Aside from the endless joy (!) and boundless unconditional love we feel for our offspring, being a parent in the 21st century can be a nightmare. Gone are the distinct boundaries of husband and wife, we no longer know (or even care?) what is expected from us. We have choice. We can work, we can stay at home, we can bring in our share of the family income, we can be the main bread winner, we can do it by ourselves or as partnership. But has all this choice brought with it a whole heap of 21st century problems? In some instances the stay at home mum is viewed like the Holy Grail, it’s what we would love to do, but may not be able to afford to. In others the role is positively looked down upon, leaving mums feeling like they almost need to apologise when responding to the inevitable question ‘so what do you do? Oh I’m just a housewife…’
The fact of the matter is, there is no easy answer and no one size fits all solution to the working mother quandary. If we leave our kids in the care of others we will feel guilty. Guilt for ‘abandoning’ our little darlings, guilt for every milestone we miss, guilt when our baby cries on a weekend because they miss their nursery/child minder/nanny and we will be made to feel guilty by others as Broken Britain is entirely and singlehandedly the fault of the working mother.
On the other hand, ambitions of being a housewife and homemaker these days don’t seem to cut the mustard. We are taught in school to want it all, the profession, the career, the salary. The problem is that these things inevitably have to change to some degree if we choose to start a family. Moreover our feelings about these ambitions may change when we have a family and then follows more feelings of guilt; that we don’t contribute to the family purse anymore or that our hard earned career or qualification are now side lined in favour of dirty nappies and cebeebies.
Where do I fit in? Well, I feel the guilt. It’s an all too familiar emotion for a parent and (I’m reliably informed by my own mother) not a 21st century problem! I’m a professional, a chartered surveyor if anyone is interested? I was a working mum of one, now I’m a stay at home mum of two.
So here I am, this is my new column and I will cover anything and everything relevant to the modern family in Harrogate each week. I run a facebook group for Harrogate mums called Harrogate Mumbler, feel free to join up and share in our community. If you have anything you would like to include events, outings, and opinions then please contact me
(First published 2nd March 2012 Harrogate Advertiser)