Dear Cherie Blair

Dear Cherie Blair,

I saw you quoted in this article in the Telegraph yesterday. “Cherie Blair attacks yummy mummies”

Now Cherie, is attack really the best form of defense? I suggest you don’t ask your husband that- he doesn’t know the answer to that either.

You stated:

“Every woman needs to be self-sufficient and in that way you really don’t have a choice – for your own satisfaction; you hear these yummy mummies talk about being the best possible mother and they put all their effort into their children. I also want to be the best possible mother, but I know that my job as a mother includes bringing my children up so actually they can live without me.”

Do you have any evidence to suggest that children of stay at home mums are less likely to be able to “live without” their mothers than children of working mothers!? Because if you do I would love to see it, but I think you are falling into a classic trap of feeling a little bit guilty for being a working mum of four children and therefore attacking mothers who are parenting in alternate ways.

Also show me any mother that doesn’t want to be the best possible mother they can be, however they choose to parent. We are all doing our best with whatever circumstances we have either chosen or find ourselves in. Today I am having a spectacularly bad day, my kids are driving me completely up the wall and I have an important work thing tomorrow. Today I have decided that me being the best possible mother is leaving my kids to nap for slightly longer than I should so that I can get this time out to write this letter to you. Although technically I should be using this time to finish off preparing for tomorrow. Then when they wake I will be much better equipped to deal with them, and they will be in much better moods having slept. Others may disagree but that to me is me being the best mother I can be!

You criticised women who “put all their effort into their children” instead of working. “Mothers who go out to work are setting a better example for their children”. I am in total awe of women who can put all their effort into their children, but I disagree working mothers set a better example. They set a different example maybe, but not better. The children of stay at home mums will reap different benefits to those children of working mums, but its not a competition, mums need to do what is right for them and their families.

For me personally I totally and utterly adore my kids but I also need to work for my own sanity. I have a job that I love and I have worked very hard to get where I am. I am completely incapable of being a stay at home parent, so if you asked me who was the better mother I would probably say the stay at home parent who actually enjoys their role. I am a much better mother for working, but those are my personal feelings and other mothers maybe better for not working. Its an individual thing, one size doesn’t fit all in motherhood.

Currently I am mostly a stay at home mum because I have two small children. I work a few days a month but sadly I can’t do much more than that because the costs of childcare for two children under 3 would negate the benefit of me working, and I have a very well paid job! My husbands is better paid and when he asked about going part time (so I could go back to work) he was told “we’d have to let you because we let the women” but the emphasis was very clearly he would be shooting himself in the foot careerwise if he did go part time. We can’t have two careers ruined because we wanted to have children, so it is my career currently taking the hit, until the kids are in school. I think it is exceptionally hard near impossible to maintain two high flying careers (Okay so me and LordCurd are hardly a QC and a prime minister but we are still in excellent graduate professions) when you have small children. You really can’t have it all.

I would love to be the career woman you think all women should be, but currently the way this country is set up for families means that I can’t (but of course you probably wouldn’t be aware of that, having a plethora of staff to help you with your children’s care so you could both continue with your high powered careers.) A friend of mine is actually moving to Sweden because the childcare is so much cheaper there so she can stay in work, but that isn’t really an option for us.

You said “Some women now regard motherhood as an acceptable alternative to a career, Instead, women should strive for both.” You seem to think that women should have careers for their own satisfaction and that motherhood cannot be considred a career. Yes maybe that is true for women like you and me but its not the case for every woman, and unless you are in their shoes who are you to judge pun intended!? Motherhood IS an acceptable alternative to a career, to those mothers who choose to parent in that way. Anyhow “Strive” would be the operative word in most cases as for most working mums, they are usually the one taking on the majority of roles in the home as well as be the parent to stay off with sick kids and have employers not look kindly on them for it. Being a working mum is incredibly hard, it doesn’t surprise me some women may choose not to do that if they don’t have to.

However I do agree that women need to be able to be self sufficient. I know too many women whose marriages have broken down/partner died when they haven’t really worked, and they are now up the proverbial “shit creek”. I will be bringing up my girls to hopefully never need to depend on anyone for anything but if they do in the partnerships they form, that is okay because they will be making choices that are right for their family just as I am for mine. However in their futures I do wish that society is more geared up to support working mothers, that childcare is cheaper and men take on equal roles in the home (Thankfully LordCurd definitely does if not more than his fair share so he is an excellent role model).

Anyhow maybe I am moving in the wrong circles but I don’t think I have ever met a “yummy mummy” as you described, just a lot of women like me who have made or are making choices about their lives that fit in with their families based on their circumstances. I don’t think any of us should judge others for making different choices, it just doesn’t help. What would help is if high powered women like yourself campaigned for better maternity rights, parental leave, cheaper childcare, closing the pay gap etc etc. and then maybe just maybe more women with children would be able to/want to work.

Yours sincerely



6 responses to “Dear Cherie Blair

  1. Am so sick of the labels being thrown around. Why should we STRIVE to do both? You never hear of a man having to strive for both. Also if you made men more accountable for offspring they can abandon on whim then it wouldn’t be so important for woman to have independent means.

  2. Yes. You said it so much better than me.

  3. Thank you so much for this post! No one can fully understand another’s circumstances, or choices (and not everyone ‘has it all’ where choice is concerned).
    I guess Cherie has opted out of the sisterhood?

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