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The curse of the perfect mother

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Women once again need to start talking frankly to each other about what it means to be a woman. Contrary to a coalescing body of opinion, it does not mean being a mother. If we don’t have an open discussion, the dream of gender equality will remain exactly that – a dream.

The gains of the feminist revolution that empowered women to make independent, personal choices about the kinds of lives they want to lead are being quietly eroded on several fronts.

The “return to nature” movement and its not-so-distant cousin, the “green” movement, propose that being a mother is the essence of womanhood. Meanwhile, any number of child-rearing experts – whose opinions, incidentally, seem to swing opposingly in 30-year cycles – are telling women that anything less than total dedication to their child’s physical and emotional needs means that they are not being good mothers. The child reigns supreme. The mother obediently serves.

Add to this the unstable economic times that make balancing work and motherhood ever more challenging – and a retreat to home and cradle more alluring – and you have a perfect storm of circumstances that are pressuring women to abandon their quest for gender equality and instead become almost competitive in their urge to be seen as perfect mothers.

Babies, so we are told, must be breast-fed – on demand. Attachment parenting theory dictates co-sleeping and baby wearing. The perfect mother, apparently, must hold herself totally responsible for what happens to her child. It’s not just about tending the baby’s needs. It is also about producing the happiest, most fully developed and intelligent child possible – in effect, creating a masterpiece.

The persuasive impact of these ideas is insidious for two reasons: first, because opinion is presented as expert fact, and second, because it makes women who don’t want to breast-feed, or who don’t want to share their bed with an infant or devote every moment to its total welfare, feel somehow guilty and inadequate.

Women fall prey to this subtle, yet emotionally corrosive, pressure for various reasons. In part, it’s a generational backlash, as women of today see how little has changed despite the efforts of those before them. Many were reared by women of feminist principle who didn’t necessarily breast-feed (there was a time when baby formula was fashionable), and who had broken from patriarchal shackles to pursue career ambitions, reconciling the obligations of motherhood and work.

Now, they question whether the battle for women’s autonomy was worth it. There’s still a glass ceiling. Wage parity remains largely a dream. And when it comes to layoffs, you know who’s likely to go first.

So, the idea that a woman’s “natural” role is that of mother and homemaker can be a tempting one to embrace. “What’s there to lose?” they ask.

If motherhood is truly what a woman wants, then it’s absolutely the right thing for her to do. What deeply worries me, however, is the way women are unwittingly being pressured towards the view that woman equals mother without considering its full implications.

Those same pressures can have an equally damaging reverse effect. In the western part of Germany, for example, many young women are abandoning motherhood altogether. This choice makes a lot of sense given the pressures they face: The bar for motherhood is being set incredibly high, they’re expected to sacrifice their careers in the process, and, given the divorce rate, it’s quite possible that, after a few years, they will find themselves struggling as single mothers. So who can blame them for avoiding these pressures and risks?

It is these disturbing trends that impelled me to write The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women, a book that I hope will sound an alarm and prompt serious debate. Women need to see what’s going on before they’re duped into accepting dogma as truth.

I’m a mother of three. I chose to have children not because I believed I was fulfilling my natural, biological destiny, but because it was something I made up my own mind to do. By today’s exalted standards, I was probably only an average mother. I certainly wasn’t burdened with expectations of perfection, and I managed to have a full life and career on top of my role as mother.

I want today’s women to equally forge their own paths in life, free to make personal choices without feeling that they have to fit into a particular mold. Every woman should be able to choose whether to be a mother, and every mother should be able to choose whether to breast-feed, and whether to continue working. If women don’t start asserting the right to choose for themselves, I can foresee a time when they won’t be given the choice at all.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

142 Comments
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Oh look, more judgements! Shock!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Sure you have the time. You're proving that by posting on this thread and others. You don't want to "trawl" because you know you won't find any.

Shouldn't you be looking after your kids?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Hima, care to quote me of any judgements I've made on this thread about women who cosleep, breast feed, home school...? I'm curious as to what you think I've said that is judgemental. I've said let others do as they like and haven't slagged off anyone's parenting style which is more than the SAHW crew can claim.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Readers, please keep the discussion civil.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And you can't deny that the US has the world largest number of those mothers doing the "natural parenting" AP education.

Do you have any statistics to back that up?

As far as Doi's opinions are concerned, I read them, and read many things and try to keep away from the attitude that only one person has the answer...you keep repeating this author's name but you cite no others, is it just because you agree with him?

Let us know how you get on in the JHS/HS years. Hope your Kokugo is good!

Cos, you obviously are entirely ignorant about what home schooling is, as is tmarie. Home schooling associations exist and parents can trade off lessons to cover their weak points, or hire outside tutoring, or even make use of programs like Kumon. In the US, parents must file lesson plans and the kids have to pass the state proficiency exams.

The women is just saying stop being judgmental cows and let women do what they feel is best for their family.

Hahaha, I don't know who said that, but it's rich, judging by the high and mighty mooing on this thread...my sides hurt, I'm going to go get more coffee.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Not all women here get mat leave. Are you suggesting they quit their job for a year and try and go back to work?

OK. It depends. If the kid is more important than the job, then yes. If the job is more important than the kid - why bother?

You stayed home with your first one ..... yet you worked

I can see it's doin' your head in trying to cope with this. :-) Yes, I stayed at home, and I worked. so I'm the enemy of both sahm and working mothers, right?

you can make comments such as that working moms are only thinking of themselves

The women like Ms Badinter.

The women is just saying stop being judgmental cows and let women do what they feel is best for their family.

So if you saw a woman who thought what was 'best for her family' was to whip each kid soundly and send them all to bed without any supper a la old lady who lived in a shoe, you'd just let her get on with it? If the kids you teach were coming in to school covered in suspicious bruises, you wouldn't be a judgmental cow? It's just a question of where you draw the line.

Plenty of women who would like to have kids and sit at home.

Then the last person they want to marry is the spoiled kid who doesn't 'understand the point of sharing anything let alone their pay check and child rearing duties'.

Anything Orange thinks she offers that is special can easily be bought

if you really believe that, it's no wonder you might think your teaching job is more important than starting a family.

You're wrong, by the way. What orange is doing cannot be bought for any money.

average salary is about 5 million

It's a while since it's been anywhere near that.http://nensyu-labo.com/heikin_suii.htm

just some teacher of other people's children is no more offensive/just as offensive as just a sahm and fading into mummy duties.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'm glad to hear that things worked out in the end

Carrot and stick Cleo! Best advice I was ever given! Took a few years to whip the boy into shape but he was well worth it - fabulous husband now!

He would be delighted if I only cost him 500,000 a year though!!! heh heh heh!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"...not jut some teacher of other people's children."

And then you accuse Cos of being offensive. My breath is well and truly taken.

Then again, as a mere teacher of other people's children, I guess my opinion is worth nothing to the debate anyway. And my kids went to daycare, so I'm a child abuser to boot.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

How do shufuu squirrel away money on this 500,000 a year Cos?

You should have met my grandma. She was calling a sum like that "some fund" (a capital). 40 000 /month is the living expense on many people. And you can spend it on one lunch, but these days, that's rarer.

Only the 45-60 year old sararimen are earning an average of ¥6m;

No. The average salariman is in late 40's, OK, but all are included the count. 6M yen, national average, for the 70% of households of more than 1 person. I agree with your 4M... as some get much more and push the average up

Source : http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/handbook/c13cont.htm

6M yen is the household income, 4.8M earned by househould head + 1.2M by spouse. The family size is 3.5 person...I won't cut anybody, and I give the same share of pie to each. One family member lives on the budget of 1.7M a year. The spouse earns 1.2M herself, so she receives the 500 000 yen to complete her share. My point : in average the Japanese woman does not receive millions from hubby to lavish on her person (not a parasite. Second point : Japan is not rich. Family budgets are tight. So housewife not working by choice... less and less. I don't know for you, but if a hubby gives me 3M, I will find stay at home a career choice. At 500 000 yen, I may accept by necessity, but count me as "seeking a better job". Third point : housewife job is priceless, sure, but it remains unpaid.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Tmarie, we are heading towards international Baccalaureate, not a Japanese qualification, which would be utterly useless to our family. Considering my level of education, and the resources available with online schooling, we will have absolutely no problem at all, thank you. If we leave Japan, then I am open to them trying going back into the traditional school system if that is what they wanted.

Actually, Tmarie, Cos has been offensive and judgemental and I have a right to defend myself.

In fact Ill be absolutely clear here, if a mother is able to breastfeed and doesn't, then I think she is a terrible mother, who is not doing the right thing for her child's future health. The WHO make the scientifically proved benefits of breastfeeding absolutely clear. Any mother who smokes, or drinks to excess is also letting her children down. Going out to work, leaving children in the care of daycare, to me, is tantamount to neglect. I couldnt give a fig what others, do, just don't tell me that it is the best thing for those children.

Whilst low income or single parent families may well benefit from having a mother who goes back to work, a middle class, middle earning family does not. Like it or not, a good mother puts her needs last, and her children's first.

Bonding takes time and a stay at home mother has the chance to read bedtime stories, to put her soul and life into being as good a mother as she is able to. A working mother is splitting her energy, time and devotion between career and child.

I know my children receive all the love and attention they need. I know that they are learning to the best of their abilities because I have the time to devote to their education. I am there, making memories with my children, instead of their childhood memories being of some person who is paid to care for them and 30 other children in the room. To share their lives, not just their house. To be able to breastfeed for as long as they wanted, and let them self wean without pressure from anyone, or from a demanding job.

To be able to be a stay at home mother is the greatest gift life and my husband has given me, so laugh all you want Marie, the joke is not on me.

Fading into mummy duties? There you go again, Marie. I used to be so black and white, my career, my personal success, money, travel, things, possessions meant so much to me. I was so two dimensional. I have become a much more colorful, bright, interesting, and fun person since I because a mother.

I left university with a good degree, had a career which I was passionate about, and which had really good prospects, not just some teacher of other people's children and had I stayed in my home country and in that position, with the same career progression. by now I would be earning the same as my husband currently earns if not more, but it was nothing compared to the joy I get every day from being a homeschooling stay at home mother.

The only regret I have is that we cannot afford to have more children.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I would not put my children into a Japanese public school, as we had issues with bullying in 1st grade, and also I think the standard of education is absolutely abysmal. I can do MUCH much better at home with them.

Let us know how you get on in the JHS/HS years. Hope your Kokugo is good!

Cleo, companies pay train fees, average salary is about 5 million, mom usually has a private account that may keep her in a home for a year but certainly not much after. How do I know this? I had a friend whose sister had kids, didn't work and had to leave her husband because he was smacking her AND the kids around. Her biggest regret? Not going back to work so she wouldn't be needing housing support, school support because she is poor and working two crappy PT jobs to make ends meet. Ex hubby doesn't pay a cent and she's got a JHS and HS student to pay for. No insurance is going to cover that crap and DV IS an issue in this country. Just one that is talked about. Plenty of women put up with crappy marriages in this country because they "have" to. No one will hire them - perhaps you too could take a look at the article JT posted yesterday about this. Get of the roller coaster and you'll have a hell of a time getting back on it. Seems your daughter knows that - and you must have to as you certainly didn't give up work and fade into mommy duties, did you?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

How do shufuu squirrel away money on this 500,000 a year Cos?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Firstly, I find the disparaging of "gypsies" as abusive parents to be very offensive. Perhaps some Romany or traveller parents choose to opt out of the system. That is their right. I for one dislike intense governmental involvement in the family, and culture, but then again, Im just a lentil-weaving hippy, as you deduced, though, perhaps not a beatnik, eh.

I said that INTERNATIONAL schooling costs 14 mill a year for 4 kids as a very conservative estimate. Homeschooling, with a comparable standard of education, and in English, with the end goal of International Baccalaureate qualifications costs considerably less. I did not say homeschooling costs that amount.

You say that homeschooling parents abuse their children? Where is the proof of this? I can prove the bullying, and I can also read countless stories on here about children committing suicide because of it. I would rather act with LOVE and UNDERSTANDING towards my children, and look for an alternative. I am actually very offended that you appear to be insinuating that by homeschooling I am abusing my children. Is this what you meant?

The bullying was not "accidental" it was very much on purpose, actually Cos. Which kids do you think shoudl be moved and who would move them? The school just suggested my child did not go outside to play because she was physically attacked. It was my choice and one I will defend to remove her. They are doing very well at school, and very well in her social life, thank you very much.

I did move the victim - to being homeschooled, where she is excelling. I would NOT put her into another Japanese school and we could not afford private international school, where the issue of bullying would be less likely.

Where do you get the 500,000 yen figure from Cos? I dont think you could feed an adult for a year on that amount, let alone clothe them, even modestly.

Mothering is a real job, Cos, just because you say it isnt, doesnt mean that is actually the case. I am also very upset that posters are jumping on Cleo's daughter for her choices, when Cleo and her daughter appear to be devoted to their family.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Cos, your figures are way out. Only the 45-60 year old sararimen are earning an average of ¥6m; average overall is a little over 4m (a huge drop after 3/11). And I don't know how your family works, but I don't know of any other family that divvies it up equally per family member.

Guess I did miss the memo about everyone squirrelling away over 4 man a month while average hubby is struggling with a reduced okozukai and families in general are cutting back. But if it's true that the average shufu has this huge stack of money stashed away, what makes you think the average Japanese Mum would be homeless if she was widowed? Apart from the insurance, she's got her rapidly-growing hesokuri mountain. You contradict yourself, Cos.

Post-bubble average Japanese hubby is a skinflint.

Post-bubble average Japanese hubby puts his whole salary into the household and gets a very small amount back to cover train fares, lunches and the occasional drink. Hardly a skinflint.

There are in-laws, well, just to deal with one, you'd charge more per month.

I suppose it depends how well you get on with your in-laws. I have no problems with mine. I can imagine some people struggle, especially if they're of a difficult, uncomprehending nature.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

First I've heard of it. So the wives are each stacking up a million yen every two years?

Hesokurigane. The other shufu didn't pass you the memo ?

Or are you suggesting that's what it costs to keep a wife?

Yes,

I suggest that wouldn't be hardly enough to feed and clothe her, unless hubby was a real skinflint.

Post-bubble average Japanese hubby is a skinflint. What he brings in to his wife for herself is 500 000 yen. The family income is 6 M/year, that makes 1,7M. a year per family member. The budget the average wife lives on is 1,7 M. And she earns 1,2 M, so he only brings her 500 000. That's not luxury life now. Maybe there have been wealthier times when they could pile up the Prada bags, but no longer. I don't think they are parasites. On the contrary : kids care + chores + accountancy/ paperwork + in-laws +etc... all year, for 50 man. Pff... There are in-laws, well, just to deal with one, you'd charge more per month. And PTA meetings, not for the faint of heart, I'd charge at the minute to climb on that ring. Me too, I want a J-wife to do all my chores. And I understand why your daughter got herself a real job.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Readers, please do not be impolite toward one another.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry to disappoint.

Can't be. I had no expectations. Orange, note that I don't tell you want to do. I mostly reacted at your over the top calculation. When I hear parents say "I homeschool.", I want to yawn. It's the center of your life. It's the new clothes of the emperor for others. I am more amused by my cousin's wife not putting shoes to her toddlers so they won't need costly Asics later... I had not seen it before.

Im not sure what you mean by this? Do you mean that people say bad things about gypsies who chose not to educate their children? Concretely?

Concretely everybody is another person's Gypsy. Themselves don't think they don't educate, they think they provide alternative education, their culture. And they are considered as abusers. And in a way they are, because their children will get a lifelong social disadvantage, a real disability. The right to preserve cultures from Antiquity, vs the right of each human child to get access to universal progress ?

