The past six months have been a whirlwind. They have included a boyfriend, his two kids, a new job, and most recently us getting engaged and planning a wedding later this summer. Yup! The once single gal who wrote about dating every month is now engaged and fixin’ to get married.
While my life has been hectic, it’s been since August 2014 I started thinking about my future and all I did. Before I even met my soon-to-be step-kids I started thinking about my relationship, meeting his kids, my job, my writing, my board responsibilities (two board roles) and teaching for a college. It was the first time in my life I actually was worried about all I did and how could I do it all well.
Fast-forward six months and I still struggled with it especially as my work was getting busier, and rightfully so as I was overseeing fundraising and development of six events throughout 28 counties. Add a wedding and a family in to the mix and there isn’t much time for anything else. I always wanted to be that woman who “does it all” and looks good while doing it but after some internal struggles and conversations the past few months, and external conversations with my fiancé (who supports me in whatever I do) I decided I can’t do it all right now! Reread that, I said “right now.”
As a woman, we struggle to be the best mom, colleague, employee, friend, sister, etc. And I was struggling to be all of those things plus a professor and board member. I knew I was “failing” at some, if not, all of them. How could I give my all to everyone and everything and still be sane? Well, I hate to admit it, I wasn’t giving my all and I am not sure I was sane, but I did it, that is, until last week. Last week I gave my notice to both boards and explained between work, wedding planning and my family, those needed to be my focuses right now. It pained me because I believe in those organizations whole-heartedly but I finally woke up one day and realized I can have it all, I just can’t have it all and do it all at the same time.
Once that decision was made I felt a weight lifted off me, a sense of pride and freedom set in. I was so full of pride in myself that I finally realized it is OK to not be everything to everyone at every waking minute; it is OK to take care of me and people understand that. My fiancé listened to me many times trying to figure it all out but he knew whatever I decided he would stand by me 100 percent and he also made sure when I said I needed to pull back for now that I felt I was making the right decision. While I know he is happy to have me around more, he does not want me to compromise me for the sake of being home every night.
The funny thing is I want to be home. I want to be around him and his kids, my step-kids. I enjoy our family and spending time with them. When I have work events in the evening I can’t wait to get home and it isn’t because my feet hurt from being in heels all day but because I miss my family. That is a feeling I never had before. I loved my family and friends but I could be out networking to all hours of the night, doing my job. Now, I really enjoy my downtime and allowing myself the chance to reset and refocus.
My downtime isn’t always as glamorous as laying in my pajamas and watching “Sex and the City” marathons all day, more so than before it includes laundry, cleaning, and cooking but it does allow for some snuggle time too; probably the most precious time I have. Whether I am in his arms or the kids are in mine, just relaxing with one another is priceless and beats sitting in a two-hour board meeting once a month.
Don’t get me wrong, I have aspirations to be a C-Suite executive one day but I also look forward to days when the kids are off so I can work from home and be with them, or even take the day off. It’s OK to want to be a mom and an executive and some companies, like mine, are supportive of that as is my fiancé. We help each other, balance each other and work as partners to be parents and professionals.
If I don’t make it to the C-Suite someday it’s actually OK because my family is the most important constant in my life and they are truly what matters. If I do make it to the C-Suite, I know I have a supportive partner who will help me in making it work the best for everyone but I also know I will let everyone in my office know my family is priority and give every chance for them to do the same. When I took this job – I said in my interview I do morning drop-offs, will need days to work from home when they are home and I will have school functions I need to be at; they understood and for that I know I am very lucky, but I will always make sure I make my family a priority and if work needs to get done, that can be done when they are asleep.
At the end of this, I guess the moral of my story is, as woman, we struggle with “how can we do it all?” and often times it is an internal battle we have to deal with. Some of us can ask our partners for help, advice, or even just to listen and others may seek out friends to do the same. But eventually I hope we can all find the realization we can have it all, but not always at the same time – and be OK with it, too!
~ xoxox KLC
Photo Courtesy of Parker Knight [FLICKR]