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Should parents stay at home with their children?

(149 Posts)
Daddima Fri 10-Jun-16 18:09:46

Now, my children who have children say they " need" two salaries. From my perspective, this is to let them have two cars, nice house, good holidays, etc, etc. Okay, their working arrangements mean the children don't need much childcare ( apart from us very occasionally), but am I alone in thinking that the government should be providing a benefits system which recognises the value of a "stay at home " parent?

BillieW Sun 12-Jun-16 20:34:50

I think there are many issues to consider
My girls n my DiL all work, only my DiL could financially afford to stay at home, but there would be a lifestyle choice for her! Her Canadian parents both worked after having their children, they had au pairs etc. so for her nursery care is normal.
Our youngest daughter is a medical research scientist. If she gave up work, her university education would be wasted. It is not a career you can successfully pick up after a long break. In fact her maternity leave was not as generous in terms of time as her sister and SiL, but she works in a university under a medical research grant.
Whilst our eldest daughter needs to go to work to pay the bills. They do have a good lifestyle, but it doesn't run to holidays.
All our girls know they will need their own private pension to top up their state pension (if one exists for them), added to which they have all been highly educated and I believe they love their careers, and love being a mum too. Equality surely means they should not have to choose.
I was a Sahm, for 12 years and worked in the evenings and or weekends to ensure there was enough money for extras. We had UK holidays most years.

But on the one hand we are told we need 50 million immigrants to pay taxes and the pensions of a large older generation, whilst our birth rate continue to fall. Yet my parents and ourselves had child friendly policies to encourage the cost of bringing up families. Tax allowances for marriage, children, mortgage tax relief. And the governments now need our working daughters to bring in the tax revenue. Whilst schools have no charges, and many mums choose to go to work, it is seen as unacceptable for mums to work with younger children. But in many European countries and other countries it is the norm. Many mums in America have no maternity leave, but also need or want to go back to work, so child care is either provided by employers or parents, or nurseries.

I think this is progress, choice and equality. My own mother was aghast that I went from part-time teaching when the youngest was in junior school to full time, not because I worked but she realised I would also be running a home with three children! DH did all the DiY and gardening though!

Deedaa Sun 12-Jun-16 21:10:10

The choice hardly seems to exist in the Home Counties. The cost of housing is so high that two people's salaries seem barely enough. I know DD would love to spend more time with her 3 yearold but it can't be done. On paper she and SIL have done everything right, good degrees and good jobs, but housing and transport are so expensive and they both work in quite narrow fields so they can't just move to a cheaper part of the country.

Jalima Sun 12-Jun-16 21:31:30

A couple of younger women I know had very high-powered jobs. They carried on with their careers for years when the DC were small with the help of nurseries, nannies, boarding school in one instance, but when the children got a bit older they found it was just all too much and the one wanted her children at home not boarding.
One has given up her career and is a SAHM, moved to the country and is much involved in country life and the other has a home-based career, fairly intense but she can fit family life around it and doesn't have the travelling that her previous career entailed.

Jalima Sun 12-Jun-16 21:35:28

Australians also have a pretty generous Maternity, Baby and Child Allowance system because they realise the child is not just the parents child it is the nations child.
Gracesgran they are quite generous with day-care too and subsidise it according to income.

I didn't think they had weekly Child Allowance though - I thought it was a very generous one-off payment when a baby is born - which DD (cynically but truthfully) said some people spend on huge tvs!

Witzend Thu 16-Jun-16 06:14:15

I'm sure a lot of young mothers would like to stay at home with their children while they're tiny. However, anywhere around here, where property is so expensive, then unless one of the couple is earning a very large salary, then it becomes impossible to pay the mortgage on even a very modest family home. And in many cases it wouldn't be possible however frugally they lived - it's not a case of forgoing iPads and the odd foreign holiday. Equally, renting has become so expensive that saving anything like enough for a hefty deposit would be almost impossible for anyone on an average salary.
Around here, staying at home with small children has become a luxury only the relatively very well paid can afford. And it's not as if we're in anything like central London. Even in what used to be considered (and often still is) grotty parts of London a very ordinary 2 bed flat can easily be priced at £500k+. And a lot of this crazy price growth has happened in the past few years. Flats I was looking at with a daughter a few years ago in the £250-275k price range, are now going for half a million. It's quite mad.
Personally I feel I was very lucky not to be obliged to go to work while my children were tiny, at a time when an ordinary family home was affordable on one reasonable salary.

alchemilla Thu 16-Jun-16 17:28:41

There was a tiny nod to SAHMs where man was paying minimal tax - though only £200.

But we are talking about £20000-25000 from the father.

Some of the problems arise from earning parents who have children and don't realize (a) the problems of reducing to one salary when the mother decides she wants to stay at home despite earlier convictions (b) the escalating cost of child care including the fact you now quite rightly pay holiday pay and tax (c) the availability and cost of good child care.

In my experience the majority of them scale down their holidays and cars if they had them in the first place. I would say to OP that her family have just got trapped in a net. I sympathize more with hard working parents who alternate night/day shifts to ensure their children are looked after but hardly ever see each other.

Iam64 Thu 16-Jun-16 18:38:39

Why is one set of hard working parents more deserving of your sympathy? I sympathise with parents, sah or working, With very few exceptions, parents love their children and do their best for them. As grandparents, I'd have hoped our life experiences would have taught us that and left us less likely to judge than some posts here suggest.

