When Will We Stop Judging Mothers For Their Childcare Choices?

As Dani Dyer is criticised for using a childcare app, it's time to stop tearing other women down, and focus on making affordable childcare available to all

Dani Dyer

by Anniki Sommerville |
Updated on

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’Finally a lovely lunch and drink with friends. I don’t get much opportunity to go out these days as a busy mum and it’s important to get some time - even if it’s just an hour catching up with a good mate.’

This was the comment shared by Love Island star Dani Dyer on her Instagram feed Tuesday evening, alongside a carefree photo of Dani having a lunchtime drink with a friend. Dani went on to say that she’d used Bubble - a childcare app - so that she could have a bit of me-time, away from baby son Santi.

What followed was a barrage of negative comments - primarily from other mums - calling Dani out for using an app, critiquing her parenting, and interrogating why she needed childcare in the first place when she had family available. It resulted, the following day, in Dani sharing the impact of this trolling attack on her IG stories. ‘I was branded a shit mum for using this service… the amount of hate I got from the mum police, the mum brigade, whatever you want to call them, was actually disgusting. I have a heart. I have feelings. I have been under such scrutiny and feel people judge me every single day.’

Another day. Another mother judged for her choices.

Which begs the question: why do women - and often these are mothers - feel the need to call out other women on their choice of childcare? And why is this childcare interrogation not extended to dads? (Have you ever heard someone ask a father about the childcare they’ve chosen to use when they’re out and about?)

Childcare is a hot topic - as it should be. In the UK, we’re desperately in need of flexible, more affordable options, and those that cater for mums who are leaving the workplace in droves because they simply can’t afford to pay the extortionate costs.

The recent campaign by The Juggle and Pregnant Then Screwed - calling for an independent review into childcare’s cost and affordability - revealed how many mothers are at breaking point because of insufficient government support when it comes to childcare. And THIS is where we should be aiming our ire and fury - not at the mothers themselves, who are navigating the rocky path of ever-changing work dynamics, raising a family, and dealing with post-pandemic burn-out.

Sarah Hesz, CCO at Bubble and mum of three, was also met with a raft of negative comments from the ‘mum police’ and others, when she gave full disclosure on how much childcare had cost her family in a broadsheet newspaper.

‘It's important that we talk about it because for ages it's been almost taboo,' she said. 'All those "how does she do it?" articles we grew up with had a simple answer: childcare. For anyone commuting to a 9-5 job, you’re going to need 10 hours of childcare a day. If you have more than one child, then things are going to spiral.’

The cost of childcare is the issue we should be getting furious about.

We need to aim our arrows at the right targets: at the people who can change government policy, at the employers who are unaware of the pressure their working parents are under, at the outmoded idea that childcare is always the responsibility of women, not men.

It’s time to stop tearing down mothers for their childcare choices.

READ MORE: It's Finally Happening! The Flexible Working Floodgates Are Starting To Open

READ MORE: Childcare issues don’t stop when kids go to school - in many ways it gets harder

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