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Mothers are needed to save the family, not the economy

David Cameron has reiterated his pledge to introduce tax breaks for married couples but Francis Phillips is not holding her breath

By on Wednesday, 1 May 2013

David Cameron meets with a young family Photo: Press Association

David Cameron meets with a young family Photo: Press Association

An article in the Telegraph on April 25 has made me sit up: “Mothers needed to save the economy.” What? So mothers aren’t needed to “save the family unit”, “save the psychological wellbeing of young children” or “save the state the task of raising children” – all the traditional ways that mothers have contributed, indirectly but vastly, to the “economy.” According to the Telegraph report, “Stay-at-home mothers would help to revive Britain economy by returning to work after having a baby, the Government has suggested.”

The article adds: “David Cameron’s official spokesman said it was “good for the economy” that the Coalition was helping parents to pay high nursery fees so that they could overcome “obstacles” to work.” Although this same spokesman paid lip service to “all mums” (note the faux-chummy expression), he made it clear that high child care costs “can be a significant obstacle and helping people tackle those obstacles, yes, that is good for the economy.” Mothers who choose to stay at home with their children when they are young, often making large financial sacrifices to do so, are right to think that the Coalition is not really interested in them or their crucial role in raising future stable, happy, self-disciplined citizens. What the Coalition wants is workers, and their children cared for in day nurseries by “professionals.”

The campaign group Mothers At Home Matter has pointed out in the same Telegraph article that this latest news clearly shows “the Government is “obsessed” with GDP at the expense of family life. Laura Perrins, a spokesman for the group, commented, “I don’t know what type of government dedicates itself to separating mums from their young children.” Cristina Odone echoed her in the Catholic Herald of April 26: “Those in authority see no need to make special concessions to mothers in terms of benefits or (for stay at homes) tax breaks…Women’s groups try to convince mothers that they are replaceable with a rota of child care professions or a minder recruited from an agency.” She emphasised that although “successive governments prize formal work over family work, yet there is no business or industry more important than raising children.”

I suspect the Coalition doesn’t grasp this fundamental truth partly because its two leaders are both married to high-powered working women who wouldn’t dream of ever being full time mothers. As Kathy Gyngell, quoted in CFNews for 28th April said, “The message is, “Go back to work and put your child in nursery where he can socialise. Don’t feel guilty.” But what if nurseries are bad for children?…Young children aren’t designed to be separated for parents all day and made to socialise in large groups of their peers.”

Intriguingly, a report in the Telegraph on April 27, titled “Tax break for married couples within two years, Cameron pledges”, suggests that the Tories, if not their Coalition partners, sense the discontent of the country’s mothers: “The Prime Minister said he will recognise marriage in the tax system …after receiving heavy criticism in recent months for his failure to support traditional British families.”

I’m not holding my breath.

  • http://womanofvalorpsalm39.blogspot.com/ Andrea

    Your response thou seems to suggest it is difficult so give up. Not everyone lives up to the high standard, that’s true. But you seemed to be criticizing people for having such a high standard. Set the bar low and we all stay in the mud.
    The Church recognisung that marriages are difficult; how can it not when we recognize original sin? However, the Church’s response is to try and work things and if, in a situation where this is too difficult at that time, have a civil divorce. However, in the eyes of the Church you are still married and this means you stay celibate even if you live apart.
    This may sound like a difficult cross to bear but this does stop the endless swapping of father figures for young people leading them to find it difficult to trust and attach and therefore perperetuating and worsening the cycle in the future.
    It is a self sacrifice, it as Catholics that is what we are called to do, die to oneself for the good of others. In this case our children.
    Also having an emphasis on marriage in this way ensures that there is, in a good majority of cases, the opportunity for redemption and renewal. You said fathers aren’t consistent (believe me, neither are mothers) but by promoting continued commitment they have the opportunity to become more so and as act as role models for their children to do so not just in marriage but in life as well.
    The diffciulty with saying that it’s too hard, give up is that this can be applied to any relationship. Marriage is a sacrament because it is one of the ways were, through sacrifice, we are formed in the nature of Christ and therefore contribute to the body of Christ.

