“Women Can’t Have It All” Is Not a Mr. Potato Head Joke

93

June 20, 2014 by Katia

Yesterday Jeni, a writer I admire, posted this on Twitter.

 

Being not a Kim Kardashian fan myself on one hand and an avid consumer of crapfun on the other, I clicked right over to the Time Magazine article titled “This Photo of Kim Kardashian Shows Why Women Can’t Have it all”. The image in question is a photograph showing Kim pushing a stroller with an undone blazer and nothing underneath, puffy blowout hair and glamour shot makeup.  Meh, not exactly an OMG- someone-alert-TMZ worthy item. Eager to find out how the writer intends to substantiate in 124 words that women can’t have it all based on a photograph of Kim sporting an updated Sue Ellen Mischke look and a stroller I kept on reading, but I walked away confused, slightly disturbed and not at all smiling.

The piece argues that KK tries to be “every type of woman at the same time.”

The stroller says “I’m a mommy,” but her boobs say “I’m a sex goddess.” Her silver eyeliner says “I’m a party animal,” while her nude lipstick says “I’m a natural beauty.” Her retro blowout says “I’m pulled together” while her blazer, well, isn’t. But above all, her shoulder pads say “I’m a professional,” which she most certainly is. (Kardashian’s estimated worth is $45 million.)

It then notes that Kim is indeed having it all in one picture “Baby + boobs + beauty + blowout + blazer “ and finally summarizes: “Three cheers for Kim Kardashian, the Mrs. Potato Head of modern womanhood.”

So why am I so bothered?

Do I not agree that this look is over the top? Probably. But are we looking at a fashion critique? If this is what the text is, then a more appropriate title would be “This Photo of Kim Kardashian Shows Why ‘Women Can Have it All’ Is Not a Good Look”.

It’s called humour, some will argue. Do I no longer possess a sense of humour? I do, but I didn’t think this was funny.

And what am I – the humour police? I know. I’m a little surprised about this myself. I mean, throughout my life I’ve somehow always managed to belong to one minority group or another and it’s not like I don’t laugh at jokes about Jewish people, immigrants, or Russians so what’s up with that? Do I really think that the subject of “women can’t have it all” is off limits? Clearly not.

So why AM I so bothered?

I guess it’s not about the joke itself, but the tone. The line between humour and mockery is not all that fine, is it?

potato-head

So someone’s mocking Kim Kardashian. She’s already moved on. Why can’t I do the same? Why am *I* still SO bothered?

I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s the implied message that women can only be ONE thing at a time. The writer talks of Kim trying to be every “TYPE” of woman (again, rather than trying to sport every type of look) and creates a clear juxtaposition between the different “types”, because if you’re a mom then clearly you can’t also be a sex goddess (and let’s ignore Kim Kardashian for a second), nor can you be a professional.

So why does THAT bother me?

Is it because it’s a reduction of the female character and presents a simplistic view that one woman can’t work, party, mom and look attractive at the same time or is because I feel that I’m failing at my own juggling act?

Perhaps it’s because yesterday morning my life was derailed when an all too familiar “Women Can’t Have it All” natural disaster struck. I will have to give up the idea of finding part time employment which would allow me to stay involved in my children’s lives to the extent that I want to, and will have to go back to full time work in one of the most stressful jobs out there.

You didn’t know me when I was working full time and trying to raise a 13-month-old. I looked like a skeleton and not because I wasn’t just as fond of Coca Cola and all things sweet – but because I was burning calories through anxiety. The job I was in required learning and working around the clock and being responsible for factors beyond my control in order to not fail. All of the above applied to my job as a mom to my precious little boy, as well. I would often show up to work with 3.5 hours of sleep under my belt. As a first year daycare attendee my son was ALWAYS sick. Whenever I left him at home with a sitter I felt a burning, physically painful sense of guilt for not being there. When I took days off from work to be with him, take him to the doctor or stay at the hospital with him, I was on the phone with the office, trying to distract my son, sending and receiving emails, preparing candidates for job interviews, collecting information from them on how the interview went, apologizing and being eaten up alive by guilt for being THAT employee who is taking sick days off. I ended up going on my second leave owing my workplace vacation days, as I’ve used them all up on sicknesses, my own and my child’s.

Perhaps this post just hit too close to home.

There’s a lot I still don’t understand about this post and my reaction to it. What is it that bothers me most about this piece? Is it the surprisingly shallow premise? The fact the editors went along with it? The fact that I can’t define WHAT that text is? It doesn’t really qualify as social commentary, not on-topic enough to be considered as fashion critique, not really the opinion piece I would expect to see in a publication of Time Magazine’s caliber. It feels an awful lot like a personal attack on Kim Kardashian and somehow on me, as well.

The short post ends with the sentence: Three cheers for Kim Kardashian, the Mrs. Potato Head of modern womanhood.

While the look Kim is sporting may deserve to be critiqued from a fashion stand point, I disagree with the premise that the attempt to be everything at the same time is the laughable equivalent of a “potato head”. Modern womanhood, and especially motherhood, is indeed about trying to be everything and fighting off terrible, unrealistic, all consuming guilt for not always being successful at perfection. Posts like that don’t help.

***

Do you agree that women can’t have it all and what do you think about the Time Magazine post?

93 thoughts on ““Women Can’t Have It All” Is Not a Mr. Potato Head Joke

  1. Andi says:

    This is a topic I am struggling with myself as I have quit my job to stay home with my baby. Can a woman have it all? I certainly believe so. Do I WANT to have it all? For me, the answer is NO. I don’t want it all. Maybe Kim does and if she can manage without becoming overwhelmed and falling apart then I say we celebrate her! Go girl. It isn’t easy! We should really spend more time celebrating all Moms, the ones who do want it all and the ones who don’t. Either way the choice is a very difficult one and is unique to every woman and every family.

