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: With all the bra-burning and not changing your name and stuff?

VICKI: I don’t have my husband’s last name.

SANDY: Yeah, me neither.

RENEE: My husband said, “I’ll change my name to yours.” And I was like, “That’s too complicated.” But as far as feminism goes … for me, having a career of your own was a given. It was a non-issue. So when I think of being a feminist, I don’t think of pro-choice or pro-life. I think of Ani DiFranco. I think “creative angry girl.”

JESS: I think that it’s extremist. “I’m a woman, I’ll stomp on men.” I don’t want to put myself in that category. I’m a woman and I want to work, but someday I want to be a mom too. So it’s not choosing some extremist path to go down. It’s about living my life the way that I think that I should live it.

RENEE: I don’t feel like it got us anywhere, because I still have to cater to the guys at my job asking me right after I got married, “When are you going to have kids?” “When are you going to start a family?” I shut down and think, “You just need to go away.” It’s like they immediately assume you’re going to quit to raise kids.

JESS: Can we discuss natural motherly instincts that we as women feel? That you have to have some type of connection with your children? So we can be as feminist as we want to be, but I think I’ll always have that pull back to my kids when I have kids. I’ll always want that, too.

VICKI: And men don’t have that?

JESS: I don’t think they have it the same way that we have it. I think they have a “That’s our baby and we made that,” but I don’t think they have that same pull.

KATIE: When I think of a feminist, I think of my mom. She is hard-core. Everything is her way. She’s the boss. She wears the pants in that house. My dad knows it. Everybody knows it.

JESS: I don’t think I’d want that life.