That seems to be the question for many of my generation’s women. The number of hours that I have spent talking about this with friends would shock the men in our lives, but we never seem to find a definite answer. I suppose that is because everyone’s life is different, and because we all want different things. The fact remains that we find ourselves having this conversation because we have all felt pressure from both sides. Whether it’s our parents breathing down our necks to get married so we can deliver them grand children to play with, or it’s society shoving the notion that money and success are the ultimate goal down our throats, we are receiving conflicting messages of what is most important.
How is one supposed to be able to work the hours of a full time gig, and be there for every moment of their children’s lives? She can’t, and that’s where the panic sets in. It is physically impossible for a woman to fully deliver on both ends. Either way you choose, you can be met with disapproval.
So my question now changes. Do we care what the world thinks about this particular life choice? And should we care? Some would strongly argue yes because of tradition or personal values. Some may say no, do what feels right for you and makes your life work. I can honestly see both sides of it, but that doesn’t help the anxiety I feel over the choice. Will I be happy if I give up my career and stay home with my kids? Or will I regret missing those mornings and afternoons when they are learning about the world? It is something many women will need to process, and ultimately decide.
Our generation is the first that has had to tackle this issue with such strong messages from both sides. We need to break the glass ceiling! But we also need to be there the first time our kids say “mama”! Both are important, and I believe it is each woman’s personal choice. There is no avoiding the backlash whichever she chooses, but I hope to support the women in my life whichever they decide. Choosing to stay home with her children does not make a woman any less intelligent, driven or interesting. Choosing to work does not mean she is less loving or invested in her family. It is my hope that women and their families can live a balanced life which works for all involved, and that will never look the same for two families.