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Tuesday

Mommy Mondays: Many women are doing it all, but are they happy???

I began Monday morning like many working mothers--exhausted and questioning where the weekend went. As working mothers we have two full time jobs. We are professionals and mothers. We have to manage their careers and manage our households. Two full time jobs requires a great deal of energy and involves compromise.
 
Often women leave the work force because they simply cannot figure out how to "have it all" and maintain their sanity. In my experience from talking with women the lack of supportive work environments cause them to leave the workforce because doing it all becomes too hard.  And from personal experience, on Monday mornings it is damned hard especially when I'm tired and leave my daughter with a smile on her face after she asks me for a hug because she wants just one moe moment with mommy...
 

Many women are doing it all, but do they like it???

Given that something like over 60% of mothers work, people aren't asking the question about "can women have it all" because they don't know mothers who work and mother. They ask the question because they don't know that many mothers who are working full-time who are not often frazzled, frustrated, and rushing around constantly.
 
We know mothers who work. We even know "professional women" with "interesting jobs" who pay them a nice living. We may even be one of those women.  We just don't know a lot of mothers who are doing it all and seem blissfully happy about their lives. Instead we know women who are working and mothering who may whine more than a little bit.

They may show up late to parties, stand us up for lunch, and always look like they need a manicure, a haircut or both.  We may see new moms who returned from maternity leave months ago, have failed to drop the baby weight and seem to be in a constant haze because they haven't slept a full night since the baby was born. And while they would have really liked to say on leave longer, the policy didn't allow it and they couldn't afford to lose their jobs.
 
Based on our observations, we also secretly wonder whether any woman is doing it and having a great sex life. Perhaps that's just me though...
 

I wish that Sheryl Sandberg had written a different book...

Many women, including me have criticized some of Sheryl Sandberg's assertions in her book, "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.  Some believe that no woman as wealthy and as privileged as Sandberg, the current Harvard educated CFO of Facebook, should be doling out advice to us "regular folk" about how to make it work. Others are annoyed by the entire premise of "Lean In" because they do not believe that their lack of career advancement is a product of their failure to stay focused.
 
Others, like my mother, believe that Sandberg's career at both Google and Facebook is the equivalent of hitting the career lottery and she should simply count her blessings instead of judging others.  I am critical of Sandberg because I think that she took the easy way out. I think that the more courageous book would have been one about how corporate America can change to maxmize the talents of its female workforce.  I suppose my criticism is misplaced though. That's really the book that I need to write...

Below is a link to the TED talk entitled, "Why We Have So Few Women Leaders", that started it all. In the video, Sandberg outlines what has become her book. After watching it I had a better appreciation for her position. She doesn't deny that corporate america needs to change, she simply chooses not to discuss that issue...  
 

Sheryl Sandberg TED Talk

 

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