The concept of having it all has been sold as the dream! Enjoy all life has to offer with the great career/own venture, nicely balanced with a supportive partner and a few kids as the perfect cherry on top. Then manage it all like a G!
The idea of having it all often leaves a feeling of failing. The sense that success is only complete when all the pieces to the puzzle are in place; “What is a great career with no one to share it with?” my aunt would often say, and then the partner comes but judging eyes point to the imperfection because a crying baby is missing in the mix (some will go as far as saying this is not enough till there are multiple offspring)…where does it stop? well it doesn’t.
The misconception here is a one size fits all approach. I often find people that “have it all” but are still miserable. Some even resent the very things we call “having it all” and derive no form of joy from it.
Ruby recently shared an article on the top 5 regrets dying people typically had, thinking about them I feel this is often the case when we live by other people’s idea of “having it all”. I am very guilty of this so I make a conscious effort to reaffirm to myself it is okay to want to have it all in my own way. It’s okay not to aspire to a managerial level because it doesn’t fit into your ideal life, it’s okay not to want marriage because for you it is more constraining than liberating, it’s okay not to want kids because you don’t see that in the life you want and no one has to understand it – it’s YOUR life (life is short as it is, why spend it miserable?) It’s okay to think you subscribe to the world’s idea of having it all then finding out it’s not really what you want. Define what it means to have it all for your own self but while you think about that ponder on this regret list:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
– Brownie Ware
I had been told all about the joys of motherhood; how magically the pain of childbirth disappears the moment you hold your little one, the excitement of each process from watching the first steps to the sprout of the first tooth, and how the toothless smiles makes every effort worth it (the list goes on!). And yes each of this I have felt and I still feel as I watch my little one blossom. But no one told me…
No one told me on my return to work I will struggle (though mostly internal struggles) to find a balance between being a mum and still chasing a career. No one told me I would lose my identity because people would only identify me as a mum with an expectation my existence will solely revolve around my child. Why didn’t anyone tell me about the hormone driven night sweats, hair loss and the consistent feeling of being drained that I fear to tag depression?
No one told me the strain this would put on my marriage or that a full night sleep is over till further notice. No one told me I’d hate my own reflection because even 10 months after, my body is nothing like I’ve ever known it (4th Trimester!).
Because no one told me, I’ll tell you.
We’ve all been watching the King Women series – they’re amazing.
After watching all the interviews I noticed most of these women have something in common, great partners. They all talked about how supportive their partners are and how it played a huge part in their success.
This really got me thinking…
Is it the same qualities that contributed to the women’s success that guided them to picking the right men? The right men for them.
Did they have such strong personalities and intelligence that it earned them the respect of their men?
Are men more supportive of women who are focused and strong-willed?
Do men only see women as partners or equals when they are “financially successful”?
Is there an element of luck?
Is there a religious aspect?
Were they picked specifically for this interview to suit the Nigerian audience because they are the successful women that also have the family balance?
Or in the end are they just like most Nigerian women that hide the struggles of relationships?
Honestly, I hope its the first point.