In recent years, the struggle women face to balance work and family has been a recurrent topic in news and entertainment. Various perspectives have been offered on the “Having It All” dilemma and its underlying issues, ranging from the news media’s mostly fictional “mommy wars” to comedy films like “I Don’t Know How She Does It”, to books and essays by prominent business women and policy makers such as Sheryl Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter. The intent behind this documentary project is to offer insight from real and personal experiences of women and their partners as they attempt to navigate through the most trying years of this challenge: the time when a working couple tries to start their family, thereby adding parenting to the jobs they already have.
Jessica, 34, a University of Washington psychology professor is in the planning stages of motherhood when the documentary begins. Her biggest concern is whether or not she and her husband, who also has a demanding career, will be able to create a “shared and equal” partnership with regard to child-rearing. Trine, 36, a program manager at Microsoft, is happy to announce that she’s finally pregnant after a long battle with infertility. She is suddenly faced with the question of how she will juggle work and motherhood, something she has not spent any time preparing for until this point in her life. Kate, 33, a former IT professional, is a stay-at-home mom to her toddler, Ruby. However, she plans to go back to work as soon as possible, and has been doing everything in her power to stay up-to-date and relevant in her field. Her fear is that when she attempts to re-enter the work force she will be stereotyped as “just a mom” by her peers.
In the ensuing two years of their lives these three women will face unanticipated difficulties that turn their worlds upside down. From the shockingly painful exercise of putting an infant into childcare, to the heartbreak and defeat of divorce, this film examines some routinely overlooked, yet ubiquitously endured experiences of today’s working parents. It also underscores the fact that the “Having It All” ideal is not the same for everyone.
We hope this documentary offers a new perspective for thinking about the work/life model that has been created for not only women, but all working parents in our modern culture. Hopefully it will also contribute towards new solutions for dealing with this challenge as individuals, as well as a society. Most of all, we hope this film simply offers a compelling story about three people trying their best to understand themselves and their limits, in a world that has encouraged them to strive towards having it all.