Open Phones: Not Having It All

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mother with her children at Coney Island on Friday before Memorial Day. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

In the current issue of The Atlantic, Princeton University's Anne-Marie Slaughter writes about "Why Women Still Can't Have It All." Call in with your stories and your proposals for change. Should we redesign work? Redesign men? Or redesign what it means to have it all? Give us a call at 212-433-WNYC/9692 or post here!


Anne-Marie Slaughter

Comments [89]

friedtoad from LES

Working-class women have no choice but to ensure they have it all, regardless of the cost to themselves and their families.

Jul. 01 2012 07:13 PM
HRI from New York, NY

Slaughter's article has struck a nerve with a lot of people, and she brings up some good points. My perspective is a bit different, however, based on my experiences as a full-time worker and mother:

Jun. 29 2012 12:13 PM
clark from nj

How exhausting to "Want it all"??!! My goodness
Never wanted kids, never wanted to marry.
I have everything I need and more.
I had smart parents that instilled independence and self reliance.
Both parents worked and we lived modestly.
I watched my mother not have it all and it was ok then, and ok now.
She taught at a public school(not much pay in the 70's) and had two children. I watched her forego purchasing necessities for herself and spend on us.
Now she's retired and has "it all".
I hope I can be as lucky at 69.

Jun. 28 2012 01:54 PM
carolita from NYC

Personally, I could never have it all if having kids as well as everything i have now means "having it all. " I never wanted kids, can't bear them around, so "having it all," if I'd let myself be pressured into it by, say cultural expectations, or my mother, would have meant misery for me as well as for them, I imagine. But I do see some women truly having it all, in that sense. You know what? They're rich! Yes, when you make 70k a day on a job, you can have it all. I MIGHT have attempted childbearing on that kind of income.

Jun. 28 2012 01:09 AM
simona from NY

It's a man's world. Business models were set up by males, and the rules of how world in general operates has been defined by males. Every social system was initiated and established by men (religions, government institutions etc.) based on the MALE PERSPECTIVE. He is stronger (first of all physically) and that sums it up. Can men be expected to really really understand what and how women think and operate and what they really want? Men don't really depend on such understanding, nothing will happen to them if they will somehow misunderstand the illogical and hormonally messed up (from male perspective) point of view of a women. Can women understand men? Woman knows that she has power over one man (the one who loves her). Western women through effort of suffrage and feminist movements have attained some important rights (currently rolling back at frightening speed). The paradox, however, will stay with us for ever, every boy raised by (most likely by woman(en)) will still become a man who will uphold the post of overseer that the rules of a man's world would be upheld.

Far from discussion of "Having it all". What that "all" is?
Married yet childless at 35. All points were covered by previous commentators, not enough funds, not enough time, and there are too many of us as it is.

Jun. 27 2012 10:13 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from Brooklyn, NY

Hi, I don't believe that women can have it all. Women, especially single mothers, are overwhelmed by all the things they have to do. Raising kids is a full time job. It is very difficult and earning a living on top of that because you have to not because you want to, makes it even more stressful. Women can't have it all unless there is more tolerance in the workplace and equal pay. Eugenia Renskoff

Jun. 27 2012 05:14 PM
swb from Manhattan

After watching my single african american mother nearly work herself to death during the 70's and 80's working and raising my sister and myself after we were abandoned by our physician husband/father, I feel not one bit of sympathy for these "elite" woman who are just coming to terms with reality. What about real woman who face real problems every day and can't get the ear of the President???

Jun. 27 2012 03:27 PM

The macho cultural attitudes in the workplace are a big problem. I've heard that it is better to tell your boss that you were late for work because your car broke down, rather than the truth: that your kid was sick and you were scrambling for a last minute babysitter.

When I was pregnant with my first child and I was considering returning part-time, a male co-worker told me that I would be throwing my career away. Another male co-worker told me that if I wanted to have a flexible schedule, I should have become a teacher instead of an urban planner. I was shocked at the comments I was receiving about my personal choices in life, and shocked at the change in attitude my co-workers had when I got pregnant.

Jun. 27 2012 11:41 AM
Meera Singh

I have been deeply disturbed by the lack of attention given to this issue and the frustration that women feel. I have done a whole series of artwork call "Wonder Woman." Wonder women are stuck in two worlds: the world of equality with men; and the world of their mothers, home and family. They want both these worlds. They want career, money, marriage, children, home, AND the perfect body. Each one of these requires a lifetime of endeavor. We want it ALL. To see the artwork go to:

Jun. 27 2012 11:41 AM
Duval from Manhattan

Tears literally sprang to my eyes listening to one caller talk about having been conditioned to think she could "have it all" (from growing up in the 80s), and then her subsequent "failure" when she left her job to raise children. I also struggle with a deep sense of failure because I could not sustain interest in my work with two babies at home. Leaving my once-beloved job two years ago was one of the most agonizing decisions I've ever made... I'm happier now, but haunted that I just could not figure out the balance.