    • Katia says:

      I agree and love the observation on actually “wanting to have it all”. I don’t want to have it all either, but financial reality dictates that I should try. I truly believe and agree that any choice women and mothers make for themselves and their families are valid. I’m sorry if it came across as though I was claiming differently.🙂

      • Andi says:

        My response was totally in support of everything you wrote. I was mostly just promoting the idea that if the media spent more time supporting moms rather than criticizing them we might all benefit from that.🙂 Maybe the mass population would follow suit. A girl can dream…😉

      • Katia says:

        Oh, good! I was worried that I may have sounded unintentionally belligerent!🙂

    • Susan Taylor says:

      I love following all this! This is the same thing we went through in the 70s! At least your generation doesn’t have to also put up with frequent TV commercials of a Virginia Slims beauty “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan…’cause I’m a woman…” I don’t think there really is a generation of women that are not villains for having to work and mother and try to take care of her home and marriage. If you can afford a nanny, you don’t have any concept of how hard it all really is for most mothers and the feelings of guilt and compromise. The idea of the media changing its denigration and “passive/aggressive” position for working mothers is too ingrained. The shock comes from the numbers of “able to be stay at home Moms” that will agree with the media through indoctrination. How many of your readers had women teachers, nurses, childcare workers…and so on? How many think they worked outside the home for “spending money”, to have an excuse to get out of the house or just to tick-off their husbands or families? This attitude just never goes away. Just as women will always be second-class citizens.

  2. Roshni says:

    Post like that certainly don’t help! I didn’t understand what the writer was saying either but clearly they were laughing at Kim, which is not cool! Not that I care about her, but I too am indignant at the idea of someone mocking someone in this way!
    I’m really sorry that your plans aren’t working out! Your former job sounds awfully stressful; isn’t there another type of job that can use your work skills and not require such ghastly hours?!
    Hoping you’ll soon find some middle ground!

    • Katia says:

      I’ve tried, Roshni, but the market is so difficult right now. It’s been really hard to find something which is both part time and will hire me based on transferable skills. I am still praying for a middle ground miracle, though…🙂 And thank you, friend!

  3. Natalie DeYoung says:

    This is why I am nervous to become a mom. I know I can’t be everything, and the judgment terrifies me.
    I’m sorry you’ll have to be back full-time, when it clearly sounds stressful. I’m afraid of that, too.

    • Katia says:

      Thanks, friend. It’s not so much the full time that I mind, it’s the after hours and the limited time with my kids (1.5 hours was what I’d spent with Ben when I was working).

      You’ll be a great mom, Natalie. You have the right heart for it. Everything else you’ll figure out.🙂

  4. Snowlin says:

    I read this article today as well and you are not alone feeling uncomfortable with the tone of the article. While I do not agree with Kim Kardashian’s wardrobe choice, I felt it was completely unnecessary to mock her for trying to be whatever she wanted to be. There was no need to imply that the moment a woman becomes a mother, she’s got to stop being everything else she used to be. While all of us take our role as a mother seriously, it is may not be the sole purpose and definition of our existence. We are still allowed to have other interests, a life outside motherhood. Can women have it all? Honestly, I don’t know. What I do know is that, there is no harm trying to have it all and we should all be allowed to do that without being mocked at.

    • Katia says:

      Perfectly, perfectly put! I think that emotions may have gotten in the way of my eloquence…🙂

      • I found you entirely eloquent, Katia. Here’s what I wrote on Facebook after reading this post at Yahoo!:

        (first share, which I thought would grab my comment on the Yahoo! post, but I was too late):

        I see no limits here.

        My comment from 8 minutes before I shared this, re: the blogger’s musings: “What is it that bothers me most about this piece? Is it the surprisingly shallow premise? The fact the editors went along with it?”

        I can’t say what bothers someone else, of course. But Katia prefaced that with “There’s a lot I still don’t understand about this post and my reaction to it.” I’ve been there, Katia.

        And as a woman in this ADD nation (not that there’s anything wrong with having ADD, but own your limitations. Or at least realize that even a good person might not be able to put up with you for more than five minutes, cause we all face challenges), I reply: “Whoever hired that fucking editor at TIME. Or, if unavailable, whoever hasn’t fired him or her yet. Katia, let’s be friends. I’m ordering my Redbook sub today.”

      • Katia says:

        Thank you so much, Julie, I really appreciate the kind words and the sentiment!🙂

  5. Sarah says:

    I’m feeling so many thoughts over here. KK is absurd in so many ways and so removed from the reality of most people that I think the temptation to mock is hard to ignore. Yet, the article does seem to be an indictment of a wider population of people. To me, it brings to mind the constant criticism Hillary Clinton gets for her physical appearance when no male politician is subjected the same way. As a society, we’re so much harder on women than men.

    I also read with great empathy your fears of returning to work. I understand this anxiety because I have tried to balance it all and felt the same way. I am sorry you are in a position where you have to return to work full time. I hope you are able to find some support to help you manage as you make this transition.

    • Katia says:

      Thank you, Sarah!

      Yes, I agree that Kim’s reality is not exactly mine, or most women’s but I think that as you point out it’s just easy to mock her, just as it is eas-ier to mock Hillary Clinton, as opposed to male politicians (and I do love that observation. Shame I didn’t use it, would make me sound smarter…:-P)

      I pray that I don’t have to make such a harsh transition, but it’s been harder finding a middle ground. Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts!

  6. The article is condescending, bitchy and pointless. It looks to me like she has come from a fashion shoot, because it isn’t the kind of thing she wears to go to the shops (the heavy make up, I mean). I hate celeb bashing – there is absolutely nothing bad they can say about her, so they make that the BAD thing. I personally quite like her – she is very family orientated, is a savvy business woman, and seems fairly down to earth, considering the life she has. As for women having it all? I guess it is relative what “all” is. I have it all – two gorgeous kids, great partner, a flexible part time job, a beautiful house, and I scrub up quite nicely!🙂

    • Katia says:

      It is condescending, you’re right. A condescending tone is a general turn-off for me, but I’d be okay with criticism if it was somehow substantiated. This is just a bit of a character assassination based on look.

