Web Original: Suburban Mom Roundtable

We invited five women, all in different stages of their lives, to come together for a conversation that no five men would ever need to have — what’s a girl to do when kids come along?

VICKI: What does your mom think you should do?

JESS: She would be devastated if I had children and went back to work a month later. Because it would be a rejection of what she has done.

SANDY: That’s what so much of this is about.


VICKI: For most people I know, the decision comes down to what you can afford. Is that on your minds?

JESS: I can’t imagine raising a family and having more than one child and only having one income. Unless your husband does really well and is really successful.

KATIE: My mom — she works in real estate — said she worked strictly for financial reasons. I don’t know if I believe that. I think we would’ve had enough with my dad’s salary, but she said it was for the money.

RENEE: My mom worked for the money, too. When my parents first got married, they were both unemployed. They had just graduated, and neither of them had jobs. She worked full-time so he could go to school full-time He got his master’s, and then she worked part-time and he worked full-time. They were back and forth a lot, but they don’t talk about it like it was hard. They’re just like, “Oh yeah, it was fine.”

VICKI: My friend who stays at home with her kids and left a career says, in a bit of an accusatory way, that you can manage. You spend the money you make. So you choose. You cut coupons and you move to a smaller house and you do other things to make it work.

SANDY: We’ve been living for a long time on not very much money. We make $70,000 a year, maybe … in a good year. My husband was a musician. He’s not a musician anymore; he’s been training to be a physical therapist. But I’ve always told my daughter, “Make sure you have something of your own, because you can’t always count on the guy.”