Whoopi Goldberg has candidly admitted that she chose her career over her child because the opportunity to succeed in entertainment is fleeting and “would never happen again”.

The 68-year-old Sister Act star opened up about the sacrifices she made for success when she was a young single mom during a recent episode of The View.

“My kid came before my career and I chose my career because I knew this would never happen again,” she admitted. “She didn’t always like it but that is the process of being a parent. They’re not supposed to like everything you do.”

Goldberg was speaking to fellow presenters Sunny Hostin, Alyssa Farah Griffin, Sara Haines, and Joy Behar, about the toll having children can take on a mother’s career after the British popstar Lily Allen revealed on a podcast that having children “totally ruined” hers.

“My children ruined my career. I love them and they complete me, but in terms of pop stardom, totally ruined it,” said the Smile singer, who is married to Stranger Things actor David Harbour. “It really annoys me when people say you can have it all because, quite frankly, you can’t.”

“Some people choose their career over their children and that’s their prerogative,” Allen added.

Meanwhile, Goldberg, who falls in the latter category of Allen’s comments, concluded that she “hopes” she has given her daughter Alexandrea Martin a better life because she prioritized her acting career over being a present parent—and as a result, went on to star in blockbuster movies and bag $8 million per year for her ABC chat show.

But as Behar poignantly asked the panel: “Do you think men are asking themselves this question?” to which they simultaneously agreed that men were not. 

Can working mums really ‘have it all’?

It was Cosmopolitan magazine that came up with the “you can have it all” mantra—the corner office, children in tow, and not a hair out of place. 

But even its former editor-in-chief admitted not only is that unrealistic but that it’s a “very dangerous” norm to perpetuate. 

“You can’t do it all properly, all at the same time,” Farrah Storr said when she was still at the helm of the women’s title.

“I decided not to have children—I just didn’t think I could do my job with kids in tow—and that’s been a huge personal sacrifice.”

Holly Wilbanks, the founder of the Wilbanks Consulting Group, recently told CBS News: “The concept that we can do it all, I think many of us have realized is not a realistic concept.

“Instead, what women today are trying to do is figure out what’s important to them, what they value, and how they can structure their focus and their time around those things—and quite frankly, for a lot of women, that means making choices.”

If even those with huge incomes at their disposal to chuck at childcare are admitting it’s hard to excel at both motherhood and work at the same time, then what hope does the regular working mom have?

About a quarter of a million mothers in Britain have left their jobs in recent years because of the difficulty of juggling a career and childcare, according to the Fawcett Society. 

Meanwhile, women who do remain in the workforce after having children are financially punished: Mothers experience a 60% drop in earnings compared to fathers in the decade following the birth of a first child, according to PwC. 

Over 40% of the mothers the Fawcett Society surveyed had turned down a promotion or career development opportunity because they worried it would not fit with childcare arrangements. 

Men, on the other hand, see their pay increase after becoming fathers.

These statistics may only grow starker if return-to-office mandates continue gathering pace.

Women in the U.K. are putting in more time at work than ever because hybrid working has made it easier to work around childcare. 

But as some firms demand workers make a full-time return to the office, working moms will disproportionately have to weigh up whether they can afford to pay more for childcare—or take a step back in their careers.

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