Friday, 22 March 2013

The value of a mother

I made a choice when my children were born to take time out of going out to work to become a stay at home mum.

We decided that rather than go back to work and pay someone most of (if not all) of my salary to someone to link after my children, that I would remain at home with them and become a stay at home parent.

This was a choice, however, I appreciate that not every parent has this choice, that people have to work.  But we have little to no support and if the children were ill I would need to take time off work to be with them.  We both felt that I could not have committed to am employer at this time in mine and my families life.

However, we are being penalised more and more by the government for being present in our children's lives. I do not want to go in to the rights and wrongs of the latest ConDem budget, but I do wish that any government could put more of a value on bringing up children.

We have made many sacrifices so that I can collect my children from school, go to their Nativity plays and their assemblies.

I believe by not giving families where only one parent works the same tax benefits on childcare as a family where both parents work shows that this government really doesn't not value stay at home parents or parenting in any shape or form.

I found the transition to motherhood really hard.  I went from being a valued member of a team, who got appraisals  rewards and recognition to being an invisible "mummy", who had no job at all.  When in fact parenting is the hardest job I have ever done.  There is no manual, no job description and often no help.

So I say we need to start valuing ourselves and celebrating mothers everywhere and hopefully the government and others will start to see the value of a parent is much more than they could ever compensate is for.

The question is how do we do this and where do we start?


  1. Too true. I'm a stay-at-home-mum, and it's a choice, but it's a healthy choice. It's so difficult to shout "mum and proud" when so many people think that we've taken the easy option - that those mum's who manage to keep all the plates spinning by looking after their children and working (and paying somebody else to look after their children) are somehow the better people.

    I just look at my children and I know that I don't need the government to notice what a good job I'm doing - I see it in them all the time. I know that the stability and self-esteem I am giving them by simply being present at this important time in their lives is worth anything.

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  3. "I believe by not giving families where only one parent works the same tax benefits on childcare as a family where both parents work shows that this government really doesn't not value stay at home parents or parenting in any shape or form."

    But Jen, why would a stay-at-home parent need tax breaks on childcare? And how would it show that the Government values stay-at-home parents? Genuine questions!

    1. As a SAHM I still get ill, I still need childcare to cover appointment etc. Maybe tax breaks on childcare is not the best way around it, however, when I was really unwell after my double mastectomy, we were entitled to no help at all. Not even when MadDad had to take time off work to look after the boys. We could not pay the bills, the mortgage and I was not well enough to look after the boys.

      I think that perhaps having interchangeable tax allowances between partners might be helpful in cases such as this and actually a family tax allowance might be a way forward. But that will alienate single parents. Which thinking about it lose out on this tax break too though no fault of their own. You just can not win.

      A big part of me believes that parents should not be forced out to work and pay for childcare and that we should instead look to pay that extra to the mother that stays at home and looks after her own children. It might go a long way to giving women a choice to stay at home or work.

    2. I see what you mean. My son is currently at nursery in the week, and we make full use of the current childcare voucher system - but based on this, what you are proposing re. appointments etc. just wouldn't work. The kids at his nursery (and, I expect, other nurseries too) are all there on regular days/half-days every week. They can do the occasional extra cover at short-notice - by which I mean a day or two in advance - but only if they have other children off sick, or additional staff in that day. Lots of childcare places are run as tight ships in that regard; from what I have seen childminders can be more flexible, but nothing is guaranteed.

      I agree with you about tax allowances though. Something could be done there. The problem being, as you say, that you can't win. I think the problem is that whatever their choices/decisions, mums take flak and can get prickly as a result! Personally, I am all for the idea of a family tax allowance - but it's a tricky one, isn't it?


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