This week I went out for a meal with 2 friends, one works full time and has 2 children and the other does not work and has 2 children, she is a stay at home mum (SAHM). We had a lovely meal and talked about our plans for the summer and our children.
Then the non-working friend began to complain about her husband, that he does nothing to help at home and leaves all the care and feeding of the children to her. When she went to the toilet my working mummy friend and I both thought she had no right to complain and declared “she doesn’t work! What a cheek, her husband earns all the money, the least she can do is see to the house and cooking”.
It wasn’t until a few days later that I started to reflect on this attitude; that earning a decent amount of money and working, means I expect my husband to do his share of tasks in our home. Do women who earn no money forego the right to a helpful husband? Clearly they do not.
Whilst on maternity leave (a total of three years people, I took every day they would give me) I had a look into this world and found that there are two types of SAHM. There are those who don’t work because it is not sound financially: 3 kids in child care (at a conservative estimate this costs £15000 pa per child) when you only earn £17000 is insane, and those who don’t work because they choose not to either because they are so wealthy (the lunch out, gym member, holiday in Dubai, Range Rover brigade) or they have chosen to be a full time mum and are spending less money accordingly (home made bread, road running, holiday in a tent, beaten up Mercedes estate brigade).
Neither of these types of women are any less entitled to their feminism than me. I feel terrible that I wasn’t an understanding and sympathetic ear to my friend when she wanted to discuss her husband’s failings.
She is in the Range Rover brigade and used to have a fabulous job and gave it up because he told her he would provide for them all. She is no less a feminist than me and yet I was so prejudiced by my own misogynistic views that I have confirmed what she was hoping I wouldn’t; that washing and ironing are her responsibility.
Also this week a male colleague was disparaging a very senior person that we work with, highly intelligent and successful but allegedly, the recent recipient of new breast implants. “She’s an idiot. She’s got breast implants”. I asked him if he was serious, he said he was.
Being a feminist is a stay at home mum with huge fake tits as much as it is anyone and I’ll stand up for their right to be taken as seriously as I expect to be.