I often find myself pondering over the social checklist that decides when and how a woman can have it all. Depending on the stage a woman may find herself, having it all will mean different things. I remember when I was a naïve teenager it meant being liked, having nice clothes, being pretty, etc., but though the items on the checklist may change, the fact that there is still a checklist consistently remains.
So I ask myself, how many people do I know that truly have it all and is having it all that it is bent out to be? Well, most women that I know can check off portions on the list but not everything and those that can check of everything is not any more/less happy than the others. Simply said, it all depends on your perspective. For those that have fed into societal norms, checking of this list may seem like the answer to their happiness. On the other hand, for those that have decided to walk the road less traveled by, this list is a dreadful seed of societies bitter fruit. However, like many things it’s not that simple for either side, because these same individuals will find themselves occasionally dipping into the sentiments of the other.
For my current stage in life as a young African millennial, the checklist looks like this:
- Advanced degree
- Child/children (First born male if you really want to go there)
- Occasional side hustles
Almost every girlfriend I have has a similar checklist and at the top of the list is often marriage. Once you have that, then like the old song says, “then comes the baby in the baby carriage”. A big part of having it all is the emphasis on ALL! Having a degree and career isn’t enough; you MUST have the husband and the baby to go along. To give an example, I have a girlfriend with a successful career that earns a six figure salary, when she initially graduated with her doctorate degree, the first thing most people asked her was“ now, when are you getting married”? Honestly, how many of us can relate to that? There is also the other side of the argument. Being “just” a wife and a mother is also looked down on; the perception is that they have settled or even worse they are lazy.
Why does having one without the other render so much societal judgment? My democratic semi-liberal mind screams, “This is all just simply overrated!” Imagine how much happier we would all be if we stopped trying to check off portions of a checklist that society has created for us. That leads into what I have dubbed: “Contentment in the Now”. In order to reach this euphoric epiphany one must begin to live in declarations (see examples below).
- I am single and awaiting a life partner and I find contentment in that
- I am married without a child and I find contentment in that
- I am a fulltime wife and mother and I find contentment in that
- I am a career woman without a husband and I find contentment in that
The goal is to know your “ I am” and declare contentment in that state. Thus by doing this one begins to redefine what it means to have it all for YOURSELF. It becomes a customized definition that revolves around attaining contentment in your now!