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?

SANDY: How does that work better?

VICKI: Well, the difference is that I can take them at nine, I pick them up at five. If there’s a parade at school, I go. They’re going to see Disney on Ice, and I’m going. And I kind of feel, through no effort of my own, I have created the perfect situation. I am doing exactly what all the people are telling women now to do: “Keep your foot in, don’t completely get out. Work, but have the ability to be at home.”

JESS: But not everyone has a job that flexible.

VICKI: No, absolutely not.

SANDY: What if your daughter decides to stay at home? Would you view that as a slight?

VICKI: I don’t think so. I don’t think my mom thinks the fact that I work is a slight to her because she stayed home.

SANDY: What I’ve done for the past 10 years now is work two weeks from home and two in the office, and it just makes me crazy. You’re never where you want to be. You’re never wholly in either place.

VICKI: I know. I don’t feel like I’m doing 100 percent of my job at anyplace. Like, I’m kind of an okay mom and I’m kind of an okay employee.

SANDY: Will my kids be better people because they get to see that I work and that I value work and that I enjoy work? I don’t know. But I’ll be curious to see what they do. My daughter decided to study women’s studies in college. And I think it’s because she has been watching her whole life this strange dance that my husband and I do. She knows I have anger and resentment about having to do all of the cleaning and earning money and doing it all, because we grew up being told that we could have it all. And we believed it.