Letter: Penelope Leach

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The Independent Online
Sir: Dinah Hall has missed the major factor regarding the disenchantment many mothers feel at Penelope Leach's wisdom. I finally threw away my copy of her book after several years when I realised my faith in her was misplaced. Under her regime the dreamlike state of dressing-gowns, milky stains and sticky fingers is elevated to a holy state of purity. Selfish desires are not permissible - such as having a bath alone, wearing dangly earrings or making a phone call. No wonder women have fled back to work in droves if we aspire to this image of perfect motherhood.

Unless mothers of small children retain a reasonable amount of self-esteem, the "Leach" philosophy will continue to produce feelings of inadequacy or resentment. An increasingly frequent solution to this has been to leave day-to-day care to someone else and return to work to regain self-respect - not a result Penelope Leach would perhaps have hoped for.

APRIL BECKERLEG

Grendon Underwood, Bucks.

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