My three children, 2016

Moms, You Can’t Have it All.

That’s what they want us to think.

In desperate moments, when it all would be too much and I felt like I was failing everyone, I would ask my mom “why does it have to be so hard?” Her response, “I feel sorry for you moms now, you all have so much more on your plate than we did. Life was much simpler when you were little.”

Well, maybe that’s true. Still, moms, I say you can — and should — have it all.

If you are a working woman, you have probably read articles titled, “How to Have it All,” usually it’s a profile of how some super-rich or super-famous mother is making it all work. Still, you scour the article, determined to find the one nugget that is the key to solving your stressed out existence:

  • Focus on just four things!
  • Wake up before dawn for “me” time!
  • Meditate, do yoga, work out!

Does anyone else want to throw your phone at the wall in utter frustration when you realize those are not practical pieces of advice?

How do you prioritize between flying to a meeting or being home with your sick child who is asking you not to go? How do you prioritize between colleagues and clients or spending time with your spouse? How do you prioritize between taking your parent to the doctor or chairing that conference call that you need to be on?

The most difficult of all choices is how to prioritize between your health and your work.

The answer quite simply is, you can’t. My answer for the past 20 years was to choose work. Every. Single. Time.

I believe that life is for living. You should be able to take care of yourself, your family, be with the ones you love, and still have a career.

So, I took a different path. I started my own business on the side. I sacrificed time and added more stress and created a larger plate because I knew that in the long term it was going to pay off.

After just 9 months, it already has. After leaving my full-time job in corporate America, I now live my life and manage my career around my time. It’s a modern movement designed to free you of traditional work-life balance constraints by embracing technology.

Often times we worry that technology is making us isolated and cutting us off real human interaction. Through technology I have made friendships with people I never would have met, nor had any reason to connect with, in the past. These are real people that I have real relationships with — in person and through technology. They are my business partners, they are my customers, they are friends from the past that I have reconnected with.

The economy and the way we live is changing. Embrace the change and use it to better your life. That is how us moms can have it all.

It is not easy, but what in life worth doing is easy? I still have moments of complete and utter exhaustion. I still feel pulled in multiple directions — but now it is my choice what I do in those moments, not my boss or my company. You get to choose. You get to be the boss of you.

I say go for it. Have it all. Life is worth living.

Gayle Birkelund Kalvert, CEO, Level V Leader, Executive Consultant, Rodan + Fields.

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