Most of the discussion of Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" came before anyone had a chance to actually read the book. Now that it's out there, are we open to the idea that while society may push back, women still need to "lean in" to our working lives?

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Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In"

  • Most of the discussion of Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" came before anyone had a chance to actually read the book. Now that it's out there, are we open to the idea that while society may push back, women still need to "lean in" to our working lives?
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KJ Dell'Antonia added Jessica Bennett, Jennifer Romaniuk, and Sasha Koren.
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Sona Patel added Hanna Ingber.

We're on! Leslie, what was your first reaction to "Lean In" as someone who wrote a prescient book a few years ago?

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KJ Dell'Antonia added Fog Dog Family.

I am horrified at the way it's being misrepresented. The book is just common sense and thorough research, but the reaction has been insane.

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This morning my former babysitter said to me, "I hear Sandberg says that women are lazy." This could not be further from the truth, and yet the media and critics who haven't read the book are portraying it as if SS is blaming women for not succeeding, which is totally untrue.

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I think people were quick to comment before reading. "Lazy" is a really disappointing way to hear it played back.

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KJ Dell'Antonia added Gp4design.

SS acknowledges all the external reasons women don't rise to the top, from institutional barriers to political, social and cultural ones, but what she's chosen to talk about in this book are the internal barriers, which are real and undeniable and critically important to address.

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I echo those concerns -- but am also disappointed that people are convinced her advice is only for a "privileged" group of women. I think all women, particularly younger women, benefit from what she has put out there.

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I thought it was a good contribution to the conversation. she didn't deny the barriers.

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There's simply no question that women hold themselves back in a myriad of ways, and that until we start talking about those as well as the other obstacles we will not succeed in overcoming the barriers that continue to prevent us from assuming our fair share of decision making responsibility in this culture.

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I loved that she put the excerpt in Cosmo.

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I agree that the book seems to be misrepresented. I personally am someone who chose to lean back after I had a baby, still, now looking to ramp up, I'm finding Sandberg's advice very accessible...

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...even in mid-level positions.

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People seem to assume that just because SS went to Harvard she;s only talking to elite women, which is not the case at all.

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KJ Dell'Antonia added Neelima Mehta and Katica Roy.

people are also attacking SS for being rich, without acknowledging that she is rich because she made her own success. When men do that, we lionize them, but when women do it, we always seem to trash them.

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I like to look at the book as a source of confidence -- that we all need to believe enough in our capabilities to reach for what we truly want. Even if what we want is somewhat different from what we think society expects.

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Agree...I found the life-story element of the book to be inspiring.

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I left a career more like SS's than mine now, and I still felt inspired to look closely at what I'm doing and what more I can do.

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I love the points she makes about how powerful women are perceived -- so true in my experience at big law firms.

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Would anyone join a "Lean In" circle, or start one?

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From what I've read of the book, it's dead on with my experience and other female leaders that I know

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I thought SS bent over backward to acknowledge that women can choose what they want and nobody should expect everyone to follow the same path.

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We're starting a Lean In Circle for the Women's Business Book Club I attend

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KJ Dell'Antonia added Lisabelkin.

I think I would like to join one. I feel a bit inspired to reach out to some of my younger colleagues and make sure they have the support that I did not have.

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KJ Dell'Antonia added Lori Mikesell Baylor.

The double standards for how powerful and successful women are perceived are so toxic; there's such a penalty for women in so many ways where men are admired for the same thing.

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I think we need to be able to talk about this without spending too much time on the choices we have made.

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I think anything women can do to mentor younger women and help their peers is crucial. Despite all the hype about the Queen Bee syndrome, I find that the old girls' network is working very well these days in terms of women helping women to get ahead as men have always done.

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KJ Dell'Antonia added Lama.

I have to admit, though, that after reading Bennetts and Hirschman, who had similar messages to Sandberg, I found Sandberg much more palatable...

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Hello all

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Lisa Belkin, who just joined us, helped me when I was getting started.

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But it's hard not to second guess some of our choices after reading this. I know my kid are better off for the time I spent at home, but I also know (though it's hard to admit) that I was not as happy personally then as I am now that I've gone back to work.

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...Sandberg has more of a way of respecting the "home" things like childcare, especially by saying she wants a world where more men step up to the plate with this. She does not undervalue these aspects of life.

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I agree with Sandberg though , that it isnt traditional "mentorship" we should be talking about

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What younger women need, for one thing, are better examples

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People seem to respond to these issues so personally, and so defensively, instead of considering the facts on their merits. I found this when I published The Feminine Mistake, which documented the longterm risks of economic dependency for women who drop out of the work force and the benefits of work for women, emotional as well as financial. So many people who had opted out attacked my book without even reading it, which I know because they bragged about it on Amazon reader reviews that said, "I haven't read this book, but it's an awful book, and you shouldn't read it either!" That's not exactly a sensible way to address a difficult issue.

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Sandberg is one -- in a way. But she has advantages that so many women don't. That is NOT an attack. I think she absolutely gets to give an opinion, and has important advice for those who would like to be successful too

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I appreciate Ann Marie Slaughter's idea that we ALL (men too) need to talk more about the ways we adjust our careers at various times to accomodate family.

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But it confirms that in order to BE successful you need much of what she has... an infrastructure

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KJ Dell'Antonia added Alex DeWolfe.

But Lisa, what is SS other than a "better example" -- a brilliant, self-made woman who, unlike me and :Linda Hirshman, bent over backward to be diplomatic and unjudgmental in her book and yet still gets roundly criticized?

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Leslie, I was struck that the response to this book was much like the response to yours

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I think Lean In circles are a great idea.

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The real feminist mistake was made 50 years ago when Betty Friedan said that women were not working because she thought waitresses, teachers, nurses and secretaries were not doing worthy work. I saw Betty Friedan speak to a hall-filled with union factory working women in Rome Italy in 1971, She told those women to get jobs. They booed her as did I.

I see Sandberg thinks like Friedan does - that the only worthy work is the work executive women do, whose wealth comes from the work of real working women

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And you are right, Leslie, you are saying much the same things.

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I suppose that's a good point about her bending over backwards to be diplomatic and STILL getting criticized. Some people just don't want a message of "CAN DO" at all because they want an excuse for their disappointments. "It's not anything I should do, it's the system..."

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Hello! I have read the first 100 pages of the book, and while many of the issues ring true, I do wish they had been given a deeper treatment. Somehow, it seems like she is hedging her bets in the book.

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QueerSpring, I disagree. I do think that she is SPEAKING to women who aim to do the kind of work that she is doing. And she is addressing the problem of the lack of women in positions like hers. But she doesn't devalue other work in any way. It's just not what her book is about

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i thought SS focused on women with choices--highly educated women-- because it's our "opt-out" that makes it harder for the women we work with and the women we might or could supervise.