Greenockgran Thu 16-Jun-16 19:37:45

Yes. A parent should be able to stay at home with their child until they are independent. That is nature.

queenMab99 Wed 29-Jun-16 15:10:35

I don't know where some of you live but not many couples on a normal wage can afford housing, either to buy or rent, on one wage. I retired 4 years ago and was a library manager for a local government library, and I wondered how my younger colleagues would ever manage to leave the parental home, and have children, as I was just keeping my head above water, with an oldish but reliable car, and having paid off my comparatively small mortgage. The 'average' wage always seemed to be much higher than the wage most of my friends or I could ever hope to achieve, and people working in supermarkets etc. would be even lower. To be a stay at home parent is a pipe dream for most people nowadays.

Flowerofthewest Mon 11-Jul-16 11:50:12

Oh I think they could afford to live. Maybe not to the high standard they expect to though. Gadgets, 2 cars. Only one probably needed if only one works. The latest TV, new this that and the other. Cut your cloth I say. I am fed up with this generation of entitlement

rubylady Tue 12-Jul-16 05:58:16

Exactly Flower, we started off with second hand goods, put our fridge on a pram and took it down a back street to our new home, cost us a tenner, bed from next door neighbour to my grandma's who had died and ended up being propped up on paint tins until we could afford a new one. The trouble with many (not all) young ones these days is that they want it all and a bag to put it in. They seldom get married first, move in together, have babies and want everything new. On the housing programmes you see couples with a tiny baby wanting 4 or 5 bedroom houses. How big is the baby? Start small and grow as you go on in life and marriage. I do worry these days about the new generation being born now and if I was having babies now, I would probably decide not to have any children. Society seems too disjointed in many ways in which to bring a child up in in my opinion.

Iam64 Tue 12-Jul-16 19:47:30

That post made me LOL, it sounded so like the Monty Python - Cardboard Box, Luxury sketch.

Life changes. Some grumpy older people have always been negative and highly critical of the younger generation. Some in the younger generation have formed the view that we Boomers have used up all the money and had it

Iam64 Tue 12-Jul-16 19:48:52

sorry - that final sentence wasn't completed. We Boomers have used up al the money and had it far too easy.

Jalima Tue 12-Jul-16 20:01:47

I don't know about cardboard boxes, but tea chests were always very useful in my day grin

Nanabelle Wed 13-Jul-16 02:20:40

No one seems to have mentioned part time work? If there was more acceptance of this in the work place, it would give parents an opportunity to both raise their own children and continue with their career.
Also, everyone has been talking about babies/young children going to nursery. What happens once they are at school from age 4? They can't go to nurseries then! Where are they supposed to go from 8 am until 6.30 pm? Where would today's families be without grandparents helping out so much in the school holidays?
I was one of the lucky mums, able to stay at home until my youngest was 8, and then I got a job in a school as a TA, so the hours fitted in with my children's hours at school. But ….. we didn't have holidays, and lived fairly simply. Those years bringing up my young children were the best of my life.
Wouldn't have missed it for anything. ….. and I was brought up with very little money by a single mum so know about the monetary hardships this can cause but we didn't mind - we had a mum who was there for us after school and in the holidays.
Life is not easy for young families today - too much emphasis on material possessions in our media driven world.

granjura Wed 13-Jul-16 08:52:44

There is no 'should' about it- we are all different- and so should the way people choose to bring up their kids.
The OP says 'should parents stay at home' - does it mean both parents? If just the one, it is normally the mother- but is it still appropriate today? Many women choose to go back to work, and not mainly for the money, but because their love their job, are good at it and feel valued and have worked so hard to get where they are.

Sadly if you are in Senior management, part-time work is just not possible. You can't lead a team and lead projects, part-time. On the other hand- if you both have a good job- that means the finance to have a very secure, safe and great '3rd wheel of the cart' to keep everything stable, safe and enjoyable for the kids- and limit stress for parents. It works- and why not.

granjura Wed 13-Jul-16 08:55:28

And yes, we had everything second hand- beg, borrowed or home-made - and that was fine. Saving to be able to buy our first few bits and bobs was a joy- and our most exotic holiday was camping in my parents garden until the girls were teenagers. The pushchair cost me a fiver and the pram a tenner- and OH made our bed. The cot came from my sil, kitchen table from next door, and so on.

Jalima Wed 13-Jul-16 18:27:03

These days you can't seem to be able to give anything away!

Iam64 Wed 13-Jul-16 18:38:16

. The salvation army will collect, as will many local charities. You can deliver to their shops or venues. There is an issue with fire regs and furniture and our own children no longer welcome mum n dads old sofa but we can still recycle. Our local charity for helping refugees welcomes furniture

Jalima Wed 13-Jul-16 18:44:31

Yes, I do that now.
The Red Cross will collect

Iam64 Wed 13-Jul-16 19:27:29

Never thought of the Red Cross but will do so in future. Our family have all followed my uncle in donating to the Sally Army on the basis they work with so many on the margins.

Jalima Wed 13-Jul-16 19:31:35

It is just that the Red Cross is our nearest charity shop, although they don't collect furniture themselves they will contact another branch which does.
We don't have the Sally Army here.

Iam64 Wed 13-Jul-16 20:21:08

Our town has a Sally Ann hostel for the homeless, they also run a contact centre for the parent who has to see their children in a safe but not closely supervised environment. There were some complaints from residents in the town who worried that the hostel would encourage the homeless to come here. In reality, we don't seem to have as many rough sleepers as some other nearby towns, presumably because the hostel provides a bed to most who ask.
I took a stack of paper back books to our Shelter charity shop last week, they were very pleased because they sell for about £1 each, so I hope I raised them about £40. I'm doing that one book in one book out thing (or trying to) plus I'm strict in taking decent clothes I haven't worn that year to the charity shops.
I know I'm straying from the OP but we also recycle all the baby clothes/toys etc via charity shops. No one in my family ever sells baby / child equipment, it's all given to local charities or to friends.