Then vs today’s parents: We did it tough and had no help

The paid parental leave scheme has been abandoned but I am left wondering why it was proposed – we come from

The paid parental leave scheme has been abandoned but I am left wondering why it was proposed – we come from a generation with housewives and the choice of a baby was ours alone…there was no government program available for us to lean on. Do we really need to pay mothers more to make them feel valued and validated in work and in motherhood?

Parenting has changed so much; the big plan (now scrapped, but may be replaced) to give mothers a six-month wage replacement seems so far away from what us baby boomers knew when we had babies. It would be a dream to us then but in this day and age, how can we really justify this in our country’s budget? Is it a necessary expense when there are cuts to our health and education sectors?

It feels as if mothers today have this expectation that the government will and should support them while on maternity leave – what ever happened to those who were doing it themselves and budgeting for a baby? When we had our first children, there were no such policies. Having children was a choice we made knowing full well we would have to factor in the expenses either by working ourselves or having our partner taking an extra job and/or taking more hours.

I know my own 1950s housewife mother never worked as she had 6 children from age 20 til 40, but I understand those were different times. She received support from her mother and father to raise the children and even when we had kids, our family was there to step in when we needed it. So does this mean that new mums nowadays have a more independent motherhood and thus need government support in the absence of a babysitter grandparent?

When we had children, our parents were free all the time. They were the hands-on grandparents who were always available. Fast forward to now, as grandparents ourselves, we aren’t anything like our own parents or grandparents – we’re busy travelling, seeing friends, volunteering or even working. We aren’t the type to retire at 55 or 60 and sit inside doing crosswords and babysitting. But is it our fault that our children’s generation are asking for more money to support their baby and lifestyle?

It makes me wonder, with all this role changing and working parents, are our grandchildren going to be okay? The paid parental leave scheme looked like a solution for income earners who want more than the standard amount provided by Human Services, but was that really that bad to begin with?

Having a look at the current parental leave payment of $641 per week, it soars above the average weekly age pension of $380 for a single. We live off this much yet there are some who are crying poor when they are receiving the minimum wage when they give birth – so should we be asking for more when the government, until recently, were willing to match employer wages for up to six months? Who is more worthy?

Should there be a revised parental leave scheme or should parents budget for their babies and deal with the minimum government payment already in place? Was it better raising a baby 30 or 40 years ago?

Photo sources: Greg Kucera and NewtownLivingstone

Originally posted here

    • I’m all for that too philomena, isn’t it wonderful for the young mothers and babies to have care and love, isn’t that what life is about! Nurturing the life of the future .

  1. I for one am glad they scrapped the paid parental leave, this country cannot afford it. If you want kids, then you have to be realistic and decide how many you can afford. Just because you are married doesn’t mean you have to have kids, and if you can only afford one then so be it. We are raising a generation of parents who are too reliant on government hand outs. Yes, it’s tough but that makes you more self reliant.

    • you’re right Sue, why should we the tax payer have to pay for these babies, no one paid for mine, one income family for us, if we wanted something, we saved or went without. Todays young ones want everything NOW. That’s why the women have to go to work and leave someone else to raise their kids, why bother having kids in the first place?

    • Don’t agree at all..we had it easy and had family around to help out…homes were cheap etc. Kids today should be able to have time with their baby before going back to work so yes to paid parental leave! !

    • Karen Ellery homes were cheap? Only because our wages were so low and the average house was about 11-12 square’s, which was affordable on one income. These days everyone goes for big 30+ square homes and they need two incomes to pay for them and everything they won’t wait to buy as they go along, it’s not the responsibility of the TAXPAYERS.

    • Not sure where you lived Karen but our first home wasn’t cheap, we scrimped and scraped together a deposit, and had to move out to far western Sydney to be able to afford it. My parents lived too far away to look after my kids, so after going back to work I had to find daycare 3 days a week. If you were able to buy affordable housing and have your parents around you were one of the lucky ones.

    • Karen Ellery Pritchard I wish I had family to help when I had three under three. No such luck.

  2. I had my children because I wanted them. I made sacrifices because I wanted to. It wasnt hard. I loved it.

  3. Isn’t making life easier for the next generation a normal progression? I worked until the day before I gave birth and was back at work two weeks later, but I have no wish for this for another generation.

  4. Why not have paid parental leave Women r more educated now because we baby boomers wanted our daughters as mothers to be valued in the work force just the same as men are and going back to work today is what this generation of mothers have to do there is not sadly many stay at home mums today

  5. In Denmark the wages are so that a couple is expected to work – both of them – many couples need a car each because the jobs are not there were you live and the busconnections are crappy and very expensive… Once you have kids you have to work so you can put them in daycare… even if the mother stays home and they don’t have to pay daycare – the money will get very small..
    Women are meant to have an education and pull their weight on the work marked… You get unemployment benefits – but you are expected to find work…
    I stayed home with the kids because I was physically handicapped – and the kids had to go to daycare anyway…I don’t wish this on anybody… The kids need other input – just being with mum is devastating… and women who only hear babytalk all day – well … it wasn’t good for me…
    Women can take 1 year leave – but if you just want to continue staying home there’s no support…

