Having it all Kinda Sucks

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 There are mommy blogs, parenting websites, teaching articles and lifestyle writers who clog up your social media feed with pretty pics. I am guilty of following it all. Sometimes it is great inspiration, other times it is eye candy on some days there is a tip worth implementing that saves me stress and time with the kidlets. And then there is an article that literally stops you in your tracks. Put down your coffee cup, stop multitasking and read the article fully. S.L.O.W.L.Y.

Amy Westervelt’s raw and candid article about working from home days after the birth of her second child puts the whole “Work Life Balance Debate” in perspective. Well, at least a new framework for women to ponder. A challenge. A reprimand perhaps. A reflection.

I would really love to know what you think about Amy’s insights. Here is a sneak peak:

Here’s what I think is going on: this whole “having it all” business has been grossly misinterpreted by our society at large. The purpose of all that bra burning back in the 60s was to give women choices. You wanna have sex without getting pregnant? Cool, hit that. You’re pregnant but in no position to raise a baby (or were sexually assaulted and impregnated, or are pregnant with a severely ill or deformed baby, or any number of other scenarios)? No problem, you can choose not to have that baby. You want to go to work? Do it! You want to stay at home and raise kids? Great. You want to do a little bit of both? Groovy. You want to be stylish and wear makeup? Or frumpy and never wash? Hey, you do you.
Doing all of it at the same time was never the idea. By that definition, single working moms have been “having it all” for ages and yet society does not hold the single working mom up as the goal for women everywhere. No, no, that’s just what happens when you’re poor and have no choice. Except actually, that’s what happens to all but the very very rich when you encourage women to work and have children but don’t change any other part of the world they live in.
No woman (or man, for that matter) ever said, hey, you know what would be great? If I could get up at 5am, make breakfast for everyone, then get dressed (with heels, natch), drop my kids off at daycare, go to work for 10 hours, pick the kids up, come home, cook dinner, clean up, put the kids to bed, work in bed ’til midnight so I don’t get behind at work, then do it all again tomorrow on 5 hours sleep.

Even if your life does not look like the rat race described above, you may catch yourself doing crazy stupid things that require great juggle and execution, for NO reason. Well at least no good reason you can recall when you took on that new job, volunteer position, art class, extra study load or the books for the family farm. No good reason.

The truth is we often get ourselves caught up in the extreme sport of family life work balance. We add more and more to the do list, we fail to stop doing anything and then we wonder why we are exhausted, sleep deprived, have no energy for sex, love and an adult conversation. And usually all of things we are doing are GOOD things.

Our capacity to keep giving and keep juggling is limited. But on most days we fail to acknowledge that very fact. Our smartphone out smarts us here. Our smartphone knows what capacity it has – 67% battery life left. It also slows down when we leave too many apps open and occasionally it will glitch and freeze. Me – I am not sure I could tell you how much battery life I have left. I assume I can do it all, always. And then I wonder why I struggle to get out of bed of a morning or why I cannot listen to three conversations at once on the car ride home from school.

Amy Westervelt’s confession about having it all has got me thinking again. About how I can be my best, how I can thrive in the place I have been called to be now. And not succumb to the grand ideas of chasing it all at once when my battery is about to die. How about you?