Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"Do You Have It All?" is the Wrong Question


I have deliberately stayed away from the topic of Having It All during the past months. As you may be aware, there were a number of well publicized articles in the media discussing whether or not women could, or even should endeavor to “Have it All”. At the time there were so many smart, articulate women that wrote on the issue, many articulating my very thoughts on the matter, that I simply left the discussion to their capable hands. Nonetheless, the theme for this month’s Feminist Odyssey Carnival is “Having It All” so I’ve been thinking a bit about the topic lately. You might even see more than one post on the topic this month.

As I was thinking about the question “Do I Have it All?” and what does that mean to me, it occurred to me that the question that we are asking ourselves, I think, is all wrong. The question is not “Do you have it all?” or even “Should you have it all?” The question should be “Are you happy with what you have?” If the answer to the last question is yes, then the answer to the first question is also yes. The problem is that we are up to our eyeballs in click-bait mommy-war articles that tell us that unless we actually live in a perfect fairy tale world (as defined by ???) the answer to this basic fundamental question ought to be “No”.

There are lots of reasons why a woman with a career may not have children. Some reasons are based on choice, and some are not. There are lots of reasons why a woman with children may maintain a paid career. Some of those reasons are based on choice and some are not.

I tend to think that if a stay-at-home mom is happy and fulfilled and feels well balanced in her life, then she has it all because she has everything she wants, or at least everything she needs to be happy and fulfilled. Likewise if a childless, career-driven woman is happy and fulfilled and feels well balanced in her life, then she also has it all because she has everything she wants, or at least everything she needs to be happy and fulfilled.

There is no exact formula for having it all that equates for every woman all the time, because there is no monolithic Woman. A woman should be skeptical of anyone who tells her that she must have A and B and C but not D or else she does not have it all and should feel disappointment with her life.

2 comments:

  1. "Are you happy with what you have?"- Totally agree that this is the question we SHOULD be asking. We don't have to compare ourselves to other people, or try to be everything that other people expect us to be.

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  2. I agree that "are you happy with what you have?" is the right question to ask. I think the "having it all" discussion started because too many women were answering "no" to that very question.

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