Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sometimes, try as you might, you just can't have it all

There was a time, "back in the day," when I would have counseled my daughters to go after whatever they wanted: Of course it's possible to be both a princess and and astronaut! It's possible to be president of the United States or CEO of a company or head coach of the Gophers and a wonderful wife and a fabulous mother -- all at the same time. But hindsight again reveals itself as 20-20. I read a story bemoaning the difficulty of retaining women in college coaching positions (click on title for link), and I thought a little about my job. Twenty years ago, I found that balancing this fairly responsible-but-low-profile job here in UST's News Service with a pretty good family life was, well, very satisfying. I felt a little guilty for being an underachiever, though, since all my friends made more money and enjoyed higher career status than I. We were graduates of Women's Colleges. We were Expected to Succeed!

Well, I'm thinking that many of us redefined success, and some of this now means that we have options. But choosing among them isn't something to neglect. Nobody can juggle all those glass balls at once without stopping occasionally to take a look at how pretty they are. I'm very happy that I was able to have three kids, breastfeed all of them, have a flexible family daycare provider, help with homework, attend all their band concerts and show up for playground duty occasionally -- all while finishing graduate school and writing, editing and pitching university news stories to the media. I might not have made too much money, but I have these kids who are marvelous people. Had these other things distracted me too much from being their mother, they might not have turned out that way. Yeah, it can be frustrating juggling all those balls, but some you can drop, and some you can't. You do, someday, have to figure out which ones are most precious and hang on to them. The others, you can always pick up another day.

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