Thursday, May 16, 2013

I Want it All...

...and I want it now! Ok, not really. I would love to have it all, though. Today, I read an article from Forbes magazine about working moms and "having it all". You can read the article here. The article talks about the female CEOs who have spoken out about being a mother and balancing work life. It also gives tips for managing life at home and work...also known as "having it all". So, can you have it all? Be a mom and a career woman? And, really, want does it mean to have it all?

I am going to try to answer this by doing the thing I tell my AP kids to never do...walk the line. Normally, I would take a hard and fast side and stick to it, but I think having it all truly depends on the situation.

For some, having it all probably means staying home. Being a stay at home mom can be completing fulfilling and, for some who can afford the option, is a way to have it all. Being home with your kids and running a household is work. It's hard work. It's something I cannot really speak to very well because I am a working mom. There are days I would love to be a SAHM. But my reality is that of a working mom (and will be for the rest of my is expensive!), so let me speak to that...
Having it all is about balance. It's about organization. It's about knowing what you want out of your job and your home life. Being a teacher, I think, helps this tremendously. I work 7:00am-2:20pm. Yes, I bring work home. I grade when kids nap. But I am home every afternoon. I also have my weekends to play with my kids. Yeah, there is housework, but my kids nap and go to be at decent times, so I work the housework in during those times. I also split time with my husband, so if I need to do something he watches the kids.
See? Balance.
Being a teacher also affords me summers off. Ok, affords is the wrong term because money gets tight by August, but I have the option to take the summer off (I did work summers before I had kids) because my husband works. He works at a camp and umpires, which, coupled with savings that we build during the school year, pays for our summer expenses. I get major holidays off. When my kids start school I will work their in school hours. The only drawback is that I won't get to see them off on their first days of school (and that does make me a little sad).
So what about other professions? I think the same things apply. You don't get the same hours off, but you can apply the same principles. Balance and organization are HUGE. My mom was a nurse and my dad worked in an office (he commuted 1.5-2 hours to and from work), while I was a kid and they always made it work. I never felt I missed time with them and always felt loved for and provided for. I never wanted. We all had dinner together. We had fun on the weekends. I still played softball and soccer and volleyball. I remember all of these things when I feel the mom guilt creeping up on me. I remember that both of my parents worked and my brother and I never felt neglected. We never missed anything. We always knew we were their first priority.
Yes, my priorities have changed since I had kids. They come first, always. I rearranged how my house runs. I refigured money. I changed things. I gave up a few things I would want in favor of what my family needs. And it works. And, I think, I do have it all. At least, I have it all according to me. I have a lovely, happy family. I have hard, sometimes frustrating, but fulfilling job (I just focus on as much positive as I can-- if I only dwelled on the negative, my head would explode). I can live in my kids' world and in my own adult world.
I also have help from family and friends, which is a huge help. My mom is my daycare. We did use a home daycare for one year, and we loved it. My mom was able to stop working to watch the kids, so that is why we switched after one year. We are very lucky.

At the end of the day ask yourself-- am I happy? Are my kids happy (and, remember, don't project what you if you think "they miss me all the time" they probably do miss you, but it doesn't mean they are unhappy)? Am I doing good work (no matter how appreciated, doing good work and being thanked are two different things)? Am I being a good person? If you answered yes, then I would say you have it all.
So do you have it all? Can you? My friend, Angela, talks about it on her blog here. Tell us what you think!
(After rambling about this...I could have said, "Having it all is about balance and finding happiness. Find balance and happiness and you have it all.")

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