If Bridget Jones Can Have It All, Why Can’t I?

I hate ironing.

I no longer iron for my teenage kids and am lucky enough to have Tracy, my ironing life saver, who collects on Monday and reappears in a puff of glitter on Wednesday, with everything beautifully pressed and ready to be hung in the appropriate places. However, on occasion needs must. Sunday was one of those days where I reluctantly dragged the iron and the board into a prime spot in front of the television where I selected a DVD in an attempt to distract myself from boredom and back ache.

Now I love a bit of light hearted comedy, coupled with a smidge of romance and whilst Colin Firth doesn’t really do it for me, I’d quite happily take Patrick Dempsey. Bridge seems to have really got herself together in Bridget Jones’ Baby. She has a career as a television producer, friends, a social life; almost everything a girl could want, except she still hasn’t managed to find lasting love. Infact it would seem that she has given up looking. However, in true ‘Jones’ style, when romance does arrive, not only is it in duplicate, but she becomes pregnant with alarming speed. Then, the world turns upside down.

Now I appreciate that this is only a story, but the threads of the plot weave their way into the every day lives of so many of us which begs the question can we really have it all? You know the fairy tale ending. The gorgeous, wealthy, handsome, sexy husband. Dubious choice Bridget, but each to their own! The interesting career, the beautiful baby, the close knit group of friends, all plates spun with lightheartedness a bit of enviable ditziness and self deprecating humour, just to make our Bridget a little more likeable!

Don’t you just hate her?

No I don’t and I’m sure if you’ve seen the film nor do you. But I do wonder where this constant pursuit of having it all, whatever all is, is actually getting us.

Juggling is fast turning into an art form, a plethora of self help books advise us on how to cram more into 24 hours, from working out in 5 minutes, working a 4 hour week, through to organising and tidying your home so that it only contains things which are useful or give pleasure. Streamlining life is becoming the future. The data of our lives, contained in a smart phones or tablets, which rarely leave our sight. Watches and fitness apps, that remind us to move, to keep going keep striving, yet I wonder what are we moving, organising, tidying and striving for?

Having it all, was once an aspirational thing. More was everything. Money, houses, holidays, clothes, shoes (I love shoes!) A dinner out, cos you deserve it, but on the understanding you work out afterwards; because having it all also means fitting in the gym routine and the bikini ready body doesn’t it? Oh yes and don’t forget that whilst you’re feeling spontaneous and eating out on a whim, don’t drink too much wine, because you’ve an early meeting, the baby sitter can’t stay late and you’ve a costume to make for Cherub “A’s” school play, an assortment of ingredients to source for Cherub “B’s” cookery lesson tomorrow and a PE kit to find, because there will be a detention if he turns up without it again. And, well a headache/hangover on top, well that just wouldn’t do.

This scheduling often continues into weekends, packed full of on-line grocery deliveries, sporting activities, birthday parties, friends to catch up with, washing, cleaning and occasionally, very occasionally some time to catch up with those people for who you decided to do all this for in the first place. But, if your house is anything like mine, everyone is so knackered by this stage, they either shout at each other or fall asleep with sheer exhaustion.

As a child of the 80’s, I was brought up to think I could do everything, backwards and in high heels, whilst balancing couple of extra loads on my shoulder pads for good luck. So, yes, of course I thought you could have it all.

Actually, I still do think you can, but 30 more years of experience has taught me, that perhaps I can’t have it and nor should I want it, ALL at the same time.

Having had the faced paced career, been the stay at home mum, the full time uni student with young kids and now the owner of a growing business and three teenage kids, I know a bit about this juggling thing. Having felt the pressure to perform at meetings, produce the perfect cakes for sale at the school charity bake off, conjure up the most magnificent angel wings for the nativity, arrive at lectures on time, write essays, organise charity functions, yada yada yada, I know that having it all at once? That’s the myth. We / I tried too hard. I gave too much. I became a knackered and grumpy old cow, exhausted by having everything I’d always wanted!

Late nights, early mornings, business meetings, baking, crafting and a few glasses of Sauvignon are great, just not all on the same day. Cleaners, Ironing fairies (aka Tracy) on-line grocery shopping all get a massive thumbs up, as does recognising that everything has a season. Not everything has to be tackled on day one, not everything has to be mastered, boxed, dealt with, administered and filed away.

When you take a closer look at what makes you happy, no eye rolling here, but it rarely has much to do with the concept of ‘all’ or ‘more’ but more likely it’s about less. The empty beach as you’re walking at dusk. The look your partner gives you when you know they just get it and get you. The peace, calm and hope of early mornings. Kids laughing, a real fire and a good book, that tiredness after a day out in the fresh air, a really great dinner. Maybe some of those chocolates and perhaps just one more glass of wine….

Sod the ironing, I’ve got it all!

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