|Can women juggle everything?|
Saturday, 2 July 2011
Super Woman: Can Women Really Have It All?
Today I finally got confirmation of my latest career prospect sent to me. I read the email carefully as it sank in that I am finally going to be attempting to do something that I had envisaged doing for the last few years. Now, as I was looking at the computer screen it wasn't the prospect of the heavy workload that I found daunting, oh no, it was the fact that I would be attempting to do this whilst having 3 children, 2 of them being under 3.
Up until this point I had been fairly positive about my capabilities, having always tried to veer on the side of optimism in regards to my life goals even when obstacles have set me back, but today I made the mistake of speaking to a negative acquaintance who somehow managed to unlock all the doubts that I had put to the back of mind – don't you just want to slap those people!
Anyway, after a fairly large glass of wine and a munch on my favourite cheesecake I feel much better, but I'm still left with the thought....Can women really have it all? Since waaaay back my mum drummed into me that I should leave kids until I was in my thirties, and pursue a career, trying her best to put me off having a child young like she did me at 18, due to having to put her own dreams and ambitions on hold, or having to let some of them go completely. Life hey, it has a knack of sometimes going full circle and sure enough I had my first son who is now 10, 5 weeks before my 18th birthday.
Looking back I cringe at my naivety, but the moment I held his little body in my arms I knew that no matter what, I would turn this around and make something of myself. Since as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a mother and have a career. For me the two were intertwined in my own personal identity even before I was a 'mother' or an 'employee'.
When you have 1 child people tend to be more supportive of your ambitions, 2 children again people are supportive believing that you can achieve what you want to 'You just have to put the extra effort in' but 3 children is another story. This negative acquaintance looked at me like I was literally going mad when I told her what I was doing (and she's not the first) “How are you going to cope?” I was instantly asked. Now I wouldn't mind if her comment was coming from a place of concern – but hell nah, this was coming from 'all she's good for now is breeding, why don't she just sit down and look after her pickneys, how dare she still have ambitions!' (yes that's how she speaks). “I will be fine I answered” thinking you stupid
bitch woman, and that's where the doubt crept in.
Between my eldest and middle child there is an 8-year gap, during this time I studied, worked and of course waited for Mr Right! When I finally met him
cough cough I was faced with a dilemma - do I carry on pursuing my career and leave having more children until I'm older and more financially stable? Or do I have another baby in my twenties and put my career on hold? Obviously I chose the latter but many women do choose to have babies when they are in their thirties and forties many of whom say that it's because they have reached the pinnacle of their careers, they are more financially stable, and more grounded personally. What is right for everyone is down to personal choice, but whatever age you have babies most of us have to go back to work at some point.
I was once told by someone
a man that I was actually better off staying at home and enjoying my children rather than leaving them with a child minder, and to a certain point I can see where they were coming from. I love spending time with my children but staying at home for the next 3-years whilst waiting for my youngest to go to school fills me with dread, there is only so much Peppa Pig and Rastamouse that I can take! I feel that by developing my education and career I am contributing to the betterment of their quality of life and that far outweighs my feelings that I am neglecting them by being away whilst earning a living, and in this current economic climate, there really is no choice but to go to work.
At the same time how successful can a woman with a family be? Is it actually possible to be a wonderful mother, have a career, plus be a supportive wife or partner? Do you think that women are trying to spread themselves too thinly? Are we under too much pressure to compete with men? Can women really have it all?