How things have changed. When Jane Maas, a real life Mad Woman among the first wave of females to crack New York adland, started out in the ‘60s, women were were fired if they got pregnant and they were mainly secretaries – and if they did work on accounts it was only for domestic goods - and a client even once asked sympathetically of Maas: “Have you forgotten your steno (stenography/note-taking) pad, dear?’’ She was running the account at the time.

Say goodbye to working mother guilt. Photo: John Hargest

But that was the 1960s, and the women’s movement had yet to flex its typing-toned muscles. Today, it just seems ridiculous that they would be treated this way in the workplace.

Maas was one of the first working mothers in the industry, and despite the fact that its corridors of power were skirt-free zones she toughed it out and has written the tale Mad Women: The other side of Madison Avenue in the 1960s.

She made for fascinating listening on ABC radio recently when she confessed that in the wake of the outlandish hit series Mad Men, she is routinely asked “Were women really treated that badly? Were all those three-martini lunches real and was there all that sex in the office?’’ The answer to all three, she said, was ‘‘most definitely yes’‘.

For her book, Maas interviewed her fellow groundbreakers as well as ad women now. And while so much has changed, they had one thing in common. The ‘60s working mothers said “again and again’’ that they felt torn, as they didn’t feel they were doing anything “properly’‘, either at work or home. Five decades later, contemporary working mothers said exactly the same.

I am sure I’m not the only listener who took a sharp intake of breath on hearing this - while rushing to grate carrots for the sandwiches - and also thought “tell me something I don’t know’‘. Because unless you’re one of those rare mothers who relish every second away from the kids and out of the house, feeling torn is to the working mother, as water is to fish.

You live in that feeling and swim around in it. And like the goldfish, you adjust your expectations accordingly. You accept that this is your world and realise that both motherhood and, for many of us, work are essential parts of your being. But unlike the happy fishy, you constantly analyse and over-analyse (unless you are one of those rare Zen master working mothers) whether you are doing enough for everyone and everything that requires big doses of your effort and care.

Even so, my question is: how on earth in 50 years have we not come around to realising that we’re not just doing things “properly’‘, in many cases we’re doing things so much better than well?

In the intervening years, the focus, drive and efficiency of working mothers has been recognised by employers (as it has been in working fathers for years). And we have the statistics to back that up. The latest study to reinforce previous research finding working mothers make fantastic staff as they are so organised (all the better to get home to the family on time) was reported in Forbes magazine in February.

The UK research found that “subconsciously or not, companies are aware of the advantage (of employing mothers); 12.5 per cent admit to seeing it as a hiring advantage’‘; and, controversially, “British business found that working mothers work harder than other groups of employees’‘. What is “not properly’’ about that?

Also controversially, “every company said it preferred to hire a working mother over a younger, childless women’‘. Take that, working mother guilt. Also, 61 per cent of the 49 businesses surveyed ranked mothers as better employment value than men or women without children, with three in four rating mothers as tops in organisational skills and almost two in three saying mothers were likely to remain longer with the company.

According to Forbes, two in five managers believe [mothers] work faster and can multi-task while a third said they are more motivated and responsible. “That’s good because fathers have had the advantage of this attitude from time immemorial,’’ it thundered.  And yet: “four in 10 companies acknowledged that mothers who work for them considered themselves as of ‘low value’ in the workplace’‘!

So employers’ attitudes and workplaces have changed (now in the UK seven in 10 mothers work), but women’s attitudes to their own worth hasn’t? That’s just depressing.

Interestingly, other fresh research - this time from the US - found working mothers report better physical and mental health than full-time stay at home mums. The American Psychological Association surveyed 1300 mums and found in December the happiest of all were part-time working mothers.

As for why they might be happier, the authors concluded that “a mother’s participation in employment provides her with support and resources that a mother who spends full time at home does not receive.’‘

So why all the self-loathing, then? Do we think we can’t possibly be good enough mums if we allow ourselves the healthy privilege of some work? I reckon that’s part of it.

Even so, a team from University College London also found, in a study of 12,000 people last year, no evidence of detrimental effects on the young children of mothers working part-time or full-time as long as parents are supported, do not have to work long hours and are able to combine child-rearing with paid work.

