Is “Having it All” Still Possible?

by Samantha on February 10, 2011

Hi Everyone!

“Two’s a crowd, three’s a party,” a wise sage once mused. 

Said sage clearly did not have three children under the age of eight in his or her ranks. And there is no way that this philosopher had ever dealt with the cacophony that is part and parcel of the everyday (and night) life of a working parent, especially when the parent at hand is juggling two very energetic identical twin toddler boys and a precocious girl of seven. Add to this mix an adult daughter who still relies on the advice of Mom and a husband who is equally frazzled in his own right. 

Welcome to my world.


Perhaps we should discuss the “Three ‘P’s’ of the Working Parent”: patience, permissiveness and pizza, because let’s face it – all three of these items are mandatory if one wants to maintain any semblance of clarity in their already busy world. This holy trinity of sorts is what I live my daily life by – because if I didn’t, who knows – I may have to stop for a moment and actually plan a meal that extends beyond the realm of cheese and pepperoni. And chicken fingers for that matter.

Image courtesy of www.firehow.com

Permissiveness and patience, well, those attributes are part and parcel if one has any hope of having a realistic shot at the proverbial “having it all” lifestyle that was glamourized in the women’s magazines of my younger days. I’m not sure about one’s ability to “have it all”  – that is unless they meant having it ALL – warts, no, let’s revise that to chicken pox, ear infections and head lice – ALL the things that one’s children might bring home. I guess in that regard, I’ve had it all – in more ways than one (and no, I didn’t have lice…managed to dodge that bullet, thankfully).

So I guess in my first post, I shall pose the question: 

Can women really “have it all?” 

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

skibabissada February 10, 2011 at 5:37 pm

This is a very honest and witty assessment of the sheer madness of trying to manage life as a working parent. I especially like the three “P”s. Pizza unfortunately makes a bi-weekly appearance on our family menu due to sheer exhaustion and a constant deficit of time. The concept that the working woman with a family has it all has to be the most ironic and fraudulent of all sentiments. To sustain this frantic lifestyle, a woman essentially needs to become selfless in order to constantly satisfy the needs of her family and employer. Although a family brings a great deal of love and satisfaction, if a woman is so utterly drained without time to replenish or nurture herself, what is she really able to enjoy. Working women may appear to have it all, but in reality they may not be able to enjoy any of it. This is a great question to contemplate.

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Samantha February 11, 2011 at 2:32 am

Thanks for your feedback, skibabissada. I completely agree that trying to manage the demands of working full-time outside the home as well as trying to keep one's children entertained, fed (healthily), bathed and nurtured is a struggle that many of us can relate to. I think that the concept of “having it all” is indeed questionable at best. As with anything, there are only so many hours in a given day, and when a full-time and busy job away from the family is what is being done, something's gotta give! Unfortunately, what often “gives” is the dream of a balanced and sane life as a mother, employee and partner. Oh, and the laundry is not far behind. But that's a whole other post ;)

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mmc67 February 13, 2011 at 3:34 pm

very nice post. nice post. I am your newest follower, feel free to follow back http://www.thatshakerofsalt.com

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Samantha February 13, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Thanks so much, Michelle! I just checked out your blog – love the Jimmy Buffet angle of the constant search for “that shaker of salt.” I'm following you as well and look forward to reading your posts!

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Inga February 14, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Why working mom should feel bad going to work? Does trying to make more money and make your life more comfortable counts as a crime? Why did I go to school and worked very hard then? to become “organic” dishwasher and professional floor picker? Why my parents fought with me for school and education? so I sit at home and change diapers for the good 10 years of my life? if that is a case, I should have learned how to read and write, a bit of math to know how to count money and stay home and enjoy slaving for my husband and kids! WELCOME to the 21st century! In an ideal world it would be great that mothers would stay at least first 3 years of a child's life – should be a law that would guarantee you a job after you come back? I was discussing this issue with one of my older client, and she said that her father received significant pay increase when he got married, cause it was obvious that he had to support his family now… but it was at least 70 years ago…

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Samantha February 14, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Hi Inga,

Thanks for your feedback! You raise some very interesting points. There is definitely a perceived difference between a working mother's decision to return to work and a man's. The questions of “why” a woman would return to work (other than for financial reasons) continues to be asked, though the same question is not nearly as frequently asked of men, unfortunately. I think this indicates that we still have a long way to go in terms of equality.

