Notepad on Life

June 26, 2012

Treat this as a warning shot aross your bows, Mrs Blair…

Filed under: business,Family — - @ 9:53 pm
Tags: , ,

Much as I’d normally pounce with relish on even the slightest opportunity to decry either party to the Blair marriage,  I have to give Cherie Blair QC some benefit of the doubt at least, following her pronouncement on stay-at-home mothers at last week’s Fortune Most Powerful Women London Conference.

Despite the inevitable barrage of criticism the former PM’s wife has received from equally inevitable quarters, I’m minded to side with this commentator in concluding that the main target of her concern were women so delusional as to think of full-time motherhood as the easy option, because stretching themselves in any context other than a Zumba class sounds a little too much like hard work.

However, while I canot find a full transcript of the interview, the following video clip does not entirely dispel the suspicion that Mrs Blair regards the stay-at-home species in general as letting the side down somewhat.

So just so we’re absolutely straight, madam, I would merely mention the following:

  • I reject your insinuation that there is no self-satisfaction to be had from being a full-time mother and home-maker, should a woman choose that as her lot. In an increasingly fractured society, indeed, such contrarian souls are a beacon of hope.
  •  “They want to be the best possible mother and they want to put all their effort into their children…” Why you should say this with sneer, I have no idea but it does you little credit. You do it your way and let others do it theirs.
  •  Does it ever occur to you, that office life and the corporate ladder may not be for everyone? That, along with the fulfilment you seem to think is guaranteed every woman who steps through its doors, there is also greed, spite, megalomania, office politics and the daily triumph of jargon and bureaucracy over clarity and action? I rejected that world 17 years ago and now see my wife – a teacher – despair of it, in what should be one of the most fulfilling vocations of all. To paraphrase an old quote about fishing, you see stay-at-home mums as escaping from reality, when they are arguably escaping to reality, passing up empire building in favour of home building.
  • “My job as a mother is to bring my children up so that, actually, they can live without me” – superficially commendable but also, potentially, rather self-serving. If you were defending stay-at-homes in court, I suspect you would be all over this.
  • Finally, something that occurs to me about my own home-maker mother: when she wasn’t investing in her family, she looked outwards and found many fulfilling years in the Mothers’ Union, Women’s Institute and her local branch of the RNLI. All rather quaint and dated now and I doubt Fortune would touch any of them with a bargepole but they all had this going for them: they were simple, worthwhile organisations, with simple, worthwhile objectives. Stood alongside a self-congratulatory jolly like a Most Powerful Women Conference, I believe they can hold their heads high.

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