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Middle Class Mothers Deserting Workplace To Care For Children, Government Study Shows

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Telegraph 31/1/14

'Middle class women are deserting the workplace in droves to look after their children, an official study shows. Despite an overall upward trend in the number of working mothers amid a major Government push to increase access to childcare, the number of better-off families relying on formal childcare has plunged by 10 per cent in a single year.

It comes after warnings that the high cost of childcare in some areas combined with the removal of child benefit from middle class families, means that for some couples it is no longer worthwhile for both partners to work.

But a campaign group supporting the rights of stay-at-home mothers said the figures showed that for many families work is simply not the “promised land” that the Government suggests and that many value spending time with their children more.

The research, commissioned by the Department for Education, found that six out of 10 working mothers would work part-time to spend more time with their children if they could afford it.

Almost four in 10 of them said they would give up work altogether if they could, while the vast majority rejected the idea that they would work more hours if they could get good childcare.

Strikingly, it also found that for those who do not use childminders or nurseries, the biggest reason was not financial but because they simply want to look after their children themselves.

A third of parents surveyed for the study admitted that they did not see enough of heir children because of work commitments.

Overall the research, commissioned to measure uptake of Government incentives for childcare, found that the average cost of childcare has fallen in the last 12 months after several years of rises.

Overall 4.2 million families in England rely on some form of childcare for 6.1 million children.

In the most deprived areas of the country the number of families using formal childcare has jumped by 15 per cent in a year, amid efforts to extend free childcare to the poorest families.

Separate figures show that the number of mothers who work has risen from 60 per cent to 64 per cent between 2011 and 2012.

But the new study showed that among those families deemed to be in the top 20 per cent by income, use of formal childcare has dropped from 67 per cent to just 60 per cent, a decrease of a tenth in a single year.

Last year households in which at least one partner pays tax at the 40 per cent rate were stripped of child benefit.

The 340-page report also included extensive polling on families' attitudes to childcare.

It found that although six in 10 parents rated the childcare in their area as good, a majority of mothers would nevertheless prefer to care for their children themselves if they could.

Overall 37 per cent agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that they would give up work altogether to care for their children if they could afford to.

When asked whether they would work more hours than at present if they could get good quality affordable childcare, two thirds disagreed.

Similarly 57 per cent said that they would work fewer hours to care for their family if they could.

Laura Perrins, of the campaign group Mothers at Home Matter, said: “The Government thinks that the promised land lies in work, but for most families work is a means for supporting their family – a means to an end; not the end in itself.

“These families have the option of sacrificing a salary to care at home; it is not going to break them, whereas lower income families it seems that the choice is being more or less denied to them.”

Elizabeth Truss, the childcare minister, said: “We want to see greater choice and flexibility for parents which is why it’s encouraging that more parents are finding childcare to suit their work commitments.

“However, we are not complacent. That's why we are encouraging school nurseries to open from 8am to 6pm and offer more flexible hours for part time workers.

“It's also why we are establishing childminder agencies to increase the number of childminders and cutting red tape for nurseries to enable good ones to expand.”'

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Hard to say. Probably some public funded group trying to shake the money tree.

It is possible that policies like tax credit (money for nearly nothing), high taxes, high inflation and the general cr.pness of working has disincentivised work for a whole generation.

Growing up in this cohort (30-40s now), my experience of a lot of the women has been - I'm independent (80s - uni + 1st job), Its my money (90s - house/car debt/store cards), I want kids (00s - give up job), You'll have to get a better job so I can: pottery, bead making, etc (10s).

Not meaning to sound like a woman-hater or thai brider, but we seem to have arrived at a mid way point in female emancipation - the woman runs up the debt then the blokes expected to pay it back and its OK for a woman over 35 to not have a job.

I'm with the Swedes on this - sub child and keep women in work.

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...its OK for a woman over 35 to not have a job.

I'm with the Swedes on this - sub child and keep women in work.

A woman over 35 with children to raise has a full time job in the house!

Yes great idea, institutionalise the children and get the proles working harder at their unproductive non-jobs.

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Seriously, why should we be paying someone else to look after our kid? Why do the british hate their kids so much?

Whitemice junior is currently at home with his mother right now, having a whale of a time. This is a lot easier to do when the state isn't doing its best to raise the cost of living.