  7. Kelly says:

    Your take on this is insightful and wonderfully thought-provoking. Your description of full-time working sounds very familiar, as when I was working full-time AND bringing my 6-week-old baby to work. (She still comes to work with me about 9 hours per week). People have always commented on how wonderful it is that I could have her with me and would declare “All women should be able to bring their babies to work!” More should have the right, perhaps, but it also comes with an expectation that women can or should do multiple full-time jobs simultaneously. Possible? Um, kind of. Good for anyone? Not so much. Two full-time jobs means doing neither as well. “Having it all” may mean having less of everything.

    • Katia says:

      Thank you so much, Kelly, and once again I couldn’t agree more. Having it all, or doing it all, definitely means the same to me – having less of everything and struggling to keep your head above water.

  8. Sarah says:

    I ponder this question a lot. What is “all,” really? Does it mean everything WE want, or everything society says we SHOULD want? I love how you point out that we shouldn’t separate mom from sexy, mom from polished appearance. And to get all philosophical, ALL is all we have… this moment. We will always lack something — money, stuff, free time…. I guess that’s the whole problem with wanting it ALL — the problem isn’t with the ALL, it’s with the WANTING. And this is getting rambly….

    • Katia says:

      This is totally resonating with me after reading one of your recent posts, I think it was the HuffPo one about going differently about your pursuit of happiness.

  9. lrconsiderer says:

    I love your brain, Katia.

    That was going to be the whole comment, but there *is* more to say on this.

    I made a conscious decision to come away from my understanding of and engagement with celebrity culture, because while I bought into it, my behaviours were decidedly negative. I spent so much time BOTHERING with it all – the hype, the bitchiness, the CARING; I mean really, WHY? They don’t know me – and in the end it’s all there to make money. For the papers, the photographers, and ultimately (hopefully?) the celeb themselves. It’s a machine.

    My time is better spent than feeding it.

    BUT also – unkindness is always and anywhere unacceptable. Meanness cannot be excused just because KK is a celeb or doesn’t know it’s happening or because she can use it for publicity. Meanness is always horrible.

    But also – what the hell is this ‘all’? And why SHOULD women (generalised, as happens too often) want it all? Why should they feel they should TRY to have it all? They don’t need it.

    Sarah RB said it best.

    • Katia says:

      And I yours, my friend!

      I completely understand where you’re coming from and applaud all decisions that pursue self-protection and preservation. I haven’t made any conscious decisions of that nature, just don’t have much time this days to delve into pop culture, but this stirred personal emotions in me, non-Kardashian-related🙂

      Thank you for commenting, my friend. Planning on going on a comment binge tomorrow and will be heading over to yours, xoxo

  10. I’m so sorry to hear you have to go back to work full time. I totally understand what you’re saying about all the guilt that comes with it. I have been on the bathroom floor, my son puking, laptop on lap, while on a chat with someone at work trying to fix a problem there. And in tears this afternoon because I had to stay at work late and missed seeing my son before he went to his father’s house (that extra complication doesn’t help). The reality to me is that KK can have whatever she wants because she has money — that’s what bothers me. She is in no way a model for the average woman’s struggle.

    • Katia says:

      So sorry about your afternoon, Jessica, it hurts so much when situations like that happen, like physically hurts. I get it. I understand being upset with women who don’t have to experience that struggle the same way we do. I’ve been consumed with jealousy in the last few days, ever since realizing I might have to do recruiting again and once again definitely not a fan of the Kardashians but I still disagree with the writer’s views on women, working women and moms.

      Hope your sweet child is back with you today and the guilt is all forgotten by now🙂

  11. I wish I could give you a standing ovation for this post. I think it is one of my favorite of yours, and that is no small thing! I too can’t quite wrap my head around my own cocktail of emotions about this, but your words definitely made me think, and think, and think. It bothers me too, for reasons I also can’t pinpoint. Your comment about it being a “reduction” of sorts resonated with me. It’s as though this “maternal identity crisis” is a serious problem that many of us, myself most definitely included, struggle with, and to reduce it to a fashion-Kardashian-joke feels crappy.

    • Katia says:

      I am so happy this resonated with you and even more so that your reaction to that post was similar, not being able to pinpoint what it is that bothers me so much was frustrating. I feel in good company now🙂 And thank you so much, friend, for your kind words!

  12. I’d love to know the story behind the photo because it’s obviously being taken out of context. Someone else mentioned that she looks like she’s dressed for a photo shoot, which sounds logical. The baby probably got cranky while she was working and she’s taking a stroll around the block to settle her down, something all mom’s are familiar with. The reason why the article bothers me is because if someone is judging her for trying to “have it all”, then they can judge me too. If she’s guilty of wearing trying to be “every type of woman at the same time”, then I’m guilty of it too. You should see me dressed in my work clothes trying to answer emails and make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at the same time. No one would snap a picture, publish it on Time and rip me to shreds because it would be unfair and cruel to criticize a woman doing her best to raise her family. I wonder how much of the snarky tone of the article comes from the fact that Kim Kardashian is worth $45 million and doesn’t “have to” work. The article implies, “How dare she…”

  13. Funny – you and I (as moms) had a similar reaction to an inconsiderate comment relating to motherhood and both blogged about it. I really enjoyed reading this. I get tired of it being assumed by the media that women are the ones that constantly have to sacrifice … men do, too, if they choose to put family first. After a decade having an so-called-impressive career, I would give it up all over again to just be “mommy” with no job distractions. Why should our careers define us? So much more to life. In the end, I guess we should just be happy that the paparazzi isn’t waiting outside our doors to catch us in our (authentic) frazzled, weakest moments😉 Love your posts, btw. Check mine out and let me know what you think?
    http://thebakerandcandlestickmaker.wordpress.com/

    • Katia says:

      I look forward to reading your take on this. I’m not surprised I wasn’t the only one this post evoked emotion in. Heading over to read your post and thank you so much for commenting on mine!🙂

  14. ponymartini says:

    I never thought I’d defend Kim Kardashian, but, I do respect her for being a hands-on working mom. And seriously, so many of us are potato head women. I have run to kid events in my work wear, tottering on 5-inch heels at a baseball field, looking terribly out of place with all of the other properly dressed women. Will that stop me from trying to work, play, and write? Probably not.

    Thank you for the thought provoking article, Katia.

