In response to the following article ‘Women, resist the siren call of the cupcake‘ by Janice Turner, I have written the following letter to The Times.
More discussion on this very subject to follow shortly!
Women are their own worst enemy. Instead of simply cheering Rachida Dati for her bold and controversial return to work five days after the birth of her baby, Janice Turner ( Women, resist the siren call of the cupcake! Jan 10) feels the need to condemn every woman who might choose otherwise. Instead of simply defending the corporate woman, she chooses instead to denegrate a whole generation – many of whom have fought off condemnation themselves- for choosing to stay at home. Motherhood is painted as the unstimulating, unsatisfying and- my particular favorite- idle option. Concessions to the few that might genuinely enjoy their ‘uninspiring’ existence are both insincere and condescending. These sorts of angry and misguided contributions to the existing minefield that is the ’stay-at-home’ v ‘working mother’ debate are , at best.useless and at worst an afront to our freedom.
It is absolutely true that work can be good. And it can be more than just good. I have a friend who proclaims that work makes her a better mother, and I believe her. Work for some mothers is a necessary evil, but for others it is the making of them and there is much in the old adage that a happy mother makes a happy baby. But every intelligent woman knows that there are pros and cons to either path, and that each comes with a measure of sacrifice. I hear endlessly from women who feel guilty that they leave their children to work, and from others who want to tear their hair out at the end of a long and demanding day with their three children. I feel the need to applaud a friend’s promotion just as much as I do anothers recounting of a day of den building in the wood, or her calm handling of her teenager’s latest crisis. For the truth is, there is enormous scope for a woman to be extraordinary in whichever world she inhabits.
These ‘black vs white’ and ‘good vs evil’ views that seems so prevalent in any debate about motherhood risk simplifying things so much as to render the discussion meaningless. All they do is alienate the judged and pit female against female – it is noteworthy that the motherhood mud-slinging never comes from the hand of a man. Women fought hard for the freedom to be treated equal to men, but until there is freedom from the judgement of other women, we are as enslaved as we ever were.