Thursday, June 21, 2007

Having it all - the curse of my generation

Driving home from work at 6 p.m. last night, I realized that growing up female in the Title IX era created some profound psychological implications. Our parents were one of the first to try to raise their daughters to believe they can be anything they want to be and in fact, they should go for their dreams and goals with gusto. Girls can be anything, President, a pilot, a doctor, things that were traditionally male before our parents generation. It is a wonderful message. They also are the first parents that had to have both parties at work to make ends meet in most cases. Thus began the myth of "Having it all", in my mind.

Fundamentally, it is crap. You cannot have it all. And if you do, you certaintly don't enjoy it or are only getting 1/2 of everything. Right now, I have an amazing career and an amazing son. However, when I am at work, I really want to be at home and when I am at home, I am worried I didn't get enough done at the office. All the stay at home moms I know wish they went to work sometimes and all the working moms wish they stayed home. It is a myth. Sacrifice is what it means to have it all which is counter intuitive to the concept. And, btw, sacrifice sucks! The concept of having it all makes me feel like I am missing something. It also makes me feel like I don't have to choose and makes me mad when I have to. I think having it all is a damned if you do/damned if you don't thing.

Anyone have any thoughts on this one???


chlorinejenny said...

I think it comes down to what is it that will make you happy.

For some, it is material things that make them happy. For others it is being a good humanitarian. For most of us, it is trying to be a good person and doing the best we can at being a good parent, spouse, business person etc.

I am not anywhere near being perfect at anything, but I have peace of mind knowing that I only do things if it feels right to me.

If it feels right for you to work, do it. If you want to be at home, do it. Or find a middle ground. If you can only feel successful being a CEO or whatever, you need to do that, but if you can feel satisfied with a position where you can work at home - and that's what you want to do, do it. Or be just a mom at home. It isn't so bad! Everyone has to decide what is important to them and just how they measure their self worth.

Blah blah. I haven't helped a bit!

One thing I do know. Your son doesn't care if you are good at your job. For him you are perfect. And he only wants to be near you.

Working Mom said...

You are spot on, but don't you ever feel the grass is greener?? It is true, Boy could care less if I was the best ad executive in the world, ot sucked at it. He just likes me and wants to be my Boy!

He is in the office now! Time to go play!

chlorinejenny said...

The grass is always greener somewhere else. Someone will always be smarter than me, prettier than me, make more money than me...etc...etc!

Where does it stop? When I realize that life is too short to get my panties tied in a knot!

Working Mom said...

Just completely love you!!! BTW, no one is prettier than we are!

serket said...

I think it is good that you discovered this. I'm sure it is hard to grapple with, but now you know it is not possible to do everything. I'm sure there are a lot of empowered women from your generation who were told all of the benefits, but nobody told them the limitations of the work/home life balance.