When I watched Anne Marie’s “Can women have it all ted talk” 3 years ago when she narrated how she made the decision “to go home” even though she didn’t recognise the woman making that choice. I could resonate with Anne-Marie as I just returned back to work from 11 months maternity leave with my older son even though we were in completely different professions and levels in our career. I remember how guilty i felt then about leaving my 1 year old helpless baby with a nanny.
For Anne-Marie, she couldn’t keep watching her older son make bad choices without having the opportunity to be there for him. “I didn’t want to miss the last 5 years my sons would be at home, i finally got to re-access what was most important to me”. She narrated how she commuted between Washington and Princeton at her job at the white house for 2 years but had to make the decision to leave based on love and responsibility. Anne-Marie Slaughter is the current President and CEO of the New America Foundation. She is a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, a wife and mother of two teenage boys. She served as Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department from January 2009 until February 2011 under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Today, my own sons are still only 4.5 years and 18 months old so I’m in by no means a parenting or career expert. But what I do know about being a parent is that you have to make sacrifice after sacrifice. Everything usually requires a trade-off. In order to do more of X, you have to do less of Y. You’re expecting a baby? It might mean you miss out on a long awaited promotion. You want to go back to work early? It might mean you miss your baby’s first step or first words. You want to be at your baby’s first swimming lesson? Then you probably won’t make that operating committee meeting after all. It’s just the reality of life.
Being a mom and trying to juggle a career with family life is never an easy thing to do. Yet, more moms than ever have full-time day jobs and businesses. As a working mum, the decisions I made about my career and life were never easy, and choosing when to ‘lean in’ at work versus when to focus more on family was deeply personal. I took 1 year off work after having my first son whilst I took 10 months off work on maternity leave after I had my second son.
She never leaves her children at home even when she doesn’t take them along
A recent Harvard study reveals that adult daughters of employed mothers are more likely to have jobs, have supervisory responsibility, work more hours and earn more money than those whose moms stayed home full time. And sons raised by employed mothers spend more time caring for family members. It is therefore encouraging to learn that working moms can also bring up healthy and well-balance kids.
At the moment, I have not only adapted back to the work environment after my second child but become more focused, more efficient in my work. Besides, I strongly believe I have developed additional skills such as patience, empathy, creativity and resilience through care giving. I have a much wider range of experience and perspective to bring into my work.
I previously had the goal of becoming a Vice President by the age of 30, whilst its still a goal even though its taking longer than anticipated, my concern is- will I be much more happier with a VP promotion? Will it cause too much unbearable stress for me and my family? Will the crazy workload impact my family life and health? Beside, I just feel that the “extra money” might not be worth the stress that it could cause for me and my family.
A recent study by Office of National statistics suggest that most millenials are most likely to say they would like to downshift and most willing to take a pay cut to find a batter balance. I want to be in a position where by I can pick up my kids from school atleast twice a week so i can speak and interact with their teachers, attend my children’s parents evening, sports day, school plays. I want to read to my kids at bed time, help with their homework and unfortunately the corporate world is merciless to those who want to rise up the ladder but that cant spend long hours at their job.
I don’t have a 9-5, I have a when I open my eyes to when I close my eyes
We need to re-think about how we define our “all”
I think women (and men) need to stop thinking about and defining life in terms of “all,” because NO ONE can really have it all at once. Thinking about “having it all” is not a positive way to view your life. Think instead about, “What do I love, what do I need to do to be happy, and what decisions and changes can I make today that help me to get to where I want to be. What am i grateful for?
If you live for having it all, what you have is never enough. Its not about having it all, its about having what you value the most.
Think instead about what you’ve already achieved, and how far you have come. Count your blessings. Being grateful will only pave the way for greater happiness and success, on your own terms. What if where you are today at this point in time is your “all.”
The secret to having it all is believing and realizing that you already do
Stop expecting it to look like what you thought it was going to look like. What if working 9-5 in a corporate organisation, fulfilling a challenging role where I engage with senior stakeholders, part-time 4 days a week, relying on a weekday live out nanny and nursery and having the ability to spend most evenings with your children and have an hour or two to myself is my “all”? What if being a stay at home mom is your all at this time of your life?
Drop the idea of having it all at once. Its an impossible standard for anyone
For me personally, I’m happy when I finish work at 5pm and is able to pick up my kids from nursery, play with them, read bedtime stories to them, put them to bed, catch up on tv, write, and/or spend some uninterrupted time chatting with my spouse. Therefore, even though I’m not where I previously aimed to be in my career, overall I’m quite happy with my life. Assuming, I totally hated my job or it offered me zero flexibility or I didn’t like who was looking about my children in my absence then I have to change it.
We need to instead on focus on being happy
If any aspect of your life it’s not to your liking, find creative ways to shift it. You need to understand that your career, business and your life has seasons. In life there is always time for everything. You can do anything you set your mind to do. However, you cannot do it all at once. You need to accept that it’s not all about today.
”You can’t build a happy life if you have no help, support, love or encouragement. Start now to build an amazing support network- spouses who share the load of raising a family, relatives and wonderful friends who will help you in times of need, colleagues who have your back, mentors and sponsors who will open doors and pave new pathways for you. Don’t try to hack through life’s challenges all by yourself.
Being a happy, working parent is possible for all of us. You just need to find your happy place. How about you shift from thinking about “having it all” to doing what it takes every day to build a satisfying and happy life?
I would like to hear other point of views. What do you think?