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Does society hate the stay-at-home mum?

Over the last 6 months my world has crumbled to pieces and slowly started mending itself again.
You would think something drastic had happened: illness in the family, bankruptcy, house fire, murder. But no. The only thing that’s happened is that I’ve decided I’d like to be a stay-at-home mum.

Cue looks of barely disguised disgust on the faces of my family members, condemnation from the government and my husband saying things like ‘so you want me to lose all respect for you until our kids are all school age and you want to go back to work’?

This wasn’t something I had planned. I’m a very passionate, motivated person and have always worked extremely hard at things I believe in. The best is never good enough, because there is always more that can be done.
When I worked in advertising I skipped the parties to work on the pitches, when I was a primary teacher I worked 8-19 and weekends in a bid to get it all done (all of my fellow teachers will know that this is an unachievable aim, no matter how hard you work).
The point is, that whilst I knew that when I had a child I would not want to go back to work full-time, I also had no idea I wouldn’t want to go back at all.

But something has happened to the drive that has always pushed me to strive for more and to be the best at work. It hasn’t left me, it has in no way diminished or taken a temporary time off. It has just changed its focus.

I grew up in a family where my Dad was rarely home because he was out ‘being successful’ and this has created a dad-shaped gaping hole in all of his children that he can’t even fill now that he’s retired, because he has never learnt how. Oh, the amount of times in my childhood I wished that my dad would give me less gifts and more time.

My mum was a stay-at-home-mum to us and she did a terrible job at it. She had lots of help, both with cleaning & childcare, and still we were raised mainly by a tv screen and our own imaginations.

I want something more for my child.
So my motivation, drive and passion has shifted. It has shifted onto me wanting to be the absolute best mother I can be.
I want to give my children everything; every chance, every experience, every opportunity.

Now to me, personally, that means I would like to stay at home with my daughter, and any future children, until they are all at school.
I want to spend a few, precious years giving them my time, my resourcefulness and my arms to cuddle. Then, when they’re off to school, I’ll return to work, thus giving them a positive work ethic role model and respect for money (still with lots of my time, resourcefulness and love of course).
I know from being a primary teacher that no one can do a better job than me at guiding and comforting my own child, and I want to be here for her while she needs me.

Now before I go on I want to make it VERY clear that this post is NOT stay-at-home propaganda. I am not saying that it’s only right to stay home and wrong to go back to work. Everyone’s situations, families, children, views and personalities are different and I’m a strong advocate of families being allowed to choose what’s right for them.

But this is where the plot thickens.
Ever since I first uttered the words I had been thinking for ages, ‘I want to stay home’, I have been met with nothing but disapproval and judgement.

For years, decades, centuries! women have been fighting for the right to a choice. The choice to vote, the choice to marry, the choice to be independent, the choice to work.
But it seems to me that along the way we have started to lose our choice to stay at home and mother our children.

When I told my husband I wanted to stay at home he looked at me like all of the respect he ever had for me had evaporated along with the hot air that escaped between my lips when I uttered the words.
My brothers said something like ‘well, what will you DO with your time?’ and then couldn’t think of anything to say to me, discuss or debate with me, almost like my brain had left my body at the same time as the foetus.
My friends started only engaging me in child-related conversations as though my passion for politics, religious psychology, consumer behaviour and social morality had completely gone up in smoke.
One of my fellow mums asked me if it was nice to be ‘a lady of leisure’?! and then David Cameron got on the news to say that the government would only reward families who wanted to ‘get on’ (by his definition – families where both parents work).

So all around bad news for me as I was shunned by husband, family, friends, mums & the government at large.
World shattered.
And I remember saying to myself one day, as I looked in the mirror, ‘why does everyone respect me so much less for this decision when I respect me so much more because of it?’.

I’m not going to spend my time at home sitting my child in front of the tv whilst I read a magazine. I’m not going to strap her to her pushchair whilst I walk around TopShop. I’m not going to expect her to entertain herself whilst I have afternoon tea with my friends.
What does society really think being a mother is???!!!!

