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Sick of the self righteous comments

Ok I admit it that I’m a little bit grumpy.

Actually quite a large bit grumpy.

I’m not feeling terribly well (picked up a tummy bug from the girls… oh joy), work is a pain in the proverbial at the moment and because the girls haven’t been well I haven’t had enough sleep.

But I’m still irritated.
Irrationally irritated by throw away little comments made by people who I should probably ignore rather than spend time sitting and festering and fuming over the things they say.
But I am fuming.

I am actually sick to the back teeth of the little fly away comments that people make that condemn my choices.  I’m expected to respect how other people choose to live their life but it appears that nobody is going to respect my choices.  It appears that several of those choices leave me wide open for thinly veiled criticism, judgement and quite frankly irritating assumptions about how I live my life.

I’m sick of the comments people make about how its the proper thing for their wife to stay at home with their children because they feel its far better for the child in question than being looked after by strangers.  How they feel that a mother should be there full time. 

No mention about whether the father should be there full time. 

No mention about how happy and fulfilled parents are best for children. 

And these are people who know I work full time.  Thanks, just judge my life choices and tell me that you think I’ve gone and made a whole bunch of wrong decisions that are undoubtedly going to come back and mean I have to spend a small fortune on therapy for my children in the future.  How about you actually think through the reason behind my choices and challenge your own assumptions about what constitutes the ‘right’ way?

I’m sick of people assuming that if we just stopped having flash holidays, a smart car, an iphone that I could give up work and be with my children all the time.  A comment that misses the fundamental point that I don’t really fancy being at home with the girls all of the time and that I don’t think the Isle of Wight really counts as a flash holiday…  Try doing more than making a snap judgement based on incomplete information before you tell me how to live my life.

I’m sick of the assumption that all women want to be thinner – I don’t.  I’m thinner than I was before babies and very happy in my size 10 shape thank you very much. 

Or that all women want shiny hair, or a new handbag. 

What I really want right now is someone to stop all the horrid things happening in the world – I’d like someone to fix the nuclear reactor at Fukushima Daiichi reactor, I’d like someone to help all those hit by the tsunami and I’d like the awful situations in Libya and Bahrain to be resolved without more bloodshed.

I’m sick of the whole tone it down, talk down to the little woman thing that goes on day in, day out – I’m sick of being called ‘love’ and ‘darling’.  I’m sick of garages that call my husband about my car – a car I have paid for, I drive and I have arranged to have them deal with.
I’m sick of everything around where we live being set up for stay at home mums and the continuous surprise that I work and the struggle to get anything to fit in with a working mum.  70% of mothers in the UK work and yet around us you’d think that I was rarer than hens’ teeth.  Get over the fact I work – I’m providing my daughters with a role model that shows that women can have a career and that they should set their sights high.

I’m sick of colleagues assuming that a pregnancy means a woman is effectively written off and that any form of flexible working means you need to be shunted into a side tracked, non-client facing career and yet they find it in themselves to allow one man (in the whole advisory business) to work a 4 day week and then trumpet it from the rooftops, patting themselves on the back for having done a bit for diversity and flexible working. 

I’m sick of meetings set up early or late at short notice and not taking into account that in a two working parent household some of us need a bit of notice to sort out childcare. 

How about my employer realises the danger of letting motivated mothers get exasperated by a system that seems to benefit working fathers over working mothers and that gradually drives them out of the workplace.  There is a limit to how much one person can say before they just walk away from an unsupportive situation.

You know what, here’s the bottom line. 

I’m sick of biting my tongue and letting you say these things to me – I’m sick of having to suck it all up and to take it on the chin. 

In future how about you disapprove silently from the sidelines whilst congratulating yourself on how much better you have arranged your life – me I’m going to get on with living this life the way I and my family have decided to.

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44 comments to Sick of the self righteous comments

  • Good for you being independent and living your life how you choose too. If we all did what was expected of us or what other people think we should then none of us would be happy. Those individuals you speak of commenting are really not worth bothering with. Who cares what narrowminded people like that think? Keep doing what you’re doing, as in my opinion, you’re doing just fine =)

    • Muddling Along

      Aw thank you!

