When it comes to kid friendly places I definitely think we have progressed compared to when I was a kid. This is a new little play area in the middle of one of my local shopping centers. Within in walking distance is a parents room with change tables, breast-feeding cubicle and kids sized toilets. It makes shopping with the kids much easier. I never go shopping with all 4 kids and don’t like to even go with my younger three while my eldest is at school. It can be hard work, the kids get bored and I hate the awkwardness and judge mental stares you can get if your kid, god forbid whines, chucks a tantrum or they decide to fight against each other. Which in reality is kids being kids and can still happen no matter how hard you try. It doesn’t make you an asshole parent. There a big difference between kids being kids and asshole parents. Majority of parents aren’t assholes. I found this set up much more doable with the kids. I parked the car, loaded all three kids into the trolley, did some shopping, we had morning tea, then the kids played in the play area. After morning I took them to the bathroom. Well actually we had 3 bathroom trips in that time. All three girls went, then my youngest needed to go and then one minute after leaving the toilet my youngest decided she needed to go. It was no big hassle though because the family toilet was close to both the play area and Kmart. At this point we went home however we easily could have done a bit more shopping which is never happens because they just get bored with shopping. This whole kid friendly set up made it possible. When I was younger and my Mum took my brother and I out, there was none of this family/kid friendly stuff around.
There are many ways we have progressed with pregnancy and post natal care, play groups and even family payments from the government. Women are able to work, study and also be a Mum. I know a lot of these things didn’t exist in my mother’s day and even more so in my grandmothers day. I have a lot of admiration for the sacrifice and hard work they put in with little or no support. Yes we have come along way but I also think we still have a long way to go. Especially when it comes to attitudes and perceptions of Mum’s. It is as though our society has a big attitude and negative thought form out there that doesn’t values or respects motherhood. Work is the ideal and more and more women are working who have young kids. They are going back to work when their babies are so small. It is their choice and I respect that. I have gone back to work after having babies, so I am not being critical. My point is one of the first question we are asked after popping out a baby is ‘when are you going back to work’? I have come across stay at home Mum’s who somehow feel inadequate or not worthy because they are not working. Why is raising the next generation no longer valued or considered worthy? Then for many Mums with young kids who work. well their work load has almost doubled because they are still taking care of the running of the house and working as well. It is though our societies values have gone from believing women should stay at home with the kids and do not work to believing work is most valued even for women who have young kids. The government is even trying to get Mum’s with young kids back into work. It’s great there is all this support for working, however there are a lot of working Mum’s who would like to stay home but they not only need to make an income, they also get a lot more support from the government if they are working. Paid parental leave, child friendly areas, Mum’s being able to work or study are all progress. We are lucky we have these things available some countries don’t have these things at all. Some have far better parental leave and support for families. At least we have made progress and I also try to be thankful for what we do have.
From my experience I do find it harder being home all the time, compared to working. I hear a lot of other Mum’s say the same thing, although it might not be the case for every one. They don’t say motherhood is hardest job in the world for no reason. Work for me is a financial necessity for our family but it is also my sanity. It’s quite easy to say ‘well women in the past didn’t complain, they just did it’. In reality, women in the past didn’t have the support available and couldn’t talk, it wasn’t the done thing. Mental health and domestic violence weren’t talked about. There’s a lot of things that weren’t talked about, acknowledged or even really understood. Now we know that perinatal depression and anxiety in Mums is common. It can also affect Dads. Now we know that suicide is the main reason for death in new Mum’s. We know that many of those Mum’s in the past that seemed so perfect (especially in their happy snap photos) were actually suffering from mental health issues and alcoholism behind the scenes. Hence the reason for the feminist revolution. I’m not saying that all women in the past suffered from mental health issues and alcoholism, I just meant it was common but no one talked about it.
So we have come a long way and still have a long to go. We’re always learning and moving forward.