Stay­ing at home to bring up kids can be re­ally tough, so let’s give those moth­ers – and fa­thers – a bit of well-de­served re­spect

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - OPINION -

Will the de­bate about work­ing mums ever

go away?

That’s the ques­tion I asked when I read that grand­par­ents are help­ing more mums get back to work.

And, af­ter Es­ther Rantzen said the de­cline of the house­wife was lead­ing to a gen­er­a­tion of chil­dren with de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety, her daugh­ter Re­becca hit back. She’s a stay-at-home mum, partly be­cause of her mum’s com­mit­ment to her ca­reer when she was young.

We shouldn’t be made to feel bad if we choose to go out to work af­ter hav­ing chil­dren.

There has al­ways been an ex­pec­ta­tion in some quar­ters that if you’re the mum, you stay at home to look af­ter the kids.

Be­ing at home 24 hours a day, seven days a week with kids can be re­lent­less.

Af­ter Jamie was born, I went back to work out of ne­ces­sity.

Then Andy came along 15 months later and I gave up my job that came com­plete with a car.

I sud­denly felt quite trapped. My job went, my car went and my free­dom went.

That’s when I got into vol­un­teer­ing at the lo­cal ten­nis club. Just to get me out of the house for a few hours, to give my­self a break and have some­thing else to do.

You don’t know whether or not you will like be­ing a stay-at-home mother un­til you’re in the thick of it.

You don’t re­alise what it en­tails. That’s why I think a lot of dads find it a real eye-opener if they’re left at home with the kids for a day.

They think mums who stay at home with chil­dren have a lovely time of it. It can be fun. But, for some, it can be mind-numbing when their chil­dren are very young.

So I don’t think any­one should be dic­tat­ing to us if we feel like that.

Let’s get past the de­bate about whether or not women should be stay-at-home mums. The world is a very dif­fer­ent place than it was even 20 or 30 years ago.

There are many more op­por­tu­ni­ties for women and, of the 70% who work, of course there will be many who do so out of ne­ces­sity. Dads don’t come in for the same crit­i­cism. I know there are some stay-at-home fa­thers who choose to be there be­cause they want to be with their chil­dren, or maybe their part­ner has a bet­ter job.

It’s horses for cour­ses – but it’s al­ways the women who get the rap. We have just as much right to be part of the work­ing world as any­one.

Stay-at-home mums should be free to make the choice that’s right for them and their fam­i­lies. Life is not a one size fits all. We are all dif­fer­ent.

So let’s stop crit­i­cis­ing each other and sup­port each other’s choices, in­stead.

Andy came along and I gave up my job – I sud­denly felt quite trapped

It’s tough for stayat-home mums

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