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Sep. 16th, 2005

Some stupid bitch on Woman's Hour is telling me that the reason I don't have children yet is "fashion" and "no encouragement to stay in the home from our greedy governments who just want us to pay lots of tax". So nothing to do with the fact that our increasingly Thatcherite economy has made it impossible for my partner and I to aquire a secure home, or indeed jobs that would allow us to comfortably bring up children? Presumably Patsington should just go down the mines and I should stay here on my own and have a baby a year. I'm really, really fucking fed up with so-called experts telling me that I don't have children because of my enormous selfishness, as opposed to actually wanting to wait until P and I are in a situation where we could bring up a child in a secure situation. I'm tired of being told that it's "selfish" for any woman to want to earn her own money, and I'm tired of the other argument, of being told that women are "forced" to work by our cruel world, as if the stay-at-home world was some sort of idyll (perhaps those who extoll this should look at the rates of Valium prescription to all those happy housewives of the past). I know lots of people do want to stay at home with their kids full time, and I support them, but I hate this compassionate conservative argument that those who don't are being compelled to do so against their will, when they're not selfish bitches who put their children's welfare last.

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
sdn
Sep. 16th, 2005 09:29 am (UTC)
I'm tired of being told that it's "selfish" for any woman to want to earn her own money, and I'm tired of the other argument, of being told that women are "forced" to work by our cruel world, as if the stay-at-home world was some sort of idyll (perhaps those who extoll this should look at the rates of Valium prescription to all those happy housewives of the past).

amen.

explain the "logic" behind the "selfishness" of wanting to earn one's own money.

also, as it has been pointing out, the SAHM is a 20th century construct. my great-grandmothers and grandmothers worked.
stellanova
Sep. 16th, 2005 09:33 am (UTC)
also, as it has been pointing out, the SAHM is a 20th century construct.

EXACTLY. The "full time" mother is an even more recent and smug creation. Tradtionally middle and upper class women had nannies to look after their children or sent them to boarding school. Working class women worked. After the war those who could no longer afford servants spent a huge amount of their time literally house-cleaning. Women who supposedly look after their (non-infant) children 24 hours a day are the products of the last 30 years. The word "full time mother" fills me with hatred. What does that make my mother? Part time?
sdn
Sep. 16th, 2005 09:37 am (UTC)
i also think that there are some kids who would benefit from not having their mothers around 24-7. i do think we are at a high point of parental interference/attention; the pendulum will swing.

other thing, too: we revile wealthy women who have full-time nannies and staff, but they're just doing with their forebears did. it is simply that the culture has changed.
ladyxoc
Sep. 16th, 2005 09:40 am (UTC)
Ranty pants and ranty socks, too
Fuck, yes. HELLO, in the class I come from, your ass HAD to work. Those mothers were the house cleaners, the cafeteria ladies, the grocery store cashiers, and the unlucky ones had to work in scary hog or chicken packing plants. And as you pointed out, they were mothers the entire fucking time. What is fucking selfish is for some pumped up media asshead to pretend those women don't exist. But what the hell, they have always pretended they don't exist, or they'd have to feel, I don't know, SHAME or something. Over here in Camazotz, I see fuck knows how many columns or tv teasers about working mothers. She always has a briefcase. A fucking briefcase. For fuck's sake. Because, really, who gives a rat's ass about the cleaning lady?

Oh, and do you know who is to blame for the astronomical price of housing? Why, the feminists! Why? Dunno. But it's their fault, allright! Just like bird flu and the fact that it's rained for the last three days. Damn feminists.
jane_the_23rd
Sep. 16th, 2005 09:48 am (UTC)
Re: Ranty pants and ranty socks, too
Don't forget, we are also responsible for:

