I don’t think as women, we can “have it all”.
“As a woman today, I’m expected to have a successful career, while perfectly balancing marriage and children.”
Let’s face it, there’s always unrealistic pressure on women in every generation. And as a millennial, there’s this pressure to “have it all”. As a woman today, I’m expected to have a successful career, while perfectly balancing marriage and children. I’m supposed to be career driven first and foremost, a devoted wife, and somehow also be a dedicated mother.
I shouldn’t be just a stay at home mom or house wife. After all too many have fought and are still fighting for us to have equal rights and equal pay in the work force. I’m supposed to stand up in a male dominated work force and in order to do that I have to prove that though I am a women, I can work just as hard as a man. I’m supposed to work long hours and work my way up that corporate ladder.
“Somehow, motherhood should not affect my work and I should maintain professionalism.”
But wait there’s more. In the midst of my 50-60 hour work week (because putting my foot down and only working 40 hours a week is seen as lazy or as though I am not motivated), I’m supposed to be a dedicated wife. I shouldn’t by any means say “I’m too tired” or “I have a headache” and dinner should always be foodnetwork worthy. I have to fit in date nights and make sure to not “let myself go”. I also should be up to date with Cosmopolitan’s latest sex craze.
Then there’s motherhood, the big one. I shouldn’t dare formula feed. I must find some way to breastfeed or provide breastmilk by way of pumping with out it affecting work. As a good mother, I should always have homemade organic baby food prepared. I have to set up play dates and take “mommy and me” classes. Being a good mother means I always have to be there, for everything. And, most importantly, being a devoted mother means I enjoy every minute of it. I should never be too tired or too busy. But somehow motherhood should not affect my work and I should maintain professionalism. I should not dare play the “mommy card” and ask for time off or any special treatment.
“By no means am I saying a woman cannot have a career, be a wife, and also be a mother but what I am saying is it’s impossible to perfectly balance all three roles especially in our society.”
And that’s “having it all”, ladies and gentlemen. You’re going to hate me for saying this, but I have to say it, I don’t think we can “have it all”. By no means am I saying a woman cannot have a career, be a wife, and also be a mother but what I am saying is it’s impossible to perfectly balance all three roles especially in our society. One or more of those roles must take a back seat while we focus on another. For instance, stay at home moms like myself, usually put their careers on hold in order to focus on motherhood. Working moms, must sacrifice family time as they need to focus on work while someone else cares for their child/children.
“Sometimes the decision is simple, family or career?”
In order to achieve success in our career we may not get to be supermom. And in order to be supermom, we may not be able to get that promotion. You settle in some way, no matter how you look at it. Chasing this perfect dream of “having it all” is unrealistic and unattainable. Sometimes the decision is simple, family or career?
Success and motherhood seem to repel one another. When I speak to older moms, they almost always regret not spending more time with their children and their family and working too much but they had to put work first in order to keep their positions or to advance. Which was a huge deciding factor in making my choice to be a stay at home mom.
“Success and motherhood seem to repel one another.”
Millennial moms, like myself, are taught to work and to have a successful career. We are told to break the glass ceiling. We are taught to be feminists. As I speak to other millennials, it seems that feminism has become warped. It’s not like we’re equal but rather we need to level the playing field by hiding or pushing motherhood to the side. We are told to hide our women hood in order to advance. We are taught to pretend to be more masculine, at least in the workforce, and ignore our femininity. We need to put motherhood to the side to be seen as equals.
What I mean to say, we cannot “have it all” in our male dominated society. We will have to choose either our careers or family. Perhaps when it becomes more common and acceptable for men to take off from work for paternity leave, because their child is sick, or to care for an ailing parent, maybe we would have a chance. But since most men don’t, we women have to choose. Are we devoted to our careers or our families? In our world, a good worker is based on hours clocked and lets face it, men usually clock more hours, it’s not based on the quality of work.
Before I became a stay at home mom, I felt the pressure to be available at all times in order to move up in my career. I felt that motherhood would definitely interrupt my advancement in the various companies I worked for. I’ve had many jobs and held many positions. In the back of my mind I always thought “would becoming a mother affect my position?” And the answer was always yes. I’ve worked in retail, offices, and for myself. I’ve worked for small and large companies.
I knew that if I wanted to be a mother and continue in these positions, I’d have to sacrifice a lot. So I became a stay at home. Six weeks of maternity leave just isn’t enough. I knew I wouldn’t have been able to breastfeed or pump at any of these jobs and I wouldn’t have been able to meet the demands of both my career and motherhood. Excusing myself for motherhood duties is frowned upon but for me putting work before my family made me really sad.
“…it’s impossible to climb up the corporate ladder if motherhood is at the forefront.”
To find balance in work and home is tricky and almost impossible. One parent usually has to sacrifice their career and take on more of the parenting while the other will become more successful but miss out on family life, and the latter are usually the men. This is due to the competitive corporate world we live in today. In order to compete, a women has to hire a nanny, tutor, or enlist the help of a daycare center, because it’s impossible to climb up the corporate ladder if motherhood is at the forefront.
It’s not that I think women cannot be good mothers and have careers, I’m saying that women usually have to make difficult decisions and choose between motherhood or work. Women are more likely to need time off like for pregnancy, maternity leave, and when their children are sick. Which is why “having it all” in our society is nearly impossible. It’s not women that are the issue but rather our society that measures how much time one can offer and how available one can be to a company, and it’s as though we have to hire people to step in and “mother” our children or we risk our careers.
In order to be as successful and equal to a man, we must be as available and willing to push motherhood to the side.