Letter: Right to care for our own children

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your interesting articles on "holding the baby" (29 August) suffered from the weakness which afflicts all debate on this subject: you did not address the problem of how to enable women to look after their own children. Most mothers of young children do not want to hand their children over to a stranger, however well-qualified, and the only reason they do so is from economic necessity - they have to work in order to maintain their standard of living.

Even if 24-hour nurseries, free of charge, and generous tax breaks for childcare were made available to all mothers tomorrow, it would not solve the problem which faces today's generation of women: when we have children, we want the right to rear them ourselves. We are not interested in fighting for the right to do two jobs: one job is enough for any human being. But still we continue to read the same dreary old arguments about how we can be enabled to work in the cash economy at the same time as rearing our children. I don't want to be liberated to be at my employer's disposal; I would rather be liberated to be at my baby's disposal.

Until bringing up the next generation is recognised by society as a worthwhile and valuable occupation in its own right, and remunerated accordingly, women will continue to experience motherhood as a nightmare of guilt, frustration, inadequacy and fatigue, instead of the joyful and fulfilling experience it should be.


London SE13