“The ideal scenario for children of both sexes was for both parents to live at home and for both to be working, a finding that will encourage policymakers’ moves to help families stay together, if not critics of the rising numbers of working mothers.’‘

I only hope this lot goes some way to convincing working mothers that we are not letting anybody down. It has certainly made this one happy.

tuohyw@heraldsun.com.au or on Twitter @wtuohy

Most commented

55 comments

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    • Skippy says:

      06:29am | 24/03/12

      Thanks Wendy! I like I’m so many mothers who work appreciate some reassurance now and again.
      I commenced study when our first born was 6 months old as I wanted to hopefully offer our children a better future through improved employment prospects. My mother struggled with this but to her credit she told me “I may not agreed with you darling, but I will support you however I can none the less.” For my parents are of the mindset that a womans place is in the home.  The distance study was arduous and long and a hell of a lot harder doing it with small children, I remember the nights turning to mornings over those seven years and often doubted my ability. However the day I graduated my parents tell me is one of the proudest days of their life and they have since shifted in their thinking. I over heard my mother telling a friend of her’s that, ‘Well my daughter works and it makes her happy and that makes the whole family happy.’ Unfortunately I have and continue to cop flack and judgement from my in laws who cannot accept I work full time putting the children (then) in care.  Well this year is a little different I am still studying, taking the year out of the workforce to complete my Masters. I will admit I struggle not working and feel at a loss many days and I’ll be honest, while my children love the fact I’m home (they are school age now) and the fact I come to school to help out sometimes and appreciate the abundance of home made goodies, I miss work….incredibly, but I know it’s hopefully only for the year. My friends and family members often marvel at how I worked full time, studied and juggled a small family but the truth is at times it nearly broke me but to me it’s been worth every bit of attending meetings with baby vomit on the back of my suit because the passion that drove (and continues to) see’s two older women, standing at the doors of the family home holding up very long apron strings that are frayed and I see the pain in their eyes wishing just maybe they had done something for themselves. I’m not against stay at home mums if you choose to do that I think thats wonderful, it’s the hardest job on earth, all I’m saying is that when my children leave home (our son at 6 tells me when he’s 85, god help us) I want to be able to be happy to welcome my children around my dinner table, not pine for their company because I’m at a loss without them.

    • BJ says:

      08:11am | 24/03/12

      And Skippy still had time to write the essay above.

    • Mayday says:

      12:39pm | 24/03/12

      Me, my and I!

      Skippy, by your reasoning stay at home parents are denying their children a better future and as stay at home parents they are unfulfilled! 
      It is judgemental attitudes like yours that cause the guilt and angst.

      I work in long day care and most of the mums and dads I meet are wasted and their children more so, due to the harried weekends and late nights.  There are simply not enough hours in the day. 

      You say you were “sitting into the small hours” doing things for your daughter…...she was in bed I presume so not much quality time together although when she gets to school everything will look fine.  On the surface everything looks hunky dory but the reality is you are only keeping up appearances. 
      Your daughter missed a great opportunity to spend time doing the cutting of tissue paper polka dots WITH you!

      Be careful, as adults your children may not be interested in coming to visit for dinner?

      That classic song Cats in the Cradle comes to mind, well worth a listen.

    • Janey says:

      07:47am | 24/03/12

      Yep all about you.
      So glad you are not my mother or my colleague.
      Has nobody ever told you there are no guarantees of happiness either way?

    • Nick says:

      11:38am | 24/03/12

      Skippy was writing about an aspect of herself.  She shouldn’t have to put in a whole heap of disclaimers and clauses to prove that she also cares about her kids, her family, and her colleagues.  She does in fact say that one of her motivations for undertaking study was to improve the lives of her children, and that the juggling act came at considerable personal cost.

    • Scotchfinger says:

      11:49am | 24/03/12

      where did this come from? why do woman reserve the most spite for each other?

    • skippy says:

      12:17pm | 24/03/12

      Thankyou Nick that’s exactly what I was saying and yes the personal cost considerable, but I would do it all again to improve the future for our children and family. Will it guarantee happiness for all? Who knows but I’m giving it the best shot I can

    • Nick says:

      08:11am | 24/03/12

      It’s a mirror image I know but when I read this I think of my own experience as a full-time stay at home dad and the guilt I feel and the pressure I get from all and sundry about not working.  I think being a parent is always going to be a balancing act and most parents spend most of the early years feeling guilty.  In the end you just have to look at your kids and make your own calls about how best to balance personal needs, financial security, and the emotional and social development of your kids.

