I realize that the last time you heard from me, the Farmer was running me over with his tractor. But it was just a fight. Today I feel like I fit on the farm. When I am getting along with the Farmer, the whole farm feels enchanting – even a goat standing on top of my car and probably putting a dent in it.

It’s reframing: When you feel like you’re in the right place, you can reframe the bad stuff to feel like good stuff. I learned this from all the counseling I went through after being at the World Trade Center when it fell. Now that it’s almost the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I field a phone call each week from a reporter writing a story about how 9/11 affected the survivors, and I always talk about reframing.

I’m starting to think where I fit, in terms of my career, is saying what none of us wants to hear, and then reframing it so it feels good.

I used to get upset about people thinking I’m an idiot. For example, when I was writing on Yahoo Finance, I wrote along side Suze Orman. And people would write such hateful stuff about me and Suze (imagine the most offensive gay slurs you can think of) that it was part of someone’s daily tasks to delete awful comments. I used to think I got those comments because I was writing for the wrong audience, or not connecting with people, or something that signaled I was not in my right place.

But I’m thinking that the job of annoying people is actually a good fit for me.

Last week I wrote a post for BNET about how diversity is bad at the beginning of a startup. I did not think this was particularly controversial topic because I am talking, in this article, about a very short period in a very specific type of company: the time between the seed round and the A round of a startup. Those companies are mostly founded by men, and men would increase their company’s chances of survival by not partnering with a women.

Really, this is not news: Diversity is bad for small companies. I published this research four years ago, with not much fanfare. But now, when I apply the research to a specific type of company, I get killed in feminist diatribes on blogs like Jezebel and Built in Chicago.

But so what? I think I’m right. And I think I’m right that most women don’t even want to be a part of the founding team of those startups because those companies are high-risk ventures that ruin your personal life. (I blogged about that — originally for Tech Crunch– here.) And guess what? Tons of men and women told me I was wrong. But I did not get one criticism from one woman who is CEO of a venture-funded startup while she has young kids at home.

I got tons of complaints from women who are pregnant and say their passion for startups will be undaunted by having kids. But really, this is what they wish. These women wish they fit in everywhere. Women wish they were being pushed out instead of just stepping to the side. Women want to feel they can do everything, but we can’t.

Look, we know the baby boomers failed at work-life balance. We know it doesn’t exist. So let’s just start talking about things that are real. You can have a rip-roaring career in a great big city or you can have a goat on your driveway climbing on your car. You can’t have both. You can have kid-centered days or you can have career-centered days. You can’t have both. Let’s just stop lying to ourselves because it’s not helping anyone.

All we can do is reframe. We can say that we are so lucky to have all these choices. We can choose what we want, we just can’t choose everything.

It is real that twentysomething women need to worry more about having kids than a career if they want kids. It’s not pleasant or nice or encouraging to say, but it’s true. It’s true that reporting sexual harassment is old-school and stupid. It would be great if we could take down every lecherous boss, but we simply cannot. It’s true that everyone would rather have a miscarriage than an abortion. Someone has to talk about this, and I like that it’s me.

I think I fit where people want to hear the truth.

I am settling into my role of the bearer of bad news. I have found, in my personal life, that if I face everything, even if it’s bad, then at least I have a chance at making it better. This is true for women at work, too. So let’s get going.

 

 

107 replies
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  1. Jason
    Jason says:

    I’ll never forget your post on Yahoo about doing the downward dog in the bathroom stall. Can’t recall your point, but will never forget the visual.

  2. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    Penelope, thank you for your reality checks. Though I sometimes disagree with you (mostly because I have no interest in having children) your posts are thought-provoking.

  3. alexfreeburg
    alexfreeburg says:

    Glad to hear that you’re in a better spot on the farm and with the farmer. Your many fans care for you.

    I think reframing like so many things is has it’s positive and negative aspects. Sometimes I worry it’s just a post-hoc rationalization/delusion. Like, my girlfriend broke up with me, but it doesn’t matter because she wasn’t that great anyway. Or I got fired, but it’s ok because I wan’t going anywhere at that job anyway. That kind of reframing is helpful for mental health, but may get in the way of honest self criticism. I feel like I’m sort of missing your point. When is it reframing and when is it coping? Is the idea of “fit” the deeper piece here?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Great question. I think all reframing is good, as long as you don’t keep repeating the bad things. I do so much career coaching, and there are people who fail to get along with people at every job they have. You can reframe once, and move on. But you can’t keep reframing the same thing. At some point, you have to stop the pattern.

