Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Delusions of... Having It All

One of my classes was cancelled today; not because of the weather (I think it would take something close to the apocalypse for Columbia to cancel class) but because my professor had to take her daughter to the doctor. Now, in and of itself there is nothing super-strange about this - parents have to take care of their kids - but it's funny because this particular professor told us pretty recently that her job is one of the best jobs for a woman because it does allow her time for her family (and is intellectually stimulating and interesting, balah, blah, blah). Except that here she was cancelling class and depriving her dear students of an intriguing discussion on Marx and Engel.

And then the question becomes for me: can a woman really have it all? I want to be a lawyer and I want to work even when I have kids and I am constantly being told that it's not possible, that sooner or later I'm going to have to choose between a family and a career. Is that true? Am I not going to be able to have both. Now, as my blog-header would suggest, I do know that it is at least semi-delusional to believe I can have everything, and I do rationally know that family is a bigger priority for me than a career. But part of me wants to scream like a two-year-old, "I want it all! I can have it all, I know I can!" But a little voice has been lingering since I got my professor's e-mail this morning, asking "Can you really?"


At 3/6/05, 3:00 AM, Blogger The Perfect Ema said...

To be blunt, no you can't. The good news is that we live really long lives nowadays and can have a time for the career and a time for raising children. The problem is that often people first go for the career and then realize that it's not so easy to get pregnant in their forties....

A person can do it all, but they won't really be doing it all.
Something is going to suffer. If you want to be the best at being a mother and a lawyer then you can't do it all. To be the best possible lawyer that you can be would most probably require you to keep up on your readings. You will want to be very knowledgable in a lot of things. You will need to spend 20 hours a day on certain cases, etc.
Sending a child to full day daycare and having a nanny take care of him in the middle of the night--a good mother does not make.

HOWEVER, there is a middle road. I personally do not choose to take the middle road, being that my mother worked about 50 hours a week + many hours at home, and i hate the idea of not having a mother around. I personally feel that for me to be the best that I can be as a mother, I need to devote my entire time to doing it...even if not caring for the children, reading up on being a good mother, etc.

Okay, so the middle road. YOu have to choose which one is more important to you. Try doing it all, soemthing is going to suffer. If you choose that being a mother is more important than being the best lawyer possible then you need to keep this in mind at every crossroad in life (and in between.) You don't as a mother choose the hotshot, 6 figure salary. You take a government job that does not demand you to work overtime, etc. You take a part time job that does not mean 100 hours a week.
Sometimes there will come a point where maybe a child will need you home....that means being willing to be flexible and maybe, just maybe even taking off for a year or so to be home at times.
I once read a study that said that mothers who worked outside of the home had healthier self esteems then those who didn't (can't remember the effect on the children.) Now, I believe that this stems from the fact that people who do not have a Torah outview on life can very often become stifled being home. However, if you have a Torah view on life then you recognize that you are raising a Jewish neshama.

HOWEVER, (again) you being the intellectual you are quite possibly may get stifled being home all day. [Personally, i find trying to think up answers to all the Why Questions my 3 year old asks and trying to practice OT on him (as he is borderline ADHD) requires a whole lot more thinking skills then ANY job I ever ever had!!! I never used my brain powers as much as I do now (and I did some pretty brainy work in my lifetime) as I do now....but i digress.]

If you do get stifled being home all day then you may actually be a better mother by going to work. But, you CAN NOT HAVE IT ALL!!! You have to choose one thing as more important then the other because there will be times that you will have to choose between husband, career, and children.

and a must read, not just a read, but a "live by" is SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE (and families)

Good luck!!

It is a facade that you can have it all. It may appear that one has it all, but let's look at their children 20 yers down the line and ask the children if the parents chose what was right.

Another thing to keep in mind that the first 2 years (contrary to popular belief) are the most important time that your child needs you (even though it may not appear to be quite so)---lots of studies backing that up....

I will be removing my internet explorer very soon so if want to talk or respond, post on my blog your email address and then delete (i will still have email)


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