A recently published study, highlighted in the Sydney Morning Herald last week, has found that one third of working mothers are employed by organisations that could not be classed as “family friendly”, leaving them subject to psychological distress. How dreadful. How dreadful that all the article’s readers could do was to blame the woman.
Instead of focussing on how we can help women balance the challenges inherent in working for a living, and living for our children, the comments on the article (all hiding behind the parapet of pseudonyms, of course), targeted women who return to work after having children with vitriol and hatred.
In this day and age, why is it that we are still trying to control women and the choices that they make, through public, degrading and simplistic commentary? As if there is not enough pressure on women already (you must breastfeed, you must lose your baby weight, you must only give your child organic food, don’t smack or yell, don’t let your child watch TV), here is another thing that we are supposed to feel guilty about.
Well guess what, I don’t feel guilty. Like any mother, I adore my daughter beyond measure – she is a smart, funny delight. I would do anything to make her life happy and safe. Now, prepare to be shocked. I also like to work. Cue devil’s horns and wicked laughter. I thrive on the social and intellectual stimulation that work provides. I am a happier and more interesting person because I work.
I also believe that being a working mother makes me a good role model. It teaches my daughter the importance of being financially independent as a woman, of making a contribution to society, of being a responsible citizen. It teaches her that she too can do anything she wants.