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Time for Parenting...

...because raising children is a full-time job

In the News

The mother of all decisions

13th Dec - With families now feeling the economic pinch, many mums are having to return to work earlier than they would like. But try explaining that to the kids...

Click here for this Guardian article.


Not all families have two incomes

26th Nov 08 - Click here for this letter in the Financial Times.


Sisters! Some of us are mothers, too!

19th Aug '08 - Mothers’ issues are feminist issues, argues Ruth Moss. Click here for more.


Jamie Oliver interview

28th Sept '08 - Ministers want cooking back in the classroom but the chef smells something rotten.

Click here for more - including "If... both parents have to go out to work, you’ll end up with... mothers who have never been shown how to cook at home... buying into the only solution they know – which is to spend £100 a week on sh*t."


Pay mothers to stay home, urges Conservative think-tank

8th Sept 2008 - Mothers should be paid to stay at home if they want to when their children are young, according to an influential think tank. Click here for more.


Concrete ceiling, or a woman's choice?

5th Sept 2008 - Click here for this Telegraph article.


Stay-at-home mums save the country £1bn a year by carrying out volunteer work

14th August 2008 - Click here for more.


Fourth Time Lucky!

New Mum wins the right to describe herself as a ‘Full Time Mother’. Click here for more.


Nursery assistants 'creating a generation of Vicky Pollards'

30th July 2008 - Click here.

FTM Comment: and the answer is not to pour even more money into non-parental childcare.


Equality laws ‘are now holding women back’

14th July 2008 - Maternity rights damage chances of promotion says this article in The Times.

Mum is the missing word

2nd July 2008 - Motherhood has all but gone from the lexicon of family policy, denying women vital support. Click here for this Guardian article.


Even middle-class children are suffering from neglect

11th June 2008 - ...working mothers, divorce, Polish nannies and an obsession with extra-curricular activities mean that our children are seeing less of their parents than at any time in the last 100 years.

Click here for more.


If mothering is a luxury, it's children who pay the price

14th May 2008 - Click here for this article on mothers who are at work - but don't want to be.


Mother's Helpers

18th April - It's no longer necessary to organise children's parties and do the shopping - 'mumcierge' services will do it all. But is this really a good idea, or will it mean missing out on the joy of parenting? Click here for this Guardian article.

FTM Comment: the article talks about the trend for 'outsourcing motherhood': how true.


Raising children this way is killing marriage

30th March - here's an extract from this Times article: "It is hard to raise a child into such a social being. It takes a huge amount of time and effort. Increasingly it seems parents can’t or won’t spend time and care on their children. Increasingly both parents are working; increasingly single parents are anxious, harried and time-poor; increasingly children are consigned to inadequate day care and nurseries; increasingly they are offered wraparound educare (promoted by Gordon Brown). Increasingly we see the results.

"Evidence of the failures of this childcare – or child neglect – is constantly emerging. Recent Ofsted reports of preschool nurseries were alarming. Infants are neglected, disoriented and distressed; children in day care are more likely to have disturbed and aggressive behaviour, and half of all toddlers arrive at primary school unable to speak properly for their age. Their numbers are growing. To say this suggests a widespread failure of socialisation is surely an understatement.

"By five, a great deal of damage has been done. It only remains for poor schools, large classes, uncontrolled bullying and inaccessible parents, truanting, empty homes, solitary TV and the lonely refuge of cyberspace to reinforce it.


Are girls wired not to win?

19th Feb '08 - In a controversial new book, psychologist Susan Pinker uncovers the workings of the hormone oxytocin, which she claims explains why females are biologically driven to nurture their young rather than climb the corporate ladder. Click here for more.

How Labour's tax system punishes couples for being married

Click here for this 21/1/08 Daily Mail article.


Marketing damages kids' education

Click here for this 12/12/07 Telegraph article

FTM Comment: worth noting is "The Government tried to help out by providing "wrap-around schools" and oodles of educational initiatives. But you can't institutionalise childhood, and you can't rely on schools to teach life skills.


Human qualities such as emotional resilience and social competence are caught, not taught. Children "catch" them from the security of a loving home, opportunities for unstructured play, and real-life interaction with the real-life loving adults in their lives.

Unfortunately, when real-life loving adults aren't around, there are plenty of other people keen to grab the younger generation's attention."

"At exactly the moment we switched from nurseries and childminders into finally managing all the childcare ourselves we’ve suddenly discovered a boy who has become politeness itself" (24/11/07)

Click here for this article from the Western Mail.

Flexi-hours and longer maternity leave: A trimph for feminism? Anything but! (21/11/07)

Click here for this article from the Daily Mail.

Child poverty unit plan unveiled (29/10/07)

Click here for this BBC news item.

FTM Comment: More affordable childcare will not solve child poverty, since poverty is experienced largely by working families. Putting more children, at an ever younger age, intochildcare, will replace one kind of poverty with another: emotional and relational poverty.

Babies destroy social life, say new mothers (20/10/07)

Click here for story.

FTM Comment: 'Seven out of 10... felt irritated that their partners' social lives "hadn't really changed"'. Research suggests that married fathers tend to support new mothers more..

Turn off the TV. Forget Facebook. Just give your kids some time (14/10/07)

Click here for this Observer article.

FTM Comment: difficult to give more time if you're not around.

