This post was originally featured on Littles Magazine.

The concept of having it all, is in my opinion a strange one. It’s the idea that the woman, the Mother should strive to have an excellent career and a contented family life and that these things should exist in harmonious balance with one another. It’s the idea that this is what all women want or at least should want, because its now (apparently) all available to us.

Ugh. How patronising.

I’m a full time working mother of one, with a husband who also works full time and co-parents with me in equal measures. Whilst I am not particularly qualified or financially well off, I would go as far as to call my vocation a career because it is specialised and I’ve been working on it for a long time.
Sounds like I’ve got it sorted doesn’t it? Well some days I do, some days we get up, we get ready, I’ve made lunches the night before and everyone has clean underwear. Some days the toddler fully co-operates, he actually brushes his teeth and he lets us dress him without kicking Daddy in the balls. He’s excited to see his Nanny or his friend Lily at nursery and he’s bowling out the door with a huge grin on his face. On these days I’ve straightened my hair, I’m on time, I’m wearing that dress with the little brown belt and there are no ladders in my tights. These are the days that I, by definition look like I ‘have it all’.

Then there are those other days. The ones where I’ve already bitched at my husband before 7am. The ones where the toddler doesn’t have any clean socks and I have to fish some out from under the sofa. When he wants me to give him breakfast and he sets his little table up in the lounge, waiting expectantly only to be told he has to wait until someone else can do it. These are the days when he deliberately wipes his snot up my dress because I didn’t find a tissue quick enough. There’s no time to make lunches or apply make up or do anything but feel incredibly overwhelmed and inadequate. These are the days that I do not ‘have it all’. All I have is a migraine and a crusty bogey stuck to my skirt.
So I’m redefining this concept of ‘having it all’ because the current definition doesn’t work for me. No one can exist in a constant state of happiness and contentment. You cannot ‘have it all’, all the time. It’s just not realistic. Real life isn’t a Disney movie, it’s more like The Hunger Games.

I think to ‘have it all’, whether you are the Mother or Father, the man or the woman you need to be, on the whole satisfied with your work, life balance. Whether that means you work full or part time or you stay at home with your children. You’ve got to ask yourself, am I lucky? Am I doing ok? Are my kids alright, is my family unit generally content and happy?

And if you can answer yes to those questions, then my dear, you already have everything you need. You already have it all.

Why I’m Redefining Having It All

66 thoughts on “Why I’m Redefining Having It All

  • February 23, 2016 at 5:05 pm
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    I hate the concept of having it all! If anything it is just more additional pressure that we don't need. What does it actually mean and would a women's having it be different from a men's having it all? I am with you for redefining it. Having it all is about making the choice not to have it all and to stop trying. Like you say life isn't perfect and that's what makes life interesting, crazy ways and all. I will be raising a glass of wine (as soon as socially acceptable) to not having it all, as I sit in the chaos of my living room in my pjs!

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  • February 23, 2016 at 5:05 pm
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    I hate the concept of having it all! If anything it is just more additional pressure that we don't need. What does it actually mean and would a women's having it be different from a men's having it all? I am with you for redefining it. Having it all is about making the choice not to have it all and to stop trying. Like you say life isn't perfect and that's what makes life interesting, crazy ways and all. I will be raising a glass of wine (as soon as socially acceptable) to not having it all, as I sit in the chaos of my living room in my pjs!

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  • February 24, 2016 at 8:21 pm
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    Great post. I think it's hard no matter what. Even if you're a stay at home mum full time or like me juggling a freelance job around kids, there are still days when it all goes out the window and it's a struggle. I think everyone is just trying to do their best and agree with your last line that as long as everyone is (generally!) happy and doing Ok then that's the best we can all hope for!

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  • February 24, 2016 at 8:21 pm
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    Great post. I think it's hard no matter what. Even if you're a stay at home mum full time or like me juggling a freelance job around kids, there are still days when it all goes out the window and it's a struggle. I think everyone is just trying to do their best and agree with your last line that as long as everyone is (generally!) happy and doing Ok then that's the best we can all hope for!

