Watch CBSN Live

Trading Career For Home

In "Mona Lisa Smile," Julia Roberts played a teacher who wanted her girls to be more than college-educated homemakers.

But homemaker isn't such a dirty word these days.

The Early Show correspondent Tracy Smith caught up with her best friend Christina, a.k.a. Kiki, who is happy to be a stay-at-home mom.

Growing up in Cincinnati, Christina never saw herself as a career mom.

"I went to Miami University," Christina says. Not exactly a community college, but a "public Ivy," getting a degree in psychology with a minor in sociology.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the power job: Christina married a doctor, had a son, then another, and decided that her real career was at home.

Growing up, she says, she had pictured herself as a successful businesswoman.

"A career woman," Christina says, "I would not have envisioned this. I wouldn't change it for the world now, but I definitely would not have envisioned this."

She has three boys now, and they do keep her hopping, but there's a lot more to her life than housework.

Instead of trying to juggle a career with motherhood, she has time to do things like sharpen her tennis game. She balks at the notion that she took the lazy way out. And don't ever tell her that she wasted her education.

"I don't know that it's a waste," she says. "You can't call raising productive members of society a waste. For crying out loud, it's a colossal feat. They're the future. It can't possibly be a waste. And it's far from lazy, far from lazy."

To her, every day is an adventure. "Every day brings something new," she says. "It's a different adventure than I would have anticipated years ago, but it's definitely an adventure."

According to the latest issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, more women today are rethinking their priorities.

"One of the big differences is that they don't just take care of their kids' needs and husband's needs, they take care of their needs as well," says the magazine's editor-in-chief, Kate White. "They might take yoga, or spinning classes, or be involved in a book club and might have even a full-time babysitter and nanny to give them backup."

When it comes to women who have no children, there is another big movement in which some of them also want to stay home full time and have control of their lives. These are women, White explains, who do not like their jobs and have the financial freedom to do so.

The reason? "I think some of it is generational," White says. "They have this sense of entitlement to some degree, a sense of 'I want to live my best life ever and be passionate.' They may feel, 'I'm not passionate about my job, so why should I be working over the Xerox machine when I could be at home and taking yoga and cooking my husband good gourmet meals that I learned at a great class.' So it's somewhat generational. I also think we've made work seem so incredibly daunting. It lasts all day. It's a 24/7 thing because of the cell phones and fax machines."

White says that by no means does this trend sets women's lib back. "I think women's lib was about choice and I like the idea that a mother can say, 'I'm not going to give into the pressure to be one of those, that picture with the baby on the briefcase. If I want to be home with my kids when they're young, I can do it,'" White says. "I do worry about the notion we really didn't want to work too much with women who are home, but don't have kids. I think that's the worry that notion we really didn't want to be with the guys, and I don't like perpetuating that."

Of course, this trend is not for everyone. It obviously depends on a couple's financial health and personal choice.

"I love to work," says White. "I feel I need it for fulfillment."

She also notes studies show kids are not hurt by mothers working away from home. And there are risks to consider, when it comes to making this decision to stay away from the career path. The divorce rate is still about 50 percent in America, and many men are getting laid off from their nearly life-long jobs.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue