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NOW CLOSED If parents ruled the world…what would make it into your 'Mummyfesto'? Share your thoughts and win £200 Love2shop voucher(205 Posts)
To celebrate the launch of the new book, The Mummyfesto by Linda Green, we'd like to know what issues Mumsnetters would campaign for if parents were in charge.
Here's what the publishers of The Mummyfesto say: "Issues affecting and surrounding parents don't often come to the forefront of the political agenda - a recent survey by 23snaps revealed that 46% of parents don't think family issues get much attention from politicians. This is addressed in The Mummyfesto, a new book by Linda Green, in which three mums who campaign to save their local lollipop lady from redundancy discover that they are rather good at it."
So what would you like to see in world where parents are in charge? This can be anything from free childcare to Mumsnet replacing the House of Lords. We'd love to hear what you think - if parents ruled the world, how would we make it better? It could be something small and local or big and national, silly or deadly serious. Time to get creative!
Everyone who adds a comment to this thread will be entered into a prize draw to win a £200 Love2shop voucher.
Thanks and good luck,
That EVERY child recieved the best education to suit their needs and develop them to their full potential whether they couldn't afford private education or not.
That every child and parent with sen/sn got the support their child needed and deserved without having to fight the system tooth and nail.
That school dinners were returned to being cooked from scratch again not this warmed up junk
horse most get.
Tax deductible childcare.
Can I write another?
That every leader had to spend 12 months living as a lone parent, parent of a child with sn, as a low income family, etc before being allowed into power.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
That maternity benefits are extended so that every parent can afford to spend more time at home caring for their own child and not being forced back to work to be able to afford to live!
1. Making parking in a mother and baby space when you are child-free be made a criminal offence ;-)
2. A ban on cuts to children's services
3. As others have said before, making access to services for those with SN a clear-cut right instead of something that has to be fought for every step of the way
4. 12 months paid maternity leave (due in May, so not at all biased!!)
To be kind.
Simplistic I know but I think it would work.
Seconding tax deductible childcare
Loving the sound of tax deductibel childcare
My main desire is the removal of the postcode lottery that applies to almost everything whether it be access to healthcare or to schools. There needs to be consistency across the board.
Also I'd banish the word Mummy which makes my teeth itch and unfortunately would prevent me from buying a book which included it in the title. Or in fact being seen reading it
As others have said improvement on help for SN. Try to reduce the waiting time for assessments, and s&l waiting lists too
The new child benefit thing changed to make it fairer, based on overall household income
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I'd like to see it made easier for sahm/wahm (or dads) to do exactly that. Went can't parents share their tax allowance? It's a simple thing but ot would make it a little easier for parents to raise their children themselves.
I would also like it to be mandatory for clothes manufacturers to supply detachable snot patches for clothes at knee height and on shoulders to make it easier to stay presentable as the mum of a toddler!
Apart from campaigning to ban the words Mummyfesto, Mumpreneur etc?
Compulsory parentlng classes for all.
By and large, parents do rule the world. It hasn't stopped them slashing services, demoralising teachers and flogging off social housing, has it? And that's just in this country - I'm sure plenty of overseas dictators have managed to spawn while raping and murdering their own people (probably not at the same time though).
Anyway, if I as a parent ruled the world I would shut down all the tabloids and shite magazines and force media culture to reform itself. Would also bring back Dinosour Eggs, mmmm.
I would ban use of 'mummy' where 'parent/s' is more appropriate. Why is a book about issues affecting and surrounding parents called The Mummyfesto?
It's no wonder women end up bearing the greater load of raising children is it?
Joined up childcare thinking - from baby to 16. Childcare is actually easiest to arrange before children are at school, then its a nightmare of juggling.
And recognition that parents of young children may also be caring for their own parents. Its a real issue trying to do both - according to lots of people my parents should be helping with ds (snort), and I should be available for the many, many, many appointments my parents have to try and help them.
I agree with CMOT. Cheaper childcare would be great. All large work places having nurseries would also be great. Without 3 year waiting lists.
When we have child no 2, my job will no longer be affordable. I earn £300 for one day's work a week and childcare for one is £160.
clear access and parking for parents with children everywhere. deals on week days and weekend for children at restaurants and entertainment facilities. clean streets with no dog mess. parks with no grafitti and usable toilets. town centres with activities for families each weekend. local festivals periodically so people become social and closer instead of strangers. also i'd like it if people opened doors for each other and remembered to say please and thank you. also no crossing the road during the red man. rant over. cheers.
Tax-deductible childcare gets a big thumbs up from me (for self-employed people too please!)
My slightly less realistic suggestions:
A UK-wide network of very reasonably priced ad-hoc housekeeper/nannies to swoop in and help on those days when the cupboard is bare, house is chaos, children are playing up, someone's coming for dinner and you really need to get that Very Important Thing finished for work within the next thirty minutes.
A ban on adverts for children's products (eg. nappies) that appear to be aimed at the child rather than the parent (Erm, hello? I'm the one with the cash so don't treat me like a toddler) and on patronising puns on the word 'mum' (can't think why that came to mind ).
Encourage good practice with manners and courtesy from a very early age, picking up litter even when you didn't create it, offering to hold open a door or give up a seat on public transport, stopping to think about how your actions may have a negative consequence for someone else.
That libraries, doctors' surgeries, shopping centres would open to fit in with family life. It's so annoying to drop off the children and then be hanging around waiting for things to open rather than just be able to roll seamlessly into shops/the library etc....
A UK-wide network of very reasonably priced ad-hoc housekeeper/nannies to swoop in and help on those days when the cupboard is bare, house is chaos, children are playing up, someone's coming for dinner and you really need to get that Very Important Thing finished for work within the next thirty minutes.
This^^ with bells on, and tax-deductible childcare at a price that doesn't eat up all of one average-earner's income (and a bit more).
Oh, and the word mummyfesto is horrible.
That I loathe the term "mummyfesto" aside:
That companies are encouraged to create more flexible/part time roles. How can a parent work 9-6 when nursery closes at 6 too?
affordable childcare for all!!!
My mummy - festo would be that it damn well needs to be a parent - festo. I am sick to death of all the subtle nudges that push responsibility for our children from our shoulders to mine.
I would stop holiday companies exploiting families by increasing their prices so much in school holidays. I would encourage hotels/attractions to consider that a family room/family ticket may need to be for more than 2 adults/2 children. And I would put a halt to the closing of public libraries.
I have to agree about the name of the book.
Free childcare, including coverage for ill children.
Some sort of payment to SAHMs.
Stop comparing your child with other children. Stop comparing yourself with other parents. Stop. The. Comparisons. They aren't helping anyone, you're just hurting yourself.
Agree the word mummyfesto sounds awful and also <sigh> sexist.
That aside, here's my suggestions:
1. That employers must consider whether a senior job has to be filled as 100% full time. If not, they must advertise it as pro-rata negotiable % FTE. That way experienced managers returning to the work force after a maternity/paternity break will be able to apply for senior positions at, say 3 days per week, rather than being faced with the horrible choice of either full time or a junior position where your skills are never going to be used properly again. This would also benefit the businesses! I have run businesses - it SAVES MONEY! Sorry for shouting but it is so basic it hurts to sit by and watch.
2. All childcare costs to be tax deductible. Another basic one.
3. That the speed limit outside schools drops to 20 mph limit on weekdays at school drop off and pick up times. They do this in Australia, with the times posted on a street sign, and I think it makes people pay attention.
4. That the application for midwife training includes the question: 'do you actually like people?' and applicants are forced to look the interviewer in the eye when they answer.
That is all.
It's a cupcake too far MN I don't care if they are giving you shed loads of money ... Know your fecking audience.
And I don't want crappy vouchers either
Support instead of filthy looks when I bundle onto the bus with a large double buggy or if my child is crying in a public place. Children are the future after all...
An end to the constant targeting of our children by endless advertising in this consumerist culture.
Not surprised to see so many comments about Special needs. Before my son was diagnosed, I beleived everything i read about 'every child matters' and saw lots of case studies about how play therapy/music therapy/occupational therapy was helping children with autism. Schools seemed to have teaching assistants to help children, and there were certainly plenty of policies in place to protect these children. Yet, once you have a child with special needs - you see the reality and you realise all of this is just rhetoric. All words designed to make the system look good with nothing actually in place to support the children who most need it.
