Quote# 125499

Much as I like to trumpet the importance of a woman's right to choose all things at all times, there's one choice I simply cannot understand: the choice of an otherwise sane and healthy woman not to have children.

If a would-be mother is a singleton of 40 who decides to have a baby without a partner, I might wish she'd thought of it sooner and prepared for it better - but I understand.

If she's half of a lesbian couple who 'borrows' the wherewithal, I might cross my fingers that the child is not teased at school - but I understand. Even if she's a 66-year- old pregnant pensioner, threatening to turn motherhood into a freak show, I might (indeed, I do) think she's monstrously selfish and dangerously wrong - but again, more or less, I understand.

Yet if she says she hasn't a shred of maternal feeling in her, moreover, if she says she would prefer to concentrate on her career and that a child would only get in the way of it, then my head might acknowledge her right to do so. But my heart whispers: 'Lady, you're weird.'

It was welcome news, therefore, to discover this week that I am not alone. Research conducted over six years shows that far from bosses and colleagues always being suspicious of a working mother, the opposite is becoming true: it is the childless woman who is regarded as cold and odd.

As a result, it is these single-track careerists who are increasingly likely to be vilified, refused jobs and denied promotion because many employers believe them to lack what the study calls 'an essential humanity'. And I know exactly what they mean.

In the little hothouse of my own trade as a hack, I play a game with myself. Reading all the other female scribblers, sometimes with grudging admiration and sometimes none at all, I try to guess from their expression of their world view whether or not they are mothers.

I haven't - yet - been wrong. Now, with MPs so much in the headlines, I've extended the game and started to guess about the women among them, too.

As far as I can tell, my score is also pretty high there - even though it's just a feeling. On both sides of the political divide, as with the writers, it's not what MPs say or do, so much as how they go about it.

'Mothers bring something extra'

And if that touch of 'essential humanity' - or its absence - colours such notably tough professions, it's hardly surprising that employers are starting to notice that the same applies across the spectrum of workplaces.

Of course, we need not be silly about it.

Nobody wishes to see a female soldier in combat with a six-week-old infant in one arm and a rifle in the other.

Or a high-flier working 20-hour days while still breast-feeding. Or the mother of a small brood taking on any job of such erratic hours that she cannot promise them when or even if she'll be home.

But most jobs aren't like that - and most children don't stay babies for long.

Besides which, in my experiences both as a colleague and an employer, I have found that mothers almost always bring something extra to the job, to the benefit of all.

It's not the mothers, for a start, who are going to turn up late and hungover after a night on the razz; they'll have been up, dressed and alert for hours, having cooked a family breakfast and delivered their children to school. On time.

It's not the mothers, usually, who run the office bitch-fest.

They're not there to compete for the attentions of the male executives; they're there to get out of the house; they're there because they genuinely enjoy some adult company; and they're there because they have mouths to feed other than their own and shoes to buy for someone else's feet.

Two-thirds of working mothers, a recent survey found, could not provide for the children they love in the manner they would wish if they lost their jobs. So there's incentive for you.

They will, it is true, snatch time off for poorly children and Christmas carol services. And it's true they will insist that, in return for arriving on the dot of 9am, they must also leave on the dot of 5pm.

But rarely have I encountered a mother who did not offer to make up time lost, often in lunch hours. As for leaving on time, put enough mothers together in one workplace and you'll get rid of the ghastly ethos of 'presenteeism', whereby people vie for plaudits based solely on how late - albeit often uselessly - they hang around the office.

The prioritising that may baffle other people is a cinch for a woman who has spent years juggling a household. Negotiating skills? A request for 10 per cent off an overdue invoice is nothing to a woman who has had to broker a deal on Britain's Got Talent versus bedtime.

When it comes to emergencies, if you have run all the way to a clinic with a terrified toddler vomiting down your neck then, trust me, a package delayed in transit is a piece of cake. And if those are the tangibles, the intangibles - the 'essential humanity' - are more important still.

