There is an article that got passed around my social circle of women this week. An in-depth editorial piece published in The Atlantic about ‘Why Women Still Cannot Have it All.” It was a powerful piece that framed the difficult choices every working mother faces, but our society has stigmatized acknowledging. Each woman that was in this email distribution was a successful professional with serious demands put on her schedule.
Most of the women had read the article already prior to it being emailed out, and some of the women had just proactively sought out new roles that allowed them the financial stability they needed with additional flexibility on their time. Interestingly, these women had felt significant guilt about distributing the article to their peers for fear that they would be judged for taking on a more ‘cushy’ role in order to focus on their family.
The article got me fired up, both in self-reflection (I constantly struggle with my own ambition – how can I be the best at what I do while also being the best mother I can be), and in annoyance (that we as women don’t trust our own decisions enough to not be ashamed of them).
Mothers instinctively know how to run businesses (a majority of women manage their family finances), manage people (um, hello, small people may be the most notoriously difficult people to manage and motivate), and multi-task (trust me, it requires orchestrating 10 tasks at once to get children to school in the morning on time and with everything they need). They also know what it takes to harness emotion and instinct to make important and quick decisions.
I hope we as a community of women can support each other more. I hope that we can trust our own decisions more. And, I hope that we can start a trend of refocusing on the quality of one’s life instead of just the quantity of our successes. The world need more mothers serving the social sector, it needs more women entrepreneurs. It needs more balance.