Can we have it all?

Almost regularly my friends and I get asked how we manage as working mothers to be top professionals, superhuman, or self-employed. In fact, seminars are organised for women to talk about work-life balance and there seems to be a myth, mostly by women that it is not possible to have it all.


Fellow journalists often question how I can be an Editor in Chief and work on multiple publications across multiple publishers and still cook up a storm in the kitchen every week, spend quality time with my teenager at her piano, martial arts, dance and theatre classes and manage a four bedroom villa without a maid.


Somehow, my husband who is a full time academic at a University and does awesome theatre productions on stage never gets asked how he manages his time. He works hard, has won the best actor award this year at a gala show at Madinat Theatre and does almost as much for my daughter as I do but people expect him to cope. If we sincerely believe in equal opportunity for women, we have to stop making them feel that by multi tasking, they are not doing justice to the multiple roles they do.


My secret is that I love what I do and this keeps me engaged both emotionally and intellectually. When I am not wearing my media hat, I focus on my projects as a publicist and thrive on partnerships only with experts in the industry even though it means paying extra so that work is more fun.

I also accept only a certain calibre of clients who understand the industry so that no time is wasted explaining to them why we do things in a certain way. If I have to teach a client not to engage with influencers with obvious bought followers, then it is a red flag that tells me intellectually they are not using their brain on what is real and what is fake and hence, not worth my time.


In the past I dwelled on comments of disbelief from the sisterhood on all the work I do as a multipotentialite, but that was once or twice only thankfully. After all life is a lot more exciting when you don’t seek societal approval and set your benchmark of success on the number of the million dollar islander smiles that enthrall people around you each day.


I reckon the biggest struggle for us as women is to define what it means to be successful. To me it is to live life on my own terms as I find trying too hard to be accomplished as a woman is still a liability and can stress you no end.


A lot of women want balance by having a good career, financial reward and time to do the things they love. Thankfully, with technology it is possible to have it all. Earning enough to pay the bills and enjoying quality time with yourself, your family and doing things you love is sometimes better than stressing and earning more but not having a life. It is in the end all about priorities.


By: Shereen Shabnam



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