Homeschooling is not refusal to educate,

It's as subjective as the definition of "educating". Some (if you want me) think the socialization experience of the school is not an optional subject for the education of a citizen. The compulsory education has been the base of all countries' progress toward democracy and a fairer society. That's not the welfare of one child, but of everybody. I know bullying exists, so do parental abuse by parents that teach their own children. So you would not agree to reject homeschooling due to those accidents, I guess ? And you can understand, I don't agree your rejecting school because of the accidental bullying. Now, I don't say you could do much in the concrete case. In general, I'd prefer addressing the bullying problem in school, rather than avoiding it moving some kids. Even more if it's moving the victim instead of the bullies. But well even, after school years, they bully elsewhere...if they are never made to change their ways.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Concretely, when the Gipsy do like you, and they are said to... you know what people say.

Im not sure what you mean by this? Do you mean that people say bad things about gypsies who chose not to educate their children? Concretely?

Homeschooling is not refusal to educate, its alternative education. We are not unschooler's Im afraid, rather more homeschoolers of the classical variety, who work to outside standards and curricula. Sorry to disappoint.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

PhDs and brilliant authors populate your world...

...who it seems are so not putting their advanced education to good use that their kids are getting free school lunches and free pencils! Oh dear.

A second wife for your husband would cost 500 000 yen a year (as that's the average money a Japanese husband "transfers" to his wife).

I've no idea what this means. Japanese husbands are 'transferring' money to their wives? First I've heard of it. So the wives are each stacking up a million yen every two years? Or are you suggesting that's what it costs to keep a wife? I suggest that wouldn't be hardly enough to feed and clothe her, unless hubby was a real skinflint.

The average Japanese Mum is a homeless

I think you'll find the average Japanese Dad is well insured.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Im proud to have breastfed my children until they were toddlers, to co sleep until they were ready to let go, to wear them in slings. Im proud that they are doing so well at school - they do outside impartial testing, twice a year, and are working a grade ahead of their age. Im grateful to have found a lovely man who has similar ideas to me when it comes to child rearing. Yes, we are lentil-weaving hippies, yes we make our own clothes sometimes, but our children are happy and secure, safe and LOVED.

Im sure you love your children too, Cos, and want to justify going out to work and leaving them with strangers. If it makes you feel better about your choices, feel free to pick holes in mine.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I explained that 4 kids in international school would cost 14 million give or take, and we could not afford that, and therefore I am at home with them, and homeschool them, which is a considerably cheaper option.

Homeschooling is not allowing children to be truants, not is it just "studying at home", it is a perfectly valid method of education that many parents use.

I would not put my children into a Japanese public school, as we had issues with bullying in 1st grade, and also I think the standard of education is absolutely abysmal. I can do MUCH much better at home with them.

As far as what homeschool DOES cost, it is around 500,000 yen a year for the two of homeschool age, in accredited homeschool programs, and extra books and a computer for each child, plus the costs of my staying at home.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

How many otaku and delinquents have caring mothers?

Another judge of the heart. Have you read the "anatomy of dependence" and other essays of Takeo Doi ? He is slightly more qualified than the average web commentator. Do you have a clinic where you make studies and found his was in the wrong ? I remind you he predicted the "otaku wave" in the early 70's. So far he's been more accurate than Nostradamus. I would at least consider the possibility the "attachment parenting" might have a few negative drawbacks...

you can't deny that the US is screwed.

If you say so. And you can't deny that the US has the world largest number of those mothers doing the "natural parenting" AP education. Has the background of the serial killer been checked ? Do we know for sure they were not raised by beatnik Mums that weaved their clothes ?

'Stay at home wives' are not included in the unemployment stats usually are they? They are not seeking employment...does your country? Include those who do not work by choice as 'unemployed'?

They count everything. Stats. But technically in Japan, the most common stats consider "stay at home wives" any married (or living with Dad...) woman that works less for less than 1.2M yen/year.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Cos, I homeschool my children.

Orange, this is the 6th time in the thread. We note that you don't put your children at school. Your do "international school" like I run a 4 star restaurant in my kitchen, like I made paintings of the quality of Monna Lisa. Concretely, when the Gipsy do like you, and they are said to... you know what people say. I've studied at home quite a lot, that was called truancy as the fancy terms like otaku and hikikomori were not fashionable yet. By experience I can tell that's free, no additional cost as you'd pay for the house anyway and in daylight, you don't use more electricity. That's worth zero yen. Not 14 millions.

Never in a million years could we afford to send the children to international school, especially when the youngest two reach school age. So, no we are not that well off that we can afford luxuries like international schools.

Japanese public school does not cost much, you don't even need to pay, not even pay the lunches, the uniforms, the pencils, whatever you can't afford. Most international schools are far from costing 7 millions/year/pupil. It's more like 1 to 2 million per child, depending on age, for the Anglophone schools ( not necessarily superior, they tend to be rated under public J-schools, like certain dentists, they charge the maximum the customer will agree to pay). In other languages, that can be under 1 million as they arrange to fund the schools in other ways (disputable, but well). Many of my acquaintances pay zero yen.

A dedicated, qualified, full time nanny would cost a lot more than 500,000 a year.

A second wife for your husband would cost 500 000 yen a year (as that's the average money a Japanese husband "transfers" to his wife). In case I'd die, I'd wish my partner to meet a new love, my children to be adopted. But I know I'm weird. Practically, the average Japanese Dad has no financial difficulties in case of loss of his spouse. The average Japanese Mum is a homeless. Really, if her parents/relatives don't take her in their house nor pay her bills, she is in a dormitory shelter and kids in those centers for kids "abandoned" by parents. I find it sad in 2012 as you would think a healthy educated woman would be able to win enough to maintain a family, and wouldn't need social assistance like a disabled person.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

on the inside the truth was handing our daughter over to daycare every day and going to the office was killing me but back then I felt I had no other choice

That's a far, far cry from 'I'm not doing it because I don't want to'. I probably can't imagine how tough it was for you; I'm glad to hear that things worked out in the end.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

But is stat at home mothers were the answer to preventing all of this crap, Japan wouldn't have these problems would they?

How many otaku and delinquents have caring mothers? Being under the same roof isn't enough, another thing that Cleo keeps saying...

Oh I get tired of this being rolled out as "proof".

How many Japanese cities have murder rates of 600 a year (LA) to 2,000 a year (Detroit)? Are you telling me that literally thousands of murders nationwide are being covered up? Compare the number of serial killers in the US to the number in Japan. As much as you hate Japan, you can't deny that the US is screwed.

'Stay at home wives' are not included in the unemployment stats usually are they? They are not seeking employment...does your country? Include those who do not work by choice as 'unemployed'?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

tmarie - I'm happy to consider myself corrected. So I take it when you say, I think it was about a month ago, 'some of us don't want to stay home anyway", you weren't including yourself in some of us? OK.

As I see it, my daughter and I are on the same page. Slightly different time scale, but doing the same thing, walking the same path. I'm not against mothers who work. I worked - how could I be against it? As you keep reminding me, my daughter works. The problem (in my opinion) is the mothers who think their children come second to their career and dump them in day care virtually before the belly button is dry, out of their determination to avoid 'fading into mummy duties'. You've pointed out in the past that working mothers can give their children quality time outside working hours, and you're right, many do, and it's hard work; but the kind of woman who thinks like Ms Badinter isn't going to do that because they don't see the point in doing stuff for the sake of the child; for her, it's all about the mother's wants and needs. No need to breastfeed, no need to comfort and soothe the child as it falls asleep, no need to read a bedtime story, no need to do anything bar the absolute legal minimum; being 'average' is something to brag about on the Internet. Advice to put the needs of the child first is 'emotionally corrosive pressure' designed to make the woman intent on doing her own thang 'feel somehow guilty and inadequate'.

many of my male students don't want to get married because "women here just take the man's money"... Agree with it or not, men think like this and it puts them off marrying.

It puts them off marrying? What woman would consider them husband material?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@orange: just FYI - did you know there is a very good forum on yahoo groups all about homeschooling and education in general in Japan? Its called edu_in_japan. Very nice, supportive group of people discussing all things edu-related. You might find it useful if you dont already know about it.

Thomas (I think it was?) made a good point which illustrates my opinion of walking a mile in someone elses shoes. I worked full time after my first child was born because I discovered when I was 36 weeks pregnant that my husband had been cheating on me. I couldnt leave (too late to fly home) and had no choice but to stay and work through it. That was a long time ago and we have a fantastic marriage now - but the trust was completely destroyed for a time and i felt I HAD to work because I had no idea f this person was going to be there to support us as a family from one day to the next. Even when we had the second I pressured myself a lot to go back to work just to feel more secure. On the outside, maybe everyone saw a selfish mother putting her career first. Of course I didnt tell many people what was going on. But on the inside the truth was handing our daughter over to daycare every day and going to the office was killing me but back then I felt I had no other choice. There is no safety net here. He could walk away and not pay us a penny and no one would do a damned thing about it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't you said you don't want to look after your baby? Consider yourself corrected. And I didn't know this was all about me. I am thinking of many other women out there as well.

And no, you and your daughter didn't do the same thing. You waited until your last child was three (at least that is what you said) and put them in hoikuen. You daughter put her child is daycare at one year (again, based on what you said). Don't try and make it seem like you've done the same thing when clearly, you haven't.

If bereaved Dad can afford to fork out ¥500,000/year for paid help, happily-married Dad can easily afford insurance for him and the missus, with some left over. He can also easily afford to pay her pension and health care too!

On this note, any idea how many of my male students don't want to get married because "women here just take the man's money"... Agree with it or not, men think like this and it puts them off marrying. Some of these kids were/are spoiled and don't understand the point of sharing anything let alone their pay check and child rearing duties.

Really? Compare crime rates in Japan to any western country and see if you think so.

Oh I get tired of this being rolled out as "proof". Anyone with a background in stats can tell you that Japan manipulates their stats to make it seem like all is well. Take a look at the "unemployment rate" that doesn't include stay at home wives, take a look at accident deaths that don't include deaths after 24 hours after the accident.. I won't even bother with all the under reported sex crimes such as stalking, harassment, assault... It is safer than the US? Probably. Is it safer than Oz or NZ? Debatable.

You really truly think that children just behave well naturally? If that were so, there would be no problems in schools, no juvenile delinquents, hikkikomori, otaku, parasite singles, or wagamama

But is stat at home mothers were the answer to preventing all of this crap, Japan wouldn't have these problems would they? Cleo made it sound like children are nothing but wild beasts unless mom stays home with them their first year. Clearly this can't be true judging by the interesting population here.

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Cos, I homeschool my children. Never in a million years could we afford to send the children to international school, especially when the youngest two reach school age. So, no we are not that well off that we can afford luxuries like international schools. We just budget for insurance, so if anything happened to one of us, we are in a position to take care of our children financially. A dedicated, qualified, full time nanny would cost a lot more than 500,000 a year. More like 300,000 a month. He wouldnt leave our precious children with a poorly paid woman who is just there to clean up and do the ironing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

At the end the day, the kids success in studies or in whatever is very influenced by whether the mother is a PhD, an artist, a brilliant author, with financial comfort, and rich social life... or bottom of the society illiterate mother, that can't speak the local language, lives in poverty, precarity, discriminated, depressive, etc. Not parenting styles.

Well, la-de-da....PhDs and brilliant authors populate your world, and you say Cleo lives in her own world? university degrees for everyone is a historically recent trend, how awful that until the 20th century no one could bring children up properly.

So that would be what make most of Japan crazy, and probably causes the hikikomori, otaku, parasite singles, wagamama, tarento.. I don't want to be nasty, but Japan and at least another country with similar child rearing and women KKKing theories have been known way more crazy

Really? Compare crime rates in Japan to any western country and see if you think so. America leads the world in number of serial killers, why, if parenting methods are so superior?

You talk of experience, like a cute 12 year girl to whom the grown ups have not yet explained the complex family finance difficulties

No, actually that's polite phrasing, rather and making sweeping declarations. Maybe she should be ruder.

So by default the baby to be born is a multiform failure, with all the vices ?

Well now you're just being silly. You really truly think that children just behave well naturally? If that were so, there would be no problems in schools, no juvenile delinquents, hikkikomori, otaku, parasite singles, or wagamama, to quote your own post.

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That would cost him 500 000 yen/year. That's the average price of a o-tetsudai in Japan. So even without an insurance, most fathers have no particular problem.

If bereaved Dad can afford to fork out ¥500,000/year for paid help, happily-married Dad can easily afford insurance for him and the missus, with some left over.

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So why make the assumptions other do then?

Not assumptions; just reading what people are writing about why they need to put baby in day care and work.

If your daughter was happy to do what you did, why on earth is she working now and not staying at home?

Sigh. She did what I did. She's doing what I did. The only difference is that I'm self-employed and took time off, and she's a civil servant and had formal maternity leave.

Not all women here get mat leave. Are you suggesting they quit their job for a year and try and go back to work?

But that isn't your argument, is it? Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't you said you don't want to look after your baby? Are you saying now that you would happily procreate if you had the guarantee of your job back after your year at home?

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If my husband, heaven forbid, drops down dead tomorrow, we have life insurance, and insurance on the house loan. I would be very comfortably off, and I suspect that most families have measures like that in place.

All the families that put their kids in international schools ? I guess so.

He also has life insurance on me, since replacing me

That would cost him 500 000 yen/year. That's the average price of a o-tetsudai in Japan. So even without an insurance, most fathers have no particular problem.

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If she had trust issues with him, I very much doubt that she would be having babies with him.

So why make the assumptions other do then? If your daughter was happy to do what you did, why on earth is she working now and not staying at home? Come on now. Not all women here get mat leave. Are you suggesting they quit their job for a year and try and go back to work? What? Oh yes, reality check.

Look at Japan. If Japan was happy with SAHM, wives not working... They'd be having kids. They aren't. Time to own up and take a look around. I'm tired of writing the same replies as well. I'm also tired of working women being called selfish and bad mothers. YOU worked. Were YOU a bad mom? Doesn't sound like it based on what you write here about your kids and parenting. Shame you can't extend that respect to others.

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The discussions/arguments here are being personal and lacking in civility.

Women should be looking at why they need to work rather than looking after their infants rather than why they should and their rights to work. I read little about the rights of the child here.

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If my husband, heaven forbid, drops down dead tomorrow, we have life insurance, and insurance on the house loan. I would be very comfortably off, and I suspect that most families have measures like that in place. He also has life insurance on me, since replacing me with a nanny, and international school, cook, cleaner etc would be a very expensive venture indeed.

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You don't seem to understand how credit cards and getting loans works.

I know exactly how they work. There's no magic involved, they still have to be paid.

Just LOVE how you threw in the nursing but there.

I didn't 'just throw it in'. I've explained time and again that I think babies should have the full attention of one parent. I was lucky enough to be able to concentrate on mine until the younger one entered yochien, and then I became and remained a working mother. But the child should have that first year at least. And any man who would deny his own child that, and despise his wife for trying to provide it, doesn't deserve to be a Daddy.

Life isn't what it was like when you got married Cleo. Things change.

Gosh yes, I'd forgotten that no one ever dropped dead of some freak illness (or accident, even) back in them days. Companies never went bust, there were never any floods or earthquakes or tsunami or thunderstorms, everything was just wonderful, sunshine every day and it only ever rained at night when everyone was tucked up safe in bed. Come on, grow up, this is really getting silly now.

If you're in the least bit worried about any of that stuff (and if you're sensible you will be), you do what we did, which is take out insurance. It doesn't stop people dropping dead, but it does provide a cushion for those who are left if, heaven forbid, they need it.

