Can We Really Have It All?
Ever since the idea of motherhood entered my mind, I’ve felt this great array of contrasting feelings, which have subsequently been met by equal emotions both of sadness and guilt that I’m not a stay-at-home mom. Yet, I simultaneously have this burning desire and ambition to be something and/or do something altruistic with my life. I’m so grateful to be a Mom, I really am. I can’t say it enough because being a mom truly is a gift. I’ve never felt more humbled in my entire life. I never would have thought someone so small could occupy so much of my heart.
Where in lies the struggle, for me at least is the dichotomy of being a mother and a woman in pursuit of a career. It’s a perplexing puzzle for me because if you pursue both you sacrifice some magical moments of motherhood. So my question is: Can we really have it all? I’ve been back at work for nearly three months now, and so far it’s been manageable. Perhaps it’s because I am super organized and suffer from a mild case of OCD, or that my husband is so great. Perhaps it’s still too early yet to tell how it will really be and I’ve heard it’s much easier with just the one.
In all honesty, I hate leaving for work in the mornings, and I loathe Sunday nights and Monday mornings, but I’m certain that the vast majority of working professionals do too. It is an unfortunate reality that our society isn’t structured or geared toward a more compassionately cognizant and nurturing way of life—in fact, I don’t think it ever really has been nor is it’s nature’s way, I suppose. We’ve all been casted in our roles and our survival has depended on this for centuries. Yet, it is abundantly clear that social mores have been altered over the years, and in some ways, so drastically that nobody seems to know what’s, what anymore. Some changes have been for the better, in my opinion, but some, I still haven’t quite made up my mind on yet.
I keep hearing that women have been given more opportunities over the years, and yet, we have a lot more work to do. These opportunities have been truly great and wonderful deviations from our male-dominated history, and a lot of top jobs seem to finally be going to women. Seemingly more women are in the workforce now than men. In my nearly ten years in the workforce, I have had more female bosses than I have had male bosses.
I’ve recently been doing some research and have read several interesting perspectives on the topic of working mothers and women in the workforce. The women I’ve read up on, who are truly excelling, all seem to be of either high-profile, wealthy and highly-educated, Ivy leaguers with connections beyond my wildest dreams. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend that you read the book the The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, the book Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg, the article “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” in the Atlantic by Anne-Marie Slaughter, and the article “10 Things Sheryl Sandberg Gets Exactly Right In ‘Lean In’” on Forbes by Susan Adams—all great reads.
I’ve been deeply searching for guidance from other women that I know in the working world who I presume feel similarly. It would be nice to receive some help I suppose to rationalize my undulating thoughts, and these gadfly questions.
Some Plaguing Questions Like the Following:
- Why don’t the day-to-day working moms tell you what they REALLY think and how they REALLY feel about working?
- Why aren’t they more vocal on the sacrifices they make each and every day?
- If I do end up staying home will I ever be able to get back on track monetarily, since it’s been so hard for me to get where I am now, and I haven’t been out of the “working world” per se in nearly ten years.
- Why don’t more women talk about this? What are some of the real stories and real regrets women have about working or do they just not have any other choice?
- Should I stay home for a little while, if so, when is the best time to do so?
- How hard is it to come back to work after you’ve been out?
- Do I just keep continuing on this career path and find my way among the 46% of women who are working in today’s workforce (what’s the statistic of this women who have children)?
- What percent of those women are truly happy with their choice? Are they complaisantly just getting through the workday or are we all just getting by?