    • Katia says:

      Thanks, friend. Isn’t it funny, I never thought I’d be defending her either, oh well.🙂

      Loved the image of you on a baseball field in your heels🙂

  15. larva225 says:

    I had no idea this picture existed. With a full-time job and 2 kids 3 1/2 and under, I don’t have time for magazines or Kardashians. I suppose I put this in the same category I would put goofy comments by Gwynneth Paltrow; Paltrow and KK don’t belong in the same universe I reside in.
    No, I can’t be everyone at every moment. And while I allow myself the occasional minute or two to wallow in guilt for what I can’t do, I certainly don’t want to waste time worrying about those folks.

  16. Aussa Lorens says:

    Read this on my phone the other day and wasn’t able to comment– I can understand your odd feeling of confusion over how exactly to take it all. It just seems incredibly dismissive of the choices that so many women face… and just kind of shitty to even bother commenting on something like whether she can have it “all.” No one ever says something like that about a man– look at Jimmy Kimmel, he’s on the cover of some magazine right now holding his baby and it’s like “BEST YEAR EVER.” The gap between those two stories is rather frustrating.

    • Katia says:

      Thank you, friend, for this thoughtful and thought-provoking comment. So true about Jimmy Kimmel. Wish I’d thought of drawing a parallel like that.

  17. RELPH says:

    THEN JUST BE A MOM!!!! DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ITS ONLY THE MOST SIGNIFICANT, IMPORTANT “JOB” IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Katia says:

      I’ve debated if I should be nasty or civil with someone who stops by my own blog, all caps me and inserts a DUH when we are actually in agreement. I chose civil.

      If you read the entire post you’ve probably noticed that I talk about HAVING to go back to work. I may have not made it clear enough that this is for financial reasons. My husband and I can’t make ends meet. I realize that you’re here through the link on RedBook and not a regular reader, but had you followed my blog, or read a couple of posts before forming an opinion you’d realize that I’ve been a stay at home mom for the last two years and completely agree with you that it’s the most important job in the world. I’m really holding back to not insert a DUH here.😉

  18. Elle says:

    The Average Woman CAN’T HAVE IT ALL. Because we don’t have 11 Nannies, a Stylist, a Hair person who shows up everyday, a Makeup Girl who shows up everyday, a Cook, etc., but SHE DOES.

    So this photo is stupid and downright an insult to normal woman everywhere who either have a child or don’t, but work hard. And by hard I mean they went to school or make a living working, not have fortune handed to them by bending over in a sex tape. I’m irritated when people give her props because SHE does not represent my idea of the MODERN female, she used the oldest trick from the dawn of time to get ahead — sex. And no talent is needed for that.

    • Katia says:

      I sadly agree that we can’t have it all, as I state in my post, but I didn’t want the debate to be focused on Kim Kardashian, since I feel like everything’s been already said about her, but rather about us, the women who don’t have it all, and why that Time Magazine post is insulting for us, not just her. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting, I actually think we’re on the same page on this one.

      • Dawn Fell says:

        I was a single mother, went to school full time and worked full time and eventually earned my PhD in History, so I understand how the idea of a perfect modern woman might hit close to home. But here is the problem. Why do we so often focus our attention on how we want to be perceived? Why do we look for the perfect “definition” or “label” to define our experiences and struggles as mothers? We are setting ourselves up for the unattainable. We are human, not Wonder woman! I don’t want to need validation because it doesn’t fit into my schedule. Here is reality; we can’t be everything. We can try our hardest and know it’s going to be exhausting and fulfilling, fearful and exhilarating, uncomfortable and content. It belongs to each of us individually and can never be truly defined by anyone else. (except our kids when they are older and either need a little help from a therapist to cope with life, or are content to give us a call to solicited wisdom)

      • Katia says:

        I agree. I am not sure that my attention was on how I want to be perceived. I’ve spent the last two years at home being perfectly happy and unapologetic. When it comes to “having it all” I just borrowed the terminology from the Time Magazine article, it’s not an aim that I strive toward, but it did make me think of a time in my life I was in a “have it all” situation and one that I seem to be moving toward. I agree that we put a lot of pressure on ourselves in trying to be superhuman, but I think that any mom who works and mothers (and especially one who does it all by herself) kind of has to be, don’t you think?

  19. Nanna says:

    Darlin’, if you’re a mother and you’re working a job which causes so much anxiety where you are out of your mind – quit the damn job. Why? Because you’re passing all that anxiety on to the rest of the family. You’re teaching the children [silently] a way of living which I assume you don’t want for them ….. and Kimya or Kimyeah or Kimee or whatever – she’s a pill and so it goes with her family too. She’s a hot mess, not talented and our society venerates her like God. Pretty sad to know mothers today look to a celebrity like this to define motherhood. Kisses!

    • Katia says:

      Thanks so much for the comment! I agree on all accounts, but not sure if the last sentence pertains to me, so thought I’d make my stand a bit clearer. I do not look up to Kim Kardashian. For awhile I was a writer for a website called MamaPop, which was a pop culture-centered website for parents, and wrote a few critical opinion pieces on her and other Kardashian family members. I also wrote posts defending them when I thought criticism I came across was unjust. I do not dismiss the notion that some people view Kim Kardashian as a role model, but she simply isn’t for me.

      I quit my stressful job and did not go back to it after my second maternity leave. I completely agree with you that stress rubs off on kids and this is the main reason I don’t want to go back to that line of work. The reason I may not be able to continue being a chooser, is purely financial, but I’ll do my best to secure a job in a different field. Sadly, as a Recruiter, I know that most companies will not hire me based on transferable skills, if I am competing against qualified candidates🙂

  20. Melissa says:

    All I think about when I see this picture is “and nursing moms are ridiculed for showing too much boob?!?” Seems strange. What does that tell women? You are only valuable for sexual satisfaction?

  21. Baba says:

    I’m probably the oldest person commenting here, but I have a lot of experience = wisdom. We think we can have it all and we can, just at different times.

