I find the conversation about “having it all” very familiar …. is it 2014 or l986? I remember this being the topic of conversation over lunch and drinks in the mid-80’s right after graduating from college and starting my career in DC. At that point in my life I didn’t care about “work life balance” and “having it all” meant working on the Hill. I remember the same conversation in 2002 when I was a new Mom and trying to figure out how to manage my career (with a family friendly corporation) with children needing to be picked up at 6:00 p.m. each day. Now with five children, after spending 24 years with a large company and as the owner of a small business …. I get it!
As we continue this conversation, we need to remember that it means something different to any woman you ask. Many would say that having it all means making it to the top or to a desired position in a company, having a family with a successful marriage and happy children. Sometimes travel, friends, volunteering and a hobby are tossed in to the mix demonstrating time for other things. My twenty-eight year old niece would say that having it all simply means having a happy life doing what makes her happy. Different generations and different definitions.
I personally like the crash between the two thoughts. As this conversation continues with women of all generations, let’s take a moment and honor the choices any woman makes in her life. Let’s support women making the choice to give up a career to be home with her children. Let’s support the Mom who chooses to continue building her career. Instead of a discussion about “having it all”, let’s instead move the dialogue in the direction of “being the woman you choose to be.”
Imagine that being the topic of an interview twenty years from now with a corporate CEO. The question would be “are you the woman you chose to be?” vs. “can a woman have it all?”. That’s the conversation I want for my daughters.