I would put people into the education system who genuinely cared more about the children that about the schools statistics (I know there are lots of lovely, genuinely caring teachers out there and this isn't aimed at them - but the system is such that they are often left powerless or overridden by their superiors who find it easier to 'get rid of' 'problem children' than to support these children.).
I would make sure that parents had support in dealing with difficult situations themselves. Today, I have had such a difficult day with my son and I have no one to turn to. No one who can offer any practical help. He doesn't get any of these therapies that he desperately needs because it turns out they are not available (or resources are so stretched that waiting lists are often more than a year).
I would raise awareness of what autism is and is not - so that I don't want the ground to swallow me up when my son is struggling in a public place.
And finally, free cake for all parents!
the term Mummyfesto just buys into the cutesy, disregarding, misogynist outlook of mothers and women in general. We are more than 'Mummy's'
Same goes for Yummy Mummy etc.
offensive for MN to take money to publicise such shit no matter how well meaning the intent behind the book.
I'd like to see significant, high quality, back to work training for jobs at all levels, including professional.
So that parents who've had some time out have a good, well respected route back into the job market.
Mummyfuckingfesto my arse.
Politicians are meant to be in touch with reality. Why not research a book to ask why they are not?
mummy parent of two, one of whom is SN.
All I have ever wished for is honesty and transparency from both the NHS and the education system, and most of my frustration has stemmed from the lack of it from both.
It's a constant fight to get treatments in the NHS and help in the education system, and feeling that you are being obstructed/lied to/not being offered things that you should be offered etc has caused my faith in human nature to take a huge knock. (Fine now, child is older and I've got used to it and also now got MN - wish it had been around during those times)
So, for new parents of SN/SEN children, that is what I would give. It may even be in the form of each parent/s being assigned their own 'key worker' who would liaise between NHS/Education/anyone else, follow them through pre-school, primary, secondary etc., and who is THEIR advocate to make sure they know everything they need to know.
It goes without saying that statements of SEN should be done for you, rather than parents having to go through all that shite.
I don't like the name Mummyfesto either btw.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I bet if you looked at the make-up of most governments, in most countries, you'd find that parents rule the world already....
that energy costs stopped going up every year, and we all paid 1 amount per year, and could use as much gas and electric as we wanted.
chesper childcare, as the cost of it is sometimes what stops moms from working, as it wouldnt be worth their while after paying childcare costs
that all kids were treated once a month to a fun day, whether it be a trip to the zoo, the beach or a museum, as not all kids experience those things, as parents may not be able to afford it
Agree about 'mummyfesto'. The only people permitted to call me 'mummy' are the DDs.
I would like to see better maternity care. More MWs, more choice about where you want to give birth and how. More and better quality post-natal support for breastfeeding, birth injuries, PND etc.
End the state sponsorship of the class and religious segregation which is currently supported by government funding to Faith Schools and faith based academies.
Every child to have one hour of exercise a day.
Here's another one: all midwives and health visitors should be
forced made to undergo a training programme where they are disabused of the flat-out WRONG old wives tales that so many of them spout. GPs (doctors, not grandparents!) would possibly benefit from this as well.
That the application for midwife training includes the question: 'do you actually like people?' and applicants are forced to look the interviewer in the eye when they answer.
Mummyfesto? WTF? That is wrong and insulting on so many levels.
I think the title is fine. I love being a 'mummy'.
If I had input the serious one would be smaller class sizes.
My ideal would be the government to provide healthy home cooked meals to the home at least twice a week. Oh and a cleaner. And wine. Yes lots of wine especially for mumsnet members.
Sorry HQ but I don't like Mummyfesto either.
The intention is good though. My biggest bug bear is child abuse in any form - not sure how and what can be done but I'd spend all my efforts looking into that first.
Not just return to work training for the parent that is returning to work but also for their colleagues. "You remember that colleague that has just disappeared for a year? They might have changed - both physically and emotionally. Cut them some slack. Pretty soon it could be you asking for time off to attend your child's Christmas concert or needing time off when your child is too poorly to attend nursery. Please do not make them feel forced out of their job because their life has changed. And you know how jealous you feel about them working part-time? They are only paid a part-time salary you know!"
Mummyfesto reminds me of people who refer to all things related to babies in a goo ga voice. As if a baby was saying it.
It makes them sound a but thick.
But then the characters in the book surprised themselves when they turned out to be good at something outside of being a mummy. This is such a revelation that's it's worth writting a story of it.
Need I say more.
I think parenting classes should be given to all. There would be so many benefits to society it would pay for itself in the long term.
Ignoring the cringe-inducing, twee title of the book, it's a fair idea.
First set up excellent, state-funded childcare. If we want a healthy, focused workforce, we need somewhere safe and reliable for the children to go which doesn't wipe out a worker's wages.
Reinstate the 40 hour week. Fine companies that make redundancies then pile three jobs onto one person until they buckle with stress or work such long hours they no longer see/have energy for their families. I know too many people who leave home at 6am and come back at 9pm. Unnecessary when such a skilled workforce is out there, unemployed.
Change the law so it is illegal for any company to have profit as its overriding objective. I was shocked to learn it is in built in company law that financial benefit to shareholders trumps employee conditions, or provision of service to customers. That's Red Queen law.
All employees should automatically be shareholders in the company they work for, so they have some incentive to work well, and will gain the profits of their labour. I've never met a JL or Waitrose employee who hates their company.
Raise a massive tax on companies that make unhealthy food. For every product they sell that contains excess sugar, salt or fat, the company pays an increased levy. They can pass that on to consumers if they want.
I would publish all wages and make it a crime to pay a man more.
And I would ban parents from going into school cloakrooms with their PFBs except in specific circumstances.
AND I would make smokers go into special Smoking Dungeons and be decontaminated before they re-enter society.
AND AND AND introduce on the spot fines for anyone using the phrase 'rod for your own back' to vulnerable new parents.
To have longer paid maternity leave and paternity leave ;-) and at the same time enjoying your children special moments.
Free or reasonably priced instrumental lessons for every child.
That people parking in Mother and Child parking bays without children with them have there cars immediately towed away.
Make subsidised holiday clubs widely available. Normally they're too expensive for us to use regularly.
Mummyfesto? no daddies here?
that said, I think the priorities have to be
1) affordable fuel (for the home, I mean)
2) affordable fresh food
3) affordable childcare
4) a living wage
the start of a very long list. Our world just isn't geared to raising a happy, healthy next generation, is it?
crikey - its a bit one - and i suppose you would like a few humorous comments
but i can't help but think about all the parents who are going to suffer because of the bedroom tax and welfare reform. whilst bankers at RBS get their bonuses and millionnaires get tax breaks.
so if the mumifesto can encorporate some kind of social justice, that would be nice.
if i was in charge or education children would only be taught English, Maths and science from infant to senior, by the end of senior first year, they should be able to get GCSEs in all of those. from the second year, they can prat about with art and drama and cooking and PE which are IMO a total wast of time.
And those more suited to doing work than sitting exams will fo out to the world of work at this point - and get paid for it
Well, it's already written, so it's too late. But I would call it the Humanfesto, and would aim to reduce the separation between the childfree and the childfull in society.
'That employers must consider whether a senior job has to be filled as 100% full time.'
This. And also more active promotion of jobshares, whether you have children or not, and more media publicity for the number of couples who both go part-time after having a child - IMO this is a lot more common than you ever hear about.
And every school has to publish on their website the number of children they have asked to find another school just before GCSEs so that their results aren't spoiled. Yes, Eton, Magdalen College School etc, I'm looking at you.
And just enough choice in education so that my ds never has to go to Custardo's school...
Standard full time hours reduced to 30 per week providing more jobs and enabling all parents to work 4 days and have 3 days with their children.
Men to have equal paid paternity leave to women.
