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Time for Parenting...

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

October 2002 Newsletter

From the chair; From the Editor; The Name Change Debate; Make Mothers Matter; What the papers say; Parliament and Positive Parenting;; Parent Effectiveness Training; Breast is best

Mothers take the nation by storm!

I think I'm getting a bit carried away with my metaphors in this summer of storms and floods, but the tide of opinion does seem gradually to be turning the way of Full Time Mothers! Our debate on FTM's name in the last newsletter produced some wonderful letters showing not only the commitment of so many ftms to the most important job of bringing up the next generation, but also their huge enjoyment of this time with their children: full time motherhood is the best thing for mothers as well as for children!

One member even suggested that ftms could, through their confident belief in what they are doing, provide valuable encouragement to people in all walks of life who feel undervalued. We can be an inspiration! After all, who shows the greater zest for life, the executive surrounded by paperwork and ringing telephones or the mother cheerfully tearing around the park in the sunshine (well, sometimes!) with a gaggle of small children?

Of course, FTM has promoted this view ever since it was founded ten years ago, but public opinion and media interest seem increasingly to suggest that the benefits of full time motherhood for mothers and children are becoming more widely appreciated again. Surveys indicate that at least 70% of mothers would prefer to stay at home than go out to work in their children's early years, if they were supported financially through the tax system rather than discouraged by the money and propaganda poured into 'professional' childcare (government take note).

Articles in the media focusing on aspects of child development as varied as breast-feeding, educational achievement, teenage behaviour and fatherhood, not to mention the detrimental effect on family life of mothers' having to undertake the stressful and exhausting juggling act of paid work and children - seem at last to be starting to realise the positive effect that enabling more mothers to be ftms could have on society.

And, of course, it is not just pre-school children who need their mothers around: we have enjoyed hearing from ftms of teenagers, too - and from a member who acknowledged that, even at 32, there are still times when only Mum will do!

I was rung up by a journalist recently and asked to comment on some research which had concluded that children of ftms were likely to be more advanced in their cognitive development and range of vocabulary at the age of 4 than children who had been in childcare from an early age. While I hesitated, reluctant to support such generalisations but keen as ever to extol the joys and virtues of full time motherhood, my three-year-old son wandered in and asked what a theodolite was (answers on a postcard...).

The journalist howled with laughter and commented with evident pleasure that we had proved the point! So many people in so many situations really enjoy the charming and unaffected confidence of a child who knows his mother will always be there to discuss the finer points of surveying with him whenever he needs her (even if she has to get the encyclopaedia out first!).

Who says motherhood is boring? Keep that storm raging!