Nurse. Teacher. Friend. Professional. Sister. Daughter. Judge and jury. Cruise director. Housekeeper. Cook. Policewoman. Accountant. Interior decorator. Party planner. Veterinarian. Travel agent. Wife. Sex symbol. Bank machine. Commuter. Businesswoman. Blogger. Tailor. Laundromat. Organizer. Secretary. Mediator. Psychologist. Dictionary. Hairdresser. Doctor. Career woman. Student. Moral compass. Landscaper. Dietitian. Mom.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about who I really am. Maybe it’s because it is the most depressing time of the year, or maybe I’m having an early mid-life crisis, but either way I can’t stop thinking about ME. As in, what makes me happy? What am I good at? Can I really have it all? And if so, what does that even mean? I’m not just talking about a career, either. But life in general. What is the f**ing point of it all?
I’ll spare you the philosophizing. Suffice it to say that I have had some pretty deep thoughts running through my head recently (thankfully, I have watched enough episodes of the Real Housewives this week to balance out all that cerebral activity). And I know I am not alone. Fellow mommy bloggers and friends Not the Only Mama and Average Working Mom both posted recently about similar topics. While one mom asked herself if she’d ever feel on top of her game, and in control of her life again, the other wondered if she should be more career-oriented and focused on her job. But I think the thing that they were both really asking was the same thing that has been bothering me: am I doing enough?
Why do we beat ourselves up over that question? Why do we feel that we have to be everything to everyone? And to make matters worse, why, while we are carefully juggling about a thousand different labels —from cook, to career woman, to wife, to mother— do we stop and think, “shouldn’t I be doing MORE, or doing it BETTER, or making it more MEANINGFUL?” Why can’t we just accept that this life, right now, is the best life there is?
Maybe it is the curse of our generation. We were raised to believe that we could do anything we wanted; we had options like never before. We didn’t have to stay home and raise our children; we could have an education, high-powered careers, a husband that was also a hands-on dad. As fabulous as that all is, it is also incredibly unsatisfying. Because I never really feel like I am fully committed to one thing. Instead, I split myself into teeny, tiny pieces (one for my company, one for my husband, one for my family, one for my kids, one for my friends…) in an attempt to “have it all”. Only the more I think about it, the more I realize that “having it all” might actually be an unachievable myth.
I’d like to say that I am going to let it all go, and decide to live in the moment and never wonder if what I am doing is enough. But, I don’t think that is realistic. I may never feel totally satisfied about where I am in my life, and I might always wonder if I could do more. But, at least I know that I am not alone, and that there are moms just like me out there having the very same thoughts every day.
So this one goes out to you, fellow philosophical, overachieving moms. You might think too much, and you’re certainly all a little nuts. But you’re also all awesome and absolutely perfect, just the way you are.
So go open a bottle of wine and turn on some reality TV. The laundry will still be there tomorrow.