You cannot be a mother without knowing something about selflessness, compassion, generosity, commitment, fierce loyalty and plain hard work. You cannot - surely - be a boss and not value assets such as those in your staff.

Nor is it the boss who pays the price for the extras a mother brings with her; she's the one who pays for that. Enough reams have been written about the long hours of slog it takes to run a home and hold down a job at the same time. Yet still we keep doing it because we want our work, our independence and our money.

But, more than all the things we want, we actually need our children; they complete us as women, they are our light and our love and our legacy.

We feel desperately sorry for those who yearn for children they cannot have; the unwilling barren, if you will. But when we meet a woman who chooses her childlessness in the belief that there is something out there worth more, we smile politely even while - once again - our guts whisper: 'Lady, you're weird.'

So three cheers for the employers who are catching on, the ones who don't want to people their workforces with the cold, the calculating, the sad and the mad. The only question is: what took you so long?

Carol Sarler, Daily Mail 16 Comments [3/18/2017 2:52:31 AM]
Fundie Index: 13
Submitted By: Demon Duck of Doom
Username:
Comment:



1 | bottom

Malingspann

"our guts whisper: 'Lady, you're weird.'"

Is a man who chooses not to have children similarly weird, Carol?

3/18/2017 3:00:21 AM

Kanna

That word "choice" baffles you, doesn't it?

3/18/2017 4:53:10 AM

RavynousHunter

And who, pray tell, is going to take up the slack when your little cumbubble gets sick for the fifth time in as many days and needs to go to the doctor? What about when you're just too exhausted to do any real work because you were up all night handling baby Jaydahenne? Childfree women aren't as limited as your brainless ass. They can go the extra mile at work far more often than you. Maybe bosses are cunts to childfree women because fucking EVERYONE is a cunt to them, barring the precious exceptions. Oh, and the reason your childfree co-workers stay later than you is likely because you left whatever you were working on a complete shitshow and they're having to clean up after your dumb ass.

Fucking child-worshipping mombies.

3/18/2017 5:19:15 AM

Psalmanazaar

It was wrong of this poster to argue that women w/o children are weird or bad workers or "bitches," but she did make some good points toward the end, after she already alienated people.

One of the reasons employers have and still do discriminate against women is the assumption that maternity leave and motherhood makes them inferior employees. This is terribly sexist because a) you might not get knocked up, and b) mothers can be terrific workers, just like anybody else.

It's too bad to see mothers and women who don't have or want children at odds like this. Men don't have these issues, because the assumption is fatherhood has no impact on professional life. False.

3/18/2017 6:10:09 AM

Shepard Solus

Sounds to me like someone got knocked up at 16 and is jealous of those smarter than herself.

3/18/2017 6:22:01 AM

Dizzy Dream

Lady, I dare you to say all this to your editor's heroine Theresa May. She doesn't have any kids (she can't have any) so would you say that to her face?

3/18/2017 6:36:28 AM

Swede

So, it’s weirder to not want to subject a child to a mother who doesn’t want to be a mother, than it is with a 66-year-old freak-show mother?

Why would colleagues and bosses be suspicious of a working mother? Most of them are probably working mothers (or fathers) themselves.
Again, why is it cold and odd not to force yourself to have a child against your every wish? What about a childless man? It takes two to produce a child, after all.

Why is it the ones, who don’t just follow the norm, but decides what’s best for THEM, that are the single-track careerists? Again, what about childless men? Perhaps the childless woman has foster children in Sri Lanka or South-Sudan, she might donate to Save the Children, Plan and UNICEF on a regular basis, but doesn’t feel that she is “mother material”.

Why don’t you try to guess whether the male scribblers and MP’s are fathers?

Sure, mothers might have something extra. They are probably even better at multitasking than other women, and they are probably better at delegating and organizing. But all these come more from experience than personal traits.

