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Are you a professional mom who opted out? - Page 4

post #61 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraLoo View Post
What I really need is time to think. Anyone want to loan me an unused hour they have just lying around??
There is plenty of time. And there is only now.

Have you all seen The Secret? http://www.mothering.com/discussions...71&postcount=2 Read Loving What Is and done The Work? http://www.thework.com/thework.asp

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Pat
post #62 of 94
I've scanned through the posts and am sure I have missed much.
I think that "opting out" is a misnomer.

I also 'gave up' an academic career by choosing to follow my husband in his vocational career, but in the event had another career of my own: free-lance editor, MOTHER, basketball coach, musician, payroll manager, decorator and designer, writer, craftswoman.
All the years I spent doing these activities aside from my original academic career did not stop me from going to pick up where I left off. It's never too late, and our children see our efforts as an example of ourselves and the choices we make.

I attained my PhD in 07 after six years and am now teaching full time at college level (BTW I'm 53!).

(ok, so P.H.D. may mean "Probably Heading for Divorce"...that's another story.)

My kids are both at uni working on their M.S. and Ph.D's. We have all been at university together!


The fact is we do our best within the choices we make.
Let's not forget how powerful we can be, rather than how powerless.
post #63 of 94
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonrosebud View Post
I've scanned through the posts and am sure I have missed much.
I think that "opting out" is a misnomer.

I also 'gave up' an academic career by choosing to follow my husband in his vocational career, but in the event had another career of my own: free-lance editor, MOTHER, basketball coach, musician, payroll manager, decorator and designer, writer, craftswoman.
All the years I spent doing these activities aside from my original academic career did not stop me from going to pick up where I left off. It's never too late, and our children see our efforts as an example of ourselves and the choices we make.

I attained my PhD in 07 after six years and am now teaching full time at college level (BTW I'm 53!).

(ok, so P.H.D. may mean "Probably Heading for Divorce"...that's another story.)

My kids are both at uni working on their M.S. and Ph.D's. We have all been at university together!


The fact is we do our best within the choices we make.
Let's not forget how powerful we can be, rather than how powerless.
You know what, this gives me hope. Thanks for posting.

I've never heard of PhD standing for "Probably heading for divorce, only Post-hole digger".
post #64 of 94
I hope it is okay to post here.

I am a professional mom who almost opted out. Well, I guess I officially opted out but got offered a chance to opt back in, and i took it.

Basically, before I got pregnant with ds1, I knew that I wanted kids but I didn't want to work full time with a baby at home - I certainly didn't want to work the crazy hours my job was demanding of me, and my job didn't pay enough for a nanny.

I had a plan - when I interviewed for my job, they seemed to indicate that after a year, I would decrease some aspects of my job and I would need to find coverage - I interpreted this to mean that I could probably instead move to 60% time. And conversations with my supervisor (who was not the ultimate decision maker, unfortunately) seemed to confirm this.

Fast forward a year. I am 6 months pregnant, and chatting with my boss (my supervisors boss) and the ultimate decision maker in our department. A few months earlier, I had outlined my plan of moving to 60% time after my 3 month (unpaid) leave for a few months, and then to 80% time with one day at home - he said he'd consider it, and then he said NOTHING for months.

So I assumed it was a done deal. I started talking about training one of our staff to take over some aspects of my job.

He replied that he was unwilling to make any sort of accomodation for me other than "let me" go on maternity leave. He considers my job full time, on site. no exceptions. Period. ARGH. I checked with HR and with his supervisor - they told me this was his call and I had no options. So I told him we'd discuss it at the end of my leave.

Fast forward 6 months - end of my maternity leave. I call my boss to see if he has changed his mind. He hasn't. I tell him I am unwilling to work full time (we had investigated some childcare but couldn't find any spots in daycare and frankly couldn't even afford them). I tell him I quit.

he then offers me a freelance assignment, doing my same job, from home, for flexible hours, and i get paid more per hour (he saves money by not paying benefits). Um, SURE!

Now, four years later, I run a company I own with my husband and we both work full time, from home. Our kids are watched by an au pair who lives with us and we see them a lot. It is a great compromise for us. It is a lot of work, but I feel like we have it damned good.

