I have always been acutely aware of how political motherhood is. As a feminist with a strong maternal urge, my conflicting feelings about motherhood are
much like those described by Rebecca Asher in her piece in last week's Guardian magazine, "Just had a baby? Welcome to the 1950s". In it Asher notices that once that baby arrives, being a mum is harder than being a dad, she then generously describes her struggles that I identified with.
She tells us, "
In the article Asher makes the important point that becoming a mother adversely affects a woman's career in ways in which it barely effects those of fathers at all. She tells us, "To illustrate that fact she details how care is commonly distributed between parents when the mother returns to work.
I know there are exceptions to this and many men willing to do more, but despite that the world which Asher describes is an accurate one for the vast majority. I am lucky, at least that is what everyone tells me, that my husband takes responsibility for the food shopping and large parts of the cooking in our house. Even he finds its funny that he is continually congratulated for doing things that people assume I would do with no round of applause.
But some things never change. Why do the children's schools only contact me even though I scrupulously make sure they have both our contact details? Why do I know where EVERYTHING is kept in our house? Why am I alone expected me to know which of my children's teeth are adult and which are milk? Why when doing the school paperwork do I alone know the dates of their various inoculation regimes, health problems and medications? How is it I know what grades the children are up to in their various instruments (despite not being graduates of baby music)? The answer remains the same, because being a mother, like being a CEO, is the full service job. Shame there are only 24 hours in a day.
The most important point Asher makes is about the impact mothering has on women as wage earners. She says, " F
So with all this in mind and so as not to feel grumpy all day, I aim for good humour. For me to attain true happiness I must garden, so today, my day so far has been spent at the allotment. The sweet peas went in, some beetroot was sown, much mulching was done for the weeds that are starting to gain in confidence and I dug out my rosemary bush at it had a bad case of rosemary beetle last year and has not really recovered.
I am about to go for late lunch with my clan, mother, sister and her husband who have managed to give their four sons the slip to Ask Pizza in Barnes that has a special offer, "Mothers eat free"!? We will have three mothers in our group which together with the oddity of the concept makes me think about being a mum. I, for one, will take advantage of their offer, as so little about motherhood is, after all, free. Happy Mother's Day ladies, after all you know you're worth it.