      Flexibility is absolutely essential and most workplaces are terrible at accepting periods of reduced performance, even from otherwise highly effective staff.  Now with the ever increasing move towards short-term contract employment that means you are always at risk of losing your job.  I worry about losing my profession, and in fact feel genuinely unemployable some days despite being very highly qualified and experienced.  On the other hand I have had the breathing space to focus on other ways of generating an income stream and suspect that my future lies in building on that and not returning to my previous career, essentially writing off the best part of 20 years of training an experience.

      Is this relevant to the article?  I’m not sure, but life sure is a complicated business!

    • trish says:

      09:44am | 24/03/12

      Good for you.  My husband is a stay at home dad and it works really well for us all.  The only hard thing is pressure from others asking when he is going back to work.

    • Hecate says:

      08:27am | 24/03/12

      As a working mum, the guilt I feel doesn’t come from in-laws, or other mothers at school, or colleagues at work, it comes from seeing how sad my young children are when they are dropped off at before school care. 

      And how tired my 7 year old is trying to do her homework at 6pm while I’m trying to cook tea and having to ask her to repeat her spelling words as I had to stop her so I could put the veggies on.

      And how disappointed my 9 year old was because I missed seeing her perform at assembly, as I had an important meeting with the boss.

      For me personally, the guilt comes from the thought that perhaps I am putting my own needs above that of my children.  Tired, sad kids, and a tired, sad mum do not make for a harmonious family, so I have made the decision that as soon as I can, I’m stopping work.

      I am lucky that I am in a position to be able to do this, and I completely understand there are many families that can’t.  My thoughts and feelings are related to my own personal situation only.

      Sure, I know I’ll miss working and I do worry I’ll get bored, but I’m also sure there are plenty of things that I can find to occupy my time.  But that’s my problem, not my childrens!

    • Janey says:

      09:48am | 24/03/12

      Good for you Hecate - you actually care about how your choices affect your children.  Shame more people do not.

    • Kathy says:

      10:20am | 24/03/12

      Interesting article, but it has been written with rose coloured glasses firmly on, in that it only presented the fulfilment side of the equation.  Hecate has described the other side very well.  “Tired” is the word that sums this up and it’s a shame that it applies to the children as well.

    • Skippy says:

      10:31am | 24/03/12

      Please Janey be careful in your judgement. It really is attitudes like yours that deepen the guilt of so many working mothers. Are you saying that because as a working mother I do NOT care as much about my children’s welfare as much as a stay at home mother? That after picking up my children from after school care because I had to stay back as I took an hour off to help in class with reading groups, to helping with homework and sitting into the small hours cutting out tissue paper polka dots for my daughters school book cover and icing cakes for tomorrows lunch, I really dont care? Be very careful Janey, yes life is a little more hectic when I work, but it does not mean that my children’s lives are adversely affected because of this.  We talk about it often and as anyone will know kids dont hold back, they tell me how it is. The day they are no longer happy, I’ll throw it in (again I’m very fortunate to be in this position).  All I know is Janey I’m not perfect and unless you are maybe you should stop throwing darts! It’s time women gave women a break!!

    • Rose says:

      11:47am | 24/03/12

      There was no attack on you here at all Skippy, more that there was praise for some one stopping, taking note of the effect on her own family, acknowledging that there is a negative impact on her kids and making a decision based on what she feels will be best for her kids.
      Working mums vs stay at home mums has been going on for years. The only thing that we should be striving for is to give parents the power to make decisions based on what is right for their family rather than assuming that what’s right for some is what’s right for all.
      I have known people who do really well in the work/family balance and others who just never got close to making it right, I’ve also known amazing stay at home mums and others who seemed to not get that happening properly either. People have different capacities and cope with things completely differently. It’s time to support people to make their decisions based on what’s right for their family not on what’s right for yours.