Schools to stagger holidays so not all schools have holidays at the same time (cheaper holidays for all and better school attendance rates accordingly)
Schools to realise most mothers work and plan accordingly eg give lots of notice re plays, parent assemblies etc so that more working parents are able to attend
I would provide chefs to every household to prepare healthy lunchboxes for the children each morning, I would make adults be polite and as well mannered as my children are to them in supermarkets and I would scrap the parents running race at sports day
More support for children from horrible/uncaring/impoverish backgrounds in school.
When you have a parent/s that do not care about your education it rubs off, so some sort of mentor would be nice.
No Parent & Child spaces anywhere or anything which makes parents think they've a right to do something/be somewhere over anyone without children.
Stop the goverment punishing/squeezing families in which one parent stays at home, and more assistance for that parent when they're returning to work (basically scrap the JobCentre & make it useful & full of helpful people who don't think you're scum for losing your job).
Love Marius suggestion of MPs living like everyday people.
That nobody would be made to feel guilty for their choices, be them feeding, sleeping or birthing choices. Formula feeding and safe preparation of bottles would be discussed in antenatal classes including nct and not ignored like a dirty secret. Women would not be made to feel guilty for not having a "natural" birth
Make it easier financially to take paternity leave
Make childcare more affordable
Some ideas posted are great!
I have to add to the chorus: Mummyfesto - <shudder>
I am also not sure what you mean by "if" parents ruled the world. They do:
Cameron - parent
Obama - parent
The Queen - parent
Bet all the Chief Execs of FTSE 100 are parents
Most MPs are parents
So given that parents (or in almost all cases, fathers) do in fact rule the world, the question is rather: do fathers in positions of power give the right weight to family issues? And if not, why not?
1) free school meals for every child
2) park play area for every neighbourhood.
3) creches/ daycare in every big company for working parents, free of charge.
4) more youth clubs/ centres
5) sport centres/ swimming pools etc should be free
6) free bus pass for under 18's
7) mentors for kids from 10 upwards to give them direction and guidence
wishful thinking, i know.
Mummyfesto is a good title for a book, but not for a theoretical campaign if parents are in charge, more for if mothers are in charge.
Make childcare affordable. Stop closing libraries.
Make public spaces promote breastfeeding. Don't want to go too far, just a window sticker so you know people won't mind you feeding in a cafe etc.
Agree with other pp re:mummyfesto. Bleuuurrgggghhh.
Every family would be able to have one parent stay at home full-time to raise the children if they wanted to.
Childrearing techniques would be taught at school.
Every expectant parent would have access to a free full paediatric first aid course and parenting lessons.
An hour and a half would be added onto each school day for the children to get proper exercise.
Better quality and cheaper childcare but with better perks for staff.
Give teachers back their stronghold on the classroom. There is a lack of respect towards teachers imho and they need to be supported to gain control again.
Abolish private schools and have just brilliant local schools
Reintroduce markets instead of supermarkets
Massive house building programme
Turn roads into canals
Sorry, but that title is appalling; I really can't get past it in its pink sparkly vomitousness.
I am a mother. My children call me Mummy. I am also a professional, a tax payer, a constituent, don't bloody well patronise me. Don't fathers count in all of this?
that every lone parent gets some kind of relaxation aid, be it chocolate or bubble bath
Mummyfesto.....dreadful sexist term....what about the dads/grandparents who are F/T carers?
Marius yours are the best!
So I agree with those but would also like a free car&petrol for all my school runs/after school activities.
Plus a weekly massage to de-stress.
And free coffee&cakes every Friday.
A big overhaul on childcare issues and schools.
Pass a law preventing holiday operators from bumping the prices up at school holidays.
I'd make it mandatory that local authorities have to provide breakfast clubs and enough after school places. My boys go to a school in Edinburgh - no breakfast club and after school places are rarer than hens teeth. Parents want to work but they also dont want their children to be feral street urchins.
More playgroups at Surestart
More Surestarts, think they provide a great service
Fairer child benefit system
To ensure that our children's minds are protected from adult material such as porn and x-rated games and have a healthy attitude to relationships.
To encourage our children to be children for as long as possible and not engage in sexual behaviour before time.
Free weekly slice of cake for all pregnant ladies
Banning of all those bloody annoying ride on toys that want money so they can vaguely jiggle the kids for 30 seconds
Free once a week, half a day, playgroup session for children under school age so parents can have a little bit of time to themselves. Would save the Nhs a fortune on Prozac for stressed out parents I'm sure!
Drive through shops for essential groceries* so that you don't have to disturb your colicky newborn who has finally gone to sleep in the car seat.
Milk, tea, chocolate, gin etc.
We should be able to access sleep schools and not to be left to struggle with insommniac babies and no support.
Ensure all children get:
- 'proper', homemade, healthy school meals
- at least one hour of exercise a day
- taught some basic skills for life including money management, basic diy (ie. how to change a lightbulb / wire a plug), and cooking skills
- access to free activities including museums, libraries, sports, art, etc.
- swimming lessons
- taught right from wrong / morals / principles / respect etc. to make the world a nicer place!
Affordable quality childcare for everyone.
And if I get two points, I'd make all state funded schools 100% secular
P.s I the mummyfesto too. It's twee and sends the wrong message about parenting.
More funded support (live-in help, mother-and-child foster placements, respite breaks etc) for vulnerable and/or disabled lone parents who are not able to look after their children without assistance.
Making it a criminal offence for health visitors to refer to parents as 'Mummy' rather than their correct name.
- School meals being cooked from scratch in school kitchens again
- No school uniform - the endless rules about what can/can't be worn and how it has to be worn are impractical, especially on a cold winters day when your child is not allowed to wear boots or a coat in school but the school hasn't provided anywhere for these items to be kept securely during the day. Kids end up wet and cold as they can't dress appropriately for the weather.
- Longer school day and less homework - would help working parents and also allow time at home to be family time and not 'building a castle for history project' time.
- Parent and child parking spaces to be restricted to those with children under school age. Am fed up of seeing people with kids who are well able to walk sensibly, taking up these spaces at the expense of those with toddlers.
- Child benefit to be reformed so that it is only paid out for first 2 children. If people choose to have more children, they need to make sure they can afford them. (This one will not make me popular, I'm sure)
- No-one allowed to become a politician (or local councillor) unless they have worked at some kind of job (doesn't really matter what) for at least 10 years first.
- Supermarkets to stop selling toys and also to put the toddler/baby trolleys near the parent with child parking spaces.
Free and universal access to a Sleep Deprivation Crisis Service (SDCS), accessible by dialing 999. So basically, your baby or older SN child has been awake screaming for the last 72 hours and by contacting the SDCS you can summon within 7 minutes a well-qualified nanny who will immediately take over and allow you some sleep.
Oh and I'd also ban playdough and glitter - it gets everywhere and is really hard to clear up.
I would make fresh produce cheaper to buy than junk food and ready made things as I feel that it costs us more to teach are children to eat well and cook!
Definitely help with all childcare! Wide doors in public places for pushchairs, extra room in public transport for prams. More priority for children's healthcare and education. Equality for children so they all get the same education where possible. Vouchers to help towards fruit and veg for all incomes. Remove toy adverts from tv!
People who let their dog poo in the street and leave it would have to pay for the school shoes of all the children that walk along that street.
All parking spaces would have to be made wide enough to open your doors fully.
All cars would have to come with seats that adapt for children as standard.
All cars would have to be eco friendly and be automatically controlled to the speed limit.
Maternity units would have beds and pain relief for women in labour ( however dilated they are ).
Country parks car parks would be free to park if you have children under 18.
Supermarkets would have a person who will push the trolley for you when your baby is asleep in the buggy.- Or comfy trolley seats so baby/toddlers can rest.
All schools would have to work to the same standards and provide free healthy meals.
All it needs is a change of focus, imo. The government has to put children first. Simple.
So I'd like a huge banner to be put up in all government and council offices. It would list the things that all children need, eg fantastic health care, excellent education, plenty of space, safe roads, oodles of fresh air, good food, warmth, stimulating TV programmes, healthy, happy parents with jobs, healthy happy grandparents, etc.
So each time the local council wants to allow developers to build on green spaces, they would have to do some research into how it would affect the children already living in the area. Each time the govt wants to sell a hospital, they would have to think about how it might affect the local kids.
Put kids first!
