Deborah Ross: My family means business

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The Independent Online

If you ask me, I'm fascinated by this business of repositioning the housewife as a "domestic CEO" who, at various junctures, assumes the role of "head accountant", "travel agent", "executive decision maker" (etc, etc) and whose children represent "the most thrilling corporate project, one where competition with rival families can be especially fierce". I certainly know this is the case because, just this morning, I laid off my youngest who, I'm afraid to report, has always proved a hopeless loafer. He won't even engage in regular Spanish, let alone extra Spanish on a Tuesday evening!

It is never pleasant, laying off your own child – there were tears as he gathered his belongings and security marched him out – but as I said to him: "If we are going to see everything though a male, capitalist prism, you must accept that we, as a corporation, simply can not afford to carry you any more." I also had a daughter once, but I outsourced her to China. (The dog is going to have to go next, which is a shame, as I am rather fond of him).

And although some would argue this relabelling of the housewife is just a sop to avoid discussing the true contribution she makes to society or concentrating on better working conditions for mothers who do have jobs, I'm not among them. Seriously, what part of being a housewife isn't like being a CEO? Are you telling me the CEO of BT doesn't spend most of his time making meals for those who show no gratitude, attending to "employees" who need a wee at 2am, affecting an interest in diggers/tractors/dinosaurs and lots of other boring stuff for no money, no sick pay, no holiday pay, no pension, no shares and no economic independence? If you don't mind me asking, are you living on another planet?

The thing is, until there as many stay-at-home dads as mums and as many females heading corporations as there are males, some might say all this "CEO" business is actually rubbish. Fair enough, but it's not what I said to the dog. Instead, I said: "You've already had a verbal warning and two written ones. One more, and you're out." .

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