2/20/13

On "Having It All" and Other Such Tangents

This morning as I was considering a nap (the nap was actually already considered, considering I was already in my bed) I was struck with the whole idea of "having it all". Liz Lemon is often contemplating the idea as well and honestly, can we exactly "have it all"? 

My Mother raised 8 children, of which I am the youngest. With much help from my Father, of course, but she chose to be a stay at home Mom and support my Dad as he went to Law School and eventually started his own Financial Planning business. She was the home front. After I had Geddy and was still on only 4 hours of sleep and had a bread belly (lets be honest, the bread belly is still kinda there), I asked my Mother, in awe, how she raised 8 children. She chuckled and said she didn't remember the 90's at all (she was raising 4 teenage boys at the time) but she followed that with a more serious reply. She explained that Mothers weren't expected to do it all like they do now. They weren't expected to bounce back to their high school figures or to start businesses at home. Of course there were expectations to have dinner ready and have their haired curled but there focus was to take care of the children.

Whether this was a question of sexism or not, thats how it was back then. And my Mom did a dang good job. I know that I have felt pressure to be the perfect Mother and Housewife. Not just having dinner ready on my husbands return or a well behaved child but to produce different things on the side. Like, to have a perfectly eclectic home or to sell crafts on Etsy (believe me, you wouldn't want to buy them! Ha!). Even more so, have a successful business that I manage during nap-time because of course I don't have a nanny, I watch my son all by myself. On top of that, I should always look perfect in pictures, fit in my pre-pregnancy pants, have read every literary classic with a bachelors degree in something fantastic and am the Primary President in my ward. You know these women, right? They are out there and they are amazing!

Oddly enough, I don't feel any of these pressures from my Spouse but more so from outside sources. Blogs, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram. We live in a world where our lives are constantly on display. Are these expectations really healthy though? In order to "have it all", what suffers? Our relationships with our spouse and kids? Our sleep? Our mental health...our happiness? In order to achieve real happiness, do we need to realistically give up some of those expectations and focus on priorities?

On the reverse side, I feel like it's important for Mothers to have an outlet. I know that I have had days where I have felt haggard, being covered in sour spit up or being peed upon. That's actually why I blog. I find that it allows me to tap into the creative part of my mind. I love to write. Honestly, I feel like I am a better Mother when I am able to have something for myself, such as a creative outlet...or shopping. ;)

Truthfully, I don't have the answer. I see some Mothers and am blown away by their motivation and success. How they can manage everything. And if that works for them and their family, than that's fantastic. For me, I think it's about balance. I want Geddy to know that I am available whenever he needs me but during naptime, I am going to leave a dirty kitchen and focus on myself. Whether it be a hot bath, blogging, reading, napping or watching a show. My spouse and baby will be happier if I do this for myself. The dirty dishes or unfolded laundry can wait a few hours.

What if it all comes down to comparison? If we rid ourselves of comparison, maybe then we can be happy with what we have and are able to do? As of today, I skipped the nap. I got out of bed and wrote down my thoughts. I will be tired tonight but that's what I wanted to do.

During naptime. Cuddled up with my pup and watching Law and Order.

What works for you? What is your outlet? Do you think we can "have it all"? I would love to hear!

Happy Wednesday!

Hil

P.S. I wanted to give a quick update on my mood and attitude. If you read any of my posts in January and February, you must be annoyed because I pretty much just complained the whole time. I am so sorry. The stresses haven't changed but my brain and attitude has. Something just clicked. Maybe it was all the motivational quotes I was pinning on Pinterest but something helped. Personally? It was answer to prayer.

2 comments:

Haley said...

Mom has given me the same sage advice about realistic expectations for moms. I always have to remind myself that blogs are either 1) journals where the good, bad and the ugly are documented or 2) scrapbooks where only the happy and precious are recorded. Either version is great, but they paint very different pictures of reality!

Nancy B. said...

I love this topic and your thoughs. I wrote a huge long response, but erased it because I just realized that when it all comes down to "having it all" it depends on what "all" is to a person. For me personally, I could never "have it all" in terms of a shop on etsey, a small business, my house immaculately decorated and a gourmet dinner on the table every night for my family all while being the Primary President. I am just not that kind of person even though I often feel like I am expected to be because of outside sources, but certain things in my life would definitely suffer if I tried. But thinking of it in other ways, I would say I "have it all".
I do think that the thoughts we have of pressure and inadequacy though, come from comparing ourselves to others. Our lives are so public these days and when you see what everyone does all day everyday from their trip to the grocery store, their craft room, newly refinished home, their dinner table, to their office, it is hard not to compare lifestyles. We worry about what everyone else is doing and forget to focus on our life and finding happiness in it. I am not saying we should all stop using facebook, pinterest, blogs etc, because they are great outlets and great ways to communicate, but if we try hard to look at things in a different perspective we might cut down on comparing and achieve the "all" status for ourselves. But what can I say it is human nature and is a battle we will always have to fight and will probably continue to get worse.

P.S. I skipped my nap time to call my mom, blog stock and write this comment today :) Which was beneficial because I was able to think about this topic. I say take a time out, skip a nap, the dishes and laundry once in a while to do what you want. It makes you and ultimately your family happier!