We're delighted you've found us!
We are a not-for-profit campaigning group run by volunteers. We hope our campaign gives support and encouragement to anyone involved in family care.
Check out our latest discussion by clicking on our public Facebook page 'Mothers at Home Matter Too' - all welcome. Alternatively there's our closed discussion group now launched for 2015 and reserved for our members - it's called 'MAHM Members' Community'. Our website is regularly updated so please send us relevant links to our email address to help keep the website up to date with issues affecting families in the UK.
Our work is about love, parenting, family time, relationships and connections (we recommend this video, 3 minutes long). We focus on the sort of 'care' that is given and received within families and particularly (but not exclusively) the special love and care given by mothers, often against the odds. When mothers, fathers, grandparents and other family members are able to support each other unconditionally, it's the very best start we can hope to give our children.
We take a 'family life cycle' approach. Our campaign isn't interested in judging different choices made by mothers and fathers, recognising that parents respond to individual circumstances and the sometimes unexpected challenges that family life throws at us. A mother - or a father - should have a realistic choice to be at home for a period of time if this is what suits their family best and depending on their child's age, stage and needs.
Dads are most welcome to campaign with us - and we recognise there are many other family members who take on a primary caregiving role. We know there are increasing numbers of fathers at home and we applaud the work you do at home and/or in paid work, supporting your family in a number of ways. If you're a dad at home, a grandparent, another family member or a foster carer - then most of the information on our website will be of interest to you and please write to us with your experiences - see http://www.mothersathomematter.co.uk/contact-us
Who do we represent?
We give a voice to the parent at home and equally to those who've had to return to paid employment but who'd really love to spend more time at home taking care of the children. We know parents today face difficult choices due to social and financial pressures and the impact of successive government policies.
We also campaign for the main earner, working hard to support his/her family often on pay levels which haven't kept up with the cost of living and housing. The working parent - particularly in single-earner families- faces unfair family taxation and unlike most other countries care responsibilities are not factored into tax calculations. Furthermore, in times of austerity and welfare cuts too many parents have to work really long hours (or find extra work) to keep on top of the bills, piling pressure on family life and relationships. Meanwhile the cost of living and housing continues to go up, beyond the reach of most families.
Family life offers the loving base and sense of belonging that all children need from infancy through to negotiating the challenges of young adulthood. Sadly, policymakers have failed to consider the needs of families. As well as struggling financially, many parents are increasingly 'time poor'. Policies affecting children and their parents should be 'tested' for their impact on the affordability and quality of family life.
Our campaigning group was launched in 1991 in the face of relentless pressures on mothers to return to paid work outside the home when their children are still very young. Who are we? MAHM is run by a diverse group of volunteers throughout the UK and we have no political affiliations. Our support comes from people who want to see more value placed on the importance of relationships and family life in our society. We consult with other like-minded organisations and individuals and liaise with other non party political groups such as SCM - Save Childhood Movement and WATCh What About the Children? Click here for the Save Childhood Manifesto: Save Childhood Manifesto
Click on our Facebook page and 'LIKE' it - the open page is a public forum for sharing ideas and relevant links.
In addition to this, if you are a member of MAHM then you can apply to join our new closed forum for members only - the 'MAHM Members' Community' facebook group launching in 2015. Click on the Green button 'JOIN US' on the right of the page if you'd like to subscribe. Contact us directly for more information about getting involved in our discussion forums.
If you would like to contribute to our Viewpoints section http://www.mothersathomematter.co.uk/viewpoints and have experiences on family life and parenting that you would like to share, please get in touch.
What parents tell us
The situation for a parent at home has worsened considerably in recent times ( 2013), with lots of obstacles in the way of caring for family. For example mothers tell us they're under considerable social pressure to return to paid work. When ante-natal friends start drifting back to their jobs, perhaps with extended family nearby helping out, being at home can be a lonely place. We look for enouragement from our families and wider communities. It doesn't help when parents who both work outside the home are referred to as 'modern families', as if having a mother at home means you must be 'old fashioned' (although interestingly families with a stay-at-home dad are seen as progressive - policymakers seem to have more of a problem with mothers being at home than fathers!). In fact caring for your child is as modern and progressive a choice as any other and children's needs have not changed.
