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AIBU to think that I CAN have it all?

(224 Posts)
TransatlanticCityGirl Wed 21-Sep-11 22:27:30

I was watching The Wright Stuff Extra the other day and once again, the whole "it's just not possible to have it all" topic came up again. Oh Lord....

This debate often leads me to wonder:

Just what exactly do these women define as "having it all"? Have they set their standards to an impossibly high level? And then and only then will they be happy?

How come men never worry about "having it all"? Do they think they already have it? Do they not want it? Or simply that would they rather just watch telly rather than think about it?

I personally think I CAN have it all, and while it may not be a walk in the park, it is not impossible and it doesn't even take an exceptional kind of woman to achieve it either. And in much the same way as money earned is far more rewarding that money won, achieving a happy well-rounded life will be far more rewarding that taking an easier route, e.g. sacrificing either my career or the family I want.

I believe that I can and will have it all. And in fact, I believe I already have it (although I do plan on taking it to the next level when I am ready). There is nothing more at this particular point in my life that I would want. I have an amazing husband, a daughter who brings me joy, a successful career, a lovely home, financial security, good friends and a recipe for the bestest cupcakes ever.

So what's the big deal? Why am I always hearing other women on TV complaining that you just can't have it all?

Kayano Wed 21-Sep-11 22:28:55

I don't want it all, I just want time and relaxation lol

mumblechum1 Wed 21-Sep-11 22:32:57

I think some people just like a good moan tbh, someone on the feminist section the other day was saying that being a woman is so unutterably tough, bla bla bla, and last night I met a mum at a school social and she was saying how hard life is, how she never gets time to have any fun and I just didn't recognise it even though our lives are very similar (pt work, one son in 6th form etc). I and my mate were going after that meeting to go to Zizzis and get pissed and have a laugh, and I have a lot of that in my life!

I think a lot of it is perception and whether you're a naturally positive person or not.

DecapitatedLegoman Wed 21-Sep-11 22:36:15

Because a lot of women have got to work, not through choice, and so they can't have it all, can they? Because "having it all" means different things to different people. "Having it all" usually means a fulfilling career, as much time with your kids as you and they want, and financial security. It is really rare for someone to have a situation whereby that's possible.

So, basically, count yourself lucky and STFU. smile

CubiksRube Wed 21-Sep-11 22:39:12

Of course you can have it all!

I agree with you OP, that it doesn't take an exceptional woman to achieve it.

When DS was 6 months I went back to work, DP does half the childcare (of course) and both DP and I are progressing in our careers, seeing our friends, caring for our child and have financial security too. It just took some determination, and knowing what my specific priorities were.

I do hate cupcakes though ...

noblegiraffe Wed 21-Sep-11 22:40:23

I thought I had it all till I heard you have a cupcake recipe envy

PonceyMcPonce Wed 21-Sep-11 22:40:58

All what?

At the same time?

Surely what everyone wants out of life is so subjective, the phrase does not mean anything.

CubiksRube Wed 21-Sep-11 22:42:09

Why bother with a recipe when you can buy one?

Hummingbird Bakery. One hit of disgusting sugary sweetness, yours for just $10.

Ok, so £10 is an exagerration, but not by that much ...

StillSquiffy Wed 21-Sep-11 22:42:50

You will understand the big deal when you have a second child. I have held down a great career and have worked for some amazing companies, all over the world. For the last 2 years however I have been working in the diversity space and have seen time and time again that, almost without exception, the women trip up within two years of their second child arriving, or when they go through a divorce. You absolutely can have it all when you are committed, have an equally committed partner, and only have one child. HTH.

Your point about the way men think differently than women is a good one, though. I never see men ripping each other to shreds over parenting skills and I think the approach to raising kids is far more 'laissez-faire' than you get with women. We have something to learn from them (though I guess the price they pay is a feeling of financial responsibility that makes them perhaps concentrate all their competitiveness in the workplace)

LEMONAIDE Wed 21-Sep-11 22:44:20

You can have it all but you wont have the time to enjoy any of rather have less in the bank and be able to say that I did at least one thing brilliantly.

Minshu Wed 21-Sep-11 22:45:17

Once you have kids, it's harder to find the time to invest in career progression without sacrificing family time. Some people have impossibly high standards (I'm happy 'cos I don't really care that I don't have enough time to iron or mop the floor as often as I "should" not just cos I'm on MN). My life would be a lot harder if I didn't have such a supportive DP.

But a lot of people are in tighter financial situations, relying on jobs which just cover childcare and the basics with no holidays. Especially single parents with no nearby family support - my Mum brought us up in those circumstances and I really don't know how she did it sad

WilsonFrickett Wed 21-Sep-11 22:46:04

Can you have it all? Honestly I think that depends on what 'it all' is, plus a large slice of luck.

I think I have a great life. But my DS has SN, my husband travels a lot, so when school was approaching and I was offered redundancy it made sense to step back from my career a bit. Now I freelance P/T from home, am always there for school pick ups and can manage the fact that DH was away overnight Tuesday night, tonight, and will be away from Mon - Sat tea time next week. I genuinely couldn't have managed that, and school, doing the job I used to do, even the p/t version of it.

