My son is 20 years old. Now, instead of having to look after him 24/7 it seems as though I spend a fair deal of time reminding him I even exist! When he was born, I decided to totally dedicate his first 16 years to teaching him as many life lessons as possible. That was the small window I saw us having together before he left my influence – physically as well as mentally. It was definitely a challenge.
There were many days I wanted to give up, to lay my tired body down and shout to the world: “look, enough is enough; the universe has shown me why some parents in the wild want to (and do) eat their young.”
But in all seriousiness, one of the biggest adjustments was the rearrangement of my time, both personally and professionally. There were lots of things I had to put on hold especially in the early years: parties, going to the gym, studying, working too late, going in too early. I’ve shared about being a parent here and here and here; the sacrificial list can and did seem so endlessly endless.
Yet through it all one thing was clear and I learnt that women technically cannot truly have it all … at least not without more than a little help. For the majority of us, something has to give. Choices have to be made as we juggle balls between work, home, children, spouses, church, charity, self. A ball or two will dare drop ever so often but I believe we can be reasonably happy in our lives if we know
- what we truly want
- how we plan to get what we want
- when we will get what we want
- what we will give up to get what we want
- who is going to help us get what we want
Life my friend is about trade-offs and being in denial does not help. You may not want to make a trade but there are times when life gives you no other choice. My advice to a younger me would be to make a decision on not only what I want but on what I am willing to sacrifice to get what I want i.e. is the trade worth it or not? I would also be forced to include a caveat to bear in mind that total commitment to a career (whether as an employee or entrepreneur) vs. a family means one or the other may have to suffer (for lack of a better way of describing it). Hopefully the younger me would listen to the older me to avoid the years of soul searching, frustration and disappointment especially when things didn’t go according to plan.
What I’m trying to say here may not be clear enough but thanks to this article “Raising Children: The Sacrifices and Rewards and then this interview by Oprah Winfrey featuring Shonda Rhimes am hoping you will have a little more clarity. I am a great admirer of Shonda; she is such a brilliant and talented writer! What’s most exciting about her is that she is a talented trail blazing black woman with children who is serious and intent on making her dreams happen – on her terms.
My wish is that women all around the world will continue to rock on and be awesome, especially those with children and demanding yet exciting fulfilling careers 🙂
♥ ♥ ♥