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Working mothers

(131 Posts)
vampirequeen Sun 13-Nov-16 10:40:31

OK before I start this thread I want to make it very clear that I'm not talking about single mothers or mothers who need to work to make ends meet. My mam worked when I was a child and I worked when my girls were still children. I know that some mothers have to work to put food on the table and/or pay the mortgage/rent. So before anyone answers please be aware that I am not criticising mothers who have no choice but to work.

The news today reported that it's been suggested that there should be cash aid to help pay for childcare and employers should be more adaptable to cater for the needs of working mothers. According to the report this is so that women don't lose out on promotion or the chance to earn more. Let's be honest most working mothers don't have that sort of job. They're the cleaners, shop workers, factory workers and clerical staff of this country. So we're being asked to fund the high flyers.

Apart from those in the first paragraph why do mothers work? Being a mother is the most important job in the world. If you want a career then think carefully about having children. If you decide to have children be aware that childcare needs to be taken into the financial situation. Don't complain about the cost of childcare or the problems of juggling career and children. Don't expect employers to change working hours or expectations to suit you (except sick children but then your husband should have to take the care role too).

Lillie Sun 13-Nov-16 11:12:00

I understand what you are saying in your first paragraph, vampirequeen.

In your second paragraph, I think there is a misconception because these days most working mothers are not cleaners, factory workers etc. A large percentage of them are university graduates, (ever since we allowed almost everybody to attend a university), and therefore they are choosing a more ambitious career path. Many also have to pay back heavy university loans, so they need to earn as much as possible.

In the final analysis, it is possible to juggle career and children, but it comes at a cost. Divided loyalties between work and the family are emotionally hard to juggle and life as a working mother can be very stressful. I'm not saying that throwing money at childcare is the answer and neither can employers be expected to pick up the pieces. The situation is here to stay, I don't think we will ever return to an age where careers will be ditched in order to have children, but I would like there to be a reasonable compromise.

Swanny Sun 13-Nov-16 11:24:52

Over 40 years ago I worked for a large manufacturing company which looked at their costs of training women who then left to have children and didn't come back into the workforce till the children went to school, by which time the mums needed re-training. Their answer was a purpose-built nursery with qualified staff to take children from 6-months to 5 years and it worked a treat. It was open from 6am to 6pm and there was of course a minimal weekly charge to the employees, but the brunt of the costs were borne by the company.

ninathenana Sun 13-Nov-16 11:39:13

There are also mum's who have babies partly to please their husbands. I don't mean those that are pressured into it just that they love their husbands and want to "make a family" but unfortunately after baby arrives they realise that baby talk and play dates aren't fulfilling enough and they need the stimulus of work.
I know a couple of mums like that.
The work place crèche is an ideal solution.

vampirequeen Sun 13-Nov-16 12:54:55

Having a baby is usually a choice these days although I admit that (like DGD1 and DGS4) they can sometimes come as a bit of a surprise.

If a woman wants to have a career and children then I'm afraid the couple has to take childcare costs into account when making their decision. What's to stop the father reducing/giving up work to bring up the children? If they both want a career then I'm afraid they'll just have to pay for childcare.

Any help that may be available should be targeted at families where the mother has no choice but to work.

SueDonim Sun 13-Nov-16 14:03:45

What a sexist post. Are only men allowed to enjoy a fulfilling career as well as being a parent?

Tizliz Sun 13-Nov-16 14:50:00

I am surprised but delighted at the share of child care that my son does. I think men want to be involved therefore the subject should be about working parents.

Marmark1 Sun 13-Nov-16 20:08:14

I agree with vampirequeen,[to my surprise]
Having children is a choice today,it's a very important option and comes with great responsibility.So if the parents are not prepared to be that responsible and provide the innocent child with the care it deserves,then they have made the wrong decision.
I too exclude certain people who find themselves in situations they didn't ask for.

daphnedill Sun 13-Nov-16 20:41:11

I agree with Lillie. Most working mothers these days are not doing manual jobs. They are teachers, nurses, office workers, lawyesr, GPs, sales managers, etc etc. Women have come a long way in the workplace over the last few decades.

What you wrote is interesting, Swanny. I, too, remember a time when companies realised the loss to their skilled workplace of women not returning to work after childbirth. The high street banks were particularly vulnerable and were at the forefront of providing subsidised nurseries and flexible working. Nowadays, they've cut so many jobs that I don't suppose it matters so much to them.

