Working Post-Motherhood… Dream Or Nightmare?

Working Mother
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84% of working women said that staying home to raise children is a financial luxury they aspire to

1 in 3 resent their partner for not earning enough to make that dream a reality

These are two findings from a new partnered survey co-sponsored by ForbesWoman and, which concluded that a growing number of women see staying home to raise children (while a partner provides financial support) to be the ideal circumstances of motherhood.

In an article that posted yesterday on Forbes Woman, Forbes staff writer Meghan Casserly highlights the survey results and explores the subject of what is dubbed the “New American Dream” – young working mothers setting work aside to stay home with the kids. She includes insight from several experts who weigh in as to why more working women appear to dream of opting out rather than charging up the corporate ladder while balancing work life, home life, sippy cups and kids.

What we do know is that the survey polled less than 1,000 US women (67% were working outside the home and 33% stayed at home with their children). What we don’t know from the article is what the demographic (i.e. income level, professional position, geographic locale, age… “young mothers” is a broad descriptive) and psychographic (i.e. level of satisfaction with their work) make-up of the respondents were. All of those details should and do matter as they surely affect survey responses. Also, polling fewer than 1,000 women does not seem like a large enough respondent group to be able to draw any significant or concrete conclusions.

Nonetheless, it’s an interesting read; one that surprised us, yet made sense, in parts, given the state of the economy and the enormous pressure working women face to deliver at home and at work.

However, the percentage of “opting out dreamers” was shockingly high to us as we know lots of women who find that continuing to work after baby making helps them better excel at motherhood and their careers. We know far fewer who, if given the choice, would trade in their professional life for full-time domesticated motherhood… not that there is ANYTHING wrong with full-time domesticated motherhood.

As for the finding that more than 1/3 of the women surveyed resent their partners for not earning enough money so they can fulfill their own opt out dreams, well that is a tough pill to swallow, especially in this economy. One household incomes are a rare breed in today’s day and age. No? Also, that kind of resentment seems far too circumstantial to offer meaningful, take-away data as it likely involves factors that go well beyond a tally sheet of her partner’s earnings. So, we’ll leave this issue to the couples therapists of the world to ponder and dissect.

We’re not sure we learned anything earth shattering from this survey, except that young mother’s (both working and stay-at-home) are “an unhappy lot” fueled, in part, by a “grass is always greener” mentality according to the survey summation.

But, the conclusion we came to from all of it is that everyone should just stop asking, “CAN women have it all?” Instead we should really be asking, “DO women actually want it all?” We suppose that all depends on the individual woman. What do you think?

You can read Ms. Casserly’s Forbes Woman article in its entirety here and see the survey highlights here.