Can Women Have It All? image

Can Women Have It All?

Which profession is right for your financial freedom?

Part 1

Can women have it all?

Can we have the career we desire with financial freedom and the family we cherish while taking care of our own well-being, health and sanity?

Can we really have everything that we want?

Oprah says we can have it all, just not all at the same time. Hanna Rosin, the author of “The End of Men, The Rise of Women”, gave an emphatic, “No!” when I asked her this question on The Rich Dad Radio Show recently. My friends in the corporate world tend to lean towards the “not possible”, “no way” side of the scale, while my friends who own their own businesses seem to be a bit more optimistic on the subject.

The One Key Factor to Have it All

This led me to delve into this question a bit deeper. What I did find was ONE factor that did seem to tip the scale to whether you would answer, “Yes” or “No” to the notion that you as a woman can have it all.

Corporate women tend to favor the “No” side, especially corporate women with children. Children are a definite factor in this equation. Full-time employees, as well, take a more pessimistic approach. On the other side of the coin, female business owners and entrepreneurs struggle less with the idea and actually seem to create ways in their day-to-day lives to make “having it all” a reality.

So what’s the difference? Why do some women believe they can have their profession, their family and themselves all in a functional, sane and yes, even happy, life, while others simply don’t imagine it’s possible in their lifetime?

In my opinion, the key component to whether you can “have it all” or not depends upon one thing –

Do you control your schedule or is your schedule dictated by someone else?

In other words, are you in charge of your time… or not?

Who determines when you show up at work?

Who dictates when you can go home to your kids?

When weekend plans with family have to be altered because of business, is that your call or someone else’s?

All Professions Are Not Created Equal

Different professions have different demands on women. Here are the top categories. Where do you fit in?

The Corporate Woman With Children

I think mothers who want to advance in the corporate or business world struggle the most with the concept of “having it all.” It’s a tough gig. You are expected to put in long hours, attend corporate dinners, show up for early-morning conference calls, and more. If your boss needs you at 2:00 pm on a Saturday, it’s hard to say “No” knowing that your upwardly-mobile career depends upon it.

Yet, you don’t want to be a stranger to your children or be replaced by a nanny that they end up loving more than you. You want to spend time with your children, put them to bed at night and be there for all of those precious, once-in-a-lifetime-moments that come with being a mother. You want to be the successful businesswoman, the great mom and wife.

If this is you, please tell us how you keep on top of it.

The Full-time Employee With Children

This is the woman who works five or six days a week and is not striving for the corner office, becoming a partner in her firm or seeking an executive title. She’s doing work she enjoys (hopefully) and is content to bring home the paycheck and have a life outside of her job.

She is not in control of her schedule while she is at her job. Her kids may go to school, daycare, or if she has the funds, be at home with a nanny. The conflict appears at those times when she wants to be with her kids but cannot because of her job. This is where the guilt kicks in. She is often the first one to leave the office at 5:00 pm to get home to her kids.

Is this you? Do you have it all? Please tell us more.

The Corporate Woman or Full-time Employee with No Children

Not having control over your day-to-day schedule will always cause angst. Even if you don’t have children and work full-time, you still have obligations with friends and family and personal wants that often have to be put aside in the name of the job.

Not having kids myself, I have to believe there is less conflict and guilt that go along with family and other, life obligations versus those of longing to spend more time with your kids.

Your comments?

The Career of Mom

If you know that you are meant to be a full-time mom and that is your profession, then the battle between work and family seems to almost disappear. The struggle to have it all may appear if you truly yearn to build a career along with being a mom and have put it on the back burner. Or, the struggle can show up later when your kids are grown and you now need to find a new purpose or profession in life. Up until that point, your kids were your purpose.

Are you a professional mom? Talk to us.

The Woman Entrepreneur With Children

I believe you have more FLEXIBILITY over your time than the woman employee, which is the key component. Although having your own business is no walk in the park; you will often put in more hours per week than the woman working for someone else. Yet, an entrepreneur makes her own rules and creates her own schedule – a huge plus when wanting to have it all.

An added bonus is that you can involve your kids in your business and give them an education they’ll never get in school. I know of several female business owners doing just that. One couple is teaching their two young boys to be entrepreneurs. The boys, ages 10 and 14, are now on their third business together in three years.

Another mother includes her daughter in her retail business whenever possible. The girl loves greeting customers, ringing up sales and being with her mom at the same time.

I like what this mother of one and a senior executive at a large beauty company said:

“I was thinking that while traditional careers (government, finance, corporate jobs) are pretty inflexible, I’m always inspired by the mom-trepreneurs who basically blaze their own trails to make it work. Rather than waiting for the world to be accepting of what you want out of work/life balance, it’s awesome to see women take control into their own hands, found their own businesses, pursue their passions, and all while being great moms. It takes a lot of guts, creativity and often the luxury of not being the primary earner, to be able to create those businesses. But, in the end, those businesses can employ lots of other moms trying to balance.”

The Entrepreneur Without Children

That would be me. Robert and I have no children by choice. That would be my friend Mona with a thriving PR and publishing company. That would be my friend Kathy with a lucrative marketing business.

If you don’t have kids in the equation, does this relieve some of the “having it all” pressure? No doubt about it (although, Robert can be a pretty big kid at times). Yet, I trust a woman would never use the excuse that having kids is the reason why she isn’t successfully living the life she wants.

Are you a business owner with kids? An entrepreneur without kids? Share you stories and opinions with us.

Which profession is right for you?

There are many choices when it comes to working, financial freedom and having it all. Tell us what you think below. And next week, I’ll share Part Two of this blog and what other women say about this subject.

In the meantime, check out our free, financial education community here.

Original publish date: January 10, 2013

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