Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Are Working Mums Better Mums?

As I was watching This Morning (yesterday) they had a very interesting debate about whether working mums make better mums. This debate stemmed from Nicole Kidman in a recent interview suggesting that working mothers are perhaps more fulfilled, her thoughts being if you stay at home then you are vicariously living your life through your kids.......I did wonder if she had a point but at the same time was baffled by this. You can read a bit more about it here. This is such an age old debate, similar to breastfeeding and it's never going to go away, so many differing thoughts and opinions. It really got me thinking. Bizarrely my thoughts have swung both ways lately, at one point I wanted to back to work and then I wanted to be a stay at home mum. Currently I'm glad to be back at work, obviously I miss the children and that's only natural but there is a part of me that feels like I'm achieving personal goals.

I'm sure as you know if you stop by here alot you will know I've recently returned to work after nearly 10 months maternity leave and it is tough. Now I'm not saying that I've got a full insight into a stay at home mums life as Alfie still remained in nursery twice a week while I was off but I was looking after Elarna during this time and the rest of the days were spent looking after the both of them. I definitely think I got a feel for it and even though it is of course tough to return to work, for me working gives a sense of purpose, my own money and utilising my qualification that I studied hard for. However it doesn't come without issues.


I do find the whole debate completely crazy, how can being a working mum make you any a better mum than a stay at home mum and vice versa. I actually find it quite offensive in a way that our choices as mothers are always being questioned and sometimes working mums are chastised but similarly so are SAHM, how is that fair? Who really cares if a Mum decides to work or stay at home. Some Mums simply HAVE to return back to work while some Mums decide not to return back to work at all for the needs of their children but surely the most important thing is that the children are happy and loved. Happy parents make happy children in my opinion.

I thought about the 2 different options. 

The benefits of being a working Mum: 
  • It can actually be less stressful being at work, no screaming children, you can pee and poo in peace, no constant tidying up. 
  • You earn your own money, I don't know about you but the thought of living off my husband (and not being able to feed my makeup addiction) makes me come out in a cold sweat.
  • It's keeps your brain ticking over, I swear every day on maternity leave I felt like my brain cells were slowly diminishing. 
  • Kids TV......enough said.
  • You can have a hot cup of coffee.......bliss.
  • There is adult conversation. You network, make friends and socialise........ no soft play meetings!
  • It sets a good example, you work hard (and I'm not saying SAHM don't work hard  because they do..... this is me when I'm not at work, before I get shot down it's just working hard in a different way)
  • The time spent with the kids is so precious and I find I make the most of it.
The negative side of being a working Mum:
  • The guilt, oh the guilt is tremendous, that is probably the hardest part about being a working Mum.
  • When the kids are ill it is THE hardest thing to leave them in the care of grandparents or daddy when all you want to do is stay and cuddle them and make them better.
  • If like me you work 3 longer days the thought of leaving without saying goodbye in the morning and returning when most likely they are in bed or on the verge of going to bed is hard, really hard.
  • It's tiring, the days off you do have are spent catching up on washing/housework/cooking etc etc and it's difficult to know how to get a decent work/life balance
The benefits of being a SAHM:
  • Spending lots of quality time with the kiddies. 
  • No worries about finding childcare or arranging grandparents to step in at short notice
  • No stressing when you get a phone call from said childcare that your child is ill and can you pick them up
  • You can have a continuous routine to stick to day to day
  • You know what you're doing every day and can plan around this easily
  • Getting to witness all the milestones and firsts that occur
  • Building up a solid and reassuring relationship with your children
The negative side of being a SAHM:
  • Less money than perhaps you are used to
  • Days are at times monotonous and for me I'd worry that they weren't getting enough stimulation on a daily basis
  •  Trying to think of things to do to entertain and occupy the kids on a day to day basis and I can't imagine the stress on a rainy day, wahhh!
  • The worry of what to do when the kids go to school? Head back to work? Have another kid? I have no idea.
  • Who to see when everyone else is at work?

In an ideal world and if money really was no concern I guess there is part of me that would love to stay at home more but I do think I would go a bit stir crazy. There were times through my maternity leave when Alfie was testing me and Elarna would just whinge all day and it did make me question my sanity somewhat! My biggest concern in this case would be the stimulation that they would get and how I could provide it. 