MPs to be paid minimum wage.
Huge fines for owners who don't pick up after their dogs. DNA poo database!
Free nursing bras.
RearFacing carseats the law for children under four.
Fruit and vegetables much cheaper. Cakes and chocolate more expensive.
Cleaner softplay centres!
A ban on all words that include 'mummy' or 'mum' -
or alternatively we could introduce a Daddyfesto.
Oh. Wait. Don't have to. They are already running the country.
Seriously. MNHQ. What were you thinking?
As the fab blogger Jenny (aka The Bloggess) said, to much applause at the MN Blogfest
'You only get to call me mummy if you came out of my vagina'
Don't know if I can top the ones already here!
- On diagnosis of any SEN, automatic referral should be made to all relevant agencies, like Homestart, Social Services etc, so that they can call the family and ask if help is needed. Parent should not be given a diagnosis and then be left to do their own research.
- Campaign on behalf of Social Services so that parents know that they are there to help, and not just there to take your child away from you.
- Share information between all health agencies, even if it's just in that county. I should be able to walk into a hospital with my child and give their name and DOB, and the staff should be able to access their medical records.
- Increase the number of schools that have SEN support, and give schools additional funds to cope with the needs of SEN students (a particular bugbear of mine, after DS was refused a place at a mainstream school because, "any help he needs would have to come out of the school's budget" )
- Introduce a respite service that is easily accessible and is staffed by compassionate people
- Include detailed advice about both breast and bottle feeding, and retrain midwives and health professionals so that there is no stigma with either option.
Just as a start. The free chocolate/wine/gin for parents should go without saying, really - though I think a daily "treat" voucher scheme could be used.
If parents were in charge, smoking would be banned completely. I carry my 5 month-old DD everywhere in my wrap, and I'm frequently having to shield her face from clouds of cigarette smoke to avoid her breathing it right into her tiny little lungs. This can't be right, can it? Why isn't this talked about more?!
Thank you for all your comments so far. We've been asked to post this message from Linda Green, author of The Mummyfesto:
"Hello everyone. I'm the author of Mummyfesto and I've been reading all your comments - good and bad! - with great interest.
I love the fantastic suggestions people are coming up with for how they would change things for the better. Thank you.
I can also see that some of you don't like the the title of the book.
To anyone who thinks the title is patronising, I apologise. It wasnt intended as such. Theres a scene in the book where the three central characters are struggling to come up with a name for their party. The scene is there for a reason. Names arent easy. You are never going to please everyone. But at some point you have to settle on something and move on.
I chose Mummyfesto because its a story about three mums of young children. Its not about a group of mums and dads, so thats why it wasnt called Parentifesto.
Parentifesto doesnt exactly trip off the tongue, either. MNHQ tell me that Mumsnet is called Mumsnet, not Parenstnet for similar more-catchy-name reasons.
The characters in my book are not defined purely by being mums, though. They are all incredibly strong women, who are also flawed, like all of us.
You have the right not to like the title of my book, of course, but please dont let that detract you from the more serious issue here. Please keep posting more of your brilliant ideas to make the country a better place for women and families. Because I cant think of anything more patronising to women than a system where less than a quarter of our MPs are women. Let's make our voices heard!"
Affordable childcare for all.
A living wage.
No child to live in poverty.
More family support.
Schools and other services to be allowed to do their jobs, not tied up with bureaucracy and red tape.
Parenting classes for all.
More support for families in crisis.
Making men support any children they father.
I could go on and on.
The name of the book doesn't offend me- any chance of a copy? ;)
Sorry for being snarky, Linda. It happens to be a bug bear of mine, the 'mummy-fication' of women.
Being serious and answering you question.
I would do away with all the childcare vouchers, and payments of housing benefits to landlords etc, as I think that this distorts the market prices of services.
Build houses. Lots of them, and rent them at affordable prices to families. Then build nurseries and offer free childcare to all pre-schoolers.
More paternity leave - a month at minimum but I think three months would be great for families. Not necessarily for fathers either - could be either the mother or the father
More midwives, and change to a system where you get to know the midwife who will be at your birth.
Laws that help make us a more breastfeeding friendly society? I know it's legal to breastfeed anywhere but I think they should get cafes etc to put up 'breastfeeding welcome' signs and maybe even provide comfy seats for the purpose? Cheeky I know but might lead to higher rates of breastfeeding which can only be a good thing.
Healthy, good quality school meals for all children.
Somehow change the whole system around so it's more affordable for one parent to be at home while children are young (under three, say) AND more affordable childcare for those who do work. I don't know how this could be done but I think it should be a priority.
More community building initiatives e.g. tax breaks to help the high street survive, keep libraries open, etc
Tax breaks on nursery fees for working parents
The overthrow of the capitalist patriarchy. Obviously.
Parturition has not somehow obliterated my faculties.
Why not start a new political party? All these posters could run as MPs in their local area, it could be called the Family Party
(although I don't think single people should be sidelined either)
I wouldn't actually like to live in world solely ruled by parents
So many of them are bams who think just because they popped wean their wonderful
Ok,so another rule no groups of parents bigger than 8. No special dibs for parents
That there would be a new rule of ettiquette where breastfeeding women would be automatically seated on the comfy sofas in coffee shops, especially on cold days
Good manners by parents and children
Ban unhealthy meal options from schools
Healthy budget food education free for all families.
How to beat obesity education for everyone.
Support for parents who are disabled which is easier to access, better support from Social Services across all areas - it is such a postcode lottery what help you recieve and how hard you have to shout to get help.
Also, wheelchair access for all buses - this will, help all pushchair users too! I am restricted as to where I can take my children because I can't drive due to my disability, there are no guards on the train to help me on and very few buses are guaranteed to be wheelchair accessible. Not easy!
More support for families in crisis. Access for all to parenting classes and courses teaching parents core cooking skills, money management and general life skills. Better, affordable childcare.
Work would be restructured with shorter working hours (thus providing more employment all round), and childcare would be at least mostly free and state provided (and high quality and respected). Parents (often mothers but also men who work around their family's needs) would not find themselves sidetracked at work. There would be organisations to support people moving back into paid work after periods of caring, cos so many people get stuck at that point.
I would introduce paid parental leave, Scandi-style, which either parent could take, including flexibly at a day or so a week, over several years.
Cities and towns would be restructured (Dutch style) so that it was much easier to walk and cycle places and children could go out and travel around without the worry about them getting run over.
University education would be free, EMA would be reintroduced, and to do so I'd have everyone paying higher taxes but especially the high earners. Again, Scandinavian-style. in fact I could just move to Denmark really...
I've not read the whole thread I'm afraid so apologies if this has already been said:
I'd really like maternity and paternity leave to become parenting leave. Instead of the mother being entitled to a year off work (if she can afford it) I'd suggest there was a "pot" of a year that both parents were entitled (I know, not a popular word!) to and could use flexibly. eg. the mother take 6 months and return to work whereupon the father / partner would take a further 6 months. Or the mother take 9 months and the father / partner take 3 months concurrently. Whatever you choose to do. I know that it would probably be hugely impractical for a lot of businesses and in reality wouldn't work at all - I just think it would be so nice! I live in London where there's often a lot of negative press about absent fathers and in the UK as a whole, so many marriages and relationships breakdown. Maybe if there was more opportunity for parents to spend these early months of their child's life together, it would help. My husband was only able to take a week off when each of our children were born; I was lucky and had easy pregnancies and easy births but I couldn't help thinking how awful it must be for women who've had traumatic births / C-sections who then have to cope when their husbands / partners go back to work.
Like I said, probably totally impossible, but I can dream!
Oh, and I'd make littering, not cleaning up after your dog and spitting in the street punishable by public flogging. (Again, probably not very likely or indeed P.C)
.....and HANDS OFF THE NHS!!!! Right, i'll go away now
I'd like to borrow from all over Europe and beyond.
1) From Sweden: Shared parental leave over two years- half for each parent. Scandinavian style but twice the length.
2) From France: Heavily discounted nursery with curriculum care system for ages 2-rising 6, with meals, naps etc factored in to take account of the needs of small children. It is barbaric to expect children aged 4 and 1 day to stay all day in a class of 30 learning stuff without even a rest.
