What do we think of this?

(46 Posts)
dashoflime Mon 15-Apr-13 13:18:33

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9994002/Government-forcing-stay-at-home-mums-to-abandon-children-say-campaigners.html

I'm really conflicted about stuff like this

On the one hand, I think this woman has quite a right wing agenda. It seems like she has quite a prescriptive view of a woman's role in the family.

On the other hand: It's quite illustrative of how far views on stay at home mums have shifted, isn't it?

At one time: The "family wage" was a key demand of the trade union movement. The idea was that one person's wage should be sufficient to raise a family.

At the same time, of course, women were hardly satisfied being stuck in the house with few opportunities in life. A lot of feminist activism was around changing that.

These days though:

Its seems like we're supposed to just accept that 2 wages should be necessary to bring up a family. In strictly material terms, this is a step backwards.

The woman in this article is right, I think, that the government is trying to discourage SAHM and sees a two income household as the ideal.

Even on Mumsnet, I've noticed a lot of people view being a stay at home mum as an enviable luxury. (so much of a luxury that women fought to be free of it! hmm) Either that, or a mark of poverty. Something that happens only if your DP is rich or if you are so poor you are unable to command enough to pay for childcare.

In a way the present situation is worse than in the past. At least then motherhood was seen as an occupation and had some status. Nowadays its like children are a private encumbrance that you are somehow meant to deal with, without help and stay in the workforce.

And where are men in all this? Noone seems to suggest that men should sacrifice their own earning potential to care for their children or support their partner to achieve her own career goals.

Its such a messed up situation all round. sad

Full disclosure: I'm currently on maternity leave, living the life of a SAHM. When I go back, it will be full time and DS will divide his time almost equally between myself (at the weekends and evenings), my PT worker husband and a childminder.

mumsneedwine Tue 16-Apr-13 20:52:44

I sort of agree but as with all of us m personal circumstances skew our perception. I have 5 kids, 2 mine and 3 my sisters. When she and her husband were killed we adopted them and I went back to work to pay for us all. We have never received one penny from the state as my husband earns a 'middle' income. We pay thousands every year in tax and have never begrudged anyone in need and we have loved our family. But recently we are struggling - no pay rises, no child benefit and cost of living through the roof and mine are too old to benefit from any childcare relief. Our child benefit for my sisters two youngest has stopped (why my husband is penalised for this is odd). We manage on a lot less than £53 a week each after housing !

Portofino Tue 16-Apr-13 19:38:17

Totally agree Janey.

janey68 Tue 16-Apr-13 19:01:31

I agree that it's unfortunate that she's hijacked the debate, because while I think there's a genuine debate about childcare costs to be had, it's ridiculous that a well heeled middle class SAHM is the one banging the drum... she doesn't need childcare and has chosen to give up work. There are plenty more deserving cases who would make a good front person for the cause

It also grates a little that Laura Perrins was a well off lawyer prior to choosing to give up work, and I'd bet a lot of money that she was all for individual taxation back then!! I'm sure she wouldn't have wanted to be lumped in with her husband for tax on her pre-baby earnings... she just comes across as a classic case of entitled person who wants the rules to change to suit whichever phase they happen to be in.

Overall I think this is an interesting debate, and there aren't simple answers. It's no good harking back to the golden yesteryear because I doubt many people really would want the reality of it. OK, my parents could afford to buy a house and live on one income. BUT people's horizons were generally a lot shorter and expectations lower. I don't just mean in material terms. For my mum, being a SAHM meant being pretty much limited to our local town (no second car for many families) and lives were generally a lot more frugal... it wasn't a round of lattes in coffee shops and going to the gym. When women did return to work, it was often in relatively menial jobs and many of them were under employed, ie capable of far more. I don't see that as something to aspire to.