Let the children play (Telegraph - 10/9/07)

FTM Comment: The FTM chair was one of the signatories to this letter, which included, " a test-driven school and pre-school curriculum in which formal learning has substantially taken the place of free, unstructured play"

Pushing mothers back into work is wrong (Times 2/9/07)

Middle class fuelling child obesity (Telegraph - 23/7/07)

Middle-class mothers who work are more likely to have obese children than mothers with poorer families, according to alarming new research published this week. Click here for more.

Give parents a living wage to stay at home (Times, 24/6/07)

Marriage is the bedrock of a healthy society and we should give parents much more support- John Sentamu, Archbishop of York.

FTM Comment: and the simplest way would be through increased child benefit. Sure, some parents might use it to subsidise non-parental childcare, but we can't force parents to look after their own children if they really don't want to.

Nurseries told to open at the weekends for busy parents (Times 14/6/07)

FTM Comment: This apparently is because of the rise of the service sector. This, in general, is low paid, so the call here is, in effect, to subsidise unattractive jobs that disrupt family life - in turn creating more family-disrupting jobs for the people who staff these nurseries.

In fact, let's just take children away from their parents from the age of three months, granting access alternate weekends - and get the taxpayer to fund it.

Cost of living forces new mothers to work (Telegraph, 5/5/07)

Don't write off parental influence just yet (Telegraph, 27/4/07)

Taxman’s attack on equality in marriage (Times, 15/4/07)

FTM Comment: apparently a wife not in paid employment contributes nothing to a family's financial well-being.

Children spending long hours at nursery more prone to poor behaviour, says study (Guardian, 5/4/07)

FTM Comment: Perhaps the most concerning part was was "It concerns me that with so many more children accessing childcare in groups, are we in the process of raising generations of children who are being taught their proper place in life is in fact with their peer group and not with their family?"

Men 'want more family time' (Guardian 3/4/07)

FTM Comment: they don''t want more child care so that both parents can be away from the children.

1/4/07 (Times) - A mother’s place isn’t in the war zone

FTM Comment: Society still feels less easy about mothers being separated from their children than fathers.

You’re breaking up families, Gordon

How the Government turned granny into the childminder

Blind feminism has hurt our children - Times, 15th Feb

"The great obstacle for new Labour was “the wimmin”. The party bought into a “men in skirts” version of feminism that is vigorously hostile to parents being at home when their children are small. "

Soaring childcare fees hit parents - Times, Jan 30th

FTM Comment: Of course, this only hits parents who are already earning money. Please don't let the solution be to tax the rest of us more.

5th Jan - Gender Politics.

This points out that anti-discriminatory legislation sometimes impedes women.

Working mothers 'damage their child's health'

30th Dec - Working mothers are harming their children's long-term development by sending them to nursery from an early age, a leading author said yesterday. Click here for more.

FTM Comment: "The comments were dismissed by child care groups". Of course they would be. Child care groups make money out of nurseries. Also, this doesn't help.

Extended homes

5th Dec - Could more schools collaborate with childminders to provide a variety of after-hours care? Click here for more.

FTM Comment: the needs of working parents are considered; the concerns of childminders are considered. Whose needs aren't considered in this piece?

Shift parenting 'hurts families'

26th Nov - It is a lifestyle many busy couples will recognise: 'shift parenting', where children are passed between parents... rarely spending time all together.

The phenomenon familiar to dual-income couples who work antisocial hours and weekends is eroding family life, the constitutional affairs minister will claim today, arguing that children want time with both parents together doing activities that bond them.

Click here for more.

House prices fuel poor family culture

11th Nov - Write out 100 times 'Rising house prices create latchkey kids'. Click here for more.

FTM Comment: Rising house prices are indeed a bad thing, not a good thing. If house prices were lower people would be more able to look after their own children.

Just the job

31st Oct - the Guardian looks at after-school clubs here.

FTM Comment: It seems limitless funding is the answer to everything - but love cannot be bought. Just about every child already has the best possible resource available from the very start: loving parents. Instead of paying other people to do parents' job less well, tax payers' money would be better spent funding parents to care for their own children - or, at least, to have the choice.

Benefits shake-up to boost families

28th Oct - The traditional two-parent family gets a raw deal from the state.

Click here for more.

Stay-at-home mother

24th October - Read about an FTM member here.

Day nursery may harm under-3s, say child experts

21st October - An eminent group of child-care experts raises serious concerns today about the long-term effects of putting very young children into inadequate day nurseries.

Click here for more - and here.

FTM Comment: this talks about 'inadequate' day nurseries. The danger is that this results in more funding so that these nurseries are no longer 'inadequate'. Better is to instead fund the parents (through, say, increased child benefit) so parents can have real choice.


Misery for parents as nursery fees are set to rise by 15%

30th Sept - Click here for more.

FTM Comment: the danger here is that local councils then subsidise their nurseries even further. Hard up one-earner families - who already get a poor fiscal deal - will be paying for this through higher council tax. Also, this is only misery for parents who are not looking after their own children.


Newsreader who urged mothers to give up work relinquishes her own job

17th Sept (Daily Telegraph) - Germany's best-known newsreader has caused a furore by stepping down from her job after calling on the nation's women to stop work, stay at home and have as many children as possible.

Click here for more.

The wifely duty

3rd Sept - Why is it suddenly fashionable for women to brag about how little sex they have with their husbands? Because in their quest for independence, writes the provocative American writer Caitlin Flanagan, today’s exhausted working women have neglected one thing…

Click here for this Telegraph article.


Careers and Marriage

23rd Aug - Forbes.com published a story on two-career relationships that provoked a heated response. Click here for more.

