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seriously, how do mums afford to work??

(168 Posts)
omaoma Thu 16-Jul-09 01:23:33

am currently on ML and wondering about getting back to work. looking at what the cheapest childcare might cost me in London, once i factor in travel, i think i will be left with approximately £4 a day. *i am not exaggerating*. what on earth is the point? am i missing something??? £4 for all the hassle of rushing to drop off/pick up in time, deal with sick days, deal with work stress, and miss my gorgeous daughter for 10 hours a day. how do you all manage?

NewPenName Thu 16-Jul-09 06:29:05

sadly you're not missing something! Although it gets easier/cheaper - baby care normally much more than for older children, also nursery eudcation vouchers give you 12 1/2 hours free a week in term time once they're 3. Maybe try and look ahead and see what your childcare will cost in 1 yr/2yrs/3 yrrs to see whether it's worth going back now or a bit later. Good luck, it's not easy!

Podrick Thu 16-Jul-09 07:26:54

If you are developing a career it is probably worth returning to full time work even at a loss. Alternatively find work when you have free childcare at weekends and evenings.

hana Thu 16-Jul-09 07:37:32

I think having a well paid career prior to having kids makes all the difference. not being sarcastic btw

i don't know how lots of mums afford it - I pay over £80 a day for 3 kids (one school age) on the days I work

asuwere Thu 16-Jul-09 07:45:15

it depends how you work it out. I arranged to go back 3 days a week while DH cut his to 3 days also. So we don't need to pay for any childcare, still have 1 day off a week and still get more than if only 1 of us worked.

omaoma Thu 16-Jul-09 08:31:54

sadly my husband is a) also in a low paying job and b) not one he can cut down on days due to the nature of the role. we'd both love for him to have a better paying job but there ain't anything on the market at the moment in his industry. i was hoping to rely on granny power to provide at least some of the child cover at minimal cost but it's suddenly become obvious to me that this isn't going to work because of the amount of travel involved for everybody... but foolishly have already given notice in to return. and shocked to realise i might not be able to find alternative childcare in the time available... nightmare! i'm already going to be doing a part-time job. don't see what else can give! i've been up all night worrying about this

kslatts Thu 16-Jul-09 08:35:12

Does your employer offer childcare vouchers as that can mean a tax and NI saving. If you claim tax credits, speak to them to find out how much more you will be entitled to when paying for childcare.

I think it does depend on what job you do, in the short term it may not be beneficial to work.

kathyis6incheshigh Thu 16-Jul-09 08:43:48

I am lucky, am on not a bad salary, but with 2 dcs and a long commute I basically work for the pension and so I will still have a job when dcs are at school and not costing so much.
Are there any other benefits you get from your employer which will help to make it worthwhile? Otherwise it's just the question of how easy it would be to go back to your job in a few years once you no longer have to pay for childcare.
Oh - also, you factor in the issue of whether you actually enjoy your job! I hardly miss dcs at all when I'm working because I'm so busy. But if I did miss them, and if I hated my work, it would certainly not be worth it.

Umlellala Thu 16-Jul-09 08:44:22

Am totally with you.

My job is relatively well-paid as far as I am concerned, yet I'd still be left with less than £50 a day after childcare for both of them. Well, I know it's not to be sniffed at - but it's a bit galling paying someone else more than you earn to look after your lovely kids. And there's all the sick day/holiday complications too.

So it's much easier for me to just stay at home and eat Value beans instead. Mind you, am also VERY VERY lucky in that my mum looks after them one day a week - which to be brutally honest is a fabulous break (change is as good as a rest and that!) and I am overwhelmingly grateful to her.

Hope it works out for you. Would Granny have overnight? So the travel was slightly more feasible til you work your notice?

NoWookinFurries Thu 16-Jul-09 08:46:49

I was lucky enough that my company let me go back to work part time after ML. So for 3 days a week we pay £38 per day. The salary on my part time job was pro rated down and I have taken an extra job in the evenings to make up part of the difference.

sunburntats Thu 16-Jul-09 08:51:55

grandparents and family help.
my mil loked after my son for one afternoon a week ( i did have to pay her, but not as much as a nursery)
i was PT and dh was able to do some of the care too.

It is cheeper when they get to school, i use afetr school club now. But the stress does increase where pick up/drop off is concerned.

For me, i worked too hard for too long to give up my job. Also we simply could not afford to lose a wage.

