This might be a phrase you are familiar with. I have heard it most commonly used to refer to career women. Article titles like “How to have it all” or “No, you can’t have it all” or “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All“.
What a weird concept once you actually think about it. It’s pretty much the same as “have your cake and eat it too”. What the actual heck does that mean? Why on earth would I want cake if don’t plan on eating it? Obviously I’m going to eat it and if you get in my way I’m going to plow through you. Don’t stand in between me and my gd cake if you know what’s good for you. (This is not a metaphor. Get away from my cake.)
And don’t stand it the way of my having it all either because you* better believe I’m going to have it all. Out of my way, haters!
I have two adorable boys, 1 and 3 yrs old. Adorable when they’re sleeping in their beds with angelic looks on their faces. Less adorable when I have to reschedule a meeting 3 times because their gd daycare germs are picking off family members one by one.
Surveys show that 9 out of 10 career-driven parents agree; kids are wieners.**
Kids don’t give two hoots that my supervisor needs a draft of that paper by Friday or that super important networking event is happening when my husband it out of town and I can’t find a babysitter.
But you know what, that’s ok.
I can still have it all. As a grad student in science I am faced with a lot of traditional expectations. Working by the light of the bunsen burner into the wee hours of the night, reading through stacks of papers during the evenings and weekends, quietly crying over the 15th version of a manuscript. But I’m not going to conform to those out of date expectations. I’m good at what I do and I’m going to do it from 9-5, Monday to Friday (minus a few extra sick days, see above re: the cesspool of daycare germs). I’m going to produce results and if the way I got them doesn’t conform to your expectations you better get some new expectations.
I have read many an article about problems in academia. Women leaving discouraged before they reach the higher ranks, disconnect from the general public, falling enrollments. I think it has a lot to do with the atmosphere around theses parts. Time to open the windows of the ivory tower and air out these stuffy halls and adapt to a lifestyle that lets everyone (men and women) have it all.
We need to change the lifestyle associated with academia. Stop expecting people to be in the lab at midnight. Don’t look down on them because they have to leave early to take their kids to the dentist. Be inspired by their ability to be dedicated to their family while being no less dedicated to their work. *gasp* Academics enjoying a work/life balance? What a great marketing tool to grow academia with the best and brightest minds. Think of what a university full of less stressed, inspired, and happy faculty could accomplish.
I’m feeling inspired to write a series of post about my journey to ‘having it all’. How will I possibly ever do it? Probably with awesomeness and class. Let’s find out.
*The ‘you’ I keep yelling at is probably not actually you (but maybe). It’s the the general patriarchy of academia. Is that you? Booooooo.
**Not an actual survey, but it’s probably true.