  • la catholic state

    Divorce is harrowing for children. Another blow to children from the adult and establishment world. All of these will have to be answered for. To be truly adult…..means putting children first….not last as in our selfish seedy child-unfriendly society.
    In extreme cases…..separation can be undertaken. But not divorce. Im glad the Church is out of step with selfish adults who do so much damage to children! Long may it be so!

  • Jonathan West

    No, all societies have sex or they die out. Not the same thing. There have always been a proportion of births outside marriage.

  • la catholic state

    Well let me put it this way…..we don’t call in the so-called outside ‘experts’ who don’t put the welfare of children first. That way lies even more trouble for children. Church parishioners can easily fill the gap if organised…..and for free too!

  • la catholic state

    Circumstances will dictate. Never the less….the ideal is to stay with mum and dad. I certainly wouldn’t like to have been given to any of my extended family. But maybe if they had accepted me as their own daugher….due to external circumstances….it might have been ok. But I would have had to be treated as their own ie as their own offspring.

  • Jonathan West

    Your response though seems to suggest it is difficult so give up.

    Not at all. It is just that if you want to do some good, you have to target your help at the children, who still need support even if one parent has left. You would support widows, so why not single parents whose partner has left? Telling a single mother that her husband shouldn’t have left is going to do nobody any good at all.

    It has to be understood that there are good reasons for one partner to want and need to be rid of the other – unfaithfulness, violence, inability to handle money. getting the couple back together is not a panacea, and depending on the circumstances may not help the children. In some cases certainly providing support and encouragement to work out a new relationship is the answer. But in others (e.g. where there is violence towards the other partner or the children) then quite frankly it shouldn’t even be attempted.

    But all the catholic sloganising about supporting marriage is of very little relevance when you start dealing with people’s individual situations.

    However, in the eyes of the Church you are still married and this means you stay celibate even if you live apart.

    Well, if you want to do this, and sacrifice your own chances of future happiness in a new relationship, with additional moral support for your children, you are of course free to do so. But I would question whether doing this is actually going to help your children.

    After all, if a family with two parents is supposed to be the ideal environment for bringing up, why would you deny that to your own children. If you were a widow there would be no problem with remarrying. Why is this not the case when it is not your husband but merely your relationship with him that has died?

  • la catholic state

    That’s just the beginning. Once a child is born….there are years ahead in the fight for survival….and children need a mum and dad to provide this. Marriage ensures both parents provide for the child’s needs as is their responsiblity.
    Children born out of wedlock is a practise that is always discouraged…except in our own society….and probably in the last days of Rome.

  • $20596475

    Depends what you mean by marriage. Of course men and women have been cohabiting, in various combinations, since they evolved. That is necessary for the survival of the species. Formal marriage is a relatively recent development, which is now less in favour than it was. Society will survive whatever happens to formal marriage, which is largely religious invention.

  • $20596475

    Of course divorce is harrowing, but no less than constant war within a broken family. Good adults do exactly what you suggest, whether they are married or single parents. You seem to have a strange idea that being married turns a person into a saint, whilst to be single means you are selfish.

  • $20596475

    Funny! I wouldn’t trust a hamster to some of the parishioners I have known, let alone a child. They are just people, with faults and prejudices like anyone else. What they don’t have is the training, or experience, to handle the stressful situations that often arise.

  • la catholic state

    And you too are only a mere person….with faults and prejudices like anyone else. But I would trust any one of my children with the gentle Christian womenfolk at Mass each morning….a 100 times more than I would trust a PC, anti-family, publicly paid, box-ticking ‘expert’!

    Oh and did you say experience!! Some of these good women have up to 10 children….and have looked after ailing dying husbands. I know to whom I would trust my children any day of the week!

