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Cherie Blair blasts women who choose children over career - is she right?
During a speech at Fortune magazine's Most Powerful Women event on Monday Cherie Blair said that "every woman needs to be self-sufficient and in that way you really don't have a choice - for your own satisfaction; you hear these yummy mummies talk about being the best possible mother and they put all their effort into their children."
She added: "I also want to be the best possible mother, but I know that my job as a mother includes bringing my children up so actually they can live without me." The MSN Her team look at both sides of this argument and debate whether Cherie's words are right or wrong...
Yes - What's wrong with a woman not relying totally on the man in her life?
Zoe Zahra, MSN Her deputy editor
As a child growing up in a single-parent family I'm inclined to agree with Cherie. When I was 11 my dad walked out on my mum, a stay-at-home-wife, and her two children. At the time my mum only worked part-time and struggled to pay the bills my dad left her with. But like any strong woman, she dusted herself down and took on any job she could to keep us ticking over. And while there were times when it was tough she made sure we never went without. As a teen looking at the struggle my mum went through I vowed to never to put myself in that situation. So I worked my socks off at school, got a degree and became a career girl determined to make my own money and not be reliant on a rich man to pay for me.
But now as I head towards 30 and am engaged to a man who I one day hope to start a family with, the idea of leaving my children at home to go to work is something that plays on my mind. I love my job and don't think it's something that I would ever want to give up totally, but until I have children I can't know for sure whether I could bear to leave them with a child-minder while I head into work. At the moment I think I would like to still contribute to my household. I'm not saying stay-at-home mums don't do this, they do a job that pays nothing and is 24/7, but I don't think I could ever be totally reliant on a man to pay for everything. Just because a woman has a child why should she be the one to change her entire life? If she loves her job why shouldn't she and her child's father work out a way that they both take on childcare?
You may think this is just the ramblings of a bitter woman who hates men because of what my dad did. Far from it! Divorce happens, relationships break up, people die but whether you decide to have children or not we should all take a note of Cherie's words. What's wrong with a woman setting herself up and not relying totally on the man in her life? I love my fiancé but I don't think I would ever be totally happy with him being the sole provider for my family.
No - Who are we to deride these stay-at-home mums?
Rebecca Bryant, MSN shopping editor
So Cherie Blair has come out and criticised the yummy mummies and stay-at-home types who raise children rather than focus on the careers. According to the Daily Mail, Cherie claims that stay-at-home mums can only feel "satisfied" if they go out to work. Try telling this to the mum who has chased across town only to miss her daughter's speech at prize-giving day oor promised her daughter she would take her to the pantomime but couldn't because something 'cropped up' at work. While super-confident women like Cherie Blair simply take these problems in her stride, there are others who can't help feeling guilt-ridden and, in consequence, a failure as a mother.
As a child of the 80s, my mum was part of a new generation of women who was the bread-winner in the family. She constantly had to balance a nine-to-seven job with the responsibilities of looking after two young children and to this day, I know, she still feels guilty about not giving us enough attention while we were growing up and over-compensates for it now. I'm pretty sure that my mum would have loved to have had the luxury of not having to work.
Now I'm not saying that every woman is the same as my mum but neither, and I hate to smash your illusions Cherie, do they all subscribe to the hot-shot business, Apprentice-winning type as so desired by Mrs Blair. And, shock-horror, what the ex-Prime Minister's wife forgets, is that not everyone is career-driven. Why does she think so many people play the National Lottery every week? My point is that if a woman or man decides and can afford to put all her energies into raising kids, then that is her/his decision. Who are we to deride these stay-at-home mums or dads even just because we've chosen a different path in life?
What do you think? Was Cherie Blair right to say what she did? Or was she totally wrong? Tell us your views below.