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On Parenting
Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 09/28/2012

An empty-nester looks at the rest of her life

From elsewhere in The Post: A stay-at-home mom whose children are now in college asks Family Almanac author Marguerite Kelly for advice on returning to the paid workforce.

(Hadley Hooper for The Washington Post)
“People in my field of interest encourage me to follow my dreams, but my family is not very supportive,” she writes. “Although I’ve always encouraged them to do whatever they wanted to do, they tell me to take any job I can get and to forget about the things I want to do. And I just can’t do that.

“Am I wrong to insist on pursuing a future that would make me feel alive? And should I do it, even though I’ll be going against the people I love the most?”

Kelly says the woman should pursue the career she wants, while remaining sensitive to the fact that doing so may cause some upheaval at home for her husband and children, as she devotes time to her own education and work.

“Your need to walk down a new path might baffle your husband and your children, so you must understand and respect their point of view, which is probably as strong as yours but essentially quite different,” she says, but “you don’t need your children’s permission to work at the university or to work at McDonald’s, either. If they have the right to choose their own career — and they do — surely you have the right to choose yours.”

Read Kelly’s full column here and a transcript of her most recent online chat here.

By On Parenting  |  07:00 AM ET, 09/28/2012

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