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Linda Hirshman and I have been talking this week about how much of ss's book says what we said, only in a more ingratiating tone, and yet she still gets trashed! Apparently if you talk about the ways women sabotage themselves you just can't win.

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I agree with QueerSpringIn13 a bit. Betty Friedan was really focused on "high level" women's work. She also completely ignored the fact that poor women (mostly African American) had 'left the home' a long time before she called on mostly white women to start doing it.

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@QueerSpringIn13 I would find that Friedan statement offensive, too, as a woman who put myself through college waitressing.

But, I don't think Sandberg feels that way...

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As the breadwinner in my family - my husband stays home with our children - I do agree with SS that with more women at the top we will have more family friendly jobs and workplaces.

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It's also highly educated women who rise in corporate hierarchies who can do the most to change institutional policies that are not family friendly, which is one reason why opting out costs everybody, because it reduces women's leverage in changing the workforce so everyone can be a better parent, male or female

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success is not just the money you make but the life you live and those women who are successful only because they underpay women who do the real work are human failures

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She is looking at a narrow question -- what are women doing to sabotage themselves on the way to the top. That is not the whole of women's experience in the workplace. Self-sabotage is not the only obstacle to progress. It is a jigsaw and she looks at one piece. I find it a compelling look at one piece, but we should never think it is the whole conversation

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When women who could take leadership roles, or government roles, or corporate roles, second-guess themselves out of those spaces AND don't try to come back (like you are, Jennifer), that has costs for all of us--all families, not just all women.

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I think the book came out at an unfortunate time post Marissa Meyer's Yahoo! thing with the ban on work at home...

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No one is denying that women at the top would be better (for everyone, not just women!), but.. are we the ones holding ourselves back?

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I think MANY women at the top will institute practices to help other women, but not ALL will...and that's OK.

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KJ Dell'Antonia added Dr. Tina Clarke.

I'm particularly interested in how to lean in if you are already leading an organization. Sandberg's description of "walking backwards in a minefield wearing high heels" seems about right.

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KJ Dell'Antonia added Nanette Fondas.

Obviously there's no one answer -- we hold ourselves back, the culture holds us back, the structure of the workplace holds us back, etc. -- and we have to work on all facets of this problem in order to make progress. But that shouldn't justify attacking anyone who tries to talk about one piece of it.

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Coming back was insanely difficult though and I don't think women understand that when they "lean back" -- at least I didn't.

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Lama, absolutely not--but that's the chicken and the egg problem, and SS names it. Ii think many of us recognize the ways we hold ourselves back---but absolutely, institutions, culture and society hold us back too.

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...because SS actually does talk about all pieces of it...

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KJ Dell'Antonia added Cheryl P. Stober.

Lama, we are not the only ones. But SS makes a good case (and the videos on her website from the Stanford Biz School profs, make a better one) that women play a role. Again, I question what percentage of what holds women back are external vs internal barriers, but I don't think it's wrong to address either just because it isnt the whole.

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Leslie - I agree re more women leaders. In my small sphere I've been able to make my department more family friendly

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Whether you're leading an organization or working at the entry level, there are always things you can do to move the issues forward. Do what you can with where you are.

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That's what really resonated when you wrote for Motherlode, Jennifer--you admitted it. Leslie and I were at a lunch, years ago, when an older woman friend of mine said it, too. Most people don't say it. Not everyone has a hard time coming back. Not everyone wants to. But too few women own it when it's hard.

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I don;t think that generalizing about elitist women is very helpful. Many women in elite situations have made enormous contributions to helping other women, and continue to do so. That's the kind of broad brush vitriol that seems misplaced.

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But my question is.. if there are internal barriers, ones that are part of this and that are causing us NOT to lean in, and to hold ourselves back, wouldn't you say that the reason we have those internal barriers is because of the other external factors (society, institutions, culture, etc..

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I'm not sure why they don't -- I thought owning it was liberating. I finally admitted to myself that I was a happier, better mother with a career than I was as a SAHM and I was going to turn over every rock until I found something. And I did.

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I like the idea of a synthesis between Sandberg and Sylvia Hewlett. If we have more women in top management (ala Sandberg), they can sponsor women below them, pulling more through the pipeline.

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The Feminine Mistake was in large part about how unprepared women are for the difficulty of reentering the work force after they;ve opted out, because neither our culture nor the media have informed them adequately. It was published in 2007, but the same holds true today.

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That it is hard isnt a reason not to do it, though. When people "optout" they do it for defensible reasons. To not recognize that it might be hard is not wise, though. And to treat an economic decision as an emotional one is unwise, too. We enter jobs strategically but depart them emotionally. Leslie makes the good case that that makes no sense.

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Jennifer, I think people are afraid to admit because they are afraid they will look like "bad moms" .. and plus there has been a huge SAHM push (it's the hardest job.. etc.. ). I think that everyone needs to find what works for them and what makes them happiest and I'm glad it worked so well for you! :)

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I've already found myself "leaning in" more and encouraging others to do so, as well.

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Anne Marie. Joan. You are very quiet...

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Yes, Lama, Yes! I loved what SS said about women receiving not just permission but encouragement from others to leave it all behind. It's hard to charge forward in your career when everyone expects you to step back after baby #2.

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I read the book and wish there was more about multitasking. I find the distraction of having to constantly think about and multitask kids/home/work to be the number one reason I don't lean in more.

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Leslie, I love your book. I have many friends who made the mistake and I think about your book when I see them.

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Interesting Nanette. I find I am far more aware of my behavior and affect, too. And I went into skeptical, but became a believer. Anyone else?

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It is a hard job -- I know some great SAHMS including my sister. They love it and that's great. I didn't love it and it made me feel guilty -- like I didn't love my kids enough. I had to make peace with that feeling.

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QueerSpringIn13, I have to ask you to moderate your language or ask you to leave the conversation.

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I'm expecting baby #2 and have been pleasantly surprised that no one has asked me if I'm going to quit my job. Planning to come back to work and lean in as much as I can on limited sleep...

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My experience is that while external factors affect me, I can not use them as an excuse to not confront the internal barriers. I have to get up, move forward and walk through them.

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Thank you KJ. No name calling on Motherlode.

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A lot of the discussions we are having here - whether it is about internal or external barriers or whether the book caters to elitist women - could've been avoided if she had taken a stab at talking about her viewpoint on what is success, what should a society value and what brings us a sense of happiness and fulfillment. I found the book lacking in that context. Even if this is different debate, it gives us a sense for her perspective and starting point.

