During the past five years or so, our government has tried to launch various incentives to persuade people back into the workplace and off the benefits system. More specifically this is aimed at women, and I say this based on personal experience. In my social circles it is largely the men that work full time and the women who either stay home with the children, or juggle part time or full-time jobs around childcare.
This is the issue that upsets me. I have listened to radio call-in shows, and I have read many articles online and in newspapers where people imply that housewives or stay-at-home-mothers are lazy and sponge off the rest of society. How dare people say such things, and actually mean it! I was a stay at home mother for 18 months when my maternity leave expired, and I chose not to return to my minimum wage part-time job. Now I work from home developing my business as a freelance writer, and it is a slow and tedious process. I have no fixed income aside from government benefits, but I work hard both in my freelance jobs and to care for my children.
I have said before that I despise the term ‘stay at home mom.’ It implies that we, the childminders and domestic cleaners, do not work. There is no respect in the UK for people, and I say again, women (with the odd rare househusband) who make the tough decision not to return to paid employment. We do not take the easy option. Far from it. We take responsibility for our own children, at the expense of our financial independence and future pension benefits. We have to rely fully on our husbands or partners for financial support, and that to me is exceedingly difficult.
I do not expect handouts from the taxpayer. I loathed paying such high taxes when I was in full time employment for several years. We all do. From what I have learned, back in the rose-tinted post-war years when women returned to the home and men to the office, housewives would receive an allowance from their husbands. This, in effect, was their salary. It seems that nowadays many families simply do not have the spare cash after they have paid the household bills and transport costs. And then there is childcare if both parents are working away from home.
All I want, and what so many of my friends and acquaintances want, is a little understanding. We need respect and support for the job that we do as housewife, mother, domestic slave. It takes a lot of courage to give up a regular job and rely solely on another person for your home and board. It also takes the patience of a saint to raise children and teach them decent values and morals so that they grow up to be well-adjusted members of society. These are our future carers, providers and pioneers. Why should we damage them at a young age because we are coerced into accepting thankless jobs in faceless corporations? We should not.
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