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.