Setting a bad example to my daughter, Mrs Blair?

This article caught my eye this morning.  Cherie Blair, oh deary, deary me.

As I don’t ‘work’, I have a 1-year-old, a husband who works in investment banking and I drive a mahoosive 4×4, I guess you are talking to me, Cherie?

What a can of worms to open.  I see articles like this and feel like banging my head off a wall.  Yes, I am always up for a debate and a conversation, but WHY do people insist on this as a topic?  One thing I have learned in this bonkers 16 months is that each family does what works for them.  Everyone’s circumstances are different, their priorities are different, their bank balances are different.  It’s nobodies business if I choose to be a stay-at-home Mum.  Just like it’s none of my business if someone goes back to work full-time.  Live and let live!  If the kids are happy and the parents are happy then people should be free to do what works for them, without judgement, criticism or guilt.

Am I single-handedly setting back the feminist movement by years? No, quite the opposite, I am making the most of the choice and freedom that people fought for.

Our choice was that I would resign at the end of my maternity leave period and will be a ‘housewife’ until such a time that my child/ren go to school full-time.  And then I will do something.  (Who knows what that will be?!)

Mrs Blair states that in choosing to be at home I am not setting a good example to my daughter.  I set a good example to her all day every day, because she is with me, learning from me and being nurtured by me.  Not by a 3rd party.  That’s our choice.  And her choice was to be exceptionally successful in her career and have a nanny raise her kids.  That’s cool too.

I quote “how can they even imagine that is the way to fulfil yourself”?  To be honest, Cherie, being a mother currently gives me far more fulfilment than I got sitting in an office all day long.  Who are you to assume otherwise?

She also states that in being a stay-at-home Mum, I may have married a rich man and retired.  Ha! Well, we’re not rich, far from it, we get by because we are sensible with what money we do have.  We have enough that we can pay the mortgage and bills without the 2nd salary.  We’re very lucky.  But we don’t go on expensive holidays anymore or have the dream house extension.  We are just comfortable.  If I were to return to my previous role, I would be shelling out around £1000 a month on a good full-time nursery and £300 on a train ticket.  Does that leave enough money to make it worth not seeing my child?  Nope.  If I had been on an enormous salary (such as that of a QC, Mrs Blair), would I have gone back?  Probably not.  Because at this crucial stage in my daughter’s life, we feel that being with her is more important than extra cash.  I know that a lot of people have to return to work to pay the bills, you do what you have to do.

And as for the ‘retired’ bit, I have never worked so hard in my bloody life as I do now.  What I’d give for a day in the office, a hot cup of tea and a conversation with an adult.  And a lunch break!

I have gathered so many transferable skills in my working years, what could be a better use of these than teaching my little girl? She will be a confident, happy girl who can do whatever she wants with her life. Rocket scientist, artist, doctor? You want to eat yoghurt with a fork, my darling, you crack on.

As long as we all pledge to do the very best by our children, by whatever means, and raise them to be happy, friendly, kind, polite adults then who cares how we get there?

Thanks for your concern, Cherie, but each to their own.

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13 Comments on “Setting a bad example to my daughter, Mrs Blair?”

  1. Off Duty Mom says:

    Not living in the UK, I hadn’t heard about this until you brought it to my attention. I am currently a working mother, thought I have had a spin at being at home for a bit, too, which I found exhausting, as you note it is.

    It does seem to me as though feminism and the women’s liberation movement should have afforded us the opportunity to choose our own individual life paths. Though I have my own personal feelings about this issue in general, I believe in individual freedom and the concept of “live and let live” more vehemently.

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention here in the US.

    I look forward to reading more posts from you soon!

    • Agreed, it’s all about the choices and ‘live and let live’. I hate the way we bash each other’s choices in the media or outside the playgrounds, we should all just support each other.
      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

  2. knittymummy says:

    Without SAHMs who would run the PTA, the local Brownies, etc. My mother gave me a brilliant roll model not by going out to work, but by helping others. I hope my daughter thinks the same of my choice.

  3. Sara says:

    Well said, I hate that staying at home raising our children is seen as a second class occupation.

  4. Absolutely well said!

  5. What an inspirational blog and what a narrow minded, condescending arse Mrs B is.

    Women’s rights and living in an equal society is about freedom and choice. Your choices will always be right, because they’re your choices.

    If I were a mother, I would be grateful for the choice and do what’s best for us too.

    By the way, I believe that your decision will indeed make Camille a confide far better off than the poor kid who has an unorganised, scatty, over opinionated mother such as Mrs B.

    Good on you girl.

  6. Totally agree with you – she is soo wrong in what she said and the way she said it. We all have hard choices to make and it doesn’t make it easier when women slag other women off. What happened to a bit of female solidarity. I had to stop work because my son was diagnosed with leukaemia. Does she consider me a bad example? Perhaps I should have spent the 3.5 years of his chemo and regular (schedlued and unscheduled) hospital admissions carrying on furthering my career to set him (and his sister who was born while he was still having treatment) a good example. May be I should have employed a nanny to do all the shit stuff with him, comfort him when he was sick and frightened? If she read this she’d say (may be) oh, well of course that’s exceptional – but I would argue that my reason for stopping work is no more valid than any reason any other woman gives (although why a reason is necessary) for working or staying at home (although granted, it’s slightly extreme). Bloody hell. I am mad about this. Thanks for posting. I keep wanting to but I get all cross again and can’t think straight. And actually you’ve said pretty much what I would have said.

  7. Sarah says:

    The Cherie Blair article annoyed me too – it left me fuming all day after I had read it. My husband ( a fellow blogger ) knew I’d enjoy your post so he forwarded it to me – It’s good to know someone else feels the same way I do!

    I am also a Leigh-on-Sea stay at home mum and with my youngest due to start school in September I’m already being badgered by constant enquiries about what I will do all day.

    I worked for almost 20 years in The City before I became a mum – I’m in no hurry to rush back to work.I have books to read , a garden that will finally get the attention it deserves and a sofa that needs sitting on!

    I look forward reading your next post.

    • Oh thanks so much for reading and to your husband for sharing! And good on you, get those feet up, enjoy being you again, make the most of the time. Which school will your little one go to? Mine will be West Leigh, she’s only 16 months but I know that it will just fly by.

      • Sarah says:

        West Leigh – it’s a great school! The time will fly – I suddenly realised that I only have a couple more weeks of being able to take her to the beach on sunny mornings! It’s just not the same when you have to fight for space among the day trippers!

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