We tend to lose ourselves in the world of social media and perfection as we watch what others do and have, alas, playing the comparison-game only to end up beating ourselves up for not «having it all». Unfortunately, a norm in today’s modern and developed society where we ignore or forget the fact that someone’s «have it all» might differ greatly from our own.
«You can have it all, just not all at the same time».
In the negative sense of the phrase insinuates that we’re supposed to have it all and all well put together – at all times. We’re supposed to achieve everything, show super strength and resistant, alas develop into superhumans.
Before entering the world of parenting, I had a picture in my head of what it was going to be like. I created certain expectations and as I visualized life after kids, I left out the reality part. Unaware that emotions are involved, outside expectations somehow manage to emerge from all kinds of directions. Fast forward, I realize that during lunacy and chaos, I’m raising a human being – with all its ugliness and glory.
My husband and I had our first child at the age of 20 & 21, and at that time we did not have it all. We could barely make ends meet but fast forward (again), we quickly discovered that with «having it all» or even striving for it all comes other burdens. And as the responsibilities that follow parenthood grew with every child, aspirations, and goals, I quickly developed a hate for the phrase; while in disbelief that achieving anything (else) was even possible for me as a mother/parent. Then came depression and the feeling of failure roared daily. For a while, I kept comparing myself to other women, mothers and trying to live up to other people’s standards to what parenting should look like. I would search and attempt to mimic what other parents were doing and having, alas failing miserably.
Now that I’m older, in my 30s and wiser I realize having it all when it comes to parenting for me, is not “having it all”, at least not all at once. I juggle parenthood, life and everything else in between like any other parent. There are times I struggle to keep up or even keep it all together; to-do-lists, chores, homework etc. but all that is OK and a part of the ‘job’ description. I remind myself I’m human. Furthermore, show appreciation that my kids are happy and healthy.
But how does my style of parenting play into having it all?
First, what does «you can have it all but not all at once» mean? For me it means; I define who I am, who I choose to become and what I want to achieve in life. I’m not limited. However, I’m only human, therefore, I must choose my battles and goals carefully. I’m far from perfect but I’m good enough.
I’ve had to struggle to get where I am. I’ve witnessed my mother struggle to get where we are; so, for me anything is truly possible – you can have it all but only if you define what that is for you. And therefore, my style of parenting is teaching my kids that they can have it all, but I also don’t shy away the fact that hard work may be required, for nothing comes for free.
I parent with great compassion, forgiveness and empathy with the awareness that in society today we’re quick to compare, judge and/or out-do the next. It’s easy to not be compassionate and show empathy because of spitefulness, envy or even hate. And to have it all, you need to generate kindness, compassion and hard work.
Having it all does not necessarily mean perfection nor does it look the same for everyone. When I make a parenting mistake, my style is to make sure I quickly repair but I think it’s also important to be open with my kids about it. They need to know and understand that we all make mistakes, no one is completely perfect: you live, you fall, you learn and you evolve.
At the end of the day, all that children need and want is love, attention and affection. And if I can provide that rather than chase opinions and acceptance from the outside world, then I’m happy with the notion that I do have something important in my life – love.
I used to be the type of mother who would try immensely hard to achieve everything and keep up with the world around me. I would spend hours or even days, beating myself up when I wasn’t capable to keep up with the race to perfection. Fast forward, I’ve learned that life has its ups and downs, its good and bad. The only time life is consistent is when it’s not. Once I came to terms with the reality of life, parenthood and accepting the course of it all, things became a lot easier to tackle. My kids now get to experience a happy mom.
It’s important to define what «all» is before chasing it. Defining for myself what «having it all» looked like for me and my family made life easier and the future even more brighter. It took away a lot of pressure and I’ve learned that I can’t keep up with everything at any given moment, I must therefore choose my battles with great care, in life and parenthood. And I hate to sound like a broken record, but I don’t mind believing that I can have it all, it’s a blessing in disguise and it gives me comfort to know we’re not limited and that anything is possible. Right?