At some point along the way – women were told they had to have it all.
In the same breath “all” has been defined for us. Obviously, “all” means we have a high-paying, high-profile job. We have 2 1/2 perfectly angelic kids and our marriage is one where we carefully balance trophy wife with independent success.
That IS having it all. And if we don’t have it “all,” then what are we?
We’re obviously not being the success we were meant to be. Notice the sarcastic tone.
I got married at the height of the Bridezilla era. There were TV shows upon TV shows showing us the perfect weddings and the not-so-perfect bridezillas.
The year I got married, the average wedding cost $28,000. You have to have the prime location, designer dress, designer invites (yes, that’s a thing), plated dinner and a photographer and videographer. You have to have it all.
What I quickly realized was I wasn’t going to have what was then just short of my yearly salary to pay for my wedding.
My perfect wedding dress couldn’t take up half that budget.
I couldn’t have an amazing photographer and a rocking DJ.
My budget just wouldn’t allow it.
So I had to make some choices. I was going to have to make some cuts.
As the knot.com was telling me all the things I needed to do… I was carefully figuring out where to cut corners in the budget.
I knew I wanted a wedding on the beach. Priority #1.
I knew I wanted the best documentation possible. Priority #2.
I knew I wanted a ballroom, Belle-esq dress that wouldn’t totally fit the setting of a beach – but oh well. Priority #3.
I knew I wanted a romantic, huge ballroom for the reception. Priority #4.
Hair. The hair had to be on point. Priority #5.
Everything else was going to get done, but it wouldn’t be top dollar.
I wholesaled flowers and made my own bouquets.
I hired a relative to make my cake.
I wholesaled stationary and used a 30-day trial of Photoshop to make my own invites and programs.
I wholesaled tissue paper and made my own decorations.
The day of the wedding came and it felt perfect.
I had it all.
I didn’t have the ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ version of it all (For one, my dress was a fraction of the cost).
But I had it all.
I didn’t feel like I was falling behind. It didn’t feel like my handmade programs and wholesale calla lillies were less than. Even my cheap-o DJ who I hired like a week before didn’t diminish my worth or the perfection of this day.
But in life we don’t do that.
Why aren’t we choosing what WE want to be defined as “all?”
We’re taking someone else’s definition of “all” – and feeling inadequate. Because some magazine told us Joanna Gaines has it all and Jennifer Aniston doesn’t – we have to be master decorators and have to have kids.
What if we reworked things?
What if we had five priorities in life? What if just those five priorities were enough?
What is your priority number one?
Me – healthy kids who can become well-adjusted adults.
Maybe in your top five you’ll have a high-profile job, or a humongous house, charity work or weekly date nights.
Then everything else can become secondary.
YOU decide what your ALL is.
Then when you’re over there having five babies and people are saying “but don’t you feel like you missed out on your own career?”
You can say, “I chose this version of all. I chose this.”
If you’re living in a huge house, but your not making it to the gym you can say, “I have my definition of all.”
Or if your friend does all the volunteer work and you’re over here just trying to keep a clean house – you can remember “right now, my priority is a clean house. I chose this.”
When we were kids we learned we’re not the same. We learned that’s what makes the world an exciting place.
But then we grew up and started measuring ourselves against this ridiculous standard of “having it all” (which allegedly even Jennifer Aniston can’t achieve – come on!).
My “all” looks different than yours. Your “all” looks different than the woman on the magazine. And her “all” looks different than her sister’s “all.”
When you define “all” yourself – you are always enough… and even a cheap-o DJ can’t say otherwise.