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A working mum's moan... [Jun. 24th, 2008|09:51 pm]
[mood |frustratedfrustrated]

Well, my friends, the time is fast whittling away as I knew it would, and on 27th it'll be no more than 4 months until I go back to work. POOOOOO!!!!

Luckily and thankfully, J's Mum has agreed to look after GF four afternoons a week, and my mum one afternoon a week (he'll be at nursery in the mornings), although FW will need full-time childcare. With this in mind, I've started to research local childminders and have drawn up a list of about 30, all with the same 3-digit telephone code after the '0208', so they should all be within walking distance or a very short drive away at the most. There's loads more here than there were where we used to live, and we're further out of London now, so I assumed that might mean they'll be a little cheaper. How wrong was I! I went to see one on my list yesterday, she was very lovely and seemed suitable, etc etc, HOWEVER: £4.50 per hour. Sounds paltry, but not when you need her for 50 hours per week. That would total a whopping £900 PER MONTH!!! Once we factor in my commuting costs, my half of the mortgage and bills etc, it would work out that my monthly outlay would EXCEED my take-home pay. I would be PAYING to go to work and to hardly see my children, rather than BEING PAID. WTF????????????? Still, trouble is, we could not sustain ourselves on J's salary alone. And besides, I am contractually obliged to return to my job for at least 6 months. 

So what the hell are we to do? The options are:

1) Phone around 'til we find a significantly cheaper childminder, with the hope that one exists. Go back to work full-time as planned.

2) Take a 12-month mortgage break and me take an unpaid 12-month sabbatical from work (if they let me), which gives us another year's grace. Only trouble is, apparently you're only allowed a total of 12 months of mortgage break over the entire term of the mortgage, so I'd worry that we wouldn't have a buffer if something really serious happened later down the line.

3) See if work will agree to me going back part-time, and see if our mums will agree to share childcaring duties between them.

Does anyone ever get the feeling they'd be better off if they'd never bothered trying to pay their way in this society, and just sat on their arse watching the benefits roll in and had loads of kids? For example, a third child isn't even an option for us financially, yet some just keep popping them out, knowing that the likes of us will pick up the tab because it never occurred to us NOT to work. Not that benefits shouldn't be there for those who genuinely need them or fall on hard times through no fault of their own, but really...why do the middle-earners keep getting screwed over whilst bankrolling everyone else?

Ahem. Rant over.


[User Picture]From: byslantedlight
2008-06-24 09:43 pm (UTC)
Oh dear - good luck with finding something... Though I've got to say, as an ex-nanny-type-person, the idea of doing all that for just £4.50 an hour... well, would never happen, especially when you consider how much money nannies/child-minders are expected to shell out these days to do their job... But I can see it from the other side as well - it's such a horrible situation...

I don't suppose you have space in your house for an au pair? Someone who's learning English, would child mind in afternoons in exchange for accommodation, food, and pocket money? If you're nervous about finding someone, there are lots of agencies...

Edited at 2008-06-24 09:44 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: retrogirl73
2008-06-24 11:27 pm (UTC)
Yep, £4.50 is, I think, the minimum wage, but then again childminders based in their own home tend to look after more than one (I think they can have a maximum of 3 under-fives), so I suppose their final pay isn't quite that bad. BLOODY hard work though, not to mention all the hoops they have to jump through for Ofsted these days and the increasing amount of paperwork (no doubt in order to monitor progress in meeting "targets" - but don't get me started on that one!) and I certainly take my hat off to anyone who does it.

As for an au-pair, I hadn't actually thought of that, it's an interesting idea, but we simply don't have the space in our house to make it workable. Also, I suppose I'm funny about the fact that they're generally unqualified and it's totally luck of the draw as to whether you get a good one or not. My sister's on her fourth au-pair in five years and although the current one's proving to be a star, the first one tried - ultimately unsuccessfully - to get a £500 "loan" out of her and my bro-in-law under false pretences earlier this year. Turns out her boyfriend was behind it...the same boyfriend they strongly suspect was behind a particularly nasty burglary at their house (the baby's bedroom got gratuitously trashed along with everything else) very shortly after the refusal of the loan. They suspected the au pair's boyfriend and/or the au pair because, besides having a motive, they knew my sis and family would be away on that particular date and as far as they knew the au pair still had a key and there was no forced entry.

Then again, we had au-pairs when I was little, and although one turned out to be a kleptomaniac, the others were all lovely and two have stayed in touch with the family over 30 years on.

I've gone rather off on a tangent here, haven't I??1 I do apologise! But thanks for the input all the same!
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[User Picture]From: byslantedlight
2008-06-24 11:57 pm (UTC)
Erk - bad badness! What a horrible thing to happen to your sister!

At least you know there are some decent peeps out there too - nice that some of your au pairs have stayed in touch after so long too! I'm as behind in writing to my ex-nanny-kiddies as I am to everyone else, but hopefully we'll keep writing - it's nice!

Will be crossing my fingers you can find something!
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[User Picture]From: probodie
2008-06-25 09:45 pm (UTC)
Oh I so totally agree with you. See them regularly on Jeremy Kyle (my guilty pleasure), idiots aged 16 shelling kids out like they've never heard of condoms, and expecting us to provide for them. Working mums like us dont get a look-in.

I hope you get something sorted out sooner rather than later, so I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

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