I am writing to let you know I read all about your wonderful speech today. You know, the one where you attacked so called ‘Yummy Mummies’ and generally simplified the struggles that some mums are facing at the moment. Nice one.
Perhaps I should tell you a little about myself.
I have always worked. From paper-rounds to babysitting to waitressing to bar work to office work and finally to teaching. I have paid National Insurance since I was able to do so and I have, of course, paid taxes since I have been required to do so. In 2004 I became a mother. After maternity leave, I returned to work full time and then started teacher training. In 2009 I had my second child and returned to work part time due to many reasons. In 2012 I had my third child and today I am…well, in your words, perhaps I am on my way to becoming a ‘Yummy Mummy’?
Yummy is the furthest thing from my mind, actually, as I struggle to decide on what is the best for my family. I would LOVE to return to work and continue to pay my way but guess what? It isn’t always that easy for some of us. My husband earns well but unfortunately other bills mean that childcare costs have to factor into my return to work plans. That means I need part time work as having two children in full time childcare is too expensive. That also means that I cannot return to work until January because my baby can’t get a nursery place until then and my son will get his funded places then too. Only then can we afford to have two in nursery, but only on a part time basis.
There are other complications, too. Taking three months unpaid does not suit the household finances very well. In addition the school where I teach may not be able to accommodate a part time teacher as it may not be in the school’s best interests. I may have to think about giving up work for a while.
Does this make me a ‘Yummy Mummy’?
Does this mean that I am now “ lacking professional ambition, focussing on [my] partner’s career instead of [my] own”?
Should I really feel guilty about things beyond my own control?
Suppose, for a moment, that I am not facing logistical problems with returning to work and I have simply decided that I want to stay at home and raise my children. Isn’t that my choice? How dare you criticise me for that? How dare you dismiss me as someone unable to survive by myself, without a rich husband? How dare you tell me that “Mothers who go out to work are setting a better example for their children” when actually (besides the fact I WANT to work) it is none of your business what I choose to do or how I choose to bring up my children?
Raising children is a lifetime commitment and one that I personally take very seriously. I will do what I can to ensure I spend as much time as possible with my children and if that means taking time out from work, then that is what I will do. I envy mothers who are able to do that. Yes, I want to be self sufficient and I want to be able to survive on my own if I have to but I also refuse to live my life as though that will one day happen.
For the record, I would much rather spend my days sticking, cutting, baking, splashing in puddles and reading stories NOW. If that means I don’t have lots of spare change sitting in the bank when I retire, then so be it. The memories I will have are worth so much more than that.
ps. How about we, as women, support each other for a change? It’s much nicer than attacking each other, don’t you think?