So, it was half-term and we went to London for a few days and we went here, along with just about every other family in the metropolis. And it was absolutely fab, although the queues for tickets were so huge that we just did the little slide and resolved to come back on the next inset day. That was the extent of our exposure to art. Strangely, the kids showed no desire to visit the rest of the gallery apart from the cafe and the shop!
We got talking to one of the gallery staff and she told us that people had been waiting outside since 7.00! And the doors didn’t open until 10.00. That’s some amazing devotion, don’t you think? But of course, it was half-term and parents wanted to give their kids some fun and something a bit special to do. The fact that this particular art installation had been featured on several kids’ TV programmes may have contributed just a little to it being the hottest hot ticket for the half-term break. In terms of entertainment, it has it all: culture, danger and contemporary – who could resist. And there were the parents, giving up hours of their time to queue on a chilly concrete ramp on Bankside so their kids could have a few minutes of whizzing round and round at high speed.
So how do parents who have proper jobs (unlike me) manage during the school holidays? Frankly, it must be a logistical nightmare, served up with double anxiety and a side order of guilt. And yet the recent report from the Equal Opportunities Commission into women and work was treated like it was news. Hold the front page! Working and looking after children is tricky!
No shit, Sherlock!
Hello? Is it just me or has this been a problem for years and years and years? And we’re only hearing about it now. Hmmmm. Am I sensing an agenda?
So here are the facts:
- more than 400,000 women could be tempted back into the workplace, provided employers were willing to offer them more flexible patterns of work.
- coaxing more women into paid work will be critical to defusing the demographic time-bomb and boosting economic growth in ageing economies.
- the pay-off could be £20bn per year in the UK alone.
Well, now that making working life easier for parents (specifically mothers) is of benefit to the economy, I preduct a rash of initiatives that will certainly appear to help. But you know, I reckon that we’ll still be still be going round in circles.
And not just at the Tate.