Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Didn't we almost have it all

   I am part of the generation of women who believes and has been told that we can have it all.  I was raised in the 70’s, during the explosion of women’s rights,  Free to be You and Me and Maude.  Equality was the name of the game – and looking back I was lucky to be eight and hearing all of these empowering slogans and images. 

My 20’s were filled with girl–power independence and the chanting call of “Choice.”  I can choose to do and be whatever I want. I have become an adult with the battle cry – You can have it all!

I have grown up believing that I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, and never, ever let you forget you’re a man.

But the thing is I have to do so much more than that.  If that was all that I had to do maybe I wouldn’t be so tired most days.   Because I am also… dropping off and picking up my kids every day, volunteering at school - raising human beings for crisse sakes! -working out - because we have to keep it tight and juicy if I want him to never forget he’s a man, pursue my own creative path, go food shopping and cook and clean every single day of my life, plus carve out quality time for myself and have a hobby.  I am exhausted just writing some of the never ending list out.

As much as I try to believe that I can have it all – satisfying home life, quality time, healthy, home cooked meals – maybe I am just fooling myself.  I’ve heard that the trick is I can have it all, but not at the same time. 

If I can’t have it all at the same time – what am I going to let go of right now? Exercise?  Well I can’t do that because I will get flabby and have heart disease, and did you see Gwen Stefani’s abs?!  I gotta keep up.  Cooking?  Same thing as exercise – and even if we did more take-out, we still need to eat breakfast and dinner.  It is also the one chore/house keeping activity that I enjoy and take pride in, so I’m not going to stop that.  Work less – That is not decreasing.  I enjoy teaching – I’m good at it and bringing in money for our family feels fantastic, so why would I stop now?  Write less?  Are you on crack!? – I am trying to write more and crank this into a higher gear. 

 I fear that I am dangerously close to not doing any of these things very well.    It’s not cool that I  get cranky at the girls when they need help with homework because I am too distracted by cooking dinner.  I don’t enjoy the fact that exercising is close to becoming just another chore.   I need to re-adjust my focus and re-calibrate my time.

I understand that there is no life guarantee that I am supposed to enjoy every moment of adulthood.  Being a grownup is filled with the necessary tasks of life; mortgages and budgets, obligations and commitments.   However it should not become this one big, never ending to-do list that never gets crossed off.

Since this is my life and I get to choose my own adventure and make my own path and decisions -that was one of the things that growing up Free to Be You and Me has taught me -I have to ask myself, I am really living my own, personal vision of having it all?  Not measuring myself up to celebrities that have toned arms and don’t clean their toilets, not comparing myself to what I think I should be doing.  But really, listen to myself and be clear that I am the woman I have always wanted to be when I grow up.  And define for myself what it means to have it all. 

Some days I think I am close – are you?  I would love to hear how any of you handle the expectation of having it all -and what does it mean to you.


  1. this is a common theme with my friends. When you have small children you simply cannot be everything to everyone all the time. The trick I have found useful is to forgive yourself for falling short of self impossed expectations. And that can be a real doozy.

    You are not lazy if you skip the workout and take a nap every once in a while. It's restorative.
    Let your kids see you as less than perfect and then have them lend you a hand unloading the groceries.
    also- a good hobby is drinking wine

  2. I work full-time so my weekends are packed with To Do lists. I'm also single so I have no hubbie to hand off chores to. But I have discovered a new trick. I run through my head, usually while still laying in bed on a Saturday morning, everything I need to accomplish for the weekend. If it's 10 things, I cut it down to 5. That way I'm not setting myself up to fail, I have obtainable rational goals. Besides, that other stuff will be there next weekend, it ain't going anywhere! During the week I have Mommy's Night Out, which keeps me sane. I guess the equivalent is Date Night if you're married. Sooooo important! And lastly, I try to remember that what matters is not so much the end goal, but the journey getting there. (it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game) I try to enjoy not having any time, and I try to laugh really hard at least once a day...oh yes, and red wine, that comes in handy too!

  3. I love these ideas and thoughts! Jodi,too often I pack on the self imposed expectations - and they are unrealistic and sometimes I can be my own worst critic. It is a smart and kind way to approach your self - thanks!

    And Juli, I love the realistic list! I think I make my lists to grand, like - clean out all of the old toys, plus hang pictures and do all of the laundry. I set myself to fail- again, maybe I can be my own worst enemy.

    I also need a weekly Mommy's night out - I don't do that one enough! Thanks!