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Well, Alex, it is illegal for them to ask you. Do you think they aren't thinking it either? That would be refreshing.

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I do think cultural voices--like, for example, Pew only asking if WOMEN should work part time--are loud. It's impossible to know how much they play into our internal voices. That's one reason we need to work for change. We also need to talk among ourselves and to ourselves--as SS suggests--to drown them out.

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Ha! You're right Lisa, but even my friends haven't asked. But no, I don't think my coworkers are thinking it either. And I work in software / aerospace!

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External barriers are very real .... But even if they were gone, I'd still struggle with internal barriers.

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Lori - totally agree. That's why I'm working on mine :-)

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One of the things I think does not get talked about enough, including in SS book, is money, particularly as you get older. Aging women are largely ignored in this culture, and yet their problems are enormous. More than twice as many older women end up in poverty compared with men, largely because of their erratic work histories, and yet that future does not get mentioned in many of these discussions. Most of those women were not poor when they were young, it's the loss of a partner that puts them below the poverty line later.

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I wish Arlie Hochchild were here. I often think about the time bind that mothers face--and dads now too. There is SO much stress on parents. They hardly have time to breathe or READ anything, let alone become activists.

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Nanette, that's so true! I'm tuning in to this chat while breastfeeding, and "reading" Sandberg's book via audiobook just to fit it all in.

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Which raises the excellent point, Leslie, of how what looks like gender bias is quite often age bias. If women (and men) could ramp up and back and up again, without the reality that they would become "too old" to re-enter at full throttle, then it would expand opportunities, no?

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The other thing I would like to see discussed more is the fact that the intensives motherhood phase, when you're multitasking every second and feel as if your head is going to explode, doesn't last forever. your kids grow up, and you suddenly realize you have forty or fifty more years to live, and wonder what on earth you're going to do with yourself. It would have helped me cope with the pressures when my kids were young if I'd had more of a sense that they would eventually lessen.

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But you don't know that Lori and Katica! You don't know how your internal barriers would be different you hadn't grown up the way you did, or if you weren't socialized in thinking that women should act a certain way.. Men may have some internal barriers too, but they are different from ours. I'm not saying that they wouldn't exist, but the external ones, and mainly the dominant masculine culture we live in really alters the way we think of ourselves as women and affects our "internal barriers". I'm also not saying there is nothing we can do about it. We do need to step up. But we can't pretend like there's nothing out there that affects the way boys and girls are socialized and the people they become as adults.

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Lama, our generations have to figure out how to play the cards we've been dealt AND work to do better by our daughters and sons.

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Leslie - I agree. I've been thinking about writing "Am I too old to Lean In?" -- more about difficulties of encore career.

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Leslie, totally agree younger mothers re: needing more of a perspective from more experienced mothers. But harder to find support from mothers who have kids older than yours.

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Excellent point, Leslie. It is easy to get caught up on the craziness of toddlerhood and think you will never have time for anything else.

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Just curious - are there any men on this chat?

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W/ regard to intensive mothering and all that, yes, you do it for a few years when they're babies and then get back into other things...it may be "hard" you may take a pay cut, but it doesn't have to be as grave (or as complicated) as some make it out to be...

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Everybody quotes that old line about how nobody on their deathbed ever wishes they had spent more time in the office, but I know a lot of boomer women who put family ahead of career and now that their children are grown and gone, are facing a lot of problems, and wish they had actually spent more time on their careers ((and earning money to last them through old age) instead of being insanely perfectionistic about the intensive motherhood stuff imposed by our culture, much of which is unnecessary.

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Nope. SUrprised?

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Good point. ;). I think that I personally struggle with the " fear of failure" and the " fear of success." There are implications to both. The question is ... Are those fears a function of society's expectations ? Or my own internal idiosyncrasies?

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...of course, I speak from the position of a mid-level career person who's in it for the money, not high-level or prestige...

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Not really - just disappointed. Here is an interesting review on the book - the reason why I started reading the book: rawstory.com

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Lama - I totally agree with you re socialization and being a mother of a boy and a girl, I try to be very conscientious about that no was just saying that I don't want to use the external barriers as an excuse. We have to address both

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We can also get support from fathers with older kids - my bosses are all fathers and have been very supportive/kind/encouraging about parenthood. I liked SS's point about how not all your mentors have to be women.

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Leslie, you're so right. It's not that we wish we'd spent "more time at the office" but that we wish we'd applied for the principal job, or written the book, or joined the administration or run for office or tried to be management.

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And--I've "invited" some men. Let me go do a twitter call-out. come on, guys!

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Again, I agree, Leslie. I would have been sad on my death bed if I hadn't made some kind of contribution. That's why "balance" is not a dirty word for me. It still captures what we need: work and home.

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And what is so wrong about loving the office? Or, at least, finding work that you are so passionate about that it IS your identity? Or, at least, a big part of it?

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Agreed Katica! I think that as adults who are aware of how the external issues affect our internal barriers, we still have to acknowledge that those internal barriers exist and try to over come them. And just do better by our kids, especially daughters, but also sons.

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I've seen a lot written this week about career-loving mothers who have to accept "leaning back" on their motherhood duties -- anyone want to ring in on that idea?

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I soooo don't get that our culture imposes an ideal of "perfection" on mothers anymore. It hasn't been 1950 for a while. All we hear about is "bad girls" and "I need my wine" mommies and how cute it is that they let the housework slack—which is fine...

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Nothing wrong with that - the world is big enough for all our choices... so long as we have choices to make :-)

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...but in my circles, the days of "Perfect Madness" are long gone (or never were...)

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Lisa - yes! the identity part is huge! Do you know the gender scholar Robin Ely? She studies this.

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I keep coming back to the idea of pacing. Our life expectancy has changed. The tools with which we work has changed. The reality of two incomes has created change. Now we have to change the expectations that careers are full throttle and linear.

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Another question we should all be asking is why men don't feel any of this is their problem, and why we collectively continue to let them get away with it -- the whole "parenting is a women's issue" bias. Why don't men participate in discussions like this, and how can we get them to do so? I spend my entire life going to events that are about improving the lives of women and girls, and there are virtually no men at them. It's as if the problems of the larger half of the human race are invisible to so many men. And will continue to be so, until we insist otherwise.

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I was referring to Lisa's message.

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Jennifer, isn't it about how you define "motherhood duties". I think that definition has changed over the years.

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Jennifer - yeah, I "lean back" on housecleaning but so does my husband, which is why we have a cleaner. Outsourcing is a fair way to divide the work!

