26 Jun Slaughter’s Extreme Kills the Working Moms Conversation

Leaving your family before dawn on Monday and returning home late Friday to be there for short weekends is not the reality for most working moms.  Anne-Marie Slaughter’s piece in The Atlanticdescribes a life in the White House that is most akin to a tour of duty in the military. Would we listen to a soldier who just returned from Iraq tell us that there is no such thing as work life balance? It would be insane.

Slaughter irresponsibly uses her personal extreme to evaluate working motherhood as a whole.

In Olympic gymnastics or ice skating we “throw out” the high score and the low score because they are thought to represent the extremes of a country’s bias. Using any extremes to represent the viability of a model is dangerous and such is the peril of Slaughter’s example.

Having just left her family for her career five days a week, she is in no position to comment on work life management. Her extreme is not the norm. The value of Slaughter’s piece is in the suggested tactics and strategies that were born from her extreme. So lets take the value without allowing her to define the conversation with her sweeping headline.

I cringe when I think of a young ambitious professional woman in the checkout line at the supermarket who glances at Slaughter’s eye catching headline, “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All.” To these women, I say don’t look to Slaughter as an example. If you want the trifecta of fulfillment, financial security and a family, there are plenty of places to look – you will see the sacrifices, the upside, the downside and the reality of what it is like to experience a life in imbalance. It is not about having it all. It is about choosing your all. The extreme is not most women’s reality and it certainly doesn’t need to be yours.

Samantha Ettus is a bestselling author, media personality and speaker, passionate about helping working moms to design a successful and happy lifestyle. Connect with her at samantha@samanthaettus.com or @samanthaettus.

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Samantha Ettus is a bestselling author & corporate speaker. The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction will be released in September.