spin cycle: having it all

Welcome back to Spin Cycle, where we stare in slack-jawed horror as people say ridiculous things in the news. Today’s awful idea: “having it all.”

Feature writers the world over want to know, “CAN WOMEN HAVE IT ALL?”

In popular parlance, women are said to “have it all” once they have procured the following three items:

1. A fulfilling, preferably high-paying job.
2. A happy marriage.
3. One or more healthy children with whom they spend lots of time.

Oh, boy. Okay. You know how your elementary school teachers told you there was no such thing as a stupid question? They were lying to you. “Can women have it all?” is a stupid question.

I can’t believe I even have to say this, but plenty of women (and men) would jump at the chance to quit their jobs so they could spend more time with their kids — or keep their jobs and let someone else raise their kids. There are women (and men! Men also!), with and without children, who are very happily unmarried, and lots of married and unmarried people who don’t want children at all. People are different.

And then maybe you also noticed the “women” part. Nobody (well, almost nobody) asks dumbass questions like “Can men have it all?” because nobody gives a shit about men’s domestic/procreative choices. That’s lady business. Except, as we’ve just seen, when it isn’t.

The other stupid thing about this question is that the answer to it is clearly always no. No, you can’t be the most important person at your office and the world’s best spouse and the perfect parent, even if you want to. You can’t be a surgeon and an otter and an astronaut all at once, either. It’s okay. Nobody can.