? re: having it all

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-29-1999
? re: having it all
135
Sat, 07-05-2003 - 2:06pm
Okay, the topic of SAHM vs. WOHM has been beaten to death in the threads below. But after talking to a single, childless friend, I have another question for you ladies.

Do you think it is at all selfish or self-serving to want to "have it all?" By that, I mean, the family AND the career?

Leaving children out of it, what about the effects of your family on your co-workers? How do you think the co-worker who's stuck at her desk making YOUR deadline while you're coaching your kid's t-ball team or watching DD at a dance recital (b/c no one on this board ever seems to miss any of those things for work) feels? Or how about YOUR workload when it's dumped on them when you miss work AGAIN b/c DD/DS is sick? You'd don't think it's a teeny bit selfish for you to "have it all" at the expense of others?

I know my best friend resents being the one who has to stay late at the office b/c her co-workers have to "pick up the kids before the sitter closes" or "I just can't miss Johnny's ballgame--certainly you don't mind covering for me" (Yes, she minds, very much). Or being asked to put in OT on the weekends while co-workers w/kids weasle out of it. Where do you draw the line?

Thoughts? C

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2002
Sat, 07-05-2003 - 2:25pm
whew! Well, we must really be running in different crowd! First of all, most of my co-workers (male and female) have children themselves and both fathers and mothers have taken time off with sick kids etc. while I or others have covered their work for them: we see it as a positive working atmosphere where everyone helps everyone else out regardless of the reasons (and those without kids have had to have their work covered for them as well for various personal reasons). Second of all, I have done plenty of OT work on weekends and evenings while dh has been at home with the kids and vice versa. We have both taken trips and have never tried to "weasley" out of things because of the kids. As long as one parent is at home and the work is necessary we find a way to do it. Of course, we might be lucky in that we both have very flexible schedules, and it is essentially entirely up to us how to fit in work with family life. Third of all, I live in a country where children are few (far fewer than necessary to replace the population) and consequently seen as very precious, even by people who choose never to have children. As a result, people are very well aware of the fact that having children is not a particularly selfish thing to do....it impacts on all of society. The time we spend away from work helping our children grow up to be capable and responsible adults will help support our coworkers in their old age (because, after all, who on earth would be their doctors, mechanics, plumbers etc. if no kids were born).


Laura

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2003
Sat, 07-05-2003 - 2:26pm
Even when I WOH FT, I never had a "co-worker who's stuck at her desk making YOUR deadline while you're coaching your kid's t-ball team or watching DD at a dance recital (b/c no one on this board ever seems to miss any of those things for work) " I always finished my projects and met my own deadlines. Any time missed for children's activities or illnesses was always deducted from my own vacation and sick time.

"You'd don't think it's a teeny bit selfish for you to "have it all" at the expense of others?"

I think it's a teeny bit selfish when I miss dinner with my family for the third night in a row so that I can finish a proposal for a childless bigwig who is on vacation in Aruba.

"I know my best friend resents being the one who has to stay late at the office b/c her co-workers have to "pick up the kids before the sitter closes" or "I just can't miss Johnny's ballgame--certainly you don't mind covering for me" (Yes, she minds, very much). Or being asked to put in OT on the weekends while co-workers w/kids weasle out of it. Where do you draw the line? "

Perhaps she should learn a very simple, seldom used word. NO. If she keeps doing it, people will just assume she doesn't mind. She really needs to learn to draw her own line.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-29-1999
Sat, 07-05-2003 - 2:47pm
"I think it's a teeny bit selfish when I miss dinner with my family for the third night in a row so that I can finish a proposal for a childless bigwig who is on vacation in Aruba." Who's doing that?

What you fail to take into consideration is that in corporate America, childless workers aren't often given the option of saying "no" WRT to covering for their co-workers w/children. The person who is there HAS to do the work, whether they want to or not. If you don't believe me, go lurk on the childless by choice board for a few days, it's rather enlightening. You can also find proof of what I'm saying in numerous publications...the fact of the matter is that there IS a great deal of resentment by childless workers towards women hell-bent and determined to "have it all" at the expense of everyone else in their life.

While I don't see anyone on this board admitting they're less than perfect, I stand my my OP.