3) Annualised working hours rather than daily presenteism to become generalised all industries. This means that either parent can take time off according to their schedules to nurse the people they care for when they're ill or need a parent at home- be that children, parents, disabled relatives etc... They would then make up the time when all was well at home again. Not sure where that's best implemented.
4) France again: Cheap after school club, where the children can go without formality if the parent is delayed.
5) Affordable and good range of extra-curricular activities run out of all schools, subsidised in some discreet way for children on FSM.
6) From the US: Academic and life mentoring by volunteer young professionals in their 20s for all teenagers 12-15. If volunteers were in short supply, to be focused on the young people who would stand to gain the most from it. To be enabled by a scheme of "volunteer leave" of a couple of hours a week, hopefully donated by companies as part of their ethical commitments. Volunteers would donate their time to the school nearest to them geographically.
Most people in the developed world do not have very many children- 2 or 3 at most, so over a lifetime the considerable investments of time and resources would pay off in a more balanced population able to give back. I just think that children are too precious, for want of a better and less yucky word, to trust entirely to their parents. Rearing children and doing all the things one has to do as an adult at the same time is an enormous juggling act and it would be helpful to have assistance with it. In many countries, there are grannies, aunts, cousins etc able to help out with child-rearing. We often don't have that in place any more in the UK, but the need for extra hands is still there and unless you earn enough to employ a person to be those extra hands, then I think pretty much everyone in the equation suffers at least a bit.
Oh and definitely agree with bringing back Sure Start with all the same funding it used to have. Sure Start was fanbloodytastic.
Trivial or perhaps more personal, but "mummy" just raises my hackles it's not a word my community used growing up and to me it is loaded with class as well as sexist baggage. I don't wish to get at the author but to point out that words provoke emotional responses.
No separation of state schools into "church" and other.
All school to have longer hours with more time for active play or sport.
Homework to be abolished and replaced with compulsory supervised "prep" time.
Better playgrounds, with goals on the football fields, and basketball nets.
I meant public playgrounds, but also school playgrounds should be open in the evenings and weekends.
Sorry if this has already been said, but surely the world is ruled by parents? The overwhelming majority of adults do have children, and surely they arrange things to suit them?
Are we saying that Barack Obama and David Cameron automatically do a much better job of governing their countries than Angela Merkel because they have children?
Large companies forced to provide flexible hours and extremely low cost child care for those who have no choice but to work.
Better help for single parents
DV not glossed over by the courts and the realisation that any contact is better than none is a bad blanket policy
Easier for single parents to retrain and gain valuable skills for a chance to improve job prospects
The abolishment of the jobcentres any job will do attitude towards single parents who actually want to better themselves and don't want to have to rly on benefits
Everyone (not just parents) should work their contracted hours, no more no less, and the 0 hour contracts will be abolished.
If companies were no longer able to rely on employees to put in unpaid overtime to get the work done, they would have to employ enough people to get the work done, therefore generating more jobs.
It never ceases to amaze me how many of my friends have negotiated part time hours, but still have a full time workload and end up working evenings and weekends to get the job done while their employers get away with paying a part time salary.
Too many parents never see or hardly see their DCs during the week because they are stuck in late meetings.
The national curriculum would include classes for everyone, boys and girls, where you have to look after one of those life-like doll babies for a weekend.
That it was OK to breastfeed your baby or toddler anywhere you liked, without people raising their eyebrows or making you feel uncomfortable.
Agree with nancerama above regarding part time hours and full time workload.
A run on for 6 months of Carers Allowance after your child or family member you were caring for dies. You are just not ready to work after 8 weeks and many Carers cannot claim JSA
a ban on supermarket leaflets which come through your letterbox advertising discounted fat, sugar, salt laden or alcholic crap. a ban on the sale of chocolate and sweets at tills of shops which are not food shops
An increase in the number of women, people with disabilities, young people and ethnic minorities in the Houses of Parliament so that legislators are more representative of the wider community.
I'd make childcare, education and social care the highest paid jobs in the public sector, on a par with top civil servants, MPs, doctors etc. Nursery nurses for example would start on about 35K. We'd invest in the best facilities and equipment, and it would be illegal to work more than 40 hrs a week in any of these roles. Our best universities and research institutions would regard child/ parent development, education and social/ health care the absolute centre of their research activity.
Educating people to be parents would be an extension of a well-developed personal and social education strand in the national curriculum, which would be privileged on the assumption that if people figure out their personal stuff they are able to manage themselves in a learning environment, making other traditional subjects easier and more efficient to teach. There would be a greater degree of flexibility in the school system, meaning that if you couldn't get on with learning in x style with x environment you could select to go to another class/ style/ pedagogical set up. The main focus of education would be the development of the ability to live well and happily, assuming that such capacities enable people to explore their potential to the full.
Parents would have access to parenting mentors and children would have access to a non-parental advocate. Like social services, except without the dodgy, high-case-load, low cultural capital, low public esteem undertones. Research, development, training, and resources would be spent on the care system so that it got to a point where being 'taken into care' was no longer associated with poor life outcomes and in fact the state was a model, rather than inattentive, underresourced and reluctant parent turning out generations where happy and successful adults are the exception rather than the rule.
That's assuming, of course, that we can't just throw out the whole of the capitalist patriarchy as requested upthread.
Make two aisles in every supermarket cobbled
A dumbwaiter lift thing in every house with stairs to prevent the ever growing trip hazard of stuff waiting to be taken up.
I would turn maternity leave into parental leave. If fathers were as likely as mothers to take parental leave a common justification for discriminating against women of child-bearing age in the work place would become obsolete.
Also, I would stop high schools allowing students to leave campus at lunch time to go and buy lunch at supermarkets/fast food outlets. I'm sure there are some students who get some decent food but the majority of students I see in the shops at lunch time buy nothing but crisps, biscuits and fizzy drinks.
I would want it to become the norm for it to be equally as likely for a Dad to phone in asking to work from home/sudden leave required because their child is sick as Mums.
Also - I would like to see the government give up the fight over the occasional 1 week holiday in term time and focus their attention to serial truancy instead.
And yes bleugh to Mummyfesto!
Flexible maternity and paternity leave.
Children's clothing sections and changing rooms to be on the ground floor, rather than up in a poxy lift in every single shop.
Better access to the option to pump milk at work. Some places are fantastic, some are terrible - all have a legal responsibility to facilitate this, but many avoid it all together.
Changing rooms to be a separate room in places like shopping centers, rather than a fold down table in the disabled toilet.
More availability to 'bring your baby to work' in the early months. There's a fantastic image that I can't bloody find of a woman who I think worked for the UN, with her small baby in the sling. Obviously not saying this should be enforced, but the option should be there.
We are not a child focused society, and that is so very sad.
Tax-exempt and subsidised childcare
Subsidised mothers helps at birth
Decent afterschool care at secondary age
Subsidised means-tested public transport for families/under 25s
rather than universally free for pensioners who always benefit
More flexible and family friendly working practices. New mummies can take young babies in a sling to work if they wish to return early.
Minimum of nine months maternity leave.
The right to work term time only until your youngest is 12 (I mean, what use is term time working until your child is 5?)
Career breaks for motherhood lasting 5yrs.
The right to discounted university fees if a parent wished to retrain.
All employers with over 500 employees required to offer on site crèche or fund a local crèche/nursery within a reasonable walking distance. I m not saying parents shouldn't pay for places, but the place of employment should offer a nursery place within a reasonable walking distance.
Parents can successfully work from home with their children around and complete admin tasks when they are tucked up in bed. Not every part if every job needs presentism. This really irritates me when I hear managers refusing to let staff complete tasks at home for no reason other than they want to 'see' them bring completed.
Full time school would not start until the year the child turns 7 and would be timetabled so parents can pick and choose their child's day. For instance, mornings may be strictly traditionally academic whilst the afternoons may be art, dance or sports. There would be prep hour at the end of the afternoon session for primary and two hours for secondary.
All schools would be 7-18 inclusive. The same science facilities available to all.
All schools would offer the same standard as private schools and pastoral care would ensure every child received a tailored education.
