I get so irritated when I read all of these conflicting articles saying how women can or can’t have it all. I feel like there are so many people still in the mentality that women are meant to stay at home, wear lipstick, pearls and aprons and have a hot meal and a bourbon waiting for the husband when he gets home from work promptly at 5:30. This isn’t Leave it to Beaver. Then you have people on the complete opposite end of the spectrum telling us, screaming at us YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL! So then there’s this pressure to live up to that “you can have it all” mentality that society has placed on women-having a successful career and a family.
First of all, I decide whether or not I have it all, not some complete stranger who’s beliefs may be different than mine. On top of that, I decide what my “having it all” is. Hello! This is America in the 21st century. Everyone’s lawn doesn’t look the same, everyone’s family is different (I am pretty sure the only similarity between everyone is that we all ‘put our pants on one leg at a time.’ I’d like to meet the person who doesn’t!). There is not one, cookie cutter “having it all,” is there? I don’t think so.
My ‘having it all’ is different than my best friends’ whose is different than the woman sitting next to her in the doctor’s office, whose is different than the woman standing behind her in the grocery line, and so on. Get it? According to this article, 40% of working women say they are hanging on by a thread. I think that is in part because society has placed this notion that ‘having it all’ is being successful at work and at home. So we spread ourselves thin trying to live up to that. Although part of that could be our fault, because only we know our limits and we need to know when to slow down and maybe toss out a ‘no’ here and there. Seriously though, some days success for me is that both of my kids are alive at the end of the day, and my sanity is still intact.
You guys, we need to be each other’s cheerleaders. WHO CARES what other people feel is a measure of success and having it all. So what if you have PB and J for dinner that night instead of a made-from-scratch dinner out of all organic and local ingredients. Your kids are fed. Success!
My ‘having it all’ changes. There are days where I want to climb to the highest mountain and scream at the top of my lungs “HEY EVERYBODY I HAVE IT ALL!!!!!!” because I feel like I have my shit together. Then, there are days where the grass is greener, I am super stressed, super tired, my kids are out of control, I have eaten one too many chips and I don’t feel as though I have it all, because all I keep thinking is “if I only had this or this or if only this or this opportunity would come my way then I would have it all.” (those are usually the days where I need to check myself and get my shit together) There is no Book of Life with one, clear cut definition of having it all, people!! Let’s be realistic.
When you get right down to it though, there are the few big things that lead me to believe I do ‘have it all,’ regardless of whether or not I have it together, regardless of what other people think success is and regardless of whether or not others think, by definition, I have it all. Because again-who are you to say whether or not I have it all?
Is my family healthy? Yes. Is my family happy? Yes. Do we have a roof over our head and food to eat? Yes. These people are my world (including my husband’s family too). As long as I have them, I have it all.
I think this is where it gets dicey for some people. Most everyone would include family in their having it all (I would assume). By nature, I am a terrible Stay at Home Mom. Just terrible. It’s not for me. It is for some, and that’s just awesome for them. (that could be their having it all). I love that my work is my dream. Having my store and doing what I love is amazing. I can’t tell you how good it feels to wake up in the morning knowing that I get to head to work and love it. On top of that, to have a husband and family and friends that support me and help me live my dream is the best feeling.
Blogging is also pretty amazing and the opportunities that come from it (being a part of the Lucky Mag community along with other great bloggers and working with Neutrogena are just a few of the great opps. Also the friends I’ve made are pretty great). What started out as just a hobby has turned into a small business for me- something so much greater than I ever thought possible (although this is what I struggle with sometimes…comparing to other bloggers and ‘the grass is always greener’ mentality). I have a family and get to doubly (I know its not a word) do what I love- my store and my blog.
My home is also pretty awesome. Knowing I live in a home that my husband and his family help build makes me proud. It’s messy and unorganized most of the time, but it’s lived in. Chances are, you will always find dog hair on the floor (damn you, Rocco), a dirty dish or five in the sink, leftovers in the fridge that needed to be thrown out a week ago, and clothes in the washer that have been washed three times because we forget to put them in the dryer, but it is lived in. It is part of my all.
At the end of the day if I were to do inventory and I had all of those things, I would say that I have it all. Putting aside all of the petty ‘I wish, I want, if only I had…” I have it all. My own version of having it all. I would bet money that your ‘having it all’ doesn’t look like that does it? Nope. Probably not. For some, it could be the chance to be a Stay at Home Mom. Other’s it could be strictly work related because they don’t want children or a family! So why oh why must people etch in stone what ‘having it all’ is for everyone, especially women?
What’s your ‘having it all?’ I’d love to hear, because I know, in our own eyes we do have it all if we really think about it.