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OPINION: “On this International Women’s Day, I want it all… just not at once!”

Editor of Mother & Baby magazine, Erin Mayo realises it's OK not to be Superwoman, all of the time.

By Erin Mayo
As a young girl growing up in the 80s and 90s, the idea that I could have it all in life didn't seem so far-fetched. Power suits were in, women were climbing the corporate ladder all while maintaining their perfect families behind white-picket fences.
Fast-forward 30 years, and while I still believe that I can have it all, I've come to the realisation that it just may not be all at once… and that's totally OK.
It's a sentiment echoed by Gail Kelly, the former head of St George Bank. In an interview with The West Australian last year, this mum-of-four pressed that while women can have it all, they just need to accept that they cannot do it all.
"There are some choices that you make that actually involve not being everywhere that you'd like to be all at once," she said.
"While I still believe that I can have it all, I've come to the realisation that it just may not be all at once…"
A recent survey by Bauer Media found that 74 per cent of mums say their stress levels have increased since starting a family, while one in three mums say they are constantly tired. The pressures of keeping up with the kids, housework and career appear to be taking a toll. In the quest to become the perfect wife and mother in our homes and employee in our workplaces, we're, statistically, burning ourselves out.
A working mum friend of mine recently revealed the list of activities and chores she completed before she heads off to work each day. In between packing the school lunches and getting herself dressed and ready for the day, she unloads several loads of washing, unpacks the dishwasher, fits in a gym session and prepares dinner for later that night. I was exhausted just hearing it, let alone doing it!
No wonder she was too…
I'm not saying you have to choose career over family or vice versa. But perhaps it's time to stop perpetuating the superwoman myth and let some of the small things slide to release the burden we place on ourselves? So what if our white picket fence looks a little worse for wear sometimes? If our heads are clear, our hearts (and family) are happy, it's OK to not have it all – all at once at least…

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