Do you wish to see a male soldier with an infant in one arm and a rifle in the other? Or a high-flier working 20-hour days while giving the child a bottle every few hours? Or the father of a small brood taking on any job of such erratic hours that he cannot promise them when or even if he’ll be home?
Mothers (and fathers) also bring something else to the job; the need to stay at home with sick kids every now and then, leaving their jobs to be done by their colleagues. It’s the mothers (and fathers) who turn up late and tired because the little tyke didn’t want to eat its cereals and didn’t want to go to day-care so it threw its wellington boot through the scullery window.

Childless women doesn’t necessarily mean single women, and mothers doesn’t necessarily mean happily married. It could well be the single mothers that compete for the attention of male executives and the married childless women who genuinely enjoy the work and the company.

There are mothers who are assholes, who care little or nothing for their kids, who think the kids owe her. You can be a mother and be selfish, inconsiderate, greedy, conniving, fickle and lazy.

Yeah, mothers pay the price for being working moms. They are the ones hitting that wall, wearing themselves out by always being available for everyone. Thanks for making it seem SOOO tempting to be a working mom, asshole!
Don’t children complete people as men too?
How do you know whether a childless woman is willingly or unwillingly childless? Not all “barren” women want to talk about our tragedy. It might be easier to say that they choose other things instead…
Lady, you’re weird.

3/18/2017 6:54:12 AM

pyro

Just one long recitation of stereotypes.

And then RavynousHunter replies with other stereotypes.

3/18/2017 7:40:06 AM

The Crimson Ghost

Reads like one big bunch of sour grapes to me. Someone had kids when she really wasn't ready, found out the hard way that she wasn't cut out for it, & is now blurting out all this "women who don't have any are crazy" nonsense. And I can assure you Carol, most of the office bitch-fest is run by mommies. Why, you ask? Because most of the women in there are mommies. And a great many of them are under the delusion that their co workers are as interested in their kiddies as they are, which couldn't be further from the truth. No one has ever been interested in their co workers kids. That will never change.

We work to get paid, not to make friends & compare baby pictures. And you want to know what my brain doesn't whisper, but flat out states out loud? "Lady, you're an ignorant bitch." Shut the fuck up & go back to posting pictures of your ugly grand kids on your little visited Facebook page.

3/18/2017 8:52:49 AM



Aunt Carol, is that you?

Seriously, this woman sounds like my baby obsessed aunt. And she is a horrible mother to the point that my adult cousins refuse to deal with her.

3/18/2017 9:04:32 AM

kathleenb

I do not need anything to complete me as a woman. I was complete when I was born, complete when I got married, complete when I had a hysterectomy, and I will be complete when I die childfree. Fuck this bullshit.

3/18/2017 10:29:04 AM

SpukiKitty

If you feel you're not qualified or have the patience for a vocation....including parenthood....then it's wise not to do it.

Is that too hard to comprehend?

Also; There's OVER 7.5 BILLION people on the planet. I highly doubt that the Human Species is going to be extinct anytime soon.

3/18/2017 11:20:34 AM

No One In Particular

"Nobody wishes to see a female soldier in combat with a six-week-old infant in one arm and a rifle in the other."

What?! Fucking WHAT?! If you seriously think that's what female soldiers do, then you need more exposure to the outside world. That's just sad.

3/18/2017 11:43:17 AM

Demon Duck of Doom

I really hate how baby-obsessed some parents can be.

3/18/2017 1:00:13 PM

Anon-e-moose

...unless you personally would like to look after all those unwanted babies, then you have the choice to STFU.

You are healthy enough to do so. Are you not...?!

3/18/2017 5:48:13 PM

Wanderer

"Research conducted over six years shows that far from bosses and colleagues always being suspicious of a working mother, the opposite is becoming true: it is the childless woman who is regarded as cold and odd."

Citation needed. You've got links to this research, right?

"You cannot be a mother without knowing something about selflessness, compassion, generosity, commitment, fierce loyalty and plain hard work."

CPS would like to have a word with you.

There's too much bull for me to refute it point by point, so I'll just say: Take your lousy stereotyping, petty jealousy, and unsupported claims and fuck off. Even the paper that printed this is mocking you, did you notice?

3/19/2017 7:24:17 PM

1 | top: comments page