Click here for a Times piece on the row.


The state is a pretty rotten parent

July 11th - Before the state goes any further in its attempt to make the rest of us better parents, maybe it should take a look at what is going on in its own back yard.

Click here for more.

FTM Comment: and the frightening thing is that the state wants to take on even more parenting, taxing parents to spend money on looking after the parents' children.


Mothers feel family is under threat from Labour

28th June - The majority of mothers think families are "under threat" because the Government appears to favour single mothers and working parents above family life at home.

Click here for full article.


The teens need us too

June 18th - More and more mothers are finding that it’s their older children who want them to stay at home, discovers Amanda Blinkhorn.

Click here for this Sunday Times article.

FTM Comment: it is easy to think that children need parents at home only when they are very young. This is a good antidote to that.


Tax credits bribe families: cutting taxes would help them

12th June - Click here for this Telegraph story.


Research finds babies do best with mums

Click here for this opinion piece from June 10th's Sunday Times.


Women should ignore my son - and John Hutton more so

FTM Comment: this 12th May comment piece from The Telegraph should make us consider who are the 'hard up' families anyway: the ones who are compelled to tear themselves away from their children each day or those with less money who choose to look after their own children?


10-hour day for schools 'will make baby-sitters of teachers'

2nd May - The leader of Britain’s biggest head teachers’ union accused the Government yesterday of turning schools into a “national baby-sitting service”.

Click here for this Times article.

FTM Comment: this is the continued move towards the nationalisation of childhood: it is the state which increasingly looks after children.


More mothers shun work to spend time with their families

10th April - Increasing numbers of mothers do not want to go out to work because they prefer to stay at home with their children, figures suggest.

Click here for this Telegraph article.


Working girls

For the first time in history, women in developed societies can take up any occupation or career they please. This has brought enormous benefits. But it has also had some less positive consequences—the death of sisterhood, a decline in female altruism and growing disincentives to bear children.

Click here for this article from April 2006's Prospect magazine.


Brown won't rest until the state has replaced the family

10th March - Click here for this Telegraph opnion piece.

FTM Comment: this quotes approvingly from Jill Kirby's recent "Nationalisation of Childhood".


Baby, you deserve better

14th Feb - The under-3s should be at home with mum. That's why the law and the workplace must change.

Click here for this Times Article.


Child guru says nurseries harm small children

12th Feb One of the world’s most popular parenting gurus is to warn that placing children younger than three in nurseries risks damaging their development.

Click here for this Sunday Times article.

Was it mystique or mistake?

9th Feb - Women are finding that the feminist dream of self-sufficiency is uncomfortably unlike the reality.

Click here for this Times article.

Too afraid to apply a sticking plaster

31st Jan 2006 - Nurseries are overreacting to our compensation culture.

Click here for this Times article.

FTM Comment: The piece concludes, "If parents insist on demanding the type of care that they think only they can provide, then maybe they should look after their children themselves." There's a thought.


Phoebe's made the right choice

Jan 8th - "I was saying last weekend that in my view the question of working mothers and childcare was going to be central to how women vote in the next election."

Click here for this opinion piece from the Sunday Times.

FTM Comment: here's an extract:"Seriously: why bother having children? Would you leave your dog in a kennel for 10 hours a day, every day? No, you’d feel sorry for it and besides somebody would (quite rightly) call the RSPCA. "


Taxpayer to bail out private nurseries

Dec 30th 2005 - The Times reports that "a crisis in childcare has forced the Government to use taxpayers’ money to subsidise privately run nurseries in an attempt to improve standards".

Click here for full article.

FTM Comment: better would be using the money to increase child benefit. This would also improve standards but leave the choice of the carer to the parents.

Click here for responses to this article, including one from the FTM chair.


Importing our carers adds up to emotional imperialism

24th Oct - YOUNG women from poor countries come to look after our young, sick and elderly - and their families pay the price.

Click here for this Guardian article.

FTM Comment: One imagines the women are better off, or they wouldn't come here. But the most interesting line for FTM is, "The solution in the west is to outsource care - pay someone else to do it - and that is often provided by migrant female labour from the developing world." Indeed. British parents outsource the care of their children, with financial incentives via the tax and benefits system to do so.

Women 'facing pensions barrier'

19th Oct: CARING FOR young children is a major factor preventing women from providing for their old age, a study suggests.

Click here for more.

FTM Comment: the suggested 'citizen's pension' would seem to be a fair way forward, not penalising mothers whose only productive work (hah) has been to bring up their own children.

Research rules a mother and child reunion

Oct 5th - Click here for this article from The Australian.

FTM Comment: one of the best quotes is: "Whereas old-style feminism is wedded to the cold, professional language of care and care-givers when talking about children - because this dovetails perfectly with the path of the working woman - [the author] says children need love. And not just in the rushed mornings and exhausted evenings, book-ended around the working day of adults."

Official: babies do best with mother

2nd Oct - A DETAILED study of UK childcare concludes that young children who are looked after by their mothers do significantly better in developmental tests than those cared for elsewhere.

Click here for this Observer article.

FTM Comment: So, what is the answer: pour even more money into non-parental child care or to amend the tax and benefit to help people look after their own children?

Hidden stress of the nursery age

19th September - "Life isn't all hah, hah, hee, hee" for toddlers at nursery. Click here for the full story.


Parents too busy for school involvement

August 4th - The Independent reported that schools find some parents are too busy to be involved in their children's educcation.

Click here for The Independent article.

