42, design thinker/innovation strategist
engaged, 3 step kids (age 6, 9, 11)
What does “having it all” mean to you? I thought I had it all, at least most of it. I was single, had a killer job, and I was living in London, feeling like a tourist in my own life. But life changes and we change with it. Seven years later, I’m a step-mom of three living in Chicago. Home outweighs the adventure of travel at the moment. So I’m not sure you can have it all, at least not at once—I miss elements of my life before, but they’re not compatible with life today.
So here’s my theory: I believe life is a bit like a raft in a river. As long as we’re solidly anchored by a few of the major things that make life valuable, we can have a rich life and don’t risk getting swept away by currents we can’t control. But we each have to do the work required to find the right combination of anchors that will keep us afloat and inspired at any given time. They don’t stay the same over time, I’m convinced. Or at least they haven’t for me.
What are the benefits and challenges to being the new stepmother of three boys? Going from single to a stepmom of three little boys was certainly an adjustment. But my fiancé has made it incredibly easy on me and the kids themselves have been wonderful and accepting since the first day I met them. I’m very grateful for that. They make me laugh, they surprise me, they are exhausting and they are charming. They were raised well in a big family full of various adults who guide them, so it was fairly easy to slip into the role of a bonus adult in their lives. I try my best to help them explore new ways to grow into the cool, smart, creative kids they are. And I try to wrangle electronics away in favor of books as much as I can.
What makes you complete? Today my main anchor is my funny, caring and all-around Superman of a fiancé. Everything in our lives is more fun and interesting with him, even if it is mostly endless runs to Home Depot for our never-ending house renovation.
The NY Times published a column a while back about things people realize when they’re in their 40s. My favorite part was this: “There are no grown-ups.... Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.” Everyone keeps learning and growing. And that’s awesome. I hope to stay porous and incomplete, always.