"You can have it all. You just can't have it all at one time." Oprah Winfrey
In "Getting to 50/50," the authors lay out the challenges women and men face when they seek to combine work and family. They talked to hundreds of two-career couples, from an array of professions and ethnicities, who live all over the country. Ranging in age from their twenties to their eighties, these men and women told them how they've forged marriages that support two good jobs and one strong family. For example, Sheryl Sandberg leaned on this book while writing "Lean In."
Getting to 50/50 is focused on men and women married to each other. Outdated views about husband-wife marriage cause problems for everyone. Most ideas that hold women back at work, that make it hard for fathers to spend time with kids, that deprive children of the support they need, are rooted in these old beliefs. When more of us adopt a 50/50 mindset, families of all configurations will gain. If you don't have kids yet, this book is for you, too. The odds are 80% you will be a parent some day. And if you'd like to see more female success where you work, you know that will only happen when more women stay in the game. All women win when mothers can pursue their careers--and so do men.
"We're not saying it's easy. Living this way takes lots of discussion and often debate. No matter how fair-minded your spouse, you'll still find plenty to argue about. But hundreds of men and women in this book tell you in their own words why they make the effort: The 50/50 mindset can help you live the life you want," said authors Sharon Meers and Joanna Strober.
Sheryl Sandberg in the Forward of "Getting to 50/50" said, "Women are outperforming men academically, earning about 57% of undergraduate and 60% of master's degrees. But success in the classroom is not translating into success in the upper echelons of power where decisions are made. There is a long list of reasons for this disparity, including both internal and external barriers that hold women back.
I devoured this book when it first came out, stopping constantly to read passages out loud to my husband. We have two children and we aim for a 50/50 split in child care and household duties. Even though my husband Dave and I are very lucky and can afford exceptional child care, there are still difficult decisions about how much time our jobs require us to be away from our family and who will pick up the slack when the other can't be there. We are rarely at 50/50 at any given moment--but that remains the goal as the pendulum swings between us. This book changed our lives."
In "When Doing It All Won't Do: A Self-Coaching Guide for Career Women," we state that aspiring women deserve a solid "heads up." It was Gloria Steinem who said, “I’ve yet to hear a man ask for advice about how to combine marriage and a career.”
Women who ascend the corporate ladder are expected to give up, to go up. This is a critical consideration for women with children. Whoever first noticed that we get what we wish for was right. We need to make sure that our career goals coincide with our personal goals—and if, at present, they don’t appear to, we should think long and hard about how to make them harmonious. Countless mothers of young children have surprised themselves by creating professional opportunities while they’ve been home with children. Others have impressed themselves and others when they demonstrate how their organizational abilities at work translate well on the home front, in locating the right support network and helpers to make both work and home function smoothly.
Choosing to take the appropriate measures to advance our careers is a significant decision. Ultimately, the right decision for one woman may be entirely wrong for another. The choice belongs to each of us. Industry asks and expects a lot. But the demands will only change when women push through changes so no one will be expected to sacrifice family for success in business. After spending time in the corporate world, many women choose to open their own businesses so they have more control over their time.
Successful corporate women manage the home front as well, if not better, than their careers. How they and their partners decide to tackle chores and responsibilities will be up to them. What they all share, however, are carefully considered plans and back-up plans for every contingency, from childcare to meal preparation, house work, laundry, yard work, extracurricular activities, transportation, and entertaining. When a woman leaves work and arrives home, she tells us that her spouse and children are her first priority, not more work!