Redefining Having it All

Hi friends! It has been a hot minute since my last post, hasn’t it? Life sure has this sneaky way of sidetracking even the best-laid plans. You can set out with the best intentions, ready to conquer the world, and then bam! Life throws you a curveball, or two, or ten.

But you know what? I’m learning that that’s ok. It’s more than okay, actually. It’s the unfiltered and authentic reality of life.

We live in a society that glorifies the idea of doing it all, especially for women. From glossy magazine covers to social media influencers, the message is clear: you can have the thriving career, the perfect family, and the flawless home. It’s the modern woman’s mantra, the elusive promise of balance and fulfillment in every aspect of life. At any cost (read every cost) you can have it all.

It’s tempting to believe that we can indeed have it all, that we deserve it all, and that with enough determination and multitasking prowess, we can somehow juggle all the balls without dropping a single one.

As a professional and a mom, I’ve been down that road of doing it all, dropping all the balls and being a chaotic disaster, one saltwater taffy away from a meltdown. I’ve felt the pull of those expectations, the pressure to excel in every role I play — as a professional, a mother, a wife, a homemaker, a volunteer, a board chair, a daughter, (I think you get the idea…).

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned on this journey, it’s that trying to have it all often comes at a price. You will be sacrificing something along the way. It’s a harsh truth that many of us confront at some point in our lives, even if we’re determined not to and it’s usually when the demands of our various roles reach a breaking point.
The pursuit of “having it all” can be a relentless and unforgiving taskmaster. It’s a never-ending cycle of striving for perfection, of trying to meet impossible standards, whether they’re set by society, or by ourselves. We push ourselves to the limit, burning the candle at both ends, all in the name of achieving some elusive ideal of success and fulfillment.

The reality we face is far messier than the polished images and inspiring quotes we encounter. Behind those scenes lie the sacrifices we make, the compromises we negotiate, and the silent battles we fight. For every victory, there are countless moments of doubt, exhaustion, and feeling inadequate.

Let me share a personal story with you. Ever since I was young, my dreams revolved around becoming a professional powerhouse, and there’s nothing wrong with that aspiration! In my upbringing, my dad worked while my mom stayed home, and I became attached to certain ideals that came with that dynamic. I envisioned myself deeply immersed in the business world, working to make a difference, yet also being able to come home by 5 o’clock, with a gourmet meal (that I cooked) on the table by 6, surrounded by my husband and 2.5 kiddos in a perfectly clean house.

That’s not reality! At least it’s not mine.

After I got married and we welcomed our oldest, I was determined to stay home with him. Being present for his early years and sharing in every milestone was incredibly important to me. I found myself surrounded by a circle of amazing friends who were all stay-at-home moms, attending mom groups and seemingly living our best lives. However, I often felt displaced, like a square peg in a round hole.

The idea of working versus staying at home became even more complex when one of our children was diagnosed with special needs and then, after years of infertility struggles, we were blessed with our second child, truly a miracle baby. While I felt a strong calling to work and make a difference in the world around me, I found myself hesitating. I questioned whether working was selfish, if I was neglecting my parental duties, and if pursuing a career when it wasn’t a financial necessity compromised my values.

Ultimately, I decided that I could have it all. I would be super organized and work and mom and be a wife and a homemaker all at 150%. And while I was committed to staying awake 24 hours a day to make that a reality, I continued to struggle with these doubts.

My determination to “have it all” became a precarious balancing act. I was entrenched in a relentless cycle of exhaustion, where the pursuit of perfection overshadowed moments of joy and presence. The relentless drive to “have it all” left me feeling drained, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I was curating the moments instead of living them, whether it was at home or at work. The need to succeed perfectly consumed me — not so that it looked perfect to anyone else, but so that I could prove to myself that I could do it all, and that I was doing it all to my impossibly high standards.
I unintentionally lost sight of what truly mattered: being present for my family, cherishing the simple moments, and finding joy in the journey, imperfections and all.

And so here’s the real deal. Having it all, doing it all, in the way that it’s currently portrayed by society is a false narrative and it’s there to sell you on an ideology that is unattainable.

But if you can deconstruct having it all and redefine what it means to you so that it aligns with your priorities and who you want to be, in this moment and in the legacy you leave – now that’s something we can have a conversation about.

People always say they don’t have time to do things, but the reality is, you’ll make time for what matters.

For me, caught in this exhausting and impossible cycle as a woman of faith, I pressed into the Bible. It’s actually filled with stories of those who grappled with similar challenges and questions. Take Martha, for example, who was so consumed with serving and meeting the expectations of others that she became anxious and burdened, while her sister Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus, listening and learning while there was optically so much work to do! (Luke 10:38-42).

Martha’s story points out the danger of being consumed by busyness and the pursuit of perfection, at the expense of what truly matters — our relationship with God and with others. It’s a cautionary tale that speaks to the need for balance and prioritization in our lives.

Or let’s talk about the Proverbs 31 woman. These verses offer insight into the complexities of balancing work, family, and personal fulfillment. She is described as a woman of noble character, who works diligently to care for her family and household, while also engaging in business and serving her community (Proverbs 31:10-31).

Yet, even in her industriousness, she understands the importance of rest and renewal, of taking time to care for herself and nurture her relationships. To make time for what matters most. She finds strength and wisdom in her faith, recognizing that true fulfillment comes from aligning her life with God’s purposes and priorities.

I understand that not everyone may resonate with these examples. However, I firmly believe that regardless of one’s personal faith, as modern-day women, we can glean inspiration from these biblical stories. They teach us that the pursuit of “having it all” isn’t about meeting external standards of success; rather, it’s about living intentionally and purposefully. It’s about striving for balance, prioritizing what truly matters, and discovering joy and fulfillment amid life’s complexities and challenges.

Wherever you’re at today (myself included) it’s okay to press pause. It’s ok to just be. It’s okay to reassess your priorities, to reprioritize what truly matters in life. And it’s ok to say no to opportunities that don’t align with your values, that don’t serve your long-term goals, even when everyone else thinks you’ve gone bonkers. Your call in life is not subject to the approval of others!

So while I didn’t intend Tulip Harbour to have such an intermittent start, it’s actually just as it needed to be, because life isn’t scheduled and, that too, is ok. This space will always be grounded in authenticity. We’re going to keep it real around here. For too long, I’ve chased a self-imposed standard of perfection, which often kept me from fully embracing the present moments. I’m not doing that anymore, and if you’re over it too, come hang out at the Harbour!

My commitment to you is to post and interact regularly, fostering a community built on honesty and transparency. Life will continue to be unpredictable, and there may be times when I need to pause. Rest assured, I will plan better for these pauses, but they will be pauses, and not stops, and we’ll carry on together.

Let’s agree, here and now: we’ll be truthful in this space, always striving to do our best, but we’ll be okay(ish) if (when) things don’t go as planned. This corner of the internet will be a harbour, filled with the grace needed to truly be at rest amidst the chaos (and the beauty) of life.

So, if you’re looking to slow down, savor authentic moments, find solace in genuine connection, and give yourself a bit of a break, you’ve found your harbour. Welcome aboard, and feel free to stay as long as you like!

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