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Time for Parenting...

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

March 2005 Newsletter

From the Chair; A Bundle of Contradictions; The Role of Fathers in Attachment Theory; How FTMs can help their husbands to help them

From the Chair

A founder member of FTM, I left a few years later to devote myself better to my family. The saying "it is always the shoe maker's children who go without shoes" had begun to apply to me!

In the same way, whilst I am indebted to the time and talents given by our committee and membership to promoting FTM's aims, some of you, quite rightly, feel that at this very moment your own families should have first call on you. Don't ever be modest about that particular task. Just go about it without apology and with the courage of your conviction, for that is the best possible way to serve our particular cause.

As I wrote in the last Newsletter, the perception of full time mothers is changing. The media who, fifteen years ago, made them into legitimate objects of pity and ridicule, have become the victims of their own success. Now that there are so few of us left, full time motherhood, in the eyes of some journalists, is becoming a most desirable state indeed! Other prominent journalists now openly question the dubious benefits of childcare of the third party variety. We waste no opportunity to let the media do our work for us. Personally, I am a devotee of the Letters pages and, as those of you on the e-mail list well know, I encourage you all to seize every possible opportunity that presents itself in order to fire away a letter. They will not all get published, but the sheer number of them will influence the newspaper editors.

The academics, too, are daring to put their heads above the parapet. Prof. Jay Belsky and Prof. Edward Melhuish spoke most eloquently about their research findings at a recent conference I attended on the effects of early experience on child development. A lay person like myself would say that they merely "stated the obvious". Children under two are not well served by group care. The children who do best by every indicator are those who are sensitively reared by their mothers in their infant years and who then go on to enjoy some form of part-time nursery education. Increased hours do not translate into increased benefits. Prof. Melhuish stated that there was a conflict between parental wishes and children's needs.

And even the politicians are tentatively beginning to say the word "choice", although I have yet to see this translated into any sort of comprehensive policy. I'm afraid that we are going to have to continue working on them all in the tedious and old-fashioned ways. As the General Election approaches, please write to your MP and please do not forget that an MP is obliged to respond to a letter from a constituent. The letter enclosed with this Newsletter contains various points of concern to FTM and should give you a useful starting point.

On behalf of FTM, I should like to thank Sarah for the tremendous amount of work that she has done as Chairman, drawing on people's talents inside the organisation, her networking skills and her considerable powers of persuasion in getting so many talented speakers to come to our meetings. Finally, I would like to say thank you to the committee and to you, the membership, for your Newsletter contributions, your book reviews, your letters and supportive comments. We may not have a central office, but thanks to collective goodwill and modern communications we somehow manage to hold together a movement that is gathering strength.