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Return to Work: An Impossible Dream?

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Literature Chick dishes on the "Nap" that prevents Moms from going back to work full-time.


When my kids turned 3 and 6, I was faced with the fact that I had to return to work. Recently separated and in financially precarious straits, I could no longer rely on my freelance writing to pay the mortgage or put food on the table. Even though I had worked off and on while raising my children, it proved exceedingly difficult to find a full-time position. The realization that I might not be able to get a job was like a punch in the gut.

In her newest work, The Ten-Year Nap, author Meg Wolitzer addresses this exact scenario. Told from the points of view of four friends, the book focuses on the crossroads a woman experiences when her children no longer need her full-time but she is unable to re-enter the workforce.

Wolitzer delivers a book that teeters on the edge of being the The Feminist Mystique of our day. Her voice and message are important ones--do women give up a part of themselves upon becoming mothers? Can women re-enter the workforce after taking a long sabbatical? Does there always have to be a choice between motherhood and career?

Whether they are stay-at-home or working moms, all women will find a piece of themselves in The Ten-Year Nap.

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Meg Wolitzer April 3, 2008, 12:39 PM

Hi, it’s Meg Wolitzer here, and I came upon your blog and wanted to say thanks for these very interesting words. I am happy to be mentioned in the same breath as The Feminine Mystique; I’ll take that any day. And it’s always interesting to hear how readers have worked out their own work and home lives and the complexities of both. Again, thanks—


Crisa April 3, 2008, 5:35 PM

I can’t wait to read this. I have struggled with carreer and staying home for the last 3 years. I feel blessed to be able to stay home and selfish for struggling with this issue since a lot of moms don’t even have the choice.

susan April 3, 2008, 9:38 PM

As someone who worked full time for 8 years at a very demanding (read big law firm job), then went to a reduced schedule with the birth of the second child, I can tell you that the only regrets I have are not spending more time with the first child. I am sure no one remembers all the hard work I put in and all the sacrifices, but I do. And my son, now 13, says he was “raised by sitters.” I appreciate all the time I have with the younger son now and wish I could re-do things. But we don’t get re-dos. So the best advice I can offer is that if you have a chance to reduce ours and household finances can take it, do it. Not sure I would be a terrific full time stay at home mom but working part time is a wonderful solution.

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