I read a profile in a local publication this week that focused on a woman law firm partner and mother of two, who recently adopted her third child.
Nothing out of the ordinary in that scenario, especially to me, since, as a mother by adoption, I tend to read a lot on that topic anyway.
The thing that I couldn’t fathom, though, was this — this mom proudly talked about the fact that when her baby contracted pneumonia and was hospitalized, the she was on the phone from the hospital room as she laid in bed with her daughter, negotiating a business deal.
This woman’s photo beamed with happiness and pride from the article as if to say, “See, I have it all and so can you!”
As someone who never expected to give up my full-time career once I became a mother, I am totally supportive and on board with trying to find a work/life balance that works for each individual and that allows parents to have careers and meaningful family time. Clearly, we all have to make choices that we feel work best for ourselves and our children, and there’s no one solution that fits each household.
But I started wondering — is this lifestyle actually a choice or an example of someone who can’t draw appropriate boundaries or doesn’t like to delegate?
Was this a situation where she was happy that she was wheeling and dealing while her ill child slept next to her? Or was this a case where someone felt that their position would be in jeopardy if they said, ‘no’?
If a successful woman can’t draw a line for her employer (or, more accurately, her partners) between a family emergency and the office, then what hope is there for the rest of us to ever find a true balance in our day-to-day lives where crises are more about getting to the school pick-up line on time or finishing nightly homework and still getting dinner on the table at a reasonable hour?
I know I’m going to take some heat for this one, but I hope that today’s version of success in the workplace, for any parent, doesn’t mandate that we take our work with us on adoption trips, into hospital rooms and on family vacations.
If it is, then I’m ready to be unsuccessful for the rest of my life.