You may remember Lori Gottlieb – author of the bestseller, Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough. I was Lori’s dating coach while she wrote her book and I remain a fan of her writing, which is generally funny, self-aware, and accessible. Her latest article, in The Atlantic, is no different: Why There’s No Such Thing as ‘Having It All’—and There Never Will Be. This piece is a reaction to this week’s Atlantic cover story by Anne-Marie Slaughter, titled Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.
I was inclined to write a long response, adding fuel to the fire, but this series of articles has gone so viral that there’s now an entire page dedicated to women’s work/life balance on the Atlantic website.
The one that best describes my thoughts, apart from the Gottlieb piece, was the one written by James Joyner, entitled “Men Can’t Have It All Either”.
To sum up, in short, people do what they want. Not men. Not women. People. If you want to work 70 hours a week, your relationships will suffer. If you want to be there for your children, you have to work less. If you want to achieve great things in your career, you better have a supportive spouse who is willing to somewhat sacrifice his/her career OR have a lot of money to pay for a full-time nanny. As others have already pointed out, these are simply rich people problems. The vast majority of the world doesn’t even have the illusion of “having it all”.
If you want to achieve great things in your career, you better have a supportive spouse who is willing to somewhat sacrifice his/her career OR have a lot of money to pay for a full-time nanny.
As a driven, successful man, I’m thrilled to have a wife who, by her own accord, decided to become a full-time mom after 17 years at her company. She found the calling of motherhood to be more important than her satisfying career and was surprised that she doesn’t even feel the pull for part-time work right now.
She’s equally entitled to her career. This was her choice. If she decided to work again, these would be our choices:
If she went back part time, we’d need a nanny for the 2 days a week she would work.
If she went back full-time, we’d need a full-time nanny/daycare.
And if she were really ambitious, it would fall upon me to work part-time in order to accommodate her travel and 70 hour work weeks.
You either need a ton of money or one partner has to give.