Jun. 27 2012 11:36 AM

Amy and Hazel and Jane and Rosie:
My son has had an EXCELLENT education in his New York City public elementary and middle schools. He did have one bad year with one bad match --- but that happens in all schools. Some of my son's friends have gone to private schools in this city where some of the boys weren't reading at age 7 and the parents were told, and even accepted, that their boys would magically start reading when they were ready. One of these parents finally switched their son to a private school where they actually did teach her son how to read and enjoy.

My son's 7th science class is at actually teaching at above the level I received when I went to a very good (at that time) public high school in California. He has learned quadratic and polynominal equations this year in 7th grade -- again something I didn't learn in high school. He has participated in a mock trial as the lead attorney on a case about freedom of the press versus homeland security in the Courthouse downtown. His science, math, English and social studies teachers are EXCELLENT. His spelling is not great, but his higher level analytic skills have really been encouraged. I wish I had gone to a school as good as the one he is going to now.

I have a doctorate from an Ivy League School. Sometimes I find that some parents forget what THEY actually did or did NOT learn when they went to school. I actually have found the expectations to be higher than when I went to school in the 1960s. Some parents have a sense of entitlement that their little darling geniuses should be learning at incredibly advanced level beyond what really is viable for their child or for any school. The mothers who are the most pushy about complaining that their little darlings are not given an adequate education in the better public schools often turn out to be the ones who have children who don't work as hard BECAUSE their parents are always complaining about what they should just be given, rather than what they should work for.

The parents who really have something to complain about are those who do not have access to the better public schools.

Jun. 27 2012 11:31 AM

I have a masters degree in Urban Planning, and was rising up the career ladder before my kids were born. When I was 28, my first son was born, and I quit my job, thinking I'd go back to work when my kids started school. My 2 sons are now 14 and 11, and I never made it back to work.
I was surprised at how much even older kids need their parents, just in different ways. My kids both have chronic illnesses, so their medical needs continue to delay plans for me to go back to work.

A more European work model would help mothers, fathers, and other caretakers. In fact, it would be great for everyone, even if they don't have kids. We need 6-8 weeks vacation and the ability to work from home. We also need a cultural change in the workplace, where people are not looked down on for having stayed home to raise kids, and where it is ok to take a day off to attend your child's events or to be with them when they are sick.

Jun. 27 2012 11:20 AM
jmurphy from long island

I'm sorry i missed this segment, but I have the magazine at home. Our entire problem is based on what we value, our shallow definition of success, and how raising children and keeping a house are still not considered on the same plane as going out to work.

I worked part time for many years to be home for my son after school, was more dedicated than some full timers, and still not valued. None of this will change until we stop gauging ourselves and each other against the same rigid, 70 hour work week, six figure salary yardstick.

Success and fulfillment take different forms. Our society is not happy unless everyone can be neatly categorized, and it can take decades of catty back and forth until those categories are changed or abolished.

Jun. 27 2012 11:15 AM
Natalie from Brooklyn, NY

I'm retired now so this conversation definitely involves women who CAN make a choice. I think others may still be like me. As a single mom, without child support and a liberal arts college education, I had to work hard just to get marketable skills. I had "good" jobs eventually but pay lagged behind male colleagues and was never enough. As inflation increased, my salary did not and I had to move to improve financial needs. Sexual harrassment was a "given." Having it all is, at any time, an unrealistic goal. We need, first, equal pay for equal work, opportunities for promotion, and on-site child care. Schools must stop the onslaught of homework which should be done at the school, or at least a major part of it. Let's deal next time with the realities for most women.

Jun. 27 2012 11:10 AM

This conversation is predicated on a false premise. No one can be in two places at the same. If you are working at home, you are not available to your children. If you are with your children, you are not working. It's a law of physics. Raising children is a more than full-time job. A full time job is a full time job. You can't do both and do them both well. We accept that a person cannot text and drive, why do we persist in believing that a person can somehow, magically, be with her or his child and not with her or his child? Or simultaneously be at work and not at work? It's an insane premise.

Life is about choices, and choices involve sacrifice. When you say yes to one thing, you say no to literally hundreds of other things. Making the things you say yes to work, making those choices work, is a moving target. You need cooperation, cooperation involves negotiation. Negotiation contains a risk of failure, or at least, frustration. You're not going to get everything you want, at least not all at once. Grow up already. Someone has to raise the children.

Jun. 27 2012 11:09 AM
Einat from New York, NY

So much to say about this topic... As a striving academic (postdoc in science) a woman, and in my mid-30s, I am right in the storms eye for this...
My suggestions:
1. Society must put actions where it says it's values are -- I really identify with AMS's note that bosses will admire the marathoner, but look down at the parent. Time for this to change! Attitudes at the work place and society matter a lot, especially to women, who are socialized to care more about what others think about them.

2. I have a problem with the suggestions to have kids early -- I just can't see how I could have had children while in graduate school, making 24,000 a year, and on a federal grant that had an expiration date. Also, these days, when college grads are much more likely to be unemployed and live with their parents, how exactly are they supposed to have kids early?

