BY ALEXIS JONES
I’m reading Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Lean In and I can’t help but feel more confused. Now that I think about it, I feel the same about food. Eat tofu, no soy is terrible. Drink milk, no don’t, only drink almond milk. Protein is good for you, but not too much. Carbs are okay, but only the good ones. Avoid glutton, eat chia seeds and avoid sugars, except the natural ones. I mean come on! I have a minor panic attack when I get hungry because I have to recount my latest eating trend: What is currently on the list (that wasn’t two weeks ago) and what I’ve recently found out is strictly off the list. Do you feel the anxiety here?
Well, that’s how I feel about the work/family debate. I watch my sister-in-law who is arguably the best mom anyone could dream of for their niece and nephew. She’s a teacher, a care taker, a kickass wife and one hell of a mother. Her advice to my inquiry of “doing it all?” “Honestly Lex, it’s not possible unless you’re willing to half ass both.” Well, that’s not the bill of goods I was sold growing up so I couldn’t help but be little disappointed since I very much planned on being a real life Super woman.
But as I’m reading Sheryl’s new book, she’s saying that not only is it possible, but it’s possible to be badass at both? So who’s right? Now I have to admit, Miss Sandberg, that when you're worth a BILLION dollars, you might have a few more choices than my sister-in-law who is living off of a fire fighter's salary for four, but I do wonder what kind of mother Sheryl is and whether her children are as equipped as my niece and nephew are. I know that each of our choices are personal, that we have to do what works for us, but I have also had a propensity for seeking out the “right” answer. Sheryl says don’t be afraid and asks what would you do if you weren’t? But the reality is who isn’t scared? Scared that you’ll make the wrong choice, take the wrong job, pursue the wrong career, move to the wrong city, date the wrong person, be too ambitious, be too lazy, miss your big opportunity, regret not doing more, or doing too much. I mean, am I eating carbs this week or not? Ya feel me?
I’m terrified and it’s a lot easier if someone would just tell me the truth. I want to be happy, is that too much? I know that when I was building I AM THAT GIRL, I spent 250+ days on the road, I didn’t date for four years and I missed out on more make-out sessions that I dare admit because I went home to finish business proposals or prepped for my upcoming speaking engagement. I know that when I finally fell in love, quit my job, and moved to Spain to be with him that I took some professional hits not living in the states, no longer living in the pop culture epicenter of the country. I know that when I was single on a rampage for success that I got just that, success. But I didn’t have a man lying in bed when I got home at the end of a long day ready to cuddle my face off. I also know that now that I’m madly in love, I wonder if my professional success will suffer because I’d rather sleep in later, wrapped up in his arms, than reach the height of my 24-hour productivity possibility. What the hell? I feel guilty for being too ambitious and I feel guilty for not being ambitious enough.
I know I want to be a kickass wife, mother, and surpass my professional potential and yes, Sheryl, I’m terrified that it’s not all possible and that I’ll disappoint myself or worse, fail at all of them. I don’t want a BS, book-selling answer; I just want the truth about it all. The idea of having it all, but not all at the same time may ring more true. So I remain in angst and do my best at twenty-nine to take one day at a time. I repeat the phrase, “Relax. Breathe. You have enough, you do enough, you are enough. More will be revealed, be patient, have faith, enjoy the ride” in the hopes that it becomes my truth. Until then, the jury is out on this debate. I hope I have more insight in the next decade to share with the wondering hearts such as my own. Until then, I will improvise. I will sometimes hit the snooze button to snuggle longer, and I will sometimes work through dinner, crawl into bed long after my man has dozed off, kiss him on the cheek and whisper, “I missed you all day” while he dreams of ninjas, Tonka trucks and NBA playoffs.