Childcare vs stay at home mums - we should value both

For most new parents the choices involved in deciding how to reconcile earning money and looking after your children are extremely difficult.

I always try to avoid using terms like "full-time-mums" or "working mothers" which appear to make a perjorative choice on one side or the other, except to disavow them.

Indeed, I detest both the phrase "working mother" because being a mum is extremely hard work whether you have another job as well or not, and the phrase "full-time mother" because those mothers who do have another job still carry the burden of responsibility, and the guilt complex with which society seems determined to saddle parents in general and mothers in particular, 100% of the time during a long day.

And although where one parent stays at home it is most often the mother, there are some stay-at-home dads, and their work should be valued too.

It is right that the government is trying to help those mums who have or want to find employment to do so. For some mothers who would like to have another job the economics can be quite impossible - it sometimes costs more to pay someone to look after your children while you are working than the job brings in. This is not a healthy situation for the individuals affected or for the country.

But for the government to try to do something about this absolutely should not, and I believe, does not, mean that those mothers who choose to spend all their time with their children should feel their role is undervalued. Being a mother is one of the most vital roles in our society and helping those mothers who have or want other jobs is not an attack on those who have made a different choice.


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