One of the biggest sacrifices a parent can make, is leaving their child to go to work. It’s something we all have to do – you know, unless we win the lottery/born with a silver spoon in our mouths – but it’s something we have to do.
To live/eat/have a home, we must pay for it. Jobs pay us, so we can pay for things. Money is the root of all things evil (such as work, and politicians). However, we have to go. I know that keeping a roof over our heads is not a sacrifice, it’s a luxury. There are a lot of people out there without roofs and yada yada.
Every day, I leave Sophie for 12 hours with her Daddy. I see her for about an hour every morning, and that’s it. By the time I come home, she’s asleep after an exhaustively happy day playing and learning. I come home and I stand in her bedroom door, and I watch her. I watch her snuggling with her doggy blanket. I watch her snore with her bum in the air, dummy in her hand seeing as she now spits it once she’s settled. I see blonde hair sticking up at all angles and her face is relaxed and beautiful.
This is the time I get with my daughter. The weekends of course are full of playing with her. I can’t get enough of her at the weekend. I insist on bathing her so I get splash time. I insist on making her meals. I insist on chasing her up and down the stairs over and over to make her smile. I just don’t get to do that. I marvel at her new things (lately shouting DADDY, clearly asking ‘What’s that?’, now touching her nose and ears when asked) in a way Husband can’t, because he sees them every day. And that tends to kill me. Every working parent (not just mother) has that guilt of leaving their child behind, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel worth it. Those precious moments when she is learning new things or being cheeky, or even wanting a cuddle, I don’t get to have because there just is no room for compromise.
He doesn’t get any breaks that are longer than 10 minutes at a time.
He doesn’t get a lunch hour.
He doesn’t get statutory holidays.
Not even Christmas.
He doesn’t have a HR department and his boss is the most demanding female boss you will ever come across.
If her needs are not attended to every minute of the day, he gets it in the ear.
She makes him bring her meals to him.
She never leaves the workplace.
My wonderful, supportive, giant bear of a Husband is a stay at home Dad (SAHD).
There is a lot of stigma surrounding the role of a SAHD and I find it so wrong. I am in the very fortunate position that my job is a work from home job and in the next room from Sophie. So unlike most working mothers, I get to steal 10-15 mins here and there throughout the day to be with my daughter. The best thing is if she starts a total meltdown, I can help. We support each other. We are equal.
Husband works his arse off from doing the wake up shift to when I finish my day. I always do dinner, then I feed Sophie, play for an hour and then put her down for bed. We then have our evening together. We talk about how busy his day was.
He cleans the house, he fixes me drinks and lunch just to have an excuse to pop in and ask how my day is going. He gets out of the house for walks every day if he can just so he can give me some peace. Husband is doing a job I am very jealous that he gets to do. I wish I could be with Sophie all day long but I can’t. His job market is so niche and at the moment he has been turned away from something as simple as working in a shop for being ‘overqualified’. We decided together that I could work from home, as I could get work immediately (and I did!) and I earn a little more.
He is doing a fantastic, amazing job at raising our baby girl where I have to work. I thank him every single day because being a parent isn’t a paid position. You get your bonus in smiles. You get your salary in dribbly kisses and dirty nappies. Sophie has a bond with her Daddy that even I am in awe of. Her little face lights up and her hands always grab his cheeks (seriously it’s so cute).
We do what works for us. Anyone who decides he isn’t ‘MAN ENOUGH’ to raise a child, can fuck right off. He is doing a hard, demanding and admirable job that technically never ever stops.
A lot of women have no choice (though some choose to!) but to return to work after a baby is born, whether that is 3, 6 or 9 months down the line. The problem now though, is nursery and childcare costs can end up being more than what you spend on rent each month. Luckily, Sophie is looked after by her very capable Daddy whilst I work from home, so childcare costs just don’t figure into our monthly budget sheet. The typical cost of a full-time day nursery place is £177 a week for a child younger than two. In some areas, such as inner London, it may cost a lot more than that.
While your child is less than two years old, you’ll find day nursery places tend to be more expensive. This is because babies and toddlers require more hands-on care, so the nursery needs to employ more staff. Working mothers have to fork out more for childcare in Britain than in any other country in the developed world.
Not only are mums now worrying about the costs of childcare heading through the roof, they have the added worry of whether the people they trust to look after their children are legitimately there to care for children, or secret paedophiles with an ulterior motive. I don’t say that flippantly either, check out this story for more on that horrific idea.
A lot of nurseries are installing webcams that run for the duration of the nursery day. Parents can log in with a secure passcode while at work and check on their cherubs. Great idea in principle, but I know for a fact I wouldn’t stop watching it if Sophie were in nursery!
The problem is, it’s a catch 22 situation. You can go to work, earn your £1k per month for your family, send your kids to nursery which costs £800 a month so really you’re busting your arse out working for a shitty amount of money that you can actually use. Each year, the cost of childcare is rising fast and yet salaries are not being matched appropriately. I’d love to be a two-income family, but there would be no point in putting Sophie in nursery that will eat an entire months’ wage – raising her and sacrificing the second income actually turns out better.