In this singular cultural moment, women have unparalleled opportunities while continuing to face the same impediments to success that confronted our mothers and grandmothers. We encounter entrenched gender bias in the workplace. We live in a political climate where targeted legal assaults on our reproductive rights are the norm. At home, we face additional stresses and burdens, expected to shoulder the lion's share of this labor while being made to feel as if we’re never doing enough.
Women are trained to metabolize it all, striving continually for the promised land of a “work-life” balance. In this fantasy of perfect equipoise, women transition seamlessly from professional outfits to yoga pants, from ladder-climbing to soccer-watching, relentlessly pleasant and harassment-free, all five senses perfectly attended to the words, needs, and desires of our children.
It’s time for a very different conversation. Work and life are inextricably, intimately intertwined. What if, instead of apologizing or trying to cabin off our work, we teach our children about the benefit and fulfillment it brings us? What if we share lessons about self-sufficiency, independence, and self-worth? We can show our children that when we use our talents to help others or raise awareness about the issues closest to our hearts, we are modeling how to be decent, caring, empathic human beings.