My wonderful friend, the hugely talented and uber successful pro-blogger Vicki of Honest Mum wrote a great piece last week about Having It All. She is a beacon of inspiration to many, and I can imagine lots of women felt moved after reading this. Fired up even. It might just have been the catalyst they were waiting for to start planning their version of world domination. I know under different circumstances I certainly would have been.
I felt moved, but in a different way.
If you are in my situation, with multiple children (all young and needy) and no family help or excess cash to pay for it, then you might feel the same as I do when told that you can ‘have it all’. The career, the family, the success, the glory.
No I can’t.
Even with an amazingly supportive husband on my side, we have three young children and autism to contend with (not a small thing). Hubby works full time to keep a roof over our heads and pay the bills. I don’t have anyone helping me with the kids day to day. How on earth can I have it all?
We hear lots about the sacrifices that have to be made. We hear about making a choice to either be at home with the kids or having a successful traditional career. We hear about not being able to have them both without one or the other suffering.
For a woman I guess I’m a little controversial in my thinking on this one, because I would have to agree.
Having lived the juggle of modern day motherhood for five years, working for an investment bank in the City part time, something usually did suffer. Either the kids weren’t happy in childcare which consumed me with guilt, or I was dropping balls left right and centre at work. My old boss was exceptionally sympathetic to my plight, thank goodness, but it still felt less than ideal more often than not. Which is why when a tiny glimmer of an opportunity for redundancy presented itself to me earlier this year, I jumped at the chance. Even though it meant forgoing my sizeable salary.
Don’t get me wrong, like many other women out there I could not dedicate myself entirely to the cause of looking after my children and running the house. It’s one of the main reasons I started this blog, to keep me sane and give me an outlet for brain dumping. It’s also why I pushed on, largely in the early hours of the morning, to get my book written. I need other things in my life outside of the family unit.
Now that my blog has become my part job though, I’m having to step it up in all directions. Which is bloody hard to achieve, because (I’ll say it again!) I have three small children, and no childcare.
I have to write snippets here and there, often on the toilet (yay for multi tasking). I rarely get to go to events, unless the kids can come with me, and I have zero social life. That is fine though, because I had a little bit of an epiphany recently when I realised that the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence.
It’s too easy to look at others doing all the things that we want to be doing, and get a little despondent about not being able to.
There is much said about having it all, but not a huge amount said on how you get to have it all.
The fact is that most of us aspire to be like Vicki. I have a monumental amount of respect and admiration for her for switching careers and achieving what she does with Honest Mum, even though she has a young family. She herself has spoken in the past though, about how she is able to do what she does. That (in her own words) she is not superwoman, and has a team of helpers facilitating her career. How amazing is that? No-one is suffering, her kids and hubby are happy, as is she, and everyone wins.
If like me you are the main carer for your children, who is also running the house, keeping everyone alive and still managing to make a little bit of extra cash any way you can, that is absolutely more than fine. In fact it’s pretty damn incredible.
You don’t need to have it all. You’re doing just marvellous as you are.
Linking to Sunday Stars