Opinion - The View From Venus part 1

The View From Venus
The View From Venus
Share this article

Spending a day at home with a pre-school child is like living with an abusive husband.

All they do is sit about in a vest complaining loudly, calling you fat, missing the toilet and sweating like a pig.

If they are under one, all they want is your breasts and if you’re past that stage, the likelihood is they will hurl your lovingly-prepared fish fingers and beans at the wall in a jealous rage should you dare to answer your phone when you should be performing for them.

Your world revolves around primary colours and the constant, faint smell of vomit.

Playgroups are not happy places. They are the equivalent of a student freshers’ night. There’s always a fight, someone overdoses on sugar, aka toddler crack, there’s a girl crying on the stairs and at least one boy will expose his genitals.

If you haven’t hit the gin by 5pm, the chances are when your actual partner (if you are lucky enough to have one) will come home to find everyone sobbing face down into the questionably stained carpet.

I wouldn’t mind, but I actually work part time. Stay at home motherhood was never on the cards for me.

Yes my childcare bill for two kids is literally more than my mortgage – but I made that choice.

And unlike a lot of families who have this week hit back at the 30 per cent rise in childcare costs, I actually find them reassuring. I pay £38 a day for nursery per child, from 8am to 5.30pm.

That works out at the equivalent of half the hourly minimum wage. You’d pay a cleaner more to scrub your toilet. These are your kids.

Sometimes, when I have a day like today, when my youngest drew a giant felt tip robot over my freshly-painted hallway, I get out the DVD of Kramer v Kramer and fast forward until I get to that scene.

The one where Dustin Hoffman makes a pros and cons list of having custody of his son.

His cons list – no money, no career, no sex life etc – is extensive. But he doesn’t make a single entry into the pros column.

Instead, in the dead of the night, he slips into his son’s bedroom and cradles him close to his chest, rocking him to and fro. There are no words.

A parent’s love for their child is all-consuming.

So today, I have been taken aback by the vicious backlash against the proposed extra help the government plans to give working parents.

“If you can’t afford children, you can afford contraception” was one charming response on the BBC website.

“Why should we encourage two parents to work? What kind of message is that giving to families?” was another.

“Why should tax-payers pay for mothers to go and drink lattes all day and flirt by the photocopier” said a Daily Mail troll.

God that sounds nice. Want to swap jobs?

Here’s why.

These mothers are your GPs. Your paramedics. The surgeon who performed your life-saving triple heart bypass. The teacher who got your son through his GSCE maths. The soldier who fights to protect her country. The taxi driver who picked you up in the pouring rain and got you to that important meeting on time.

Women may not rule this country but we run it.

Come on. Will you give us just a small tax break?

Twitter: @WakefieldVenu