Hi I’m Caroline, I have a family and a career and if you ask me I’ll look you in the eye and tell you straight:
I Have It All.
In 2013 I founded Babyproofyourlife.com, a niche coaching service for the career woman who wants it all. My mission is to help her develop the skills, mindset and resources that will help her to get it.
My style of Having it all
Sceptical? Unbelieving? Well you’re not alone. Conventional wisdom says it can’t be done, and who are you to argue? “You can’t Have It All” they tell you, “and even if you could, you wouldn’t want it because women who Have It All are miserable”. Who’s going to argue with that?
Well I am for one. Tell me you can’t Have It All and my response is I already have. No, my life is not perfect, and juggling 4 Tornadoes (kids), an unpredictable Weather System (husband), a dog called Zixies and running a business isn’t what I’d call a walk in the park. Amongst friends and family my weaknesses are well documented: I drop the occasional ball, sometimes forget birthdays and regularly come home to five hungry mouths and an empty fridge. I’m rubbish at answering the phone and it’s not unusual for the number of messages in my inbox to exceed 100. But my life is a work in progress, not a study in perfection! So when I look at the big picture through my own personal lens, guess what? I see it All.
The curse of Having It All
How did the idea of Having It All become such a curse? Somewhere along the line, we got carried away with those three little words and forgot to question what they mean. Instead we sat back and let the media manipulate and distort it into something like this: single handedly running a FTSE 100 company, doing a spinning class every lunchtime, reading a bedtime story to your 6 children every night, and still finding the energy to have sex with your partner four (or is that five?) times a week. Oh, and of course you’ve got a face like Jessica Lawrence and a body like Jessica Biel. Ok, so I exaggerate, but you get the point. Somewhere along the way Having It All got mistaken for the madness of Doing it all and Being it all, in other words Superwoman – a mythical creature from a cartoon universe whose powers were vague at best, and who was never taken seriously enough for anyone to make a decent movie about her.
Is it any wonder the notion of Having It All provokes such controversy and outrage? The version we are working with really is a unique kind of nonsense. It’s like going out to a restaurant wanting a delicious, satisfying meal, and thinking the only way to get this is by eating everything on the menu. All at the same time! Doing this is not the route to happiness. It’s the route to exhaustion, guilt and misery. Who in their right mind would choose that?
Take time to search a little deeper and, like me, you’ll probably discover that you’re just not that greedy. Dare to look past the headlines, to challenge the perceived wisdom, and you may discover that far from being a curse, the desire to Have It All is nothing more than a quest to be successful at what you do and happy with what you’ve got. How you define the specifics of what that looks like is up to you – not the media, not your mother-in-law and not even your best friend – just you.
Alla carte, not all-you-can-eat
Having It All is not about needing to be perfect, nor needing to do or to have everything. Actually, it’s about a balanced diet made up of a healthy mix of what makes you feel good about your life. I know I want life to be an a la carte menu from which I can aspire to what I want in the quantities that I need, not an all-you-can-eat buffet where I try to gorge myself on everything on offer in some misplaced notion that this is how I get value for money.
I’ve been coaching women on career and life issues for over eight years and this is what I’ve learned: when it comes to happiness and success the first thing that matters is clarity – being clear about what you, as a unique individual, want and need in your life in order to be happy. This might be a one-child family and a stratospheric career, but could just as easily be a life at home baking cookies and homeschooling if that’s what floats your boat. If you remember nothing else from this blog remember this: when it comes to Having It All, there is no such thing as one size fits all.
So you see it all starts with you. It’s up to you to choose the combination of dishes, ingredients, smells and flavours that reflect your own unique needs and appetite. And the best place to start is to ask the right questions:
- What matters to me now?
- What are my hopes for the future?
- When am I happiest?
- What gives me the most satisfaction?
- What do I have to be grateful for?
- What do I want to change?
- What do I need more of or less of in your life?
These are the questions that matter because they offer you choice and lead you to clarity. So the next time you consider whether anyone can Have It All, I beg you, dare you, get down on my knees and implore you: accept choice as your starting point and aim for clarity. You may just find yourself with a definition of Having It All that’s worth talking about, believing in and fighting for.
What’s your view on women (and men!) Having It All? Do you believe we can? Has this blog changed the way you think about Having it all? Looking forward to reading your comments below.