When I had my oldest son, Charlie, who has Down syndrome and is now 4 years old, I was working full time in public relations. Each morning, I met Charlie's therapists at the door with wet hair, worked through the appointment and scrambled to get to the office without disrupting anyone's workflow.
I felt guilty for rushing, guilty for not being at work on time and guilty for feeling guilty about doing what my son needed. Oh, and my hair consistently looked like a fluffed-out Q-tip dipped in fudge-swirl ice cream. (Who has time to get roots done when you're busy saving the world?)
I was a mess.
Then we had our daughter, and my supervisors supported a job-share arrangement. This new setup was sure to solve all my work-life balance problems and let me focus a little time on writing. (Oh yeah. That "hobby" that tugs at my heart daily.)
Naturally, I started a blog titled OperationHaveItAll.com. (Facepalm)
I would chronicle the no-doubt-hilarious efforts to raise two munchkins Monday through Wednesday at noon. Then, from noon Wednesday until Friday, I would succeed stupendously in corporate America.
Um, yeah. I was a mess.
Years later, after leaving corporate America to raise all three children (yep, now three) and develop a writing career, I finally learned the truth, broken into four realizations:
So, how do we fix this swirl of self-doubt and torrent of judgment? How do we identify and own our "all"?
First, we need to stop tossing around that "work-life balance" phrase, which consistently means absolutely nothing. On what planet can anyone equally devote time to both family and career? We need to stop trying to balance; we are women, not circus acts. (No comments about clowns and my attempts at makeup these days, please.)
Repeat after me: Balance is what I make of it. I will own my own balance. I will create my own "all."
Truly, having it all is what you decide it should be. You. Not a partner or a colleague or a best friend who just ran another 5K after crystallizing sugar for tonight's five-star birthday party for her 1-year-old.
Own your "all." Then, having your all becomes possible.
Now about that scale. Who has a sledgehammer?
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