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"Laura Perrins, of the campaign group Mothers at Home Matter, said: "The Government thinks that the promised land lies in work, but for most families work is a means for supporting their family – a means to an end; not the end in itself"

The government just wants all the tax it can get and if that comes at the expense of family life well then so be it. No forward thinking at all. Speaking only for my self here but I didn't decide to have a family so I could let somebody else do the upbringing. But that was in the days when one wage paid the mortgage and everything else.

Many women (families) can not afford to have children until they are 30+ now so it is perfectly acceptable for a man or woman to be over 35 and doing child care. Friend, over 35 paid 1300 a month on childcare. Left work, subs occasionally, is better off financially and gets to bring up her children. The family is happier.

The gov gets less tax from her but they will still get the tax from the next person to do the job. Unless of course the job has been downgraded to a minimum wage job lowering the tax payable and actually costs the gov. via tax credits!

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This is a lot easier to do when the state isn't doing its best to raise the cost of living.

Indeed.Take away the housing ponzi and a lot more mothers would likely be home with their kids it seems.

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Strikingly, it also found that for those who do not use childminders or nurseries, the biggest reason was not financial but because they simply want to look after their children themselves.

Economic terrorists.

Strip them of their citizenship. And their children.

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Growing up in this cohort (30-40s now), my experience of a lot of the women has been - I'm independent (80s - uni + 1st job), Its my money (90s - house/car debt/store cards), I want kids (00s - give up job), You'll have to get a better job so I can: pottery, bead making, etc (10s).

:lol: Spot on. And then it's go back to studying (psychology/counselling is where it's at - they're all doing it).

I do think one parent should be caring for the kids in the pre-school years though. After that, no excuse for not doing some part time work.

A woman over 35 with children to raise has a full time job in the house!

Yes great idea, institutionalise the children and get the proles working harder at their unproductive non-jobs.

I'm a single dad. Bringing kids up (once they're at school) is pretty straight-forward and not a a full time job no matter what women tell you. That includes keeping house and cooking properly. I know many "busy" women with an incredible capacity to fill their day with "important" activities that are nothing but trivial or can be done in one tenth of the time they spend.

Seriously, why should we be paying someone else to look after our kid? Why do the british hate their kids so much?

Yep, I find it odd that it's not seen as natural that one parent (not always the woman is best!) to care for the kids. Of course, the justification is often that need 2 working to pay for high house prices. No connection between both parents working actually pushing house prices up of course!

I think part of it boils down to how people see the role of the State. It seems to be that people would prefer the State or third parties to take care of their children rather than themselves. All parties' policies seem to be to subsidise childcare so that people, mainly women, can work longer hours and pay for higher house prices. Give it 10 more years and people will be wondering why teens are so badly behaved and dysfunctional and no-one will say "maybe their parents should have spent more time with them when they were young".

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Seriously, why should we be paying someone else to look after our kid? Why do the british hate their kids so much?

They don't. My elder daughter is of an age where many of her friends now have babies or small children or both. A majority of these would much prefer to stay at home, at least while their children are very small, but they can't afford to do so . Staying at home with your young children has become a luxury for a good many.

Having said that I know there are women who will always prefer to go to work, but for many it is a real wrench to hand over a baby or tiny child to other people, who will not understand it as she does and will certainly not love it as she does.

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I think the trouble is that the decision makers consists of people raised by a nanny (and/or can easily afford them for their kids) and career-orientated women who do rewarding jobs (including financially).

For most mums (and some dads!), however, that's just not the case. They don't earn enough to make third party childcare a mere blip on the family budget. They work to live, not live to work. Their job is not a calling. And...whisper...some actually want to be with their kids. Maybe not all of the time, but considerably more and in more flexible ways than the average job offers.

I too recognise the 40s woman stereotype (I'm sick of work now so work harder you lazy f***ker). Not unique to women with kids either :lol:

Edited by StainlessSteelCat

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They don't. My elder daughter is of an age where many of her friends now have babies or small children or both. A majority of these would much prefer to stay at home, at least while their children are very small, but they can't afford to do so . Staying at home with your young children has become a luxury for a good many.

Having said that I know there are women who will always prefer to go to work, but for many it is a real wrench to hand over a baby or tiny child to other people, who will not understand it as she does and will certainly not love it as she does.

