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to not want to go back to work to basically pay the childcare?

(42 Posts)
lill72 Mon 09-Sep-13 11:29:15

Hi all,
love to hear your thoughts...

I have been a SAHM to my almost 3 year old, doing the very occasional freelance work. My DH was out of work for 9 months which pushed us to the limit. He is now back at work and earning a decent salary contracting. I started looking for jobs and am waiting to hear back about one which sounds promising...

When I looked at what I would be getting per day, it barely seems worth it. It is a decent salary, but depending on childcare costs, best case I would £45 per day, worst case is £15. I would need a nursery and someone to pick up (is nanny/childminder)

I think my DH would like me to do it to get us back on track, but this seems like a waste of time. I don't know if he wants some backup as he is contracting, but I don't think that is it.

He is currently doing a 2 hour commmute each way, so all childcare would be left to me.

I feel guilty not wanting to do the job. I really want to change careers, so would be doing it purely for the money, but then there is not much to be made taking childcare into account.

has anyone been in a similar situation?

CairngormsClydesdale Mon 09-Sep-13 11:32:39

Why didn't you work when he was out of work for 9 months and your family's finances were pushed to the limit?

He's commuting 4 hours a day and you don't "fancy" doing more to help the family?

redskyatnight Mon 09-Sep-13 11:35:31

WIth an almost 3 year old you are looking at getting early years funding from the term after she turns 3 and then childcare costs reducing again when she starts school. So things will get better quickly! Even £15 a day is a sizeable chunk over a month.

FrenchRuby Mon 09-Sep-13 11:35:38

I'm fairly sure that most 3 year olds get 15 hours free nursery don't they? And then they're in school, so it would just be one year of it.

HeathRobinson Mon 09-Sep-13 11:35:48

Do you still get free nursery hours for 3 yr olds? If so, why not use the nursery when he's 3 and do some freelance work then?

Bonsoir Mon 09-Sep-13 11:35:59

I entirely sympathies, OP. To earn £45 per day while forfeiting time with your DC and to run your home in a low stress way is madness.

FrenchRuby Mon 09-Sep-13 11:36:10

Sorry cross posted with redsky

BrokenSunglasses Mon 09-Sep-13 11:36:23

If you are working then you will be paying tax and your pensions contributions. That is more than just childcare.

You have to look to the long term. I know it mist be disheartening to fell like you aren't actually earning anything, but your children won't need expensive childcare forever, and you will have to go back to work at some point. It's not easy to go straight back into earning what you did after a few years off, so you would be paying off the consequences of years at home far longer than you would be if you went back sooner.

hazelnutlatte Mon 09-Sep-13 11:38:57

In the long term would it be better for you to work though - get your career back on track now to increase your earning power when your dc are at school, so even if its not worth it now, it's still worth it overall.
Also - will you get the 15 hrs free childcare, can this be used as part of the nursery provision to bring down the cost? Have you checked if your employer offers childcare vouchers?
If after that you are still earning very little (£45 a day sounds ok, £15 does not!) then maybe it's not worth it for now.

hazelnutlatte Mon 09-Sep-13 11:40:26

X post with everyone making the same point!

MadonnaKebab Australia Mon 09-Sep-13 11:46:46

Think of what you would pay for insurance to make sur you could keep your family financially afloat if your DH was made redundant again, became too ill to work, left you , died etc
It would cost you quite a lot

Plus think of your own pension contributions, promotions in future etc

I think working for zero net income/ a small loss still leaves your family safer / eggs in more than one basket / better long term prospects

HappyAsASandboy Mon 09-Sep-13 11:56:28

Sorry, I'm another one who thinks it is worth so much more than the £15 - £45 you'll actually earn.

A few other thoughts:

Don't write off your DH 'helping' with childcare. DH and I both commute 2 hours each way, and we sort of share it (unequally). He does the morning drop off at 7amand gets to work for 9am ish, I go in early so that I can leave at 4pm to collect from nursery by 6pm. It is a struggle for me to leave at 4pm, but IME most employers will be flexible as long as you work your hours (and I log in in the evening most nights, so could then pick up anything urgent).