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  • February 24, 2016 at 9:14 pm
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    I needed to read this tonight when I'm feeling a bit frazzled and disheartened and imagining everyone's managing the work/life/toddler juggle far better then I am. Yes I'm tired but we're all doing ok, nothing terrible has happened and the children are certainly happy. Thank you. #MMWBH

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  • February 24, 2016 at 9:14 pm
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    I needed to read this tonight when I'm feeling a bit frazzled and disheartened and imagining everyone's managing the work/life/toddler juggle far better then I am. Yes I'm tired but we're all doing ok, nothing terrible has happened and the children are certainly happy. Thank you. #MMWBH

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  • February 24, 2016 at 9:14 pm
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    I needed to read this tonight when I'm feeling a bit frazzled and disheartened and imagining everyone's managing the work/life/toddler juggle far better then I am. Yes I'm tired but we're all doing ok, nothing terrible has happened and the children are certainly happy. Thank you. #MMWBH

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  • February 25, 2016 at 10:26 am
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    I'm loving the way you've tagged this post “BALLS” in capital letters. Anyway, I generally found my were at the greatest risk of getting hit when my eldest had swimming lessons, but that's another story entirely. I'm a stay at home dad and I basically chose this life because I don't believe you can have it all. I'm glad you r post has touched on the father's role because all too often this debate is framed around women and ignores the fact many men struggle to have it all )the amount of time a man spends doing direct childcare with his kids has increased from 15 mins a day in the 1970s to three hours a day today). Interesting post, although the goal posts shift significantly when you have a child that enters the school system. #MMWBH

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  • February 25, 2016 at 10:26 am
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    I'm loving the way you've tagged this post “BALLS” in capital letters. Anyway, I generally found my were at the greatest risk of getting hit when my eldest had swimming lessons, but that's another story entirely. I'm a stay at home dad and I basically chose this life because I don't believe you can have it all. I'm glad you r post has touched on the father's role because all too often this debate is framed around women and ignores the fact many men struggle to have it all )the amount of time a man spends doing direct childcare with his kids has increased from 15 mins a day in the 1970s to three hours a day today). Interesting post, although the goal posts shift significantly when you have a child that enters the school system. #MMWBH

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  • February 25, 2016 at 3:31 pm
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    LOVED this piece. Thank you for sharing. I fluctuate between days were everything just falls into place and I feel on top of the world to complete chaos. The latter seems to have taken over this week with a big work load, the entire family struck down by a cold (thank you new nursery!) and my 1-year-old deciding that my laptop would make an excellent chair! But I'm so blessed with a supportive loving partner, a happy and generally healthy child and work I enjoy not to mention my blog. Happy to have discovered your blog via #brilliantblogposts

    Nadia – ScandiMummy x

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  • February 25, 2016 at 3:31 pm
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    LOVED this piece. Thank you for sharing. I fluctuate between days were everything just falls into place and I feel on top of the world to complete chaos. The latter seems to have taken over this week with a big work load, the entire family struck down by a cold (thank you new nursery!) and my 1-year-old deciding that my laptop would make an excellent chair! But I'm so blessed with a supportive loving partner, a happy and generally healthy child and work I enjoy not to mention my blog. Happy to have discovered your blog via #brilliantblogposts

    Nadia – ScandiMummy x

    Reply
  • February 25, 2016 at 9:58 pm
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    We never have any 'pairs' of clean socks for my husband or my daughter… It drives my hubby nuts!! With you on all of this!

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  • February 25, 2016 at 9:58 pm
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    We never have any 'pairs' of clean socks for my husband or my daughter… It drives my hubby nuts!! With you on all of this!

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  • February 26, 2016 at 6:31 am
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    I love this – I never have it all and I'm not even rushing out to get to work!! I do however often have the crusty bogey and the tear stained 3 year old in tow. And socks. We never have socks. EVER!!!!

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  • February 26, 2016 at 6:31 am
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    I love this – I never have it all and I'm not even rushing out to get to work!! I do however often have the crusty bogey and the tear stained 3 year old in tow. And socks. We never have socks. EVER!!!!