FTM Comment: Of course parents are too busy. Both are often working full-time and this leaves little space for other things.


Housewives make their men healthy and wealthy

June 30th - Raj Persaud debates the "unfulfilled husband" versus "woman as health director" theories. Click here for this Telegraph article.


Kelly seeks more extended schools

June 13th - Education ministers are putting £680m up to 2008 into encouraging more schools to set up breakfast and after-school clubs, to help working parents. Click here for story.

FTM Comment: yet more money is going to parents who already have two incomes. Why nothing for families who want to look after their own children?

Click here for 'a chilling prospect'.


Raising our children

May 12th Tony Blair deplores yobbish behaviour, saying that he cannot raise people's children for them.

FTM Comment: Ironically, that is just what he is doing.

His vision for Britain is that no parent is at home with their children but out earning money to raise taxes to be given to servants of the state to spend more and more time raising other people's children - from early-years wrap-around childcare, to breakfast clubs and homework clubs at school and summer play schemes.


Home and family see women work 100 hours a week

May 13th - Forget all the talk about a 48-hour working week: most mothers in Britain put in at least 100 hours and form the "hardest-working profession in Europe", according to a report today.

Click here for the full story from the Daily Telegraph.


99% put children before career

March 10th - ONLY 1% OF WOMEN in recent survey said their career would be their top priority once they had children.

Click here for survey report from the BBC. Click here for the Guardian's report.

FTM Comment: Note that twice as many women (25%) want to be full-time mothers as want to place their children in a nursery (11%).


"Please don't be like me"

Feb 28th - TOP CAREER women are dropping out, while others are racked with guilt. It's time to rethink how we all work, says this Guardian article.


A Tale of Two Tax Families

Feb 15th - Since its foundation FTM has pointed out a blatant tax anomaly between double and single earner families.

Click here for this article by Anna Lines, FTM chair.


Honour the married state

Jan 21st - WHAT HAVE BRITISH governments got against marriage?

Click here for this Telegraph article following the publication of 'The Price of Parenthood' by Jill Kirby, former FTM chair.

Nursery pupils 'go on to do well'

Nov 25th - NEW RESEARCH has concluded that children who have good nursery or other pre-school education do better at primary school than those kept at home. Click here for full story.

FTM Comment: we hope that finding that children benefit from nursery education (usually part-time) is not going to be confused with daycare from an early age.


Strains of separation

Nov 5th - When Mary Eberstadt listens to Eminem, she hears a conservative message: "Don't blame me when lil' Eric jumps off of the terrace. You shoulda been watchin' him. Apparently you ain't parents."

Those words from Eminem (real name, Marshall Mathers) and many other current pop tunes, Mrs. Eberstadt argues, point to the pain of a growing trend in American culture — absent parents.

Click here for this Washington Times article.

FTM Comment: best quote is "Most proposed 'solutions' ... involve subsidized day care and the like. Those aren't real solutions. They just make it easier for parents to spend even less time with their children, which just makes the fundamental problem worse."

Childcare idea would pay parents

Oct 13th - THE government should scrap tax credits and pay parents to stay at home caring for their children, a report argues.

FTM Comment: a very positive development. Increasing child benefit would be the simplest way to do this.


Labour to offer all-day child care

Sept 25th - Labour will offer parents care for all schoolchildren from 8am to 6pm every day under plans for a third Labour term to be announced next week.

Click here for this Times article.

FTM Comment: The Government's vision of the future - the state will take care of our children for ten hours a day. Nowhere in the report is any mention of the child's needs; parental convenience appears to be the overriding consideration.


Play's the thing

Aug 4th - WHEN did you last down tools and seriously muck about with your kids? On national Playday, Yvonne Roberts asks how we got too busy to enjoy the fun of childhood.

Click here for this Guardian article.

FTM Comment: Note the comment: "Paid work also often steals the time a parent might otherwise spend with a child". Paid work steals: Interesting idea.


It beats working

June 2nd - WOMEN fought hard for the right to be working mothers - but now many want to step off the career ladder and swap the boardroom for full-time motherhood. Is this the failure of one movement or the beginning of another?

Click here for this Observer piece.


Our parents were right after all

April 22nd - WORK-OBSESSED, individualistic and sub-fertile - it's time men (and women) went back to having children in their 20s.

Click here for this Guardian piece.


Harman proposes top-ups for mothers' NI payments

Leap Day - WOMEN WHO take time off work to raise their children will be allowed to claim full state pensions when they retire under plans being drawn up by the Government.

Click here for this Telegraph piece


Tories may pay mothers to stay at home

Feb 18th - MOTHERS who want to stay at home to care for their children instead of going out to work could be paid by the state under radical plans being drafted by the Tory party for the next general election.

Click here for this Independent article

FTM Comment: nice sentiment, but it would be simpler to increase child benefit and scrap all support for non-parental childcare. That would deliver real choice.

Working mothers demand choice to stay at home

Jan 8th - MINISTERS are under mounting pressure to raise maternity pay and give mothers "a genuine choice" between staying at home or working when their children are very young.

Click here for this story from the Telegraph (complete with link to your favourite web site).

Childcare on the cheap

Dec 1st - Click here for this Guardian article on childcare.