      I should have included this link to reframing on Wikipedia:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reframing

      I wonder, though, if there is some expert out there who will answer this question better than I am. It’s a great question.

      Penelope

      • Tony
        Tony says:

        I share alexfreeburgs’ concerns about reframing. To avoid the self-delusion trap it really does need an independent pair of eyes to provide an objective view of the situation.

      • alan
        alan says:

        In my counseling practice and in my general experience, I encourage people to “reframe” sometimes, as a form of coping. And people who can consistently reframe situations and outcomes in generally positive ways are considered to be doing well as they cope with adversities. We seem to like the idea of and benefits of “thinking outside the box”.

        So maybe both coping and reframing are useful strategies, even interchangeable…and require no additional personal change unless or until the outcomes are unhealthy or leave us feeling helpless, hopeless, or victimized.

      • karelys davis
        karelys davis says:

        my dad was very hurtful many times but not abusive. I just had so much bitterness. But i was constantly reframing in the sense I knew he was being a much better parent than what his parents were to him. He was trying his best and many times he was being hurtful; maybe he didn’t know any better. We all have blind spots.

        But as I was reframing I was also choosing distance for me to wash the bitterness and I was choosing how to deal with it rather than staying under the waterfall of poor relationship skills.

        Reframing has allowed me to get over the bitterness and assess the problems better and hopefully avoid them later on in my own relationships.

    • emily
      emily says:

      If your girlfriend broke up with you, you can reframe an otherwise depressing situation with a forward thinking response. So, instead of a self hating response – like “i’m so bad, nobody wants to be with me,” or “i messed everything up and i’ll never get better,” there’s the possibility of something hopeful – like “i will enjoy meeting new people.” But thinking “she wasn’t that great anyway” isn’t that helpful – if you choose someone that wasn’t that great anyway, then you’ll want understand why – and meeting new people might be the first step.

  4. Liane
    Liane says:

    I think this is my favorite post so far. Really. I love when someone can tell people straight out to cut the crap and be real. I totally agree with you. Sometimes people have to get over themselves and realize they really aren’t a superhero who can do it all.

  5. Diana
    Diana says:

    I’m thinking I love that goat on the car and the choice it represents. I, too, made a change. I once had an hour commute one way to a job I despised, working with mean, soul-less people.

    Now I live between 2 cornfields, 10 minutes to the beach, and my dog no longer owns a leash. My view from my home office is a variety of bird feeders.

    Yes, that goat is a good thing.

  6. Lindsay
    Lindsay says:

    Penelope, you are crazy & gutsy and I think that’s why I love you. Because we’re all a little bat shit crazy, but we don’t come out with it in raw, honest form like you do.

    I’m going to take a page from your lesson book and apply this to the ‘negative’ situations in my life and see if reframing really does make a difference.

  7. Lisa Earle McLeod
    Lisa Earle McLeod says:

    Amen! I’m in my mid forties, I grew up believing I could do it all, which was really a load of crap.

    I have two kids, and I own a consulting business. For years I was jealous when I saw male peers grow their businesses faster, get better book deals, amp up their speaking fees, etc.

    I finally came to realize, of course they did better! They had more career days than kid days, and I had the reverse.

    It was a choice, and I made the one right for me.

    My kids are in their teens now. Looking back, those 15 child centered years (but no goats) were time well spent. If I was broke, divorced and homeless I might feel differently. But as it is, I have great kids, no regrets and twenty years left to work on becoming a best-selling power broker,

    Let’s face the facts and move on. Penelope is right, she is good at annoying people with the truth.

    The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.

    • Raelin Musuraca
      Raelin Musuraca says:

      Thank you both Penelope and Lisa! I was really enjoying Penelope’s post, but then Lisa, you must have been reading my mind! I’m struggling with taking my own consulting up a notch and you expressed everything I was feeling. Thank you for the reality check. I’ll take raising two awesome, strong and independent girls over a book deal any day of the week. I can always publish that book, and get those top notch speaking gigs, AFTER I send two strong women out to conquer the world!

