a rambling on women and the reality of life
When I was in Minneapolis this week, I had an interesting conversation with the woman who runs PR for Red Stamp. She has three kids who are 6, 4 and 1. Been there and funny enough our kids are the exact same spread and gender. She and her husband moved to Minneapolis after they had their first kid. Family is here and many people return to Minneapolis so it isn't so out of the norm. She had lived and worked in NYC for one of the largest PR companies in the city. After she had her first kid and wanted to come back to work, perhaps part-time they basically said no, full time or no time. Pretty amazing that was six years ago and then again not so amazing. Her and her husband left NYC and came to Minneapolis.
She is in that place where many women are, I have been there myself. I want to work because I want my own identity but I want to be home for my kids. too I love my husband and he is definitely a partner but he isn't putting the kids clothes in the drawers or actually managing the household although giving it a good college try. I do need some time for myself like just to work out, shop or see my friends yet I want to work too for my brain, ego and intelligence yet be there and present in my kids lives so not sure how that all works into a 24 hour day. If I get off the treadmill of work because I can and my salary only pays for someone to help watch the kids then what happens to me and my career after being home for ten plus years. What is the balance? Is there balance? Perhaps you can only do it all over the course of life but not at the same time. Why again did I excel in school and college? Maybe it is a good thing that I am not longer in corporate and I can reinvent myself and be more flexible in my day to day life yet it is hard to be a serious player only a few hours a week. Do I want to be a player? Well I do want to be a player but I want to be a Mom too and of course someone needs to watch over everything. Ok, well I can multi-task but then when do I breathe? Perhaps I am just an impostor anyway so who cares.
Every day is a balancing act and my fear is years will pass and I will be in the same place. My bigger fear is that I put all my energy into my children and then they move out and go college and I have a nervous breakdown thinking I just wasted years of my life but maybe I didn't but I did it all for them. How come I had to do that? Oh, my husband has been great and he has provided a really good income and a lifestyle for us but I have lost my brain. Didn't I just run a start-up and back end for us for the past how many years by raising a family?
These are so many of the questions that women ask, women think about but don't talk about…and we should. This is one of the main reasons that many women are not CEO's of major corporations and nobody seems to talk about that. How do we change that ratio? When do companies embrace those intelligent women so they can be part of the game, be heralded for their thoughts and visions while still being able to be a Mom too. We don't see top women who speak at conferences talk about this or the fact that they probably have one nanny per child so they can focus on their business. I am not passing judgement on these women who do that but why aren't we being honest about it? If women were more honest about the realities of motherhood perhaps we could be better mentors and role models for the next generation. Pushing the reality of life under the carpet is not how we change the next generation or change the ratio.
So why the rant? I just want to share the thoughts that I have had for years as I begin to turn a corner back to me. I still will have one kid at home and am well aware of that and do not want to short change him yet I am ready to take on more while still figuring out balance every single day. After having a life where there is flexibility, you still want it. How do you re-enter the working world while still having that flexibility and create your own identity. It is something that women have to think about a few years out before everyone flies the from the nest. Otherwise you look at your life and husband and begin to wonder, who am I and how did I get here.
I am positive that these ramblings above resonate with many women regardless of where you are in life because they saw it with their Mom's, they are entering that phase of their lives or they are in the exit strategy of kids leaving the nest or they are barely treading water trying to do it all. These are the conversations that I want to see more women have. These are the conversations that create powerful relationships between women and when we start having these types of conversations, things will change. After all, the truth be told, we are running pretty much everything as our husbands and children get in line but for some reason it isn't something we get reconigtion for or more to the point that we don't take credit for.