However, in order to get this - I had to:

* start my own company

* expand my abilities (I have a background in international development - we provide web applications and strategy for international development organizations)

* take financial risks that most people cannot take.

* have a husband who is willing to go in a different career direction so we can achieve our goals together, rather than focus on this to the detriment of mine.

I knew when chosing careers that many careers are 24/7 - and I intentionally did not chose one of those. What I didn't realize was that the "ideal worker" in the US is someone whose primary loyalty is to their career/job/employer - and that attitude undercuts many families attempts to balance work and family. Often one parent is expected to work 60-80 hours a week - where does that leave the other parent? Even when women work full time after children, they are often "mommy tracked" - cannot travel, work late, come in on weekends, etc. - but their childless (or male married) coworkers can.

As a PP said - you are damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

My motto is "Do what works until it stops working, and then do something different."
post #65 of 94
oh, and i just finished
Opting Out?: Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home
http://www.amazon.com/Opting-Out-Wom...1572183&sr=8-1

It is a very interesting book. What I got most out of it is that for many women, the choice to opt out was less about what their family needed and more about how their companies demanded way too much. Add on to that the demands their partners job's made on them, and someone had to pick up the slack. And most of the time it is the mother.

I also agree with PP about breaking the lock between employment and healthcare, but again, that is another rant for another time...
post #66 of 94
Thread Starter 
I think I have the most trouble with the ideas that 1) you have to have paid work in order for your life as a woman to have meaning and 2) your value as a mother is negligible and quality daycare is just as good as caring for your own children.

I left work primarily for two reasons, the first being peeved at the treatment of my boss to me, passing me over for additional training I was asking for. Instead of working to enrich my experience there, she had me doing some of the same tasks I started with, and instead, trained the new people the techniques I wanted to learn. There was definitely no loyalty there to entice me to stay, even after I gave my resignation, I didn't get any sweet deals to keep me there. So I said sayanara.

The second reason is because, despite any "studies" done saying kids do just as good if not better in quality daycare than at home, or just as good with a loving substitute caregiver, I didn't feel that way.

I was lucky to have MIL watch my children, but still I didn't want her values being passed down to my children instead of my own. For better or for worse, I wanted to be the one to influence my children, not my MIL.

I'm grateful, that even four years after the plunge, and I'm still figuring out what I want to be doing next, I do believe I made the choice I needed to make. I see how my girls are flourishing in some areas, and see firsthand where they are struggling - and I'm there to bask in the joys of success and seek solutions where needed instead of sit at work and wonder if I spend enough time with them.

I'm also working on more of what I need to feel more challenged, more complete. I wasn't doing enough of that. And now I am and feel more resolved about what I'm doing is right for me and my children. And actually, I wouldn't be surprised if I find a calling after all. Some ideas are swirling around and I'm getting pretty excited about it.
post #67 of 94
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to post an update...

Things are going better now. I'm starting to blog some of my thoughts/feelings about leaving the workforce to raise my girls. I also created another blog about activities we are doing at home.

And it turns out that one of my daughter's might need some therapy for an issue she's been having at school, so being home to get her evaluated and get her therapy is definitely a plus. I won't have to be calling off work for that.
post #68 of 94
Usually I disagree with Hillary Rodham Clinton, but here's 5 words from her first book It Takes a Village that have always stayed with me: "As usual, the children pay." It resonates with me often in my daily life as a SAHM.

I have a PhD in engineering and worked in research at a major drug company before ds#1 came along. I have not gone back. If thing were to go sour between me and my husband, I know I could get a job that enable me to get by fine with the boys with a comparable (but slightly lower) standard of living. I would be lower on the corporate research hierarchy than before I left. It would take a while to climb back up there and I acknowledge this. In many senses, I worked all my life to get to the point I am now -- to have some amount of F.U. money to be fine on my own (but happily, our marriage is doing fine), to not marry or have kids until I was older (35) and to feel little wanderlust having traveled most of the places I wanted to go -- to enable choices such as SAHMing now. I knew even in grad school that when kids came along I would be with them at home, God willing. So I can scoff at Linda H-esque derision on the premise that I got what I wanted through a self-serving plan of my own and without being born royalty. Lastly, I honestly do not feel like I am all done. If I get p1ssed off one day and feel like becoming a blacksmith, I can instantly enroll the boys at preschool and go to smithy school myself.

