Feature

Rejecting a culture of overwork

It’s no wonder so many high-flying career women choose to become stay-at-home moms.

Judith Shulevitz
The New Republic

It’s no wonder so many high-flying career women choose to become stay-at-home moms, said Judith Shulevitz. Take a look at the miserable “realities of the American workplace.” Post-recession, the average workweek has ballooned while employment has fallen, giving us an economy that gets more work done with 8 million to 12 million fewer workers. “Among the professional and managerial classes, success at work requires more hours in the office, more hours on the computer at home, more trips out of town, and a much less predictable schedule than it did in Betty Friedan’s day.” Today, 88 percent of men say they work “very hard,” and almost as many say they have to work “very fast.” Achieving that mythical work-life balance in such a “culture of overwork” is hard enough for anybody; throw in a child, and it’s nigh on impossible. So when an “educated and perfectly sane” member of my sex dares to become a stay-at-home mom, don’t assume it’s because she’s an anti-feminist, or because she’s rejected “aspiration.” It may not even be a case of lacking on-site child care, as necessary as it is. She just may not be willing “to succumb to a kind of madness.”

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