C

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2002
Sat, 07-05-2003 - 2:54pm
"While I don't see anyone on this board admitting they're less than perfect, I stand my my OP"


I don't recall anyone saying they were prefect, just that it is possible to balance work and family....but if it makes you feel any better, I freely admit that I am far less than perfect:-). I also know that I work very hard to avoid dumping work on my coworkers for no good reason and I have covered for my coworkers (yes, even the childless ones) when they needed me to. It has nothing to do with being perfect and everything to do with working with a great and highly considerate group of people who don't tot up points constantly wrt who has covered for whom and when, and who do happily cover each other whether the reason is because of a child or something else.

Laura

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-29-1999
Sat, 07-05-2003 - 3:37pm
Laura, I didn't respond to your OP b/c you're talking about a way of life I know nothing about. My knowledge of all things Sweden stops at Abba. ;) I think it's a given that corporate culture varies from country to country (look at the US vs Japan, for example) and I was referring to my best friend's (and my somewhat limited) experience in corporate America. C
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2002
Sat, 07-05-2003 - 3:48pm
I think it is a good thing for you to recognise that your experiences are limited to your local surroundings and experiences. It might be typical of corporate culture in the area you live it...it is not necessarily typical of corporate culture everywhere (even within the U.S.). And the working world is, in any case, far more than just the corporate culture....

Still, I think the Swedes have a point that too many Americans tend to miss: children are precious and they are the future. Policies and attitudes that foster a good balance between work and family and respect the family's needs are a good way to ensure that children will grow up to be capable members of society.

Laura

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2003
Sat, 07-05-2003 - 4:04pm
<<"I think it's a teeny bit selfish when I miss dinner with my family for the third night in a row so that I can finish a proposal for a childless bigwig who is on vacation in Aruba." Who's doing that?>>

It has happened to me many times. My point is that childless people get the same number of sick days and the same number of vacation days. They just get to use their vacation days to actually go on a vacation while most of us use them for graduations, school conferences, snow days... Who's covering their work when they are in Aruba? Should *I* be resentful? Of course not.

In my last FT WOH job, I was the one there late. Usually the only one. The childless young programmers left at 3. The corporate mucky mucks with the SAHMs and grown children left early or didn't come in at all. I can remember plenty of times trying to finish a proposal at 9:00pm and trying to reach the sales guy on his cell while he was sailing. I got so tired of unpaid overtime that I decided to SAH (of course now I WAH, but that's a whole nother can of worms.)

I firmly believe that the only person responsible for your feelings is yourself (general you). If a childless employee is feeling "resentful" then the burden is on them to find a way to remedy the situation. Bottled up resentment never helped anyone. Whining that she has to do *all* the work (which in my experience is seldom actually true) will not get her far up the corporate ladder, if you know what I mean.

Avatar for outside_the_box_mom
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 07-05-2003 - 4:19pm
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No.

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I don't have any. I work from home running my own business.

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Well, given that I make all my own deadlines and that I've never once missed one in five years of being in business, AND I still manage to make all DS' activities and be room mom, I guess this one doesn't apply to me.

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When DS is sick, he stays at home, with me. Sometimes I will work part of the day, depending on what is going on. Other times I sit on the couch with him and we have a couch potato TV day. Where does "selfish" come in to play here?

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Where do I draw the line? At the bottom of my personal balance sheet, LOL. I am able to work, make money, take care of my family, and live a pretty full life. Do I have it all? I don't, but I'm pretty happy with what I have.

Now here is a question for you. Why is it always either/or for you militant type people? Why can't a woman (or man) do her own thing without having a militant WOHM or SAHM rag on her for it? In the last few weeks I've read that because I don't work FT out of the home I've "opted out" and have done womankind a serious disservice, that I'm not equal to my husband because I don't make as much money as he does, that I'm not broadminded because I haven't traveled abroad, etc etc etc. Now I'm reading I can't have it all and that I'm selfish because I work even though I quit my FT job to in order to live a more balanced life.

The narrow-mindedness displayed on this board by supposedly "educated" and "broad-minded" people is becoming rather comical, to say the least.

outside_the_box_mom

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-29-1999
Sat, 07-05-2003 - 4:32pm
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Obviously your situation is different that the situation I described in my OP. I'm not militant...I merely posed the question, "How do you draw the line WRT to 'having it all'?" Obviously you did that by becoming a WAHM, so you answered my question. Thank you!

I was under the impression that the point of these boards was to debate? I posted a question to debate. C

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-22-2000
Sat, 07-05-2003 - 4:35pm


LOL....I was thinking the same thing, but also that, if I were a working mom whose childless co-worker was having a big time in Aruba, I might be just a *little* bit more likely to be resentful than the childless worker whose co-worker was at home cleaning up kid throw-up.


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