I came across this article in Runners World entitled Lessons Learned, where the author discusses the tensions between being a mother and being a runner and being a working mom. While we might pretend there is no tension, I think most everyone out there who runs long and has kids can say there is, to some degree, tension between the two.
While I regularly read interesting running articles, I rarely comment on them. This one, however, I could not pass up since this morning I was just reading the Less is More Manifesto by Nicole over at Work in Sweats Mama, which hit on some of the same general topics.
Can Moms “have it all”?
This has been a hot topic in the news lately. When you hear “have it all”, I think generally this is referring to a working mother. But, it is up for interpretation. And truly, it can mean whatever you want it to mean. Do YOU have it all?
So we are all clear, in reference to this blog post today, I’ll be referring to having it all as working, child-rearing, and having your own personal hobbies. For me, having it all means having a happy work/life balance.
The first article that I recall reading about this recently was from The Huffington Post in which they discussed some of Drew Barrymore’s comments on having it all, HERE. Then The Huffington Post followed up with Debora Spar, Barnard College president, Says Women Can’t Have it All, and What Does Having It All Really Mean.
I remember, being approximately 6 months pregnant, that I was a little shocked by Drew’s comments, but as I re-read her interview, I got it. I understood that to some level, it would be hard to “have it all” in a way that most of us working moms hope to have it all. Little did I know that I would not truly comprehend until my baby was born.
But since Baby T has been here in my arms, The Huff came out with the article on Debora Spar, and I know many feminists were outraged (I don’t consider myself a feminist nor have I ever, I’m just me). Again, I wanted to be unbiased and unemotional on reading this article and to really consider her sentiments rationally. I want to agree with her and Drew, I do, but then the other part of me says, “But I have it all, so how can they really be right?” This may sound a little haughty, but, truly that is how I feel (most days, not every day).
So that begs the question: do I have it all, or do I FEEL like I have it all because of my definition of “having it all”?
My response is that I think I truly have it all. It is as simple as that. I have a great job/career, I have a great baby, I have a supportive husband, and I am still pursuing many of the extracurriculars that I loved before I had the baby.
What this DOESN’T mean, is that any and everything I do is perfect. Things do have to give. We now have a nanny/maid who does a lot of the house-hold stuff for us. But, I still cook dinner at least 2-3 times a week. I still do charity work, but instead of hosting multiple events a year, I have pulled back. I still run, but I do it when I can, and have to give up some other social activities to make it happen since I must get up SO much earlier now (to pump, to take care of the baby, to get home by X time, etc). The only thing I would say is suffering a bit right now is my social life, but, that has more to do with having a teeny tiny baby who has an early bedtime and tends to meltdown after 7pm when he isn’t latched on my body. And I know that this is only temporary, so I am completely content to just be with him most evenings.
I don’t fix my hair that often (not that I’ve ever been a take 90 minutes to get ready person), I rarely wear make up on the weekends, I probably won’t go shopping for months to come, all of my flowerbeds need weed work, the house could use a big time DEEP cleaning (dust in all windowsills and baseboards, etc), I still haven’t ordered prints of my baby to bring to my office, my dog doesn’t get much loving lately, and my husband and I need more alone time. So things aren’t picturesque like in a movie, but yet, I feel like I have it all.
Maybe I am not yet to the point in my career where there are too many conflicts. Maybe I knew early enough on that “outsourcing” as Debora Spar calls it, is one of the keys to balance (ie. having childcare and cleaning help). Or Maybe, it is because I set realistic enough expectations of what I could do to “have it all.” Whatever the case may be, I am so content and happy with my life (most of the time, and I caveat this because no one is perfectly happy every hour of every day, and of course I second guess some things, or get frustrated or sad, or miss my baby, or think “should I stay home for awhile?”, or “should I defer business travel until the baby is older?”).
Do you think we women can have it all?
What does having it all mean to YOU?