I have raised my daughter on my own; oh, yes with my carefully curated family of friends always a phone call away, and with two sitters who are sisters who picked her up every day from elementary and later middle school, cooked her dinner, did her homework with her and listened to her daily rounded up for, while I pummeled away at the corporate gig. I always was in attendance for my daughter’s events, I was never late with an assignment, I tried to see my friends on a weekly basis, I was in charge of the housework, the weekend errands, the grocery shopping, and I managed to talk to my parents on the phone everyday. I did it all. I still do; my daughter is a Teenager, requires more parenting and less shuttling around and the career, it has its challenges. Still. All this I’ve described?. That was my version of Having It All, a 70’s era term that Third Wave Feminists like myself have inherited and have had to come to terms with. My conclusion is thus: Having it All is not important, because “all” is relative; you only learn this as you gain experience, living life, making your choices. For Second Wave Feminists, Having It All was a battle cry of liberation, and of a complex juggle–career and family life–that their generation had to fight for. For Third Wave Feminists—of which I am one—”all” was a concept hanging heavy over us. I was in my twenties when we declared the Third Wave, and for me, Having It All was irrelevant to date, because children were not part of my equation, the career was. And the career? It was, in my twenties, elusive at best; I was vilified for being buxom, I was stuck in desk bitch hell, I was consistently ignored. Indeed, one male supervisor took me aside and told me I was “distractingly sexy.” In my thirties, I clawed my way into every staff job, as well as every freelance assignment; I was fortunate to have BUST, but even that came with its set of peculiarities. It wasn’t until I became a solo parent, and had to confront the challenges of childcare that the real balancing act of raising a child and earning money in order to raise her became palpable, and by then, I didn’t care so much about Having It “All”; I was more concerned about having a roof on my head. My life did not include a lover or a husband, and I was, in fact, the master of my domain. Now that I have a Teenager, and I continue to have a career, I am wide-eyed at how removed I have been from “all.” Because this: I have always been liberated. That, I tip my hat to the Second Wave. And as for work/life balance, that’s been on me, and what I say yes to, what I say no to. The latter? Also the biggest obstacle, being able to walk away from one important thing and towards another. And “all” doesn’t factor in. I have, in essence, what I want: An independent life—free from the constraints of personal partnership—and a family I’ve cared for and cultivated, which includes a thriving brilliant daughter and a mischievous dog, as well as a career that’s been a rollercoaster but for the most part, been fulfilling. So, for the Fourth Wave Feminists, and for every woman wondering what her “all” is, I say this: strive for what you want. Because what you want? Really, that is All.
When Black & Latina DC Girls go missing.
Elizabeth Warren: “What this is going to come down to is: What’s your real goal, Donald Trump?”
Uzo Aduba: “The truth is I am who I am and that’s enough…I don’t need to start attempting to be anything outside of that.”
Thank you Katha Pollit: eminism, like the rest of the left, has always been prone to demands for purity. But feminism doesn’t have to be a magic key that opens every door; something can matter a lot without having to fit under its rubric.”
Alyssa Mastromonaco: ““It doesn’t really matter where you start off in your career — instead, it’s all about cultivating your interests. If you’re in high school, volunteer for a campaign. Work for a state-level candidate. I felt lucky because when I started interning in politics, I had a real worm’s-eye view. I didn’t glamorize what I was going to do. I knew I was going to be answering the phones, cutting clips (a thing that doesn’t even exist anymore). I never had illusions of my own grandeur, and people promoted me for it. I was always mission focused, which is super important.”
Shirley MacLaine: “Sometimes the female knows more about how to evolve and survive than the male does.”
Ariel Levy: “This thinking that you can have every single thing you want in life is not the thinking of a feminist. It’s the thinking of a toddler.”
United Airlines, you conservative minx you!
When men start whining about birth control and I’m all like, eye roll.
Guess what the drink named after Hillary is called?
A musical about Joan of Arc. Sounds uplifting.
And now have a laugh with Margaret Cho.