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In this day and age, it seems like we are constantly hit with the message that having it all is always just out of reach. There is never enough time or enough money to grab hold of all that this world has to offer us.
And it can be absolutely exhausting chasing the idea of completion.
Let’s pour salt in our wounds every time we look on Instagram and see another mom, who is perfectly balancing her career, and home life and has time for hobbies and working out, which shows because she is probably still able to wear those distressed jeans from when they were trendy back in high school.
She clearly has it all together while I am constantly rushing home from work, where there are probably a few comments made about “If she was in the office more” to pick up a child and then put dinner on the table, after thawing it out or picking it up (Bless You, Mexican take-out) to get comments from a husband about how he would love more home-cooked meals (which means we would all starve because I really only know how to make pasta).
After being a working mom for a few months, it picked up a book that wasn’t about parenting or working, but I learned a valuable lesson from it about both of those topics. The book is Cultivate by Lara Casey who is an entrepreneur and a mom of three. You can read my full review of the Cultivate book here.
At one point in the book, Lara talks about the concept of having it all.
Is it possible to have it all as a working mom?
Lara gives a resounding yes. But not in the way that I had become accustomed to thinking about it after the Lean In days of 2013.
I believe that we have been told that having it all means that we are giving 100% of ourselves in all areas of our lives. Work, Marriage, Parenting, Friendships, Health & Wellness, Faith. And if we aren’t a superstar in one of those areas, then we are clearly lacking, especially since your social media feed makes it look like so many others are achieving what seems impossible to you.
But that math of giving 100% in so many different areas just doesn’t add up. I am not even that good at math and I can see that.
The point that Lara Casey makes in Cultivate is that every single one of us can have it all. We just have to decide what ALL looks like for us.
Maybe your version of ALL looks like working part-time and spending more time with your kids. OR it could look like being the CEO of your own company where you get to show your kids how to build a business from the ground up. Your ALL could even be working now to build up your savings so you can retire early and be home with your kids.
You can have it ALL. But not how the world defines it. The world wants you to feel like you aren’t ever going to be enough and no matter how fast you spin your wheels, you won’t ever hit that feeling like you have finally achieved all that the world is offering you.
But you can decide what your ALL is and make that happen. Spend some time thinking about what matters most to you and what brings you joy and fulfillment. Make a plan to focus more on those things and less on what the other moms on Instagram are posting about. Their ALL is likely going to look different than yours so don’t bother comparing.
My ALL focuses on having a good job where I feel like I am helping others. However, I do work in HR so I probably annoy people with company-wide emails as much as I help them, but that works for me. My ALL is spending Saturdays with my family and creating traditions like movie nights and evening walks around our neighborhood. My ALL is about spending time writing this blog because it brings me a lot of joy to write and share my thoughts and hear back from you after I send out funny stories in my weekly email.
Take some time this week and break down what your ALL might be. Think about what fires you up. You shouldn’t have a bunch of focus areas, aim for less than 5. And as you work through this, remember that you can’t be 100% invested in each area. If you have a job, you may not have the time to be class mom. But if you are all about being class mom, look for somewhere else that you can trim back on. Do you really need to be staying late at work just because everyone else seems to be hanging behind? Or is there something else you can cut out that doesn’t fill you up as much as being the class mom does?
Remember that having it ALL doesn’t mean doing all things perfectly. It just means filling up your schedule with the things that are life-giving to you.
Think about it this week and let me know in the comments what is something that makes up your ALL!