Opting Out

I recently re-read the well-known 2003 article, "The Opt-Out Revolution," by New York Times columnist, Lisa Belkin, and was struck again by this quote: "Why don't women run the world? Maybe it's because they don't want to."

The must-read article discusses the trend of highly-educated, successful women opting-out of high-powered career tracks to be stay-at-home-moms, and the implications of this for the feminist movement.

I am one of those opt-outers. If you had told me in 2003, when I first read this article, that I would be blissfully content as a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of three, I wouldn't have believed you. Back then, with two degrees and running a successful six-figure corporate training business, I was sure that I would continue on the career track, even if I became a mom someday.

And then I became a mom.

And somehow it was strikingly easy to shutter my business, say farewell to my clients and paychecks, and immerse myself in full-time motherhood.

I realize the privilege from which I speak: urban, educated, married, middle-class. I realize that it was the feminists of the last century, the trailblazers, who led the way for me to have the opportunity to go to college and graduate school and become an entrepreneur. And I realize it was also those feminists who gave me the choice to eventually opt-out.

It is those early feminists for whom I am thankful when I think of the opportunities that will be available to my own daughters as they grow into adulthood, as they pursue their dreams unfettered by the discrimination and limited choices offered to women not so long ago, and as they someday, I hope, realize the unparalleled rewards of motherhood.