You Cannot Have it All.

And do you want it all? Is that actually the question we should be asking ourselves? All is a lot. How about some, a bit, my bit, the bit I already have; but all?

In my 20s, I followed the popular notion (probably from Sex and the City) that you could not have all three of the key success indicators at the same time: the relationship, the apartment, the job. I used this as my barometer and usually felt like 2 out of 3 meant I was doing pretty well and I didn’t worry about it all that much. I didn’t think I could have it all, the cosmos and the NYC housing and dating markets pretty much determined that, so I went with it.

Enter the age of Pinterest. Where all the people, especially all the women, seem to not only HAVE it all (beautifully decorated nurseries with cribs made from reclaimed barn doors and bento box lunches with 4 varieties of kale) but be able to DO it all. And not one to let a competition go (it IS after all a competition, right?) I dove in head first, especially when my littles were teeny. Birthday parties, crafts, organic lunches, gardening, writing, performing, working, running, weekend excursions, mom’s groups… the list went on. Oh, and I didn’t forget to take pictures of it ALL, so ALL the people knew I had it ALL and can do it ALL. Holy shit was I exhausted.

Enter last week, when I posted this quote on my Facebook group:

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Y’all, you had some FEELINGS about this one! Whoa. And it struck me that I might need to take inventory– cause if I am appearing to be someone who has it all and can do it all, but on the inside am dying 400 tiny deaths a day because I am just so fucking tired and my schtick is truth telling maybe I had a little, ahem, self truth-evaluating to do. Last week alone I: PTA’d, worked full time, took a voice lesson, attended an all morning United Way program review meeting, got published on for the first time, did more kid care than usual cause their Dad had to swap, had strep throat, hung out with my boo (oh hey Nurse Jackie marathon), went to church, volunteered at church group, coached running– and the usual weekly life stuff with kids, a home and pets. That is a WHOLE LOT. And I find JOY in all of it (except the strep part, ick). I am a joy-filled person who just cannot fucking say no to anything or anyone.

People often ask me, how do you do it all? The answer is: coffee, not a lot of sleep, and a small prayer each morning that we’ll make it through it one piece. I really think it’s time to prioritize and the reason that quote struck me so hard is that I immediately said: my heart, my people and my health. Boom. Done. There’s my list. Remember when I went on and on about self-care? Um, yes, those were lovely words. Lovely words that this girl needs to take to heart.

I have to break it to you friends- you cannot have it all. You really, actually cannot. Having it all means a few things: valuing stuff and image over you/your people. Running around til you break down into tiny pieces. Never saying no. Never putting you first. Not a whole lot of self care. I just don’t believe that we were meant to do, be or have it all. I think we are meant to be mostly good, mostly together and mostly well. We are meant to feel our humanity and do good acts for others. Attempting to have it all is really getting us into trouble, or at the very least, stretching us so thin that we’re missing all the actual awesome stuff.

I challenge you to celebrate today by saying no. By drawing a boundary around yourself, your time and your capabilities. In the home, at work, at play. Do you, and do you well.

Just. Say. No.


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