I won’t fire a round in this chapter of the mommy wars. There is precious little ground to be gained and I don’t fancy myself a willing target of enraged women seeking their own, personal fulfillment.
But this article by Namoi Dector in Commentary Magazine is a mighty fun read for me.
Guess what, ladies! We still can’t have it all. Well, we could, if only the world of work adjusted itself to meet our requirements. As it currently stands, however, we just can’t have a really, really high-powered job and spend as much time taking care of our children as we’d like to — not even if we’re working for a feminist icon, in what is arguably the most aggressively woman-friendly presidential administration ever.
Who’s to blame? You guessed it: SOCIETY. Because men are still socialized to blah blah blah. Studies have shown that blah blah blah. Young women are agonizing over blah blah blah. Older women are agonizing over blah blah blah. And what’s to be done? Right again: CHANGE SOCIETY. Change the way we work; change the way we value different kinds of working (through email, phone and videoconferencing, and not thinking that #hours-spent-in-office=drive and dedication). Oh, and arrange school schedules so that our children can be kept at their own desks for as long as we are at ours. If we do this, we will finally, finally, figure out how to achieve, you guessed it again, WORK-LIFE BALANCE.
I must say this: no one gets to “have it all.” Even the wealthiest, longest lived, healthiest people don’t get to “have it all.” The insistence that anyone should “have it all” is infantile.
Grownups know that you have to make choices and every choice involves not only some gain but some cost. When faced with two wonderful options, I often have to choose one and lose the other; that is the cost of priorities. As good as my life is– and it is– I no more “have it all” than anyone else in this world.
My advice: own your choices. Embrace the path you take without mourning the one you didn’t. Love what that path brings you without obsessing over what other people chose. If you find that the costs in area are too great, then make changes to bring the balance that you want.
You don’t get to “have it all” but, if you make smart choices, you might get to have an awful lot of love and happiness in your life– a job that fulfills you, loyal friends, happy memories, celebrations, and wonderful experiences. Live is a banquet of wonders and beauty and I will feast on all that I can.
And even so, I know that will never, ever “have it all.”