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Working mothers

(132 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).

Granarchist Mon 14-Nov-16 11:02:47

I'm with you Rosina. What I find interesting is that parents who both work definitely seem to have a feeling of guilt over not being there, which results in children staying up too late at night to experience 'quality time' with parents when they would otherwise be in bed fast asleep. It also means weekend are full of treats and entertainment rather than just everyday life. I'm not criticising - I'm sure I would have done the same - but it is hard. A good friend (and top City lawyer) says she feels when her son really needed her was when he was a teenager and basically being brought up by his grandparents to whom he was very very close. Sadly they both died much too young and this has definitely affected him adversely. Had she not gone back to work she would never have achieved the position she now has - but it was at a cost. Too late now to re-think. It is not easy for anyone.

trisher Mon 14-Nov-16 11:23:36

Firstly nurseries do vary but I think perhaps things have changed grannypiper over the years. The EU introduced standards which included all nurseries having an outside area where children could play. Funding of nurseries is interesting, when women were required for war work the government funded nurseries. They were free, opened from 8am to 6pm and in 1948 I attended one when my mother was ill. They closed down in the 1950s. I see no reason why nurseries shouldn't receive state support now and provide proper care. Why on earth is it OK to fund education at 4+ but not before?

I hope that the OP is some sort of wind up. The idea that only high-flyers will benefit from assistance with childcare costs is mistaken anyway. The real high flyers are fortunate in that they can afford the best in child care. It is in fact the middle-management people both male and female who struggle. And why is this only a woman's issue? Children have two parents and the cost of child care is born by both. Very expensive childcare impacts on the whole family. This idea that funding child care only benefits mothers is totally out dated. Women may give birth but caring for children should be shared.
Expensive childcare has also resulted in the army of GPs who take on caring for their GCs so that both parents can work.

daphnedill Mon 14-Nov-16 11:23:59

I obviously don't have a conscience, because I didn't feel guilty - just knackered! My children ended up pretty normal too. My weekends were spent doing housework, so I didn't have time for treats either. Being a teacher, I did have long holidays, but my children wanted to go to nursery to be with their friends. I had to pay for it during the holidays anyway, so I usually gave in and took them for half a day, unless I had something special planned. I think I suffered more than they did.

icanhandthemback Mon 14-Nov-16 11:26:01

Perhaps we should strip women of the right to vote at the same time. What sexist rubbish. I know quite a lot of people whose babies are left with Dad whilst Mum is a high flier. Most of the women I know don't have a choice but to work with today's high housing costs but let's make them choose not to have babies because of it. What archaic nonsense! shock

cassandra264 Mon 14-Nov-16 11:31:33

I was very lucky - I had a husband who earned enough to enable me to stay at home with our two children until they were 6 and 3. However, as you all know,the mortgage rates suddenly rocketed in the 80's. If we were not to lose our home - and the friendships we had built up in the neighbourhood (both our families lived hundreds of miles away, and we never had any child care assistance of any kind we didn't pay for) - returning to a full time job was essential. I went back to my work as a local government officer - average pay for the time, and only 20 days off per year. There were no vouchers or subsidised creches then, and half my salary went towards the costs of childcare.But we were OK, and I have always thought it did my son in particular (the younger child) a lot of good. He loved his nursery;saw the point of working hard - and has grown up to respect male/female equality of opportunity - AND responsibility!
He also says he feels I have always been there for him - so ! don't think I can have neglected him too much! My daughter is a teacher - less of a juggling act in school holiday times - and because her husband is in a good job she can afford to work part-time while my GC is pre-school age.

I think people have to do what best works for them. But I also think nurseries and child care should be affordable and offer flexibility. It is good for families of all kinds that such choice should be available - and it is certainly good for our economy that the skills of trained and qualified women of all kinds - whether they be nurses, teachers, scientists, engineers or accountants etc. etc. should continue to be widely available.

daphnedill Mon 14-Nov-16 11:34:44

I'm with Dot and Lily on this. I could never have imagined having to depend on a man for my housekeeping and pocket money. When my son was born, I didn't know that I would be a single mother three years later, so it's just as well I had stayed at work and been promoted, so I could just about afford childcare, because I didn't receive any maintenance.

There are other threads with people moaning about single mothers claiming benefits. Unfortunately, I did find myself in that situation, but not until much later when my children were teenagers. Would people prefer parents to stay at home and be destitute? I can't help thinking that children like Baby P would have been better in a nursery than with his mother - and he hasn't been the only one.