    Gloria Steinheim, etc., did a lot for women’s lib, but she also imprisoned us in the belief you can do everything, all the time, and your kids will be fine. She never mentioned “latch-key” kids, We now have 2 generations raised without Mom, Dad & the schools teaching “The Golden Rule.” My kids are in their mid 30’s and are hard-working and fairly respectful, which I attribute to Catholic schools and strict parenting. I was lucky when I worked at a law firm. I was only in the office 3 days/wk for about 30 hrs, but I worked on files after the kids went to bed, usually until 3 a.m.. Husband was alseep…. Mother provided childcare while I was at work. It was a perfect combination of parenting, work, childcare, extra income, etc.

    But you really don’t understand what you miss until it’s over. You honestly don’t see what “your parenting” lacked or accomplished until you see your children, with their children. THEN you see your impatience, your dismissal and mental absense, etc., as exhibited by your own children towards the grandkids. Ouch. I also witness the nurturing and love…ah, but there’s just a lot missed when mommy has to work just as hard at her job as she does at home. Is this why we have so many kids playing videos and computer games, launching into fantasy worlds where they don’t belong? I think we have lost a lot of innocence and a lot of intimacy because of the world we now live in. Friends texting each other at a restaurant – at the same table! Children learn to communicate from their “caretakers.” Where is Mom? Where is Dad? What are the kids really learning?

    Taking Mom and Dad out of the home most waking hours, depletes the nuclear family. The core is gone from the kids – most of their young lives. I have been successful. I raised my kids as a single parent most of their lives. Would I do things differently? Yes. I would have had a better marriage and I would have been a better parent. Do I regret what I did? No, but given a choice now, I would have done things differently. Climbing that corporate ladder does not produce better kids, better citizens.

    We need to pull the family back together and mom and dad need to be the foundation.

    • Katia says:

      Beautifully said and wise indeed. Even though my children are still very young, I can completely relate to that feeling of looking at them and identifying the “lacks” your upbringing left in them. Don’t ask me why, it just resonates with me, perhaps it’s one of my fears. I completely agree that families should spend more time together. I’m nearing the two year anniversary of staying at home with my kids and resuming my career is not a choice but a necessity. I truly enjoyed your comment. Thank you so very much for stopping by and leaving it here.

  22. Jennifer says:

    Kim doesn’t have it all.. she has ALL THE HELP.. she looks good but the message she sends to her child about the need for attention is a dangerous one..
    I hear you loud and clear about working full time and juggling the days of kids being sick – throw in the days when moms are invited to class picnics, and publishing parties etc.. Most moms that work know you can’t take off for those days – because you need to save them for the sick days.
    I am raising 5 kids ( ages 18, 17, 14, 9 and 7) in long island, I work full time as a NYC teacher and also work part time as a fitness trainer before work – at 5:15 am., now my teens go out when I am putting the little ones to bed, so yes even less sleep for me. I know there have been volumes written about working moms, but the conversation needs to continue. I don’t want to hear about Michelle or Kim or Angelina as role models because they have full time, round the clock help..Tell more stories like yours, or real moms who try to be 5 different things at one time – even a little sexy for their husbands..thanks for the article, I really enjoyed it.

    • Katia says:

      Thank you, Jennifer! I enjoyed reading about you. The truth is I do not admire Kim Kardashian or look up to her. I’m not sure why so many readers got that impression. I admire women like you, in fact any woman who has more than two kids gets transported into superhero realm. Lots of respect to you and thank you for stopping by and commenting kindly.

  23. Renee says:

    I often think that women apologize way too much. You don’t need to apologize to a job for having kids and a life outside of work. You don’t need to apologize to your family for working either. The most comfortable I have ever been in my own skin was when I realized this fact. I also realized that it applies to everyone including those people I had previously judged. I no longer have time to look at KK or any other person celebrity or otherwise (not even Gwyneth Paltrow) because I’m too busy enjoying the ride, doing me, rockin what I got, whatever you want to call it. Rock on, mom, rock on.🙂

  24. esther says:

    Katia, thank you for your very thoughtful commentary on the twitter post.

    This is the first time i have read a blog in about 3 or 4 years because i am one of those women thinking they can “have it all”. While we each may have a different definition of having it all, for me working full-time in a career that i love and being a role model of an independent married woman for my two daughters (6 and 16) makes me feel complete. It seems like a lot of readers expressed condolences regarding your returning to work full-time, however i congratulate and encourage you in returning to work, because you will make an important contribution in your profession and need to give yourself credit instead of guilt. You will likely have a much better experience this time around, given the hardships you clearly endured the first time!

    While some moms that have other options such as being blessed to have financial security/stability to stay home with their kids, my insight stems from graduating in 4 years with a BS degree in science with a one year old (solely breastfed for the first year) at the ripe old age of 22 (yes, my daughter attended genetics class with me as an infant and i studied while she slept), and a decade later completing a MPH program while still working full time, with an infant in a home daycare starting at 4 months old, that i still managed to breastfeed through 2 years of age even if that meant pumping on business trips. (sorry for the run on and on)
    Now, after having worked full-time in the same field for 15 years, i have more flexible hours during the day so that i can leave work in time to juggle kids’ to after school activities like marching band, multiple dance studios, violin lessons and weekend play dates, but I still burn the midnight oil most nights with laptop spreadsheets. Of course a large salary and bonuses are great motivation on a daily basis, but in the long run my girls understand what it means for a women to be a highly respected professional: they see that there is not a glass ceiling in some industries and that they really can “have it all”, i.e. the type of life they want including or not including work and family, without judgment or self-guilt.

    Good luck with your work adventure and always be proud of your hard work!
    By the way, i love your blog site name! I always considered myself a human cow in those milking days…

    • Katia says:

      Thank you so much, Esther, for your incredibly kind comment and tone. I agree that we all have different definitions of what “having everything” would look like. There’s a lot of room for philosophical and social debate on why we would want everything , anyway. I can completely relate to your definition of everything. I think the main problem for me has been not being able to fall in love with any profession (with the exception of writing) the same way I did with my kids. I didn’t want this post to be a “woe is me” as it was perceived by some, it was simply a reflection of my feelings at a given moment, which to me meant letting go of the life style I’ve envisioned my kids, not me, to have. One that included an ever present mom.

