“If you should work as a mother, then it should be in school hours!”.
As its international women’s day I felt I needed to share this comment I recently received. Only because I know I’m not the only woman who has been subjected to this kind of mum guilt bull when you chose to keep your career when you had kids.
Back when I had my first baby I soaked all that 1950s ‘mum should do it all’ crap in like a sponge and you know what it did?
It ruined me, my relationship with my child, and my marriage.
I felt if I didn’t do it all as a mum then society would deem me as a failure. So I did it all myself. I pushed my husband out and I made him feel useless and unwanted. I then resented him for being free, for his life never changing while I drowned in the wails of a constantly screaming baby that I couldn’t take anywhere. He resented me because our baby, who he wanted to have a strong relationship with, desperately clung to me because I did everything for her.
I was exhausted, I was miserable, I had lost myself and I hated motherhood.
It wasn’t until I started working again, and my husband was able to take half the parenting responsibility off me, did I feel I started to find myself again. I was more than just mum, I was a wife, a professional, an athlete (in the loosest of terms) and an individual. My need to be all these aspects of me were just as great as my husbands. I also recognised I didn’t need to give up everything else I loved in order to be a good mum. In fact, finding these thing again made me a better mum.
Women shouldn’t be judged because we want to put our minds and studies – which we slaved years to achieve – to good use while also being a mum. It shouldn’t be expected that women should step down from their careers and look after their families when they birth a child. And it shouldn’t be expected of men to work all the days and nights given to look after their families and give up precious time with their children and not care about it.
If it was 50/50 to make our children, why wouldn’t we put 50% of the work into raising our children together? I work not only because I have to in order to support my family, but I also work because it makes me a better mother. I’m more relaxed, I can think clearer and I am able to give my all to my children in our time together. For others it is different, but that’s what is special about how motherhood has evolved; we now have a choice in how we do it.
Sadly I hate to admit that it has been more women than men who have hit me with the type of comments above. But if we are going to continue to make our daughters stronger and our sons more respectful, us women need to stop the mum judgment and support one another now so that we can continue to have a choice in how we parent and live. The women of our families from generations before us never/or rarely had a choice to keep a career when they had children, and I doubt they would want to take that choice away from us now.