I am going to do what I’ve been doing all along. I’m going to engage my daughter in activities and adventures that she has shown me that she is ready for. I’m going to take her to groups and sessions where she can dance and tumble, bounce and sing. I’m going to set up messy, sensory play activities where she can learn by doing and harness her inquisitiveness and creativity with open-ended play. We’re going to spend endless days outdoors exploring nature and nurturing her resourcefulness and problem solving.
I’m going to be here to comfort and encourage her, to create in her the security to explore, discover and become independent in her own time.
I’m going to read child development books, child psychology essays and advice on discipline.
I’m going to research new activities and spend evenings preparing the resources to do it.
I’m going to ensure that she progresses and learns, at her own pace, without her even realising she’s being guided and taught.

I am going to use all of the skills and knowledge my excellent education has given me to help mould the most able, well adjusted and happy children possible (within their own abilities).

Society wonders where the value in me staying home is?!! The government thinks I have become a burden on society?!!

(Well to all of the doubters, and the lovers of research-based evidence, please do read my little rant at the end of this post)

But the problem isn’t really whether or not I can put into words the value of me staying at home, the problem is that I have to.

When did it become more socially acceptable to have strangers take care of our children, along with increasing hoards of others, than raising our own children?

When did me only making a few hundred pounds a month, after having paid my childcare costs, become a more palatable choice than deciding to stay at home and doing the childcare myself?

When did wanting to give our own children time with their mothers make us social outcasts and sources of pity?

When did it become unnatural to do, what to me feels like, the most natural thing in the world?

And when did gaining the right to work mean losing the right to make raising our children our work?

Society doesn’t seem to value mothers who want to spend their children’s short, formative years focussing on ‘mothering’ them.
And I can’t help but worry what the repercussions will be.
Will the negative psychological effect of being judged be too much for most women, making them resist their desire to stay home with their children?
Will the option to stay at home slowly become a thing of the past?

I have serious concerns about the outcome of this on millions of mothers, children, families – and in the end, on society as a whole.

As for me, I know that this is the right decision for me and my children, and I’m pig headed enough to get over the judgement of others and just ‘get on’.

——————

The rant:

To anyone who thinks there is not value in staying home with your children, I put a few key thoughts to you.
By staying at home:

My children will have their emotional needs carefully listened to, evaluated and responded to. Research shows this creates children far less likely to develop mental health problems.
Reduced cost to NHS.

Having me being able to respond to their development and create tailor-made activities they are ready for, on a daily basis, will make them much more likely to succeed at school, without additional help.
Reduced cost to Department for Education.

I will have the time to cook them nutritious meals, from first principles, engaging them in discussions about the impact of food on our bodies. This will decrease the likelihood of obesity and related illnesses.
Reduced cost to NHS.

My children will play and explore in the outdoors, problem solving and being resourceful, which Scandinavian studies show creates more self-reliant, independent adults.
Reduced cost to the Welfare System.

We will engage mostly in open-ended play activities where my children learn to develop their own ideas, solutions and ways of thinking. This is more likely to make them innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs.
Income and business interest for England.

My children will learn through play and fun, nurturing in them a love of learning, progressing and developing new skills.
Early years studies show this makes for more engaged children who are likely to go onto further & higher education. An education which we will pay for.
Income for Department for Education.

I could go on, and on, and on.
All of the above makes for functional, well adjusted members of society who are more likely to work stable jobs, own their own homes and generally add to society.

But what about me? A massive burden on society who is costing the NHS, wearing down the sidewalks and not contributing at all.
I would argue that staying home to nurture my children is a very worthwhile contribution. The potential ongoing positive effect on them, their children & their children’s children, etc. can’t be quantified.
The break in my career will be 10 years maximum, at which point I will be 38 years old with a further 27 working years in me before ‘traditional’ retirement age. That should be enough time to repay the government what it has invested in me.

