Why i’m so totally over being part of the generation that can ‘have it all’


Women cannot have it all.

Now, before you shout me down for being anti-feminist and ungrateful for everything women have petitioned for, for the last century, just hear me out.

I am tired. Really bloody tired. Exhausted. Shattered. Despo for a 24 hour sleep.

I’ve spent the last two decades in education, and now I live alone in London, spending nine hours at work a day, another two hours of the day on the transport system, and then I spend my evenings cleaning, blogging or attempting to have a social life. I spend my weekends blogging, attempting to have a social life and seeing my boyfriend.

I don’t go to the gym, I don’t have children, and I don’t see my family. I rotate which friends I see on a weekly basis.

Now tell me where I’m supposed to squeeze in a husband and kids and running a household into all this?

Because I can’t for the life of me see even a spare hour in my day to de-flea my cat, let alone bathe and feed a small infant or make packed lunches or iron shirts.

We’ve been brought up in the ‘having it all’ bubble. But the truth is, if we really do want it all, we’re going to get about 3 hours sleep a night and we’ll drive ourselves into a very early grave.

We have to make sacrifices, we have to pick which things are the priority and choose what to leave behind.

There is only so many balls of life we can juggle, and i’m already dropping half of mine on the floor and making a bit of a mess, and that’s with only half of the things i’m supposed to be balancing.

I have friends I haven’t seen in months, a very dusty gym membership, an even dustier flat, and a body that is begging me to slow the fuck down and just let it watch a One Tree Hill boxset and drink tea and eat so much Galaxy Cookie Crisp that I get a belly that hangs over my tracksuit bottoms.

So yes, it’s bloody amazing that we woman can do anything and everything. But do you really want to have everything?

Wouldn’t it just be better to pick a few key life objectives and manage them with a smile on your face and a healthy, happy mind and body?

Right now my job may be my main focus, but I know in a few years it might be forgotten about alongside my manicures and day-before outfit-planning because I want a family.

I may have the brain and the education to go far in my career, but that doesn’t mean that I have to or that I want to. Why are we so obsessed with putting down women for wanting to get married and make babies over wanting to head up a company? It’s the way we’re biologically set, and I for one would rather have the former 4783154 times over.

I don’t want to have it all, and i’m over trying too. Life is for living and not for trying to have everything you possibly can.

I’m grateful for how women in the UK have things in the 21st century, I’m grateful for the options and the equality, but society can go away and stop telling me I can have it all. I don’t want ‘all’.


  • LOVE this post very much! I’m a married mum of three, and went part time after having my eldest (whose now 5). My husband and I don’t have a huge amount of disposable income, or a fancy jet setting life style, but we have all we need. By working two days a week I feel I’ve achieved the coveted ‘perfect work/life balance’.

    Stand by those principles, having it all is a fallacy anyway. Something always has to give…

  • Another excellent, thought-provoking blog-post Hannah.
    For what its worth, I agree with you.

  • I think having it all means having the choice to be a stay at home mum or a mum who keeps working after she’s had children or to not have children at all. Saying things like women are “biologically set” to get married and have children takes away some of that choice. I’m a woman who doesn’t want children but I know that’s not the way everyone feels. Society doesn’t support mothers particularly well – whether they work or not.

    Having it all means figuring out what works for you and then making your life fit that picture as best you can, no matter what others say. This is something that I’ve been struggling with recently – figuring out what my own personal definition of success is. It’s a tricky one because there are a lot of other voices to tune out.

  • A fantastic post Hannah, you’ve hit the nail on the head there. I used to feel boring and old for spending 80% of my evenings at home but I like you I work a 9 hour day + 2 hours commuting and I try to run a couple of times a week, I try to squeeze in seeing a friend or two and by the weekends I’m so tired I often sleep through until 11am. I’ve stopped feeling guilty about what I do or don’t do and I’m trying to embrace it. I’m 27 now, getting married next year and I find that as I get older I get less ambitious – sad but true! I just want to be happy and healthy and surrounded by family. It’s the simple things!

    • hannahgale9

      I totally agree, I’ve stopped saying ‘yes’ to every invite. You need time to sleep and just let your body and mind recuperate.

  • its tough isnt it – i’m not sure we can have it all, unless we also have enough money for nannies and cleaners!! nothing like makinglife hard for ourselves eh! http://thewanderlusthasgotme.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/cheryl-cole-got-married.html

  • Rhiannon

    This is completely relevant to the stage I am at in my life RIGHT NOW. Such a good point that I don’t feel is expressed often enough. I have had bucketfuls of ambition since I was younger but now at 23 (I know I am still relatively young) and after a couple of hard times with losing family members – I struggle to remember exactly why I was fighting to be so successful in my career. Success is great, obviously. But I feel if you are unable to spend as much time as you’d like making memories with the ones you love and struggle to have time for even yourself – then success if overrated and a happy medium is very, very welcome! After all, it’s the memories with loved ones which matter the most, in my opinion.

  • Agree 100% with this post. I’m constantly trying to squeeze everything I can into a life that just doesn’t allow me too, it’s like a vicious cycle of being crazily busy then crashing and needing time to let my immune system catch up. We need to find the balance between spending our time how we want to and giving ourselves a break, and realising that it’s okay to say no every now and then. I’ve especially found this during the stage of life I’m in now, trying to keep up my life both in my university city and my hometown – an exhausting struggle that I recently reflected on! http://whatahullabaloo.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/the-meaning-of-being-an-inbetweener/

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