I openly admit to not being an 'arts and crafts' mum or 'messy play' mum, we very rarely get the crayons out (not for want of trying but Alfie isn't overly fussed by colouring and drawing), I don't even own a 'tuff tray' and glitter (as much as I love sparkly things) brings me out in a cold sweat. What I do know is that a nursery environment can offer all of these things and more to my kids and for that I am grateful. Alfie is an active and very physical boy and extremely bright and I feel that the correct nursery environment is what he needs. It's good for Elarna too, she needs to develop and mix with lots of other babies and learn to be around other people and get used to me not always being around, she's thriving at nursery as is Alfie and I really do feel they can offer more than I can to a degree. What they can't offer is motherly instincts, motherly love and their full and devoted attention and this is where the SAHM's excel.

I could debate until the cows come home and I'm sure if anyone else had listened to the debate on This Morning it would have perhaps ruffled some feathers. As I mentioned above it is just ridiculous that we are judged, belittled and made to feel shite for the choices we make even though those choices are what are right for us personally and individually. So do I think working Mums make better Mums?? Of course not!! It's the most ridiculous and silly thing to read. I'm not a better Mum just because I work, I work to provde and give me a sense of being but this doesn't make me any better or any worse than a Mum that chooses to spend her time at home.

These are  things that I've thought of and I expect that there is lots more that can be added, so please do tweet me or leave me a comment. I know of both working Mums and SAHM and would really like to hear other people's opinions.



I really would love to know your views. Are working mums better mums? Do people really think think that SAHM's have it easy? Does Nicole Kidman have a point? You've read my thoughts, let me know yours.


Best of Worst

47 comments:

  1. You are right, this is one of those debates that has no answer. I think the best mum is generally a happy one, and its for each individual to decide which option will suit them and their family best. And you are totally right, working or not working does not change how good a parent you are xx #bestandworst

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  2. I agree with you hon. I think we each just do what suits our family circumstances the best. At the end of the day we're all mums and we're all putting our little ones first in whatever way it's most needed. I don't think anyone really has the right to debate it one way or another as I don't think you can split mums into two generic camps. We're all just mums, all bringing up teeny humans that we adore.

    Great post. Thank you for hosting #bestandworst

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  3. It doesn't matter if you're a working of sahm. It's all difficult. I've just started mat leave for baby 3, I love being at home and if I could I wouldn't go back. I do like my job and it challenges me but it's so difficult to juggle school hols and work. I'm sure if I was a sahm I could find similar fulfilling things, starting my blog has been great. Looking after a newborn fils my days atm just wish I got paid for Doing these things!

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  4. I watched this piece on This Morning and the whole conversation just seemed so unnecessary and silly. It's not a black and white issue, there are a million shades in between. Choice has a massive part in it because whether it's 'right' or 'wrong' for a momma to return to work, if they have to do it, they have to do it. I will have to return to work at some point after I have my baby later in the year. Some mommas thrive at home with little ones, some feel they've lost a big part of who we are. It's finding what fits for each unique family, which is what the SAHM was trying to say on the show. I've got to be honest - the working mum was ruffling my feathers because if anyone was being judgemental it was her but she just didn't see it. I think all mommas need the be high fived for making tough decisions in the family's best interests. Great post love xx

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  5. I think it's just a ridiculous debate! I can't believe people turn motherhood into a competition. I've done both, and somewhere in the middle (I spent my daughter's first year as a full time uni student) and none of them make you a better/worse parent. What makes you a good parent is loving your children and making sure they're fed, clothed and looked after! How you do that has no bearing on how good a parent you are! Thanks for hosting #bestandworst

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  6. I have similar feelings to you regarding the benefits of a daycare environment on little minds. I'm at home with my 15 month old now, but a return to work is likely in the next few weeks (fingers crossed I find a job!). The more time I've had to get used to the idea, the more I can see it will do me and my boy good. I'll get to have a little bit of my life back and he'll get all kinds of great experiences I'm not organised enough to give him at home!

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  7. Great post. Made my heart flip, then flip some more. I used to be a working mummy - had the full-time Nanny, the career in London but it just got too much and put a strain on everything at home and I needed to rethink how we could change our lives for a bit before it broke! I was fortunate enough to be able to take a career break and I totally refocussed - the family are happier and everything seems to work better but I've had to give up my career for that and that still makes me sad but for the moment I'm not going to change things. I, however, wasn't able to stop completely as thats not me so I looked to my arty side and started teaching piano - I would advise every parent to encourage their children to take up a vocational skill that they could always fall back on when they have children so they can work around the children - all of the stress of working in London has gone and although I really really miss my career things definitely run a little less stress free with me being here a little more. Great read #Bestandworst Happy Wednesday

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  8. Hey lovely. I could debate this to the cows come home too, its such a difficult one. For me, I have to work, for my wellbeing, financially and also because I want to instil a good work ethic into my son. I am very lucky that I have great childcare with my Mum and my partner's Mum and a flexible job. I take my hat of to SAHM's, I couldn't do it myself. #bestandworst

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  9. I have done both and to be honest there is no right answer. At the moment I am more than happy staying at home and working freelance and blogging. OK money is tough but I am more content with my decision and my kids I think pick up on that. I guess it is whatever works for you and your family.