  8. Harriet May
    Harriet May says:

    I got in to an argument in the hotel bar last week when I was at a conference. It was about midnight, I was drunk, and I brought up politics. I probably don’t know enough about politics to bring that up among strangers when I’m drunk, but I did it anyway. I was with an old man who was not listening to me, but kept saying that I was cute, and a woman who kept saying my opinion didn’t matter because I am an immigrant and can’t vote (I’m not sure why I offered up that information but once she knew that she refused to hear me when I said I was only $700 and an application away from citizenship– I may have it in time to vote for Obama next November). The situation sort of framed my fears– not being taken seriously only because of superficial things I cannot change. But then I realized that there will always be ignorant people at midnight in bars, and in the workplace, and on the internet, and I do have opinions that matter, and good ideas. So I may have looked like a fool–drunk, arguing–but maybe that’s what it takes to make me strong enough to know what I want and who I am and where I fit in.

    • Mark W.
      Mark W. says:

      @Harriet – “But then I realized that there will always be ignorant people at midnight in bars, and in the workplace, and on the internet, and I do have opinions that matter, and good ideas.” reminded me of this cartoon – http://xkcd.com/386/ which is one of my favorites.

  9. Nicole Rushin
    Nicole Rushin says:

    You make some great points here. Some things just need to be said – no matter what they are. We live out some crazy myths, especially woman. Myths that we need to let go of. I know one of them that nobody ever talks about – when I bring the subject up I get a lot of strange reactions. I seriously don’t want to get a Google Alert on this comment for putting it out there but you can contact me in case you might want to tie it into a post. Kudos to you and love your edginess.

  10. JJ
    JJ says:

    Congratulations on finally being OK with yourself, and not feeling like you have to apologize for your opinions! And by the way, being blunt is always more fun to hear – politically correct thoughts are boring and forgettable. So go for it, and don’t forget to have fun while you’re at it :)

    • Libby
      Libby says:

      Hey Lynette I enjoyed reading your post. I am working for a Family Law attny. and trying to learn as much as possible, and want to be an attny myself, even though some keep saying it is not a good move right now. My passion is in helping families, and helping women who deserve to get compensation for the work they have done to support the family. Could you send me a message at libbymccullough@gmail.com so I can ask you some questions? I am also in the South.

      Penelope, I am glad you are sticking with your commitment to the Farmer. I care about your family, and think the Farmer is good with the kids. You can still find ways to enhance their education and make it work.

  11. Zanne
    Zanne says:

    I have to admit that I, at 52, have been taught that we, as professional women, were liberated to the extent that we now have the freedom to hold three full time jobs: the one where we bring home a paycheck, the one where we reproduce and rear the children, and the one where we run the house. Generally speaking, in my personal experience (YES, I am placing caveats), most men don’t produce babies or act as the main caregiver for the first 5 years of their lives. Most men also don’t act as the general for the housekeeping, either. I haven’t noticed a lot of guilt coming from their direction over their desire to be successful in the marketplace versus not being the primary caregiver/homemaker, either. I’m not sure how much of women’s emotions on this is guilt and how much is desire to do it all. I personally put the whole marriage thing off until I was in my thirties, including baby making! That allowed me to make partner with its attendant long hours before I worried over the needs of a family.
    I would also throw into the mix another consideration to weigh – being a lawyer, I have first hand knowledge of this one! – the courts STILL do not REALLY give the caregiver/homemaker equal MONETARY consideration at the time of a divorce as they do the one who makes the CASH MONEY. It IS true that the list of factors that the Judge is required to use now states that the noneconomic contributions are just AS valuable as the economic contributions, BUT in practice, those contributions do not get compensated equally. It’s taken my state (Deep South) some 40 years since women’s liberation to reach the point where this doctrine is written down – and it took the court system to do that; NOT the legislature; I believe it will take 40 more before it is actually followed at the trial level. (Bear in mind, though, here, society is still matriarchal in many respects, even where business is not, before one lays blame on the usual suspects as to why this is so.)
    The end result of all of this may be that professional women opt out of child bearing entirely. (This is not a good thing, as typically, sociologically speaking, professional translates to educated. One’s society ends up even MORE stratified.) If the alleged current trend is correct, that more women are becoming better educated than men, and men are losing out on the available jobs to those women, will men have to bear the next generation?

