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'Title Nine' Dreams? Must-Have Parent Reality


I read the Title Nine catalog like a magazine. I like the clothes, but I really like that they use mere mortals as models. The bios read like this:

"Kilty -- Hobby: Making Waves, literally! She's a freelance engineer for a company that designs wave pools."

“Tara -- Psychotherapist & Painter. Big Adventure: Na Wadine O Ke Kai Race, paddling from Molokai to Oahu in really big surf."

I don't even know what that means, but it sounds amazing.

It probably goes without saying that, as models for an athletic wear catalog, all of these women are also gorgeous, in fantastic shape and able to execute unassisted pull-ups.

They contort themselves into painful-looking yoga poses, sometimes while balanced on a stand-up paddle board in the middle of some exotic lagoon.

The catalog even states that the pictures aren't photoshopped and they don't use hair and make-up stylists. These ladies are the real deal.

The intent, I'm sure, is to inspire, and it works. I see Natalie, an energy efficiency director, freeclimbing a mountain face and I feel like there's no reason why I can't, at the very least, conquer 30 minutes on the elliptical.

And I bet it would be much easier if I were wearing those $70 capri pants ...

As a Must-Have Parent, it is also tempting to look at these women and say, "Yeah, but ...."

... Yeah, but she probably doesn't have kids.

... Yeah but, her husband probably doesn't spend half the year traveling.

... Yeah, but she probably has a nanny, a housekeeper and a personal trainer.

And maybe all the yeah-buts are true, or maybe the catalog is just showing them in an area of their lives where they're doing really well. Maybe there are other areas of their lives that could stand to be better.

Here's a little secret: I have it all, too --  a handsome, charming, funny, loving husband. Three amazing kids. My health and the health of my family. The ability to work in the career I trained for. And much more.

Only for me, having it all wouldn't include a picture in a Title Nine catalog.

Having it all looks messy. It's hectic. Some days, it feels like we live in the car. In fact, I am actually typing this in my car as I wait for my son to finish soccer practice.

Attaining career or life goals while carving out time for family is hard enough. How does one do all of that AND paddle from Molokai to Oahu in really big surf?

Or nail Warrior Three on land for more than two seconds, much less on a paddle board? Trust me (and anyone who has ever seen me attempt yoga), something like that takes practice, and practice takes time.

Only the Rolling Stones had time on their side (and I think that's arguable). The rest of us need more of it.

Like the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, we're all overdue for a Campaign for Reality. We can have it all, but we can't have it all, all the time. Something will always take first priority and that means that something else will take last.

So what does "having it all" look like for you? You can see more of what my life really looks like and share pictures from yours on Twitter and Instagram at #campaignforreality. Share your pictures and follow me @rsanderlin.

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Rebekah Sanderlin

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Rebekah Sanderlin is an Army wife, a mother of three and a professional writer. Her work has been published numerous places, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, National Public Radio, CNN, and in Self and Maxim magazines. She currently serves on the advisory boards of the Military Family Advisory Network and Blue Star Families.

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