      Once again thank you so much for your encouraging words.

      • esther says:

        Thanks Katia! Maybe you should design a job that you will love to do and will still bring in the bacon on a daily basis, or find a well paying job that allows for flexibility in your daily schedule to not be away from your little ones for too many hours? Standards are just meant to be re-written and sometimes it’s better to demand what you want rather than try to fit into a work-mold not meant for a busy mother. Mid-point in my career, after being passed up for a management position at a prior company, i did have the revelation that the only people that are really affected if something were to happen to me, are my kids and husband. The workplace would move on and just replace me. So, i changed my hours at work unapologetically and still continued to move up the ladder. I don’t ask for time off, i inform and apologize later if needed.

        Kudos to you for working through the infert treatments (in your post response below), I did one round of IVF while working and in MS school and it was a major undertaking!

        You are one very cool lady, so if you ever want to network just email me (I guess i need to get back to work now) ekingdrugsafety@yahoo.com.

      • Katia says:

        Comments like yours are so uplifting. Thank you so much again for reading and caring. I did try to create a job for myself by starting my own company, but realized that I can’t juggle watching the kids, being attentive to my husband, writing AND running a business.🙂 I’l figure out how to do this my way, I’m confident. This post was written while I was still very emotional. Thank you again for everything.

  25. Mommy A to Z says:

    I will preface this by saying that I found Kardashian’s outfit to be way over the top. There’s an expectation of modesty or propriety when a woman is with her child (although I don’t know why…it’s not like baby cares or hasn’t seen Mommy’s breasts before). That said, Kardashian isn’t any different from any other woman who wants to keep her career while being a mom….and Kardashian’s career requires her to be sexy and attention-grabbing at all times. I suppose it’s not that different from me working every minute of the day and night that I’m not with my kids, because I don’t want to close that career door, lest it never opens again. I agree that the writer should have stuck to the fashion aspect (and plenty to say there), without bringing a mother’s struggle to balance work and child-rearing into the mix. I wonder if the writer has kids (I suspect not, but you never know). Thought-provoking post…thanks!

    • Katia says:

      And thank you so much for your comment. I don’t think she doesn’t have challenges, I just think that hers are very different than ours, but I don’t think it makes her fair play for mockery…

      • Mommy A to Z says:

        I agree! I’m not sure there’s ever a reason for public mockery, come to think of it🙂 I love that you’re making us think about “having it all” in a different light. Great post!

  26. nonirohr says:

    Amen. Being a mom is a tough job. You are juggling. You are trying to be so many things at once. And then there is the gilt the moment you are more one than the other. And for the record, I am not a KK fan, but I am a fan of this post.

  27. Nancy says:

    I love this post! The struggle and confusion as to why women can’t have it all is real …what is that perfect balance? What is that perfect job for the mom that doesn’t want to miss a beat in her children’s lives? Is there one? Is it really all or none?

  28. teesa says:

    I agree women CANNOT have it all.. it appears KK does have it all.. but let me tell u what she does NOT have and maybe it will be the same thing that bothers u.. she does NOT have the guilt and remorse that u do about leaving her child/ren.. she does not have the shame u and ur child and husband would have if that were YOU in KKs place.. thats the whole point of media bytes like this.. to distract us from what is most important.. to have us wondering if we can have it all when we already have what counts MOST.. our husbands and children

  29. For me the picture with Kim K. pushing a baby with half a smile is to give people a fake image that she is happy. She rushed out of the house in a hurry partly dressed from fear or in a domestic violent relationship. In this photo she does not represent a woman who has it all, but a rich woman in a trapped relationship and a perceived media perception.

  30. Bobl says:

    It appears Kim is artificial and trying to put on a face to be what she is not (it’s interesting you said she’s professional because she’s worth $45 mil…never heard that as a definition for professionalism…seems like a shallow criteria for professional character) is what the tweeter was getting at. I heard the violins playing in the background as you allude to “poor you” with little sleep…suggesting “society” puts undue pressure on women (or, do women do this to themselves? Look in the mirror once in a while) to be everything to everyone…fact is, women have more freedom of choice than men…”society” requires men to be providers (regardless as to whether or not their emotional needs are filled) or they are bums…women can still choose to work or stay at home (many women work because they can’t be content with simple life, but must have luxuries…hubby “doesn’t earn enough”)…read Susan Faludi’s “Stiffed,” as well as Christina Hoff Sommers and Cathy Young to gain a better perspective of the whole picture instead of just following pop media like cows going to the barn at milking time.

    • Katia says:

      I actually didn’t say that Kim is professional because she’s worth $45 I was actually quoting from the Time Magazine article that I’m criticizing in my post: http://time.com/2891358/kim-kardashian-boobs-black-tuxedo/
      Sadly the quotes were omitted from the post on Yahoo Shine which, I agree, makes it a bit confusing.

    • Katia says:

      One more thing on “poor me”. Poor me is not really a concept I entertain. More like empowered me. Empowered me uprooted herself and moved continents so I could provide a better future for my kids, empowered me built herself up from scratch and started a new career in a new country with no local experience, empowered me was working full time including evenings and weekends with a baby while undergoing fertility treatments for a year, miscarrying after 5 treatments and continuing to work full time throughout this. Empowered me for praised by her very demanding boss for being the hardest working employee she’d worked with in 20 years in the business.

      Always nice to have your character assassinated by someone who makes assumptions. Here’s my assumption, you’re not going to retract your words.

  31. Nina says:

    I never understood the topic of having it all, to be truthful. I get it, but I don’t see how it applies to just women. NO ONE can have it all. It’s just impossible; there’s always an opportunity lost when you do something else. You lose A because you chose B. We physically can’t be at work and be at home (relaxing) at the same time. It doesn’t make sense.

    Instead, I’m all about balance. I think when women feel like they can’t have it all is a signal that something is off. Something has to give. Maybe that’s reducing hours at work. Finding a job that’s closer to home. Finding a job that’s less stressful. Going the nanny route instead of day care. Having fewer kids. Getting a hairstyle that’s easy to fix in the morning. Getting up earlier in the morning. Something.

    As far as Kim K, I can never compare our lives to theirs. At all. My friend’s nanny is friends with another nanny who works for a celebrity here in LA. She’s one of THREE nannies who each work 8-hour shifts. That way, the celebrity and her family always have a nanny round-the-clock. And that’s for one kid.

    So no, I can’t compare their lives to mine.

    • Katia says:

      Completely agree with everything you said. I don’t think my life compares in any way to hers but I don’t want to attack her and be resentful because of that. I also don’t necessarily identify with “wanting to have it all” but I’ve lived in a reality of “having to do it all”. I’ve used the sentence “having it all” simply because I was quoting from the Time Magazine article, but agree with you that striving for balance is a much healthier approach to life.🙂

  32. commonsense says:

    It was a misleading title to be sure. I am under the impression here that the purpose of the title was simply to pull you in and then show you that, in fact, women CAN have it all, as the photo proves. I’m a guy, but I still understand that being a woman can be frustrating. I’m sure it seems as though if there were even 20 of you that it might be easier to fulfill both your physical and emotional needs (I said “might”). It’s not easy being a single mom, or dad. I’m not sure what the secret was, but Jay Leno recently revealed that during his 22 years in the industry he got 4 hours of sleep every night. 4 hours… For 22 years straight. The point is, some of us have to make sacrifices, we often give up things in our lives in order to make sure that other people in our lives (our kids) have what they need. But this does not make any of those things less important. I’m not worth $45 Million, but my kids make me feel like I am, and that is what is important to me, more important then material things like mansions and a garage full of sports cars.

    • Katia says:

      Thank you so much for your comment and I agree with you about having to make sacrifices. I am actually not a single mom and I’m so sorry if I created that impression and readers now feel misled. I was raised by a single mom and view single parents as superheroes worthy of admiration and praise. I am married but we can’t make ends meet therefore I have to go back to work. Once again I completely agree that work, for most people, is a necessity and as such sacrifices need to be made. What I worry about personally is the way stress and lack of any work/life balance will affect not only me but my family. I’ve been there once before. Anyway, don’t want to turn this into a “woe is me”. I am going to figure this out.🙂

  33. Tammy says:

    I really like your review on this. I would have been much more impressed if they had talk about having it all, from the point of view of a real, everyday, average mom…not some celebrity who has more money then the average woman, who isn’t making fashion statements everytime she walks out the door, and someone who really does have to juggle all of the aspects of being a working mother in this day and age. I am sorry a celebrity like Kim K. is not someone who would impress me or i would cheer for! she doesn’t have to struggle with working, daycare, keeping a house(without servants, maid, cooks, and nannies) and how she is going to pay for all that AND try and have a social life. Besides Kim K. likely had someone there at photo shoot to do her hair, her make up and wardrobe (tho looking at stories/pics as of late, she seems to have a hard time covering much of herself). Where was the diaper bag you would be toting around for the “kid” in the stroller?
    To me, it is much more impressive when an average woman is able to find the balance between work, family, home, and your everyday life.

    • Katia says:

      Thanks so much for commenting. I completely agree with you that if she has any struggles, which I’m sure any new mom who also has a successful career does, they look VERY differently than ours.

  34. The bottom line is that we don’t have appropriate legislation in place to protect ourselves from unhealthy work conditions. (Working 10+ hour days is unhealthy! Especially when we’re in the early years of child-rearing and are seriously sleep deprived!) Paid time off to care for ill children is a completely appropriate expectation. And don’t even get me started on how insufficient six weeks of maternity leave is!
    I have been fortunate enough to have stayed home for the past few years with my kids. But it doesn’t mean I don’t care deeply about the right of women to have access to a career that doesn’t completely deplete them of their physical and mental health. I just read the Parade article this weekend in which the Obamas described the earlier years in their marriage, in which they were both working and raising kids. Mrs. Obama stated that she took a part-time job so she might have more time with her kids, only to find out that the part-time job came with full-time hours. She said that she would never work part time again (I assume for fear of being taken advantage of again.) Why shouldn’t we be demanding meaningful, part time work (with an appropriate pay structure), that allows us to share our talents in our fields, and still parent our kids? Or full-time work that provides for appropriate family leave and allows us to “clock out” after forty hours?
    How do we stop talking about trying to “have it all”, and start asking the corporate world to meet us half-way?
    As women, we are more than fit to lead the discussion regarding creating a healthier work environment, and everyone would benefit.

    • Katia says:

      I thank you, Christine, for this intelligent and insightful comment. Thank you so much for introducing a totally different angle to this discussion. I completely agree and while I haven’t read the article you refer to, I’ve heard other women similarly complaining of working part time which in reality meant only part time pay.

  35. Jacqueline says:

    Hello,
    I am also offended by the notion that women have to be defined by category or current role…i.e. quintessential mommy. Why can’t we be both sexual and maternal? Professional and nurturing? While I agree that attempting to have it all according to modern American cultural definitions is likely to make any woman go insane, I strongly believe that women can be whatever they choose at any given point in their lives. We make difficult personal choices but we don’t have to conform to any preconceived ideas regarding careers, motherhood, or sexuality. I suspect that Americans, in particular, have a long way to go in terms of expanding their thinking in this area. Thanks for reading, Jacqueline

  36. eliza says:

    LOL, Sorry I’m going with the author of the original article. I think your first mistake is using Kim as an example for “anything”. I totally agree that the title maybe a bit misleading. Now I’m a grandmom and I thank god my kids where born in an age where women did not want to have it “all” but I also admit that we did not have the economic stress that todays moms have. I mentor some of them at my job and admire their strength.
    I admire nothing about Kim. and I mean nothing. I think she’d sell that baby in a heart beat if it garnered more ratings for their ailing show.
    Maybe I’m not the most objective person on this tipic

    • Katia says:

      I thank you for commenting and for the civil tone in which you’ve commented despite disagreeing with me. What I still don’t understand is why my post was perceive as “admiring” of Kim. The parts of my post which spoke in her defense did so in light of the mocking tone of the Time article. I don’t think people should be belittled for looking a certain way. Even if, as I state in the post, the look is ridiculous. The post was a personal take on how the tone of an article aimed to belittle another mom made me feel as a fellow mom.

