Recently, Drew Barrymore said some of the most controversial words a woman can hear these days, “Women can’t have it all. I was raised in that generation of ‘women can have it all,’ and I don’t think you can. I think some thin
gs fall off the table. The g
ood news is, what does stay on the ta
ble becomes much more in focus and much more important.”
Umm, what did you say Drew? Of course we can, because we’re women and women can do everything and anything we want! Isn’t that the whole point of the feminist movement and progress? But, in reality, over 80% of women (recent Huffington Post poll) realize that it is impossible to have it all without making sacrifices, as Drew realized and had to make career changes for her new child.
There is a conflicting message being sent to women. For so many years we have been and are still being told we can have it all, but now some women are beginning to realize that’s not possible. Many times, sacrifices have to be made whether for the good or bad of the family. On recent episodes of The Face, a reality modeling show, one mother had to leave early to go home and provide financially for her young daughter and she was told, “You have to do what’s right of your family. Career comes second to family.” While the eventual winner, a mother of another young daughter was told, “See you can have it all,” by her coach, Karolina Kurkova. But, this mother achieved it all by leaving her little girl for months and with a more successful career, she will be absent even more. Does that sound like “having it all” or having to make choices and sacrifices?
The truth is, no one can have it all, men or women. Can Olympic athletes have it all? No, they have to sacrifice friends, education, family, and fun to achieve their desired goals as athletes. It’s impossible for anyone to have it all. To have a complete career, you have to have a part-time family. As Robert Louis Stevenson says, “Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business, is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things.” Your family, your friends, your church and your career cannot have the same amount of dedication on your priority list. They cannot all be #1.
We have had so many fathers who put their careers or their personal desires above their families and now there is the term “absent father.” But now, we have begun to see the rise in “absent mothers.” None of this is how God designed a father and mother to function in a family. He made you an indispensable role to your kids’ lives but He did not make you to be indispensable at your office, university, or firm. He gave them to you as a gift, a precious gift to be cherished and taken care of. (Ps.127:3-5) At the end of your life, would you rather everyone remember your successful career or your accomplishments as a wife and mother?
When you choose to become a wife, you choose to make your husband and your family your priority. When you choose to become a mother, you choose to make your child your priority. When you choose to make a career or other endeavors your main priority, then you are telling your family that they are further down on the priority list than your personal achievements. On the other side, many women who choose to make their family their top priority are often times criticized and looked down upon. I’ve received numerous reactions when I’ve told other working women that I plan to stay at home when I have children; “I would be soo bored if I had to stay home with my kids” or “It would be a waste of my education to give up a full-time career for my kids and husband.”
I have a master’s degree but do I think it will go to waste on my home and children? Absolutely not! Because of my education I can try to then give them the best upbringing possible and it can still be used to help train other women, as well. Isn’t that what being a Titus 2 woman is all about, using what you’ve learned over the years and passing it on to other generations? Doesn’t sound so boring or wasteful to me. Is it always the most recognized and praised job by the world? Not at all, but our lives weren’t created to be centered around receiving credit, praise and glory for ourselves. We are were created to “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Phil. 2:3) That means we make choices that will benefit others more than ourselves and bring glory to God.
I’m not saying that women should stay home 24/7, only talk with their kids and husbands, and have no other jobs, hobbies, or ministries outside their home. The Proverbs 31 woman was not a bored housewife! She had jobs on the side (Prov. 31:16,18,24), she made time to do things for herself (Prov. 31:16-17,22), but the overwhelming thing you see is her care for her family and household (Prov. 31:11-15,21, 27). At the end of the day, it wasn’t her bosses and colleagues who were calling her blessed, it was her children and husband (Prov. 31:28-29). I think relationships, time for yourself, and other ventures that help build and strengthen a woman’s mind and body are wonderful and necessary. But, the problem comes when these latter things take the most of a woman’s, or man’s, time. God has made men and women to be the emotional, spiritual, and physical providers and trainers for their children and families and when we choose personal success over the well being of our families is where we err (Deut. 11:19; Prov. 1:8; 6:20; 22:6; 29:15; Eph. 6:4; 1 Tim. 5:14; Titus 2:3-5).
The choice to make your family a more important priority than work and personal success will be hard and it will be scrutinized by world but there are never any regrets when you choose family, when you choose to be the woman God created you to be. There will always be regrets when you choose to make yourself and your career the top spot in your life. No one has ever said on their deathbed, “I wish I had spent more time on me, I wish I had worked more.”
No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished? -Lee Iacocca