International Women’s Day Special: No, Women Can’t Have It All

So why do we need an International Women’s Day anyway, to make us feel special, to make us feel worthy? Please!

As I sat at my desk this morning in between patients, my mind wandered to my to do list; what grocery shop do I need to do for tonight’s dinner, homework before or after kids bath, hope there’s enough milk in the fridge and more importantly hope no one has found my secret stash of chocolate.

What we need really is a ’I made it through today without shouting at the kids’ day or ‘I’ve made dinner from scratch AND went to work’ day. That for me is worth celebrating.

Women don’t need false slogans of ‘you can have it all’. No you can’t. So stop pressurising yourself. A good day is whatever you want it to be, something realistic and attainable. We don’t have to look perfect while being the head of the PTA, make perfect cookies for the bake sale, be CEO of a worldwide company and able to run elegantly in heels.

How does this help the global movement of feminism? My youngest does the daily laundry, my middle one helps cook dinner, my elder one takes out the rubbish without moaning, I think that’ll do for now. My point is I’m hoping they will be self-sufficient and not be a burden to some poor woman. What other contribution could I offer the feminist movement?

Anyway have we really progressed? What advances have we made as women, women centuries ago have the same worries we do now – children, jobs (or husband’s jobs), health. But by promoting that women can have it all, is setting us up for feeling overwhelmed and guilty. Remove these meaningless slogans and you will find yourself liberated. International Women’s Day signifies solidarity. So as a sisterhood let’s not be condescending of each other’s choices.

We must remember that we are the lucky ones however, there are many women who CANNOT worry about having it all, their daily struggle is just to survive; single women with children, women in poverty, women struggling to find jobs. Then there are those who are making sacrifices on our behalf; the nurses, the doctors, the social workers who work nights and weekends away from families.

I have the luxury of working part time so I juggle work around the kids’ school calendar. This isn’t a failure in my professional life, it’s a boost for my personal life. I was asked recently ‘but what about your career progression?’ For me career progression is not going to result in spending more quality time with my boys, so I let it go.

Hats off to those women who do have it all but I’ll settle for harmony, cocoa and cuddles.