Milk Retrospective: According to Karren Brady you can have it all

30 Oct

I thought it was time for another Milk Retrospective because i have bugger all new ideas i was really concerned some of my later readers might have missed some early gems.

This post came early on in Milk’s career at a time when i was, shall we say, just a little obssessed with the question of whether women could have it all. Angry – for feeling a bit let down by all those people who’d told me i could and would be able to, amazed at how other women seemed to be doing it, resigned – to giving up a career i’d worked hard for but was unprepared to make the sacrifices for.

Now, having gone back to work on a contract part time doing what i love, i have to admit it’s maybe not all the doom and gloom my early Milk self wanted to believe. My hopes are up (just a bit) and i’m experimenting. I’ll let you know what i find.

In the meantime, enjoy.

As if answering my post Having it all Karren Brady was interviewed in yesterdays Daily Express stating defiantly “My goal is to have it all” with a photo of her looking more than a wee bit smug. I read on hoping to be enlightened. Just how did one of the UK’s most successful business women (MD of Birmingham City Football Club at 23) manage to find a life balance between her high pressured career, and raising 2 kids (now 13 and 11)?

She talks passionately about wanting girls to believe they can do anything they want “brain surgeon, engineer, scientist” clearly believing, no doubt through experience, that women can succeed even in the most male dominated industries. Acknowledging that she has a “hectic family life” she goes on to boast that she “doesn’t have any full time help”. I am impressed.

Apparently the key, according to Karren, is to share the childcare with her husband (also a football manager) and to work as a team. Hmmm, no real insight here. I read on, hoping for some tangeable hints and tips on how she actually makes it work. However, this is where the cracks begin to show. She advises the reader that it takes sheer hard work to get to the top and sacrifices along the way like missing swanky nights out (ok could deal with that, not much of a party animal anyway), .. all the christmases …., the holidays, the….”. Hold on, did she say christmases? I can’t imagine missing one christmas day with the kids, let alone plural.

And so the truth comes out. In the end, it is still all about making choices. Work or kids. And as Karren finally admits: “If you choose work you can’t sleep at night, because you feel bad you’ve not been there for your kids”. Sounds like she’s got a lot of experience in that department. Thanks Karren for finally coming clean.

It seems even Karren Brady doesn’t have any real answers. You might be able to “do” it all, but that is still a far cry from “having it all”. I suppose, in fairness, Karren Brady did just say her “goal” was to have it all. She never said she’d succeeded. I stand by my original post.

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9 Responses to “Milk Retrospective: According to Karren Brady you can have it all”

  1. kelloggsville October 30, 2010 at 11:03 pm #

    No you can’t have it all, but you can have a little bit of many things but I would say. Children are so precious and they grow up very very fast. Miss that sports day and you never getthe chance to see that one again, never. Dash off to work on that birthday morning and don’t saviour the moment and suddenly the moment has gone. There is nothing wrong with being a working mum (I work very hard and often long hours) but I do have some regrets about what I missed and I do not regret those days I didn’t give my life and sole to the career and gave it to my daughter. I could have gone higher (I still can) but I want to be home before she goes to school and what to be able to go to those school plays and pick her up occassionally and that means I can’t b ethe next Apprentice. There is a balance in the successful receipe of life. find yours. Find what works for you and ignore everybody elses way and opinion. xxx

    • marketingtomilk November 1, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

      that in itself is a journey of discovering, and one that i am on ;<)

  2. 21stcenturymummy October 31, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    I’ve been thinking about about whether it’s possible to have it all, at all, or not recently. I’m still not sure. For me having it all is about spending time with my daughter but doing something so I wasn’t full-time mum (it would send me crazy). I gave up a great job in marketing/pr after realising it wasn’t going to work on a part-time basis. Instead I launched a new career as a freelance journalist and it’s going pretty well. My daughter goes to nursery 2 days a week, and I work from when she’s there.

    What works is that I have a lot of time with her but 2 days to myself, doing something I absolutely love. What doesn’t work is that 2 days a week is not enough time to spend on a new career (especially because I am Queen of Procrastination when I work from home) and it doesn’t bring in enough money for me to be able retire any time soon!

    I love what I do and I think it’s a good balance, however I’d like more time to spend on my new career, but then it means spending less time with my daughter. It’s always a trade off.

  3. Livi November 1, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    (This isn’t supposed to sound as grumpy and judgemental as it does!)
    Men don’t “have it all”, why should women? Men sacrifice their family life all the time for their career because they have to, because it’s their job, and no one is out there moaning that that’s unfair. No, you can’t have it all, no one can, but I don’t see why it’s so hard for people to make the decision as to what they want: money/power/career or family. To me there’s no contest.

    • marketingtomilk November 1, 2010 at 2:17 pm #

      Do you know Livi, for once i have huge sympathy for your p.o.v. I actually think you’re right. I think women have been brought up to believe the impossible, and so end up expecting too much. A whole nother post. Watch this space!

      • Livi November 1, 2010 at 4:07 pm #

        Ooooh, wow! Looking forward to that post! No doubt I’ll leave another grumpy comment on that one too 😛

  4. Muddling Along Mummy November 1, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    For me it’s trying to find a happy middle ground – somewhere where most things work and I’m not feeling as if I’m giving too much to any one part of my life

    Big thing I’ve realised is that you need to be flexible and open to different options

    • marketingtomilk November 1, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

      It’s about discoving what makes you happy as opposed to how you always thought your life would be growing up.

I'm all about the debate. Would love to hear what you think.

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