The one about Cherie Blair and her ‘bringing kids up to live without us’ assertion

20 Jun

Cherie Booth / Blair’s speech on Yummy Mummies has provoked debate, agreement and outrage, as I’m sure was her intention (whatever else you think about her, there’s no doubting she’s smart and she’s shrewd).  It’s kept her in the news, at least.

There’s no point in my spitting feathers about women exercising the choice, if they have one, to stay at home and raise their children rather than continue or embark on their career.  I don’t want to.  This particular choice is dictated by individual circumstances and beliefs, and I would argue that one of the points of having a choice is to, well, exercise the right to choose.

But one part I would like to debate is this sentence:

“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”.

No matter how many times I read this, I simply cannot understand the relevance of being in paid employment or not to achieving this goal.  Working status is irrelevant to children being able to make their own way in the world.  Achieving that is about giving a child a secure foundation and belief in their own capability as a human being to make decisions and experiment with the new, when some things will work out and some things will not, and that failure – as it is conventionally termed – maybe it is better to view it as when something doesn’t quite go to plan (this at least is my positioning to my employers in such circumstances) – is ok and not a disaster.  Because working things out better second time around is the only way children – and adults – and those of us who still believe we inhabit an age-related no-person’s land – learn, and grow, and it is just about being a member of the human race.  It is also about setting a good example of how to make it through the perils of adulthood, so becoming a decent member of society with a code of behaviour that includes consideration of the wellbeing of others as well as our own.  Again, paid work or not is utterly removed from being able to show our children this.

As a parent, my aim is that the Ls should leave the family home to move to the next stage of their life with a bit of trepidation, mainly excitement, and a sense of the wonderful adventure of starting off on their own.  They should be decent people who are able to stand on their own two feet, look out for others and be supported by their own network in return.  Friends who aren’t in paid employment are working towards these goals.  Friends who are, also work towards them.  It is about us handing onto the next generation and Cherie Blair is wrong entirely to link it to paid employment or not.

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2 Responses to “The one about Cherie Blair and her ‘bringing kids up to live without us’ assertion”

  1. dirtyrottenparenting June 20, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    I gotta agree with you on this one. Not sure how a paid job vs staying home with kids is going to make or break the eventual ability of a young person to ‘live without mommy.’ Your parenting style has a lot more to do with it than where you go or stay to work.

    • lizrossmartyn June 20, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

      Absolutely. She did say some very strange things in her speech but this was the oddest: it has certainly generated some debate!

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