Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"How Does She Do It?" they all wondered

I just got home at about 8:45 this evening, after a meeting with my social justice group. We are planning a meeting to address the achievement gap in our communities' schools. We are also starting to get some ideas for advocacy and new programs.

Before that, I had the meeting with confirmation parents, to get ready for the new year.

Before that, I had a meeting with the confirmation guides, ditto above.

Before that, I went home, let the dog out, and fed her. (my husband did the same thing, so she's FULL tonight.)

Before that, I worked on organizing my desk, returned emails, and emailed people.

Before that, I had lunch.

Before that, I worked on a brochure for the achievement gap forum.

My day started at 7:30 a.m., as I prepared for our Wednesday Matins worship.

I'm exhausted today. And I'm "only" a pastor. I'm not the governor of the State of Alaska. I don't have five children (one of whom is a special needs child), and I didn't fire the staff at the mansion so that I could do my own cooking and cleaning. I do my own cooking or cleaning, although I confess that I don't do it to my own satisfaction.

Obviously, I don't think it is impossible to have a career and a family. In fact, I think those kinds of insinuations are sexist. But I do wonder: is it healthy for women to get the impression that they should, or even that they can, do it all?

Because I can't. Do it all, I mean. And I'm exhausted tonight, even without doing it all.

13 comments:

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Good questions. I agree with both of your points. Women can have career and family, but they can't do it all. You can't be super mom, super housewife, and super executive. Some corners have to be cut. The people who refuse to admit that are the ones who scare me because that means they either extend themselves beyond their capacity, or they try to hide the ways in which they as individuals cut corners. And neither quality is a particularly good one for a VP to have. (IMHO)

Rev SS said...

Well said! Amen D & R. And it's really scarey to think of the VP ending up as Pres!

Barbara B. said...

Although women can "do it all" as well as men can "do it all".

:)

Diane said...

Barb, I didn't know they did. it. all. :)

ProclaimingSoftly (PSanafter-thought) said...

Life is always full of trade offs. People don't do it all. There are only 24 hours in a day. If you making the choice to do one thing, you are not doing another thing. It is time that this issue is address from that perspective. It is against the laws of nature or physics or something to say that someone does it all.

If you are at a meeting, you are not home with your husband, with your kids, cleaning the oven, taking a walk by yourself, etc. etc. etc. If you choose to go on a vacation, you are not home to attend a funeral or a neighborhood party.

Mothers can be competent workers. Working women can be competent and excellent mothers and wives. But no one can be two places at one time. If either the mother or father is at the office, someone else is taking care of the kids, wiping their noses. Many women wish for the option of part time work, but because of needing benefits, they might be forced to work full time. And I've known men who chose work that demands less of their time so that they can be better fathers.

But it does seem that society must deem the mother to be the most important parent because they don't ask the same question of fathers.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

i think much depends on the marriage... and i say that partly out of my own experience, but partly b/c i do believe it is true. if your partner helps carry the burden and lift the load... it makes balancing things much smoother... never perfect, but smoother.

i think is far more dangerous and unhealthy for folks to perpetuate the notion that a woman should not try to go after it all... simply because she might fail. to prevent one from even trying... that's sin in action.

Diane said...

Hotcup, I believe both extremes are unhealthy. The Martha Stewart perfectionism and the "you can't possibly have a family and have a career" extremes. sorry. There are always trade-offs, as P.S. said.

What Barbara said is also true: men do seem to have to "do it all" in the same way. It's "nice" if they "help" keep house, but is it part of the definition of success for them?

mompriest said...

When we try and do it all there are always compromises. I went to seminary with two little kids, and started my vocation as a priest with grammer school and middle school kids.

But thankfully I have a husband who is willing to cook, do laundry, clean, and care for kids....even after he has worked a full day...and trust me, the house was never as clean as I wanted it - not because of his cleaning but simply because you can't raise kids, and have dogs and cats, and have a clean house, unless you do a lot of cleaning, all the time...and we didn't.

so, yeah....leaves me wondering what goes on in that house...and why any mother would put her 17 year old daughter through the public scrutiny...and that 18 year old boy too...yeesh...

Kievas said...

I don't think any one of us can do it all...that's partly why I'm so impressed by single parents who manage to keep it all together.

FranIAm said...

Can you hear me applauding from here?

Juniper said...

my goodness, Sarah Palin is certainly pushing all our inadequacy buttons. I have the same reaction to her "OK, I cant have a MIGRAINE NOW!" I think, "I'm not even 4 months postpartum!" Yikes, let's not make her veep if for no other reason than the women of America would all drop dead from trying to compete....

Songbird said...

I feel all this, all this. I've made so many choices that put others first, and I'm not sorry, but then for a minute, sometimes, I am. She pushes many buttons for me.

Diane Vogel Ferri said...

Good post. I'm not sure sometimes why we NEEd to have it all - do we as women need to prove something. I always kept my career a far second to my kids and have never regretted that.