Today I was told that societies problems are due to hard-working mothers and that if I want to do best by my children then I should just get a little part-time job and let my husband be the breadwinner for our family.
What kind of message does it send to my daughters if they see their mum unhappy and not fulfilling her potential? What kind of message does it send to my sons if they see their mum miserable and stuck at home because other people say she shouldn’t be working.
They have seen me as a full-time mum and they know that the best version of mummy is when she can work and be herself. When mummy gets to be “work mummy” it recharges her and gives her energy to be the very best version of herself the rest of the time.
I want my daughters to grow up knowing that they deserve to chase their dreams and I want my sons to grow up knowing that it’s ok to help their girlfriends/wives reach their full potential. It doesn’t make them any less of a man if they take care of the children and the housework.
My eldest daughter has wanted to be a surgeon since she was 8 years old. Once, at primary school, her teacher asked the class what they wanted to be and she proudly announced her intentions. One boy piped up and said, “you’re a girl, you can’t do that. You have to be a nurse”. This devastated my daughter who came home genuinely believing that she wouldn’t be allowed to be a surgeon.
Why is it ok for people in our society to still have these opinions? To tell our daughters that they must be less than they are simply because they were born with a uterus? Who decided that it was ok to expect women to give up their careers the second they decided to have children? As though giving birth makes them less capable of doing their job. Why does our society still believe that it should be the woman at home while the man works?
I used to let these people upset me. The words were sharp, like daggers, and I would start to doubt myself, wondering if I was wrong for wanting more out of life. But then I realised that these opinions showed more about them than it did about me.
Only I know whether my children are happy with our living situation, whether my 3-year-old runs just as happily to his childminder as he does to me, whether my 9-year-old gets upset when I say that she doesn’t need to play with her friends at after school club on a certain day. What I choose to do about my career, what my daughters choose to do, what any other woman chooses to do, is none of anybody else’s business. They don’t live in my house or live my life or make my decisions.
So, to that person who told me that I am all that’s wrong with society, thank you. Thank you for adding fuel to my fire and making me more determined than ever to work hard and prove to my children that they don’t have to be just one thing. They can be whatever they want to be!