Can women have it all? As principal of a boys’ school, you might judge me a poor candidate to answer such a gender-polarizing question.
But as an educator who strives to prepare young men for adulthood, including the rewards and rigours of fatherhood, I’ve keenly followed the response to Anne-Marie Slaughter’s cover story in The Atlantic on this subject.
First, let’s flip the question around: Can men have it all? It’s not just high-achieving moms having this debate. I teach a lot of boys and I talk to a lot of fathers. The frantic pace of a career-mode family weighs heavily on them, too. They do stress about how the responsibility of fatherhood fits into their own frantic lives – it just manifests differently.
For example, as summer long weekends unfold and the pace of work slows, little gifts of unexpectedly relaxed moments catch families off guard: Having the time to watch your child master some new acrobatic trick at the cottage or local splash pad. The child’s joy at finally having your undivided attention. Your insight that these moments are too few and far between. Men might not fret with their buddies over the effect their professional obligations have on their children, but they might well feel a tug at their heart that they keep to themselves.