I Will Never Have It All - And I'm Okay With That
This is not a post about bashing women who work full time– I work full time too- albeit, most of the time I do it from my couch, sitting in pajamas at one am. It’s the only time I have been able to carve out for this career of mine. But there is one thing I know for sure, unless you are a woman who is willing to make the conscious decision to forgo having children so that you can devote your energies to your career and professional advancement, having children (whose childhoods you want to be fully present for and entrenched in) will certainly put the brakes on your ability to truly rise to the pinnacle of your profession.
How do I dare make such a statement, and in doing so am I pushing back the feminism movement, and devaluing the work so many of us do by trying to have it all? No, I don’t think I am. Rather I think I’m just being realistic about just how much a woman, who also chooses to be a mother, can really achieve professionally.
Case in point; three women who have surged to the top of their fields- Oprah Winfrey, Diane Sawyer and Condoleezza Rice– what do these three women have in common? They all have made conscious choices not to bear children, or adopt them into their lives. And let’s be honest here, in their chosen fields, had they also been mothers, would it have been possible to achieve that high level of success without missing out on much of their children’s lives? I’m going to have to say no. As said children most likely would have been relegated to nannies and housekeepers.
If, as a mother, you want to be at your child’s school, play, field trip or even hold their tiny hand while the dentist drills a tooth, as a full-time working mother, these are all things you might have to sacrifice. And although working moms do it all the time, personally I think it is really hard to delegate all those experiences to a nanny, or baby sitter and not feel a twinge of guilt and remorse that you didn't have an opportunity to revel in those experiences with your kids.
Sure there are many of us women, who are the primary breadwinners in our homes. And in that sense, if we’ve got a good man at home watching our kids, if we have a parent experiencing those first, and milestone moments with our children- the big and small stuff- it is not as gut wrenching to be at a job we presumably love, or at the very least stick with a job that keeps a roof over our family’s head.
Do men feel the same way? Are they asked how they do it all, how they balance it all? NO- because perhaps it’s not a part of their DNA to feel this guilt; this need to be present at the big and small moments of their kids’ childhoods.
For me, if I want to attain a higher level of achievement in my career I would not be able to spend as much time with my kids. It would be impossible. And I know when I look back on my life what will be most important to me as I near the end of my days, are the relationships I’ve made and knowing that I played an integral role in my kids development. This is my truth, this is my goal in life, so unless I am willing to sacrifice having these experiences with my kids, I cannot have a career on par with that of a woman who doesn’t have kids, and therefore has the capacity to invest her whole heart and soul into her professional endeavors.
Am I totally off the mark, can you have it all without sacrificing time with your kids?