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    Hard Choice for Moms: Work or Stay Home?

    You've got a new baby and a mortgage to pay for, so should you go back to work or stay home to raise Junior? In a change in trend, more women are considering the stay-at-home option.

    The 'Stay-at-Home' Buzz continued...

    Men's employment rates have declined 2.7% from 2000-2004, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Allegretto may have a point about the recession, says Cohen, but he's still not ruling out the possibility that women's work patterns have changed.

    "There's never been a sustained decline in mothers' employment until the last 5 years," he says, noting that women's employment rates have survived other recessions. "It may be a testament to this recession, or a testament to the squeeze on women to stay home."

    Time will tell what has caused a decline in women's labor participation. Until then, it appears that the dilemma of whether to stay at home, go back to work full time, or somewhere in between is a hot topic.

    If the release of books is any indication of the issue's popularity, in the last decade, dozens of books have been written on the subject of working and stay-at-home moms. In the last year alone, at least six new titles on the subject have been published:

    • Comeback Moms: How to Leave Work, Raise Children, and Jumpstart Your Career Even if You Haven't Had a Job in Years by Monica Samuels, and J.C. Conklin (Broadway Books, May 2006)
    • Domestically Challenged: A Working Mom's Survival Guide to Becoming a Stay-at-home Mom by Alana Morales (Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, May 2006)
    • To Hell with All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife by Caitlin Flanagan (Little, Brown & Company, April 2006)
    • Mommy Wars: Stay-at-Home and Career Moms Face off on Their Choices, Their Lives, Their Families by Leslie Morgan Steiner (Random House, March 2006)
    • The Momstown Guide to Getting it All: A Life Makeover for Stay-at-Home Moms by Mary Goulet and Heather Reider (Hyperion, August 2005)
    • How She Really Does It: Secrets of Successful Stay-at-Work Moms by Wendy Sachs (Da Capo Press, May 2005).

    To help mothers decide what is best for them and their families, WebMD consulted with psychologists, sociologists, and authors. The experts share ideas on what to consider in determining career and family choices, and provide insight on how to live with your selection.

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