Regarding the first few years of a child's life, agreed that it would be great to have a similar societal infrastructure, similar to many Scandinavian countries, that allows parents to stay home for the first few years of a child's life. Though I live in Canada and am fortunate enough to have had one year's maternity leave, it was still difficult to return to work, in spite of the fact that I loved my job. I guess that conflict is always there and is something that will continue until we as a society decide to make a change.

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cottage-lover February 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I think it's clear that you actually do 'have it ALL' (and then some)… successful career, loving husband, beautiful children, pizza and wine! What more to life is there? It’s all good!

I do, however, think you’ve missed an important P… for PINOT! Never underestimate the value of a good glass of wine to help you get through the madness of life.

Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy the chaos. As we are all well aware… life has a tendency to fly by so make sure to stop and indulge in the hundreds of important moments (however small and seemingly insignificant) that make up the day.

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Samantha February 14, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Thanks, Cottage Lover! Yes – Pinot is definitely on the list…as is Port and Prosecco ;)

Your point is well-taken about stopping to smell the roses…one does tend to labour over the negative often overlooking the positive. I will certainly try to take this tact amidst the chaos :)

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Melanie February 14, 2011 at 8:57 pm

I think work-life balance is such a challenge. I find it hard now and I don't have ANY kids. I can't imagine how you do it! I definitely love the idea of the three “Ps” – whatever it takes to make it happen!

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Jenelle February 20, 2011 at 2:07 pm

This is something that I think all moms have asked and I think that we can have it all but it is not without a sacrifice here and there and not without perspective. All of us mothers need to figure out what is important to us and then work around achieving that goal. There are some things that will change over the years about what is important and what isn't. I feel that the key is not to lose ourselves during motherhood because once we do it is hard to get it back. Stay focus and take time for ourselves and re-evaluate our lives from time to time to see if this is really the path that we want to be on. If not then we have to tweek things just a little bit.

BTW: I am your newest follower from Bloggy Moms.

Would love for you to follow back :-)
Great post and looking forward to reading more.

http://singlemominspiration.blogspot.com/

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Samantha February 20, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Thanks, Jenelle!
Staying focused is the key, I agree, as well as putting together a list of priorities. Perhaps that means letting some things slide from day to day and making sure that the most important things – like family – are first on the list.

Thanks for stopping by and I am following you too :)
Samantha

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Lori March 15, 2011 at 10:06 pm

patience, permissiveness and pizza. I love another mom who can come up with a recipe for how to get through another week….and manage to feed the kids, while attempting to still have a life of your own. as a writer & an artist (I also write for technorati)–I can honestly say that I feel like I “have it all” or should I say, have it all at once. in fact, that's kind of the problem, isn't it? what we moms really need is some kind of balance. enjoying your pieces Samantha. check me out on http://www.consciousnesscreativity.com (and technorati) where I blog about my own attempts to have it all…..my way……

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Samantha March 15, 2011 at 11:01 pm

@Lori
Hi Lori,
You do what you have to do to get by and in my case, the “three 'P's figure prominently for now. :)

I think you've hit the nail on the head – having it all at once – it the perpetual problem, trying to balance it all. It's an ongoing challenge. The best solution in the short term, I think, is just trying to get through the day and worry about tomorrow…tomorrow.

Thanks for your comment!

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bobjenjack March 22, 2011 at 1:29 am

Hi! I too am wondering the same thing. :) Course I only have one son, a hubby and two pups. :) LOL Look forward to following you and if you have time stop by
bobjenjack.blogspot.com. :) Found you on TwitterMoms

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Samantha March 29, 2011 at 3:26 pm

@bobjenjack
Hi there,
Sounds like you have your hands full as well! Two pups will keep you on your toes, I'm sure :)
Thanks for stopping by.

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