Before you vent a spleen, the headline is very much tongue in cheek. It refers of course to David Cameron’s attack on stay at home mums not deserving childcare support as they “don’t work as hard, or try to get ahead as the rest of us.” Just how outrageous and provocative is that? More evidence that the Tories prefer the divide and rule tactic. Up until now, its been the unemployed against the employed, welfare claimant against non-claimant, rich against poor. Now Cameron is trying to pitch working mums against non-working mums? Beggars belief.
The government clearly sees it as a black and white issue regarding mums going back to work. It isn’t. The early years are crucial in any child’s development. Its a time where mums – or dads – should be able to be at home as much as possible with their children, not dump them off with a childminder for hours every day as soon as they can – because the pressure is on many to do so. Financial pressures force many back to work, having people work extra hours just for the childcare – where’s the point in that? Then there’s this government’s obsession with getting people into non-existent jobs, no matter what the cost is to family life. They’re of the view that money is the most important thing in everyone’s life. Its not.
I think of our own experience. When Jane had Matthew, we made the decision that despite losing a wage, Jane would stay at home with Matthew (her choice) as she had left her previous job thanks to them forcing her out (more-or-less) after they’d piled pressure on her while pregnant, not carrying out a risk assessment – which all led to a miscarriage. After being off sick for months, she packed it in. (PS, it was Greggs, a pox on their pies!) I was (and am) in a fulltime job, so that made the decision as to who would work and who would stay at home easier. But because this country values slaving away at work as being far more important that the welfare of children, things were tight. I suspect it was Tax Credits that kept us afloat at the time. This was all before we had the diagnosis for Matthew & Daniel that they were on the Autism Spectrum. They’re entitled to DLA, which means their is much less pressure on Jane regarding work. She can be there for them all the time. Matthew can’t cope with school lunches, so needs to come home at lunchtime. In many ways, they are reassured by their mum being available for them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The government doesn’t see it like that of course. As soon as possible, mum should return to work! Special needs children in particular benefit so much from one of their parents not working. Its crucial for their development and security that they know mum or dad will be there. And what about the more severely disabled children? Are parents meant to seek professional specialised childcare to enable them to go to work? At what cost to the state? Surely paying a parent to stay at home to look after the welfare of their own children is much more cost effective. It leaves jobs open for those who REALLY need them.
As for Dave’ assertion that stay at home mums don’t work as hard as the rest of us, is he trying to be deliberately insulting? When Jane worked as a manager at Greggs (spit) she would often see 70 hour weeks. Now? A 14 – 16 hour day is normal as Matthew can be up as early as 5am (or sometimes earlier) and Daniel can be agitated at bedtime meaning in him not settling down until 9pm. Add in the washing, cleaning, cooking and a thousand other household tasks EVERY DAY, that’s 98 to 112 hours A WEEK. Doesn’t work hard? Pull the other one Dave.
Its time that stay at home mums (or dads) got some recognition and help to allow them to be at home for their children – should they wish to do so – to reduce the pressure to get back to work. Surely our children deserve better?