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Sorry, But Women Can't - And Shouldn't - Have It All

17/02/2016 14:47 GMT | Updated 16/02/2017 10:12 GMT

Who's in charge around here? I would like to make a complaint. I feel I have been mis-sold a concept. I was under the distinct impression that women could - and I quote - 'have it all.'

If you're unfamiliar with what having it all means, here's a recap; you work hard, you procreate, you - and this really is the key point here - manage to be a present parent while still furthering your career. Of course, you still need to make sure there's enough of you left over for quality time with your spouse and friends and perhaps even an hour or two at the gym every once in a while because you can't possibly have it all if you aren't a size ten - duh!

Look at that list. I mean, really study it. How is that even achievable? Have we actually just confused having it all with doing it all?

My son is only one year old so I'm still relatively new to this motherhood lark. But what I do know about being a parent is that you have to make sacrifice after sacrifice. Everything requires a trade-off. In order to do more of A, you have to do less of B. You want to go to work? It might mean you miss bath time. Sorry. You want to be at your baby's first swimming lesson? Then you probably won't make that meeting after all. It's basic maths really, isn't it?

Just like the much-bandied about meme says, you have as many hours in a day as Beyoncé. Which also means you only have as many hours in a day as Beyoncé. You can't do it all, G-friend - and nor should you have to. Even Queen Bey herself had to outsource Blue Ivy's childcare while she killed it during her halftime Super Bowl performance.

For me, I loved my job, but I decided not to return to work so I could spend these precious early years with my baby. I walked away from my career, the career I worked hard for, without so much as a backwards glance in order to be with him. That was my trade-off. Is that what having it all means? It doesn't feel like it.

Does the mum who drops her kids at day care every morning before falling exhausted into bed at night feel like she has it all? I bet she doesn't. Yet why do we continue to pretend that having it all is even an option?

To be honest, I blame our mothers. Buoyed by the prospect that their daughters could have both a family and a career - something that might have been all but a pipedream to them - they began to excitedly regurgitate the 'having it all' myth, until legend was born.

But with the opportunity to do anything came a great burden to do everything. Yet admitting we can't - and shouldn't - do it all, feels like letting the sisterhood down. Like letting our mothers down. And who likes letting their mum down? I sure as hell don't.

Perhaps a fairer, more realistic message to send to our own daughters should be you can do whatever you want - but you can't do it all at the same time. That would be far kinder than cruelly letting them figure it out the hard way, like I have.

Because the truth is, I've spent much of the past 12 months feeling like a failure. This ridiculous idea of having it all has been dangled in front of me for so long that I thought I've been doing it all wrong because I haven't struck that perfect work-life balance. You guys, I'm not witnessing my son's every milestone while simultaneously kicking goals in my career! I'm not doing it right!

But now that I understand that the whole notion is a load of impossible old tosh, I feel happier. I feel freer. I'm not failing, I'm making choices that are best for my family.

Nobody has it all. Nobody is doing it right, or doing it wrong. Everybody is doing exactly what is right for them. It might not be having it all, but it's enough for me.

There, doesn't that feel like a weight off your shoulders? Sorry mum.