6 responses to “Leaning In … Almost Falling Over..”

  1. Thank you for an amazingly astute article. You speak not only to your generation but to your mother’s generation as well. Although we tried to break free of the stereotypes imposed by our mothers and empower our daughters to believe they could do anything on their own and didn’t need “someone to come” and rescue them, the fairy tale syndrome has still lingered over the generations.

    Bring this message to your daughters now, our granddaughters, so they hopefully will think it normal to sit at the head of the table. Carry on!

  2. Angela, Thanks for an truly honest reflection on the ‘old’ having it all syndrome. Something to consider for those women who wish to create families is: marry a good partner. I can still recall one line in Sara Laschever’s book “Women Don’t Ask” – a young couple was expecting their first child, and the woman said to the man “How are you going to care for your child while you are at work?” Who has those conversations? We are all programmed that we can ‘bring home the bacon’ AND do it all at work… all the time. Impossible for any human. I have enjoyed some recent conversation about blending your time – rather than work/life balance which is not reality IMHO.

    Another perspective, lower SES women have been doing it all for decades. Definitely no knights in shining armor and no choice about working and raising the kids simulutaneously and rarely are they even invited to the table.

    Love the stat about the male trailing spouses…

  3. Angela, your insight is, as usual, top notch. If I may dare, here are some thoughts from the guy’s perspective. As someone who managed to be a “trailing spouse” for over 20 years without ever leaving the same household, I found myself deferring to my wife’s career needs and doing my best to enable her as a part time entrepreneur, part time Mr. Mom and eventually, part time chamber director down in Mahopac. Even though I am quite male, I think I often suffered from the same maladies you spell out in your blog – simply put, a natural lack of confidence. Other people were supposed to have that chair in the middle of the table, not me. I was simply a support staff. My wife would encourage me to seek better opportunities and I always thought they were above my qualifications.

    I remember that Enjoli commercial well – and here’s an insight, it intimidated MEN (at least this one!) as much as it did women, because we started assuming that there were indeed women who could be such a great supermom as that lady in the commercial! I for one knew that after a hard days work I wasn’t necessarily feeling up to “never letting my wife forget she’s a woman”, to mangle the phrase from the song. How do women do it? Well, as you demonstrate above, they often don’t. Not any more than the men do, because we are simply human beings.

    If I may, I think the lesson learned for today’s business women is, stop trying to do everything. Men knew that a long time ago, which is why the bold, brash, well paid male boss automatically found his way to the best seat at the conference table. Its all he was worried about cause that was his whole job. Those four women may well have went to the side of Timothy Geithner’s table because they had their kids’ soccer practice on their minds and their husband’s dry cleaning to pick up and all these other distractions. Being at the center of the business table wasn’t their top priority or they’d have made it so. The guys in the room sure knew how to do that.

    What I learned in life is, the woman in the Enjoli commercial doesn’t exist. The good news is, no man can do it all either. So male or female, don’t worry if you sacrificed some salary to be there for your kids or your spouse, which is what I did for 20 years. On the other hand, male or female, if your number one desire is to get the best job possible go like gangbusters to get it. My very un-educated guess is that, at least for you, the “gender gap” will be far less significant.

    1. You are rocking the free world Pete Bardunias! Thank you so much for adding your ‘very male’ voice to this discussion. Great insights!!

  4. Love the headline. It’s so interesting to read something like this, as a Gen Y woman who feels liberated by the culture shift my mother’s and grandmothers’ generations fought for, has very 21st century values, has no plans for kids, and somehow missed the fairytale immersion while growing up overseas. I’ve always had an inkling that my over-accountability, cautionary approach to ambition, fear of not being informed enough for a given professional situation, and aversion to risk were related to the fact that I’m a woman, but was unsure why. Now I’m thinking it really is generational baggage. I do feel the weight of “God forbid we drop the damn ball.” And I do know that it holds me back, because I watch other less-qualified, less capable people–often but not always men–snap up opportunities. Hopefully truth is power, because I now know that “as women so much of our fear about success is in our own heads.”

    1. You go girl!! Great commentary..!