Being a mum is the best job in the world
Mums are famous for their catchphrases – some days we find ourselves saying the same thing again and again!
My own mum is a native Gaelic speaker, and although I don’t have Gaelic myself, when I had children, I rediscovered my ‘mother tongue’.
All of the commands and endearments, which mums say a million times a day, came to me as easily in Gaelic as English, like ‘suidh sios’ (sit down) or ‘m’eudail bheag’ (my wee darling).
Generations of mums have passed on wisdom to their children in the catchphrases they use. One of my favourites is ‘what’s for you won’t go by you’
As Children’s Minister I spend most of my days working to make sure tha t none of our young people miss out on something that’s ‘for them’.
Today thousands of families across the country will celebrate Mother’s Day.
Some will definitely still use the classic catchphrases they learnt from their own mums, some will have traditions and catchphrases of their own. Our diversity is what makes us great.
But what we all have in common, not just mothers, but society as a whole, is our ambition to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up.
It’s why the Scottish Government has introduced the Baby Box, to give every child an equal start in life. In just over a year more than 80,000 have been delivered and 96% of expectant parents are requesting one.
We are also transforming early learning and childcare, almost doubling the amount of funded childcare hours available to children and ensuring the emphasis remains firmly on quality, regardless of where and how these hours are delivered. This will be available to all families by August 2020, but local authorities are starting to phase in the extra hours already.
It means all of our youngest children will have a chance to play and learn in the best possible environment, including outdoors, a luxury some young people from our most deprived backgrounds have previously missed out on. And the financial difference to families which the increase in hours will make will be huge, saving them almost £4500 a year per child.
Our work doesn’t stop in the early years though.
We know we have to get it right for every child, not just the majority. That’s why we continue to work on improving consistency of the support available for young people with additional support needs. Our world-leading approach to inclusion is a key strength of our education system, but we know there is room to improve the experience of being included for all children.
And it’s why we continue to invest time, money and love into improving the lives of our looked after children.
The Independent Care Review is listening to young people and adults with experience of care in Scotland to identify and deliver lasting change to the care system.
We want Scotland to deliver the best care system in the world, where children in care receive the love, respect, and opportunities that they deserve.
You often hear that being a mum is the best job in the world. I’m extremely lucky because as well as being a mum to three wonderful kids I also get to do one of the other best jobs in the world, working to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up.
Another favourite phrase I’m sure we all remember our own mum saying is the classic ‘I haven’t stopped all day!’
Every child deserves the best possible start in life, no matter their background, and I’m absolutely determined to use my time in office to the full, working hard to make this ambition a reality.
But I will take one day off to ‘stop’, relax and maybe get a little spoilt by my own kids.
I hope all the other mums across the country have a brilliant day, spent with the ones they love and content in the knowledge that just as they want the very best for their own children, we want the same for all of Scotland’s children. And we will continue to do everything we can to deliver for them.
More information on the support available to parents is available at www.parentclub.scot