There’s a term that has always bugged me, well before I squeezed a Jess out. That term is ‘full time mum’ or any of the yummy mummy alternatives. I’m not bashing, far from it, there’s only a hand full of people I would like to bash and mothers/parents are very far from the list, people who hog the middle lane of the motorway are right at the top. Please stop doing this, it drives me bloody mental.
The biggest gripe I have with the ‘full time mum’ accolade is what does that make a working parent? Are you less of a parent, maybe a part time mum if you work? Or worse still, what if you work full time? Should you describe yourself as a ‘no time parent’? or an ‘inbetween work parent?’ I feel the very wording of the term creates camps, a divide amongst mothers – I would say parent’s but lets be honest, Dad’s don’t get quizzed about their employment when they are expecting a child, at least not to the extent a woman does.
If you aren’t a ‘full time mum’ then you are a ‘working mum’ – I have equal disdain for both terms. I see it everywhere on social media, people describing themselves based on their child, full time mum, working mum, stay at home mum, stay at home dad and I bet there are plenty more terms out there. I can fully understand the pride some people have in their family life, wanting to express that they absolutely love staying at home with their kids, I get it. Likewise I know many people choose to continue to work full time for a variety of reasons, and not always about the household income. But at the end of the day, are we not all parents?
Why do women feel the need to pick a camp, why are there camps? I don’t get it. You work all week = full time mum. You work part time = full time mum. You stay at home = full time mum. It’s not as if you are less of a parent for working full time. Likewise, you are not more of a parent for staying at home. We are all in this together, all working towards creating a balanced happy family life. It might be harsh of me to get so annoyed over a simple term, but it’s hard not to get your back up when both sides are boasting how awesome their side of the fence is, competing for the ‘awesome mum’ award (which I won and it will remain with me until death).
On facebook there are several pages for either working mums or stay at home mums. And on each, some posts can be seen,intentionally or not, attacking the other camp. Usually they focus on the Achilles heel of parenting, child development. Like women don’t feel enough guilt, did you know that being a full time worker will negatively impact your child’s development? Or that children with stay at home mothers are more likely to have social issues? What?! Fuck off. Stop it. Right now. You know what will damage your kid, all this them and us shite. You had a kid, I had a kid, guess what, we are parents. That’s it.
I do feel this is another way woman are pressured in society, obviously I am only seeing this for a females perspective, but I’m pretty certain employment status was never brought into conversation for David when he told people we were expecting. No one asked him if he would be dropping hours to stay with the baby. No one told him he would change his view of returning to full time work after seeing the baby. No one asked him if he felt ‘dad guilt’ for being at work full time. No, I don’t think that happened at all. I don’t know why though, it took two to tango so should he not consider any of the above? Interestingly all these conversations I have had, have been with other women. I can’t help to think that they should know better, know how annoying and down right rude it is! It’s almost as if mothers are trying to out mother each other and that is exactly why terms like ‘full time mum’ bug me so much. Instead of adding, what I find to be kinda passive aggressive, ‘full time’, why not just say ‘mum’? Why do we feel the need to add more to it that that? Is it for your own justification of your time? Do we feel pressured to justify to society what we do all day? Are we really in mum camps?
I think it is so detrimental to woman, I really do. Either camp is forcing each other to question if what they are doing is right. I’v been on both camps, both come with pros and cons, but neither is the lesser of two evils. Both are bloody hard work. It’s a strange one though, as most mums I have spoke to are filled with nothing but empathy and understanding. I remember going to a breastfeeding clinic after crying all night as Jess was tearing up my nipples, so I went for help. I met a mum that stopped me outside to check that I got the help I needed and offered advice on how to stop the pain. We can be so nice to each other, but will happily draw battle grounds based on parenting view, be that employment status, bottle vs breastfeeding, the great dummy debate, co-sleeping, weaning, nappies, potty training, you get my point. It’s a long list of topics women love to clash over. Don’t see many men discussing how a new dad fed a baby….just sayin.
I’d like to say I’m being too sensitive over a silly term, but I’ve seen and heard far too many comments thrown each way to think otherwise. It happened this week on Twitter, I said I was on a lunch break and was called me a ‘workie’ then she proceeded to call herself a lowly stay at home mum. Every bit of this annoyed me. Annoyed that she created camps and annoyed that she felt the need to almost excuse her life choice, calling herself lazy for staying at home. I must have missed the employment section of my baby book, I didn’t know it was such a hot topic and that I would need to quickly pick a side. Naively, I thought we could all just be parents and help each other through life, coz lets be honest having a kid is tough enough without having Aunt Fanny-Anne and the world judging everything you do.
I’ve moaned enough. Maybe you take great pride at being a working mother or a full time parent. Go for it. Just don’t be throwing mud to the other side and try to question why you feel the need to give yourself those terms anyway.