2 articles Tag Childcare

The Great Childcare Debate

childcareSomething which is on a lot of people’s minds at the moment is the issue of childcare, after the Government introduced free funding for 2 year olds from underprivileged families to receive 15 hours of nursery a week. The idea was to get parents back into work without having the expense of nursery hanging over them, but it’s a scheme which has been a bit of a sticking point for a lot of families. Until the age of three, working parents are expected to pay the full price for childcare and the prevailing attitude is that it seems unfair that familes who don’t appear to need free childcare are more entitled to it.

Let’s look at the brass tacks of it:

At the moment, Husband and I both work from home, which works for us and means we don’t need childcare. Now, let’s assume that I wanted to go back to work, full time, as a copywriter which is what I currently do from home. Let’s completely ignore Husband’s salary and assume that this is still going on things like rent and our bills, as it does at the moment.

The average salary for a copywriter is £23,047 per year before tax and National Insurance, so my take-home pay would be approximately £18,840, or £1570 per month. I’d probably have to travel to London to find this kind of work so I’d have to factor in £355.60 per month in season ticket fares. The nursery attached to Sausage’s school charges £4.50 per hour, plus £1.75 for a hot lunch, which would make my monthly nursery fees (assuming I’d need to drop her off at 7.30 am to get the train and not collect her again until 6.30pm) £1110.42. Of course, this also doesn’t factor in needing before and after school care for Sausage.

In travel fees and nursery fees alone, my monthly expenses JUST FOR GOING TO WORK would be £1466.02, leaving me approximately £103 which, as far as I’m concerned would make it absolutely POINTLESS going back to work.

I know that there are flexi options, sometimes family can help with childcare, or companies which allow a homeworking element during the week, but these figures are the exact reason that so many people are up in arms about the government’s scheme. Being a copywriter isn’t the loftiest career in the whole world but it sure as hell pays more than retail work or other minimum wage jobs, which means that even people with hopes of getting a mid-level job will struggle.

Obviously, this is all part of a MUCH bigger problem. The cost of living is too damn high in the UK, whilst wages are depressingly low. Family-friendly working is more-or-less non-existent and women are usually expected to bear the burden of this. I know that there’s a prevailing attitude that women SHOULD be the ones to bear the burden because they’re the ones who CHOOSE to have the babies (obviously the men have zero say in this and we’re all just sperm-harvesting lunatics…*sarcasm*) but this is a hugely outdated notion and many men also feel penalised because of their inability to contribute towards the childcare duties.

I don’t begrudge families who are on a low income the opportunity to have free childcare, I really don’t, but I also don’t think it’s a solution. It’s a really romantic notion, hoping to help people back into work, but let me ask you this: 1. how are they supposed to afford that childcare once the funding runs out and they’re on a low wage and 2. WHERE ARE ALL OF THESE JOBS THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO BE FILLING?!

I think we can all agree that the Government has well and truly got its head up its arse on this issue and that more help needs to be given to ALL parents who want to go back to work, not least of all because we’ve probably got a massive pool if untapped talent in this country, desperate to get back into the workplace but unable to afford it. It’s all very well for the hate-mongers in the right wing press to be content with demonising benefit claimants but the Government has basically created this viscous loop of never being able to AFFORD to come off of benefits, for so many people, who are essentially tied to living in permanent poverty.

I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this. Are you a Mum who’d love to go back to work but simply cannot afford to? Would you have a career if the childcare was cheaper or more affordable? Are you in receipt of two-year-old funding but still unable to find a job? Please leave me a comment below.

Guest Post: I’m a parenting expert…

Yesterday, I put out a call for help. My blogging mojo is having a week off and I asked my blogging chums if they’d like to step in and write some posts for me and gawd bless ’em, I had lots of offers, which made me love our little community even more. Today, I’ve got a post from the lovely Fi who blogs at Childcare is Fun, who I must confess is one of my secret blogging crushes, I totally want to be her and have her hair and have her be my best friend, all at the same time 🙂 So, here it is: 

Parenting. The minefield of mothers and fathers doing their best in a conflicting world of advice. Hands on parenting, comfort parenting, practical parenting, attachment parenting, oh the hokeycokey parenting. It’s a headache before you’ve even popped out your first baby isn’t it?

Having the opportunity to guest write here on the lovely Jayne’s blog, I decided to open up, take off my professional cap, and talk frankly.

“You must have it so easy” someone once said to me, “you know everything and anything parenting, it must be a breeze!”

No. It’s really not…

I’ve 21 years experience working in childcare, I have a degree in Childhood and Youth studies, a diploma in Childhood studies, I’m a qualified Nursery nurse, I’ve a gazzillion training certificates from baby signing to special needs practicals, and I’ve a few awards for my work with children, but I’m also just a mum.

I wake up tired. I go to bed tired. I often feel like hiding under the duvet when my two under 3 are wrestling on the bedroom floor over a postman pat van. I cry when things seem too much, I hurt when they tell me I’m ‘horrid for turning off Cbeebies so we can go do something creative’ and I sigh when I have to do mundane household chores daily.

I eat too much cake, drink wine, gossip, moan, sometimes lose my patience and wear baggies and no make-up on days when nobody is coming over and we are having a home day.

Daily I advise parents who ask for my advice through the FREE email service via my website (www.childcareisfun.co.uk) based on all those years of experience, and qualifications, and I love putting my professional head on to help them. I love writing my ‘Top Tips’ and guest appearing as a ‘parenting expert’ on BBC radio and local stations, I’ve even done the odd TV appearance which is so exciting and something I’d like to pursue one day, but above everything, I’m a stay-at-homemum. A mum to a 2 and 3 years old born 364 days apart who rock my world and wipe bogies on my jeans.

I clean up sick, wipes snotty noses, scrub spaghetti sauce off the walls, do the washing, shopping and cleaning. So when you hear the word ‘parenting expert’ and you roll your eyes and think “Oh, another know-it-all” remember I’m actually just a parent like you. I’m still learning all these years later.

I’m a parenting expert. I’m a housewife. I’m a domestic engineer. I’m a mother. I’m me.

Thank you so much to Fi, I love Childcare is Fun and think you should all go and subscribe to her email service immediately! Oh and show some comment love, yeah?!