When I posted this image from Pinterest’s “quotes” board to my Facebook page, I got responses like, “So true,” “Forget the working full-time part!” and “Hey! I think I’m being taking advantage of.” It got a ton of “likes” and was shared numerous times. And I’m certain it’s because most women can relate to being pulled in so many different directions that giving our families the option to choose the top two things they can’t live without doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.
Recently the Internet and mainstream media were abuzz when Yahoo CEO and new mom Marissa Mayer 86’d work-from-home privileges for Yahoo employees. Those who support work-flex corporate structures said it was a step backward for women in the workplace. Mayer’s defenders said that, as CEO, she had to make a tough decision necessary for turning things around at the struggling tech company. And so Mayer finds herself in the precarious position that many women and moms end up in, and that’s trying to be all things to all people and in doing so make everyone happy as larks.
Like Mayer, many of us have to make some pretty tough decisions about how we’ll manage our families, careers, and other responsibilities—decisions that may prove unpopular with our husbands, bosses, children, and even ourselves. It could be deciding whether to focus on pursuing that promotion at work to help support the family’s financial goals, or it could be choosing instead to work at home and focus on the development of your young children.
But whether you work outside or inside the home, women are still expected to keep many plates spinning at once. In most homes, we own the pressure of making sure there’s a nice, balanced meal on the dinner table every night. And even when we have involved, helpful partners, we still bear most of the responsibility for nurturing our children. And that doesn’t even include making sure our homes are in clean, livable condition. Then if you want to maintain outside interests such as working out or a social life, you have to find a way to weave those things in without one of your other plates smashing to the ground. And maybe most important, if you’re married, the time required to maintain a healthy marriage factors in to all the things our culture demands of a successful woman. How is anyone supposed to do all that and maintain her sanity? After all, the last time I checked, all that’s required for a man to be called successful is that he possess a thriving career and a great-looking family. He doesn’t even have to be skinny!
The Bible says that she girds herself with strength and makes herself strong. I believe this is not only physical strength but emotional and spiritual muscle to handle all of the things for which we as modern women (and women of centuries ago) are responsible.
For me, being laid off from the company where I’d worked for more than five years turned out to be a blessing in disguise, in spite of having two very young children. It prompted me to think long and hard about fears I’d had about starting my own business and working for myself, fears I would never have addressed had I not been let go. Additionally, I became more in tune with my kids’ needs and had the time and patience to deal with them in the way I’d always wanted to. And I was able to muster the courage to launch my own company, which allows me to work from home. It’s not easy, and it’s still a load of work and a million plates to keep spinning, but I know I can bear it with the help of God–plus plenty of “me” days that include massages (and perhaps even a little retail therapy).
So the answer is yes, God’s women can have it all. As long as in doing so we gather all the strength we’re going to need from Him and allow Him to guide us toward all that He has for our lives.
Stephanie Morris-Graves is a freelance writer, business owner (www.gomommyvirtual.com), and graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. She lives in the Dallas area with her husband and their two children.