I love the Mommyish #NotDoingItAll conversation because I think it’s awesome to get and give permission to not have to do everything yourself. And in that sense I am a firm member of the #NotDoingItAll bunch. My husband always does the laundry and never expects a medal. We take turns shuttling the kids to and from school and we co-parent seamlessly. I have let go of some notion of being perfect and I truly don’t even try. #NotDoingItAll in those respects is healthy and necessary and I’m 100% on board.
But even admitting that I don’t “do it all” (evidenced by the cluttered mess that is my apartment), my plate is as full as the one my great-grandmother made for me every Thanksgiving with the warning that “no boy wants a bag of bones, you’re too skinny.” If it’s not losing sleep battling my kid’s croup, it’s dealing with the other’s separation anxiety. If it’s not worrying how to pay the bills we have coming in, it’s making drastic changes in an attempt to live a more normal life. There are no vacations, no lucky breaks, never enough self-care in the world to keep up with this life. I feel like I’m #DoingItAll to get ahead but all the while I’m spinning on the hamster wheel of life.
Even though I’ve given up on some ideal version of what it looks like to “have it all”, there are things in this life that I actually want. You can argue that they’ve been planted there by Hollywood, perpetuated by years of bad TV and subliminally reinforced by every magazine cover I’ve ever walked by. But that doesn’t make it any less real to me. So here are the ways I’m #NotDoingItAll that depress the hell out of me:
I don’t cook.
Not because I am so worried about putting a meal on the table every night that is uber-healthy and nutritious. I have a small handful of solid and quick meals I whip up some nights that do the trick. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I wish I had some culinary skills. I love so many types of food, I love bold flavors, and I love watching Top Chef. But who has the time to shop, prepare a menu and spend an hour or two putting it together? Not only that, but it takes time and regular practice to develop those kinds of skills in the kitchen. I’m too busy wiping butts and responding to emails to focus on that.
I don’t own a house.
My husband and I are both lawyers in NYC yet we can’t even begin to afford to buy something here. Certainly not in Manhattan proper, and the boroughs don’t look extremely likely either. We aren’t on the big money track because I took time off for the kids and he took time to pursue other entertainment endeavors (that probably sounds more interesting than it is) and, you know, we tend to want to enjoy our lives — and that includes spending time with each other, our kids and our families as much as we can. So 19 years of school, years of 70 hour work weeks, and negotiating work-family balance as best we can — and our prudent savings gets us essentially nothing.
I’m not pursuing my passions.
I thought by this time in my life I’d have more figured out. I would have a steady job that was essentially on autopilot (or at least didn’t suck the life out of me), my kids would be on a reasonable schedule and play independently and — although it would take some finesse, I am a time management pro — I would have ample opportunity to pursue my passions. My arms would be perfectly sculpted from my regular yoga practice, I’d spend time at the farmer’s market picking out local produce to cook, and I’d have plenty of time to meditate, journal and maybe even write a book.
I don’t want to do it all or “have it all” or fulfill any notion of what I’m supposed to be. But there are so many things to do that I feel like I need a small army just to scrape by — and none of that accounts for the things I actually dream of being able to do.