Women and Work-Life Balance:
Can We Have It All?
With all the responsibilities we face, the question that comes to mind with women and work-life balance is, can we have it all? I’m a mother, wife, and business owner, to name a few roles I play. When I was a stay-at-home mom, that was plenty. Chasing after a hyperactive kid who was dead set on breaking his neck and poking out an eye kept me pretty busy. I also took up writing during that time, which kept me pretty busy during the evenings. Later, I transitions to work outside the home, and my life became equally packed, for different reasons. The roles I’ve had may be different from the roles you have, but I imagine you have a full load dealing with your own life.
What Does It Mean to “Have it all?”
I want to start here, because most people talk about “having it all” with a somewhat clear idea in mind. Often times, when I hear the idea of women having it all, it means having a family (husband & children) and a full-time (professional) career. It’s the societal idea of getting married to a husband (yes, I’m saying husband because we’re talking about mainstream society), have 2.1 children (one boy and one girl, preferably), being able to go through the pregnancy of having those children, and hopping right back into your dream career in a high paying professional job. Sound about right?
Wrong. Or maybe it is right…
Having it all means something different to everyone. For you, having it all, may not be what society has decided for you. The idea is not to have everything someone else wants for you. Rather it’s having everything you want for yourself.
When we start working toward the goals of someone else and not our own, we start to struggle and find ourselves in unwanted and unhappy places.
If the true vision for yourself is getting married to a man, having children, and having a professional career, then go for it. However, if you want to marry a woman or don’t want to marry at all, for that matter, that’s up to you… same with other life choices. Your vision of “having it all” is yours and yours alone.
How to “Have it All”
I’m a dreamer. I still believe I can have it all. When my husband and I decided we no longer wanted to live in North Dakota, we weren’t in the best position of our lives. I’d recently been laid off, so money was tight. We’d only been in our house for about 2 years and we had a long way to go before we’d be in the position to pay off the mortgage.
When we decided to move to Southern Nevada, we knew no one there, had no place to live, no jobs, really… no foundation.
We knew that North Dakota wasn’t the life we wanted for ourselves.My husband still had his job and was making decent money, which gave us some financial security. In fact, his job was decent enough that it could have lolled us into a complacent dissatisfied life. Bottom line, we were no where close to having it all. With all the obstacles in our way, we could have settled… said we can’t make the leap right now. It’s easy to say “I can’t” and even easier to justify it.
The first step we took to moving out of North Dakota was not living with “we can’t.” Rather, we asked ourselves, “How can we?” And really, “having it all” is about taking one step at a time. And at each point, asking yourself, “How can I move to the next stage?” When you hit obstacles, trying to keep you from your vision, ask yourself, “How can I over come this barrier?” When you have setbacks (and you will), ask yourself, “What can I do to get back on track?”
Ladies… today I have an exercise for you.
- Take time to write down what “having it all” means to you.
If you’ve been striving to live a life that isn’t what you want, now is the time to really think about what you want out of life. Do that now.
- Make a commitment.
Say yes to your vision. Decide today that you will have it all. Take “I can’t” out of your vision and insert “How can I?” Imagine what you could accomplish if you took all the energy you’ve been using to meet the life goals of someone else and put it toward your own vision.
- Find a role model.
Who is it that you know personally or even know of, who is living a life similar to what you want? Research them. Find out where they started. Learn about their journey. Even better if you can find a role model who started in a similar place as you are or were. Let their journey give you hope. No one has a monopoly on success.
If you’re interested in learning more about my journey, click this link. Jamie Rockymore wrote a wonderful mini-biography about me.