3. Stair-case career sounds like a good idea, but in today's market, I just don't see how I will be able to get on the track if, say, I took 2 years 2 have kids now, as I finish my postdoc and want to find a tenure-track position. No way anyone would even look at my CV when I send it after being "away" for that long. Even though my field (geology) is really not a fast-moving field. Reality showed that to me -- up for promotion right now with other postdocs (white guys), nobody cares that I published less because I spent 2 years suffering excruciating fertility treatments and repeated miscarriages. All they care is that I published less. That's what I get for trying to "have them early" and what was presumably "the best time to have kids, because you are so flexible".

Jun. 27 2012 11:09 AM
Bekele from Carmel,NY

I am board certified primary care physician. I started a new position at an ambulatory care facility 2 weeks ago. I am now working in a hostile environment because my female supervising physician wants me to work every Saturday and two nights every week. These were not the hours that were presented to me at the time of my interview. I am very disappointed that a woman 20 years my senior who has raised two children would harass me because I need to work two Saturdays a month and one night a week. Many of our superiors are women who gave up rearing their children and some of them are resentful of those of us who experienced that neglect and want to do things differently.

Jun. 27 2012 11:05 AM
anne from New Jersey

I am from Jamaica where most women work and alot have high positions. In Jamaica women have help from cost effective daycare, and flex hours at work where if your child is sick its not looked down on if you take some time to take care of your children.

The work culture especially corporate culture needs to change. It is not a bad thing to want to take care of our children. I was in corporate and I had to leave. It was expected that I was to work more hours even though I had a 1 year old to look after.

Jun. 27 2012 11:05 AM
Sing from Westchester

The last caller on the show talked about how she is so happy that she chose the $25k job over the $100k job just to be home for her daughter and that she doesn't resent it. I think that is total BS. I took a big hit to my career after having a child (early in age I might add) and resent it to this day - 8 years later. It is also the reason why I only have one child. Women CANNOT have children and a successful career - not in financial services in New York at least. You have to choose. If I had to do it all over again, I am not sure I would have a child!

Jun. 27 2012 11:03 AM

I think the real issue is a shift in what it means to 'have it all'. There is a certain amount of daily maintenance that comes along with just being alive, and when you have children the home workload increases. That's just the way it is. And with very rare exception, one spouse's career will suffer to some degree, and it's worth couple's having a conversation as to which person remains as the main 'bread winner'. For my family (and we have a very young daughter), while we both do well, my wife's career is more stable, better income, and better benefits. So it makes sense for us that when being a parent requires one of us to step away from our work, I would answer that call. It really needs to be a question of how each couple decides to move forward in a way that's best for them, with the understanding that 'having it all' is a myth. [for the record, I'm not a believer in pure bliss.]

And, by the way, why shouldn't an employer be perfectly happy to encourage their employees to work as hard and long as possible, to the extent that they can find people to fill those positions? It's the responsibility of the employees to make personal decisions about how and where they want to work.

Jun. 27 2012 11:03 AM
Barrow from Manhattan

Has anyone considered forcing men to work less? Rather than trying to get women up to some "man standard" it seems easier to reduce the time men spend at work.

Here is a quote from Amanda Marcotte:

"there's a tendency not to talk publicly about the disparity that many women are experiencing between their entirely reasonable expectations of an egalitarian relationship and what's actually available. There's a fear that if we tell women about this problem, they'll reject feminism"

Men must be made to change.

Jun. 27 2012 11:00 AM
Bonnie from Wyckoff, NJ

You CAN have it all but not all at the same time! Just like "multi-tasking" it can't and shouldn't be done. I am 60 years old, have a music teaching career and have raised two wonderful, well-adjusted children. I have performed and taught and raised children and have an excellent married life for 37 years. Juggling lessons are advised!

Jun. 27 2012 11:00 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Hazel & Jane: that's how you heard what Karen said? It wasn't the fact that her child *had* homework that she was complaining about, it was that when she looked over the homework assignments, she could see what wasn't being covered in class, & she had to fill in what her child should have been taught in school but wasn't.

Jun. 27 2012 11:00 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Redwoods

The future of the COUNTRY and indeed the future of the WEST at large! Everyone is going to die no matter what, but the question is, will there be a future at all for the West, or will we have to import all of our chidren from the Third World, especially the Islamic world. They produce children like gangbusters! They don't worry about careers. In utter poverty, living in tents and hovels, they produce children. They have a future. They will conquer us, because we don't if things continue the way they are. By "we" I mean our civilization as we once knew it. Our prosperity. NO CHILDREN = NO FUTURE. Anyone that doesn't see that is clearly already brain dead.

Jun. 27 2012 11:00 AM
Theresa Valenti from New York

Amen to the woman show said "I chose motherhood or maybe it chose me."
You can't be in two places at the same time, and it's time we all stopped lying and pretending we can.
Some human being, whether it's mom, dad, grandparent, sitter, daycare, SOMEONE needs to personally be there for a child.

Jun. 27 2012 10:59 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

The caller: "The system set up as it is..."

Who set it up? This implies some higher, sinister force, pulling the strings, as if societies don't develop organically through the ages.

These are the types of Orwellian phrases, repeated without critical distinction, that gets us into trouble.

