I’ve been enjoying the Book Corner series by Lucy Mangan in the Guardian, particularly this weeks entry about Antonia Forest’s Autumn Term, the start of the series about the Marlow family. Lucy’s job of recounting the essential books for a child’s bookshelf is one I would love to have, not least because she and I have many similar ideas.
I have an enormous collection of girls school stories left from my childhood, enhanced by those books I added in my 20s as my book buying budget increased. Of the Antonia Forest books, I think I prefer the non-school stories, but they, along with Arthur Ransom, Noel Streatfeild, EJ Oxenham et al are making great ‘end of pregnancy’ reading.
The Guardian has been focusing on the issues surrounding mothers returning to work.
In a feature based on a Unicef report on childcare, Geraldine Beddell says, “Many women look at the pay gap, at their own inclination to balance, at the impossibility of two parents being distracted most of the time, and choose to work part-time, or at any rate with less zealotry. And most parents manage to cobble something together that more or less works.”
She highlights the problem where most men are unwilling or unable to change their hours, leaving women with limited options. She also points out that, “The Unicef report is flawed in not taking into account informal, home-based, or neighbourhood childcare – grandparents, child minders, au pairs”.
Josephine Murray looks at the women who have been driven back to work to balance the bills. She quotes a study published last week by insurer Scottish Widows that claims the rising cost of living has forced more than 4 million mothers back to work, and passes on advice from child development specialist Amanda Gummer who suggests that it’s important to make the right choice for your family’s well-being. “If you’re stressed and fractious because you can’t afford to do the things you want to do then going back to work will be beneficial for the baby or children. If going back to work makes you stressed that’s not going to help them.”
If you’re in the position of needing to earn to stretch the family budget, have a look at www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk for some ideas and inspiration, or sign up for the free e-course to find out your rights to flexible work plus much more. Going back to work does not have to be traumatic, and there are way to avoid having to put your children in childcare 8-6.
Why is it that the papers I am so keen to get a few minutes to read on Saturday and Sunday start lomng at me on Monday and Tuesday? Add Monday’s MediaGuardian to the pile…..