Family Life is Important

So now the government is suggesting that schools should be open from 8am – 6pm, in order to provide childcare for working parents.  Liz Truss suggests that, if schools are not providing this already, they should ask them “why not?”.  And Gove wants pupils to have more hours in school and shorter school holidays.

Why not?

Well, for a start, the purpose of school is to provide an education, not childcare so that parents can work longer hours.  Second of all, a 10-hour day would be a long day for an adult, let alone a child.  Thirdly, this means that parents would only see their children to get them up, dressed and off to school, and then home, bath and bed.  And if both parents are working full time, that leaves the weekend for taking care of household chores, so they are still not spending time together.  Not exactly great for building a strong connection!  And where is the time for children to rest and play?  Both are essential for their health, development, learning and wellbeing.

The government seems hell bent on getting all parents to work as many hours as possible, and getting children into school as soon as possible and as long as possible.  I’m starting to wonder why they think people have children?

I’d also suggest that if parents need to work long hours, the children would be better off being cared for in a family environment, either by grandparents or other relatives, or by a registered childminder.

I’d go as far as to say this contravenes the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that “the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community… [and] the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding.”

Why are we subsidising childcare to such an extent?  Why not subsidise families instead, and let the parents decide how much childcare they want, if at all?  Because, and here’s a shocking idea, some people might actually want to bring up their own children themselves.

References

Breastfeeding in public: What’s the big deal?

My facebook newsfeed is full of blog posts about breastfeeding in public and pictures of nurse-ins.  As a breastfeeding mum myself, I do not find this helpful or reassuring. I hate the fact that the way we feed our babies is now a political statement. In fact all the media coverage about it makes me *more* nervous about feeding in public.

I do feed my baby in public, because my baby likes to feed quite often and if I didn’t I would never leave the house. I would really like this to just be something that is not worthy of comment. I am quite a shy person, I would never even wear a bikini (even pre-baby I didn’t) so getting my boobs out in public makes me feel extremely self-conscious as it is. Now I have to worry about whether someone is going to come and tell me it’s disgusting, or ask me to cover up or do it in the toilet, and I have to be prepared with what I am going to say if they do. I have breastfed 2 babies now and no one has ever said anything to me about it but because of the media circus I am hyper-aware that one day, someone might take exception to it and feel the need to say something about it.

Also, apparently if I breastfeed in public it means I hate formula feeding mums.  What???  Where did this idea come from?  I have no opinion on formula feeding mums. Seriously, I don’t care if you bottle feed your baby.  It’s none of my business.  (PS I combination fed my first baby breast and formula, not that it’s any of your business).  So if we are in a cafe and I am breastfeeding and you are bottle feeding, we are both just feeding our babies, right?  Nothing to get worked up about there.

Please could we all just CTFD?  Breastfeeding my baby in public is not a political statement or a judgement on other mums, it’s just a way of getting milk into her tummy when she needs it.

Simplifying

Back in January I set myself a buy nothing new challenge.  I haven’t been 100% successful with that, but over the past 4 months my focus has changed and now I’m making simplicity a priority in my life as a whole, not just with regards to shopping.  Here are the areas I am trying to simplify:

House: Although I failed at the buy nothing new challenge, I am still trying to stem the flow of new items into the house by shopping more mindfully.  If I need or want something I try and find something we already own to fulfil that need, borrow it, or buy it second hand.  However I have a very limited amount of free time and sometimes I feel it makes more sense to just go to the shops or order it online, and use my time for something else.  On the other hand, I am trying to declutter our house like crazy.  In particular I’m trying to clear out clothes, toys, books, excess arts and crafts materials, baby items (as we stop using them) as well as general household clutter.

Diet: Food is a big priority for me, as I find that what I eat makes a huge difference to how I feel, plus I also enjoy cooking and eating delicious food.  My focus is on eating simple, real foods like vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, nuts and seeds most of the time, and less processed food.  I am also mostly wheat, gluten and dairy free.

Mindfulness: Being at home with two small children is really hard work, but can be really enjoyable too.  I want to make the most of this time as I know I will miss it when it is gone.  I have found that practising mindfulness helps me stay present with my two girls and enjoy the little things more, as well as feeling calmer and less stressed in general, having more patience and losing my temper less.

Media: Does anyone else find media, especially social media, totally addictive?  Let’s face it, taking care of little people can be quite boring sometimes, and it is tempting to reach for distractions, especially when you can access the whole of the internet from a device that fits in your back pocket.  But I restrict how much screen time my 3 year old daughter has, and I feel I need to be a good role model to her and apply the same rule to myself.  I also don’t want her to feel that my phone is more important to me than she is.  It’s hard to find the right balance – I like to have something to read or look at while my eldest is at preschool and the baby is asleep in the sling so that I don’t go completely insane, but it’s addictive and I find myself looking at my phone all the time, just to check whether I’ve got any messages or notifications.

What am I hoping to achieve by simplifying my life?  More time, more money, more space, more freedom, more happiness and more enjoyment.