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Pacing...great observation @Lisa Belkinn. It's not linear. SS uses the analogy of the "jungle gym" vs the "ladder"

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Hi all - just jumping in for a bit - meeting at 3. Hoping to start the book tonight, but here's my initial thoughts for MomsRising.org momsrising.org.

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All the dads I know are waaaaay more involved than my dad was.

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I spoke with an engineer this am at chevy about how she and her husband take turns accepting jobs with travel. I think that's a great model.

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But Alex, you have the luxury of doing that. My husband and I will probably never be able to afford that. This brings "class" into the issue and also brings up the fact that families/women who make more money can also hire nannies or have full time day care, but most American women actually can't do this!! (and then there's the whole debate about how richer women are putting the responsibility of raising their children on poorer women, but that's a whole other debate!)

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Leslie -- two thoughts. First, men don't consider this their problem because it isnt as much of a problem for them. Not as long as the "start like gangbusters out of the gate after graduation and do not pause for a moment until you are 40" construct rules. Because men don't have to use that same period of time to have children.

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Leslie, some men do feel this is their problem but they don't have the same parenting resources women do. Here in progressive San Francisco the dominant parenting group excludes men.

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Second, I think more men do consider this their problem. No, they arent here right now, but generationally I think young men are more concerned with these questions

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Bruce Feiler argues that men are worried to ADMIT to being concerned about family balance (except in anonymous Pew surveys).

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I love the jungle gym idea. I also think I could take positions along the way, like writing a book, that might leave me successful, but not at the C-level corporate job.

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You really hate that Pew survey dont you KJ?

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True Lama. We pay for FT daycare and it is outrageously expensive. But the money for that and the cleaners are both going to quality places that pay their employees a living wage & provide insurance.

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I think the culture still imposes so much stuff on mothers that it doesn't on fathers. Nobody at my children's school ever asked my husband to crochet a square or embroider a portrait of our daughter for the class quilt. And this was a "progressive" school. My best friend quit her job as a lawyer because she had a meltdown one night about finding out at 10 pm that she was "snack mom" at school the next day. Our husbands don't worry about this stuff but it makes women nuts. Including yours truly at times.

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I would agree with Lisa - men are certainly more concerned. But at the same time, most of the statistics in the book show that apparently all of us are not concerned enough.... change is not happening fast enough

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We need a man to write something like SS or Ann Marie S, owning to the ways he works to balance. Loudly. And no I don't hate the survey! The poor writer handled it really well. It's hard to catch every time you're unintentionally gender-specific.

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Leslie, I completely agree. My husband is a pretty equal parent, but he never feels the guilt I do, or the need to get everything done that daycare suggests/asks you to participate in.

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Lattice, jungle gym, rock wall, scenic route -- whatever the metaphor, it's better than rocket ship

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Leslie I hate all that school volunteering stuff and wish the US could actually spend enough on our schools that they didn't need to have all those parent volunteers.

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There's no question that men are getting better -- KathleenGerson's studies have documented this extensively -- but I think that collectively women still let men get away with not stepping up to the plate enough.

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So how can we be more like the men in that wonderful guilt-free way? I'm not sure it's possible.

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Here's great perspective from an involved lawyer dad on my blog, The Having It All Project. Great to feature someone who slowed down to be a better dad. busysincebirth.com

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Schools will continue to depend on parent volunteers until they stop supporting and subsidizing a system that takes advantage of women's free labor. Only then will things change.

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Alex, I agree that the schools have to stop relying on parents for so much. Was asked to be at both daycare and my elementary this morning. I couldn't be at either!

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And we are about to run a nice review of the book by the SAHD to two daughters, looking at it through the lens of what to teach them and how to prepare them. I don't have a link, because it's not pub'd yet. But men are talking.

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The discussion in our house post SS has been about communication -- are we guilty of not asking for what we want of our spouse?

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Given the advances in technology, and improvements in productivity, one would think that we would use the additional time for personal pursuits (including raising a family) - here's a radical thought - how about part time jobs as an accepted norm for society at large? Not just mothers...

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Jennifer, don't you think we need to find a way to balance the guilt with them instead? It IS good if one parent can go to school concerts and occasionally have lunch in the classroom for "superstar week." (which I did today). It's just not good that it's mostly mothers.

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@AlexDeWolf...I agree about school volunteering and NO ONE should feel guilty for not doing it. I am a WAHM and had the chance to participate...

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...it is not a good use of my time and best saved for those types who do love it...and there are many who do. It's an outlet for them and it's great that it takes all kinds to make the world go round.

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Neelima, I hesitate to go down that road. The problem is not that we should all work part time, and then we would have more time for our lives. The problem is that work has expanded beyond a reasonable definition of full time.

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And that free labor is how all these wonderfully talented women who've opted out stay busy -- we have some amazing things going on at our elementary schools thanks to a group of women who stepped away from leadership roles. Perhaps if some of them had found a way to stay, we would be a bit closer to where we need to be.

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All those silly school volunteering things could be paid entry-level jobs for people!

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I always worked throughout my children's childhoods, and I made a homemade dinner every damn night, but in retrospect I wish I had done less of the intensive mothering stuff and put a bit more into furthering my career, because that's what sustains you when the kids are gone.

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The part-time work suggestion also brings us back to the "egg:" both parents can't work part-time unless one has health insurance.

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Health insurance should not be tied to employment. But that's a whole other problem.

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Yet another problem that won't be adequately addressed until there are enough women in decision making roles to insist on it.

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Leslie, that's interesting to hear. Sometimes parenting feels like advertising--how do we figure out which 10% our kids love and remember?

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And you probably can't both work part time schedules that never ever conflict, so you still need some affordable childcare.

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Right Lisa, for me to "get ahead".. I'm not working 35-40 hour weeks. I'm working 50-60 hour weeks!! It's so much more than full time work

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Yes, KJ, but I think our mommy guilt is quite engrained. Not sure we can divide it. But the school tasks should be divided in an ideal situation.

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I ordered out a lot. Don't feel the least bit guilty. But I also changed by working equation so I could work from home. It meant I was never going to be executive editor of the Times, but it did allow me a productive, rewarding career on my terms.

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If I work part-time my income goes down faster than the change in cost of PT vs FT childcare.

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They remember a lot less of the small stuff you torture yourself about than you would ever imagine. What they do remember is whether they felt totally loved and totally certain that they were your first priority, and if you manage to communicate that, much of the rest will not ultimately matter.

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What if you company doesn't let you do part-time? Or doesn't let you work from home? Probably another issue that would be helped by more female leaders. I know more female leadership would help those things where I work.

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Ellen Galinsky says that what they remember is how stressed or satisfied WE were. I hope she's right.

