At the same time, though, she confronted firsthand a culture that is extremely unsupportive of the choice to stay home. She admitted: "Even if we feel good about our days and choices, we still crave that outside validation." She's fortunate enough to have a supportive husband, but realizes that not every woman does. And it can still get lonely when people feel free to provide commentary in the supermarket line, as folks still do. "I guess I hoped that by writing this book I might in a small way help elevate this noble profession," she told me.
During our interview, she went on to say: "I have made a choice to fully enjoy my kids and this particular season of my life. It's a very conscious, powerful decision. In some ways, it takes more guts to buck the financial rewards and adulation that come from a professional career to pursue something so culturally undervalued as at-home motherhood."
Therein she hit on something almost as powerful as the maternal instinct: the backlash against feminism that we're living through right now. People everywhere are admitting to a growing discomfort with a worldview that insists that women should want to "have it all," that we girls should do anything and everything.
True, you absolutely can choose not to have children and still have a fulfilling life in other ways. But for all too long now we have -- in prep schools and pop culture and in our social lives -- acted as if the woman who is a media mover and shaker or business mogul is somehow superior to the woman who moves to Wisconsin with the man she loves.
Walters implied, in an almost perversely natural way, that Rachel's life was missing something.
Women who prioritize raising their children have no reason to feel inadequate to anyone. They've got our greatest natural resource on their laps. And there is absolutely nothing to regret; there's everything to love and enjoy. That's life in the real world.