Something has to give. Being good is generally good enough. Time As The One Constant For Parenting This is not a post about how to be a great parent because unlike work, parenting is very subjective.
Share via Email Alex Blackie and her daughter. It was a simple statement of fact by a seven-year-old who was seeing her mother less and less. We giggled, agreed that was silly and tried to clasp our hands together but failed because of my stupid suitcase.
I had arrived full of pride at making it to pick up Bella from childcare for the first time in months. I got there a couple of minutes before it closed, daydreaming of applause at my achievement.
It was my new Friday night routine, just worse this time. I wanted us to be the perfect family, the perfect parents and, in particular, I wanted to be the perfect mother. As weekends were the only time we had together, I really put the pressure on during those two days. So I destroyed my second daydream of the day — a romantic meal together with wine and a film.
Nothing we did seemed good enough.
My husband no longer seemed good enough. As usual, Dave tried to reason, but eventually gave up, slammed the door, and went off to smoke three cigarettes, one after the other. I joined him, glass of wine in hand, and we hugged.
My friend and I often take turns losing it, crying and babbling. That Sunday, it was my turn — but I was taking my turn far too often these days.
Bella was being looked after by three sets of people before and after school to enable us to work. Anger at being made to fail at the one thing I wanted to do perfectly. I ran back into the house. Anna told me off for waking up Bella, but I needed to see her look at me and sink into the hug and kiss before another week away.
I had always wanted children. I wanted to be there for my child, just like my own mother, who had always been there when we came home from school. But Dave and I also wanted to do it our way.
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I modelled my own maternal aspirations around the stereotypical American sitcom mum. We would have a bond that meant my daughter would talk to me if she were being bullied and, later, would ask me about contraception and drugs.
I sat on the 6. My mother was an active feminist. I had studied her copy of The Female Eunuch at university. I tapped away on my phone at breakneck speed. The world had made me believe that, because I had a few brain cells, I could be Kate Adie and also have six children.
Hard work and ambition had enabled me to skip through my early adult life. In my 20s, I schmoozed in the dotcom boom in San Francisco, served caviar and champagne care of the venture capitalists. Nothing could stop me. That is, until I got married and had a child.
I stayed at home for the first year and we lived frugally on rice and lentils. Then I worked part-time. In Australia, everyone seemed to agree that family came first, and it was fine to start at 7am and leave at 3pm.
The jigsaw puzzle I had built of my life was falling apart. I peered at the other women on the train.
I felt as if society were telling me I had to try to be the perfect worker Monday to Friday, the perfect mother every weekend, and toned, healthy woman all year round. Oh, and, of course, wife, friend, sibling and daughter.
At work, over lunch, I watched my colleague eat his baked potato, bacon and chips, and worried about what Bella was having for lunch and, actually, for dinner. It was at that point that I decided to resign. Dave and I had made a conscious decision to have a child and we had always wanted to be the ones raising her.Each of the women in this group had been on a successful track after leaving Northwestern, and wanted and intended to have a career after having kids.
Dating as an institution is a relatively recent phenomenon which has mainly emerged in the last few centuries.
From the standpoint of anthropology and sociology, dating is linked with other institutions such as marriage and the family which have also been changing rapidly and which have been subject to many forces, including advances in technology and medicine. And for it to be genuinely accepted that women can have it all – a career and a family life.
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