Should I start a Bad Daughters club?
PUBLISHED: 17:30 01 February 2018
Never mind having it all, women have ended up doing it all
It is 100 years this year since (some) women in the UK got the vote. Fast forward a century to our enlightened times and I wonder if it’s time to dust down the bonnet, corset and placards for a modern day movement I’m calling The Bad Daughters Club.
The last straw was a report that the best insurance older people could have wasn’t a policy or money, but a good daughter. The survey concluded that daughters of ageing parents provide as much care as they can manage, while (most) sons do as little as they can get away with. If they have sisters or wives, men are likely to leave it to them.
I would not presume to equate the female lot in 2018 with that of the Suffragette movement despite the current #metoo, #timesup etc. But the irony is not lost either that after all that struggle women still need to challenge the status quo – and themselves.
Membership of The Bad Daughters Club is open to all women, probably in middle years. There are only three criteria; the first is juggling any combination of children, family, job, home, life, ageing parents and relatives. Premium membership for a full house of commitments.
The second criteria is guilt - at not being always perfect, constantly present or performing as Superwoman. The third is a feeling of under-achieving – not doing enough, well enough, often enough. The more guilt and under-achievement, the bigger the membership discount.
There are lots of members of the club, most of whom don’t recognise their eligibility to join yet.
According to Carers UK, women in their 50s have a one-in-two chance of caring for a parent; there are more than 2.45 million women over 45 “sandwiched” between children and parents.
A Care Quality Commission study concluded that care decisions for parents was up there with divorce, death and moving house as a stressful event.
We all know good and great sons, husbands and dads. Being a good daughter is much harder thanks to all that juggling, guilt and under-achieving, mixed with a dose of others expectations. The Bad Daughters Club is a recognition that even though we’ve got the vote, in some respects we’re still back in the dark ages – partly by our own actions.
The Bad Daughters Club won’t be running courses to improve juggling, or sessions to find your inner superwoman; we will be laughing at the irony of actually having it all; celebrating that while we’re bad daughters, we’re great people who happen to be women; and we’ll be supporting bad daughters everywhere to do what they do best – doing it all.
Annabel James is 53 and a classic Bad Daughter dividing her time between Norfolk for work, her home in London, and Dorset where her parents live. As a result of her own experiences researching care options for her parents she launched Age Space as a one stop online resource for anyone caring for or supporting ageing parents and or anything related to elderly care advice.