  • $20596475

    I rather think it is you who has been tossing around the insults towards the “experts”. Just re-read your last post. I am sure some of those gentle people at your mass are good and well meaning, but just remember this. Jimmy Saville was also a parishioner!

  • la catholic state

    Well after all….Im sure his victims came from broken families….something you indirectly (Im sure) encourage in your support for divorce etc. A lot of young girls are left vulnerable, hearbroken and unprotected when dad leaves the home. Nasty that.
    Im amazed social worker types never see the disasterous consequences of their so ‘enlightened’ views that have ruined the lives of other people. Ill stick with the gentle women of the parish ….thanks anyhow.

  • $20596475

    How on earth do you arrive at that conclusion? We know almost nothing about his victims, or that backgrounds, but they are likely to have been the type of girl who is impressed by celebrity. More likely, in my view, to come from a sheltered environment than any other.

    I am not, and never have been a “social worker”. I am just a realist who recognises that the vulnerable need help and that we need, as a society, to provide it properly. Thats because I care, and not to score political points.

  • la catholic state

    Any girl of a sheltered background would not likely be in the company of Celebrities. More likely to be from a liberal background where it is thought ridiculous to protect girls from anything.
    If you are a realist….then you should know that vulnerable children come from broken families…..and the liberal, secular, post-Christian establishment aids the breaking up of families. If you really care about people more than PC ideology (and you haven’t proven you do)….you will do all in your capacity to aid the strengtening of families…not their breakup. And you don’t seem interested in that.

  • la catholic state

    Formal marriage is as old as society itself. From strong marriages whole clans and dynasties arose. No messing around with co-habitation there. Also….co-habitation generally means the man has permission to up and leave with no consequences or penalties. Disasterous for his abandoned ‘partner’ and children. No civilised society would put up with such.
    Therefore….all civilised societies instituted marriage!

  • Jonathan West

    “I’m already having influence”

    Really?

  • $20596475

    I have come across many girls from sheltered backgrounds who went over the top when they experienced their first taste of freedom, so I don’t think your analysis has any validity. Liberal kids have enough experience at an early age to know how to handle themselves. Families get broken. No-one likes it. Some are forced to stay unhappy together, some separate and make new families. Lets strengthen families by all means, but lets strengthen good strong families, and not just try to use sticking plaster on major wounds.

  • $20596475

    Teaching kids that they will burn in hell if they don’t behave as good and faithful Catholics is truly child abuse.

  • $20596475

    That is simply untrue. Marriage was an informal arrangement until the Church got involved, for its own reasons. There were, and are, many different family arrangements. Civilised society depends upon a great deal more than marriage and has existed both with, and without it.

  • http://womanofvalorpsalm39.blogspot.com/ Andrea

    Jonathan I did Outline what he Church does for peeped who find themselves in situations out are describing; civil divorce but remain celebrate.
    Additionally, if the supination warrants it, the Church can give an annulment.
    Therefore I have understood that there are good reasons for marital breakdown. However, I believe you need to understand that the current situation is not good. We are called to be salt and light.

  • http://womanofvalorpsalm39.blogspot.com/ Andrea

    I have been a police officer for nearly six years and following hat a teacher. I am now a mother. All influential positions; some paid others not.

    Your comment about the status of female bishops was as a result of someone responding to my blog and therefore being influenced by me. So yes, really.

  • la catholic state

    Marriage was never informal in any society. Whole rituals were built around it……and it was very important as it determined what happened to land and assets when one died etc. Marriage is the central institution of all civilised societies……as nobody lives forever. Why deny it??!!

  • la catholic state

    Liberal children are exposed to all kinds of dangers with which theycannot deal…..but silly parents treat them as adults and expect them to.
    Families don’t get broken….adults break them! And you should not talk about using sticking plasters…..as that is all social workers can do once damage has been done. Only the Church has the true answers. In the meantime…..nuns and parishioners can support needy and vulnerable families. It’s already happening on some run-down estates. God Willing it will happen more and more. We need Jesus Christ….not social workers.

