June 25, 2012 at 7:15 am #137145
[quote=AmmaMD]Finally, I think it’s also important to look at her discussion of the generational forces at work, here, too. She talks a lot about how what she’s saying is discussed constantly by people our age – she’s not claiming that it’s all new to everyone. What she’s saying is that people in her position have tended to be demeaning of this talk, and also to see it as threatening to some of the ideals of feminism laid out in the 70s. So, I saw it as more that she’s reaching across the divide and saying “sorry, ladies – you know all that time I was acting like it was easy for me and if it wasn’t for you it was your own darned fault? that was wrong of me. we should be more honest about this with each other.” And that’s something I appreciate hearing, too.[/quote]
Really? I feel like the initial profession of uniquely privileged women like Slaughter that ‘having it all’ is possible (nevermind easy) for the majority of talented women outside a very narrow slice of the available career paths was so patently and obviously untrue that her apology just doesn’t even make a dent for me. Thanks hon, glad you see the light now but you know what? We knew that was ridiculous and so we weren’t listening anyway.
I think this is all perhaps more significant for me as well given how much of my last 12 years has consisted of me getting very large amounts of money for my training by saying I was going to do research long term, based in part on the idea that this balance should be doable if I just try hard enough. Leaving me now feeling like I’m totally failing everybody if I end up scaling back on that part of my career just to keep the heat on, food on the table, my kids knowing my name and my marriage more or less intact.
I refuse to feel an ounce of guilt for taking the NIH’s money. I have to live my own life and suffer the consequences of my own choices, not the NIH. If leaving academia is better for my family then you bet that’s what I’ll be doing. (Hopefully that won’t be necessary but if it is I won’t be looking back.)
If the last generation could overcome the barriers they did with grace and strength and persistence, why am I struggling so much?
Say what? Generations X and Y are littered with the carnage of Boomer-area attempts to ‘have it all’ and the resultant domestic fallout.
Slaughter herself is actually a great example of how it is impossible to combine gracefully a demanding more-than-ft career with a family life, even under the best of circumstances (flexible but well-paid hours and equally flexible, supportive, high-earning spouse). She waited until she got tenure to try and get pregnant, after 3 years of fertility tx had kids at 38 and 40, and when her older son was having teen issues she was MIA at her 80 h/week job in another state. I guess she was doing well at her career but if you define ‘having it all’ as doing both career and family to the max at all times (impossible as I said above) she gets a big C- for effort on the family side in my opinion.June 25, 2012 at 7:29 am #137146
[quote=AmmaMD]But the idea that there may be NO way for me to make it work in academic medicine without either just not sleeping at all or being subsidized by some yet-to-be-discovered external source is feeling like a bit of a shock.[/quote]
I have two mom/academic medicine buddies from residency, and this is an issue for all of us. To some extent all of our spouses are like, that’s a nice paper honey, now how about you contribute to the mortgage one of these days? My friends are both straight-MDs with loans and thus are feeling more intense spousal pressure than I am, though it’s there for me as well. I’m not sure there’s a way around it other than biting the bullet for a few years (moonlighting as necessary) until you get an early faculty-track appointment which is better paid than res/fellow/postdoc.
The time bind I think is more variable based on your field of research and institution. There’s no way I could be combining research in my original PhD field with clinical work and a family. But switching to a different, more clinically relevant research area has been good for me so far. Like Emily, I’m prepared to drop and run for the private sector at any time if it stops working.June 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm #137175betta79Participant
I agree with tr_. Love this thread. Thanks for posting everyone. It was interesting to read.June 29, 2012 at 5:14 am #137187
I guess I had the impression that I would be happy working full time (65 hours a week) and still be able to have a happy marriage, rock climb seriously, and have kids. Yes, I was silly to think that I would be able to do all that, but really, I was doing pretty well before kids. What troubles me is that as I struggle find days off to work part time around the man power issue in my group, my male partners with kids step up to take over the leadership positions. And I have to wonder why I need to work part time, and they don’t. Is it a gender divide? All the leadership positions in our group are filled with men. And yes, I do feel a bit guilty. I feel like I should want to be in a leadership position, and really, I could if I wanted. Certainly, I was heading that direction before I had kids. I worry if my working part time, not stepping up to be a leader, and taking maternity leave would affect future employment for women of child bearing years.June 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm #137198
[quote=clee03m] What troubles me is that as I struggle find days off to work part time around the man power issue in my group, my male partners with kids step up to take over the leadership positions. And I have to wonder why I need to work part time, and they don’t. Is it a gender divide? All the leadership positions in our group are filled with men. And yes, I do feel a bit guilty. I feel like I should want to be in a leadership position, and really, I could if I wanted. Certainly, I was heading that direction before I had kids. I worry if my working part time, not stepping up to be a leader, and taking maternity leave would affect future employment for women of child bearing years. [/quote]
Or maybe you are setting a precedent so others (men and women) can feel more comfortable asking for flex at work in order to honor family needs. Why should 65 h/week be the norm anyway? Maybe your group needs a new norm, or a spectrum of norms.