Jun. 27 2012 10:58 AM
Janet from Astoria, NY

I am a woman for whom "having it all" would mean both having my career and children. I'm sure that there would be plenty of challenges to being a working mom, but at this point my partner and I don't feel that we can afford to even have a child. As you know women make less than men - imagine being a young couple, both women, who need to spend thousands of dollars to become parents. We both work full time, but we feel it is impossible. We will be "older" parents some day (hopefully), but it is because it will take that long to have the kind of financial stability it would take to have a child.

Jun. 27 2012 10:58 AM
Elizabeth Kenney from Brooklyn, NY

I had kids at 38 and 42 years old. I worked as a designer for 21 years, rising to VP. I worked incredibly hard in a very male-run field, saved my money with the goal of retiring at age 50. I maxed out my 401K every year for 16 of the 21 years. I saved and scrimped and bought an apartment in Brooklyn in 1999 and parlayed that during the real estate boom into a small carriage house by 2010. Two years ago I was laid off after 13 years at my company because I could not possibly do the same level of work and have a family. I was re-married and by then had four kids (ages 3 to 10) including mine and my husband's two. When my boss let me go, he said word for word, "You have four kids who need you now, don't you want to be with them?" I was devastated. I felt horribly betrayed by the company that was my family up unti then. What was amazing was as I was laid off, other opportunities came forward. I've been freelancing for two years and have never been happier. The kids love it - I get to be a part of their every day lives in all the little ways that make childhood and motherhood magical. I also know just how lucky I am. I will say, if I had not saved so much for retirement, I would be terrified right now. If I did not have insurance through my husband, ditto. My advice to women who have children later - forgo the vacations, clothes and $200 weekends out and save, save, save because you never know what your future will be and in our society, savings is security and increases your options.

Jun. 27 2012 10:58 AM

I, too, am a NYC teacher and had to add in my comment to two recent callers in on this topic. First, to the man who said that as a teacher he deals with many students who are the "result" of women having children later and therefore birthing children with more disabilities. I myself am a "product" of a woman who gave birth to my twin sister and me at age of 38 and neither of us had difficulties with fact, we were always in gifted classes. I am appalled at the lack of sensitivity and true understanding of the actual facts (& not just fallacies) from a supposed colleague-indeed, he sounds like too many teachers in this system I do meet who are less than what could be hoped for are in front of the classroom. Secondly, the woman who lives in District 2: not sure why it is taking two hours to complete he in a regular basis...that is NOT normal and is an issue that I suggest be discussed openly with your child's teacher and/or principal as opposed to blaming the public school system for you not "having it all".

Jun. 27 2012 10:58 AM
Barbara Ucciferri from Morristown NJ

Not sure why this conversation is specific to "high powered" career women...but my vote's on having kids younger -as a mid-fiftier, had my kids late 30's early 40's and opted to stay home after feeling my then elementary school age kids were "suffering" from my wishing I'd kept at least one foot in the professional world throughout (for financial reasons...don't have to talk about the difficulties of going back to work now) bottom line, some of us can't easily resist the pull/push toward doing the mothering thing full time - even (or maybe especially!) when the dad is around.

Jun. 27 2012 10:57 AM

I like Amy's comment!! Enjoy having enough.

I actually have had what I consider to be two careers -- a very wonderful career in international nutrition for many many years. I globe trotted. I was Director of a Nutrition Program. It was very rewarding when I was out in the field with my colleagues in various countries. I lived for my job. But Ann Slaughter is now commenting on something I noticed -- highest quality work was not who stayed in the office longer. Sometimes it was those who had families who came in, worked hard, didn't interact as much as the rest of us and went home to spend more time with their families. I too did waste time in the office socializing.

My second career has been a part-time income earner. I work as a lactation consultant with my own private practice. I almost got to full time but I found it too taxing and now that my son is a teenager I can actually spend time helping him figure out how to implement his over the top science and other end of the year projects that are part of the end of 7th grade. Since these projects become the portfolio that high schools look at -- I felt it was important to help him.

I don't think of it as "having it all", just going through very different phases in life and doing different things in life. I loved my earlier life-- but it became lonely. I love my life now -- even though I'm not doing the high power globe trotting and my husband earns the bulk of our income. Each has been fulfilling in different ways. I don't feel resentful at all.

I also think women can have a completely fulfilling life and NOT have children -- as well as men.

Jun. 27 2012 10:57 AM
Thomas Murphy from Ossining NY

My late wife was an associate at a large NYC law firm during '82-'85, working long hours and on the fast track. A partner commented to her the "we don't expect our partners to have much of a family life." He was not gender specific, nor was their any implication that he ment to be anything other than accurate and honest; that's the way the business is run: 80-hour work weeks and concommitant reward within the business.

Jun. 27 2012 10:57 AM

Gee, a "medievalist" who couldn't find a job and had to work as a "professional screenwriter" with Nora Ephron and you're bitching you couldn't have another child? You pretty much define entitled.

