was a single mother for many years, my father died when I
was very young, so she raised 4 children and this was back
in the 50s and 60s when it was not a common thing for women
to be working let alone to be single mothers working. I was
always really proud of my mom for doing that but I was also
envious of my friends who had the stay-at-home moms. Because
they were there at lunchtime and they baked cookies and they
sewed, all those domestic tasks that we think of as being
To read more Stories,
When I talk to my mom now, her perception of economy was
well I have to be able to pay the bills and I have to be
able to buy groceries and I have to be able to clothe you.
That was economy to her. She did not give herself any recognition
for the extras: on Saturdays when I'm home I wax the kitchen
floor and I polish the hardwood floors and I do five loads
of laundry and I go to the grocery store and on and on.
To her that was not part of the economy.
You know what I never even began thinking about that until
I was parenting and it was, "Ok, I work and I have
this pay cheque and that's economy because I'm given dollar
value for that. But now I still have to add the breastfeeding
and washing the diapers and the grocery shopping and the
cooking and the sewing and the mending
" And that's
when the light bulb went on and I went, "Huh? What's
this part of the economy? This is a really big part of economy
that is not assigned dollar value." And for me I do
say that it is part of the economy because economics means
welfare of the state. For me it's what keeps things going
round, it's what makes things tick.
But for me becoming a mother was a new job, a wonderful
opportunity, the most important job I've ever done, and
I chose to assign more hours to that task than my paid job.
It was stressful for me. I would have preferred not to have
worked at all during early childhood years. That's a personal
preference and I'll stress that. I liked being at home with
my children much more than I liked coming to work. I wish
now that I myself would have assigned more value to being
a stay-at-home mom, that I would have been willing to maybe
make more sacrifices. But maybe not. And maybe that's the
issue we need to address is should it be a matter of making
sacrifices, personal and financial sacrifices, in order
to do that very important job which is parenting.
I was returning to work part-time (15 years ago), I chose
to remain breast-feeding this particular baby who was not
very happy to be bottle-fed. All the arrangements that I
made to drive home quickly on my lunch break, which I'm
not paid for anyway, and quickly undress, feed the baby
and eat my lunch as I was doing that, and return to work.
Yes I will admit that quite often I might have been 5 or
10 minutes late returning to work. However, I was just blown
away by the sometimes behind my back criticisms and comments
that were made by my co-workers, other nurses, about my
decision to remain breast-feeding and therefore make myself
late all the time. This is a health-care setting and I work
with majority women, and the majority of them are mothers.
And here we are with posters all over this facility advocating
the benefits of breastfeeding and yet we don't practice
what we preach, at least not with our own co-workers.
From a feminist perspective, I am really happy that women
have been receiving more support and encouragement to enter
the workforce and doing well at that. I applaud that, that's
an important piece, but what we've perhaps sacrificed with
that is ignoring the bigger issue and it's a biological
thing. I think that procreation, child rearing, mothering,
deserves a lot more respect and recognition. Let's not just
leave it rooted towards she became a judge or she became
a doctor. Those are wonderful successes but being able to
stay at home and financially manage your household so that
you have a happy, healthy household is a very big success
that has yet to be recognized.
I'm a firm believer in taxes, I think taxes are a wonderful
thing if they're utilized properly. We have a wealthy country.
And if we treated the next generation as our most rich resource,
if we were very careful, if we looked at this as sort of
an ecological project, it wouldn't take much to reassign
the dollar value coming in from the tax base to provide
financial support for stay-at-home parents.