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The Oven Or The Office? Or Both?

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Dyani Ellwood
Dyani Ellwood

Last Monday my husband and I were watching a story on 60 Minutes, TV3, about the resurgence of the 'homemaker' - the women that simply stay at home and bring up the children and cook and clean and basically keep the house in running order.  (You won't catch any wet towels lying on the bathroom floor in their homes - kind of a thing).

Anyway, it was interesting to watch my husbands reaction to the interviewees and the reporter asking all the questions (he seemed to look it me with a tinsy bit mroe understanding afterwards).

Famous female feminist of the late 50's, 60's and 70's Germaine Greer came was put on the chopping block, and had to fight claims from the reporter that she had instilled 'a fake reality' type situation for generations of women to come i.e that ideology that women should be able to pursue their own dreams and join the workforce like their  husbands.

The story cutted to this 'new' group of Australian women who are reverting back to the kitchen and doning the apron strings, claiming that they are more than content to stay at home - 'this is their calling' kind of talk.

What irked me more than anything about the story was not that it painted working mother's as being pure evil and completely selfish, but more the fact that it was virtually impossible (according to the mum's interviewed) to have a job, be a mum, run a household, have a great marriage and still be happy.

Basically, those mum's who do all that burn out and have mental breakdowns.

What a generalisation!  Speaking for myself, I spring from the generation Y group - you know, the self-absorbed, useless, money-spending kind; and I have still managed to avoid falling into such pitfalls as mentioned above: I enjoy work, I love raising my son, my husband and I still haven't taken to each other with knives and believe it or not, I feel happy. 

You create your own universe, and I personally think that's its just a matter of working out what works best for you and attempting to maintain a balanced lifestyle.  Hey, doing all of the above may be too hard for some, but don't damn the rest of us for giving it a good nudge.

The feature ended with another grab between the reporter and  Greer, with the reporter telling Greer that she had 'ruined it for the women of today', because of the pressures we are under to have a family and work.

Next came Greer's response which went something like this: "I never forced the issue on women of getting out into the work place, but rather I wanted to encourage them to embrace their independence/ideas and free-up their thoughts ."  (go you Greer!)

So whether embracing your independence and ideas means that you're happy bending over a hot oven, or dashing between school pick-ups and the office, or forgetting the whole concept of a raising a family - it doesn't matter, it's your life and no one can speak for it bar you!


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