As a modern aged mum we’re educated to believe we can do it all. That we can juggle the housework, the job, the study, the family commitments, the friend commitments and our relationships. We’re supposed to get a solid seven hours sleep each night, and bounce out of bed ready to face a new day filled with peak hour traffic, sibling rivalry and employee and employer expectations with a smile on our face because after all – this is what women before us have fought for. The right to work. The right to vote. The right to have it all.
Confession. I don’t want it all. I am waving a giant white flag above my head and declaring to you all that not only do I not want it all, but I can’t do it all.
In my day there are twenty four hours. How you use those hours counts – nobody gets to do their day again, nobody gets to rewind time and save a few hours, or fix a few hours.
I don’t want a life of luxury. I don’t want to be rich, sitting in my glass house judging the people around me. I want to feel satisfied with my life, love my kids and have sex with my husband on a regular basis. Occasionally I’d like the house to be clean and I’d like to feel challenged in my job.
Watching my full of attitude five year old run down that lane this morning, with the wind in her hair and a grin on her face as she came in second last I had an epiphany. If having it all means I have to spread myself thin, across the things that really matter? I don’t want it all. I want to sit, and watch Lucy and her friends race. I want to watch them high jump over that bar and throw that shot put. When she finishes the relay with a grin on her face and no idea where the relay baton is because she dropped it at the start line I want to be the one there, laughing with her and cheering her on.
If that means other things have to wait, that I can’t take on more responsibility at work, that an assignment gets submitted late or that sometimes Matt comes home to an empty house full of mess from the mornings clutter while we’re at the park then so be it. I don’t want to be so many things to so many people that I’m not whole enough for my kids, or my husband.
The women who have come before us did incredible things in raising women’s profiles, in making it ok for women to dream, to work, to exceed expectations. And just as we learned things from then, the next generation will learn from us. I don’t want my daughter to see me as a mother who only had time off when she was sick, a mother who only came to events that fell on her rostered day off, or a mother who only stays for half an event because she has things to do. Of course I want her to understand that the world doesn’t stop, because she has a race to run but I want thing things that are important to her, to be important to me too. I want Lucy to learn from me that as long as you try your hardest, as long as you run the race the best you know how and as long as your priority is your family – everything will be just fine.
I don’t need to ‘have it all’. With this family, in this life, I am wealthy.