    • Mother Duck says:

      11:48am | 24/03/12

      I personally believe that ‘guilt’ is a sign that something needs addressing.  Women often brag about how they have learnt to sublimate the guilt they feel about not being there for their children.  I personally think its your spirit and soul speaking to you… sometimes yelling at you… I took 7 years completely out of the workforce to be with my kids till they started school.  They are now young adults - happy, confident, with a great connection to me and my husband but pursuing their own lives.  Was it economically tough to do that ?  Yes, very tough.  But I wasn’t prepared to make a mistake with my life’s greatest ‘work’.. our kids ..... I wasn’t prepared to have miserable, disconnected kids, raised by strangers, passed from pillar to post… I wanted to enjoy them, be transformed by being with them.  Was it always fun being at home? No, not always, but it was an investment in our family.  We are reaping the harvest now.  We receive constant compliments about our kids.  Someone once said to me, “you either raise them right when they are little, or you will be raising them for the rest of your life.”  I reckon kids who are thrust out into the world too early, ie. at childcare - will be the kids who cling later on when they should be out exploring the world.  It may seem counter-intuitive, but the coddling and protection we gave out kids in the early years, has led to them being very independent, secure and adventurous. 

      My advice is rework for your finances and stay home for as long as you can.  See you children as ‘your greatest career’...  I re-trained and re-entered the workforce.  It was still there!  ... and even our finances caught up.

      If you feel ‘guilt’  - listen to it - it maybe your soul telling you something you need to act on.

    • Janey says:

      04:54pm | 24/03/12

      No you little Skippy you, I am not saying you do not care - you linked my reply to Hecate….... to yourself. How appropriate.
      Be very careful Skippy, your slip is showing.

    • Datman says:

      08:46am | 24/03/12

      ” Also, 61 per cent of the 49 businesses surveyed ranked mothers as better employment value than men or women without children.”

      Wow,  a survey of 49 businesses now constitutes a ‘study’.

      And a whole 61% of them say mums are better employment value than anyone else.

      That’s 30 businesses.

      30 businesses from another country answer a survey favourably and that makes news in the Australian media.

      Please correct me if I am wrong, but I find this to be more patronising than beneficial.

      .

    • marley says:

      09:37am | 24/03/12

      I find it food for thought.  Hardly definitive, but something worth musing over.  And if it makes guilt-ridden parents, male and female, relax a bit, that’s fine with me.

    • Datman says:

      03:21pm | 24/03/12

      @Marley who says ‘if it makes guilt-ridden parents, male and female, relax a bit, that’s fine with me.’

      Which part of this article would make a ‘guilt ridden’ male parent relax?

    • marley says:

      06:16pm | 24/03/12

      @Datman - the principle that we can’t be everywhere, all of the time, doing everything, applies to men and women alike.  Nick up above provided the perspective from a male in the same position, and he sees things in much the same way as his female counterpart does.  That should tell you something.  Is it really so impossible to learn from human experience, male or female?

    • Fiona says:

      08:51am | 24/03/12

      The research findings re mothers being preferred over childless women could be partly that women who have already had their kids will be unlikely to need further maternity leave, but the findings that mothers work harder is a pleasant surprise.  Comments on posts like this (such as on this site) would have you believe that we all fly out the door early every day and leave work for our kids at the drop of a hat. Good or bad workers can be any gender, or age etc.

    • gobsmack says:

      11:16am | 24/03/12

      I’ve supervised a lot of women and generally the one’s with school age children have been good workers.  You do need to give them a bit of latitude occasionally - eg let them go early if there’s a problem at the school or the kid is sick - by doing so they generally are happier and more productive.  I even had one who’s kids would come into the office after school but they were well behaved and sat quietly drawing on scrap paper until it was time for mum to go home.
      As for working mothers versus single girls, I think part of the issue is age.  Single girls are often out late the night before and they get distracted more easily especially if there’s a group of them and talk turns to men or dresses (which it generally does if there’s a group of them).
      One important thing if you’re a male supervising women is to make sure you notice if they have a new hairdo and to say it looks nice.

    • stephen says:

      09:33am | 24/03/12

      Some women only go back to serious workplace activity, or go back to serious study, after they’ve had children.
      Many younger girls now think that rearing a family and supporting a husband, emotionally, is a homemaker’s duty, and when they get to that journey and find it not all that enticing, (emotionally, for themselves) they pack up and go find themselves ... so to speak.

