Recently I read an article by Anne-Marie Slaughter called, "Why Women Still CanÃ¢Â�Â�t Have It All." I was blown away by her candor, and unbelievable insight into a dilemma I struggle with on a daily basis. Iâ��ve been told my entire life that I can, â��have it all,â�� only to realize that Iâ��m not really sure what "all" even means. I was blessed to be raised in an incredibly empowered family environment, so I have the curse of actually thinking I can do it all. That being said, my compulsive Type A personality has also landed me in the hospital several times for exhaustion and stress overload. At 28 (just two weeks shy of 29), I am faced with the ever-present and rather unoriginal pressure of the â��family vs. careerâ�� dilemma.
For the record, I abhor the expectations that by certain, arbitrary ages you “should” have purchased your dream car, own a house, be married, and have kids. I vehemently don’t subscribe to anyone’s expectations except my own, but I have wrestled with my personal beliefs regarding wanting both a very successful career as well as a successful marriage and look forward to a house of lovely, well-behaved rugrats. While I’m not saying you have to make a choice between the two, I’m just agreeing with the recent article in The Atlantic (which you really must read) that there’s no simple solution.
Seeing as I am eons away from both marriage and kids, all I can speak to is the life of a career-focused female. Since graduate school, I have poured my blood, sweat, and tears into I AM THAT GIRL, making very real sacrifices along the way. One of which is only having one short, six-month relationship in almost four, going on five years. The excuses for not dating were very real, since I am rarely in the same city for more than a week and I work insane hours. I'm also wonderfully fulfilled and passionate about my work. So you see, itâ��s been easy to toss awkward first dates from my list of priorities when the very rare â��down timeâ�� I have is spent with my best friends.
I am aware of the astronomically high correlation between being a successful woman and being single. While I believe that relationships can’t be forced and husbands can’t be dialed up, though online dating is making that more and more of a reality, I do think that relationships are more important to me than ever before. Although since I don't have a spare minute in the day, I don’t know how I’d physically have the time to inject the work required for a serious relationship, much less the high demand of kids.
So, I’m hoping that you weren’t excepting any kind of solutions or brilliant epiphany on this dilemma. I am offering my two cents, though, and the reassurance that I’m as confused as the next girl. Like the diet pills that promise you’ll lose 30 pounds but still somehow eat whatever you want and never work out; it just seems a little too good to be true. To say that I can or should have an incredibly successful and lucrative career, be a smoking hot wife with a wonderful marriage as well as be a phenomenal mother, all while feeling content, stress-free and happy, just seems a bit unrealistic. I’m the first to say that “anything is possible,” but at the same time, I think I, along with every other girl in my generation, would rather be fed the hard truth with a delicate dose of candor.Images courtesy of Usnews.com, Theicosamagazine.com