It's a problem many moms face -- after taking time off to raise children, their careers suffer a setback.
And, yes, it happens even to big Hollywood stars like Julia Roberts.
After essentially taking five years off to raise her three children, Roberts returned to the big screen this past weekend in "Duplicity." Seen as Roberts' comeback film, "Duplicity" earned $14 million in ticket sales in its opening weekend, placing third behind a Nicolas Cage action flick and the Paul Rudd-Jason Segel bromance. Not exactly a comeback.
Not exactly a setback either, according to E! gossip columnist Ted Casablanca.
"She's the last person concerned about it," he said. "She's got the Oscar, a great dossier and a great box office track record. She doesn't care. I find her like a modern [Greta] Garbo -- Garbo with a family. I think everyone is fretting but Julia Roberts. With the right project she could come back in an instant."
Us Weekly's senior editor Bradley Jacobs agrees.
"I don't think (the film's box office return) is going to make Julia go back and say, 'I need a hit now,'" he said. "It's very clear that's not where her priorities are."
Roberts preaches the benefits of putting family first, sometimes to success -- after ribbing David Letterman for not having wed his longtime girlfriend during an appearance on his show last week, the "Late Show" host announced Monday that he tied the knot.
"I do think there is something to that," Jacobs said. "You do see Angelina [Jolie] with her kids everywhere and Tom [Cruise] and Katie [Holmes] withSuri everywhere. Perhaps it has diminished Julia Roberts' star quality in the eyes of the public, which is so used to seeing these women and their families. She wants her life to be private, which is why she lives in Taos [New Mexico], not New York or L.A. It's a deliberate decision. She doesn't want to be back on top."
"I think the biggest impact it has is she'll probably have healthy normal children," famed Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman said about Roberts. "I applaud her. Compared to so many Hollywood actors, she and Danny (Moder, her husband) live a shockingly normal life. Children are not ATMs and publicity machines. They are children, to be shielded and protected, and when a mother does it, I say to myself, 'that's a good mother.' We already knew she was a good actor. Now we know she's a good mother, too."
Los Angeles-based family therapist Chrystal Evans said it's also better for the kids to grow up outside the spotlight.
"Toddlers and preschoolers don't have the cognitive ability to understand the paparazzi, and when they go to school, kids are making jokes or comments on their personal life," said Evans, an expert for Momlogic.com. "Kids don't have the ability to separate the issues that come up, unless mom and dad are able to work through the issues with them and prepare them for it. I think it would be more traumatic than keeping them out of the spotlight."
Casablanca said he thinks Roberts is just being herself, and he likes that.