You Can’t Have It All

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You Can’t Have It All

I had a revelation the other day.  In light of all the New Year’s resolutions and inspirational Pinterest posts about being bold and conquering goals and living your dreams, I was putting ingredients in the crockpot (glamorous yes, I know but girl, I love a slow cooker!), in workout clothes, at like noon.  I still hadn’t taken a shower yet.  I was trying to get dinner together.  I had about 9 hours worth of work to do still.  And it hit me, as I browned the chicken, “you can’t have it all.”  Here’s how I figure it:

You may have heard of the Triple Constraint Theory of Fast, Cheap and Good (or Scope, Time and Resources):  you can’t have all 3.  It’s literally impossible for a vendor to provide a product or service that is both fast, cheap and good.  You get to pick 2.  You can have it fast and cheap, but it won’t be good (eg. McDonald’s).  You can have it good and fast, but it won’t be cheap in fact, it will probably be an arm and a leg.  Or you can have it good and cheap, but it won’t be fast, you’ll have to wait.  This is a key theorem used by graphic designers, marketing professionals, vendors of any kind, and it makes sense because a person or business literally does not have the resources to do all 3 at once.

So here’s my theory.  Women have a triple constraint theory as well.  I broke it down into Work, Home/Family Life and Appearance.  You can’t have all 3.  As I’m sweatily shoving items in the crockpot, looking like a drowned rat, nails aren’t done, work is piled up, I think, “I can’t do all of this” (and ya’ll I don’t even have kids).  I figure a woman can either work and take care of her home/family life (I classify this as take care of the kids, housecleaning, laundry, cooking).  Or work and take care of her appearance (I don’t mean just taking a shower but I’m talking about nails done, hair done regularly and styled, time for shopping and picking out cute outfits (my friend pointed out that my theorem caused the rise of athleisure lol!), makeup done, facials, etc).  And then her house is a mess and the kids are waiting outside of ballet for an hour because she’s running late at the hair salon.  Or she can look great and her house can be immaculate and she has plenty of time to devote to the kids…  but she doesn’t work.  It makes sense!  There is time in life for two of these areas, but not all 3.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve told my husband, you can have dinner or sex but you can’t have both.  Lol, but actually seriously.  There aren’t enough hours in the day.

I don’t have any great solution to this, but if you break your life down into those 3 categories, do you really master all 3?  Or are they all kind of half-arsed and hastily put together:  the quick dinner in the crockpot, the rushed and messy manicure on the way out the door, putting on the same yoga pants because you don’t have time to pick out anything else to wear, a quick vacuum but the shower still needs to be scrubbed and there’s still shizz rotting in the refrigerator.  I think the only way around this is more money, you can hire a housekeeper, you can hire a nanny or babysitter, you can have a stylist on housecall.  But ironically, the more money you make, the more you actually have to work (case in point, my friend who makes the most money literally takes conference calls at 2 a.m.  Literally.  I have witnessed it).  So that’s less time for the other 3.

Not to be depressing I know everyone should be feeling all confident and motivated after the New Year, but I just wanted to empathize and say I’m in the same boat too.  I guess we should all go easier on ourselves, really our families are the most important thing (though Instagram and Pinterest tell us it’s looking glam and chic and whipping off to Paris for the weekend and making perfect mini gingerbread houses and knitting homemade stockings).  Stay strong, my cat hair-covered, chipped manicured, dark-rooted sisters!

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