'Why I'm telling my daughter she can't have it all.'

Dear daughter,

Here’s something you’ll probably never read, but I’m going to write it down anyway. While I think of it.

Be careful with your eyebrow hair. Fake your tan. Give firm handshakes, especially when you lose. Save all your niceness for those closest to you – don’t waste it on strangers.

Use less plastic. Actually – just use less. Eat more plants. The earth is groaning under the weight of us all and the environment is a mess. We screwed up and it’s your problem now.

Don’t say yes just to be polite – be selfish with your time. Do what YOU want. Wear what YOU want. Suit yourself. Making yourself happy is the best thing you can do for those closest to you. In the end they are the ones who’ll have to deal with you if you become a sad sack.

Say yes to work even if you feel like you’re unqualified. If the job won’t come to you, you go to the job. Don’t work to please your boss – the best results come when you work hard for yourself.

This Glorious Mess discusses why parents are being shamed on the beach…

Doors open easily for two kinds of people: those who are beautiful and those who just keep knocking.

Don’t have a chip on your shoulder about being a woman. Don’t go looking for sexism and inequality. If they should find you I want you to remember one thing – deeds, not words.

Be better, work harder. Never tolerate assholes, harassment or violence. Report it. Don’t remain a victim.

Here’s a big one – you can’t have it all. At least not all at once. People will say you can, they might even pretend to have it all – but it’s just not possible.

Trying to have it all is a sure fire way to feel like you’re failing at everything. Women have careers but we also have periods and boobs and bellies that carry children.


We are such gifted creatures and it complicates things no end. At some point you will have to choose, if only for a little while. More is expected of you but you are built stronger because of this. The sooner you realise that the less angry you’ll be.

How you balance family and work is up to you but let me say this. If you do choose to create more humans, raising them not to be psychos and jerks is the most important thing you will ever do.

Work will still be there in a few years but your babies will be long gone. You can’t get that time back.

Don’t hate the fat on your hips and thighs – that’s where it’s supposed to be. Don’t read labels, try to eat things that don’t come with a label. Play sport. If you don’t feel healthy – do something about it. Less talking, more doing.

Ah, love. The right love will find you on its own and float you along. The wrong love will feel like you’re treading water all the time. Leave immediately if they ask you to get a wax.

Love shouldn’t be complicated, you either do or you don’t. Yes or no. It’s a little bit of luck, but ultimately you choose that person and they choose you. You have a say in who you love. Be picky. Choose carefully.

People will treat you how you treat yourself, so be nice to number one. Try to care less about what people think – the truth is most people don’t think about you that much.

Everything looks rosier in hindsight, try to find the rosiness in the now. And finally – don’t listen to your mother. She still hasn’t worked it out.

This post originally appeared on Virginia’s blog, which you can find here.