Because of all the many – often conflicting – things that mothers are supposed to do and be; the labels that adhere to us, and the ones we seek to transcend. What does mothers’ work mean to me?
I am interested in pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, parenting. Things you might expect a mother-blogger to be interested in. I have children (14yo, 12yo, 9yo and 6yo) who live with me and my husband (DH) in The Shoe, our boxy little Thames Valley home. I sometimes blog (and more often tweet) about “Life in the Shoe” – things homely and domestic.
But the personal is inevitably political. What is “mothers’ work”? Far more than the activity of mothering. Few families can live well without both parents taking on paid work outside the home and the shoe-dwellers are no exception. My work in public service over two decades has steeped me in traditionally “feminised” areas such as early years, education and children’s services and this for me is mothers’ work too.
It doesn’t stop there. Who can bring children into this world without caring about the type of world they have been brought into? The state of the planet they will inherit; both the physical environment and the moral environment matter.
I am responsible for the four children that are “mine” but through my work I have a shared responsibility for several tens of thousands more, and through the simple fact of my humanity have a joint responsibility – with you – for the future of the children of the world. So this mother’s work is politics, it’s social justice, it’s public service, and it’s children’s services, and simple daily parenting too.