But I do think I have it all. Although I hate cupcakes - all topping and no substance grin

WilsonFrickett Wed 21-Sep-11 22:47:45

I just read that back and would like to apologies unreservedly for the smuggy smuggerson tone that crept in. Am tired. Because freelancing also means working till 1030 once DS has gone to sleep...

aurynne Wed 21-Sep-11 22:53:54

The problem is, the ones who seem to "have it all" in the movies end up having nothing. Who wants the lives of women who "have it all" by screwing up their whole lives? They all end up stressed as hell and not making a good job in any area of their lives.

I agree that "having it all" means different things for every woman (and man). I, for example", "have it all", all that I wanted: A career I love and I am good at, the chance to travel and live in different countries, no children, a fantastic partner, a great house we just finished paying, a family that loves me unconditionally... I couldn't be happier. However, just the "no children" part of it would mean misery to some other women, as that is not their choice in life.

Children, a high-flying job and a life of luxury would be hell to me, hence the "having it all" that you usually see portrayed in TV does not work for me.

Iamjustthemilkmachine Wed 21-Sep-11 23:01:24

Can you pm me the recipe? I have terrible luck with cupcakes.

antsypants Wed 21-Sep-11 23:01:24

Absolutely agree with the idea of having it all being subjective, I would have it all if I was able to provide a financially stable life and future for my daughter, and she grew up to feel she had been loved, nurtured and secure, but since all of those things are fluid and subject to circumstance, I don't feel it is ever possible for me to feel I will ever have it all, I shall always be chasing it, nothing is static.

LEMONAIDE Wed 21-Sep-11 23:04:23

Actually Wilson it didnt sound smug, it sounded like bloody hard work grin I guess I would have tried harder to "have it all" if they work part of it had been lucrative/enjoyable.

I knew I wanted a 2nd child, had no family support and childcare would cancel out my earnings - luckily having made that decision I now have 2 non sporty children who would rather eat wasps than be stuck in sports clubs like their mates over the holidays so I made the right decision.

I dont have the career that other women seem to think I should have to make me an interesting person but hey im happy so I can live without the approval...I have all I want (although winning the lottery would be nice)

littleducks Wed 21-Sep-11 23:23:53

I am not sure you can have it all, not all at the same time and for a sustained period of time.

So I would exercise extreme caution befroe declaring that you have it all and your life is great, whilst I wouldn't wish it on you, things do have a habit of collapsing when you tempt fate.

To me life seems to be a series of compromises and balancing acts....not always as negative as it sounds.

I had children young so avoided the 'infertility timebomb' issue, but this means that my career is still a work in progress rather than established, however I got to spent 4 years at home full time the downside to this being that I am not now earning ££££, we dont own a big, fancy house or anything like that.

For 20 weeks of the year my life is very stressfull, commuting into Central London then completing a school/nursery run that really takes double the time allowed, my kids probably do miss out on one -one attention a bit, I do serve up tinned soup and fish fingers more often than I would like to admit to.

Equally I then have 32 weeks of the year to dedicate to being at home, to ferrying the kids about, volunteering to help at their various commitments,to baking...

So I reckon it just depends on how you look at it and if you a glass half full or half empty person!

WilsonFrickett Thu 22-Sep-11 00:13:22

Cheers Lemon your DCs sound like my kinda kids as well grin. As someone said upthread, it's the second one that makes the balance tougher, childcare costs for 2 would never have been feasible on my previous income either. I did struggle for a bit when I left work, bit of an identity crisis I guess. But that's the point of having choices, there's an adjustment, there's always a compromise that has to be made but we still have choices - and that to me is having it all.

kelly2000 Thu 22-Sep-11 02:34:34

You can have it all - just do not have children with an arsehole who thinks childcare is the female's job. I would never dream of assuming all the childcare will be my responsibility and I will have to fit my work around children whilst DH sails happily on as if he is a single person with no children. We will both have to make comprimises. But if I wanted to live my life never having to make a comprimise then I would have stayed single, and decided not to have children.

If i drop the children up he will pick them up, if they have to go to the doctors, get sick then we will take turns in arranging our working hours. I will do not understand the focus on working mothers. As far as I am aware most men with jobs have children, the three main political party leaders in the UK all have children, relationships and jobs. Why should that be easier just because they all have a penis.
The thing is this idea of the cheery housewife is a modern one. Traditionally women have always worked, and not always nice jobs, but in victorian factories, down mines, in the fields etc. If you did not work, you and your family did not eat. Yet humanity did not collapse because these women worked did it. And those who could afford not to work also tended to hire nannies and never spend time with their children anyway, and again the world kept turning.

Parietal Thu 22-Sep-11 03:20:16

I agree - you can have it all. If you have good support & a flexible job and a bit of luck.

pinkytheshrinky Thu 22-Sep-11 05:50:31

Your post made me a bit sick in my mouth.

It was the cupcake bit that finished me off? (as well as the Sex in the City stylee or writing)

Have a smug biscuit

PonceyMcPonce Thu 22-Sep-11 06:00:24

Actually having only one child would not mean having it to me. Hence subjectivity.

PonceyMcPonce Thu 22-Sep-11 06:03:02

And some of my friends have two jobs to make ends meet. Are they having extra?

CheerfulYank Thu 22-Sep-11 06:05:27

It's subjective, as many have said.

I have a job I'm good at, but it's part time and doesn't pay well. I neither have nor want a brilliant career.

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