The other thing women need to think about is their pension, unless they want to have to live on Pension Credit. I get a tad irritated when some women moan about their pension when they didn't actually contribute much towards it.

felice Mon 14-Nov-16 11:44:20

Childcare here is excellent and government funded from the start. Many women go out to work but if like DD and SIL they decide Maman/Papa will stay at home they can register as housewife/husband and the working parent gets very good tax relief.
The tax relief equates to the wage from a 16 hour a week job in the stay at home parents previous employment.

harrigran Mon 14-Nov-16 11:50:00

I could never have imagined having to depend on a man for my housekeeping and pocket money

Surely this is the way traditional families worked, the woman gave birth and looked after the house and men went out to work and fed and clothed the family.
When I had my children the only childcare was way too expensive and I hardly knew anyone that worked.

Marmark1 Mon 14-Nov-16 12:02:43

Just out of curiosity you understand. I wonder if those of you who couldn't be bothered with your own kids,ever look after grandchildren,if you have them.Just asking mind,

knittinggran Mon 14-Nov-16 12:03:24

i read call your replys with great interest,the hardest job is staying at home,running a house and cooking proper meals,being aware of what your spending,sometimes spending time instead of money on things that you can do yourself,saying that children now suffer from stress there is no wonder,because many are surrounded by nothing else,all caused by a chaotic household.

DaphneBroon Mon 14-Nov-16 12:07:03

I cannot agree that the children of parents who both work necessarily live in a "chaotic" household.

Who on this thread has suggested in any way that they could not be bothered with their own kids??

Lewlew Mon 14-Nov-16 12:12:51

What VQ is ignoring is that today, most mortgage companies REQUIRE two incomes for a mortgage on a family size home or flat. Not only to meet the income test, but in case one loses their job. Or if one is self-employed, then it's not even negotiable unless you own a long-established business. My DS only has had his company for 7 years and that's not enough for them to get a mortgage without DIL's income as well from a big employer she has been with for 5 years. And that brought them in just under the wire.

Lifetime careers with guaranteed incomes and pension for a husband (or the working wife) is a fairy tale now. Very few companies want you to stay 'for ever'. They rather you move on so they can hire new recruits for less.

This is the reality of 21st century and beyond I'm afraid.

Fitzy54 Mon 14-Nov-16 12:13:21

What Lillyflower said - and with whatever help grandparents can reasonably give (emphasis on reasonably!) whether in time or money or both. There is an extended family dimension here. It seems to me that each generation is becoming more dependant, at least at some stage in their lives, on more and more help from the generation before or after.

SparklyGrandma Mon 14-Nov-16 12:27:48

vampirequeen good to bring this subject up and I agree with Lillie that most women are not in low paid jobs but have degrees. I think the childcare question is pertinent to men and women - its no longer just a woman's responsibility. A parent's and woman's working life is likely to be 47 years years long - that's too long in any case for anyone to 'take off' to have children. (Retirement age at 68, starting work at 21 after uni)

And who is in a perfect situation? A friend of mine, married, works and she also is carer to her teenage son. When I first married, I thought I would be able to stay at home but my then DH proved to be hopeless poor thing with money and there was no choice for me to go out to work full time as a civil servant.

So I say its everyone's responsibility to fund decent childcare and is the responsibility of both parents too. But I also think you can't tell what your situation will be before you choose to have children, added to that housing costs being so big a part of peoples budgets, everyone needs to work most of the time until retirement or sickness puts paid to it.

Foxyferret Mon 14-Nov-16 12:45:32

As a lot of benefits are means tested these days, how about means testing for child care? Anyone earning silly money could not claim, then we would avoid the daft situation of people earning high salaries but still receiving child benefit. I wait to be shot down.

chesters413 Mon 14-Nov-16 13:15:26

Lilyflower has summed up the problem when she writes: "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"
Absolutely true. By allowing themselves to be almost er ... blackmailed into working rather than be stay-at-home mothers society has allowed profiteers to double and treble the cost of housing. The choice has been torn from wives as mothers. Adult children cannot afford to buy their first home. My heart goes out to my GGCn. Having said that my own wife of 56 years standing has always HAD to work to make ends meet. And yes, as an old-fashioned hunter gatherer I do feel that I have let her and my children down. Our first house cost £3.400 and today it is on the market for £750,000 if only we hadn't moved all those years ago it would be small and perfect for us today.

SueDonim Mon 14-Nov-16 13:16:40

Goodness me, there are some judgmental postings here. Can't be 'bothered with their own children'? 'Chaotic households'?