FTM Comment: perhaps the most telling part of the piece is "There is often a sense hanging over this area of New Labour policy of the middle-class professional woman projecting her own solutions on to those of lower income groups. What's the point of talking about paid work giving a parent an "opportunity for self-development" if that work is the anonymous, thankless job of a cleaner or catering assistant? Why can't being a parent be such an opportunity? The irony is that what New Labour likes to call the "most feminist government in history" has done a lot to undermine the importance and worth of motherhood with its insistence on getting everyone into work. The message has been clear: motherhood doesn't count as a job."

Indeed.

Childcare is bad for your baby, working parents are warned

11th Dec - A Unicef study suggests that government policy is at odds with the developmental needs of children under 12 months. Click here fore more.


Parenting: The Idle Parent

28th Nov - click here for an account of the FTM AGM from one of the speakers.


Strain of work 'is pushing families to breaking point'

1st Nov '08 - Family life is breaking down because middle-class parents put work before their children, according to a Government study. Click here for more.

Nursery food 'indefensibly poor'

21st Oct '08 - BBC News: Some nurseries in England and Wales are serving processed foods, sugary drinks and foods high in additives, salt and fat, a survey has indicated. Click here for more.


Ruth Kelly is right to put her children first

25th Sept '08 - As Ritalin increasingly takes the place of proper parenting, let's praise a politician with the correct priorities. Click here for more.


Just a mo, I’m dusting this lovely glass ceiling

7th Sept 2008 - Click here for this Times article.


Children: those things other people look after

28th August - How on earth has it become normal, in one generation, to farm out children to a succession of poorly paid helpers? Click here for more.

Mothers working outside the home

6th August '08 - Both women and men increasingly believe family will suffer if a woman works full-time, study finds. Click here for more.


Two into one won't go: Cambridge survey shows new doubts over working mothers

6th August 2008 - Family life suffers, Britons and Americans fear; Analysts say system puts double burden on women

Click here for this Guardian article.


Teachers encouraged to compensate for parenting 'downward spiral'

30th July 2008 - Click here for this, which includes "The shortening length of many relationships and the increased number of step families make it harder for adults to be full-time parents".


As TV host Adrian Chiles splits from his radio star wife, can 'power marriages' EVER last?

3rd July 2008 - Following news of the BBC 'golden couple' split, our writer argues that there cannot be room for two careers if you want your marriage to work. Click here for more.


Tories must set parents free to raise children

16th June 2008 - "The reason I'm a marriage freak is because I'm a commitment freak." Speaking to Relate last week, David Cameron explained why he thinks marriage deserves support over other relationships.

Click here for more.


Is this the end of the stay-at-home mother?

26th May 2008 - Forty years ago, mums who raised the family instead of going out to work were the norm. Today, they are the exception. Viv Groskop talks to mothers who still choose to stay at home, others who are glad that they did - and those who regret having done so. Click here for more.


Children being 'dumped at school'

4th May - The leader of the National Association of Head Teachers has said some parents "dump" their children on schools for up to 10 hours a day.

Click here for this BBC article.


The antenatal class bump club

5th April '08 - Do babygroups create friends for life – or just for maternity leave? Click here for this Times article.

FTM Comment: with fewer stay-at-home Mums, those that are have a smaller circle of Mums in the same situation from which to draw friends.


Whistleblower raises child safety fears

Click here for details of a BBC report on nurseries.

FTM Comment: will the result be a call for even more money to be put into non-parental childcare? It is very, very expensive to replicate the care a mother can give.


Labour push mothers back to work, say Tories

Click here for this Feb '08 news item.


Home truths about mothers

Click here for this 1/08 article from Scotland on Sunday.


Brown advisor calls for tax breaks for stay-at-home mums after warning over nurseries

Click here for this 1/08 article from The Daily Mail.


Why time with mum and dad is best Christmas gift for children

Click here for this 12/07 article from The Times.


Career women work longer hours than men

Click here for this 12/07 Telegraph article.

FTM Comment: equality is measured solely by time spent in work/ at home with no recognition of the preferences of many women to care for their children. Also, no mention of the wellbeing of children.


He needs science, not maths

Click here for this 12/07 Sunday Times article.

FTM Comment: Politicians need to understand how a child's brain develops - ie, including the importance of one or two significant care-givers - instead of foisting non-parental childcare on everyone.


Flexi-workers are a twist we can ill afford

Click here for this 11/07 article from the Times.


FTM Comment: flexible working legislation makes it more difficult - not less - for women to get work.

Third of teenagers 'home alone' (29/10/07)

FTM Comment: This BBC story implies the solution is more non-parental childcare. Why not instead (or, at least as well) fund parental child care: the best sort possible?

Parents blamed for yobs with no manners (16/10/07)

A Government analysis of 800 toddlers at 100 nurseries found those spending all day separated from parents were more likely to be bossy, disruptive, attention-seekers and even bullies.

Click here for this Telegraph news item.

'Bedtime stories lessen' as mums earn more (Telegraph - 27/9/07)

High-earning mothers are less likely to read to their children as work takes priority over family time, a recent study shows. Click here for more.

A hell of a price for women (2/9/07)

Click here for this Times article, including ".......women are keener on their children finding them reliable than on being available to their boss at all hours....... what is needed is not only changes to the statute book, but changes to the esteem in which we hold family life".

Off to a very uncertain start in life (Times 2/9/07)

An evaluation of the Sure Start programme has shown it is having little effect on preschool learning despite costing billions of pounds.

Youth clubs won't tame the teenage yobs (Telegraph 27/7/07)

FTM Comment: suggests that also teenagers need to spend time with their parents.

Parents struggle to find balance (BBC - 17/7/07)

The dual demands of work and childcare placed on parents mean that family life is suffering, a survey suggests. Click here for more.

