Doesn’t “Having It All” Really Mean Being Happy?


working mothersSo Marissa Mayer has her corner office with a nursery of sorts next to it and the job many women dream about. More power to her, I say. And Sheryl Sandberg has broken many molds. Her new book “Lean In” is destined to start the newest iteration of a woman’s movement if pundits are right–all in the quest for women to “have it all” and make it to the top.

But why does “having it all” have to mean a C level title and motherhood. Doesn’t having it all simply mean having happiness? Isn’t happiness what we are all truly after?

I am quite happy about my career path. I had a male tell me he was amazed at the positions I’ve held. I could hear the “for a woman and mother” even though he didn’t say it. I know at one point I considered not having children because it would ruin my career. But then I thought what am I going to talk about in my old age? The pitches I’ve participated in? The awards I won? Will any of those people I worked so hard to impress be there for me in my old age? Hardly.

So I chose to be a mother and have a career. I’ve raised two wonderful children in New York City who look like they are going to turn out just fine. Whew! The time I wasn’t working I spent focused on them. Even while I was working they were still on my mind. They accompanied me to the office all the time. I made them part of my career and decisions hoping it will help them when they set off on theirs.  Did I make sacrifices? Sure. But in the long run they were my choices.

I think the question should not be “Can I have it all?” but rather “What makes me happy?”

If that choice is staying at home and taking care of children or sitting at the top of the corporate pyramid and that’s what makes you happy and fulfilled then you have it all. The last thing is we need is more pressure with the expectation that success is measured on one’s ability to break the glass ceiling with a children on their laps.


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