Why I don’t want it all.
In general, I like to get things done. Having lists and crossing things off my list makes me happy.
But some days I don’t do anything I’ve planned. Today’s one of those days. For example, it’s 10am and I’m still in my pj’s. I was going to go for a jog this morning and didn’t. In fact, I still haven’t had breakfast.
This kind of day isn’t typical for me, but every once in a while it’s so so necessary. It’s the mommy version of playing hookie, and it feels great.
Most days I’m super focused from the minute I get up to after dinner, running from mommy duties to my blog to sending emails during naps (I admit I check Facebook way more than I need to, but without office mates or others around it’s a way for me to at least somewhat pacify my need for connection). And then there’s remembering to drink enough water, make sure I’ve actually taken a shower and maybe if I’m really lucky change the polish on my toenails.
I’m no different than any other mom out there. Whether you’re a working mom, a stay-at-home mom or a work-from-home mom, we’re all crazy busy. The pace of our modern lives is beginning to outrun all of us.
Anne-Marie Slaughter touches on this in her poignant article recently published in The Atlantic entitled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” Her central argument is that we need more family friendly policies that allow women to have an ambitious career and focus on family at the same time. Amen sister.
And while I couldn’t agree more, I don’t think constantly racing around the clock, whether it’s to turn in a paper to your boss or to run to soccer practice is healthy for anyone. (I know I am fortunate to be able to even ponder this option, as there are so many women around the world who simply don’t have this choice).
I believe we all need a break every once in a while and we shouldn’t feel guilty for saying so. Slaughter raises this point in reference to workaholics being able to voice family needs like doctors appointments. I’m raising it in reference to the personal need to just “be”–without getting anything “done.”
But isn’t this selfish of me? After all, I could be doing 100 other things right now that need my time and attention. Laundry, preparing lunch, returning library books, printing photos for great grandma. Yup. All thing on my list.
But I also know from experience, that when I keep pushing myself to do more and more and keep going without giving myself time to recharge it’s not a good thing. I get cranky. I start stupid fights with my husband. I’m not as present to my daughter. I stop being me. Or at least the best version of me.
As a society we’ve deemed working as virtuous. I’m pretty sure being a mom is also viewed as virtuous. But somehow, doing things for ourselves (or not doing anything at all) isn’t quite there yet in most of our minds.
We’ve all fallen victim to the mindset that more is better. But is it really? At what cost? While I loved the Atlantic article, I must admit that just reading it made me tired. If having it all means constant running and doing, for whatever end, then I don’t want it all.
I truly believe that if we (men included) took recharging our batteries as seriously as the other things in our lives, we might not “have it all” but at least we’d be happier along the way.