I’m sure you’ve heard the news by now. Women are closing the currency gap between themselves and their male counterparts. Or even out-earning (See USA Today article).
As a footnote, these news blurbs note that “women earning the most income are under 35, unmarried, and don’t have children.”
Clearly, these women have made a choice, are intelligent or excellent managers, and have been fiscally rewarded. I myself have made a different one.
I turned 28 a few weeks ago (gasp – – I know. I DID publicly reveal my age). I have a master’s degree and hold a managerial title for a university-based non-profit. I celebrated my second wedding anniversary and my first child’s first birthday this past June.
When I learned my husband and I were expecting, there was never a question in my mind that I would return to work after maternity leave. My professional identity has always been important to me and a piece of who I am. I thought it would be a disservice to my family if I gave that up.
But I wasn’t sacrificing my family or my child’s development for my job.
So I juggle. Meetings, play dates, nap times, conference calls, events, planning sessions, lunches, playground visits, interviews, laundry, friends, doctors appointments, commuting, interviews, blocks, playdough…
Kinda makes me tired just thinking about it.
And while I might not have the time to network every evening like my non-child-rearing counterparts, you bet I make time for an important social event. And story hour. And mommy-and-me. And a walk by myself every now and then.
My life doesn’t fall into neat little categories. I can’t shuffle things into neat little “family-related,” “work-related,” “friend-related,” and “me-related” piles or chunks of time. I prioritize, shift and everything is categorized as “my life related.” Everything in my life is entwined. Or maybe I’m just not facile in compartmentalizing.
While I applaud women who are shattering that glass ceiling, I keep going back to my mom’s story. Young attorney. Three active kids. Yet, she made every school function, teacher’s meeting, I-missed-the-bus-and-need-a-ride-to-school, dance class, tennis match… you name it.
Thirty years later, did she make partner in a big downtown law firm? No. She’s partner in her own private practice. She had to go out on her own in order to have flexibility to work and raise her kids the way she wanted. If you ask her now, she wouldn’t have had it any other way.
I’ve had the great privilege of meeting many fabulous moms out there who were on the fast track in a corporate setting, but felt pressured to leave and start their own companies so they could create a culture of family in their workplace. A lot of times these ‘workplaces’ are their own living room.
Have we really come that far then? Or is today’s corporate environment morphing into a gender-reversed MadMen episode?
It seems that ‘family’ still hasn’t permeated corporate culture. Isn’t it about time we changed that?