Ages ago, while I was climbing the corporate ladder, I remember hearing a heap of news articles on the radio, the telly and in conversation everywhere – all about how women had to choose between having a career or a having a family. Like, everyone was saying it. It was everywhere. And I thought ‘oh, what a shame’ and went on my merry ignorant way.
And then I decided I wanted kids. Oh dear. What was a girl to do?
Ok, ok, I’ll spare you the details. But three years later, I have two beautiful children, a successful business, a busy social life, a FIFO husband, some neglected hobbies and I’m tired. Tired and deliriously happy.
Now I’m not all about cramming everything in to your life just to feel accomplished or satisfied or to prove a point or to show off or even to ‘stick it to the man’. I’m about working out what REALLY matters to you. And being ok with whatever that is. And going after it. Going after it ALL.
I’ve been so lucky that my employers were supportive and gorgeously generous and fair about factors like pregnancy appointments, maternity leave, return from maternity leave and flexible working arrangements when I went back in between kids. And I know that, although it’s all in legislation somewhere or another, what happens in real life isn’t always sunshine and roses. And that gets me pretty cranky.
I also get a bit ranty when it comes to women being able to have their cake and eat it too – that is, have a family and a fulfilling career, a great relationship, a home and friends and – dare I say it – “Me Time”. I just don’t think we have to choose one. Or two. Or three. We can have it all. Yep, there’ll be compromise – but not sacrifice. There’ll be change – but not devastation. There’ll be ups and there will be downs. But there will be love. And balance. And beauty.
Don’t get me wrong... I’m not saying that I have found the perfect balance, teetering between all of these uber-important compass points in my life – not even close. But I do think there are easier ways of doing things – and doing everything – than sometimes we make out. If you wish you didn’t have to do it all alone – ask for help (or actually accept one of those offers people are always making – you know the ones). Cut back on the crap and dial up all the brightness. Spend more time on the things you LOVE and less on the things that drain you. Moxie the hell out your life.
How do I Moxie? I’m learning to do just two things.
1. Learning to say no. A recovering ‘Yes Girl’, I’ve grown up saying yes to everything and everyone (not like that, but, you know). I hate to disappoint people and I love to impress them. I’m on strong medication for my FOMO Syndrome (that’s Fear Of Missing Out) and I’m getting better every day. My new mantra: ‘If I say yes to this, what am I saying no to? And if I say no to this, what am I saying yes to?’
2. Letting go of the guilt. I’m not super woman. I am woman. I know these terms are practically synonymous, but still. If I don’t send that email, the world won’t explode. If I don’t scrape that spaghetti off the ceiling fan (don’t even ask me how it got there), the roof will not cave in. If I leave my hair unwashed and in a ‘messy bun’ (read: uniform of mothers) I won’t get scabies and be shunned by my peers. It’s TOTALLY ok to be wherever I am, whenever I am.
So that’s me on my soapbox. Ladies, you are smart and sassy and strong. So get amongst it. Find things you love. Do them. Then do them again. Meet new people. Have kids if you want to. And work. Journal. And knit. Start your business. Get a babysitter. Go on a mini-break. Listen to podcasts. Learn a new language. Connect. Love.
Have your cake. And yeah – eat it too.