From Shonda Rhimes to the average “girl next door,” women are being plagued with the same question. Yes…that one!
Can women have it all?
In other words- can women balance their careers and families, and thrive in both areas. That’s why when I got the opportunity to interview Lauren Whitworth (who helps “entrepreneur mums maximise profit without sacrificing the relationships they hold most dear (or vice versa)”), I just had to get her views on this controversial topic! Here’s what she shared:
“I would say my short answer is, no. I don’t
think that [women] can have it all. But I think we can have what our heart desires
the most. And I think that we need to get honest about what that is…”
As women, we can feel trapped in the expectations of being a mum and what we have been taught by society that, that is supposed to look like. Likewise, we can become trapped by societal expectations of what a career orientated woman looks like. However, as Lauren points out, “I don’t think we can be true to who we are if we’re living in someone else’s agenda”.
“Years ago, I was saying yes to business in a way that was harming [my children]. So, even though I’d set up my life on purpose to be
with them, I wasn’t with them. I was there in person but my mind was distracted
and they knew it”.
The pressure to conform to societal expectations can mean that working mums end up embodying the old adage- “if you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no-one”. This is because (as in Whitworth’s example) “you always give up something to
say yes to something else. You’re saying no to one thing to say yes to another”. Hence why she believes women being able to “have it all” is a myth.
“What I like to frame it as is a tension to be
managed; that we’re always every day (as adults) making decisions. I think the
more aligned we get, the more options we get and that’s where paying attention
to our heart becomes important”.
Since saying yes to one thing could inevitably mean a no to another thing, balancing home and career can seem like a constant tug of war. As a results of this tension, the Rock Your Business founder suggests managing them by becoming and “staying aligned with what we want”.
“[My husband and I] said no to a lot in order to say yes to what
was most important in our heart. I can see lots of decisions that we made that
didn’t follow tradition; didn’t follow culture because I had discovered that some things in our culture didn’t really align with my intuition…”
According to Lauren, women should not be afraid to go against the grain when making decisions about what truly aligns with their desires for their careers and families. Working mum’s can do this by:
“Checking in with yourself” when making decisions, and saying no to whatever is not in alignment with your wants and needs- to ensure that you are actually taking the necessary action to prioritise and say yes to what you want
Not being afraid to “restructure your life regularly” to ensure this remains the case- just like Whitworth, who revealed: “I feel like I have to restructure my life about every 3 months and then shed more stuff [in terms of habits, activities and mindsets], even though it feels like I’m constantly releasing a lot”.
Not engaging in certain lifestyle choices (whether at home or work) because “everyone is doing it”- Trust that you know what’s best for you and your family! Even if some of the ways you choose to resturcture goes against popular opinion, I want to end with Lauren’s reassurance that “your intuition is on target”.