I am on the outrage bus at today’s article in The Daily Mail and the Mumsnet nazis are chipping in too, nodding furiously, and telling us to grab your pinny girls, keep the home fires burning, and raise your children. Don’t work, don’t have a career. Husbandry (why is it called that again?), child rearing is a career, and this is where we really belong.
But, it’s black and white – have job, and destroy your children’s lives, or, be a housewife, and nurture, cherish them and you won’t ruin their lives. These are your only two options. But, I disagree, we could perhaps forge our own path, and take charge of our own destiny. We could create genuinely, flexible, working opportunities to enable us to retain some independence over our lives.
It has taken me a long time to find this path, but I have found a genuinely flexible working environment, which enables me to be there for my children and earn money. To be honest, I haven’t even finished building my flexible empire. Cath Kidston who emulates the domestic idealism, to which we are all supposed to aspire, is clearly not a stay at home mum, but an entrepreneur, who is building a financially strong, business empire of her own!
Life doesn’t stop when you have children. Yes, you juggle more and yes, you have to be flexible to ensure there is a balance between meeting their needs and your own needs. It is a choice, but it doesn’t have to be one, or the other. I would like to think that we are a community where we can help women balance both, their intellectual needs, and their domestic responsibilities. I love my children, and I love being with them, but they do not nourish me intellectually. As an independent, free thinking, woman, I need more stimulation than the endless repetition of domesticity, and the incarceration that being bound by this duty entails.
This challenge of how do women balance their lives is not as a black and white, as career, or housewife. It is not one, or the other. The world is a dynamic, evolving place, and we are no longer bound by operating hours within the constraints of 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday. We need to adjust how we think, and only then can we achieve genuine liberation. The domestic goddess is a feminist, she outsources her housework, and mundane chores, raises her children, and runs her own business, so that she can have genuine flexibility.
The blissfully happy, stay-at-home mums, lead a privileged existence because they can afford to stay-at-home, even with their alleged frugal living, (pah! It’s probably cheaper to holiday abroad then it is to holiday in delightful Kent and Scotland!) so their faithful, employed husbands are not drinking, or swinging their fists, or withholding their housekeeping. They happily give them direct access into the family coffers, and they are handing over their pension too, are they? What happens when he leaves her for a younger model, or they become another divorce statistic, and she is fighting for child support, where does that leave the idealism of the home maker. Women need to protect themselves, and their children, because if you find yourself alone without an income, and without a Prince Charming, then what?