Penelope Trunk has such great insight into what it means to be a woman, earn money, and raise kids (given that she does all three). She also happens to be one of my favorite bloggers.
Today she talked about Marissa Mayer. If you choose not to click on the link, Ms. Mayer is the newly appointed CEO of Yahoo. She is also pregnant with her first child. She is being celebrated for being pregnant, running a public company, and suggesting that she will come back to work after two weeks of maternity leave.
I agree whole-heartedly with Penelope’s take on this situation, which, in a nutshell, is ‘Why the hell are we celebrating this?’
How many women out there have either put motherhood on hold to have a career, or had kids while having their high-powered careers, and just nanny’d themselves up to the hilt in order to ‘have it all’?
Since the 70s, the feminist movement has encouraged us to — no — insisted we go after everything men have because we are equal.
As Penelope points out — this is not news.
I went this route. I had my nanny, ran my own multi-million dollar business, and had my kids. I went back to work immediately after having babies. I timed my labours with my last 2 kids so that I could have the babies during weekends and therefore not miss too much work. I almost died from pneumonia which was brought on, I’m sure, by burnout. I worked and worked and worked.
And I paid. I paid with my health.
And my kids paid. They paid with their mother not being around much.
As Penelope points out, what WOULD be newsworthy is a discussion around how women can accept that having kids means giving up on their careers. And a discussion around creative ways to work with this reality.
What I know is being a stay-at-home mom is not for me, but neither is working 80 hours a week. And going back to work 2 days after having a baby is horrible when every fiber of your being wants to be at home and just BE — with the baby.
My youngest turns 7 months tomorrow.
And I will no longer attempt to ‘have it all’. Because ‘having it all’ inevitably means sacrificing something.. And currently, that sacrifice would be missing out on her life and how rapidly she is changing.
Since I have such clear parameters about what I am not willing to give up, the rest is falling into place quite nicely. I am out there doing what I do best: meeting with people and potential clients, and I am making headway and gaining confidence. I have some projects on the go, and it feels good.
Yes, I still have a nanny. But she is now a support rather than the main person in the home role. Yes, I still work. But work is no longer the main focus. This is:
And I am so much happier.