2) Your pension may benefit from the extra years.

3) You can claim Childcare vouchers to reduce your tax liability.

4) You will be less vulnerable in the case of a relationship breakdown as you'll be in work.

5) Your family will be less vulnerable to breaks in employment.

Just some thoughts. What works for each family will be different, but try to stay open minded to something different to the status quo smile

jojane Mon 09-Sep-13 12:00:01

£45 a day after child care is actually not that bad, if working 5 days a week that's about £900 a month. And once they are 3 the childcare costs reduce until they go to school

Yes I was about to offer the same math as jojane. Even at £15/day that's still several hundred a month.

burberryqueen Mon 09-Sep-13 12:02:59

actually I wouldn't bother - speaking from bitter experience.
These pre-school years are over so quickly.
could you not do some more of this freelance work you speak of?
or set up some online business where you can work at night for example?

Beastofburden Mon 09-Sep-13 12:04:20

It's quite normal in the early years back to barely break even, if that, after childcare. But your DH probably needs to know psychologically that it isn't all going to rest on his poor old shoulders forever. He's had the 9 month scare and now he is enduring a crappy commute because that's what he could get. It's tough on DHs to be the sole provider with no end in sight.

If you start now, you will protect your future earning power and (possibly) your pension. If you don't, you might not find that it is easy to get a good job later. You can't expect to have a long career break and then leap into a job that magically pays more than your childcare at that later stage. For most people, it doesn't work like that.

Also, if DH is contracting, is there not the risk that it could come to an end again?

PollyLogos Mon 09-Sep-13 12:06:59

I thought as you did, I wish mn had been around then for people to say the above to me. It gets harder to get back to work, your pension suffers, and I think it makes you a good role model as a woman, mother and partner to be back at work. Try to look beyond the immediate earnings and look at the long term picture.

nannynick Mon 09-Sep-13 12:09:06

For care of one child, nursery or childminder are your options. A nanny would not be viable in my view (I am a nanny).

What hours of childcare would you need? What cost would that be? What take home salary would you get from work?

LtEveDallas Mon 09-Sep-13 12:11:09

I think it is worth it solely to get back into the workforce.

My friend had twins. She went back to work when they were 6 months simply because she was contracted to do so. Once she had paid out for childcare her actual 'earnings' were less than £100 per month, and that was working full time 40 hour week. But her husband was still working.

If it helps, look at it this way - your childcare bill isn't £XXX per month. It is half of that, because your DH pays the other half. So your earnings are twice what you thought they were.

RedHelenB Mon 09-Sep-13 12:19:21

I see where you are coming from but YABu given that your dh is not in a stable job & you have lost income to make up. Particularly if you may want another child in the future. If you have a job & husband is out of work tax credits would cover the childcare costs till he was employed again. i think the key thing is your husband wants you to work as well, it 's a bit ubreasonable to put the onus on earning money soley on him.

towicymru Mon 09-Sep-13 12:25:54

When I went back to work after DS2 I was working FT for £20 a week (after tax, childcare etc). Whilst it didn't seem worth it, it did mean I kept my pesnion going, NI contributions etc. Boys are now at school so childcare still costs (although much less).

It was hard & a bit demoralising but if DH had lost his job (possible around that time) we would have had a secure income still.

Bigger picture than net earnings in my opinion

noisytoys Mon 09-Sep-13 12:27:39

It is worth it for your career. It would be hard to get back in with too long a break. In 5 or 10 years when your children are older you would have been out for so long your skills may be obsolete.

HometownUnicorn Mon 09-Sep-13 12:30:34

I work for about £25/day when you factor in tax, pension deductions, childcare, petrol and parking. Even at 3.5 days per week, that's nearly £500 per month (plus pension). that's a good wedge to most people.

Squitten Mon 09-Sep-13 12:36:01

Usually I would say that unless you wanted to work for your own satisfaction or development, or there was a pressing financial need for it, then no it's not worth working just to pay for someone else to look after your children if you want to do it yourself.

