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It breaks my heart that Nick Clegg is so blind to what mothers really want

By Kathy Gyngell, Conservative Home

Last week, Nick Clegg attacked what he defined as the outdated notion that men should go out to work while women stayed at home to look after the children. He said the idea that the mother should be the primary carer – even straight after the birth of her child – was frankly absurd.  It is the absurd Mr Clegg who is out of date and out of touch.

Next week, a group of highly intelligent and educated young mothers will be lobbying politicians to change such gender-equality driven childcare policies before it is, frankly, too late. They are concerned about the damage already done to children’s psychological welfare and to the institution of the family itself by state-prescribed care in crèches and daycare centres.

They abhor the bias against stay-at-home mothers that politicians like Nick Clegg advance and deeply resent their exclusion from the family policy debate –and their marginalisation as unenlightened and old fashioned. They are neither. They are beleaguered. Understandably, they don’t want to upset working mothers. But they are right to insist that we can no longer ignore the evidence of large-scale studies in the United States and surveys from the UK and also Sweden, a country that has embraced daycare to such an extent that the mother’s right to stay at home has been virtually eliminated. Sweden is on the brink of taking the family into state ownership.

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