Women Don’t Want It All…At the same time
Can women have it ALL?
When I was 18 years old I wanted to be a lawyer. I dreamt about flying around the world and handling high-profile cases. By the time I was 25 I was already a lawyer, living my jet-setting case-winning life. When I was 28 I wanted to be a mother. I dreamt about holding a sweet little baby which was all mine to kiss squeeze and love. Once I had my child I wanted nothing more to do with work outside of the home ever again. I wanted someone to take care of me financially so that I could take care of my baby, all day long. Thank goodness for my husband. He took care of business, I took care of baby. My score card: Career, check. Baby, check.
I was in love with the little thing. I had surrendered myself to my child so completely, that whenever someone asked me when I would return to work I would cringe. I had no intention of ever going back full force. A case here and there sure, but work work? No way. I silently criticized moms who chose to work instead of letting their husbands take care of business so that they could take care of baby. Shame! Read carefully, I said “chose”. For those women who had no choice, I felt for them and respected them. I know first-hand how tough it is. But alas, different strokes and so on.
When my child was one year old I visited a friend. Single, childless, boss lady, fabulous. I wanted to be an awesome career girl again. But what about baby? They said I couldn’t have it all. Guess what? They were wrong. I would prove it. I started thinking about how to get back into the career game and still take care of baby. He was my priority, but I wanted to use my brain, my education, my non-mommy skills, and kick butt once again in the boardroom.
All this made me think: What is “it all”?
I cannot escape the propaganda of whether or not women can have it all. There is a bandwagon going in each direction. As a lawyer, I am trained to ask the threashold question in each case. That is the question which must be answered in order to determine if a case even exists. So, here’s the threshold question for all of this ridiculousness: What is “it all”?
In my earliest days of pondering this question I was overwhelmed with mental images of a woman in high heels and a suit, sprinting through the house having a conference call on her cell phone while breastfeeding a baby and controlling the vacuum cleaner with her foot. Clearly if this was “it all”, then no wonder “they” kept saying “woman, you can’t have it!”. But let’s state the obvious, if this was “it all”, who would want it?
Here is what I realized. I am no one’s circus act. I am neither required nor interested in juggling life’s equivalent of bowling pins, butcher knives and flaming sticks, all while doing a head stand and screaming “hey everybody look at me, I’m awesome!”. No. “They” will not drive me crazy by giving me questions to ponder which have nothing to do with anything. I wanted a fabulous career at various times in my life and I made it happen. I wanted a baby, and I had a baby. I felt like staying home and taking care of baby, so I stayed home and took care of baby. I started to yearn to utilize my career-girl talents once again, so I did that.
I decide what “it all” is, and for me it is NOT a suited, high-heeled conference calling breastfeeding vacuuming with the foot woman…all at the same time. It is me, doing what I want, when and how I want it. The concept of “can women have it all” is as clever as asking the question “can women live?”. Yes. We can live. We can desire, we can strategize, we can execute, we can achieve, we can change our mind, we can do something different, we can fail, we can succeed, and we can repeat above loop until our days are done. Got that? Our score card: Got a life, check. Put silly discussion to rest, check.