by Angela Walker
To all the mums,
I need you, every single one of you.
I’m a mum of two little girls and for some of us, that’s where our common ground ends. But I still need you.
You see, I made a decision to stay home while my girls were small. I waited a really long time to have them and (for me) giving up a few years of my professional life didn’t seem like too much of a price to pay.
But you see, there is a price. It’s a price that every mum pays, regardless of which path you choose. For me, that price is setting an example to my daughters that women are ‘kept’, that we’re ‘homemakers’, that a professional identity is something ‘other’, something that they cannot have while having children.
Now, on the one hand, that argument is totally sound. This is the way we’ve been raising children for millennia, it worked then, why not now? Well now, we’re so connected that every minute I have access to the lives of hundreds of my friends, 99% of whom have returned to work. I’m the outsider. I don’t fit the mould and it makes my heart ache with fear that I’m not raising my daughters to feel like they can exist within and without the home and raise children. This is where all of you come in.
I need you to be the example to my daughters that I can’t be.
I need you to be their teachers and teach them how a woman stands proud and strong and stands up for the vulnerable.
I need you to be their health practitioners and care for their illness.
I need you to walk the beat at night and protect the innocent.
I need to you stand in lecture theatres the country over and educate their young minds.
I need you to take parliament by storm and rock that patriarchal boat till it keels.
I need you to coach their basketball team, to referee their soccer game, to be their body-positive role models and embrace their strengths while supporting their weaknesses.
I need you to entertain them with charm and wit and execute perfectly poised pirouettes so they can aspire to be just like you.
I need you to be every other version of woman there is.
I need you to show them the diversity and greatness our gender brings.
I need you to raise sons and daughters that look at life and embrace everyone’s contributions as valuable regardless of what dollar value society places on their worth.
I need you to be everything that you are and more because I cannot be everything.
I need us, women that is, to stop competing with each other. I am not your competition. You wouldn’t want to live my life any more than I would want to live yours.
Live your life in a way that value-adds, rather than adding ($$) value.
Help me help my girls become the best versions of themselves. Show them there is no right or wrong choice but simply that, a choice. Help me to help them choose kindness and inclusion, to reach out and help those who fall, to speak and act thoughtfully and respectfully.
I need you. Please help me.