Being a ‘full time mum’ is not a job, it’s a biological state. So says British social commentator (and working mother) Katie Hopkins who has a habit of saying really incendiary things to generate publicity for herself. Because she’s a shit-stirrer – sorry but there’s no other way to describe her.
I usually try and ignore Hopkins for this reason but I have to say this time, there are some parts of her argument that I agree with. SOME.
In a column about how much she hates the way some women label themselves ‘full time mum’ as a job description, Hopkins writes:
What do you do for a living? My mum used to answer ‘Housewife’ but apparently that isn’t good enough any more. These days it is ‘Home-Maker’. If you want to play the trump card you can go one better. Nothing makes my buttocks clench tighter and my teeth itch more than ‘Full Time Mummy’.
Full time mummy is not a job title. It is a biological status.
The hard truth is that there are no full time mums or part time mums. Being a mum is not a job – you can’t hand in your notice when the going gets tough or ask to start late on a Friday.
Being a mum is just a biological status update – albeit it more permanent than some of the updates to my relationship status. It doesn’t define you, doesn’t earn you a living and certainly doesn’t make you an interesting person to sit next to at dinner.
I disagree with the bit about not making you an interesting person to sit next to at dinner. Hopkins always has to push her point to absurdity in order to get the OTT reaction she clearly craves.
But the basic premise of what she’s saying? That there’s no such thing as ‘full time mum’? I’m on board with that.
As a mother of two who works full time, I loathe the term ‘full-time mum’ because it implies that those of us who are not at home with our children every day are somehow part-time parents.
Like hell we are! Unlike Katie Hopkins, I’m not going to make my point by being horrid about an entire group of women but I will say that I categorically reject any implication that working somehow makes you less of a mother than being at home all day. It doesn’t.
I am intimately involved in my children’s lives and the lives of their carers (like most working mothers I rely on a complicated mix of daycare, school, grandparents, my husband and paid help to take care of them when I’m not there). I don’t stop being a mother just because I’m not physically with my children for the hours each day when I’m at work.
Are mothers of school children part-time mums?
For some, the choice to be at home with their children 24/7 is just that – a choice. For others, it’s a financial decision. And working is just the same. I work because I want to and because I need to – for financial reasons, for mental stimulation and for security in case my marriage ever breaks down and I have to support my family on my own.
I suspect most working mothers are the same. And I think it’s so important to not cast one ‘type’ of mother as morally superior to another. We’re all doing our best. And from the moment you give birth, you’re a full time mother.
Working has nothing to do with it.
Do you think that motherhood can count as a job description?