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another stick with which to beat working mothers...

(44 Posts)
bossykate Thu 01-Aug-02 15:31:31

the parenting news round up mentions a new survey which claims babies with two parents working full time do 10% less well in tests than babies with one parent at home.

how do other working mothers out there feel about this?

oxocube Thu 01-Aug-02 15:36:51

bossykate, I read this (or another v. similar article) in this Sunday's Times and nearly exploded. Completely agree, yet another reason for women to feel crap about themselves. The article went on to say that women could compesate for this 'failure' by providing good quality childcare, like an experienced nanny. Don't know about all the other mums on this site, but I am planning to go back to work soon out of financial necessity: a childminder is expensive enough without even considering the cost of a nanny!

bells2 Thu 01-Aug-02 15:45:15

One thing I don't understand is that they recommend that children should have "one on one" childcare. What about mothers at home with 2 or 3 children under school age?

JanZ Thu 01-Aug-02 15:48:58

Not relevant for my ds, as far as I am concerned. I KNOW that he is getting better attention at the childminder's than I would be able to provide. I love him dearly, but I am not a natural "littlies" mother - the weekends are about as much as I can cope with in thinking of things to do.

I also know that he is getting interaction with other kids at the child minder (she is more like a nursery, with 3 of them doing it) that he wouldn't get at home. In all, I know he is getting good stimulation and a positive environment in which to develop.

The important thing is that he runs IN to the child minder without a backward glance - and runs TO me all excited in the afternoon. He is a happy and stimulated child. I then enjoy a good (minimum) half hour's play with him before preparing the supper.

I'd be interested to see the details of this survey - did they take sociological factor into account?

As far as I am concerned, ds is getting the best of both worlds - and I am not going to let some survey make me feel guilty. They only deal with averages anyway (and you don't know what other variable they have /haven't taken into consideration) - so only YOU can know your own individual circumstances.

I am confident about the decsions that dh and I have taken - and we can see that ds is thriving. That's all that matters.

Bozza Thu 01-Aug-02 15:58:56

janz my experience very much reflects yours. DS runs into nursery without a backward glance. I don't get so much as a kiss in a morning. Due to my hours it is DH who collects him and plays with him before our evening meal and he runs to DH as you describe. When I get home 1/2 hour later he is happily playing with Daddy until I come through the door and then he runs to me holding his arms out. In fact last night he was so excited that he had to back off 3 or 4 times so that he could run into my arms again. But this morning he was off again without a glance.

I only work 3 days and if we're in the house on our own for too long he gets restless and starts thrusting the car keys into my hands or physically pick up the push chair.

I sometimes have doubts but DH soon vanquishes them by pointing out the obvious ie he's a happy little boy.

Azzie Thu 01-Aug-02 16:03:17

JanZ - I agreee totally, this is my experience with my kids at their nursery. I'm sure mine are getting the best of both worlds - lots of one-on-one attention from me and dh plus the excitement, stimulation and social interaction of what I feel is an excellent and caring nursery.

Azzie Thu 01-Aug-02 16:05:06

Forgot to say, of course my kids are obviously so superintelligent and talented that even with a 10% reduction they're still going to be stars

Dreamer Thu 01-Aug-02 16:07:41

I must have been taking mellow pills today, because this story just washed over me for once. I know that my 2 are much happier, well-balanced, well-behaved (sometimes), intelligent and downright gorgeous than a lot of the children at dd's nursery who belong to SAHMs or working mums.

Maybe it's because working (albeit part time) recharges my batteries and helps me to cope better - I don't know.

Anyway, I'm firmly of the belief that it's the type of parenting that's important, regardless of whoever works, age, affluence etc etc.

But there are too many people waiting to beat us working Mums up, for whatever reason. Nobody ever beats up the Dads though, as has been said many times here.

pupuce Thu 01-Aug-02 16:21:48

Bossykate - I read a bit mmore about the study and it said this was "more" true for less educated mums.... but also that most children would catch up anyway ! or something like that.
I think a SAHM who has little time to do things with her kids has as much to worry about as anyone else!
I remember a thread we had about the benfits of nusery and some wanted to know if kids at nursery spoke earlier/better.... well I know that at 2yo in my son's group some spoke very little and were very shy and others spoke amazingly well and were extrovert and they had all been in his room for the same period of time.... It is ALL a combination of things iMO.... eductaion, genes, parents attitude, childcare experience,... it's not 1 thing !

Enid Thu 01-Aug-02 16:27:10

Hear hear pupuce...anyway, why does it matter? I don't think its a stick to beat working mothers with - 10% is hardly the end of the world and the study also went on to say that they'd all catch up sooner or later anyway.

