In our ambitious world, more and more young women are wondering, “can we have it all?” The question isn’t can we but what exactly does have it all mean to you.
When I was a young girl I imagined that my life would go something like this: I would be a Nobel Prize winning author, a professor at a prestigious college, have a fabulous husband and be a mother to twins, a boy and a girl, so that I could get two kids for the time and effort of one. Ah what a delightful picture that was.
Fast forward some odd 15 years, and while I’ve received no calls about my Nobel Prize, I do have a great and fascinating career, an amazing circle of friends who support and love me, a fabulous family and….. well the jury is still out on the fabulous husband and 2 kids.
In our driven society, it seems that the idea of women having it all is still a pretty pervasive one. A recent article in The Atlantic titled “Why Women Can’t Have it All” has once-again brought the idea to the forefront.
In the piece writer Anne-Marie Slaughter writes how she left her position as first woman director of policy planning at the State Department to go home to New Jersey to be closer to of her husband and teenage sons. Fine choice Mrs. Slaughter. She writes that “having it all” is a myth and that feminists have sold young women a fantasy.
While “having it all” in its basic idea may be a fantasy, let’s back up a bit. What does “having it all” really mean? I guess by normal standards it means having a successful career, a great love life and a family. In our post-feminist world, it astounds me that we’re still relegating having it all to one thing in particular. What about women who don’t want kids? Or women who want to be stay at home moms? Sorry ladies, you’ve missed your chance at having it all.
We see these illusions of celebrities and otherwise rich women (cough cough Beyonce), having the wildly successful career, husband, baby and “getting back to bizness” and we feel bad for not being able to secure the same sorted fairy tale version of having it all.
I’m young, tirelessly working toward my dreams and watching them unfold before my very eyes. Should I feel bad because I don’t have a husband and an infant hanging from my tit yet? No. But the having it all mentality wants to make me feel that way.
To me, having it all means going after what you want, whether that be a high powered career with a cushy corner office or a play date with the other moms in your neighborhood or both. The idea of having it all should really be re-framed as “have whatever the hell you want.”
If I had a dollar for every women I knew who has juggled kids, marriage and career, I’d be rich. Has it been easy for them? Heck no! And for every woman who juggles, there are women for whom juggling is not ideal. The one size fits all idea of happiness is a lie and the sooner we take hold of what happiness looks like for each of us, the better off we’ll be.
What are your thoughts on “having it all”? What does having it all look like for you?