I saw this, this morning.
It clearly caught my eye because I’m a Mum and because last night I was thinking about all the compromises I feel forced to make.
When I say forced, I don’t mean by my husband or any external ‘thing’ or person.
I am forced by lack of knowledge or understanding about how to do anything else.
I feel that the burden of children falls on my shoulders and mostly mine alone. (And when I say burden, I refer to the things that come along with having children not the children themselves)
Which school or nursery. What they eat. Doctors appointments & dental appointments. Hobbies and homework time, monitoring TV and screen time. What they wear. What happens when they are sick or sad or full of energy.
All this falls at my feet.
All this is mine to deal with.
As a youngster I was taught I could be anything I wanted to be.
The sky is the limit.
The world is my oyster.
I was encouraged to study hard, go to Uni, get a career.
School and 6th Form were all about my options. My choices. What I was gifted with, academically, and how to turn that into a well paid job.
I was taught how to create a winning CV and shoe off my skills and educational achievements.
But I wasn’t taught how to have a glittering career and be a Mum and be married to someone else with a glittering career.
Obviously not at school.
And all around me, though I never realised it at the time, I was taught children were the burden of women and careers were the burden of men.
I learned that when a child is sick, it is the woman who stays home.
I learned that despite working the same full day as her husband, it was the wife’s ‘job’ to cook the evening meal.
I learned that a woman’s job, should she have children, becomes just that. A job. Something to earn money for holidays. Something to get her out of the house. Not a career. Not important. Not a priority.
Women with careers either didn’t have children or had Nannies. And their worlds seemed far removed from mine.
I had no frame of reference. No role models. No women who ‘had it all’ to emulate.
Imagine the frustration women must feel to be told all along you can have, be and do anything you want. But the only map they have takes them just part way there.
I have decided to create my own map.
I guess that was inevitable since I’m self-employed and therefore don’t stick to social norms.
I have more flexibility to a degree.
I have a bigger burden in that there is nobody to cover my work when my kids are ill.
I’m not sure how to finish this post if I’m honest. Except to say that yes, I chose to have children.
So did my husband.
I am a Mum.
But I am so much more than that. And I need to learn a very fine art of negotiation.
Negotiating my heart, the social conventions I was brought up with, my relationships, my dislike of asking for help, and of speaking my truth.
And I want to be that role model I never had.