      To be able to be a good working Mum, and be a responsible for titles like Wife, part breadwinner, billpayer, a packer of school lunches, soothsayer for moped out Husbands, and yet still come home after the stoushing with the same kinds of bosses that hubby gets, (but he, at least, is the first to put his feet up at home with a nice brandy) ... well, I do not know how girls do it.
      (One of the great riddles of the Universe.)

      So when us blokes notice a gal who’se said ‘No’ to all this, but wants solitariness and quiet work at Uni, say,  (she may even be 40, and has had kids) then they might deserve a bit of the same respect for the courage and forthrightness offered to her juggling cohorts.

    • Skippy says:

      10:11am | 24/03/12

      Thankyou Stephen, you are right, some of us women struggle with trying to fit the mould. Does that make us lesser mothers, wives, employees etc? I don’t think so, it just means we are the subject of judgement and sadly in my experience women are usually the dart throwers, just as I have seen here on this site.

    • Bascom says:

      09:56am | 24/03/12

      Being a Working Dad is good for your health too,Moving Forward

    • Gladys says:

      09:59am | 24/03/12

      I find the guilt in doing the ‘five o’clock bolt’. I used to be the first in and last to go, but I can’t do that anymore. Daycare shuts at 6pm and its a fine if I’m not there on time.

      That said, I deliberately took an easy job so I could do it, do it well and get home. And I know that I’ll have to work from home too.

      It’s worth it though. I’m happier because I’ve got contact with people, my daughter gets to play all day at day care, and my hubby likes it because it’s more money to pay the mortgage.

      And id sooner be a good example of a working mother than a bad example of a stay at home mother.

    • Sharon says:

      12:37pm | 24/03/12

      “And I’d sooner be a good example of a working mother than a bad example of a sta at home mother.”
      Wow! Just wow!
      I have been left completely speachless. I just don’t know what to say to that except, are you serious? Please tell me your just trolling. Can someone please tell me I have just been suckered in by a troll.

    • marley says:

      01:20pm | 24/03/12

      @Sharon - maybe what she’s trying to say is, there are good mothers and bad mothers out there, and whether you work or stay at home doesn’t define how good or bad a mother you are.  And maybe she’s also saying the she personally would not be as good a mother as she is if she didn’t get the stimulation of a job to go with raising kids.

    • Heather says:

      02:24pm | 24/03/12

      Why is she a troll Sharon? Be honest, there’s plenty of women you could call ‘bad stay at home mothers’. You know the ones. We’ve all come acroos them. Those who fill their kids with junk food, use the TV as stimulation, swear at their kids, sit around gasbagging while they are knocking back chardy’s and fags. They exist just as much as the great stay at home mother exists. As do many bad working mums.

      I think Gladys made a valid point.

    • Nick says:

      03:14pm | 24/03/12

      Maybe Gladys knows herself and her daughter better than you do?

      What’s with people jumping on anybody who shares a bit about themselves?  It doesn’t make for an enjoyable thread.  There are a million different paths to take and if one person trends left where another trends right it doesn’t invalidate either choice.

    • Sharon says:

      08:01pm | 24/03/12

      If I read it wrong I do apologise, the rest of her post made sense but the last line seemed to say to me that if you are a stay at home parent you are a bad example to your children. I do hope that Marley and Heather are right and that I misjudged her last sentence, if I did please accept my apology Gladys. Nick I did not attack anything from her personal story just that one sentence, as a working mother myself I have a very similar story to hers, it would be little hypercritical of me to jump on her for that. I do however have a lot of respect and a little envy for those who have been able to choose to be a stay at home parent, I just do not think choice to work/not to work is something that makes a bad role model.

    • Poppa says:

      10:11am | 24/03/12

      If momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.

    • Kelly says:

      02:24pm | 24/03/12

      Or as my husband says, ‘happy wife, happy life’.

    • Kittyz says:

      11:35am | 24/03/12

      skippy, I don’t know if you noticed but you are doing exactly what you a reaming someone else out for doing, one woman struggling with work and home life is not a reflection on your situation so stop making it about you. Some of us mothers do find that working long hours is detrimental to our children, and sometimes even if the chldren don’t notice it it is detrimental to us. after going back to work a couple of days with a school age child and an 8 month old who doesn’t like to sleep though I can attest to how tired I am. there is not 1 day of the week I get to sleep past 6 am and I am lucky if I am not woken at 3 - 4 am as well. when you add that to working a late night shift even just a couple of times a week I can say that I am def. struggling with this second transition back to work even after going back to work much earlier with my first. Its really nice that you are now doing your masters but don’t make other mothers feel like they are worth less because they struggle to just get through work.

    • Scotchfinger says:

      12:01pm | 24/03/12

      Kittyz, sounds like you should definitely drop the shiftwork until your youngest gets her sleep sorted. If you absolutely need the money, that’s one thing; but otherwise, you should be enjoying the kids when they are so young, rather than having such a struggle. My wife is fortunate enough to be able to drop work until kids are a bit older, but not every mother can do that. You need to decide which group you fall into, good luck.

    • Skippy says:

      12:33pm | 24/03/12

      Kittyz my apologies if you misinterpreted my post concerning Janeys comments NOT Hecate. My comments were in reference to Janey having a dig at working mothers. Re read what Janey posted and I think it may make sense. This is not entirely about me at all, I’m simply trying to support working mothers stating that working mothers have enough guilt to deal with without other women making them feel bad. I will not apologise in my opinion that being a working mother does not make me a lesser parent. It does NOT mean you do not consider your children’s needs above your own, it does NOT mean you are selfish and it does NOT mean that you cannot do both well. I totally agree with Hecate, I have walked the road of tired children (and myself), I took measures to improve it. I was in the fortunate position that I could cease travel and take on a less demanding role. Please understand Kittyz it is not all about me, I have and will continue to make sacrifices for my family and I will continue to defend other working mums til the cows come home, because I’m fed up to the back teeth of women judging working mothers!

    • Rose says:

      01:31pm | 24/03/12

      Skippy, when you also start defending the right for parents to stay at home with their kids then I’ll start listening. People need to make choices based on what is right for their families and this stay at home parent vs working parent battle has gone on too long, we should support parents to make their choices work. We don’t need people trying to make it sound as if people making the opposite choice are somehow lesser parents.

    • Janey says:

      04:59pm | 24/03/12

      You have made it all about you Skippy, to the point you denigrate me in every reply.  Lame.  I said your post is all about you.  You are all about you.

    • marley says:

      06:23pm | 24/03/12

      @Rose - read the last couple of sentences of Skippy’s original comment.

      I’m having a bit of trouble understanding the hostility that you and Jane and others are displaying.  Skippy wrote an interesting little piece about her own experience, about her choices and about how it’s working out for her and her family. 

      She didn’t suggest or infer that her choices should or could be everyone’s choices.  To the contrary, in fact. She simply said she’d made choices, that it had been tough, but that so far she feels they’ve been the right ones for her and her family.  And she was glad there was a bit of evidence out there to assuage the guilt she feels for not having made different one. 

      How you can extrapolate that to criticism of your own choices is beyond me.  I see nothing judgmental about Skippy’s comments;  I see a lot that is judgmental about yours, Janes and others.

    • Skippy says:

      05:43am | 25/03/12

      @Marley, thankyou for the support. You have interpreted my posts as I intended them to be, from a personal point of view, not to pass judgement. It’s an impassioned topic and unfortunately sometimes people interpret others opinions/experiences incorrectly and fail to see what someone is really trying to say, I certainly can be guilty of that. The joy of online posting I guess. The point I was trying to drive home is that women should support other women, whether they are working or stay at home mothers. Each family attempts to do what works for them. If that means dad stays at home great, whatever works! You are spot on, kids are resilient and we should all stop beating ourselves up as parents. God knows it’s the hardest job on earth, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!

    • david says:

      11:43am | 24/03/12

      Women in the workforce has many positive effects.

      It has nearly doubled the number of people contributing income tax and has contributed to the rise in real estate value.

      Working women fully contribute to the material success of the household - the double income allows us to buy all the great things offered by the modern world. Nice cars, sea views, holidays, and a nest egg for retirement. No fretting over a new handbag or golf clubs. Working women make this possible.

      I’ve also noticed that as we’ve become more affluent, lots of other good things have happened in society. Kids feel more secure and happy, education has improved, secure communities. Marriages seem more balanced and successful.

      Basically it’s wins all around. The parents have lots of the stuff that measures success and the kids have heaps of cool things to play with.

