The whole conceit is about the "Opt-Out" generation of upper-middle class women who quit high-powered jobs to be SAHM's when the economy was booming, and about how if they're rich and well-connected enough they can get jobs now, but for not-as-upper middle class ladies it's much harder. And there's a lot of good/interesting stuff there: choice, empowerment, work-life balance, etc. But two things in particular stuck out to me.

One, when these women were making the choice to "Opt Out", a poll found that 40% of Americans believed that a mother working was "harmful to her children;" now 75% of Americans agree that working moms and SAHM's can develop equally warm and secure relationships with their children. So it was interesting to me to see how contingent on economics the acceptability of women working outside the home is: the 40% was an 8 point increase from 1994, and has dropped to presumably around 25% now that everyone needs jobs and they're scarce. Apparently in a "perfect" world (that is, not financially fragile), moms should be at home. But if they must work, they get a pass.

And two, a woman who was feeling devalued and frustrated at home took a job when her kids hit middle school, and this comment from her (now-ex) husband was presented remarkably uncritically: “I look back on it as the beginning of the end of our marriage,” Eisel said when we talked by phone last month. “Once she started to work, she started to place more value in herself, and because she put more value in herself, she put herself in front of a lot of things — family, and ultimately, her marriage.” I couldn't believe what I was reading. If you see your wife "placing value in herself" as a negative, then her job wasn't the beginning of the end of your marriage; your attitude was. Also, he worked the entire time they were married and apparently he doesn't see that as putting himself "in front of" the family and marriage — it's just the way things work!

Advertisement

Anyway, lots of food for thought, but I'm worried it's going to be boiled down/contorted into more Mommy Wars BS.