Ladies, Can We Have It All?

I’m not exactly sure what it means to have it all.

Maybe Halle Berry is an example of a woman that has it all. Brains, beauty, talent, that body, a baby, a flourishing career and Gabriel Aubry.

Halle and Gabriel-Expectant Bliss.

Halle and Gabriel Fight for Custody

Nope. She doesn’t have it all. So I googled “you can have it all”.  Here’s a small sampling of the results:

  • A Woman CEO’s View: No, You Can’t Have It All
  • Christina Aguilera Says Women Can Have It All
  • The Myth that Women Can “Have It All”
  • Note to Working Women: You Can Have It All
That’s just confusing. But as I look at what google threw at me, I realize what “having it all” has come to mean: a woman has it all if she can stay sane while balancing a family and a career. If a woman chooses to opt out of either, or she feels like she’s losing her sanity, she doesn’t have it all.

That sounds like a crock.  I made a list of what I consider as “having it all”. My list is much longer than career, sanity and family. Here are a few of my criteria:
  • I want the house to stay clean.
  • I want the laundry done properly.
  • I want my children to have a good education academically and morally.
  • I want to have Cheez-Its and mochas more often.
  • I want to get out of the slushpile.
  • I want to spend more time with my husband.

I already know the first two are impossible, therefore I can be certain I will never have it all. I’m OK with that.

I’m not OK with what the “You Can Have It All” mentality did to you and I.

It made us feel that we were less if we chose a career over a family or a family over a career. And if we chose both, it made us feel inferior if the stress of a career and family took it’s toll on us. It actually diminished us.

The most damaging result of the “You Can Have It All” mentality is the effect it had on relationships between women. We were made to feel that there was only one right choice, but nobody ever agreed what that was. Women began to eye each other suspiciously. Some felt superior to those who made different choices. Others became very insecure in their own choice. Many were resentful. The choice they were taught was correct left them unfulfilled and unhappy.

Even now, gatherings have the potential to become uncomfortable ordeals, each group with its own impenetrable circle: working women with children, stay-at-home moms, and working women without children, mixing only when necessary with superficial niceness.

I say we change the slogan of womanhood from “You Can Have It All” to “You Can Do What You Are Called To Do”. That’s not very catchy. Oh well, we don’t need a slogan.

Let’s just meet for coffee or  martinis and trade stories about our unique lives in the trenches.



2 comments on “Ladies, Can We Have It All?

  1. It would seem to me that if women would adopt your slogan, we’d all be much better off! Yes, we are all unique, each with our own calling. The pressures out there to measure up to what “society” says we should, just doesn’t make sense — and society keeps changing it’s mind! How are we supposed to keep up?

    I wonder how it is for men. Do they feel other men size up their choices by how family-minded or career-minded they are?


    • I think for men it is a little different. I think they are judged by their career choice for the most part. Success or failure is based on income, postition and society’s perception of their chosen career.


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