Is Having It All a Myth?

 

By LISA SWAN

Ever since the feminist movement took hold in the United States, women have been aspiring to have it all. The great husband, the wonderful children, and the terrific career. So is it possible to have it all or is it a myth?

Well, you might be able to have it all, but you may not be able to have it all at once. For example, if a pressing work project takes up a good chunk of your time, family life may go by the wayside until the project is done. If you are having a baby, you are not going to be able to concentrate on work when you are about to give birth.

So yes, you can have a wonderful spouse, and loving children, and a terrific job. But stop comparing yourself to some picture-perfect myth that you are never going to achieve. And stop beating yourself up if you are not achieving perfection. None of us are perfect, after all.

Perhaps you have a friend who seems to seamlessly achieve it all and never break a sweat. Yet chances are, even she has her down moments.  The most important thing to realize is that, instead of trying to live up to some image of perfection, to know that we are all works in process.

So stop trying to live up to some perfect image of your life. Here are some concrete ways you can have a happy work and home life:

  • Scheduling is your friend:  Don’t be afraid to schedule time with your kids, or date night with your spouse, even if it seems unsentimental. The important thing is that you spend time together.
  • Use technology to work in your favor:  Things like telecommuting and checking your email when you are away from the office can help with not having to be chained to the office.  Just don’t check your email when you’re trying to watch your daughter’s softball game.
  • Don’t be afraid to say “no” once in a while: If you are getting pressure to do something you don’t want to do and don’t have to do, just say no. Don’t feel you have to give an explanation — that could just give the person trying to convince you a way to get you to say “yes.”
  • It’s okay to ask for help – and to accept help:  Sure, you may think that your husband doesn’t do the dishes the way you prefer. But let him do it anyway. Same goes when it comes to delegating some of your work tasks, or for getting help with watching your children.
  • Sometimes, one thing will take priority over others: There is nothing wrong with getting off the career fast-lane when you have young children, or in speeding things up as your children get older. Don’t be afraid to make the choices that will work best for you.
  • Have a differently described goal in mind:  Instead of thinking you have to have it all, think of having a good work-life balance. That may seem to be a less daunting goal.

 

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