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Having it all: The work-family balance debate continues

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One was a policewoman. Another a social worker. There was a Nobel laureate, and women who were the first in their families to graduate from college.

"They're saying, 'Thank you, I've been looking for honest counsel and haven't been able to find it,'" Slaughter told The Associated Press on Monday.

Consider Ana Homayoun, 33, in San Francisco, among the honest. She works as an education counselor and career trainer for high school and college girls. The toll on their lives gets lost in the have-it-all debate about career and family, she said.

"I talk to them about this issue all the time," Homayoun said. "It's this message that you can and should be able to have it all, all the time, and for a lot of them that seems to be polarizing and shame-inducing because they're really anxious about getting into the real world, and they can't figure out in their own head how they're supposed to make it all work."

For many, she said, waiting until they're Slaughter's age and at her elite level is too late.

"The planning what they want out of their lives needs to start in high school, college, to avoid reacting to a bad situation later," Homayoun said. "A lot of my friends in their 30s are leaving corporate high-powered tracks, not because they lack ambition or talent but because it doesn't seem feasible or workable for the entire arc of their lives."

Kathy Doyle Thomas, 55, is the executive vice president of a book store chain and chairman of the board of the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association. She's still on Plan A as the mother of three who has been juggling home and work for more than a decade.

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