July 20, 2008

NEWS FLASH! Mothers who want to work are actually just attention whores!

Rest assured, the title of this post is ironic. CNN.com is doing a special series on "mothers." Not parents, but mothers. It deals with such topics as whether it's harder to "raise girls or boys" (binary thinking much?), how to relieve your stress in five minutes or less (I don't know, how about getting your husband to do his fair share of the housework? That would be a start!), and this piece on whether a mom SHOULD work in this article.

Call me crazy, but I never knew there was anything a mother SHOULD or SHOULDN'T do. Raising kids is not a monolith. My favourite quotation is the one by the mom who says:

"I've been a single mom and I know there are circumstances where women need to work, but there are a lot of women who choose to work when they don't have to," she says. "They crave that attention and status a job gives them."

What? It's not okay to want to have some form of personal fulfillment other than breast-feeding? What the article doesn't succeed at pointing out, is that if the workplace were more female friendly (eg. longer mat leave, on-site daycare), women could have both. I mean, OF COURSE a lot of women WANT both. Men are allowed to want professional stimulation. And after all, what are you supposed to do when you're 48 and the kid moves out? Start from the bottom of the corporate ladder all over again in the mailroom because you haven't worked for 20 years? This all seems like one big patriarchal way to keep women from having professional or political power. When I have kids, I DO want to work, but I also want to be able to spend time with them, and I think employers and governments should make it easier for women to do both! So, what if I could afford financially to stay at home - if the price is losing a sense of self outside of the maternal world that makes me feel happy and healthy, then the price is too high! Yes, some women like staying at home and that's great, but I wouldn't and that's not a fucking character flaw, that's a personal choice....

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