This section comes near the end of the Introduction to Cease Fire. It sets the tone for the book. I wanted to objectively explore the decisions moms make, without making judgements or taking a side. The overall message of my book is that moms need to feel understood and supported. It is important that we stand together, not work to tear each other down.
I think the most important thing to remember is there is no one solution that works for all women. Some moms have to work for financial reasons. They simply don't have options. Others want to work for the sense of accomplishment they experience. That helps them to be better moms because they are happier overall. There are also women who find fulfillment staying home with their children full time. Each woman has to search within herself, discuss with her partner, and choose what is best for her family. By no means do I believe the choice I have made is in any way better, wiser or superior. It is simply what fits my family.
The decision to work or stay home after having a child, for those women of my generation who have a choice, is beyond complex. I don’t think I can adequately articulate how complicated and difficult it is. I have never been so conflicted in my life. Yes, I’d watched my girlfriends go through it, but I didn't realize how agonizing the decision would be until it was my turn. And though I knew in my heart what I wanted to do, I found it difficult to commit.
If women were to listen purely to the messages of society, there is no choice that is “right.” As one male friend once put it, “How is a woman to win? Somehow, you are not doing what you are supposed to do if you do not have a career. But then, you are not doing what you are supposed to do if you are not with your children.” That is exactly the dilemma facing many moms today.
This is a topic that stirs much debate and strong emotions. Each woman’s situation is unique, and there are many factors to consider when making this decision. It is not a black and white issue. I am hopeful there will be women who will read this book and relate to my personal experience. I will also share the stories of women in many different situations, and I believe every mom will be able to find something to relate to. It is my wish that we stop viewing it as a battle to be won. And choose instead to continue the discussion with respect.