You Can’t Have It All


I’m in a really good place right now. If you’re thinking, well, goody for you, I get it. But, I say this because I have struggled with depression and anxiety since my childhood. And, although it’s been a long road, I’m doing well right now. You know one thing that really helped?  I stopped thinking I could have it all.

Yes, I know, saying “you can’t have it all” is not a popular opinion.

We’ve been told we could have it all for our whole lives. We’ve been told not to accept anything less. I think there’s good intention behind that message, but really, you know what? We can’t have it all. And thinking we can have it all can be really damaging.

My search for having it all triggered my anxiety and depression. It was always reaching for more that left me feeling like a failure.

I think it’s more accurate to say you can have what you decide is truly important to you.

Because to have it all, we need to do it all, and, goodness, we can not do it all. Trying to do it all will leave us feeling anxious, depressed, and unfulfilled.  

Because here’s the thing, everyone is giving up something else to do what they are doing well.  

Someone might have a super successful business, be put together with styled hair and lovely outfits, and manage to bring the team snack for soccer games, but they don’t volunteer at school, and she hasn’t had a night out with her girlfriends since her youngest was born.

Someone else is attending every field trip, serving as room mom, baking homemade cupcakes for every bake sale, and sewing their children’s Halloween costumes, but they might not have had their hair cut in months or gotten to the gym in longer.

And the mom you see in the school pick up line looking incredible in her yoga pants because she squeezed in a workout after work, chatting with the other moms about plans for the weekend? She, too, is giving up something.

I used to think I had to be doing well what all the other moms were doing well. I was looking at everything other women were doing that I wasn’t doing. But, I never thought about what they weren’t doing that I was doing. 

We can do some things, and we can do them really well, but we can’t do everything everyone else is doing. And if we think we can, we are always going to feel like we’re failing. 

It’s really about choosing what we value most and what we’re capable of doing, and then letting go of some things to make that happen. 

I’ll say it again, no one can do everything. Okay? Hear that. Understand that. Believe that.

No one can do every one of the impossible mom expectations we put on ourselves and have a career and have an active social life and keep our bodies in perfect shape. No one. Not even you.

(because, please understand, our kids don’t actually care about a lot of the stuff we are expecting of ourselves)

So, if you’re someone who is putting all these expectations on yourself like I was, maybe you need to sit down and actually write out what you think you should be doing. Then ask yourself if doing all of that is humanly possible. If it’s not, decide what areas aren’t as relevant to you and lower your expectations in those areas to make room for the most important areas. Then, permit yourself to let the others slide, and rock the things that matter to you!

Previous articleSocial Distancing: This Isn’t About Us
Next articleAt Home Learning Resources for Families
Kristal spent years thinking that teaching a room full of 30 kids in the inner city was tough but rewarding. Then she became responsible for just four kids, and discovered brand new definitions for tough and rewarding. That’s what led her to become a parent educator, to help other parents build strong relationships with the children in their lives and to help more kids have a chance to grow into successful adults. (You can get in touch with her through her website Parenting with Kristal Melbye by clicking the link above.) Having a family is Kristal’s dream come true. She’s grateful every day for her kids and the time she get to spend with them. But, she’s also grateful for a chance to have a little escape, a chance to reflect, an opportunity to share. And that's why she writes.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here