Can you Really Have it All?

Success is this way

Article by Wendy McCance

I have been struggling with this question for as long as I can remember.  Can you really have it all?  I’m really not sure it’s possible.

My dilemma stems from the juggle of career, relationship with my husband and time with the kids.  I have always put the kids first, husband second and career third.  My feeling was when the kids were small they needed me the most.  My relationship with my husband could survive the kids getting the most attention, and honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way, but what about survival when it came to my career?

Truly this is the source of my dilemma.  For years, I worked at the same place as my husband.  We both worked in a factory on the same shift in the same department.  For many couples this amount of time together would kill the relationship.  For me and my husband, we thrived.  We truly enjoy each others company.  We are best friends who had a good group of friends at work and we all would hang out at breaks together.  It was a very comfortable situation.  We had a lot of fun back then too.

When the company closed, we had to go through the process of untangling ourselves from each other.  We had to focus on ourselves, figure out what each of us wanted to do and begin to forge our own individual paths.

I have to admit, there were some rough patches where I really missed my husband.  We were both going to school and working full-time.  Our schedules weren’t always so similar.  So a lot of time went by, we went through some growing pains and we came out in fairly good shape.

Here we are a few years later.  The kids are much older and really finding their own way with school, activities and their friends.  It has made focusing on my career much easier and less guilt ridden.  While my career has begun to take off, so has my husbands career, in a big way.

My husband has found a lot of success at a fairly quick clip.  What started out as a steady 40 hours a week with a trip out-of-town a few times a year has blossomed into a job with a tremendous amount more responsibility, a little more time at work, but a future full of travel.

I have been excited to see my husbands progress, yet I have become a bit anxious.  I am a real estate agent.  My schedule has already put a crimp in our life.  My busiest times at work are in the evenings and on the weekends.  Not ideal when your husband works an opposite schedule.

Now my husband has a schedule that will pull him out-of-town a good majority of weekends.  I don’t know when we will find time to find time for us.  On top of it, although the kids are older, I feel as though I need to put my job on the back burner on weekends when he is gone so that there is a parent around.

Much of my anxiety comes from my past.  When I was growing up, my dad travelled for work (a sort of travelling salesman) and we would see him maybe 10 days a month.  I wasn’t very close with him and in many ways, I had a rough time as a kid.  As I wrapped up my high school years, my parents divorced.  The distance had put too much of a strain on the marriage.  When I was married to my first husband, we worked on opposite shifts throughout the majority of the marriage.  Granted there were other factors that contributed to the divorce, but being on opposite shifts did not do anything good for our marriage.

I always swore to myself that I wouldn’t get into a relationship with someone who I would never see because of a conflict in our jobs.  When I married my husband, we really had the perfect situation.  Working together was so much fun.  We always had things to talk about.  We had even formed a good group of friends who we enjoyed hanging out with.

After years working in the factory, our lives have been jolted many times.  Juggling careers and kids and now different schedules.  It’s the ultimate moment I have dreaded.

My opinion is that no matter how hard you try to balance your life, something will invariably get the most attention, and something else will get the least.  These days, our careers have to be at the top of our priorities.  After going through a plant closure that knocked us both off our feet, we have struggled to regain our financial position.

Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly grateful for our jobs.  We went through some scary years struggling to make it once we were out of our jobs.  We have financial responsibilities and still have a bit of a climb to get out of the hole that we had fallen into.  Thankfully, we are well on our way.  All of our hard work has begun to pay off and I am extremely relieved.

I am glad that the kids are older and doing their own thing.  It makes putting more of a focus on my career much easier to deal with.  I am just hoping that my husband and I can navigate our new positions and find our way through it with are relationship still strongly intact.

What is your opinion on having it all?  Do you believe that your family life will suffer if you work hard to get success at work?  Have you been able to balance all that matters so that you feel comfortable with the decisions you have made?  Do you have any regrets about the way you have handled your career, family, friends etc…I’d really love to hear your take on this issue. 🙂

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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: mccance.wendy@gmail.com

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13 thoughts on “Can you Really Have it All?

  1. I can relate to this constant quest for balance Wendy. I don’t think anyone gets all the important components of life in perfect balance consistently, but being aware of the potential pitfalls as you are is a great place to start. The trick I think is to stay fluid during this process of evolution and evaluate and tweak things as we go along. Its good to keep our “mental radars” on scan too in case we stumble upon ways to make it work better. Your honesty is refreshing!