Someone will be along shortly to tell you those mothers do have a choice.

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That was a headache to read. So how many mothers overall have actually quit work to care for children in the last year? probably not that many.

Perhaps some were working to get the 4.5x joint salary mega-mortgage, now they've moved in and the 'economy is looking up' and all that, they can quit and leave hubby to be the sole earner.

In the Manchester area childcare is around £11-13k a year for 5 days a week! Probably a lot more than that in the south/London. Yet some parents (second earners) will still go to work on around minimum wage and pay almost their whole wage towards childcare, that is madness.

I do think nurseries are a good thing for toddlers, maybe 1-2 days a week, the learning element (EYFS) is very good and social skills with other children their own age are developed, my daughter loves going to nursery (although i'd prefer it to be less than 3 days a week).

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Someone will be along shortly to tell you those mothers do have a choice.

[newspaper comments section Boomer mode] You could buy a small house and raise your kids in it on a single income if you weren't spending all your money on iPads, expensive mobile phone contracts and foreign holidays. Trouble is young people today expect to go straight into a nicely done up 4 bedroom detached house and fill it with all new furniture in their 20s, when I was starting out we understood you have to start off with a fixer upper somewhere a bit cheaper and make do with whatever furniture you could get secondhand, then after a few years etc etc [\newspaper comments section Boomer mode]

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In the Manchester area childcare is around £11-13k a year for 5 days a week! Probably a lot more than that in the south/London. Yet some parents (second earners) will still go to work on around minimum wage and pay almost their whole wage towards childcare, that is madness.

Even crazier if you have multiple small children. I met a woman at work who had figured out that after paying commuting costs and childcare she was basically earning £100 a month for 200+ hours of working and commuting. She didn't stay for long.

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Seriously, why should we be paying someone else to look after our kid? Why do the british hate their kids so much?

Whitemice junior is currently at home with his mother right now, having a whale of a time. This is a lot easier to do when the state isn't doing its best to raise the cost of living.

I agree 100% with this - with a caveat. Always have. Alas holding such views until relatively recently, with all the cost of childcare rises, and even trying to debate the sanity/merit of it vs looking after kids yourself was rather like usually automatically being racist 10 years ago anytime you wanted to seriously discuss immigration on a serious intellectual/political issue. You merely got labelled a chauvanist, seeking to keep women in their place, yada yada yada.

The availability of childcare that was 'cheap' relative to the 'reward' that the mother (and wider society) would gain by enabling the mother to remain in work is always going to be desirable. The 'reward' isn't just straightforward net salary benefit. Consider, by way of random example, a female doctor being able to return to work because she has affordable childcare. The resumption of her services benefit society in return in fairly obvious ways - and not just allow her to start earning again.

But today, just like the 'everyone should be able to go to university' mantra, their is this expectation that it automatically makes sense for children to go to day care whilst mother goes to work. Yet for many lower paid and doing 'non jobs' this ceases to make sense - not least when the costs start to rise to a point where there is effectively no financial return.

The exception/caveat to the above argument is, as far as I have been led to observe/understand, that children who spend at least some time each week in nurseries in the company of other diverse children seem to benefit from a developmental point of view - compared with those who spend the early formative years relatively 'isolated' at home with mother (or father).

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Even crazier if you have multiple small children. I met a woman at work who had figured out that after paying commuting costs and childcare she was basically earning £100 a month for 200+ hours of working and commuting. She didn't stay for long.

Yeah. My wife went back after one, mainly because we knew we'd have another one shortly after so wanted another 12 months paternity pay. So she was kind of getting paid double fit the time she was back. Now we have two it would be pointless for her to go back.

Paying the mortgage on a family home plus all other outgoings heavy going on one salary though, especially in the South East/London.

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Even crazier if you have multiple small children. I met a woman at work who had figured out that after paying commuting costs and childcare she was basically earning £100 a month for 200+ hours of working and commuting. She didn't stay for long.

But if they don't do this until free babysitting, sorry, 'School' kicks in, their career will suffer.

:rolleyes:

Edited by 7 Year Itch

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There's always been career women in professional jobs that have chosen to go back to work after a few months and, with their fat salaries, pay childcare.

It doesn't make as much sense for working or lower middle class women as, yes, after the childcare costs, commuting costs, coffee-on-the-run costs, fresh blouse costs, etc. etc. it's hard to make work pay. And the crushing blow is you don't see your kids.

