Can we “have it all”?
“Having it all”…what is that? There has been lots of conversations in the last couple of weeks after the article written by Anne-Marie Slaughter entitled Why Women Still Can’t Have It All hit. I read the article and have struggled to put my thoughts down. Can anyone have it all?
Here are my thoughts…I think we all can “have it all” … How? How is that possible with all the pressures of raising children, careers, and a struggling economy; how can anyone “have it all”? I think the key is how we look at what “having it all” is.
All of us have different life situations. Some of us are highly educated, some of us have high-powered careers, some of us work because we need to help support our families, some of us work because we need careers to feel fulfilled, some of us have careers in the home, but all of us have daily struggles in determining how to “have it all” and balance life. There have been times in my life that I have looked at others and thought, “They have it all…or SHE has it all.” There were moments when the kids were all small and I was at home that I would see a woman picking up groceries dressed in “career clothes” and I would have a twinge of jealousy. What was I missing? Most likely, some of those women that I saw had a twinge of jealousy when they saw me dressed in jeans with a cart of groceries and kids. What were they missing? There were moments when I saw Moms that had 3 perfectly behaved children with no ice cream spilled down the front of their clothes and the thought of “she has it all” crossed my mind. What was I doing wrong? There were times when my husband called and talked about the dinner meeting he was going to as I made cheese toasties for the 4 kids at home and the thought, “he has it all” crossed my mind. The truth is, he had the same thought about me as he missed those precious moments of dinner with the kids. There were moments when I was working a Saturday morning in the hospital that I worried I was missing something fun at home with my husband and kids and I thought, Should I be home? As I mulled all of this over in my mind, I realized that every time I feel that I don’t “have it all” it is because I have looked outside of my own life and situation and compared myself to others.
No matter what our life situation is, whether we have chosen to not work outside the home, or we have no choice BUT to work outside the home, or we have careers outside the home temporarily on hold, or we have slowed down our career path to be home a bit more, or any combination of the above….we can have it all AT DIFFERENT MOMENTS. There were days when I had a moment at home with the kids that gave me the feeling of “having it all” and that life at that moment was perfection. There were moments when working outside the home that I had the feeling of “having it all” when I had an encounter with a patient or co-worker that gave me total satisfaction in my job. The point is, whether we are Moms or Dads, there are struggles in balancing life and family, and moments that are “perfect” and moments that are not. There are some days that the balancing is more difficult than others, and days that run more smoothly. But, I believe that the real struggle comes when we start to compare ourselves with others or compare ourselves with what the media tells us we should be. This comparison results in us feeling that “I don’t have it all…and someone else does.” Disappointment in life comes from comparison, and often that comparison is not accurate, we truly don’t know another Mom’s or Dad’s life by just looking at the exterior. Every choice in life carries a consequence, and every situation in life does not always allow a choice. So, the key to “having it all” is embracing where you are at that moment. When at home, embrace the good moments and the difficult, don’t look around saying “I would have it all if I could do this and concentrate on my career.” When working outside the home, embrace the good moments and the difficult, don’t look around saying, “I would have it all if I could do this and have time to be the perfect parent at home.” Over time…we have it all…just different pieces at different times. “Having it all” is when you can look at your children, and see that they are becoming caring, loving, morally sound, and productive adults. The sacrifices you make along the way are well worth it when you see the end result.
So…do I “have it all?” You better believe it…as long as I keep myself focused on our family, our situation, our choices, and our life in this distinct moment and keep my wandering eyes and ears away from comparisons to others. If I embrace the present moment, then “I have it all”. Our choices are ours, our situations that result in those choices are ours and unique to us, and comparison to others breeds discontent. That discontent robs us from enjoying the present moment forcing us to constantly look ahead for that moment when we will “have it all”. Embrace your life now…that brings satisfaction and the realization that “having it all” comes moment to moment. Here’s to having it all.
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.
- Posted in: Becoming a Dad ♦ Becoming a parent ♦ Enjoying parenting ♦ Parent/child communication ♦ Raising a child with character ♦ Uncategorized
- Tagged: balancing parenting and career, can women have it all, character, comparison breeds discontent, enjoying parenting, having it all, infant, live in the moment, preschooler, school age, teen years, toddler