If you’re a working woman with ambitions, then you already know about Anne-Marie Slaughter’s controversial article in The Atlantic. She answers the nagging question can-woman-have-it-all? with a resounding NO!
Another answer might be: YES, if she doesn’t want it all it once!
Marriage, motherhood, career, and the good life are each in their own way a full-time affair. But while you debate this, here’s what that alternative answer means. It means that devoting yourself to each of those can likely work, IF you do it one-at-a-time. How do I a mere male observer know…? Because I come from a generation [circa 1930-1960] in which that’s precisely how ambitious women did it time and again:
* Marriage was a given; a natural, logical, next-step in a twentysomething’s life; unlike today when there is a confusion of choices in if-when-and-how you decide to share your life with another
* Motherhood was another given; something usually to be desired not aborted; unlike today, back then most mothers considered their motherhood a calling and a career unto itself with rewards all its own
* Careers outside the home were not a given; in time, though, they became a necessity or even an escape; making these career women sometimes as frustrated as they were fulfilled
This is not to say my generation got it “right.” For tens of millions of women, it was the worst-of-times. And yet, for hundreds of millions it was the best-of-times. I don’t know about Ms Slaughter or Hillary Clinton, but my evidence is anecdotal: (1) watching my own Mother (2) watching the women who today, like Mom, take these steps one-not-all-at-a-time.
Sometimes, though, flesh-and-blood anecdotes are worth dozens of facts-and-stats research. At least that’s how Mom saw it…!
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