Ever you ever bothered to ask your daughter why she works? Would you tell her that obviously she has trust issues with her husband?

I'm getting segs on my fingers from repeatedly typing the same stuff. She took the year off for her baby. Her husband was totally in favour of her doing that, and cooperative. If she had trust issues with him, I very much doubt that she would be having babies with him.

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I'm simply pointing out that with a limited amount to spend, people learn to spend less, not more. You can't learn to spend what you haven't got.

You don't seem to understand how credit cards and getting loans works.

I'm beginning to understand why so many women are deciding not to have babies, if so many of them are in basically unstable relationships or are married to men who think nursing wives are parasites.

Just LOVE how you threw in the nursing but there. It has nothing to do with trusting your spouse. I trust my husband more than I trust anyone but that doesn't mean he won't drop dead tomorrow of some freak illness (which is exactly what happened to his coworker. Non-working wife with two small kids who hasn't ever really worked), his company won't go bust, we lose everything in an earthquake and have to start over. Life isn't what it was like when you got married during the bubble Cleo. Things change. Ever you ever bothered to ask your daughter why she works? Would you tell her that obviously she has trust issues with her husband?

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just everybody should to the same...

Try considering what my comments are in answer to before you go off the deep end. Thomas Anderson suggested, nay stated, that with one spouse earning and the other not, the only thing that you will learn is how to spend money. I'm simply pointing out that with a limited amount to spend, people learn to spend less, not more. You can't learn to spend what you haven't got.

the freshly married, post graduation omiai, airhead sarariman wife

I'm sure it's no business of anyone but her and her new husband, but freshly-married omiai sounds like no babies yet. Maybe as an airhead she's unable to earn, but if you'd been paying attention you know I have no truck with what I call sembei-munchers complaining about lack of money. If she's spent the housekeeping on stylish shoes from Isetan, that's her problem (and her husband's), not yours or mine. And again, Thomas wasn't talking about the airhead who would splurge it all on shoes anyway (unless he considers all 'parasites' to be free-spending airheads by definition; maybe he does); he was talking about one half of a single-income married couple being 'vulnerable'. I merely pointed out that IF the relationship is strong (depending on the quality of the relationship) it makes both partners stronger, not weaker; and people in such a relationship are very, very fortunate. They aren't airheads.

As for the rest of your rant - seems you also don't understand the meaning of depends on.

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In my own experience,

You talk of experience, like a cute 12 year girl to whom the grown ups have not yet explained the complex family finance difficulties : "well, my family does like that...take the salary, make savings... that works, just everybody should to the same..."

it taught me how to save money rather than spend it.

Make sure you serve that patronizing speech to the freshly married, post graduation omiai, airhead sarariman wife that gets 200 000 yen left after the rent and all utilities, and ends up the month with 50 000 yen in red on the Isetan credit card, as she got those stylish shoes. But I'd like to hear your answer to Mrs Shitamachi : "My hubby makes about 150 000 yen in building industry, this month, with bad weather, it's 100 000. Rent (and parking for the truck) : 80 000. Tell me how I can save on the 20 000 yen left for the month of food and all for the 3 of us. I can't even pay utilities and school fees in time, and after I do, I'll be left with 20 000 yen next month. like each month. Give me tips." There is not a million of solutions to improve their finances : Earn more. The Dad has to make more. Change his job at painting walls for a sarariman position in a bank ? That sounds difficult, no ? So what is left ? Oh, the Mum taking a job.

lots of people are apparently afraid to trust their spouse. And that far too many spouses appear not to be trustworthy.

I'd consider my spouse barely trustworthy from an amount of 150 to 200 million yen on his bank account. That has nothing to do with the guy's personality. And I'd expect the same if that was about the man flushing his career in the loo to count on me. I mean, even super hubby, he can die today, killed by a drunk epileptic driver without a license nor insurance, I get 2 peanuts as compensation after 5 years of trial, yellow coins as benefits. I'm left with the money he has today to pay 2 kids education, housing for 3 on 2 decades, housing for one and retirement on 2 to X decades. That's not luxury. 50 yen for the house (counting it's 30M yen mansion, and wear and tear cost). In my family, some made arrangements, like grand-parents donating real estate (instead of letting as inheritance) and taking some insurance for the spouse, study fee insurances for the kids. Then she could quit her career with that parachute as if the breadwinner disappeared, she'd get a house to live in, and a little capital (to buy a second flat and rent), so life basics would be covered and she'd live decently with the kind of little jobs a woman of 35, 40, 50, 60... can hope when she re-enters the job market after a hiatus.

you're not counting the possibility of getting divorced or suddenly losing your spouse in some ways.

Exactly. My families made such arrangements. And sadly, 3 of my aunties had to open their parachutes. ONE : Father of a 2 yr old, car accident, at 30. TWO : Divorce of hell, with a 1 month old baby. With a jerk that "can't stand babies that cry when he wants to sleep" and from when she was preggo, "no more interested in a phat wife " totally classy. But jerks are not put on the dating market with a special tag. Alimony was paid systematically belated, in packages, by legal action to get his employer retain it from his salary. She had just her job, but years of difficulty for work and child care due to her "laziness" (the medical term is depression). TREE : she quit her career, at 5th month of pregnancy. Spends time decorating her newly built house. At 8th month, her hubby in coma, last stage of cancer (he was super healthy till the day he collapsed, while driving his car). Later he has been a lifelong 90% disabled (wheel chair, can't move limbs). Great that insurance paid the house. And statistically, that's average. Like tossing a coin.

you're not counting the possibility of getting divorced or suddenly losing your spouse in some ways. What you're describing is the MOST OPTIMAL and MOST FAVORABLE of all the most optimal and favorable possibilities and outcomes for a relationship/marriage...

I totally agree Thomas. But Cleo never leaves Cakewalk-city. She talks only to her hubby. If the neighbor's house get auctioned, and they are at the street, she notices it briefly while walking the dogs. In Osaka, the "senyo shufu" have been put on the list of disappearing species like the white dolphin and the panda, They consider putting one the zoo in Tennoji, to show to kids what they looked like. Because these days, families can't arrange any parachute. My sister and cousins find they can't quit careers like their mothers did in the 70's, 80's. The most accessible "insurance" is the wife's career. She may afford or not to put the job on a back boiler a few years for small kid rearing (depending totally on the economic climate). She has to take care she can stay (come back) to a bread-winning level. For a few careers, it's possible to go and come. A neighbor quit her job at 25, full time house-wife, company manager hubby, comfie life. When she was 50+, his company went bust, after swallowing all their savings except their house (yes,Cleo, stoopid people have not wisdom to keep their savings at the Post Office, they invest in businesses). Zero income. She found a full time job in 2 weeks, good income. The reason is her initial job was nurse. And they never find enough nurses, so even a 25 yr break is OK. Having her maturity, and more flexibility than younger nurses with small kid, she was very quickly promoted to supervisor nurse position. That's exceptional. if she had been a bank service director at 25, well, at 50+, she'd have got, after being on waiting lists, a part-time as a "helper" for elderly, which is doing the job of a nurse without the training nor the pay, on a 15 hour schedule in bits of 2 hours all over town. And the bank would have "helped" another, by auctioning their house.

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Mr Orange is by no means perfect, but I know for a fact he and I are on the same page. I am his wife, not a parasite. I educate and care for OUR children, which is incredibly valuable to the family, but emotionally and economically. If we had to pay for two lots of international school at 3.5 mill per child, we would be bankrupt as we could never find 14 mill a year, and I certainly would never earn that here, but more importantly my children and husband would never see me. I am so grateful I have such a solidly dependable and supportive husband, who wants the best for our children as much as I do. We budget well, and can afford a reasonably decent standard of living, I appreciate everything he does working hard outside the house for our family, just as he appreciates me and everything I do, working INSIDE the house for our family.

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At the end the day, the kids success in studies or in whatever is very influenced by whether the mother is a PhD, an artist, a brilliant author, with financial comfort, and rich social life...

I personally know 2 families where both parents are PhDs, one child each. One child is now in his twenties, mooching around as a neet after dropping out of high school. The child in the other family is coming up to high school and wants to get a job instead. Her father describes her as 'not academic'. Both very nice families, very nice kids; but Mum's PhD doesn't seem to have had the kind of influence Cos expects. On the other hand, I grew up with lots of people whose parents were manual workers, Dad down the pit, Mum either at home or in the factory, not a university degree between them - but a goodly proportion of those people went on to university (thanks to the UK grant system, which subsequent governments have scrapped) and are doing very well thank you.

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I'm beginning to understand why so many women are deciding not to have babies, if so many of them are in basically unstable relationships or are married to men who think nursing wives are parasites.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

you're not counting the possibility of

You're not understanding the meaning of depending on.

If you are financially dependent on someone then the only thing that you will learn is how to spend money, not how to make money.

In my own experience, it taught me how to save money rather than spend it. Also a very deep respect for the man who went out to work every day and handed over his earnings - and most of all, trusted me to look after it and his kids.

Personally, I think that it's pretty naive and irresponsible to be completely dependent on your spouse

That isn't just you, of course. We know from this thread and elsewhere that lots of people are apparently afraid to trust their spouse. And that far too many spouses appear not to be trustworthy. Especially the ones who think their partners are parasites.

(not to mention, parasitic, which is what it basically is), but that's just me.

Again, your vocabulary is wanting. I think the word you are looking for is symbiotic. No man who thinks the woman caring for his children is a 'parasite' deserves to have children. Or a wife.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

As for the "quality of the relationship"... you're not counting the possibility of getting divorced or suddenly losing your spouse in some ways. What you're describing is the MOST OPTIMAL and MOST FAVORABLE of all the most optimal and favorable possibilities and outcomes for a relationship/marriage... which must be pretty rare. Personally, I think that it's pretty naive and irresponsible to be completely dependent on your spouse (not to mention, parasitic, which is what it basically is), but that's just me.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Cleo:

Or stronger, depending on the quality of the relationship.

That makes no sense. If you are financially dependent on someone then the only thing that you will learn is how to spend money, not how to make money. So how would make that you stronger?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well done Cos, you obviously have your own axe to grind. Grind away. It would be helpful if you could write grammatically though.

At the end the day, the kids success in studies or in whatever is very influenced by whether the mother is a PhD, an artist, a brilliant author, with financial comfort, and rich social life... or bottom of the society illiterate mother, that can't speak the local language, lives in poverty, precarity, discriminated, depressive, etc.

I see, so those of us whose mothers were not PhDs or brilliant authors (left school at 14), working hard for every penny and with a social life that started and ended with the family had no chance of getting on at school. Right.

Good little soldiers obeying to wareware. For the Tenno ?

Wow. So you think well-behaved children are all being groomed for war? What a scary world you must live in. How about raising ordinary responsible citizens who don't spend their time in bosozoku, sniffing glue, popping pills, shoplifting and setting fires for the fun of it?

Happy imbeciles heureux, You say "eejits" in English ?

Oh yes, because everyone who isn't a social misfit/dropout is an eejit. Now I see where you're coming from.

Did she smoke while pregnant? “Of course,” she says. "You don’t enter a religious order when you have children."

My definition of an eejit - a woman who smokes and drinks during pregnancy. In the past they didn't know any better, now we do. Then again I suppose a woman who is stupid enough to smoke in the first place, when the excuse of not knowing any better doesn't hold any more, is enough of an eejit to smoke while pregnant. 'Dish' her? You bet.

they love being moms but they certainly weren't/aren't shouting about it.

It doesn't surprise me. They're probably afraid you'll accuse them of 'fading into mummy duties'.

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Well said Cos.

And yes, I too have read the studies about higher education and how kids turn out based on their parents' education and job background. Not worried in the least.

I know you hate to hear it, but those are the words of someone who has never had a baby. Get pregnant, have a bouncing healthy baby, and you'll want to tell the whole world about it.

Actually Cleo, not the case for everyone. I have friends and family who, while happy to be moms, have other things to talk about besides their kids. Not shouting off the roof tops, no bashing of non moms for not agreeing with their ideas about parenting, no pushing of "you should have kids like I did as I am now a complete person" which is why I look at your posts and others and thank god I have friends and family who "get" that having kids doesn't define who they are nor their worth to society. Some are even SAHMs! Not all moms are like you. Why you can't understand this is beyond me. They love their kids, they love being moms but they certainly weren't/aren't shouting about it. Thank god.

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left to their own devices. They would eat junk food and soda pop, sleep all morning, play video games all day, stay up half the night, keep half the neighbourhood stray cats and dogs in their room.....well maybe not those exact things,

Mrs Orange's Tourette crisis is something. But that's the worst bit of a very nasty thread. Bravo Cleo ! So by default the baby to be born is a multiform failure, with all the vices ?

you spend time... gradually shape their personalities

And born with no personality. Inside the egg : a block of clay. That's like a teacher fiercely stepping into the class of losers shouting and spitting : "Bande de mécréants ! Magma informe...". And she existed. Well, we didn't bring her back home after class, and you tend to get a teacher one or two years. But a set parents, you get them as ancestors for the eternity. They will not be reimbursed, nor exchanged.

I guess you have to try it....:-)

With the "curse of the perfect mother" (exactly the title) of Godmother Fairy Cleo, that would give envy to take a second pill, to be sure that doesn't happen. I mean in case someone gave a damn about Cleo-world's dystopia. Tmarie, there is no reason that you give birth to the kind of slothes she describes. At the end the day, the kids success in studies or in whatever is very influenced by whether the mother is a PhD, an artist, a brilliant author, with financial comfort, and rich social life... or bottom of the society illiterate mother, that can't speak the local language, lives in poverty, precarity, discriminated, depressive, etc. Not parenting styles.

left to their own devices not many of them would keep regular hours, eat healthy and do their homework just for the fun of it.

All the Tom Sawyers that we were. And the infamous latchkey kids, that's the third generation now. . They turned out well so far. My cousin that was going back home to cook herself fresh delicious hot lunches at 8. She set the fire in the kitchen one day. That was a must see. Oh, the firemen didn't even need to come : take induction, not gas. Now she is going to have a baby. The studies have not clearly found more problems than average for latchkey kids from middle-class and upper. BTW, happy day to all the perfect mothers that get up 2 hours early every morning to prepare kitsch kyaraben for 8 yr old girls that will maybe say in 10 years : "I was eating at school. A box of cold rice, I think. I plan to take cooking lessons at AKB Gas Cooking, to find a husband. And to be happy of that.". As there is more critical litterature about the antics of the kids that went through attachment parenting or as Dr Doi would say, have been "contaminated by the amae syndrome". So that would be what make most of Japan crazy, and probably causes the hikikomori, otaku, parasite singles, wagamama, tarento.. I don't want to be nasty, but Japan and at least another country with similar child rearing and women KKKing theories have been known way more crazy. That could be whenever you campaign like that to tell all women what to do of their boobs, etc.

so that they grow to be happy with the things we/society want them to do, and do them of their own accord -

Good little soldiers obeying to wareware. For the Tenno ? For 10 000 years ?

all of which is for their own good, of course.

Of course. Happy imbeciles heureux, You say "eejits" in English ? That's less tiring if you never try to push the walls. That's like the airport guy : "Ask what you can do for your country. " and then sending them to Vietnam, for their own good, please they should not question, just be happy to serve. Someday, things will be thought for the good of the world and not for little bags of egos or national herds of egos.

What could be better or more important, more fulfilling, than guiding, shaping and moulding a young human?

