Is “Having It All” Realistic? New Movie Aims to Find Out

by Jennifer Parris, career writer for FlexJobs

When you start off in your career, you might want to climb the corporate ladder as quickly as possible. But then you get married (or remarried) and kids come into play, which leaves you facing the conundrum that all working women—and in particular, working moms—have to contend with at one time or another: is having it all realistic?

New documentary follows three working mothers as they balance career and family.

There’s a new documentary that is hoping to answer, or at least enlighten, what it’s really like to balance family and work obligations simultaneously. Having It All, a documentary from filmmaker Vlada Knowlton, follows three career-oriented women for two years as they enter the world of the working parent. The film tackles their ideas of how they think having children will affect their careers, the stressors of trying to juggle both, and what needs to happen in order for working mothers (and really, working parents) to be able to have it all.

What does it mean to have it all?

It makes sense, then, to determine what it means to “have it all.” Many experts have weighed in on this topic, including Jennifer Owens, editorial director at Working Mother Media and the founding director of the Working Mother Research Institute. In an interview with FlexJobs, Owens stated that having it all is really a lot of hype. “Having it all is an absurd frame of discussion, especially since 70 percent of mothers with children under 18 work,” says Owens. “It puts too much pressure on women, who are already doing so much!”

Kelly Wallace, a digital correspondent for CNN, definitely agrees. “I fall into the ‘you can’t have it all at once’ camp,” admits Wallace, who has two daughters, ages 8 and 9 ½. “A friend of mine once described the balancing act and the concept of ‘having it all’ this way: Think about being on a sailboat. Sometimes you need to tack more toward your family, but you are still moving forward on the boat. Sometimes you need to tack more toward career, but again, you are still moving forward.”

Determine what is important to you.

Ultimately, it’s up to each person to determine what having it all means to them. And you might find that having it all varies at different points in your life. At one time, keeping up with your 70-hour-a-week job and still being able to bake gluten-free cupcakes for your child’s class party was the epitome of having it all. Other times, having it all might look (and feel) a lot less harried. The point is that you should take the time to figure out what having it all truly means to you, and more importantly, if that’s what you really want. After all, having it all comes with a lot of sacrifices, and you have to know which ones you need to make, either for the benefit of your career or for your family—and which consequences you can live with.

Watch the Having It All online film premiere.

FlexJobs is thrilled to host the online premiere of the film Having It All on Thursday, March 3rd, 2016. After the film, there will be an online panel discussion from 4:00-5:00 p.m. ET with some of today’s leading experts in work-life balance, such as Sara Sutton Fell, founder/CEO of FlexJobs and 1 Million for Work Flexibility; director of Having It All, Vlada Knowlton; Jennifer Owens, editorial director of Working Mother Media and founding director of the Working Mother Research Institute; and Kelly Wallace, digital correspondent and editor-at-large on Family/Career/Life for CNN. These four experts will discuss the film and the issues that arise from achieving, sometimes failing, but always striving, to have it all.


Jennifer Parris is a career writer for FlexJobs, an award-winning service that helps job-seekers find professional opportunities that offer work flexibility, such as telecommuting, freelance, part-time or alternative schedule jobs.