There are financial obstacles. It's increasingly difficult to manage on just one salary and this is made worse by taxation policies in the UK. What do we mean by that? Well the govt penalises those family family types they don't agree with very much -ie couples with one parent at home looking after children/dependents for a period of time, often called 'single-earners'. There's absolutely no recognition of the considerable costs involved when a mother (or father) gives up all or most of her/his income to take care of children. In truth there has never been, in the history of time, any 'cost-free' childcare for any family (it used to be called the 'cost of raising a family'), so it's puzzling that the coalition govt plans to recognise only the costs of registered daycare such as nurseries or childminders. In recent months they've proposed generous tax-free childcare allowances for households where all adults are in paid work - and they've even made this 'allowance' available on very high joint incomes up to £300,000: meanwhile other working families coping on far lower incomes or just one salary are sidelined in policy. Furthermore many parents on a fifth of that amount have lost child benefit (whilst some dual-income parents on comparatively higher incomes retain eligibility for child benefit). Few people realise that one-earner parents with care responsibilities at home already pay far higher tax than their dual-earner colleagues on same overall income, so it makes little sense to penalise them further in withdrawing child benefit and by targeting tax-free childcare allowances only when all adults have a paid job. No wonder both parents are often forced to work longer hours with little choice other than to outsource childcare to someone else.
Mothers are also very concerned about 'conditionality' placed on households on the new Universal Credit. Will family responsibilities at home be properly factored in? How much pressure will there be on second earners to return to work? Preliminary research seems to indicate that more mothers will be 'encouraged' (under pressure) to sign up for interviews when children are 12 months old, even when he/she has significant care responsibilities at home.
The world might move on, but children's needs do not change
MAHM is not just about the 'early years' - we believe it's important for someone to be there for the children in the middle and teenage years as family circumstances and pressures change. The availability of decently-paid part-time work, particularly during secondary school, is key to achieving balance for some parents with care responsibilities. However much will depend on individual family circumstances, number of children, extended family support and other commitments. It is not always practical or desirable for the second adult to engage in paid work and this must be respected.
We're now seeing an unprecedented level of interest in our work. It has become clear to an increasing number of parents and commentators that single-wage couples are being treated unfairly (whether it's mum or dad at home taking care of the children). Lone parents feel under immense pressure to return to work when they still have very young children who need them. The message from government is for all parents to 'go back to paid work' and for young children to go to nursery, often full time. There appears to be very little understanding in policy circles of a child's need for family time and the loving one-to-one care that babies need. We also question whether older children should be spending long hours in so-called 'wrap around' care - often longer than an adult's working day - when they often just want to chill out at home or meet their friends.
If you would like to comment on any of the articles on this website - please e-mail us: http://www.mothersathomematter.co.uk/contact-us
To JOIN US look up this section: http://www.mothersathomematter.co.uk/join-us
We rely on membership subscriptions (£12.50 or £15 per year if both parents join) and donations. You can join through Paypal or by sending a cheque payable to Mothers At Home Matter to PO Box 43690, London SE22 9WN. Ours is a non-profit-making organisation and we have no paid staff. See our team of committed volunteers based around the UK.
Our FACEBOOK 'page' MOTHERS AT HOME MATTER TOO is linked from this website. Connect with us to share ideas about how we can challenge family policy and start to build a more family friendly society - one where home life and invisible 'care' work is valued. ( In addition, in 2015 we are launching a new closed discussion forum on facebook for subscribers who become members of MAHM - see MAHM Members' Community).
Follow us on TWITTER @mumsdadsmatter
WRITE TO YOUR MP - it makes all the difference. Look this page up to contact him/her: www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/
Contribute to the MAHM Blog or MAHM Viewpoints - we're interested in articles from parents as well as from experts in their field - for example Economists, Child Psychologists and anyone who has a personal or academic interest in this debate.
Learn more about MAHM and our CAMPAIGNING AIMS by clicking here: Our three campaigning aims
Who are our members and supporters?
Mothers at Home Matter members have come together due to a shared passion for family life but otherwise we have different experiences and face different challenges. We are non-party political and inclusive in our approach as children's needs are universal. Membership is open to all - mothers, fathers, grandparents, working parents and anyone who supports our aims, regardless of employment status, age or marital status. You don't have to have children of your own to join. We are a diverse group of people with different backgrounds, education and political leanings. Many of us are mothers who, against all the social and financial odds, are at home with our families because this is where we feel we're needed at this particular point in time. Many of our members are single-earner families or with 'one-and-a-bit' incomes. Some are parenting alone, some with extended family support, some not. Some mothers work from home or have moved on to part-time employment, but continue to support us - and others are back in full time paid work responding to changing family circumstances. We also get messages of support from health visitors, researchers, parenting workers, teachers, childminding mothers, as well as politicians and journalists.
Please support our campaign. Join Us!
What mothers do may not be paid work, but it's a very real contribution and matters a lot.
Images courtesy of DoodleMum