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Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Pram Prejudice...

 "I have enough things to worry about without being regarded as a free loading baby making machine void of intelligence or feeling."
Since going on maternity leave I’ve encountered a lot of what I will refer to as pram prejudice. That is that people see the pram and make a judgement about you on the spot. This is usually not a particularly flattering or positive judgement at that.
Usually they judge you as being unemployed, living on the dole and without a braincell in your head. They ertainly dont see you as a career woman taking a short break from work to spend sometime with their new baby...
Now i know that I shouldn't worry about what people think but the truth is that I do. I cant help it. Ive always been a worrier and its not about to stop with the introduction of a host of new hormones. If anything it gets worse. 
It really bugs me that people take such a negative view of mothers. not just me. mothers in general. if I'm experiencing prejudice on the basis of the pram and nappy bag I'm toting, then I'm sure I'm not the only one. It just shouldn't happen.
I have enough things to worry about without being regarded as a free loading baby making machine without intelligence or feeling. 
What amazes me is that people feel its OK to tell you what they think. To come out with the prejudicial statements as if they were fine. its almost like people who start with "I'm not being nasty but..." and then say the nastiest things...
Ive had older ladies tell me that they would love grandchildren but their son/daughters are too busy out making money for themselves..(what unlike me??!!). Ive been referred to as a 'kept woman' (i wish) and been told that "im lucky i dont have to be out in the real world" (ive been to the 'real' world more times than most people have had hot dinners...)
Do people think i need their opinion? Do i look like i need knocking down? No. So please keep your comments to yourself thank you very much.  
The worst example I’ve come across was at a local cathedral. I decided that as the babe was fast asleep and I was walking past, id pop in and have a look around. It is a majestic building after all and it had been years since i had ventured inside.
I bustled in with my pram and took a leisurely stroll around the various chambers and chapels. I'm not religious but I do appreciate good architecture and I'm prone to a bit of history.
At the exit I started to get some money out to put into the collection box. It was then that this  exchange took place with one of the volunteers next to the entrance/exit.
HER: I assume you don’t pay tax
ME: (taken aback) err yes actually. I'm a solicitor.
HER: (astounded) Oh right. Really? Are you on some period of leave then?
ME: (frustrated) Yes. Maternity leave.
HER:  Oh. Well would you mind awfully donating your tax to gift aid?
I did donate to gift aid. I reminded myself that it was all about the cause and not her. I was not a happy bunny though.
I felt wounded though to have been judged. Especially when I was in a place that I should have felt safe in. Safe from judgement at least. isn't that one of their selling points? I haven’t been back.
There are many examples I could give where people have judged me on the sole basis of me pushing a pram. Most of them are women which saddens me further. What has happened to woman kind that means we need to turn against one another?
It appears that the view is if you have a baby then you can’t possibly have had a career. You can have both. You really can. You just have to balance them.
It’s a shame that motherhood is still something which is looked down on.  It’s not viewed with the respect that it deserves. Its hard work but its also very rewarding.
Women should stand together and support one another not judge each other on the basis of a pram.
It really should be a thing of the past. I for one am going to stand up against pram prejudice.  The mothers I've met are generally well educated, hard working and deserving of praise. I'm going to make sure that they get it.

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