You Can’t Do It All, And That’s Okay
When I graduated college, I really believed that I was on the path to a huge career. Early on in our marriage, Lee and I sat down and wrote out a list of 100 dreams – because those are things you do when you’re young and married and feel certain that the world is yours for the taking.
My list included such items as:
“Backpack across Europe with Lee” (should’ve taken care of that one before kids came along…)
“Go on an Alaskan Cruise” (should’ve done that when we had income to spare, and practically no bills, and no kids…)
“Own a boat” (we’ve learned it’s much better to be friends with people who own boats…)
“Have 4 kids” (hey look! dreams do come true!)
There were also a lot of ridiculous things on the list – things like, “Be in a commercial, live in the Bahamas for a year, and own an island.” You know, like I actually wanted to buy an island.
It’s actually really hard to come up with 100 dreams if you think about it, and for good reason.
This life is so much more than simply living out our wildest dreams. That’s not to say I’m against dreaming. But when you set a task for yourself to write down 100 dreams?
You’re bound to let yourself down.
My career dreams were even more ambitious than my life dreams. I wanted to write and publish ten books and be on the New York Times Bestseller List before age 30 (again, I may have wanted to edit this list when kids started showing up at age 25).
I was going to do all this with my perfect, angelic children by my side. And somehow my life would be spotless and easy throughout the process.
In short, I believed the biggest lie sold to women of my generation – the lie that said we could do, and have, it all.
I watched this video today, and I found myself nodding so ferociously that I thought I would get whiplash. It’s time more women stood up and acknowledged that having it all is just a myth.
I loved when Ally said, “You may have it all, but it will be in different season.”
Ladies – Moms – Life is messy beautiful. Motherhood is messy beautiful. Careers are messy beautiful. Marriage is messy beautiful. But you know what? Dreams are simply beautiful.
When we dream, we don’t see the messy. We only see the beautiful. And then the messy shows up, and the dream gets muddy, and we miss the beauty, and we wonder why it’s so hard to do all the things we dream of doing.
That’s because we can’t do it all – not all at the same time.
Everything we do – every choice we make – will require sacrifice. Motherhood will require a sacrifice of time, of brain power, of focus, of sanity. In the early seasons of motherhood, that sacrifice will be huge. But as your children grow, the sacrifice lessens to a degree, leaving space for new experiences.
Chasing a career will require sacrifice. It will require a sacrifice of time, of brain power, of the freedom to get up and go. And if you’re pursuing a career with young children at home, that sacrifice will be greater for a time. But as your children grow, the sacrifice lessens to a degree.
Do you see a pattern?
We can’t have it all at once, ladies. And if someone tries to convince you that you can, you should kick her in the shins and flee.
Make no mistake, that woman you’re watching – the one that you think has it all and balances it so perfectly – is making a sacrifice. She is sacrificing something, and that’s okay. We can’t judge one another, because we’re all doing it. We’re all sacrificing in some area of life so that we can provide in another area of life.
That’s what makes womanhood, motherhood, life in general, so beautiful. And so very messy.
So can you have it all? No, you simply can’t. Not all at the same time. But string the years together and walk faithfully toward the things set before you in each moment, and you just might be surprised when you get to the end and look back and see that you had a great many things.