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  • February 26, 2016 at 7:40 am
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    Brilliant post. So true. There's some days 'having it all' means never giving my full attention to any one of those things and feeling like my head is spinning. There are days when I don't want it all! #effitfriday

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  • February 26, 2016 at 7:40 am
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    Brilliant post. So true. There's some days 'having it all' means never giving my full attention to any one of those things and feeling like my head is spinning. There are days when I don't want it all! #effitfriday

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  • February 26, 2016 at 8:43 am
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    it is just me and bubba but i feel like we have the whole world. thanks for your post

    #pocolo

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  • February 26, 2016 at 8:43 am
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    it is just me and bubba but i feel like we have the whole world. thanks for your post

    #pocolo

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  • February 26, 2016 at 9:01 am
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    I always wonder where “having it all” originated from – perhaps fairyland? Or a Disney movie like you mentioned? Not old English nursery tales such as the Old Woman in a shoe! The days when it all balances out are the special ones.

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  • February 26, 2016 at 9:01 am
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    I always wonder where “having it all” originated from – perhaps fairyland? Or a Disney movie like you mentioned? Not old English nursery tales such as the Old Woman in a shoe! The days when it all balances out are the special ones.

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  • February 26, 2016 at 10:55 am
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    Amen to that sista! I wrote something similar a few years ago about how having the American Dream” should no longer be about a white picket fence and 2 children, instead it should be about your relative happiness, as you said, some days you will be happy and others you won't but if the ratio is good then you have “the dream,” and it shouldn't matter if you work, have kids, are a stay at home Mom, are not married, etc. Love this post, we should redifine having it all. Maybe we should come up with a new saying? “Having what I want” or something like that… ha ha #fabfridaypost

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  • February 26, 2016 at 10:55 am
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    Amen to that sista! I wrote something similar a few years ago about how having the American Dream” should no longer be about a white picket fence and 2 children, instead it should be about your relative happiness, as you said, some days you will be happy and others you won't but if the ratio is good then you have “the dream,” and it shouldn't matter if you work, have kids, are a stay at home Mom, are not married, etc. Love this post, we should redifine having it all. Maybe we should come up with a new saying? “Having what I want” or something like that… ha ha #fabfridaypost

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  • February 26, 2016 at 11:27 am
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    Completely agree with this – no one can be completely together, happy and organised all of the time, it'd just not possible and people shouldn't use this to judge as to whether they have it all. #pocolo

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  • February 26, 2016 at 11:27 am
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    Completely agree with this – no one can be completely together, happy and organised all of the time, it'd just not possible and people shouldn't use this to judge as to whether they have it all. #pocolo

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  • February 26, 2016 at 12:24 pm
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    that is wisdom! I am trying to think the same way.
    If you'd like to link up at #TreasuredMoments you'd be very welcome

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  • February 26, 2016 at 12:24 pm
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    that is wisdom! I am trying to think the same way.
    If you'd like to link up at #TreasuredMoments you'd be very welcome

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  • February 26, 2016 at 3:55 pm
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    Embracing all that's imperfect in our lives goes a long way to helping us feel content…even with the bogeys on our clothing 🙂 #PoCoLo

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  • February 26, 2016 at 3:55 pm
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    Embracing all that's imperfect in our lives goes a long way to helping us feel content…even with the bogeys on our clothing 🙂 #PoCoLo

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  • February 26, 2016 at 6:58 pm
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    Ahhh yeah!! Like you, I have days where I go to work, with unbrushed hair no make-up and yesterdays clothes!! Then I have those super amazing, I got up early and dd fishtail plaits in my girls hair and still got to work on time… Go me! Great #FabFridayPost

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  • February 26, 2016 at 6:58 pm
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    Ahhh yeah!! Like you, I have days where I go to work, with unbrushed hair no make-up and yesterdays clothes!! Then I have those super amazing, I got up early and dd fishtail plaits in my girls hair and still got to work on time… Go me! Great #FabFridayPost

    Reply
  • February 27, 2016 at 4:20 pm
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    Lovely post! Delivered with humour despite the missing socks and bogeys (both of which I'm familiar with). I think your right, everyone's perception of having it all (or not as the case may be), is different. My thinking swings in the same direction of yours these days (though, I have to admit, it didn't always). There was a time when I longed for more…before waking up to What-Really-Matters.