I'll thank my Mum for not moulding and shaping me. If Camille Claudel had no kids, but she was great at moulding, shaping. Not Mum. She is exactly the kind of woman you guys love dishing. Smoking, delegating or not. I never heard she had "Mummy duties" for the Queen, the Emperor, and well the Marechal Petain. Like Badinter :

The mother of three doesn’t hate kids; they just become too much of a burden if you listen to the advice of breastfeeding advocates and environmentalists: “Between the protection of trees and the liberty of women, my choice is clear.” Did she smoke while pregnant? “Of course,” she says. "You don’t enter a religious order when you have children." Badinter’s conclusion: The French have “always been mediocre mothers.” But “we’ve tended to have happier lives.”

That's true there were no parenting theories. And no pseudo-theories. No solutions to mend what is not broken. No fulfilling needs I never had. I didn't cry much they say. Cleo, I don't drink... well booze sometimes, milk, no way, that makes me sick. I had no need to be kept at home or to go to in day center. I had 4 grand-parents, 6 aunties (non-parents were not feared like lepers), 2 uncles, other toddlers that played in the street. Parents' biggest role was to take us to places every week-end, in holidays twice a year (beach, ski), week-ends to other regions. We'd also go to holidays without them. And they'd travel around the world without us. At 2, I decided to go to kindergarten. Should have been 3, but well there was no plan. Your kid wanted to do something positive you encouraged and supported. And they never checked my homework as that's the business of the teacher and the pupil. Most parents were not teachers. educators. They'd just buy books, computers, walkmans, sports equipment, everything they wanted for themselves. Most parents were not dieteticians nor cooks. Food was chosen for its taste. A friend's parents never cooked in their lives. They'd eat lunch at the cafeteria, and they'd buy frozen meals, delivered once a month, 2 full freezers. No complex, with 2 salaries, you can buy your meals. The mother was not a cook. She was a director at the food department of the prefecture, so that was her job to control food met the criteria. Now, she'd get controlled by the parenting police.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Mmm yes, depending on means there's more than one possibility.

if I did have kids, I don't think I'd post about it

lol I know you hate to hear it, but those are the words of someone who has never had a baby. Get pregnant, have a bouncing healthy baby, and you'll want to tell the whole world about it. It will turn your world upside-down, and I don't expect you to believe that yet because .... (I don't need to say) :-)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

And depending on the quality of the relationship, it may mean one of stuck in a DV situation with little choice or out.

And Cleo, if I did have kids, I don't think I'd post about it. I mean, with all the bullying and the like from posters for working and then you not being able to do the whole "Until you've had one"... nah. If I did/do, I'll keep it to myself. ;)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Being financially dependent on someone makes one that much more vulnerable.

Or stronger, depending on the quality of the relationship.

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Cleo:

There is no such thing as gender equality, and personally I don't want it. As a woman I have the best of all possible worlds; I can have kids if I want, or I can choose not to. I can go out to work if I want, or I can stay home with the kids. Why on earth would I want to be 'equal' with a man? No prospect of ever giving birth or feeding a baby with your own body, a lifetime of work...even if a man chooses not to be a father, society expects him to work hard his whole life or be branded a loser.

Well, provided that you ARE fortunate enough to find such a provider who can guarantee you financial security and stability, then sure. But some may not be so lucky. They could suddenly lose their spouse through a divorce or an unfortunate event. Their spouse could become abusive hold you hostage over financial security. Being financially dependent on someone makes one that much more vulnerable.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well, I guess there's more pressure for "being a mother" than "being a father", for some reason. I guess that's what the article was trying to say. Or something.

But nobody is telling anybody to be perfect... that all comes from the within.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

not sure how that one year at home with mom from birth stops everything you've described.

I guess you have to try it....:-)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ild rather be a stay at home, homeschooling mother, that others would judge as faded, but I would say has grown up a lot and no longer puts herself first all the time, than a vicious, mean spirited, judgemental, money and success obsessed career woman with no children but a lot of views on how parents raise them.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

some women see it as that

Some women sneer at sahms. We know that. Doesn't make it less of a sneer.

as long as the kids are safe and happy, what else could you want?

Most kids left to their own devices would be happy ... left to their own devices. They would eat junk food and soda pop, sleep all morning, play video games all day, stay up half the night, keep half the neighbourhood stray cats and dogs in their room.....well maybe not those exact things, but left to their own devices not many of them would keep regular hours, eat healthy and do their homework just for the fun of it.

So either you accept that kids are made that way and bully and nag them into doing what's right even though it goes against the grain (that can't be making them very happy, can it?) or you spend time with them from infancy and gradually shape their personalities so that they grow to be happy with the things we/society want them to do, and do them of their own accord - all of which is for their own good, of course. And yes, the parents choose which approach they want to take.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Cleo, some women see it as that. You might not agree with it but that IS how some feel. I know. I have friends here who have stated it. My sister has stated it. Not everyone is wired like you. If we all were, it would much easier and things would be simpler. If the system was better we all wouldn't be at odds with each other over the topic. The insults on this thread alone towards working moms have been really upsetting to read - and I'm not even a mom. Can't imagine how my sister, cousins and friends who work would feel after reading what has been said about them and their parenting - which is probably working moms aren't chiming in. They don't want to read this stuff.

And no worries, I wasn't offended in the least. If I got offended that easily no way could I post on here about this topic as much as I do. I don't think I have put down SAHM on this thread at all. It is a damn hard job - and one that I respect women for when they do it well. Not all do it well though just as not all working moms parent well. They try their best. Some perhaps should be at home and some perhaps should go to work. The options though just aren't there. I just wish people would stop being so damn judgmental towards how people raise their kids period. Allow they to chose. This is all the writer is asking. Like I said, as long as the kids are safe and happy, what else could you want?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

tmarie, the mod apparently thinks my replies to you about your view of sahms was 'impolite'. I did not intend them to be, and I don't think you are thin-skinned enough to have been offended by them. If you were offended, I apologise.

Doesn't stop conscientious mothers being very offended at the suggestion that their choices mean they're 'fading' or that looking after one's own baby is less 'worthy' than going out to work.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Indeed I did. A star who said she wanted to WORK once the baby was born. Cleo, you clearly have no idea what my views are about childcare and mothers in general.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Cleo, that comment was in regards to mother who want to work and can't get daycare who are forced to stay at home. Others, like Orange, seem to be very happy and productive. Not all moms "fade" but some do. Why you can't understand this is beyond me. Not everyone is happy being home. Not everyone is happy being at work. Give the options for women to decide what is best for their family. Just asking for every woman to have a choice and not be judged on it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

even Cleo wants to berate the "sembei munchers"!

orange, the sembei-munchers are not mothers; they are the women with no kids who stay at home. I don't berate them, I think they're lucky to have the wherewithal to do what they want without having to worry about earning a living (If only...!). But I don't think they deserve a free pension out of my taxes.

Why belittle those that don't agree with you?

You mean as in sneering at those who fade into mommy duties?

My wife thought breastfeeding was the best and had every intention of doing that and was anti-formula. But, things just didn't work out the way she planned.

It happens. With the best intentions in the world, sometimes your body simply doesn't do what it's supposed to do/what you want it to do. I'm sure that Mrs yasukuni did all she could to make up for the lack of breastfeeding by making bottle time as warm and cosy and comforting for the child as the breast would have been. Assuming you use good quality formula, I don't think there's any difference in nutrition; the difference is in the attitude of the parent.

Good luck to all of us whatever our choices may be

Amen to that!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Hima, that comment wasn't to you. It was the the poster that is making all kinds of nasty, judgementsl statements against working mothers while trying to be the victim on this thread. You've not made any nasty nor judgementsl comments so def not playing the victim. Im sorry you've had people comment on your choice.

OMG, great post!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What is it that Ms Badinter wants - in practical terms?

" In the western part of Germany, for example, many young women are abandoning motherhood altogether. "

The reality is that there are very few women who decide to never have children and don't later regret it.

Maybe women have to realize that it's going to be really hard to actually create a society where women will have exactly the same income, same jobs as men, and have babies when they want.

And men have to realize that they also can't have their careers, wife and kids, and party when they want, and see other women when they want. You just can't have everything. But most people don't want everything.

And why don't we quit this idea that we haven't arrived until 50% of managers, mechanics, truck drivers and civil engineers are women. For years now women have had the choice to take the same subjects. ANd they don't ! Maybe, just maybe, men and women are different. I just have to sit with three women and hear them talk to know that.

As for breastfeeding - women need to stop beating each other up over stuff. My wife thought breastfeeding was the best and had every intention of doing that and was anti-formula. But, things just didn't work out the way she planned. Maybe she could have read more books, tried hypnosis - I don't know. But my kids were brought up on formula and they're completely normal. As normal as can be expected with my genes of course.

Everytime a topic like this comes up, women bash each other. It's amazing. At least it shows that most women really want to feel they are doing the right thing. Men wouldn't bother justifying their actions so much. Interesting.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Playing the victim? Who? I stated a fact, that in public I had aggressive remarks made to me about staying home and raising my son. I never said I was a victim....I was saying that other women can be real bitches, not that I'm a victim.

Sometimes the conclusions you draw are......different.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

i feel like I should just make my presence known on this thread because I am fascinated reading everyones different opinions and Im starting to feel like a lurker - a bit voyeuristic!

I think everyone makes the choices they believe are right for them and their families based on their own circumstances. I dont think working mothers are selfish any more than I think SAHMs are good-for-nothing else. Having done both I can categorically state that both options have their pluses and their downsides - it is simply a question of how important those + and - are to each individual based on their circumstances.

Cleo - it sounds like you have done a great job with your two, and I salute you for that. Orange too - I am so sorry that you have had to ensure the hell of bullying, but you seem comfortable and happy with the choices you have made too and that is what is important. Tmarie - although you are not a Mother yourself (yet?!) I have to say I admire your passion on this subject, although I might not necessarily agree with everything you say based on my own experiences, you do nonetheless make some pretty valid points and well-reasoned arguments. I certainly wouldnt want to be opposite you at a negotiating table!

I am not entirely comfortable with some of the choices I have made with hindsight, although I can say I made them at the time with the best of intentions so I dont beat myself up over it. But my kids so far are turning out great (so far so good!) and I feel I am on an upward learning curve with them. People can (and have) tried to rip me apart for the choices I have made but ultimately it is water off a ducks back really, because - as I think someone else said - you really have to walk a mile in someone elses shoes to be able to criticise their life choices.

Good luck to all of us whatever our choices may be. If that makes me a yellow-bellied coward for not going out on a limb one way or the other on the debate I guess that is just because I have no limb to go out on - all 4 of them are knackered just from doing the best I can every day!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Ever thought there are also plenty of women out there refusing to have kids because of the pressure not to 'fade into mummy duties', knowing they would not want to leave their baby with others yet fearful of being looked down on and despised by other women because they choose to be 'only' sahm?

Oh I am sure those out there exists - which is rather funny when you look at how well SAHW/SAHM have it in Japan compared to other nations.

Orange, if anyone is bitter, it would be you. You're the one who stated SAHM get judged yet you've made a whole whack of judgements on this thread about working mothers. You're the one stating they aren't good, that they're selfish and whatnot. I'm merely pointing out that women do what is best for the family and that it might not be what you agree with but it doesn't make them bad mothers. You need to stop being the victim in all of this. You decided to stay home and enjoy it. Great. Why belittle those that don't agree with you? Is it hurting you at all? If anything you benefit off it because THEY pay for you to be able to be home.

You can't take playing you off one another? Why not? You're not agreeing on everything so don't try and pretend that you are. If you and other SAHM/SAHW can't afford to pay your way, don't expect us paying to be happy to support you sponging off our taxes. If you and your family can't afford to pay for your pension and health care, don't have kids. I shouldn't have to prop your choices up.

And no one on this thread has bashed you until you just posted the senbei comment. You, however, have been more than happy to bash others.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If a woman works she is capable of paying her own pension policy payments. Mothers who do choose to stay with their children should not be penalized by not being able to claim a pension in their later years.

Marie. What can I say. I wish you well, and hope that one day you are happier with your lot and less bitter and aggressive. What I have a problem with is the bashing of mothers who choose to stay home and the constant questioning of their input and lives - even Cleo wants to berate the "sembei munchers"! Noone is playing the victim and Im fed up of you putting words into peoples mouths and playing posters off against each other.

Marie, whether you like it or not, breastfeeding is best for children, and the longer the better, that is fact, not opinion.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You put one in kindy, they turned out alright.

Both my kids went to kindy. You know that kindy starts at age 3-4? There's nothing wrong with kindy - four hours or so a day learning how to play with other kids, how to be away from Mum in preparation for the big school. Not the same at all as dumping newborns in daycare.

Plenty of women out there refusing to have kids because of such pressure to be perfect, not getting the support they need...

Ever thought there are also plenty of women out there refusing to have kids because of the pressure not to 'fade into mummy duties', knowing they would not want to leave their baby with others yet fearful of being looked down on and despised by other women because they choose to be 'only' sahm?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So her mat leave started after she gave birth. Odd. Usually women take a few weeks or at least one off before the birth which means, not a full year

Civil servants get a generous maternity package; up to two months off before the due date, then maternity leave up to the child's first birthday. For the second child she'll be able to take up to three years.

you move the goal posts to suit you and your judgements.

No, it's that 'choice' thing again.

Some women can't afford to stay home a year though would love to. That doesn't make them bad mothers or less caring. Shame you can't understand that.

There's a huge difference between going out to work because you can't afford to stay at home, and deciding from the start that no way are you going to look after your own child because childcare will make you 'wilt' or because your career is more important to your self-esteem than your child is. Pity you can't understand that, it would save an awful lot of needless wrangling here.

Didn't YOU do the same thing when unable to breastfeed?

Pack my boobs in ice to stop the flow? Why would I do that? There was no flow. The child was hungry. You still can't grasp the different between can't and don't wanna?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

From another thread...

Being a stay at home mother should be a choice, not a necessity due to lack of child care.

Agree.

so I accept that being a stay at home mother is not for everyone, nor can everyone afford to do this. Agree.

What about single mothers, presumably in Japan, they do not have the luxury of staying at home with their children and have to go to work to support their family unit?

Agree.

So, what is the issue on this thread??

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

** As long as the child is heathly and happy that is all that matters.

No, that's the starting line, not the goal.**

Funny, I thought the goal was to have happy and healthy humans...

Twelve months is one year. That comes under one to three. One is essential, three is better. So her mat leave started after she gave birth. Odd. Usually women take a few weeks or at least one off before the birth which means, not a full year Cleo... A full year or not isn't the point though is it? It is that you move the goal posts to suit you and your judgements. Some women can't afford to stay home a year though would love to. That doesn't make them bad mothers or less caring. Shame you can't understand that.

Cleo did what she thought was right for her family, and clearly loves them very much. I am doing what is right for mine.

And so do other mothers who happen to work FT, not breastfeed, not cosleep... See how easy it is to just agree that people do the best for their kids and be done with it?

I dont receive any government support as a stay at home mother, and my pension rights as such are a reward for the work I have done in raising my children. If you dont like it tmarie, then dont let other people's children pay YOUR pension when you retire.

My only reward is my children's development and love and to me this is part of what makes my life enjoyable to me.

???? Reward?? Oh, I thought staying at home and being with your children would be reward enough. Guess not. You want a pension as a reward for staying home? So much for your comment above then...

Perhaps Cleo would like to educate you on your pension and how it IS indeed a handout and government support. One that she too disagrees with. The difference orange is that I AM paying into the pension and certainly not taking a handout. You, right now, certainly can't say the same. I am paying for YOU to be at home. And personally, I and many others, don't like it.

Just because i chose to raise my children a certain way, doesnt mean I think everyone else should do so either.