Terms run every four weeks with a week off unless it falls on Christmas/Easter ( I have not worked this out).
For those that work.....schools will be required to run a four week summer programme.
Parents have the right to take children out of school for up to 6weeks worth of holiday/family time as long as the children are not struggling academically. Only in exceptional circumstances could more than 2.5 weeks be taken at once. This introduces children to the idea of holiday allowance.
All children's centres would open tues-sat.
Loos and baby change would have to be put in every out of town industrial retail park.
Lots, lots more but dc are wanting attention now they have finished lunch.
Ban on all formula marketing (infant, follow-on, whatever)
Extend paid maternity leave to 12 months
Extend maternity leave in total so parents can share up to 18 months off (one taking the whole lot if they choose)
Extend paid paternity leave to 4 weeks and make it better paid
Tax deductible childcare
Make childcare ratios better for the youngest children . No more than 1:2 in nursery for under 1s, for example.
Open more milk banks -one in every hospital with a maternity unit. Make banked milk more widely avalable.
Make it illegal for children to be in a forward facing carseat before 2 years old.
Peer support services for infant feeding in every maternity unit
Extend the free fruit/veg for schools scheme to all primary aged children
Introduce childhood vaccinations for flu and chicken pox
Ensure all children eligible for FSM are offered a free breakfast club place and offer them a healthy breakfast (porridge/toast/cereal & fruit).
Lengthen the school day for KS2 by 30 mins and introduce 30 mins exercise every single day.
Re-open all childrens centres.
Invest heavily in any provision for under fives (inc baby massage etc). That's the age where the biggest difference can be made for a child's whole life.
Put income tax up to cover all of the above.
I know that part of this is tongue in cheeck, but I am uncomfortable with terms like mummyfesto - i think this is alienating to lots of people without children, and males - I also dont like cutesy type of names. So anyone in charge would make sure that they are called somthing that I can relate to!!! That would be first on my agenda.
I would like people to be in charge who are able to see the big picture, and I would hope that some of these people were parents. When campaigning on behalf of children and parents I am itnerested in education / survival of libraries / good pay for nurses and teachers / the environment.
That a family could actually live comfortably on one average wage and not need two in order to be able to pay a mortgage, warm the house, buy food and fill the car up with fuel.
The rise of women in the workplace did initially raise living standards but it does now seem that two incomes are required to even pay the basic bills, families that want one parent to be able to stay at home and raise their children themselves and not use child care make massive sacrifices, the main one for us is home ownership.
The follow up from that is that having discovered that you do need two salaries to afford to live; childcare options should be more flexible, high quality and affordable.
Large increase in CB to allow parents to use towards childcare or staying home so there is a real choice. Respect for SAHPs. Allow lone parents to volunteer when it suits during school hours rather than be forced into jobs. Allowance for those who use public transport or couples who have one car.Transferable tax allowance. Get rid of private schools and have great schools for all.
More 24 hr NHS walk in centres. Scans etc avaliable at weekends/bank holidays.
Oh I forgot, increas maternity leave to 12-18 months fully paid.
All schools, including nursery schools, to encourage a respectful, joyous, social and healthy food culture by serving proper meals of freshly cooked food and to serve it on proper plates and in proper bowls with proper cutlery, not those dreadful plastic prison trays.
Encourage active, outdoor play. Less emphasis on homework and performance targets. No homework till senior school. No targets for under six year olds.
Make vaccination compulsory for children.
Longer maternity leave.
More affordable child care.
I would impose a ban on 'The Children's Menu' in all eateries. All menus would have to offer a child's portion of whatever is available on the main menu in a small selection of portion sizes; toddler, primary and junior. They would also be forced to have an alternative size seat in between high chair and adult chair - I can't stand to see little kids reaching up to a table top because they're too short for the seat & too old for a high chair!
The banning of "mummy" as a prefix.
Mothers who are entrepreneurs are not mumpreneurs.
Mother who have blogs are not necessarily "mummy bloggers".
I see it's already been said.
Because I cant think of anything more patronising to women than a system where less than a quarter of our MPs are women.
Really? Nothing? Nothing at all? I clearly have a better imagination than you then.
I do think that "not defining women by whether or not they have reproduced" is an important point though, and one that would benefit mothers (and women) in general.
Some thought for the children of the world.The U.S and the EU working together on a non-negotiable set of international guidelines about how our goods are produced. No child labour, workers able to educate, feed, clothe and house their children, and live free of human rights abuse. (this could actually mean more manufacturing brought back into the UK)
Look at aid. Give it to families and communities and enable them to stand up to their governments, rather than giving it to governments who then keep the population disempowered.
Protect ALL British children. Make it a criminal, imprisonable offence to genitally mutilate your dd, and implement this rigorously. Start a helpline for girls who think they may be in danger of being taken abroad for the practice.
Tax free childcare.
Affordable holidays in school hols.
A guaranteed 8 hr's uninterrupted sleep twice per week.
good education for all children.
More midwives and health visitors.
Outlaw the casual sexism present in so many TV shows.
Pay to rise in line with inflation.
Doctors' practices to be large enough to be able to offer appointments to all within two days. Surgeries to provide their own out of hours care - ditto for vets. No postcode lotteries so patients everywhere have access to the correct treatment.
Laws preventing shops displaying toys as 'girls' or 'boys' toys.
Smoking in a home where children live to be made illegal.
I would increase the help available for SEN children and increase awareness of SEN issues amongst the public and teachers - especially the lesser known ones.
More childcare options of young secondary school children - no I don't want my 11 year old son to be at home on his own for that long.
I would like the government to respect the role of the mother alot more!
I don't want to come across as sounding entitled, but tax deductible child care, free education to Masters level or vocational training in trades, council run sports clubs to be operated like private businesses ( actually open when people want to use them), ban on so called 'children's menus', proper cycle lanes network everywhere, flexible working/ working from home to become the norm for parents instead of a privilege, proper dinner halls with decent food cooked on the premises ( no turkey twizzlers or similar swill ), Matrons back in hospital wards, less NHS managers with the savings from their salaries ring fenced back into the hospitals, no more outsourcing of cleaning and catering contracts in schools and hospitals, more specialist schools for those with ASN
That pavements are as safe as roads in the snow. Some of us don't drive and pushing a buggy along a snow filled and potholed pavement with multiple rubbish sacks to swerve around and icy puddles to get some milk nearly killed me this year especially when you have to negotiate a deadly hill. Cars have airbags, we don't! Local Authorities must salt pavements while they do the roads.
Better resources for childrrns services. Increased fu ding for womens aid. Intensive training for judges in family proceedings court regarding contact issues.
Legal right to paid parental leave for childhood illness. Too many parents are forced to phone in sick themselves because their DCs are ill, or take their annual leave at a time when they need it most.
If a child has a notifiable illness, and cannot attend daycare or school, a parent should not be penalised for needing to be home with them. This goes for mums and dads, but should be recognised in law to protect parents from less, er, generous employers who think DCs are an inconvenience to be endured.
Gosh, yy to safe gritted pavements also their drop bit being parallel and sensibly placed
Really? Gosh, I feel so empowered by that word. Oooo, maybe on my Mummyfesto would be cupcakes for everyone, cars that are really powered by fairy dust, and ensuring that all children are put on the Gifted and Talented register, so no one feels left out, and kittens for everyone. And ironing classes for us little ladies so our luvley hubbies have nice crease free shirts.
Must go and do some cleaning and cooking, wearing my pink apron.
name-vetting by the registrar (making sure names are spelt correctly and not ridiculous)
all students to study literacy and numeracy until they are functionally literate (too many kids are chair-warming their way through years of schools with a reading age that does not allow them to access the curriculum)
household management taught in schools - budgeting, cooking, etc because the students who will need it the moat due to their average earning potential are those least likely to learn it at home.
