The decision to stay at home.

Leaving your job, that you love, is not an easy decision to make. As a new mum, people will make assumptions and judgements on whatever choice you make. Stay at home or return to work? A choice that many working mums are faced with. When I got pregnant, there was no such thought in my mind. I wanted to return to work. My job was a constant for me, an achievement and most of all something that gave me a great deal of confidence and pleasure. Leaving was not an option.

However, nothing could prepare me for the feelings I had when my daughter came into this world. I had not expected to feel so overwhelmed with love and be distraught at the thought of leaving her with somebody else. In fact the very notion of it haunted me for the first few months of her life.

We researched many options for child care, shocked at the cost and left in despair at how we, two full time working people, could not afford to put our little girl into a day nursery for the week. The only other choice was for me to return part-time and for my daughter to be placed in a much less costly environment at a childminders’.

Sadly, even the few we visited left me feeling a little sick. Not because they were bad in any way but simply because I had to deal with my separation anxiety and not hers. She seemed to adapt well to one particular childminder, surprising us all (as babies often do) and both my husband and I felt happier instantly.

It seemed to be all sorted at work too as I was to return for two days a week while my little one was at her childminders’. Unfortunately we were dealt a little shock as we didn’t realise childminders charge something called a “retainer fee” to keep a child’s place free until they are due to start. In our case, her place needed to be retained for 6 months which would cost us an un-refundable bomb. We just couldn’t stand to lose that money thus putting us in a very difficult position.

I now had to consider leaving my job.

I read an article at the start of the year about more working mums in Britain, having to leave their jobs as they could not afford expensive childcare. London seems to be the most costly of places and sadly that is where I am. Other European countries seem to have this base covered a little better or a lot better should I say.

In Sweden, the state subsidizes the child care cost so the parents do not have to pay more than the equivalent of £113 a month.

£113.

The fee for our local, well known nursery per month is £1600. Yes that’s right – £1600!!!!! Fourteen times more than Sweden. It’s ridiculous.

I could have easily gone back to work part-time/full-time if childcare in this country cost an average of £113 a month! Instead, I have had to leave work to be at home with my daughter. Undoubtedly, there are positives to this decision. I get to do what sadly, a lot of mums cannot – look after my daughter daily and spend these precious moments with her. I am thankful that I can do that. I only wish I had more of a choice.

On the job front I will be registering as self-employed in the near future and starting a career that fits around my new job of being a mummy 🙂

After all, it is one of the hardest jobs out there and certainly one of the most rewarding.

The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.

The dilemma.

I am currently on my maternity leave from work. I am now in my fourth month of it and am not entirely sure of where the time has gone.

My husband and I have been researching nurseries for the little one for when I return to work and I have to admit (even knowing that it would always cost more than I could ever afford) I never fully realised just how expensive nurseries in London are. Overpriced is a word that stands out. Some that we’ve looked at are more than my monthly wage for one month! It’s ridiculous.

So what are working mums, with a salary under 30k meant to do?

My combined income with my husband does not provide me with enough money to pay off a mortgage and nursery fees. So what do I do? Here is the dilemma.

Many ignorant people will comment that I should not have had a child in my circumstance. However, this is a stupid thing to say as I am not on state benefits. I am a working woman. My husband also works full time. We enjoy our careers. We have ambition and want to get somewhere in our jobs. This doesn’t mean I do not enjoy motherhood. I love being a mother and I dote on my amazing thriving daughter.

We as a society should be encouraging mothers back into work not depriving them of returning or continuing when nursery fees are through the roof.

I do not have a young mother who can look after her grand child nor do I have a large family base. I only have the option of a nanny or nursery when I return to work. When these options become unaffordable, what is one to do?

One thing is clear. My husband and I are going to have to spend a lot of time researching over the next couple of months to find somewhere of high standard and somewhere that fits comfortably into our budget for the little one.