Having a life vs. having it all…

OK – so I have to comment on Anne-Marie Slaughter’s commentary in today’s Atlantic Magazine called “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All”.  My take away is that we need to be honest with ourselves, that the system isn’t set up for us to have high-powered careers and kids, unless we’re “superhuman, rich, or self-employed”.  Sometimes we have to choose.  I definitely agree with that sentiment — 3 years ago I resigned as Vice Provost so I could go back on the faculty and have a more flexible schedule for my kids (along with other reasons).  My timing was good, my kids were just getting to the point where they would need shuttling to their activities in the afternoon, and it also allowed me to pursue some projects that I had been wanting to do for a long time, like my company “Take Back the Trail” – there were a lot of factors that led to that decision, and I definitely don’t regret it.

I agree that policy needs to change so that more women can choose to take on leadership positions and not feel like they have to sacrifice their families to do it. I have a husband who has always been very engaged and a great father, which has allowed me to pursue many different types of leadership positions in my job as a professor and in the community.  But I probably have more influence in the community now, than I did as Vice Provost.  Anne-Marie Slaughter is still a very much sought after speaker and analyst.  I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing that we find different ways to influence our world, whether it’s Austin, TX or the world of foreign affairs. We are still role models for women who want a life — that’s what I want.  A life that includes my husband and kids, my business, traveling, etc…

I’m not really sure what it means to have it all — but I do know that I have what I want, and I know that I will eventually be in a top-level leadership position, but it will be on my own terms. And besides true work-aholics, does anyone think that working 80-100  hours per week is part of “having it all”?

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Terri

Soccer Mom, Professor, Athlete, Entrepreneur, Activist

4 thoughts on “Having a life vs. having it all…”

  1. Reblogged this on tressiemc and commented:
    Boy did I step in it with my twitter response to Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article in The Atlantic about women having it all. For some reason it didn’t resonate with me and I made the mistake of saying so aloud. I am, apparently, the only one. I’ve always said that I’m the anti-taste maker, though. If you want to know if something will appeal to the popular masses? Ask me if I hate it. If I do? You’ve got a hit on your hands.

    But I didn’t hate this article; it simply does not speak to me in a way that’s particularly revelatory. I don’t know if that is a function of class, race or — as I’m beginning to suspect — having been raised by Vivian. Whatever it is the premise of the expecting to have it “all” was not one I ever, ever, ever had. I had a narrative so different instilled in me that it’s almost comical to re-tell it. Suffice to say, I was to work hard, do my best, but always know that deck was stacked against me. “All” wasn’t even a thing much less a goal. You could get lucky in life and get “less sh*t” or get unlucky and get “more sh*t.” “No sh*t” simply wasn’t an option.

    Having said that, the lovely Terri Givens has written about her experience with the idea of “having it all.”

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