In the Atlantic Monthly there was an article just released titled, “Can women have it all?” There were varied responses from several panels of women who according to most agreed, “You can have it all, but not at the same time.” If you are in a high powered job and you take off a year or two to have a baby, you cannot return in the same high powered position you left. Those women who take off at the time of delivery, and then return immediately often report that they are treated differently. Women also talked about the fact that they may work a twelve hour day and come home to six hours of chores at night, while their partner may work the same number of hours but his expectations aren’t the same when he comes home. One of the women interviewed said very boldly, “You can have it all if you choose the right partner.” Whom you choose as your partner is important, but are they the most important factor to “Having it all?”
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, over the decades the number of prescriptions written each year for Attention Deficit medicine has surged among women over the age of 26. The number has grown from 800,000 in 2002 to 5.4 million in 2010. A particularly significant increase has been for women aged 26 to 39, which as soared to 750%. This number, although huge, is the number from only one of the popular ADHD medications. One of the reasons this surge is attributed to this particular medication is that it helps women cope with stress; feel energized, more focused and helps them lose weight. These are all important characteristics of women who “have it all.”
Women’s rhetoric may be the problem. Perhaps if women would educate younger women to make healthy choices rather than attempt to be everything to everyone, they would be healthier, happier and more effective in the work place and at home. The latest use of ADHD medication is nothing new. Women have always used medications to help combat the stress, fatigue and pressure they feel while trying to be super women, super moms and super lovers. Something has to give, and it is usually the woman’s overall health.
In today’s economy, more women than ever are working. The majority of women I work with love their jobs, their husbands/boyfriends and family, but they feel as though they are on a treadmill. Guys feel that too, but usually the woman is not only taking his emotional needs to heart, but her children’s as well. Women are socialized this way, and for the most part when a woman does put herself first or at least as important as everyone else, it’s because she has a partner who is doing their fair share at home.
I think the question, “Can women have it all” needs to change with the times. Over a lifetime, most people get what they value most. Below are some suggestions to help you achieve what you value most. For most women, that is the true “having it all.”
1. Choosing the right partner is one of the most important choices you will ever make, so choose wisely, and put your time and effort into your choice after you choose it.
2. If you choose to have children, understand the consequences that come with that choice. If you want your child raised by you, then you are going to have to make sacrifices with your career, social life, and your body.
3. If you chose the right partner, then they will want to help support your values and you theirs. That means sharing of chores, helping each other out with childcare, and nurturing the relationships will not be an additional stressor you have to deal with.
4. If your health is compromised due to your lack of taking responsibility or time for it, then the whole family loses and so do your dreams. Being a super model or marathon runner is great, but you achieve that at a cost to something else. If you go for a four-hour run on Saturday morning and you have chosen a great partner, this could be his “dad time.” Everything takes time, and every behavior has a consequence. Do what you and your partner value most.
5. If your inner need to be it all, have everything, and prove something to yourself is so strong that you will use drugs or alcohol to achieve it, then your inner thoughts need readjusting. This can best be done through counseling.
I don’t think the question is, “Can women have it all?” I think the question is, “Will I know it and appreciate it when I have it all?” –Mary Jo Rapini
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Tags: Having It All, Success, Career, Happiness, Relationships, ADHD, Women’s Health, Choosing the Right Partner