Emma Thompson has caused controversy with her beliefs that the best mothers do not work. After having her daughter, Gaia, she took a year out of her career so that she could be at home for all those important milestones. According to her, it is not possible to consistently juggle a career and raising a family.
The comments from the 55-year-old actress have comes shortly after Angelina Jolie spoke out about privileged mothers complaining because of their family situation. She acknowledged that working mothers have it much harder since they are trying to keep a roof over heads and food on the table, leading to some having to work two or even three jobs. Thompson’s idea that women should take at least a year off after giving birth would be impossible for many working mothers.
The Love Actually actress is worth an estimated £30 million ($50.5 million), so was in a comfortable position to take a year out. While some mothers in the United Kingdom have the option to take nine months out due to maternity pay, the rest of that year would be unpaid. Some of those nine months are the run up to the birth too, depending on the woman and medical circumstances. In other countries, maternity pay is not available and working mothers can only take the first six weeks after the birth off unless there is a medical reason before their job is at risk.
Thompson stands by her belief that the best mothers do not work, but does state that only those who can afford it should take the time off. She understands that not all women are in a position to do this, but it does allow women to focus on their families, and spend time recuperating after the birth.
Being a mom is a full-time job, which makes it difficult to juggle parenting and working. There are many milestones that working mothers miss out on, and the Nanny McPhee actress stated that she was privileged to see each of them with her now 14-year-old daughter.
She has explained that this is her personal views, which is leading to some questioning whether just because she is a celebrity she has the right to air those views. The idea that working mothers are not great moms can make many women inferior. She has outright stated that moms who work all the time cannot be great moms, and it will have many women questioning whether they are doing the right thing for their children. Of course, keeping a roof over heads and food on the table is essential for children, and sacrificing that for a year off does not make someone a great mom.
Many woman who do work full-time have hit back at the actress, and rightly so. It is possible to work full-time and be a great mom. The trick is finding the balance. Some women will choose to work from home or start their own business before planning a family, which means having more say over the hours worked. Others will cut down on the hours, or just find a better way to create a work-life balance.
Only a small number of moms will be in a position where they can take a whole year off work to raise a family. However, Thompson believes that mothers should do this because the best mothers do not work.
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham