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How do those of you without family support cope financially?

(57 Posts)
Musodad14 Wed 21-Feb-18 09:20:40

Hi everyone,

I have never posted on this site before so I am sorry if this in the wrong place.

We were lucky to have a healthy baby girl nearly a year ago and as maternity has come to and end my wife has gone back to work. She works part time two days a week at the moment. When we moved to the area we assumed that being closer to family would mean free childcare as both sets of parents are retired and this was discussed, maybe not promised in the lead up the pregnancy. Due to health issues and distance, this has not materialised and we are now paying for two days worth of childcare that we can't really afford.

There is an opportunity for my partner to work an extra day however we would need more childcare for this and I am not sure it would be worth it. The other issue is that my wife cannot give up work because unfortunately I do not bring in enough to pay every bill and still have money for food etc.

We feel as though we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. I could potentially earn substantially more abroad somewhere like Dubai however we aren't in a position to move because of the health of our family members. Also the guilt taking away a first grandchild to another country after a year would be hard to bear. Other family members also have young babies so it be tough to remove our child form that social circle.

Other than just sucking it up, taking the financial hit and head into debt, I would be interested to hear what others have done.

A colleague of mine worked full time while bringing up her children and was paying around £1000 a month child care at one point. I don't want to suggest this to my partner as she wants to have time with the baby at this early stage which I completely understand but I can't think of another option.

As a Dad I feel powerless to help and guilty that I cannot bring more to the table in the short term but I am contemplating a weekend job to balance the books.

Any advice would be much appreciated!

pigshavecurlytails Wed 21-Feb-18 09:24:24

There is no easy answer. If she is the higher earner then maybe you should go part time and do the childcare? childcare and earnings don't match up. are you claiming all you can in tax credits and childcare vouchers.

working opposite shifts can help (one does days/night/weekends) but you'd rarely see each other.

Xennialish Wed 21-Feb-18 09:30:10

We worked opposite shifts after one parent staying home for a few years. Poor as church mice then but one parent at home saved on food and transport, you can implement all the frugality thread style tips. But this is the perfect time to be abroad with your daughter if that would help and move back at age 5 or 7 for school.

Musodad14 Wed 21-Feb-18 09:53:59

Unfortunately we are both teachers so we can't work extra shifts. Also I am the higher earner but both good suggestions!

Musodad14 Wed 21-Feb-18 09:55:48

I had a look for the frugality thread, is it under a different title?

MyDcAreMarvel Wed 21-Feb-18 09:57:39

I would move, you loyalty is to you wife and baby. Very selfish for any relatives to guilt trip moves abroad.

Passthecake30 Wed 21-Feb-18 09:59:22

Have you compared prices of childcare options? We used a childminder as they are cheaper than nurseries. Then at 3, 15hrs of childcare came in that helped.

How much more is your wife's takehome pay than childcare for the day?

Can you trim down any other expenses? We had to cut out a lot of extras out when we had 2 in full time childcare (no cable tv, less meat, eBay everything etc)

SellFridges Wed 21-Feb-18 10:01:07

I have a huge issue with the fact you don’t want to suggest that your wife work more because she “wants to have time with the baby”. If you need more household income then she needs to up her hours or you both have to cut costs drastically. Personally, I would always maximise income before cutting costs drastically.

InDubiousBattle Wed 21-Feb-18 10:05:14

Honestly? I think most families without help struggle. I gave up work, others work for very little once childcare is paid. I think most view it as a short term expense that you just have to bear tbh. I would echo advice of pp, childminders are often a bit cheaper than nurseries. Are you taking full advantage of the voucher scheme?

namechangedtoday15 Wed 21-Feb-18 10:05:19

I'd also consider moving for a few years but understand your predicament.

You need to look at bringing in more income or reducing your costs. Can you / your wife look at tutoring after school hours (very lucrative where we are with entrance exams etc, but also for GCSE support etc). Exam Marking? Maybe starting a baby singing group / cooking group/ craft - just something that builds on her specialisms working with children etc.

Make sure you're both claiming the childcare vouchers so you save some tax and NI on your childcare costs.

Surpriseeggsforbreakfast Wed 21-Feb-18 10:07:22

What’s wrong with her wanting to spend time with the baby? I would put that above trying to earn more if reasonable sacrifices can be made. It’s a struggle for a few years when they are small but it does get easier. We don’t have family support with childcare, all my income goes towards paying for our nanny (we have three children so although expensive it is easier and more flexible for now). In your position I would use a childminder as it is usually more flexible than nursery and more of a home environment.

redbirdblackbird Wed 21-Feb-18 10:09:10

Have you done the online check to see which type of childcare assistance is best for you? The old style vouchers or the new tax free childcare? Also second using a childminder, it was £12 per day cheaper than our local nursery and I loved the relationship my baby had with her! Lastly, as you are also teachers, is your childcare term time only? Mine was (child now at school), due to various half terms etc the only months I paid the full amount were November and March.
It is difficult but it doesn't last long!

namechangedtoday15 Wed 21-Feb-18 10:10:05

P.s. I also think Mumsnet is a bit odd in that the consensus seems to be you have family support or give up work.