      You hit the end of my tether thanks to another person taking a swipe at me – oh it wouldn’t do for *my wife*. Uh huh matey well bully for you both

  • Well said, I agree on every single point.
    The hair pulling frustration that you feel dealing with closed minded colleagues buzzes off the page.
    I’m lucky, I work from home & for myself so I get to choose who I surround myself with for my business.
    I think the worse thing I’ve heard from an aquaintance was “oh so this is your little business, it must be nice to do something that means you don’t have to shunt your daughter to a childminder”
    To which I replied,
    “Actually I work full time and can only do so with 4 days childcare a week” In my head I said something involving less words and more swearing.

    Hang in there, only you know what is best for you and your family.

    • Muddling Along

      I seem to spend a disproportionate amount of time screaming swear words in my head! I find it helps me avoid rampaging around the office with a baseball bat

      You are right though it is hair pullingly frustrating and perhaps I do actually need to do something about it and make some decisions about how to make some changes

  • Crystal Jigsaw

    Absolutely! It’s the same round here; old fashioned men prancing about talking about the little woman at home who sews, cooks, looks after the kids, wipes noses, arses and the floor, whilst they swan down the pub, put the world to rights and talk about football. Personally, I’d much rather be a woman; they get so much more out of life.

    CJ xx

    • Muddling Along

      I’d never want to be a man – women seem to lead more interesting lives, it just frustrates me that men seem to not see so much that we do and even if they do see it to discount a great deal of it

  • When it comes being a working mum vs stay-at-home mum you seriously can’t win. I am a stay-at-home mum, I love it and it works for us but I still get criticism. I had a stranger in doctor’s surgery tell me that I should have sent my daughter to nursery as she’d be much more outgoing. Um, she is outgoing… she just didn’t fancy chatting to the weird old woman who was demanding she makes her pretend lemonade, WTF?!?
    Mostly though it’s my husband’s colleagues that keep asking him why I’m not working and when he’s sending me back to work. I am working very hard thank you very much looking after my child. If I wasn’t I’d only be giving all my money to somebody else to do it!
    Sorry that’s my mini rant over. I just hate the way mothers are constantly having to justify their parenting choices to everyone.

    • Muddling Along

      That kind of attitude is unbelieveable – sending you back to work? What century are we sitting in?

      Interestingly its the opposite here and people assume that Mr is some freak for not wanting a stay at home wife, fortunately he knows I’d be colour sorting his undies if I was at home too much and it wouldn’t work for us

      Time to slap the judgemental types with a wet fish?

  • Crystal Jigsaw

    Me again, just enjoying following this post and its comments as I can relate to it so well. I love Photo Puddle’s comment. How dare someone tell her that the child should go to nursery, cheeky old bint! And that’s just so typical of a bloke to make a comment about when the wife will work again. I get that all the time and spend countless hours reminding people that I run the farm with my husband and I look after an autistic girl who is very demanding. GRRR, some people!!!

    • Muddling Along

      Exactly – you work far harder than most people who do office work, your day job doesn’t stop at 5pm and is relentless AND you have the added hassle of people thinking you do nothing more than sit around drinking tea all day which is far from the truth

  • I’ve done it both ways, and you seriously can’t win. Worked with Big and she went into nursery, then at home with Small (redundancy) then eventually they went to Montessori and I went back to work, and now I’m home educating. The one thing you can guarantee is that *someone* will think you are doing something wrong.

  • Good for you, purge yourself, stop biting your tongue.

    I’m a sahm and I’ve reached the point where I need some mental stimulation, I need something for me. I’m not sure what to do but something needs to change before I hit meltdown which frankly is no good for anyone.

    I’ve always wanted to do some voluntary work for a project in Africa but it will require me being away for 2 weeks. Last night I approached the subject with my OH. He thinks it will make life difficult for everyone, he’s right but I’ve spent the last 5 years compromising my life for everyone. Oh what to do?

    Hope you feel better and keep doing what you’re doing.

    • Muddling Along

      Your comment may be about to trigger another rant post from me – you’ve been at home sorting everything for 5 years and he says he can’t cope for 2 weeks whilst you go off and do something you really really want to… uh huh

  • I really agree with you on this one. There are people who think I shouldn’t let someone else look after my children. I work 2 days a week and my children are confident and independant, but they still love me and want to spend every other moment with me! I admire anyone who works full time, part time, or who stays at home. Hardly any of the choices we make with regards to our children are easy, and it’s about time we all started respecting instead of judging each other.

