Monday, 11 March 2013

Mother's Day Dilemma

I've been a little angst ridden about writing this post, due to (possibly misplaced) loyalty and the uncertainty of how I feel and where to write about it.

In the end I have decided to come here, because it is here that I am a mother, and the mother in me is the one who needs to air the strange betrayal and disappointment I feel at a former boss's rant that appeared in a Sunday newspaper this week.

I am generally very unspecific about work when on social media, happy to be positive of course but wanting always to be appropriate and professional, especially when things aren't quite going well. What I say between family and friends is more like the truth and how I feel but I rarely go into print as it were when I am having a hard time.

When my uncle texted me on Sunday morning to say that the woman I used to work for had been ranting in the newspapers, I assumed that she would be airing her views and frustrations that she is well known for about today's TV industry.  So I thought no more about it and got on with my day.  Later on, in a quiet moment with smartphone in hand, I decided to catch up with the news and remembered to have a look for the article.
I was shocked and upset at what I found.

After nearly 5 years of working with this woman, despite any conflict or upset that occurred across that time, I knew and admired her as a mother, and will forever be thankful for how I was allowed to be the mother I have to be when I worked for her.  On a personal level she was someone who I had seen to be kind and instinctive, not just with my own child but also in her stories and experiences around other non typical kids.

In this article in the newspaper, in a moment of pique talking about her current career at an international conference, she used the word "retards" to describe one UK broadcaster's employees.

I hate this word, as do many people and not just those with family members who are "special" in their needs and development.  To date I haven't joined a campaign or made a big public show of my feelings because it's that public bandwagon thing that I shy away from.  I am very clear when you meet me about my non-acceptance of intolerance and hatred, and will speak up without a moment's hesitation, but online it takes a lot to move me.  At least it did.

With one small description, which will I'm sure be denied as having been said at all, I felt betrayed and hurt as a mother and specifically one who had shared my pain in quiet moments about personal feelings surrounding my life with a complex child.

I don't think she would have used that word if not caught up in whatever moment she was in, and I don't wish her any ill will or aggression in a response to this.  But I do feel palpably hurt for myself and other people who have this word thrown at them, their child, their sibling, anyone, and wish fervently that people thought a little before opening their mouths in that way.

As I followed the story, I became incredulous that it hadn't been picked up by any special interest movements here in the UK, which is when I remembered to look at the Facebook page Spread the Word to End the Word.  As I scrolled down the homepage of this sturdy group, I found just one comment from one person saying had anyone seen the article, and wasn't it a shame, and the comment had no likes or comments in response.

No hoopla, no guns blazing, just disappointment.

In a way that is good I suppose, but also it really isn't. Words have great power and we all make mistakes with them across our lives.  This one offensive word adds to many others that are used and reused to batter and insult people who often can't defend themselves and the heartbroken families who spend far too much time doing so.  I believe it is the duty of writers and public figures to think before they speak to be an inspiration to those who might not know they have to.

So here I am publicly having a personal response, one in which I am frowning as I write, uncomfortable at the disloyalty I feel, but resolute in why I have to speak out.  I will also frown when I press post and then when I share it should I choose to, because I truly don't want to make waves or cause problems, because my feelings persist, even as I come to the end of writing them out.

Before finishing the post, I have just paused and gone back to Facebook to "like" that feisty group that many of my special mummy friends and other good people support.

And this at last has finally given me something to smile about.

No comments:

Post a Comment