I don't know if any amount of reading can make one's lifestyle choice more defensible or rational to oneself or others. But here's what I do know. If your job pays $125,000 per year, you can bet your @ss your employer would not hire you unless they thought they could make at least $125,001 off your labor. So opting out to me means 1) you had a choice, 2) be glad you have a choice at all, and 3) you opted out of something you inherently valued less than the thing you chose, or if you insist, the thing you think you fell into.

I don't know formerly professional women in science who opted for SAHMing and next, homeschooling who live near me.
post #69 of 94
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sionainne View Post
Usually I disagree with Hillary Rodham Clinton, but here's 5 words from her first book It Takes a Village that have always stayed with me: "As usual, the children pay." It resonates with me often in my daily life as a SAHM.

I have a PhD in engineering and worked in research at a major drug company before ds#1 came along. I have not gone back. If thing were to go sour between me and my husband, I know I could get a job that enable me to get by fine with the boys with a comparable (but slightly lower) standard of living. I would be lower on the corporate research hierarchy than before I left. It would take a while to climb back up there and I acknowledge this. In many senses, I worked all my life to get to the point I am now -- to have some amount of F.U. money to be fine on my own (but happily, our marriage is doing fine), to not marry or have kids until I was older (35) and to feel little wanderlust having traveled most of the places I wanted to go -- to enable choices such as SAHMing now. I knew even in grad school that when kids came along I would be with them at home, God willing. So I can scoff at Linda H-esque derision on the premise that I got what I wanted through a self-serving plan of my own and without being born royalty. Lastly, I honestly do not feel like I am all done. If I get p1ssed off one day and feel like becoming a blacksmith, I can instantly enroll the boys at preschool and go to smithy school myself.

I don't know if any amount of reading can make one's lifestyle choice more defensible or rational to oneself or others. But here's what I do know. If your job pays $125,000 per year, you can bet your @ss your employer would not hire you unless they thought they could make at least $125,001 off your labor. So opting out to me means 1) you had a choice, 2) be glad you have a choice at all, and 3) you opted out of something you inherently valued less than the thing you chose, or if you insist, the thing you think you fell into.

I don't know formerly professional women in science who opted for SAHMing and next, homeschooling who live near me (RDU area of NC). If anyone is like this please do PM me. It would be nice to meet you for coffee.
Thanks for your perspective. I am really glad I had a choice. I know I'm lucky. There's lots of moms who wish they had a choice and don't. I really love hearing other moms' stories of coming home.

One thing about the travel - it is sometimes even more fun to travel with kids - because you see the world through their eyes. We traveled by car to Pennsylvania last May and it was a blast with the kids - seeing the rolling countryside was a lot different than the flatter plains of the Midwest we have here.

So you are homeschooling then, or plan to at least? If you don't actually homeschool, what kind of things do you do with your boys?
post #70 of 94

I just opted out ...

I just recently made the decision to opt out of the working world (as if being a mom isn't work!) for a while to be with my kids, and I really feel for the OP. I ran my own business, so I didn't have to give notice, but I did have to face opposition from close family and friends on this. (Actually I'm still facing it.)

But I decided that regardless of what they think, for now, I know I'm making the right decision. I love the time I have with my son, and I like not feeling like I'm spread too thin, as I did in the first few months of his life (he's now 4 months old, and my DH and I just made this decision recently). I do, however, need a creative outlet, and that's something I'm working on that's a dream come true in a way, though I don't have much time yet to work on outside projects with a little one who doesn't seem to have any sort of schedule other than bedtime. But I think we SAHMs have to find ways to feel useful and productive outside our caring for our kids if that's something important to us, whatever that means to us individually.

I have to say that while I resent the negative attitudes that I am getting from some people close to me, I almost welcome the challenge, I think because it is forcing me to see that we parents have to make decisions based on the needs of our own children and ourselves and NOT based on what our families expect from us. And that also reminds me that I need to try not to be quite so dogmatic in the future with my own child when he wants to do something I don't think is right for some reason but is a matter of opinion (as most things are).

