So last weekend the papers were full of articles about Mothers, Motherhood and Mothering, from every angle possible… I read them with some interest and increasing annoyance. Everyone has an opinion on what being a mum is about these days, and as one article pointed out home-making is very ‘of the moment’, so true – Cath Kidston et all forcing us all to rethink our homes and our lives so that we can all fit into this super mum with super house mode. What a crock… What I have realised over the last few years is that no two mothers are alike. We may follow a particular pattern but when it comes to our own kids we differ hugely. We will defend them to the death, we will stand up for them, support them, clean up after them, we love them, but all in our own ways.
I have been, at different times, a stay at home mum, a working mum, and a self employed mum. I have loved being with my kids but I have also found it hugely irritating, I have loved being there to see their first steps and I have cried in anger when I had to sacrifice a long needed day out because one of them is puking. I have missed assemblies to go to meetings, I have palmed them off to friends and family in the school holidays, and yet if need be I would have given it all up, and indeed I have for the short term.
The thing that irritated me most in the Sunday papers was an article about a book called ‘Shattered: Modern Motherhood and the Illusion of Equality’ by Rebecca Asher. I haven’t read the book I should say, my annoyance was based on an article in the Sunday Times, (which even more irritatingly the website won’t allow me to link to). I think the book title is awesome and if I had written a book about modern motherhood I might just have used something similar but the content would be very different. Ashers approach seems to be one of selfish self-sympathy and I can recognise this in some of my own friends and possibly my past self if I am honest. Let’s face it, having kids is bloody exhausting, you cannot expect to get through parenthood without the exhuastion, general brain-failure and loss of self. But women of this century are expected to (and possibly expecting to) be super mums. I am sure I have written of this before. We are expected to be high fliers at work, whilst raising the most darling little beans with perfect manners and school results, all the while growing our own organic veg and still getting to the gym 3 times a week, oh, and not forgetting baking cakes for the PTA coffee morning. And that is frankly impossible, I know my opinion is tainted by my own experience and subsequent illness but I honestly don’t think that kind of perfect life is possible for anyone. Well not without hired help, marriage issues and a bit of insanity (or maybe a lot..). And should it be anyway? I mean why do we have kids? Not to palm them off on someone else surely? Asher seems to be rather bitter about the changes she has had to make to her life since becoming a mother, but isn’t that what we are supposed to do? having children means sacrifices, that is part of being a parent. It’s no good saying that society and laws need to change so that we can have the same life as we had before children. It doesn’t work like that.
Gosh, I’m not anti-women working and I fully intend to go back to work, albeit in a very different area, but I think some women need to accept that they are mothers first and foremost and that carries with it responsibility…