Lisa Endlich Heffernan, a former Wall Street trader, confessed on TODAY, “I have real remorse,” sharing her honest feelings about her decision to be a stay-at-home-mother.
The transition, according to Heffernan, has drastically influenced her life and career – as she failed to consider the impact of her decision and how it would affect her future occupational prospects and earning potential once the nest was empty.
Heffernan managed to keep her highly demanding job with her first two children but elected to leave the workforce once she became pregnant with her third – citing how her busy work gave her little time with them otherwise. Thereafter, her world became significantly smaller with a narrower range of people and experiences.
Notice the title does not say, “Regrets over spending time with their children.” The former trader does not harbor resentment about the time spent with her children, simply the collateral effect staying home has had on other aspects of her life.
Unlike most people who have childcare challenges and have to stay at home or feel they are the only one’s capable of caring for their offspring, Heffernan chose to be a SAHM. But, in hindsight, she wishes she had worked at least part time, as according to Heffernan’s article in the Huffington Post her marriage began to develop “a faint 1950s whiff.”
Additionally, her confidence took a hit when Heffernan realized she was becoming outdated regarding her understanding of the technology once associated with her job – later turning to her older kids for tech support.
Imaging taking years of hard-earned and expensive post-secondary education and setting it aside to be a chauffeur, errand runner, cook, boo-boo kisser, teacher, and disciplinarian.
Potential employers will not appreciate the five or 10 year sacrificial gaps in your resume if you ever try to re-connect with the labor force – regardless of how difficult, time consuming, and important the investment was.
Therefore, Heffernan strongly urges women to reconsider stepping out of the workforce entirely. “Keep a pilot light under your professional life.”
In a Forbes piece published last July, another SAHM expressed a similar concern, “I always knew I wanted kids. What I hadn’t sorted out were the day-to-day realities of parenting, and how being a mother would impact my career.”
Her decision to stay home was swayed by several factors: an unwillingness to let a stranger raise her daughter, the childcare costs associated significantly impacting take-home pay, and a spouse who had a higher earning potential – willing and able to cover bills. Logically it made more sense for her to stay home at the time. However, years later, she still questions if it was the right choice.
The mommy war wages on – defined by a conflicting choice to either have a successful career or be a mother. Traditionally, women are left to decide which they want more, kids or a career. Else if you try to juggle both women often feel judged for either being a poor parent or seen as flaky at work every time they have to leave to tend to a sick child.
But unlike most jobs, parenting never ends – there are no breaks unless you want to splurge serious cash on a babysitter. And the achievement is rarely celebrated other than by parent-specific holidays.
Are you a stay-at-home-mother/father? Do you regret forgoing the time at work or in school to stay with your children?
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