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Do you think you can have it all? (I’m currently trying…with mixed results)

Erin Zammett Ruddy

As a wife/mother/professional/etc. I think it’s important to occasionally step back and take stock of your situation, to think about what you want from life and whether you’re getting it. Here’s what’s on my list: I want to have a great marriage, I want happy kids, I want to have a solid social life (both with my kids and without), I want to have a body I like, if not love, I want to get eight hours of sleep, I want to cook healthy and delicious dinners for my family, I want a clean and organized house, I want to enjoy my work and make good money doing it, I want to entertain (and be entertained), I want to network, I want to drink wine, I want to read good books, I want to learn new things (both with my kids and without), I want a flat stomach.


And you know what? So far I’ve been able to pull this off—apart from the flat stomach and with varying levels of stress and anxiety (see my reenactment of the Ruddy family dinner as evidence). I truly feel blessed and lucky and kind of kick-ass for avoiding most motherhood clichés, a lot of which I hate (i.e., I am not sleep deprived, I still hang out with my husband, I’m rarely riddled with guilt and I pee alone—most of the time). But lately it’s getting tricky. I thought summer was crazy but fall, so far, has been even more nutso. For one, I’ve got a ton of work on my plate (over the summer I was pretty much funemployed but, as it turns out, that doesn’t pay very well). I’ve also been going out a lot with new friends and am in full cancer charity mode—I sit on two boards and last weekend I had videographers at my house shooting an interview for one foundation, next week I’m filming a PSA for another, Thursday night I’m doing the Leukemia & Lymphoma’s Society’s Light the Night walk—if you’re in the area, come on down!—and I have meetings up the wazoo. I put my cancer fundraising and events pretty much on hold for three years but now I’m back. And have said yes to almost everything. Because, well, the work of these foundations is the reason I’m here complaining about nonsense….


Anyway, I digress. As you guys know I am a stay at home working mom, which means, in some ways, I have the best of both worlds (for me). But it also leads me to believe that I can do more than I think. In both the mom world and the work world. I really don't have as much time/flexibility as I like to think. Especially since Nora's babysitter has started classes again and doesn't get here till noon! And yet I have a tough time saying no. To anything these days. Bottom line: I have spread myself a little thin. So thin that I’m just not that sure I’m doing a good job at any of it right now.  



Here are the ways in which I’m currently falling short:





  • My kids don’t have clothes that fit. We had a christening to go to on Sunday and it took me 30 minutes to get the kids dressed because I just couldn’t find anything fall-like that wasn’t too tight/short/ugly. I wound up putting Nora in a summery dress, but the tights I had came up to her knees, so she went bare-legged (and barefoot). Quote from my mother: “Oh, Nora, you look like little orphan Annie.” (My mom does that super annoying talk-to-my-kids-instead-of-me thing). In my defense, the dress was Ralph Lauren and I’m pretty sure Annie’s duds weren’t designer…




  • I don’t have enough food in my house. At all. Nick and I split a can of lentil soup for lunch yesterday. Alex had semi-old broccoli and homemade mac-n-cheese (i.e., I mixed elbow macaroni with parmesan and olive oil). I just haven’t been able to force myself to go to the grocery store. Other things seem more important. But not having food leads to takeout. Takeout is not what I want.




  • I have five looming deadlines and more behind those. I have not even started most of the assignments and I’m beginning to panic about how I’m going to pull it all off.




  • Alex needs a haircut. Badly. And sneakers. And stuff on his bedroom walls. I could go on.




  • Nick and I have been getting into stupid fights about stupid stuff (think dishes left in the sink) because we’re both stressed out by our current state.  




  • My kitchen floor is sticky. I know this because I actually stick to it in certain spots. And yet I have done nothing about it.  




  • I am using old eye-makeup I found in the guest bathroom drawer. Because my eye-shadow fell in the toilet (thanks, Al!). I do know that the mascara at least was mine but I also know I was pregnant the last time I used it. My eyes itch.




  • The duvet cover for my bed is sitting in the laundry room where it has been for weeks. The thought of wrestling it back on our bed is just too overwhelming. So we’ve been sleeping with a plain white down comforter that sprays little feathers all over our room. Feathers that Nora tries to eat.




  • I have Modern Family, Weeds, Parenthood, 30 Rock, two Gossip Girls and The Event waiting for me in my DVR. Calling my name. Yes, this bothers me.




OK, anyone else want to share? How do you feel like you’re failing in whatever it is that you’re trying to do? (Fun topic, huh?) And, am I fooling myself? Am I being selfish to place so much emphasis on my friendships and fitness and alone time with Nick? Should I get real and just skip my workouts? Eat cereal for dinner? Not care if the kitchen gets clean? Bottom line: Does something have to give?