Pittsburgh mothers find contentment, balance in lives

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When Anne Marie Slaughter, a former U.S. State Department official, wrote an opinion piece for the Atlantic magazine in June 2012 titled, "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," she dumped a bucket of cold water on the idea that balancing career and family might be an attainable goal.

Pittsburgh working mothers responded last week to a call through social media and shared their thoughts on that much-debated topic: Can you have it all? And what does "all" represent?

Katie Biehl of Pitcairn

Ms. Biehl is a divorced mom of four kids who works in the loan servicing department at PNC Bank. She said she relies heavily on family for help with child care to keep her schedule and her kids' schedules on track.

"I work hard to make sure everyone stays happy doing what they want to be doing. 'All' to me is contentment. There's no way anyone can be happy all the time. But I'm content as long as we have what we need and some of what we want."

Laura Diamond of Crafton

Ms. Diamond is mother of a 10-month-old boy. She quit her previous job in retail because the schedule wasn't working for her, and now she works part time as a model and as a mortgage loan officer for a company that allows flexibility in her schedule.

"I think I do have it all. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it, but if you can take each day as it comes and focus on the present, you can be content."

Natasha Smith of Whitehall

Ms. Smith is mother of a 2-year-old boy. She has a variable schedule in her job in construction management, so her husband handles many child care duties.

"I feel like I do have it all, but only due to my husband. He is a true partner and helps in the child care and housework, and we share or divide all of the household responsibilities."

Claire Baer of Canonsburg

Ms. Baer, who owns Yoga Innovations in Bethel Park, is married mother of a 2-year-old girl. She thinks she is on her way to having it all.

"I'm able to raise my child and let my own self shine through while running my business. I think it's about finding good balance, or trying to find it."

Katrina Romagnoli of Crafton

Ms. Romagnoli is a doctoral candidate at the University of Pittsburgh and mother of a 14-month-old boy. She said she doesn't think anyone can have it all, but everyone can prioritize to ensure they have what they need.

"I was raised by two working parents and so was my husband, so we don't know any different. I can be a parent, spend time with my family, and still work, still get a Ph.D. I can't be a stay-at-home mom, because it's not what I'm cut out for. I'll never be the mom who makes Pinterest-worthy lunches or has a perfect house, but I can be a good mom who has a career and is home for dinner every night."

Kim Lyons: klyons@Post-gazette.com or 412-263-1241. Twitter: @SocialKimly.


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