Why Each Choice Compromises All Other Areas of Your Life

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Article by Wendy McCance

I was at the bookstore recently and per usual, a book caught my attention.  I don’t know how this happens, but whenever I am in a huge debate with myself about my choices, something will jump out (usually in book form) to help me on my path towards an answer.  The book that I bought, and am still reading is, How She Really Does It by Wendy Sachs.  The front of the book states that this book is about the Secrets of Stay-At-Work Moms.  

I have joint custody with my ex-husband and see my children exactly half of each week.  I remember going through the pain of realizing that I would not be able to be with my kids full-time anymore.  My attorney tried to convince me that eventually I would be thrilled with this new lifestyle because I would be able to have some carved out free time.  What the schedule did do for me was give me the rare opportunity to offer the kids a fresh mom who was overjoyed to see her kids and more than ready to immerse myself in every aspect of their life each time I saw them.  What it didn’t do was make me happy to have time without them.  I can get through a few hours the first day they go back to their dad’s home where I relax and enjoy some quiet time.  After a few hours though, the sadness returns and I miss my children terribly.  After years of being divorced and having had time to adjust to this schedule, the pain of being without the kids has never gone away.  I’ve never been excited to see them leave.  I hate this way of mothering.

I would say it’s because of my schedule with my children that I have always put them first.  Work, family, friends and any other obligations or time for socializing takes a backseat to time with my kids.  This choice of priority (the only choice I could possibly make for my emotional well-being) has made other areas of my life challenging.

I want to work.  I love feeling productive and challenged.  If I could find a job that works around the kids schedule, I would have found my dream job.  My biggest issue is that when I have to work instead of be with the kids, I become so unhappy.  I don’t want to compromise my already paltry schedule with the kids.

This brings me to the concept of choice.  Do your choices directly reflect your priorities in life?  I have realized that no matter what you might think, you can’t have it all.  I know this is a strong statement and will get much debate going, but think about it for a minute.  If I choose to be successful, I put in a ton of hours working on my career.  My husband, children, friends etc… take a backseat.  Sure I can juggle everything, but the majority of my attention would go to my career.

Back to this book I’m reading.  The books concept is all about highly successful working woman who have families.  Sure they show examples of juggling everything and although they have little time for sleep, are wearing themselves down physically and have unlimited income to spend on a support system of nannies, personal assistants and so forth, they are not really living.  These people exist like they are in a lifelong marathon of sprinting with no finish line in site.

If your choice is to be highly successful, good for you, but what good is having a family if the majority of your children’s time is spent with a nanny?  What good is this level of success when you have to continue to push yourself to the limit in an effort to pay that nanny to watch the kids?  Is this really success?  Are these people really happy?  What about the person who has found a more reasonable schedule and a little less money but gets more time with their kids?  Or what about the person who works like crazy to have the ultrarich lifestyle but is so busy working that they can’t afford to enjoy their wealth?  Except for some designer clothes or a beautiful house that is barely lived in, they can never enjoy their wealth because they are always at work to keep up this lifestyle.  Is this living?  Is this happiness?    I am curious as to the feeling of happiness and fulfillment that these people have.  How do these choices translate?  These aren’t choices I have made, but I would love to follow along through the day in the life of someone who’s choices are vastly different from my own to see what it feels like and how my life might have played out if I made different choices.

I am just using the concept of the book as an example.  There are so many variations on choices made in life that effect other decision.  Trust me I’m not here to knock anyones way of living their life or to pass any sort of judgement.  I’m just searching for answers and looking for the ways in which people feel their happiest and most content.

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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 6 local papers online, including the Oakland Press.The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]

9 thoughts on “Why Each Choice Compromises All Other Areas of Your Life

  1. When I was a child, the oldest daughter of 6 kids, my mom had to work. Although she was a loving, caring, and beautiful person, she didn’t have a whole lot of time to be a mom, so I was left with her duties, which didn’t give me a whole lot of time to be a kid. I decided that if I ever became a mom I would do whatever I had to do to be a full time mom for my kids. Fast forward to age 26 when I had my first child. I worked at night so his dad would be with him when I wasn’t. It was very important to me that one of his parents would always be there for him because no one loves you more than your parents (except God). For me, the whole point of having kids was to teach them, through my example, right from wrong. I’d kiss and hug them when they needed it, as well as provide security and nourishment. But the bottom line was, I didn’t want anyone else raising my kids, teaching them their idea of honesty and integrity. I wanted my kids to know, through my presence and example, what it takes to live of integrity, caring, devotion. Today my three sons are all adults and everyone tells me what good men they are. I attribute that to being there for them, talking to them on important issues in a timely manner, and showing them through my actions, that money and career do not make you who you think you are-love does.