I'm glad I recently discovered these forums, though, because it looks like I'll find a lot of kindred spirits. It's odd for me to admit out loud, actually, that I am a SAHM because I never would have thought it would appeal to me, and yet the moment I laid eyes on my son (and actually from the moment I found out I was pregnant) I couldn't think of anything I'd rather do. Not forever, but for now.

Cheers,
Jennifer
post #71 of 94
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JennWriter View Post

I have to say that while I resent the negative attitudes that I am getting from some people close to me, I almost welcome the challenge, I think because it is forcing me to see that we parents have to make decisions based on the needs of our own children and ourselves and NOT based on what our families expect from us. And that also reminds me that I need to try not to be quite so dogmatic in the future with my own child when he wants to do something I don't think is right for some reason but is a matter of opinion (as most things are).
I am the OP. Thanks for chiming in. I got the most opposition from my mother and my grandfather. Almost as if they were trying to say, "you're going to regret this for the rest of your life".

I can't even imagine having to come home after 11 hours a day and trying to make time for my three girls now in the few hours they'd have before bedtime. I can't even fathom how I would not feel so spent. As it is now, I do have the luxury of time. Time to get to know them, time to get to know myself again, time to decide where we want to go as a family.

I'll have to come back to this thread and re-read again. I have to go to a doctor's appointment at the hospital I used to work. I've been to the hospital/university campus a few times in the last few months, and will be going there again. I don't even have the longing to go and visit my old lab (even though I could easily do so). I had really emotionally severed ties to my boss. I left on good terms, but I really had no use for keeping contact with her. Maybe it's the stubbornness in me, maybe I subconsciously didn't want to keep that door open because I knew my heart wasn't really in it anymore. I don't know. But I think if I really thought I'd be going back to that place, I would have done something to keep in contact.

I know I am more than my job description. I am not defined by what I did, or what I do now. I want to add to this, but I'm pressed for time, but I will come back to it later.
post #72 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by verde View Post

I always thought the women's movement was about changing the system but Linda Hirshman wants us to be right in the belly of the beast. I refuse to do that and I think that many of us professional women recognize that the beast does not work for everyone. In fact, IMHO, the beast is not good for most people.

Take your time and figure out a way to make the job system work for you. It can be done if you reframe your thinking -- you'll find out you have more options than you realized.
I am 100% with what Verde posted.

I'm not sure I completely belong here (or anywhere!) but I left my corporate job last June after working full-time for the first 2 years of my DD's life. I was definitely on the "fast-track" but yet, I never seemed to actually get anywhere or anything more professionally than where I was at pre-baby. It was very disillusioning, because I was honestly, stellar at my job.

From the minute I had my DD I felt devalued at work, yet unable to stay home. Eventually, after a rejected proposal, trying to work out flex time, etc...I left and started my own consulting business. I am not getting a 401K right now, I am pretty much working PT (unless a big contract comes in) but the flexibility makes my life work FOR ME now, instead of me trying to fit my life in around my prior 7-7 job. I am really proud that in my first year, I was able to match my former salary, working 20 hours a week less.

I too, think the point of the woman's movement was for women to have choices, and to be able to write their own ticket and create the life they want--not what society tells them they can have.

And I think the only way we can change corporate America is to put as many different models of success out there as possible. There are a lot of people walking away from corporate America--men, too. I think many people feel we were sold a bill of goods in the 80's and the benefits of giving your heart and soul to a company are simply no longer there.

I feel pretty betwixt and between myself though--I have tons of great ideas of how I could build my business and make it something really great, but honestly, now is not the time to pursue them. I turn down work so that I have more time at home. Sometimes it worries me, but I have to believe that there will be another 20 years for me to work. SLOOWING down now feels right.

I find the lack of real choices for professional women here in the US disappointing--it feels like you're either in or out. I made my own compromise but that is so few and far-between out there. So, yes, I feel pretty screwed too!
post #73 of 94
Thread Starter 
Sure you belong here. It helps to know what others have been through, how they ended up deciding to leave the job, and what you are doing now to make things work to your advantage.