They have no interest in what is best for the child - breastfeeding for instance - and only what is comfortable for them. This selfishness does not make a happy or good stay at home mother.

You're just full on contradictions, aren't you?

At any rate, that's not what you said- you said "It is the SAHM who judge.", blanket statement.

So Hima, are you willing to say the same thing to Orange then who also made a blanket statement that it isn't the SAHM who are judging?

Do as you like ladies but please don't try and play the "victim" when others make comments as to how you raise/raised your child.

And Cleo... Just like Mom can pack her boobs in ice to dry up the milk and stuff a rubber teat filled with powdered formula in her newborn baby's mouth, and I won't be thinking that is a wise thing, either.

Didn't YOU do the same thing when unable to breastfeed? I doubt your child was any worse for it, right?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

my pension rights as such are a reward for the work I have done in raising my children

No, they aren't; women with no children who can afford to sit at home eating sembei and watching Korean dramas on telly have the same pension rights as you, simply on account of their husbands being salary men. At the same time, since I have earned an income by working from home while the kids were little, even though I also worked hard raising my kids, my pension rights are zero unless I pay into the system separately from what Mr cleo pays - meanwhile his pension premiums go to help subsidise the sembei-munchers.

Providing an allowance for children (as opposed to subsidies for the non-working wives of salary men) would remove this blatant unfairness and ensure that mothers got fair do's whether they opted to stay at home or go to work.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And orange, who home schools her children, could comment on how you should have been home past three and how you didn't put your kids first like she does.

Excuse me stop putting words into my mouth! I am doing what is right for my family, because we had issues with bullying and I didn't want my child to be one of those poor young kids who end up jumping off a roof due to bullying, thank you very much. Perhaps Cleo had a better experience of the school system than I did. She put HER kids first, in a way that was right for them. I am doing so in a way which I am finding works for my particular family. Just because i chose to raise my children a certain way, doesnt mean I think everyone else should do so either. No two children are the same, nor are their needs. You need to be fluid, not dictatorial when dealing with children and their development.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cleo did what she thought was right for her family, and clearly loves them very much. I am doing what is right for mine. I dont receive any government support as a stay at home mother, and my pension rights as such are a reward for the work I have done in raising my children. If you dont like it tmarie, then dont let other people's children pay YOUR pension when you retire.

If some women experience a glass celing, and are not promoted as they would like at work, then perhaps they shoudlo consider it is not because they are female, but because they cannot make a calm, logical arguement, and appear to lack the skills their peers do. A bit of personal responsibility could go a long way here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

tmarie,

However on this thread, it certainly has been hasn't it?!

And, that proves what? It's faulty reasoning that this thread stands for anything other than the opinions of those women registered on Japan Today.

At any rate, that's not what you said- you said "It is the SAHM who judge.", blanket statement.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And orange, who home schools her children, could comment on how you should have been home past three and how you didn't put your kids first like she does. See how it works?!

Yes, orange could comment however she likes, but I note that in fact what she does say is What is so hard about personal choice for some people - usually women - to understand? and she berates added female bitchiness to boot, so I'm not really worried about orange getting on my case. At least we're reading the same book, even if we're not on the exact same page. And yes, we've walked in the same shoes.

One to three?! Didn't you just say your daughter took 12 months mat leave.? Doesn't sound one to three to me like you stated a good mom would do.

Twelve months is one year. That comes under one to three. One is essential, three is better.

As long as the child is heathly and happy that is all that matters.

No, that's the starting line, not the goal.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Indeed it isn't only SAHM that judge. However on this thread, it certainly has been hasn't it?!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And orange, who home schools her children, could comment on how you should have been home past three and how you didn't put your kids first like she does. See how it works?! Someone will always be able call you and other mothers out on what they do and no one does the same. One to three?! Didn't you just say your daughter took 12 months mat leave.? Doesn't sound one to three to me like you stated a good mom would do. Or do you view it differently as you know she's putting her child first even with working. You can't make one statement and then say another Cleo. How about just not judging in the first place?! Wouldn't that be the most supportive thing? Endangering a child is one thing to comment on. Judgements based on your view is another. As long as the child is heathly and happy that is all that matters.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Hima, has anyone on this thread judged a mother FOR breastfeeding, cosleeping, staying at home...? What I see are mothers posting that mothers who don't do what they did with regards to staying home, breastfeeding... aren't doing a good job, are selfish, need a slap...

You keep repeating that one tongue-in-cheek comment of Cleo's as if it is serious and indicative of how all SAHM's feel, and considering you are not one, I think it's a dishonest way of making your point. Walk a mile in those shoes first.....ON THIS THREAD there may be more women who were SAHMs but it's certainly not fair of you to declare the tone of this thread as the actual situation on society at large. I could tell you stories to curl your hair of working mothers dropping their sick kids off at an SAHMs house because 'you're home anyway', of SAHMs taking on the lions' share of PTA work because 'you're home anyway', of SAHMs being berated in public, said to be at home because they 'couldn't handle a career' or 'haven't got what it takes'...it is NOT only SAHMs who 'judge'. Far from it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Mom can allow her five year old to wear make-up and heels but I sure as won't be thinking that is a wise thing to do.

Just like Mom can pack her boobs in ice to dry up the milk and stuff a rubber teat filled with powdered formula in her newborn baby's mouth, and I won't be thinking that is a wise thing, either.

aren't those SAHM here subsidized too?

Yes, and I agree with you that they shouldn't be. If the government wants to raise the birthrate, then children should be subsidised, whether their parents stay home or go out to work.

Such a shame Cleo that as someone who had someone make comments to them about not trying hard enough, you turn around and do the same thing.

No. There is a difference, as I've said before, between trying hard and not succeeding, and simply stating up front that you have no intention of even trying because what you want to do is more important than what the baby needs from you.

It must be stressful for your daughter not to live up to your expectations.

You have no idea what you are talking about. She lives up to them and exceeds them. She is a wonderful mother, and both she and her husband put the child first. Yes, she works; but she took the all-important first 12 months off to be at home (=she was a sahm when it was important), and persevered with the breastfeeding to produce a beautifully plump little baby. Being a sahm doesn't mean you have to stay at home doing broody hen stuff until the kid reaches the age of 30; once you get them started right, they don't need you all the time and there is plenty of time to do the stuff you want to do. One to three years is nothing out of a lifetime.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hima, has anyone on this thread judged a mother FOR breastfeeding, cosleeping, staying at home...? What I see are mothers posting that mothers who don't do what they did with regards to staying home, breastfeeding... aren't doing a good job, are selfish, need a slap...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sorry Orange, as you can see, it isn't the working people who are judging. It is the SAHM who judge.

Pffft....sorry, but after having my eyebrows singed one too many times in the 80s I can't agree with that one...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

They can chose what they like but it doesn't mean I have to agree with it. Mom can allow her five year old to wear make-up and heels but I sure as won't be thinking that is a wise thing to do.

Funny Cleo, aren't those SAHM here subsidized too?

A family that loves them, but wants someone else to look after them? A family who cares for them, but is happy with being 'only an average' parent (a la Ms Badinter)?

Sorry Orange, as you can see, it isn't the working people who are judging. It is the SAHM who judge.

Such a shame Cleo that as someone who had someone make comments to them about not trying hard enough, you turn around and do the same thing. I'm so glad I was raised by a mother who doesn't think like you do with regards to childcare and parenting. It must be stressful for your daughter not to live up to your expectations.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

but you don't want parents to choose for themselves how they raise their kids?

Sorry, what? Where have I ever said that?

I have serious gripes with the way many, many other children are being raised

How many times have people said "little boys who play with dolls turn out to be gay" and other such crap? "Little girls don't go and play with the boys! Act like a lady". It is crap. Let the kids play with what they want but allow them the options of choice.

And you know that because you've asked all of them?

Nah, just read their comments here on JT. It's the ones who look on childcare as a burden, something they want to delegate to someone else (subsidised by the taxpayer, please) while they pursue their careers, who seem to be doing all the moaning.

As long as the kid is being raised in a family that loves them and cares for them, what is the issue?

A family that loves them, but wants someone else to look after them? A family who cares for them, but is happy with being 'only an average' parent (a la Ms Badinter)? Doing the best we can, pulling out all the stops, the majority of us are destined to achieve no better than average. Starting out content to be 'only average' is a bit pathetic. The kids deserve better.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If (IF) I do, then it seems to have made me a lot happier than the wannabe career ladies.

And you know that because you've asked all of them? I think there are a lot of unhappy career women due to lack of support just as I think there are a lot of unhappy SAHM due to lack of support. I'm glad you're happy and had a great time but that doesn't mean that all SAHMs love being home. Why not offer the choice and I mean, a choice and opportunity.

I'm all in favour of parenting having a "choice" but the thing is, there really isn't much out there and plenty of people don'tr have the confidence in allowing their sons to play with barbies and allowing their daughters to play with trucks. Your kids were "lucky" that you did that. Not all parents are like that. How many times have people said "little boys who play with dolls turn out to be gay" and other such crap? "Little girls don't go and play with the boys! Act like a lady". It is crap. Let the kids play with what they want but allow them the options of choice.

...with my children when they were small, I homeschool, and am deeply involved in my children's development. This is my choice and it is no less valid than a woman who choses either not to have children, or to have children and go out to work. I couldnt give a flying F if I am betraying the Sisterhood, Im doing what I believe is best for my children, and it greatly irritates me when other people think they are entitled to an opinion on how me and my husband have chosen to run our family.

and then you turn around and make comments like

They have no interest in what is best for the child - breastfeeding for instance - and only what is comfortable for them. This selfishness does not make a happy or good stay at home mother.

Do you not see how judgmental YOU are being for saying this?

I'm glad you enjoy staying home and whatnot but why belittle those who don't the same fulfillment as you do from it? Why accuse these women that they aren't doing what is best? No one on here is accusing you of not doing what is best so why accuse these women? This is the problem.

I find it particularly irritating when people who voice such strong and derisory views are not even a parent. Being an educator or an "auntie" is in no way comparable to being an actual parent.

We've already covered this... I find it particularly irritating when mothers think they'll "win" an argument by trotting out this comment time and time and time and time again. Funny, I have NEVER heard a father make such a comment.

I don't think there's any reason that a woman couldn't do the same thing, but I don't think many would.

Why do you think that is?

They want women to do all this, but don't want to do it themselves.

Perhaps because they aren't interested in having kids because they realize that for the most part it is kids or their job? I can't speak for them but know why my single workaholic friends don't have kids. They love their job and know that they won't be able to do both the way a man is able to. Kids take the backseat and their career is first. It does annoy them to no end when some female in the office gets pregnant and quits though as that sends a message to the boys that this is what many women will do and perhaps my friends will do the same. Thing is, they might if they have kids because they lack support that would allow them to do both.

Who makes men feel comfortable? Men are on the whole treated much less well than you imagine. Women who are being 'steered' can't object? Why do they just go along with it?

I don't think most men get treated well at work - particularly in this country. Women can object. Thing is, many don't have the confidence to do it and it is just easier to go along with it. Or they just don't get that there are other opportunities out that they could take.

Indeed there are differences but I don't think as many and as large as society likes to believe. Men can be amazing care givers, nurturers, teachers and do everything that a women can do once the birth process is over - including feeding a baby if not breastfeeding. Why then is it the women's "job" be the one to "mother" the child?

Do as you feel fit as a parent but allow people the freedom to do what they want. There is no need to state that non-breastfeeding, non co-sleeping mothers are selfish and bad moms. There is no need to state that working moms aren't putting their kids first. No one on this thread has beat up on those that stay at home, breastfeeding, co-sleeping moms... why the hate for those that don't? As long as the kid is being raised in a family that loves them and cares for them, what is the issue?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

but you don't want parents to choose for themselves how they raise their kids?

Sorry, what? Where have I ever said that? I'm the one on here stating that people should do whatever they like. You're the one who is stating that women should stay home, should breastfeed and if they don't do what is in the "Good Mommy Book" by Cleo, they aren't doing their "best".

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Look at how people speak to male babies and how they speak to female babies. It is very, very different. It isn't being the victim at all. It is just pointing out that boys and girls are raised very, very differentl

It's not one-way....the feedback from the child completes the loop. I raised a son, and now have a granddaughter. They way they play/played is different. There ARE differences in the sexes, it's about time we acknowledged that, after denying it for 40 years.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

More than I think are offered a position to.

Offered? Donald Trump, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, the founders of Facebook, Google, etc weren't offered anything. They started out from nothing. Many financial giants started out at the bottom of their companies. I don't think there's any reason that a woman couldn't do the same thing, but I don't think many would.

More men are willing to make the office time sacrifice because they assume that women will pick up the slack at home - and they do! Which is why so many mothers either quit work or work PT or lessened hours when they have kids.

Not all men are married, and not all women are mothers. The feminists I mentioned earlier, they are all single, have no intentions of having children, but for all their exortations at other women, they are willing to blog and/or write articles for Slate. It seems two-faced. They want women to do all this, but don't want to do it themselves.

Women don't take certain positions or work in certain roles because they aren't made to feel comfortable or aren't given the same direction or leads as men are. Men in school are steered towards science and maths while women are steered towards "easier" things. Men become doctors, women become nurses.

Who makes men feel comfortable? Men are on the whole treated much less well than you imagine. Women who are being 'steered' can't object? Why do they just go along with it? Women have as much responsibility for where they end up as men do. 'I was steered' 'They told me this was all I could do' etc are just too sheep-like for me to swallow. And, as long as women are unwilling to bang heads, ask for raises, and otherwise take ownership of their lives and careers, nothing will change.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Women and men are different, so there'll never be equality.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Cleo I would give you a hundred thumbs up if I could.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The "feminist revolution" is just as proscriptive and limiting as any patriarchial system, with added female bitchiness to boot.

What is so hard about personal choice for some people - usually women - to understand?

It was my personal choice to be a stay at home mother. I breastfed for an extended period of time, followed attachment parenting ideas and slept with my children when they were small, I homeschool, and am deeply involved in my children's development. This is my choice and it is no less valid than a woman who choses either not to have children, or to have children and go out to work. I couldnt give a flying F if I am betraying the Sisterhood, Im doing what I believe is best for my children, and it greatly irritates me when other people think they are entitled to an opinion on how me and my husband have chosen to run our family.

I find it particularly irritating when people who voice such strong and derisory views are not even a parent. Being an educator or an "auntie" is in no way comparable to being an actual parent.

I love my job. It is not "work" in quotation marks, but proper work, and no less valuable because I am not paid, in fact to me, this adds to my satisfaction in life. My only reward is my children's development and love and to me this is part of what makes my life enjoyable to me.

Some mothers do find being part of someone else's development boring and unfulfilling. They have no interest in what is best for the child - breastfeeding for instance - and only what is comfortable for them. This selfishness does not make a happy or good stay at home mother. Thank goodness women who feel this way do return to work and allows someone else who does enjoy their child to put the work into raising them. That said we all know that for most child care staff it is not a labor or love, but just a job to them.

Far from working mothers to be the ones to catch all the flak for their choices, I find it is stay at home mothers who are subject to the most vicious attacks on their life choices, and most of that derision is from other women.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In YOUR opinion

Er, isn't that what we're supposed to be doing here, giving our opinion? You would rather I gave someone else's opinion? Yours, maybe?

no one should be "pushed" into anything. That's the point

I agree.

Offer the same opportunities to the genders and let them decide based on what they like

Isn't that what I wrote?

I have serious gripes with the way many, many other children are being raised with regards to gender stereotypes.

I think you're in a bit of a circular argument here. You want people to choose for themselves, but you don't want parents to choose for themselves how they raise their kids? You don't want people being told how to raise their kids with regards to home care/day care, breastfeeding/bottlefeeding etc., but you want to dictate what kind of toys they choose for their kids?