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Lama, another place where SS did have something useful to say. The former Goldman exec has been talking about that of late, too. We might be able to churn less and still "get ahead" if we let ourselves.

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Has anyone else felt undermined by daycare teachers? I struggle with this. They have good intentions, but often don't realize just how much you're juggling.

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Lisa - I often wonder why full-time work has become so demanding. Seems to me that society as a whole (and not on an individual basis) has to determine what trends or systems or values are most important to the collective health. Making the rat race more intense and faster hardly seems a worthwhile aim, in this respect.

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i thought the SS book was great but I do wish she had put the whole question of women and work in more of a chronological context, because women's lifespans are now so long. If you graduate from college at 22 and live to 92, that's an adult life of 70 years. The period of intensive mothering is about fifteen years if you have two kids who are two or three years apart. If you can just get through those 15 years, things get a lot easier, but nobody ever tells you that. Which is another reason why the women who opt out often feel so betrayed when they wake up one day and the kids are grown and the moms don't have a fully rewarding life, let alone economic security.

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Cheryl, I have felt undermined by all the extra stuff schools come up with, or send home. Every "superstar week poster." Every "teacher appreciation week" please send meals. The extra stuff does seem endless (and I love my children's school, I really do.)

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Neelima, I think it's also tied to actually salaries/wages. We make less now for more work. Incomes don't rise with inflation. And KJ, you're right.. it was an interesting point about churning less and still getting ahead.

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I don't think you CAN really have the time that you have little kids be the time you are charging ahead. Life is long. You can charge before, hold for a bit and charge again after. You can't and don't have to constantly be CHARGING. I must live in another realm than most here...

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KJ Dell'Antonia added Chris Nelson.

ok - got to attend a meeting - dropping off - good discussion!

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Exactly, KJ! I have a great job that is flexible, allows me to work from home when I need to, but with more than one kid, it's impossible to do everything we're asked to do. And I don't think fathers feel as torn about it.

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I think women need to talk to their kids' schools about these ridiculous expectations that require so much of the parents. When I was growing up, I had very loving parents but they were not involved at all in this kind of thing. It's a relatively new cultural development, and it's very damaging for women because it increases the pressures so much. We should push back more.

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Speaking of work, I need to go back to it. This has been enlightening and fascinating. Thanks, all. Thanks KJ!

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Leslie, you're right. I don't think the schools mean to do it. Sometimes I think they think we as parents EXPECT it.

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Thanks Lisa!

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Definitely push back with the schools. I like to use my spare time to enrich my child as *I* see fit according to *her* interests, not in way prescribed by the school, which is usually less interesting.

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Absolutely loved SS's research that showed that our moms spent as much one on one time with us as working moms do today - just shows how the crazy helicopter mom standard has overtaken our views on what is "acceptable"

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With you Leslie. But with public schools managing epic budget cuts, the schools need parents time and money more than ever.

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Like some of the other things SS talked about, the guilt is one thing we can try to control, at least partially. Our expectations of ourselves, as mothers, are so often absurdly inflated.

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I've gotten around the school volunteering by picking just a couple things to do - I helped run the spelling bee (really fun!) and baked muffins (from a mix) for one thing, and I consider that my contribution for the year. I do make it to school for all the plays/events/etc, but so does my husband.

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I throw money at them when I can. A lot of what my school asks is not for substantive, core things, but silly superfluous fluff.

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If women exercise their political clout more effectively, maybe there wouldn't be such epic budget cuts affecting our children's interests!

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Sad to be here for such a brief moment. Will read the rest of your thoughts later! Thanks!

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Full circle -- there should be more women in government as well.

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I think part of the point SS was making is that we can all do more, individually as well as collectively, to overcome some of these problems, but that requires us to become more conscious of the ways that gender bias dictates our personal actions as well as our political realities. Those things can all be changed, but it takes collective consciousness and collective action.

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Full circle indeed. One thing I think SS didn't lean on hard enough was the way women are afraid to stand up for those things. We feel like "family" is a topic that makes us look weak.

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KJ Dell'Antonia added Judygoldberg.

@Leslie Bennetts, that is a really good summary. I agree.

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Picking up on a previous comment about the cost of child care, it's really important for women to remember that in a few years, they won't be paying child care at all, whereas your income will continue to rise. A career is an investment you make in yourself.

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Sadly, I fear the budget cuts to education are due to lack of non-boomer clout vs. female clout, but agree that we parents need to lean in more to demand better funds for strapped schools. Collective action on educational funding policy...yet another thing for my to-do-list.

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I thought that was one of SS's best points, Leslie. A career is also an investment you make in your family's security. It's not just lost income now, it's lost over a lifetime.

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Absolutely. It seems to me that men who talk about leaving work early for a kid event are heralded as "progressive." But too often when we do it we worry people are looking down on us.

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Tina, get out of here! you have work to do! :)

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I'm a dad of 2 girls (+ 2 boys), former SAHD, and a husband of a SAHD. I just want to say that the convos that are happening now are VERY inspiring for men as well.

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I started reading the book and thought it was so dull. I applaud her for sharing her thoughts and I agree with her thesis. It's not very "smart." Very workman like with all those footnotes. It's not powerful.

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I also liked her point that just because your child care cost may rival your salary for a period of a few years, don't let that carry the day. If you stick with it, your long term salary and security will be greater than if you step out then try to come back.

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I've been thinking a lot about the ways that we're all afraid to speak out, and one big reason is the fear about what other people are thinking of us. We need to get over it, and I speak for myself as well. The hell with what other people think of us.What matters is the wellbeing of our children and families, and economic security is critical to their well being.

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Do SS's points apply to political careers as well as business? I feel like we need more women in both to effect real change.

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Spot on, KJ. Need to lean out of fun procrastinating and lean in to something with a deadline! Thanks for the chat!!

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Chris, did you/would you read Lean In?

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Yay Chris -- welcome!

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@Jennifer Romaniuk -- that's the "halo effect" that dads get. Super praise for things that women are either expected to do, or looked down on for doing (from professional perspective). I got it all the time as a SAHD, and it drove me and my wife, but especially my wife, nuts. Rightly so.

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KJ Dell'Antonia added Stephanie Lucianovic.

Leslie, I found turning 40 was the best antidote to caring what others think of my choices. One of the few benefits of maturity I guess!

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I haven't read Lean In yet, but I will. During SXSW I talked with Anne-Marie Slaughter and Jory from BlogHer about the differences from men "stopping out" of work and women, and the differences in getting back in.

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KJ Dell'Antonia added Liz Kellogg.

