My daughter is coming up 20. When I was her age, or maybe a little older, I was working at the BBC in London in the production departments with the Sports and Events teams. Broadcasting was my love and a career that I would have dearly loved to have continued in but at the same time I fell in love. Love – that all-consuming, passionate, all embracing emotion that sweeps over you and in an instant I had left my job, moved across the country to be with my man and given up on me in order to be part of his dream. That was then the beginning of it. From there we got married, had the four most beautiful children, moved from pillar to post pursuing his career goals and furthering his prospects and I played wife and Mum to the absolute best of my ability. Never once did I look back but there in the depth of my soul was the nagging thought of “what if”. “What if” I could have managed my career pathway and my relationship. “What if” I could have been a mum, wife, housemaker, and career girl. “What if”
Twenty or so years on though, and divorced from that man, although still very content with four beautiful children who I stayed at home through the years to bring up, there is no place for regret and I’m happy with the choices that were made ….. or am I? I’ve certainly enjoyed the journey of nurturing four such individual and fantastic young lives but was it right that in the world that I lived in, I didn’t question that I, as the woman, felt I had to give up everything to be that wife, mother and home-maker. Was it right that my children’s father wouldn’t have stayed at home (mostly from the pressures that were placed on him in the workplace) to look after his sick children so that I had no option but to not work? Was it right that the man’s role in children’s lives were overlooked for so long by the system?
To be honest, back then it wasn’t a matter of obligation. It was just what I did. I was happy and content. I enjoyed bringing up the children, and a large part of me thinks, I’d do it the same all over again. But, and here’s the thing, there is a refreshing liberation, when I hear my daughter talk about her relationship and the way she will parent alongside her career when that blessing befalls her. In this day and age, it can only be positive that there is more equality in parenting terms. That women will be able to pursue their dreams. That men will be able to play a greater part in their children’s lives. That children will have greater access to both parents.
It’s been a long time coming and there is still a long way to go but both sexes have so much to give their children, that any legislation that supports and furthers chances for equality and involvement of both parents has to only be a good thing. That doesn’t mean that choice should not still exist. But most importantly it doesn’t mean that one sex is greater than the other for both have a unique role to play. As someone who knows only too well, how important that is, let’s encourage both parents to live fulfilling lives most importantly, over everything else, promote a culture of support for families and above all else raising children so that both parents, across the genders, can have an active part.