When I was little, I loved watching my mother get ready for work each morning. After putting on her skirt suit, Mom applied some makeup – "war paint" in her words – and let me pick out a pair of heels so she would be taller than the boys. In the car on the way to school, Mom taught me about powerful women doing important things, recounting stories of Jean Kirkpatrick and Madeleine Albright as NPR played in the background.
Our routine changed a bit when Mom got sick. Getting out of bed was a challenge in itself, and a wig of someone else’s hair was pinned on to cover her pale, raw head. But Mom headed to the office just the same, without so much as acknowledging the added challenge to her corporate aspirations.
My mom set bold expectations by seeking personal and professional fulfillment at the same time, even when life got in the way. Her experience taught me what it truly means to "have it all."
Having it all does not mean perfection at work and home. It means daring to pursue seemingly impractical and conflicting goals, and doing it on one’s own terms. As I seek out a life that includes both a job and a family, I hope to have it all the way my mom had it – by focusing on the mindset rather than the outcome.