Posted by: Shireen | July 11, 2010

The “M” word

My mum likes to send me newpaper articles in the mail from Canada, where she lives.  Over there, they read The Globe and Mail and both of us really enjoy reading the opinions section of the paper.  So every so often, I get a package in the mail of all the articles she has saved up since the last package.  Love it.

This time there was one called Motherhood:  the new oppression.  Yikes!  You can read it for yourself, but basically it was about how motherhood in this day and ages is much harder than it used tobe  Mothers used to have less to worry about, enjoyed more freedom in parenting and weren’t so stressed about being the best mum on the block.  All the new information and research about things like chemicals in plastics and pesticides on veggies has made us paranoid about our children’s health.

Are we?  More oppressed that is?  I was thinking a bit the opposite actually.

I think that my generation is the first generation with the real freedom.  Our mother’s lot had to work and take care of us.  They could not afford to stop working for too long.  Well, my mum couldn’t.  While she might have wanted to stay home with us, the bills had to be paid and one salary didn’t really cut it.  Plus, the daddies didn’t help out as much as they do now!

Or there were the mothers who did stay home with the kids.  But that was it.  They didn’t really have opportunities to work from home or have flexi – hours and had to choose:  all career or all mummy.   And so, if they chose mummy kind of drifted back into the housework and baking cookies once the kids were at school.

Mums were mums and the words “yummy mummy” or “domestic goddess” hadn’t even been invented yet.  The word “mum” wasn’t as flexible in meaning as it is now.

My generation of mothers is wild and diverse.  We can choose what kind of mothers we want to be.

I have mummy friends that are all raising their children in a variety of different ways.  Some are doing baby lead weaning (I couldn’t do it!) , some are die hard fans of Gina Ford (she was helpful in some situations), some are still rocking the baby to sleep (yes, that is me), some are doing the cry it out method (I am too much of a wussy for that one ), some are just making it up as we go along (yep, me again) .  Some are working full time, some are part time, some are working from home.  The point is this: it doesn’t matter.  We are so lucky to have the choice!!

Oppression would mean that we are all forced to do  mummy-ing one single way and face the frowns of other mothers and grandmothers if we chose to divert from that way.  Supportive partners do help out with feeling less trapped in the role, so thanks, guys!  My short experience as a mummy, has shown me that now, “mum” can mean so many different things.. a yummy mummy, a domestic goddess, a working mummy, a stay at home mummy, one that bakes cookies for the kids to eat after school, one that buys them from Tesco….my list could be so long.  But who cares.  The list is so long because it doesn’t matter how you do it, you can join the club anyway.  And being mum is just part of who we are…we do plenty of other fab things too!

I don’t feel oppressed in the word “mum”, I feel freedom.



  1. fascinating article you link to there, but it does rather miss the point. Breastfeeding, spending time with your baby, all that kind of stuff is just natural – it’s certainlt not oppressive. It it time consuming but most things are if you want to do them well!

  2. Beautiful!

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