You can have it all — if you’re an entrepreneur

Deborah Sweeney | July 7, 2012 | Comments (1)

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation. A graduate of Pepperdine law & business schools, she is also a mother, wife and small business owner. Follow her on Twitter @deborahsweeney.

In the July/August edition of The Atlantic, the former director of policy planning for the U.S. State Department, Anne-Marie Slaughter, crafted a controversial piece entitled “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All.”

In the piece, Slaughter discusses her occupational/familial story of trading in her government position for a teaching position.

Throughout the very in-depth op-ed (I suggest some scrolling finger exercises prior to reading) the professional mother discusses the honest, inner turmoil she felt while being apart from her family, having to only see her husband and two boys on weekends due to the distance of the commute, while being enveloped by her government job.

During her time at the foreign policy dream occupation, one of her sons began to show symptoms of a troubled adolescence. Being first and foremost a mother, Slaughter ultimately made the decision to return to the lesser demanding professor title for the sake of her family.

The reactions among her colleagues brought on by her decision to make the switch were what eventually lead her to write this “little” ditty.

Imagine being in her shoes; very educated and very prepared to succeed while simultaneously needing very much to react to her biological calling as a top notch mother. For most women in the working world, this is actually an all too common internal debate. Though as Slaughter discusses, working women are conditioned to take those mothering needs and neatly, quietly place them behind all things professionally related.

If a career is sacrificed in the name of family, female colleagues will surely condescendingly sneer as the office doors close behind you for that final time. Similarly, the soccer moms of the world will shine a flashlight on your mothering instincts in an interrogative fashion if the choice is made to make a career move and hire a nanny to mother your children and greet your husband after his day’s work.

Young women with strong, working female mentors are taught to fight and strive for that professional top and to not let a silly thing like relationships or children get in the way. But even if the professional tippy top is achieved, a woman still does not have everything. What about the primitive need to love and be loved? Reproduction anyone?

Hence the title and the conclusion: Women Still Can’t Have it All.

As I was reading “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All” I couldn’t help but to feel exceedingly fortunate. Here I am, a mother of two, never have I missed a game, performance, or ceremony involving my children, and the CEO of a company. Reading stories such as Slaughter’s has always been a nice reminder of the freedom that comes with entrepreneurship.

Yes, as with all things, there is still a balance. The amount of time an entrepreneur puts into his/her business is directly correlated with the amount of reward as a result. The same goes for motherhood. However, running your own business allows for one of the most important words in the Mother’s Dictionary: flexibility. If I need to come into the office early because I know I have a baseball game to
catch later, I will do that. The time is still there, just in a different slot.

So one could argue, if being a female entrepreneur, mother, wife, and friend is all you aspire to be in life, then, yes, a woman can have it all.

Tags: balance, family, , maternity leave, mentor, professional, ,

Category: Family 2.0

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Comments (1)

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  1. Heather says:

    That is a good point and shines a great perspective on entrepeneurship but there is no mention here of the financials side that allows you to start your business.

    Women do not get important financial information, to save money in advance of having children. Nor is there a family savings plan that operates like a 401K or college savings account. And we are not likely too see this change if women have to exit government and business positions of power (outside of entrepeneurship).

    This post glosses over the inherent problem: motherhood has no value to our capitalistic economic system.

    Once it does, women will not have to be torn in two.