FTM Comment: yet the government continues to subsidise only non-parental childcare.

It’s all seven-day working. And that’s progress? (Times, 16/6/07)

FTM Comment: this raises the spectre of parents being 'helped' (through tax-payer subsidies for non-parental childcare) to abandon their families half way through the weekend to go to a low-paid service sector job.

Beware of the nanny (Times, 19/5/07)

It is a strange fact of life that most women, no matter how high-achieving, beautiful or intelligent, have, at the back of their minds, a worm of anxiety about their nanny and her effect on their husband.

Even babies know it: Labour doesn’ t get parenthood (Times - 1/5/07)

Extract: "It may seem strange to say this when a government “parenting academy” has just been unveiled, but stop to consider how keen our leaders are to encourage parents to see less of their children."

Why a woman's place is in the kitchen (Guardian - 26/4/07)

FTM Comment: Founder of feminist 'Spare Rib' magazine suspects that feminist view of freeing women from domestic drudgery increases child obseity.

It beats the hell out of nursery (Times, 8/4/07)

Nursery may be harming your child, but don't panic (Guardian, 4/4/07)

FTM Comment: the writer says that we need an honest conversation about childcare. Meanwhile, let's stop subsidising non-parental childcare.

Men must do more in the family, says Cherie

A comment from FTM chair appears at the foot of this.

Learning the work ethic in Ghana - BBC 3rd March

Ghanains in the UK send their children back to Ghana for school. One teacher there says, "Children need their parents around.. often both parents [in the UK] are working and youngsters grow up in front of the television and the internet with no-one to supervise them.

7th Feb - Parents urged to talk to children

FTM Comment: The very first reason given is that parents spend so much time at work.

12th Jan - Were those the days, my friends?

'Everyone agreed that women should be free to work outside the home if we chose. We didn't foresee that that would gradually morph into the obligation to do it, whether we wanted to or not.'

Mothers cut short their career breaks

27th Dec - FTM chair Anna Lines gets quoted in this article on shorter career breaks.

FTM Comment: "The comments were dismissed by child care groups". Of course they would be. Child care groups make money out of nurseries. Also, this doesn't help.

'Everybody's need but mine'

Boxing Day - Anneka Rice talks about the TV career that almost destroyed her 12 years ago – and about her imminent return. Click here for more.

FTM Comment: includes heart-breaking stuff about Ms Rice's job taking her away from her children.

Steering children away from violence

30th November - At a seminar hosted by children's charity NCH today, experts will consider how to help the small number of disturbed children who may commit extreme violence.

Click here for more. Click here to discuss in the Forum.

FTM Comment: this Guardian piece says that parents "...need to be available". That is difficult if both are in full-time employment.

Raising a child costs '£180,137'

10th Nov - The cost of bringing up a child from birth to their 21st birthday has jumped to £180,137, a new study says.

Click here for more.

FTM Comment: this cost includes out-sourcing the childcare (why is that assumed?). The cost is less if you look after your own children.

Worried about your financial future? Let’s keep it in the family

29th Oct - Lynette, the willowy blonde advertising executive in the Desperate Housewives television series, rescued her marriage to Tom by deciding one of them should give up work. And, according to a new study, that was the best thing they could have done.

Click here for more.

Grandparent carers to be paid £12,000 a year, says Cameron

24th October - GRANDPARENTS could be paid more than £12,000 a year by the Government to look after their grandchildren under plans being considered by the Conservatives.

Click here for more.

FTM Comment: just give the money to parents in increased child benefit. That way they could choose exactly the right care for their own children (nursery, relative, friend, parent, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all)

Mother figure is vital for a child

21st October - The document circulated by Sir Richard Bowlby is likely to cause tremors in the world of child care.

Click here for more.

FTM Comment: the article includes: "... group day care is unlikely to provide appropriate surroundings for the very young and that, if left in the charge of a group of strangers, with frequent changes of carers, children experience prolonged levels of stress comparable with being lost on a beach."

What's the latest target of poachers? Your nanny

16th October - DISSATISFACTION with day nurseries has prompted an outbreak of “nanny nabbing” as working mothers seek alternative care for their children, a survey indicates.

Click here for more.

Childcare is 'harmful for the very young'

26th September - Government minister Beverley Hughes sparked a row today after she said that putting very young children in childcare is not in their best interests.

Click here for more.

Unsocial work hours 'damage 9 in 10 families'

18th Sept - Children are missing out on crucial time reading, playing and eating with their parents, according to a study published today that reveals nine out of 10 families suffer from unsocial working hours.

Click here for full article.

FTM Comment: two-income families often include one parent working unsocial hours. This is not good for families with 'shift-parenting' becoming the norm.

Archbishop warns of dysfunctional 'infant adults'

17th Sept (Sunday Times) - The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned of a new generation of “infant adults” who have been deprived of a caring childhood and have grown up to become violent and dysfunctional.

Click here for full article.

FTM Comment: A child psychologist says " “...babies and toddlers who are being shunted to or from nurseries or child-minding groups..., plonked in front of videos, fitting around the parents’ busy lives, which are elsewhere." And government policies indeed encourage parents to be elsewhere.

Miss misses out

5th Sept - A survey gets to the bottom of the shortage of head teachers: women say they have found it impossible to move into management. Click here for this Guardian article.

FTM Comment: "By putting their families first, many women teachers are being kept out of top jobs in Britain's schools." - ie, mothers are choosing families over career. Is the author implying this is wrong? Whatever happened to women being free to choose?

