If you are a working mom you most likely were sent or saw this article published in The Atlantic: Why Women Still Can’t Have It All. It has been a hot read with over 75,000 shares on Facebook and was the most trafficked article in history for The Atlantic. There is a reason why this article resonates with so many women, evoking passion and anger about the challenges with trying to “have it all”. The article is long, but a great read.
The author, Anne-Marie Slaughter, asks “Has the older generation of feminists sold younger generation a fiction?” The answer is yes. The older generation of powerful and strong women have paved the way for young women today to blaze the trail of upper management and executive leadership, but weren’t explicit that in order to get that you’d have to put family time on the back burner. Many of us who are really ambitious and career oriented struggle with actually saying we want to be home with our kids. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to work, many of us do, we need a balance of both.
The conclusion of her article points to hope that we can have it all, but not with the current way America’s society and economy are structured. This excerpt from the article particularly hit home for me: “Yet the decision to step down from a position of power—to value family over professional advancement, even for a time—is directly at odds with the prevailing social pressures on career professionals in the United States. One phrase says it all about current attitudes toward work and family, particularly among elites. In Washington, “leaving to spend time with your family” is a euphemism for being fired.”
What a joke! The idea that a woman (or man) would actually value time with her family over work as being unbelievable is ridiculous. That is what should be supported. There is no more important job than being a parent.
In summary, the takeaway is that women need flexibility in their job in order to “have it all”. Women need to be able to get home at a decent hour and be able to put their kids first if something happens which requires it during work hours. I’ve given tips at how I found how to try and “have it all” in my blog post titled “Working Moms: Going Back to Work”. I am lucky to have flexible working environment with an understanding boss. I also demand of myself the best work while at the office and work once Archer is asleep if needed. I am able to spend almost 4 hours a day with my son during the week (6-8am and 6-8pm) while keeping my career and getting time in with my husband after Archer goes to bed. Four hours a day with my son might not seem like a lot, but when you think about naps, feeding, car rides etc… four hours of one on one time in a day is pretty good!
I conclude with a list of companies from WorkingMother.com voted best places to work for working moms: 2011 list