To ask if people judge single mums for not working?

(777 Posts)
PigsCanSoar Thu 14-Mar-13 22:56:03

I have a 11 m/o, and am a 22 year old single mum. I have handed in my notice to work now, as I don't feel he is ready to be left yet. He has always been very clingy, he will happily go off and play with anyone if I am there, but as soon as I leave the room he will just cry and cry.
He is also still breastfeeding every 2-3 hours, and ideally I would like to let him self wean up until 2.

I have no doubts about this being best for DS, and am planning to stay with him until 2 then look for a job again, but I just feel a bit anxious about actually telling people this, as since he was born it seems to have been constant "so when are you going back to work then" off everyone.

I am very lucky to be back living with my mum, so money isn't much of an issue as this will just postpone moving out for a bit.
So there's no necessity to leave him before he's ready, but I just feel like I'll look "lazy" for not going back yet.

FasterStronger Wed 20-Mar-13 07:52:17

oh and if you are talking about 2 parent families, dual income makes household finances much more robust to illness and redundancy.

FasterStronger Wed 20-Mar-13 07:51:13

I am, not suggesting anyone is given more money - i am suggesting that they earn it. and of course if wont affect every family, on but overall.

if you have to get up to go to work, you are more likely to have a bed time routine. yes some parents will not work and have a bed room routine, but if your day is structured, your family life is more likely to be structured.

and children in workless households have lower attendance at school and attendance is one of the influences of performance.

and one of the documents linked to talked about children is the lowest income households realising that they are at the bottom financially and that affecting their ability to achieve at school.

if you are talking about MC households - there are uni fees and home buying to help with. these are big things that make peoples lives much easier.

it is very naive to think money does not make a difference. it would be nice if it didn't but that is fantasy.

lottieandmia Tue 19-Mar-13 22:59:03

Exactly, Cecily.

CecilyP Tue 19-Mar-13 22:32:50

So if poverty causes less favourable outcomes for dcs, then it follows that parents should try to increase their household income.

NO! It doesn't work like that. If the parents who are on low incomes who lead chaotic lives and don't interact with their children had more money, they would still be the same parents, they would still have the same children.

CecilyP Tue 19-Mar-13 22:27:40

^"Key findings
Early years gaps
 Children growing up today in the UK from the poorest fifth of families are already nearly a year (11.1 months) behind those children from middle income families in vocabulary tests by age 5, when most children start school.
 The gap between the poor and middle income children is more marked than between middle and higher income children. Children from the richest fifth of families are 5.2 months ahead of those children from middle income families in vocabulary tests by age 5 - despite the fact that income gap between middle and the top earning families is 2.3 times larger than the income gap between the middle and bottom earning families.
 Parenting style (for example sensitivity of parent-child interactions and rules about bedtimes) and the home environment (factors like parental reading and trips to museums and galleries) contribute up to half of the explained cognitive gap between the lowest and middle income families."

so it the US system is vastly different, the outcomes are the same. greater household income = better outcomes for DCs.

or has this not convinced you?^

Well no, it has not. Because the key findings suggest that it is the behaviour of the parents of the different income levels that influences the outcomes of their children. However, to a large extent, the behaviour, such as parent-child interaction or regular bedtimes has no financial cost, so it is dealing with correlation not causation.

chris481 Tue 19-Mar-13 20:18:57

There are some silly arguments in this thread. I'm sure it is generally true that children of wealthier parents have better incomes. It doesn't follow that increasing family income improves outcomes for children. All it means is that on average the kind of people who are capable of getting higher incomes are also capable of being better parents. They are probably on average healthier, better looking, more intelligent, more well-spoken, more highly educated and more motivated than the others. If someone who is capable of higher income voluntarily does not bother earning it (because they'd rather spend time with their children, say) not only will that lost income not detrimentally affect the children, I think it's highly likely the extra attention will be beneficial.

FasterStronger Tue 19-Mar-13 07:44:52

ltttie ^ I disagree that anyone has to be materially 'rich' in order to give a child a good life experience.^

"Does child poverty affect children's health?
•Three-year-olds in households with incomes below about £10,000 are 2.5 times more likely to suffer chronic illness than children in households with incomes above £52,000 .
•Infant mortality is 10% higher for infants in the lower social group than the average."

www.barnardos.org.uk/cym/what_we_do/our_projects/child_poverty/child_poverty_what_is_poverty/child_poverty_statistics_facts.htm

so DCs in the UK on average have worse health, a greater chance of dying and are a year behind cognitive ability by the age of 5.

any you don't think this has an effect on their chances of happiness?

no one has said rich people are always happy, well adjusted people .i don't know where you have got that from.

lottieandmia Mon 18-Mar-13 22:50:45

I agree that poverty is not a good thing - who would think otherwise? I disagree that anyone has to be materially 'rich' in order to give a child a good life experience. I also disagree that where people are rich their children are always happy, well adjusted people.

People who take their children to theatre or ballet or to museums are of a certain culture rather than doing so because they are rich. I can think of people I know who have a lot of money but don't do this sort of thing because it isn't part of their culture, for example.

FasterStronger Mon 18-Mar-13 22:06:19

So if poverty causes less favourable outcomes for dcs, then it follows that parents should try to increase their household income.

lottieandmia Mon 18-Mar-13 18:59:52

I've already said I agree that poverty generally causes less favourable outocomes. That's why dismantling the welfare state would be a bad idea.

lottieandmia Mon 18-Mar-13 18:55:10

In one, we're talking about physical health, in the other academic ability. People with a higher income are generally better educated which would explain the difference in parenting style imo - I would say this is down to better education than higher income.

