Are women really opting out?

Many of you have probably heard of the so-called “Opting Out” phenomenon — the notion that many high-achieving professional women are happily abandoning their careers once they have kids to be stay-at-home moms.

Last week, however, the Washington Post reported that recently released census statistics are screaming, “Don’t believe the hype!”

The census snapshot shows that stay-at-home mothers tend to be younger and less educated, with lower family incomes. (The stats also showed they are more likely than other mothers to be Hispanic or foreign-born.)

The report did not show a proportionately high number of married African American mothers staying at home, but Kuae Mattox, a national board member of Mocha Moms, a nonprofit support organization for stay-at-home mothers of color, said she sees “a quiet revolution” of highly educated, professional African American women choosing to opt out despite long family histories of women working.

She was quoted in the Washington Post article saying, “I think this is a segment of the population that has been overlooked in the whole opt-out revolution in this country.”

What do you think?

Growing up I always believed there was no way I could ever be a stay-at-home mom, but over time my thoughts on the matter have greatly changed. I see how stressful it is to just take care of myself and have a career. Though women have done so successfully for ages, I can’t imagine how I would balance a career and a personal life with motherhood.

Working moms, please tell me how you do it?

3 Comments

  1. I agree with you that my opinion of my ability and desire, frankly, to do so has changed. I would definitely stay home, part-time, if I could now. If you’d talked to me 10 years ago, I thought I just wanted to be able to attend school and extracurricular functions.

  2. I plan on opting out. I think it will be wonderful to stay at home while the kids are young.

  3. I take offense to the census saying that SAH moms are less educated and have lower family incomes! What a slap in the face to professional women who choose to stay at home! I think SAH moms have a bad stigma. As a engineer it was a very hard decision to stop working and make a huge sacrifice for my family. Your children are only young once and if you have chance to really nurture and raise them why not take it?

    When a child spends 12 hours in daycare because mom is a doctor and dad an engineer, who is really raising the child? For me I just couldn’t do it.

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