Letter: Young women should learn they cannot have it all

In reponse to Emily Stroyer-Carlisle's column, I salute her for wanting to move beyond the "mommy wars."

Although I think the media has greatly overplayed this supposed conflict, many women of my generation have felt pulled in two contradictory directions.

I have been, at various points in my daughters' lives, a stay-at-home-bake-cookies-and-sew-great-Halloween-costumes-mom, a high-powered-business-consultant-in-silk-suits-mom and, most recently, a grad-student-mom.

Each of these incarnations was richly rewarding, and each involved major trade-offs, difficult decisions, second guessing and chronic exhaustion. Being an involved parent (mom or dad) is hard work no matter which adjectives go in front.

If there's one thing today's young women should learn from my generation, it's that we were wrong: You can't have it all. Choices, no matter how carefully thought out, present unexpected new challenges that limit future options in ways that are hard to anticipate.

A surprising number of things in life (not just fertility) are outside our control. Ultimately, that realization can be liberating.


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