I have heard this same line uttered by many bright and intelligent women I know: ‘After I deduct the childcare costs, I’m barely earning anything so it is not worth me returning to work/working part time.’
This sentiment used to ring true for me too as I am (and always have been) the lower income earner in our household. When my son Toby was born I had these exact same thoughts as during the sleep-deprived phase of early parenthood, I had not had time to fully form my own feelings about this issue.
Once the fog lifted and I started to think about returning to work however, it became clear, our house consists of two parents and so both of us are responsible for childcare and how we choose to manage it; costs and all.
An article out today on Women’s Agenda with the headline: ‘Rising childcare costs: Let’s stop subtracting it from women’s salaries’ literally made me cheer out loud. I shared it from my social media accounts and in minutes it garnered comments from friends along the lines of ‘yes!’ ‘Here here!’ ‘Agreed’.
Watch Madeleine West on her best tools for working mums. (Post continues after video.)
As writer Angela Priestly points out in the article, ‘children put a significant strain on relationships and escalating child care costs and stereotypes on who is responsible don’t help.’
The whole concept that it is the lowest income earner’s sole responsibility to pay for the family daycare bill is preposterous, and something that I soon came to realise not long after I returned to work in a part time capacity when Toby was one.
It was hard at first doing the thrice-weekly drop offs then driving to work but the payoff was overwhelmingly fabulous. I felt like myself again. Dressing in smart clothes, talking to adults, having coffee breaks, thinking strategically, having my opinions heard.
What are your tips for going back to work after your baby is born? Post continues after gallery.