Soon we will be faced with the astronomical cost of having two children in childcare. If we thought that forking out for one child was bad, the thought of paying for two is off the scale. Last night we sat down and added up the eye-watering costs, and have been left wondering if we are doing the right thing.
It goes without saying that we do not expect good quality childcare to be cheap. However, we have reached a point where I may need to take a break from having my protected days for freelance writing. This would effectively mean becoming a stay at home parent. If this were the case, I hope that I might be able to continue doing some writing in the evenings, although this would require some serious dedication (and coffee).
Stay at home parents don’t seem to be well thought of in our society. There is an expectation that a mother or father will return to work at the end of any parental leave they have taken, and continue to progress in their career (albeit at a slower rate). There is a certain negative view of stay at home parents; whether it is a view of laziness, under-achieving, or simply that they are a bit odd (who would want to spend time with their children, after all?). Even the thought of telling people that I stay at home with the kids makes me feel a bit inferior, as if I am not contributing to society. But what could be more important than raising young, bright, well rounded children who will become valued members of society? Why, as a culture, don’t we place enough emphasis on this?
I have really started to wonder if I could be a stay at home parent. Could I be at my childrens’ constant beck and call, at least 5 days of the week (and most likely the weekend too)? Could I enjoy that uninterrupted time with them?
On the other hand, would having more days together make each day feel less rushed? Would we all benefit from slowing down a little bit?
I am approaching the idea with positivity, as it really would be wonderful not to be paying through the nose for childcare. However, I am trying to keep my sensible head on, as this lovely spring weather has given me an optimism for days at the park, trips to the beach and bike riding. Come the gloom of winter, I’m sure I will be sick of spending 5 days in a row trying to find exciting indoor activities. Rather selfishly, I would also be sad that my writing would slow down, especially the work on my novel, which I am really enjoying. As everyone keeps reminding me, though, they are only small for a short amount of time and I could pick things up again when time allows.
It’s a big decision and not an easy one. I think we will be spending a lot of time over the next few weeks mulling this one over.
Has anyone else become a stay at home parent and either loved it, hated it, or felt indifferent? It would be great to hear from you below or tweet @workinglife2016.