having it all
The idea that being 30-odd is too old to pursue your passions and dreams, even if that involves a drastic change, is ludicrous. You are not yet halfway through your life. You have survived your twenties, observed yourself change and grow, and now have a better idea of who you are and what you want than ever before.
Who's in charge around here? I would like to make a complaint. I feel I have been mis-sold a concept. I was under the distinct impression that women could - and I quote - 'have it all.'
If you are in my situation, with multiple children (all young and needy) and no family help or excess cash to pay for it, then you might feel the same as I do when told that you can 'have it all'. The career, the family, the success, the glory.
Now, aged 35, with many of my peers embarking on their first pregnancy, not to mention, for some of them, leadership roles, I feel compelled to take stock - to appreciate what I've achieved, consider where I'm going, and take a good hard look at what it is I really want from my life.
When we get to the crux of it, the context of the questioning is pretty anti-feminist and shoddy really (society/media's fault and the inequality of the workforce for mothers are to blame rather than the enquirer)...
When I started work after having my second, I remember sitting in the shower room expressing for her and in my more melodramatic moments looking down and thinking that it was almost as if my breasts were crying milk for her.
Yet, more than 100 years on and women are still not paid equally to men, not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally have a long way to go in terms of improving women's education, health and the presence of domestic violence. Can we really have it all?
Feminism was supposed to be about enabling women (and men) to choose how they want to live their lives. Now, though, it has been twisted and distorted into a ridiculous expectation that every woman must be all she can be, to realise (or even exceed) her potential in every area.
For both men and women to truly 'have it all' we need flexibility in the way we work so that we can take better care of our own needs and those of our children. This is vital not only to help prevent burnout of the workforce but also to prevent the burnout of our children.
Can a woman have a successful career and balance a family at the same time? Yes, of course she can, but there are going to be challenges; there are going to be sacrifices. We all know that. No matter which "work" we decide to focus on, kids or outside-the-home job, we are going to have questions about whether we are making the right choices.