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Can we just support each other?

March 12, 2010

I’m in a good mood today – rare I know. After a week of being all down, mardy and moany I’m mainlined mini eggs & I’m surfing the sugar high. For about an hour then I’ll come crashing down. While I’m motivated though I wanted a rant, a big rant, a fucking huge rant actually. I’m so pissed off with all the debates I’m hearing about stay at home mums (SAHM), work at home mums (WAHM) and working mums (WM).

SAHMs are apparently pushing the feminism movement back 30 years as they decide to stay home with their babies and let the men go out to bring home the wages.  Their children will grow up clinging to mummy with no discernable  social skills (as they are only with their mum all day) and with the belief that men are the more  important sex as they go out to work and earn money.

WAHMs are apparently neglecting both their children and their paid work as they can’t devote quality time to either. They are distracted by kids when they try to work and distracted by work when they look after the kids. Their children will grow craving the attention they never got at home.

WMs (i.e. me) are abandoning their children to selfishly put themselves first. The children will grow up damaged and feeling unloved by their cruel mother who dared to dump them in child care in order to advance their careers.

WTF? Of course these are extreme examples here. But this is implied in every article written and conversation had about how mums choose to live their lives! I asked on Twitter if this argument will ever just fuck off.  @partlyfallen replied – ‘No more than  the breast v bottle one will’ (don’t even get me started on that!) and she’s right.

I think we should try to stop this age old argument from wittering on. There’s no right and wrong when it comes to raising children. You don’t get kids at 18 at university interview going ‘Well I had a fabulous start, I was breastfed until I was 1 and my mother  stayed at home until I went to school’ ‘Congratulations, you’re just what we are looking for. Welcome to Oxford!’ .

Neither do you get defence lawyers in court saying ‘Your honour, it wasn’t his fault! His mother fed him formula and returned to work when he was 6 MONTHS OLD. For shame…’ ‘Well then, it’s obviously not his fault he robbed the bank, let him go. And let this be a lesson to mums who use formula and return to work.’

Why can’t we celebrate the choices us mums make? ‘Oh wow, she’s chosen to stay at home and raise her child. That’s a really hard thing to do, entertaining a small child all the time. Good for her, I wish her luck. That’s the best decision for their family.’

‘Oh wow, she’s chosen to work from home. That’s a really hard thing to do, juggling children with work. Good for her, I wish her luck. That’s the best decision for their family.’

Oh wow, she’s chosen to go back to work. That’s a really hard thing to do, only seeing her child in the evening and weekends and concentrating on a career through the day. Good for her, I wish her luck. That’s the best decision for their family.’

Because of course we’re not abandoning our children, making them think women are second rate or not giving them enough attention. We are doing the very best we can in a situation that has no instructions and no guide book to steer us in the right direction. We’re making it up as we go along in keeping with what is best for our family at the time. Some factors mean we can’t do what we want. I’d like to work part time and spend more time with Sam but we need my full time salary. That’s life and you make the best of it. Sam isn’t suffering. He is looked after by my husband goes to his Nana and Granddads 3-4 mornings week. He loves it there. They go to music group, messy play sometimes, they go for walks, he has a trike to play on when the weather is nice. He meets new people and develops his social skills.

I also enjoy going out to work & don’t want to give up my career. I’ve worked very hard over the last 4 years to gain my professional qualifications, sitting exams at 8 months pregnant and returning to study when Sam was 10 weeks old (expressing breast milk in the toilets!). I’m proud of what I have done and where I am going and would prefer not to told that I am scarring Sam for life by farming him out while I swan off to work without a care in the world.  I also don’t want to be told that I am doing my bit for feminism by returning to work. I’m not a role model for young girls, showing them they can have it all! You can’t! You make sacrifices along the way because there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything and if you tried you’d go doolally within weeks (as I may before 30th April when my dissertation is due in!). I’m just doing what is best for my family.

Anyway, I’m rambling now & the sugar high is fading. What I mean to say is that being a mother is a hard enough job as it is, we put enough pressure on ourselves to be the perfect parent so we don’t need anyone else casting aspersions on our decisions. Let’s celebrate the different decisions we have made, realise that what is best for one family make not work for another. Let’s show a bit of female solidarity here folks, support each other on our chosen paths and never for a minute think one is better or easier than the other.

photo credit

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29 Comments leave one →
  1. March 12, 2010 12:43 pm

    Mums quite often get a battering and the worse people to do it are other mums, you can’t seem to win. We should all be supporting each other but unforntunatly it doesn’t seem to be that way.

    I think people judge and start arguements to make them feel better about the choices they have made, they feel the need to jusitfy what kind of mother they are.

    I’m a SAHM trying to be a WAHM, I don’t care if you a WM or a SAHM, do what ever you need to do for yourself and your family they are are that matter x

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      March 12, 2010 12:47 pm

      You’re so right! Attack is the first form of defence & all that.

      It really doesn’t matter what we do as long as it’s right for us.

      Good luck with being a WAHM! x

  2. March 12, 2010 12:52 pm

    This is a fantastically written post and had me laughing at your examples from the judge etc!! You are spot on and I never judge mum’s on how they decide to work/stay at home etc. It’s individual choice as you say – less talk about this and more focus on helping the families who are actually in bad situations and this country would be much better off – but that’s a different debate!!!

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      March 16, 2010 12:11 pm

      Oh some more help would be wonderful! I have a feeling though things are about as good as it gets & the only way from here is down!

