MamaBlogger365 – You Don’t Need to Have it All by Kim Jennings

You don’t need to “have it all.”

Kim Jennings

Wait a minute. I grew up thinking that I’m not only supposed to want it all, I’m also supposed to be able to get it. I am woman! Yes… work hard, get a good education, a promising career, find the man (a relationship based on equality of course), the big house, the nice (yet sensible) cars, the white picket fence, and the 2.3 children. Then, and only then, I’ll be happy with my accomplishments, at my attainment of what’s important – the image of perfection, the American Dream.

Somewhere along the way, while focusing on a path I thought I was *supposed* to follow, a nagging voice in the depths of my being started whispering to me. And the things it said were hard to hear.

“Who are you?”
“Where are you really going?”
“Why are you doing this?”

The voice got louder… and louder still. Then one day, it screamed. It screamed so loud, it stopped me in my tracks. Stopped me in my life. But I didn’t know what to do about it – not yet. It was frightening. All these questions… hitting at the core of the person I’d thought I always was. Hitting at the core of everything I thought to be true, and everything I believed. And what did it scream to me?

“You are unhappy. And the only one responsible for it is YOU.”

How could this be? I worked hard, got a great education, and on working my way up to running an organization that was doing important work. I had met a wonderful man, and was well on my way down the path of the American Dream.

The thing I didn’t realize, right until that moment, was that in no way whatsoever was this ever really MY dream. The earth seemed to shake below me. All that time, all that work, everything I had done – wasted. Completely wasted.

Or so I thought. That was just detour number 1.

What followed was detour number 2. If I am unhappy, I convinced myself, then I need to do more “valuable” work, in a career that would have more opportunities up the ladder. The voice got quiet for a while, biding its time to see how detour number 2 played itself out. I found a career in IT, where I could make more money, even if it meant going back to school. It all made perfect sense. Off I went again, in pursuit of advancement and attaining goals that only seemed important at the time.

And then, it happened. Marriage, house, pregnancy… motherhood. But it didn’t happen overnight, and the voice started to whisper, quietly at first, then louder and louder.

“You are unhappy. And the only one responsible for it is YOU.”

It wasn’t the 50-60 hour work weeks on top of the 90-minute commutes each way to work that was responsible for my unhappiness. It wasn’t the time crunch of 3AM feedings, then exhaustedly trying to pump milk in a back office room in between management meetings. It wasn’t all-night server installations. A couple of years later, it wasn’t getting out of work on time to avoid child care late fees adding up dollars per minute. And a few years after that, it wasn’t wondering how to meet the deadline with my paid time off dwindling and needing to get out to the school project fair on time.

It wasn’t that I wanted it all. I sure had plenty. But a good amount of it wasn’t what I really wanted. And the only one responsible for it was me.

The beauty of this part of my journey that I didn’t “get it” the first time. I wasn’t ready. Sometimes I still wonder if I am.

So now, as I embark on my new part-time work schedule, making more time for home and family and more time for my musical passions, I am at peace with the amount of time it took me to get to this place. I am listening to the voice and thinking through what I really want. And it’s not perfect, and I’m not done, and I haven’t “arrived,” and I certainly don’t have it all.

After all the years I spent trying to “have it all,” it’s going to take time to work towards “having what I want” instead. I’m more than okay with that. I’m glad I heard the voice, listened, and did something about it. I am glad the voice screamed at me. I wouldn’t have listened otherwise.

Bio: Sitting still has never been easy for acoustic/indie/folk singer-songwriter Kim Jennings. A singer, piano and guitar player for years, the songwriting bug only bit her in 2007. Not three years later, Kim released her debut CD “My Own True North,” co-founded the indie record label “Birch Beer Records” with fellow singer-songwriter Dan Cloutier, and launched the We Support Local Music blog along with the “I Support Local Music in Massachusetts” Facebook page.

Named to Metronome Magazine’s Top 20 Hit List for 2010, and voted Best Female Vocalist in the 2010 Worcester Music Awards, Jennings keeps a busy schedule, performing as often as she can and running her record label. Not bad, considering that in her “free time” she’s also a part-time working soccer mom.

Keep up with Kim Jennings and her musical projects at
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