I live in Hertfordshire, with my husband and three children. Two girls, aged twelve and four, and a boy aged nine. My husband runs a garden business.
I stay at home to look after my children, facilitating their education, and running our home. I think of myself as a maternal feminist. An intelligent, curious human being, who wants equal rights and choices for men and women. Who has chosen and loves her work as an unpaid family carer.
Unfortunately, our culture values paid work like it’s some kind of religion. Views those who stay at home to work unpaid running homes and looking after people are wasting their intelligence and talent. Scroungers. Unfulfilled. Unfeminist. But it makes no sense to write off those who care unpaid for the vulnerable. SOMEONE’S got to look after those who cant look after themselves. It costs around £5k each a year for children to go to school. Nurseries and childminders cost thousands per year. Is it really so unthinkable that I would just do this myself instead?
It’s thanks to feminism that I have this choice. Whether to go out to paid work, work at home, care for home and family unpaid, or a combination of them.
Looking back over the generations in my family, there’s a history of women having their careers ended, or at least very thwarted, by having children. Maybe there was some unconscious thought deep within me, that there was no point in trying to have a career and be a mother. No matter what the financial benefits would be. It’s complicated.
And we do it like this, affording for me to stay at home with the children, because we have made our life such that we can live on little. Fortunately, our home is inexpensive. For us, this is key. Living on little has made us free.
Oh well seeing as I seem to find myself being frank, I’m also a bit of an addictive, troubled person.
Social anxiety, chronic fatigue, depression, schizoid, that’s me. Not sure if I’m joking here or not! All self diagnosed as am doctor phobic.. Garden variety basket case. Probably like most of us actually.
Have had some counselling. And some counselling training. But I think its becoming a mother that saved me.
It’s motherhood that drove me to read and research. To consider my behaviour, my past. Whilst searching for ways to ensure my children don’t live with the psychological difficulties I have.
Can’t ensure that of course. But I won’t stop trying.
Treating my children as I want to be treated myself. Allowing my children to express negative feelings. Attachment theory. Which leads in many ways naturally to unschooling!
My children have experienced some of these ideals, some of the time. I’ve also parented in ways I regret.
But the journey is always upwards. Learning learning learning.