Hollywood actress Kim Cattrall concedes: “I’ve learned that women can’t have it all …most of us women spend 20 to 30 years on a diet.” And for what?
Women want it all but can’t – children, husbands & marriages suffer
The following is a transcript of an interview between Patrick Wanis, Human Behavior and Relationship Expert, Ph.D and Dr. Vicki Panaccione of the Better Parenting Institute exploring the impact on children and husbands by women who want to have it all.
Also see the following articles by Patrick Wanis:
“You can’t have it all” - http://patrickwanis.com/blog/you-cant-have-it-all/
“Women can’t have it all – hot body, career, happy family & travel” – http://patrickwanis.com/blog/women-cant-have-it-all-women-suffer-children-lose-husbands-divorce-pinkett-smith/
“Women can’t have it all” - http://patrickwanis.com/blog/women-cannot-have-it-all/
Patrick Wanis: This is Patrick Wanis, Human Behavior and Relationship Expert, Ph.D. Can women have it all? Recently there has been huge argument and debate in the media about women wanting it all. In 2005, Jada Pinkett Smith, married to actor and singer, Will Smith, claimed that women can have it all. In fact, she told a Harvard audience, “Don’t let anybody define who you are. Don’t let them put you in a box. Don’t be afraid to break whatever feeling anybody has put on you.”
And then she went on to say, “Women, you can have it all — a loving man, devoted husband, loving children, a fabulous career. They say you got to choose. Nah, nah, nah, we are a new generation of women. We got to set a new standard of rules around here. You can do whatever it is you want. All you have to do is want it.”
Now, again, they were the words of Jada Pinkett Smith to Harvard audience back in 2005. And yet it’s six or seven years later that people are talking about it. The Atlantic wrote an article just recently saying, “Why women still can’t have it all?” I responded to Jada Pinkett Smith’s comments back in 2005 and wrote two other articles with another one in 2011. But just in the past weeks, CNN, Huffington Post, New York Times, and the Atlantic have all been debating the topic “Can women have it all?”
Interestingly, much of the perspective or slant has come from the argument that the corporate world and men should shift so that women can have greater careers, so women can be more successful at work or can still juggle a family and a career. The perspective that everyone seems to be neglecting is: if women do set out to have it all, what will be the impact on their children?
Vicki Panaccione is a child psychologist, and she’s also the founder of www.betterparentinginstitute.com
Vicki, it’s a huge question, but can women have it all?
Vicki Panaccione: It is an age-old question; I guess since the ’60s when women started breaking out of their roles, and I think that like everything else women can have it all to a certain extent as long as they find a comfortable balance. For instance, you can’t be a corporate jetsetter and be flying all over the world for your job and still be at home tending to your children.
I think you can like probably — Jada Pinkett Smith probably has some help — nannies and so on — that she can be away from her kids or she can take her kids on location when she’s filming or whatever she’s doing and have support their nannies and people to help them with their children. But if you’re talking about the general run-of-the-mill homemakers, housewives, mothers, and career women, I think that balancing for these women is a whole lot more difficult than balancing for somebody who has a lot of outside help.
Patrick Wanis: Of course, there are also those women that have little choice but to spend most of their time at work, some women even working two and three jobs in order to survive. But let’s talk about the key question: What is the impact on children of a woman who is spending all the time in a career or in a career that demands 60 and 70 hours a week?
Vicki Panaccione: I think it can be difficult for the kids. It certainly provides them with a different relationship with their mothers than they would have with the mother who is more available to them. So if they have a caretaker or the other parent is home but they have somebody who is a reliable consistent caretaker, then they’re still getting stability and security. Unfortunately though it’s not from their actual mother, but the kids may feel secure because their daily schedule runs pretty much the same whether or not mom is at home. But I think the question for women, too, is: Who do we want to have influencing our kids and who do we want to be raising our children?
Patrick Wanis: And that’s the key point. Do you want to be the mother of your child or do you want someone else or the daycare center to end up being the mother of your child? Do you want to share those first experiences with your child or do you want someone else to be there when a child first speaks, first walks, does something that’s new and fresh and memorable? Do you want to be there or do you want someone else to be there? But here is the bigger question? Do mothers need to be home for their children?
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