real life

'Marriage, kids, success: I blew up my "perfect" life, and I've never been happier.'

Two years ago, to quote a friend, I blew my life up.

I left a 10-year marriage, returned to my career after a five-year break, moved from the country to the coast, and started seeing a new man.

It was an intense and ~dramatic~ time, with mistakes along the way, but it was SO worth it.

Watch: Things Mums never say. Post continues below.


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Because I truly believe I have cracked the happiness code: I now live a part-time life.

I co-parent (four nights per week), I work part-time (four days per week) and my partner and I have three-to-four sleepovers per week.

Living this way has absolutely transformed my attitude towards work, parenting and romance. (In my previous life I worked and lived in the one location. It was the other extreme, and it wasn’t sustainable. I learnt you can’t be everything to everyone all the time without some kind of burnout. But that’s another story.)

Recently one night I was grinning from ear to ear, just generally feeling happy about everything, when my partner said, "Do you feel like you have the cake and you’re eating it too?"

My answer was YES. That’s exactly how I feel. You can have it all! Just not full time!

When I’m with my kids, I’m so happy to be with them - I know it’s only half the week and I’ll have time for other stuff when they’re (happily) with their dad.

When I’m working, I’m productive. I’m attentive, energetic and I enjoy what I do.

When I’m having one-on-one time with my partner, I treasure it. We go out for dinner, stay up late, and sleep in when we want to.

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My time is divided, and each role I play is limited each week. I am still me, in each of the roles, I am just more devoted in every moment. I don’t feel guilt, I don’t feel pressure, I don’t feel endless frustration.

For too long I looked at my life as if I was an outsider. It looked perfect; it looked right. Married, kids, successful business, a mortgage - we had it all.  But when I finally acknowledged to myself that I wasn’t happy, despite how good everything looked from the outside, I rediscovered myself.

I started to realise that the great dream of a happy family life, all together, all of the time, isn’t for me. This took a long time for me to admit to myself. 

Social pressure has an incredible impact on our own perceptions of happiness. And despite how progressive we are in many ways, I believe that in Australia there is an underlying sentiment that success = money + marriage + children.  

Women especially have a hard time breaking out of this picture. Keeping our family together is supposed to be our number one priority. Above our happiness, above our self-worth, above our sense of fulfilment.  

I’m here to debunk that myth. I’m walking proof that breaking out of this does not in fact ruin your life, or - if you do it right - your children’s lives. It has been an eye-opening, totally transforming experience. 

It’s not for everyone, I know that. There are many ways to live a happy life. It just so happens that at 32, I’ve only now discovered what really works for me, and I want to share it in case there’s someone else who needs to hear it.

For me, discovering the part-time life makes me feel like I get the best of every world. I’m never stretched, or bored, or lonely. I have enough “me” time that my cup is always full, and I’m spending more focused time with my children than ever before. 

I’m engaged in my job and I have enough time away to avoid feeling over-worked. And I never feel like I’m neglecting my partner, because I know I can enjoy being a fun and doting girlfriend for three nights a week.

Yes, folks - I have the cake, and I am enjoying every last bite. 

Feature Image: Supplied.

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