  12. Smiley
    Smiley says:

    I like how open you are too. But I’ve read that you write things deliberately to provoke scandal and this makes me sometimes doubt the veracity, the genuineness, and the lasting realness of your work. I feel that this piece sort of answers that criticism too. You feel that it is your place, and also your right. I like that.

  13. u4112342
    u4112342 says:

    I love this post. The world is made better by people who confront issues and aren’t afraid to cause controversy because they get us to question ourselves.

    I 100% agree about the having to face everything. You know what? If we faced everything and were honest with ourselves and others all the time, we wouldn’t be as fucked as we are. Being honest is what leads to answers. Until you are honest with yourself and others about anything – from whether you’re Greece and have been cooking your books or whether you’re going to meet a partner/have kids in an 18 hour a day job – you’re never going to find an answer. Great post.

  14. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    I think this is exactly you. “I’m starting to think where I fit, in terms of my career, is saying what none of us wants to hear, and then reframing it so it feels good.”

  15. chris Keller
    chris Keller says:

    What prompted you to reframe the non-communication, Penelope?
    And what did you reframe the incident to become?
    Did the farmer help you to reframe it?
    Did you just wake up in the morning and the reframed interpretation popped into your head?
    Did any of the comments in the comment section lead to a reframe?

    One of the last responses suggested that your act of jumping onto the tractor/the farmer’s continuing to drive the tractor was a dramatization . . . or a dramatic cry for help (as when someone who seems to be trying to commit suicide makes a cut that will bleed a great deal but not actually kill).
    A way, outrageous as it was for both of you, to demand that attention be paid to the issues at hand. Is this a reframing? Or is it a brutally honest interpretation? Or something else?

    Please spell it out.

  16. Steve C
    Steve C says:

    Always nice to see someone come up out of a downer and back to positive life, and be strong again, no matter how they do it. You’ll need all your strength to fight off the negative attacks on you that will surely be coming from the feminists and other PC types. It ought to generate some traffic though.

  17. TwistedByKnaves
    TwistedByKnaves says:

    Penelope,

    “I think I fit where people want to here the truth”. Hmmm. I suspect that many of us can’t handle the truth.

    Fortunately, I think you also fit where people don’t want to hear the truth. Perhaps not comfortably, though: are you still looking for the interesting life?

  18. NonaSharon
    NonaSharon says:

    I’m on the younger end of the babyboom generation but I love your blog anyway. The truth you speak is what I have always said and was never liked because of it. You cannot have it all, at least not all at the same time. If you try you’ll drive yourself crazy. So be grateful that young women that you have so many choices and no one is going to judge you or think ill of you for choosing career first, or last, or kids first or last or not at all. I never regretted having children young or getting divorced young and remarrying the man of my dreams at 30. But, many women of my generation have looked down on me for the choices I made along the way. As if having children before fully launching a career was stupid. And now, launching a great career at mid life is stupid. But the truth is Im happier than ever and look better than most women my age because I don’t think age should have anything to do with when we work or have kids or get married or decide to start acting old.

    Its also important for women to realize that no-one who has an abortion does it for birth control. Thats just a bunch of religious right BS that a lot of people have accepted because its too scary to think about the truth that people who have children may not want them, may not be able to feed them, or care for them, or love them. A miscarriage is much easier to deal with because there is a false sense of divine intervention that gets us off the hook.

    I was a young mother and loved (almost) every minute of it. My son had a child with his girlfriend when they were 19. He’s a good father but a terrible provider and uneducated because the baby came first and he can’t find a job without a college degree. But they chose to have a child while they were young and put the baby first. Its all about the choices we make in life and our ability to accept that we do have choices and we are the only ones that make them for ourselves.

  19. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    Well said! I like the fact that you talk about how you’ve chosen to change how you handle criticism from your audience – it reminds me that we can get better at handling life over time, even if right now, we’re not.

