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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Having it all?

A mother contemplates a modern-day myth of women's lives

Sorting through clothes my baby has outgrown, I found myself reminiscing in a way I hadn’t before. My son was born March 4, 2004, two weeks before my 41st birthday. I’ve spent the last 14 months in task-oriented activity, coveting sleep. It hasn’t been a time of reflection. I’ve even forgotten about the anxiety that tortured me during my pregnancy as I contemplated motherhood.

I never planned on having a baby. I didn’t subscribe to the modern-day myth that women can “have it all.” Frankly, I never understood why anyone would want to put herself under that sort of pressure. More by circumstance than planning, I pursued a career.

When most of my friends were going to college and dating, I was putting in long hours in the demanding computer industry. When my girlfriends were getting married, I moved to Europe for work. When they started families, I was traveling the world with my job. By the time they were sending their first children off to school, I had accepted a lucrative post in South Africa.

It wasn’t that I was opposed to having a baby: My lifestyle couldn’t support a pet, let alone a family. I visited my friends when I got back to the States. I watched how hard they had to work at being combination parents, spouses and employees. I knew my trials in the corporate world were nothing compared to the efforts they produced on a 24-hour basis.


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October issue

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