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Time for Parenting...

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

October 2004 Newsletter

A time to every purpose; The value of motherhood in Islam; Christianity and Motherhood; A free family; The vocation of motherhood; The daycare debate continues; What the papers say

What the Papers Say

One could be forgiven for thinking that everything now points towards a Utopia in which every child is cared for in a group setting and parents have little else to do except earning the money to pay for these dream facilities and to put their offspring to bed. Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary, has unveiled serious plans to open Primary Schools from dawn to dusk and the daycare industry continues to flourish.

And yet I sense a very different mood from the one I sensed when I first began to voice my concerns about the care of children 15 years ago. At that time mothers at home were regularly made the objects of pity and ridicule in many a newspaper article, any attempt at a serious debate about the needs of young children for their mother as a primary carer was bound to founder on the rock of feminist prejudice and a brave documentary maker (Hugo de Burgh), who showed a hidden camera film about nurseries and the reasons why parents felt compelled to use them on Horizon, received hate mail by the sackful. Female journalists who valued their career prospects (and often stood to gain personally from the status quo) did not put their heads above the parapet.

It may be because full time motherhood is now out of the reach of so many that articles (some very superficial in tone) are recognising its pleasures. The efforts of academics such as Prof. Jay Belsky and Prof. Edward Melhuish, who have recently published results into the effects of too much daycare far too soon, are no longer dismissed as attempts to "put women back behind the kitchen sink", and a lengthy report by Madeleine Bunting in the Guardian on the realities of daycare both in England and Denmark has prompted serious debate. Hot on its heels came another t.v. programme on day nurseries in August that showed all too clearly that hired hands are a poor substitute for the vigilant care of a mother. Down to earth journalists such as India Knight and Minette Marrin make no secret of their disgust with the way that the daycare industry, with the Government's blessing, is taking care of ever younger infants for ever longer hours. As for the Government's scheme to let primary schools take our children off our hands for 50 hours a week, it is being questioned and ridiculed widely as both the media and the public are beginning to recognise it for the revenue raising effort that it really amounts to.

So please, all of you, continue to make your voices heard and write to the press whenever an opportunity presents itself. Do you know, we may actually be pushing against an already open door!