Full employment will strip-mine neighbourhoods

Click here for article.

FTM Comment: this points out the danger of not valuing 'work' simply because it isn't paid.

Mothers: too active, too passive

June 29th - Many women with children would prefer not to work. But what stops them controlling their lives?

Click here for more.

FTM Comment: a telling part is where the writer says that we are the first generation to feel that we cannot afford to bring up our own children. Perhaps with two-income households fuelling the housing market that is true.

Working it out

June 28th The contribution made by unpaid workers is forgotten in the drive for full employment.

Click here for more.

Family life faces state invasion

26th June - Government surveillance of all children, including information on whether they eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, will be condemned tomorrow as a Big Brother system.

FTM Comment: this article emphasises how parents are the best providers of care, not the state.

Mood Music to my ears

24th May - Incredibly, David Cameron is getting the crucial issue of work-life balance on to the mainstream political agenda.

Click here for this Guardian article.

FTM Comment: Perhaps the best bit is: "Yet all Brown could ever talk about was the need to get women into work in a relentless drive to solve child poverty by getting mums behind checkout tills. He was Dickensian in his approach, a chilly, statistics-wielding, hard taskmaster. All the intentions were in the right place, of course, but where was the heart to see that women were already hard at work raising their children, and that the "ladder" he was offering them to get into paid jobs was often just a trapdoor into cheap, low-paid work and the stress of the circus act required to run a family and hold down a job?"

Parents who don’t know what children are for

7th May -In one short week it has been reported that Britons are putting money and work ahead of having babies, that they are having them later. When they do have babies they don’t know what to do with them: they cry out for subsidised childcare.

Click here for this article from the Sunday Times.

The ‘new woman’ is a housewife

16th April - Liberated careerists choose family life.

Click here for this Sunday Times article.

What's wrong with being a mother?

5th April - As the lead singer of 90s pop band Sleeper, Louise Wener had no interest in having children and ending up knee-deep in nappies. Then last year she had a daughter - and discovered that she loved motherhood. But she also found that for her generation admitting such a thing was almost shameful ...

Click here for this Guardian article.

Stay close to me

27th March - Work and motherhood are incompatible goals. As a result, women repress an overwhelming desire for intimacy with their children. Click here for this Times article.

'My warning to parents is simple: one in five children put into nursery early will develop mental health problems'

13th March - click here for this interview with Steve Biddulph, author of parenting book and one-time advocate of nurseries.

Behind the baby gap lies a culture of contempt for parenthood

7th March - In a society that values consumption, choice and independence above all, it's a wonder that we have as many babies as we do.

Click here for this Guardian article.

Well children, have you met your targets today?

5th March - The state’s plan to monitor food intake is only part of an all embracing attempt to impose child ‘performance indicators’, says Jill Kirby

Click here for this Sunday Times article.

Too early, too much, too long

19th Feb - Parenting guru Steve Biddulph enters the childcare debate with a broadside on nurseries.

Click here for this Guardian piece.

Free childcare 'reducing choice'

3rd Feb - Increased state provision of free childcare could reduce the choice available to parents, employers say. Click here for this BBC story.

FTM Comment: not only could it reduce choice, it already does reduce choice for those parents who wish to care for their own children.

We give work a high priority - I wish the same could be said of our children

28th Jan 2006 - After 17 years as a parent, I'm convinced it is our attitudes to employment as much as to childcare that need to change.

Click here for this Guardian article.

Just the job for the rugged and caring man?

17th Jan 2006 - ENCOURAGING men to work in nurseries is not the solution to our childcare problems.

Click here for this Time article.

After-school clubs may pose threat to emotional growth

Jan 6th - CHILDREN attending inadequate after-school clubs are at risk of growing up “emotionally unhealthy”, the Government was warned yesterday.

Click here for this Times article.

FTM Comment: it seems strange that some people see nothing wrong with very young children being separated from their parents and being
raised in group care for very long hours.  They may admit that all is not well, but all they want to do is tinker with the system on the edges and pour more money into its infrastructure. 

Children ‘neglected at start of the day’ in many nurseries

6th Dec - THE mix of guilt and anxiety is a familiar feeling for every parent who drops off sleepy-eyed children at nursery each morning.

Click here for more.

Desperate housewives?

Nov 1st - Lucy Cavendish was raised on feminist literature and yearned to be a career woman. But as a new book calls for a return to the values of home and hearth, she asks how 'housewife' became a term of abuse.

Click here for this Independent article.

FTM Comment: rather than focus on mothers at home versus working mothers, questions must be asked of successive governments who have created a situation whereby many
mothers work out of financial necessity and mothers at home are made to feel lazy.

Family Education Trust responds to proposed childcare bill

Click here.


'Women can't cook' claims Ramsay

24th Oct - GORDON Ramsay said more men were learning kitchen skills Women "can't cook to save their lives", celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has said.

Click here for this BBC article.

FTM Comment: at least two reader's comments (here) are from women saying that it's just about impossible to cook well and frequently while holding down a job outside the home. Of course, they are right.


FTM's response to the proposed childcare bill

Click here for our response. In summary:

We are unhappy that the proposed bill centres entirely on the non-maternal care of young children by paid employees. This means that:-

A. The developmental needs of children are not acknowledged, due to the
emphasis on third party care

B. The Bill fails to provide for the wishes of those women who choose to look
personally after children of tender years
.


