On Having It All.
So here’s a question that echoes in many mommy minivans…Can working moms really “have it all?” You know what I’m talking about---the fulfilling career, perfectly harmonious family and even the (gasp!) social life? Well, if you ask me, I’d say it depends on your definition of “ Having It All.” Some moms think working part-time for a family-friendly employer is fulfilling while others insist that six-figures at a high profile company is the true triumph. Fact is, we all have a different system of weighing success, and being a mom doesn’t mean we lose our individual opinions.
Case in point, a Northern California mom recently posted a question on her local mother’s group message board. She was feeling conflicted about her internal battle over the desire to be the best possible mom AND a desire to pursue a fulfilling career that dominated her life pre-baby. She was asking for the truth----to find out if there really are moms out there who are genuinely happy with their work, family and personal life? No surprise here, but nearly a hundred moms responded minutes after the question was posted. Here’s a summary of what some of the Dilemoms had to say…
HOW TO HAVE IT ALL…
* Having a [partner] who is willing to stay at home or down shift in their jobs appears to increase the mom’s feeling that she has it all.
* A [partner's] support is critical. Some women say they’re able to “have it all” because their husbands are truly partner and share the house work and parenting equally.
* It is easier if you have A Lot of help (and make a lot of money to afford all the help): grandparents, nannies, maid, assistants, etc.
* It is not always a perfect balance, but I think my marriage is better because I work, and I like that my daughter identifies me as someone with a job, with interests outside of her, and with strengths that augment my childrearing.
* Having it all is not the same as Doing It All. Some moms who feel that they “have it all” still suffer from the guilt of not always being the one to take their chid to the doctor or making it to every soccer game.
* The definition of “all” differs dramatically from mom to mom. For some, spending 2-3 hours a day with their children plus weekends while having a fulfilling career is just a fine balance, for others, 2-3 hours a day is just not enough.
* Some jobs (such as those in business), getting to the top means more hours, where as other (such as those in academic research) getting to the top means more flexibility. It is our responsibility to talk to our nieces, daughters, younger sisters about the path they are choosing at a young age and how it might affect their ability to balance work and life at a later stage.
HAVING IT ALL (INCLUDING A RELATIONSHIP W/YOUR SPOUSE OR PARTNER . . .
* I’d describe my marriage as “barely hanging on” due to the overall fatigue, both of us feeling like the work that we’re doing at home is unacknowledged and unappreciated and total lack of time spent together.