In our household, there are two "f" words that are never to be uttered in polite company. Of the two, I have a greater disdain for the word "feminism."
Feminists today are like an Olympic hurdler who has finished the race first, but still complains about the track configuration, the judges and the other contestants.
Unless it's still unclear: You've won.
Women now outnumber men at university campuses across Canada. Of those aged 25-34 with a university degree, 59 per cent can wear high heels without raising an eyebrow. And 11 institutions across the country now boast that two thirds of their students are decidedly female.
The proverbial glass ceiling has come crashing down as the female population has access to practically any career path, position, or pay bracket. In fact, women have pushed so hard that ladies can now putt with the men in the PGA (though men cannot play in the LPGA) and women like Lyla Miklos of Hamilton, Ontario can even get their hair cut at a traditional barber shop.
After conquering the academic world and the working world, the female populace has turned its attention to our national anthem.
Apparently, the song that I grew up singing proudly -- the song that inevitably stirs up that powerful combination of nationalism, honour and pride -- is really just oppressing me and holding me back. Who knew?
But thanks to the likes of Margaret Atwood and former Prime Minister Kim Campbell, a group of feminists is hoping to change the fiercely oppressive lyrics featured in "O Canada." Oy vey!
The cold, hard truth about feminism is that while it may have been sold as a great thing for women, it has failed them. It has failed them spectacularly. And it has failed our children too.
Women have been brought up to believe that they have the right to pursue their own goals and dreams without any consideration for those around them.
As a result, we have women having babies who almost immediately hand the child off to a daycare worker or nanny so that they can return to the office in order to feel fulfilled.
Apparently, being a mother and caring for your own child no longer rates as something noble or noteworthy. Being head of HR or selling single-cup hot beverage systems is somehow more important than raising a good child.
So newborns and toddlers are shuffled off to institutions where they are crammed into rooms with kids who bite and scratch and hit and scream. Rather than spend their formative years with a loving and present mum, they are relegated to daycare centres where staff turnover is about as frequent as the diaper changes.
So your child is introduced to "Susan" -- a complete stranger -- but eventually your kid gets to know Susan quite well because she sees her all day, every day. Soon, your kid is calling Susan "mom" (this is something no one ever mentions because we never want to make working moms feel guilty). Your child bonds with Susan. But then Susan quits to take a job at another centre or decides to go back to school to add to the ever-growing female to male ratio. And your child must get to know another stranger (whom she will
also refer to as "mom" in due time).
Since you only spend an hour or two with your young child each evening, there isn't much time to be had. In fact, because you have left strict instructions that your toddler not be allowed to nap while at daycare, you arrive at 6 or 7 p.m. to a totally exhausted child whom you can promptly tuck into bed.
This allows you to have your evenings to yourself. Some adult time, after an entire day of adult time.
It doesn't matter that study after study shows that daycare kids have elevated cortisol levels -- a hormone released in the body in response to stress.
It doesn't matter that this increase of cortisol levels can lead to myriad health problems, including anxiety, depression, digestive problems, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain and impairment of memory and concentration.
After all, mum's needs come first. The fact that a tiny child's basic instinct is to remain close to its mother is completely disregarded in lieu of mom feeling satisfied by earning a regular paycheque.
It doesn't seem to matter that the average person can be in the working world for 40 years and giving up five years or so should hardly matter in the grand scheme of things (though it matters greatly to your young child).
Well-known children's author, Mem Fox, has been a very vocal opponent of daycare. She believes we will one day look back at daycare centres as mere warehouses for children.
"It's just awful," insists Fox. "You actually have to say to yourself, 'If I have to work this hard and if I'm never going to see my kid and if they are going to have a tremendous stress in childcare, should I be doing it?'"
She likens the phenomenon of 40-60 hour daycare weeks to a form of child abuse.
Perhaps these notable feminists should shift their attention from song lyrics and steady their gaze on the very real problem of institutionalized kids.
Some of those kids are girls, after all.
Lydia Lovric is a former writer and broadcaster, turned stay-at-home mom. www.lydialovric.com