Anne-Marie Slaughter’s “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” in the current edition of The Atlantic got me thinking.
I do believe a woman can have it all. Life is all about choices—this is just as true for men as it is for women.
I have a theatre degree and had seen women with their children playing hide and seek in rows of seating or with their Barbies in the aisles during rehearsals, one eye on their napping baby and the other on the actors they were directing and made a different choice for myself.
I so admired these mothers, but wanted something different and opted to try to impact theatres by being an attendee and board member and make my living advancing the arts in other ways.
I got lucky in working for Americans for the Arts, and its predecessor organization. I love this work. It is hard and important. That said, I was honestly relieved when my husband came home miserable from a job he hated and we agreed it would be best for him to stay home for a while. I wanted him to be happy and thought it would be great for him to be available to take my daughter to doctor visits and soccer practices.
It meant major financial sacrifices for sure, but it enabled me to do this job and at the same time rarely miss a soccer game, crew match, helping her study for exams, or walking her through a difficult social situation at school. I made an agreement with Bob Lynch (our President and CEO) that I would get in the office early and start running, but I would be out of here each night in time for dinner (with obvious exceptions for events and conferences).
There are great role models all around me. I have never looked for society to tell me who I am supposed to be, how I am supposed to spend my time, or what I am supposed to do with my life. I have gone with gut and drive. I never worried about whether a man was climbing higher or getting paid more.
I just believe that working as hard as you can, making mistakes, giving credit to others, and making a difference is what it is all about. As a result, my daughter may think I am insane from time to time, but we couldn’t be closer. I can’t say I am a role model for her or that I have always been as patient as I should be with her (or anyone for that matter) but we all do the best we can.
Why is that not enough?
Yes, if you want to be the President or her Chief of Staff you will not be able to be home for dinner every night. Make a choice and go with it. You aren’t making a sacrifice, you are making a choice to have what you want.
Be true to your own values, whether you are a man or a woman and you will be richly rewarded with love, good work, friends, and money—if that’s what you are into. I have never understood any woman or man who stood in judgment of another for the choices that person made. I have had some brilliant mentors who are men and women I admire and can learn from. I can’t say I would choose their lives, but I adore everything about them and have grown as a result of knowing them.
Be true to yourself, make choices for yourself, and you will be fulfilled.