Perhaps you don't care because you fit the stereotype?

If (IF) I do, then it seems to have made me a lot happier than the wannabe career ladies. But I don't think I let gender stereotypes get in the way. I raised my kids with no gender barriers. My son played with Barbie and Rika-chan; my daughter played with the toy cars and train sets that he ignored. They both turned out balanced and happy, too.

Was it the fear of being home or the fear of being called a sissy boy for staying home?

I think it was the knowledge, having experienced both, that looking after a baby, keeping a house clean and cooking for the family is a lot harder than being out at work all day and coming home to find everything done.

there are no gender issues in schooling, parenting and society

That's not what I said. I said it's the parents' choice. You are in favour of choice, aren't you?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Dead right. It would be a step backwards.

In YOUR opinion.

Cleo, no one should be "pushed" into anything. That's the point. Offer the same opportunities to the genders and let them decide based on what they like not "This is what little girls do" and "This is what little boys do" mentality that is rampant in society. Why are there "Men's" jobs and "women's jobs"? Salarymen vs Office ladies.... There are a million books out there on this topic.

Cleo, really? Are you going to be that argumentative with regards to toys? The research is out there. Go to your nearest toy shop and step back and look. Perhaps YOU have a child being raised without all the stereotypes but that isn't the case for many out there.

I have zero gripes with how "I" was raised. I have serious gripes with the way many, many other children are being raised with regards to gender stereotypes. It is a huge issue. Perhaps you don't care because you fit the stereotype? There is nothing wrong if that is what makes YOU happy but clearly, it doesn't make all women happy.

Your son in law and his pale face is a fine example of gender stereotyping at work. Was it the fear of being home or the fear of being called a sissy boy for staying home? More than his "fair share"? Over 50% then?

If you think there are no gender issues in schooling, parenting and society you really need a reality check.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

You said you didn't want to be equal.

Dead right. It would be a step backwards.

As for the education thing - surely pushing girls into science subjects is just as bad as pushing them into arts subjects? (Same applies to boys mutatis mutandis, of course).

Go to a toy shop and look at the toys. Easily can be separated by gender.

Only if you want to separate them. My granddaughter has dollies and a Wendy House with a plastic kitchen. Lots of pink. Very girlie. She also has a bike, toy cars, plays 'action' games on the Wii, wrestles with her Daddy and spends most of her time in trousers. Anyone just looking at the toys would think she already had a brother. She's being raised as her parents see fit - as I imagine you were. if you object to the way you were brought up, surely your gripe is with your parents, not with society in general?

As for all-girl schools; presumably the girls are there because their parents chose to send them there. Again, your gripe is with the parents, not society, which provides a choice of single-sex or coed. My daughter had woodwork and metalwork lessons in her coed school. My son had cooking and needlework classes in his.

have you ever asked a man if they'd like to stay home?

I asked my son-in-law. He turned pale, even though he is at home and in charge one day out of three, is a wonderful husband and father and does more than his fair share of housework and childcare.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Victim? Not at all. Just pointing out facts. No one "forced" you Cleo but there were certainly hints and signs. Go to a toy shop and look at the toys. Easily can be separated by gender. Look at kid's clothing and colours. Look at how people speak to male babies and how they speak to female babies. It is very, very different. It isn't being the victim at all. It is just pointing out that boys and girls are raised very, very differently and this affects their futures - be it job, income, opportunities.... I thought that was well known and understood. Rather shocked that you think else wise. Weren't you the one that commented the other day about all female schools offering gender based classes like sewing and cooking? You can't understand how that stuff is encouragement? If you don't think that is socializing there isn't any point in speaking about it as we simply won't agree. It starts from birth and continue until we die - which is why women are under represented in "boys" jobs.

Cleo, have you ever asked a man if they'd like to stay home? Or do you just assume they don't want to? Your husband doesn't speak for all men and nor do your experiences. I have plenty of male friends who envy that women have a "choice" to work or stay home. They'd like the opportunity to be able to decide but don't get that option. One posters above already said he'd be more than happy to stay home...

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Cleo, I meant with the "equal" thing. You said you didn't want to be equal.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I get annoyed that my tax money gets paid towards heavily subsidising daycare sometimes for those who are wealthy anyway.

I was in a situtaion of having to bring up my daughter for the first 9 months single handedly. The 9 months made me realise how hard bringing up an infant is, but i am glad i did it. I woyuldn't have had it any other way. I cannot fathom why a mother would not want to experience these wonderful early times with her child

7 ( +7 / -0 )

"I want to be seen as an equal but will quit my job the minute I get married" does my head in. Cleo as least is honest with this opinion.

I didn't quit my job the minute I got married. In fact I was unemployed when I got married (my teaching contract having come to a timely end) and I got myself a new job after the wedding.

To be honest tmarie, all this talk of 'girls aren't encouraged like boys are' strikes me as being a bit of a victim syndrome. No one at school forced me into 'easier' subjects; I was free to choose the subjects I was interested in, which is surely the firmest base for any subsequent career. No point building a career on something you find deadly boring (like calculus). At the other end of the spectrum my son wasn't pushed into science subjects at school, he took a liberal arts degree and now has a high-flyin' job that promises to be a fabulous lifelong career. Mind, he does put the hours in and doesn't expect anyone to offer him opportunities - he makes his own.

There are many men who would love to be able to stay at home with their kids

There may be some men in that mould, but I've yet to meet one! One time I was working away from home for a few days and Mr cleo took some time off work to hold the fort at home. Three days later I came back to find him a wreck, the flat trashed and the kids running up the walls, zonked out on junk food and sugar. We both agreed, never again.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

How many women are willing to put in the 80-hour weeks of a CEO?

More than I think are offered a position to. Women with kids who are working are "working" 24 hours a day. Women in the end who work FT often work more than men if you factor in the house and kids. I knew plenty of single women who would and do work insane amounts of hours - who aren't being promoted like the men. Why? The only thing I can come up with - and what they can come up with is that they aren't male so not part of the boy's club. I was one of them and I left my former job because of it. More men are willing to make the office time sacrifice because they assume that women will pick up the slack at home - and they do! Which is why so many mothers either quit work or work PT or lessened hours when they have kids. I am sure some men cut back as well but not near as much as the women do. If it was equal and women were being paid and promoted fairly, perhaps men might be the ones to stay at home - as one male poster suggested he would. Perhaps men would work PT while the women worked FT? As it is, many think it is the women's "job" to stay home with the kids - vocalized on this very thread.

Women don't take certain positions or work in certain roles because they aren't made to feel comfortable or aren't given the same direction or leads as men are. Men in school are steered towards science and maths while women are steered towards "easier" things. Men become doctors, women become nurses. Men become scientists, women become teachers... A lot of it is down to socialization. It isn't because women can't do the jobs. They aren't interested in doing "men" jobs because that interest has never been fostered on a large scale for women. Boys get trucks, girls get barbies... it starts at a very young age and no wonder when they get to become adults men head towards what they knew in their childhood whereas girls head to what they know. Looking after dolls and playing house.

And indeed, I agree women need to practice what they preach - which is why the culture of some women and "I want to be seen as an equal but will quit my job the minute I get married" does my head in. Cleo as least is honest with this opinion. Many others are not. Having kids is seen as being the easy way out. It isn't. I greatly dislike "quotas" be it for women, visible minorities... It doesn't solve the problem - and just gets people's backs up. People should be hired and promoted fairly. But that doesn't happen. Genders should have the same opportunities and same encouragement regardless of whatever field it is but that doesn't happen. It isn't just the women that suffer. There are many men who would love to be able to stay at home with their kids but would be mocked for it - if they could afford it. It isn't just the women that get hurt in all of this. The men do as well. And at the end of the day, it is the kids that pay the price.

Telling women they are bad mothers for not staying home, not breastfeeding... isn't helping mothers. Do what is right for you and your family. If that means staying home, by all means if you have the money go for it (which is why the SAHM thing in Japan gets me because MY tax money funds them), if you don't either don't have kids, have one or work to ensure you have the money you want to raise your kids the way you want. If you want to work and have kids, by all means. Why though is there little support for working moms while tons of support for SAHM?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Well said, Himajin.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

'always HEAR about', sorry.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How many women are willing to put in the 80-hour weeks of a CEO? Women's preferences aren't being factored in here. I don't know many women who are willing to work 80-hour weeks do you? More men are willing to make that sacrifice. Women don't usually take jobs in carpentry, plumbing, demolition, the nuclear industry etc either. Then there is a hue and cry from NOW about 'not enough female engineers'. It does no good to say that there aren't enough women in any given field without demonstrating that a number of women actually want to enter that field, and are being denied. With 94% of workplace deaths being male, I'd assume that men continue to do the majority of the dirty and dangerous jobs, and they also pay better. I always here about 'more female CEOs needed' but have never heard the clarion call for 'more women dump truck drivers' ;-P

One thing that really steamed me last week was a post that went around from Ultra Violet demanding 'Facebook let women in to the Board of Directors'. Facebook went public with the original staff they had, which happened to be all-male, as is often the case in IT (Google, Microsoft, Apple). It wasn't purposeful discrimination against women. If women are so gung-ho for IT, where are the start-ups founded by women? Here is their blurb-

"I just found out that Facebook--a company where women make up most of its users and are responsible for most of its revenue-- doesn't have a single woman on their board of directors.

It’s ridiculous! That's why I signed a petition to urge Facebook to invite women to join the board before it goes public. Past experience shows that Facebook cares a lot about its brand and will respond to pressure if enough of us speak out. Can you join me in this campaign by signing this petition today? "

Well, how about getting a resume together and applying? Why ask for it on a platter? Instead, 'internet activism' and pressure from social networking sites is the route they take. The majority of the current leading feminist sites (Feminsting, Jezebel etc) are constantly complaining about the lack of women in top professions, but look at them.....they are all 'writers' 'bloggers' , one's in a clerical position in a university, none of the top feminists (by page hit, name recognition) has any more than a liberal arts or women's studies degree. They need to practice what they preach....

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Hima, you're looking at wages and titles. Why not look at management positions and higher positions on company, schools... that is where you see the gap. Men get promoted more often than women down and to higher positions. In the "low" ranks of PT and minimum wage, of course it is the same. However, how many presidents, managers, VPs...are there for women compared to men. That is where the inequality. Women have to work twice as hard to be half as good.

I don't think the writer was saying not to breastfeed, not to co-sleep... I think she's telling others to back off on insisting that this is what a good mother has to do and anything less means you aren't being a good mom nor putting your kids first. There are plenty of methods of parenting but the pro-breastfeeding, pro-stay at home group seem to be rather vocal these days. Why is beyond me. Let parents do what they like and leave them alone as long as the child is safe and cared for.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Himajin - agree with what you say except I think it is actually the women NOT so cocksure of their own choices that feel the need to browbeat other women (that by the way is not directed at anyone here but more based on my own experiences). I have been a single career woman and child-hater(!), a full time working Mum, a part time working Mum, a stay at home Mum and every iteration in between. In my experience it was the ones who were most unsure of themselves who were most vocal in their opinions.

Until women stop beating each other up I would say we have very little leg to stand on when we complain about the way men treat us too!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Women hold other women back....women browbeat other women, it isn't 'society', it's stubborn women so cocksure that their own choices are politically correct that they rub others' faces in them. As long as men don't evolve to have a uterus, as mammals, it will be women who give birth. Perhaps that sucks, but it is how we're made. How and who cares for the child after it's born is each couple's prerogative, and no onlooker gets to point fingers and say 'You shouldn't be breastfeeding', 'You shouldn't be co-sleeping' 'They husband should change more diapers' or anything else. If women were secure in their choices, these threads would never be this long. Women attack other women when they do something perceived as not good for 'the cause' whichever cause they may be espousing. I had a flight attendant tell me that 'it's women like you who hold all woman back'. What the hell? How does my staying at home keep other women from making a different choice? It all seems pretty stupid to me, but I've always been a 'lone wolf' type.

The author of the article is one such woman. Why should she care if women breastfeed or co-sleep? Co-sleeping was the norm in Japan hundreds of years before Americans started pushing it in the 1980s.

The pay gap has been debunked by more than one economist. I'd like to know how minimum wage job providers pay the minimum wage to men and not to women. Anyone have an actual example of this? Two kids in McD's, the boy gets the Massachusetts (home state ;-D) minimum wage of $7.65, the girls gets $5.75 an hour? Really? Equal wage law was passed in the US in the 60s. It's federal law, people. The wage gap sleight of hand usually involves comparing the average salary overall of men and women, tabulated by averaging ALL jobs and salaries for each sex. Upon breakdown, and comparison of job to job, it is found that:

More women elect to work part time, which brings down the average for women with the 'lump sum' method When compared job-for-job, women make 98% of what men make The 2% difference is due to women working shorter hours on average in all jobs

So let's let the bad-math wage gap myth die finally...comparing hamburger flippers to hamburger flippers to hamburger flippers, lawyers to lawyers, the gap is 2%.

How many women elect hard majors? Engineering? Math majors? Careers with degrees in literature and women's studies won't pay as well. It's time that that dawned on people.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

100% agree Gyouza! Companies and society needs to get fathers more involved - and give them the time to be more involved.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I really wish that were the case but if you read the stats about employment in Japan, the rate of women, their rate of pay, the pension payout for working women vs men vs stay at home moms.... It isn't just my environment. MY apologies as I thought you were suggesting it wasn't a good thing for women to be where they are at in your situation. I wish more would be. It would make life much, much better for everyone all around.

Well I did say that attitudes have to change. My view is there is very low child care tolerance for MEN, and most are happy with that as it perpetuates the status quo. As I mentioned (numerous times now) the duty belongs to both parents to raise the child. Ending my input on this thread here.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It is interesting to read all the stories written by women justifying;

their role as mothers

their role as competitors to men

their freedom to choose

I asked my grandfather who was born in 1927, what was the difference in family life today. He said;

"To raise a family now, pay a mortgage, educate and feed children, couples need two incomes"

Seems a logical point that one person working for a 'bank' has become two, and the only winner since the 'liberation' of women has been corporate profit. We need to address this imbalance and the sooner the better.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Um, I quoted the wrong thing. The one to Cos should be

Typical bully-speak. Let's not bother with nuances. If a woman doesn't breastfeed, she lets the baby starve, If she puts the bady in childcare that like abandoning if in the nature. There is nothing in between. Saint Mother or devil.

No one will ever think any mother is perfect, regards of how well mom thinks she is doing. Someone will always find something wrong. Either learn to deal with that or spend the rest of your life arguing with people on the internet about it! ;)

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I merely, and humbly suggest, that it might be you and your environment that might not be reflective of the larger society. Just an observation, not saying I am right, but it is a possibility, right?

Well said Cos! Many good points. I don't know much about this women - nor really care to be honest - but thought she was spot on with this. The bullying of working mothers needs to stop. More so in a country that can't afford to have women staying home and can't afford to have the population continue to drop.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I merely, and humbly suggest, that it might be you and your environment that might not be reflective of the larger society. Just an observation, not saying I am right, but it is a possibility, right?

