As a single working mum in 2013 I often ponder the subject.
In many people’s opinions, women today are lucky enough to have the choice to play as important a role in society as they choose. The options can be endless, from CEO of a company to a stay-at-home mum; women have the power to make their own life choices.
I agree with this viewpoint to an extent; a woman can make her life into what she wants it to be, but it is always going to depend on the resources she has available to her.
With all the options and considerations in today’s society, life planning suddenly plays a much larger role in a woman’s working life than in a man’s.
We are of the course the bearers of the children. We have physical limits placed on us, therefore to be a successful working mother today, it is extremely important to set goals in the different stages of our lives, and continue to assess each goal as time goes on.
A lot of my friends seem to now be in a race to reproduce because they are now on the wrong side of 30. Is this because this is what they think society expects? Possibly.
With women’s equality to men as close as it has ever been in history, society is suddenly making it harder for women to opt in and out of employment in favour of making her family and home the centre of her focus.
A woman’s action in any decision related to being a working or stay-at-home mum should never be judged. But as women are we our own worst enemies? Women tend to feel guilty about the decisions they make about their life and the impact it will have on their children. The guilt a working mother can feel is enough pressure for one person to handle, and society should respect that every woman makes a decision for her own reasons.
I am passionate about the issue of gender equality, I’m a true supporter of Helena Morrissey (who does a fantastic job at pioneering for equality of boards), and a working mum herself. I never appreciate feeling under attack on this subject, be it through tweets or a passing comment; who are strangers to judge my life, my decisions and tell me my beliefs are wrong?
Not only do I, and many other women already put a huge amount of stress on ourselves worrying about whether we are getting the balance right between work and family, but we are having to defend our decisions too.
As David Cameron tries to get both parents into work, some of us are working hard to be the sole provider and primary caregiver already.
Motherhood completes many women, and hopefully most can understand that although it doesn’t define me. But we should never have to apologise for having ambitions, or sadly in some women’s cases, not even having a choice.
Life has become a balancing act for everyone. It’s a constant struggle with the demands of personal life, married life, family life and societal expectations. So let’s all take a step back and reassess this:
Ladies, rather than criticise each other’s choices, let’s all try to be more considerate and empathetic. Let’s move forward with acceptance and support, whether you feel someone is making the right choice or not.