Lean In? Or Out?

I’m reading Sheryl Sandburg’s book Lean In.  I thought I would feel freed and enlightened.  I saw an interview with her and really liked her.  And so….now I’m reading her book.  I would suggest you read it too.  I’m truly disappointed in her so far.

She keeps talking about how women….well, let me just quote her.  “I knew this message could be misinterpreted as my judging women for not making the same choices that I have.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  I believe that choice means choice for all of us.”  I really liked that!  Then she went on and ruined it for me.  “But I also believe that we need to do more to encourage women to reach for leadership roles.  If we can’t tell women to aim high at a college graduation, when can we?”  That infuriates me!  So women should have the right to make whatever choices they want but if they don’t make the same choices as she did then they aren’t aiming HIGH???

I gave up my career and life plans to not be good at two things but fantastic at one.  Because I’m not in a board room or running a company doesn’t mean that what I am doing with my life isn’t incredibly valuable.  As a matter of fact, if I had stayed on my career path, my children wouldn’t be the incredible people that they are today.  I am a leader.  I have been in a leadership role for 18 years and will continue in one for the rest of my life.  Not only am I a good leader for my children but I am in a leadership role in several other places in our community.

I wouldn’t give up the time I have had with my children and the role I have been able to play in their lives for ANY amount of money.  I can always gain greater degrees, earn lots of money, and climb the ladder in a career but I can never get those years back for a redo.

I think Ms. Sandberg is sadly mistaken if she thinks she has the best of both worlds and can have it all.  She says several times in her book that men get to have “both a successful professional life and a fulfilling personal life.”  I don’t know about everyone but I can list easily the things my own husband has had to give up for his career and most of the things aren’t things I’m be willing to give up.  Maybe that’s because I know what I’d be missing.  I often remind people when they talk about wanting to be like another country in education or another person in life that you can’t EVER have it all at once.  You ALWAY give up something.  Just be sure that you’re okay with what you’re giving up.  I am and that’s what I think we should all (women and men) aim for when making our life decisions.