Before motherhood, I had read much about how to balance it all, or the marriage, children, job, and sexy figure. “It will be tough,” they often said, “but, you can do it. It can be done.”
I guess in choosing to take on “it all,” you could say that I believed them, or the voices that said it could be done.
The stakes, it seemed, of not believing, or not being able to balance it all as a woman in the 21st century appeared too high. So, I gave “it all” a try. I worked a full time job, breastfed, rocked, and burped a child, exercised every other day of the week, and remained married, all evidence that it all was possible.
“Yes! I did it,” I told myself in the first few weeks of my project of “it all.” “I did it all.”
When times got tough, I stuck it out, convinced that was what any woman who wanted it all would (and should) do. I found “strength” in the images of those celebrity moms who managed it all so easily.
The wrench in my plans of continuing to do it all came soon after my proclamation of “success.”
I was tired, dead tired.
Doing it all, as I assumed everyone else was doing it, was exhausting. I couldn’t think straight. My skin seemed to show premature signs of aging. I found another gray hair. I sometimes forgot my keys atop my car when taking trips with Nya to Target. Oh, and doing it all was also expensive, what with childcare, convenient foods to save time, and creams to mask those aging eyes.
Despite these inconvenient truths of doing it all, I wanted to continue to prove to myself that if anyone could it, I could. I wanted to set an example for my daughters (and sons). I wanted to know that on my grave someone could engrave “She was the woman who did it all!”
So, I went on until I could no longer fool myself into believing that everything was ok beneath my picture of “having it all.”
No longer fooled, I changed my mind about having it all and gave a big part of my picture of “it all” up, namely my job.
So, I write this in the same place that I started this job as a stay at home mom with a renewed sense of what having it all really means. (sigh)