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Can Women Really Have it All?

Posted May 23 2011 10:34am

Imagine this…

Your sitting on your wraparound porch surrounded by your loving husband and giggling children. You just made a fabulous Sunday brunch for your family, all made with local organic ingredients from your farmer’s market. The rest of your day includes a long yoga class, editing photos for your blog, which recently got noted by Women’s Health magazine, and finished off with a full-bodied glass of Cabernet sipped with a good girlfriend. You take these quiet moments in before the week begins which includes a presentation to the US Department of Education, a conference call with Oprah magazine, and a front row seat at your daughter’s play. All done in a fabulous pair of pumps and the perfect shade of lipstick.

Is this what you envision when you close your eyes and dream about your future?

Do you want it all? The marriage, kids, and career, without sacrificing your other passions?

So why don’t we always go for it?

Well because just as you start to imagine all this coming within your reach someone tells you something’s got to give. You can’t actually have it all and look good doing it. That only happens in fairy tales, this is real life honey. You unknowingly take their words to heart and believe that:

If you pick career, marriage and family go out the window.

If you choose to have children (which contrary to popular beliefs is not always a choice for many women ) then your professional success is downplayed.

Caring about your appearance and clothing doesn’t do anything to move you up in the corporate world.

Following your creative passions will only distract you from making rationale career choices.

Perhaps these voices get stuck in your head making you continue down your life path that someone else told you was a “good idea” or at least safe according to some unknown standards. Or maybe you follow through with the marriage, children, and all-star career but feel guilty for not being good enough in every area. You begin finding solace in statements like “Can’t have your cake and eat it too” and chalking up your life circumstances to decisions others made for you.

Then little by little you stop remembering life’s other pleasures. That 5-years-old self inside you stops whispering, “I want to play a senseless game outside. I want to make cupcakes because they make me smile. I want to make something for the sake of just seeing what will happen.”

With all this said, can women really have it all?

Why yes. Yes we can.

We just need to redefine what ‘having it all’ really means to us personally. Maybe you just want to travel the world with your partner while writing for a travel magazine. Maybe you want to become a CEO, adopt children, and take up dirt-biking. Maybe you want to just make the best damn brownies you’ve ever had. Whatever the desire, educational, relationship, creative, motherly – just listen to them.

Simplify your dream. I’m not saying give up on certain goals, but focus your life on those things that truly bring you and those around you joy. Letting one passion thrive while neglecting another life-long dream is not the solution. Instead pick the path that fulfills you intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally.

Be patient. In the wise words of Oprah Winfrey, “You can have it all. You just can’t have it all right now.” Just like lottery winners, we probably wouldn’t know what to do if every wish was granted all at once. Let the story unfold slowly because no one likes a forgone conclusion.

Now it’s your turn to answer – Can women have it all? Do you think we have to pick one dream over another? Can every aspect of ourselves have a place to thrive?

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