|Ok, I admit I picked this photo because mother and daughter |
are both smiling, and that suits my purposes.
Image credit: http://www.sme.blog/
Her basic premise was that women, including mothers, should be expected to work in a paid job. Here is part of what she said:
Feminists expect fathers to do domestic work, so how can they tacitly exempt mothers from paid work?
This is how I remember a conversation last week between me and two other mothers of grade 1 children:
Mother 1: Does your child sleep at night?
Me: Yes, why? Doesn’t yours?
Mother 1: She gets up two or three times a night.
Me: I think it’s because I did some “controlled comfort” with him when he was little; it teaches them how to put themselves back to sleep when they wake up.
Mother 2: I think “controlled comfort” is barbaric.
Mother 1: Well, I’m just exhausted.
Mother 2: Me too. Actually, half the time she sleeps in my bed. That’s why I could never get a job. I’m too exhausted: motherhood is my full-time job.
Is it really barbaric to set limits for your children? To expect them to, say, put themselves to sleep and to sleep in their own bed? Or is it simply weak and self-indulgent to refuse to draw the line, and to characterise this refusal as evidence of maternal love and dedication?
This is not an idle question (although I am sure some of you are wishing I’d left it idling). Rather, it is an explosive issue that the women’s movement has long sought to stifle with the rhetoric of “choice”. So while feminists have long struggled to enshrine all women’s social freedom and legal right to work, regardless of whether they are married and/or mothers, most have argued that the decision to engage in paid work or to make motherhood a full-time job is a woman’s prerogative.
You can read the rest of it here: http://cannold.com/articles/article/staying-mums-a-cop-out/
So, is she right? Are you cheering her, even 10 years later (as I am)? Or is she totally out of line? A deluded cow who should count herself lucky that the worst she got was the sack?
I could write at length about all the variables involved in this topic but want to keep it short so will say this: I agree with her on virtually every point.
There are myriad reasons for parents not working. And I accept that not all are completely invalid. But the idea that some mothers use the demands of parenting as an excuse and an escape is also valid.
And one other aspect of this debate that bugs me (I know, I know, I said I'd keep it short! I fibbed) is the limited ways in which stay-at-home women are portrayed. According to mainstream media, they seem to be in two camps only: a) the (often self-described) mothers who are so wholly consumed by their role and responsibilities they don't have time to change their socks; or b) the carefree, swanning-about ladies of leisure whose biggest challenge of the day is deciding between Oprah and Days of Our Lives?
Surely the reality (excepting mothers of newborns) is somewhere in between?
So. Anyone like to share their thoughts?