Now, I'm not a mum (obvi), but I still have something to say about all this. I'm not going to (publicly) go on about my opinions on any particular aspect of the argument. What I AM going to say, however, basically comes down to this:
Shut up and mind your business.
Harsh? Ok, let me explain.
I have a friend who currently feels she is getting pressure at work to go back to full-time hours. And she has said a lot of the following things:
- "The cost of day-care wouldn't justify the extra hours at work - there would be no financial benefit"
- "Just because he [her boss] doesn't care if he never sees his kids doesn't mean we all feel that way"
- "I'm not going to miss my son's first years just for a job"
And this is what I wish she would say:
"I have made the decision that I will work part-time and the rest of the time be my son's primary care-giver."
And inside, I wish she would say "That's my Thing. I love it. And what you think of it is none of my business".
So, to recap - my opinion on the stay-at-home (I really hate that term ... what's the opposite, "leave-home"???) vs "working" (again, shitty phrase - I've spent time with small people, that shit ain't not work!) parents is:
- If you work outside of the home for ANY reason (money, fulfilment, grown-up conversation, passions, the outfits ...) Fucking Awesome - Go YOU.
- f you don't work outside of the home for whatever reason (you won lottery, your partner earns a buttload of money, you have a trust fund, you scrimp and save every penny because you would just rather be home) Fucking Awesome - Go YOU!
- Make your choice. Love your choice and live it. What other people are doing is none of your business, and what they think of what you're doing? Also none of your business.
I call this: LOVE YOUR THING.
I coach on this - it's my greatest passion. I use the parenting debate to illustrate it because it's very clear and very topical. But the truth is, I want to see everyone living and loving whatever their Thing is.
See I really think we only start getting down on other people's "Things" when we're not in love with our own.
I used to really get on my partner's case about going out drinking with her mates. Oh yeah, spoiler alert: I'm soooooo not perfect ;)
But what was really going on was that I wasn't in love with my Thing. I'd go out with them, and I wouldn't have fun. I'd rather be at home with Suki and a book. And I thought that was lame, boring, nerdy. I was jealous that she enjoyed what I thought I should enjoy. She was doing what I thought I should be doing ... and so I tried to make her feel bad about it.
Ever done that to someone? How shitty is it, when you see it written out like that?
Nowadays, I'm totally in love with the following stuff about me:
- I like sewing tiny animals
- I love unicorns and rainbows and pretty things
- My dog is one of the greatest sources of joy in my life
- Going to bed early on a Saturday night with a good book is the freaking BOMB!
- Colour therapy and crystals and scented candles and numerology and angels rock my world!
Loving that stuff about myself means that I can show up in the world completely as I am. And if someone doesn't like it? I don't care! I like it, and it's my Thing, and so that's all that matters.
Loving my Thing also means that when I meet someone who has a wildly different Thing I can observe and just go "wow, cool, so that's different". I don't have to judge or compare ... I don't have to like it, and I don't have to convince them (i.e. really convince myself) that my Thing is better than theirs - because I love mine, and I hope they love theirs.
So, this is my great hope, my challenge to everyone: let's get totally down with our Things.
Find who you are, embrace the choices you make, live and love your Thing. And if you don't love it? Don't pull down someone else's - get a new one for yourself!
What you think of me is not my reality, but instead your own. What you think of me simply isn’t my problem. I found my truth when I accepted and embraced who I genuinely am. - Ricky Martin
So who are you, really? And do you love it? YEAH!!!! YAY!!!! Go grab the Love Your Thing poster and display it proudly - is it too early for me to say "we're gonna change the world" ??