baby is in kindergarten and I just feel sick when I think about staying in a place that simply produces stress, anxiety and makes me feel unappreciated on a daily basis. Comments on my situation will be GREATLY appreciated!!!!!

  171. plan for your own destiny and protect your future says:

    I was going to write my long story but as it turns out it is so similar to all of yours:) So let me highlight what I have done to take control of my future. I did quit a very established career and well paying job to be home with my kids. I worked (while non-mom co-workers judged and stay at-home moms judged) until they started kindergarten and quit at that time. I did the whole help husband through grad school, supported the family when he made less, took on everything that was house, home and kids so that all he had to focus on was his career. It made sense to invest in this man as when we got married he made a promise…with that in mind, we were a team and his promotions were my promotions and the entire family benefited. As soon as his career started to take off their was the huge ego that ensued… hence the affair (texting, but affair NONETHELESS, and Im not dumb enough to believe with certainty all the garbage that I was fed) After much counseling, begging, graveling and suggestions of remorse, I didn’t leave. My choice and I own it and I make no excuses for it and CERTAINLY not for him. But what I did do was insist that we get a postnuptial agreement that outlines how we plan to manage 2 households on one income, in the event he decides to let his ego get the best of him again, or in the event we decide to divorce in the future for any reason. I have invested a ton in this house and this man. I didn’t consider other life partners because this man promised he would be my life partner…so he asked me to trust him to be the father of my kids and my PARTNER in life and I stopped looking for that in someone else. And since that was the case, I insisted that I now have some insurance as his word was not enough. I should have asked for this before I quit my job but I didn’t know about them or think about it. An agreement that protected what we discussed as being our views on marriage, stay at home parenting, careers, and the “right” thing to do from our perspective, in the event of a divorce. Simply put, he is my current income, retirement, pension and all benefits that come with his job, and if we got divorced today, I would get half, but no guarantee on any future earnings. I wouldn’t be guarenteed a return on my investment in him for 23 years. If you buy stock, you can’t be sure its going to go up…if it doesn’t you take a loss, but if it does you benefit. You work for a company (or household) and the company does well, you get a bonus, you get retirement benefits, you know that if you work hard you will have security. You do not get handed your initial investment and sent on your way. And companies are not allowed to fire you for age discrimination when a 25 yr old can do your job better. So just in case a 25 yr old comes to do my job, I’m getting a fair and equitable severance package and pension plan aligned with the years of service and sacrifice I have contributed to this successful household. I am supportive of every mother, regardless of their corporate status or lack thereof. I know executive moms that rock and do it all and I know stay at home moms that rock and do it all! There is an idea that this country values a family unit, yet in many places, following a divorce, women may be forced to live in poverty while their successful ex husband now thrives in the successful career that he built, in part, on her back. DONT GET ME WRONG, I KNOW MEN THAT WORK VERY HARD, BUT I HARDLY KNOW A SUCCESSFUL MAN THAT HASN’T HAD THE SUPPORT OF A STRONG WOMAN. When the kids are grown and hubby wants to relive his youth (which happens more often than most admit to), women sometimes end up landing a great job at a local retail store and living in an apartment (or house she bought with her 50% and now she has no retirement of her own) with the full pity of her family and kids. We as a country, act as though we support healthy family structures, yet in the event of a divorce similar to situations on this board and situations I know well, it kinda seems like they support the man who is now successful and would like to relive his youth with a new wife and it sorta supports the man cutting himself free of his commitments. Stay at home moms completely give up their ability to compete in the workplace when they quit their jobs and stay home for 5, 10, 15+ years. Many stay at home moms leave the workforce earning equal to or more money than their partner. Over that 5, 10, 15+ years, hubby is moving up the workforce ladder, gaining critical work experience, staying up to date on the latest technology, and making himself a valuable asset. Meanwhile, stay at home mom, is creating productive children that hopefully will be productive members of our society, they take care of every aspect of anything that doesn’t relate to hubby’s job (in most cases), I’ve even known some to help do hubby’s job, they support and sometimes agree to spend funds that they’ve help to accumulate during their working years, to support advanced training and education. And while their value at that moment is priceless, as they are significantly increasing the value of everyone they support in their role, their future value depreciates each and every day. It seems that the overall ideas today surrounding stay at home parents, does not reflect the value of a true commitment to family and frankly to your word.

  172. dono says:

    Stay at home dad here. Im glad I stayed home. After losing a mom and dad my wife and I realized how short and precious life is so we started a family. No way we were going to give away all those precious moments to a stranger in day care. It is hard leaving the working force but you can re-enter and earn good money again if you are smart about it. In a way I wish the author could lose all those moments, drive a better car, live in a bigger house and weep over the only thing money cannot buy – time with the ones we love the most…

Trackbacks

  1. [...] both sides: Sharon Greenthal’s defense of her choice to stay home while her kids were young; Lisa Heffernan’s regret that she didn’t continue her career; Jennifer Wagner’s argument in favour of staying home …they’re all smart, [...]

  2. [...] I’ve been troubled by the resurgence of the “Mommy War” (as Lisa Endlich Heffernan refers to it) conversation. So have others. I have read many thoughtful [...]

