Friday, October 2, 2015

Having It All

Watching House of Cards (which I only watched 1 season of and fast forwarded a LOT) , I turn to my husband and say “I’m Kevin Spacey”  not in the thirsting for power, killing and manipulating people to get what I want way- but his skills in strategy and spin are eerily similar to my own.  With out giving this explanation to my husband he quickly agreed- he married Francis Underwood.

There are a number of careers my particular skill sets would have excelled in- and each time I started down those roads the spirit quietly whispered “But will this make you happy?”

If you knew me personally this may surprise you, some mistakenly assume that I have chosen career over my children.  I chose this career because of my children.

Three months after my daughter was born, I quit my job because of an ethical disagreement with my employer (Kim Davis- this is what grown ups do when the job description includes something they personally disagree with- they quit) I tried the stay at home mom thing- for 2 weeks -when I was faced with a choice:  Either I give my daughter parents with a great marriage and a happy employed mommy or I give my daughter a depressed stay at home mom and parents whose relationship is strained at best.

However, just because returning to work was going to make my home life better didn't mean that my career was to come first- my career was merely to be an enhancement of my family- an element of my life- not the focus.  My career is one of many colors used in a painting- not the subject.  

I’ve been offered promotions which I have declined.  I've had VP level opportunities in really exciting fields- also said no.  The question always came back- what will make me happy?

My husband has been in similar situations- we've learned that saying no to career opportunities, while counter-intuitive in today's world- has been an immense blessing in our lives.  As a general rule: Women can't have it all no more than men can have it all. (Unless you're Ivanka Trump or Mitt Romney- those would be the only two people who appear to have had it all)

I do love the thrill of closing a big deal- and the self-esteem boost that accompanies a paycheck. My absolute favorite part of each day? Holding my 6 year old's hand and walking her to school.  Second favorite part: snuggles at bedtime. 

As my skills have gotten refined overtime- instead of leveraging those skills for more income or prestige- I’ve leveraged them for more family time.

I have a Peanuts Cartoon on my desk which reads “Do you ever think about the future Linus?” 

“Oh yes, all the time”

Charlie: “What do you think you’d like to be when you grow up?”

Linus: “Outrageously Happy”

I am incredibly blessed - and by many standards I have it all, specifically because I didn't want it all. I certainly have something Francis Underwood never will: Happiness.

Afterward: I am keenly aware that this is an extremely privileged post- by having the ability to choose happiness versus a promotion is a benefit allotted to the 1% of the world.