April 15, 2015

The Myth of Having It All

I wonder if we've sidelined ourselves by setting up this idea of having it all. We put that idea out in front of our pursuits and come up feeling like we are always behind, always failing or letting the balls drop in some area.

It can seem like if I'm doing well in parenting, then my writing is suffering or if I'm doing well in my marriage, my friendships are lacking. 

I think the reason for this is that we actually can't have it all ~ at once. 

Yes, we can parent and work but sometimes choices have to be made. Maybe we miss a performance to finish a deadline. Maybe we spend the morning eating brunch with our family instead of going to a networking event. We have to choose sometimes which thing to pursue and it's not easy because it's often difficult to know which has the priority.

If, in attempting to have it all, we beat ourselves up and feel frustrated for missing something, then this idea is only counter-productive. 

Maybe a better mantra would be, we can pursue the goals, relationships and achievements in front of us right now

We may mess up and choose wrongly sometimes but that's okay because that's how we find out what's takes priority next time.

And while we're talking about priorities, just because we choose to go to a business meeting over a party at our child's class, doesn't mean they're not important. It simply means we have several priorities, and that's okay. It's not wrong for someone to have multiple priorities. I find that women struggle with believing this more than men.

Everyone has the similar choices and sometimes those choices are hard.

I am a stay-at-home mom. While my family is one of my highest priorities, I have other ones too. Writing is one of those. Staying at home can make it difficult to feel okay about letting the house go or saying no to play dates for the sake of pursuing a goal. Wanting to make a priority out of a passionate pursuit is not wrong. In many ways we've been taught that it is, and that we should fit our goals in-between the crevices of what everyone else needs of our time.

I want desperately to be a good mom and every article or book I read which talks about what that looks like tends to lead me to adopt the concept or feel guilty for not adopting it. 

We set up this ideal that to be a success at whatever we pursue, we must have it all. We must achieve perfection in every area.

But when has it ever been possible to reach perfection in every area of our lives? No one has. We often convince ourselves that someone else is achieving this; they're not. If we're honest, we know we cannot maintain every area in our life. We can only focus on what is most important at the moment and pour our energy into that. When we're at work ~ focus on work. When we're at home ~ focus on home. 

We should learn to pay attention to being present where we are and letting go of the guilt for not being somewhere else.

I made some decisions early on that went hand in hand with what I didn't choose. I didn't choose to build a career, so therefore, I gave that up. These were choices I made. None of them were bad or wrong, but they did require sacrificing something.

It may sound sobering that every choice we make means sacrificing another choice, but it's a better focus than guilting ourselves for the choices we didn't make. No one can be two places at once, no matter how amazing they are! Regretting having it all is regretting the impossible dream.

Let's let go of having it all and enjoy what we have.

Let's embrace what's right in front of us!


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