  3. [...] in the world and expand the perspectives you bring into your home. As former stay at home mom Lisa Heffernan explains “In the workplace my contacts and friends included both genders and people of every description, [...]

  4. [...] Nine Reasons I Regret Being a Stay at Home Mom [...]

  5. [...] I’m inspired to write this after reading the very candid Lisa Heffernan’s piece in the Huffington Post about her regrets at being a stay at home mum.  I urge to you read the article http://grownandflown.com/regret-being-a-stay-at-home-mom/ [...]

  6. [...] she played in raising her children. I’ll say my opinion in a moment, but first, check out the blog post and her TV appearance on Fox and [...]

  7. [...] bank to stay home with her three children, Lisa Endlich Heffernan has written an essay titled “Why I Regret Being a Stay-at-Home Mom.” Published recently on The Huffington Post, her piece drew nearly 800 comments and more than 14,000 [...]

  8. [...] one of my first posts, I responded to an item from a SAHM that got a lot of attention in the mommy blog world when she wrote about why she regretted her choices. One of her issues was that she got [...]

  9. [...] was 1992 or ’93.   When Lisa Heffernan wrote her blog post in June about her regret that she had given up her job to be a stay-at-home mom, there was a [...]

  10. The MomFair | 8 Great Reasons to Keep Working After You Have Kids says:

    […] in the world and expand the perspectives you bring into your home. As former stay at home mom Lisa Heffernan explains “In the workplace my contacts and friends included both genders and people of every description, […]

  11. […] up career contacts or do small jobs or volunteer strategically. The biggest challenge is for those moms who drop their careers entirely and then come to have […]

  12. […] I easily drive three times as far as my husband over the course of a year.  He works nearby and like many SAHMs I run a virtual taxi service.  Yet when we are in the car together, he drives, as if somehow he is […]

  13. […] to do it. A good blog to read from a mom that stayed home through all three of her kids’ lives is from Grown and Flown. This blogger explains her regrets on not going back to work and what her top 9 reasons are as to […]

  14. […] It sounded good, I thought, but what does it really mean. Leaving the workplace for some period of time was not my mistake and, as I tried to point out, I have never met a parent of either gender who regrets time spent with their children. My mistake was not failing to stay in the job market, but rather failing to stay in touch with the job market. Walking away entirely, that I regret. […]

  15. […] Heffernan lists Nine Reasons I Regret Being a Stay at Home Mom on the blog Grown & Flown.  I would be lying if I said some of her sentiments did not ring […]

  16. Should I Quit My Job | Just Trying To Keep It Simple says:

    […] mother a job, but believe me, it’s the hardest work I’ve ever had to do. And after reading this article, I realized that I didn’t want to have a life of regret and that would most certainly happen […]

  17. […] writes: For some time now I have been obsessing about going back to work. I have ruminated on my misgivings about being a stay-at-home mom to anyone who will listen and then spilled my guts on national television. While I have been […]

  18. […] for the part-time jobs. It allows them to better balance work and time with the baby. Look at the long-term picture and how much this could cost you in the long run. Most kids cost more when they are under 5 years of age. Also remember, child care expenses will […]

  19. […] 9 Reasons I Regret Being a Stay-at-home Mom: Lisa evoked a lot of emotion (both positive and negative). Viral content is rarely neutral. When you arouse someone’s anger, joy, or surprise, you are more likely to get your piece shared. […]

  20. Relationship Coach Mark Jala Offers 5 Tips for Stay-at-Home Moms to Avoid Regret | WebTalk.info says:

    […] when a working wife becomes a stay-at-home mom. Lisa Endlich Heffernan recently wrote a blog post and hit the TV airwaves with her “Nine Reasons I Regret Being a Stay at Home Mom.” Relationship […]

  21. […] Patton is absolutely right that we can never turn back the clock on our children’s lives, but working parents are very much present for their children. Highly educated women can forfeit a substantial amount of their lifetime earnings by staying home for as little as 18 months. As a stay at home mom who has publicly expressed some of her regrets at foregoing career opportunities, the loss, I can say, extends far beyond one’s bank account. […]

  22. […] Patton is absolutely right that we can never turn back the clock on our children’s lives, but working parents are very much present for their children.  Highly educated women can forfeit a substantial amount of their lifetime earnings by staying home for as little as 18 months.  As a stay at home mom who has publicly expressed some of her regrets at foregoing career opportunities, the loss, I can say, extends far beyond ones bank account. […]

  23. […] life with a Babylon-level of voices and opinions. Lisa weighed in last summer with her writing, Nine Reasons I Regret Being a Stay at Home Mom, Grown and Flown’s most widely read and debated post to date. When Pew released research this […]

  24. […] Day cards, missed the mark on what sacrifices women make when they become mothers. For instance, the damage to a career from leaving the workforce, how mothers earn even less money than childless women for the same work, how since 2000, the cost […]

  25. […] Day cards, missed the mark on what sacrifices women make when they become mothers. For instance, the damage to a career from leaving the workforce, how mothers earn even less money than childless women for the same work,  how since 2000, the […]