First of all, happy International Women’s Day!
As a woman who has proudly called herself a feminist since the early 2000s when I was still in elementary school, this day has always been really important to me. I understand the importance of celebrating and supporting women, and continuing to seek change when it comes to our rights.
Last night I was watching Netflix and came across the movie The Women. It’s from 2008, and honestly, it was pretty lame. But I still watched it. (Spoiler Alert!) It’s basically about a woman who finds out her husband is cheating, and how she and her friends deal with it. She doesn’t handle it well, from ignoring it to freaking out and filing for divorce to eventually forgiving him (even though he shacked up with his mistress during their separation). Gross. But there was one part in it where she and her best friend talk about being able to have it all, but also not wanting it all because it was just too much work. That made sense to me.
Like so many women, I’ve been trying to do it all for a while now: go to school, raise a family, maintain friendships, grow a business, hold a part-time job and take care of myself whenever I find the time. It’s exhausting!
I started wondering if it was all worth it, which lead to me taking a look at all the things I’ve been doing. Like whyyy, why was I doing so much?! My anxiety was through the roof, I felt depressed all the time, I had no energy and was completely miserable. So I started cutting out the things that I didn’t enjoy or absolutely need to do.
During that process I did a bit of research and I realized that there are a few questions to ask when “trying to do it all.”
Do I absolutely need to do it?
Some things we absolutely have to do, like go to work and pack our kids lunches. I mean, I don’t know about you guys but I hate packing lunches. Still, it has to be done (at least for another little while until Sid can do it herself). We all have basic necessities that need to be met and responsibilities we can’t ignore.
If not, will it help me reach a specific goal I have in mind?
Of course, there are a lot of things that we do each day that we really don’t need to. For example, I stopped trying to keep my house spotless. Fuck it. I hate cleaning and leaving the dishes for a couple of days won’t kill us.
Then there are the things we need to keep doing because we have goals that we are working towards. For myself, I have a goal to do well in school. That means I have to do homework basically every day. Even if I don’t want to. Sometimes it’s to work on a project, complete assigned readings or even to study for upcoming tests.
For other people, your goal might be to gain more clients, so you have to pitch every day and work on growing your list. Other people might be training for a marathon or trying to get in shape, so eating healthy and exercising is something they prioritize.
Does it bring me joy?
And then, there are the things we do because we feel obligated to, yet they bring us no joy. For myself that was going to bootcamp. I fucking hated it. I kept trying to enjoy it, kept making myself go, and eventually I said fuck it. I hate doing it! I don’t want to and there are more enjoyable ways to workout. Now I go for walks, I go swimming or to the gym and I do yoga at home.
But there are other things, too, that a lot of us sign up for because we feel it’s right, or we agreed to it because we felt pressured. So we keep doing them, hating every second and wasting valuable energy and resources. If you have things in your life like this, then it’s time to say no!
So, what can you do about it?
You only live once, so you should enjoy yourself!
If you hate your job, start planning an escape! If you hate your workout routine, find a new one. If you don’t want to volunteer anymore, they’ll survive without you! Life’s too short to be stressed and unhappy because you’re trying to do it all.
I encourage you to take some time this International Women’s Day and ask yourself these questions for the different things going on in your life. Decide what activities can go, and what ones are worth continuing. Whenever something comes up consider if it will be worth it, or if your time and energy is best spent somewhere else. Don’t be afraid to say no, and don’t feel bad if you agreed and then changed your mind.
I watched my mom juggle school, work and family most my whole life, doing things she didn’t want to for other people. She was always trying to make everyone else’s lives easier, while her’s got harder. That’s not the way life is supposed to be. I’m happy that my mom is now taking time for herself, doing work that inspires her (check out her Etsy shop and blog!), and that inspires me, too.
We can have it all, but do we want it all? That’s for you to decide. All I know is that I personally felt like I had to cut a lot of crap out of my life and I’m much happier now.
Are you trying to do it all? Let’s talk about this!
P.S. I’m not talking about the whole family over a career and vice-versa thing. Obviously you can have a family and a career. Or not, that’s up to you.