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Readers’ comments: The magic of motherhood


In response to Gary Oliver: Why do those pesky women refuse to listen to feminists?

Sudo Nonym wrote:

1. Old-fashioned married couple:

He goes to some dreadful job in a factory, office, coalmine, whatever, brings home money, mends the car, paints the fence, mows the lawn, cuts the hedge. She looks after the house, kids, washing, cooking etc. Family & friends are nearby for support.

2. Modern family:

Both go to respective awful jobs to pay outlandish rents or mortgages, run two cars because they go in different directions to work. Kids come along. No local grandparents and family, outlandish child care costs, far less exposure to kids except at the tired end of the day; fraught breakfast time. He is less likely to have DIY skills hence has to deal with tradesmen, at a cost. Sounds like a recipe for a punch-up.

I was #1. My knocking-on-40 kids are #2. I don’t have a time machine to lend them. I am a bad grandparent, out of touch with our times, to think that one, whoever gets least paid, could stay at home for five years and oversee the kids’ formative years. I could point at biology, nurturing genes etc, but it seems I must not.

Audre Myers wrote:

Preaching to the choir, I know, but sometimes ya just gotta let loose.
In your early twenties, out of school, in the job market, the idea of being a mother is about as appealing as being a ditch-digger. ‘Moms’ cook, clean, do laundry, make you do your chores, swab floors, make you brush your teeth, fight you over too-revealing clothes. Who in their right minds wants to do that?

And then . . . they put that little bundle in your arms and you look at the tiny face which reflects your own parents and the father’s parents . . . those little blind eyes look at you and you get a feeling that they are trying desperately to ‘see’ you. It’s not by accident that the simple instinct of an infant wrapping its tiny fist around your finger is the vice grip on your heart. Without even thinking about it you know you would die to save this child. The challenge and commitment of raising this defenseless creature is written in your DNA – you breathe in their scent, marvel at the tiny fingers and toes, watch every flitting expression . . . some internal flexing of muscles makes the little face produce a smile and that’s it. It’s all over. They own you hook, line, and sinker. And that’s as it should be.

You cannot compare that with working. I’m sorry; you just can’t. If they made you a million-dollar director of the best company on the face of the planet, it would not compare to the feeling of being a parent. Being a director doesn’t reach you to your soul. Being a parent does.

Yes – life is so expensive today, both parents have to work; sad but true. And childless couples lead wonderful lives as well but even they are not sustained by their careers – they have hobbies and relationships that reach them in their hearts and that bring joy to their lives. Because working can’t do that.

Poliorketes wrote:

They forever bang on about ‘equality’ in parental leave, but the fact remains that not only is it often more convenient for the woman to take the bulk of that leave, but they often prefer it too.

Most workplaces are just about able to cope with men taking a few weeks (at most) of paternity leave, and can manage longer stretches of maternity cover, because the latter is what they’ve had to do for decades. Having to juggle everything around because any of your employees of child-rearing age could disappear for months on end is just a recipe for chaos, especially for smaller enterprises.

I’d love to be able to have months at a time off with my children, but if the cost of that was that my wife had to work in my stead, I know that would get very short shrift.

Groan wrote:

As Robert Foster highlights there is a cost to making it easy to get a man into trouble for ‘harassment’.  And that is that men have to become wary of women. One thing rarely mentioned by the feminist lobby is that though Sweden scores highest on most world indices of ‘feministness’ in terms of policies, gender quotas, extensive leave etc (‘inputs’ in the jargon), it is the worst on many of the measures of what actually happens (outputs). So it has a very low percentage of women managers at a senior level, a high ‘gender pay gap’ and one of the most ‘gender segregated workforces’ (the extent to which particular industries or sectors of the economy are mainly male or female workers). Their own research found that this was because of the way in which their policies operate. So for instance even more than in the UK public services are staffed by females precisely because these offer the most generous family leave and family-friendly hours, women don’t seek senior positions precisely because it is possible to achieve good earnings without taking on extra responsibility and demands in time. And even then there is a ‘gender gap’ in what is ‘full time’: for Swedish men it is 36 hours and women it is 30 hours because women are in public services schools etc which have shorter working weeks. In short, Swedish women take advantage of the many privileges offered by their government to stubbornly avoid the less generous conditions that their men experience in the private sector and in senior roles (and to a much greater extent than the UK the private sector in Sweden is a male concern: 80 per cent).

When one looks at ‘outcomes’, one finds that it is the poorer developing countries that score far more highly in terms of work and careers, for the simple reason that in those countries the generous privileges offered to women, sustained by the wealth built up by the advanced nations, aren’t possible. So men and women both have to work rather than it being a ‘choice’.

In fact Swedish women should be saying ‘thank you’ to Swedish men for working so hard to make sure they have such amazing choices.

LordOfMisrule wrote:

It is not just pesky women. It is also those pesky children who are inconsiderate enough to get sick, or upset or scared and then very unreasonably ask for their mother. You would think they would know better than to interfere with mummy’s precious career which is oh so important to her.

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