I'm a mom with two wonderful daughters. I'm also a woman who holds a senior level role at a global company. I know I have the best of both worlds.
Still, there's plenty of chit chat on whether women can indeed have it all. Look no further than this week's headlines with the birth of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's first child. The debate rages on.
Frankly, I've been living this debate all my life. For me, having it all has evolved throughout my career. When I was starting out in the business world after graduate school, having it all meant working 60-hour work weeks, laser-focused on advancing my career to the stage where I could make a real difference for an organization. With no family at that time, my job was my only priority. I was moving up the ranks of my company with a role that meant something - in my eyes, I had it all.
Over the next dozen or so years, I got married, had two wonderful daughters and found a senior role at Citrix as the vice president and GM of Access and Cloud Services. My priorities changed, and with them, my version of having it all. Watching my daughter's lacrosse game is just as important to me as delivering an inspirational presentation at the annual sales conference. I admit, it hasn't been easy, but I knew what having it all meant to me, so I've adapted so I can achieve it.
Nowadays, I get up at 4:30 a.m. every morning to sneak in a workout and some morning emails before my husband and kids leave bed. By 7:00 a.m., I'm back in mom-mode making sure the kids have breakfast, packing their lunches and getting them out the door for school. If I need to slip out in the middle of the day for a parent-teacher conference, I make sure to block out my calendar and let my teams know when I'll be out and when I'll be back online.
I'm lucky. I have a supportive husband and family who recognize the demands of a high-pressure role; I have flexible employer who allows me to work where and when I need to, providing the work gets done (my job is never 9 to 5). And I use all the resources available to allow me to untether myself from the office and collaborate effectively with my teams -- wherever they are.
Being a mom has been a journey that requires constant compromise. Sometimes having it all is a 60-hour work week; other times it's being there with your family for the moments that matter. You have to recognize what matters most and tailor your life accordingly.
Take my sister-in-law for example. She was a senior expat executive at a Fortune 100 company, and when her children were teenagers, she left her job. For her, having it all then was staying at home and being a full-time mom during her children's most formative years. After three years of being a stay-at-home mom, her kids left for college and she re-entered the workforce. At one time in her life, having it all was a full-time job, and at another, it was being a full-time mom.
Having it all isn't a one-size-fits-all notion, and it's not just about balancing your work and life -- it's the evolution of work and life. For me, having it all is working at a great company, raising my wonderful children and having my supportive husband by my side. Yes, it can be hard with this balancing act, and there's plenty of women like me who can attest to that. But my guess is that the debate will be nil when my daughters grow up. They will see this as a yawner.