Perfect is the Enemy of the Good Work-Life Balance

Article/Op-Ed in The Weekly Wonk
Oct. 3, 2013

Twenty-one years ago, as she hurriedly pumped breast milk in a LaGuardia airport bathroom stall between flights,Debora Spar wryly reflected that she was indeed “having it all.” The epiphany confirmed what she was already beginning to suspect: the reality of combining work and motherhood was quite a bit less glamorous, and certainly less tidy, than her generation had been led to believe. Today, in her new book, “Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection,” the Barnard President is attempting to dispel the “having it all” myth – arguing that her generation of women “individualized” the message of the feminist revolution, putting too much pressure on themselves and neglecting feminism’s original collective social vision. I caught up with Spar to ask about whether she sees young women making better choices – and if she thinks her work-life balance expectations might still be flawed today.