Mum's the word, please

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 October, 2011, 12:00am


I wish working mothers would just get on with it. There's a film coming out starring Sarah Jessica Parker based on journalist Allison Pearson's book I Don't Know How She Does It. Here we go- by all sensible accounts- another dated 'celebration' of the life of a big, brave career-driven mum.

I am all about the sisterhood, believe me. I don't get far at dinner parties without snarling at the patriarchy. I just can't understand what is helpful about drawing attention, again, to the fact modern women have a hell of a time juggling motherhood and career superstardom. And that it's unfair because men don't feel the same explosion of guilt and shame when they're not there for their child's first haircut.

They don't. They won't. Because of biology and social conditioning and yes, it's unfair. But the idea that working mums are oppressed in some way degrades the very thing women have spent centuries fighting for: choice.

We choose to be mothers. We choose to have careers. And, sometimes, we choose to do both at once, which is hard. But we have to remember it doesn't make us special.

Giving birth is an ordinary thing to do. So is working for a living. Mothers with jobs are not better people than housewives or women who elect to remain childless. They have simply decided to conduct their lives in a way that might require more strength.

And as long as that strength is a cinematic event, as long as it is extraordinary, then we haven't really left square one.