    • no. But I didn’t speak very well Danish and one way to learn Danish was going to daycare… also, I had a hard time physically…

    • there is another problem – most kids go to daycare and when yours are home – there are no other kids to play with…

    • Heidi. Sweden is similar. It is expected the mother and the father share responsibilities equally – inside and outside the home (work) and the system largely supports it – Sane and civilised system – but we in Australia are so far behind most countries when it comes to this – so many believe it is the mothers job to take the largest responsibility to raise the children. I feel bad we have not moved with the times. In Sweden the stay at home mother was called a parasite in some circles. It is a notion we cannot afford – and puts such burden on the breadwinner. The economy functions better when ALL able citizens contribute – there is a better way – but I won’t see it in my lifetime in Australia – sadly.

  6. Far more pressure of all sorts on parents today, I do think they need support in whatever form it comes

  7. Think we should embrace the way the Govt, are supporting the parents of today, rather then be so bitter and jealous that so many of this +60’s are doing, embrace it and see it as we were the one’s that buildt this, helping to make sure that parent/s will have a more comfortable time bringing up their children, our grandchildren etc., etc.

    • I don’t get the bitter and jealous….we had it easy compared to our
      kids….selective memories! !! Our kids have to work as house prices are ridiculous!

    • Ahhh but it is their choice to have shiny brand new huge houses that fill a block. We were just happy to be able to buy a little house to start our dream together

    • I don’t feel bitter, I feel sometimes today it is more about having things than the people in your life. Buying all these rings can be tiring and parents are tired after a long day at work. Which can mean less patience with their children

    • my kids are working hard to get an education – so they will be able to have jobs with good pay – I’m glad that they will be able to afford things i couldn’t even dream of when i was young…
      The best time of being with the kids gets taken by financial struggles – even if you just rent a place. being “poor” today seems not to be the same as when i was young…
      I was born not so long after the war… growing up without light or running water – having 2 pairs of underpants.. and one dress for every day and one for Sundays…(I’m German)…I remember my father praying every day for us to have a small house and a small garden – some day… He didn’t live to see it.

    • I agree, times change. To be honest If the payments available now had been available to us when we were having our families I’m sure we would have gratefully accepted them though there may have been some cries of outrage from our parents generation

    • Sadly this generation is very much materialistic. I am not bitter, but nowadays it is almost a must to have everything that open and shut. And granted, yes house prices are high but wages are also so much higher than ours ever were

    • Times change. The pension wasn’t available once neither was vaccination or the vote for women. Should we get rid of these advances too? We need to nurture our young families. A bit of extra money would certainly have come in handy when we had our children and I left the workforce for 16 years.

    • Heidi Torndahl My parents got to own their own home but it was hard ,my father started to build our house when I was 4 & finished it when I was 17 ,he would be away from us every weekend for a couple of years as my parents didn’t have a car & they couldn’t afford the fares for the four of us to travel ,we started with a laundry which became our bathroom in cement tubs & a wood chip heater ,a kitchen ,dinning room that became my brother & I bedroom & lounge room without ceilings that became Mum & Dads bedroom ,when we moved in we had a good life playing down in the valley ,Dad worked hard & could only afford a bag of nails one pay day & a sheet of fibro the next pay day ,we got our bathroom when I was 17 ,Dads pride & joy ,we even had a shower down the backyard in a shed ,we didn’t have much in the way of clothing either ,I was 13 before we got TV & that was borrowed ,about 16 when we got a phone & I was 21 when Dad got a car ,but we were happy with the simple things in life .Now it’s credit cards ,the latest new mobile etc .

    • I don’t feel bitter or jealous, in fact I feel rather sorry for the young ones of today with so much pressure on them created by society as a whole.

    • I’m not jealous and if I thought they appreciate that would be good but they don’t. They just keep wanting then think we oldies should do without

    • Judy Cameron I totally agree with you. Too much emphasis is put on material things these days. Money or not it is the love that counts!!

    • It’s never been easy for anyone
      At one time when you had children you could not get a job because there was no one to mind your children and grandparents did not do it. You had to get by and there were generations that had absolutely nothing

  8. I agree we did have our children no paid maternity ,but I don’t be grudge people getting paid like everything else penalty rates our fathers & mothers fought hard for us to live better than they did ,they new how hard it was for them ,why don’t you put the blame on the ones who deserve it the Multimillionaires who don’t pay any tax in this country not the mums & dads today & the coalition & LIBERALs who let them get away with it

  9. I agree with Sue Packer, this country can’t afford it. If you want children then you need to plan ahead and get some savings behind you so you can take time off work to care for them. It is not the responsibility of the AUSTRALIAN TAXPAYER.

  10. The ALP bought in a good plan , $641 per week is enough, when you count the husbands wage to live comfortably while you are staying at home looking after your child. Pensioners have to survive on far less than that. The Liberal Parties plan was way to extravagent at a time when they are wanting to cut welfare and are saying we had a budget emergency. There priorites are all skewed

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