I am not sure if this will get me into trouble or not.
The other day was women's day and the local newspaper here did a big spread on a local woman called Fiona Wood. She has been Australian of the year and is a high profile woman. She runs a successful medical practice and business that develops new products like spray on skin for burns victims. She specializes in burns and was at the forefront when all the burns victims from the Bali bombing arrived in Australia. She is also the mother of five children.
With a young family it is often like this.
The newspaper had a photograph of her hard at work and another photograph where she was surrounded by her five smiling children. The article was how she claimed she had been able to maintain a busy high powered work life and have five children where she could also meet their psychological needs over the years. She was putting herself out there as a woman who did this and being a model for all other women who wanted to do the same.
In my view she does not help women in general and indeed perpetuates the problem. Most days I work I counsel women and their children. A common theme of what these mother’s present is guilt about what they have and have not done with their children along with their desire to fulfill their own work life aspirations. This can cause a great deal of angst for some women.
Fiona Wood claims she has been able to do both successfully and puts here self out there in public for other women to see. That is a big claim to make, that may or may not be true. I have had two children of my own and I know how much time it takes. I can recall making the decision when they were both very young that I would put the development of my career on hold as it would simply take me away from the children too much. I did not see how it was possible to have a very active career and be around the children enough to meet their psychological needs in relationship to a father. And I only had two children and I was the guy (not the mother)!
So the claims Fiona Wood makes are either not true or if they are true then she has very exceptional abilities at organization and being able to meet children’s psychological needs in a way which the vast majority of other people can not do, including me. Which ever one it is I do know that many of the mother’s I counsel are going to read the newspaper article and realize they cannot do what Fiona Wood claims she can. They are then going to feel guilt, bad about themselves, they can not do what others can do, they must not be trying hard enough, and so forth. Basically it is going to make them psychologically worse off.
It is well known the damage supermodels can do to the psyche of women. They are put out there in magazines with bodies that the vast majority of women can never have because they are not built that way.
Fiona Wood is the same. She is a kind of supermodel working mother that other women can aspire to. In my view the average woman can not ever achieve what Fiona Wood claims she and thus we have the same damage caused to the women’s psyche as the bodies of supermodels do. They are left feeling not as good as, or yet again a failure.