A very brief explanation as this concept seems to be difficult for people to understand.
Babies and Toddlers do not look after themselves.
They need to be fed and watered and cleaned (the mundane tasks) and at a higher level they need to be interacted with and shown new things in the world, and for their enjoyment of life and building of a firm psychological foundation its great if they can actually have some fun thrown in as well. And then there are the more technical things such as learning to swim, learning to climb, ride a bike, how to hold a pencil, how to listen to others, build sand castles, paint etc etc. All of these need a little bit of adult help along the way, even if its just to sweep up the sand and to rescue various nearby objects from a toddler with a paintbrush !
So what my post is about is prompted by the supposedly exciting news that a youngish woman in quite a public role has finally reached 38 weeks pregnant and has managed to stagger in to work in the fairly high public role she occupies. (the fact that people have been doing this in all sorts of occupations for many years seems to be overlooked) This seems to be news nowadays !!
And apparently by her taking maternity leave this somehow means that the Glass Ceiling has just been smashed.............
Now my first thought is that there have been numerous women in prominent roles for many years. Certainly in the area of medical physics that I worked and in medicine etc and University sphere there were many distinguished women and many women who just got on with their jobs. They seem to me to have been a different breed from this current type of women who seem to be in the news and who seem to occupy in particular politics and perhaps the media too.
So this working woman is being met with great acclaim and she is going to take maybe a year off to look after her baby and an older child too. Now once she goes back to work, to great praise and acclaim as this is the new equal opportunities modern world, Ha Ha, the thing that gets forgotten about is ........................................................ THE OTHER WOMAN !!!!
Or should I say the other man / woman / gender neutral person who will be looking after the baby and toddler. Because as I explained earlier, they do actually have to be looked after !!
And funnily enough some women, myself included, actually chose or have chosen to look after their own child.
In either case - there is ONE CHILD CARER and ONE WORKER !!
But in fact in the first situation we have one person who demands Mega-Respect (Respect with a capital R) and one person (THE OTHER WOMAN) who receives minor respect (small r). They both get paid for their job so this ensures the respect.
In the second situation, there is one person working (Respect) and one non worker who is looking after their own children (= Hard Work) (=Fun) (= can be good for the child's psychological wellbeing) but this person does not get respect from society. Strange that !!
The first situation pulls in masses of subsidies - two personal allowances within the family and a third for the child carer. The mother in second case does not receive a personal allowance. There are childcare subsidies in the first case and various councils and organisations promote the business of the childcarer)
But we need to sort out this situation to create a more level playing field because currently in our society in the UK it is becoming very difficult for the second situation to be a possibility, and dare I say it, but the more I see and observe of families who try to care for their youngsters at weekends having been working all week, I have to say I think they could do with a good healthy dose of actually learning how to look after their own children. And I have to say that there are so many tips etc passed around mothers (and fathers) at things like toddler groups that in fact that is really where you learn to bring up your children. You learn tips such as the fact that young children should only be given grapes sliced, and also you can watch your child interacting with other children and you can direct them to be a more caring, sharing individual or help to smooth over situations before they get out of control etc. You are teaching children how to get on with each other and getting them ready to flourish once they hit the big wide world of school nursery and school itself. And, you are also very much part of a community with the other families and children.
So please remember children do not look after themselves !
(I wonder if it could be a male agenda that has allowed this downgrading of the recognition that this role exists at all ............ hmm !)
And....on another aspect, surely it would be better for women to think of taking a few years out to take care of their children and then return to work raring to go once the children are older. I certainly know quite a few mothers in my acquaintance who are returning to full time work once their children are more like secondary school age or dare I say it even older. But these people are so much more ready to devote themselves to the workplace rather than being drawn in two directions and doing neither job particularly well. In addition just as a little extra, so many lucky families I know have grandparents who are fit and healthy and very much involved with the family and the childcare. But if you dont have that for whatever reason then really your family needs some extra help. But the way society is pushing it, again its the lucky ones who are angling for subsidies, the ones who already get help.
Anyway as you may have noticed, if you have even read this far, I have diversified and come way off topic as per usual.
But my main point is that its all very well having your politically correct statements about family friendly policies etc etc but the fact is children do not look after themselves.