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  10. I didn't see that debate on this morning but I just think to each their own. Every family is different and have different needs. Personally I take my hat off to working mums because I know it's the absolute hardest thing in the world to juggle work/home life balance. I used to be a working mum until I had my third child. My circumstances right now (with two children who have various hospital appointments at different times and in different locations means that it is impossible for me to work right now). I don't think anyone has the right to judge another person when they don't know that families circumstances. I do agree however that the working mum is probably a little more sane the SAHM purely because as you say they have a little bit of their own identity back. I have no idea who u am anymore, except mum but then I have plenty of time to 'find myself later" :-)

    #bestandworst. Thanks for hosting.

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  11. This debate is an age old debate and no doubt our children will be having the same discussion when they're parents! It so much depends on you and the type of person you are. I have friends who are bored after just a few months at home, post baby, who need to be stimulated by a job or external factors that they want to quantify themselves, and I have the opposite in friends. But what I do believe is that if Mummy isn't happy then the children won't be happy. Mummy needs to be content and happy within herself. So doing whatever best suits you as a person is the right thing for you and your family
    x

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  12. I have opinions on what I personally think is best, but they're only relevant to me, as my family is the only one I get to have a say in. It's far too complicated to have an answer either way because, regardless of whatever evidence may exist or be put forward about what is viewed as best for children, you would still have to take account of the fact that it is also best for children to have parents who are happy with and suited to their roles, whether that is at home or working. I don't think there is an answer that is what is 'best' in all families or for all children. #bestandworst

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  13. I'm in a lucky situation whereby (when not on may leave) I work in the evening which I feel gives us all the best of both worlds. Dexter goes to preschool twice a week so gets stimulation and interaction there. I am at home during the day so I get to witness the firsts and the milestones, I get to play with them both all day, and I'm not spending loads on childcare. I'm the one that is bringing them up. However, when Liam comes home in the evening, I then go to work for a short while so I still get adult conversation, I earn my own money and it gives Liam some alone time with the kids too. Then when I come home, the kids are in bed (in theory) and I get some time with Liam. But you're right. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer. We do what we need to get by and as you say it's like breastfeeding. It's not a one size fits all answer.

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  14. I wrote a post recently about busting working mum myths actually. As a full time working mum I wouldn't change it and I want to work. Some mums don't want to work and have to, and some just don't work. As you said, there is no right or wrong answer and it all comes down to what is best for your family. I am sure the debate will continue...with a lot of different and controversial views #bestandworst

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  15. I get so tired of media types making these broad generalizations and turning everything into neatly little packaged competitions and controversies. So stupid

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  16. It's just yet another thing that women get judged on, isn't it? Oftentimes it isn't even a case of choice - it's what you *have* to do. I do think that a happy person will make a better parent than a miserable one, so finding the balance is important. I was happy working part time, but have just been made redundant, so will be a stay at home mum to a school aged boy for the foreseeable future, so I'm sure this topic will come up in my blog too at some point!

    #bestandworst

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  17. All I know is that being a working mum makes ME a better mum. I couldn't cope with being at home all day and not having anything 'else'. I guess that's probably why a lot of mums blog! #bestandworst

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  18. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I'm about 8 months into my maternity leave and need to start making decisions about if/when I go back to work. I think I'd like to go back part-time and get a bit of both worlds, but that will depend on what we can manage financially. It's really hard - part of my would love to go back to work for the mental stimulation, and part of me can't bear the thought of leaving my baby! #bestandworst

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  19. I'm not a mum so I have no personal experience either way, but I view it the same way I do every parenting debate. If your child is loved, that's the main thing, do what you think is best. You will always be judged, rise above it and forget the haters. Thanks for hosting #bestandworst
    Debbie

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  20. I think it is such a deeply personal decision. For me, it isn;t from lack of trying about going tback to work ,there just hasn't been the flexibility around a job offer. To combat the brain thing, the blog started. The main difference is that in Dubai majority of mums seem to be SAHM so I haven't been short of friends or ideas on what to do! #bestandworst

