I’ve always felt the phrase ‘having it all’ was an odd one. It doesn’t clarify what the ‘all’ is. For me the phrase suggests a smug, somewhat indulgent person with more than they could possibly need. “Look at me I have it all”. But I wonder if that’s what we mean, or do we mean someone who seemingly has all they want in life, or all we feel they should want in life. Maybe we are placing on them our desires and our feelings of need.
The first time I remember reacting to this phrase I was in my early 30’s with two children, a happy marriage, a lovely home, a growing business and all the trappings that go with such a scenario. Yet underneath things were not always so good. Balancing being a mum and a boss was hard. Keeping tabs on everything that was happening was like a military operation and having time for myself was unrealistic. But no matter, as I rarely considered a haircut, let alone a manicure, so I didn’t miss it much.
Yes that first time I was told “You have it all, don’t you?” I was stood outside the school thinking, “I have nothing in for tea, I never sent that e-mail I promised and wow that last meeting really didn’t go as I had expected”. My son was being handed over by the child-minder who said “Sorry but he has slept for hours today” – this of course is code for “You’ll never get him to go to bed tonight”. My daughter ran towards me, hair flying all over the place, saying “Can my friend come over?”. “Hmm, yes I guess so” I said, but I really thought “If she doesn’t expect much and you play with your brother so I can get that e-mail sent…”. “Yes,” I said turning to the other mother “I suppose I do have it all”.
But driving back from school I started to wonder did I have it all? And if not, did I even want it all? The problem was I didn’t know what ‘all’ would look like. I guessed a balance of family and work life, well I had that. Being my own boss meant I was there to collect the children, agree to a friend coming to play and if all worked well with some food bribery and a video, my two-year-old son may let me finish that e-mail. Yep, life wasn’t perfect, I knew I wouldn’t sleep that night, but I had all I wanted right there and then.
As the children have grown things have changed. I still don’t think I have it all but I have all I need just now and life, the business and my expectations have moved on. There are often times when I have aimed for something new – a bigger project, an exciting client, some training, just some time for me. The children have grown now and things are easier, but I have never felt that I didn’t have all I wanted right here and right now. It’s not perfect, but then I don’t think life is. Can I have it all? Yes I probably can as long as I accept some stuff just can’t happen, like ironing and cleaning and baking cakes for the school fair.
Women in Business – Can we really have it all?
Like many women you may be struggling with the ‘have it all’ mentality. You may feel like you have been led to believe that it is possible to have it all by previous generations and women in the media. However, more and more women are finding it increasingly difficult to have it all and are struggling and unhappy and often choose to opt out. Yet there are women out there who seem to maybe not have it all but do have a better balance.
My new business bootcamp for women is aimed at women who are struggling to build a business which enables them to have a better balance as well as a good income stream and a long term business strategy. Join me and other women just like you for the weekend to discover how you can build the business you want. Click here to book your place today.