    • Exactly!!  That’s how I see it.  I’m not saying that my way is the right way, just right for me.  Basically, you followed your heart and your choice was right for you.  Since I divorced, my oldest was always in charge at her dad’s home.  Because she is 5 years older than the youger 2 kids, she was expected to help (really take on the whole responsibility) with homework, meals, packing their lunches and getting them into a bath as well as keeping the home clean.  Her dad wasn’t home much and she was left to be in charge.  Knowing how she was expected to be the adult as young as 11 at her father’s home did me in.  I was determined to make sure that when she was back at my home, she got to be a kid in every sense of the word.  I wanted her to feel completely taken care of, safe and loved.  It’s a parents responsibility to raise the kids, not another child.  It breaks my heart that she was expected to grow up before her time.  I believe that my own personal experience is why I feel so strongly that the children come first before anything or anyone else.           P.S.  The court system was of no help in this situation.


  2. Hi Pathfinder,

    What I see from your post is that you seek win-win situations everywhere, all the time, in life. Although this is natural, its not advisable. For one’s emotional health, its important to have a bit of everything, in your life: a litte bitterness, a little anxiety, a little disappointment, a little satisfaction, a little joy and a little maturity (when I say maturity, I mean, the art of ‘letting go’). This is similar to enjoying all the flavors in your food, which makes for a healthy meal. One cant have dessert all the time: every day, every meal.

    You are right in assuming that choices are dictated by priorities, and that for a healthy life, its good to have all priotities well balanced, and no priority should be so important that it dwarfs everything else. However, you should realize, you cant have everything, and once one or 3 key priorities are taken care of, people invariably feel happy. A little give and take is OK with the other priorities.

    For ex, the lady who has employed a nanny is ensuring the child is well taken care of at home while she works hard to pay for it. This is a better option that sending the child to a boarding school.This is what makes her happy.
    The person who is chasing an ultrarich lifestyle knows that he will have very little time to enjoy the wealth. Yet he does that so he can belong to an elite group who have arrived at that station. Here the priority is ‘peer respect’ and not really enjoyment of wealth. After all, there is a limit to how much you can enjoy your wealth. So, this is what makes him happy.

    Your attorney friend is right in saying that being fulfilled yourself will make you a better mother than being a doting, 24×7 mum. Sooner or later, your kids will grow out of the phase where they need constant monitoring. Then, the need for freedom and individual space will become more important to them. Not to forget that kids are often proud of mothers who have achieved something in life and have an identity in lf, rather than a nameless, faceless, ‘great mum’.

    So, if taking care of your children’s best interests is what makes you happy, you are already doing it, and must make you happy. So, why are you snatching misery from the jaws of happiness. In fact, your children are quite lucky. They get to spend equal amounts of time with both parents. This is the best thing for them, and this is easier for you, than being a single mother.

    So go ahead and enjoy finding your identity, while your children are busy building theirs. Rest assured, your guilt, and the gnawing need to be the best mum, is baseless. Your children will eventually recognize you as good mother and respect you for that. The way I look at it, there cant be a greater win-win than this.


    • Thank you for your comment.  When I write these posts, I’m basically asking a question to get a discussion going.  I have some thoughts regarding the subject, but I haven’t really fully expanded on it.  I feel content with my relationship with my kids.  We have a close, loving relationship and communicate in a way that I doubt would have been so good if not for our limited time together.  Sometimes adversity and being in a position where you know better than to take things for granted can create the best outcomes.  I have definitely “let go” to more bad circumstances than you could possibly know.  I live my life as peacefully as possible and know that uncomfortable situations can create an opportunity to learn and grow.  It’s a change to come out the other side as a wiser, more thoughtful individual.


  3. I stayed at home and reared my five children. I seperated from my husband when my oldest was 10 and my youngest was 2. I have never placed any value on material things I lived my life with the basics. I was rich in spirit though and always knew everything would be ok. I trusted God to take care of me and my children. I returned to work when my youngest was 12 years old and the older children were there to help out. I eventually went to college and studied Counselling and Psychotherapy I am now a qualified acreditted Counsellor/Psychotherapist, Spiritual Guidance Teacher, I love my work and have an inner peace that is pricless. Listen to your inner self you have all the answers. Trust your heart to tell you everything you need to know. Marian

    • I loved your story.  I’m so glad that you wrote.  You are so inspiring for me.  What you have accomplished is what I hope to achieve.  Thanks for sharing!


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