No one should limit our girls' potential -- not even us.
Leslie Adler: I read yesterday's piece, entitled Female College Students: What You Need to Know," and I think the air must be quite thin in Stepford. That could be the only reason an educated woman would suggest limiting the drive and potential of a generation of people who happen to have ovaries.
The author concludes with a wish that women be educated early, before they choose a career, on the "limitations and benefits of the various paths as a future mother." Why doesn't she suggest we just put our aprons back on? Choose appropriate lines of work ... and all become school teachers?
I am a mother and a lawyer. I have found balance, but that is actually irrelevant for this response because, unlike Dr. Cara Gardenswartz, I do not start from the assumption that every woman wants the same things, or defines anything -- including "life-work-motherhood balance," or happiness, for that matter -- the same way as any other woman. Nor do I assume that anyone can know what any of this means before they are there ... or that they should. Perhaps we should have classes in college that teach us about the pitfalls of aging so we can decide whether we want to do that.
Seriously, I am trying to imagine a world in which people decided at college age, their early 20s, maybe younger, to choose career and life paths based solely on their desire to be parents ... and I can't. A world in which we squelch dreams because of perceptions about "mom-friendly or flexible professions"? How would Hillary Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or Nancy Pelosi -- to name a few -- respond to Ms. Gardenswartz's suggestion?
Watching how our mothers met the challenges of doing it all or staying at home helped us make choices, and hopefully the ways in which we -- our generation -- find our happiness and balance between work and home will help guide our kids. And to be clear, my response also has nothing to do with the "war" between "stay-at-home moms" or women who work outside the home. I choose not to judge that choice ... but to have our daughters start thinking about that choice before they even embark on the journey?
Let me say another thing to address Ms. Gardenswartz's sweeping judgments of the legal profession. A law degree, for example, is yours forever. And the earning potential one has with a law degree is generally good. I have seen too many women who are without earning potential have to deal with divorce, loss of a spouse, loss of a spouse's job ... countless other things that could cause a woman who chose to stay home at some point to re-enter the work force ...
Why, for any reason, including being a mother, would we want to limit the idealism or the potential of young people who enter college and are, in the words of Ms. Gardenswartz, "excited about their future careers and working hard to achieve their future goals"?
|Leslie Adler mother, lawyer and creator of the Vuv Club shares her witty thoughts on the many roles women play in their everyday lives. Leslie also combines her legal skills and friendship experience as presiding judge of Momlogic's "The Friendship Court."|