    Don’t get me started about the man/woman divide at work. When I had children (one of them autistic) I had to request flexible working and adjust my wages accordingly, yet a male colleaugue looks after his sick mother (not full time, he has carers in), gets paid a full time wage and comes into work 2 days a week. How our situations differ, I don’t know, but he is championed for being such a good carer, and it’s oh so difficult for him.

    Sorry for the rant!

    • Muddling Along

      The whole man/woman thing drives me nuts – if a man takes his children to school he’s wonderful, if I take Bigger to nursery I’m slacking…

      You are right though its about respect and also about realising that parenting is important and a job that needs as much credit as any high flying career be it combined with work outside the home or not

  • Scribbling Mum

    I couldn’t agree more, I’m a part time working mum of two so am forever trying to balance things too. The upshot is that different things work for different families, and the majority of us are lucky to have the freedom to make these choices. My Mum has said more than once that she doesn’t envy my generation, with hers she just did what everyone did, stop work to look after kids and then pick it back up later on. Too many choices equals too much pressure she reckons.

    Pet peev of mine is the looks on people’s faces when I say I can’t make a meeting as it’s on a ‘non-working’ day. I want to shout, ‘If you were asked to come into work on a Sunday for free, WOULD YOU?!’

    ‘Non-working’ – another brilliant phrase.

    • Muddling Along

      Actually your Sunday point is a really good one – was discussing how to manage flexible working with a friend and she said that people are always pushing her to do more on her days with her children but won’t do calls on Sundays (when she and her husband are home so she has back up childcare so its easier for her to do stuff) – interesting how views differ (and making a mental note to use this in future)

  • “I’m sick of being called ‘love’ and ‘darling’.” I so hear you on this. I wish I’d corrected the TV guy when he kept calling me ‘angel’ the other day. My husband said, “He probably didn’t *mean* anything by it.” No, they never *mean* anything by it but that doesn’t make it any less disrespectful. As for people thinking if you gave up the flash stuff you could afford to stay home with the kids, that’s just a fallacy. In this day and age, most of us genuinely need the double income. We haven’t quite worked out what I’ll be doing after I give the birth to our first but there’s simply no question that we need at least half of my income.

    • Muddling Along

      The ‘love’ and ‘darling’ thing drives me absolutely crazy – what happened to Mrs Muddling??? I never said you could call me ‘love’ or even by my first name…

  • I hear you. You should not have to justify your choices – and there are so many positives to being a working mother. I remember actually being happier as a child when my mother was working (she was a supply teacher) because she seemed much happier.

    I sometimes feel that while I am working from home, I get it from both ends! People who go out to work seem to think I don’t have a ‘proper’ job, while people who don’t work expect me to get involved with all kinds of other stuff – volunteering for school activities, mostly. You can’t win…..

    • Muddling Along

      I remember exactly the same thing – it was much better when my Mum went back to work, not that I saw things like how she had to manage with us being poorly

      I think working from home is the hardest – absolutely no divide between work and home, and no commute to unwind on

  • Well said that woman!
    I agree with it all.
    Hopped here via the typecast tweet

  • After 17 years of being a working mum, where do I begin? There was the old hag who said I was destroying my children’s life by working (from home) whilst they were babies. Then there was the bastard who assumed that my ex (the merchant wanker) paid for everything and was ‘supporting me’ when I was the one keeping us afloat financially whilst still raising the kids and doing everything else. It is really depressing to hear that professional services firms who should be leading the charge to empower their female work force are still stuck in the dark ages (when I worked for one!) As long as they continue to remunerate based on units of time as opposed to how successful the project/work working men will always have the advantage on working mothers whose time is stretched in so many directions. Vxx

    • Muddling Along

      Crazy isn’t it – I made the move thinking the new place would be more understanding if not more accommodating and continue to be disappointed… Wish that things had changed at some point in the last couple of decades (and just realising I’ve been working for nearly 15 years)

  • Mrs T

    Hi There,

    I’m a friend of Plan B and a working mum of 1, soon to be 2. I have found that since I came back to work people have been largely fine, but maybe that’s because I’m in Financial Services and they are all petrified of being sued ;-). I was due to come back 5 days a week after DD1 but after an initial settling in period of 3 days/week I realised I could get (most) of my work done in 4, so that is now what I do. I do five days work in four and am paid for four, but that means that Friday is my own and if I choose to reply to emails/take calls on a Friday then I am doing them a favour. I worked on and off through my maternity leave to make sure that I fulfilled the responsibilties I feel I have to a small company that has employed me for 6 years and to ensure that I didn’t get out of touch, but I think that is the least that I can do given that I was effectively taking 6 months off.