  37. Skysky says:

    I don’t understand why what a celebrity does matters to anyone. Nor do I understand why any woman would care what someone else thinks about how she handles motherhood and working or staying at home. Do what’s right for you and your family and stop with the guilt. That’s “having it all.”

    • Katia says:

      I understand where you’re coming from, but I was never able to not care about what my boss thinks of me, nor was I able to set aside the sense of guilt for not being there when it feels like the most natural thing to do, like when they’re sick. I agree that guilt is destructive but still find it to be a valid emotion in certain cases. Thanks for stopping by and weighing in!🙂

  38. Cathy says:

    “Modern womanhood, and especially motherhood, is indeed about trying to be everything and fighting off terrible, unrealistic, all consuming guilt for not always being successful at perfection.” brought tears to my eyes. I am struggling DAILY (sometimes hourly) with trying to find a balance my family can live with that leaves me some semblance of peace at the end of the day (and the end of my days). The commenter who suggested we advocate for more part-time jobs, (with true part-time hours) to allow us to find a balance, also resonated with me as I was the 39 hour-per-week part-time worker for 2+ years while my kids were very young so I could maximize time with my kids. 4 hours of sleep daily is not normal or healthy for 99% of the population, myself included: working harder or longer is not the answer. Unfortunately I find myself trapped between wanting to downsize the house and scale back dramatically on expenses AND my spouse’s expectations which match the common culture: you must be doing this wrong because “those people over there” seem to be making it work. While folks have been eager to mention the nannies the privileged have, no one seems to mention so many of us have moved away from extended family (that have helped working moms for centuries) and the inequitable division of labor amongst many spouses, whether it’s the single mom doing literally everything or the disengaged dad who thinks he should have June Cleaver cleaning up after him, too. We not only have more expectations than ever but often, simultaneously, less help than ever, too. And the nanny isn’t the answer for everyone, either: I love raising my kids myself and watching someone else do what I want to be doing, while they take 25% of my paycheck to do it, isn’t the answer for me.

    There are still places in the Midwest where tidy, three bedroom homes sell for around $100K. I want to get off the merry-go-round…I’m still trying to figure out my exit strategy…

    • Katia says:

      I read your comment earlier this morning but was only able to sit down and properly respond now. Thank you for such a thoughtful and moving response to my post. I can SO relate to the reality you describe, the thoughts of downsizing, the spousal misunderstanding. I really appreciate you sharing all of this. Thank you so much. I open every new comment I get, with trembling hands as this post, well – kind of backfired, and reading your comment a few hours ago was exactly what I needed.

  39. Jennifer says:

    Hi Katia,
    I read your article through the link posted on yahoo. The comments left there were ridiculous in my opinion since most of the readers missed your point completely so I wanted to comment here. I think your blog successfully reflects the feelings of so many mothers that working out of the home, in the home, or whatever their situation. I have an almost 3 year-old son and teach sociology to college students. Even though I know that most of my guilt is created from knowing what society expects of me as a mother (to be home, to be the care-taker, the nurturer) and not being able to fulfill those expectations 100%, the feelings are real none-the-less and it breaks my heart when I leave him to go to work. But financial realities are financial realities. I say keep writing what you feel, what you see, and if it bothers you I’m sure it bothers many of us so keep at it! Thank you.

    • Katia says:

      Oh Jennifer, I cherish the positive comments so much. I really appreciate you stopping by and making an effort to leave your comment here where I can see and appreciate it. I also appreciate you sharing your story. Leaving your child at home to go to work is incredibly hard, from both perspectives you’ve mentioned – not living up to society’s expectations of being 100% mom as well as what we perceive to be as not living up to our children’s expectations. The truth is that our kids will always want more, because that’s the nature of being a kid. I see it now with my 5-year-old who’s had me at home exclusively for close to two years. He’ll still complain about going to daycare and not seeing me during every single one of his lunch breaks (because I do show up sometimes). Don’t feel guilty. Your child will appreciate the hard work you’ve put in in order to raise him in a financially stable environment. I’m totally autosuggesting here, by the way🙂 Thank you so much again for your comment. It means a lot!

  40. Veronica says:

    I just read your article on Yahoo, and I agree with you, though I understand why the association of Kim K and moms having it all and the comparison to Mrs. Potato Head upsets me. For one, it’s Kim Kardashian. I’m no hater, but her career IS dressing up, wearing tons of makeup, and over done hair. That’s part of her job. She was probably walking out of a photo shoot (aka: work) when that photo was snapped. I know for a fact that not many people are well kept after a long day of work, even men loosen their ties and groan about how long their day is, so this isn’t just a “woman thing”. Second, since when did Kim Kardashian become the ambassador for all woman-kind? She’s an individual just like everybody else. Aren’t we all mature enough to realize that we can “Have it All” as long as we know what our definition of “all” is?

    • Katia says:

      I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the last week. Having it all to me mean being able to be present in my children’s lives white working on a part time basis, something at which I haven’t been successful so far. It is encouraging, though that others manage to achieve that balance. Makes me hopeful.

    • Not only walking out of a photo shoot but self-shaming about how poorly she was styled — BY SOMEONE ELSE, FOR A LIVING, who was self-shaming, etc . . .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Between 2014-2015:

BlogHer '13 Voices of the Year Community Keynote Honoree
Scary Mommy
The Epistolarians

Books:

Categories

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 15,989 other followers

Tired. Going from 10 months of staying at home with the kids to full time work is disorienting.  I have to redefine what my involvement in their lives looks like. I have to go dig for my creativity, it's not readily available. I have to make room for friendships that were already pushed to the outskirts of my mommy life. What was previously inaccessible, existing in the "so near yet so far" category - books, blazers and heels - became a staple in this old new reality in a matter of days. Tired and disoriented but also content, supported and appreciative. #momsofinstagram #random #randomthoughts #changes #workingmom #tired #tgif
Donate-a-post-iv
mumsnet
Blogarama - The Blog Directory
Finish the Sentence Friday
%d bloggers like this: