Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on 9-11. Volunteer today

The Mommy Wars Revisited

'I Was a Working Mom'

With her kids now grown, a mother reflects on the juggling act and insists she has no regrets

I got it all done, though the doing came out of my end. For almost two decades I had scant me-time. I made a lot of cookies with my boys and now have chops as a baker, but I never became a quilter, a gardener or the mom who was elected head of the PTA. In fact, none of the working moms could attend PTA meetings, which — to our chagrin — were always scheduled during the heart of the workday. I never learned to play tennis or golf. For exercise, I got up at 6 a.m. and ran in the park. Vacations were always served up family style. A romantic trip alone with my husband? Uh-uh. I would have missed my kids — and sweated guilt bullets leaving them behind.

But guilt and regret are not the same. Unquestionably, I felt I was a better mother than I would have been if I stayed home. I thought a lot about my own mom, who I sensed would have been a lot happier had she not given up her job as a social worker. I read a subliminal warning in the depression she faced at middle age. I see it reflected today in friends who quit their jobs when they had kids and, especially in this economy, have seen their hopes of re-entering the work force sidelined.

For me, working has felt beshert, the Yiddish word for destined. I liked everything about my career, including the fact that it allowed me to become as much a breadwinner as my husband. I took pride in knowing that I was an equal partner in taking care of my family, providing for their excellent educations, the summer camps the boys adored and the sneakers they outgrew quicker than you can say “MasterCard.”

Regarding work, I fiercely believe that each mother should make the right decision for herself and her family. I’m not keeping score — though I can’t help but wonder why some moms who choose not to work outside of the home claim the moral high ground. I couldn’t love Jed and Rory with any more fierceness had I met every school bus, every day, snack in hand. I’m proud of them, as they say they are of me. Do I have regrets? Not yet.

Sally Koslow is the author of the novels With Friends Like These; The Late, Lamented Molly Marx; and Little Pink Slips.

"I Was an At-Home Mom."  Read the reflections of a mother who gave up a promising career to stay home with her young children.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.



National and state fact sheets listing services, programs,  benefits, laws and policies for grandparents raising children. Read

GrandFamilies Guide

Information, tips and tools for grandparents raising grandchildren. Read


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Carrabba's Italian Grill Chicken Plate, Member Benefits

Members save 15% on lunch and dinner every day at Carrabba's Italian Grill.

Member Benefit AARP Regal 2

Members can save $3 on any size popcorn and soft drink combo at Regal Cinemas.

membership ancestry

Members save 30% on  a one-year subscription to

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Being Social


Wisdom Circle

Join our circle to ask for — or give — advice on topics such as love, friendship, grief, parenting and grandparenting. Discuss

Grandparenting: Joys & Challenges

There are many joys from being a grandparent, so let's celebrate them together! Discuss

Raising Grandchildren

Grandparent caring for grandkids share tips and discuss challenges, solutions and triumphs along the way. Join