I can't stop thinking about Catherine Bailey. She was my age (41), a partner in a law firm in the City in London, mother of three children aged under 6, married to a doctor. She lived in Islington. She wore trendy glasses. She was driven and successful. She had a gym habit judging by the toned biceps in her picture. She looked nice. I could imagine being her friend. She was found in the river at Richmond, southwest London. She left a message for her husband to hold their three daughters close. She had no mental health issues but had told her husband she was under pressure at work.

I don't know what led to Catherine Bailey's death. But I can't help wondering whether the stress of trying to be an achiever on so many levels - lawyer, mother, homemaker, wife - did it. Obviously it is too late for Catherine Bailey. But it has outraged me enough that I want to start a new crusade to save all the potential Catherine Baileys out there. Sisters, we have got to stop buying into all this Superwoman, Supernanny, Yummy Mummy, Alpha Female, MILF, Cougar craziness. It is nonsense. It is killing us, literally.

For too long we have all been complicit in this grand delusion that if you just get more organised or efficient or fitter or focused or a new personal trainer, or life coach, or gluten-free diet, you can control your life. You can be the hard-arse career woman as well as the mother who makes her own organic baby food, and the designer homemaker and the sexpot wife.

Well I am telling you now: this is utter, utter tosh. Some of these roles are mutually exclusive, for a start. You simply can't do it all. And we need to stop torturing each other by acting as though it is even an option. Because in the same way that women dress for other women - men don't really care if your shoes come from Manolo Blahnik or Hannahs - they also compete when it comes to work and weight and houses and children and, oh, practically everything. We have to make the control freakery stop.

I know a lot of us simply have to work to pay the mortgage. Or we have to work because we would go barmy making home-made play doh. So instead, middle-class women need to just say, "No". We need to lower our standards. Stop reading those ghastly home and garden magazines with lab-like kitchens and beige sofas and smug tidy people. No one really lives like this. Stop reading the Rachel Glucina society pages. These people secretly have P habits and plastic surgery addictions. Stop reading fashion magazines full of stories about youthful 50-something celebrities. These people are imbeciles with too much Botox. Do not enrol your children in after-school classes for anything other than swimming or soccer or something essential and basic. They are children, not an auxiliary achievement on your CV. Get rid of any friends who notice if there is dust behind your bathroom door. Get rid of friends who want to tell you about going skiing at Whistler or Oscar's oboe lessons or Madeline's mathletics prizes. Friends who don't mind coming around for dinner and getting served baked beans, you can keep.

And when it comes to your kids, here's the thing. Just walk out of work. Don't go near the river. Just go home and hold them close.

deborah@coneandco.com