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    1. And back again ;) still thinking the same. I think Debbie especially hits the nail on the head - whatever you do you will be judged. Haters gonna hate! #effitfriday

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  21. Ugh, does ITV not have anything better to debate!? I just don't think this is a debate...people are people. What we all need are choices, that's what they should be talking about. Once those choices are available you make a choice that's best for you and end of story. It just feels like us vs them 'stories' are constantly being hauled out at the moment and they are mostly all female related and 90% of the time mother related. I just don't get it. #bestandworst

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  22. I think neither is better but I know I have to be a working Mum. I love my gremlin to death but like you I'm not that artsy Mum. We bake, playdoh, colouring etc but I'd struggle 5 days a week to entertain her. Plus weekends would not be any different except Chris is around!! I'm sticking with my blissful balance. xx #bestandworst

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  23. I think whatever you are, you need to give yourself a good pat on the back. I returned to work a few months ago and its incredibly hard. Operating on little or no sleep and being responsible for a little person, is the toughest job in the world. I feel incredibly guilty that Henry has to go to nursery and his Nana's, but he's coming on leaps and bounds from nursery. I pick him up beaming ear to ear after a day of messy play, painting, singing and story time. I know in my heart, even if I won the lottery, I just couldn't dedicate all this attention to my little man. Great piece however, its really got me thinking. Renee @peonieandme #bestandworst x

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  24. It's one of those arguments that people don't really have a right to an opinion on, unless it relates to their own family and circumstances. How can anyone know what is best for someone else!? I am glad I work three days a week - it really is the best of both worlds for us. Having said that, I will have to go back full time soon, and I am not looking forward to it!
    x Alice
    #bestandworst

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  25. Having been both a working mum and a sahm I certainly don't think either is better, or worse. There is no easy ride once you're a mum, it's just a case of working out what's best for you and your family at that given time. #bestandworst

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  26. I've done both so far. I'm currently a temporary stay at home mum while I'm looking for a new job and absolutely loving it (although I'm not sure if this is partly because I know it's temporary and I'm determined to make the most of it and get out every day etc.) At the end of the day, we all have the right to decide what's best for our own families without being subjected to judgement from others. I do think both working and being a SAHM have their challenges and rewards. #bestandworst

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  27. I agree with you and kind of object to the question. It's just another way to judge and vilify mothers. Notice similar things are never asked of fathers.


    #bestandworst

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  28. Such an interesting topic. Frankly, there's no right answer as everyone is different. Working part time is essential for my sanity and I don't feel bad or guilty about it because it definitely makes ME a better mum but that's certainly not universal. Everyone should just make the right choice for them x #bestandworst

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  29. This is a great debate but I do think neither is better. It's whatever works for each mum and we all make ourselves the best mums whether we work or not. I've done both and both are so incredibly hard. #bestandworst xx

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  30. There isn't a right answer to this one as what works for one person / family won't work for another. I would have been a terrible SAHM, whilst Rev T was a great SAHD. The real problem isn't whether you work or not, it's the judgements people make about it. People who often know very little about you or your circumstances

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  31. Are people still black and white on this issue? There is a huge grey area on this topic, it is really whatever makes Mum happy because that's when baby is the happiest. End of story! : ) It is definitely an interesting topic to consider, because initially you'd think the children with the SAHM would grow up happier/healthier (I'm a working Mum), I'd love it if they did a study on children with SAHM versus working Mums.... but of course the study would never be accurate because there are SO many factors that would when bringing up a child that you couldn't place it on whether the Mum was at home or working! #bestandworst

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  32. Definitely a debate that could go on for ever! And I think the answer is, it's just down to the individual. From my antenatal friends, one of them went back to work full time, and couldn't wait to get back. She said that she loved her children, and loved her job, and she now loves having both. Another friend went back to work part time and hated it, and is now a SAHM, and loves it. She is really outdoorsy, so loves to load the children in the bike trailer, or the baby jogger, and be doing her outdoorsy stuff with the kids all day! That is right for her! I thought I'd love being a SAHM, but I actually don't. I feel like I've lost my identity, sometimes my self esteem, and my sanity. I do like doing the craft thing, so we often have craft afternoons, and we do a soft play, park, or play group every single morning. That is because I'm insecure that I'm not doing enough for them, they aren't stimulated enough, they aren't socialising enough etc. I know we don't really need to be doing all that, but we do it anyway. Sometimes I dream of work, and get snappy easily with the children, so sometimes I'm not a better mother for being at home, I think I'd be better with some time away. I need to find a balance! It's all just very individual!
    #bestandworst

