This article was sent to me by a reader (thank you!), and I decided to share it with you because it discusses an issue I've been thinking about for the past year or two – and something I've already touched a couple of times since I started blogging.
It's a conclusion I just couldn't avoid, from my own observations and experience, and from sharing the experience of many women much older, wiser and more mature than myself. It's the following simple, yet often such an elusive statement: you can't have it all. If you think you can, that's an illusion. We are human beings with limited time and resources, and when we try to do too much at once, something is inevitably compromised. We can let this make us feel bitter and unfulfilled, or strain ourselves beyond our endurance – or we can let the 'have it all' myth go, and allow peace, contentment and order back into our lives.
If you are a young woman of this generation, most likely you have been told more than once you should 'live to fulfill your potential'; you've been encouraged to pursue a prestigious degree and a high-paying career – because you have the brains, skill and opportunity to do it. No, you probably weren't explicitly told you should abandon and neglect your role as a woman, daughter, sister, wife, helpmeet, mother, homemaker, nurturer – only someone forgot to tell you how exactly you are supposed to cram it all into your life.
The result? More opportunities, more money, fun, activity, independence – and less happiness.
A few comments by other readers of this article that caught my eye:
'Lists and piles….those are the bane of most adult women’s existence: make the dental cleaning appointment for the daughter; mail in the soccer club check and form for the son; compile the grocery list for the week (and do the shopping); pick up the husband’s shirt and pants at the drycleaners; write in the family calendar the days the kids have off from school. And, in your spare time, work a 40+plus hour a week job where you are appreciated (and handsomely rewarded) because of your attention to detail.'
'Even as women’s obligations in the home remained the same as before they entered the workforce in greater numbers during the 1970s, their contributions to family life were devalued by both men and women. They were sold the idea that they could be hard-charging boardroom dynamos by day and feminine nurturers by night, earning twice the satisfaction their mothers did. Conversely, men learned decades ago that even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat, and are happy with that.'
' We’re less happy because we’re tired. We’re expected to do it all and be all things to all men. I have to take care of my husband, my children, and I’m expected to care about the world. It’s too much. I’m ready to crash and burn.'