I have allowed myself to get angry about absolutely disgusting bullshit .I know it is just supposed to be provocative, I know this woman probably is not nearly as hateful and stupid as she seems; she is just trying to get herself noticed, and fair play to her it worked. I suppose she wins, unlike me, the lowly stay at home mum. Oh no sorry, the deified stay at home mum. I can really feel the deification just now, knackered and sleep deprived and going mental stuck at home in front of cbeebies with a poorly child. There I go, bigging up the drudgery of it. I mean, I phoned a high court judge, a surgeon and some chinese miners to see if they could pop round and hold the fort for a bit so I could get a bit of fresh air but they were all unavailable. Doing something more important I suppose.
Now seriously, I have read a few full-time mother bashing articles lately and it makes me sad. It seems like the ultimate triumph of some kind of sinister misogyny: if we put down women over the centuries and pull them to pieces then eventually we won’t have to bother any more because they will turn on each other. I know that I can be guilty of resenting working mums. There, I have spat it out. Because I feel they make my life harder. I feel this drudgery and monotony would be easier if more people did it, if we were supporting each other more. And it would be easier to live off not much money, with no car and no childcare, if more other people were doing the same. I know as well that my comments about motherhood can inflame those who chose not to be mothers, or cannot be mothers, and I really don’t mean to. I want to defend motherhood for those who I feel miss out, not because they have their own exciting stuff to be getting on with, or because they don’t fancy it much, or sadly have no choice, but because of external pressure. And I also want to defend myself a bit too.
Today I had meant to write about all this hoo-haa with Cameron and Major arguing about social mobility, and describe how elitism in education was filtering down, the message that your children need everything except your time, that demands for childcare totally dismiss any value of children spending time with their parents. Of course, if women want to work and put their children into childcare that’s great, but if they feel they have to, to afford a mortgage in the best catchment area in a country obsessed with snobbery in education, then I find that a shame. Or perhaps what is sadder is the women who feel they have to go out to work to avoid the sort of attitude in the article above, or that they wouldn’t be able to cope with being at home all the time. I hear that a lot, “oh i wouldn’t be able to manage, I wouldn’t cope I would go mad”…No you would get on with it, because you have to, and because you are a strong and resourceful woman. And as for the going mad, well, all things are relative..
But is this a new phenomenon or has this mother-bashing been a long time coming? I could repeat that as a nation that is always been governed by people who were sent away from home by their mothers we have gradually been conditioned to negate the role of motherhood. I could say that as a nation obsessed with all things military we have carefully constructed masculinity throughout our history, and as an empire all that is feminine and nurturing has been cast aside as base and backward. I might mention that historically we have been shaped by fervent anti-Catholicism, and so any reverence for mothers has been curbed for fear of association with reverence for that one rather famous Mother, because you shouldn’t go worshipping some poor woman with a baby when you should be swearing allegiance to the great General in the sky. I could say that in a world where money is everything we have come to resent those whose business is non-countable, non-profitable, never reimbursed. And in a world where misery is lucrative there is nothing to gain from those whose main endeavour is to bring up happy and well-rounded human beings. We don’t want people being brought up with a sense of wholeness and security do we? Or else they might not drink, gamble, or seek to spend every second of their lives quieting their uncomfortable emotions with the acquisition of ever more stuff. And by 2020, when the greatest disability in the world will be depression, and those who make money from antidepressants are laughing all the way to the bank, they certainly don’t want anyone learning to have more powerful and meaningful relationships. I could say all this and be dismissed, because I have not earned the right to say it. Because I am simply going on what I know and think, don’t have time to argue or prove it, because I am too busy looking after my kids.
Because maybe it is my entire knowledge system that is not valued, anything based on experience, instinct, emotion. We are the people who deal in touch, gesture, tone of voice, imagination. Rubbing your head just there will make you go to sleep, you are grumpy because you need your cardigan off, if you hold it like that you are going to spill it, have a sandwich and ou will feel better I promise. It is not rocket science, it is not interesting, but no-one can do it as well as I can, and to two small funny-faced people it is the most important job in the world. And I’m not saying that as a mother I have the monopoly on loving, that I am the only person who can do it, or wishing to diminish the role of dads. grandparents or anyone else who does a wonderful job of caring for children. But it is my profession, and its hard I take it very seriously, I love twenty four hours a day, when I am ill, when I am tired, when I don’t feel I have any love left, and I deserve to feel proud of that, whether I have my vaginal tearing certificate or my breat-feeding badge or not.
Of course I wait nervously for the day when my children turn round and say “mummy, you just spend all our childhoods spending time with us, playing with us and getting to know us, all we ever wanted was an ipad.” When in the ultimate rebellion against their lefty parents they get jobs working for Ernst and Young. Or maybe they will write hateful things about us for The Guardian.