Many years ago I watched Katharine Hepburn in a television interview. During the interview she was asked what she thought led her to become such a successful actress. I don’t recall the exact quote, but I do remember her saying a lot of her success had to do with her not being a mother. Ms. Hepburn knew her limitations. She had no interest in motherhood and was able to devote her energy toward her career in acting.
During the interview I also remember her saying women of today, in particular mothers, cause themselves great harm by believing the common myth that ‘women can have it all’. She claimed motherhood and caring for a home was demanding. To do it successfully women must focus their energy on the family, not their careers.
Ms. Hepburn may have been wrong about mothers not being able to care for their families and have a successful career. I know plenty of women who do both well. But she may have a point when she mentioned mothers do themself harm by thinking they must excel at everything they do.
I was surprised earlier this week when a friend of mine mentioned how she thought I had it ‘all’. From her perspective she sees strong marriage, nice home and good kids as having it all. It’s definitely makes for a happy life, but I don’t agree with her.
I am still searching for a fulfilling career. I wish my relationships with my extended family were better. I would like to find a way to financially support my family without sacrificing everyone’s needs.
The thing is no one is putting pressure on me to be more than I am. No one tells me I’m not good enough. So where is the pressure I feel coming from? Is it my perfectionist nature or is the media’s obsession with perfect looking people raising perfect families to blame?
The key may be not in lowering my expectations, but realizing I can’t have everything all at the same time. Some things will have to wait. Right now my family, home and marriage are my priority. I know my limitations. I don’t multitask well. Because of that a career will have to wait until the demands of my family lessen. The career will happen. It’s not of matter of if, but a matter of when.
When someone mentions again they think I have it all I will respond honestly, “Not yet, but I do have a lot to be grateful for and for now it is more than enough.”