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Thursday, April 11, 2013



What a terrific post! I haven't read Sandberg's book yet, but this makes me want to do so even more. And I love how you tell your story (and your mom's story) as sort of an illustration of jungle gym lives.


I think what you say is true: If we view our career trajectory like a jungle gym, we can find a way to work and have balance with our personal lives. So yes, it is possible to have a job and family life. The problem is that it is not possible LEAD and have a family life. For women who have aspirations to ascend to a leadership position, they usually can't get there on the jungle gym. And if they do manage to use the jungle gym, at some point, they will have to make the choice to give it all up to their jobs. The only option becomes leaning into work completely and leaning out of everything else at a time when we have children at home and they need us. Sandberg herself is a perfect example of this. So is Marissa Mayer. So was Anne Marie Slaughter until she realized that her children were struggling mightily because of her absence. These women currently have no tools at their disposal to avoid making this terrible choice. No matter how hard they try, no matter how strategic their journey, no matter how clever they try to be about it, they must give up one for the other.
My mother was just like yours. Big job in the 70's and 80's, at a time when women were just entering the career world. Except that I have had a hard time forgiving her for her long absences. Even today, I feel the effects of that loss and struggle everyday to be a different kind of mother to my children. I envy you for being able to process that same story in a different way, one where your pride for your mother outweighs your resentment for that time when she chose work over the family.

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