  20. Paul Hassing
    Paul Hassing says:

    This post reminds me of two proverbs. Which in turn reminds me that I’m getting old enough to be citing proverbs! Anyway:
    1. The more you know, the less you need.
    2. The less you need, the richer you are.
    I spent decades rushing around trying to do and own everything. Now things are calmer. And the more closely I follow these proverbs, the happier I am. Am I wiser? Or just older? Or both? Not sure. But maybe there’s something here for the person who craves everything but can’t quite manage it. Keep ’em coming, P! Best regards, P. :)

  21. ResuMAYDAY
    ResuMAYDAY says:

    Let’s be honest, your post in BNET was not about diversity – it was meant to cause controversy. The original title was ‘Male Founders: Want to Kill your Startup’s Chances? Hire a Woman.’ As a matter of fact, BNET editors had to step in and ‘reframe’ it for you by changing the headline. The rest of the article was nothing more than generalizations that had nothing to do with women-plural, it was about one woman-YOU. And I’ll comment here as I did on BNET: Yes, I admire many of your accomplishments, but still, I really don’t want to be measured by your yardstick.

      • ResuMAYDAY
        ResuMAYDAY says:

        Ok, I believe you but one of the BNET editors commented on that post saying THEY changed it. I love your blogs here but not at all on BNET. It’s as if two different people write them.

  22. Katherine
    Katherine says:

    Totally agree. Now at 40, I’ve finally learnt to reframe my career aspirations. With 2 kids under the age of 10, I realise I can’t climb the corporate ladder to being a CFO & enjoy my kids without outsourced help. So I’ve just stop trying to fight the guilt, reframe my expectations of my career path and achieve that work life balance by stepping to the side. I’m much happier, my marriage is better and I enjoy my kids more.
    Kudos to you for having the guts to lay it out and be the bearer of ‘bad’ news. It’s refreshing!!!

  23. dl
    dl says:

    Good post. It’s good you’re seeing where you fit. I was worried you were going after the Pioneer Woman fluff when you started your homeschooling section. Please don’t be Pioneer Woman. When we want to dream, we’ll read her. When we want reality, we want to read you.

    I completely agree with your point that women can’t have it all. I’m a graphic designer and we tell our clients you get to have two of three things: cheap, quick, quality. Only two. The same thing applies to womanhood…you get to have two of three priorities: career, marriage, motherhood. You can’t mega succeed in all of them, something has to go on the low priority scale.

    So that takes us back to Pioneer Woman. The link you posted recently about the story on her…was it New York Times, maybe? Anyway, this woman is building an empire. She’s traveling all over. She’s trying to do everything. Same thing with Sarah Palin. Unless the husband is willing to take over the parental role or is willing to have an absentee wife (thus eliminating one of those three priority choices), something’s gonna give. You can’t do all three.

  24. Carl
    Carl says:

    On a broad political basis Standard and Poors reframed the U.S. political situation last Friday when they changed the rating on U.S. debt by telling it like it is. Washington cried “foul” because they can’t see the situation clearly. The politicians try to reframed it to their own advantage which in our current situation means nothing meaningful happens.

  25. Randi
    Randi says:

    What a good post. Your post was key for me because I am currently in a job where I do not fit. And reading your post, reminds me that there is nothing wrong with me, but that I am in the wrong job with the wrong people. Penelope, I appreciate and love your outspokenness and I treasure your posts. I love that you have the courage to speak your mind. Keep it up and ignore the haters because there are many people out there including me who appreciate your ideas.

  26. kd
    kd says:

    Women only have to choose kids or career because we continue to refuse to ask men to change to accommodate the rights of women. So women can “choose” to shit their careers down the toilet instead of asking a family unit to make sane choices. Why do women always have to lose when family balance is discussed? I would have expected more from you on this. And the “it was just a fight” is crap. You two fight in dysfunctional ways. Reframing can also be what people do when they are unhappy can can’t deal with making change.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I think women have been asking men to do this for a while. And men don’t want to. That seems fair. I mean, if you don’t like what men have to offer, don’t have a kid with a man. Then you don’t have to deal with men, right? Othewise, you have to just take what they have to offer. I don’t think men need to want to be with kids as much as women do. Men do not need to be women. The same way that women do not need to want to be Fortune 500 CEOs as much as men do.

      You ask: “Why do women always have to lose when family balance is discusssed?’ The answer is that women are the ones who are not happy. Men are not tortured over this problem like women are. Men do not cut back their work hours to spend time with their kids at nearly the same rate women do. And it’s all by choice. How can you get mad that men and women want different things?