I think what some people are saying is that they want to be able to live life on one income, but life as we have it now, not like back then. Fair enough, but I would prefer to see it as a future where mums and dads could each work half the time, rather than this being a 'womens' issue and assuming mum doesn't work and dad does. I still don't see how it would be sustainable though, because ok, you'd get some families who were happy living on the equivalent of one income, but many others would still choose to have both parents working, certainly more than just half the week each, and those families would earn higher incomes and people on the equivalent of one income would still feel relatively badly off. I think that's the crux of the matter. People often don't like to admit it, but how well off people feel is relative, not absolute. If we're talking in absolute terms, people are massively better off than was the case 50 years ago. But they don't feel it, because they look around and compare themselves with others now. You can't get away from the fact that when we're judging like with like (ie people in similar level jobs) dual earner families are going to be better off than single earners. (Except for those few years when childcare costs hurt your pocket massively). That's obvious really. It's not a judgement on SAHM, not at all, it's just plain facts really.

mumsneedwine Tue 16-Apr-13 18:59:36

I work and I still think its wrong. If it was an isolated tax change then it might not have been seen as so unfair. But one income families get no tax breaks and I think this is unfair. And child rearing IS under valued and people make snide comments to SAHMs about how lucky they are. It's hard work and a choice to have kids and I don't think we should judge anyone, or penalise anyone, who decides to stay home or work. I hate the assumption that everyone should work - our mums fought so we had choice.

fromparistoberlin Tue 16-Apr-13 15:10:53

that woman really REALLY annoys me

the whole point was to make childcare costs lower. UK pre school costs way more than the rest of the EU, and even the US for that matter

why oh why oh WHY is it now about SAHMs????

if she has low self esteem and feels so undervalued she should go back to work, and stop twisting in politics to suit her personal agenda

mumsneedwine Tue 16-Apr-13 14:59:34

Just caught us with the thread as I have been at work ! I find it so sad that child rearing is so under valued by society. I don't think money should be paid to one set of parents and not another - everyone is just trying to do their best. So give childcare tax breaks as well as letting SAHMs give their tax code to their partner. And ALL parents get child benefit (or none). I was trying to explain the system to my 19 year old and she looked at me like I was barking mad.

MoominmammasHandbag Tue 16-Apr-13 00:03:08

I knew there was a reason why I hung out with the Socialist Worker boys at Uni -- apart from the fact that they were all quite cute--

MoominmammasHandbag Tue 16-Apr-13 00:00:23

That is very interesting Mini. Basically then it is to the advantage of the "bosses" to have two people working for the same sort of lifestyle that used to be funded by one person working. It's probably not accidental that things have drifted this way is it? It's manipulation of lots of factors including the erosion of Union power and the property price boom.
Bloody hell, I've never really thought about it. It's quite scary.

MiniTheMinx Mon 15-Apr-13 23:35:22

To try and address Claig's point about the "faux left wing press" is that it is a liberal elite press, which appears to give voice to the concerns of those not on the right. It is a purely constructed corporate alternative.

What came out of the civil rights movement in the 60s seems to have been a move towards identity politics and single issue activism. You have feminism, the greens, the gay lobby, race activists etc, all fighting the same oppression but fighting amongst themselves.

One of the up shots of this is that the liberal press (not left) have taken up all of these causes, including feminism.

I am a feminist and it grieves me to say it, but liberalism is a construct of the right, feminism fell into that trap. Capitalists want cheap labour and women entering the workforce devalued all labour at a time when capitalists were suffering from what is called the falling rate of profit. Ultimately women, working women and women who rely on one male wage so they can stay home have suffered.

Startail Mon 15-Apr-13 23:14:33

Also why is it actually harder to work with school age DCs than tinies.

Because in a rural area with very limited after school and holiday provision it is.

Startail Mon 15-Apr-13 23:06:01

Why should it be worth going out to work if you have pre school age DCs?

Why should I farm my DCs out to someone else earning peanuts instead of looking after them myself.

Actually I did one day a week because the nursery were great and I'm shit at small DCs 24/7, but why should I have to?

claig Mon 15-Apr-13 22:55:27

stay-at-home mothers by choice would be SAHMBC , but that wouldn't achieve the possible purpose of trying to link it to nimbyism and NIMBY, so SAHMBY does the job better.

claig Mon 15-Apr-13 22:51:26

The Guardian article has a term I have never come across before, but which sounds a bit like NIMBY. It is the term SAHMBY.

