TV pre­sen­ter Es­ther Rantzen says the de­cline of the house­wife – and the rise of ca­reer women – means kids have no­body to talk to. But Emma has had enough of work­ing-mum bash­ing!

Closer (UK) - - Wellbeing -

Es­ther Rantzen has E said that the fact mums now work has in­creased child­hood de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety as kids have no one to turn to. I feel like I’m in 1930 and should be at home starch­ing my husband’s shirts while think­ing up new ways of be­ing an even bet­ter wife!

The idea that be­ing a house­wife also means you’re a men­tal health ex­pert is ridicu­lous, and it’s only over the past 100 years that house­wives have ex­isted be­cause, be­fore that, par­ents and chil­dren were work­ing in mills, or be­ing brought up by nan­nies. Sorry if I’m de­fen­sive, Es­ther, but I have two clever, hi­lar­i­ous and emo­tion­ally ar­tic­u­late sons, and I work 60-hour weeks – be­cause that’s real life in 2017.

You don't need to be a stayat-home mum to cre­ate happy chil­dren, but you need to en­sure you’re re­ally “present” when you’re with them. I some­times get in from work when my boys have just gone to bed, so I’ll spend 10 min­utes snug­gled up with them chat­ting about what’s go­ing on in their lives. Other times, we don’t chat, we just hug, and it gives them a lov­ing mes­sage that they’re im­por­tant.


I’m tired of mums feel­ing like fail­ures as we can no longer of­fer our kids 24/7 care. The truth is, they don’t need it. That’s why they have friends, books and toys. Qual­ity time is way more im­por­tant than the quan­tity.

When I walked my boys to pri­mary school, we’d do na­ture quizzes, or we’d set off early to play in the park. Now we cook to­gether, al­beit pretty badly, giv­ing us a chance to chat and laugh – and it dis­tracts my boys from their phones.


Look at ev­ery pocket of time you have and squeeze the best out of it. Ban­ning phones from the din­ner ta­ble and eat­ing to­gether a few times a week helps con­nect the fam­ily. Get­ting out­doors is free and makes every­one feel pos­i­tive. Just a 20-minute stroll in your neigh­bour­hood will give you space to talk about your lives in gen­eral.

My husband uses car jour­neys to school to play my boys mu­sic he loved when he was grow­ing up and it has be­come a habit they all en­joy. Your kids will be OK, as long as they know that how­ever busy you are, they’re your pri­or­ity. Make that clear in ac­tions and words, and they will be just fine.

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