Can Women Have It All?

Can Women Have It All? Picture

“It’s time to stop fooling ourselves, says a woman who left a position of power: the women who have managed to be both mothers and top professionals are superhuman, rich, or self-employed. If we truly believe in equal opportunity for all women, here’s what has to change.”

The above statement is the introduction for an article written by a woman whose position and career path are so influential that her words may actually make an impression upon our society.  Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” after accepting her foreign-policy dream job three years ago, working as the first woman director of policy planning at the State Department, and then leaving it after two years, because of her desire to be with her family and her realization – juggling a high-powered job didn’t mesh very well with raising two teenage boys.

After returning to Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs, she met various reactions, ranging from disappointed to condescending.

“It’s such a pity you had to leave Washington.”

“I wouldn’t generalize from your experience. I’ve never had to compromise, and my kids turned out great.”

Slaughter said, “The first set of reactions, with the underlying assumption that my choice was somehow sad or unfortunate, was irksome enough. But it was the second set of reactions – those implying that my parenting and/or my commitment to my profession were somehow substandard – that triggered a blind fury … Millions of women feel that they are to blame if they cannot manage to rise up the ladder as fast as men and also have a family and an active home life (and be thin and beautiful to boot).”


Slaughter said that she feels younger women who are just starting out on their career paths already have the mindset that they cannot have it all – they will eventually have to choose between family and high-powered career success.

After reading her article, I’ve decided that I agree with her. It’s not the women who need to change – women shouldn’t feel like they need to choose between the two – the world needs to adapt its view and accommodate us.

There are those who will respond, saying that I don’t need to work, that I choose to work; I choose to put a career “before” my family; I choose to spend time away from my daughter. To those with this opinion: Dual-income households are more necessary than they used to be. Single mothers have to provide for their children. Heath insurance is, in fact, very necessary. Some mothers work because their husbands can’t find a job. Some mothers work alongside of their working husbands because, due to their own, personal family circumstances, they need the extra income to make ends meet.

Men are able to have a family and a successful career – women should be able to achieve the same, without disparagement. Slaughter mentioned many ideas that, if implemented in the work place, could make this happen!!! Will it ever actually happen? I don’t know.

I wake up early. I begin my work while my daughter is still sleeping. After my daughter wakes up, I make her breakfast. I prepare and pack her lunch. I make sure she takes her allergy medicine. I lay out her clothing for school, help her get dressed, brush and style her hair, answer random questions (“Why do I blink?”), help her get her shoes on, kiss her goodbye, remind her to listen and obey her school teacher and be kind to her friends, and then my husband – lovingly – drives her to school. I return to my work, and I work until the end of my business day. I drive my daughter to her dance classes. I watch her dance for a little bit, and then I go into the other studio and I teach a few dance classes. Then, the day is over, my daughter is in bed, and I am exhausted.

I’m thinking that I’ve had a very successful day: I am still standing. Bring it on, world! I think to myself. Beat that!

Then my husband points out that I haven’t been helping out around the house as much as I could. He’s had to do more dishes lately; and while my clothes are clean and laundered, albeit wrinkled, they’ve been sitting on the chest at the foot of the bed – unfolded – for almost five days, and this is bothersome for him.

I begin to sing a different tune in my mind.  I’ve failed. I can’t do it all. Maybe if I worked less, I could’ve cleaned the house a little more and my husband would be happier. Maybe if I worked less, I could spend more time with my daughter, cook more dinners, and have energy left at the end of the day to fold the laundry. And before you cast some stones toward my husband, he is a good man who works hard too; and he does help out around the house a lot.

I am a woman. I am not superhuman, rich, nor self-employed. And as the introduction of Slaughter’s article stated, that is what it currently takes for a woman to be both a top professional and a mother. But as stressed as I am, I want to be my best self; and by continuously working toward that at home and at work, I am hopefully teaching my daughter through example.

This morning, my daughter asked me to not go to work today. When I asked her why, she replied, “Because my bike needs its horn to fix.” So, I said okay. She went off to school with the biggest smile on her face. And when she gets home, her bike will have a working, hot pink horn. After all, I do have an hour-long lunch break.

Can women "have it all"? What do you think?

What do you think?

Can Women Have It All?

Kimberly Shannon is a wife, a mother, an editor, a writer ... She is always working to find the perfect balance¹! After Kimberly received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism, she worked on two master’s degree programs (Creative Writing, and Marriage and Family Therapy). At various times in her life she has signed up to study Naturopathy, only to back out at the last minute, and humored the idea of returning full-time to the world of dance. Kimberly has also started 10 different children ... More

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  1. Profile photo of Baby Baby says:

    Well Kim it sounds like You have figured out how to be supermom! You are very fortunate to be able to work at home and be able to stop what you are doing to tend to your daughters needs and then take her to dance classes. It sounds like you spend just enough time with her through the week and hopefully more on the weekends. Dinner was missed or did you eat out? As far as hubby’s go I think they are not what makes us a mom. Our house hold duties are just that. I really am concerned when I hear how everyone thinks moms should do it all. What do we have to prove as woman and why? I do not think Woman should think they have it all and are supermoms because they work and bring home the money. A mom is super when she does her duties as a mother. Love them, care for them, read to them, play with them, teach them, be there for them and know they are the reason we are called MOM.. There are MOMS who think giving birth is good enough the rest someone else can do. Because they are working to much to be the supermom people talk about or simply because they are just selfish/.. I find nothing wrong with woman working and making a living. As you said it is usually needed 2 incomes. But Supermoms are everywhere. From the moms who never work but put their kids above themselves to the mom who has no one to help and makes sure her babies are fed. Moms who can afford to give up their jobs because they know their spouses can provide are less selfish because it says i care more about my baby growing up in my home than in a sitters. If a mom wants to work and the dad stay at home Is she a Supermom? I think it is the same as any other mom. You just swapped roles. NO different than hubby working and mom staying home.

  2. Profile photo of Mommy4Ever Mommy4Ever says:

    None can have it all, although sometimes it might feel like you do have it all…

  3. I am a mother, wife and I work full time out side of the home. My house isn’t the cleanest but it is lived in. My cloths are still in the basket sitting infront of the dresser waiting to be folded and put away. there is a dry load of dishes waiting to be put up. I chose the life I live and yes there are people telling me I have a choice to stay home. yah I want to but if I did I would go bankrupt. We cant only live on my husbands income. If we did we would’nt have money to put food on the table. We dont qualify for any type of assistance on his income alone. Not only do I do it all I belive I can and will have it all. A family, husband, Career and Home. Need it be perfect. I think not.

  4. Profile photo of Amanda Cross Amanda Cross says:

    Im a stay at home mother to be and i find it exciting to be able to exerance the first few years with my new born at home

  5. Profile photo of marichinno marichinno says:

    I am a mother who works outside of the house and I have to say that most of the times my house is a mess. By the time I get home from work and picking up the kids and then making dinner I am swapped. I am learning that I can’t do it all by myself and I try not to stress over the little things so I try to enjoy my kids instead.


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