Today’s parents put family over careers

By Jamie Malernee MCT

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Gina Cadogan started her own business to work flexible hours.

Justin Chan quit his job to be Mr. Mom.

Megan Smith pulls weekend shifts so her kids don’t have to go to day care.

Amanda Allen persuaded her boss to let her telecommute from home.

These parents have very different lives but one similar goal – to put family first. After watching Baby Boomers on the corporate treadmill, divorce in historic numbers and often lose their jobs to downsizing, studies show that today’s 20- and 30-somethings want differently .

Following the philosophy, “do it all, just not at once,” more women – and a growing number of men – are staying at home. Those who can’t afford the option or don’t want to give up careers are rebelling against traditional work.

Instead, young parents are demanding flexible hours, alternative shifts or work-from-home arrangements, even if they mean switching careers, taking pay cuts or starting their own companies.

“We both want more for our children than what we got,” said Cadogan, 33, an attorney who started her own law firm so she wouldn’t have to worry about putting in “face time” and could work from home. Her husband, an engineer, is considering going part-time in a few years to spend time with their two children.

“We sat down and said, ‘How are we going to make this work? What’s the goal here?'” Cadogan said. “And the goal is the family.”

Jennifer Rosario, 28, ponders her motherhood role models and admits she’s confused. Her mother gave up a career to raise a family. Her aunt is a professional with her child in day care all day.

Rosario doesn’t like either choice.

“It’s about trying to find a balance, but it’s hard for me to have any role models,” Rosario said. “It seems like it’s one or the other.”