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  33. Isnt it amazing the judgment passed by others who tell us what's best for ourselves and families? I don't think one is better than the other, and coming from being a working mom for the first 4 years of my childs life I feel I have a pretty good idea of both lifestyles now. For me I liked working but having to leave my child with someone else to take care of him and play with him made me feel horrible. So I worked hard got our debt in order and made the change to stay home and I feel like that missing piece was filled. For me being a stay at home mom is more fulfilling, but that doesn't mean its better for everyone. I just think it depends on the persons individual needs and what makes them feel accomplished. This is a great topic, thanks for sharing. #bestandworst

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  34. An interesting one and one that always sparks much debate. I am very much an each to your own person and both ways work just fine. It's a shame when one camp can be dismissive of the other. I've seen women talk down to SAHMs as though they are unworthy and likewise SAHMs being judgemental of working mums. I've been both. What do I prefer - part-time is a pretty good balance. That sounds very sitty on the fency, but it absolutely isn't meant to be. Thank you for hosting my first time linking up. #bestandworst

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  35. I don't think there is a right answer, whatever we do, we will feel guilty! Either because we are made to by judgemental people, or just because we judge ourselves too harshly! I think working for 2 or 3 days is the best balance as you can keep your hard-won career going but still have 4 or 5 days with the lovely kids. I also agree that nursery is really good for them - it helps with social skills and being more independent, and I'm sure it helped Ava make a smooth transition to school. And they do things there that I would never even think of! Great, thought provoking post, thanks for hosting #bestandworst xx

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  36. I have also recently returned to work (my youngest is a year on Valentines Day)and I admit I love being at work. But I still miss the children. I think if money was no object, I would stay at home but use the money to make every day really exciting. I openly admit I find it really tough being stuck in the house with both children day in day out! Thanks for hosting #bestandworst

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  37. I think you've pretty much covered it! Both options are hard in different ways - working part-time I think provides a good balance between the two which would be my preference. But neither working mums of SAHMs should have to defend their decision - whatever is right for us is best for our children. x #bestandworst

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  38. It's a tough one. But I definitely agree with it sometimes being less stressful dealing with work than the baby. I work from home, so I suppose I'm somewhere in the middle. Caspian is either out with my OH or he's at nursery. I miss him a lot more when he's at nursery than with his daddy, strangely enough. #bestandworst

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  39. I think it's such an individual thing. I've done both and each has good and bad bits, like most of life, really. I loved both, but neither made me a better mother.

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  40. Everyone tries to do what is best for them and their family. I was a stay at home mum and now I work from home. What used to annoy me about the assumptions about stay at home mums was that we were rich. Everyone's situation is different. I knew that I only wanted to work part time, but working part time didn't cover the childcare costs. So for us it was more that I couldn't afford to return to work. #effitfriday

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  41. I agree, it's such a personal thing - what's right for one person won't be for another. I love working part time as it gives me the best of both worlds, and I'm not sure I'd stay home full time even if we could afford it. x #effitfriday

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  42. You sum this up beautifully. I stayed at home until the boys were three and recently returned to work ( I did a blog post about it recently). I think working comes with advantages and disadvantages, which you say perfectly in your blog. I think the best mum is one that cares and loves there children, regardless of the day-to-day logistics :) Thanks for the post. #effitfriday

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  43. A really interesting read working or not working there is probably good and bad parents thanks for hosting bestandworst

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  44. I am a stay at home mum. It wasn't my choice, I had a breakdown from working hard and only just surviving financially.
    When I was a working mum I earned a few pence above minimum wage after Tax, NI and childcare for two I was getting just £1.50 an hour.

    Having been both I prefer being a stay home mum and blogger.

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  45. I really don't believe that either makes you a better mum. I believe that mums are mums and the choices they make will be the best for their families! X

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  46. I just went to a talk by an expert on child brain development and he said that the best predictor for success as an adult was having a close emotional bond with one key person in the first 18 months of life, and that the carer talk and engage with the baby as much as possible for those 18 months. Can a day-care centre with a ratio of 4 babies to 1 teacher really engage a baby like a mother/father/grandparent etc can? I can't see it, so I'd say if the Mum personally can't be at home with the baby, there should be one key person with the baby as much as possible to form that close bond which in turn gives a baby's brain the best possible chance for development

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