Thursday, 21 June 2012

Dear Cherie Blair

Dear Mrs Blair,

I wonder whether you might like to come to my house sometime soon. My house is home to 3 boys, 2 chickens, 1 cat and 2 hard working parents. If you come to my home, this is what you will find:

My home is messy. We don't have money for cleaners, instead we work together as a family, teaching our boys to clean and tidy.

My kitchen cupboards are full of ingredients. We don't have a cook. We cook our own meals. We teach our boys to cook too. Once a week, my ten year old cooks a meal for the whole family.

The times surrounding the school day are noisy and busy. We don't have a nanny to do the school run. Instead, I take them wearing sunhat or wellies, depending on the weather, and we walk. After school, we don't have a nanny to race them around to 6 after school clubs every night. Instead we pick and choose carefully what to invest our hard-earned money on for our boys. There is no nanny to deal with the demands of the children after school, instead I am the referee. I teach them to deal with conflict, to apologise and to forgive one another.

When our boys were small, I didn't go back to work like you. Instead I made sacrifices for them. It was not easy. I did not sit in Starbucks discussing baby yoga or toddler maths lessons with my fellow yummy mummies. I slogged day and night. I changed the nappies, wiped the noses, tested the temperatures, cooked the baby food, washed the poo-covered clothes, tried for 15 minutes to get out of the front door whilst being prevented by toddler tantrums and baby puking. I taught them how to get dressed, how to use a toilet, how to use a knife and fork, how to speak. I sung nursery rhymes to them. I took them to farms and taught them animal noises. I taught them how to safely cross a road. I taught them how to put their shoes on. As a family, we made financial sacrifices too. We didn't go abroad on holiday. We bought our first house based on a mortgage for one wage. We didn't have the latest technology or cars. You might wonder if this sacrifice was worth it. You might wonder where my ambition went.

If life is about ambition, which I don't believe it is, then my 'ambition' would be to raise my boys so that they are independent, loving, serving their communities, being passionate risk takers and husbands and fathers who love their wives and families. This is not 'lacking in ambition'. Far from it.

If, by staying at home with my children, I am creating children who are 'dependent' on me then without a doubt this needs to change. However, my aim is to allow my boys to be independent from me in appropriate stages. The whole of parenting is letting go of your children piece by piece and allowing them to take steps further away from us and into the big, wide world. My boys did not go to nursery all day when they were babies, however when they began school there were no tears at their separation from me. My independent ten year old does his own laundry, cooks his own food, tidies and cleans his own bedroom and walks to school and back on his own. He is independent because I have taught him to be. Creating independent children is the responsbility of the parent, not the responsibility of a day nursery or a nanny.

I am not dependent on my husband for financial provision, either. My husband and I work together as a team to bring in the money. We rely on one another. And ultimately we rely on our God to provide for us, and He does.

So, Cherie Blair, if you come to my house for the day you will find a competent, 'ambitious', creative mother who does not pander to the needs and wishes of her husband. You will find independent, strong children who do not cling on, anxiously, to their mother. Had you come to my house before making your outrageous statements about stay at home mothers, you might have realised that by judging us you are making your own judgements about yourself and your own mothering. This is not about whether mothers should go to work or not, this is about valuing every mother who works hard for her children. We are all mothers who love our children, let's support one another instead of criticising each other.

From your fellow hard working mother.


1 comment:

Mauren Magee said...

well done

you took the words out of my mouth, I loved being at home with my 3 kids (two boys and a girl), I cherish the time I had with them, they have all grown into fine adults in good jobs and have never been out of work

your letter to Cherie Blair says it all and I am proud to have read it and agreed with you

take care,

Maureen Magee