I'm going to say something very controversial. I expect a lot of people will disagree furiously with me. But it's my blog, and if I can't use it to express how I feel, then what's the point in having it?
I wish we could go back to the days when the father went out and earned the money, and the mother stayed at home and cared for the children and looked after the house.
I've mentioned here before that I have three jobs. I work for LawCare (http://www.lawcare.org.uk/), I'm an Avon Rep, and I'm a writer. I'm in the lucky position of liking all my jobs very much, and I'm lucky that they all involve working from home. But I wish I didn't have to do the first two.
Years ago mothers didn't go out to work. The income was provided by the husband and father, and it was enough. But we can't ever go back to those days, because when women started working too, families became much richer and, as a result, house prices went sky-high. Now most families could not pay the mortgage on one income and so the wife has to work and the children have to be farmed out to a childminder.
I'm even going to say that I am angry at this state of affairs.
Since the nesting instinct kicked in about a month before my eldest was born, I have wanted to make a nice home for my children. I want it to be clean and healthy, I want them to have freshly laundered and ironed clothes, balanced and nourishing meals, and plenty of quality time with me. Instead, when I come home from dropping them off at school I have to walk past the dirty breakfast dishes and piles of laundry waiting to be sorted, folded and put away, into a cold, dark office where I will organise volunteer rotas and design advertisements for five precious hours, before collecting my children from school again.
I would dearly like to spend that after-school time doing homework with them, cooking great meals, playing Mousetrap or Pop-up Pirate, but that's when I have to go and deliver my Avon orders or collect brochures. And the evenings which should be time for Hubby Dearest and I to relax together are the only chance I get to make an exhausted attempt to catch up with some of the housework.
As of now, the smaller children are two days overdue for their baths because I've just been too busy the last two evenings with shopping and taking the eldest to Sixth-Form open evenings. My lounge is desperately in need of tidying, hoovering and polishing, and we're halfway through redecorating it. My dining room floor is filthy and needs mopping, and the dresser is covered in junk. I have five clean loads of washing to be sorted and put away, and about four more waiting to go into the washing machine. Two beds need changing, and I can't remember the last time I hoovered upstairs, but it doesn't matter anyway because I can't see the carpet in either of the children's bedrooms. The garden hasn't been mowed since September, and is completely overrun with a pernicious bramble, assorted varieties of triffid and very wet toys. To cap it all, my ironing pile it so big I keep having to turn away outdoor types who turn up at the door with ropes and crampons wanting to climb it.
I want to do all these chores. I want to spend time with my children and make a good and happy home for them, but I can't because I have to work.
Decades ago, women decided they wanted to "have it all" and have jobs outside the home. They learned, I think, that you can't "have it all", you can only have a little piece of everything. I don't want to have it all. I just want to be the very best mother I can be, but that option - to be a stay-at-home mum - is not open to me because of the changes in society. It's not as though we have an ostentatious lifestyle - we buy value own-brands and I don't have a car - but the cost of living today means that I have no choice but to work, despite the fact that Hubby Dearest is highly qualified and has a professional career.
Of course, this might be just me. I am sure there are lots of women out there who love their jobs and are the kind of superwomen who still live in perfect houses and have clean and fulfulled children despite their careers. There are even those who earn enough to employ nannies and cleaners and ironing services. But I'm fed up with feeling stressed, short-changed and neglectful, and I truly wish we could go back to the days when the father went out and earned the money, and the mother stayed at home and cared for the children and looked after the house.