Saturday, 29 May 2010

having it all

via a friend on facebook, this piece from holly robinson at the huffington post asking whether women can really have it all:

Fast forward 18 years. Husband #1 and I are divorced (but still friends). I have, for the most part, continued to raise our children while he has traveled. He rose through the ranks of his company to become a Really Big Cheese. Meanwhile, I kept freelancing. I took more jobs as the kids got older, but I was still the one on call for snow days and sick days, school vacations and summer, juggling what needs to be juggled by mothers everywhere.

I put motherhood before my career. That was my choice. Little did I know that, just by having a baby, I was jeopardizing my career and putting myself at risk for poverty, as so many
studies around the world show....

Husband #2 is a wonderful domestic partner when he's at home. He'd be a better stay-at-home parent than I would be in many ways. However, again the reality is that he makes more money than I do, and he has the health benefits. So, when somebody has to take a day off to meet the appliance repairman or take a kid to sports practices, it's me.

It's me, and it's most working mothers, who -- even before we get to our desks every morning -- have to wake kids and get them dressed, make breakfasts and lunches, throw in loads of laundry, bake for the PTO sale, fill in the permission slips for field trips, schedule haircuts and oil changes, figure out summer camp and daycare and dinner. And, oh yeah, try to get to to our desks on time to meet deadlines. Maybe even while wearing matching socks.

this puts me in mind of blue milk's post that i linked to a while back, and the difficult choices we all have to make. to me, one of the main issues is that, as a society we need women in leadership positions. we will all benefit when that happens. but how much are we prepared to let individual women sacrifice for them to reach those positions? how much as a society are we prepared to support women so that they can get there?

another important point that comes up in comments to the post is the fact that women need to be financially independent if they are to avoid poverty in case of a divorce. i have a friend who works for a budget advisory service, and she is always surprised at the number of women who haven't planned or even thought about how they'd survive if a divorce happens.


Anonymous said...

A great article for you to comment on in another post. Hill Cone gasps for air with this:

"Oh, I know some women will read this and think: "Good job, rich bitches getting their comeuppance and what about Pacific Island cleaners in South Auckland who work two jobs?" To them I'd say, point taken. But remember, everything is relative. When you have had something and then it is taken away, it takes strength of character to adapt and get on with it; keep calm and carry on".

Yes I firmly believe it is worse to have it all then lose it than never to have had it all and still be slaving away working 60 hour weeks cleaning still barely able to afford food for the table!!!

AnneE said...

"difficult choices we all have to make" - hmm. It's abundantly clear every day that such choices rarely apply to men. Pete Bethune, for example - no hesitation whatsoever in leading exactly the life he chooses, AND having a woman partner and children, regardless of what they've gone through as a result of his choices. The women I know who have outstanding public achievements have either constantly struggled with what the government laughably calls "work-life balance" (when it's really work-work balance), or made the difficlt choice to stay single or at least childless. Unlike Bethune and his ilk.