"You don't have to be against the minority of SAHMBY (stay-at-home mothers by choice) to consider their involvement in this debate a complete, and sometimes mischievous, distraction."

claig Mon 15-Apr-13 22:46:56

Typed in Laura Perrins and Guardian into google to see what if anything the Guardian says about it. The top article I found was this one, titled At-home mothers should stay out of childcare debate
Fascinating how different the slant of this article is.

At-home mothers should stay out of childcare debate

claig Mon 15-Apr-13 22:32:39

Families with only one parent working are in general more likely to have less money coming into the household than those with two parents working. So these policies do not seem to be helping the family unit and children in families with the smallest joint income. They seem to be more about encouraging work.

claig Mon 15-Apr-13 22:27:38

It is interesting that the only support for SAHMs over these issues seem to come from some MPs on the right. There seems to be little support from the left and possibly very little from greens. Does the Guardian run articles on this or is it just teh right wing press?

"Last month’s Budget confirmed the Government’s plans to slash child benefit from families with a single earner on £50,000 and axe it altogether for those with one on £60,000.

Those plans discriminate against couples where the mother stays at home with the children – since two earner couples who each earn a little under those thresholds keep on claiming.

Family groups are also angry that the Government is offering childcare subsidies to parents who both work but no equivalent allowance to households with a stay-at-home mother or father."

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2309091/Stay-home-mums-revolt-Mothers-unite-Tory-MPs-demand-family-friendly-tax-policy.html

Happymonkeyboys Mon 15-Apr-13 22:18:08

Agree too MoominmammasHandbag. Both parents now having to work to cover property costs inflated out of all proportion with wages.

MoominmammasHandbag Mon 15-Apr-13 22:16:12

Yes, 20 years ago DP and I bought a house in the south of England for three times one of our wages (We were earning about £17000 each, our house was £51000). This gave us the option of me being a SAHM). Ok money was tight and we didn't leave many luxuries but it was doable.
These days a young couple like we were would both need to be working.

pointythings Mon 15-Apr-13 22:16:00

I don't actually have a problem with population control - it's one of the reasons why I only had two children, one to replace each of us and no more. There are too many people on this planet. However, I'm not sure that this government's measures are anything to do with a green agenda, I think it's ore about a complete mismatch between their experience of what the world is and the average (non-millionaire) person's.

MiniTheMinx Mon 15-Apr-13 22:03:20

MoominmammasHandbag, should have added, I agree with you smile

MiniTheMinx Mon 15-Apr-13 22:01:52

didn't *have to work. I have a keyboard with hiccups!

MiniTheMinx Mon 15-Apr-13 22:01:09

MoominmammasHandbag,

my comment about working class women always working.........just an abstraction. Historically working class women have worked.

There was a period when less working class women had to work......50s -70s.

So I agree with you when you say many didn't hav to work during the 60s

But then labour/unions had attained better pay and conditions, those gains are being eroded.

I don't think the answer is for the government to reward mothering. The answer is to force employers to pay a living wage to ALL workers irrespective of whether they are bottle washers or women, or even road sweeping women. Narrowing the gap between CEO and the tea lady will suffice to sort out the problem and give women a choice.

claig Mon 15-Apr-13 21:41:40

'I am working class, born in 1964, the vast majority of my friends had SAHMs.'

Those were the days of the baby boom and that generation is the 'baby boomers' whom they now tell us have had it too good for too long.

claig Mon 15-Apr-13 21:35:30

They do not want people to have large families. They say that more people will use up the resources of the "planet". They created green movements to spread the word about population control and the need to have fewer children. Now they are beginning to discuss the possible future of child benefit for children in families with more than 2 children.

They want to encourage both parents to work in order to get by so that they will not be comfortable or rich enough to have more children. They do not build more homes (with planning restrictions etc) so that house prices rise and they make green laws so that energy prices and fuel prices and water prices rise so that living standards fall in order to reduce the comfort of families and reduce the possibility that they will feel prosperous enough to have more children.

They want smaller families.

MoominmammasHandbag Mon 15-Apr-13 21:24:40

I disagree that it has always been necessary for two people to work to run a household. I am working class, born in 1964, the vast majority of my friends had SAHMs. The ones whose Mums worked were markedly better off; foreign holidays etc.
We have been sold a real lie regarding women working out of the home. Families now have to work twice as hard and family life suffers.

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