* Global warming (with our HOTTTTT lesbo orgies)
* 9/11 (general amoral selfishness)
* Hurricane Katrina (see #1)
* Rape (both a response to our 'asking for it' and a reaction to the emasculation we have caused in men)
* Illicit fruit consumption (see: Genesis)
* Children with behavioural problems (too much/too little mothering)
* Toilet seats
* Pat Robertson
* Rick Santorum
* The War in Iraq
* The mess on the floor of my study
* The mess in the rest of my study
* How did all these sweet wrappers get here?
* Holy shit, I thought I rinsed that cup

(I'm just going to stop there.)
yiskah
Sep. 16th, 2005 09:48 am (UTC)
This is SUCH a good point. My maternal grandmother worked; my paternal grandmother had nannies and boarding school. If somone has the money and the inclination to look after their non-infant children 24 hours a day then more power to them, but it's about fucking time that the media stopped pretending that the SAHM is somehow 'natural' and an ideal to which we all should aspire.
theodicy
Sep. 16th, 2005 10:26 am (UTC)
FUCK yeah. My grandmother was a barmaid in northern England and my grandfather was an iron foundry foreman. They raised seven children, all of whom could baby-mind and clean house by the time they were quite small. They HAD TO.

I have more luxuries, more free time and more space and more conveniences than any woman in my biological mother's family, and I'm grateful. I never take it for granted.

And the B and I still can't afford to buy a house. We live quite simply, and that's fine - I've lived far worse!
missbassey
Oct. 13th, 2005 08:30 pm (UTC)
I'm FURIOUS about all the crap in the media at the moment about 'selfish' mothers. Furious. Being a mother, at WHATEVER stage in your life, is (as far as I'm concerned) the most unselfish thing you could possibly do. I didn't post about it because I was too annoyed.
What makes me want to kill people is the utter fuckery about 'Have It All' (HIA) women, who 'wait' until they are over 30 (gasp!) before breeding. When obviously the most sensible thing to do is to have unprotected sex with the first acne-scarred loser you bump into outside the gents the minute you've got your first period, to avoid the so-called 'epidemic of middle-aged pregnancy'.
Apparently 'delayed pregnancy' is 'defying nature'. Well, so is ALL SURGERY, and any other life-saving medical interventions you can think of, such as open-heart surgery, microsurgery, administering life-saving chemicals to people who would otherwise die, etc. All of these are against nature. Grrr...
About 'full-time-mothers', though -- I've another perspective that I hope won't start a fight ;) ...
My mum worked too, and still does (past retirement age), so I do see where you're coming from. But I also see it from a different perspective; it seems to me that mothers who do not work, especially those who don't have rewarding and impressive careers, are *seriously* looked down on by society at large, and especially the media. I have always thought this, it's not just because of my recent parentdom or historic inability to get a successful job of any kind. I have always thought of the phrase 'full-time mother' as a kind of salve to those women who are already made to feel like they are inadequate because they are not working *and* parenting.
After 5 months, I personally cannot imagine being able to do a job and be a mother, perhaps I am just a completely crap person, but lots of new mums agree with me. at the moment, I see anyone with a job and a child as a goddess (and anyone with a job and more than one child is an Actual Supreme Being).
Since bringing up kids is a full-time job that *someone* has to do, if you can't do it for X number of hours in the day yourself, the unavoidable fact is that nowadays, you just have to pay someone else to do it. For a lot of families, this works out to be impractical as you'd just be working to pay the childminder/nursery/whatever. Which is obviously fine if you like your job or the fact of working, but if your job makes you miserable, then you'd start to think, 'what's the point? i may as well do the child care all myself'.
Do you see what I mean? About the potentially positive function of the phrase 'full-time' when applied to parenthood, that is...
socmot
Sep. 16th, 2005 09:47 am (UTC)
this compassionate conservative argument

The thing I always want to know is how it's meant to be compassionate when what the conservatives sugesst is to be a stay-at-home mother, have children, raise them, and then not be able to give all the financial cushions to the children because the economy is a trickle-down economy, there's not enough tax being paid, which means - you've got to shell out even more cash for schoolbooks, university fees etc etc etc until the cows come home. And I'm still assuming there is enough income to put food on the table...

