You can’t have it all.
Yes, you read that right. We women can’t have it all.
The guest said that if we want peace and harmony in our lives, we’ve got to accept that there’s no possible way to do everything.
When I heard this, all I could think was:
Wait … WHAT?
A child of the ’70s, I was raised on the idea that I could have it all. Not just men, but women could do ANYTHING they set their hearts and minds to.
(Yes, even math-challenged girls like me had an entire smorsgasbord of things from which to choose. My teachers promised it.)
There would be a white picket fence and the square-chinned hunk with a mop of wavy hair that Uncle Walt all but promised; 2.5 kids and a dog.
I heard all the Channel 2 News reports night after night in our living room about how women were going to bust through the glass ceiling. (Clad in my bell bottoms and wide-collared polyester blouses, I WAS the remote control for these viewing moments, albeit for a handful of channels)
Later, in the late 1980s, I saw that I could be the Melanie Griffith character from “Working Girl,” leaving the steno pool behind for the corner office where I would kick ass and take names despite the ridiculousness of those then-fashionable blouses with the floppy bows at the neck.
And if I was unfortunate enough to rock the perm Melanie had at the beginning of that flick, why I could tell two friends who would tell two friends and before long I’d have had sleek, silky ‘do that would fly in the wind while I pushed my kids on the swing
I was promised the bacon. And the pan.
All I had to do was work for it. Keep my nose clean. Study hard. Smile pretty. Make my deadlines. Dust the furniture. Put healthy meals on the table and straighten up afterward. Scour the floors, wash the clothes and make sure everyone got their birthday cards on time.
And that’s what I’ve tried to do all these years.
But apparently, I can’t have it all. Not if I want to maintain my sanity and sense of humor.
So what do I sacrifice? It’s not like I can ditch the family.
And heaven knows we like to eat. In a kitchen that has a roof. So nixing the job is out.
Do I stop expressing myself with words? Retire the recipes? The crochet hook?
How do I think about giving up teaching Jazzercise, when it gives so many other people joy?
Basil says life gives you no promises, that it is what it is, so suck it up.
It’s a vicious cycle: If I can’t have it all, how am I supposed enjoy any of it? And if I’m striving to have it all, how am I supposed to enjoy any of it?