I’m writing this at eleven-thirty pm. So far today, I’ve done a full day’s work, written just under two thousand words, cared for my baby (including the several hours of sleeplessness that are par for the course with us – see previous posts) and cleared the driveway of snow. And although a lot of that was my choice (no one made me clear the snow or write the words), I do wonder if motherhood was always this hard. I can’t help wishing sometimes that all I had to do was read stories and play games and look after my baby. And maybe Hoover once in a while.
Of course, I’d most likely be bored to death. I’m used to juggling lots of different coloured domestic balls, and filling every spare minute with writing. But am I multi-tasking because I’m expected to or because I want to? I guess what I’m asking is, is being a mum enough?
The Government doesn’t appear to think so. Without overtly saying so, the inference from those on high is that any woman who stays at home with her children is a woman who isn’t paying her way in the global economic crisis. She’s not earning. She’s not doing enough, even though schools are being pressured into opening for longer to cater for working parents. Add to that the confusing policy to take away Child Benefit if there’s an R in the month and you’ve got further suggestion that being a mother is not a valued job. Child Benefit is sometimes the only money a mother might get paid directly to her – take it away and you may well increase domestic reliance on a partner. If the relationship is happy, then it’s not so much of an issue (although I do still think it’s a problem) but if the relationship is flawed or abusive then you’re taking away more than cash in hand – you’re taking away freedom and maybe even an escape route.
I do find it completely baffling that so little credit is given to the role of being a mother. If women did not do it, we would have no future as a race. You could argue that procreation is a biological imperative but as far as I am concerned, being a mum is the most important thing I do. Some of us are able to focus full time on that job, others juggle it with other things, either through necessity or desire. Either way, it’s about time we gave mothers the recognition they deserve. Without them, the future looks non-existent.
PS I don’t mean to suggest that having babies is our only purpose as women, or that women who don’t have children are less valuable than those who do. I just felt that mothers needed a bit of standing up for. Feel free to comment and disagree!