The Self-Imposed Glass Ceiling

This post serves as more of a question than a statement. Lately I've found myself at a crossroads between career and family. I've always had high career ambitions and the older I get the more I realize that perhaps running the world and being a mom might require more than I imagined. Though I'm not a mother yet I am very aware of the hard work and sacrifice it takes to be a good mom. The women in the C-suite all travel constantly and work long late hours. How does that work? I'm not getting any younger so now it's decision time. I need some insight in how to have it all.

From where I sit corporate America is a man's world catering to the traditional gender roles of the early 1900's. The man goes to work while the woman stays home with the kids. He travels a lot, works late, and misses special occasions, but it's ok because he's the man of the house providing for his family. He's making such a sacrifice. Fast forward a century and reverse the roles.  Would these same behaviors acceptable for a woman? Highly unlikely. I've always worked in male dominated environments. Oftentimes their wives were stay-at-home moms so they couldn't understand my dilemma. When they get home from working late dinner is on the table, but when I get home from work it's a mad dash to get something semi healthy on the table before nine o'clock. There's little sympathy from them. I must admit men seem to have it a lot easier than women these days. I wonder how many men have questioned whether or it was a good time to have kids because of their career goals.

Enough about the men. I'm looking for a woman's perspective. As I think about such a life-changing decision I notice my career goals shifting from C-suite to safe, comfortable and flexible. Oh and don't forget good benefits! I'm now imposing my own glass ceiling. I've seen plenty of women have good careers and be good mothers. I was raised by one. What gets me most is I can't recall meeting a working mother who didn't have some level of regret for dropping her child off at daycare. The flip side of that is that I've met women who were so career driven that they barely knew their kids. I once worked with a woman who forgot to take her daughter trick or treating for Halloween. She was still at the office well after dark and decided that Halloween just wasn't as important as her work. There was another woman who missed her daughter's first birthday because she had to be at a meeting that day. I can't even imagine what I would do if I were faced with such a decision. Do I really have to choose between work and my child? Say it ain't so ladies, please! 

Once it's said and done, if there really is a choice to be made, I'd rather be a great mom than the Sr. VP of whoever and whatever. Are these legitimate thoughts or am over thinking this? How did you make it work?


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