Time is coming for me to return to work after having my second baby, Scarlett. My husband and I agree it’s important for me to work, not only to assist in providing for our family but I enjoy it. It gives me purpose and some time to feel like I am not just a mum and wife.
Every working mother feels extremely guilty. However, there is even more guilt and resentment when you feel you are working to only keep your job. Before having children I would hear people complain about the costs of childcare, nothing prepared be for the ugly truth.
In Australia, we receive rebate of 50% of childcare fees per year which is capped at $7500 per child. 50% sounds great hey! However when childcare is over $100 per day per child the $7500 doesn’t last for the entire financial year. This time next year when my rebate has run out I will be forking out over $650 per week for my two children to attend childcare for three days per week. Completely ridiculous. Plus my childcare fees go up around $10 per day twice a year, yet there is no increase in the rebate.
Grandparents are often left to look after children while parents work. Not everyone has this option, plus it’s not always reliable. Grandparents have committments of their own. I think it’s very important for children to be with other kids their own age. Childcare has been great for my son. Hudson has made little friends, he is very social and is learning everyday. He wouldn’t have the same interaction with his peers if he was only cared for by grandparents.
Another point is that the women and men who work in childcare are saints, they do an amazing job (I struggle with one toddler, a whole room of them is very scary to me). Even though the price of childcare is constantly rising, I am sure they aren’t on lucrative salaries, they really deserve more. So, where is all the money going?
So, as I sit here there is a battle in my head and my heart. Is it all worth it? Missing valuable time with my children to go to work just to pay for childcare and earn a little extra money? It really doesn’t seem like there is much incentive. However, after weighing up the options as family we have decided that for now, it is . I am still contributing to my superannuation, it provides balance and I stay in the workforce. Plus our children will be social and balanced as I will only be working three days. I know a lot of other mothers who have decided to take a chance and leave work all together because they just don’t see the benefit, really I don’t blame them.
What I don’t understand is if the government wants women to return to work after having children, why on earth do they make it so hard? Why can’t a working mother have it all? We are sacrificing enough by leaving our babies without any extra worry of astronomical childcare fees and handing over all our hard earned cash. Plus, don’t even get me started on the waiting lists at these childcare centres. It’s easier to get a reservation at Fat Duck, insanity! The childcare system in Australia is out of control. Something needs to be done to help working families.
If you believe the childcare system in Australia needs to be looked at please sign the Smart Start petition and share amongst friends and family. It is very important that families have access to quality, affordable childcare.