Following the birth of our first daughter in early 2014, my wife and I have both continued to work. I work part time in Human Resources whilst my wife works full time as a secondary school teacher. This arrangement has been working well for us; it gives our daughter chance to socialise and play at the childminder’s, and it gives me some time to focus on doing something other than being a mum.
Most parents are aware of the ever-increasing cost of childcare, and we are no exception. If we used our chosen childcare provider full time, the average cost each month would be £975. The overall salary that we take home after paying for childcare is therefore significantly lower than it would be if we did not have this expense. However, until now it has made financial and emotional sense to continue to use childcare so that we can both continue in employment.
Following the birth of our second daughter in Spring 2016, we have made a decision to reconsider our options as a family. The cost of childcare will barely be covered by one salary, and therefore it no longer makes financial sense for us both to continue working as we currently are. Essentially one of us would be working purely to pay for childcare.
This has thrown up so many questions for us as a family. There are many advantages of going to work, including a break from providing childcare, working with other adults, and feeling that you are progressing in a career. I have wondered how I would feel no longer working and being solely responsible for our children for most of the week. I loved my maternity leave, but having been back at work for almost two years, how would I find it going back to being at home full time?
Our eldest daughter has thrived whilst going to the childminder and we would be sad for her to lose this amazing experience of playing, learning and developing her independence. Our baby is yet to experience any childcare, but how important is this for children? My gut tells me that for a child, being at home with a parent is just as great as a wonderful childminder or nursery, but as a mum it is natural to worry about every decision.
In my heart I feel that I have already left my current job. I don’t throw myself into it in the way I used to, and spend a lot of time wondering about how we can make changes to make life work for us as a family. At some point I will leave this job in order to look after our girls, but rather than giving up work completely, I would like to be able to work for myself. Whether this means fitting work around our girls, or continuing with childcare is yet to be seen. This blog will capture the decisions we make along the way, and the changes we make to support our family.