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: I certainly did. But you can’t do it all. And you can’t know you can’t do it all until you’re doing it all.

SANDY: And we believed we were not going to be our mother. Except we’re wrong. We’re kind of our mothers.

RENEE: I want to be my mom so bad.

SANDY: Really?

RENEE: She had this great job being a teacher, and so she was at work while we were in school and she was off all summer. I mean, seriously, if I could go back again … and my mom told me this while I was in college. “Maybe you should consider being a teacher.”

JESS: My mom told me that, too: “Be a teacher. Stay home with your kids.”

KATIE: My mom said that, too. Those were the two occupations my mom told me to do: nurse and teacher. She told me every day I should teach. Every day.

VICKI: That’s crazy, because those were basically the only options women had when Betty Freidan wrote The Feminine Mystique in 1963. And that’s how this whole thing started, with Friedan saying you don’t have to be a nurse, you don’t have to be a teacher.

V. FEMINISM: “WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT?”

SANDY: When my daughter went to interview at her college, she met the women studies department chair. And the women studies department chair was talking up the program to her and told her, “We study the role of women in culture — we’re not feminists.” And my daughter says, “You’re not? I am!” And I’m thinking, “All right, good for her.”

RENEE: I give her a lot of credit. I would never say, “Oh, I’m a feminist.” I think the term “feminist” has a negative connotation.

JESS: I feel the same way.

VICKI: You think being “a feminist” is a bad thing?

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