1. "Media stories typically frame these women's decisions as choices about family and see them as symptomatic of a kind of sea change among the daughters of the feminist revolution, a return to traditionalism and the resurgence of a new feminine mystique" (p. 363)

2. "Despite the many articles proclaiming a trend of women going home, among the demographic of media scrutiny - white, college-educated women, 30-54 years old - fully 84 percent are now in the workforce, up from 82 percent 20 years ago." (p. 364)

3. "Middle- and upper-middle-class women tend to be particularly mindful of expert advice, and these women were acutely aware of a well-documented intensification in raising children, which sociologist Sharon Hays calls an 'ideology of intensive mothering.' This cultural imperative, felt by women of all kinds, 'advises mothers to expend a tremendous amount of time, energy, and money in raising their children." (p. 364)

4. "Because academic credentials were so important to these women's (and their husband's) career opportunities, formal schooling was a critical factor in their decisions to quit. For some, the premium they placed on education and values widened the gap between themselves and their less educated caregivers." (p.365)

5. "Over half (60 percent) of the women I spoke to mentioned their husbands as one of the key reasons they quit. That not all women talked about their husbands' involvement, or lack thereof, reveals the degree to which they perceived the work-family balancing act to be their responsibility alone. But women seldom mentioned their husbands for another reason: they were, quite literally, absent." (p. 366)

6. "When talking about their husbands, women said the same things: variations on 'he's supportive,' and that he gave them 'a choice.' But this hands-off approach revealed husbands to be bystanders, not participants, in the work family bind. 'It's your choice' was code for 'it's your problem.' And husbands' absences, a dirct result of their own high-powered careers, put a great deal of pressure on women to do it all, thus undermining the facade of egalitarianism." (p. 367)

7. "Between trying to be the ideal mother (in an era of intensive mothering) and the ideal worker (a model based on a man with a stay-at-home wife), these high-flying women faced a double bind. Indeed, their opinions were much more limited than they seemed. Fundamentally, they faced a 'choice gap': the difference between decisions women could have made about their careers if they were not mothers or caregivers and the decisions they had to make in their circumstances as mothers married to high-octane husbands in ultimately unyielding professions." (p.368)

8. "[T]hese women tended to use the rhetoric of choice in the service of their exceptionality. Women associated choice with privilege, feminism, and personal agency, and internalized it as a reflection of their own perfectionism.... Some of these women bought into the media message that being an at-home mom was a status symbol, promoted by such cultural arbiters as New York Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. (p.369)

9. "The downside, of course is that [high-achieving women] blamed themselves for failing to 'have it all' rather than any actual structural constraints. That work and family were incompatible was the overwhelming message they took away from their experiences. And when they quit... they cited family obligations as the reason, not their dissatisfaction with work, in accordance with social expectations.... Taken at face value, these women do seem to be traditional. But by rejecting an intransigent workplace, their quitting signifies a kind of silent stirke... against an outdated model of work." (p. 369"

10. "The popular media depiction of a return to traditionalism is wrong and misleading. Women are trying to achieve the feminist vision of a fully integrated life combining family and work.... The myth of opting out returns us to the days when educated women were barred from entering elite professions because 'they'll only leave anyway.' To the extent that elite women are arbiters of shifting gender norms, the opting out myth also has the potential to curtail women's aspirations and stigmatize those who challenge the separate-spheres ideology on which it is based." (p. 370)

from The Rhetoric and Reality of 'Opting Out' by Pamela Stone