(Closed) Can Women Have It All?

posted 6 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 3
Member
115 posts
Blushing bee

I really liked this article. I thought it was very honest and well written. I know some people criticized it as saying “even with all the gains we’ve made as women we can never truly balance work with family,” but I don’t think that is what the author argues at all. (An example of this reaction: http://www.salon.com/2012/06/21/can_modern_women_have_it_all/singleton/) Slaughter argues that society still needs to change in some fundamental ways if women are to have a fair shot at balancing work and family. I think her points ring true with most women who have tried to do this. They even ring true with me and I don’t even have kids yet.

Post # 4
Member
842 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I only read the first page of the article, which was already pretty long.  I feel like saying “Women can’t have it all” is inaccurate.  In truth, I think what she was saying was, “Good parents can’t have it all.” No one who works 16+ hour days can be a good parent.  And I think it’s kind of sexist to imply that men working in these high-demand careers aren’t in question, it’s only the women who can’t do these jobs and have a family at the same time.

I also think we can have it all – we can have all the choices today to pick which kind of life we want.  Generations before us were mostly faced with one type of life – be a wife and mother, or at most a secretary.  But today a woman can be a doctor, a politician, a professor, or anything else we want to be. 

Post # 5
Member
485 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

I only read the 1st page because I’m at work trying to “have it all” lol.

However, I agree with this article and it’s something to which I’ve given a great deal of thought in the past 10 years.  I am divorced and have a daughter who is almost 12.  I think about where I was in my career 15 years ago and where I would be today had I stayed single and it’s clear that my career took a drastic nosedive.  You can call it being “mommy-tracked* or making decisions so that you have work-life balance…. or whatever.  But the facts are what they are.  I make less than 1/2 of what I made before my daughter was born.  Mostly because of what I was no longer willing to do after my divorce – travel and long nights and she would have spent most of her time with a babysitter.  I wouldn’t change that, but I absolutely agree that women can’t *have it all*. 

I would go a couple steps further.

Men can’t *have it all* either.  So, the term SHOULD be *no one can have it all*.  Women, however, are just now realizing that the committments that men have made for generations are the cost of family time and home life.  Men weren’t not involved in the 60s and 70s because they didn’t WANT to be.  They weren’t involved because there was division of labor (men salary / women family and home).  NO ONE, regardless of gender, can work the hours required to advance in corporate america and be *present* at home.  It’s simply not possible because there are only so many hours in the day.  You can be FABULOUS at your job…. but if you are a *rising star* and think you’re going to put yourself in the upper income bracket….. well, you’re talking about 70+ hour work weeks.  That’s simply not possible to do and have any quality of life.  If you own your own business, you can maybe structure your time differently, or hire out some of the work so the business is successful…. but then your compromise is you have to pay someone else so you have time to spend on other things.  The *best* is if you make enough money to afford quality childcare, but that, in and of itsself, is a sacrifice because even the BEST childcare isn’t the same as a parent (either parent – this is not a Stay-At-Home Mom, vs WM debate).

Which brings me to my 2nd reflection…….. 

I NEVER thought feminism or women’s lib was about women trying to *have it ALL*.  I always thought it was about women *having a CHOICE*.  Which is totally different.

Of course you can’t have it all.  To even think that you can seems ridiculous to me.  Life is a menu, not a buffet.  You make choices based on what looks and tastes good.  And there is only so much you can take before you get full.  You can keep eating, but your stomach will explode…. because eventually, at some point, somethings gotta give.

Post # 6
Member
195 posts
Blushing bee

This is silly but it bothers me “having it all” is seen constitute as being able  to have a career and a family.  I do not want children, having it all to me is my education and career along with my SO.   I still feel like society assumes all women want children to feel they have everything they need.

 

/random rant for the day

Post # 7
Member
1676 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

@LibraryBlondie:  +1 

I completely agree. My having it all does not involve having children in any way, shape, or form. I actually feel that I would be giving so much up by having children, so that would effectively prevent me from “having it all”. 

Post # 8
Member
5800 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2011

I don’t think its possible but I’m not sure its necessary. I just think you need to be happy with what you’ve chosen to make a priority.

The aligning school hours with work hours suggestion sounds good on the face of it but unless we starting sending kids to school from 8-7 year round I’m not sure its going to help many women executives.

Post # 9
Member
684 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2010

Everything is relative in life and if kids and career is what you want that it seems like a hard, thorny road. You either spend a lot of time away and your career blossoms or you spend time with your children and they blossom. I see her point.

I personally think it depends on what women want 🙂 For me having it all would mean having a wonderful marriage, rewarding career and travelling the world. So far, I’ve only managed one of the three. Having a great marriage means saying “no” to overtime and working week-ends and whisking your partner for a week-end getaway at the expense of that coveted promotion. To me Darling Husband is a priority in my life. May be when I find a more rewarding career path, I will not have to worry about sacrificing family time for work time.

Post # 10
Member
684 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2010

@MsPoodles:  +1 I feel the same way. I have so much more to learn, to discover, to experience for myself

Post # 11
Member
5543 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2011

I can see this and not all at once.

My parents (not just my mom) while both having sucessful careers while we were growing up never had the desire or did climb the corporate ladder or become high power executives or anything. They both had very good jobs still but not the huge power gain and money. But they didn’t want it. My mom stayed home until we were both in school, then only worked until it was time to come get us. My dad worked a 9-5 but when he was home, he was HOME. None of this “disappear into the home office to work until midnight” stuff. Did it possibly keep them from getting promotions and perks? SURE. But in the end, at least to them and to me, it was vastly more important to have kids and a family life that grew up with parents who were involved. Yeah, wo that promotion and company car would have been nice. But the memories I have of lake weekends, camping, cooking with my dad, reading stories with my mom and all the insanity my family did was way more important.  

I would say though they may not have had “all” society thought they should want they had exactly what they wanted. Jobs they enjoyed without sucking their life away and kids who adore them and whose lives they were activly involved in.

 

Post # 12
Member
344 posts
Helper bee

IMO, no…

I also think when women started working more (1970’s, women’s lib) is also when the divorce rate started to go up.

I know I will get bashed for that answer….LOL

Post # 13
Member
115 posts
Blushing bee

@CoffeeandCream:  True, but that’s not necessarily *because* women (mainly middle/upper class white women–I think it’s important to remember that most women have always juggled work and family) were working outside the home. As women felt more empowered outside the home, they also felt more empowered inside the home and according to the law. Women didn’t have to stay married to abusive husbands anymore or remain in loveless marriages. I kinda count that as a good thing.

Post # 15
Hostess
11166 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

@LGenz:  I just think you need to be happy with what you’ve chosen to make a priority.

I completely agree. Furthermore one woman may think she has it all while another woman with a different set of priorities or ambitions in life may see things differently.

When I started down my career path I had everything lined up to be an event coordinator. I had put in my time in all the right fields, made the necessary contacts and was going to start out at a local catering and event company. However, a funny thing happened. Once I was in a place where I could have it all according to what I thought was “all” there was to have I realized that my priorities had changed. My life no longer revolved around an intense need for success and rather I wanted a job that allowed me freedom to enjoy other things with friends, family and hobbies. 

There will always be a need for sacrifice to be successful at anything, one way or another. While we may think we are super women we are limited in time, physical abilities to be only one place at once etc. Yes I’m all about the “try to have it all” but I think we should be careful before judging ourselves so harshly in comparison to what society thinks we should have and be doing.

 

 

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