However, your husband has already lost work for a substantial amount of time. What would happen if that happened again? I can actually understand him wanting a bit of backup if he can't guarantee that he'll still have work to do in another year. In that scenario, I think it would make good sense to work so that you can pool that money either as savings or for when work is scarce.

GingerDoodle Mon 09-Sep-13 12:55:54

If £15 - £45 clear profit was on offer a day for me to go back I would have. Sadly, going back full time for me means 12 hours childcare a day
which would mean earning less than i would bring home once tax/NI/travel has been deducted.

Whichever way you look at it - in my situation - if i went back our family income would decrease. I applied to go part time but they turned me down.

In your situation given the risks I would probably go back but its a personal decision only you can make.

thetrackisback Mon 09-Sep-13 13:07:06

I ad twins and a 2 year old. I felt strongly that I didn't want to pay someone to look after my children for a career I wasn't fussed about. I do a days work to keep my hand in but even then I'm considering a sabbatical. Your children are only little once and if you want o be t home there s nothing wrong with that.

Beastofburden Mon 09-Sep-13 13:09:29

long term perspective here- even after all my SAHM and part-time years, I will have a good 20 years before I retire of earning the same as my DH. When we retire, his pension will be a bit bigger than mine but not that much bigger.

Most people will be in profit a lot sooner than I was. I have paid childcare for longer than most due to disability in my youngest- I will only stop paying once he is 18- and it has still been worth it.

I do sympathise that this is perhaps not the job you want. Changing work areas though is perhaps a bit of a luxury given that your DH is in a fragile job market. Maybe see what you can do to build a CV that takes you towards your preferred area over the next five years? then you would feel that you are making an investment in your future career, and not just treading water.

KatyTheCleaningLady Mon 09-Sep-13 13:15:06

Think of it this way:

Your partner pays for half the childcare. So you pay for half.

And, think about the long term financial implications for you. Pension, skill building, and where you will be on the salary ladder five years from now, and beyond.

Finally, it's healthy for you to be out there, working and focusing on something other than home and hearth.

avolt Mon 09-Sep-13 13:20:37

I was in a similar situation and opted to work evenings/weekends in a lower paid job instead. Mainly because I didn't really like my ft job anyway. Short-term I was taking home more pay.

But as many have pointed out, it is at a cost - loss of earning potential, pension, security in the long-term.

I changed to working mornings only once dc school age. It suits us but we're not wealthy. I enjoy having the afterschool time with the dc but I won't have much of a pension.

Maybe think about what sort of lifestyle you would like long-term.

pianodoodle Mon 09-Sep-13 13:23:16

We found the same problem.

It's partly the reason why we're having our second child (due at christmas) close to the first as it means we can get the early years over faster to enable me to get back to work more quickly.

The nature of my work is that it takes time and effort to build up business though, so if I did it now, then in a years time had another baby, I'd stand to lose a lot of work that I'd have to build back up from scratch.

It's really hard to find a balance but if it works out that you are just working to pay childcare I can see why you'd be reluctant unless the work was going to significantly affect your prospects in other ways.

Fairyegg Mon 09-Sep-13 13:28:40

I would love to earn £15 a day after childcare, that sounds quite a lot to me. I'm guessing your dh thinks its a good idea for you to work incase his contract ends. At least if it did he could do the childcare and you can bring in an income. your ds will be in school soon as well so the big expense is only for a short while. You also have to think about your pension etc.

SarahBumBarer Mon 09-Sep-13 13:28:54

I assume that your partner having just been out of work for 9 months is scared of being in that situation again and would like to know that there is something to fall back on (like you being in work) if the worst happens. I can only sympathise with him for that - I think it is a huge pressure being the sole breadwinner in a family and that situation is something that requires the comittment of both parties.

lill72 Mon 09-Sep-13 14:56:39

Thank you for all your comments. All helpful and insighful - except for Caringorm - I think you should watch before you speak too soon. I was looking for a job and have been to a number of interviews - it is quite hard to get jobs in my area, esp in this climate. Anyway... moving on from unhelpful...

All of your comments are very interesting -sounds like this is the norm.

