Ask the children
Nobody asks the children…
We are told by the Daily Mail that mothers who stay home to look after their children are ‘happier than women who go out to work’. They don’t ask what kind of mother, what kind of work, so it doesn’t tell us very much. ‘Mother’ is so overwhelming a category, it seems, as to mask all division. I’d make a guess as to how mothers divide:
Mothers who say they are happy to go out to work:
Mothers with interesting jobs.
Mothers who are strong and healthy.
Mothers who wish they’d never had children in the first place.
Mothers who are unhappy in their relationships.
Mothers who depend upon their jobs for company.
Mothers with un-loving children – which may well come from their having ‘jobs’ in the first place.
Mothers who can’t afford to heat the house in winter, and have no gardens in summer.
Mothers who say they would rather stay home
Working mothers with strong maternal instincts who hate passing their children into another woman’s care, at crèche, nursery or school, and have no financial choice but to do so.
Working mothers who, separated perforce from their children, live their working lives in perpetual anxiety for their welfare.
Mothers without qualification who are doomed to do the shit work of society, and hate their jobs.
Mothers with homes they are really pleased to be in.
Mothers with children who are pleasant to be with – which probably means they are without resentment, having had stay-at-home mothers from the start.
Mothers whose husbands or partners are in the highest- earning category (probably husbands) being the only ones who can afford to have non-earning wives, or are in the lowest category (probably partners) and so all are on benefits.
The two groups probably do level-peg in numbers. The government goes on urging women to go out to work, ignoring all the research that shows that a) most women don’t want to b) every employed mother puts a more productive teenager out of a job and c) alienated children don’t make good citizens.
Nobody ever asks the children if they want their mothers to go out to work. Because most would answer ‘no’ (and that is not something the State wants to hear), though I fear an increasing number of adolescents would shrug, say ‘don’t care’ and go back to Facebook, computer games and/or the care of the local gang. Children spend more daylight hours out of the home than in it; the role of the working mother is demoted to that of overnight childminder, unpaid at that. It’s a rare child understands financial necessity. The working mother stays bonded to the child, but does that child stay bonded to the mother? Why should it?