I have held onto this piece for a while because, let's face it, lots of women are attached to the notion that they can, in fact, have "it all." I've got a hunch that what we really want (and this is as women or men) is not "everything" but rather what is right for us. The presence of choice finds women making a ton more decisions than our grandmothers and even mothers ever grappled with--and it's great, don't get me wrong--but with it has emerged this superwoman ideal, and I argue it's not all it's cracked up to be.
In the 1950s, women mostly stayed home, took care of children, and cooked and cleaned (preferably in high heels.) But since the days when women were burning their bras and fighting for equal rights, things have really changed. I am so grateful for those changes.
Our proverbial grandmothers and mothers fought hard to afford my generation rights that we would not have otherwise had. In modern times, we are really starting to see the full assimilation of feminism as women [and men] of my generation redefine their roles within society and family structures. Stay at home dads are emerging and working moms are the norm. We are each expected to go on to college, to get jobs, and to have a family.
We are expected to have it all: the dream family, the dream job, and somewhere in there we are supposed to squeeze in a social life, hobbies, vacations, and be happy about it...because we have it all. Call me crazy, but having it all seems a little exhausting and....dare I say it? Unrealistic.
Now before you sound the alarm bells, hold off-- I am not suggesting that we trade our briefcases for aprons. But the idea of having it all got me wondering about what "it" really means. I can eat a whole cake just because it’s put in front of me, but logically I know that it would make me sick.
Do women REALLY want it all? Or is what we want a blend of things that make us happy as they are individually tailored to who we are--like choosing items from a vast menu? That was what feminism was ultimately about, right? We want the right to choose which roles fit us best individually--not simple have EVERY role because it's available.
Can a mother have a full time job? Of course she can (many have to), and she can be darn good at both mothering and working. Will that work for every woman? No way. Some women just want to stay at home, and if they want to can economically afford it, they should. Some women just want to work and they don't want to have children at all. That works too.
Now that women can choose if they want a mix of both, or some or the other I find at times there are just too many expectations. Women get placed in the trap of believing they have to have “all” when they only want “some.” The worst ones who rush to judgement? Other women.
How many times have we wrestled with the debate of “to stay home with kids or not?” and “who is better the working mom or the stay at home one?” The truth is, not everyone can be superwoman because not everyone gleans satisfaction from that choice. Yet, some women thrive on it.
In the search for having it all, it seems “all of it” works; whether your all is just working and not having a family, or doing both, or just staying at home with children. Whether you, as a woman, decide to pursue your career while your husband stays at home, or you have dogs and work from home--it’s ALL good.
With the New Year approaching, perhaps you find yourself reevaluating what you want in life. If you are one of those people who applies pressure to yourself trying to do it all, think about what “all” you mean. Because it’s all good, as long as it’s all for you.
So tell me, do you agree with my stance on wanting it all?? Do you disagree? Are you a parent who works wonders both in and out of the home and loves it? Discuss this topic in the comments section below!