You've created something for yourself, and therefore you have the viewpoint that it can be done.

After I quit my last job, I sort of had an opportunity about 2 years ago to be a consultant to a company that was thinking of getting into forensic DNA, but quite honestly, I had no desire to sell my skills to a private firm (when I worked in forensics, it was for a state government funded lab). I walked away from that field because of the stress of it and definitely didn't want to go into the private sector.

Now if it was a company wanting to start up a medical genetics lab near me, it would have been a very different story. I would have probably not walked away from that opportunity.

I'm not really any closer to really figuring out my next career move than when I first posted, but I certainly feel much better now than I did before.

One thing I have to breathe a sigh of relief about is that I am home now to get one of my daughters evaluated for something that could turn out to be very serious. I don't know if I mentioned it here before, but she may have selective mutism - she doesn't talk. at. all. in school. She's a chatterbox at home, but may have a severe form of social anxiety in the school setting, so she literally is unable to speak in school.

Because I'm not working, I will not have to take any time off to take her to her evaluation (it could take many sessions to determine a full diagnosis), and can take her to therapy, and even work with her in her preschool if it comes down to it. If this is what she has, it can take about a year to a year and a half to help her with it.

If she does end up having selective mutism, I will have to advocate for my daughter in elementary school if it doesn't resolve itself by the time she's ready for K. Depending on how much (if any) resistance I get to help in the school system, I will be grateful for my courtroom training that helped me not buckle under pressure.

I know there is no state coordinator in my region for this condition (which is kind of surprising). I might end up trying to volunteer to be one for our region.

Maybe somehow this will turn out to be a career possibility too (going into some sort of therapy program or something).

My sister who has a son with cerebral palsy ended up going into occupational therapy - she's making $65,000 with just a two year degree. She ended up getting her first job in OT at the age of 38. So that's promising.

Anyway, thanks for your input. This is a topic that is of interest to others, so I really appreciate everyone's thoughts and ideas. Hopefully it brings a bit of reassurance to others that have been down this road or is in the middle of some tough decision too. I remember having zero reassurance when I made the decision to quit my job for my own sanity and family.
post #74 of 94
Thread Starter 
Sure you belong here. It helps to know what others have been through, how they ended up deciding to leave the job, and what they are doing now to make things work to their advantage.

You've created something for yourself, and therefore you have the viewpoint that it can be done.

After I quit my last job, I sort of had an opportunity about 2 years ago to be a consultant to a company that was thinking of getting into forensic DNA, but quite honestly, I had no desire to sell my skills to a private firm (when I worked in forensics, it was for a state government funded lab). I walked away from that field because of the stress of it and definitely didn't want to go into the private sector.

Now if it was a company wanting to start up a medical genetics lab near me, it would have been a very different story. I would have probably not walked away from that opportunity.

I'm not really any closer to really figuring out my next career move than when I first posted, but I certainly feel much better now than I did before.

One thing I have to breathe a sigh of relief about is that I am home now to get one of my daughters evaluated for something that could turn out to be very serious. I don't know if I mentioned it here before, but she may have selective mutism - she doesn't talk. at. all. in school. She's a chatterbox at home, but may have a severe form of social anxiety in the school setting, so she literally is unable to speak in school.

Because I'm not working, I will not have to take any time off to take her to her evaluation (it could take many sessions to determine a full diagnosis), and can take her to therapy, and even work with her in her preschool if it comes down to it. If this is what she has, it can take about a year to a year and a half to help her with it.

If she does end up having selective mutism, I will have to advocate for my daughter in elementary school if it doesn't resolve itself by the time she's ready for K. Depending on how much (if any) resistance I get to help in the school system, I will be grateful for my courtroom training that helped me not buckle under pressure.

I know there is no state coordinator in my region for this condition (which is kind of surprising). I might end up trying to volunteer to be one for our region.

Maybe somehow this will turn out to be a career possibility too (going into some sort of therapy program or something).

My sister who has a son with cerebral palsy ended up going into occupational therapy - she's making $65,000 with just a two year degree. She ended up getting her first job in OT at the age of 38. So that's promising.

