There are so many blog posts and articles about having it all. About achieving work life balance. About how moms in particular struggle to achieve the elusive equilibrium that allows them to have fulfilling careers, time with their kids and families, time to work-out and stay in shape, time to volunteer at their kid’s schools and time to be a great partner and wife. These articles provide tips and tricks to make it happen, they provide encouragement for letting go of expectations and the guilt associated with feeling like you should have it all, and they provide a shared perspective and camaraderie among moms.
But what does having it all look like? I admit that I always imagined myself with an ‘important’ job, a job where I would be missed and where I couldn’t be easily replaced. I imagined myself staying fit and continuing to hit up the gym and running and fitness classes. I imagined myself throwing Pinterest worthy kid’s birthday parties and cheering on little league soccer and hockey games. I imagined myself as the type of wife that takes care of the household effortlessly while also getting meals on the table every night. I think the key word here is imagined.
Fast forward to real life with a toddler. I have an admin job that doesn’t even come close to utilizing my skills or education, or ignite my passions. But it’s easy. It’s a 9-5 without ever being expected to do overtime. I have great benefits and lots of vacation time and I go home at the end of the day and don’t stress about work. I am never caught up on laundry, my house almost always needs to be cleaned, and I rarely have fancy meals on the table. I try to do weekly meal prep and keep the house tidy but I inevitably am always falling behind. I go to the gym a few times a week but often the intensity to do an actually hard work-out just isn’t there. While I have Pinterest boards pinned and have lots of ideas, parties and events tend to get thrown together at the last minute with some streamers and a boxed cake.
I have one child, and a stress-free low maintenance easy job. And yet home life still suffers from there mere fact that I am out of the house all day. It makes me wonder how having a job with more responsibility and more stress and longer hours might impact this further. Would having a job I’m passionate about make me more productive at work and at home? What’s the saying…love your work and you won’t work a day in your life? Something like that.
I just got offered a new job. A job I am hesitantly excited about. It will be challenging. It will potentially require more hours at work. It will likely mean thinking about work when I’m home. It’s not exactly in my field but it’s closer than my current job. It’s a career instead of a job. I’m excited but terrified at the same time. And while it sounds like this might take away from home life, I actually think it will enhance it. It will hopefully get me one step closer to the elusive balance we all seek.
Despite the dishes in the sink, the muddy paw prints on the floor and the Mount Everest of laundry that never seems to shrink, home is a pretty great place to be these days. This is one step closer to my imagined version of having it all. In ten years I'll be glad I took the risk and made myself a priority by going after my career aspirations as well as my family goals.