So really, what’s the problem?

We all judge

I talk a lot about the parent superiority complex – how many parents sadly seem to feel the need to defend their child rearing methods and slag off others who have made different choices.
Sometimes this superiority takes the form of a subtle eye-roll, a back handed whisper or passive aggressive remark. It can be a Facebook status, a blog comment and occasionally even a verbal attack.
It often comes from a mother-in-law or a friend and it always catches you off guard.

The aim of these ‘superior’ acts seems to be for their ideas to be taken as gospel and for all other notions to be denounced as ‘unacceptable’.
I’m not sure that they stop to think about the destruction they leave in their wake and I am doubtful that they ever spare a thought for why a mother/father/child may have made certain choices.

In short, screw parent superiority.

But.

In the name of pure, unadulterated honesty I must lay my cards out on the table and confess: I judge too.

Walking down the high street yesterday I saw a baby sitting in a stroller sipping squash from a baby bottle. I judged.

The other day in the Tesco car park I saw a pregnant woman smoking a cigarette. I judged.

At soft play last week I heard a dad call his toddler an idiot. I judged.

I observed a pregnant woman in the pub last weekend, on her third glass of wine. I judged.

A friend if mine’s 2 year old daughter watches quite a few hours of TV every day. I judge.

My brother says ‘I’ll only warn you once more’ to his children at least 10 times before abandoning the impeding punishment and giving in instead. I judge.

I honestly think that we all do it – judge. In my head I see it as an unavoidable and natural reaction. At the end of the day we all dismiss certain parenting techniques/ethoi/behaviours in the belief that others are better.

It would be unrealistic to think that I would agree with all parenting decisions ever made, or that someone else would agree with all of the choices I make.

And maybe that’s a better way to go, to call it disagreeing. I disagree with certain parenting choices and sometimes the point of disagreement leads to me making a judgement about that parent.

So yes. I disagree. I judge.

But I don’t roll my eyes. I don’t whisper behind my hand. I don’t give a look of sheer shock/horror/disgust.
I don’t make a snide remark or, in fact, any comment at all.

And if you ask me, therein lies the difference.

Sex – doing it ‘parent style’

I remember a time, before becoming a mother, when many an hour was spent having hot, dirty sex.
The glance you would give, or get, that meant clothes had to be ripped off instantaneously, regardless of the time and place.
It was a time when you could moan so loud the neighbours would hear and the only words spoken when fkking included d!ck, pu$$y, dirty, wet, suck, lick, and HARDER.

That’s the part of parenthood that truly no one prepares you for; how different your sex life will become.
Everyone talks about how much less time you’ll have. We are warned long and hard about the financial implications of having children. At parenting classes they talk about the overwhelming emotions, chronic tiredness, whether friends will stay in touch and the impact on your career. Seasoned parents warn us that we may start to bicker and our mothers verse us on how much we’ll worry.
And somewhere in the background lurks the unspoken joke, that married couples eventually stop having frequent sex. We all think ‘that won’t be us, we’ll make time, we’ll have sex at least 3 times a week, we love sex too much’.
And we think these things not just because we are naïve, but because no one ever tells you WHY married couples often stop having frequent sex.

When my mum-friends sat down for a tea & traumatisation session with me pre-birth they told me horror stories about childbirth and described the artwork of stretch marks forever emblazoned on their stomachs. Not once did they mention how bone dry their vaginas had become after birth, which meant that litres of lubricant were needed to get you through penetration without shrieks of pain and tears rolling down your face.
For months (well over 6) I struggled with how much it hurt. I would dread the first five minutes of sex to the point where the thought of it made me want to cry. Often I went along with sex, gritting my teeth, because I knew how important it is to a marriage and didn’t want my husband to end up feeling resentful or regretful at having become a parent.
My husband is a kind, gentle man and a wonderful husband, I doubt he would have thought those things anyway, but hormones are high and sleep deprivation is toxic in those first six months of parenthood.

