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Full Time Mothers

campaigning for real choice for families

Book Reviews

Family Policy, Family Changes; If You've Raised Kids You Can Manage Anything; What Mothers Do; Endangered; Why Love Matters; A Mothers' Rule of Life; Seven Myths of Working Mothers; Choosing to be different; Baby Hunger; The Miseducation of Women; Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families; Broken Hearts; Mother Love; The Smart Woman's Guide to Staying at Home; Ghosts from the Nursery - Tracing the Roots of Violence; Work-Lifestyle Choices in the 21st Century - Preference Theory; The Social Baby; Expecting Adam; Good Food for Kids; Access to Maternity Information and Support; Single Parents in Focus; The London Baby Directory; Marriage-Lite: The Rise of Cohabitation and its Consequences; Anything School Can Do You Can Do Better

Choosing to be Different

The book is based on research by Dr Catherine Hakim of LSE which challenges the view that men and women are interchangeable in their career and family aspirations. Dr Hakim's research is based on a "preference theory" which explains why women's working patterns remain different to men despite ever increasing equal opportunities in the job market.

Dr Hakim shows how the government is determined to push as many women into fulltime work despite clear evidence that many choose to stay at home to bring up their children instead of using childcare facilities. Despite changes in the labour market, women still choose to stay at home. This runs contrary to the government view that women are only staying at home because there is not enough child care or financial assistance to help them return to fulltime work.

In order to solve this "problem" as it is seen, the government has come up with the childcare tax credit system where working mothers are "rewarded" with approx. £140 p week, towards childcare costs. Even though this is much more generous than what is offered to women who choose to stay at home, (£10 a week rising to £20 for the first year of the child's life), it is hardly enough to entice women back to work on its own, as there aren't enough childcare places on hand. To counter this the government is running an aggressive advertising campaign on TV, radio etc., to encourage more men to train as nursery workers and childminders.

The book also examines recent research which shows that fulltime daycare, which is being presented as educational and attractive, can be harmful, particularly in the first three years of a child's life. When an infant is trying to develop a sense of the world, taking its mother figure away causes insecurity and impedes the ability to develop social skills.

Dr Jay Belsky supports this view ……

Women want motherhood to be respected and for their decision to stay at home and raise their own children, to be supported. The emphasis for mothers to return to work is unpopular and can lead to family break-up. A view that fulltime mothers has long held. The book makes for interesting reading but it is a sad that staying at home to look after your own children is seen as being different and is not supported, which it should be because, as all fulltime mothers know, it is the most important job.