My children had excellent childcare, but not from me. I had two six month maternity breaks.

daphnedill Sun 13-Nov-16 20:42:08

Also agree with SueDonim and Tizliz.

DaphneBroon Sun 13-Nov-16 20:56:35

I don't know whether OP setbout to be deliberately provocative but come on, this is the 21st century and women are filling jobs at all levels from the highest professional positions to the most humble. If we argue that women with children should not be in the workplace, we grind to a halt and if we say only woman who do not have a career should have babies, that is horrifying for all sorts of reasons leading to the ultimate conclusion of some sort of Brave New World where two types of women choose between a career like drones in the hive or a family.
I simply cannot accept the denigration of working women as "cleaners, shop workers etc etc", implying that only male jobs have any validity as careers to aspire to andgirls should not aim higher than "little jobs". This sort of sexist argument died in the 1950's and I cannot credit that anybody could pay it even lip service in 2016

Deedaa Sun 13-Nov-16 21:10:47

What annoys me are places like DD's university which prides itself on equality and has referred to her as an example to women working in science and yet have made it as difficult as possible for her to go back to work after her second baby. They do have a nursery there but the fees are astronomical so she doesn't use it.

Christinefrance Sun 13-Nov-16 22:36:07

Well said Daphne , outdated sexist post.
It is and should be possible for all parents male/ female to have a career and a family if that is their wish.

grannypiper Mon 14-Nov-16 05:03:52

Having worked in daycare i can hoestly say i woudnt send the fleas off my cat into such places.Your child is just one of many in such a place, they may be cared for by staff who adore your child but may be looked after by someone who doesnt like your child. Parents moan about the cost of childcare but expect a high standard of staff paid a pittance, well if you pay peanuts you get monkeys ! For many years young girls who have been failing in schools have been channeled into childcare and even if concerns are raised about their ability or attitude they pass there childcare exams.

daphnedill Mon 14-Nov-16 07:57:22

I must have been lucky then, because the nursery my children attended was excellent. It wasn't cheap, but it was worth it. My children loved it and I had every confidence in the staff.

grannypiper Mon 14-Nov-16 08:18:10

There are some great staff hard working caring staff out there and some not so. Staff arent the only reason i wouldnt use daycare, i really dont believe its the best enviroment for children.We have laws in this country regarding working hours for adults yet no laws on how long a child can be placed in daycare, some children are in one room for 12 hours a day add on travelling time ( for one child it was 2+hours each way) when do these children see their parents ? where does a daycare centre put a 4 year old who wants to sleep ? where does a 3 year old go when he wants to sit on the sofa quietly and suck his thumb ? the answer is they dont get to sleep or sit still when they need to.
We have a problem in this country with childrens vitamin D levels because the spend days on end stuck inside and being allowed outside play if the daycare centre staff decide they can be bothered.

daphnedill Mon 14-Nov-16 08:47:34

Well, I'm glad my children didn't go to the nursery where you worked. Their nursery had a huge garden with play equipment and the children went out to play twice a day. There was also a covered terrace, where they worked/played if the weather was warm and sometimes they had picnics.

There were five separate rooms in the nursery plus a 'classroom' for the older ones, who worked one-to-one with a trained teacher. Each of the rooms for the children over two had a quiet area, where they could chill out.

I'm surprised you could work in daycare if you disapproved of it so much.

radicalnan Mon 14-Nov-16 10:12:36

You are working if you look after someone else's kids but not if you look after your own. Time for a parent's wage and much more recognition of what doing it well entails.

Rosina Mon 14-Nov-16 10:15:52

Things got very heated on one occasion when discussing this subject with a friend who had a very well paid job, as did her husband. She said that if you had a child and then found childcare boring and unfulfilling you should have the choice of going back to work after a few months. My argument was that you had already made the choice when deciding to have a child, and once that happens it is not about you - the baby is what matters, and giving it a good loving start in life whether or not you still managed good holidays and a smart car. There is always time later to employ a nursery to care for a child but those first few years are vital, and very short. We all know that it is often boring, exhausting and trying to be trapped in the house with not much money, and to spend most of your waking hours with someone who doesn't speak English, but it soon changes, and farming a tiny baby out seems a bit harsh if you do not need to. No doubt there are people who have to work, as vampirequeen says, but how many of them really do 'have' to work in order to maintain the luxuries they want rather than spend a few years leading a different kind of life in order to give the baby a good start? I shall now await the bricks through my 'window'.!!

