April 27, 2010

Excerpt One

          This week I will be sharing a series of excerpts from the Introduction of my upcoming book. These first few paragraphs set the stage for Part One, which shares my personal journey to motherhood:

Throughout my childhood, I aspired to be a number of things. A housewife was never one of them. I grew up during the “second wave” of the feminist movement. A time when traditional female roles were being questioned. The conventional view of motherhood was being attacked. As a young girl and woman I was inspired, and greatly influenced, by the messages generated by that revolution.

I was not interested in the outdated June Cleaver kind of lifestyle. On the contrary, as I graduated from college and began my career I wanted to be the woman in the Enjoli commercial (if you are not familiar with this reference, you must go Google it now – it is a classic). I was going to do it all. Rise to the top of the ladder professionally and have the perfect family. I set off on a path to achieve my goals. I was often called a “feminist” during this period of my life, and accepted the label with pride.

As I grew older, my attitudes and ideals began to shift. I never envisioned quitting work to care for a child. I did come to the realization, however, that my career aspirations could possibly be at odds with my goals for a family. Looking around at my role models, the women I had been working hard to emulate, I realized their success had come at a cost, or so it seemed from my perspective. Either they had no children, or they had a family model that did not match what I wanted for myself.

My values underwent a major transformation. I decided to adjust my career goals. I no longer wanted the high-powered executive job, because it came at a price. I wanted to work hard, do my job well and go home to enjoy my family. Achieving balance became more important to me than shattering the elusive glass ceiling. And I was confident I would someday have a family. I never questioned that, even as I remained single into my late thirties.

Many people assume I made a conscious decision to put off motherhood. That I set it aside to focus on my career. I don’t believe that is the case. While it is possible committing to my career contributed to my not becoming a wife or mother earlier in my life, it was not something I ever did consciously. Or intentionally. I always wanted children, and I eventually became a mom at the age of forty.

I did not seriously consider being a stay-at-home mom until, with the end of my maternity leave looming, I realized I could not stand the thought of leaving my daughter. That turned my world upside down. I was unnerved. The decision was without a doubt the most difficult I have ever had to make. I have never agonized over anything so intensely. In the end, I chose to leave my career to care full time for my daughter.


  1. I look forward to reading more from your book. I write a column about motherhood and my life for a local paper, and like you, I try to make the underlying message that we, as moms, need to set aside our differences and stick together. The atmosphere of competition that permeates our society does us a disservice when it comes to raising our children. There is little recognition for a job well done, and no prizes if you do. There is no right way to be a mother, at the end of the day. Good luck with your book!

  2. I LOVE it! I am so excited to read more.

  3. Wow, Elizabeth, I really empathize with your first excerpt! I could have written something very similar. I never imagined myself giving up my job, that I loved so much, to (as I thought of it in my own head) play pat-a-cake. But, like you, it hit me at the end of my maternity leave. The thought of leaving my baby boy kept me awake at night, and when my boss (kindly and compassionately, I might add) told me it was time to make a choice, I did. I'm anxious to read more! I think there are a lot of us out here who have walked or are now walking this path.

  4. sounds interesting so far!


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