Being a stay-at-home parent is a wonderful, and often necessary, choice for many people.
Not every parent needs, wants, or should be expected to work outside the home.
In addition, we do not control all of the factors that influence us, including the health of our children.
Plus, many people welcome the opportunity to get out of the rat race.
No one should pass judgment on these highly personal decisions.
I fully support any man or woman who dedicates his or her life to raising the next generation.
It is important and demanding and joyful work.
What I am arguing is that the time to scale back is when a break is needed or when a child arrives— not before, and certainly not years in advance.
The months and years leading up to having children are not the time to lean back, but the critical time to lean in.
Several years ago, I approached an employee at Facebook to manage an important new project.
She seemed flattered at first but then became noticeably hesitant.
She told me that she wasn't sure she should take on more responsibility.
Obviously, something else was going on, so I quietly asked, "Are you worried about taking this on because you're considering having a child sometime soon?"
A few years earlier, I would have been afraid to ask this question.