And then there’s the question of sex-drive.
We’ve all done it, I’m sure it’s an inauguration into motherhood, planning the things we’ll do during maternity leave. We’ll learn to bake, redecorate the lounge, finally organise through all of our photos, maybe catch up on some reading. HA!
It’s not until you’ve ‘been there & done that’ that you know how crippling piecing together 4 hours of sleep in 20 minute bursts is. You don’t realise how long it takes to do two loads of laundry a day, or how much shopping and cooking is involved when you HAVE to make three nutritious meals & three nutritious snacks, every day of every week of every month of the year (with a screaming child on your arm).
I hoover, I clean, I pick up from the trail of destruction my daughter leaves behind her. I have to choose her outfits, brush her teeth, trim her nails, bathe her & change her nappy 7 times a day.
Every waking moment of her life I worry whether she’s too cold, under stimulated, hungry, thirsty, had enough fruit & veg that day. Every move she makes I am subconsciously deciphering whether she’s happy, well-adjusted, developing appropriately for her age.
And at 9pm, when it’s taken me two hours of traipsing up & down the stairs to put her back to sleep I sit down at the table and I do the online Tesco shop. Or I research new toddler activities in the local area. I buy the new shoes she needs every 8 weeks or the raincoat that’s required for the upcoming bad weather. I worry whether the toddler she played with that day was a bad influence or if our new laundry detergent will give her cancer.
Not for one second of that day did I have time to think about shaving my legs. Or my armpits. Or my new lady jungle, wild and untamed.

When I finally, finally manage to get it all done the only thing on my mind is those extra hours in bed or that nice cup of tea in front of the TV. Switching off, unwinding, thinking about nothing but the complex relationship of the characters on screen.

I don’t, even for a split second feel sexy or desirable. The yoghurt in my hair doesn’t scream ‘sex goddess’ and the snot smeared on my trouser leg just adds to the self-loathing.
I don’t have the capacity to moan and groan or bop up and down. I feel embarrassed at my lack of personal hygiene, I feel ashamed for wanting it to be over in 5 minutes because I don’t have the energy to gyrate any longer and I feel like a bad wife for having no desire to give my husband a ‘happy ending’ instead.

No longer is sex an escape, a place of pure desire and physical pleasure, where all else leaves your mind.
Now, with my husband’s di€k fully inside me, I am worrying about whether the monitor is on. I stress that we’ll wake our daughter because it took me HOURS to get her to sleep.
I think about the cooking I needed to do that evening, the extra hour of sleep I won’t be getting, the impact of the online shop not being done. I think about everything that’s being touched and how my daughter may touch that after us. Or whether there’ll accidentally be resulting ‘fluids’ on the bed and my daughter will ask to co-sleep that night.
When our daughter was newborn I didn’t want my husband licking my boobs in case she would wake up hungry. I didn’t want to touch the condom, or anybody’s privates, in case I suddenly had to rush to her. And it happened often that sex ended half-way through because she started to cry.

Does that sound like your honeymoon stage sex life? Nope, mine neither.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m still a red blooded woman. I still fancy my husband, I still love a good shag and I still get as horny as an elephant in mating season.
But sex is not the same and the list of reasons why goes on & on & on.

Our sex life is now akin to many of our other jobs and to make ours work my husband & I talk about it a lot more honestly and pragmatically than ever before.
We plan when we’ll have sex so that he can put the girl to bed whilst I have a shower (& shave!!) and I can prioritise my chores that day to ensure I’m not (too) distracted in bed.
We have learnt to be quiet, which isn’t as much fun, but beats stopping half-way to put the baby back to bed.
I have had to learn that talk in the sack doesn’t have to be dirty, but can be playful or piss-takey without ruining the mood.
My husband knows that I expect him to wash thoroughly after sex (not forgetting the mouth wash!) and he tries not to touch anything in the room without wiping it after, so that I don’t have to shudder at the thought of my daughter touching our sex juices.
He also knows that when I say ‘harder’ it’s a nice way of saying ‘finish up I’m tired’.