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  • February 27, 2016 at 4:20 pm
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    Lovely post! Delivered with humour despite the missing socks and bogeys (both of which I'm familiar with). I think your right, everyone's perception of having it all (or not as the case may be), is different. My thinking swings in the same direction of yours these days (though, I have to admit, it didn't always). There was a time when I longed for more…before waking up to What-Really-Matters.

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  • February 28, 2016 at 3:03 am
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    Life wouldn't be life if we did not experience the ups and downs that it brings. This helps us to mature into we are meant to be and to show us things that we may have not otherwise seen. We are human and imperfection is what makes us real.

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  • February 28, 2016 at 3:03 am
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    Life wouldn't be life if we did not experience the ups and downs that it brings. This helps us to mature into we are meant to be and to show us things that we may have not otherwise seen. We are human and imperfection is what makes us real.

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  • February 28, 2016 at 9:22 am
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    Firstly, GORGEOUS photo at the top there. The cuteness is killing me. Secondly juggling life, no matter what you are or what you do, is tough. It's hard, stressful, frustrating but it can also be fun, if you let it! Its tough but we all rock it in our own ways! 😉 Thanks so much for linking up with #MadMidWeek

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  • February 28, 2016 at 9:22 am
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    Firstly, GORGEOUS photo at the top there. The cuteness is killing me. Secondly juggling life, no matter what you are or what you do, is tough. It's hard, stressful, frustrating but it can also be fun, if you let it! Its tough but we all rock it in our own ways! 😉 Thanks so much for linking up with #MadMidWeek

    Reply
  • February 28, 2016 at 4:06 pm
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    I've always thought the concept of 'Having It All' was complete and utter rubbish. I find that it usually goes hand-in-hand with 'Doing It All' as well. I co-parented twin daughters along with my husband and we each had a full-time job. the good news is that we seem to have arrived at the other end relatively unscathed and with our sanity almost intact! Keep going Sarah, it's all you can do x

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  • February 28, 2016 at 4:06 pm
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    I've always thought the concept of 'Having It All' was complete and utter rubbish. I find that it usually goes hand-in-hand with 'Doing It All' as well. I co-parented twin daughters along with my husband and we each had a full-time job. the good news is that we seem to have arrived at the other end relatively unscathed and with our sanity almost intact! Keep going Sarah, it's all you can do x

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  • February 28, 2016 at 5:15 pm
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    Very good point. No one's life is as perfect as it seems, and if it was they wouldn't appreciate it!

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  • February 28, 2016 at 5:15 pm
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    Very good point. No one's life is as perfect as it seems, and if it was they wouldn't appreciate it!

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  • February 28, 2016 at 5:23 pm
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    Your comment at the end is so true – if you have those things you are truly blessed and you have it all. 🙂 Great post

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  • February 28, 2016 at 5:23 pm
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    Your comment at the end is so true – if you have those things you are truly blessed and you have it all. 🙂 Great post

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  • February 28, 2016 at 8:41 pm
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    It is so reassuring to read posts like this. I may look often like I have it all, but I too run around looking for the kids clean socks. #PoCoLo

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  • February 28, 2016 at 8:41 pm
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    It is so reassuring to read posts like this. I may look often like I have it all, but I too run around looking for the kids clean socks. #PoCoLo

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  • February 28, 2016 at 9:06 pm
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    Great post. I wrote about this very topic just recently. The whole phrase has become such a cliche, but it does depend on how you define “having it all.” #weekendblogshare

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  • February 28, 2016 at 9:06 pm
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    Great post. I wrote about this very topic just recently. The whole phrase has become such a cliche, but it does depend on how you define “having it all.” #weekendblogshare

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  • February 28, 2016 at 11:12 pm
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    This is definitely the best post I've read on this topic. And since when has this been a topic anyway – as you say it's completely patronising and just another way mums feel like they are constantly being judged. 'Having it all' is all about personal interpretation and is different for everyone. Great post x #picknmix

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  • February 28, 2016 at 11:12 pm
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    This is definitely the best post I've read on this topic. And since when has this been a topic anyway – as you say it's completely patronising and just another way mums feel like they are constantly being judged. 'Having it all' is all about personal interpretation and is different for everyone. Great post x #picknmix

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  • February 29, 2016 at 1:48 pm
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    Great post – having it all?! What does that mean? Does anyone really have it all, I believe there will always be something more than you want. everyone has struggles and nobody's life is perfect. It is so easy to look at people's Instagram and think that they have it all but we are just seeing the good bits, there are always bad bits too.

