I recently read a great post over on the lovely Harriet’s blog, Toby and Roo. She had written a really honest account on why she doesn’t think that being a ‘stay at home mum’ is a job – acknowledging that it’s bloody hard work and often harder than many a job, but that strictly speaking it isn’t employment. She also said that she found the term “full time Mummy” quite offensive, as she felt it suggests that any parent who does have a job, is less of a parent.
I didn’t find her post offensive and other than working about 5 hours a week, I don’t have a job and I spend most of my time looking after my boys. I agree with Harriet that looking after your children is not a job – it can be harder, and more emotionally and physically draining. It can be rewarding, infuriating, exhausting, humbling and there are amazing days and terrible days. Sometimes, when things get too much I just lie down, put my headphones in and let the boys climb all over me and each other in the play room whilst I pretend to be in some spa, far far away having a rather uncomfortable massage!
What really surprised me was some of the comments Harriet had replying to her post; some people were apparently very offended by what she had said. I still don’t understand what they were upset about – they called her offensive and narrow minded and even asked her to take down her blog….WHAT?
What were they offended by? She didn’t be-little what they did in anyway at all!
If you choose to not work and to stay at home with your children (as I do), then that is your parenting choice. It is because it’s right for your family. I used to be a solicitor/lawyer, often working 60+ hours a week – that was hard, but being with my boys all day, every day can be harder.
If however, you work, whether part-time or full-time, that does not mean that you are any less of a parent. You are not a part-time parent! Parenting also includes providing for your children – giving them healthy food to eat and providing them with the setting and environment you want them to have. That inevitably costs money and so if you work to enable that, you are still parenting even when not with your children. Not to mention that most people who work don’t have cooks or cleaners and have to do all of the housework around their jobs.
And if you are in the financial position where you don’t have to work, but you choose to, then that is also a parenting choice. You are being who you are. You are being true to yourself. We want to raise our children to be themselves, to become and achieve the things THEY want to achieve. As a parent, there is nothing wrong with choosing to work and in so doing, showing your children that they will be free to make these choices one day too. You are not a part-time parent or any less of a parent than someone who either has to work or who doesn’t work.
I will say it again – I just don’t understand what people were offended by in Harriet’s post. I wonder whether they’re not actually that happy and are just looking for something to find offensive. I know I do this. I did and still do feel like I failed at breastfeeding my children. For a while, I didn’t even want to see other women breastfeed – it just reminded me of how I had failed. I did and I still do click on every breastfeeding post I see and take offence at anything which could suggest that formula is bad, or that any woman can breastfeed etc. I am ridiculous and I probably should have spoken to someone about it… but my very waffly point is that I do this because I still have issues with breastfeeding. I think that some of Harriet’s commentators must have issues with being a stay at home parent as I just can’t see why they would comment in the way they did otherwise.
Don’t worry about those comments Harriet, it was a great post as is your blog.
And I’ll leave you all with this image. We don’t know if this wonderful lady is working or not, but what we can assume, is that if she is a mum and these are her children, that she’s no doubt doing everything she can for them and being a full-time parent just like the rest of us.