      Penelope

      • Victoria
        Victoria says:

        Ditto. Ditto. and Ditto. Pen, this post of yours was sizzlingly spot on. I’m an American Boomer and brutha we didn’t get it right. But balance and moderation are not hallmark features of what makes the USA tick; cultural values are still about producing and consuming – not about enjoying the fruits of one’s labors. And for all the talk of family values, it is just that: talk. The country does not make it easy to have and raise a family. There are no systems in place for child care taking should both parents choose/need to work. So the issues are not just about “oh, men.” It’s society as a whole.

      • karelys davis
        karelys davis says:

        that’s so right! marry or have a kid with someone that is wanting to cut back their hours to be with kids. Also, choose that someone that has tons of money because if you both are cutting back on work is going to cut back on money too for raising kids and a family!

  27. J
    J says:

    Penelope,
    Loved this one. I reframed my mother-in-law. It was awesome.
    I am a stay at home dad. My wife and I have a 3 year old son. My wife is all about her career and I am cool with that–I am really proud to be her trophy husband at home. “Work-Life Balance” is just a BS brochure happy HR catch phrase that doesn’t exist. My wife and I both have masters degrees, but my number one job is to be a good parent and companies in the US do not give a sh$! about family—they care about getting the cheapest labor for the most hours out of a worker. So if you make the choice or accident to become a good parent, your career will suffer. So I gave up my career. My wife, son and I have less money but have a quality of life 4 times better than when we were rich. And that is where my mother-in-law comes in. She would rather have a son-in-law addicted to his career whom she can brag about. But she has never made herself happy–she always cared what others thought.

  28. Amy
    Amy says:

    Kind of a weird question, but I am looking at the picture of the goat and wondering what type of car/truck you have. It looks like the goat is standing on a metal tool-box that you find in the back of pick-up trucks. And if you drive a truck with a tool-box, that’s pretty cool, at least in my part of the world.

    Just wondering : )

    Good post, too (from a mom who realized I couldn’t have and didn’t really need “it all” … your statements are very, very true …)

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Oh. Good eye about the photo. There were actually a bunch of vehicles in the driveway that day, and the goats were on all of them. And, I see now that this was not actually my car. You’ll have to trust me, though, that cars were dented during the making of this photo :)

      Penelope

  29. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    Love this post!

    I’ll just add that missing the boat on kids isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As you’ve said Penelope, having children has not been shown to boost happiness. Not that happiness is why people have kids, but it may help some who regret being childless reframe if they know that the experience isn’t as wonderful as Hallmark makes it out to be.

  30. Laura
    Laura says:

    I feel like this post is a precursor to something bigger …. Are you planning on delivering another big piece of news that women are not going to like?

  31. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    I’m glad you mentioned that things are good between you and the farmer now, because I don’t think it’s fair when you only tell a quarter of the story (your half, and only the bad part of that = 1/4).

    I don’t think that you are a bearer of bad news, just a defeater of delusions. Bad news sucks and you just have to get over it. Defeating delusions frees up people’s energy and thinking to do more productive things with their time than trying to achieve the impossible.

  32. Mimsey
    Mimsey says:

    Regarding women’s choice between career and kids…spot on!!! We cannot have it all. It amazes me more people are speaking the truth about this. Good for you for saying what women actually experience.

  33. Jean Gogolin
    Jean Gogolin says:

    A young woman I know very well adopted an 8-month-old baby as a single mom. He’s now almost 8 and is the light of her life. But I see what the strains of doing this, along with having a very high-powered job, are doing to her. She’s stretched to the limit and he often takes the brunt of her tenseness — who else could?

    I don’t see anything “wrong” here; I just wonder what the long-term effect will be on them both.

  34. le@thirdontheright
    le@thirdontheright says:

    hi P … this is my fav bit …You can have a rip-roaring career in a great big city or you can have a goat on your driveway climbing on your car. You can’t have both. You can have kid-centered days or you can have career-centered days. You can’t have both …

    I am in the middle of planning my mid forties gap year for 2012 … basically because of a situation like that described above … my stay at home husband is a non believer … but I have not asked him to make a choice or for permission – I’ve just told him what I’m planning … he can choose his own response – embrace or buck it :) best le

  35. Bridget
    Bridget says:

    I think that truth is the place to be however I know that most people don’t want to hear the truth. As a 40 year old woman having a child on my own I used to say, “I don’t want to be a super-woman.” I received a lot of strange looks. But I basically said, balancing out everything is something I don’t want to do because it is unfair that I should be expected to do everything fantastic that 2 people usually do in a mediocre manner. I have not found a career that doesn’t expect one’s family to suffer for the greater good of making money for the organization. Maybe I need to meet a farmer. However, I think reframing is a slippery slope.

