Stay-at-home mom: I regret not working
“I have real remorse.”
So confesses Lisa Endlich Heffernan, a former Wall Street trader who has struck a chord with women everywhere, after an honest assessment of how her decision to become a SAHM – a stay-at-home mom – almost 20 years ago has impacted her life and career.
“At no point did I calculate the lifetime impact of diminished earnings and prospects,” Heffernan wrote in a recent column for the Huffington Post.
“One day I was working on the trading floor of a London bank and the next, I was on the floor of my children's playroom. Not once did I think, at age 33, of what the job market would look like for me a few years down the road.”
The column has received thousands of “likes” on Facebook and prompted hundreds of comments.
Heffernan kept her high-powered job while she had her first two kids, a situation she described to TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie as "life as helplessly out of control." She decided to leave the workforce when she became pregnant with her third child.
Heffernan lists her biggest disappointments since as letting down the generation of women before her “who made it possible to dream big” and using her driver’s license far more than her formal education.
She also complained that her world became smaller.
"When you leave the fulltime workplace and become a stay-at-home mom, you begin to live in a world of women your own age… and your experiences really narrow as the range of people you deal with narrows," Heffernan said.
She believes her children think she did “nothing" and that she became outdated and lost her confidence. Her marriage has developed "a faint 1950s whiff," she wrote in her column.
Heffernan wishes she had worked part-time and urges women considering staying at home with their kids to maintain a connection with their work.
“Keep a pilot light under your professional life,” she said. “If you keep a pilot light going, the transition back to the workplace is aided.”
What do her children think about the article? They’re “OK with it,” Heffernan said.
"I didn't stay home because I felt that my kids needed me -- I wanted to be with them," she added. "I don’t think there’s any mom who regrets time she spent with her kids."
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