Upthread there is the suggestion the richer you are, the happier your children are. I don't really agree.

FasterStronger Mon 18-Mar-13 18:22:14

one from the UK www.suttontrust.com/research/cognitive-gaps-in-the-early-years/

"Key findings
Early years gaps
 Children growing up today in the UK from the poorest fifth of families are already nearly a year (11.1 months) behind those children from middle income families in vocabulary tests by age 5, when most children start school.
 The gap between the poor and middle income children is more marked than between middle and higher income children. Children from the richest fifth of families are 5.2 months ahead of those children from middle income families in vocabulary tests by age 5 - despite the fact that income gap between middle and the top earning families is 2.3 times larger than the income gap between the middle and bottom earning families.
 Parenting style (for example sensitivity of parent-child interactions and rules about bedtimes) and the home environment (factors like parental reading and trips to museums and galleries) contribute up to half of the explained cognitive gap between the lowest and middle income families."

so it the US system is vastly different, the outcomes are the same. greater household income = better outcomes for DCs.

or has this not convinced you?

lottieandmia Mon 18-Mar-13 17:15:20

FasterStronger - the study linked is about the US is it not? It doesn't study children in the UK does it? (or did I miss something).

All I'm saying is that the system in the US is vastly different from the system we have in the UK.

FasterStronger Mon 18-Mar-13 17:11:02

I very much doubt a university would research that not having healthcare was detrimental to your health. Doh..

It says they removed other socioeconomic factors using control groups. I.e. They compared like for like.

I will hunt out some uk research but doubt it will change any entrenched minds. While letthe facts get in the way of your opinions!

lottieandmia Mon 18-Mar-13 16:22:13

Ok, I've just looked at the link which is specifically measures child health and income in the United States. A few points to note;

This is a US study. In the US, there is no National Health Service, so presumably the children of parents who don't have a stable job will be less likely to be able to receive medical care if necessary. It creates a divide which means that only well off people can afford to get medical care when it is needed. Therefore, the children of the unemployed are bound to be less healthy, but this doesn't apply to the UK where we luckily have a NHS.

The US has a culture very different to UK culture. In the US, there is a huge social stigma attached to being unemployed which presumably would have a noticeable impact on children of the unemployed.

Obviously poverty will have a negative effect overall on any person. But you cannot really compare outcomes in the US with those in the UK because in the US, life is really very much harder for people who cannot work for whatever reason.

lottieandmia Mon 18-Mar-13 16:09:37

I take your point, wordfactory. But I had heard before that drug problems are known to be rife in certain boarding schools.

I would argue that children are happy when raised by a parent who tries to bring out the best in their child, promotes their independence and supports them to make choices which will make them happy. It's certainly true that money affords people more choices in life in some ways. But it's not a substitute for a stable home life, nor is a stable home life defined by wealth.

happydaffodil Mon 18-Mar-13 15:15:50

i am in a similar situation being a single mum with a 10 m/o dd i am 23 and living with parents. like you i studied and worked before my dd was born right up until the end of my pregnancy an will return to work when she starts nursery at three and will probably be working and paying taxes for the rest of my life. i dont feel guilty about being on benifits because it is tempory i have been paying taxes since i was sixteen and will again when i return to work an those taxes will contibute to somebody else out of work.that is how society works. my parents pay tax my aunts and uncles pay tax and my daughter will pay tax when grows up. i no there are some who abuse the system but they are not in such large numbers as the tory press and government would have us believe. DONT FEEL GUILTY

wordfactory Mon 18-Mar-13 11:51:17

lottie there is a link on thisd thread to the evidence.

Plus there's quite a bit more. Huge apologies, but I am not at home or would give more links. If you look it up on the internet there is a wealth of studies and evidence.

Of course being wealthy doesn't gurantee anyhting. No one has said that. But providing anecodtal examples doesn't disprove the evidence. Just like a 90 year old smoker doesn't disprove that smoking is bad for you!

lottieandmia Mon 18-Mar-13 11:14:38

'The evidence suggests DC in high income familes have better physical and mental health'

Where is the evidence for this though? It's a bit of a vague statement. I would agree that children living in poverty are more at risk of physical and mental health problems, but having rich parents doesn't always help either. My best friend who went to Magdalen with a lot of ex-Etonians and kids from expensive boarding schools said that she has never seen so many badly adjusted, unhappy people in one place - she said that mental health problems and alcohol and coccaine addiction was a real problem, particularly for children who had been sent away to boarding school. So money doesn't always buy a stable home life.

wordfactory Mon 18-Mar-13 10:20:52

Really Bang?

Is that new evidence? Could you link?

bangwhizz Mon 18-Mar-13 10:08:34

Living with both biological parents is actually the major predictor of success for children.

wordfactory Mon 18-Mar-13 09:33:09

Yup, that about sums it up.

People simply don't want to believe the evidence. But there it is.

Money isn't everything, but boy does it matter!

FasterStronger Mon 18-Mar-13 09:28:35

Word, the resistance to accept the facts on this thread is remarkable. Also while health, education and income are no guarentee of happiness, they do make life easier.

with the decline of the middle class and social mobility, I know which side I want my dcs to fall on. And while these things shouldn't be happening, I think the UK is powerless to resist the global forces. I fear the complacent will be caught out.

As you said upthread, now is not a time to be vulnerable.

wordfactory Mon 18-Mar-13 08:03:52

The evidence suggests DC in high income familes have better physical and mental health, though there are anomoalies for certain eating disorders.

FasterStronger Sun 17-Mar-13 23:43:10

The link I posted was about childrens health not academic/workplace success.

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