In short, by being open and honest and working it into our busy family schedules, my husband and I have managed to start working on our sex life.
It will never be the same. It will never be as frequent and it will probably never be as fun. But it will be as good as we can make it given the many new constraints on our energies and our time.

But I can tell you one thing – when the day comes that our daughter goes to grandma’s for a weekend – the neighbours will want to invest in some good quality earplugs!

Up the bum

Some of you will already know that I am, as my Daily Wail reading monster-in-laws would call it, a ‘foreigner’.
I am not native to this island, but rather came here 9.5 years ago to go to uni and the rest is history.

In these modern times one would assume that it’s potayto-potahto where you’re from (within Western culture) – we live in a global society where not much tells us apart.
Wrong.

Never have the cultural differences that distinguish our origin been more evident to me than since I’ve become a mother.
And never have people’s convictions in their own inherited national norm been more evident either.

Before I think I could count the societal differences that affected me on one hand: the drinking culture, when Christmas is celebrated, shops being open on a Sunday. In short, not much.

But ever since that little plastic implement showed two lines instead of one, I have been thrust into a conflicting cultural paradigm where one nation’s parenting beliefs are continuously combating another’s.

We all know how much shit parents get for doing things slightly ‘differently’ to how someone else may perceive it should be done.
The mum who breastfeeds in public, the dad who stays home with the kids, the parents who don’t put their kids in nursery and the women who choose to bottlefeed. All victims of people’s ‘opinions’.
Well who knew that deciding to have a multi-cultural bilingual family is like slapping a sign on your forehead welcoming one & all to inflict endless insults and questioning comments on you. ‘WHY would you do that?’ is the most common question I get, always matched with a look of sheer disgust.

In Scandinavia the children sleep outside in their prams, which are much bigger than the ones you buy here, in the belief that fresh air is really good for them. We wrap them up appropriately and put them somewhere safe, for many even outside the café is ok as long as you can see them. That’s just part of the culture.
You should see the look of aghast disbelief from friends when they come to my house and see the pram sitting on the terrace and suddenly notice that my daughter is IN it!
‘Do you know she’s out there?!!’
‘Is she warm enough?!!!’
‘Can you even hear her?!!’
‘Is she safe out there?!!!’
‘You do realise it’s RAINING, right?!!!’

Yes, guest at my house & supposed friend. I have actually thought this through. Carefully.

In England you don’t give babies cow’s milk until they’re 12 months and when you do you give them the blue stuff.
Cue me going to Scando and being barraged with:
‘That child needs milk, what are you thinking?’
‘How will you ensure she gets enough calcium?’
‘She doesn’t need whole milk it’s full of fats, she needs her fat content from varied sources’

Dear God people, it’s just a bit of milk.

In Viking-town babies are given Vitamin D supplements from 2 months and Iron supplements from 6 months. Same amounts as is in formula.
‘What are you giving the baby?’
‘Why would you make her take something like that?’
‘Surely that will harm her, it doesn’t even look safe!’

Well, monster-in-law, I have done extensive reading into the medical research behind giving these supplements and made my decision accordingly. Is your babbling based on scientific evidence? Thought not.

In England you use sleeping bags for babies instead of duvets. Personally I think these are utterly brilliant, for a multitude of reasons, but that’s beside my current point.
My mother comes to visit me and swiftly decrees:
‘That poor child is not being allowed a duvet?!’
‘How could you want to stop her feeling what it’s like to be snuggled up!’
‘She’ll probably never be comfortable with a duvet when she’s older because it won’t feel natural to her!’
‘Will she still be in a sleeping bag when she’s a teenager then?!’

My darling mother, excuse me if I chose what I believe to be the safest option for my child. I don’t think sleeping in grobags for a few years will inhibit her future happiness in any way, FFS!!