    You still get the occasional comment (there is particular surprise here that I don’t have a nanny, as my boss’s wife doesn’t work and they have two for their two school aged children) but by and large I don’t give a sh1t what they think and I think that’s pretty clear. If comments are made I address them honestly and politely, that’s the only way people will learn. I think I would be more offended (and offensive) if I subconsciously agreed that I should be playing wifey at home, but I don’t so I’m not. I’m reasoning that anything I can do to change entrenched views is a positive thing and those that don’t ‘get it’ will soon be dead anyway 😉

    Sorry for the essay, its a topic close to my heart…

    • Muddling Along

      Hello!

      I have to say I found it easier in Investment Banking – not sure if its because I knew the lay of the land and yes they were worried about mistreating women after some spectacular failures but also that if you were making money that was the bottom line, not the amount of hours you were there or not there

      Nice to find someone else who feels strongly on the topic!

  • Right on, sister!

    I’m a mostly SAHM and I’m sick of the self-righteous comments I get too. I’m sick of people telling me my days must be so easy because I don’t “work”. I’m sick of people assuming I can stay at home because we’re rich (we’re not – we’ve made major financial cutbacks and lifestyle changes to do it). I’m sick of my friends that have gone back to work looking down their nose at me because of my choice not to return to work and going on about how bored they would be if they stayed home.

    Can’t we all stop judging and just accept everyone makes choices that are best for their life? No one choice is better or worse – they’re just different.

    PS. We might be moving to the UK so I was really sad to read about the culture there being so dismissive of women. And WHY is your employer only allowing flexible work options for one employee??? When will companies realize that they’re the big winners with flexible work options. Employees work just as hard, are more efficient and happier and the company gets to pay them less.

    • Muddling Along

      Theoretically there are flexible options for all but every working mother I have found who has wanted flexible working has been put into a non-client facing role so effectively side lined and I don’t want that. They don’t realise the well of resentment that is building up and that it wouldn’t take a great deal to deliver on the promises rather than promise and fail for it to actually happen

      Equal respect for everyone’s choices would be perfect – I look at full time mums and know that I just couldn’t do it all day every day, I like to work and I’m not sure I could manage on my own continually with the girls – I love them but I also like adult conversation and time off

  • psychsarah

    This is the kind of stuff I think about now that I’m pregnant with my first. I know I plan to go back to work full time after 4-6 months, and DH will stay home for at least the remainder of the year. Then little Bean will be in daycare of some sort. I have worked hard to build my career and reputation for the past few years, and worry about what my referral sources will think when I take off for a bit. Will people forget about me? Will I be able to do this stressful job when I have another person to care for? Thankfully, my employer is amazing and has been quite flexible in the past 3.5 years for other reasons, and I’m confident she’ll be the same when I have the baby, but I can’t stop thinking about the judgment for every thing you do (or don’t do) as a parent…

    BTW-I got up and walked out of a car dealership once because the salesman kept calling me sweetheart. I told him I was not his sweetheart. I told him he could address me either as Dr. ________ or Sarah. He blew it off and said “it’s just a term of endearment”, to which I responded, “You are not endeared to me, and if I wasn’t contemplating spending a lot of money here today, I wouldn’t be endeared to you either.” DH was left standing there a bit dumbfounded when I picked up my purse and walked out. I couldn’t stand the disrespect and dismissiveness. I’m sure it didn’t change his behaviour one iota, but I felt better for having put him in his place. I wish I could do that at other times…sigh…

  • I feel better after that rant and it wasn’t even me having it! Well said, especially after your ‘stop with all the labels’ call a few posts back. Live and let live x

  • Emily O

    You can’t win whatever choices you make as woman. You really can’t, criticism about how we live our lives comes from everywhere. It’s rampant in the media and some of the most critical people about women are other women. I think we’re living in a time of confusion, women in this country once had a clearly defined role and we were kept in our place. Now we’re not and society struggles with it. I hope it will be easier for our daughters.

