PepsiCo CEO Tells Moms the Truth About Whether They Can Have It All
by Lisa Fogarty
Any time I read about a successful and powerful woman who swears up and down it is possible to be an equally amazing worker, wife AND mom, my BS detecter shoots through the roof. Either these women are lying -- to us and/or to themselves -- or they have, God bless them, figured out a way of dropping their expectations and not feeling guilty about doing so.
And that's why PepsiCo's CEO Indra Nooyi is my new hero. The mom of two daughters, who is obviously a hard-working and kickass woman, told it like it is in a new interview this week with Atlanta Media Company. And here's the bottom line: everything other moms say about having it all is dead wrong.
Nooyi, who has been married for an impressive 34 years, said women pretend to have it all, but that this simply is not possible because, ya know, we aren't the superhuman superheroes we wish we were. I love what she has to say about balancing all of our responsibilities in life. Instead of making believe it's realistic to be everything to everyone at once, she says we all make choices throughout the day about whether we're going to be a wife, mother, or employee at that moment.
She also admits that she isn't sure her daughters would call her a "good mom" if they were asked and that she has certain "coping mechanisms" to help deal with the guilt and pain and -- what else is that we hear -- could it be self doubt?! Finally! A woman who isn't confident that she's doing it all right. I don't know about you, but I can certainly relate.
My absolute favorite part of her interview is when she confesses she felt so much guilt when her daughter came home from school and rattled off the list of moms who actually made it to some kind of Wednesday morning mom coffee chat that she called the school and demanded to know which moms hadn't attended the event. And then she let her daughter know she wasn't the only mom not there.
It's definitely a silly thing to do, but how many of us have been in a position in which we feel so bad about how we're not living up to our (and our kids') expectations of what a mom should be, that we totally want to resort to pointing the finger at other parents. Emily's mom can't drive you to soccer either because she's busy earning a living for her family and trying to be a strong female role model for her daughters. So there.
My job is IN NO WAY near as stressful as Nooyi's, but her message to moms -- all moms, including those who choose to stay at home - is one we can all relate to: we aren't perfect. We aren't going to be able to fulfill every expectation we have of ourselves at all times. And we need to just get over it because our guilt isn't helping our children or ourselves.
Now comes the difficult part: actually processing her message and living it.
What do you think of what Nooyi has to say about motherhood? Do you feel you can have it all?