Yes I think SS points apply to political careers. The double standards applied to women in politics are so toxic, and one thing we can all do is stop doing that to each other, from the bodysnarking to the fashion-critiquing to all the rest of it. Those kinds of attacks are a big barrier for women interested in politics, because they are so painful to endure, and other women are often the worst offenders -- as they have been in attacking SS on non-substantive grounds, btw. I think a lot of it has to do with envy. Seeing a woman who is powerful and successful, let alone also rich and pretty, makes many people feel inadequate, and instead of dealing with their own insecurities they just attack the woman in question. This doesn't help anybody.

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If you think turning 40 was liberating, wait till you turn 60! It's fabulous!

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:) we're all getting better with age!

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Leslie, I'm also thinking about how success in politics is so much about image and "likeability", which is one of the more challenging issues for women - being likeable vs. being successful (and not caring what people think of you!).

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KJ Dell'Antonia added Elizabeth Gregory.

I had a relatively easy time stopping out from journalism and getting into PR several years later. I don't think my wife would have nearly such an easy time. She left VC several years back. Not that she's interested in moving back into the VC world.

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KJ Dell'Antonia added Jennifer Starkey.

@Alex, yes. Likable v. successful pervades much more than politics.

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But as SS points out, there's also a huge double standard in the likeability factor -- again, something we can all help to change if put our minds to it and stop being so critical of each other's efforts.

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Good point @Alex. I think that's apart of the whole process. in the book Sandberg talks about the fact that there are no laws requiring maternity or paternity leave or things like pregnancy parking

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I've asked multiple women politicians to allow me to interview them about their juggle (for a new feature starting in April called "How I Do It" and every one said no. I get the sense that they see no win in it--either they'll be criticized for not being with young children enough, or seen as less serious for getting up early to pour the Cheerios.

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I know this dates me (and exposes my music geekness), but the palpable energy around all these family/work/women issues is very reminiscent on a gut level of the urgency a lot of my peers (and I) felt in the early 90s around riot grrrl and 3rd wave feminism. For those not familiar, I mean that in the very best way.

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Another thing I wish SS had talked about more is the rewards of work and success. Women don't talk about that nearly enough. It's enormously gratifying to do good work and be rewarded for it, and those accomplishments are all your own, unlike your children's, which are their own!

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That's so disappointing, but not surprising I guess. I think it helps to see how successful women balance it all.

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KJ Dell'Antonia added Holly Brady.

I, too, am troubled by the super-quick responses to the book and how those seem to be powering the discussion before individuals read it themselves.

That said, to KJ's original question: I think that the idea of "leaning in" to one's career -- or, indeed -- to one's life is a very personal definition and should be applied personally, not globally. We're not all going to be captains of industry, nor do we all want to be captains of industry.

I think we owe it to ourselves to "lean in" to our careers if that's what we want. But again, as to exactly what that lean in is, it's just such an individualized, personalized decision.

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We will only get helpful laws on maternity and paternity leave and corporate policies on things like pregnancy parking when we demand them, and when women opt out they reduce the critical mass of those in position to push for such changes.

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Chris, we have a lot of passion for this topic and hopefully we will be able to contribute to it in some tangible fashion.

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I don't think SS is saying that everybody has to lean in, let alone become CEO or COO, but she is saying that women shouldn't dial it back before they even need to. Linda Hirshman did a study of brides written up in the NY Times and found that 50 percent of them quit their careers when they got married, long before they had kids or work-life-juggling problems. Women make so many anticipatory sacrifices and many of then turn out to be unnecessary as well as personally damaging. SS is saying, Don't do that, which is excellent advice.

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Stephanie, "leaning in" can be a personal decision, but I think it actually makes a great movement. and to return to the question of Lean In circles, I think having others to encourage you is a really good idea. I am afraid my friends would mock me for starting one, though. It's not very Gen X.

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Rather than debating Sandberg's book, time to use the moment of focus on women's work to advance policy changes (and you can lean in too if you like). Connect to Obama's new childcare call. To the new sick leaves in Portland and Philadelphia (did that get vetoed?) ETC

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So. Leslie, what this whole "lean in" thing could do for us is let us help each other not to do that-not to anticipate. Not to "leave before you leave."

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You can start groups of women and call them anything you like; they don't have to be called Lean In circles. I'm in several, and they're interesting and helpful.

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Elizabeth, absolutely--that's the "egg!" Lean in AND work for change.

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I think it's an excellent movement, too, KJ. And that's why I'd hate to see it get muddled by easy definitions so early on in its generation. I hate that the idea of it is already being snubbed because people don't think it applies to them if they aren't working in Washington, D.C. or Silicon Valley.

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I don't know how many of you have regular contact with college ages women, but it's been scary to me how many of them think they need specific careers (or just husbands with money) in order to have kids. They are leaning out before they even graduate!

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Here's a question, though...it hit me when I was reading SS...the part about childcare costs being considered an investment in a woman's career. If that is the case, why should the nation be paying for this childcare (except for the poor and in-need), really?

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Invest in yourself. Go for it!

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Yes, KJ, but also on an individual level I think we should all think more about the stuff we tolerate that's toxic, and try to change those things too, whether women trashing other women for being successful or making fun of Lean In circles or whatever. A more constructive attitude about everyone helping everyone would go a long way toward furthering everyone's interests.

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KJ, having not yet read the book, is the ideal circle in person? Or are virtual circles (via Google Hangout, say) just as valuable? If your friends would mock you, I know some great folks in Seattle who'd join you in an online circle.

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Just recently, I had a friend encourage me to apply for a job even though I expressed doubts because I'm 8 months pregnant. That's a start to a lean in circle for sure.

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not just women should be involved in 'lean in' circles. we couldn't do it without the help of supportive spouses, as SS said. Lean in circles are for everyone who cares about women, men included!

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I think we need to establish the kinds of relationships and dialogues that allow us to TELL one another not to quit, to try to get back in, to keep trying--and to tell one another if we think it's valuable to our daughters to see their mothers and fathers both work and have a family, or take turns, or work together in different ways. And, Stephanie, that's fantastic. That's a good friend.

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I have kids college age and beyond, and I certainly hope my daughter thinks she needs some way of earning a living before she has kids! Having a husband with money doesn't work; just ask anyone who's divorced. Seventy percent of the child support cases in the US are in arrears, and women are the vast majority of custodial parents, so they're the ones who are penalized financially.

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Young professional women may be missing the fact that far more basic women's rights are under attack just now. Take Arkansas. We need to remind our daughters about protecting those rights.

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@Leslie, most certainly. and not to mention in case of a spouse's death. my mom would have been destitute when my dad died unless she had a job herself

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To me, it's about encouraging women to look inside herself and figure out what it is that makes her who she is, and who she wants to be. We have to stop letting other people, or society in general, making those decisions for us.

