Listen up, politicians. MadeForMums and Practical Parenting mums have spoken
Today’s the big day and party leaders from Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have all been making offers of changes to the way things are done for mums and dads. But the people who really know are you, the mums! So we asked you to give us your opinion on the politicians’ promises and what would make a difference to your life in our online survey. Here’s what you told us…
Whether you’re planning to start a family, are eagerly awaiting the arrival of your first baby, expecting your second child or have a brood of 10, there’ll be one thing on your mind. How are you going to pay for it all? What Labour is offering: Improved flexible working arrangements for parents and family-friendly employment rights
What the Conservatives are offering: Extend flexible working hours to all parents with children under 18.
What you want: “More paid maternity leave”
One thing was very clear – you’d vote for a party that offered you longer paid time off with your newborn. Maternity pay depends on your personal situation.
The minimum you can expect if you’ve been working is £123.06 a week for 39 weeks. 52.5% of you want to see that increased to 12 months. We asked if you’d rather that or six months at a higher rate, but it seems being at home for longer with a little money is a priority. You don’t, however, rate paid paternity leave highly – just 19.9% of you voted it as the most important maternity leave change you’d like to see. Interesting, as Labour’s manifesto has focused on improving help for dads-to-be, from new dad booklets now being given out in Bounty packs, to a promise of dad-focused antenatal classes if Labour are re-elected.
What you want: “Make motherhood a paid job”
If you’ve felt the wrench of leaving your little one at home to go back to work, you’ll agree with the whopping 73.4% of mums who would choose not to work if they were paid to stay at home. And 68.9% of mums we polled thought the government should pay those mums who want to stay at home and look after their children. You’re not greedy, though – 43% of you think the monthly payment should be just £500 (£6,000 a year). 14.8% of you would be happy with £200 per month and just 5.3% of you expect £1500 per month or over.
What you want: “Give us a break!”
David Cameron has pledged that if the Conservatives are voted in, he’ll give married couples tax breaks. But you’d like to see them go one better – by offering tax breaks for married couples with children. 35.6% of you saw this as the most important money-saving proposal for parents. And 34.2% of you would also like to see an increase in child benefit while 33.2% of you would like to see more subsidised nursery places.
What the Conservatives are offering: They’ve pledged to employ an extra 4,200 health visitors, roughly doubling the current number. New mums would then be guaranteed six hours of visits at home in the first two weeks after giving birth and one visit a fortnight until their baby is six months. But what’s really concerning you?
What you want: “More midwives, please!”
Your top priority is funding for more midwives – 61.8% of you rate it most important. And you want a guarantee that you will have previously met the midwife who delivers your baby (39.1% of you voted this as the birth support proposal that is most important to you). A promise that you can attend a hospital of your own choice didn’t rate so highly (just 14.7% of you thought this was the most important change you’d like to see to help your pregnancy) and just 2.4% of you thought more NHS support for dads-to-be, such as antenatal classes, is important.
What you want: “We want more aftercare”
On average, the length of time women remain in hospital after giving birth has decreased in recent years. But you’re in no hurry to cut ties with the place your baby was born as 39% of you would like to see more funding of care in hospital post-birth.
What you want: “We’re not too posh to push”
Just 5.8% of you see the right to an elective caesarean as being the birth support proposal that’s most important to you.
What you want: “Give us the legal right to breastfeed in public!”
At the moment it’s not against the law to breastfeed in public – however, if you do you can be asked to stop, for example, by a café owner. 39.8% of you would like to see a law passed to make it a legal right to breastfeed in public. You’re also crying out for more breastfeeding support. 43.1% of you would like the government to fund one-to-one help for the first week after the birth.
What you want: “Stop hiking up prices in school hols”
We asked what would help change your life as a family. A staggering 58.5% of you voted for a ban on inflating holiday prices in the school holidays. This compared to just 22.2% of you who wanted to see more dad-friendly baby changing areas and 20.3% of you who would like to see parent and child badges to give you parking privileges on the roads.
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