Compassionate my ass.
ladyxoc
Sep. 16th, 2005 10:41 am (UTC)
Good point - btw, over here in Dubyaland, if poor women do choose to stay home with their children, people start screaming about welfare reform and personal responsibility. ;)
lsugaralmond
Sep. 16th, 2005 09:49 am (UTC)
All so true, and well put. I had a run in about this recently with John's mum, who firmly believes mothers should be at home with their children (because that's what she did, so obviously it's the only acceptable approach). I pointed out that if and when I have kids I would go quietly loony if I spent all day every day in their sole company, and I fully intend to work at least part time once they're old enough. This didn't go down well, and it drives me crazy, this idea that I have no right to expect to have any kind of existence outside 'motherhood', and that I should be financially dependent on John, when I don't want or need to be.
millamant_
Sep. 16th, 2005 01:32 pm (UTC)
Yes. My 3-year-old nephew lives with me, and I love him to death, but I would go absolutely batty spending hour after hour with a child or a couple of children as my only contact for a large portion of the day, for a period of several years at that. One-on-one time is good, but for 6-8 hours at a stretch? I don't think it's natural. Most children throughout the eons of history were raised by some kind of extended family or other group. I think we humans are ultimately social beings, and young children need to be out and about more, absorbing a variety of role models. I don't mean this as a bash on SAHM mothers, just that I don't think it's the ideal childrearing model.
cangetmad
Sep. 16th, 2005 08:45 pm (UTC)
Yep, it's not the way either kids or mothers evolved to be - the one-on-one, woman-in-the-house model is an incitement to lunacy. I did it for five months and, just, long-term, I couldn't. But it's not the way humans evolved, and it's not the way society ever has been until five minutes ago, so why the hell we would think it might work, I don't know.
hfnuala
Sep. 16th, 2005 09:53 am (UTC)
Gah! As I believe I've remarker before, there appear to be about 2 months when it is acceptable for women to have their first kid - I think they are months 10 and 11 of her 28th year - earlier than that and they are feckless and later than that and they are selfish clock ticking maniacs.

My mum had her kids in her mid 20s, but then she had to quit her job when she got married[1]. Can we not go back to those times, please? Also, as a diplomat's wife she's bloody busy all the time even if she officially doesn't 'work.'

[1]She did get a gratuity which they used as part of their house deposit. But it doesn't make it OK.
clanwilliam
Sep. 16th, 2005 10:08 am (UTC)
Also as an even more selfish woman who doesn't want kids at all, I'm fed up of being told that I'll change my mind. Or worse, that I'll change my mind when I hold my own baby.

That last one was told to me by a *childless* aunt. So, like, she'd really know, yeah?
ladyxoc
Sep. 16th, 2005 10:16 am (UTC)
You can sit at THIS table!
Oooh, I've had fifteen lovely years of that. Now, I'm starting to get the sympathetic pat on the arm and the whispered, "it's not too late YET, if you hurry," which makes me feel like I'm about to catch a bus.
theodicy
Sep. 16th, 2005 10:28 am (UTC)
KEEERIST. I'm thrilled that women have a CHOICE whether to have children.

Here I am at 40, pregnant with the first and ONLY, and I couldn't have done it sooner. Or wanted to.

Cheers to all the women who make their own damn choices and stick to them.
ladyxoc
Sep. 16th, 2005 12:58 pm (UTC)
Yes, another very good point. I guess you are just DOING IT ALL WRONG and are supposed to feel apologetic or something?
seriouspenguin
Sep. 17th, 2005 02:40 pm (UTC)
I'm fed up of being told that I'll change my mind.

What you said, clanwilliam. I'm 39, I don't want to have children, and damn I'm sick of hearing that crap. I've even had people ask me point blank "Why not?" Like it's any of their fucking business. I usually respond with a "My cat doesn't need a college fund," then laugh and stomp away. Grrrr....
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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