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Another thing SS never mentioned in her book is divorce, and economic implications for women who have not chosen to lean in. The divorce rate among empty nesters is sky rocketing -- it's gone up two and a half times in the last 15 years. The kids grow up, people get divorced, and women suddenly realize they can't support the lifestyle they've always had on their own.

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Thinking more on this, I know I have inadvertently had a lean in circle on Twitter for years. It's one that's separate from my public account and one where I've been able to express personal frustration over career, family, etc. It is mostly women and we definitely support each others' work issues, bounce ideas around, and offer encouragement. It's a very natural environment that lends itself well to such discussion -- even more so than email chains or even other social media sites.

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The average age of widowhood in America is 54, btw. Most of my friends have mothers in their 90's. The financial implications of numbers like these are staggering.

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@Gp4design - the nation should pay for childcare because we need women workers now, and we need their kids (of all classes) as skilled workers in the future. Paying for childcare is just monetizing the work of rearing good workers that formerly wasn't paid for because women were stuck having kids and then raising them for free. Birth control means that we don't have to have kids -- so now business gets to pay for the workers, in the form of childcare, that they formerly got for free ("surplus value" was always women's free labor). Hence the push against birth control.

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Leslie, that's also affecting SAHMs. I can't recall the exact new regulation (Momsrising has material on it), but at home moms (who are married) are having their credit severely cut short. Which is obviously a massive problem in the case of divorce.

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@Stephanie, that's wonderful. I wish I had the same. I almost made a 'lean back' decision because of my close family circle, who all said I should think of my husband before I think of myself. thank god my husband is nothing like that and encouraged me to pursue my career!

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@ElizabethGregory I don't view raising my kid as being "stuck" with anything. On what do you base your assertion that "we need women workers now"? I don't really want business paying for my child and making any claims to her, personally.

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You're not stuck - but women were before birth control.

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I agree with Elizabeth that we need paid childcare. But I also agree with SS that if more of us don't "lean in" we won't ask for it, or have the power to push it through. Maybe I'm taking Lean In too far, but advocating for paid family leaves and paid child care outside of certain circles takes the same kind of courage it takes to step up and ask for a promotion or apply for an award. We need to ask for what we need individually and together. ANd, Gp4 design, ACCESS to subsidized child care, and having it be commonly used, needn't make it mandatory, of course.

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I see...OK, that's interesting (sincerely). But people are going to keep having kids because of their own ego, biological drive, etc. and of course we have lots of immigrants in the U.S...so I just don't see business (or the government) being held with feet to fire in any real way on this.

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And if it *is* an investment in ones self (for the non-poor woman) I really don't see it as the government's responsibility to provide childcare...

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The whole structure of the American workplace was predicated on the idea that men worked and women stayed home, and there are so many things about the way we approach these issues that need to change in order to accommodate working mothers and more involved fathers. But none of those things will change, either in terms of legislation or corporate practice, until we insist on it, collectively.

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so, i mean, this is great and all... but are we just supposed to ask for things like access to paid childcare? Wouldn't it take more than a 'lean in' circle to achieve something like that? I think a lot of women would want childcare through their company ( i know i would ) but something tells me it won't happen with just some sparsely distributed 'lean in' circles

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Looking at it from a business and economic perspective can change the debate--and subsidized child care would enable many women to care for their families better, by getting more secure jobs. There is research that suggests it would save us all money in the long run.

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@LizKellogg I honestly don't think it's too late for you to develop something like that. I find that Twitter has really been the best communication medium for myself and my friends (real life and online-only friends alike) to keep up with one another, and get fairly instant responses. Good for your husband! I've also been lucky to have one who has always supported my career decisions without any harping on how it would adversely affect him.

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...and that's the crux. Nicely put, Leslie.

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My dad used to say "There's no such thing as other people's children." Any worthwhile society should recognize that raising children is everyone's job, and should be supported as such. And it's not going to happen until we get more women (and involved fathers) in government who will push for subsidized childcare.

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Frankly, I think the over-emphasis on paid work by feminists is just drinking the capitalist kool aid and you don't see any other way.

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Business is just going to keep ratcheting things up...

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So much of that structure seems to be above comment, too. School from 8-3 and off all summer? that costs parents money, and lots of it--not just parents with "choices" but all parents.

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"The labour of women and children was, therefore, the first thing sought for by capitalists who used machinery. That mighty substitute for labour and labourers was forthwith changed into a means for increasing the number of wage-labourers by enrolling, under the direct sway of capital, every member of the workman's family, without distinction of age or sex. Compulsory work for the capitalist usurped the place, not only of the children's play, but also of free labour at home within moderate limits for the support of the family." (K. Marx, Capital, vol. 1. pp. 394-5.)

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There;s nothing we can;t change if we all work together to do so. But we have as a society accepted so many inequities, from the fact that health insurance compensates men for Viagra but not women for birth control to the fact that government assumes the right to control women's bodies in so many other ways. Mandatory trans vaginal probes anyone?

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Actually, the birth rate is dramatically down, and that is already changing the discussion of family-friendliness. Many women are choosing not to have kids, or to wait til they're in a position to strike a better deal because the deal is not a good one. Women gain 12% gain in wages per year that they delay having a first child after college. That adds up to a lot, fast.

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Alex, I love your dad!

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Gp4design, someone in a most families needs to do paid work. I think the feminist movement is about dividing that role as each family sees fit, not according to societal norms OR a determination to turn those norms on their heads.

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Thanks KJ! He was amazing. He was on the local school board for many years and one of his pet issues was supporting girls who had babies in high school and still wanted to graduate.

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@ Gp4design but i think that's what SS was talking about in her book. Business is going to keep ratcheting things up until we draw our own boundaries. I think the big discussion about the workplace (and this isn't just about women) is the billable hour versus the efficient worker. We (men and women) need to draw boundaries to be most effective, and this just happens to apply especially to women in the workplace, because we have so many perceived (and real) obligations imposed on us by society

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Obama has proposed universal preschool for 4 year olds - so there's a place to lean in. We can support that initiative.

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The bottom line s that women need paid work in order to take care of themselves and their children, if they have them, because for many different reasons they cannot rely on having a man around all their lives to do so. It doesn't matter whether you're a feminist or not, a CEO or a minimum wage worker, whether you believe in capitalism or Marxism. What matters is whether you can take responsibility for your own life and take care of your kids, and the only way to be sure of that in the world as it exists now is economic autonomy.

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Yes, KJ, but the (one of the) holy grails has been both parents working. Let's not have any illusions. It's about BOTH working. The whole SAHD is just being cute.