I really wish that were the case but if you read the stats about employment in Japan, the rate of women, their rate of pay, the pension payout for working women vs men vs stay at home moms.... It isn't just my environment. MY apologies as I thought you were suggesting it wasn't a good thing for women to be where they are at in your situation. I wish more would be. It would make life much, much better for everyone all around.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

DESPERATE to earn money but can't due to limitations on childcare availability

Primo childcare is available. The limitations are affordability, social stigma and general laziness of the male genitors that do a ridiculously low share of the childcare. Japan want babies for the country, so it could seriously fund childcare (as it's widely done in North-European countries, in France, benefits and tax discount cover at different degrees the salaries+pension+social security of childminders, which also creates careers for many mothers). In Japan, even hiring someone to keep your kid one night so you can go out in couple, or just the Mum seeing friends is criticized. And the fathers, logically, they should all work only half-time during the first years of the baby, so they could do childcare,no ? Segundo, breastfeeding make the use of childcare logistically impossible in most cases. Most women don't breastfeed after the 2 or 3 month maternity leave, but those that do it like for 1 or 2 years get stuck at home.

Any normal healthy mother who is 'angry' about breastfeeding needs to grow up and take a reality check.

Get a reality check. I didn't think that was useful to precise but Badinter never said she didn't breastfed (she probably did a little) nor she was against the practice. She is not asking for a ban of it. The reality is European countries are seeing campaigns that want public funding to be devoted to promoting "extreme breastfeeding". Most European women breastfeed the first weeks, often with formula complement and fixed timing. But some movement would like to generalize the 2 year breastfeeding practice, and freezing women's life during that period. Oh, they are not so extreme as their immediate objective is 6 months. And all childcare help would be scraped as that would become ; "be a full time milking cow if you want benefits".. They say : "That's what women want. -But, we don't all want... -Real mothers want, you're a bad one...". There have been celebrities like Gisele Bundchen and Heidi Klum shown around saying there should be worldwide laws making 6 months of breastfeeding compulsory. Nothing less. I guess an incompetent laitiere like Cleo would simply get her calf taken by the mothering police. And when you hear the US campaign, with all the viagra addicts wanting to ban birth control. Scary.

The bar for motherhood is being set incredibly high, they’re expected to sacrifice their careers in the process, and, given the divorce rate, it’s quite possible that, after a few years, they will find themselves struggling as single mothers.

That's the harsh reality. In France, nearly of the poor are single (divorced, abandoned...) mothers with kids in charge and without a bread-winning job, and most other poor are their adult kids aged 18/25. 2/3 of single mothers fall under poverty level. That's not better in Japan, the US, etc. So surely sabotaging your modest chances to make a living steadily, in order to play the eco celeb style breast-feeding is not very wise.

Feminism seems to forget that women still have choices that they may persue that run counter to their hopes of a female ruled world.

Badinter is usually called an anti-feminist these days. She had always opposed affirmative action and specific laws protecting women only and not other genders. The Chiennes de Garde have even done a riot and tried to give her a beating. Precisions about her as most of you don't know her. She is extremely famous in France. Yes, she inherited Publicis (CM company) and is very rich, and yes Publicis is criticised (they don't baby formula, that's an hoax, but they make disgustingly sexy CMs) and I don't agree with her excuse that she is only shareholder, and she doesn't work at Publicis so it's not her. That's said. Her career, she made it herself, by passing the very selective exams and doing research to become a philosophy teacher at the higher level (just that is impressive). Her many books have been best-sellers and have become classics for their content. And she has a long career as an activist. Her hubby is the guy that obtained the suppression of death penalty, the full de-criminalisation of homosexuality... She participated to his campaigns and to others on her own to make contraception become legal and free, etc. I don't agree with everything she says, far from it but the questions she writes about are always interesting. I'm glad she didn't spend 9 years at home breast-feeding and then having a custody feud with an ex-husband that would have left, tired of the company of someone so limited.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

the perfect mother is none existant.

It's a media creation. A myth that the mother should the unique care giver, even the slave of the child during months while she renounces to all professional activity (money arriving miraculously) + all social life (the kid has to be your universe) + even family life (don't lose time on sex life, caring other family members). And it comes with pseudo-scientific data claiming that totally necessary for the child development. Like the Gwyneth Paltrow and such, that spend the day carving the organic veggies to make a baby soup, use hand-washed diaper, etc... In Japan, it's sickening with idol Mama tarentos that are shown spending their lives knitting, designing anime bentos, saying the kid is cute... Breastfed during 2 years and never fare doing it in public, not even in the toilets. Anyway you're not supposed to bother with your kids at the workplace (well you're not supposed to work), nor the shops, nor the restaurants, etc. Never leave the Mama-baby ghetto. Or let the kids at home, keep them quiet so neighbors are not disturbed, but never let them there while you leave and at the same time don't abandon the kid to others, relatives or top of horror : baby-sitter. The mother herself has to be holding the kid 24/24, that's the best, so do the best not the second best as Cleo says. The biggest issues of the mothers are supposed to be scrapbooking albums, decorating baby's room, and hand-sewing ridiculous matching outfits for Mum and her doll...

Give your child endless love and attention, help and watch him or her grow and they will love you (unconditionally) for it. Not only that but society as a whole will benefit because you're bringing an emotionally stable, healthy and empathetic individual into the world.

Making a child in order to receive unconditional love is not sick ? I've worked in schools that cater those children that have been suffocated by maternal obsession permanently and I have yet to see one that you could describe as "emotionally stable" or "empathic". They raise many chibi douche bags, and much worse, many kids that don't seem to have a great mental health. As an educator, I can only say that the kids that stay at home with the mother as sole company appear as 1 to 3 year less advanced (in language, social interaction, creativity, self-confidence, common sense...) than those that went to childcare and were used to interact with several adults and with other kids. I can't say more. Maybe they are late bloomers. And if you read about all the education research that is not done by has-been celebs, well the serious stuff, you'll see a lot of support for socialization of the child and very little in favor of house confinement and isolation of the Mum-child couple.

Surely she was aware before she decided to get pregnant that feeding the baby would be part of the package? If a man chooses to make babies all over the place and to provide for none of them,

Typical bully-speak. Let's not bother with nuances. If a woman doesn't breastfeed, she lets the baby starve, If she puts the bady in childcare that like abandoning if in the nature. There is nothing in between. Saint Mother or devil.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

@tmarie

Gyouza, depends on how you look at it. I tend to think, marriage or not, kids or not, a balanced work environment is good. You suggesting married or not, kids or not, women shouldn't be equally represented in the work force?

Please reread my posts if you can. I have stated from the start that the decision to bring children into the world is a joint effort AND resonsibility between father and mother. Both must be prepared to sacrifice everything in order to bring that child to adulthood. That includes the father giving up his career if required. In saying that the "opposite may also be true" it was relating to your assertion that I live in an unbalanced environment that isn't normal. I merely, and humbly suggest, that it might be you and your environment that might not be reflective of the larger society. Just an observation, not saying I am right, but it is a possibility, right?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Tmarie and Cleo: you both have good points. I think that if a women wants to become a mother, she should know what she is signing herself up for. It means that there will be times (always?) when your life will feel that it is being interrupted. There will be times when you don't feel that you are doing your best or that you aren't meeting others standards. That is bound to happen. But the point is, that people should be aware and try to do their best if they choose to become a parent. This is even true for those who are pressured into being a parent, because in reality, they are still making that choice. If a woman really was opposed to having children, hopefully she would be able to find a loving supporting spouse that would have the same desire. Those are the women who tend to be in professional jobs such as doctors, who would like to continue on their carreer path. They may not get to the top of the workplace ladder but if they are happy in doing it, and work hard enough, maybe they can help pave the way for other women like them. Life is a series of choices, and each one you take, only you can be held accountable for it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Mod, this is no more impolite to users than someone suggesting they'd like to slap someone.

Cleo, I doubt you've directed a movie and have criticized one. I doubt you've been a PM but have criticized one. I don't need to have kids to know what is good parenting and what is bad parenting. Just as you don't need to be a teacher to comment on those who teach/taught your children. The writer of the article is a mother and clearly doesn't agree with you with regards to what makes a "good" mother. How would you like to discredit her? Obviously the "you don't have kids" cop-out won't work.

If anyone "should" be supportive of women making parenting choices, it should be you. Unable to breastfeed and used formula, put your child is yochien and worked, have a daughter with a baby who works which means your grandchild is in daycare... It is a shame that you can't see that people like yourself are the reason why so many women in this country are saying "Forget it, not worth the stress and the judgements" and not having kids.

I highly doubt your bottle fed child suffered because they weren't breastfeed, I highly doubt your kids suffered because you didn't home school them, I highly doubt your kids suffered because you worked. I don't doubt though that people passed judgements on your parenting and it made you feel bad - you've already commented on the nurse. Yet, here you sit, passing judgement on those who don't agree with your parenting methods. You're an intelligent woman, I know you're not incapable of understanding the how passing judgements on mothers isn't going to increase the birthrate, let alone support them in their time of need.

Moderator: You are not to address Cleo or any other reader, or pass judgement. Please focus your comments on the topic and not at or about other readers.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Gyouza, depends on how you look at it. I tend to think, marriage or not, kids or not, a balanced work environment is good. You suggesting married or not, kids or not, women shouldn't be equally represented in the work force?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Gyouza, you run in a good group then as that isn't anywhere near normal.

Maybe - the opposite may also be true, right?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Do as I say, not as I do.... really, that is what you live by.

What I say is 'Do the best you possibly can for your baby'. What I did was to do the best I possibly could.

Please don't dare accuse me of being judgmental again when I comment on crappy parenting.

Please don't comment on others' crappy parenting until you've tried it yourself and found out first-hand that babies don't read child-rearing books and don't do what the books say they will.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Cleo, perhaps you should read up a bit more on breastfeeding, depression and meds.

Do as I say, not as I do.... really, that is what you live by. You complain about what the nurse said to you but look at your comments on here towards others who don't agree with you.

Your comments on this thread have been nothing less than shocking - and very old fashioned. Wanting to slap women for not wanting to breastfeed. Please don't dare accuse me of being judgmental again when I comment on crappy parenting.

Gyouza, you run in a good group then as that isn't anywhere near normal.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Some moms don't want to breastfeed for whatever reason.

There are lots of things about looking after babies that no one in their right mind would want to do - like changing poopie nappies, wiping second-hand milk dribbles out of your hair and ears, even giving birth itself is a bit of an ordeal. Not to mention having a haemorrhage on your bank account for the next 20-plus years. Doesn't mean it's OK for Mum to just not do what she doesn't like.

Coming from a mom who wasn't able to breastfeed? Really Cleo?

Yes, really. You're an intelligent woman, I know you're not incapable of understanding the difference between 'tried her best and wasn't able' and 'couldn't even be bothered to try'.

judgmental women who think they can bully women into breastfeeding

..vs the can't-be-bothered women who can bully their babies into making do with second-best.

why not give me the stats on mothers who are depressed and need meds but can't take it because of breastfeeding.

Any doctor worth his salt would call a halt on the breastfeeding if the mother needed any kind of medication that would affect the milk. 'Poor me I can't take my medication because I'm breastfeeding' is baloney.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I know a good number of wealthy single working women who will be much better off than me at retirement, indeed the article was written by someone who doesn't actually need to work anymore!

A they would be a very, very small minority. Surely you can't disagree with that.

In the group of people I interact with directly, it is about 50/50. I do accept that there are more in different demographic groups.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I knew that if my wife's career looked more promising that there could be a need for me to scale back my own plans.

Shame that most women aren't given that support - nor the opportunity to be able to have a more promising career. Many seem to think that a women's job is to have kids, not a career. Just look at the comments on here with regards to it.

Well said madammika! 100% agree!

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

But the reason I didn't breastfeed was because I couldn't, not because it wasn't convenient for me or because I felt feeding my own baby was 'gross' or simply because I couldn't be bothered.

Any normal healthy mother who is 'angry' about breastfeeding needs to grow up and take a reality check.

Rather judgmental of you to say that, isn't it? Some moms don't want to breastfeed for whatever reason. It isn't your business if they do or not, right? Just as you go on about it not being my business what SAHM do (though it is since I'm paying their way when it comes to health care and pension). If they don't want to, looking down on them isn't helping them, is it? Doing what is best for mom often leads to a happier mom which means a happier baby. You stated you weren't less a mom for not doing it, why should those who chose not to do it be seen as less of a good mom as you've indicated?

Surely she was aware before she decided to get pregnant that feeding the baby would be part of the package? Coming from a mom who wasn't able to breastfeed? Really Cleo? Wet nurses have been around for centuries. Formula has been used for decades. Birthing doesn't equal breastfeeding. If anyone should know that, it should be you.

When so many mothers struggle and do their best to feed their babies from the breast, those who could but don't because they 'don't like it' or 'it isn't convenient' deserve a slap up the back of the head in my opinion.

Interesting coming from the poster who posted that no one should ever be hit on the DV thread. Of course I know you're "joking" but please don't ever get on your "don't judge" high horse ever again after that comment. If anyone should be slapped, it is the judgmental women who think they can bully women into breastfeeding.

Bottom line, you do the best you can for your baby. What's easy for one woman may be difficult for another, impossible for yet another. I was nearly in tears when the health visitor came, saw I was bottle-feeding, and made a throw-away remark about how I 'should have tried harder' - she had no idea how hard I had tried.

Which is exactly how I feel. you don't though as you suggested slapping women who don't breastfeed. Which is it Cleo? Telling a mom who doesn't want to breastfeed she should be slapped isn't helping her, is it? Perhaps you should remember how you felt when that nurse made that disgusting comment to you.

I know a good number of wealthy single working women who will be much better off than me at retirement, indeed the article was written by someone who doesn't actually need to work anymore!

A they would be a very, very small minority. Surely you can't disagree with that.

So lets go to the other end of the scale here, with the WHO reporting that formula fed infants are 4 times more likely to die than their breast fed counterparts when living in squalid conditions. So the kids COULD suffer as a consequence of the CHOICE to not breast feed, right? If that choice is forced though, not being able to breast feed does not make a mother any less a mother in my view. Indeed. I don't doubt it. Though why not give me the stats on mothers who are depressed and need meds but can't take it because of breastfeeding. Why not give me the stats on mothers who have been made to feel inadequate. Do you think they have a better infant mortality rate as I certainly don't think they do.

How could anyone argue to deprive a helpless child who craves love and attention from that same attention and care just so a woman can "make it" in the corporate rat race.

It takes two to make a baby (in most cases anyway). Why limit this to just women? Why not include men in that statement? Men are just as capable as women to give love and attention.

Give your child endless love and attention, help and watch him or her grow and they will love you (unconditionally) for it. Not only that but society as a whole will benefit because you're bringing an emotionally stable, healthy and empathetic individual into the world.

How does working stop this from happening? My mom worked, I don't think she loved me any less. The country IO grew up in benefited from her taxes. Not to mention the benefits I got from her working - more money for sports, books, university... My family couldn't have afford such things if my mom hadn't worked. And no, children don't love their parents unconditionally. Look at the number of adults here killing their parents - that they still live with. More than willing to bet mom didn't work in the majority of those cases. Working doesn't mean you don't love your kids, you aren't providing a stable and healthy environment. Bad parenting does that - be it SAHM mom or working mom. And again, why limit this to women? I doubt you'd say such a thing to men about parenting.

On your death bed what are you going to consider as your place in this world? Someone who climbed the corporate ladder or someone who properly raised and cared for another human being? I know what choice my mom made and I very much thank her for it.

Working doesn't equal "corporate ladder". I'm glad you thank your mom for her choices. I thank mine too - and she worked.

