Postcards From Mommywood: Why Can't Moms Have it All?

While President Obama manages to balance work and family, his wife, Michelle, had to give up her career
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Postcards From Mommywood: Why Can’t Moms Have it All?

While President Obama manages to balance work and family, his wife, Michelle, had to give up her career.

-Diane Clehane

The Obamas

The day after he won the election, Barack Obama, who probably had more than a few phone calls to make, found time to drop off his kids at school that morning. It was a powerful message telegraphed to the world: My family comes first.

While political commentators debate Obama’s effectiveness as president and critics dissect which campaign promises he’s kept and which have seemingly fallen by the wayside, there is one aspect of his presidency for which he’s received universally high marks – he’s a resounding success as First Father.

A few weeks ago, The New York Times quoted several of the president’s top advisors commenting on how Obama’s schedule revolves around his daughters, Sasha and Malia. According to the report, when he’s in Washington, he “knocks off work at 6 p.m. each evening” for family dinners and has given his schedulers “strict instructions” that anything that comes up in the interim must wait until 8 p.m, “including matters of war.”

Kind of makes your husband’s — or your — excuse about missing your son’s little league game because of work pale by comparison, doesn’t it? If the leader of the free world can find time for band recitals and soccer games, so the argument goes, every working parent should, without penalty, be able to do the same.

But the reality is quite different.

Based solely on anecdotal evidence I’ve gathered from friends and family, there seems to be an increasing number of fathers (including my husband, thankfully) who can and do carve out time for their children, despite having busy careers, without losing any standing at the office. The same is not true for working mothers – at least the ones I know.

Read Postcards from Mommywood: Moms Need Playdates, Too!

From where I sit, while men are applauded just for trying to incorporate their children’s after- school activities into their calendars, my female friends whose every waking second is a herculean juggling act still find themselves coming up short in the eyes of their employers if family life intrudes on professional obligations.

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0 thoughts on “Postcards From Mommywood: Why Can't Moms Have it All?

  1. Amen sister. Thank goodness I work for a company that respects and appreciates that I’m a mom — and cuts me slack when I really need it, because I can always be counted on to more than make up for it. I know other working moms don’t have it so good. And it does drive me crazy that the dads get a big hurrah if they find time to involve themselves in their kids’ lives, while it’s just par for the course for the moms.

  2. Rent the classic movie Baby Boom. You can’t expect every boss to be accommodating of the demands motherhood places on you, but you can be successful on your own terms.

  3. Moms won’t get out of this quandary until they start making their men responsible, one day at a time. It will be a hard, long fight, but that will do it. You can’t legislate attitudes.

  4. While I’m sorry that professional women like Michele Obama have to give up their careers to take care of their children, as a childless woman in the workplace, I’ve also had to cover for my mommy co-workers who are trying to “have it all” on many occasions. I don’t know what the answer is, but I do think that getting men to contribute more is an important first step…

  5. I don’t know. Michelle Obama talks pretty openly about how resentful she was towards Barak Obama when he was jsut a state senator and always away. I don’t know if anyone can truly have it all, and do it well. That goes for dads as well.

  6. Not all Mothers are the first line of defense against childcare and illness issues. I am grateful to have a husband who stepped up almost immediately after we had kids. For us it was a matter of economics. I had the better job, greater amount of education. So although my husband had 13 year career as a R&D Chemist he was the one who became the full time parent. Now that both our kids are school age he is back working but this time he is self employed so he can flex around my travel schedule. He is out riding bicycles on the first warm day with our kids right now. This issue like many related with child rearing is a matter of choice and priorities. Would I like to be there more, sure I love my kids but I also love the lifestyle my working full time affords us.

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