Ask Dr. Rhodes

Should I feel ashamed if I know that, at some point in my life, I may want to take a break from my career to spend time with my children? I feel that if it’s a personal choice, not something you’re made to feel is obligatory, then there is nothing to be ashamed about. However, I’ve been made to feel that this would be an “unfeminist” choice and sometimes feel uncomfortable expressing my decision. I actually believe that denying myself time with my children because I feel societal pressure would be more problematic than going ahead and doing what I want. This issue is particularly relevant and I know many women struggle with the right answer so I’d love if you could speak to this.

Anonymous, 21

There is no right answer. The “mommy wars” between women who work and women who stay home is confusing and unnecessarily rigid. There is nothing wrong with staying home to raise children anymore than it is to go to work. This is a personal choice and the principles of feminism dictate that women be true to themselves.

My biggest concern would be how you would weather a financial crisis if you husband lost his job. Having a career that you can renew is comforting. Moving in and out of the labor force, with full time, part-time work over the life span, is the norm today.

Don’t worry what people think or say. Follow your intuition and stick to your guns. No one but you knows what is right for you.

—Sonya Rhodes, Ph.D.

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