A few related things have been bouncing around my subconscious lately:
1. Joann Wilson, writer of the blog Gotham Gal, when speaking of her the push/pull of working while being a mom:
“I reached out to a friend of mine who definitely has the internal push-pull of staying in leaving or figuring out how to stay in under her own terms. As she noted to me it is so complicated. It is so damn complicated is right.
I have had that internal conflict for the past 23 years. I am quite sure that Fred has not had that conflict. “
And that right there is it: Her husband Fred didn’t struggle with whether to work or stay home; it was expected he’d work. So he did. The struggle – and the guilt – was left to his wife. To a lot of wives.
2. A conversation with my brother regarding the Shonda Rhimes graduation speech, in which he mentions how hard it is – he wants to stay late at work, but he wants to go home and see his kid.
I recently heard Shonda Rhimes’ Dartmouth commencement address where she talks about how she’s both a working woman and a mother and how she juggles it all. Her answer: she doesn’t. I know how she feels. Prior to Hunter, I would work pretty late almost every night. Now I like to see Hunter before he goes to sleep. There’s a struggle between being doing well at work and seeing my family, and I don’t think there’s a good answer. Ultimately, I’ll always be failing at one of them. I’m having to get used to that fact. It’s quite a change.
So at least things are getting better, if by “getting better” you mean “more of us feel like we’re constantly failing instead of just some of us.”
3. And to top my list of depressing yet still important readings, the CEO of PepsiCo on reality:
My observation, David, is that the biological clock and the career clock are in total conflict with each other. Total, complete conflict. When you have to have kids you have to build your career. Just as you’re rising to middle management your kids need you because they’re teenagers, they need you for the teenage years… What do you do? And as you grow even more, your parents need you because they’re aging. So we’re screwed. We have no … we cannot have it all. Do you know what? Coping mechanisms. Train people at work. Train your family to be your extended family.
In conclusion: it’s becoming clear that we’re all screwed. This is moderately comforting.