Having It All

'Having it all' has been know to cause problems. Well, the idea that you can have it all at the same time anyways. Can you really be a superb parent, a work mastermind, a charity/volunteer all-star, loving wife / husband / partner...all at the same time? Nope. You have to give each its own time to shine. For me, parenting is always number one. But there was a time when I was able to devote a lot of my resource to other things...BEFORE I had children. I had time to do charity work, to work my job extra hours, and have a great relationship with my partner. Then I had kids and life changed. My priorities changed and my capabilities changed. I re-engineered my job, quit my regular full time job with a child abuse agency and did administrative contract work for some other non-profits. This I could handle... until I couldn't handle it anymore! My son Simon was crawling under the table at board meetings and I was pregnant with number two and knew things must again...change. I quit my non-profit work and started my jewelry business on-line full time. My schedule, my workload, my pressure by my own design. But...as things turned out, I felt guilty about not doing any non-profit work! To reconcile my guilt, I decided to make a line of jewelry for domestic violence awareness and breast cancer awareness and I donated a portion of my profits to agencies helping those causes. I got involved with a Unitarian Universalist fellowship and started immediately volunteering. I taught a UU parenting class and started facilitating a small discussion group. I was able to incorporate regular exercise into my life, working out at the gym, taking yoga classes, and mountain biking as often as I could. Then life changed...yet again. Divorce. My husband and I were splitting up and I needed to go back to full time work. This left me with limited (if not non- existent) volunteer time, exercise time, and mental reserves. I had only enough energy and time to work and be a parent. And that was OK. Or so I convinced myself. What option did I have? It was a wake up time for me, that I didn't need to have it all at the same time. I didn't need to volunteer, to do charity work, to be in the best physical shape... what I did need to do was earn a living and take care of my children and those two things I did exceptionally well. As time has permitted, I have started incorporating the missing components back into my life. Some new things and some tried and true. I am constantly challenging myself at work - the more I learn the more I realize I don't know! [Isn't that always the case?] - but it's OK. Again, I don't need to know it all or do it all at the same time. I'm learning to have a 'laser focus' - do few things exceptionally well. Ask yourself, what do you do well? Do you have time to do it all? Are you focusing on the most important things and people in your life? Are you nurturing yourself? Remember, you CAN have it all - just not at the same time. Take care, Heidi

- Heidi Dearinger

(September 19, 2010)