You Can Have it All...

You can have it all.

You just can't have it all, all the time.

Long before I became a mom, I was investigating what exactly motherhood would do to my full and fast-paced life. I ravenously observed moms (especially working moms), asked intrusive questions, and engaged in lots of discussion from women who's lives I admired. As I soaked in wisdom, mistakes, lessons learned, and whatnot from these amazing women, Brian and I had a bajillion conversations about what our life would look like when we had kids. 

Perhaps the best phrase that was given to me in those early days was from friend/mentor/ministry partner, Kara Powell. Over lunch she dropped this apropos bomb: "I firmly believe you can have it all. You just can't have it all, all the time." She went on to share quite honestly and vulnerably with me about her highs and lows of being a working mom. She shared about the necessary sacrifices of being a working mom. She shared about calling and passion and stewardship of gifts. She shared her heart with me and it resonated in my own.

Her story resonated with me on a deep level and since becoming a mom nearly 2 years ago, I can affirm the weighty truth of her statement. Basically, I can only do two things in my life these days: work and family. To me, that's my "ALL" these days. Allow me to elaborate.

I do not make fancy dinners 5 nights a week. I do not workout, like EVER. I don't do crafts with my kids. I don't go out with girlfriends every week. My house gets cleaned, oh, about every 2-3 weeks. Dishes are regularly found in my sink. I shop online because getting to physical stores is about impossible. I have several returns in the trunk of my car from the few times I have made it into a real store. I do not bake. My kids are bathed every 2-3 days (way less often for poor Baby #3). Day 3 and 4 hair is all too common (as are ponytails). I got my hair cut last week for the first time in 5+ months. I return voice mails at an embarrassingly slow rate. I have a dozen undone home projects that taunt me. 

But I think I'm a darn good mother (and wife...hopefully the hubby agrees) and employee. Those two things are quite literally the only things I have time for. Still, quite honestly there are some days when I'm an amazing mom and a crappy employee, then other days when I'm a shabby mom and incredible employee. "Balance" is an illusion and I do not pursue it. "Perfection" is the worst curse word. Yet at the end of a given week (or month) I can proudly look back and say "I have it all - three healthy and thriving children and a fulfilling, high capacity job." 

If we live in the same zip code, I could take you out to coffee (during naps, of course) and share all my secrets and sins of "how" this works in a our chaotic family of 5, but for now I want to join the women who've gone before me and exclaim, YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL. But it'll cost you some things and you'll have to be darn smart in discerning what "all" means for you because being a mom will illuminate your limits and highlight your competencies more than anything else.

Here's to women! I'm certain we could rule the world. XOXO


PS. For another perspective on this long-standing conversation, this manifesto from a high powered working mom is haunting, truthful, and challenging. I'd very much encourage you to read it.