The idea of dumping kids in childcare and every woman working is still pretty avant garde and I notice a conflict between 'have it all' feminists and 'organic cotton' women who actually want a mumsy existence instead of sitting in some dull workplace while the kids are cooped up elsewhere.

As women are increasingly likely to out-earn their partners nowadays I'm all for men staying at home, or both partners dropping a day each to take on more childcare, with perhaps nursery or child minder a couple of days a week.

Edited by CrashedOutAndBurned

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My anecdotal evidence from our NCT group of middle class mothers:

Of the 8 mums:

2 gave up full time jobs completely (one very high flying type who always thought she'd want to be back at work within weeks of birth)

1 went back 4 days a week (wanted to work fewer days but wasn't allowed)

5 work 3 days or fewer

3 dads (including me) work part time to share child raising

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My wife is currently on maternity leave with Knimbie jr; she'll go back to work as she enjoys her job and values her career and I'll be staying at home with jr.

I regard the push for higher housing costs as an assault on people's relationships and family, a point I made to my local councillor(Conservative) recently. Democorruptcy has long pushed the point about dual income necessity.

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Hard to say. Probably some public funded group trying to shake the money tree.

It is possible that policies like tax credit (money for nearly nothing), high taxes, high inflation and the general cr.pness of working has disincentivised work for a whole generation.

Growing up in this cohort (30-40s now), my experience of a lot of the women has been - I'm independent (80s - uni + 1st job), Its my money (90s - house/car debt/store cards), I want kids (00s - give up job), You'll have to get a better job so I can: pottery, bead making, etc (10s).

Not meaning to sound like a woman-hater or thai brider, but we seem to have arrived at a mid way point in female emancipation - the woman runs up the debt then the blokes expected to pay it back and its OK for a woman over 35 to not have a job.

I'm with the Swedes on this - sub child and keep women in work.

:D Nailed it.

Daddy syndrome.

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:D Nailed it.

Daddy syndrome.

I do enjoy reading this forum (though hardly contribute tbh) however sometimes the shite that comes out is a bit incredulous...

Really? Women rack up debts and the hero, sorry Daddy, pays it back?? I work full time and earn more than my husband, as well as run the house and do childcare (sick days/ CM drop off, collect). My husband wouldn't even bother reading a forum like this, he lives in the 'everything will always be OK, right?' world so if we could really just stop with the ridiculous stereotyping that would be good.

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I do enjoy reading this forum (though hardly contribute tbh) however sometimes the shite that comes out is a bit incredulous...

Really? Women rack up debts and the hero, sorry Daddy, pays it back?? I work full time and earn more than my husband, as well as run the house and do childcare (sick days/ CM drop off, collect). My husband wouldn't even bother reading a forum like this, he lives in the 'everything will always be OK, right?' world so if we could really just stop with the ridiculous stereotyping that would be good.

TBH I have often thought we could do with a Misogynists thread on this forum, since it's got more than its fair share.

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TBH I have often thought we could do with a Misogynists thread on this forum, since it's got more than its fair share.

I would think that there's a fair gap between a rather cyncial view of relationships in the Gen X population and misogyny?

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Consider, by way of random example, a female doctor being able to return to work because she has affordable childcare. The resumption of her services benefit society in return in fairly obvious ways - and not just allow her to start earning again.

This is a touchy subject in our household...

Mrs Whitemice is highly qualified, but in a non-businessey area, hence it's not financially worthwhile for her to work and pay for childcare. This is made worse by the way German married tax breaks are structured to discourage second earners. While this is technically gender neutral, it does put women back in traditional gender roles. Something which must feel pretty weird for her after years of study and hard work.

The exception/caveat to the above argument is, as far as I have been led to observe/understand, that children who spend at least some time each week in nurseries in the company of other diverse children seem to benefit from a developmental point of view - compared with those who spend the early formative years relatively 'isolated' at home with mother (or father).

I don't like the assertion that the mother is isolating the kid at home.

Whitemice junior is spending lots of time with local kids his own age, at play-parks, playgroups, Krabbelgruppe, etc. All the while his mother is on hand for cuddles, diaper changes, etc. A society should provide lots of stuff for the pre-school age kids to do with their parents during the week.

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