*Author’s note: This good ol blog recently turned 4 years old! OMG time flies. Especially when you don’t write blog posts regularly lol. Nonetheless, I thank everyone who was with me since day one and all those who I have picked up along the way.*
I don’t think women can have it all. I just don’t think so. We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all. My husband and I have been married for 34 years. And we have two daughters. And every day you have to make a decision about whether you are going to be a wife or a mother, in fact many times during the day you have to make those decisions.
I read this candid statement by PepsiCo’s CEO, Indra K. Nooyi, in a recent interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival, and thought, “More women should need to hear this and say this.”
I am currently in the infant stages of my career. I am not yet a wife or a mother, but I aspire to be. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted a career (in what? IDK!), a husband, and children. In the same lifetime. I haven’t actively pursued one over the other. Meaning, I didn’t avoid committed relationships in order to pursue my education and a career (let’s be real – I avoided committed relationships because [redacted] ain’t [redacted]). I didn’t give up dreams of a career to start a family. I never ranked these priorities in order of importance because they were all equally important. And my plan was to have all of these things – the order in which they were obtained was up to God.
To have each of these things – career, spouse, children – individually is hard work. Starting and advancing a career requires a lot of work, dedication and sacrifice. Joining your with another person requires a lot of work, dedication, and sacrifice. Being a parent requires a lot of work, dedication and sacrifice. Having all three situations at once can’t possibly be easy. Especially in a world where womanhood is constantly challenged (damned if you do, damned if you don’t). Nor is it likely one can do all of these things well and give the proper attention to each. Something has to give. Something will give. And someone(s) will suffer the consequences.
I think what it boils down to is you can “have” it all, but you aren’t going to have it all well, the way you want it, or without having some resentment or guilt in the process. And I appreciate that Indra was so honest about her experience and her struggles with being a mother, a wife, a daughter, and a CEO.
I also appreciate what Indra’s mother said.
You might be president of PepsiCo. You might be on the board of directors. But when you enter this house, you’re the wife, you’re the daughter, you’re the daughter-in-law, you’re the mother. You’re all of that. Nobody else can take that place.
What I took from that was (whether this was the intention or not, ha!) if you’re going to take on all these titles, there have to be boundaries. When you’re home, you’re these things. When you’re at work, you’re these other things. Everything has its appropriate time and place. That makes sense to me.
I have no idea what life will bring my way, but I think I’m up for the challenge. I know trying to have it all will be hard to balance – there will always be things in constant flux – and I wouldn’t expect anything else. Hearing a woman like Indra say she feels guilt and is always looking for ways to cope inspires me. Sure, it’s scary and unnerving to know that you won’t be good at everything all the time, but what’s the alternative? Not being fulfilled or regretting never trying to have it all? That almost seems worse.
What the hell are you supposed to do? Can you have your cake and eat it too?
Wanting it all… kinda,