Can you have it all? I’m still not sure. But what I do know is that it’s not easy to achieve and getting to “all” is extremely difficult.
I took the easy way out: I left my well-paying, exciting job as an editor at a large publishing house to stay home and freelance, which gave me flexibility and the opportunity to be with my children day and night. I had tired of the travel, the commute, and a host of other things related to the job. And I could see that I was suffering mentally because I felt tremendous guilt that I had left my child at home with a nanny, Tracy, who was paid a handsome sum every week.
The first day that I stayed home and imposed some discipline on my four-and-a-half year old, she proclaimed, “I miss Tracy!”
So much for putting your dreams on hold.
But I’ve been thinking about this concept of having it all what with the nomination of Sarah Palin for vice president on the Republican ticket. It seems like for as far as we’ve come, we haven’t gotten anywhere, because people are still talking about how this mother of five children—the youngest just several months old with special needs—will attend to the second largest job in the world, in terms of scope. One part of me is offended that we’re even having this conversation. The other? Totally gets it.
I’m a proud third-wave feminist. Our mothers, aunts, sisters, grandmothers, and friends gave up a lot to give us what we have today. My grandmother, for one, worked full-time while my mother was a child—and as you know, did an admirable job—and she was in the minority, but she paved the way for me to go to college, to delay marriage if I wanted, to delay having children if I wanted, to have a career. To have it all.
So why did I decide to give it up just when it seemed like I had snared the brass ring? And why do I feel like Sarah Palin, if she is indeed our next vice-president, will be allowing something in her life to suffer by having it all, be it her family, her job, or a little bit of both?
I’m feeling disloyal to the team, girls, and I don’t like it. And I feel like I’m tossing out more questions than I’m answering, but I feel truly conflicted. What part of the conversation that we’re currently having should focus on the fact that Sarah Palin has a large brood and is running for office? Should it be part of the conversation at all? It certainly isn’t when it comes to our male candidates, obviously.
I know a lot of people have little affection for Hillary Clinton, but in terms of this debate, I have to say that she is someone that the right (with a capital R) should embrace whole-heartedly. After all, she put her life on hold for first, her husband’s career, and second, seemingly, for her daughter’s well being. Yet, during the nomination process, she was portrayed as all sorts of bad—bad wife, bad mother, bad feminist, bad Democrat, bad woman. To my mind, she made the decision that you can have it all—just not all at the same time. And I think that’s the conclusion I’m finally coming to.
Ok, Stiletto readers: weigh in. Is it possible to have it all and if so, what, if any, are the costs?