When I was growing up, my grandparents talked to me about their lives in Mexico and why they came to the United States. I often wondered during my visits to Mexico why they would have ever left. People were so happy with so little when we visited. Today, I understand that my family members each had their own definition of “having it all” and being content with the life they made. The major consistencies were being happy to have a family, being alive and healthy, and having their religious beliefs. I was raised with a strong sense of my culture, my family values, and morals. Through it all, my parents encouraged me to be successful, independent, and self-sufficient. My parents didn’t teach me how to be successful, nor did they have a clear definition of what being successful really was. They honestly were just happy to see me have a great job and obtain a college degree.
After reading “Many Latinas Have Their Own Definition of ‘Having It All,'” I realized that this was, in fact, true. As a Latina and a mother, my definition of having it all is different from my family’s. I don’t worry about what the general market and society have to say about my success, nor do I compare myself or compete with my husband or fellow male friends. It’s no race to the top. I want to credit how I was raised and the choices I’ve made in life to my continued success. Angela A. Rodriguez, the author of the article, states that after conducting a study on Latinas and surveying them, the results showed “four drivers of satisfaction” for those who didn’t worry about having it all:
“–The women’s upbringing and family situation, and the fact that they are mostly from hard-working immigrant families, definitively shaped their assessment of their present state.
– The women have positive self-perceptions and beliefs about Latinas in general.
–It is relatively easy for these women to make concessions in the balancing act they must perform in their own quest to “have it all.”
–They have adopted their own definition of “having it all” that differs from the prevailing view.”
I am the Latina that adopted my own definition of having it all. I set goals, not deadlines, and I continue to grow and change. To me, having it all means being content with my life. My definition of having it all has transitioned a few times according to my life changes. As a single young adult, I was content with obtaining a degree, having a full-time job, being independent, and being able to help my family. When I married, having it all meant being a loving wife, contributing financially, and being successful in my career. When I became a mother, having it all meant having a healthy family, creating experiences for my children, and being a constant role model to them.
“Achieving peace of mind, the education their mothers dreamed of for them, and a home where they can enjoy their rich family lives.”
As life changes, my definition of having it all will continue to change. My three common factors will continue to be health, love, and success, no matter where I am at any given point in life. I hope to raise a daughter with the same independent mind, because our culture is in its dying stages as we’ve migrated to the states to follow the American Dream. I will continue to pass on the morals and values my parents live by and taught me, hoping my daughter will go on to find her own definition of having it all.
Read more of Ruby’s writing at Growing Up Blackxican