Why I Hate the Phrase "Having it All."

During a meeting recently, I found myself uttering this dreaded corporate buzzword: synergy. I really hadn’t spoken that word since I found myself writing talking points for a dot-com merger in the year 2000. But here I was, seven years later, speaking corporate mumbo jumbo which really should only be reserved for people who are really, really rich from such synergies.


But interestingly, I’ve found that it’s not just the corporate world that’s caught up in buzzwords. So are us moms. In fact, mommy buzzwords just may rival those in the boardroom. I’d bet your bottom line on it.


For example, I can’t get away from the word balance, no matter how hard I try. Two years ago, if someone had asked me if I had balance in my life, I would assume they were talking about those yummy little health bars you get in the checkout aisle of the grocery store. Now, the question: how do you achieve balance? is almost a given in any conversation I have with someone about working motherhood.


I mean from blogs to books, us working moms should be walking around with scales on our shoulders from the amount we use the word balance in our daily lexicon. The term is so overused that I’d like to put it back in the pocket I came out of. (Bad pun on another overused term: out of pocket. If someone can tell me what that actually means, they win a prize.)


I also have a bone to pick with those who ask how I juggle everything. I don’t know, I’m not in the circus. I think I’d look really bad in a red wig.


I can’t possibly be at war with anyone – I’m too much of a wimp to fight.


The only on-ramp I know of is the one onto the freeway.


You get my drift.


Why can’t we all just say what we mean instead of coming up with cute phrases to describe how we feel? Why can’t we just admit that we don’t know how to keep our proverbial you-know-what together?


In some ways, I think it’s easier to put things in code than say the truth. We all know when a company says the merger will have synergies, it’s just code for “we don’t know how this is all going to shake out.” Same for working motherhood. We can’t just be honest with each other and say it’s hard to leave for work in the morning, get our nails done, feed our kids a healthy dinner and have a coherent conversation with our significant others. We have to codify it in fancy language and crazy acronyms so that we protect ourselves from scary thoughts resulting from life’s ultimate merger: that of egg and sperm.


I thought those phrases were for when you had no idea what you were talking about in a presentation. Since nobody knows what they really mean, they just nod because they are afraid they might be the only one. I call it consultantspeak.



Amen, sister! It's amazing how many books and articles there are nowadays about stay-at-home mom's vs. working moms, finding balace, work-life balance, on-ramps and so on and . It's crazy! Everyone needs to find an arrangement that fits for them and their family. End of story. Do I feel employers could provide ALL employees more flexibility? For sure! But let's stop coming up with the latest "catch phrase" and rather, come up with some solutions!

justice fergie


and so true.


out of pocket is a sports metaphor, it comes from when the quarterback is outside of the pocket where he can stand and be protected by his big guys & his offensive linemen don't know where he is.


hehe...I'm totally guilty of overusing phrases like that. Why? Because so many people get turned off by the truth, so you have to sugar-coat or code-word it. But I'm with ya...I'd rather talk straight forward about things.


Forget about balance: You are fast-tracking your way to corner office. Nice job!