This I Know...

Lately this blog seems to be veering slightly from the Harvard-bound topic, but seeing as HBS-related events have slowed (and will probably continue to slow for several months), I figure that dabbling in the philosophical and introspective every once in a while can't hurt.

Today I am inspired by a section in O The Oprah Magazine called "This I Know..." In the section, Oprah makes blanket statements about the things she knows about herself and her life. Personally, I find that in this ever-changing, twisting world, the things we truly know about ourselves can feel few and far between. But this I know:

1) Proud as I am to be a strong woman, I struggle with the "supposed to's" that are associated with my gender. I feel extremely lucky to have been born into the generation that I was, for today more than ever, women are given choices about the paths in their lives, and are (starting to be) respected for making what are sometimes unconventional decisions. But even with these strides toward equality, the world still makes decisions about the place a woman should have in society. She is to be the homemaker, the mother, the nurterer. Watch any cleaning supply commercial and I guarantee you'll never see a man bending down to scrub the toilet -- and if he is, it's only because he's eyeing a sexy female next door. When it comes to children, it's assumed that women not only want to be mothers, but that when the child arrives, she is to quit her job and put her life on hold to care for the home and the baby.

Why, despite the strides we've made toward equality in the workplace and in the political arena (we're not there yet, but almost!), does the equality not transfer to relationships and the home life? Which leads me to the second thing I know...

2) I want a family. I want the adoring husband who challenges me mentally and intellectually and who is my forever partner. I want the 2.5 children and a dog and the family dinners and the first steps and the trips to Disney World. I can see myself sitting down to dinner after a long day of work and feeling complete.

What I don't see is life as a housewife. I've come this far intellectually -- I'll be a Harvard MBA in 2 years -- so how could I ever throw away all mental stimulation to take care of a child, stay in a home day after day and relegate myself to watching soap operas and ironing my husband's shirts? It's just not in my future. I want to be the President of a company, have a great big corner office with a window overlooking a bustling city. I want to feel productive, intelligent, and successful in my day to day work. And then I want to pick my children up from school, read them bedtime stories and fall asleep in my husband's arms. But can both exist?

The answer to that question is something I don't know. I don't know if I can be the excellent mother I'd want to be and be a successful career woman and a loving wife. I don't know if I'll find a man who isn't intimidated by my ambition or career aspirations and who doesn't try to put me in a box and expect me to act like a possession. I don't even know if I'll change my mind ten years down the road and all of a sudden want nothing more than to have a baby and nurture it. And I guess that's part of the adventure of life -- knowing who you are and who you want to be, and wondering exact how, and if, you'll get there.

2 Responses to "This I Know..."

Sodium Hydro Phosphate responded on June 26, 2008 at 5:00 PM #
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sodium Hydro Phosphate responded on June 26, 2008 at 5:01 PM #

Being an Indian, I have only a little idea of the US. Though India is also very liberal now but still, the US to us connotes a free society, a socially very developed one, one where women are most emancipated.

Reading this post of yours changed my perspectives a bit. The thoughts you have put here about an uncertainty of a great career and a sweet family together would be the typical thoughts of a 25 year old Indian female too.

I am very much like you. With 780 GMAT, a good undergraduate degree, I am a 25 year old Indian male aspiring for a top US B school and I see my future with an equally intellectual woman but I don't know how life would turn out with such a woman who would have to devote a major portion of her time to her own career perhaps.

Perhaps, time will tell..