women: can you “have it all?”

There’s been this idea floating around for a number of years now — the idea of women having all options available to them — the idea of “having it all.”

A lot has been written, debated, and rehashed about this subject, but really: I just want to ask you a few questions.  Please respond in the comments or on FB.

  • As a mom, what do you feel like are your options available to you in terms of what you want to do — whether that’s staying at home, working full time, or working part time?
  • How has the cost of living/student loans/cost of daycare informed your professional and private decisions?
  • What does it mean to you to “have it all?”
  • If you’re not a mom but a woman, how has your being a woman impacted your professional career and decisions?
  • If you’re a guy, how do you interpret this whole idea?  Do you feel you can “have it all?” (Whatever that means.)  Do you feel like the women in your life can “have it all?”

Thanks for your input!

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9 thoughts on “women: can you “have it all?”

  1. My biggest point of anxiety with being a woman and wanting a career is whether or not I can be a good parent and also be dedicated to gaining success in my career. As working on productions often takes me away from home for a weeks at a time, my partner would have to agree to take over as the ‘primary’ parent while I’m away, or I only work on local productions. Also, would being a freelancer be lucrative enough to provide my half for the family? Being able to do both as best I can would be my version of “having it all”.

    • I think you can let go of the anxiety a bit and realize: people figure it out. No family looks alike and you and your partner will negotiate something that works for you and your family. You’ll have to sacrifice here and there — and so will your partner — but you’ll find a rhythm. Also, something I remind myself of is the fact that we have SEASONS in life. My girls are little and so they are incredibly dependent, but I’ve heard this stage is all-too-fleeting. When I feel like I’m missing out on “me” time or whatever, I try to remind myself: “Rachel, someday your kids are barely going to need you, you’ll have all the ‘me’ time you could want, and all you’ll want to do is hang out with your kids.” 🙂

  2. I think the whole notion of “having it all” is kind of whacked. No, nobody can have it ALL. You can’t spend all day playing with your family/friends/dog and still spend all day working on your job/company/passions and have a clean house and travel and relax and learn things and sleep. THERE ARE ONLY 24 HOURS IN A DAY.

    Everyone has to figure out the priorities and proportions of various aspects of life for themselves — when you decide on what the ideal blend is for you, that’s your “ALL” (but it’s still not going to be everything — or anything — 100%) and then you try to come as close as you can to matching up how you spend your time to that ideal. It magical-perfect world, maybe you can get manage to balance every day/week/month pretty well, but chances are you’re going to spend a lot of your life with one area getting more attention and having to neglect others partially or completely, and you’ll devote more time to them later.

    Nobody can have it all. Most people can’t have their own personal “all”-balance all the time. Can you work out a pretty decent balance for the right now, a different pretty decent balance in a couple years, another arrangement in 20, and over the course of your life make time for the things that are most important to you? God, I hope so.

    • “I think the whole notion of “having it all” is kind of whacked.”

      Agreed. The more I looked at the phrase, the more I just started thinking, “What does that even MEAN? WHO has it all?”

      I guess more so I’m wondering… do guys get to “have it all” more than women? I’m not meaning this to be a guys vs. girls thing, but I feel like society still tends to throw a lot more at women than it does at men. But I’m not a guy, so I don’t know. It also probably has to do with my own environment and who I am surrounded by. I don’t necessarily feel “free” to go out and have a full time job in many ways.

      • Hehe I was always one of those kids who would never *quite* answer the writing prompt – I’d write the required amount of text mostly questioning the validity of the prompt, sort of tangentially answering it but not really. Seems I’ve still got it! 😛

        Hmm… I don’t feel like its necessarily society throwing more at women than men… maybe more women facing conflicting expectations, but as much internally as externally. Like, I think there’s still enough of the traditional parenting scenario (stay-at-home-mom / breadwinning dad) leftover to color our perceptions, so we still have the leftover ideal of “100% home with kids!” fighting with the modern ideal of “100% career!” but like I said in my first comment, you can’t have 100% everything. For men, the historic ideal WAS “100% career!” so they’re not fighting the conflicting zeitgeists like women are.

        And if we’re still comparing it to that traditional parenting scenario, if a couple were to each work a half-time job and do the homemaker thing with the other 20 hours, some part of us is still comparing it to the old model – they’re spending the exact same amount of time in each place, but for the dad it feels like more time at home, for the mom it feels like less.

  3. Pingback: when will I have a perfect life? | rachel stephan simko

  4. Ooh, my brain’s trying out another theory now:

    The structure of the modern workplace and worker’s lifestyle evolved when the vast majority of the workforce was men. So a) it was developed under the assumption that these workers, if they had children, also had wives at home to care for them, and b) the employment of fathers (from the institutional view) and employed-father (as a demographic) have had muuuuuuuch longer to adapt to each other. Women, entering the already-established male-dominated workplace a) do not typically assume their husbands will be home to care for their children leaving them free to work, and b) are having to adapt so much more abruptly to the existing system, that is thus far much less responsive/slower to adapt to them.

    • LOVE LOVE LOVE this thought.

      I think/hope the structure of the MODERN modern workplace and worker’s lifestyle is changing. So many people want flexible schedules and non-traditional work situations because both parents are working now but we still want time with our children. Smart companies are figuring out how to do it.

  5. Pingback: having it all? we need another phrase. | rachel stephan simko

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