The Paua Palace

My royal blog, life, opinions and me, it’s all about ME.. Right?

Feminism isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

Posted by pauaprincess on August 23, 2007

Ok yesterday I said the ability to choose to be an A+ stay at home Mother was a positive bi product of feminism, I stand by that statement, choosing to stay at home and raise productive human beings is a legitimate career choice as far as I am concerned.  It’s not mine, but some people are fulfilled by that role and more power to them.  To my mind, it’s impossible to legitimately fulfil that role long term, without having the odd hobby or marketable skills.  Those that do, are not stay at home mothers.  They are lazy, shiftless individuals who lack ambition or self respect, they also come in the form of both genders.

I take issue with the simplistic view that most women are wasted potential simply because as VA’s first post on the subject implied, they dedicate their lives to their children and refused to have anything to do with anything outside of children. It’s wrong to generalize in that manner.

In 2002, in America women made up 46.4% of the labour force.  A 1999 survey found 99 out of every 100 women will work for pay at some point in their lives. How does that equate to a majority having no marketable skills? 

Who is to say that todays stay at home mother isn’t going to be a catering baroness or the new Betty Crocker at some point in the future?   How many women, I wonder, have discovered new careers as a result of being stay at home mothers at some point?   Why condemn people based upon their current life choice and judge it as poor?

“It’s the difference between being a mother and brood mare” 

There is a clear difference between a lazy, shiftless person who stares at the goggle box blindly whilst her children wallow in filth and stick forks into power points.  Oh they may justify their existence by saying they are stay at home mothers, but they aren’t.  Using the label of stay at home mother when clearly you are slothful and unemployable is just inviting people to judge the real stay at home mother harshly

The genuine stay at home mother works, and hard.  It’s not easy managing a household and children.  When you are a genuine stay at home mother, you have marketable skills, you cook, you clean, you sew/mend, you budget, you schedule, you care for children and if you lack management skills, it all goes to hell in a handbasket in very short order.   Just because you are currently dedicating your life to your offspring, doesn’t mean you will forever and who says making heart shaped pancakes isn’t a marketable skill? I’d buy em, I can barely make a pan shaped one.

It’s easy to sit in judgement of a stay at home mother, especially when you’ve never tried it.

When I had my firstborn, I admit I had rosy pictures of my life whilst on maternity leave, as a stay at home mother, as those who’ve never had children do.  I pictured myself gardening in the sun, whilst my contented baby slept peacefully in the shade, cooking fantastic gourmet dishes, crafting and practicing my calligraphy hobby and being at home with my husband every night.  The truth was something of a shock. 

Although I had what is termed a “good baby” who smiled and gurgled, did all the right things and slept well considering he was an infant, he was bloody hard work!  Oddly with less than two weeks of broken sleep under my belt, I had no inclination to garden, that didn’t improve in the ensuing months.  Meals were whipped together at various points in the day whilst he slept and in between washing the copious amounts of dirty clothing an infant generates, general housework and getting some sleep myself. 

For his first 7 months, or maybe longer I don’t remember, I never ate a hot meal or finished a cup of coffee let alone did any crafting or calligraphy.  It didn’t occur to me he’d start crawling absurdly early at 6 months and I’d spend the next 2 1/2  years dragging him away from full diaper buckets, power points, open doors etc and doing every thing with 1 eye on him. 

I soon learned that shopping trips required more planning than the average battle campaign and would be limited to buying necessities.  You’ve no idea the judgements passed upon you as you scurry to the checkout with a screaming infant who woke up half an hour early for a feed and a half full trolley, wondering if you’ll have the energy to do this again tomorrow. 

Oh and the growth spurts!  Every two weeks I’d spend a day doing nothing but feeding the child. Of course it got easier as he grew older, well we exchanged one set of obstacles for another.  Then I had my daughter, I had to wait 5 years to forget the sleep deprivation though…

Yes I was glad when my maternity leave was over after each child and I could escape back to work.  I didn’t do half the things I planned to do whilst being a stay at home mother, heck I didn’t get a quarter, even an eighth of them done.

Now I wonder if I came across as lazy, shiftless or ambitionless at the time?  Many’s the time I sat down exhausted and gazed unseeing at the tv after a bad night with the baby and rallied my shattered nerves.  My garden has always looked like crap, it still does but now I work, is that ok?

Really choice/right choice is both personal and subjective.

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