Monday, June 01, 2009

"Working" Mothers

A recent comment on Nine to Noon riled me. I have sent this email in response although it is a bit belated as I didn't listen to the interview till some time after it was broadcast:

Dear Nine to Noon

It is depressing to hear full-time parenting still being spoken of as inferior to other forms of work in 2009. I am referring to Gill South's casual assertion that "... there's just no way that [NZ Herald Senior Journalist] Karen [Shearer] would ever not work. It would be a crying waste of her brains." (Nine-to-Noon, 14 May 2009) and presenter Lynn Freeman's acceptance of Gill's comment. Statements like these, allowed to pass unchallenged, perpetuate the myth that parenting is not intellectual work.

When my children were younger, I once calculated that I worked eighty hours a week parenting them. The challenges of parenting have required me to exert every ounce of my intelligence, to continually strive to remedy my character flaws, to cultivate new skills, and to study new fields of knowledge. I don't claim to be doing superior work to that of mothers in paid employment: I imagine the challenges of combining paid employment with parenting are similarly extensive. It is past time, however, that mothers in paid employment acknowledge full-time parents as their equals.

1 comment:

The Pineapple Tart said...

At the risk of sounding militant, it's my honest belief that mothers who go out to work full-time do so because they don't have the imagination or the skills required to stay at home with their children - many of them can't even cook!