This weird little idea that women want to “have it all”, or should “have it all”, or shouldn’t “have it all” keeps cropping up lately and I’ve been mulling over it the last few days… They’re questions that mothers all around the world have asked themselves many a time and I’m kind of getting sick of it.
Everyone’s version of “it all” is so different anyway I feel like no one is actually on the same page here. I guess my version is exactly what I have in my life, right now, which is married/kids/career/homeowner. Ain’t no room for anything else, to be honest. Other versions of “it all” might be relationship/pets/career, or single/does whenever she damn well wants/homeowner/career. The options are endless, really.
And honestly, the whole argument about whether women should or should not have it all is just odd…. I think “having it all” is just about answering to yourself, and yourself only. It is the feminist ideal, just applied specifically to mothers. Equality around life choices, am I right?
I suppose the argument about “having it all” is mostly related to kids and a career and I’m so tired of it. Tired of being told I should be a mum and contribute to society in that way. Tired of then being “dumbed down” when I wasn’t working. And tired of the notion that I’m missing out now by having a job. I mean, no one questions a father who stays home for a few weeks after their child is born (“he’s so caring and nurturing!”), or who goes right back out to work the next day (“he’s so hardworking!”), or who climbs that career ladder (“he’s such a great provider!”), or who has extra curricular activities (“It’s so important for a man to have his own time”) .
We’re still stuck in this disgusting, underlying belief that women should only be nurturers and that they have no choice in the matter. And if that wasn’t already a bitter pill to swallow we also have this undercurrent of being told that we’re just mothers. We even say it ourselves and each other… “Oh I’m just a stay at home mum”. So what the fuck is it?
Should we stay at home and be barefoot, pregnant and raising kids?
Or be something “more” than that like a career women who provides financially too?
Having it all should actually be our own goddamn right to choose for ourselves what is best for us and our family. Choose for ourselves without doubt, without fear and without judgement because either option is a good one..
If I want to be a working mum, why the hell can’t I? Sure I miss out on baby time, and the feeling of being apart from her is intense at times, but my family needs me to contribute to our household and I’m 100 times more present when I am with her.
Or if I wanted to be a stay at home mum, why couldn’t I? Just because you don’t contribute financially to your family doesn’t mean your contributions are “less”. In fact I honestly believe that you being with your kids is more important than money. You can always make more money, but you’ll never get back each day once it ends.
For me, I choose what I do and don’t have in my life, and it is my choice alone. All that being said, it’s still really hard. Hard in the sense that time is my most precious asset and, unfortunately, I don’t have a whole lot of it anymore. I’m constantly walking the line between working enough to keep our household going and being home enough so that I don’t loose out on those important moments with my baby girl. It’s been hard to get my mum brain back into “work” mode too. Hard to let others care for, cuddle and feed my baby. Hard to put everyone else ahead of myself. Hard to wake early and go to bed late in order for everything to get done each day. And hard/exhausting on me mentally/emotionally.
Having to go back to work made the decision easier, and needing to “do it all” is by far easier when I had no choice in the matter. I’m not half arsing it, that’s for sure. At the moment I’m a mother, wife, career girl, daughter, sister, friend and I am my own person too. To keep myself sane I try to exercise a couple times a week, read a chapter or two from a book, blog, paint my nails (surprisingly therapeutic) and everyday, no matter how tired I am, I get up, shower, do my hair and slap stuff on my face. I find if I look pulled together I feel pulled together. And all the while I run a household with help from my husband.
How do I “do it all”? I just do. Because I have no choice. And strangely, having no choice is like my own version of freedom. Free from being annoyed at all the tasks in my life, free from resentment, free from wishing I had an “out” from the energy zapping aspects of my life. Dinner needs to be cooked, clothes need to be washed, hung and folded, the house needs to be cleaned and baby girl needs my love and attention and I need to be with her too. Don’t even mention my marriage. That poor thing only gets the bare minimum on any given day, and every so often we make more than an adequate effort. All that stuff needs to be done so it gets done and you know what? If I wasn’t so freakin tired I’d feel like superwoman. Or how I imagine superwoman felt, anyway. Like I could do anything, because I can.
So can you have it all? Yes.
Can you do it all? Absolutely. Get up each day and remind yourself that you can. Remember: you can do anything, you just can’t do everything. And can we just sit back and say it’s great that we try, every damn day, to do it, too? Some days you can, some days you can’t quite manage it, but women all around the world wake up the next day ready to fight for another day. To make each day count.
And finally…. Is your version of “having it all” your choice? YES. Resoundingly, yes.