DaphneBroon Mon 14-Nov-16 10:21:05

grannypiper's post must strike fear and trembling into working mothers and grandmothers. However, all I can say is that this description bears no resemblance whatsoever to the lovely nursery my DGSs attended before they went to school and which DGD goes to 1 day a week. Loving , stimulating environment, a structured Early Years framework programme, variety, fresh air, plenty of individual attention and the opportunity to learn social skills.
Compare this to what (sadly) can also be the case - mum walking with the buggy, intent on her phone, mum meeting friends at Costa Coffee, child in the buggy Mum at the table, still intent on her phone while the baby/toddler eventually gives up on eye contact?
Parenting can be wonderful, but it is a skill to be learned and to dismiss nurseries as somewhere you wouldn't send the fleas off a cat to, absolutely makes me wonder what sort of daycare was being described.

maryhoffman37 Mon 14-Nov-16 10:21:42

I'm sorry but I dom't agree. I love my three children and four grandchildren(so far!) dearly but they are not who I am. I am a writer and that is how I think of myself first. A storyteller, a creator of fictions since I was a small girl. I worked throughout my children's early years, because of the constraints mentioned in the OP but I wouldn't have done differently if I could have afforded not to. I realise that this is not true of every mother and good luck to those who want to and can afford to stay home wiith their kids but there are some women who are ambitious in their careers and they may well pay more tax too.

Skweek1 Mon 14-Nov-16 10:26:05

Because my first husband was a feckless waste of space, I had to work but feel that one parent should be at home with the kids at least pre-school. I was able to work from home for a time which was the ideal, but actually get cross that parents who would like to be at home when the kids are small no longer have that choice while having to pay a fortune for childcare. Would-be stay-at-home parents, whether dad or mum, should be encouraged to take that option.

DaphneBroon Mon 14-Nov-16 10:27:58

Oh and at DGCs' nursery the children do have a nap, they have quiet time and (this I found incredible) they would sit quietly on a sofa at story time . Behaviour I could not have aspired to in the teenagers I used to teach.
The "best" start in life is such an emotive and subjective isssue, but where would society be if we didn't have women doctors, teachers, lawyers, business people, social workers etc etc etc And if the choice of intelligent educated women had to be between having a baby or having a career, what implications might that have about the intellectual capacity of the next generation
Takes you back to the old argument about the point of educating girls!

DotMH1901 Mon 14-Nov-16 10:31:47

Swanny - I think it is high time employers looked at providing nursery places for children of their staff. The cost of private childcare is dreadful - how many families manage it I don't know. In Liverpool in the 1930's lots of big manufacturing companies ran private nurseries for their staff, as you say it was cheaper than hiring and training people to replace women who left to have their families. I went back to work full time when my daughter was a year old, I was lucky in that I worked in a day nursery and she came along as part of my salary. I have provided many hours of childcare for my grandchildren, even changing my working hours (working 40 hours over 4 days instead of 5 at one stage) and my daughter agrees that if she had had to pay for this amount of childcare privately she would never have managed - my ex son in law refused to pay anything towards childcare costs even though he worked full time too. My daughter is now a single Mum with 3 children to raise - good thing she did juggle work and home as she is in full time work and not put in the position of having to claim benefits to survive.

Lilyflower Mon 14-Nov-16 10:36:43

Vampirequeen, I worked because I saw how my mother was cheated by my father. He owned all the 'stuff' (house, cars etc.) and he made her go out to work to pay the bills, in other words, the ephemera. When they divorced she ended up with nothing and he had the house. I also saw that there was much inequality between what men and women could do in the world of work in the 1960's and 1970's and what they were paid.

I was, thus, determined to be financially independent and became a teacher where men and women were paid the same for the same work. When I had children I paid almost all of my salary towards childcare to keep my post open and I continued working full time.

I was lucky enough to be married to a more enlightened man than my mother married and all of our finances are in common. We put our salaries into a shared pot, paid bills out of our joint bank account and our savings are shared.

I also ensured that both my son and my daughter received an education of a high enough standard to make them financially independent.

It is now virtually impossible for a man on a normal salary to afford a house for his family on one income alone. Women have little choice but to work and they have to have childcare if they are to remain in jobs which are not just lowly paid or menial.

I agree that couples should think and budget carefully before they have children (my DH and I waited ten years before we could afford ours) but they need sympathy when they are stretched to the limit with the costs of child rearing and of having children cared for while working.

Two further points. Women are not soley responsible for children. Men have them too! And those children will grow up, pay taxes and fund our pensions.