  • Karen

    As other posts have said you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I believe you have to be ultimately happy with the choices you make and if you are, then other people’s ill informed and misjudged comments shouldn’t really matter. I make my choices for myself and my children and believe that that they are the best for both them and me and not with anyone else in mind. If they have a different view thats fine, they can have it, they can express it, I’ll listen to it but I will be comfortable in the knowledge that for me, my situation is right. I’m a SAHM/WAHM mother of 3 year old twins, I couldn’t be with them 24/7 but I’m also aware that I want my work to flex round them rather than the other way around. I’m also extremely lucky in that my family (and my husbands) all live in the same town so my children are somewhat communally parented and I don’t have to worry about childcare too much. Working for myself certainly gives me a degree of flexibility short-minded companies sometimes refuse to acknowledge. Flexible working can offer some fantastic opportunities if bosses cared to look – however things wont change unless more of us fight for it….about time that we supported rather than condemned a little more in our society methinks.

  • In many ways I have life pretty much the way I would like it. I work 2 1/2 days a week and my daughter goes to the nursery which onsite at my husband’s work. I love my daughter totally but need to work, not only for financial reasons but so I have something for me as an individual above and beyond just being a mother. Saying that I couldn’t work full time as I have enough to do as it is with laundry, cleaning and general organising (although if I did work full time we could afford a cleaner again!) and I would miss all the lovely things we get to do on my days off. Our daughter, who is nearly two, probably wouldn’t mind going full time as she adores nursery.
    I resent the cost of child care though as we have no family support. I do hate it though when people assume that the cost of child care must be almost equal to my income, esp as we think about having another child. Just because you are a woman doesn’t mean you are on minimum wage and working is still ‘worth it’. In fact I earn the same as my husband, which at least means that the tax system is more to our favour than those who have one high earning spouse.
    Never really had negative comments about my life choices in this regard, only envy from mummy’s at toddler groups who wished they could have gone back to their roles part time but worked in fields where such flexibility wasn’t an option. That is the rub of government policy. Sounds lovely in theory but in practice workplaces tend to be as flexible as rocks.

  • Wow….you really needed to get that off your chest!

    People are so judgmental but the bottom line is we all have one life and can live it however we damn well choose to!

    Ps. Are you really thinner than you were before kids! Seriously jealous!

  • Everything the Lottie just said.
    We just can’t win but that doesn’t mean we should continue listening to it.

    And reading this I have realised I have been brainwashed. I have grown up thinking my Mum didn’t ‘work’. It’s just clicked that she was a WAHM and that because of this whole attitude to women I have grown up thinking what they want me to think. Always thought my Mother was a brilliant woman, my admiration just keeps on increasing.

  • Troy

    Can I just make a stand on behalf of hen-pecked men? Actually I’d better just clear that with Mrs Troy first.

  • Hear, hear! I get the same, only opposite. For us, it’s working to have me at home for a bit (going insane and planning to go back) but Belgians look at me with thinly veiled hostility sometimes. I’m not contributing to the economy, must be dull, have no life, etc. (They also assume I’m on benefits which I’m not.) People should really mind their own business. It’s hard enough already trying to do the best for your family, but they can’t know what that is on your behalf. What insanity staying home if you’d hate it!

    (Why have you got trolls? I’ve never had a troll. REAL bloggers get trolls. I must get myself one…)

  • I have just handed my notice in at work and told them I won’t be returning after my mat leave ends. This isn’t so I can be a stay at home mum. It’s so I can work freelance, although there is another job possibility in the pipeline. I am now considering this new job, which would involve getting up at 3am, leaving the house at 3.30am, driving a 4 hour commute every day and looking after my baby in the afternoon. No I’m not supermum but we need the money and I rather enjoy my job. Bully for me. I’m already getting the comments and I haven’t even made a final decision about work yet. I have nothing against mums who either work or stay at home. There isn’t a right or wrong. The right decision is what suits you and your family. I love this post and it’s honesty, thank you for sharing. x

  • Steve Small

    I was going to leave a comment saying that “you should have stayed home and cooked the yorkshire puddings if all you wanted was an easy life” because I thought it was a funny comment from a geordie man…but then reality hit me and I guessed you would probably find that to be a stupid remark and delete it.
    So its probably better that I say what I really think “tell them all to shut up and if there going to f— on then they should just f— off.

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