  • la catholic state

    Nobody teaches that children will go to Hell…as they don’t. Christ said the Kingdom of Heaven belonged to Children. However for adults it is a different story. Many will choose not to enter Heaven…..as they aren’t particularly fond of Jesus Christ….and don’t want to spend eternity with Him. Their choice.

  • la catholic state

    As I said….and as you ignore….separation can be an option in some circumstances…..but never divorce. We are talking about adults after all. Let’s not have ‘Suffer the little children’ as our mantra. Adults…take responsibility for those you bring into the world please!
    Single doesn’t mean you are necessarily selfish….it means one parent is absent. And that is not good for children or the abandoned spouse. Strange you don’t seem to understand this human fact!

  • $20596475

    Do you deny that Catholic kids are taught that hell exists and that those who are not Catholic will end up there? Maybe not until they are adults, but hopefully they will live that long. If so do you not accept this is child abuse through the use of fear?

  • $20596475

    Families break for many reasons. People change as they get older, some are foolish, some are careless. Pressures cause problems that some can cope with, but some cannot. Very few seek to break them deliberately and we need to do our very best to try to heal the wounds and avoid an unnecessary breakdown. When it does we need to try to make the best arrangements for all, but especially the children.

    If nuns and parishioners can help some then great. So long as they are properly trained and accountable. We don’t need any more scandals do we?

  • $20596475

    I think you need to study your history a little deeper. I think you are confusing the practice of monogamy.

    Certainly there have been contracts between families which bound a son with a daughter together for the purpose of creating children, often before they ever met and it is usual to refer to these as a “marriage”. However there was no love involved and they have little or no relationship to what we now regard as a marriage, in which two people come together willingly.

  • la catholic state

    Most societies had monogamy….and they have always proved more successful than polygamous societies. Love is not necessary for marriage….it was a luxury many could not afford in the harsh struggle for survival. Still….they more often than not came to love each other eventually.

  • la catholic state

    Families break….because divorce laws and our adult centered anti-child society allows them to…even encourages them to. And those in ‘authority’ support the evil habit of divorce. And then come running with nonsense sticking plaster, social-worker solutions. Sorry…but sticking plaster doesn’t repair a child’s broken life or heart. Think of that sometime.
    Parish Nuns and mothers do not have to be properly trained to love and look after the human casualties of our unChristian policies and politicians. Love is a universally recognised trait. You can’t get qualifications in it. It’s the difference between the Hireling and the Good Shepherd as Christ explained.

  • la catholic state

    Catholic children are taught that Hell exists….mine certainly are. And they also know that no child is there…..only adults. And I have never taught my children that non Catholics go to Hell. You best get your facts right before you start making allegations!!
    Divorce and abortion are child abuse. Hell is reality.

  • $20596475

    Do you really think that using the fear of hell in a child’s education is not emotional child abuse? Whether or not you believe it is “reality”, don’t you think such concepts ought to be left to adulthood, when the mind is more capable of evaluating such a concept?

  • $20596475

    Love is not necessary for marriage???? Then we are definitely talking about different concepts, even if the word is the same. For sure there were “marriage” contracts arranged in past societies, but only for the powerful. The lower classes had no such formality and it was only when the church got involved that a commitment was required. I am talking of marriage as we know it today, where love and respect is the primary motivation.

    Maybe you prefer loveless marriages. I sometimes think that Catholics seem to.

  • $20596475

    Don’t be silly. Families don’t break because of divorce laws. All they do is allow couples to re-order their lives after a break up. Families break for many reasons, and some remain broken even if the couple stay together.

    Having a good heart and showing you care through love are praiseworthy attributes. They won’t though be nearly enough to deal with all situations, nor should we automatically trust anyone just because they happen to be a Nun or a mother. After all that has happened in the past even you ought to realise the need to be cautious.

