Mummies have been a little neglected on Researching Reform recently, so here’s a piece on why mummies are great too!
Hands up how many of us have ever been in a supermarket, turned for a millisecond to reach for the beans and found Gremlin number One, missing?
It’s happened to the best of us and although that scenario is kind of a cliché now, what happens after is nothing short of the stuff of legend. In a local Tesco’s on a Friday afternoon, (conceivably the only place where hundreds of screaming children gather with the sole purpose of blackmailing their parents into buying them chocolate), you suddenly hear it: “Mummy!”
It’s only a faint sound in amongst all the other “Mummy’s” you can hear, but blind, you’ve already located Gremlin One, in the crisp aisle, looking around desperately (you imagine, as you break into a cold sweat, visualising any number of nightmare scenarios). And although there are dozens of children in the store, you recognise your little gremlin’s trembling voice and eagle like, you swoop in to the multi pack chip section and reclaim your offspring (but not before making a mental note of the two for one offer on Skips as you pass by).
Yes, we mums have skills and it doesn’t stop at sonar detection. We’ve become exceptionally good at multi tasking and whether we stay at home or go out to work our choices not only define us, but define the world in which we live in, too. In an interesting article I read recently called “Women’s decisions shape cities”, the authoress talks about how mothers in the US who decided to go out to work but needed to be near home had even affected the purchase of office space in some countries, with companies buying buildings in the suburbs to employ the talent available.
So, America seems to be leading the way when it comes to recognising Mummy Magic, but at a time when the British economy is under stress and mothers are finding ways to counter the problems, shouldn’t Westminster be looking to mothers, both those working and at home? Even as far back as 2007, mothers were voting with their feet, as they chose to forego nurseries and care for their children at home. The result? Nearly a quarter of all nursery places became vacant and the government had to rethink its policies in this area.
Although it often appears that government lays down policy and society follows, every decision mothers make affects government because every choice creates a chain reaction. And when government ignores the shifts or fails to pick up on them, the decisions that are made are often inadequate. But all politicians need do is go online. There, a multitude of websites exist offering everything from political journalism to bespoke jewellery, all managed by and mummy made. It is estimated that there are over a million women-owned businesses in the US and combined they generate 1.9 trillion dollars. And British mothers are no exception. In the UK alone, although women’s businesses make up only 15% of the UK’s business stock, they are responsible for a whopping £130 billion pound turnover.
Today, arguably, mothers have a much greater task at hand than their mothers ever did. With our newfound rights in the workplace and our desire still to have children and a family, we are taking our multi tasking mojo to a whole new level and creating new and exciting ways of being mummies and moguls without compromising our basic right to family life. If the coalition government made a cursory glance in the motherly direction, they might just see a world of potential in the mothers of today, pioneering the family of tomorrow.