Can you have it all?

As a woman who has worked hard to build my career, I have always sought advice as much as I can. How have other women succeeded? How have they balanced marriage, kids, career? What can I learn? How can I grow? However, I have found that I am still making it up as I go along.

We hear from the women who “have made it” and we get told that we have to carry on pushing, to break the stereotypes and the cultural conditioning we have been given, but I have struggled to find anyone who can tell me HOW. I want to work out the “how” and I am hoping you will join me to do it.

I have two boys under 3, a business I am trying to build and relationships with my friend, family and significant other that I am trying to balance and it is tough. Forget getting fit and healthy when it comes to “having it all” it is very tough work, and I am nowhere near yet.

Over the last few months, I have had some conversations with people who are also trying to work this out.  While the majority of these people have been women, there is also a growing body of men who seek to figure this out as well. Being told that “you can’t give up,” “keep believing” is fine but that does not help us progress. I have realised that if we want to move towards equality for all we each have to take ownership of our own journeys and share how we have made the successes so we can support and teach others.

So below is the main list of what I and others are trying to figure out (and I am sure there is more).

I want to know:

  • How to build my network and still be at home for dinner with my kids?
  • How to secure my role during maternity leave (having lost my position during my second maternity leave and having to fight to keep my job first time round)?
  • How can I say “no” at work so I can say “yes” to my family?
  • How to have conversations with my boss about the fact that getting out of bed a couple of days a month is sometimes physically impossible?
  • What level of sacrifice is ok? How many business trips can I make each year without my kids holding it against me?
  • How can I manage the expectations of all the people who are important in my life?
  • How can I talk to my better half about what I need from them? (I am fortunate in this respect as he is amazing, but not everyone is so lucky)

This article is my call out to others out there who are willing to help me figure out the “How” so we can share it with others and grow. I want to pull together a group of people who can contribute to the “how.” Women and men who can give stories on how they have done it. How they have had the difficult conversations. How they did it right or would do it differently. I believe it is my role as someone trying to have it all to share what I can and encourage others to do the same. I also think this is the only way that we can successfully see the percentage of women at the top level move to where it should be.