“You can’t have it all.”
How many times have we heard or read that statement? I know I personally see it a lot. It’s wise, honest, and something to take to heart. It’s a necessary truth for maintaining balance between all of the commitments of modern life.
Though I believe you can’t have it all, I try not to take the statement to heart TOO much. I can’t have everything, but I can still have an awful lot. I don’t want anyone to sell themselves short of a full, rich life because of the ingrained belief that we have to limit ourselves to just a few things in order to be realistic.
Sometimes I take on too much and really can burn myself out with commitments. The stress after saying “yes” to joining every activity and accepting every invite is a gentle reminder that I “can’t have it all.” I am focusing more on taking that to heart and only saying yes to activities that I’m really interested in. Sometimes you just need time to zone out and gear up for the next day, and that’s ok. Time for rest is key for keeping up with busy days, and down time should be considered a commitment.
I’m also a self-proclaimed Instagram-obsesser. I love finding new bloggers or businesses to follow. Usually the people I follow leave me with clever ideas to incorporate into my family’s own life. Sometimes, though, their pages make me feel like I should be doing more or trying harder to be a more accomplished person. Maybe I should be more stylish on a daily basis, make more time for exercise, or start my own business. This is a gentle reminder that accomplishing all those things would be great but again, I can’t have everything. I also can’t expect someone’s life on the Internet to always reflect reality.
Despite this, what I realize is we often sell ourselves short of what we can be. We know that we can’t do everything (because the saying is so ingrained) so we don’t always try to challenge ourselves because we think these goals just aren’t possible to achieve.
We limit ourselves to a few things and may not recognize our full potential. I think this becomes even stronger once we have kids. Before my daughter came along, I didn’t realize how busy being a mom would make my days. So though my schedule is hectic, being a mom isn’t a death sentence to my life the way it was before. It takes more creativity and scheduling, but I still pencil in my previous hobbies and social activities.
I fully believe that if there’s something we are truly passionate about, we can make the time for it and make it work. We can’t pursue every task, hobby, or opportunity–but we can lead a full life of raising children, meeting partners, maintaining a home, finding fulfilling jobs, exploring interests, and enjoying some down time along the way. There might even be an opportunity left over for launching a side business, traveling the world, writing, taking cooking classes, learning a new language, or joining an intramural league.
I wouldn’t be on the wonderful Iowa City Moms Blog contributor team if I limited myself. I would have thought, “Why would I think I can take on that commitment?” instead of, “That sounds like a great opportunity and I’d love to carve out the time to make it work!” I’m so glad I chose the second option.
I believe all of this, because I want to set a good example of a life well-lived for my daughter, Kate. I want her to have an array of wonderful memories and accomplishments, satisfying relationships and experiences. I want to know that she didn’t sell herself short because she assumed it wasn’t possible to do so many great things in her lifetime.