Growing up, the “in” thing for women to talk about (at least on TV) was whether or not they could have it all.
Somehow, having a successful career and marriage and well-behaved children and being active in their community – in short, being Superwoman – was a badge of honor. I grew up in the 70′s, after all, when bringing home the bacon and frying it in a pan was akin to Olympic prowess. And never letting “him” forget he was a man? Well, shut the front door!
Fast-forward to 2010. Seriously, who has time for all that?
Whether having it all is possible or not is a great debate when you don’t have to work or fry the bacon; when working and earning a living outside the home is a choice. But when you don’t have the option and just have to do what you have to do, you don’t care whether you can have it all. You just want to know when you can take a good nap.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in working for myself that I didn’t know before, it’s that you can’t possibly have, do, or be all that you’d like to be. Okay, maybe you can, but not at the same time. And most times, not even at various points in the same day.
Something always has to give.
Why? Because it’s not mathematically or humanly possible to give 100 percent of yourself to everyone or everything in your life. If you devote 100 percent of your time and attention to your business, your spouse, your children, health, pet–whatever–are by definition, getting less. Nothing is 50-50. It’s always more like 75-25. Lately for me, it’s looked an awful lot like 80-20, with assorted little surprises accounting for 80, and 20 going toward my business.
Sometimes, it happens like that. A tough realization or a self-confessed control freak.
With the beginning of the school year just two weeks away, I’m trying to figure out how and where I’m going to allocate my energies, especially since I’m planning to homeschool my son. When I first decided to do this, I envisioned fun-filled days of hands-on science experiments and discussions about current events or mythology. The reality is that some days, homeschool might look a lot more like handing my son a good book and telling him to sit still and read quietly.
And I have to be okay with that, on the days when schedules or circumstances dictate that’s the best option. I’ll get a chance to shift my focus the next day, when schedules and circumstances allow.
That’s the only way I know how to ensure everything and everyone in my life gets the time and attention they require. Not at the same time. Not in the same day. But in the end, all of my time and attention, nonetheless.
This is what it looks like when you give up trying to do it all, all the time. Superwoman has sat down.
And you know what? It feels pretty good.