  • Jonathan West

    The church does not expect a married person to remain celibate after the death of a spouse. Therefore, the reasons for expecting somebody to remain celibate when merely the relationship has died are clearly nothing to do with the need have the ideal situation of children being brought up in 2-parent families, otherwise the two cases would be treated the same. They aren’t.

    The only conclusion I can draw from this is that the church isn’t nearly as concerned with the welfare of the family as it tries to make out.

  • la catholic state

    There always was a commitment at the heart of marriage…..that was often its sole component. Something to do with security and stability for the welfare of children…..which you don’t value so much. Like many, you put the ‘freedom’ above children’s welfare. Says it all really
    That’s why we cannot leave the welfare of children in the hands of ‘experts’. Because they are not primarily interested in the welfare of children! No matter how much they pretend they are!

  • la catholic state

    They do. In Ireland pre-divorce…marriage breakdowns were running at 3%. In England where divorce was allowed….marriage breakdown resulting in divorce was 33%. It is more like 50% now. And this has been aided and abetted by the unChristian principles and ideologues. In my opionon…..evil to the core.
    Love is what is most necessary to deal with human problems. Qualitifications are useless to broken children. For example….one Sister reported that one evening 2 little children came to her house on the sink estate, saying they were hungry (mum had gone out somewhere for the evening). So Sister and little children all went to the chippie to for a good feed. By this time the er…social workers were far away, probably sitting in front of the TV wondering when their next pay rise was.

  • http://womanofvalorpsalm39.blogspot.com/ Andrea

    The vows of marriage end upon death; til death us do part, therefore when you die the covenant you entered into is over. Therefore it is consistent for the Church to treat widowhood differently from divorce.

  • Jonathan West

    It may be consistent, but it is not consistent in terms of looking to the best outcome for the welfare of any children. The two cases I described are handled differently by the church. It may be that there is an overriding reason for this difference which is nothing to do with the welfare of children, but if that is so, then the church should be honest enough to acknowledge that the welfare of children is not that high a priority for the church.

  • http://womanofvalorpsalm39.blogspot.com/ Andrea

    It’s consistent both in application and looking for the best outcome for children. Firstly, widowhood in tha vast majority of circumstances is not sought. Therefore the outcomes are sad, but unavoidable and not as a result of moral choice whereas divorce/living together and separating can be seen to be aid ale and as a result of choice.
    The fact is that there are some single parents that are sinle because of no fault of their own and as I have made quite clear the Church do cater for these people with annulments etc.
    However, by proclaiming in the majority that civil separation and celibacy for those who part should be the utcme, the Church ensures that divorce isn’t an easy option.
    We are society and we therefore must acknowledge that in order to promote the greater good we make sacrifices. Again this is what Christianity is based on. Note the Church proposes and we agree or not. Catholicism isn’t a theocracy.
    This ‘sloganising’ doesn’t stop us from doing what is best for ndividual cases. We can all still offer help and support for those wo need it and as Catholics we should.
    However, following from the original intention of the article, their appears to be financial support for single parent status irrelevant of how this comes about over the traditional family. This has resulted in negative outcomes for the family whereas it can be argu that SAHM have psotive outcomes but are being financially undermined by the state.

  • Jonathan West

    Firstly, widowhood in tha vast majority of circumstances is not sought.

    Neither is violence by the husband.

    The fact is that there are some single parents that are sinle because of no fault of their own and as I have made quite clear the Church do cater for these people with annulments

    Well, if you work on that basis, why not just call it divorce? It is hard to honestly state that a marriage never really happened if there are two children from it, so calling it an annulment is fundamentally dishonest. Say instead that the marriage happened and it has been ended.

    Also, there is the issue of the grounds for divorce/annulment. I think that you would agree that annulments are hard to get, the grounds are very narrow and not easily stated. This means that many people whose marriages have broken down through no fault of their own are considered to be committing a mortal sin if they find a new partner and remarry, in part in order to give their children a new and better father.

    But the church doesn’t do that, because it thinks of marriage as a lifelong sacrament, ignoring the practical issues that result from treating women as people rather than as chattels.