32, stay at home parent/book shop owner
married, two sons (age 2, 4)
What does "having it all” mean to you? "Having it all" has typically meant being a person that checks off every conceivable box. But, absolutely no one can have all of that—no one. Having "it all" by definition, is impossible. So, knowing that, I really feel more and more that "having it all' might actually come down to not having it all, and being okay with that.
This isn't to say I want to stop working towards the things I want in my life. But I want to work even harder to enjoy each day and be grateful for what I do have at this moment in my life, because it won't last forever.
Life is so short. And in the end, all that really matters is trying my best to be a good person. I know that if I put all of my efforts into chasing the unobtainable, all that I will be left with is frustration and exhaustion. If I can focus instead on trying each day to be better, kinder, more open, more grateful, I will end up having it all.
What is the best thing that motherhood has taught you? Motherhood continues to teach me many things, but one thing that I have been thinking a lot about lately is the sense of perspective it has given me. When my four year-old is lying on the ground crying his eyes out over not getting a second piece of candy to him, it is the absolute end of the world. I know that it isn't, but he can't see that because he doesn't have the perspective that I do.
I feel like this motherhood perspective has helped me to have more compassion towards friends and family with problems that might, to me, seem trivial. Even if I feel like I have a greater perspective than them, and know that what they are going through won't have any lasting consequence, I can still show them the same patience and understanding that I try to show my son; because to them, it is a real trial, and they deserve the same love that all of us desire.
How do you maintain your sense of self amidst the family?Maintaining a sense of self is very difficult when you are surrounded by your children all day. It is a task to find any free headspace at all in the day-to-day chaos. Having some kind of creative outlet is so important to my sanity and is also something I want my kids to see me cultivating.
Being a reader has proven to be especially helpful in maintaining my sense of self. It pulls me back towards an inner life and to real contemplation like nothing else can. It brings me back to the person I was as a child, as a younger adult, to the person I am now.
Portrait by Erik Heywood