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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Can You Afford A Baby?


Can you afford a baby?

They say a baby can cost up to £10,000 in the first year alone. So who on earth can afford to have one?! Recently, there has been a wave of debate, stirred on by the government's new policies, about the cost of having children. From what I can gather, the government's point of view is that you should not have a child if you can not afford to look after it yourself. And I agree! But what exactly does this mean?

With the cost of living going up and the cost of childcare insanely high, surely you would have to be a millionaire to even consider pro-creating. Mothers are told to return to work as soon as is physically possible and to leave their child in day care, even if this means they earn 0. Because by returning to work, you are keeping your career on track and when your children are in school, you will be back on a double wage. Stay at home mums (like myself) are the enemy. To have a child and then stay at home with them is just ridiculous. I should be out working a 40 hour week, not staying at home all day.

This attitude is beginning to bother me a little (can you tell?). It  has started to make me question what it means to be able to "afford" a child. I don't work, Dave does. We rent a two bedroom cottage in London, we pay for our own food and bills, we only receive the standard child benefit which I think comes out at about £80 a month. So how on Earth are we surviving? And, believe it or not, saving!

We just prioritise. Everybody has heard of the idea of having to give up certain lifestyle habits when you have a child, and that is exactly what we did! We don't order takeaways that often, and when we do it is a massive treat! We are smart with our food and plan ahead with what we need. We are careful with electric and gas, especially the heating! We find fun things to do at the weekend which don't cost a lot of money. We don't go on three holidays a year like we used to. We don't buy new clothes every week. We just prioritise.

Having children means so much to us both and Alice is worth more than any Topshop dress ever could to me! I think the idea of just having a child and sticking them into childcare for 50 hours a week is plain wrong. Unless you absolutely have to, I really wouldn't recommend it. As someone who has worked in over 7 nurseries for over 6 years, they are not the sort of place I would want to send my child (under 2 years of age) to every day of the week. Part time, fine. But 50 hours a week in insane.

I am worried about this idea. It gets to me a lot. What happens if you are never in the perfect financial position to have children. Do you just not have them? If you answered yes, I really feel for you. It's time people started to see the bigger picture. Life is about so much more than earning money. Yes, it is important, but surely having a family (assuming you want one) is more important? You will be surprised how far money can take you when you don't have any! And if we can do it, then anyone can.

You just have to decide what is more important to you. Those 3 holidays a year, or having a child?

So here is a message from me, to the government. Stop putting us stay at home mums down because we chose to stay at home with our children and raise them ourselves. We are not second class citizens and we are not wasting our lives.

Rant. Over.

xx

(Just for the record, I know some wonderful full time working mums, who do a fantastic job with their children. This is not a rant against them at all. I have nothing but respect for them, and I know it must break their hearts to be away from their children every day. I do stand by my opinion on childcare and would never even consider sending Alice to a nursery for 50 hours a week.)

8 comments:

  1. I completely understand how you feel. I am very lucky to have William looked after by my mum, so I go to work every day, safe in the knowledge that he's off feeding ducks, visiting family and having some lovely cuddles. I had to adapt when I became pregnant - it was a big surprise as you know - and I knew that I had to go back to work. If my mum wasn't able to care for William then I would be have worked and Stephen would have been a stay-at-home dad, or worked part time. There are some brilliant childcare facilities near us, but I know that isn't the case everywhere. I think it's a great privilege to have facilities like that, in order to support people, but I'm not sure anyone needs three holidays a year. One thing I believe the government should focus on is using taxpayers' money towards improving childcare across the UK. If we have to work to support our children, we could at least get our money's worth out of childcare. With baby number two, whenever we decide to have he or she, I will probably have minimal time off with them, because that's my commitment to them. I want to give my children the start in life that I had. And I want to be a good mum. I think, whatever side of the fence you sit on, the grass can always seem greener, but what we don't realise is that it's just our view and the way the sun casts the shade. xxx

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  2. Totally agree about nursery for under 2's. install hidden cameras! Lol

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  3. £10,000? Really? I don't really know how much Gary and I have spent on Aiden thus far, but it has not been £10,000! Bloody hell! We did what you do: prioritise. I was lucky enough to be in a position to go back to work part time, which meant Gary could work 5 days and I could work the other 2. This is because we simply could not afford child care, and I wanted to be at home with my boy. This will change come August, and Aiden will need to go to childminder, but until then I am making the most of my time with my baby! It is unfair of the government to make us choose between having a family or having a career. Being a SAHM does not make you a second class citizen, so why do the government seem to think this? Xo

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  4. I've always been told if you wait until you can afford one, you'll never have one.

    I work because I have to. I had to before we had kids. I went to college on federal students loans and the government wants their money back. If it weren't for that, I'd stay at home. I don't really think it matters one way or the other if you know how to manage your money. We are all moms who just want the best for their kids, stay at home or working.

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  5. Oh,and I would never send my kid to daycare. My kids go to inhome care...the same lady that babysat me growing up :)

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  6. I may be in the minority, but I work outside of my home for my own sanity, not just the financial aspect.

    I'm lucky in that my SIL was willing and able to take my son in while my husband and I work, so my son spends his days hanging out with his aunt & cousins. I went to work seven weeks after giving birth and although it wasn't ideal, we made it work. After being laid off last year, I spent 8 months as a full-time SAHM... and while I treasure the time I was able to spend with him (he's now 28 months), I'm so thankful to be back to work 30-40 hours a week.

    Some men/women are amazing stay at home parents and others aren't -- I'm not. My sanity and my relationship with my son was strained because I was unhappy not working outside of the home, so we've found a way to make it work. Oh my is it hard, but it's worth it. When I see my son, I really enjoy the time with him instead of counting down the hours until nap/bedtime.

    But seriously, what it comes down to is figuring out what works for your little family unit -- every family is different and we would all be better off if we could learn to accept that :)

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  7. I just found your blog and we don't have children yet but often I discuss when we will have them with my fiance. I'm the same as you, having worked in nurseries I will not be sending my children to a nursery full-time. My heart broke every time I saw a toddler looking out the window for their mummies and a handful of children who were in the nursery 5 days a week 8-6 definitely saw more of the nursery workers than they did their own parents which is just so sad!
    I will definitely be a SAHM until they atleast go to school and for the time being we're just trying to get into as best financial position as we can ready for that (maybe get on the housing ladder?) but ultimately as someone else has said, if you're waiting til you can "afford" a child, you're never going to have them!
    The Life of Emily-Alice

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  8. Honest diapers have the best price I could get for size 3 diapers. Even though it is slightly costlier than some, it saved me on the taxes. I considered cruizers too, but opted for the dry diapers. I don't particularly see the difference between the two.

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