You probably think it's stale, the Having it All talk. You've heard it 1,000 times. The I-can-have-a-vibrant-career-and-be-a-mother-with-a-wonderful-family-too, mantra. Career and family, career and family, career and family.
There's no shortage of us fertile and feminine types waxing poetic on the ever-convincing possibility of Having it All.
I grew up claiming it as my birthright as a third wave feminist. I imagined I would catch it All, in a big-swooping, crowd-roaring Hail Mary -- my glowing resume and good night sleep trailing me somewhere far, far behind.
But we enlightened ladies, running on an empty tank, eyelids drooping with the sting of fatigue and dry contacts, have woken up to the reality that Having it All was really code for "Giving it All." Giving It All to kids and companies (not to mention husbands and household pets). Work was supposed to be about us, about bucking off our historically defined identities as people-servers (wives, mothers) and chasing our own dreams. Standing on our own two feet, in blister-ific pumps and a neat skirt suit.
But, we soon figured out, it's still not enough. We had it all, but something was missing: our selves.
I propose a new paradigm for Having it All, one that includes a daring dose of "me" -- which means "you," too. Not worker you, not mother you. Just you.
The New Have it All Trifecta: Family, career, you.
Find your inner peace, meditate, go to pilates, get that manicure, or plop down on the couch with a cup of tea and a really good novel.
This is the moment when my former self would have shaken her head and thought: Impossible! Crazy! So I know there's plenty of you out there thinking this, too. I can feel it.
But can't you see us now, sparkling with enlightenment, illuminating the treasures of insight, self-care, and love? I can hear the choir of our melodic voices -- saying, "Yes!" to that massage. Saying, "Yes!" to that Saturday afternoon movie. Saying, "Yes!" to that long-forgotten weekend away with the girls.
For so long we have been taught to feel guilty for attending to ourselves. We couldn't be so selfish, and anyways, we didn't have the time. But I'm calling for a new self-centeredness. The compassionate kind that involves turning inward to find deep wisdom. The kind that provides soulful nourishment to overextended hearts and achy bones. Alignment. Space to take a deep breath. The calm to practice even a little bit of mindfulness. Turning off autopilot and living with intention.
And if this all happens while you're getting your lip waxed or cart-wheeling in a meadow, more power to you.
Wrapped in a Bow
I admit, it's not effortless, but few good things are. It won't be easy to add another ingredient to a recipe that's already boiling over. But it's clear that we can't have anything, really, until we have ourselves. Whole, happy, healthy selves.
I'm holding this vision for the Having it All Trifecta -- career, family, self -- all wrapped up in a polka dot bow, small enough to fit in my purse but big enough to find when fishing around in there for it. I love each of the pieces, including me. Especially me.
Want more? Check out Alexis Sclamberg's website: www.alexissclamberg.com
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