I remember once telling someone that I was “just a Mam”, and their response being “so what do you do all day then?”
What do I do all day? As “just a Mam”…
I am intrigued by how society judges and treats people. How families have to defend their decisions. Who earns the money, who does the “work”, is there an easy option, are some people making it harder for themselves??
I am a stay at home mother, I don’t have a “normal job” with a monthly wage, my work is not measured in an hourly rate. And that is fine. Another mother will be working full time, maybe because she loves her job, maybe because she just wants to. Some mothers work part time, some work from home, some have their own businesses, squirrelling away during nap time and after bed time. I am talking here about mothers because I myself am a mother of young children. The exact same goes for anyone at any stage.
Your worth is not measured by this.
I believe that we are now so trained to think that our contribution to society is measured purely on how much tax we pay. I don’t see it that way. Whatever your “employment status”, it doesn’t change “how much” of a mother you are.
We all need money to survive. There is no arguing that point unfortunately.
I think of roles people take on as volunteers, how much that work adds to other peoples lives and to society as a whole. I have “side line” things I am involved in, some generate money, some don’t, none of them feel more or less worthy. I believe that my own “role” in this big world at the moment is to raise my little people. That is what I believe I am meant to be doing, it does not mean I think that everyone else needs to be the same as me. Really I am just tired of the competition and judgement that I feel is constantly pushed around. Everyone can feel the same sense of overwhelm whatever they are doing.
I have friends who fall all over the “working spectrum”, they all love and worry over their family the same.
Another time someone asked me when I was going back to work, I said that I was staying at home with my children, his reply “what a waste of a brain!”
A waste of a brain! I was so offended and wanted to shout or say something really clever.. instead I was too gob smacked to really say anything. I brooded over those words and then quote from Dr John Trainer came to mind “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” (This quote is often misattributed to C S Lewis.) I felt as though this man was saying that staying at home was somehow “beneath” some people. Maybe that there are some for whom its ok to stay home? Others need to go to work?
I bumped into this man again just a few days later while on my way to an appointment, child free, and had a moment to reply to him. He appeared to be a bit taken aback, assured me that it was “ok” to stay home for a while. There wasn’t time to expand on the point then, I still wonder what he really thinks.
It was a clear example of how I am sometimes made to feel, for staying home. And I can only imagine that mothers who work suffer even more judgement. When I have an appointment and need child care, I am particular about who I leave my children with. Anyone who is leaving their children for longer periods while working, obviously puts a huge amount of thought, time and very careful consideration into where they choose.
But really, this post is just about the way culture has made us all feel as though we have to constantly justify our choices on this, casting this judgmental shadow over things.
I was at a seminar last year where the speaker talked about how our society has changed over the last one hundred years, the impact the war had on family set ups. It was the beginning of a lot of change and I am fascinated by that history.
Part of human nature is to judge, if I have ever come across as making someone else feel less for their choice I am so sorry, I really believe that everyone makes the choice that is the best fit for their own family and circumstances. I am starting to ramble now, so I am going to sign this off.
Hazel Ann x