Excellent post Christina! I wish more people felt the way you do. Life would be much, much easier for all women.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Any woman who gives birth to a kid and raises them as best she can has my admiration. More so for the majority who do it without whining!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Curse of the Perfect father. Ops I forgot, guys aren't allowed to complain. Not complaining, I iz juz saying.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

An interesting article. Hate to say this but there is no such thing as the perfect mother! We try and do the best for our kids whether its breastfeeding/formula feeding, staying home or going back to work. This world isnt perfect either! I have a 17mth old, second one on the way and I chose to stay home when I could have quite easily gone back to work. I made that choice (with discussion with my husband)......if my circumstances were different, then perhaps the situation would be different. We do have a choice and should not be berated for it because its what we chose! This is the 21st century - not the 16th or the 18th! People who make comments about mothers who work or mothers who formula feed PERHAPS dont know the full facts and are only judging the book by its cover!!!! Once one is fully informed then perhaps its appropriate to make judgement.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I thought the days were gone when a female was expected to bear children regardless of her own wishes. I reckon women have the choice to live their lives according to their dreams. A reluctant morther is less then ideal, but the perfect mother is none existant.By choice i raised six young ones and love them all dearly, now grown up and long since left the nest.

Congrats Christine, I come from a large set of siblings and am so glad that I have a fantastic set of the closest friends imaginable - thanks to a great mum! I'm sure that your six feel the same way!

For this article though, and to touch on your comment, for me (now a father of two) the most important decision of my life was to have children. I knew deep down that if they weren't healthy, any thoughts of a career would need to take second place to raising the kids, I knew that if my wife's career looked more promising that there could be a need for me to scale back my own plans. It has to be a conscious decision to raise a familiy as a family as opposed to a father or mother isolation saying "I need/want children". Neversubmit summarises it perfectly I think.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I thought the days were gone when a female was expected to bear children regardless of her own wishes. I reckon women have the choice to live their lives according to their dreams. A reluctant morther is less then ideal, but the perfect mother is none existant.By choice i raised six young ones and love them all dearly, now grown up and long since left the nest. Does that make me a perfect woman? No. I could just as well have chosen to to fullfill my lifes expectations with a career. Thing is somehow I managed to do both. For myself despite many ups and downs life has not been perfect, but it has certainly been great fun

0 ( +4 / -4 )

We live in a me-first narcissistic society and this article is a case in point.

How could anyone argue to deprive a helpless child who craves love and attention from that same attention and care just so a woman can "make it" in the corporate rat race.

Forget the rat race. Give your child endless love and attention, help and watch him or her grow and they will love you (unconditionally) for it. Not only that but society as a whole will benefit because you're bringing an emotionally stable, healthy and empathetic individual into the world.

On your death bed what are you going to consider as your place in this world? Someone who climbed the corporate ladder or someone who properly raised and cared for another human being? I know what choice my mom made and I very much thank her for it.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

@tmarie

You may be generalising with a specific pockets of society in some of your comments.

I don't think it is that simple. A women who doesn't want to get married in this country is treated like a leper in her older years. Add in that she wouldn't have been paid the same as a man, she's looking at very desolate "golden years" with very little in the terms of pension or help. What are her options? Work your butt off and be poor when you are old or... get married. When you get married in this country, the pressure to have a kid starts in.

I know a good number of wealthy single working women who will be much better off than me at retirement, indeed the article was written by someone who doesn't actually need to work anymore!

Yes, there are benefits. But some women can't breastfeed. Does that make them less a mother? Do you think their kids "suffer" because they weren't breastfeed?

So lets go to the other end of the scale here, with the WHO reporting that formula fed infants are 4 times more likely to die than their breast fed counterparts when living in squalid conditions. So the kids COULD suffer as a consequence of the CHOICE to not breast feed, right? If that choice is forced though, not being able to breast feed does not make a mother any less a mother in my view.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

some women can't have kids. Some can't breastfeed. Does that make them less of a woman?

Not at all. I was unable to breastfeed my first baby. I tried hard, she tried harder, but it just didn't happen. She ended up on formula, on doctor's orders. Do I think that made me less of a mother? Heck no. I did the best I possibly could, which is all any of us can do. But the reason I didn't breastfeed was because I couldn't, not because it wasn't convenient for me or because I felt feeding my own baby was 'gross' or simply because I couldn't be bothered.

A women who doesn't want to breastfeed - for various reasons - shouldn't be told she's not as good a mother as one who breastfeeds. "Forcing" a new mom into doing something she's not happy to do isn't what is best for the baby. An angry, depressed or upset mom is never what is best for a baby. I think we'd all agree on that so why is it okay to "bully" non-breastfeeding moms these days? And it IS bullying. I've had friends in tears because of comments women have made with regards to not breastfeeding.

I think it depends on the reason. If she simply doesn't have the milk and after trying hard is forced to turn to formula because the baby is hungry, that mother is doing the best she can for her baby and is every bit as good a mother as the lucky lady who produces gallons of milk effortlessly. For some women, the structure of the breast or nipple makes breastfeeding unbearably painful, and those women have no option but to bottle-feed. Any normal healthy mother who is 'angry' about breastfeeding needs to grow up and take a reality check. Surely she was aware before she decided to get pregnant that feeding the baby would be part of the package? When so many mothers struggle and do their best to feed their babies from the breast, those who could but don't because they 'don't like it' or 'it isn't convenient' deserve a slap up the back of the head in my opinion. Bottom line, you do the best you can for your baby. What's easy for one woman may be difficult for another, impossible for yet another. I was nearly in tears when the health visitor came, saw I was bottle-feeding, and made a throw-away remark about how I 'should have tried harder' - she had no idea how hard I had tried.

reread what you've written and how someone who can't have kids might feel reading it

Yes, those of us who can have babies, want to have babies and do have babies are very, very lucky, and I feel sorry for any woman who wants a baby and can't have one. I don't think that means I should play down the joys of being a mother, though. I'm never going to win an Olympic gold medal in anything, but that doesn't mean those who have the potential to win one or already have won one should slink off into a corner and keep quiet about it because they might hurt my feelings, or the feelings of all the other never-rans.

My point was that if 'gender equality' means being like a man with all that that entails, then I don't want that kind of downgrading.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

100% agree with the writer. Needs to be more support for women to make choices, not give into pressure - be it to get married, have kids, stay home, go to work, quit your job....

As a woman I have the best of all possible worlds; I can have kids if I want, or I can choose not to. I can go out to work if I want, or I can stay home with the kids. Why on earth would I want to be 'equal' with a man? No prospect of ever giving birth or feeding a baby with your own body, a lifetime of work...even if a man chooses not to be a father, society expects him to work hard his whole life or be branded a loser.

Cleo, some women can't have kids. Some can't breastfeed. Does that make them less of a woman? Of course it doesn't but reread what you've written and how someone who can't have kids might feel reading it.

Personally, I'd love for men and women to be "equal". If fathers want to stay home while mom works, why not? If mom can get paid the same as the men in the field it would be great. There would be a lot less poor single mother families out there which means better lives for the kids. The way it is now, men have very choice but to go and slave at the office which is unfair.

A well written article but I think the author needs to remember what she says in the end: everything is a choice.

I don't think it is that simple. A women who doesn't want to get married in this country is treated like a leper in her older years. Add in that she wouldn't have been paid the same as a man, she's looking at very desolate "golden years" with very little in the terms of pension or help. What are her options? Work your butt off and be poor when you are old or... get married. When you get married in this country, the pressure to have a kid starts in.

...as long as she is happy in what she chooses, and her family supports her

That's the problem though. A working woman is made to feel guilt for "abandoning" her kids. Some stay at home moms aren't at home by choice. Some are there due to pressure from family, friends, society... It would be great if all moms who wanted to stay at home could do so and be happy. It would be great if women who wanted to work could do so and be happy but as it is, I see a lot of unhappy moms working who gets told they should be home with their kids and see a lot of unhappy SAHM who would rather be working but are home... There are also working moms who would rather be at home but just can't afford it. It seems most women can't "win" with this. Work and be called selfish. Stay at home and perhaps "regret" it. Don't work and not be able to afford the lifestyle you would live to raise your child in. I think it is great that happy SAHM moms are able to stay home but thing is, some aren't happy at home, some aren't happy at work. Society really isn't doing much to help with this besides telling women that "they can decide and it is a choice". For some, it really isn't.

I have a few friends who are working mothers. They will tell me they are better mothers when they are working. Why? Because they just don't "have what it takes" to be home all day with their kids. They don't enjoy it. If they don't enjoy it, how beneficial is it for their kids? When they are with their kids, they are amazing moms. What is so wrong with sending kids off to daycare where they can play and be around others if that is what makes mom and them happy? Staying home with an unhappy mom certainly isn't good for anyone. I don't see a problem with them doing this. I don't understand why others do. I thought the women's movement was all about choice? Where is the choice when people are passing judgement on those who work? Those who don't breastfeed? Those who stay home? (Guilty of this one when I see moms who clearly don't look happy to be with their little ones). Perhaps they are moms who want to work but can't as they don't have the support?

Breast feeding is proven (by the medical experts you allude to) to have significant health benefits over formula. I believe some admit that even SOME breast feeding is better than none. Do you have evidence to the contrary?

Yes, there are benefits. But some women can't breastfeed. Does that make them less a mother? Do you think their kids "suffer" because they weren't breastfeed? Suggesting that a women who doesn't breastfeed isn't doing what is best is cruel. A women who doesn't want to breastfeed - for various reasons - shouldn't be told she's not as good a mother as one who breastfeeds. "Forcing" a new mom into doing something she's not happy to do isn't what is best for the baby. An angry, depressed or upset mom is never what is best for a baby. I think we'd all agree on that so why is it okay to "bully" non-breastfeeding moms these days? And it IS bullying. I've had friends in tears because of comments women have made with regards to not breastfeeding.

I cant honestly say I know of many women who have children because they feel pressured into being

Sadly, I know more than a handful who were pressured into it. While they don't "regret" having their kids, they certainly do discuss the topic and many aren't happy to be at home right now. (Two were basically told to screw off with regards to their jobs and come back when their kids are ready for school. Illegal? Yes. Does Japan care? No.) I think they'd be much happier being working moms. They think they would be as well but no job means no daycare. No daycare means no job. It is a cycle that many women can't seem to get out of.

At the end of the day, it's nice to suggest we have choices and that the support is there regardless of the choice one makes but it isn't.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Regarding her subtle attack on breastfeeding, is anyone aware that she is the founder of an advertising and communications company with close ties to a major French producer of infant formula?!

Wow - didn't know that, kind of colours the article a bit more but jury out on whether she just doesn't want to breast feed and hence supports the (Swiss) manufacturer or if she is being sponsored to say so. Also, found it interesting that she is one of the wealthiest woman in France. That fact has a lot of bearing on the article as she is operating from a very priviliged position and there are millions of women at the other end of the scale who are DESPERATE to earn money but can't due to limitations on childcare availability - out of that group, there are many who would welcome a career chance too, but is an almost impossible dream.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Regarding her subtle attack on breastfeeding, is anyone aware that she is the founder of an advertising and communications company with close ties to a major French producer of infant formula?!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I cant honestly say I know of many women who have children because they feel pressured into being Mothers, any more than I know women who choose not to have them at all and are unhappy with their choices. I think in a perfect world there could be more support for working Mothers, but as the author said herself this is hardly a perfect world, and men are finding it hard enough to keep their jobs these days as it is, never mind working Mothers.

I am all for men AND women being free to make their own choices - but I get the impression that for the vast majority of people whatever their gender each option carries its own pros and cons and you get on with it and make the best you can of your own situation. How many of us can ever say we have the "perfect" life, or never thought the grass was greener on the working or staying home side of the fence? Yes, we still have a long way to go, but can we not also celebrate how far we have actually come as well, instead of forever bleating for more more more?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I want today's women to equally forge their own paths in life, free to make personal choices without feeling that they have to fit into a particular mold.

And you're giving the world your permission, are you?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I find this article disturbing, and I believe it demonstrates some disrespect for children and their welfare Let me explain:

Meanwhile, any number of child-rearing experts – whose opinions, incidentally, seem to swing opposingly in 30-year cycles – are telling women that anything less than total dedication to their child’s physical and emotional needs means that they are not being good mothers. The child reigns supreme. The mother obediently serves.

But surely as a parent you ARE 100% on the hook for the child's physical and emotional needs. This doesn't mean that you have to be there 100% of the time, it means YOU must make sure it happens. To be more accurate, it means You and the other half of the leadership equation, the FATHER.

Babies, so we are told, must be breast-fed – on demand. Attachment parenting theory dictates co-sleeping and baby wearing. The perfect mother, apparently, must hold herself totally responsible for what happens to her child.

Dealing with last bit first, yes again. YOU are completely responsible, because the kid is helpless. Breast feeding is proven (by the medical experts you allude to) to have significant health benefits over formula. I believe some admit that even SOME breast feeding is better than none. Do you have evidence to the contrary?

I want today’s women to equally forge their own paths in life, free to make personal choices without feeling that they have to fit into a particular mold.

Well here is something we agree on, and with deference to Cleo, this is achievable, but maybe not by the means you wish. Childcare is woefully inept to support working parents. The working environment is often completely intolerable of anyone who has children, and this is true for career high flyers as it is for production line workers. Attitudes have to change before we make inroads here, but it is nothing to do with autonomy of one sex over the other. There is a place in society for everyone, but being a parent is going to be a challenge. It will drain you of all your energy at times, and competing against non-parents in an aggressive career path is always going to be a balancing act. On the one side you have the challenges at work, on the other you have the challenges at home. They can coexist, but only in balance as sadly none of us actually are Superman or Wonderwoman. Success can be judged in how well you can balance those two, but ultimately being a parent has the greater responsibility and is arguable, much more rewarding.

On the whole, being a parent is a choice, initially at least, but once that path is taken you only have one goal to achieve - success.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Interesting article.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

the dream of gender equality...

There is no such thing as gender equality, and personally I don't want it. As a woman I have the best of all possible worlds; I can have kids if I want, or I can choose not to. I can go out to work if I want, or I can stay home with the kids. Why on earth would I want to be 'equal' with a man? No prospect of ever giving birth or feeding a baby with your own body, a lifetime of work...even if a man chooses not to be a father, society expects him to work hard his whole life or be branded a loser.

It’s not just about tending the baby’s needs. It is also about producing the happiest, most fully developed and intelligent child possible – in effect, creating a masterpiece.

Duh. That's the goal. Few (None?) of us actually make it. Nothing wrong in trying your best, though. A lot wrong with not trying at all because you think you have better things to do. What could be better or more important, more fulfilling, than guiding, shaping and moulding a young human?

If women don’t start asserting the right to choose for themselves, I can foresee a time when they won’t be given the choice at all.

The problem with this is that you seem to be saying that it is only those women who have babies, give them formula instead of breast milk and leave them in the care of others while Mum follows her precious career who are making the right choice, while women who choose to be sahms are simply succumbing to 'dogma' and falling prey to subtle, yet emotionally corrosive, pressure.

I was probably only an average mother. I certainly wasn’t burdened with expectations of perfection, and I managed to have a full life and career on top of my role as mother.

That's great for you. How did your kids manage to do out of it?

If a man chooses to make babies all over the place and to provide for none of them, we tend to see him as a social problem, the feckless, irresponsible male. As a feminist, would you be equally supportive of this lifestyle choice for men? Or is it only women you want to be making the choices you want them to make?

7 ( +12 / -5 )

A well written article but I think the author needs to remember what she says in the end: everything is a choice. Some people choose to put their work first and not have children. A majority balance work and raising kids. While some women choose to put their children first. It is every woman's choice and as long as she is happy in what she chooses, and her family supports her, I don't see what the issue is. Is it that other women are angry at the stay at home moms that work to perfect the bento and spend hours and tonnes of money taking their kids from activity to activity to give them a full life? I personally don't think I could handle being a stay at home mom, but I don't think that people should look down on those who choose to do so.

Feminism seems to forget that women still have choices that they may persue that run counter to their hopes of a female ruled world.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

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