Can Women Have It All?
At the beginning of my freshman year, a panel of female journalists talked about women in the workplace, and the struggles of being a full-time parent while having a full-time job. During the discussion it was duly noted how hard this two full-time job lifestyle was, but how rewarding and fulfilling it was, as well.I can speak for more than one female audience member as we breathed a sigh of relief, but also felt a wave of preemptive panic.Young girls have never been given more encouragement from the adult world to seek, seize and live their dreams to the fullest extent. But, in this society where we encourage girls to “take it all” have we coached them on how to keep it all?What does it even mean to “have it all?”On one hand it could mean having a family and a career, a career or just a family, or maybe neither. To me, “having it all” is the definition of your life’s most fulfilling factors. For the rising generations of women, “having it all” has been dubbed successfully balancing the life of a mother while having a career. To a young woman, this aspiration is inspiring and terrifying.Thankfully, women are successfully proving themselves as leaders and mothers. But, answers vary on how possible it is to have a happy life while maintaining these dichotomous lifestyles.According to PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, it’s not possible.Nooyi is a married woman of 34 years and a mother of two, along with her full-time job as the CEO of PepsiCo: the second largest food and beverage industry in the world. At the Aspen Ideas Festival, Nooyi spoke of the difficulties encountered as a mother and career woman, and her belief that it’s not truly possible to ‘have it all’.“I just don’t think so,” she said in the interview. “We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all.”“My observation…is that the biological clock and the career clock are in total conflict with each other…Stay at home mothering was a full time job. Being a CEO for a company is three full time jobs rolled into one. How can you do justice to all? You can’t.”Granted, not every woman dreams of becoming the CEO of a major industry. However, many women with time-consuming careers have related that while enjoying their career lifestyle, they forgot to raise a family, and suddenly their window was closing.When faced with this realization, the future goal of raising a family suddenly becomes a daunting deadline.How do we enjoy our lives with these struggles clearly lying ahead?We’ve all heard the term “juggling” more than once in this situation; how these two lives are related to finding balance in between the many obstacles faced each day.Gloria Feldt once told me in an interview, “You can do anything, you can be anything, but that doesn’t mean you have to do and be everything. You still are the person who’s in charge of you.”‘Having it all’ is achievable by your own definition, of how far you’re willing to go and still say at the end of the day that you’re satisfied. It’s possible to raise a family and form a career. It’s also possible that complete happiness is not achievable given the mounting stressors.Ultimately, it comes down to your choice of fulfillments and happiness.