Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Sense at last!

Double cause for celebration today; not only will 2015 OQ21 soon be whizzing by a mere 568,000 km away but a journalist has, at long last, said the hitherto unsayable.

History, they say, is written by the victors. Mainstream media opinions on working mothers, in the same way, tend to be written by women who have delegated at least some of their childcare to other women (men, of course, would not dare to pronounce on such a contentious issue and childless women tend to keep their own counsel).

While full-time mothers hover around the edges in comment threads or the blogosphere, the floor of mainstream media and political coverage is firmly held by working mothers intent on justifying their own course of action.

It's also worth noting that we hear little from women who have returned after a full career break; the reason for that becomes lamentably clear when trying to get back into the workplace after a prolonged absence.

I've made my views on this issue known here before* but it is a breath of fresh air to read this from Sarah Vine (or, as she is also known, Mrs Michael Gove):
...the whole concept of childcare has a way of short-circuiting our internal feminist wiring. On the one hand, it’s our right to have meaningful careers; on the other, it’s also our right to have children. 
There’s just one tiny problem: who’s going to look after the kids? 
That is the great paradox of feminism: for every woman forging ahead in the workplace, there’s another taking her place in the home.
Regular readers may recognise more than a little similarity to a post which appeared here last November: 'There are plenty of high-flying self-styled feminists who apparently see nothing incongruous in their household outsourcing the domestic chores to an assortment of low-paid females.' 

Admittedly, it's taken her a while to see the light - she describes having been, in effect, a 'benign but distant' fifties-style 'father' to her young children for years - but better late than never; the response of her children has clearly convinced her that being there for them is the right thing to do and, to her credit, she has admitted it publicly.
Fact is, nannies make life possible for working mothers, but they are no substitute for being a parent. That, I’m afraid, is the one thing you simply cannot delegate.
Two glasses will therefore be raised in the Tavern this evening; 2015 OQ21 and Sarah Vine, your very good health indeed!

*Essentially this:'I firmly believe that a woman is the intellectual and social equal of a man and should be treated as such - with the proviso that a dependent infant is biologically more important than either man or woman and its needs should come first.'

Update: As a bonus, this URL from the Express surely qualifies for some kind of award:


  1. Well said. You are right - domestic help is the great unsayable. We hear too much from wealthy celebrities who don't tell the whole story.

  2. AKH, it's certainly refreshing to hear a well-known journalist point it out.

    Of course, domestic service is nothing new and neither is farming out child-rearing to nannies (though the English upper classes historically don't give a very encouraging indication of the outcome). It never ceases to amaze me that strident 'feminist' high-achievers seem dead set on recreating the above- and below-stairs values of the past.

  3. Best I don't say anything about feminism. The blood flecks might spoil the tavern's decor.