The Myth of Having it All

September 23, 2016

Some days, I am a total boss lady. I make it to meetings early, I book my clients, and I nail everything on my to do list. My social media is scheduled (at peak hours – natch), my editing is ahead of schedule, and I am the queen of small business.

Some days, I am a totally awesome person. I cuddle my kitty and take my dog to the park, I meet friends for coffee, run all my errands, and hit my step goal. My house is clean and my laundry is folded. I read my books and return them to the library on time. I have dinner planned out and I make eat at a reasonable hour. I am a domestic diva.

These two things never happen on the same day. In fact, rarely am I a domestic diva and a small business queen in the same week. Usually, I’m struggling along, juggling all the things in life, and dropping those balls left and right. I never feel like I have it all, because I never feel like I can do it all at the same time.

And the guilt is enormous. Why do we put this much pressure on ourselves – as business owners, as women, as people – to be perfect? I can tell you that, when you add in a mostly DIY home renovation, my husband doesn’t feel like he has it all either. Every day, it’s a question of time. And there are not enough hours, and none of us have enough brain space to do it all – or have it all – at the same time. Do we work on that house project, or do I cross something of my never ending business to do list? Do I meet up with a friend for happy hour, or make it to the gym?

In the summer, I am a workaholic. My house is a disaster, and while I love spending time with friends, I spend every spare minute with my spouse or desperately catching up on sleep. In the winter, my work load slows down, but that means I finally have time to catch up on all the half finished house projects, and to do some of the things I want to do around my home. I read books and remember what it’s like to have free time. And when I travel, I simultaneously try to enjoy as much of my trip as possible while still working my butt off to run the business. True fact: unless I’m overseas or off the grid, I don’t set an out of office message, because I’m still working. On vacation! That probably means it’s not really much of a vacation, does it? 🙁

It’s easy to look at a social media feed and think someone has it all. After all, I’m not sharing my messy, doesn’t have walls, house photos. I’m sharing the ones where I’ve nailed it. You don’t know that I barely slept last night, because I was trying to get work done, just that my emails are answered. Today it’s Friday, and I’ve spent the whole week tackling my inbox, trying to get that under control. I’ve barely turned around from my desk, because I know my house is a disaster zone. But hey, my inbox is down to TWO emails….for the next five minutes. 😉

You’ve can have it all, but you can’t have it all at the same time. To paraphrase a popular entrepreneurial saying: family, friends, work, sleep, fitness, or home renovation — pick three. And when I throw a baby in there, I wonder to myself, how can I make it all work? I can’t. And I have to learn to show myself more grace with that. I have to realize that some days – or weeks – I’m going to pick sleep over my house or fitness or friends. And that’s okay. And some days, my business comes first. But other days, my family and my friends are first.

You can’t have it all at the same time, and I think it’s important for us to continue to say that. It may look otherwise on the internet, but I am here to say I don’t have it all. I drop the ball. I work late, and sometimes I don’t feel like I can do enough work to keep up. Some days I am a terrible spouse and friend. Other days, I do great at that, but feel like I have failed as a business owner. You don’t need to have it all, and you shouldn’t believe that it’s a good standard to work towards. Be honest, be real, and give yourself grace. I struggle with this every day, and I know it won’t get easier as my business and family grow.

Delos Archaeological Site Greek Island // Emily Wenzel Photography


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photo of the author, she has dark wavy hair, brown glasses, and red lipstick on. She is wearing a grey shirt.


Servus! I’m Emily and you’ve found my little corner of the internet, where I write about travel, intentionally living with less stuff, and living as a German-American family in Munich, Germany.  Want to know more?