Pitchounette Thu 16-Jul-09 09:32:03

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spicemonster Thu 16-Jul-09 09:53:48

I can only afford to support one DC so that's all I have. I pay for 3.5 days of childcare - I work from home one day and work 8-3 on that day and then do a load once he's gone to bed and my mum looks after him one day. She also travels to do that but comes up the night before - is that something that would be possible for you?

morningpaper Thu 16-Jul-09 09:59:12

If you are both on low-pay and are not striving towards a career then I don't think it is worth missing your baby for 10 hours a day. Stay at home and claim tax credits. Go back when you are bored rigid/childcare is cheaper.

RemusLupinInAWizardsuit Thu 16-Jul-09 10:06:40

They don't, on low pay. You are experiencing the poverty trap, where it is too expensive to go to work once you have kids for some women.

You might want to get some advice (from the CAB?) about the full range of benefits and tax credits you might be entitled to before you make your decision, as not being in work also has long term consequences on women's employability, pension provision and later career options.

it is not just a decision about NOW, IYSWIM, it is a lifetime decision. The same is true of course about whether it is just better for you to spend time with your kids now.

It does get easier as others have said. If you do want more options later when you do return, I would also consider keeping your skills and qualifications up if you can (evening class later on when kids are a bit older, home study course, a little bit of part-time work if and when you can...)

Good luck.

omaoma Thu 16-Jul-09 10:07:55

my parents are completely capable of looking after DD and have been coming over a couple of days every fortnight BUT they are getting on and the travel time is wearing them down, realistically i don't think can keep it up long term. it's a long journey. PIL even further away. trying to find an option where we meet in the middle to handover but don't have a car so becomes unsustainably expensive... working my notice is galling but lookign like only possibility

pointydog Thu 16-Jul-09 10:08:31

I imagine many people out of london get cheaper childcare. It's not unusual to work for very little money in your hand whrn the kids are small and then you get more when they turn 3. Somewtimes it's about the long-term picture

RemusLupinInAWizardsuit Thu 16-Jul-09 10:08:36

By the way, research shows that on the whole childcare costs come out of a woman's salary.

This is wrong: where there are two parents, both should sacrifice their salary in the consideration of balancing work/childcare IMHO.

FioFio Thu 16-Jul-09 10:10:16

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AnnieLobeseder Thu 16-Jul-09 10:16:33

Many can't afford to work. Like me. I call myself a SAHM - Stuck at Home Mum. I hate it - I'm going crazy at home and am a miserable mum to my poor kids as a result.

FioFio Thu 16-Jul-09 10:17:42

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flowerybeanbag Thu 16-Jul-09 10:17:45

If your employer and/or your DH's employer offer childcare vouchers that can save you a significant amount on your childcare, so look into that before you do your final sums.

If you are in a pension scheme with your employer it may even be worth only breaking even for a couple of years to benefit from pension contributions, both your own and your employers if they contribute.

Plus there are other advantages to staying in the workplace even if financial benefits at least to start with are minimal. You may find it more difficult to get a job in a few years time having had that time out of work than you would to get perhaps a better paying job in a couple of years with some more experience under your belt, for example.

But at the end of the day, having done your sums and taken everything into account, childcare vouchers, pensions/other benefits, you may still not be making enough to make it worth it for you. It's a very personal decision and for some in that position they will prefer to stay at home, for others they will prefer to go to work for minimal financial gain anyway.

AnnieLobeseder Thu 16-Jul-09 10:19:06

Remus - it doesn't matter whose salary the childcare comes out of, on paper, if you pool the family's money. At the end of the day, the whole family is still worse off if I work, even if we say that the money is from DH's salary.

EldonAve Thu 16-Jul-09 10:19:13

I am also stuck at home
The stress and hassle of working for no money in my hand just wasn't worth it for me

BunnyLebowski Thu 16-Jul-09 10:23:58

I've just handed in my notice for this reason omaoma.

We have no family here and work wouldn't let me go back 3 days. On my lowly admin wage this would have let me with about £100 a month.

Just not worth leaving my dd in childcare for 4 long days a week for that.

It will be extremely hard financially but I'm so glad we've made the decision now. I know I won't regret it.

For now I'm looking for evening/weekend work and eventually when dd is old enough to go to nursery I'll go back to training for the career I've always wanted and never gone for before.

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