"Doing it all" - Careerhood PLUS Motherhood

I've been coming across some interesting discussions on the concept of motherhood and "doing it all" as a result of the new Sarah Jessica Parker movie "I don't know how she does it" and Beyonce's pregnancy announcement. I've noticed a number of women who are mothers comment that there really is no such thing as "doing it all" and that as a mother/wife and a career woman, one side or the other will suffer. This is very interesting to me as I begin to seriously think about when I would like to have children. A comment from xobolaji  really stuck out to me:

Women and pregnant women are being sold a bill of goods and those of us who try desperately to live up to the image of a balanced “supermom” fail miserably because you cannot have it all, nor can you do it all. quite simply, most of us lack the resources.

Also, it is virtually impossible to adequately split your time between motherhood and careerhood for the simple reason that one inevitably takes precedence over the other. more often than not, moms tend to "opt out"--it's usually the case that they are driven-out-- of the more high paying positions because it requires that they put the business first. you cannot have a high-paying salary and assume that the CEO is going to be sympathetic to your childcare needs even though most companies are now trying to make it possible for women to sustain their careers. I haven’t even touched on the psychological implications of marketing this unachievable dream to women in general. Recent studies show that women on both sides are depressed because they can’t keep up with the demands of motherhood let alone, careerhood PLUS motherhood.

I think women who are not moms need to set realistic goals/expectations. Even us moms have problems managing. "Doing it all" is a media marketing narrative that isn't supposed to fit real life and so many of us get duped into believing the hype. Moms are starting to share this info more liberally than before. Previously it was a "secret society." Now we're more apt to share.
I wanted another mom given opinion on the topic so I asked my boss. To me, I feel like she does a great job at work and with family, as shown through how awesomely smart and cultured her two children are. Here is her feedback on the topic:

You've asked me about balance between motherhood and career and in my experience as a mother of two, IT DOESN'T EXIST!  The moment I let go the ideals of fairness, balance and "achieving it all," was an absolutely freeing epiphany.  I've learned the time needed for me to be the type of mother I aspire to be, has forced me to make choices and I've chosen motherhood/family above all else. My children will be young and need my undivided attention for a very short time and before I know it, they will have grown into needing my hands-on attention a little less.   I've chosen to work in a family friendly environment and possibly make less money, but I'm able to be "present" physically and emotionally on a daily basis, be it for being active in our school community or having the luxury of sitting down together every night at dinner.  I trust that as my children continue to thrive and grow, I will be able to claim more of my own space to explore and achieve my own aspirations.

I've always been one to point out when the media is feeding us unrealistic standards of beauty and lifestyle, but I've never thought about the role the media plays in giving women the illusion that they can "do it all" and how unattainable that really can be. I sometimes struggle with juggling my full-time job, a few side jobs, acting,  being a wife and taking care of our dog, I'm sure having a child will make my plate fuller than ever. I appreciate that women can be open and honest about the fact that "balance" is an illusion. Having realistic expectation on what one can really do in the 24 hours they have for each day is so important.

I would LOVE more people's opinions on the topic. Comments please :-)


  1. Well, no one can have it all, really. Something suffers when trying to pursue everything. As for Beyonce, she's not losing anything. She'll be all over magazines talking about being a mother, what she's wearing/eating/naming her child, etc. But just as men are told we can have it all, women should be able to do the same; they just have to make difference choices about what to let suffer or be less-important.

  2. No, it's not possible to do it all...well. We are limited in the number of things that can really be priorities.

  3. @beginswithm & @Ronnica - thanks for commenting :-)

  4. I couldn't have both my career and be the mother I wanted to be, for me both suffered and I ended up taking a break from my career..but in the 3years I struggled to juggle two chidren with medical residency, I was never what I consider a good mother nor a good doctor[ i would have felt better if I was doing at least one of them right], now my children are older and I am trying to get a slot to start my training again. I wanted a third child originally but its out of the question now, being in my mid 30s, I can't keep off getting a career any longer

  5. There has to be a healthy balance between both areas. However, there could be restrictions and shortcomongs while you are trying to make that healthy balance. For example, I work in a place that allows me to be there for my young children, but I do not make a lot of money for that reason. I hardly get any sleep either. I work at night!But this allows me to be there for my preschooler and toddler during the day and when they come back from school. It is extremely difficult but that is a choice I had to make to be there for my kids. I am hoping God will open another door especially as they get older.

  6. @coilybella - yea, it seems that even if the children and work are taken care of, the mother still suffers to balance her own needs. I also hope God opens a door for you to still have flexibility, but have more money :-)


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