Jan. 21st, 2013

kannaophelia: (Default)
I'm not returning to work after Ponyo is born. (Which is, OMG imminent, and also prodormal labour is the most unfair thing in the world, we thought we'd be mothers by today, part of the reason I'm posting here is to take my mind off painful contractions that have started AGAIN but I have no faith will lead to active labour.)  It feels a little strange, as a feminist who has all often been described as a feminazi bitch, to say that - but after all, I always believed in choice.

I really, really loathe the term "full-time mother". It implies that working mothers are somehow only part-time mothers, which is crap, Romana will be just as full-time a mother as I am even though she will be working full-time as well. The term (deliberately, politically) sets up an unfair bias against women who work outside the home.

I have nothing against mothers working outside the home. My mother, who was always a working mother, was also  the best mother imaginable. I know everyone says they have a special relationship with their mother, but I do think Mum and I are genuinely much, much closer than most mother-child relationships, so much so that other people don't always understand our bond. My Nanna was, quite frankly, angelic, the most loving and giving woman imaginable, and she was also a working mother. My Grandma was a housewife, and I don't think anyone envies having her as a mother.

Mem Fox drives me to fury, and not just because of her support for a convicted pedophile or because Koala Lou is toxic. (I am really hoping no one gives Ponyo any Mem Fox books. No matter how beautifully her illustrators do their jobs, they will have to go straight in the charity donations bag, because, RAGE.)

I'm staying home at least the first few years, rent allowing, because - oh, because I'm selfish. Because I am lucky enough to have an amazing wife who will support me despite the financial sacrifice it entails. Because my career is not currently fulfilling and I just don't wnat to go back there. Because my health is rubbish and I have never really dealt with full-time work well because of it. Because I want the chance to have more time to focus on my writing. I suspect none of these reasons are acceptable to the kind of woman who says things like "Working mothers only work 9-5, I have a 24 hour seven day a week job!" as if it matters at  2am with a vomiting toddler whether your day is spent on laundry* or on being a corporate executive, or call childcare child abuse.

So just for the record. I am not making any sacrifices for Ponyo by staying home. I hope he will like having me around, but I also think there are real advantages in socialisation and stimulation etc in outside childcare. It's not that one model is better than another, it's a case of swings and roundabouts.

I need to find a title that doesn't imply that I'm guilt-tripping working mothers. Housewife probably suggests far more interest in housework than I actually have. (I can learn to vaccuum. It's like riding a bike, right? I've done it before. I do like cooking.) Homemaker, again, implies that single-working or dual-income homes aren't really homes. I suppose I could be really anticipatory and use full-time writer, even if I don't end up making any useful money from it... But that seems, um. Presumptuous.

* I AM LEARNING ABOUT THE WASHING MACHINE AND HOW IT WORKS, OKAY? I'm sure nappies will give me lots of practice... Actually, I'm going to practice now by prewashing some nappies.

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