I Said Moms Can't Have It All — But My Mom Proved Me TOTALLY Wrong

Mothers really can have it all, and they should.

Last updated on Sep 19, 2023

Mom working while her daughter sits next to her on the couch Yuganov Konstantin | Canva

By Katharine Stahl

Recently, I wrote a story called "Moms Can't Have It All, and Maybe We'll Be Happier When We Accept It." Clearly, I was not feeling like a superwoman at the time.

The next day, my own mom, who is my own personal superhero, sent me this in response, and POPSUGAR agreed that her wisdom deserved to be shared.

I said moms can't have it all — but my mom proved me totally wrong.

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I probably don't tell you enough what a great job you're doing with your life and how proud I am of the mother you have become and the family you've developed in the past years. As I read your posts on POPSUGAR, I am constantly amazed at your insights, humor, and abilities. Keep up the good work; I know it isn't easy. 

Periodically something will come along that reminds me that I may have forgotten to share a bit of wisdom.

Hard to believe when we've had 30-plus years of excellent communication, but as I get older and begin realizing that there will eventually be an end to what I share, there seems to be a renewed urgency in this reminder.


This urgency occurred this morning while I was reading your recent post, "Moms Can't Have It All." Knowing mornings are a bit crazy at your house, I ran to the computer to write this down. I have to write it down, or I may forget.

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As a mom, we're never "done" with the work of raising our kids.

Sure, we derive great pleasure in seeing our grown children with families of their own, working in fields that they enjoy and figuring out how to maneuver through the difficult situations of life, but we never fail to keep our children (despite their ages) in our hearts and in the forefronts of our minds. 


As I read your article, I wanted to call and say "Yes, you can have it all!" I know that hearing those words can be less than comforting when you're getting a husband and daughter out the door and trying to keep clothes on your 3-year-old and watch closely so that he "hits" the toilet, all while cleaning up the whirlwind of the morning.

There is a simple secret that clearly your predecessors have failed to disclose. The secret is in the timing.

Can you have it all today, this year, while your kids are at one of the most needy times in their lives? Probably not. 

I promise, however, that this will change. The kids will grow up, they will become more independent, and there will actually be a time coming soon when they don't want you around. You'll find that you have plenty of time for yourself while you're staying up to wait for them as they come in (hopefully) before their weekend curfew.


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You'll have time to read those books on your list and catch up on the Netflix shows that you're currently missing. You may even have time to get a good night's sleep since those little ones of yours will be sleeping like hibernating bears. 

It is all about timing. You can "have it all" over your lifetime, maybe just not this year.

I love the fact that you're continuing to follow your professional passion as you tackle one of the most difficult jobs in the world: mothering small children. I know that it might be easier to give up your passion, but keeping that door open will allow you to pursue your dreams when you do have a little more time in your schedule. 


Aging has given me many things that frustrate me — wrinkles, 10 extra pounds that simply don't seem to come off, forgetfulness — but there are some wonderful treasures associated with aging that many people don't acknowledge. Things like new perspectives, patience, time, and maybe most importantly, the ability to become a grandma.

Thank you for sharing your sweet children with me, and thanks for not complaining too much when I let them have cookies in the morning and stay up beyond their bedtime. 



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Katharine Stahl is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been featured in the Sydney Morning Herald, Yahoo, The Age, SheKnows, The Canberra Times, and more.