Finance and money always spark up some great discussions. I hate the way money has such control and influence on everyday life, whether that be the size of your house, the wardrobe you have, whether to private or public school educate you children? Despite this I am not naive to this fact and nor do I pretend that I don’t want that four bedroom house one day (because I really do!) What I take acceptation to, is the want to graft for my family and not being able to and my main financial bug bear to me is namely the cost of childcare.
I am a Science Teacher for pupils age 11- 18 by trade. I know a lot of people think high school teaching is a crazy profession but I absolutely love it and am so passionate about teaching and learning. I enjoy Science so much that I have even created Science Sparks alongside mummymummymum in which we show experiments you can do at home to enhance and encourage science.
Six months after having my beautiful boy BB I fell pregnant again, this time with twins. When it came to discussing maternity leave and pay and returning to work, we had to start doing some calculations. We were shocked to find that three in childcare would in fact be more than my salary. It forced me into the decision to take a break from work until the children are at school age.
I am lucky that I get to be a Stay at home parent and witness my children grow, and I am loving every minute of it, but this has come at huge financial loss. Going from a household and mortgage that are based on two incomes has made things very tight. I am not by any means pleading poverty, we can pay our bills and covers costs, but now I don’t work, I have to justify whether I can take the kids to a play session because with three is is £12 a time, and that is extra money we don’t have.
So I am going to show you some calculations….
I rang six local nurseries in our area that would be feasible to get to. My day at work would need to be 8am – 6pm. Most nurseries work on a 8.30 – 5.30 day on a price of £35 a day – this being towards the cheaper end of the spectrum and this does not always include meals. So I would need to include meal costs and extended day hour costs.
But for arguments sake we will say £35 per day without extras.
That is £175 per week per child
For 52 weeks a year that equates to £9100 per year per child
So lets say I can find a nursery in my area that allows term time only (most nurseries do not offer this) so at 40 weeks!
That is £7000 per week per child.
So £21,000 a year without any extras and only term time! Plus this also means I cannot choose the nursery I feel comfortable and happy with, that is suitable for my children, but have to have the decision guided by budget and term time options.
You must remember however that this is £21,000 that I need to take home. So add on tax and N.I and I need to be on at least £27,000 and this is not taking into account pensions or student loan that would come out.
Because my husband is higher tax bracket (just over the threshold, isn’t that always the way?) we are not entitled to working tax credits. I went into teaching a little later, so I had not worked my way up to £27,000 and even then I would not even be break even…I am looking at having to earn about £30,000 to break even. So what is the point of missing out on my children. Plus as I mentioned earlier this is based on an 8.30 -5.30 day which is too late for me to get to work and often too early for pick up. Add in the extra and it would need to be considerably more.
I am not doubting that it is fantastic that I get to be a Stay at home Mum, but it is not through choice and certainly not because of financial comfort.
I find it shocking that when there is a shortage of science teachers, there are no provisions to assist return to work. I find it frustrating that when I played it by the rules of the government whilst I was growing up to work hard, get and education, pay back my education fees, go into a profession that gives something back to the community by educating children of the future that I am not in a position to consider a family knowing that I can help support us.
The flaw in our plan was the fact we had twins, something that was not planned and can’t be controlled (sometimes contraceptives do fail!). Surely that is life though? I could have not kept them (not a thought I really like to contemplate) and have waited until we could really afford more children comfortably. That however would have meant my husband would be nearing 50 for more children and me late mid/late 30′s with a 10 year age gap between siblings! I am the also reducing the potential to have more children. Considering family history, my grandma, Mum and Auntie had all had hysterectomy’s by 32.
You see clearly my failing in all this was not marrying a rich man- problems would have been solved had this been the case. Love is my weakness hey!
To add serious insult to injury the government have decided to take away family allowance to any person over the higher tax threshold. What angers me about this is it is based on any person, not family income. So my husband may be a higher tax payer but his income supports a whole family of five. Now another family could both be earning £39,000 each, a joint income of £78,000 and still get the aid. I am not after benefits either. If they took the benefit away on a fair system, it would make things tricky but we would get on with it.
I am not afraid of working, I love my job and would happily support my family if I could. Don’t you think it is funny that when working out tax credits (when they have to give money out) it is bases on family income but when they take money away it is on one income!
So I can’t work! (Did I mention that!) gRRRR, you see the problem?
It makes me so cross! So very very cross! So have you had difficulties returning to work? Let me know your thoughts.
Added 2nd June 2012
Since this post was written the government have looked at the ‘unfairness’ of the dual income verses child benefit and have seen sense. They have since amended the thresholds and now account for joint income. This however does still not solve the crazy cost of childcare!