Also clee you have a toddler and an infant – there will be other times in your life when you can ramp back up if you choose. Little kids are not forever, only a few years out of a long career.June 30, 2012 at 11:05 pm #137221
I mean my male partners with small children not unlike mine.
Only people who work part time are the ones nearing retirement. Hopefully, you are right, and I’ve made it easier for people to ask for part time for family needs.July 3, 2012 at 7:10 am #137242Docmomof4Participant
Very interesting thread. This part of the article struck me:
“Which means I’d been part, albeit unwittingly, of making millions of women feel that they are to blame if they cannot manage to rise up the ladder as fast as men and also have a family and an active home life (and be thin and beautiful to boot). ”
My first reaction to the title alone was -Yeah, I figured that out when I had my first child. All through my thirties I felt that these earlier feminists had sold me a bill of goods-you can’t have it all, do it all, and do it all well. That is my opinion. But, what is ‘well’?
I have spent years feeling guilty for ‘just’ being a part time doc in a CHC and not furthering my career. Ok, I deliver babies, teach at a med school, and do correctional health, plus have 4 children ages 1-9 and no nanny, get to the gym 5 days a week, but still I am failing, and not living up to expectations. Plus, I gave in and got once weekly housecleaning this year-what kind of example is THAT setting for my children? Add to this the pressure put on by attending highly ranked undergrad and med schools (I was wasting my “fill in the blank ivy” education by becoming a family practice doc and not the head of something), and it can be hard. But i have realized some things in my 30’s that I am living in my 40’s.
#1-I define ‘well’. I need to be able to lay my head down at night and feel that I did a good job
#2-It is ok to be ‘just’ a community doctor
#3-Professional life can change, and may change when my children are older. For now, this is family building time, not career building time
#4-I love being a mom, and I love working, and I like that I am setting an example for 4 daughters that you can be a mom and have a career.
#5 At the end of the day, my family is what is important to me, not someone else’s arbitrary judgement on whether or not my life is successful
#6 I need to be happy with being healthy, and there will never be a perfect number on the scale!!!!July 13, 2012 at 11:07 pm #137371AnnaMParticipant
Recently stumbled across this. It sums up my feelings about this article exactly:July 14, 2012 at 6:30 am #137374MTaylorParticipant
AnnaM – totally agree. Very good article!July 14, 2012 at 7:51 am #137376SW to MDParticipant
I take issue with this article implying the gap in pay is all about how many hours/week you work:July 14, 2012 at 8:39 pm #137378AnnaMParticipant
It’s funny, because when confronted with the fact that there is a gender pay gap on the White House staff, the administration’s response was the same as everyone else’s response, that it’s because the women work fewer hours, etc.July 16, 2012 at 6:09 am #137392
What disturbs to me is that when I decided against academic medicine, I felt no guilt at all because I did not choose that based on child rearing. So what kind of perversion makes me feel guilty because I am choosing to spend time with my family? Am I so different from some of my male colleagues if I also believe that all reasons are legitimate unless it has to do with pregnancy, labor, and child rearing? Thank you for the article and the discussion. I have decided that I will no longer allow myself to feel guilty. Many of you are right. I can have it all including the power to define what that means.July 17, 2012 at 9:05 am #137406multitaskerParticipant
Great book that addresses some of these issues: The new feminist agenda by Madeline Kunin.
I like Slaugter’s article. Its about time women in leadership positions put the truth of their experience out there rather than pretend that their double-time work juggle is sane or easy or some verson of having it all.
I need to decide RIGHT NOW to 1) finish my charts from 4 days ago 2) feed my children dinner 3) get 15 minutes of much needed exerciseJuly 19, 2012 at 7:49 am #137436asunshineParticipant
[quote=multitasker]I need to decide RIGHT NOW to 1) finish my charts from 4 days ago 2) feed my children dinner 3) get 15 minutes of much needed exercise[/quote]
They don’t call you multitasker for nothin’! 😉
And now I’m off to finish charts after putting kiddos to bed…
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