Nursery scheme bad for children, says study

· Home-based care 'better for babies and toddlers'
· Findings raise questions over government policy

4th Oct - Click here for this Guardian article.


Middle-class French mothers will be paid to start le baby boom

20th September - MIDDLE-CLASS French women are to be offered cash incentives to have third babies amid growing concern that too few children are being born to professional couples.

Click here for the full story.

FTM Comment: France, which already has one of the most generous fiscal regimes for families (including stay-at-home mothers) and the highest fertility rate in Europe, is proposing more pro-birth measures:


When to start a family

16th September - Don't put it off too long, warns the British Medical Journal.

Click here for this Times article.


What if mums don't actually want to go out to work?

June 16th - Click here for this opinion piece from The Telegraph.


Modern mothers suffer more stress and get less sleep

June 2nd - Mothers with new babies are getting 30% less sleep than their own mothers did in the 1960s and 1970s, according to a cross-generational poll yesterday on trends in nightly routines. Click here for this Guardian article.

FTM Comment: The report says "Mothers who returned to full-time work felt particularly stressed".


Teachers worried about 'educare'

March 28th - THE BIGGEST teachers' union says it is worried by plans for more centres for children aged under four in England, especially those based on schools.

Click here for this story from the BBC.


Mothers on the run

Feb 23rd - Mothers on the run: despite more hours at work, there's always more to do at home.

Click here for this press release from the Economic and Social Research Council.


Limit parents' choice: the government's 'best start for children'

Feb 10th - THE STRATEGY IS based on the false assumption that all mothers want to be in paid employment outside the home.

Click here for this article from Family & Youth Concern.


Field blames yob culture on Labour for making mothers go back to work

Dec 9th - THE GOVERNMENT'S policy of driving mothers with young children out to work is one reason for the rise of yobbish behaviour, says Frank Field, the former Labour minister for welfare reform.

Click here for full story from the Telegraph - (free) registration required


Home Alone America

Nov 16th - The Economist carries a review of the book mentioned opposite ('Strains of Separation'). The review ends, "But her passionate attack on the damage caused by the absence of parents suggests that we may be approaching some sort of tunring point in social attitudes, where assumptions about family life and maternal employment start to change. It has happened before - it could happen again".

Click here for more about the book.

'I feel sorry for working mothers. I was one once'

Nov 14th - AMELIA HILL FINDS women on both sides of the debate can still be haunted by doubts. Click here for this Observer article.

Undo the wrapping

Oct 21st - WORK UNTIL your kids drop is the unstated premise of wraparound child care provided in schools from dawn 'til dusk. Bob Holman, a recently retired community worker in Glasgow, lambasts a system that sacrificies family life to economic goals.

This is from Community Care, a magazine for social care professionals.

FTM: Note the call for increased child benefit, "[to allow] parents a real choice about how much time they have with their children". Quite.

'For decades we've been told Sweden is a great place to be a working parent. But we've been duped'

Sept 22nd - ADPOPTING Scandinavian-style family policies may not be such a good idea, academic Catherine Hakim tells Joanna Moorhead.

Click here for this Guardian article.


Fears on nursery care causes rethink

July 8th - THE government is reconsidering its strategy on childcare in the face of mounting evidence that day nurseries for children under two can lead to increased incidence of antisocial behaviour and aggression.

Click here for this Guardian piece.

FTM: We hate to say "told you so"' but...


Minister call for reform of parent tax allowances

May 3rd - STAY-AT-HOME parents should be allowed to transfer their tax allowance to their working spouse as part of the government's bid to recognise the cost of caring for young children, according to one of Tony Blair's closest allies.

Click here for this news item from the Guardian

FTM: to be welcomed, but why only for the first two years of a child's life?


Have we created a generation of joyless, selfish monsters?

April 21st - To you, it's a temper tantrum. To child psychiatrist Robert Shaw, it's the beginning of a slide into perdition. And it's all the parents' fault. Click here for this Guardian article.

FTM Comment: the crux of the argument, according to the writer, is children having less time with their parents.


Would you leave your baby at a nursery for a week?

Feb 25th A 24-HOUR nursery is set to open in Cumbria. A godsend for busy parents or a wrong turn for childcare? Click here for this Guardian piece.

FTM Comment: this partly tax-funded initiative supports families where both parents are on low-paid shift work. But why can't we just increase child benefit so one parent doesn't have to work shifts for low pay?


Mothers 'prefer to stay at home'

Feb 6th - THREE IN FIVE working mothers would stay at home with their children if they could afford to, a poll suggests.

Click here for this item from the BBC

FTM Comment: Patricia Hewitt says that parents now have more choice. Not if they want to look after their own children.


A Frightening Future

Jan 11th - IMAGINE the government promotings robots to look after children so that mothers can work but are not allowed to see their children. That's the vision of a satirical documentary for ABC Australia's Radio Eye.

Click here for more.


Working mothers 'bad for children'

14th Nov - THE CHILDREN of mothers who return to work full time in the years before they start school have slower emotional development and score less well in reading and maths tests, according to a study published today.

Click here for this Guardian article.

We've failed mothers who stay at home, admits minister

15th Oct - MOTHERS WHO stay at home and bring up their children, rather than going out to work, have been under-valued for too long by the Government, Patricia Hewitt, the Trade and Industry Secretary, admitted yesterday.

Click here for this article from the Telegraph.

This site is dedicated to the memory of Frances Savin, a founder member of FTM, whose generosity has made this project possible.