What would happen if mothers went on strike?

Posted in: MAHM Blog
Grandparents and Fathers
Mothers at Home Matter is often criticised for its focus on the lack of policies for women caring for their young children. ‘What about the dads?’ they protest..  
Well we definitely do support dads –  we love our own dads and our children love their dads  – and grandfathers, uncles too for that matter ….but we still defend the right to talk about the reality of women and caregiving. 
Also,  why would MAHM seek to replicate the work of other  ‘dad’  campaigning groups? There are some inspiring fatherhood groups with paid staff doing fabulous work promoting and supporting fatherhood,  both in their work and in the care they provide.  
We can’t help noticing that as far as policymakers are concerned dads caring for family are viewed as progressive and modern (unlike their rather dismissive tone vis a vis  fuddy duddy mumsy mothers who need to get a life!).  
‘And what about grandparents?’  we’re asked. 
Well yes we love grandparents too.  And again there are some great organisations with paid staff highlighting the policy needs of grandparents. 
Grandparents provide not only ‘childcare’  (for some) but more importantly they pass their life experiences down the generations,  and often have time for fun things like cake-baking, stories, outings, sharing hobbies,  fishing, knitting, films, or whatever kind of activities often define family lives and shared interests.  
So now we’re on the subject a  big thank you to all  grandparents – both grandmothers and grandfathers.  We really appreciate all you do for the family whilst often facing your own challenges in health and work.  
Being a grandparent is part of the circle of life,  and hopefully most of  us will get to enjoy being a grandparent one day, although so much depends on distances involved and changing pressures on adult children, making it harder than ever for couples to contemplate parenthood. 
There’s a lot about grandparents at the moment in the press and policymaking. Fact is,  in govt circles they are keen to promote as many care options as possible for children, so long as the mother herself is back in some form of paid work as promptly as possible.
In a  Guardian article on grandparent-based-care this week,   the author asks what would happen if grandparents went on strike. Interestingly enough the article focuses more on grandmothers and  their adult daughters  rather than grandfathers and adult sons   – note the caption reads ”A generation of older women are having to give up their own jobs so that their daughters can pursue careers. Labour’s pledge will help them”.    Is this an oversight?   We know some grandads who do a fantastic job with childcare,  whilst grandmas are busy volunteering in the community or still in paid work.    We felt we needed to point this out,  since MAHM is often slated for focusing on women and caregiving. 
The question we’d like to ask is this:   ‘What would happen if well over a million MOTHERS  went on strike?!’  Do people ever think about that?
Marie Peacock
17th March 2015
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