  3. Muddling along mummy permalink
    March 12, 2010 12:53 pm

    This whole debate makesme want to throw a toddler style tantrum. There is no easy answer but respecting the choices and supporting them would be nice rather than putting someone else down to try and justify your choice over mine

    Great post

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      March 16, 2010 12:12 pm

      Thank you! I’ve had comments about leaving Sam which I’ve had to ignore. There’s no point judging anyone, we’re all doing the best we can!

  4. March 12, 2010 1:10 pm

    Well said, I totally agree with you. I hope you don’t take any of my comments the wrong way – I am not trying to make you feel bad about your choices which are clearly exactly right for you at the moment. It’s just that reading your blog reminds me of the struggles I went through in my own mind, trying to work out in my own mind what was the best path for me. Also things change when you’ve got 2 kids instead of one, and change again with school age kids instead of babies and toddlers, so keep an open mind. I’ll soon find out how things change again with teenagers in a year or 2 ! !

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      March 16, 2010 12:13 pm

      I do struggle with my choice. I enjoy my job but would like to spend more time at home. Unfortunatley, due to to finances it just isn’t an option. Where’s that lottery win when you need one….

  5. March 12, 2010 3:04 pm

    That’s why the world is in the state it is in-because instead of people keeping their noses in their own business, people spend too much time judging and slamming others.

    If everyone would learn to respect each other, then this world would be a much better place!

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      March 16, 2010 12:13 pm

      Well said Susie! I totally agree!

  6. parklover permalink
    March 12, 2010 4:37 pm

    Great post, I wholeheartedly agree. These are difficult decisions for many mothers and are not taken lightly. I have judged myself enough for the decisions I’ve made, so I don’t need anyone else doing it for me. Having returned to work full time when my daughter was 6 months old and then given my job up a few months ago, whilst at the same time doing some bits of work at home and intending to return in 18 months time, I wouldn’t dream of judging anyone, as chances are I’ve been in their shoes! Whatever you choose involves a certain amount of sacrifice one way or another. None of the situations you describe is easy. Feeling you are being judged really doesn’t help. Having someone say “good for you” whatever your decision, in the knowledge that you’ve tried to make the right decision for you and your family, DOES help.
    Sorry, I’m ranting now!

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      March 16, 2010 12:14 pm

      I think a rant about this is good. Hopefully those people who read this & realise they’ve judged won’t do it again!

  7. March 13, 2010 9:23 am

    Each has its good and bad points, and each fits a particular mum. Not sure why everyone is critical of “the other way”. I’ve done them all! Still looking for my fit.

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      March 16, 2010 12:16 pm

      I hope you find it! None of them are easy & they all require sacrifices. I think it’s more a case of finding which sacrifices you can afford to make for your family.

  8. March 14, 2010 2:43 pm

    I’ve done all three… I was a WAHM when I first had the kiddo but then got made redundant 18 months ago. I then had six months at home which I thought would be fabulous after the struggles of working from home with a small child, but hated it to be honest. I then got myself a “proper job” as my husband calls it and definitely think this is the best thing for us. We’re all much happier. So having done all three I can safely say each one has it’s pros and cons!

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      March 16, 2010 12:17 pm

      Definitely! Personally I couldn’t be a SAHM, I don’t have the patience. Sometimes I think that’s the hardest job of all!

  9. March 15, 2010 4:57 am

    What a great post, hear hear. I’m a WM, but respect all choices.

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      March 16, 2010 12:17 pm

      Thank you! Nice of you to comment, I’m a big fan of your blog 🙂

  10. March 15, 2010 6:46 pm

    Well I’m a SAHD and I’m quite glad I have a WM. In our case it’s not about feminism, it’s about economics and me obviously doing something right in a previous life.

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      March 16, 2010 12:19 pm

      Lol! It’s nice to get a man’s perspective on the situation. I really should have mentioned SAHD’s as they’re vital in many families! Sorry, I didn’t mean to leave you out!

  11. March 15, 2010 8:20 pm

    This is a great post. I’ve done time in all disguises of mummyhood. Neither is easier/better so I agree that we just make our choices and don’t condemn anyone for making theirs. I’ve emailed you by the way because you are the winner of my 1 yr blogoversary competition!

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      March 16, 2010 12:19 pm

      I’ve emailed you back! So excited! Thanks!

  12. March 17, 2010 6:00 pm

    Cannot believe it has taken me this long to find your blog.
    Possible a downside of being a WM?

    Personally am with you on all the points of view, great post.

    Ultimately as long as the kids are happy, healthy and safe, it should not matter what choices a mother makes for her own career.

    LCM x

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      March 25, 2010 9:14 pm

      Hello! Thank you for your lovely comments! You are of course, completely right 🙂

  13. March 25, 2010 4:19 pm

    This post was just what I was looking for today. I am a SAHM and learning to be a WAHM. I hate it when people laugh and say “What do you do all day?” or “Really. work at home? Are you going to sell door to door puch your kid in the stroller?” I am a good mother and I know it, and us good mothers need to stick together.

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      March 25, 2010 9:13 pm

      What do you do all day?! That’s got to come from someone without children! I like to think that my house would be tidy & all my washing would be done if I was a SAHM but when I do have a day off & look after Sam there’s more chaos than ever!

      Good luck with the WAHM goal!

  14. April 5, 2010 2:02 am

    Great points, great post and it’s nice to see that new career choices are being made. We’ve got to learn to think outside the box ladies!

    Robin

  15. July 15, 2010 6:05 am

    Great post, bookmarked, will be back later. Because this was a awesome article, keep up the great work .

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