It’s rare for me to watch anything online (other than TED Talks). I spend too much time in front of a computer for my job and see video streaming sites like YouTube as just another form of TV watching. Why stare at pixels when I can spend time outside digging in dirt? I’m just not that into funny cat videos.
Surprisingly, I stumbled across a gem (just about the same time that CBS did) while I was researching the idea of why I felt like a failure when compared to today’s “norm” for women. Why was my summer disappearing into a rut of work -> mow -> exercise -> eat-> sleep? Notice the lack of parenting in that list? Other women seem to have it all under control. Why couldn’t I pull it together?
I want to take a quick survey now. For those of you who feel you have it all, raise your hands. Ok. Now those of you who feel like you are struggling to have it all and not doing a very good job, raise your hands. Wow, that’s a lot of hands.
You know I’m joking with my survey, but I wanted to get to the heart of the matter…something we have a hard time admitting to others, maybe even ourselves: We can’t have it all.
“I’m not the only bad mother.”
These words resonated with me as they were spoken by Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, during an interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival. (Click the link for the full interview but it really gets interesting around 22 minutes in, although you may want to watch the beginning to hear about buying milk and leaving her crown in the garage).
“We’re screwed… We can’t have it all.”
What? Pause. Rewind. Play again. Good Lord, did she just say that we can’t have it all? Is this highly successful woman, who looks like she has pulled off the ultimate goal of balancing work and home life, telling the world that women are fighting a losing battle?
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
And thank you again for talking openly and honestly about the guilt that eats away the inside of every mother when she has to say no to her child and yes to work. It broke my heart to say no to a young Son #1 when he wanted me to play with him rather than head to a client’s site. It frustrated me that I didn’t have the freedom to tend to his individual needs because I was busy earning money to fulfill a bigger need for food, clothing and shelter. Son #1 as an adult sees what I did now, but Son #1 as a child only knew that he needed me and I wasn’t there for him in the way he wanted.
Thank you for telling us that our most important relationship, the one with our spouse, is the relationship that suffers the most. Where is our life partner on OUR list? Are they lucky enough to even make the list?
Like all things in life, it takes effort to prioritize, cope, handle, and balance the people and issues that battle for our attention. And that’s where Mrs. Nooyi gives her best piece of advice: find ways to cope. Find people who you can ask for help and step in when you need them to. Find ways to fight against the guilt that your children with throw at you. But most of all let them know that you are proud of who they are and who they will become. Sometimes that may be all they are looking for.
Now it’s time for me to go out and mow and then kick back under the maple trees with a couple of (almost adult) kids and a cold Diet Pepsi.