I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that you can’t have everything in life. Despite what the brightly clad pages of magazines, shouting to female masses that “you can have it all” with their feminism wands a-waving, I’m beginning to realise that this is a myth, something we tell ourselves to make it easier to swallow the fact that one day we will wake up and have to choose one thing or another to a certain degree. It’s something that is constantly churned out to encourage women to strive for the impossible, to remind us that we are failing and lower self esteem.
A fabulous career and awesome family life are totally achievable, they said. 5 steps to maintaining the balance, they wrote. Be a mum BOSS and have both, they bellowed.
Well, I’m calling bullshit.
I think at this point I would get to call myself a “mum boss” or “mumpreneur” if I chose to (which I don’t. No.) I pay my bills via blogging and social media promotion using tobyandroo, something I set up out of thin air and a damn good tech friend who designed a site for me and showed me which buttons to push to send my words live to the masses. Since then there has been a total rebrand, a lot of learning and a hell of a lot of growing social media platforms and hard work. I rarely talk about it because I often think it’s kind of wanky and I’ve never felt the need to write articles about “how I earn 6 figures blogging and how you can too!”
I’m also a mother of three, a home owner who is responsible for the day to day humdrum and a wife.
And I’m stressed to the max, struggling to maintain everything, dropping more balls than a juggler with buttered fingers.
A lifetime of watching Hollywood movies where the heroine has a mega successful career, hilariously struggles through the trials of having a family and might feel a tiny touch shit at the odd point, but it all comes right in the end and she can indeed have both and get it all right, has done me no good at all. It’s given me the illusion that, actually, you can have it all and that you will just be that funny mama who occasionally makes a mistake but everyone forgives because you’re epic and life is so happy. That’s not real.
In reality, you can’t have everything. You can’t have every snuggle at bedtime and be in London working an event. You can’t help but shout and lose your temper when you can’t find the kid’s hats because, yet again, they have been moved by someone either trying to help or by a 2 year old with superb pick pocket abilities. You miss the smear test. You miss the parent/teacher appointment. You miss the work deadline because one of the kids is sick and you feel like you’ve let the client down. It all adds up and it stars to take a toll. That’s the reality of over doing it and stretching yourself so thin that everyone smiles and says “I don’t know how she does it” or “oh my goodness; you’re crackers to do so much”. The reality is that certain things slide and the myth of “having it all” isn’t accurate at all. Sure, you can have a balance of certain things, but you simple cannot have it all.
I think there is a balancing act that happens when you try to have a challenging career and run a family too. There is so much guilt to be managed, so many things to get in order that the slightest tip of the scales leaves you feeling totally shoddy. It’s one of those things that is really hard to explain and put into words without just sounding like an ungrateful cow, but it’s the truth. I’m tired of being asked “how do you do it?” because the truth is I don’t have a clue.