I was mostly (but not entirely) a SAHM to our four children and I loved it but I recognise that times have changed and women have different requirements today. Any SAHM where my sons & dils live would have a pretty lonely time because there are few other parents around in the daytime and they'd be hard-pushed to find company.

My youngest grandchild will go to school when he is four years and two weeks old. Had my dil given up her satisfying work, what's she to do when he goes to school? Her company can hardly keep her position open for four years and even if they did, everyone else would have moved on and her career likely compromised forever. What a waste that would be!

As for nursery, I recently spent quite a bit of time at my GS's nursery and if, when I get old, I am in a care home even half as good, I'll be a happy bunny! As well as the indoor facilities, he has access to four playgrounds with equipment, a maze garden, a music garden, a sand garden, an allotment, two donkeys, four goats, numerous rabbits, guinea pigs and chickens, meals provided by a qualified chef and absolutely delightful staff, who really know the children well. What parent could possibly provide all that? He has a much richer social and learning environment than any of my children had and he's none the worse for it.

vampirequeen Mon 14-Nov-16 13:28:46

Suedomin...what's sexist about this?

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.

That says quite clearly that the father could give up his job and take care of the children

cassandra264 Mon 14-Nov-16 13:31:11

Foxyferret, the trouble with means testing of all kinds is that it always costs a fortune to administer - monies that might be better spent providing a better quality universal service.

What the Inland Revenue needs to do is to assume all those with dependent children are in receipt of every child benefit available.

Wealthy households would then be taxed automatically on these,probably on a higher tax band. The benefits would be counted as part of their income, and the money clawed back and returned to the state coffers.

vampirequeen Mon 14-Nov-16 13:32:00

My goodness, Marmark1, like you I'm sure this agreement is a first.

Oooh we agree again about agreeing grin

vampirequeen Mon 14-Nov-16 13:40:55


I simply cannot accept the denigration of working women as "cleaners, shop workers etc etc",

When did I denigrate anyone? I simply pointed out that a lot of the jobs women do don't have a glass ceiling to break through. They are low paid and undervalued.

TriciaF Mon 14-Nov-16 13:50:04

I went back to work soon after a baby was born. I loved my job, and chose to work. I had a few months or weeks off each time, but luckily didn't have to work fulltime until they were all at school.
BUT - I found it very stressful, trying to balance home and work, especially coming home at 6pm to 4 noisy teenagers, all arguing. Also , arranging childcare during the long summer holidays, but I wouldn't have expected the govt. to pay for it.

grannypiper Mon 14-Nov-16 14:05:19

Daphnedill, the daycare centre i worked in had all those things too and a glowing OFSTED report which was a joke.Yes there maybe a quite area but do you really think a child can have space and peace to be still when there another 20+ 3 year olds in the same room ? if a 4 year old wants to sleep he cant be tucked up in a bed and allowed to sleep as that would take a member of staff to be with him and the ratios dont allow for that. It is so unfair to have a small child in daycare 12 hours a day.When i started work it was in a playgroup which turned into a full daycare setting, I left after 15 months.

vampirequeen Mon 14-Nov-16 14:05:54

I can't help feeling that some people haven't really read my OP and follow up posts.

I acknowledged in my opening paragraph that some women have no choice. They have to work to pay the mortgage/put food on the table. I even said that this is what I had had to do.
I never said women shouldn't go out to work.
I never denigrated any job. I simply pointed out that a lot of working women have this type of employment.
I never said men should not take responsibility for childcare.

So for clarity here's an amalgamation of my OP and follow up posts.

If a couple want to have children and both remain in work then they should take into account childcare costs and not expect the government and employers to pay/adapt to take into account that they have children unless the child is ill when both parents have an equal responsibility and need the opportunity to take time off at short notice.

This does not refer to women who have no choice but to work. They're the ones who need extra support.

cassandra264 Mon 14-Nov-16 14:09:18

chesters413, it is not women going out to work that has multiplied the cost of housing. it is the low priority given by governments over decades to house building for ordinary people - whether for rent or purchase - making housing a scarce and expensive resource, especially in economically healthy areas where there is work to be had.

From the 60's onwards it has been recognised by housing professionals everywhere that we as a country need to build many thousands of new homes every year to keep up with demand. It has never been done to the level required.And things, as we all know, are getting worse.

(I recommend people look at Ken Loach's 'Cathy Come Home' on DVD, which shocked the nation in 1966 (those who did not see it at the time, anyway) Even then, it was widely recognised that we were way behind the rest of post war Europe in planning and delivering affordable places to live.