Mothers have hit the headlines this week after Cherie Blair’s comments at the International FORTUNE “Most Powerful Women” event. Blair has been accused of targeting stay-at-home mums in her speech where she declared that “yummy mummies” who don’t work and “put all their effort into their children” are making mistakes.
Blair’s speech appeared to lambaste women who do not work after she generalised young stay-at-home mums and said: “One of the things that worries me now is you see young women who say: “I look at the sacrifices that women have made and I think why do I need to bother, why can’t I just marry a rich husband and retire?” and you think how can they even imagine that is the way to fulfil yourself, how dangerous it is.”
However, the public outrage and many articles in defense of stay-at-home mums fail to recognise that this sort of “Mommy war” has happened before, and in fact happens all too often, with working mums pitted against stay-at-home mums on a regular basis in a test of “who is the better mother/woman” that the media seizes upon.
At the beginning of the year, Amanda Holden faced criticism for returning to Britain’s Got Talent shortly after the traumatic birth of her second child. She defended her decision in a move that angered some women across the country. Similarly, actress Natalie Cassidy and TV presenter Denise Van Outen had an all-out twitter war after Natalie criticised Denise for returning to work soon after the birth of her daughter Betsy.
This argument is all too common these days. Motherhood should be celebrated rather than criticised. These mothers should unite to challenge these ridiculous arguments. A mother cannot be judged by her life decisions, if she decides to work or if she wants to stay at home with her children surely that is her choice, and nobody else can judge those decisions.
Cherie Blair may have been attempting to weigh up the age old Motherhood v Career debate but she actually ended up sparking more furore. Perhaps she was wrong to generalise that stay-at-home mums do not follow their career because they simply can do without; maybe these young women are fortunate that they can work from home or they don’t particularly enjoy the idea of a career? To insinuate that all stay-at-home mums are harbouring some talent or desire that they have wasted for their children is ridiculous, a mother is still a woman and can have many talents, none of them limited solely by motherhood.
Wasn’t it in fact a conference titled “Most Powerful Women” that sparked all this controversy? The irony is that any woman can be powerful, just as any mother can be, not just one with a successful career, but one juggling nappies and bottles at home … as a strong, independent and resilient woman.