Anyway, thanks for your input. This is a topic that is of interest to more than just me. I really appreciate everyone's thoughts and ideas. Hopefully it brings a bit of reassurance to others that have been down this road or is in the middle of some tough decision too. I remember having zero reassurance when I made the decision to quit my job for my own sanity and family.
post #75 of 94
I opted out and don't regret it for a minute. I don't have much insight for you as to the questions you've asked, but I read the article you linked, and it really angered me (Hirshman's views, that is). It really seems to me that her efforts are in the wrong place. I'm not going to go into the rant that is currently in my head, but suffice to say that if she wants to make some useful changes in society, why doesn't she seek to rectify the difficulty women face when re-entering the workforce after taking a few years off to raise kids? Why does she instead want to force us to not even have the choice? It's kinda scary if you ask me.

I know of two women who are in their fifties who worked all their lives and were recently laid off (due to their age basically). Both are having difficulty finding new jobs, and are being told in so many words by potential employers that they have already achieved the most they can achieve in their careers, and therefore the potential employer is afraid that they will be complacent and not add anything useful or new to the workforce. I'd much rather see the likes of Hirshman trying to change the attitude of employers and providing support to women who WANT to work, than bashing those of us who choose not to.
post #76 of 94
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs.Oz View Post
I opted out and don't regret it for a minute. I don't have much insight for you as to the questions you've asked, but I read the article you linked, and it really angered me (Hirshman's views, that is). It really seems to me that her efforts are in the wrong place. I'm not going to go into the rant that is currently in my head, but suffice to say that if she wants to make some useful changes in society, why doesn't she seek to rectify the difficulty women face when re-entering the workforce after taking a few years off to raise kids? Why does she instead want to force us to not even have the choice? It's kinda scary if you ask me.

I know of two women who are in their fifties who worked all their lives and were recently laid off (due to their age basically). Both are having difficulty finding new jobs, and are being told in so many words by potential employers that they have already achieved the most they can achieve in their careers, and therefore the potential employer is afraid that they will be complacent and not add anything useful or new to the workforce. I'd much rather see the likes of Hirshman trying to change the attitude of employers and providing support to women who WANT to work, than bashing those of us who choose not to.
I agree with what you said. But then again, our culture is one that doesn't venerate our elders, and in fact, encourages everyone to take an active role in defying age and creating false beauty (botox injections, face-lifts, liposuction, breast implants, etc). It's rather disgusting.
post #77 of 94
Thread Starter 
I can say that I've got another reason to be grateful to be home. One of my daughters has selective mutism and won't speak in school at all (not once in 7 months), so being home allows me to take her to the neuropsychological evaluations (6 sessions over a month's time) to unearth the reasons behind her inability to speak in certain settings like school. I wouldn't be able to make sure she got to these appointments if I was at work. And I wouldn't be able to be with her to make sure she was okay during them. It seems (so far) that she has some sensory issues that is causing her to shut down when she feels overwhelmed (and school makes her feel overwhelmed).

And furthermore, she will probably require occupational therapy afterwards, both out of the home and in the home, so I will be able to do that for her instead of taking off work and worrying about getting fired.

I'm glad I'm able to have the luxury of time so I can get the answers we need to help her overcome this.
post #78 of 94
another great reason to be at home:

HOMESCHOOLING!!!
post #79 of 94
Thanks for your thread. It took me over 3 years once I left my field to "feel OK" with being home. Now I'm starting to wonder "what's next" for me, although my youngest is not yet 2.

(Leaning toward midwifery, but that's another thread). When I left, though, I knew that I didn't want to go back into that field, and I'd be starting over with graduate level studies of some kind.
post #80 of 94
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekka View Post
Thanks for your thread. It took me over 3 years once I left my field to "feel OK" with being home. Now I'm starting to wonder "what's next" for me, although my youngest is not yet 2.

(Leaning toward midwifery, but that's another thread). When I left, though, I knew that I didn't want to go back into that field, and I'd be starting over with graduate level studies of some kind.
You're welcome. I'm glad that this thread has grown. It's great to get thoughtful responses.

What was the field you left behind?
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