But in thinking about it more, it truly does make me wonder how on earth women* manage to do it.
I mean, truly - I often feel like I don't have time to get to the things I want to do now, so how do you do it when you have a baby? Or once you have the second or third child? And how do you end up affording it all? (Clearly, it seems the first answer is that there is no "all." You do what you can with what you have. But I'm still trying to learn that.)
I'm certainly not the only one thinking about this. Just today, Amanda was talking about maternity leave and the impact that can have on your career. But you just had a baby! How on earth do you NOT take maternity leave of some sort? Forget about the fact that you just had a baby and need to physically heal, but what about the bonding time with your newborn? For a country that proclaims family to be first and professes its devotion to family values, I don't see a whole lot of those values helping out women who want to remain relevant and in control of their careers as well as be a parent.
I don't have any answers to this, but I do feel incredibly blessed to be a part of a community of women and mothers who speak out every day about what their lives are like and how they make it work. I know that I won't be able to have it all (or at least not all at the same time), but I do know I want to be fulfilled and feel like I've made a difference, both in my family life and my career. There has to be a way, right? Beyond just opting out and leaving the work force for years (or for good?). Especially because as the economy has sputtered and faltered over the last few years, it's painfully clear that whatever assumptions you make when you leave a career won't always be true.
If you haven't already seen this talk by Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, please watch it because it's a good one and makes some excellent points about staying in the workforce and keeping control over your career. I especially like her point about not leaving before you leave. I don't know yet how I'll be able to manage everything in the future, but I do know I want to try. And I hope that I have choices about how I'll make it work.
So how do you make it work? And this is a question for parents and non-parents alike, as I'm genuinely curious how other people organize their lives.
*Yes, I'm speaking to women because I am one, and I'm trying to figure out how to balance career and family now, and adding kids to the equation in the next few years.