03/08/2010 07:18 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

'Women Can Never Have It All', Says Emma Thompson

There's no such thing as a woman who 'has it all' says Oscar-winning actress and mother of two Emma Thompson.

The Nanny McPhee star says she believes it's impossible to have the perfect career and be a faultless mother at the same time, stating that the idea of 'having it all' is a 'false' and 'revolting' concept.

The 51-year-old actress, who has a ten-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old adopted son with her husband actor Greg Wise, believes that the only way to manage motherhood and a full-time job is by enlisting hired help, something she doesn't want to do.

Emma made the comments in the US edition of Good Housekeeping magazine.

She said: 'Sometimes you'll have some things, and sometimes you'll have other things. And you do not need it all at once; it's not good for you.

'We have an awful lot to work on and to debate about in relation to our working lives, because it isn't working for a lot of people, particularly for a lot of women.

'The only way you can have it all is by delegating all the running of the home to other people – which I don't ever want to do... So you do it yourself, and it takes time and energy and effort. And if you give it the time, it's profoundly enjoyable.'

Emma Thompson does not have a regular nanny and she and her husband take turns to work so one is always home with their daughter.

'We're all supposed to be happy all the time. What is that about? Why have we lost contact with the possibility of saying, "Do you know what? I can't do that. Sorry, I can't manage that as well."'

In the interview, her Nanny McPhee co-star, Maggie Gyllenhaal, tells how Emma Thompson had inspired her to put her husband first more in her life: 'Emma, you kind of gave me the idea that a part of my life, a part of my mind, has to be devoted to my husband. My mother's generation has been bucking against that.

'But I've just been finding so much pleasure in sacrificing sometimes for my husband – going to where he's working and tidying up his trailer because he couldn't manage to do it, and bringing him things that will make him feel better, and being a wife in a more classical way. It feels really right to me.'

Emma Thompson's intervention comes at a time when the idea of having it all is under attack from working mothers who find themselves run into the ground as they chase an impossible dream.

What do you think?
Do women feel pressurised into 'having it all'?
Are our expectations too high?