  36. Sparky
    Sparky says:

    Great points, all.

    PS on Yahoo:
    As someone who still needs to close my Yahoo! email account, I can tell you that Yahoo seems to attract a very uneducated clientele.

    It wasn’t just your work, or Suze’s work, that attracted those kinds of comments. Almost every comment on ANY link on Yahoo brings up abusive stuff – how the subject looks, what their politics are, how much they would be paid or not paid for sex, and every name in the book, to name a few.

    If Google is a well lit, comfortable library, Yahoo is the rusty trailer in the trailer park with a car on cinder blocks in the front.

  37. Paul Basile
    Paul Basile says:

    Whenever someone says or writes “I think”, well, I think that this is opinion which can be interesting but not necessarily right. When you use facts, reliable research – which Penelope, you do sometimes – then there is real value in the commentary. When you are entertaining that’s fine, when you are advising people on jobs and careers and fit, be careful. There is truth – as in real, scientific observation of trends (never, ever, certainty) and there is opinion. The difference is very key.

  38. Minchala
    Minchala says:

    Interesting read – agree with a lot of points here though im not sure i have the right perspective (as a dude) to say you’re right or wrong any of the points made.

    That said, one thing i’d like for you to clarify, if you don’t mind, is your view on choosing career vs choosing to have a family. Are you saying one couldn’t effectively focus on the two in tandem (mostly agree here)? Or that one should choose one or the other early on bc its not worth trying to have both (i take issue here). I’d say its worth it for anyone to prepare themselves for some professional trade assuming they wont have small kids to raise for longer than 15 or so years.

  39. Rebecca
    Rebecca says:

    I love your blog. I get several blogs and yours in one of the few I make sure I read as soon as I receive it. It makes me smile and laugh and wonder what is coming next. And I learn from it. And you can’t ever leave the Farmer. I want to read stories about the two of you for a very long time!!! This blog reminds me of a book I read “The Power Of Uniqueness” in which the author says the same thing — that it is a myth to think we can have it all. I think embracing that truth is empowering in itself. It gives one an excuse to focus of what is really important and try to conquer the whole world. Thank you for sharing your life!!!!

  40. Heather
    Heather says:

    Trying to have a kid-centered life at the same time as a career-centered life is a disaster. While I feel like somewhere there’s a balance, I don’t think it will be achieved by me, in this lifetime, working for any company that I’ve ever worked for that touted “work life balance.” That HR phrase is a bunch of malarkey used as the carrot, and once you are in, you get the stick. Sometimes you get the stick b/c you chose to take on more than what you should to “prove” yourself, and you just can’t keep up with home, kid, family, chores, responsibilities and a 60-hour work week (and often times >60 hours). Every week I have a moment where I feel like I should just quit working. However, I still have to pay off the bills from my startup disaster (happening while raising a toddler), so guess I can’t quite run off into the sunset with my kid and husband in tow.

  41. Anita Junttila
    Anita Junttila says:

    Penelope,
    I love that you constantly point out in your posts that you can’t have it all. A marriage takes work and that means leaving the kids with a sitter. Children take work and that means sometimes canceling date night or great sex because a child is sick. So, yes, something always has to give. There is not room for everything all the time. Your posts about work/life balance also give me comfort when I think I should be doing something more ‘important’ or interesting.(than being a wife and mom) I love your blog it’s my favourite. Thank you for writing the truth!

  42. Kate Nonymous
    Kate Nonymous says:

    “You can have kid-centered days or you can have career-centered days. You can’t have both.”

    Actually, I think you can have both. Just not on the same day.

  43. Investment Banking Jobs
    Investment Banking Jobs says:

    It was Stephen Covey in his 7 habits that stressed that humans are the only animals that can choose. I think this fits very well with your comments on reframing. As soon as you decide on how to react to a given situation it puts you in a very powerful position.

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