There has been a great deal of discussion on channel nine about the sixty minutes feature on Sunday, of which I participated in. On a personal note, good on the those shows for bringing in male commentators to comment on what is largely regarded as women’s business. I love how the media have turned out very well paid media commentators to comment on a situation that largely affects the female middle and low income earners.
Ok ‘A please explain’, what did I mean by my comment on the 60 minutes feature, Super Star Mums – ‘the feminists got it all wrong – what a croc….’ Well here is discussion you didn’t see, that followed this comment.
In my opinion, and its only my opinion the feminists did get it wrong, sure if your a women in a high paying position i.e. in excess of $100,000 + you can easily afford to have a career. Women in high paying positions working full time, benefit from the changes encouraged by the feminists – they can afford to have childcare, a cleaner, and all the luxuries that enable them to have a full time career, with money left over to enjoy. But the reality for most middle class Australians is much different, by the time you take out the costs of child care, taxes, the cost of a second car to get to work, coupled by the fact women are paid less or on part time income, there is not much left over for the average Australian woman who wants to return to work, is it financially worth having a career? Given this same woman will generally return home to start their second unpaid job, ‘mum’. It's exhausting to say the least. As much as we love our husbands / partners and they are wonderful in many ways, the cold hard fact is, they are wired differently to us. Most men, unless your lucky, don’t think beyond the first task at hand, where as we women, get home and have a long ‘to do list’, to tick off. Now read carefully I am not saying ALL men, just a majority, there are some very lucky women with partners who do pitch in their 50% share. But for the rest of us, myself included most of us are reminding/ nagging our partners about what jobs need doing around the house, or we are doing them ourselves.
So I ask did the feminists get it right for a majority of women or the elite minority, with high paying careers, who can afford the help. The men have never had it so good, women who contribute financially as well as keep house. Erin Pizzey, the pioneering women's rights activist, was on the money when she said in the UK Telegraph 30 Apr 2009, ‘women have won the war for equality but it has left many of them "imprisoned" and "exhausted”
Now sure the feminists gave us choice, but lets review that choice. Choose your poison, the guilt of being a stay at home mum or the guilt of going back to a career, either way you can’t win by societies standards. If your at peace with your decision, more power to you! Many mums are not, especially those who have to work - no choice there.
Personally I worked hard in Uni, when I got out, I landed a good position in a corporate company and I towed the feminist’s line moving further up the ladder, until I had a baby. And here is what the feminists didn’t warn women of, that is, just how hard it would be to leave bubs at home and go to work, when I did, it was heart wrenching – I yearned to be at home and felt terrible guilt – just awful – and then in the same breath I felt like I needed more mental stimulation, I had worked in a very demanding role and motherhood was not quite the same – I felt guilty for not wanting to be at home. It was a confusing time that I am sure many mums can appreciate. The mother of all guilt - compounded by the fact the my income less these new return to work expenses was pitiful.
Back in my day – we were all encouraged to do engineering, scientific subjects and more male dominated subjects. We were told, go forth and conquer, smash those glass ceilings, and when I started my family, I felt let down because I didn’t know which path to take, stay at home or go back to work to work for peanuts. This is why I sought to find a way to work from home and its what I meant on Sunday night when I said the feminists had set us up for a fall, it is very hard to know which path is the right one once you have a family, there is guilt either way as well as a financial burden to bear - of financial security - a man is no financial plan.
I wish career advice would take into account motherhood, and we somehow could marry careers and motherhood successfully, it is difficult to imagine at 18, when you are choosing your career path, how you will feel when you become a mum 12 years later.
Nevertheless I hope this sets the record straight.
But more to the point this is why I am so passionate about helping average everyday women find a better way to bridge the gap if that is what they want to do.
I am very disappointed to see that the media have missed this topic all together, there are many successful mums out there who have made it, via property, shares or have started businesses and have their own financial independence – may be these women are the next wave of pioneers. You only need to look at EB’s Business Mums Directory, and you will see there are many business mums enjoying the best of both worlds.
Do I agree with Sophie’s lifestyle as featured on the segment, or career women like Janine Allis, that’s not for me or anyone else to decide. The debate should never focus on who makes the right choice. It should always be about what choices are out there and what could potentially work for you.
Sonia Williams a mother of two, qualified accountant, author of Give it a Go what have you got to lose?Show Mummy the Money
Raising a Business
and founder of the site Show Mummy the Money
, for mums who want to learn how they can make money.
This information is correct at time of writing. It is general advice only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal financial advice prior to acting on this information.