Tuesday, July 08, 2014

A Peek Into the Life of a Working Mom: Trying to Have it All

"You can't have it all. Nobody can!" -Baby Boom

"Having it all" is a hot topic these days. As working moms we "bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan". We also shop for it, put in in the refrigerator and plan the meals that require that bacon.  We also wrangle playpens, juggle play dates, and wipe noses. We strive daily to make each precious moment count with our little ones. And we struggle with the guilt that comes with leaving our little ones in the care of others. Indeed, no working mom rises to the top without relying on others to care for her children—unless she waits to work until they grow up. And if that working mom is also married, finding time to make her spouse can be tougher still. (Check out this post about "Sex, Work, and Motherhood")

Our family recently expanded to include a new baby. We bought a new house. And I am returning to work from maternity leave this week. So, issues of balance and having it all are near and dear to my heart.


Photo of the baby

Not only do we struggle to "have it all", we struggle to find time brush our teeth

This discussion has been going on for a lifetime, but has gained steadily gained steam over the past two years.  Recently, the discussion was punctuated by comments made by Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo in a recent interview. In the vein of Anne Marie Slaughter, Nooyi says "women can't have it all". 

She makes this comment without fanfare or drama.  She simply declares it as a fact. The premise is it is impossible to be in more than one place at once.  So, it is impossible to do it all, which means that it is absolutely impossible to have it all. Since Ms. Nooyi is a CEO and a wife and mother to two daughters she speaks from experience.  

Is it really impossible to have it all?

As I mentioned above, I'm returning to work from my maternity leave this week after having my second child.  My maternity leave taught me that being a stay-at-home-mom is no picnic.  However, working outside of the home will present different challenges.  My days of being able to completely focus on my baby are over. My days will no longer be consumed by staring at my baby, playing with him and counting his dirty diapers.  I will have to outsource the joys and challenges of that. Instead, I will be back in the saddle and the wild ride that is called my job duties and being a true working mom as that term has been defined by the media.

Mom focusing on the baby (toddler and husband not pictured)
Even as I prepare to go to work, I realize that I may tend to agree with Ms. Nooyi and Ms. Slaughter. It may be impossible to have it all. 

I only have two arms, one arm for each child. This tells the story.  Two arms and two children + husband + job. I won't even include the ever elusive "me time", our home renovations, selling our current house, paying bills, scheduling activities for the kids, grocery shopping, cooking dinner, showering and brushing my teeth.  While, I was happy to learn that a mother's heart expands with each child. The hours in the day did not.   

How can I possibly do it all??? I guess, I have to juggle.  As I do that I will have to recognize that many balls will be in the air, but only one will be in my hands at a time. All of these balls require my attention, but I will have to keep my focus on each one individually if I expect it to work.  Notably, I have to keep each of them in the air. If I don't, I will drop all of them.

Wish me luck!

Me focusing on the toddler (husband and baby not pictured)

VIDEO-PepsiCo CEO, Indra Nooyi: Women can't have it all 


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