"Georgie Gardner, this isn’t about you."

Georgie Gardner, this isn’t about you.

You’re gorgeous. A talented journalist who brings charm and intelligence to every screen you’ve graced, all the women I know think you’re marvellous. And so do I.

But when you said this today, it made me sad. Sadder than it should in a rational world…

“I want to announce today that I’m going to be finishing up on The Today Show.

I’ve given this a lot of consideration, obviously, but the time has come. I make this announcement with a very heavy heart because you are my family… but I’m not leaving the Nine network, that’s the good news, I’m still here.

After unwavering support from Tim and my kids, I want to give back to them. I figure I have limited time of Bronte and Angus wanting and needing their mother around, so I want to maximise and cherish these precious years.

We all know on this show the hours are gruelling, you have to be extremely committed, you’re (the Today cast) all family but I feel I actually need to give back to my own family a little bit more so that’s really what I’ve based the decision on.

It’s been the most amazing career highlight but I feel it’s time for Tim and the kids to have present Mummy as opposed to grumpy Mummy.”

I stand up and applaud that, along with women around the country.

But secretly, every time a high-profile mother leaves her high-profile job citing family reasons, I think this: damn. I thought she could do it. I thought she had it sorted. I thought she was managing to pull off what all us working mothers are struggling with.

But you’re not. And that makes me scared, because maybe, just maybe, no-one is.

My job is not as high-profile and demanding as being on live national television every morning. And I do not have to get up at 3.30am. But in that statement this morning, you touched on all my fears:

– My partner does a lot. More than most. More than me.

– My kids don’t see enough of me, and when they do, I can be tired and distracted.

– I am not ‘present’ enough with them. When I am on the phone, on the computer, they immediately find a way to need me desperately and the words, “WAIT! I’ve just got to do this one thing…” do not compute to two preschoolers.

Hello, “grumpy mummy”.

I struggle with those things daily. And I have a well-rehearsed dialogue with myself, like so many other women, that I need to work to be a fulfilled, happy mother. And I need to work to help keep a roof over our heads. And I need to work in a job that I like, that I love, because otherwise, leaving them every day would be truly awful – and jobs like that tend to be the demanding ones.


All those things are true.

But in my mind, I’m working towards some sort of magic moment when all of this will click into place and the perfect balance between work and home will be struck.

Not a “grumpy mum” in sight, right?

I like to think that moment exists. That there are women who are already there. And so I look around for role models. And my eyes land on women like you, Georgie.

And I know that’s not fair. It’s not fair that you – or Melissa Doyle, or Kristina Keneally, or Natasha Stott Despoja, or any other high-profile woman who takes a temporary step away from a demanding job for family reasons –  should have to be the banner-carrier for a nation of working women’s anxiety.

You have no responsibility to anyone other than your family, and I have a responsibility to no-one other than mine.

But this morning, my fellow working mum colleague came in, we talked about your news and she said. ‘We just can’t have it all.’

And every fibre of my being screams against that statement. To me, ‘Having it all’ means having a job and a family. And the majority of women in this country have both those things.

Maybe what we can’t have is the ridiculous expectation that there are people out there who are ‘Having it all’ and doing it perfectly. Because they’re not. You’re not. I’m not.

And truly, I shouldn’t be in the least bit sad that you’re reorganising your work life to make your family’s life better. Because you’re also showing us we can all do that sometimes. That there’s no failure in that.

Seriously. We all get sick of grumpy mum sometimes.

This story originally appeared on iVillage and is republished here with full permission.

Do you secretly think that other mothers have everything all worked out?