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I think this article should be required reading for all mothers (and daughters!) Please do yourself a favor and see the full article, Why women should embrace a ‘good enough’ life — WP article by Elsa Walsh

When it is time for my daughter to make her way through this culture of overwork, I hope she follows some of Sandberg’s advice. I will tell her to work hard and take a seat at the table, speak up and, of course, always negotiate her salary. But I will also tell her to set her own course and follow neither my model nor Sandberg’s… I’ll also tell her to make time for herself. Unplug from the grid. Carve out space for solitude. Search for work you love that allows flexibility if you want to have children. And if you do, have them when you’re older, after you’ve reached that point in your career when you are good enough at what you do that you will feel comfortable dialing back for a while. Don’t wait until it’s too late to start planning, because no one else is going to do it for you. And don’t quit completely because, as wonderful as parenthood is, it cannot and will not be your whole life. Learn how to manage conflict, because the greater the level you can tolerate, the more freedom you will retain. Making compromises is a healthy approach to living.

For a woman to say she is searching for a “good enough” life is not failure — it is maturity and self-knowledge.

I lived Elsa Walsh’s life — same age, grew up in Northern CA, went to those surprisingly forward-thinking Catholic schools, and headed off to the University of Chicago, secure in the knowledge that thanks to the Pill and antibiotics, I didn’t have to worry about getting pregnant, STDs, or married. That was before we found out that sex could give you AIDS, the glass ceiling could block your career, and your biological clock could change everything. But there is one difference between us — my mother. Thanks to her brilliant example, I (and also, I think, all seven of my sisters) learned that what makes a happy family, happy career, and happy life isn’t whether or not you work in the home or out of it but whether your work makes YOU happy. Of course balance is important, but the argument always seemed like the one about staying in a dysfunctional relationship “for the sake of the children”. I think the children are happier when their parents are happy — and if that means a divorce or if it means a stimulating, challenging career (or both), one of the best presents a mother can give a daughter is a picture of what a full, rounded life looks like. One of the best presents I ever got from my daughter? She became (like me) a writer, and for Mothers Day she published an essay thanking me for the example I set for her.

Courtesy Elsa Walsh -  Elsa Walsh and her daughter, Diana, in the late 1990s.

Courtesy Elsa Walsh – Elsa Walsh and her daughter, Diana, in the late 1990s.