I felt very passionately about this issue, having had so many Mum’s contact me in the past several years asking for mine and the NHM Communities support.
If we can do something to raise the visibility of the issues that Mum’s will face without being able to Drop-In to the weigh-in’s then that is nothing but a good thing.
This was NEVER my intention when I first set up NHM, that I would be filling a gap to try to raise awareness of some very big issues that are facing the local Mum community.
However, there were a couple of comments on the Health Visitor Baby Clinic post towards a paragraph that I wrote, which I would like to address.
The Ladies who wrote those comments may not like what I’ve written below and that’s absolutely fine.
And actually, I don’t need to explain myself to those Mums.
I did not mock or disrespect anyone else’s views or the choices that they have made and there was no judgement in what I wrote.
If those Mum’s who commented felt that their choices were being judged, the only people who were judging them was them. Not me.
This is what I wrote:
30 hours of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds. Depending on your perspective you can see this as a positive thing but I believe that institutionalising 3 year olds and taking them away from their Mothers at such a young age, for so long, is going to have nothing but a negative impact.’
In the meantime:
Yes, I passionately believe that, in an ideal world, babies and young children should spend more time with their Mum’s than anyone else.
I don’t agree with the 30 hours free childcare for three and four year olds
I believe that nurseries and pre-schools are Institutions
I believe that children start school far too early in this country
I believe that it’s none of my business the choices that you have made for your children and likewise it’s none of your business the choices that I made for my child
I passionately believe that being a Mum is the HARDEST job in the world (and being a Dad is the 2nd hardest job in the world!)
I believe we are all trying to do the best we can for our children, regardless of our circumstances
I believe that you and I can have differing opinions and agree to disagree
The problem with making statements like the ones above is that people will always do their best to try to pull them apart.
And that’s fine.
That’s their choice.
I’ve been writing NHM long enough to know that if you are brave enough to put your head above the parapet and share an opinion, there will be at least one person who doesn’t agree.
But there will be many people who do agree and THOSE are the people I have written NHM for.
Let me unpack those statements above a little more, to explain why I’ve written them.
I passionately believe that, in an ideal world, babies and young children should spend more time with their Mum’s than anyone else.
For Millions and millions and millions of years, Mum’s have been the primary carer for their babies and young children. That’s a fact. It is what it is.
I know that society is changing.
I know that in many instances we don’t feel we have any choice but to put our children into childcare and to have someone else look after them.
We have mortgages to pay and lives to pay for and we want the best for our children which, these days, comes with a hefty price tag.
We enjoy our jobs and we want to be a good role model for our children.
I also understand that this statement is a huge steaming pile of hypocracy given that Mr NHM and I put Miss NHM into nursery when she was 5 months old when I returned to work.
But that doesn’t change my belief.
And is one of the reasons why I’ve run NorthHantsMum for all of these years.
I don’t agree with the 30 hours free childcare for three and four year olds
Looking at the big picture, I believe that 30 hours free childcare is far, far too much.
I say that as someone who used to pay more than £1000 a month for her child to be in nursery, so the free hours would have been BEYOND helpful!
The main reason is the number of Mum’s that I’ve spoken too who feel they are now being pushed into the workforce, by financial needs, as soon as their children turn three years old.
They categorically don’t want to go back to work.
They want their children to remain at home with them but they no longer have that luxury (and these days, unless you’re minted, it is a luxury!) with the offer of 30 free childcare hours on the table.
I do feel that 15 hours of free childcare is the right amount for 4 year olds, four half days a week, because socialisation before they join the institution that is school can be so beneficial to them.
But no, when I look at the bigger picture, I don’t agree with the 30 hours of free childcare.
Even though I know how much those hours help many, many, many of you and how they would have financially HUGELY helped my family.
I do believe that nurseries and pre-schools are Institutions
Wikipedia does a much better job of explaining it than I can: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Educational_institution.
When our children start nursery and/or pre-school they must adapt to the routine of that nursery or pre-school.
There are fixed times for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Key Workers are shared between multiple children.
Each “classroom” contains a great number of children.
Miss NHM loved going to Pre-school when she was 4 years old (when she was at nursery she couldn’t tell me if she loved it or not) but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t attending an Institution.
4. I believe that children start school far too early in this country
I don’t believe that YR is a good thing and I believe that children are far too little to start school at 4/5 years old.
5. I do believe that it’s none of my business the choices that you have made for your children and likewise it’s none of your business the choices that I made for my child.
I put Miss NHM into a nursery when she was 5 months old. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make and it almost broke me.
At the time, I didn’t feel like I had a choice. I’m the main earner in our family and I spent many years working hard in my career to get to a senior role before I met Mr NHM and Miss NHM was born.
I fell pregnant when I was working for a company that was 98% male and they had absolutely no consideration for my pregnancy or when Miss NHM was born. When I left on maternity leave I was told in no uncertain terms that if I didn’t return within 6 months, the job I’d worked so hard to have, would be given to someone else. (In 2011 if you didn’t return to work within 6 months the company you worked for was allowed to give you an “equivalent” role, which meant they would phase you out).
I’d heard the horror stories of how hard it was to return to the workforce once you’d left to have a family and I didn’t want to have to start my career all over again when I returned to the workforce.
Putting Miss NHM into nursery when she was 5 months old was, along with breastfeeding, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
The first time I picked her up from nursery and she was smelled of someone else….
But I made my choices, in discussion with Mr NHM, and I’ve made peace with them.
I’m not happy about them and I felt, and still feel, that I was trapped by my circumstances, like so many of us are.
And yet I STILL passionately believe that babies and young children should spend more time with their Mum than anyone else.
6. I passionately believe that being a Mum is the HARDEST job in the world
Whatever we do is wrong.
We are judged by others and we judge ourselves.
We judge ourselves more harshly than anyone else.
We never know if we are getting it “right” until our children are grown up.
This post puts it far more eloquently than I can: https://www.mother.ly/life/self-care-is-not-enough-to-fix-how-much-moms-are-burnt-out?fbclid=IwAR1Yr4uCbYrn7X7r87LJIyNoKLw1Q-ntPmdKOV-o1iUcu-vDiYkQNCRR65Y
7. I believe we are all trying to do the best we can for our children
Whatever our decisions and our choices I know that ALL NHM Readers are just trying to do the best for their families and their children, whatever their circumstances.
8. I believe that you and I are allowed to have different opinions
We are incredibly privileged to live in a Democracy where we are able to voice our opinions.
I apologise if my paragraph upset you in any way.
If you’ve been following NorthHantsMum for a while, you will know that I do my very best to use NHM as a positive force and it is NEVER my intention to upset people, especially Mum’s.
However, if that one paragraph that was embedded in a post that was about something else entirely, hit a nerve, your negative comments actually say more about how you feel than they do about what I believe.
Who cares what I believe and write about?
The only people who should really care are me, Miss NHM and Mr NHM.
Everyone else has a choice to read what I’ve written.
Ultimately, if you don’t like what I write, please don’t read it.
But I’m taking that decision out of your hands anyway.