You won’t believe what my daughter asked me.

My thirteen-year-old daughter rocked my world in a conversation I didn’t see coming. 

“Mom, directors have to work like 12-14 hour days when they’re filming.”

This piece of info was new to me but sounded reasonable. And since my daughter has decided she dreams of directing teen tv series, it also did not surprise me that she’d done some research on her chosen profession. But the next question nearly had me run my car into the other lane as we were cruising up the highway. 

“What will I do when I’m a mom?”

My heart raced and my mind slammed on the brakes all at the same time. 

This was my chance.

My chance to impact the next generation of women that might have the same fears that have plagued generations of women.

Well, maybe I shouldn’t speak for all women. But I can speak for myself.

These were fears that I’d stockpiled in my mind over time:

Women can’t chase one thing without risking failing at another.

Women can’t love and care for multiple things and give them all the time and energy that they deserve.

That no matter how hard women try,  we simply can not have it all. 

These fears were real, but so was my determination to shatter some of these misconceptions with my own children.

It is my personal responsibility to say out loud as many times as I can that there is nothing to be scared of when it comes to living the life of your dreams.

It might not be easy, but society doesn’t get to tell you what you can and can’t handle.

You have to live from the foundational understanding that you can in fact create a life full of growth, connection, and joy with yourself and those you love deeply.

And darn it if I would let my daughter internalize that she somehow couldn’t have the career and family she dreams of.

No big deal, Dena. You can do this–just share your truth.

“Well, you’ll figure it out. You’ll have options. You’ll bring your precious baby to the daycare on set. Or you’ll have a rockstar nanny that loves your baby and sends you precious picture updates throughout the day. Or you’ll have a wife, husband, or partner at home with your baby who loves every minute of it. Or maybe you’ll pay me to be the nanny. Elizabeth, you will have options and I promise you will figure out a way to blend together all the things you love at work and at home into your life.”

I don’t know if I expected her to continue the conversation.

I don’t know if I had anything else to share.

But before I could over-think it much longer, she shrugged her shoulders and said, “Okay.”

And it was done. The life-changing message was delivered.

There were no further questions. I have no idea what sunk in.

I guess I won’t know for years to come. I said my peace and hope she heard me.

But what I really want to know is if you hear me? Yes, I’m talking to you, friend. 

You can figure out how to balance the things that matter to you.

Don’t allow the world or that dang inner voice to tell you that you simply can’t have it all.  Whatever “all” means to you.

There is no ONE way to dream as a woman. We don’t all want the same thing and that’s the beauty. But whatever lights your heart on fire, know this.

You can figure it out.

You have options. 

You are resourceful. 

You are creative. 

You deserve to figure out how to make your life work for you. 

Put in the work the way it works for you. Explore your options and have FUN figuring out what brings you joy. And I am cheering you on. I believe in you and your many dreams–at work, at home, in your community.

Go get it, friend. The life of your dreams is waiting for you.


  1. Robin Foerster on May 9, 2021 at 7:18 am

    And sometimes there will be mistakes, you’ ll be late to work because you had to clean up baby mess. Or you’ll loose your cool and yell because of lack of sleep. BUT. All those mistake are going to be okay because if you love yourself then you’ll love your mistakes and what you can learn from them as well as loving what you do and your baby.

    • Dena Jansen on May 10, 2021 at 3:27 pm

      You are absolutely right! That’s why a crap ton of grace is required for all parties involved! 🙂

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