To the nanny that asked - I am currently at a nursery that is £80 per day from 8.30-5.30 then i would need pick up from CM or nanny until 7pm. so anotehr £10-15. Or there is another nursery from 8-6 for £55 though not as good. then I would need pick up til 7pm. so add on another £10. also lookin at nanny share. Nanny is unlikely, as unviable but would love to take to swimming lessons etc but have to be realistic.

My husband is willing me to work, but at the same time saying I should get pregnant asap. I had terrible morning sickness last time and I know it may not happen but have a fear of this, plus going into a job knowing I want to get pregnant immediately.

All the benefits of being in work - pension etc are all good. But as I want to change industry anyway, doing this to stay in the game so to speak is not something that matters.

I do want to support my husband and him not feel all the pressure but as I said he wants me to work, get pregnant and take all the childcare responsibility now! ahhhhh, it is not simple is it

your thoughts have given me lots to think about - so thanks...

PrimalLass Spain Mon 09-Sep-13 15:37:57

TBH if your LO would have to be with childminder/Nanny until 7pm then I think that sounds really stressful for you all.

I work freelance. It is perfect for these few years while the children are small.

Bodicea Mon 09-Sep-13 15:59:13

£80 a day for a nursery! That seems like an awful lot. I take it you are in London or the surrounding area? Can you not find anything cheaper? What about a childminder? They ten to be more flexible on pickup times as well.

lill72 Mon 09-Sep-13 16:10:51

Yes PrimalLass I would finish at 6 at the earliest and so 7pm gives me slight leeway to get home. As DH gets home at 7-7.30 he is not really an option to pick up so it could be a little stressful if I had to say stay late.

I agree freelance is better - I have done it and will do it - just slightly upredictable and often last minute so having to orgnaise childcare can be difficult.

Yes - I am in London. Amazingly have found another nursery for £55 that has just opened. Childminder - do have one but she looks after her little 8 month old and think DD would get a raw deal full time. Handy for pick ups though - although not sure she would have DD until 6.3-/7.

Hmmm,... will be a few weeks until I find about job, so thinking, thinking of all options...

Thanks thetrackisback - I agree - nothing wrong with saying you want to look after the little ones

Oblomov Mon 09-Sep-13 16:51:24

Why would your dd get a raw deal.
I always used a nursery and was always very very happy.
Few people earn THAT much in the beginning, or until their child is 3. Or if you then have another child.
BUT, this is all about the long term. I worked part time since birth of ds1. Ds2 started school today.
Now, I will only,require some childcare in holidays. But it is always getting better and better and less and less costly childcare. I think that is the only way you can look at it.

ziggiestardust Mon 09-Sep-13 17:58:09

I think you could really regret turning down a potential £900 a month (after child care). That is the reality; after tax I earn £2k a month. DS' nursery bill is £800 a month. It is what it is.

I look to the future; we'll be more stable thanks to me being in work, I've since gained a promotion and am working towards another, and DS has gained confidence and friends.

It is a luxury being a SAHM; one which I cannot afford, sadly.

BionicEmu Mon 09-Sep-13 18:02:20

I do feel for you, but to be honest I would love to be able to be £15 a day up. I'm due back in Jan but will be making a net loss of £15 a day. That's right - nursery + commuting costs = £15 more than my take-home pay.

Groovee Uruguay Mon 09-Sep-13 18:10:05

I went back to work when dd was 5 and ds was 3. For 2 years yes, I worked for childcare (the second year I needed to pay money out of dh's wages to make up the shortfall) but after 2 years both children were in school and my wages were my own again.

I hated it but it got my foot in the door and I've really progressed further than having 7 years out. So sometimes you do just have to suck it up.

ziggiestardust Mon 09-Sep-13 18:34:24

Also, can you consider a nanny share with another family? Say 1 day at your house, one day the other family's house? That can work out really well financially. A nanny can also flex a little.

Or, would you consider an au pair/au pair plus? They could take up the slack of nursery pick up and drop off? You should be getting state funding soon; so 15 hours which is a day and a half. You could pay for another 3/4 half day sessions, and ask an au pair to work around this, which could also work out quite a bit cheaper.

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