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  • February 29, 2016 at 1:48 pm
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    Great post – having it all?! What does that mean? Does anyone really have it all, I believe there will always be something more than you want. everyone has struggles and nobody's life is perfect. It is so easy to look at people's Instagram and think that they have it all but we are just seeing the good bits, there are always bad bits too.

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  • March 1, 2016 at 1:13 pm
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    Thank you for your incredible inspiring post and a Big Congratulations! on being featured on Littles Magazine. That's Amazing! I think you are correct in every way. Having it all doesn't means materialistic sense but emotionally – how it is to you. Thank you for sharing and linking up with #FabFridayPost xx

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  • March 1, 2016 at 1:13 pm
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    Thank you for your incredible inspiring post and a Big Congratulations! on being featured on Littles Magazine. That's Amazing! I think you are correct in every way. Having it all doesn't means materialistic sense but emotionally – how it is to you. Thank you for sharing and linking up with #FabFridayPost xx

    Reply
  • March 1, 2016 at 8:46 pm
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    I absolutely love this post and wholeheartedly agree 🙂 The days I feel like I'm 'having it all' are the ones where I don't end up shouting at anyone before I'm even dressed lol. Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix
    Stevie x

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  • March 1, 2016 at 8:46 pm
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    I absolutely love this post and wholeheartedly agree 🙂 The days I feel like I'm 'having it all' are the ones where I don't end up shouting at anyone before I'm even dressed lol. Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix
    Stevie x

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  • March 3, 2016 at 5:38 pm
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    Fab post – and yes to have it all is a daft saying no doubt dreamt up by someone tying to sell us something, the perfect lifestyle, the perfect family or whatever. But having what we want and need and being comfortable with that is the best definition of having it all – and each of our all's are different, and that's ok. Thanks for linking up to #PoCoLo and being a fab #newbieshowcase xx

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  • March 3, 2016 at 5:38 pm
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    Fab post – and yes to have it all is a daft saying no doubt dreamt up by someone tying to sell us something, the perfect lifestyle, the perfect family or whatever. But having what we want and need and being comfortable with that is the best definition of having it all – and each of our all's are different, and that's ok. Thanks for linking up to #PoCoLo and being a fab #newbieshowcase xx

    Reply
  • March 17, 2016 at 7:21 am
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    Brilliant post and you're right, I really don't think you can have it all. I think if you try and have it all then something ends up being compromised, more often than not your own wellbeing. It just isn't realistic. #stayclassy

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  • March 18, 2016 at 9:25 am
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    I love this post. “Having it all” should just mean you are, for the majority of the time, happy. None of this white picket, 2.5 kids non-sense. Life, like you said, isn’t a fairy tale. We definitely need to change our perspective on what “having it all” means or maybe totally scrap that term. Thanks so much for linking up with #StayClassy!

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  • March 18, 2016 at 1:30 pm
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    The mornings I have it all, I’ve left the house before 7:45AM and I’m having a good hair day. The bad mornings usually involve me listening to my daughters tears because I want to brush her hair and realizing my son just pooped for the 3rd time that morning after we’ve already got him in the car seat. I’m glad neither of them attempt to wipe snot on me as I’m out the door :). This was a great post – #StayClassy!

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  • March 18, 2016 at 2:06 pm
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    Love this. ‘Having it all’ is such a loaded concept, putting extra pressure on women and mothers. You never hear people say it in the context of fathers, do you?! #StayClassy

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  • November 18, 2016 at 9:07 am
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    Couldn’t agree more! It’s not about having IT all, it about having YOUR all, whatever that means for you

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