Excerpt: 'Get to Work'

Quite by chance the mommy blogosphere produced additional anecdotal evidence of how broad the homeward bound phenomenon is. In response to my recent article on the subject, BloggingBaby.com (a Web site that advertises baby care, baby products, maternity clothes, etc.) solicited stories of stay-at-home moms, apparently thinking their reports would rebut my work. The BloggingBaby.com mothers do not for the most part appear to be the same socioeconomic class that the Times brides are, so the seven profiles published in December and January make a little picture of how regular people behave. Surprise! The statistics are identical: Three of the seven moms don't work at all, three have part-time jobs at increasing distances from their education and training, and one works full time at what she was educated for.

Two of the three full-time moms never finished their educations. Ammie, profiled January 10, 2006, is "a thesis short of [her] Masters in Applied History." Christine, January 4, 2006, "was thinking I would go to grad school....When I graduated, I had burned out on school and went into the work force as an entry-level computer programmer." While Michelle, December 21, 2005, successfully completed law school, she "never really thought much about money," winding up "100,000 [dollars] in debt" and therefore unable to work at the practice she had envisioned. Although they didn't have such great opportunities as the Times brides, they also failed to find satisfying work, often before childbirth.

Like the Times brides, these women are completely dependent upon their husbands. Ammie's husband's "income is our sole source of support." Christine's "husband's income is just slightly less than our combined incomes were when we met. When we first met, he was making slightly more than I was, but his income grew much quicker than mine did from there." Deeply in debt, Michelle was not able to resist pressure from her husband to leave New York and move to his home state of Oregon.

Strapped as the families are, like the Times brides, they have no plans ever to return to work. After "working out of her home part time, making her own hours, and not having to answer to someone looking over her shoulder constantly," Ammie "cannot and will not do it again." Christine doesn't "ever want to work in the corporate world again." She knows she doesn't "have the stomach for the politics and stress that go along with an executive position." Michelle failed the Oregon bar and plans to skip the next two exam dates. She is "unwilling to work 70–90 hours a week just to make some corporation richer at the expense of my family."

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