Jun. 27 2012 10:56 AM
Maria from Manhattan

One of the problems is with the structure of the American family. Extended family should play a more central role in raising children and in supporting mothers. In Latin America (where I come from) grandparents, aunts, and uncles, pitch in all the time; the responsibilities are shared. My father is retired and my mother still works; both help my brother and sister in myriad ways, picking up from school, watching after school, with homework, etc. In the U.S. working parents, and often just mothers, are completely alone to juggle it all. Few are lucky to have extended family close by, or few make the *decision* to prioritize living close to extended family members.

Jun. 27 2012 10:56 AM

Time Macho? So, ignore the person who does the most and reward us all equally? Give me flex-time and a work from home schedule and allow me to have the mommy-track; it's a complete myth that the hardest workers get the most rewards anyway. I think if Ms Slaughter really took an honest look at who got the most done or even the most done in a given amount of time, she might change her mind. BTW< I've never know a marathoner in the office who's time away from the office is valued more than a mother's or who's schedule is more catered too.

Jun. 27 2012 10:55 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Christina Mc: That's fine, *if* that's your choice. But the point is that the way most workplaces are set up makes it much more difficult for women to make different choices. And the women's movement was (& still is) about having the choice.

Jun. 27 2012 10:55 AM
Lisa Mark

I founded FlexTime Solutions, Inc, along with my partner Kathleen in 1996, specifically to offer flex hours, job share and flexible employment to professionals with two spouses working to balance their work and family life. In our experience, the only time major corporations gave much flexibility to our consultants and staff hires was during the late 90's during a very tight job market. That was because companies could not get the talent they needed unless they offered women more flexibility. There has been increased availability in parents working from home, but it is still minimal. FlexTime is still in business, placing professional men and women in marketing, communications and design positions. I have recently moved on to counseling high school and college students

Jun. 27 2012 10:54 AM

My husband and I are planning to have our kids soon, because we will never feel like it is the perfect time. It was never perfect for our parents, but they had us, and we have great lives. I understand that I am the one who needs to have the kids, and I am happy to have that job, and my husband knows it is a huge and very important job. We do wish that every job offered paternity leave, so that he too can be with out children and create that bond scientist say is so important between the baby and mother. Men deserve this too. I am ok picking up my career later because my children will be most important and my husband will make sure we are taken care off.

Jun. 27 2012 10:54 AM
diane shatles from Belle Harbor Queens NY

My husband and i have one wonderful daughter. I was a very busy educator and administrator. For 20 years I worked as a college adjunct as well as full time NYC employee, getting my second master's degree while doing it all. I have many friend who gave birth in the 70's who opted for one child. This helped me have it all. Women today seem to go for at least two or three children. Go for quality, not quantity.

Jun. 27 2012 10:53 AM
Jennifer from New York

People seem to find this story fascinating, but I just don't get it. The title of the article should be "Why Anne-Marie Slaughter Decided She Didn't Want to Accept a Promotion". Most people, men and women are not successful at all, let alone as successful as Ms. Slaughter--as a result of intelligence, background, temperament, AND CHOICES. The most "successful" people work hard, have a lot of help, a lot of intelligence, the right drives, and a lot of luck. Most men in powerful positions are childless or have wives who manage their children. They have established a regime in which children don't depend upon them. There is no reason that intelligent, driven women can't be in that position, they just generally choose not to. As a feminist (and Yale Law grad and mother of two), I don't think we do women any favors by suggesting that the most competitive workplaces need to fundamentally change so that women can achieve their goals. Both mothers and fathers have to decide what sacrificas they want to and believe they should make for their children. That's what it's like in the real world.

Jun. 27 2012 10:53 AM
Redwoods in California & Elephants of Asia from World

jgarbuz from Queens
One thing is clear: NO CHILDREN = NO FUTURE! IF we don't find a way to successfully make and raise children, our society will be finished very soon. Long before "global warming" or even nuclear war.

.... Ah, whose future are you talking about? ....

Jun. 27 2012 10:53 AM
Elle from Brooklyn

God bless Nora!

Jun. 27 2012 10:52 AM
mary from maplewood, nj

Have babies early? But then you don't advance to the pinnacle you hope for in your forties. You need to put in the hours to get to the higher position. And if you re enter the workforce after kids are out of the house, you are competing with younger and more experienced women who didn't choose to have kids earlier. Re joining the workforce after kids is tricky.

Jun. 27 2012 10:52 AM
Randie from Astoria, NY

There is a study that found that having kids later in life is linked to autism and Asperger's, but it indicate the father, not the mother.

Either way, I agree that there are really compelling reasons to have children earlier. Problem is, many of us are not finding our mate until later, and not just because we are focused on our careers. And our marriages are stronger, in general, for our waiting. So those two imperatives are at odds.

Plus, we used to be able to have kids earlier because our families and communities were more involved in raising them - young women were more supported. Now we don't live near our children's grandparents anymore because we have to move around for work, and we live in a community of "two" - we and our husbands. So there are many issues that are in conflict here.

Jun. 27 2012 10:51 AM
Monique from Tarrytown

Raising children and having a career are two very different things. The best metaphor I have read is that having a career is like blowing a ballooin - it gets as big as what you blow into it. While raising children is nurturing a life, that needs attention, time, a good environment, stability. This is particularly important when children are individuating from 2-3 and then from 12-15. As an architect, I took time off to build a family and will continue to build my practice once the youngest passes 15 (and the enconomy improves.) Very important topic.