    • Rose says:

      01:43pm | 24/03/12

      Ummmmm…..rose coloured glasses anyone. Working women may have solved many problems but it has caused many more. Kids disconnected from their parents, over-casualization of the workforce, unaffordable housing, relationship stress etc etc etc
      There is no real solution, women should always have the right to work, parents should always have the right to stay home with their kids, society just has to start respecting people’s decisions and supporting them.
      What we have now is a debate though that often seems to revolve around the rights of the parents and the $$ aspect when it should be centred on what’s right for the children. Whatever choice parents make I just hope it’s their kids that are being put first and not the “Nice cars, sea views, holidays, and a nest egg for retirement”
      Good parenting is about how people parent, not the stuff that they can buy.

    • Kathy says:

      02:07pm | 24/03/12

      Was this written with tongue in cheek David?  Kept waiting for the punchline…

    • PW says:

      10:58am | 25/03/12

      A very nice line in irony here, David. Take a bow.

    • Bern says:

      12:35pm | 24/03/12

      And those at home with 5 children are not working???????

    • marley says:

      01:24pm | 24/03/12

      Of course they are.  The point is, most mothers work hard, whether they’re stay at home or in the workforce.  They have to stop beating themselves up over the choices they make or the choices forced upon them by circumstance.  They need to stop feeling guilty if they have to (or want to) work, but neither should they feel guilty if the can (or choose to) be stay at home mothers.  If the kids are loved, cared for and growing up well, then they’re doing just fine.

    • pheelion says:

      01:49pm | 24/03/12

      Just love the way they have decided that children aren’t adversely affected by full time working mothers but never bothered to ask the, now adult, 70’s latchkey kids.
      I also find it interesting that in this great debate stay at home mothers start with “My child wants/needs” and the workers start with “I want/need”.
      Ladies we are being conned by people who only care about their bottom line.

    • marley says:

      04:23pm | 24/03/12

      Well, I don’t know about that.  I was a latchkey kid back in the 50s and 60s because, guess what, we needed the money.  My dad didn’t earn a lot and mom had to help out.  We two kids learned to clean the house, wash and peel veggies, feed the dog and cats, from the time we were pretty small.  We managed to get to and from school on our own, did our homework without someone having to hover over us, and somehow or other grew up into well adjusted, well educated adults.  I’d say, frankly, that Mom did a pretty damn good job.  And I’d also say that my friends who had working moms turned out as well as the ones who had stay at home moms. 

      Children are pretty resilient - and they can learn, and handle, responsibility, early.  Give them love, spend time with them when you’re home, make sure they feel part of the family and not either serfs or little princesses, and you as a parent have done your job.

    • Elizabeth1 says:

      02:32pm | 24/03/12

      I along with my sister, am a third generation working mother. The relationship my family has is strong and healthy and I am pleased with how the younger family members negotiate the world. My grandparents are not with us anymore but 4 generations will spend Easter together again this year at the beach. My nephew and his wife have decided that she should stay at home to care for their young children. My brother was a stay at home dad until his children went to work. Each family has chosen their own way and as far as I can judge each family is raising happy fun loving kids or has raised well adjusted adults.

    • Condor says:

      04:52pm | 24/03/12

      david @ 12:43
      I see what you did there. Nice work.

    • scumbag says:

      01:41pm | 25/03/12

      Look, companies must always have the right to appoint the best man for the job, regardless of sex.

    • BrownStar says:

      09:29pm | 25/03/12

      Being a mother means that and only that.  You gave birth (or adopted, or used a surrogate), you are raising a child - get over it.  It does not and will not make you a better worker, or a better person or a better anything.  The sooner this mummy-centric society ends, the better it will be for all non-mothers (male and female).

    • Monique says:

      05:24pm | 26/03/12

      This term ‘working mum’ really annoys me. I take care of my baby full- time and while it is an act of love, it is also work. Unpaid work. I worked outside the home for twenty years before having my baby. These years now are for her. I see it as my responsibility to parent my baby and not outsource this job to someone else. And no, we are not rich and my salary is sorely missed. And some days the mundanity does my head in. But looking after my daughter is what I need to do and I think it is a precious opportunity that can never be repeated.

    • Office furniture Melbourne says:

      02:14pm | 05/04/12

      “You have made it all about you Skippy, to the point you denigrate me in every reply.  Lame.  I said your post is all about you.  You are all about you.” I agree with you.

 

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