Follow Friday #4: The Myth of Doing It All

1 Mar

Happy Friday, everybody! Happy March, as well!

After a pretty great week of workouts (including yesterday’s blogger meet-up – more on that later), I am pretty ready for a rest day today. My behind is pretty sore. On this books this weekend is a much-needed Trader Joe’s date with Stef, a birthday brunch for our friend Eric, and hopefully getting some yoga in, as well.

Follow Friday #4: Sam from Scarlett Called Scout

Previous Follow Fridays:

I came across this blog thanks to my roommate, who had it up on her laptop one night. I was intrigued by the title of the post, so I decided to go and read it for myself. Samantha has a really great voice and I love the layout of her blog – simple and clean. The post in question was about the myths of perfection in a work-life balance.


[ source ]

Her post was inspired by Debora Spar’s article in the Daily Beast called ‘Why Women Should Stop Trying to Be Perfect’.  In Sam’s brief post, she contemplates her own future as a career woman and future mother and comes to the conclusion that we have to let go of the myth of “having it all” if we want to have a shot at being happy.

“In order to be happy, we’re going to have to figure out our own individual concoction of working hard, seeking help and letting go. We’re going to have to stop trying to have a perfect career, perfect house, perfect body and perfect family. We’re going to have to get help from the people around us and we’re going to have to stop judging each other for the ways we aren’t so perfect.”

Amen, sister.

There are two different ideas I want to address in her statement. One, the idea of getting over the concept of perfection (whatever that’s supposed to mean) in our lives and just deal with the fact that sometimes we are not going to have everything together and some areas of our life will need improvement and work. The other notion that struck me was that we have to stop judging each other. Did Mean Girls teach us nothing about girl-on-girl crime?


Ladies: we have to help each other out here. We all have our own issues (whether we make them public or not) and everybody is fighting a battle. For generations, women before us have fought tirelessly to earn rights we take for granted. Yet we face challenges that few generations have seen before us. Spar laments:

“Indeed, rather than leaping with glee at the liberation that has befallen women since the 1960s, we are laboring instead under a double whammy of impossible expectations—the old-fashioned ones (to be good mothers and wives, impeccable housekeepers and blushing brides) and those wrought more recently (to be athletic, strong, sexually versatile, and wholly independent). The result? We have become a generation desperate to be perfect wives, mothers, and professionals—Tiger Moms who prepare organic quinoa each evening after waltzing home from the IPO in our Manolo Blahnik heels. Even worse, we somehow believe that we need to do all of this at once, and without any help.”

Studies are showing the women are participating increasingly in the work force, while maintaining the amount of work they had been doing domestically. Do you know what that means? It means that women all around the country are running around like crazy people, trying to fit everything within a 24-hour day.

“Almost by definition, a woman cannot work a 60-hour-per-week job and be the same kind of parent she would have been without the 60-hour-per-week job. No man can do this; no human can do this. Yet women are repeatedly berating themselves for failing at this kind of balancing act, and (quietly, invidiously) berating others when something inevitably slips.”

For those of us who aren’t yet parents, think about this:

  • Have you ever been a full-time student while working full-time?
  • Have you tried to balance more than one job in order to save some money?
  • Do you feel the need to “have it all together” at the ripe old age of 25?

We are not alone. You are not alone. We can change this, but it will not be easy.

We must instead forge partnerships with those around us, and begin to dismantle the myth of solitary perfection.”

In order for us to be successful in all we choose to take on, we have to rely on community. On those around us – our families, our significant others, our friends. If not to help us through the hard times, what is the sense of building such close bonds?


[ via Pinterest ]

“Meanwhile, American women may also want to consider returning to the kinds of social structures that prevailed in earlier decades, to things like coffee klatches and neighborhood clubs that we have somehow banished from our more atomistic and hard-driving schedules. Recently, I found myself listening enviously as a high-profile businesswoman from Mumbai described her backup network. When one mom had an early-morning meeting, she dropped her toddler off with a neighbor; when another had to travel abroad, a friend handled lunches and carpools for her kids. These Indian women also spoke of their extensive family networks, of the parents and in-laws and cousins who lived nearby and regularly pitched in with the myriad tasks of daily life. Few people in the United States live this way anymore. Instead, we move away from our parents, away from our childhood friends, away from the communities that might help us achieve saner and more balanced lives. In most parts of the country, we don’t even let our kids roam around the neighborhood, chauffeuring them instead in solitary splendor and ripping them from what might otherwise be—used to be—a neighborhood.”

We are social creatures for a reason. We did not evolve to be a solitary, isolated species for good reason – where would it get us? Nowadays, connectedness is easier than ever before. Why do feel so isolated? I can Tweet, Facebook, text, or call someone and reach them in five seconds flat, but why don’t I pick up the phone when I need help?

If we are going to “do it all”, we have to acknowledge that we can’t do it all alone. Let us use the miracles of modern technology and communication to improve our lives and make us closer to those around us, not drive us apart. Let us bring back the carpools, the potlucks, the book clubs. More power to the workout buddies, the study groups, the shared babysitting.

We are all fighting our own battles, but it doesn’t mean we have to fight them alone.

Would love to hear your thoughts about the article (seriously, go read it) and would especially love it if you would share ways you are building community around you. Sending lots of love to all of you for a wonderful weekend!

4 Responses to “Follow Friday #4: The Myth of Doing It All”

  1. martha84 March 3, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

    This post is just incredible and I know a lot of people who could really benefit from reading it. Thank you so much for sharing, it really struck a chord with me in that I’m constantly on a mission to do it all.

    • Sara @ Magia e Pasta March 4, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

      Martha, thank you so much for reading and sharing. I know so many of us feel like we are in this situation – let’s help each other take the pressure off a little!

  2. Bethany Lee March 4, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

    yep–I am with Martha on this one (who, by the way, shared your post in the comments section on my blog). It strikes a cord with me as well since I am too often trying to be perfect. Not possible. Thanks!

    • Sara @ Magia e Pasta March 4, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

      How sweet of her to pass my post along for you to find! Thank you for letting me know your thoughts, it’s so nice to get feedback from people – especially from those it resonated with 🙂

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