Finally, someone has been brave enough to at least say the unthinkable. Amy WesterveltÂ ofÂ MediumÂ sets the story straight and voices what I, as a wife, mom, and full time entrepreneur Â have been feeling overÂ the last few months. Can women have it all? For that matter, can men have it all? There are arguments on both sides. You may want to have all the man, woman gender equality talks you want, but when it comes down to it, women are just engineered differently. There is no competition but if I were to put it in business terms we are two different categories and we are not competitors.
Women are born with certain capabilities, that men just don’t possess. And vice versa. But time and society choose what women do with those skills. We are all trying but nothing can happen in isolation. Society needs to stop telling us what to do and how to do it. I am not less ambitious but I want to stop doing an average job at just about everything.
I want to work hard to have that fit, chiselled body that I always wanted, I want to be at that extra class my daughter wants to sign up for, I want to travel and catch up with friends more often, I want to read that book that’s been lying by my bed side for over 6 months, I want to meet my parents more often because I know time is running out and I don’t ever want to look back and think I didn’t make the most of it. I want to travel the world while I am young because I know that’s what I love the most.
Women who have it all also have extremely efficient support systems. I can work 16 hours at a stretch only if I know there is someone who is watching my baby at home. I know there is someone to play or keep my older one entertained and that she isn’t watching hours of television daily. Everything at home needs to work like clockwork, and yes, that is why we spend hours organising and calling, and making lists and checking it twice. We can’t afford to have it any other way.
The truth is we all get back to work after childbirth without allowing our minds and body to heal because there is tremendous pressure for and on women because we need to work, pay bills, stay sane, dream, prove to ourselves and the rest of the world that we have a degree and that we are not wasting it. Each time I think of ‘Lean In’ I want to ask all those women a question what have you lost in the bargain? I want to ask all those women who proudly proclaim they have achieved the impossible by ‘having it all’, what do your spouses do? Do they have a job that’s just as demanding? Is their cholesterol in check? Are they working hard on health or wealth, because the other side of 30 the latter should matter.
We as a society are fine with companies acknowledging the fact that they are ‘losing’ female employees to childbirth and are now paying for their female employees to freeze their eggs. Seriously? We are fine with that?! Why shouldn’t we as women demand that companies they work for give them the time off during their prime childbearing years to have a baby, take some time off, and return to work without having to worry about losing their place in line, or worse their entire career!
Yes, women want to have it all, because we are ambitious too. But what we are ignoring is that in the quest to have everything we are compromising what we truly are. We are women, not hamsters on the wheel of life.