mummy and a mind

The musings of a mummy trying to make the most of her mind

Why is childcare such a struggle?

on 22/10/2012

Now I know that this is a minefield, that I am likely to provoke annoyance, understanding,  and a million other contradicting responses depending on who reads this, but part of my struggle with being both a mummy and a mind is struggling with childcare, every aspect of it.

Now I work, only part time, but it is enough to require me to use childcare for my 2 children. I am absolutely spoilt in the fact that my mum looked after my daughter when I first went back to work, and now looks after my son (my daugher goes to nursery now). What irritates me, on my mum’s behalf as well as mine, is that she does so out of the goodness of her own heart, and at the expense of a job. Luckily for me she can do so, but I know alot of other people are not in the same position.

Here is the annoying part. If my mum was to register herself as a childminder (which she has got the qualifications to do), she could look after a baby and get paid, with the baby’s parent getting help from the government in the form of tax credits. But if she looks after my child, because they are related, I could not get any help with paying her.

So if I put my daughter in nursery, the government helps me pay.

If I leave my daughter with a childminder, the government helps me pay.

If I put my daughter in preschool, the government helps me pay.

But if I leave my daughter with her grandma, the government will not help me pay, at all.

The Conservative government say about family:

We believe that strong and stable families are the bedrock of a strong and stable society

And in fact, so do I. Which is why, when I came back to work when my baby was 10 months old, I didn’t really want to have to leave her (and then him) in nursery. My mum had offered, and I felt so much better, about leaving them with her. Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against people that put their children in nursery at all, it just wasn’t something I was keen on when they were younger, and having a different option really helped. I just think that it is unfair for the government to financially penalize me for choosing a member of my family to look after my child. In fact as it stands, financially I am better off coming to work and putting my child in nursery, than coming to work and leaving my child with my mum, or not working at all.

I understand that some people take advantage of certain benefits, and we are in a recession and people are trying to cut benefit payouts, but in reality I think the government could do worse than encouraging grandmothers to look after their grandchildren while their mothers return to work. In a time when unemployment is rife, it would provide a source of jobs for older people, who might find it harder otherwise to get work. As well as that some women are more comfortable returning to work if they can leave their children with their own mother, rather than a stranger. Grandmothers also offer a bit more flexibility, no strict opening and closing hours, no refusing childcare if your baby is sick, and they can look after your child in your home. All round I just find it easier and more comfortable as an option.

In reality though I really just wish I could stay at home and look after my children myself. It hurts me to leave them. I feel like I am the best person to be raising them and it irks me that by coming to work I can get money to pay someone to look after them, but if I stay at home I wouldn’t get help financially to look after them. So society is saying that the thing to do is go out to work, put your kids in nursery and let someone else bring them up. But what is wrong with me wanting to stay at home and bring them up myself? Why if someone asks “what do you do?” and you say “I’m a mummy.” Do they then ask, “No, but what do you do?” As if raising your children is not good enough as a job. If you asked someone what they did and they said nursery worker, you wouldn’t say, “No but what do you actually do” as if working with kids all day was not a job. Well hey, guess what, I bring up two kids, and I look after the house, I study and I work part time. What do I do?

I’m a mummy, and a mind.

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