Can you really have it all? Can you really become a billionaire, be a supermodel, have a happy family, be a Pulitzer Prize winning author, and be the world authority on stamp collecting? Probably not.
But, deep down, you already knew that.
As a single mom coach, I encourage my clients to go after what they want. But I also don’t lie to them. The simple truth is, no one can have, do, and be everything. It’s just not possible. It’s a pretty thought, but it’s not realistic.
And this is especially true for single moms. While everyone faces many of the same struggles and challenges, single moms do tend to have some additional ones that make the dream of “having it all” even less realistic.
This is real life we’re talking about. There’s a lot you can’t do, but there’s a lot you can do, too. There are several reasons why you can’t have it all.
There’s only so much time available.
You can’t have everything, because you can’t do everything necessary to have everything. Everything requires time.
● Getting and maintaining a 6-pack takes time.
● Becoming great at chess takes time.
● Building a billion-dollar company takes time.
● Creating and maintaining a successful relationship takes time.
● Being an expert water skier takes time.
● Writing a great book takes time.
You don’t have enough time to have everything you want. What do you want the most? You need to decide which things you really want and spend the time you have focusing on those things.
This is especially true for single moms because our time is even more limited. As a solo parent, we don’t always have the chance to let a partner take over so we can have a little time to pursue our own things. So it’s critical that you decide what’s most important to you so you can focus your limited time on those things.
Some things can’t coexist.
You can’t become the world’s greatest pick-up artist and be married. You can’t be the strongest woman in the world and be healthy. You can’t live like a playboy and maximize your spiritual development.
Certain activities just get in the way of other activities. How are you going to build a brick-and-mortar business in Phoenix and live with the gorillas in Uganda? When two things can’t coexist, you need to decide which one you really want and focus your attention on that.
Depending on your specific circumstances as a single mom, there are a lot of things that can’t coexist in your life. Most of the time, you already made a choice of what would be sacrificed to have kids but sometimes we don’t realize we wanted something until after we’ve had our kids.
One bright side to this is that many of the things that can’t coexist with single parenting will become options again once our kids are grown and no longer rely on us for everything.
Your talent and skills aren’t unlimited.
You might have very limited athletic or musical talent. Maybe you’re terrible at math. No one is good at everything. And a few people aren’t good at much. Focus and work can overcome a lot, but they can’t overcome every obstacle. Talent is not irrelevant.
Of course, if you have a growth mindset, you know that you can improve on both talent and skills. But it’s also important to recognize that there is a point at which you have peaked. There’s point where you can’t improve beyond where you are.
If you keep trying to do something that you simply don’t have the skills or talent to do, you’ll be wasting time and energy and getting nowhere.
Emphasizing one thing leads to sacrificing other things.
As an athlete, if you emphasize your quickness and power, your endurance suffers. If you put a priority on playing the piano, your cello playing will suffer.
As a parent, your focus on your kids will naturally lead to the sacrifice of some other things in your life. The good news is once your kids are grown, the things you’ve sacrificed can become a part of your life again.
Any time spent on one area of your life leaves less time for other areas of your life. There’s always a sacrifice to be made.
Sometimes it’s too late.
We love to say “it’s never too late,” but the truth is sometimes it is. If you’re 38-years old and you’ve never studied ballet, you’re never going to be a top ballerina. You’ll also never be the youngest person to scale Everest. But that’s okay! There are plenty of things you can do that will fulfill your passions!
But in order to find those things and fulfill those passions, you have to be willing and able to acknowledge when it’s too late for something.
What it takes to have a lot:
Set your priorities.
Since you don’t have time to have everything, it becomes necessary to prioritize your time and activities. Consider the most important things you want to have and achieve.
Determine what you’re willing to let go of. Prioritizing doesn’t just mean deciding what’s important. It also means deciding what you’re not going to spend time on anymore.
Maybe writing that novel isn’t that important to you. Or maybe learning to knit isn’t the best use of your time. If that’s the case, make it a point to avoid those activities.
Allocate your time accordingly.
Once you know your priorities, use your time accordingly. If you’re ever confused about what to do, remind yourself of your priorities. Ask yourself how you can best use your time according to your priorities.
If you need to, write down your priorities so you can look at this list whenever you need to be reminded.
And remember that allocating your time isn’t always about making it equal among all your priorities. Sometimes it means looking at your priorities and putting a bigger chunk of time toward one that needs it more and offering less to a priority that doesn’t need as much right now — or at least isn’t as important at this moment.
The idea that you can have and accomplish everything you want is a myth. It’s something motivational speakers and your mother tell you to make you feel better. It’s an unattainable goal that makes you feel guilty when you fall short of it.
But you can still manage to have a lot. Having a lot mean prioritizing how you spend your time. Wasting time is the ultimate way to limit yourself. Spreading yourself between too many objectives is also detrimental.
When you accept that having it all isn’t possible, but you can still have a lot, it becomes a lot easier to decide what you really want and achieve it. You’re not limiting yourself with this acceptance — you’re freeing yourself to decide what really matters to you without feeling guilty for not “having it all.”
Always remember — you can have a lot! What do you want? Keep these ideas in mind and make it happen!
Wendy Miller is a Single Mom Coach & meditation teacher. She wants to help other single moms find the love & happiness they seek, including and going beyond romantic love. She lives in Florida with her two sons, where she homeschools while solo parenting, while surrounded by what feels like a zooful of animals.
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If you feel like you’re running out of time, maybe this can ease your mind