Jun. 27 2012 10:50 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

to hjs 1121

Where are you going to "move onto?" Radical feminists and liberals HAVE NO CLUE as to where they are going! They didn't when they invented Communism, and have no clue as to where their crazy ideas are going to take them next. The incapacity of liberals and radical feminists to think beyond the present is astounding! But they sure know how to play the blame game!

Jun. 27 2012 10:50 AM
The Truth from Becky

Who's standard of "having it all" are we using? No one can have it all, there is a price that comes with having a lot, having the most, forget about having it ALL!

Jun. 27 2012 10:49 AM
Madeline from Midtown

In response to the teacher who just phoned in:
Having children at 25 is becoming less of a viable option. Marriage rates are declining and women and men are getting married later and later. Expecting couples or individuals to bring children into the world at 25 is unrealistic, especially because at that point individuals may not feel as though the are financially capable of supporting another life. Something to consider

Jun. 27 2012 10:49 AM

Caller Karen: you're kidding, right? You have to come home and educate your kid because, even tho you live in a great school district, they aren't being educated? Maybe your kid is goofing off in school all day. Maybe they just aren't that bright. Give me a break - you sound like a whine.

Jun. 27 2012 10:48 AM

Woman can have it all, but not all at the same time.
There is a time for everything

Jun. 27 2012 10:48 AM
Susana MacLean from Westfield, NJ

Ageism is very real in our society. Hiring employers have to be willing to hire older women into near-entry-level jobs. For example, in the 1990s, MBA grads were in their mid- to late 20s when they interviewed for their first post-MBA jobs. If a woman has kids in her 20s and stays home with them, then gets her MBA in her mid- or late 30s, employers have to be willing to hire them at age 38 or 40 for their "first" professional job in the business world. Same goes for law firms. And medical practices.

Until expecations about age and job level are rethought, it will be very difficult for women to kick start, or re-start, their careers when they are older and have stayed at home as parents.

Jun. 27 2012 10:48 AM
peggy from Queens

This is a thought provoking discussion and one that resonates in my head, almost daily. I wonder if we can have it all but perhaps not at the same time. When I use this reframe it helps me.

Jun. 27 2012 10:48 AM
Jane from Brooklyn

The woman who just phoned in- So because your children have homework- that is evidence that they're NOT being educated?! ... Excuse me?

Helping YOUR children with THEIR homework is because their schools aren't educating them? ... and because of this you "can't watch T.V. with them." Really? ...

Wow - talk about entitlement.

Jun. 27 2012 10:47 AM
Mary from UWS

I love how every one thinks about when you have children is always a choice. I would have loved to have had kids in my early to mid twenties. Unfortunately I didn't meet my husband until I was 40. Should I have just gotten randomly pregnant by a guy I knew wasn't right just to have kids in my 20's so I could have a career in my 40's and 50's?

Jun. 27 2012 10:46 AM
Elle from Brooklyn

I meant to say - Men today are VERY different from their fathers. Most of the fathers that I know are very involved in their children's lives and in sharing the responsibilities of childcare.

Jun. 27 2012 10:45 AM
Jesse from Brooklyn

Maybe your kid is a moron, lady.

Jun. 27 2012 10:45 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

One thing is clear: NO CHILDREN = NO FUTURE! IF we don't find a way to successfully make and raise children, our society will be finished very soon. Long before "global warming" or even nuclear war.

Jun. 27 2012 10:45 AM
Sadie from Manhattan

I would have loved to have babies sooner, but my husband, who is the same age as I, wasn't ready. My mom had me in her early twenties, which was great for her career, but it helped that my father is 7 years older than her and ready at the same time. So, maybe this is a vote for men having to change.

Jun. 27 2012 10:45 AM
Lois Pereira from East Hanover, NJ

I am 60 years old, have my MBA from Columbia, had two sons at the age of 36 and 38 and had a relatively successful career in University administration. Slaughter's article has really infuriated me. Men too make sacrifices- either by limiting careers or family time- and do not have it all. If a woman wants to put a career before family, she has the opportunity to do so, and to me, this is what is key. But all high level executives need to make this choice. The argument that women "feel" differently or don't have societal support for their decisions, seems to be a cop-out. No one has it all and it's time for all of us- bright privileged women included- come to that realization. Time to put on our big girl pants!!!

Jun. 27 2012 10:45 AM

Slaughter is right that the requirement for face time at the office has got to stop. When I was a junior partner at a high-powered litigation firm in Manhattan, I was looked at askance for leaving at 6 or 6:30 p.m., even though I was arriving at the office at 6 or 6:30 a.m., several hours before most other attorneys.

But the other issue is the demand by employers for insane amounts of hours. In recent years, employers began demanding that employees do an amount of work that used to be done by two or three people. No wonder we can't do it all -- we're working waaayyy too many hours.

Jun. 27 2012 10:45 AM
Elle from Brooklyn

To hjs11211 - well said! Obviously jgarbuz was hurt badly by some woman sometime and now blames ALL women for his bitterness. Men today are VERY different.

