A few times this week other mums have talked to me about how children need their parents even when they are at school, and especially when they are at high school. We've talked about how kids are holding it together during the day at school, putting on their best faces, doing what the teachers ask, negotiating their relationships with other kids, then when they came home, they collapse - it all comes out. If I expected my kids to be in care before and after school, and during school holidays, they'd hate it, and our relationship, aside from being rush rush rush, nag nag nag, would be awful. For the parents I know who want to be with their kids, but still want to work, the only job that seems practical is working as a teacher. Working longer than school hours and during school holidays isn't an option.
I must say, I've known men who stay home with kids, but they don't do nearly as much as the mothers - they might be with the kids during the day, but not book the swimming lessons, organise dinner, supervise the kids. And they are applauded for doing the minimal style parenting that they do. The mothers working full time or part time are still expected to do it all. And not because they have impossibly high standards.
Can women train their children to share housework and child-caring responsibilities equally with women? Will we ever reach real equality for women?
Reporter Emma Alberici contemplates her career, and if anything has changed, when she sees her female peers leaving work to be with school-aged children. The double standard is still staggering. The comments are interesting too!
Thanks Michelle for passing this on to me.
Yes, we have a long way to go, to get everyone to do the menial work, the thinking work, and share the work of raising kids and running a household, giving an example of how we would like our kids to do it when they are adults. But we also, I suggest, need leave from work for care responsibilities, or community work or even a stint of international aid. It isn't just mothers who can care.