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Time for Parenting...

...because raising children is a full-time job

October 2003 Newsletter

The mother of all choices; Maternal Feminists; Motherhood vs work: is there still a choice?; The best job in the world

The Mother of All Choices

When we were children, my little brother had a thing about menus. We found the array of dishes positively tantalising, but it was making his choice, not the food itself, that he found mouth-watering: by the time the waiter arrived, he had lost interest.

I seem to reflect upon this often in this age of consumer choice. Whether we require a digital camera, a loaf of bread, a school or a hospital (I dare not mention a train that runs on time), we are all consumers and the choice, we are told, is "what we want". But are we as a society really any happier for all these choices? Or have we become so mesmerised by the array of options that, like my little brother, we are unable to enjoy the choices we have made, forever tantalised by "what-ifs"?

The real gift, it seems to me, is to be happy with the choices we have made and to realise that the things which make us happiest are often those about which we haven't had a choice - such as our families. Here is where FTM comes to the rescue again! FTMs have made a choice which the government is doing its best, through fiscal penalties and social pressure, to deny them. But, in 'choosing to be different' as Jill Kirby so aptly puts it, they are happy in the knowledge that they are doing the best thing for their children and for themselves, free from the whinging guilt and tormenting "what-ifs" of the Kate Reddy brigade.

So let each of us, like Hamlet's soul, be 'mistress of her choice'. Full time motherhood is definitely the best dish on the menu. Let's choose it and savour it.