Today I came across another stigma I think is worth challenging. In the world and in myself. It's surprising that this one has only raised its head now or rather I have only become aware of it now, because I myself am both subject to it and guilty of it. The phenomenon is this:
Disparaging the 'Mum' Blog.
Ironic really, because it is totally obvious from my many, many posts that my family and my daughter feature heavily in my life. I don't inherently believe in the separation of the self between work and home, finding it impossible to do myself. Whilst the stereotypical 'Mum' blogs tend to be typified by arts, crafts and nappies the ultimate definition of a 'Mum' blog is a blog by a 'Mum'. I am certainly one of those and indeed juggling family and work is a central theme to my writing. (More to the point, why are nappies not important when they hygienically save us all from a lot of nastiness...they should be the subject of more of my posts). Yesterday my blog was dismissed by someone as a 'Mum' blog and thus not worthy of consideration.
But here's the kicker which I hope to re-pattern by the end of this post....despite the fact that my blog is a 'Mum blog I secretly don't consider it to be one and am ashamed to admit, that my first reaction is to set myself apart from this stereotype. Ultimately it turns out I was more outraged to be labelled as a Mum blog, than I was to be rejected.
Self analysis throughout our lives is our key to evolution. Socrates: the unexamined life is not worth living.
Imperative in this case, because it means that somehow, somewhere in my heart I cling to the bigoted limiting belief that the role of a mother is not a serious one (everyone does it, how hard can it be?) and that by extension a blog about it is rubber-duck frivolous. And this, when I myself am actively fighting to allow mothers & parents more leeway in their working lives and around their children.
Firstly. I apologize. To all the women out there, including myself. You are highly prized and an important powerful force.
Secondly, I turn my reflection inwards...the product of a Greek father (who considered the woman's role to be in the home and felt that my mother was a failure because she was 're-productively challenged') and a woman who tried and failed to emancipate herself from this attitude, struggling with self-worth issues all her life reinforced by the fact she couldn't have children.
And this is what I see around us - damned if you do, damned if you don't. If we don't have children, we are regarded as ill-functioning women and if we do, we are expected to leave them to go back to work and certainly not involve them in our professional lives. Work is reserved for more serious discussions around budget, positioning and operations management, whilst raising the next generation is of secondary importance. If this belief is the benchmark, failure on this score is almost inevitable. Because our children hold the most important place in our lives and nature has deemed it thus.
My father respects my work enormously now and contributes to it himself both with advice, money and active participation. I believe his attitude has changed. And so must mine. The worth of a woman is not correlated with her choice or ability to have children, just as the denigration of childcare and issues is harmful and the accompanying prioritization of career over family leads to a damaged generation. Ladies, the move of consciousness away from the status quo is just as much our responsibility as it is the so many enlightened men that I am privileged to know. If you have any part of this very common limiting belief in your heart, work with me to get it out.
We are part of the solution. Let's not also be part of the problem.
And if anyone wants to write an article about nappies for the guest blog, I would be only too happy to publish it.
I started an online consultancy. It made me want to drink copious quantities, smoke myself into oblivion and hit my head against a brick wall. Instead I wrote a blog.
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