Remember your obligations woman!

5 Sep

First, read this:

Tough life for stay at home mums?

I’d love to throw this woman to a lion’s den full of us blogging mothers and see how she got on for just a minute. As if filling the dishwasher was the hardest thing we encounter on a daily basis.

BUT, if you can, pick your jaw off the floor for a minute and try and see past the misogynistic and deeply patronising undertones in this article. If you can do that (and it will take some doing) she does raise a very interesting question that i think is worthy of some discussion.

Now come on we’re adults here, stop calling Ms Schlessinger a *tch for just one second and listen.

If you know a bit about me you’ll know i’ve been pretty hacked off recently at realising that I couldn’t have it all. Or at least i wasn’t prepared for all the sacrifices i’d need to make to get there. I do feel a bit that women have shot themselves in the foot . Not that women shouldn’t have all the rights and opportunies that men have, but that so much is now expected of women. To pursue their own ambition and achieve professional success, whilst still (in most instances) raising a family and submitting to that huge responsibility. We’re not HAVING it all, we’re just DOING it all.

And of course, this expectation and drive comes from nowhere stronger than within. The critical voice saying that we must do it all, have it all, or we risk sullying the name of those that went before us and fought for our freedom.

We’re raised to believe, as women, that we can do anything, achieve anything if we shout loud enough and are single minded enough to compete against the men. Only to find ourselves later struggling to over-ride the urge for self fulfillment, to downplay our own needs and wants when a child is born. Are these two drivers, one selfish, the other selfless, ultimately in conflict?

And so, returning to the lovely Ms Schlessinger for a minute do we just expect too much nowadays? Are we too selfish in our pursuits? Have we become all about the having rather than the doing?

People will say rightly so. But returning to me just for a second (yeay my favourite subject) this having/being/wanting over doing hasn’t made me very happy has it? I wanted a successful career, a happy family and it’s smarted a bit that i couldn’t have it all. And actually, in some small way my life has been simpler, less stressful, calmer since i embraced my SAHM status and stopped rallying against the responsibility that i sometimes feel is suffocating the selfish me.

So should we just get on with it and stop moaning? Put our children first without questioning where that leave s us?

Now we’ve pondered that for a bit, good. You take her arms and I’ll take her legs. You in the corner, get those pooey nappies ready for hurling. Right. One. Two. Three….

11 Responses to “Remember your obligations woman!”

  1. asmallhandinmine September 5, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

    I agree totally with the conflict of selfless and selfish, I wrote recently on something similar, that being a good and happy mother doesnt depend on getting everything right. Being selfish, I think, is something every mother needs to learn to do. I dont agree that we should get on with it and stop moaning. It is OK to admit that we sometimes dont like it, or that maybe it doesnt suit us like we thought it would.

  2. jfb57 September 5, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

    It is very complicated! I went to college when my son was 2 having split from his father just after his first birthday. I saw it as a way of becoming independant by getting a career that would pay the bills. Our children need us to be thinking beings as well as comforters.

  3. Sandrine September 5, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

    Have to say it: the woman who wrote the article you refer to strikes me as a bit of a fascist. We all have to do our bit for the family and women shouldn’t complain about housework because there used to be men in a coal mine in Mexico she once visited? Huh. They probably had children down there as well. Maybe she thinks kids should do their bit for the family by going back to work… Thing is, she fails to distinguish between the ideas that family members are equally responsible for the well being of the family, and the thought that some tasks are a damn sight less rewarding than others. So yes, looking after kids might be as rewarding as doing a job you like, but housework generally is not. And that should be taken into account when you’re dividing up responsibilities. Throw her to the lions. (thumb goes up).

    • marketingtomilk September 5, 2010 at 6:03 pm #

      yeah she’s out of touch and dangerous! But the question it sparked i think was valid. x

  4. Muddling Along Mummy September 5, 2010 at 6:35 pm #

    I think that society has let this generation of women down – it has suggested that we can have it all. Trouble is that it didn’t educate the men of generation as to the role they have to play to enable us to have a fighting chance of having it all. Unless both partners are supporting each other its not going to work and a LOT of men don’t realise how hard the household stuff is and how much time it takes and so don’t help enough to make equality possible

    Can you tell this is on my mind a bit at the moment?

    • marketingtomilk September 5, 2010 at 7:04 pm #

      how clever you are! you’re right, but i think it’s that “the rest of society” hasn’t been educated or structured to enable it. i.e. i totally sympathise with small businesses that are scared of employing women of child-rearing age in many respects. If i had to keep a business afloat would i choose a man, or older woman? hmmm. Not politically correct, but we have to get real and address it, rather than just telling people to embrace equality. I do also think that more has to be done to enable flexible working, and for people to really get how to make it work for their business. I’ve just secured a temp contract for 3 days a week, and the guys said to me “you’ll get done in 3 days what others will do in 5”. And he knew me before kids!!!


  5. amodernmilitarymother September 5, 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    Recenty, I wrote this post:

    about how much I hate housework. In fact, we have a team mentality in our house but quite often I am playing the team game solo while he does off to war, or to practise being at war, etc.

    I have just decided that I need to outsource more and support a service based culture. I am an expensive cleaner – it’s cheaper for me to work and pay someone else to clean the house and so I am working towards a whole team of staff that help me deliver the dream.

    I think about this all the time – what is the role of man and women and how have we ended up here. I am more of the conclusion now that the role of the women is not valued or appreciated – that society is out of balance. It should be more about the importance and significance of how our lives are delivered together but it’s hard because of the misogyny that exist both from men and also women don’t support each other enough. Men support each other regardless of whether they like each other, or even agree with each other. It is them and us but women also are against each other as well. Women need to unite but the question is can we support each other even if we don’t agree or like each other.

  6. Jess September 5, 2010 at 9:43 pm #

    I’m a terrible house wife but a better SAHM (like, better than terrible!!) The house is a mess, the fridge’s a health hazard and the iron smells as though it’s burning on the rare occasions it’s switched on as it’s accumulated so much dust. But the kids do get listened to/played with/taken out as much as possible.

    And for me, as a mum on her own lots of the time, that’s pretty much what it comes down to. Happier kids, messy house. Tidy house, bored, scrapping kids (or tired mum who’s cleaned, tidied til late.) Maybe things’ll straighten out as they get older?

    Although the 3 year old has started asking me when the house will be tidy again.

    And the the rest of the website that Dr? Schlessinger’s article appeared on? Totally hilarious. There’s some poor woman called Abigail something with all sorts of awful vaginal/bladder issues whose posting link appears to be titled ‘Crazy woman syndrome’. Actually couldn’t read on for total gobsmackage!!

  7. Michelle Twin Mum September 5, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    Having it all is overrated in my opinion. I think we need to be grateful for what we have and ‘want what we have’ and then we can be happier and more fulfilled.

    This constant desire that so many of us have to keep searching for the next thing only destroys our soul in the end.

    I am trying hard to stop but it is not easy to not be materialistic and to be content.

    Mich x

  8. Princess L September 6, 2010 at 3:03 pm #

    It won’t surprise you to know that I agree with Ms Schlessinger’s article whole heartedly. I am a little shocked that you do, to some extent too!
    That’s all I’m going to say!

    • marketingtomilk September 6, 2010 at 7:06 pm #

      If i’m the cheese you’re the granite worksurface, that’s for sure ;<)

I'm all about the debate. Would love to hear what you think.

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