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How can I work and afford childcare? How do you manage?

(9 Posts)
DomesticDisaster Wed 05-Oct-11 09:32:19

I gave up work 4 years ago, and 2 children later I am ready to return. My main problem is that I have always worked in the public sector and just now there is very little out there doing what I do.

My DH is self employed and has got no work on at all at the moment after experiencing a slow decline. So, as you can imagine we are really worried just now.

My question is, what is the best course of action for me now?
I'm applying for jobs and have had an interview and have another one coming up in a couple of weeks - so fingers crossed... In the meantime I have a Saturday shop job which is only minimum wage so unless I do it on a Saturday (with DH babysitting) I wouldn't be able to do at all - no other family help so if I had to pay for childcare would only bring in about a fiver.

How does anyone else work with children? My oldest is now at school so that's great, but my youngest is not quite 2 so needs full time care. How on earth can I work and pay for childcare if I can't find a professional well paid job? I love the shop job but it's just not viable to do more of it for such a small wage.

Any advice greatly received.

An0therName Wed 05-Oct-11 09:34:46

Tax credits is your friend here as your imcome with be so low -

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/childcare-costs

DomesticDisaster Wed 05-Oct-11 09:42:33

Thanks for that. We are claiming child tax credit but it's such a mither especially as DH is self employed. I spend most of my time worrying about whether what I've told them is correct and was in half a mind whether to just not claim it at all. It's going to get a bit faffy soon as if I get any other work it will be freelance, so I am worried it's going to get really complicated.
Basically, I'm worried about ringing them so am just not bothering. Silly I know.
I think the best plan is just to call them and ask them - the last time I asked about the working family tax credit we didn't qualify, but things are very different now so it's probably better to just get my head out of the sand and do it.

An0therName Wed 05-Oct-11 09:46:09

it will be complicated but so long as you are working more than 16 hours a week I would have thought it will be very worth your while financially

ChallahBaloo Wed 05-Oct-11 09:46:54

If your DH has no work on at the moment and you say it's been declining for a while then can't he stay home to look after the two year old until his industy picks up a bit while you work for a more regular income.

ssd Wed 05-Oct-11 09:49:24

work and childcare is a bloody minefield

am in the same position as op

notcitrus Wed 05-Oct-11 09:54:05

Nursery usually gets a bit cheaper at age 2, and after they turn 3 you can then get the 15 free hours which makes an enormous difference.

Can DH take a day off a week to do childcare maybe?

Good luck with the tax credits people - I know it's a pain in the backside but should be worth it eventually.

DomesticDisaster Wed 05-Oct-11 11:55:02

Thanks for that everyone. Yes in theory DH could take on some childcare but in doing that he is reducing what he could potentially earn so we feel a bit stuck between a rock and a hard place. I think that if I manage to get some freelance work then that would definitely be more of an option.

I just felt that there was no way forward without help with childcare so that's motivated me to feel the fear and do it anyway! Will give tax credit people a call and see what they advise. DS won't be 3 for over a year yet so we've got a while to go before that kicks in. Like you say notcitrus that will help enormously.

splatt Tue 11-Oct-11 08:37:29

It amazes me how often all this stress falls solely on the mother. While you're doing your shop job your DH is not 'babysitting' he is fullfilling his role as a parent and caring or his children.

My DH is also self employed. When we were working out our inances it became very clear that it made most sense for me to work full time and he to drop to part time hours. DD does 2 days at nursery when we works plus he'll do somr hours on my days off. He loves having a major role in bringing up DD. In the current climate you 2 may have to consider a role swith or a time?

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