Feminism

Being a Stay At Home Mum – My Choice

I discovered this blog today through Twitter. Retro Woman Revolution, which I hope she will not mind me linking to as it is seems a good starting point.

To be honest, I am a bit confused by the post – being a working mum means I would be a cold, emotionless shark but being a Stay at Home Mum turns me into a vacuous, easy manipulated zombie. Is there a third option?

For our family, several factors contributed to the decision that we made. I am at present a Stay at Home Mum (SAHM) but that may well change in the future.

Having time to spend with my children is fine and good but I must admit to missing the cerebral challenges and, if I am honest, the social contacts of work.

Working mums (WOHM) are not cold, calculating barracudas. They are loving mothers who either have to work to support their family or wish to work so as to further their career. Should they be berated for this? For seeking to use the education that they have studied for, for not giving up the position that they worked hard to achieve, for doing their best to juggle career and family.

Sure, there are a few women who put their career above their family – I am certain there are, but it is truly unfair to condemn millions of working mums for the failures of a handful of selfish women. And these women would be selfish if they were working mums or stay at home mums.

In the same way that there are good SAHMs and bad ones. If motherhood can be measured in terms of “good” and “bad”. We have good days and bad days, we make mistakes, we are human, not emotionless robots.

I take exception to the assertion that SAHMs are “excitable lunatics” – or is that just MN we are talking about? – obsessed with cleaning and keeping our children safe. Perhaps a quick glance at the Mumsnet website would give that impression but there are enough of us who would refute that suggestion. My husband would laugh like a drain if he were to read that I am seen to be a cleaning obsessed housewife.

For me, feminism is not about equality but about choice.

The choice to say, “I am quite happy being a SAHM” or to say, “I want to work”.

I am fed up of the way in which women are constantly berated and made to feel guilty. We are smothering our children, or neglecting them. We are career-crazy bitches or needy, neurotic homemakers. We are damaging our children by working or by staying at home. Bad enough that we are criticised by men for this, but when we start to attack each other, no one wins.

One only has to have a peek at the Mumsnet threads on SAHM vs WOHM to see how heated the debate becomes. Particularly on parenting websites, this debate is impassioned as it is rarely a theoretical debate – when posters feel that their lifestyle has been attacked then it is difficult to remain neutral and objective. 

Why can we not celebrate the fact that we have the ability to choose how to lead our lives, and applaud the feminists of the past decades who have made this possible.

Feminism is not dead, it is alive and evolving, but it means different things to different people.

So if you want to be a WOHM, a SAHM or even a Retro-Feminist I will respect that decision.

In return, I request that those who have chosen a different road to travel respect my decision and neither ridicule, berate nor abuse me for making the choice that is the best for me and my family at this time.