See Mommy Work

“Having It All” is Over-Rated

Posted on: February 25, 2011

My Mom is one of those awesome, spit-fire of independence, 1970’s “I don’t need anyone but myself” women.  Don’t think bra-burner here, the soundtrack of her life is more along the lines of Aretha Franklin’s R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  Women of my Mom’s generation stood up and made sure everyone took notice of the fact that women are just as intelligent and competent as men.  Those sisters paved the way for us to take our rightful place among the Good Old Boys in the wonderful world of work.

Today I’m there – a well-educated woman with both a family and a career.  I’ve looked around a bit and decided that it isn’t all that it is cracked up to be.  My battle cry no longer has to be about getting a place at the table.  Me and my Momma-Sisterhood have a new ultimatum:  make the workplace “table” more family-friendly if you want us (and our talents) to stick around.  Thanks to the foundation laid by the last generation, this is a threat that carries a good deal of weight in today’s business world.

I have made a purposeful choice to work only part-time, with a little freelance on the side.  I designed my career around the foundation that is my family, rather than the other way around.  If getting to the top means that I have to flip that equation and let my job take over the foundation, I simply do not want to be there right now. 

The tide is starting to turn, but there is still a lot of ground to cover.  Companies are beginning to listen – offering telecommuting, flexible schedules, and other perks that make juggling work and family a little less frenetic.  My prediction?  Companies who are successful in adopting family-friendly policies will score big in the talent acquisition of today’s up and coming female professionals.

What do you think?



8 Responses to "“Having It All” is Over-Rated"

Great post, Michelle! I look forward to one day having a family of my own and not having to “give up” on my career to do so. I applaud companies that take family life into consideration. -Kate

Kate thanks for stopping by and leaving a mark! 🙂 Kids definitely change the value of the currency we call time and energy.

Well said, Michelle. When I had my first of two children, I was lucky to work for one of these progressive employers you speak of. He was willing to risk letting me work half of the day at the office and the other half at home so my husband and I could take care of our children ourselves. It was a terrific arrangement that worked well for everyone. I knew I was blazing a trail within the agency. A lot rested on my success with this privilege and I worked harder than ever for a year.

When a new CEO stepped in, he did not share the philosophy you eloquently outlined, and I had to choose between family and career. I was sad to leave but when backed into a corner, I chose family. I’m looking forward to getting back a professional career when my children are in school. Until then, I cherish the joys of snow soup and Play-dough.

I think this blog is a wonderful idea and so relevant to women today. I look forward to reading your posts.
– Amy K.

Amy, thanks for sharing your story. It is a real tragedy that so many talented women have to choose between work and family. Personally, I think the tide is turning. Here is a great article I just came across on a similar topic: Is having it all a blessing or a curse?

Great, I agree overrated yes, but I love it. Love my family but working is an outlet for me and it helps me be a better wife and mother also.

Carolina, well said! I am actually exploring that very idea for an upcoming post – the fact that working away from home and kids has a positive influence on your Motherhood.

What is “having it all”? It’s personal…

Since the birth of our oldest son, now five, I have (very) slowly transitioned from an intense and demanding 20-year career, to full-time motherhood…which, it turns out, is even more intense and demanding!

The changes have not been easy (just ask my long-suffering husband:)!)…giving up clients, co-workers, friends…and taking on a tight budget and major priority changes. And, there’ve certainly been a few days when I asked myself whether we made the right choice. But, for me, right now, this IS “having it all” and I’m thankful for the opportunity!!

I encourage every mom and dad to really consider the possibilities. The payoff far exceeds the cost!


Angie, I love the angle you looked at this through! Very refreshing. Thanks for your comment.

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Michelle St. Onge

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