I am really really fucked off. There's yet another article hot on the heels of a BBC programme on working mothers which has once more sparked off a debate on working mothers. Notably the BBC programme is entitled The Trouble With Working Women. Not The Trouble with a 17%and Growing to 20% Pay Gap or The Trouble With a Culture that Seeks to Punish Working Mothers. As usual it's us selfish bints wanting to Have it All.
What is wanting to Have it All exactly? It's bandied around so much but all it seems to mean is a woman who simply wants some sort of existence outside the domestic sphere. And for most of us that means paid work. Most women work not to buy luxuries but to pay bills. One of the most infuriating nonsense that gets spouted about working mothers is that if only we were prepared to give up 'luxury holidays' and 'designer trainers' (anti working mothers are obsessed with this idea that women's salaries pay for expensive footwear) and if we just stayed at home, our children would be happier and so secretly would our partners. Which reminds me. Where the fuck are our boyfriends and husbands? Because whenever this subject comes up, it's a given that the Husbands don't do much round the house. Why should that be? Is it true? Sigh sigh - I have to do everything at home. Is it true that most working women do the vast majority of the domestic work as what - punishment for working outside the home? If this is true - the problem isn't work - it's having a lazy arsed husband.
The woman cited in this programme is is Rosanna Omitowoju, a Cambridge fellow. She has four children, a happy marriage, (maybe for him) a fulfilling full-time job and no outside help. She wakes her children at 7am, gives them breakfast and delivers them to three different schools by bike. “The problem with having it all,” says Raworth in the voiceover, “is you have to do it all every day.”
So where's her bloody husband? Why is it all her problem? If they both work full time why can't they afford a bit of help? And why is the media image of the working mother presented as so relentlessly negative?
This is the problem with working women.
1. The pay gap between women and men is 17% rising to 20%
2. The pay gap between part time women and men is 28%
3. Being a father is about doing your share - not 'helping out' when you feel like it. Why is it accepted with a martyred shrug that a working mother is somehow expected to shoulder the entire domestic burden too?
The trouble is not with working women. The trouble is with a culture which seeks to punish and shame working mothers and distract them from the gross inequality of not paying them the same as a working man.
And one other thing. I'm a working mother and I don't feel guilty about it. And if The Boy wants designer trainers he can save up and buy them himself.
This is why I work (when I'm not ranting)
1. I like to earn my own money so I don't have to go to my husband like a little girl asking for pocket money.
2. Very few people have a job for life now. Having one person bear the full financial burden is a very heavy one. Especially now.
3. What happens if Husband gets ill? Or leaves me? Or dies? How does financial penury make for better parenting?
4. I like working. It makes me feel like me.
Please can someone do a programme on working mothers where mum comes home at the end of the day, and Husband has just put the kids to bed. Mum says: 'Oh I'm so glad you've got the babies to bed babe.' Dad says: 'Well they're my kids too. Oh and I put the washing on.' Mum says: 'Great. Let's get a takeaway and have hot sex on the sofa.' They both have a takeaway and then fall asleep snoring. Now that's what I call positive parenting. And not a jot of guilt in sight.