"I'm a FULL TIME MUM"
Has anybody ever come across anyone who says this?
Let's just dissect this little statement and try and fathom out some kind of meaning so we can all be assured what contract we seem to be holding in our role as "mother". Full time? Part time? Zero hour?
The other week I spent around 70 hours at work, leaving 98 hours left of the week spent at home. Now if you calculate the 12 hours a night my son sleeps and remove that from the equation I spent a total of 14 hours with my son in one week.
I'm a terrible parent.
I'm not a full time mum! I'm not even a part time mum! My child should sack me! Immediately!
But wait a minute. When did we start describing motherhood as though it were a job? Do we get paid to do it? No. Do we receive annual holidays, bonus's, a contract?
Tell me. When I go to work (and I'm talking about my paid job here just to avoid any confusion), do I stop being a mum? Am I only a mum some of the time, this being strictly when in the presence of my child?
Of course not!! My child doesn't suddenly become "motherless" because I have gone to work! I am still his mother!
When I set off for work in the morning and creep out so as not to wake him, I'm his mother. When I arrive at work and ring his Dad to ask if he's had breakfast, I'm his mother. When I talk about him with people at work, I'm his mother. When I get on with my job and he isn't at the forefront of my mind, I'm his mother. And when I speed walk home in the hope he may still be awake, I'm his mother. I'm his mother when I pick up my pay cheque and I am his mother when I use that pay cheque to buy things he needs. I am always his mother. There is not one second of my life where I am not. Doesn't this make me a full time mum too?
I get envious of mums who can stay at home with their children. I do not judge them or think any less of them. Sometimes I wish I could be them and have the privilege of staying with my son 24/7, never missing chunks of his day, and being there to soothe every cut and scrape.
But I'm not.
I'm going to hazard a guess here and suggest this "full time mum" term has come as another result of the Mummy Competition and the dreaded feeling of being judged with every parenting decision we make.
Stay at home mums feel judged and therefore justify why they don't work. Working mums feel judged and therefore justify why they do. But really, does it matter? Do we have to keep judging each other?
Do stay at home mums have to refer to themselves as full time mums and imply that those that work are not?
Do mothers who work have to impose judgment on those that don't as if they have life any easier?
We are all mums. Whether we choose to stay at home or choose to work. Whether our children are permanently in the family home or whether they spend half their time with their fathers after a parental breakup.
We are just mums.
We are all just mums.
My name is Louise. I am a mum. I do a lot of other things also, but like you, I am just a mum.