  2. I don’t think we can ever have it all. I was a single parent and had trouble finding work that would allow me to be home evenings and weekends. I wanted to raise my boys not a sitter. Finally, I began to take on work I could do from home and was even able to home school them through high school. The trade off I made was to make less money, keep my expenses low and have quality time with them. Now that they are adults, they are glad I made the choice I did and have shared with me how many kids they had known who didn’t have a parent around when they needed someone to talk to or help with homework.

    I think my decision paid off. Both my boys are happy, have great families, and are in fields with job security. Had I not been there to foster their dreams maybe they would have gone in a different direction.

    I wish you all the luck figuring out your situation. It’s so hard to make the choice of what to sacrifice to have the things that in your heart make you happiest.

  3. As I read your post Wendy I understand your concerns. Though different times and scenarios I was reminded in reading this that, for me, I’ve had to look at situations like this as more stuff to learn. It has seemed when I thought I had learned all I was supposed to learn “waala” it pops up again for another round. I guess there are layers in learning and perhaps we need to take it as it comes in pieces. Can this be similar to what’s going on for you?

  4. Embrace every season of your life because they end quickly. That said, it is hard to juggle everything. If you and your husband have decided your careers are priority at this stage, make time to see each other even it’s only at the end of the day or for a quick cup of coffee. This season, too , will come to an end and you want to make sure your marriage is strong enough to survive when you reach that end.

  5. I think it depends on how you define “having it all” – there has to be some boundaries/structure around how you are conceptualizing this, and it has to be fluid. Case in point – when I was younger, my parents divorced rather messily, my mom was in some deep financial problems, had to work 3rd shift factory jobs because of lack of skills, and I was a very sickly asthmatic kid – to me, “having it all” meant having my basic needs met which I felt werent at the time. As I got older, I got stronger, felt better, went to college, and started to establish an independent life – at this point “having it all” meant having more money to do the things I wanted. Career progressed, basic needs were met, and now “having it all” meant finding someone to share my successes with. Found her at school, we got married – now “having it all” meant buying a house, getting our financial life in order, and prepping for the future.

    “Having it all” for me was a stairwell of goals, both small and large that I/we attempted to map out for ourselves. We both had hobbies, interests, and decided to marry those as well – neither of us wanted to feel as if we were roadblocking the other – after all, if one person stops doing what makes them who they are for the purpose of totally immersing themselves in propping someone else up, you lose yourself. You become bored, and become boring.

    Some steps forward meant some steps went back – but we kept at it, setting mini goals here, mini goals there – “having it all” next meant playing with some side career ideas – being an author for me, hosting a radio show for her, opening up a business together. Some goals failed, some never made it past the drawing board. Some were just tiny steps forward – but you celebrate those goals no matter how big or small.

    Goals have given me purpose – strength to overcome hardships, giving me optimism for the future. I have no “ultimate goal” where I would say I need or want to “have it all” – “having it all” means Im relatively happy, relatively safe, relatively secure, relatively able to dabble in interests as they make themselves known, and relatively comfortable with my life/world view. Having a ton of money, crazy homes wouldnt make me feel like I have it all – I think it boils down to feeling a level of control in my actions, creating your own reality in your head, and placing a template to emulate that reality in the world around you, making that reality in your head come true. As long as I feel I can do that, I feel like I “have it all”…

  6. I taught elementary school, went to college working on my masters at night and spent every other waking minute of the day spending time with my two kids. My only real regrets were that I couldn’t go to my son’s elementary parent/teacher meetings because I had my own at my school. (My daughter attended the school I taught in so things were much easier) I couldn’t let my kids participate in sports because it was totally impossible for me to not only pay for all the equipment requirements, but I couldn’t take them daily to practice and games twice a week. My son grew up to be a book worm & computer expert & my daughter (8 years younger) was bookish too until High School. She received a 4 year scholarship to a private school & was able to participate more in cheerleading & theater because I worked not far from there and all the kids had cars so they could drop her off at my school. So no regrets with my daughter, but yes, those two with my son… but he was 8 years older so things were different by then. (and I was divorced… long story) LOL

    • It sounds like the kids ended up doing terrifically well. I understand the divorce thing and having to start over to provide for your family. In your case, there just wasn’t another option where you could be there more for the kids. You took care of their basic needs which are most important of all. The kids found their way. I know that they will always appreciate all that you did for them and understand you did everything you could to take care of them. Thanks so much for writing about your experience. 🙂

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