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June 23, 2012

Maybe we do have it all

after all.

There was an article today in the Atlantic that gained quick momentum and was shared on Facebook once, if not hundreds of times.  I shared it, too, not because I agree with it, but because it did make me think:  maybe I have all I need.  

Can you imagine that? I'm not working a high-powered job, I'm a SAHM who enjoys writing but could not survive on what she makes in that endeavor ($250/year...not so much).  I don't have an overly fancy car, but can't imagine I'd enjoy the upkeep required if I did.  My lack of a high-powered job means I don't flit here and there all over the country. My flitting and floating is limited to local volunteer opportunities and that's fine by me...well, until we move next year.

I'm not super-glam, nor do I care to be.  I'd love to be a master gardener, but saving that for when we move to Nicaragua and I have space to grow more than herbs.  My house, while not exactly what I want, keeps us safe and generally warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Since I am at home (or rather, available) for the kids, we have more flexibility in our lives.  When Peter is in the same country, one of us can always make an appointment (school, doctor, dentist..) if not both.  We can generally take vacations (okay, maybe a week at the beach each year), when we want and we have real downtime (especially when Peter drops his phone in the Bay...true story!).

Maybe having it all isn't having an overwhelming job, social commitments, oodles of perfect children, and the right house and car.  Maybe having it all means coming to the conclusion that no one has it all, and perhaps others just don't dwell on it as much.  Maybe it's realizing we have what we need and that is all that truly matters.  

Quite honestly, I felt sorry for the author in some respects.  So many accomplishments and she thinks we still can't have it all?  No, thank you, I do have it all:  my all is just different from hers and that is fine with me. 



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I think the author is part of a generation of women that were kind of sold a bill of goods. I am just a little younger than she is, and I never felt compelled to do everything at once. My daughter is actually thinking now about what kind of career will work with having a family. Her view is that it's just about setting priorities, and her ego is not on the line. Cool.

M and I were talking about that yesterday. I think the bill of goods that was sold was sold to everyone, not just women. Do dads love their kids less? No. But if they have kids and the high powered job, people think they have it all. And they don't. They have sacrificed time with their families.

We all have to make choices. None of us, female or male, married or not, kids or not, can have it all. We have to decide what we define as success and what we value. M and I will probably never the fast-rising careers of those who are willing to live for work, because we have chosen family. Would we like that prestige? Sure. But just like I decide with eaxh purchase I make whether the item I am buying is worth the cost, we decided that our time together is worth more than that kind of career. For us, success is having jobs we love that still allow us a life outside of work.

So like you, we have decided we have it all, because we have everything that matters.

I completely agree with you. I read that article a few days ago, and was SO glad that I can stay home with my kids and feel that I have exactly what I want! Much better boss, no promotions to worry about, and nap time is an obligatory part of my schedule.

Jen, loved this post. A bunch of ladies are getting together tonight for dinner and discussion of "Making your career plans and successfully asking for what you want." Someone sent a link to the Atlantic article you mentioned here to read beforehand, as food for thought. I'm going to send a link of your blog as well!

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