Actually, I would say 90% of people I know didn't have family support and continued to work. Yes, it's hard, yes you can't see how ends will meet, but it really is just for a few years. In some ways you're lucky (although I know you don't feel it at this point) as when your child starts school, you'll be able to cover the school holidays. There's 12 or 13 weeks if school holidays that working parents have to cover - the costs of that will make your eyes water shock

NotAnotherJaffaCake Wed 21-Feb-18 10:12:13

We have no family help but are earning enough to cover nursery for the hours that we need it. The simple fact is your household cannot afford for your wife to spend more time at home. Her giving up work altogether would be extremely foolish in the long run; it does get easier once the free childcare kicks in at 3 years old, and you might be able to find term time only childcare given as you are both teachers. Make sure you are maximising childcare vouchers/tax free childcare perks. I wouldn't go through the upheaval of a move to Dubai to be honest; I don't think you wind up that much better off in the long run. If your wife's extra day is unlikely to be an opportunity that arises again, I would take it right now - 3 days a week is perfect, to be honest!

In short: suck it up until your kids are at school. Tighten belts, no holidays and all that stuff, unfortunately.

BigGapMum Wed 21-Feb-18 10:17:49

Would it be possible for your wife to offer private tuition on evenings and weekends when you could look after your DD?

soberexpat Wed 21-Feb-18 10:18:57

* I wouldn't go through the upheaval of a move to Dubai to be honest; I don't think you wind up that much better off in the long run.*

i've lived in dubai for over a decade and our finances and quality of life are better in every area. it is expensive, but you can re-coup your costs after a year or so. and have a wonderful life too. OP, feel free to PM me if you’d like any specific advice or feedback.

DenPerry Wed 21-Feb-18 10:46:23

They are only young once, no way would I work during the young years and miss out just for a little extra income. We've had to cut back a lot but it's worth it.

misscph1973 Wed 21-Feb-18 11:24:07

It's just hard, it's the same for quite a lot of parents. I also made the mistake of assuming that family would help and it was really hard when my DC were little.

I don't think I would move to Dubai, thought, too many horror stories. I would consider moving abroad, but to a safe country. Spending time abroad broadens the mind!

pigshavecurlytails Wed 21-Feb-18 12:19:10

^ I also think Mumsnet is a bit odd in that the consensus seems to be you have family support or give up work^

I don't get that vibe from MN at all. I see women encouraged to keep working all the time. What is often said, which is true, is that in the younger years one earner may be taking home very little, or even nothing, and working just for pension contributions and to keep their career going.

Roseandmabelshouse Wed 21-Feb-18 12:22:52

Locally we have wildly different costs for nurseries. One that are £60/70 per day and those that are £30 per day. Are there other nurseries that are cheaper

Bluntness100 Wed 21-Feb-18 12:29:27

I also take issue with your wife's attitude. She should not be contemplating sending you all into debt or you to work seven days a week so she can spend time with the baby. You are both equally responsible for your family and that includes finances.

Wanting to stay home is all well and good if you can afford it. If you can't then you need to get your arse back to work. It's that simple. Millions of parents do it every single day.

Sit her down and talk to her. She can't be so ignorant as to know your family cannot afford her choices as such they are simply not an option for her.

You both decided to have a child and you both are equally financially responsible for that child. It's not all on the father and the mother gets to do as she pleases. That's not how it works.

sportyfool Wed 21-Feb-18 12:45:20

Can she not work evenings in a supermarket etc? I know it's not ideal and she is a trained teacher etc but it's what a lot of people do to bump up the income .

Or maybe do private tutoring at the weekend / evenings ?

I'm afraid sometimes a minimum wage job at the evening or weekend is the only way until the children start school.

Tika77 Wed 21-Feb-18 12:51:55

I think the tutoring thing is a brilliant idea, she'd probably earn better that way.
If you have a spare room and don't mind sharing your home, you could look into having an au-pair.

wiltingfast Wed 21-Feb-18 12:59:17

Teachers here (ireland) earn extra income doing exam corrections and exam supervision. Would they be options?

Otherwise I agree with pp, for me minding baby means roof and food first. You can only stay home if you can find a way to do it within your income.

We have good jobs and we were still totally broke on it tbh. My mum was vg and threw money at us from time to time.

The babies are lovely but Very Expensive grin

sportyfool Wed 21-Feb-18 13:02:04

Or babysitting in the evenings ? Remember these things aren't forever .

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