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@Liz Kellogg...that is a good point. I really liked the parts in Lean In where SS talked about drawing boundaries. I hope that people can and will actually do this.

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What's wrong with both parents working? I love my job. My husband loves his job.

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I think the idea of autonomy of any kind is an illusion. You can be dependent on your husband...or the government/village/ etc? I'll pick my husband, personally. I get what you're saying, but this autonomy...it's an illusion.

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The number of SAHDs in this country is minuscule. To KJ's point about the structure of school, we are no longer an agrarian society, and women need to work for economic reasons, so it seems time to change the structure of schools from what they were in the 19th century, which was a very different world. American children are falling ever further behind, in comparison with other countries, and yet our whole school system is still run as if women can take the whole summer off to play with their kids. Most can't.

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By autonomy I mean the ability to support yourself. So many women don't realize that lack it until their circumstances change and their situation becomes dire.

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Gp4, that's not my holy grail (although I hear what Leslie is saying about investing in ourselves and protecting ourselves loud and clear.) We also need to work to protect our fellow mothers without the choice to stay home. The right kind of family leave policies could give them that choice, for some part of their child's lives. The right child care subsidies could help women keep stable jobs that allowed them to earn more time off to spend at home, save for emergencies, and work their way to the kinds of positions that allow more flexibility and more family time. If we don't support those policies because we ourselves don't need them, we're punishing their children, and often creating a poverty cycle.

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I personally think that the answer for most people lies in egalitarian marriages in which both partners share the breadwinning and share the domestic and child care responsibilities, which is what SS did (and what my husband and I did). That way everybody is protected.

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@Leslie yess!! I totally agree, making school schedules match work schedules will go a long loong way to helping women in the workplace.. only the teacher unions are so strong I have a hard time seeing how that would ever happen

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Leslie, those egalitarian marriages ASSUME that the couple has egalitarian work.

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So, if I'm the head of a company, but my husband is an administrative assistant, it's unfair to assume that we'll both work the same amount of time and that we can both give the same amount of time in the home.

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Going back to the discussion earlier about age, one thing few of us realize until too late is how much things change over time. One big reason we all need to help build better institutional and political structures for working parents is that life is full of surprises, many of them unwelcome, and there are a lot of challenges you didn't necessarily see coming. Just ask any SAHM who suddenly finds herself without a husband to support herself and her kids, and the whole question of whether women should lean in or opt out starts looking very different.

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Lama, taking the money earned out of the equation is a problem for lots of couples. It's hard for one job not to feel more important than the other, and things can just implode from there.

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@Lama but if you both enjoy your jobs equally, then how are they different? I tend to think of my career as something I enjoy, it doesn't matter that I get paid less to do it or that I have less responsibilities. I think what SS did a good job of hammering is that often we, as women, don't think our time is as valuable as others' time.

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I'm not talking about rigid parity; I'm talking about women continuing to work to protect their own futures. You don't have to work exactly the same amount of time as your partner, or spend exactly the same amount of time with the kids, but over the long haul many of these things go back and forth. Most of my friends have been the major breadwinners at some point during their children's lives, and their husbands have been the major breadwinners at other points. What matters is that both parties protected their own viability in the work force as well as participating in childrearing.

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And women need to protect themselves better financially and see their SAHM work as contributing financially to the family - both spouses have to insist on a fair split of bill payment based on income %, get enough life insurance, co-sign mortgages, and so on.

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I'm at a life stage where my kids are finally in full time school, as are the kids of many of my friends (how's that for an awkward sentence?) People are looking hard at where they are and where they want to be. It's interesting but delicate.

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There's an egg there too. Things like health insurance and subsidizing child care and family leave are ways society shows the value of child-rearing.

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Someone always makes somewhat more than the other -- peer marriages work by assuming that both partners have a say in decisions, and being conscious that you can't let one person do most or all of the home work. What's maybe most important is that both people need to be able to leave if they feel they have to -- so no one is stuck there for lack of ability to support the kids if things get bad. If both are equally able to leave, then no one is likely to act in ways that will make the other want to leave.

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By the time my kids were in high school they were out of the house for eleven and a half hours a day. Long before you have an empty nest, you have a lot more time to look hard at where you want to be, and it's really important to do that before you get so old you start to suffer from real ageism in the work force.

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Any final thoughts about Lean In? Is SS ultimately going to advance the conversation, or is the noise about privilege going to drown her out?

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If it's time for final words, some of mine, to younger moms, would be: Don't feel so guilty about things that are not important in the long run! Just love your kids -- and recognize that protecting your own future is one way of expressing that love.

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Catching up on reading the comments . . . I think she will advance the conversation with some of us, and if we can separate ourselves from the infighting we can maybe accomplish something.

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I think SS has performed a huge service in offering herself up for this kind of noise, because it's so important for these issues to be discussed.

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Well said, Leslie. Letting go of guilt is difficult, but liberating. Make yourself happy and oddly enough, your kids get happier too.

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I'm worried about the latter, KJ, but will continue to be hopeful and work toward the former. Honestly, though, there's been so much conversation already that I think it truly will start to take on a life of its own and therefore continue.

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and SS is privileged because she earned those privileges, btw. Let's give credit where credit is due. When self-made men step forward, we don't dump on them for the privileges they've earned, the way we do on women.

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I definitely agree that it's good that SS brought these topics into the mainstream discussion. But I actually think this public debate started with Slaughter's article in the Atlantic.

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I think SS is definitely a worthy representative who has a lot of reasonable things to say and we need to unify if we want to change anything at all, so we got to stop criticizing her on the details. However, I think it'll take much more than some community based 'lean in' circles to achieve anything meaningful. it'll take more organization, more leadership.

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and why is Slaughter criticizing SS? We should be working together, not against each other

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Even tho I didn't love the book, I think it will advance the conversation. I stepped away to talk to a 19-year-old college student about her summer plans. I was very mindful about trying to encourage her to think big and to think about my role could be in helping her and what I could get my friends to do. Not just network but helping her learn to lean in.

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i think the discussion has been building for years, and this is another opp to move things forward.

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I dump on men for their privilege. The privilege is not about something they've "earned", whether it's men or women. As a woman who doesn't come from a background with much privilege, it's about what you have that allows you to get that far (usually a group status in society such as being white, richer, etc.. )

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Hi all, I'm here -- Leaning In hard, live from Zagreb, Croatia. I am catching up but agree with Leslie that the book has been misrepresented -- and common sense.

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I agree. Ann Marie Slaughter did the same. (read her review of the SS book--it's critical, but in the best way) I'm thinking we've got a great moment when we have high-profile voices talking about family and women, and saying things we've hesitated to say before.

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