Today we’re delighted to bring you a piece from Samantha – stay at home mum, blogger, business woman and all-round clever sausage. She regularly writes of things affecting women – whether it be political, emotional or practical – and whatever her subject she writes with understanding, grace and humour.
Below she talks about her choices (you know we’re big on choices here at AOW) and how choosing to stay at home doesn’t mean she lacks ambition.
Do you know what, Samantha, we think you’re pretty cool too.
I recently wrote a piece for my own blog page about feminism and being a housewife. It was inspired by recent coverage of Cherie Blair’s criticism of stay at home mothers, accusing us of lacking ambition and making a dangerous choice to be dependent on our husbands. Reading the recent Jobs for the Girls posts here and feeling so excited by the stories, seeing how strong and amazing we women are, lapping up the sense of power and ambition that oozed from every word on the screen all made me realise more than ever that what I do is just as cool.
My job doesn’t pay very well in monetary terms, the hours are long, my colleagues are noisy and demanding and it doesn’t really do wonders for your CV. Housewife, homemaker, stay at home mother – call me what you will.
Samantha and her demanding colleagues.
Do I lack ambition because I don’t go out each day to work as an employee in an industry outside my home? I don’t think so. I aspire to be an amazing mother, to create happy memories for my children to look back on when they are grown, to provide a safe, comfortable home for my family. It’s harder than it sounds… the sacrifices you make in order to be good at this job are immense. Time to myself, disposable income, luxurious furniture, nice clothes, a peaceful glass of wine in the evenings, adults to socialise with daily – these things aren’t part of my lifestyle just now.
Image via Samantha’s blog
To answer those who would call me un-feminist, I am anything but. A friend once asked me to pinpoint exactly how I consider myself a feminist, and I had to think quite hard about how to articulate it. I would say it’s because I champion the right for a woman to make decisions about her life for herself, informed by what she desires, not what society dictates she should or shouldn’t do because she is female. That choice can be anything – to be the managing director of a large company, to run a football club, model lingerie, or stay at home with her children. Whatever the situation, any women has the absolute right to consider all her options and take the one she likes the most. That’s what I’ve done. I don’t stay at home because it’s “my place” to do so, neither will I be pushed into employment away from home before my children are at school because it’s “un-feminist” for me to do otherwise. Nothing about my gender should dictate my career choices, and in that respect I consider being a stay at home mother to be just as valid an occupation as any other, because I have chosen to be here. I can safely say that I have learned more about myself and my place in the world during the last year as a stay at home mother than I did for the entire duration of my degree or the time I spent in paid employment.
For what it’s worth, I’m really good at my job and I’m proud to say that. I feel empowered, happy, fulfilled and no less intellectual than any of my sisters around the world.