Getting sufficient exercise is a problem for a stay-at-home mother. Going for a walk with a toddler will exercise him, but it won’t do a lot for you except give you a breath of fresh air. It can be a real nuisance to be so tied, especially if you are one of those people who need regular exercise to help cure or prevent period pain. You can do the pelvic rock, of course, almost any time around the house. But that’s not the same thing as going to a disco, for example, or playing tennis or going ice skating, because you miss the company. Some of the new leisure and sports centres provide creches for mothers who want to use the sporting facilities, but they are costly. And so is using a babysitter, unless you belong to a baby-sitting group and help one another for free.

Lack of money-The bad thing about being your own boss is that you’re working without pay. And if you have been used to two salaries, and you suddenly have to learn to cope on one, you probably won’t be able to afford baby-sitters or creches very often, or even some of the food you would perhaps like. There’s really no reasonable answer to that. I could advise you to buy food instead of clothes, but I can hear the, hollow laughter of mothers who gave up buying clothes for themselves when their first babies were born and have been feeling the pinch ever since, despite all their sacrifices. The poverty of the young family in a society where so many women work and earn is a social problem we have hardly begun to consider, let alone solve.

The depression of the miseries is particularly hard to contend with when you are tied to the home day in and day out and you can’t afford outings or treats. Belonging to a group of parents can be a help—you’ll baby-sit for one another free for a start. Some groups run meetings in the evenings as well as during the day, and just to take an evening off now and then will help a great deal. An evening out with your husband is even better, while a week-end away is nicer still. No wonder British Rail’s ‘Golden Rail Breathers’ are overbooked. But I do know how difficult it is to arrange. Once you have children depending on you, you will soon find that nothing is simple any more, not even a short trip to the shops.


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