The “women having it all” debate┬áisn’t new. Even before Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article, even before I had my own blog post about it, there was this:

When I was a freshman in college, I took a class called “Introduction to the Visual Arts” that was your typical “easy humanities requirement”. We had to do a project that was to make an extension of your body and then discuss what it meant to us. One girl made a plaster cast of her boyfriend’s private part and talked about it. I wasn’t quite that “artsy” yet, so I did the only square thing I could think of, which was to make a flipboard of different “uniforms” and write a cheesy poem to explain it all. How embarrassing. I mean, why would I (someone with a fear of public speaking) make something so difficult for myself?

You can view the pages in the gallery above. I’m not going to read it out loud for you, it would be too embarrassing the second time.

Even back then, I wanted it all. Maybe it was a case of “I’m a freshman in college, I’m undecided on my major, I have no idea what I’m going to do with my life”, but I really think I liked so many things, I couldn’t just stop doing one to focus on another. I even wrote on a college scholarship application that my dream job was to be “an architect-slash-part time cartoonist”, but I couldn’t explain what that meant to the scholarship interviewer and I found myself getting defensive about it (probably why I didn’t get the scholarship :P). But maybe it really was HIS issue. Maybe HE couldn’t understand why someone would want to be one thing and also dabble in something else.

I think that’s partly why this “women having it all” debate keeps flaring up like a bad case of hemorrhoids. People can’t understand why women would want to have a demanding career if they have kids. I think part of the reason why women today have this overwhelming desire to “have it all” is because we were empowered by earlier generations to go to college, to get educated, to work, and we struggle now with either the guilt of letting down generations of women by focusing on family, or the guilt of letting other people raise our kids (or not having kids at all) because we are off being empowered. Most men are ok with having a demanding career if it means less time for family. Most women aren’t ok with that, because they feel guilty that they should be home with their kids. Yes, some women don’t feel guilty, and they end up “having it all” and being ok with their choices.

For the rest of us, we just have to realize that we can have whatever we want, we just have to be satisfied with our choices, and be thankful that we do have a choice.