herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

The wonder women are putting us all down

Lorraine Candy, editor-in-chief of women's magazine Elle, writes a weekly column for a British newspaper in which she details the challenges of being a working mother. I Don't Know How I Do It is essentially a diary of Candy's struggle to stay fabulous while raising three children.

A recent column talks about her mandatory attendance at Milan Fashion Week. "One minute I was in Milan, backstage with Stefano Gabbana before Dolce & Gabbana's catwalk show; the next I was standing in my bathroom inspecting the rash on a six year old's bottom, Sudocrem in hand."

Having worked with many fashion editors, I don't find her sense of self-importance at all surprising. Fashion types have a tendency to overestimate the demand of their job titles. Step onto the editorial floor of a magazine and you'd be forgiven for thinking that they are trying to send a spacecraft to Mars, such is the meltdown that a page on this season's hottest lipstick shades can induce.

"If ever there were two worlds more different, then I'd like to know about them," continues Candy. Gosh, that's a difficult one, but I'll take a stab at it. How about the underpaid seamstresses who make the catwalk creations you were inspecting, Mrs Candy? Likely they have children too. Likely they don't have PAs and nannies, nor the opportunity to attend the laughter yoga class you wrote about in a previous column. Some of them probably don't even have partners.

Women who combine motherhood and high-powered jobs have a tendency to self-mythologise. They are self-styled wonder women who use their special powers to keep all the balls in the air. They wear their lack of sleep like badges of honour and bang out phrases such as "if only there were more hours in the day".

Crucially, they demean full-time mothers by suggesting that combining work and motherhood is the ultimate coup.

A wise woman once said that the phrase 'working mother' is redundant. In fact, many working mothers will admit that any time out of the home -- even if it is in a boardroom -- is a welcome respite.

We all have our balls to juggle. Consider the college students double-jobbing to pay for their education. Consider those nursing sick family members. Consider our mothers and grandmothers.

They had more children, less money, and no yoga classes, hot stone massages or media-manufactured 'me-time'.

For them, the challenge that is motherhood was a fact of life. They got on with it, and not out of stoicism or martyrdom.

Lorraine Candy, here's an idea: Stop moaning about your lot in a national newspaper and you instantly free up some time for yourself and your laughter yoga. Job done.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News