herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

You're so wrong Cherie - stay-at-home mums are glad to get on with it

I WISH I had a wife. I wish I was married to a stay-at-home mother.

Not a Yummy Mummy. More a Camogie Mammy. A switched on, stuck in, cleaning, cooking, counselling, taxiing, keeping all the sliotars in the air, type of mother. You can't hire the type of mammy I'm talking about. A cleaner or nanny doesn't know that Tuesday is PE, Thursday is going over to Sean's house and your youngest will only drink milk from the blue cup with the monkeys on it.

But admit you're a stay-at-home mammy, mummy or ma and some working mothers will immediately dismiss you as lazy, brain dead, unmotivated, lacking in ambition and exploiting that degree you got at UCD when you put that hunter gatherer hubbie in your cross hairs, the Jaws theme music playing in your head.

Now Cherie Blair has waded into the debate with her power heels on. In a shocking breach of girl -- or rather mother -- code, she has slagged off stay-at-home mothers, claiming their children are raised without a sense of independence.

I have many shortcomings as a daughter, mother, colleague and wife. But as the daughter of a stay-at-home mother, independence is certainly one thing I am not lacking. And I am the daughter of a reluctant stay-at-home mother who would readily admit it wasn't her first choice, but those were the times.



choice

Talk about channelling your inner femi-nazi. Being so focused on equality for women, Cherie forgot that at the heart of the feminist debate is choice.

The choice to be able to go out to work if you choose, the choice to work in the home if that's what you want. The National Women's Council estimated that if stay-at-home mothers were actually paid for what they did, they'd earn more than €50,000 a year. If that isn't earning your crust, what is?

Perhaps Cherie has tapped into something that if we're all honest, lies beneath the surface with all women. We're slightly suspicious of the other side. A subtle division exists because they're doing the opposite of what you are and that means they might not agree with your choice. And isn't it easier to assume you're the one who made the right choice?

Instead of mooing on about stay-at-home mothers, Cherie needs to take off those tired old women's libber glasses and encourage women to really think about what they want in life to be happy and successful.

My mother reared her daughters as a stay-at-home mother as she had no choice to do anything but that, because of that antediluvian work marriage ban.



opportunity

It's gone in 2012 and now I have more choice and opportunity in my career than my mother ever dreamed possible.

I hope to teach my daughter that having that choice and opportunity in her career doesn't mean she has to slavishly follow it and be dictated to by the sisterhood. Rather that she should really think about what works for her and her family.

One last thing, Cherie. None of us believe your children were reared without a raft of support, nannies and help that the rest of us can only dream of.

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