Over the Christmas period I was at a launch party. There was fool of a lady there who I knew as an acquaintance. She was puzzling me because I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I really didn’t like about her.
Women need work, infant or not. And I don’t mean charity dinners as an excuse for work while getting drunk with friends. I mean brain-aching real work for money, so they have their own income and independence, so they have meaning other than that of being a mother.
Then she said something which reminded me of the last time she’d said something similar. Eureka I thought.
With nose up in the air swilling champagne, she said, “Since I’ve had a child I’ve given up work. I don’t see how you can be a mother and work. Sometimes traditional values are best and a child needs its mother around, they need that nurturing and cherishing, that bond. Children with working mums miss out on all that, don’t get that bond. I’m sure this contributes to so many of the problems in Society.”
What I should have done is emptied the champagne ice bucket over her head.
Then I should have pointed out that she’s talking rubbish just to justify her choice over child-rearing. A choice she has because her man works in a job that pays enough to support her. I should have said that throughout human history the stay-at-home mum has been the exception not the rule. That women have always worked in field and factory as well as home.
Then I should have gone all nice and said, “There is no right way to bring up a child.”
It’s 2011 you see.
Only crappy, stupid, squalid religion can be used as an excuse for home mums and only then if they believe they should stay at home because they’ve either been indoctrinated or they’re afraid the local religious nut will beat them up if they go to work.
Generally though, I find women have more than teatime and nappy changing on their minds. They read papers, watch the news, have ideas. Or so I reckon. As a man.
So this is what I really said to the idiot at the launch party.
“What are you talking about? Women need work, infant at home or not. And I don’t mean charity dinners as an excuse for work while getting drunk with friends. I mean brain-aching real work for money, so they have their own income and independence, so they have meaning other than that of being a mother. They need work to give them more conversation then baby chat, schools and nannies, to make them interested and interesting, they need to work for the good of their brains so they don't end up addled like you. And.....”
I didn’t finish, because the woman emptied the champagne ice bucket over my head.
“Nice work,” I said, feeling a warm glow of inner well-being, even though she was the type to never change her opinions.