A few people have recommended this article to me: Why Women Should Stop Trying to Be Perfect by Debora Spar, the President of Barnard College. I think it misses the point.
Clearly this article is in the same vein as Anne-Marie Slaughter's Why Women Still Can't Have It All. But while Slaughter calls for systemic change, here are Spar's recommendations:
1. Don't try to be perfect. You don't have to bake homemade madeleines for the school bake sale. HAHAHA. My kid is lucky if I remember there is a bake sale. The baby dumps the contents of the bookshelf on the floor and we step around the mess for two days until we finally have time to clean it up. Trust me, I am NOT striving for perfection here.
2. Get your husband to help out.
I could not possibly have a more supportive husband. JW picks the kids up every day, cooks dinner every night, prepares lunches, does the dishes, and picks up the slack when I'm not around without ever complaining. And did I mention that he has a demanding job of his own? Supportive husband = necessary but not sufficient.
3. It takes a village. Get your neighbors and friends to help out.
I could have an army of nannies. It wouldn't help. Because my problem is not that I need more people to take care of my kids. My problem is that I want to take care of my kids, or at least spend more than an hour a day with them. I asked a male colleague how he dealt with this and he shrugged, "Well, there's the weekend..." For me, seeing my kids two days a week just isn't good enough. (Plus, I work on the weekend too.)
I feel like the model Spar is working off of is outdated. Her suggestions buy you more time to do work. That's not what I need. In our generation, I think an increasing number of us, both men and women, are rejecting the division of labor that puts one spouse at home and the other in the workplace. "Having it all," for us, means having both a satisfying work life and a satisfying home life. It shouldn't be too much to ask.
ETA: This article reminds me of the study showing that women do negotiate salary, but still end up getting less than their male colleagues, and of the argument made 30 years ago that there were so few women partners because women were just starting to graduate from law school in equal numbers so we didn't have a good pipeline. In all three cases, conventional wisdom was that if only women negotiated, if only more women became lawyers, if only husbands were equal partners at home, these problems would be solved. All those things happened, and all the same problems are still around. So we're looking for new solutions -- and more complex explanations.