Wednesday, 14 January 2015

An Open Letter to Nick Clegg and Jo Swinson on behalf of Families !

Nick Clegg states that :
"This Edwardian notion that women should stay at home while men go out and support the family has simply no place in this day and age. We need a modern Britain and a fair society that works for families, not against them" in the following Press Release from the Government.  (Ref : "Majority of UK believe childcare should be shared equally between couples" )
But - firstly over 42% of those surveyed were not parents themselves !!!   You really can't comment if you haven't been there yourself.   I can say for certain that my views before I had children were markedly different from once I had been presented with my first "bundle of fun" wrapped up in a blanket !! Many families I know have one partner working part time or self employed and working their own hours around school days. In many cases this is because one partner has taken shorter hours because the other partner is hanging on to a job by the skin of their teeth and are having to live abroad or away from home during the week.

Other families I know have one partner who has started a very demanding/risky business and often a partner will help out with that.

There are others where one partner travels a lot for work or has meetings to attend at short notice in eg London so there is no way the other partner could devote themselves fully to a full time difficult job.

Many of the families who claim they are both working full time are also paying people to care for the children or to clean their houses or cook meals etc.  (is it only OK to cook/clean/care for children if being paid? - in which case give us an allowance then we can contribute to GDP !!)  Although the cases where I do know of both families full time, it does very often seem to involve people working for the state in a fairly secure job....but maybe that is just coincidence among those I know.

However, in most families I know, there have been compromises made, unless there are grandparents to help out. Or if one partner is working away, the other partner has to be there to keep everything going. (Not everyone has grandparents who are there to help out at the drop of a hat)


If you are interested in this there is an organisation - Mothers at Home Matter

In my opinion, there must be effects on the children of two 9-5 workers who are out of the house along with their children 8am -6pm. There is no-one to keep an eye on them as teenagers during the day, to encourage them to study when on exam leave rather than roam the streets.  And no relaxing in front of Postman Pat during a day when nothing in particular has to be done except a visit to the shops/toddler group then home for tea (sad to lose all that in a modern day rushed world). 

And who is going to pick up the 11 and 12 year olds etc who have miles to walk home from school when its snowy, dark and icy now that our local school finishes at 4pm on a dark winters evening.  There are no school buses any more (unless you live over 3 miles away), so personally I think parents are needed to do these tasks.

Many of those who had children in their early to mid thirties also now have elderly parents to look after. Among my close friends, most have lost at least one parent but I think most have parents who either have dementia or are physically now needing help or have carers calling. And they need us to help out as well.

So please look up from your corporate/government desks and have a look out at the real world out there !

Then maybe we can start to get some proper funding to give the support that families really need !  (ie new parental allowances / restoration of Child Benefit)