Can Women Have It All?

Of course women CAN’T have it all! You tell me one person who has absolutely everything! Perfectionism is an illusion of the mind. Today’s Blog post is about the women who try and have it all, and then go into therapy when they realize that it’s virtually impossible.

perfection is a myth

Over the past few decades, women have made incredible strides. We make up half the US workforce, and are holding some of the highest level positions in the country. However, if I show you studies of female executives who seem to have it all.. marriage, kids, great career, money, 87% of them are considering making a life altering change.  Eight seven percent! Studies show that these women are craving more balance, more home time, and are leaving corporate America in numbers to either stay home, or start their own businesses.

So, let’s first take a look at what it means to have it all. To me, Oprah represented having it all. A dream job, power, success, friends in many places. But then I got married, got barfed and shat upon (is that a word??), and realized, Oprah’s missing a major component. She never married or had kids amidst all her success. She probably has very little “me” time, little privacy, maybe even suffers from feelings of isolation at the top, amongst others.  Okay, this is one example. I would still like to reiterate, however, that Oprah remains my hero and my number 1 (Ellen, you’re number 2!)

ellen and oprah

Alright, another example. I know woman who seemed to have it all from a different perspective. Wealthy husband, two healthy children, the luxury of being able to stay home, not work, travel around the world, personal cooks, masseuses on call, multiple homes, and then… her cheated on her and left her, and her kids have disappointed her with their own life choices.

And finally, there is another girl I know who seems to have it all as well– but she suffers with inner demons, and a very difficult husband who makes her crazy.

No one my friends, has it all. And this is not to make you complacent or accepting of crap in your life– it’s just a fact. Everyone has something to deal with. Maybe it’s illness, maybe it’s money problems, maybe an unhappy marriage. Something. And if you’re lucky enough to have the support of great friends and family, or a good therapist to shoulder your pain, you’re a lucky lady.

No, I am not saying you cannot have a fulfilling life, with a career, kids, husband, and balance. If you’re fortunate enough to be in a position to stay home, and that fulfills you, then fantastic! I think if you’re lucky enough to find great stimulating and flexible work, preferably part time, I think that is about as close to having it all as it gets. That’s what I am aiming for now. Or perhaps you are working to help pay the bills. Let’s face it, most women today work out of necessity, not out of choice. There are no judgements regardless of the position you are in, and you may as well make the best of the hand you have been dealt. Our time on earth is quite short, and this is no dress rehearsal!

I still wanted to throw a few tips your way to at least get your moving in the “direction” of having it all.

  1. First, define what “having it all” means for you. It’s different for every woman. “It all” may mean motherhood to one, while for another, it may mean career and motherhood.
  2. Priorities. What are they? If they are trips and dinners and fancy cars, and your husband isn’t a trust fund baby, nor in a high paying job, well then you may have to re-think your priorities or get a job, baby! Otherwise, I would say, think happy medium and balance. Do you want that promotion AND to be at every ballet recital and soccer game? Something’s gotta give. What are your priorities? Figure them out, and then make that move in the right direction.
  3. Have realistic expectations. I think we need these, so as not to set the bar too high, that we fall flat on our face. If it’s important for you to be around for your kids more often, then perhaps taking a pay cut or working one less day a week, is just what the doctor ordered. You’d be surprised at the many ways you can cut back financially in your life and still lead a very fulfilling life.
  4. Find a mentor. Is there a woman you know, who in your opinion, has it all? How does she juggle it? How does she do it without unraveling and becoming a frazzled mess? Maybe she can give you some pointers.
  5. Learn the art of saying NO. This is when you SAY YES too often, and take too much upon yourself, leaving very little time for YOU. When you do this, you certianly don’t have it all, in fact you end up with less than you bargained for!

having it all

In my opinion, I think having it all is being HAPPY. I really do. Truly content from within, regardless of how much money you have, regardless of whether you work, stay home, or opt out of motherhood altogether. Hey, we all have something. If life doesn’t get you one way, it gets you another, so learn to love what you have. I talked this week about being thankful.  And remember, perfection is an illusion. I think it’s okay that most women can’t have it all. It doesn’t make us flawed, it just makes us human.

Tell us ladies, do you think women can have it all? What are your thoughts?

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xoxEDxox

22 Comments
  1. I absolutely LOVED this blog post. It’s so true. There is no such thing as perfect and nor having everything. I’m truly enjoying your blog. Keep up the great work.
    Rachel

  2. I think your tips are wonderful. I put this pressure on myself and always have. Somedays I want to blame family or work or society for making life hard but in my case it is self inflicted. I’m a work in progress.

  3. Excellent post, I especially love (and need to second, third and fourth!) the sentiment of learning to say no. This took a very long time for me to figure out. I have always tried to be a hardworking woman, always possessing the entrepreneurial mindset which also had a tendency to get me into trouble. I would think that I could do a great deal of work every day and hey, why not just one more thing? Well, it didn’t work out too well for me, resulting in some major meltdowns over not being able to get everything that I had committed to done.

    I definitely think that women try so hard to do everything and to “have it all” because we are making up bigger percentages of out-of-home work and we are focusing on our careers and piecing together our own lives, on our own terms for seemingly, the first time in history. We don’t have the role models that other generations have had because we’re are in an age where women are setting off on their own more often, where we are slowing down and not having children until we’re in our 30’s, buying our own homes and doing so much for ourselves that we don’t know what to expect and how our lives should be. Add a family on top of all the pressure we put on ourselves and we could write an anthology of stints in mental wards.

  4. So true! We cannot have it all…at the same time! I have one more survival tip that has helped me: ASK FOR HELP! None of us can go it alone and there’s no need to be a hero!

    Thanks for the insights, Erica. Keep up the great work!!

  5. Thanks Ladies. I would like to quote some ladies from twitter who provided their own insight. I like it. Plus it’s OPRAH’S QUOTE.

    “You can have it all. Just not all at once.”

    I think it’s encouraging!

  6. I agree! It’s great to have a way to pair down and these suggestions are a great start. Whenever someone thinks I ‘do it all,’ I explain how something has to give. . .usually its the fact our house is a mess or projects are ‘in progress’ throughout. I would rather spend time with family and friends in a messy house than not see them- priorities aren’t always what we think they are!!

    Erma Bombeck had some great quotes in her ‘If I had my life to live over’ :

    I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

    I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

    I would have talked less and listened more.

    I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

    I would have eaten the popcorn in the “good” living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

    I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

    I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

    I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

    I would have cried and laughed less while watching television, and more while watching life.

    I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

    Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

    When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”

    There would have been more “I love you’s.” More “I’m sorry’s.”

    But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute… look at it and really see it… live it… and never give it back.

    Stop sweating the small stuff. Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what.

    Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who DO love us.

    Let’s think about what God HAS blessed us with.

    And what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally, as well as spiritually.

    Life is too short to let it pass you by.

    We only have one shot at this and then it’s gone.

  7. This is on my mind, too. I just wrote a blog post today about a great book I read – Marcus Buckingham’s Your Strongest Life. I’m not really one for career self-help books, but this one really did it for me. He talks about how “balance” is impossible – all we can hope for is the opportunity to create more and more moments when we are at our best. I so appreciated that, because I think with a family and a business you can’t really expect more than a moment of, “Ok., I’m absolutely in the right place at the right time.”

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