It’s time to stop fooling ourselves, says a woman who left a position of power: the women who have managed to be both mothers and top professionals are superhuman, rich, or self-employed.If we truly believe in equal opportunity for all women, here’s what has to change.
But I could not stop thinking about my 14-year-old son, who had started eighth grade three weeks earlier and was already resuming what had become his pattern of skipping homework, disrupting classes, failing math, and tuning out any adult who tried to reach him.
Over the summer, we had barely spoken to each other—or, more accurately, he had barely spoken to me.
And the previous spring I had received several urgent phone calls—invariably on the day of an important meeting—that required me to take the first train from Washington, D.
C., where I worked, back to Princeton, New Jersey, where he lived.
My husband, who has always done everything possible to support my career, took care of him and his 12-year-old brother during the week; outside of those midweek emergencies, I came home only on weekends.
As the evening wore on, I ran into a colleague who held a senior position in the White House.
She has two sons exactly my sons’ ages, but she had chosen to move them from California to D. when she got her job, which meant her husband commuted back to California regularly.
I told her how difficult I was finding it to be away from my son when he clearly needed me.
Then I said, “When this is over, I’m going to write an op-ed titled ‘Women Can’t Have It All.’”She was horrified. “You, of all people.” What she meant was that such a statement, coming from a high-profile career woman—a role model—would be a terrible signal to younger generations of women.