There are many books and articles giving women tips to better manage their time and enable them to ‘have it all’. I’m not going to tell you how to schedule your life to fit it all in. Nor am I going to give you time management tips or tell you that you should compromise on this or that. That doesn’t work anyway. Instead, I am going to ask you this: what does ‘having it all’ mean to you?
The phrase ‘having it all’ is usually used to refer to a woman’s, usually a mother’s, successful balance between her work and family. But who is defining whether a woman’s balance is ‘successful’? And what is it ‘all’ anyway?
For me, these two questions are the key to ‘having it all’. I think people often miss that ‘all’ is not defined. My idea of having it all might be completely different to yours. To me, ‘having it all’ means having all the components of life that make ME happy. Living MY life the way I want to; not the way society tells me I should live it. MY all is fluid. It changes as I move through different phases of my life. I am the only judge of whether I am successful at having MY all and, therefore, whether I ‘have it all’.
To my mind, having it all is not about being rich, married, having a large house, well-behaved children, plenty of holidays, a great social life, and some hobbies on the side. It is about happiness and personal fulfilment. Sure, some of that may be derived from ticking the stereotypical ‘having it all’ boxes, but it is much broader than that.
Are you happy?
Are you making time for the things that are important to you?
Are you mindful of living your life in accordance with your values?
Is your life meaningful?
If you have answered yes to these questions then it sounds to me like you have your ‘all’ too.
What ‘it all’ consists of has changed for me throughout different stages of my life, but there has been one constant: having it all is feeling happy, fulfilled and balanced.
I think we often get caught up in what others are doing and feel like we are missing out because we aren’t doing the same. I’ve recently missed Christmas dinner with my close friends, many fun days out with my sisters (local craft markets, yoga, food markets) and a friend’s house warming party. Although I would like to attend all of these things, the reality is that they just aren’t my ‘all’ right now. Right now my ‘all’ is spending my time with my family, being at home in the evenings and at nights to help my daughter sleep (she can’t settle to sleep without me) and working in the career that I love, but am now only doing part-time.
Yes, it is a balance, but I am happy to let go of these things for now. It doesn’t mean rejecting my friends and family, it just means that I am doing what I need to do for me. I am having my all on my terms.