Jun. 27 2012 10:44 AM
sp from nyc

Just a correction: older age of FATHERS is associated with increased risk of autism.

Jun. 27 2012 10:44 AM
John A

Children should be an available option for the Keurig "k-cups" home brewer. No fuss, no muss just pop one in and come back and get it next March. Done.

Jun. 27 2012 10:43 AM

jgarbuz from Queens
“but I'm still trying to figure out what it is, and how men fit in to it, if at all?”
I’m sorry u feel so inadequate. Maybe if you felt better about yourself you would stop the hating and KNOW where u fit. The most tradition men seem not to be flexible enough for the 21st century. You will be extinct soon then the rest of us can move on. we’ll all be better without the abuse

Jun. 27 2012 10:43 AM
Christina Mc from Union Square

Why does "having it all" mean having to have a career with a family? Why can't we define our own "having it all". I have a great career with a fantastic company, and me and my husband choose to not have kids. At all. Because for us "having it all" means making a choice to live our life sans children. And I'm pretty sure if you ask other people if they feel like they "have it all" they'll say they're still missing something here and there.

Jun. 27 2012 10:41 AM
John from NYC

Is this discussion for real or what? Anyone here done anything in the real world? Try being the head architect or engineer on a billion dollar + building, a lawyer working on a high power case, etc. No way "flex-time," etc., etc. is going to work.

Jun. 27 2012 10:40 AM
Anna from New York

My question is why is if I pay an undocumneted worker to take care of my children while I go to work, I am considered working and the caregiver is considered a working individual. If I drop off my kids at a daycare center and go to work, the daycare workers are considered working people and I am considered working. Now, if I do the work of the caregiver or the daycare worker at my home, I am considered not working and an unproductive member of society. This is what has to change. The definition of WORK. I should be able to pay into Social Security as a Stay at Home Mom because I am working.

Jun. 27 2012 10:39 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I THINK what women perhaps want, is what I call "The Daddy State." Not the nanny state, but the Daddy state, where the government becomes the sugar daddy. Unfortunately, there is the problem is, where will the taxes come from for this Daddy state.

The simply truth is, IMO, that radical liberalism and feminism have destroyed the Patriarchal Family structure, but have not figured out how to replace it. So with fewer babies and more working moms, and fewer successful dads pushed out by moms who took "their jobs," we will have fewer native born children, with a lot of old people, and the final decline of western civilization, as we once knew it, and a takeover by those who DO have a lot of children, i.e., the Umma of the Caliphate.

If we cannot revive Patriarchy, and do not believe that is possible either, we must create a "Brave New World" where children are hatched and raised by corporations and the state.

Jun. 27 2012 10:38 AM
kikakiki26 from Harlem

When society changes, when schools call dad's telephone cause jr is sick, when the system does not blame Mom because daughter is pregnant at 15. When women stop thinking only they can raise the children properly. When the office does not look at Gender but as each gender having family responsibility. If Dad cooks and or cleans, and does hair or takes daughter to the salon or goes to doctor and school then stop feeling guilty about working because its between your two ears and stop looking at what other people are thinking about you as a mom because You know you and Dad are making successful career choices.

Jun. 27 2012 10:37 AM
John A

Wanting too much is real fall of empires stuff. Pride goeth. Not that anyone has suggested that the US is in any way sociopathic or lacking in humility.

Jun. 27 2012 10:37 AM
Jyl in JC from Jersey City

The way this discussion has been pitched is as though all of these issues are just personal, individual 'choices', not a matter of the social structures that shape all of these decisions that people make. Not just in high powered workplaces, but in our whole political and economic system.

This is such an American-centric conversation. Why do we never, on these issues, actually look at other countries to see how they do this? Our public policies for families are terrible, ranking at the very bottom in the world. Can we talk about paid family leave for men as well as for women? Can we talk about equal pay? Can we talk about a living wage for everyone?

It is really annoying when some generic 'feminists' are blamed for what are actual public problems that feminist organizations have been trying for decades to change.

Jun. 27 2012 10:37 AM
Vivian Stone from Long Island

Hold on here -- let's go back a bit. It's worth noting that Ms. Slaughter did not have "children" -- she had SONS, particularly one teeneage son who felt angry and abandoned etc. Let's discuss whether it's the son's in-born sense of male entitlement that is at the root of this "problem". I can't help but wonder if Ms. Slaughter had had daughters, who do not feel such ownership of their mother's life, that she would have been given the space she needed to acomplish her career goals.

Jun. 27 2012 10:37 AM
Kate from NJ

Our current definition of "all" is simply unrealistic. If you choose to have a career, your family life will suffer. If you choose to focus on family, your career will suffer. This is the same for men. The only difference is that women are expected to want to stay home or feel guilty or sad for not staying home.

Jun. 27 2012 10:35 AM

i don’t know why having it all would involve working 5 hours away from your family (or even cummting 3 hours per day)
I know when soldiers (mostly male) are deployed overseas the family suffers.
So I’m not sure that this is a good example of work-family balance.

Jun. 27 2012 10:35 AM

It will continue to be difficult for women to "have it all" so long as they continue to earn less than men for the same work.

