growth + wellness

Having It All

July 3, 2014

birthdaygirl

*Author’s note: This good ol blog recently turned 4 years old! OMG time flies. Especially when you don’t write blog posts regularly lol. Nonetheless, I thank everyone who was with me since day one and all those who I have picked up along the way.*

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I don’t think women can have it all. I just don’t think so. We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all. My husband and I have been married for 34 years. And we have two daughters. And every day you have to make a decision about whether you are going to be a wife or a mother, in fact many times during the day you have to make those decisions.

I read this candid statement by PepsiCo’s CEO, Indra K. Nooyi, in a recent interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival, and thought, “More women should need to hear this and say this.”

I am currently in the infant stages of my career. I am not yet a wife or a mother, but I aspire to be. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted a career (in what? IDK!), a husband, and children. In the same lifetime. I haven’t actively pursued one over the other. Meaning, I didn’t avoid committed relationships in order to pursue my education and a career (let’s be real – I avoided committed relationships because [redacted] ain’t [redacted]). I didn’t give up dreams of a career to start a family. I never ranked these priorities in order of importance because they were all equally important. And my plan was to have all of these things – the order in which they were obtained was up to God.

To have each of these things – career, spouse, children – individually is hard work. Starting and advancing a career requires a lot of work, dedication and sacrifice. Joining your with another person requires a lot of work, dedication, and sacrifice. Being a parent requires a lot of work, dedication and sacrifice. Having all three situations at once can’t possibly be easy. Especially in a world where womanhood is constantly challenged (damned if you do, damned if you don’t). Nor is it likely one can do all of these things well and give the proper attention to each. Something has to give. Something will give. And someone(s) will suffer the consequences.

I think what it boils down to is you can “have” it all, but you aren’t going to have it all well, the way you want it, or without having some resentment or guilt in the process. And I appreciate that Indra was so honest about her experience and her struggles with being a mother, a wife, a daughter, and a CEO.

I also appreciate what Indra’s mother said.

You might be president of PepsiCo. You might be on the board of directors. But when you enter this house, you’re the wife, you’re the daughter, you’re the daughter-in-law, you’re the mother. You’re all of that. Nobody else can take that place.

What I took from that was (whether this was the intention or not, ha!) if you’re going to take on all these titles, there have to be boundaries. When you’re home, you’re these things. When you’re at work, you’re these other things. Everything has its appropriate time and place. That makes sense to me.

I have no idea what life will bring my way, but I think I’m up for the challenge. I know trying to have it all will be hard to balance – there will always be things in constant flux – and I wouldn’t expect anything else. Hearing a woman like Indra say she feels guilt and is always looking for ways to cope inspires me. Sure, it’s scary and unnerving to know that you won’t be good at everything all the time, but what’s the alternative? Not being fulfilled or regretting never trying to have it all? That almost seems worse.

What the hell are you supposed to do? Can you have your cake and eat it too?

sheree-eating-cake

Wanting it all… kinda,
~Gem

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5 Comments

  • Reply madscientist7 July 3, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Good post babe. I have no idea what is like to be a woman and have to try to balance the two. I guess I enjoy privilege in that sense. I think you’ll have a great career, be a great mother and a great wife. 🙂

    • Reply gemmieboo July 3, 2014 at 11:22 am

      🙂 thanks babe. a great supporting partner will make all the difference in the world. and not wanting to be the top dog at a hundred billion dollar company helps also i think lol

  • Reply Wu Young, Agent of M.E. July 3, 2014 at 10:58 am

    I respect the sh*t out of a woman or women’s situations in this arena because on the inverse in my head I’m wondering if I’m man enough to take care of my family and home in not just an adequate manner but rather I want to excel in that arena. Having only 24 hours in a day and the pesky need for sleep limit me so I can only imagine what it does to a woman carrying a child.

    “Sure, it’s scary and unnerving to know that you won’t be good at everything all the time, but what’s the alternative?” <—-This is where the team work comes in on varying levels. In modern times folks just have to hold each other up sometime. Your opposite is going to have to pitch in when your career must take a priority. Things will get done but I've learned to accept that they won't always get done in the manner I prefer.

    When the time comes you'll figure it out, Marge.

    • Reply gemmieboo July 3, 2014 at 11:28 am

      i totally agree that there should be a balance between parents in the home to help shift some responsibilities. the thing is – even with 2 active parents, raising kids is still hard! giving your partner/relationship the time and work needed is hard when you work all day and come home to give your kid(s) attention and care. all of my friends with kids are working mothers and have (for the most part) very attentive and helpful husbands. but its still a struggle for them and they still feel guilty if they work late, or even if they take time “off” to just be by themselves to do their own fine-tuning. and i’d venture to say women feel more guilt about trying to be super woman (working mom and wife) then men do. not to say men dont care, they just are conditioned differently.

      • Reply Wu Young, Agent of M.E. July 3, 2014 at 11:55 am

        “i’d venture to say women feel more guilt about trying to be super woman (working mom and wife) then men do. not to say men dont care, they just are conditioned differently.”

        This is true. When a guy does it usually comes as a form of overcompensation for something they didn’t have growing up which is a completely different dynamic. One of my friends is an R.N. who works the night shift to make extra cash and he had hernia surgery during the holidays. His time at home with his daughters opened his eyes. he was like “Francis, this extra money isn’t worth what I’m missing at home.” So he decided to change his schedule based on his dad being gone in the Army when he was a kid. So if he feels like he’s missing the show then his wife must be flat-out exhausted from covering him.

        This adulthood ish is beautiful but not for the faint of heart.

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