“It’s a pooooooo! It’s a poo-poo!”
I have been trying to write this story about “having it all” for two days.
During that time, I have been interrupted approximately 200,000 times, most recently by the voice of my 2yo son, shouting about poo. From the bath.
A poo in the bath, any parent will tell you, is A Very Bad Thing. The clean up is not pretty, and everyone feels dirty afterwards.
It is actually the perfect metaphor for the arguments about a working mother’s rightful role.
I definitely Have It All. All the chaos, All the stress and All the joy of a young family, a busy job and many, many Responsibilities.
Recently, I made a decision that went against pretty much every fibre of my being – I decided to Have A Bit Less.
I decided that I couldn’t – right now – do my demanding dream job and be a present mother to my two small children, a decent partner and all the other roles in my personal life that I want to fulfil.
I realised that I was spreading myself too thinly, trying to do too much, and that my health and happiness were fraying at the edges as a result.
So I’ve stepped back at work. It was a difficult thing to do, and remains a difficult thing to admit.
But here’s the thing. People are delighted.
I’m not talking about my children, who yes, are happy to see a bit more of me. Or my partner, who’s just pleased that I look at him when he’s talking, rather than sliding my eyes towards my phone, anticipating its every beep.
I’m talking about People. People like the doctor who said to me, “It’s a brave decision. You don’t want to be one of those mothers who outsource parenting.”
Or another person who told me, “I blame feminism. Our mothers’ generation have sold us all a dangerous lie.”
People who love to say things like the following:
“You can’t have it all. Stop trying.”
“You can have it all. But not at the same time.”
“No, women can’t have it all, and why would they want to?”
I want to say something to those People. I want to tell those People to get f*cked.
This is the way the world likes to see working mothers. Is your life like this? (Post continues after video)
It’s the same thing I want to say to the British Government, who this week presented a report on the pressures young women face. In the preface to the report, the British Minister for Women makes the observation that mothers (those dastardly mothers) are damaging their daughters by ‘foisting’ onto them the “entirely unrealistic cultural rhetoric of ‘having it all’.”