I would make the Primary school curriculum in the UK start at age 5 or age 6, not at age 4. Some children are advanced at age four - advanced enough to absorb learning to read and addition. But given my own experience with my DSD, and given the number of worried parents posting similar worried questions in the Primary Education forum, this is certainly not the case with every child. So, what is the point of having a curriculum that maybe half of a typical Primary 1/Reception class can absorb? The ones who are not taking it in are probably not all dyslexic, and being the youngest in the class is much bigger setback at age 4 than it is at age 5, 6 or 7. I also believe that a large proportion of four year-old children are not emotionally mature enough to handle a full school day - a lot of them at that age seem to need more one-on-one attention than a typical teacher:pupil ratio is able to provide. It should not be normal for your child to come home from his first year of school so cranky and burned out, that the only thing he wants to do is watch TV and not speak.
In my DSD's case, P1 started when she was 4.5 with no deferring because there were serious financial pressures to get her out of full-time nursery and away from its fees (the discount for her being in pre-school was just peanuts...). This financial pressure could be alleviated with a properly thought-out policy to reduce the costs of childcare for all families. If the UK government actually wants households where both parents work, it should subsidise high-quality childcare to the same degree that it subsidises education or the NHS.
Actually, if I had my way, there also would be some better financial incentives for one parent to stay home or at least seriously reduce their working hours. Having spent most of my adult life here, I've never actually seen for myself whether US-style tax deductions for dependents would make a difference or not, but it might be a start. As much as I agree childcare costs are insane and should be made affordable, it also drives me up a tree that I will have to subcontract the care of my own children to someone else.
Tax deductible childcare - this is totally do-able, done in other countries, and would help SO many people with such a minor change! If "the economy" wants people working, make it affordable to do so. This could be a big part of that. I think Canada does this.
Yes to senior positions being available part time, and a big huge YES to parental leave, with better funding, being sharable between the parents. Canada has this, too, incidentally... Imagine taking 6 months off WITH your DP! Or one, then the other.
No church funded schools, at all. People who want to raise their children to be religious can do so at home. Not CofE, not Muslim, not Catholic, none of them - it is entirely inappropriate, leads to social exclusion, and especially due to the local nature of school allocation, can lead to religion effectively pushed onto families that don't believe in it. All state-funded schools, academies included, to have INCLUSIVE admissions set and allocated by a neutral third party. No having meetings or open days to choose the DC you want. No black holes: expand schools where necessary. Yes, demographics change, but for the overwhelming majority of schools, 37 3.9-year-olds don't move into the same 100m in one month -- we know the demand is coming: plan for it. Fund it.
As for "mummyfesto", yes, it's not a great name, but I think a key point here is that this is not about "parents" - witness Cameron, Obama, etc. It's partly about mothers, who might (??) be more likely to actually put children first -- though not always; we vary, like any other group of people! It's about what might be good for families who make mostly normal wages and have not inherited wealth; what might work for people in families where both people work or where the mother works...
I would make it widely available thing for all new parents to go on a baby first aid course.
Ideals rather than Specific rules as such...
Ways to actively encourage flexible working for parents & non-parents alike... Echoing the presenteeism BS up thread...
Some ways to make life easier for single parent families, esp in terms of childcare.
Food: Improvements in school lunches, ban on advertising junk food before watershed; ban on sneaky marketing (don't know the term) to school children using information packs / resources which appeal to cash strapped schools, etc...
Ability to pay a grandparent for childcare to recognise them for their work; ditto SAHP's
Better access to adequate mental health services esp for those suffering from eating disorders
Anti-grooming & anti-bullying training for parents
Bit if a mixed bag but there you have it...
No idea, but mummyfesto is a nauseating phrase..
To make working from home realistically available to mums.
To teach children and some parents manners and respect.
Cheap child care where the ratios are fair - ( that's if the working from home thing doesn't happen !)
1. Free childcare for working parents
2. Help with mortgage downpayments for parents with children who work and do not have access to benefits
3. Free swimming, school clubs, school dinners for all children in school
A week in hospital, post birth, with expert advice on breastfeeding and settling, and time to rest, recover and get emotional support.
Oh my god Diamonds I hope your policy would be optional - I would have HATED that! Was so desperate to get home and learn how to bf in peace with DH bringing me food and drinks whenever I wanted
It's taken me 5 days to click on this because 'mummyfesto' is so enraging.
As others have said
Tax deductable childcare
Ban on non food items in food (trans fats/aspartame etc) and a ban on advertising unhealthy additives as healthy.
Help with returning to work after a career break. I took ten years out from a very good job, there is no route back in so I am pushing 40 and my earning potential is half of what is was at 22.
Ban on shops selling mothers day cards where more than 95% of them are sickly pink and more than 99% of them have pictures of cupcakes/shoes/flowers/butterflies or any at all have pictures of teddy bears. They are for fucking adult women. My mother is a university lecturer, not a five year old with unusually poor taste.
all children should have one free sport per week to attend
Can we please create a world where having children is not seen as a problem that has to be dealt with?
This means that we all have to value the creation of a child and a family. It's a cultural issue, I think. How many of us have male partners who dote on their child/ren, yet in their workplace, have to be seen almost not to care? Because it's not appropriate to bring issues about your child/family into the workplace? This is especially the case for men, but also for women.
One of the greatest joys of running my own business is that I have been able to plan my diary around my family as much as I can. No longer did I have to pretend I didn't have children. No longer did I have to agonise about whether or not I dared write 'nativity play' into my diary. No longer did I have the angst and guilt about having to take time off (always me) if one of the children was ill?
Until we accept that the bringing up of children is a responsibility of all of us, and that it is important, then it will remain something that is a problem and laid at the doorstep of women, who - we all know - are less important than men.
Free childcare and better facilities/staff when in labour. Not a get them out asap approach they have.
I would like to see first aid and basic CPR taught in schools. Also basic infant resus taught in antenatal classes and how to deal with choking.
I would also like to make it illegal to put displays of sweets at supermarket checkouts.
Promote NOT having children as a perfectly valid, rewarding life choice, instead of a shameful failure.
As many others have said - parents already do rule the world. Perhaps if fewer young people saw having children as the only option open to them to get identity, respect, esteem,
cash, whatever, then the social and economic problems associated with the state having to intervene in the lives of hundreds of thousands of unwanted and unloved children could be addressed.
Just a thought.
Well first off I wouldn't call it a "Mummyfesto" (vomit emoticon).... Dads are involved too.
I would massively increase the amount if support out there for families dealing with disability.
I would ensure children who had SEN had appropriate and good education choices rather than just being slotted in to a straight choice of mainstream or special school.
I would being all hospital cleaning services back "in house" so that the hospitals had a say over the standards of cleanliness.
Gosh I could go in and on....,,
But even more than that - the image of three 'mummies' (not women, people, humans' who 'discover' that they are 'quite good' at saving a lollipop woman from redundancy?
Being a mother is an additional thing, something on top of all the usual life stuff we all do, like having interesting careers, being well educated or well travelled, having experienced all sorts of trials and tribulations. Just like men. So I don't think women 'discovering' in a crappy provincial setting that they can <gasp> participate in the real world despite having spawned another human is very worthy. Bloody condescending.
Anyway. A manifesto which I would set out for the running of a country would have all sorts of stuff in it. But new stuff I'd add since becoming a parent, with the wealth of experience this has given me into navigating a not-very-child-friendly country:
- much more funding for post-natal care. The NHS just stops once the baby is out and safe - the first 3 days or so, particularly after a traumatic birth, are crucial to that little human's start in life.
- parental leave for a year at full pay, taken by either or both.
- sort out the housing price malarkey so that being a SAHP isn't a luxury but a realistic choice. Someone has to care for a small child and I want it to be me. I don't want a nursery setting so stop guilting me into flying back to being an economically active human - this is my new job, my important new role, let me get on with it. In general, stop forcing women back into the workplace. Being at home with a baby/toddler is bloody exhausting and knackering, plenty women don't want to do it which is fine, but support those who do.
- more NHS walk-in services. Really hard when you have an ill child to repeatedly try to get a GP appt, in my area parents usually just head to A and E!
And lots of he excellent ideas linked upthread. But the main point is to stop thinking of 'mummies' when actually, we're just humans who have kids, just exactly the same as the men who do run the country. The difference is that their families have choices, money, staff and freedom most families can only dream of.
Free or at least heavily subsidised wraparound childcare from babyhood (for those who wish to return to work) right through to 16.
Raising of minimum wage to a proper "living wage".
Introduction of a "maximum wage". No human being needs to earn more than £250,000 a year.
