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The Reality of Having It All

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Those of us who have grew up in the 80’s and 90’s have been told we can “have it all” while being inundated with media that show amazing career woman complete with happy, well adjusted children, an amazing marriage, and indestructible friendships.

However, I have learned the hard way, that the media may be portraying something that doesn’t truly exist. Behind the scenes of these superwomen are often a nanny, a stay at home husband, or even, in a few cases, a staff.

Recently, I felt like a failure when I couldn’t be a rockstar employee, fabulous friend, a wife that rivaled Donna Reed, and of course, keep up with hobbies, trying to start a family, and all of the things that come along with being a homeowner.

After trying to juggle far too much, I realized that some things weren’t working and to make my life work for me, chose to leave a job that I loved and that had made a huge impact in my life to better accommodate the new path that I knew was best to take.

I soon found out that I was not alone.

“I chose to leave my career when I became a mother because I could not imagine missing out on so much of their childhood in exchange for money, intellectual stimulation, or the glory that can be found through a job,” says Catherine, a stay at home mom in Noblesville, IN.

“I traded my stilettos and suits in for flats and jeans and I’ve never looked back! I think in order for a woman to feel like she has it all, she needs to choose her top priority and create a life that supports it.”

When speaking with other women in the workforce about “having it all,” those who felt they had it all, also mentioned the word “sacrifice.” Either they sacrificed friendships, relationships, or even having anything that was just for them, seemed scary. How can you have it all if you have to give up something you love?

And for those of you getting ready to get angry and say that working moms don’t have to make sacrifices (which is of course, true) note that many stay at home moms who often have to give things up when they lose an income. It even seemed that stay at home moms who were the first in their circle to have children, often felt by making that choice, they were sacrificing their friendships.

To me, relationships with others whether it be family or friends, is key to my happiness and not having the time to pick up the phone, chat online, etc. would be detrimental to my mental health, so staying in touch with people is a priority that I won’t give up, no matter what.

Most people when posed with the question, “what struggles do you face when trying to have it all” mentioned finding a career that worked with other aspects of their lives.

“Forget about labor. Figuring out the right work situation is by far, the most challenging struggle for parents,” notes Deborah of Brooklyn, NY.

The most I have learned in my exploration of “having it all” is that we may be focusing on the wrong things. To have a happy life, do we need to have it all?

Amy of Indianapolis, IN sums it up best, “I’ve come to realize that there is more peace in having enough and enjoying that, than in having it all, but having no time or sanity to enjoy it.”


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