It’a an age old cliche, wanting to have it all. Having it all means different things to many people at various points in their lives, but for most women in today’s society it means the house, the partner, the kids, and the job. It means chasing those dreams, climbing that ladder, looking for the next raise, and always having the latest and greatest. As if that’s not enough, the other word for mom, guilt, keeps us working to achieve the perfect, but unattainable, work/life balance.
While most women (myself included) are eternally grateful for the Susan B. Anthony’s and Ida B. Wells’ of the world and every other activist who fought and suffered for our right to have it all, I have to be honest: having it all is exhausting. It kicks my ass at least four times a day (are you allowed to use that language in a blog? Ahhh, blame it on the wine).
It’s the reason I took up wine as my evening hobby. It’s the reason I feel like a small child dressed me everyday instead of the other way around. It’s the reason there is not enough time in the day and why I can’t possibly go out with that group of girlfriends for drinks.
Having it all means walking into a meeting with spit up on your blazer, finding diapers in your purse, and constantly having Cheerios thrown all over the back seat of that nice car. Having it all means sleep depravation, trading in showers for 20 minutes to catch a few Z’s (hello dry shampoo – don’t judge me, I know you hide your chocolate), and bags under your eyes. Having it all means dropping your toddler off on their toughest days and leaving someone else to repair their little soul. It means hoping someone else can love them enough in your absence and crying all the way to work because there is no one to repair your soul (hello waterproof mascara).
But here is the thing we seem to have forgotten: the only person expecting us to have it all is staring at us in the mirror. So mama, please stop killing yourself to have it all. If you stop holding me to that expectation, I won’t hold you to it either. You have everything you need.
What having it all really means is late night cuddles, mama hold my hand, just one more story please. It means watching little humans grow into amazing adults and knowing you are (at least partially) responsible for that. It’s crying a little on the inside but swelling with pride on the outside when they finally learn to do it themselves. It’s messy, and beautiful, and bittersweet all at the same time.
Having it all really means a full heart and unconditional love. I promise, that really is all you need mama.