Abolition of private schools and healthcare. Or a huge tax on their profits to be put back into state systems.
I would make it illegal for baby food companies to advertise their products as being suitable for 4months+. Especially the ones that contain dairy and gulten, as even if you ignore the 6month weaning guideline, babies shouldn't have dairy or gluten before 6 months! It's very misleading if you don't read the ingredients. I don't know how they get away with it.
Oh and increase paternity leave to 6 weeks.
I'm with Wigeon - er... as far as I'm aware, most of the current world leaders ARE parents.
And yes, yuck yuck yuck to the title. I can't even bring myself to write it.
I am also irrationally cross at the whole premise: the women in the book campaigned to save the lollypop lady and were "surprisingly good at it"!?! Why on earth wouldn't they be? When will women who also happen to be mothers (I.e. a large proportion of the population) stop being defined just by being "a mummy"? This doesn't happen to men and MN HQ I am ashamed of you for perpetuating this!
Aaargh sorry I need to take a deep breath!
Sorry, just realised JumpHerRoo has already made my point and more eloquently too. Still, I think it's worth repeating!
1) Parents (albeit 'daddies', not 'mummies') do retty much rule the world.
2) The book actually sounds really interesting, about campaigning, direct action etc but 'mummyfesto'? I wouldn't be caught dead reading it or having ot on my shelf for the ridiculous title alone.
Just read back to see many agree with me. What a shame about the title and silly thread...
1. Affordable childcare for those wanting to return to work.
2. Make housing affordable so women who are SAHM's are not forced back to work earlier than wanted.
3. Minimum wage should be increase to a living wage.
4. More money pumped into NHS
5. More support for parents of children with SN
6. All parents to receive access to a free first aid course.
7. Free after school sports for children
Free access to cooking classes to enable parents to better feed their children on a budget.
Better access to funding for parents of SN children.
More assistance to help young carers so that they don't fall behind in their education.
yes good idea about GP surgeries
Not sure why so many people take offence to Mummyfesto because it's sexist but not to Mumsnet.
More youth clubs.
Bring back the nit lady in schools.
It's not so much about it being sexist (although it is - as it excludes 'daddies' by definition - Mumsnet at least has the strapline 'by parents - for parents'), it's about it being hugely patronising. 'Mummy' is a term used by little children. It's hardly about taking women as parents seriously.
All chemists to be 24 hours, a godsend if you or your loved ones get sick. Most close which is a pain
more spaces for pushchairs on buses, with the windows at toddler level
Baby & Parent parking spaces should be in every public car park. Anyone who mis-uses them (i.e. those without babies!!!) should be fined!
kslatts - I don't take offence to Mummyfesto on the grounds of being sexist, I just think it is horribly twee. There's no way I'd buy/read a book with that on the front.
Make all companies pay a living wage rather than minimum wage.
I also want to get my post before 2-3pm. I remember my mum being able to get an important letter before heading out for work and being able to post all the relevant stuff back on her way into work. All before 8.30 am! Now you don't get your post the next day anyway and even if you do you have no hope of replying to it until the next day...
Ban sweets, chocs and fizzy drinks from near the checkout at supermarkets. Limit the frequency of dress up days at school.
That every child has the opportunity to appreciate the world in which they live, to grow food and flowers in their gardens or window boxes and have the chance to run wild in the open air, be it the forest or the sea. To know the pleasure of cooking on a campfire in the dark and the wonder of watching the stars.
Make cars impossible to operate if your key doesn't contain the info that you have insurance, road tax etc. Don't increase insurance but have restrictions on experience and limitation on engine size. If you're seventeen and want to drive anything over 100 horsepower then the advance test should be taken. Ban 4x4's unless you are actually a farmer or builder. That one day a year when you may need to drive through a bit of snow doesn't count imo.
I have read all the comments here with interest. I live in germany and a lot of the wishes actually already fully exist here - maternity/paternity care up to 14 months can be completely split however you like - normally the Mum takes 12 months, and the Dad the last 2 up to 14 months. There are kindergartens here for everyone (at least in the city I live in), and very nice they are too. The state schools are excellent - private schools are rare, unless you look at international schools really. Tax breaks are given to parents, and to married couples (and they are looking to update the rights to civil partnerships currently). It is a very different way of life.
If I would add anything, I would say that we should all be a bit more grateful for what we have, and pass this on to our children. There is ALWAYS someone who earns more, has more, is quicker etc, but there is ALWAYS someone much worse off too. If people remembered this more, and were less 'it's my right!' about things, the world would be a better place.
Personally, I find the title completely fine - how is being a Mummy patronising? You are a Mummy. Personally, I really cherish the word Mummy, as I live abroad, and when my little one finally sees the world, I want them to use this for me, and not the german term - it is my link with my homeland. Be proud of being Mummys! It is a very hard job! And as far as I can see Jane has commented the book is about women (not read it) - why would she comment on Dad's in it? No less of an issue - but what about Man and Boy - no-one said 'oh how patronising'! Surely this is about what bothers Mums - not Dads or Parents?
Subsidized childcare centres and before/after school clubs closely linked to schools and schemes to encourage good quality staff at them e.g. a TeachFirst style scheme to encourage graduates
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
- Subsidised, good quality childcare available to all, with tax relief on fees
- A mother's help service available for the first three months with a new baby (5-10 hours a week?) so that new mums get a bit of looking after themselves, or enough time to shower and dress/have a nap knowing that someone is watching the baby
- A umbrella library at train stations, where you could just borrow one if it's raining and return it to any station once it has stopped
- Flexible working becoming normal for everyone, not just parents. Why do schools and offices all generally start around 9.00? It just means we all get stuck in the same traffic jam!
- More of a sense of community and partnership around raising children, with a general understanding that most people are trying to help, not upset you and your children
- Greater security for tenants in any rented property
- Actual support for breastfeeding, not just saying you support it (had this at the HV clinic, of all places-went to get baby weighed at 4 weeks old, huge and very slow moving queue, big sign up saying 'We support and promote breastfeeding, ask if you would like a private room' so when DS started to get hungry and loud, I asked if they had somewhere I could feed him,v shy and leaky of bosom,DS had a very poor latch and kept getting sprayed in the face and was told they did if I could wait forty minutes. Er, no...)
- Support for those who need it. Everyone needs some help sometimes, some more than others. It should be there. I'd happily pay higher taxes to provide it
- Kindness. If everyone had a real think about their interactions with others, and remembered to be kind, a lot of trouble and stress would be reduced or eliminated
-The re-introduction of tea trolleys and a proper break in workplaces. Tea, cake and a chat can really help
- Tickets for cars parked across pavements (if I can't get a buggy past, someone with a wheelchair is really going to struggle) and compulsory indication on roundabouts. I'm not psychic, share which direction you're going in!
I think it should be mandatory for all babies, toddlers to stop needing/wanting looking after while we go to the loo or have a shower.
I used to moan 'I'm sure it's in the human rights convention somewhere that I can use the loo BY MYSELF'. Just once a day would have been nice.
And I hate 'mummyfesto' - sorry.
Affordable holidays in school holidays !!!!
Can appreciate supply and demand but some prices are startingly eg nearly £5000 for a family of 5 Half Board in Spain
kiddy rides at the supermarket should be free!
To stop idiots on motorcycles hooning around at all times of the day/night - to prevent one's kids from being rudely awoken after it took them ages to fall asleep.
To make it mandatory for politicians to live like normal people for several months so that they can actually make informed decisions on issues that affect those of us on lower/middle incomes.
Change the default 'normal' setting from Male as it is currently to Female.
Use AIBU and WWYD as a means of sorting out the country and get Mumsnet to run the country. Get rid of all politicians - they are only interested in themselves and do not seem to understand life as lived by everybody else.
Include much better life skills as part of compulsory education - ranging from understanding personal finance and financial management of your own affairs, being able to cook well, decent first aid and personal health, child rearing and parenting skills, the responsibilities side of living in society (not just the rights that people seem to be all to aware of whilst forgetting the other half of the equation). These should take up the equivalent of at least one A-level's worth of study.
Thanks for all your comments. The winner of the prize draw is...
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