ABCnews reports on moms taking breaks from professional careers (excerpt):
Nevins is part of a growing trend, featured in a Time magazine report, in which more professional women are opting out of the rat race, at least temporarily. For the first time, the percentage of workplace participation by married mothers with children less than a year old fell from 59 percent in 1997 to 53 percent in 2000 — a significant change, even though it impacts only a small group, experts say.
There are various reasons for the move toward old-fashioned motherhood, but for many, it is a sign of some women’s new, non-linear approach to their careers.
“In the woman who can afford it, there is an increase,” said Claudia Wallis, who reported the story for Time magazine. “They don’t want to re-create the lives of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson. This is just a new approach to their career,” Wallis said. One of the reasons women are ducking out of their careers is because the workplace has become more unfriendly toward those who want to have a family life, Wallis said. New technology, such as cell phones, e-mail and wireless devices allow work to intrude on family life more than ever, so that many mothers find their attention is divided at home, after the work day is over.
Given that women now make up such a significant percentage of the professional labor force, Wallis says that it does not appear that women will lose ground in the workplace, even if more leave to devote time to motherhood. She is optimistic that companies will have to start responding to the demands of women who are juggling motherhood and family duties.
Both Montgomery and Nevis said they would both be happy to return to the workplace sooner if on-site day-care and more flexible hours were available.
Wallis says the workplace will be forced to respond as more and more baby boomers retire. Wallis says female professionals will soon be in great demand.