Ugh, the stress of it! Of trying to "have it all"!
"Maybe you can't have it all, all of the time," some wise friends have said to me. "Maybe you need to take the long view."
Sure. That works. If you're totally patient and Zen. Which I am not.
The reality is, I want it all, RIGHT NOW. I want the time and space to...
- Build my career as a writer and performer
- Be a present, playful and loving mother
- Cultivate my romance with (and hang out with) my husband
- Give back to the world, through my business and otherwise
- Practice yoga
- Nurture relationships with friends and family
...and I want the time and space to do nothing at all. I need that.
My list might be different than yours, but one thing I've found from publishing my book last year is that the theme of finding balance resonates with people in a powerful way. The book is primarily about integrating motherhood into your identity without having it overwhelm said identity -- but I've had fathers, and women without children, reach out to me to say, "The theme of finding balance really hit home."
I think a lot of women in particular assume that there is an attainable ideal, when it comes to finding balance and "having it all," and that they just can't quite reach it -- in other words, that the problem is with them. That's the idea behind my Tumblr blog, Having a Ball Having it All, which I haven't mentioned here in a while. It seeks to bring out into the sunlight the myths and expectations behind the loaded desire to "have it all." To poke fun at the impossible standards to which we hold ourselves, and to share any genuine wisdom that might ease the burden we place upon ourselves -- but to do so in a playful way (there's that word again...), a spirited way... hence the "Having a Ball" part of the name.
My hope isn't to deflate the importance of balance, but to help us all (myself very much included) be more playful in our pursuit of it -- to laugh at ourselves, and at the messages society sends us about what is or isn't easy or possible. With that in mind, this year I'm trying something new. I'm having the character I invented for the stage, Melody Bell -- the "perfect" woman, who's friends with Oprah and makes homemade organic jam for the homeless -- serve as "guest editor" for 2014. She posts daily updates on her perfect life, along with tips on everything from stopping nosebleeds to spicing up your sex life. I've been getting some great feedback, and can only hope this leads to a book deal (seriously -- Tumblr blogs all result in book deals, right?).
But seriously: I hope you'll check it (and her - Melody) out, and have some fun with it. And I hope we can all give ourselves the gift of having more fun with our pursuit of having it all. After all, as the wise gurus Ben and Jerry once asked on a bumper sticker, "If it's not fun - why do it?" In other words: Let's enjoy the journey, because we may never reach the destination.