Harrysmum Thu 01-Aug-02 17:05:29

This was the last thing I needed to read today, of all days, as I start back 5 days a week from today (having been part-time until yesterday) and we just lost our dream house to people who offered £1k more. And we still don't know if dh can get his annual leave at the same time as mine so it may be at least Christmas before we get any time off together. Sorry. V off the track but it's the end of a long day and I think it'll be tears before bed time in my house.

threeangels Thu 01-Aug-02 17:13:21

I am planning to be a SAHM at least until my 3rd child (21mo) goes to school fulltime. I feel both parents working is just fine as long as you balance your time between household work, work outside the home and spending quality time with your children (the most important). To me 10% is not even worth mentioning. It sounds ridiculous. As long as kids are helped from their parents with their education at home theyll do just as good as kids whose parents both work. The main thing is for parents to show a lot of interest with what their children are learning at school. I feel childcare is good for some children but not for others. Just depends on the child.

ks Thu 01-Aug-02 18:29:34

Message withdrawn

WideWebWitch Thu 01-Aug-02 21:49:49

Surveys schmerveys...

gillymac Thu 01-Aug-02 22:05:34

personally I think it's a bit 'sad' to test babies in this way especially when it's used to make working parents feel inadequate.
From my experience I have three kids, the oldest of whom is now 15. I worked f/t whilst the older two were pre-school (mainly out of financial necessity) and p/t till the youngest was three. I now work f/t again. Oldest two have both done v. well at school and I hope youngest will do the same. I don't think my working f/t has made the slightest bit of difference to their educational attainments or intelligence.

ScummyMummy Thu 01-Aug-02 22:07:39

Quite so, WWW!

Batters Fri 02-Aug-02 10:37:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Harrysmum Fri 02-Aug-02 10:46:41

Am I the only one with really topsy-turvy thinking (my mil thinks I'm completely wrong but my mum gets where I'm coming from): I am happy to work full-time at the moment whilst ds is at nursery doing the 1001 things I couldn't or wouldn't have the imagination to do, mixing with other children etc and just blossoming but I am determined (with dh's full support) to work not more than school hours once he's in P1, not least because school patterns and full-time work-patterns just don't mix. I want to be at home when he's at home, not because we'll always be having quality time together but so that I am there as and when he needs/wants me: to chat, to have juice & biscuits, to help with homework and projects, to do fun things after school etc. I am really looking forward to it and it keeps me going now that I've (literally) just started doing 5 days rather than 4. It's only another 3 years. And when I step off the career ladder a little I'll be in a much better negotiating position in terms of experience, salary etc to increase again at the appropriate time.

oxocube Fri 02-Aug-02 10:48:38

cheers, Batters

GillW Fri 02-Aug-02 12:17:01

Harrysmum - no you're not the only one who feels like that. I'm currently working full time while 11 month old DS is at nursery (and I'm convinced he benefits more from the interaction than he would by having me at home with him all the time). By the time he starts at school I'd hope to be able to do part-time to be at home with him once school finishes for the day. Financially we shouldn't notice it too much as not paying the nursery fees should offset the drop in income.

Lucy123 Fri 02-Aug-02 12:46:07

It's funny with these studies they never seem to factor in quality of care. It *is* possible that overall the "2 working parents" group were underdeveloped, but that is because some of those children will have been chucked around from carer to carer without an ounze of stability, or cared for by someone unsuitable or something. Some will also potetntially be suffering because both parents are working all hours in jobs they hate, without much energy left for the children after work (and if that's the situation then adding guilt won't help). It always annoys me when studies lump such disparate groups as this together for effect!

Lindy Fri 02-Aug-02 13:07:04

KS - & others, I am sure there are lots of SAHMs like me who has just shut DS in his playroom so that I can get onto Mumsnet - & just counting the minutes until he is ready for his nap so I can put my feet up!! It is surely a myth that SAHMs spend all their time & energy stimulating their children .... I know I don't !!!!!!

What a load of rubbish these surveys are.

ks Fri 02-Aug-02 13:28:39

Message withdrawn

sis Fri 02-Aug-02 16:32:05

Tests for babies?!! what are they on about? If anyone takes their baby to the doctors to say that s/he doesn't seem to be developing as well as s/he should be for the age, they'd be classified as an over-anxious parent and told to relax and the baby would catch up...

Tests for babies, honestly, where does it stop?!!

gillymac Fri 02-Aug-02 18:32:05

Hi sis,
my point exactly. Have these people nothing better to do with their time than to test babies for no other reason than to make some group of mothers, whether working or SAHMs feel inadequate.

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