Jun. 27 2012 10:34 AM
Lisa from Forest Hills

I tried to have it all when my husband and I had our daughter in 2006. It quickly felt impossible to do anything right. I was failing at my job in and M&A firm and felt I wasn't focusing enough on my daughter. I tried to get a lower powered job, but it didn't work. I feel I have lost my identity to being a mother. While I wouldn't change it for anything, I miss myself.

Jun. 27 2012 10:34 AM
Nick from UWS

What has to change is this idiotic focus on the concept of "having it all". Nobody "has it all", male or female. What has to change people have to move on from this infantile idea to appreciating what you do have and to understand how to calculate the cost of any given life choice and accept that price if you really want to make that choice. People who appreciate the things they have are a lot happier than those striving to "have it all". Most of those people haven't the vaguest idea of what they want out of life, and it is merely a form of keeping up with the Joneses.

Jun. 27 2012 10:33 AM
Meredith from Bridgeport, CT

As we get more and more aware of each other around the world, and the nature of business changes, it seems that a fundamental shift in the scheduling and organization of work is possible and necessary. How many problems are caused by this arbitrary schedule of 9 - 5. For families, it's obviously child care, running errands, doctor's appointments, but what about the stress it puts on everything else - traffic and transportation, retail and everything else. It seems that women wouldn't be alone in the pursuit of "having it all", if society at large was more flexible. there are many many jobs that don't really need to happen between 9 and 5. There are a lot of possibilities that could better reflect the new reality of the two job household.

Jun. 27 2012 10:33 AM
Nora Lover from NYC

i love love love that you're talking on this a day after Nora Ephron's passing. She's topical, even now, after her death. THANK YOU NORA EPHRON!

Jun. 27 2012 10:32 AM
Jane from Brooklyn

So women leave their "Very Serious Careers" in hopes of raising children that can hopefully one day may have a serious, important career? ... Interesting.

Jun. 27 2012 10:31 AM
John A

Particularly bad choice for a turn of phrase: 'Have it all'
But Still
I would like to see equality in child-care options for both parents, a long break with the newborn for the father, if the family chooses that.

Jun. 27 2012 10:30 AM
L from Brooklyn

I would suggest paid maternity and paternity leave for 6 months. Then affordable childcare with hours for working parents - 7:30am - 7pm. That would be a good start.

Jun. 27 2012 10:29 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Brian, please first define "family." I have heard the term used, but I'm still trying to figure out what it is, and how men fit in to it, if at all?

Jun. 27 2012 10:28 AM
Jane from Brooklyn

Perhaps a sequel to Ms. Slaughter's article could be "Why Men STILL do have it 'All'"- this of course it rhetorical- If men were expected TO and DID everything "working mothers" did- they too, couldn't have it all.

Jun. 27 2012 10:26 AM
Jane from Brooklyn

There is a reason that when women are given a genuine choice (not artificially influenced by culture/media) and not fooled by how glorious and rewarding motherhood/parenthood is- They are ever increasingly choosing NOT to have children.

There is a reason why people who have a lot of money pay other people to raise their children.

Jun. 27 2012 10:22 AM
oscar from ny

Woman now in the 21st century are more powerful than ever...every guy in america wants one...but the evil one lies about their status and makes everyone gay so we can fight among each other .."male nd female"..god made woman with even more compassion than he made man...why do you think most are pretty and coveted thru out time...the age were right now females have finally realized how much power they have against man and so they hold it up to us...the lesbians have a fervor for the hot females and turn things around in their head and spin controversy when in fact america at this momemt is super crazy for females..they can practically get away with many things man cant..the state of ny is infected with confusion and thats why theyre a separation between man nd woman...i ask any guy out there and they will tell you that the thing they love the most is to be with a girl..unless your i dont feel sorry for anyone...ny right now america covets woman nd children...the rest of us guys if were not rich, were not acounted for

Jun. 27 2012 10:17 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Abort all males, but first harvest their gonads.

Jun. 27 2012 10:13 AM
Lauren from Brooklyn

I left my job after the birth of my son, primarily due to really poor maternity leave. While I understand how fortunate I am that financially I did not have to return to work full-time, staying at home full-time is very frustrating. I have friends who were able to negotiate returning to their jobs on a part-time basis. However, looking for a new job on a part-time basis is challenging. I am ivy-league educated with a master's degree in a science field, for which jobs are in demand. I know of countless other mothers with small children who are in my position: highly educated, smart, disciplined workers who are by default opting out entirely of the labor force because, while they would like to use their professional skills in some capacity, they are not yet ready to return to work full-time.

Aside from being very frustrating for me and other in my position, this is terribly inefficient for the American workforce. I would love a discussion about what can be done to make working part-time more widespread.

Jun. 27 2012 10:10 AM
Amy from Brooklyn

I'm a bit tired of complaints about how hard it is to "have it all". Not all of us are lucky enough to have careers. Not all of us are lucky enough to have families.

Be thankful for what you have. Try aiming for "having enough" instead of a voracious "it all". No one can have ALL the toys.

Jun. 27 2012 10:09 AM

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