Growing up I was in love with glossy magazines and pretty much remember Cosmo having a "having it all" article every issue (or maybe that is just my memory). I imagined myself at 30 married with perfect kids and a uber successful career.
Then life happened. By the time I had my first kid, 40 was closer than 30 and my career was going pretty well. I thought I would have my daughter and go back to my career, in fact I was even considering applying to be a head teacher on maternity leave.
I really didn't think that my generation had to worry about those choices that I saw my mum making. It was only after speaking to my NCT group that I realised I was the only one who was planning to return to full time work. When I looked at my friends who had kids very few of them were working full time.
Going back to work full time when my daughter was 10 months was really tough. The image in my mind of having the successful career and the perfect family didn't correlate with the reality. I was exhausted and felt that I was working even longer hours than I had pre-pregnancy. I also had no downtime and was surviving on coffee, red wine and crisps.
Luckily, I got pregnant again pretty quickly (and yes part of me was inwardly jumping for joy about the second maternity leave) and it gave me some time to think about what having it all meant for me.
I realised that these supermum figures who worked full time, had nannies, looked amazing and still had time to exercise were just not compatible with me. I have never been a morning person and looked frazzled most of the time plus I wanted to spend more time with my kids.
Having it all had changed from being successful in my career to being happy and being around for my kids.
It was like a weight had been lifted. I suddenly got what was important and it wasn't slogging my guts out from 7am every day and missing my daughter's 1st birthday.
I started imagining working less hours but this was not compatible with my job and to be honest I had been itching to have my own business for the last decade but had never really believed it would work out financially.
But, it did. I built a business around my passion and skill set on maternity leave. I now feel like I have it all - work that I love, more time with my kids, time for me and time with my partner.
I might spend my time in my activewear with my hair in a topknot rather than the designer suit and power heels that the women in Cosmo used to wear but I am happier than I have even been.
The thing is, you can have it all, it is just working out what "it all' means to you. For some people it might mean a full time high flying career but for an increasing amount of us it seems to be something more low key that means we can be the mums we want to be and be happy and relaxed.
I haven't read Cosmo for years and I am wondering if this image of quietly contented mums who are building businesses around their kids or working flexibly would sell quite so many issues.Suggest a correction