These are but a few of the remarks I get on a daily basis. My day-to-day is filled with people upset that I don’t speak to my daughter in English, that I feed her rye-bread, that she’s allowed Marmite and not allowed squash. Apparently my pram is too big and using wet wipes is atrocious. I shouldn’t have changed our meal times so that we all eat dinner together and the fact that she gets a daily vitamin is weird.

But no parenting decision do I take more abuse for than the way in which I administer paracetamol to my daughter.

When my little one has a fever I take a child dose paracetamol suppository and I put it up her bum.
Apparently this is ‘disgusting’, it’s ‘weird’ and it’s ‘old fashioned’. People seem to look at me like I’m somehow performing an illegal act or doing something seedy. As though we don’t all spend at least 10 minutes of everyday cleaning our children’s shit from around their bums and other crevices. But people cannot fathom why oh WHY oh WHY I would EVER want to do that when I can give her some Calpol.

I have many reasons, they range from my daughter getting hysterical when given Calpol to suppositories containing less additives and chemicals, and right through to the fact that it’s just more convenient and less damn messy. But to be honest, my why’s are completely beside the point.

The point is that it has become clear to me that parenting norms are incredibly different from country to country, even within our little Europe. And people seem to regard their norms almost as religious doctrine – certain that this is how ‘it should be done’ – and will attack other ways of parenting with ferocious intent and unwavering conviction.

What I find so intensely fascinating is where all of these norms have come from – such as the reason it became normal for women to lie down to birth was because Louis XIV liked to watch his children crowning and that was a much more convenient position for him to do so. We only give babies ‘moving on’ formula because the unnecessary product allows the formula companies to advertise and babies are only wedged into ‘pram shoes’ so that the shoe companies can make money.

Why are so many people intent on following ‘what has always been’ rather than questioning the doctrine?
I truly believe that families should feel empowered by the ability to research and understand different forms of parenting and, just like a buffet, pick & choose the ideas they believe in and think will work for them.

And, above all else, don’t look at parents in sheer disgust just because they do things differently.

Snow boots

We’ve all been there – the mother who shakes her head when she sees that we’re using a dummy to soothe the baby. The mother-in-law who demands to know why on Earth the baby is not allowed to eat anything before she’s 6 months old, because back in her day they did *blah blah blah*.
I’ve seen an old man look at me in shock when I breastfed on a park bench and experienced a waiter unwilling to bring me my bill because I was breastfeeding in the restaurant.
I have had friends ask me whether I was aware that my daughter was still outside in her pram, sleeping, to which surely the best reply should have been “oh my god, really?”.
A woman who works in my daughter’s nursery has tried to insinuate that the fact that I don’t let my daughter cry herself to sleep is ridiculous and I’ve had my father-in-law tell me that I shouldn’t ask my husband to change nappies as that is not a man’s job.

This is the sad reality of parenting – the constant barrage of insults and ‘advice’ from people who seem to think it’s their duty and right to comment on our parenting skills because, well, it’s in the baby’s best interest after all.
I have adapted to deal with this. I have learned, after months of seething, that I really don’t give a $#*¥, and it’s very easy to just Stepford-smile or make a sarcastic comment that soon shuts them up.

But somehow, my well-weathered mum-armour was not equipped for the sharp insulting retorts from…. the woman who served me in CLARK’S about a month ago!

Me: I’m looking for snowboots for my daughter

Clark’s lady: Here’s our range of snow boots

Me: This looks like boots for older girls, I need a pair in size Infant 4.5

Clark’s lady: Oh heavens no, we don’t do snow boots for children so young. Children that age should not be out in the cold like that so there’s no reason we should make snow boots in that size.

!!!!!!!!!!!!

After the shock of this judgemental woman’s jab at my parenting I managed to squeeze out:

“Well my daughter will be out in the snow this winter, playing, laughing and enjoying herself.”

