Can a Woman Have It All? That Depends by @hkterry1

by Heather K. Terry | Featured Contributor

A morning news program I recently watched featured an interesting discussion about comments made by a high-powered female executive regarding balance of career and motherhood. This woman is the CEO of one of the most recognizable brands in the world, and she was so bold as to suggest that women just can’t have it all.

Can a woman have it all? That depends by Heather K. TerryShe went on to justify her statement by saying that if someone were to ask her children what kind of a mother she’d been, she wasn’t sure their response would be a positive one.

I was choking on my cereal at this point because to say that women can’t have it all is absolute bullshit. It just depends on your definition of having it all.

As a woman in the workforce who has children, if your having it all is to be a successful executive who is also there for your children, why is that such a stretch?

If your having it all is to be a Mom first and foremost and to work reduced hours until the kids are in school, why is that unattainable?

I think we are striving to be the types of mothers that our mothers were, but we simply don’t live in that world. Things are much different for us than they were for our mothers. For one thing, the workday no longer ends by punching out at 5 o’clock. It’s more often expected to be available while at home with today’s technology—something our mothers didn’t have to worry about.

Mom was my primary caregiver. She took care of the house, fed me, and worked all at the same time. It was assumed by my parents that she would fill the role of caretaker and homemaker and that she had to make that work around what she did to earn money. It is easy to feel like you’re not doing the mother role justice when your model was some sort of martyr.

Today, we are much more communicative with our partners. It isn’t always assumed that the child rearing is going to fall solely on mom’s shoulders.

I am generalizing here, but in many cases when a baby is born to parents who both have careers, there’s a discussion about how that new life will be integrated into the existing family dynamic.

In my case, my husband’s career isn’t as flexible as mine, so we have agreed on what compromises have to be made to work around our daughter since I don’t want to be 100% at home or 100% at work.

My having it all is the ability to be a good mom and a successful executive. My having it all means that I work from home as much as I possibly can so that I can be with my baby and to see that smile as much as possible. I often have to be able to run to a meeting at a minute’s notice so I have childcare in place just in case. My daughter is the most important thing in the world to me but that doesn’t mean my business isn’t also a priority.

In order for me to have it all, I must constantly talk to my husband about how we’ll continue to fit my work around our daughter and how he can help support my vision. I have to communicate with my business partner and other key persons in my company about the flexibility I need in order to work around my home life.

We all need to start working towards fulfilling our own vision of what we want our lives as mothers to look like because, you know what? We only get one shot at this.

The good news is that employers are becoming quite progressive. (Most will entertain the idea of mothers working from home because they know that if you give a mother 3 hours of focused time to work on something, she will do the work of multiple people!)

If your current scenario isn’t working for you, stop sitting around feeling guilty and change it!

What do you have to lose if you go to your employer and propose a solution that could help you to have it all? Ask if you could work from home a day or two a week, or even half days for the summer. Maybe your boss would be open to you bringing your baby to work 1-2 days a week—you never know!

If you can’t fit your life around your baby and that’s your having it all, you will be miserable until you sort something out.

I have seen women make a ton of different scenarios work to fit their situation. Some take the kids to work with them, some hire a nanny, and some leave work all together. There is no shame in any of those solutions.

To suggest that women can’t have it all is just completely untrue. What is true is that every woman has a different concept of what “all” is, and it is this “all” that is attainable.

It all comes down to getting good and clear on how you want to live your life and what you need to do to have it all.

I challenge you to figure out where your happiness lies and to find a way to honor that. You only have one life. Live it well.


Heather K. TerryCelebrated health coach, cooking instructor, yogi, and writer, Heather K. Terry, is a true health aficionado. She is co-founder and COO of NibMor Chocolate, co-founder of the Gluten Free Sugar Cleanse, and a strong advocate of eating real, simply prepared, organic foods and avoiding genetically modified, highly-processed food-like objects. A graduate of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and The French Culinary Institute of Manhattan, Heather’s passion for food and nutrition are palpable.

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4 Replies to “Can a Woman Have It All? That Depends by @hkterry1”

  1. Amanda Hoffmann

    Hi Heather,

    I agree that as a women we do need to be very specific, clear and know what makes us happy. Having it all, in context when you are a mother and wife is realistically not possible.

    In a world rich with opportunity, I believe we stand with two feet on a fence. One foot the identity of a mother giving up “some” of her hopes, dreams and goals for her children – the other the woman’s need to retain her identity, be successful and live her dreams.

    It’s a difficult fence to find balance….

    Love, compromise, maturity and a giving spirit helps us find the wisdom to walk the fence in a balanced fashion. But, we are not perfect, we fall off the fence and we need time to reflect on our priorities to hop back on.

    Great article and I will be pinning this one!

  2. Judy Yaron PhD

    What certainly comes across, Heather, from your article is your PASSION. Indeed, the topic you have raised is “fully charged”.

    I think the key issue is priorities. Every woman, every family needs to set and work towards their priorities TOGETHER, like you and your partner try to balance parenting. There is no right or wrong. Every situation is different and the best we can hope for is something that works best for us.

    The thing is, priorities change over time as we mature and seek different avenues for fulfillment and, obviously, as our kids grow up. There is one thing that we need always to bear in mind: Children grow up VERY quickly and there is no turning back the clock.

    HUGS <3

  3. Delia @ Blog Formatting

    You’re making such a great point, Karen! If you don’t ask you’ll never get. My philosophy is: so if I asked and did not get it, I’m still in the same place I was before, nothing bad really happened here. I’ll just think of a better solution that works for me.

    1. Delia Rusu

      And I meant Heather, of course 🙂 Got confused by the middle initial, K…

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