Before quickly exiting the shop.

I found a pair of lovely snow boots in Next, in – shock, horror – my daughter’s size and she has had nice, warm, snuggly feet throughout this cold January.

Who knew that mums had to have self-defence guards up when they enter into a Clark’s store to spend their hard-earned cash.

Cot death

My little babushka will be sleeping in her own room tonight.
Ok, so she’s not actually very little and she’s not actually a baby anymore – she’s in fact a sprightly 16 month old who runs around the house using endless vocabulary and insisting on doing everything herself.
So, yes, it’s about time she had her own room.

I’ve been holding back on getting her room decorated and making the transition. For starters, I am going to miss her. The sound of her breath, her shuffling in the night and her waking up just to check that I’m there. I’ll miss glancing across to see her, arse in air, snoring, with her hair draped across her face. Her cot is on casters, and no matter how hard I’ve tried to leave it over the far side of the room, she inevitably ends up with her bed butted up to my side and my hand through the bars, stroking her back.

So, yes, I will miss having her by my side. But that’s not the main reason I have worried about BB going into her own room.

Mostly, I have a paranoid, irrational and unreasonable fear of cot death.
My little brother died, at 2.5 months old, of cot death. I was seven. I remember my mother’s scream. It still rings in my ears and sends tears to my eyes. I remember my parents frantically carrying his limp body out to the car to head to the hospital. I remember hiding behind my dad’s armchair, crying and shaking whilst my poor 12 year old brother tried to console us all until my parents came back. I remember the dead look in my mother’s eyes when she came back from the hospital that day and I see the piece of her heart that’s still missing to this very day.

That’s the reason I used to cry every night when she was newborn and I had to go to sleep to survive, because I was worried she’d stop breathing when I wasn’t watching. It’s the reason that for the first month of her life I sat by her side every time she slept. It’s the reason I check on her every 10 minutes of every evening. It’s the reason I check her breathing 2 minutes after having checked her breathing, just to be sure. It’s the reason she has stayed in our bedroom for so long.

And, it’s the reason I will not be sleeping a wink tonight.

It’s all about equality

I honestly cannot fathom that in 2012, in the modern civilised world, we are having a debate about whether gay couples should be allowed to marry.

The fact that it’s not already taken as given that it should be legal makes me ashamed of the human race. It reeks of narrow-mindedness, superiority and prejudice.
The fact that a load of old farts in the clergy are having a shit fit about it is sad, but unsurprising – but the fact that young people, parents of the next generation, are engaging in this debate, as though there is anything that could possibly justify homosexuals not having the exact same rights as heterosexuals, well quite frankly it scares me.

Shouldn’t we be teaching our children to accept and respect all people, knowing that no race/religion/sex/sexual orientation/country of origin/political view is superior to another, it is simply different?
Shouldn’t we be teaching them that it is not okay to demean each other, hurt each other, or force our religions on other people? That all people are equal, and can live together as equals, with our differences being celebrated rather than punished.

Quotes from MP David Davies about how parents don’t want their children to be gay… they spark controversy for good reason and I’m glad he’s seeing such a backlash from his remarks.

First of all, I strongly believe that it is every parent’s job to only really want one thing for their children, and that is for them to be happy.
Raising children in an environment where they are ‘wanted’ to be straight, to be academic, to be a doctor, to be a certain religion, to become a parent – surely this can only ever bread unhappiness and disappointment. Children who are so busy being force-fed someone else’s ideals don’t have the freedom to form their own.

I can honestly say that I have no preconceptions of what my daughter’s life ‘should’ be like. As long as she respects herself and respects others I am happy for her to be whatever she wants to be, and I will love her no matter what sexual orientation she may have.
I hope that by the time she is old enough to start thinking about love and desire, the world we live in will have become a much more accepting and equal place. I dream that she will grow up in a world where discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation will be seen to be as unfathomable and archaic as apartheid and female oppression.