What’s your childcare mindset – cost or investment?

02F05551It’s that time of year when the childcare rebate starts running out for many working mums, especially those with full time roles using daycare most of the work week.

 

The childcare rebate seems to provide an unintended disincentive for working mums who want to participate in the workforce full time. The childcare rebate isn’t just a benefit for working mums though. It’s a benefit for working parents and their families. I say working parents because these benefits support both working mums and working dads. Or at least that’s how they need to be thought about by society.

 

Ever since I read Annabel Crabb’s book The Wife Drought earlier this year I haven’t been able to stop cringing inside when I hear a working mum say “it’s not financially viable for me to work/go back to work/keep working”.

In her book Crabb poses the question – why do we continue to stack up childcare costs against the mother’s income? Crabb explains that families in general don’t stack up housing costs purely against the father’s income (except where the family has decided to financially support a stay at home mum).

 

For me it raises a very good question:

Why don’t both parents share the cost of childcare?

 

Crabb also goes on to explain that there are other reasons for women to return to work as well, largely career investments. Capitalising on the investments a woman has made in her career to date and also investing in the future of her career and capacity to continue earning money. Ultimately earning more money cumulatively and long term through career progression. All valid points, which seem to be forgotten in the face of childcare costs and when working out the family budget. I wholeheartedly agree with Crabb.

 

Just because women create children doesn’t mean we should bear the full responsibility of them. Does it? It seems to me a very old school idea, one we are still shedding as a society, that women ‘should’ be the primary carer and raise children and be solely responsible for them.

 

Obviously if you, as a family, have decided that being a stay at home mum is the best thing for you then go for it. In this day and age, with the cost of living being so high (especially mortgages), staying at home seems to be more of a luxury for mums. I  don’t know very many stay at home mums in my circle of friends. I have friends who wish they could be a stay at home mums and can’t financially make that happen.

 

I once worked with a very enlightened CEO who told me that his wife had returned to work despite her income not covering the cost of childcare. He thought it was a good investment in her career and sanity. Being a full time stay at home mum was not for her.

 

On the flipside, shouldn’t we be thinking more along the lines of – what will it cost me NOT to have my kids in childcare? What are you missing out on as a person and career/business woman? The cost of childcare is a temporary cost to bear until your children are all at school (and then you’ll still have education costs, most likely cheaper than daycare).

 

I hate to think that being a working mum is a luxury for families who consider the mother’s income should cover the cost of childcare.

 

I’m not saying childcare isn’t expensive or you shouldn’t look at your finances. I’m saying look at the whole picture. Finances, happiness, time, your future and weigh it all up.

Don’t let money be the only reason you decide to stay at home.

 

**UPDATE ON NEW CHILDCARE SUBSIDY**

I’ve spoken to a few people about the new child care subsidy starting in July 2018 and there’s some confusion about whether it’s capped or not.

If your family income before tax is less than $190k per year there is NO CAP (yay! 🎉🎉🎉)

If your family income before tax is $190k or more the cap is $10k per child per financial year (also yay! 🎉🎉🎉)

Find out how much your subsidy will be here: www.education.gov.au/…/education/files/chcare/est/index.html 

What’s your childcare mindset? Is childcare considered to be a COST or an INVESTMENT in your household budget? Is it a cost or investment that is shared among working parents?

 

There are many factors to consider before becoming a working mum. You can explore these further in my FREE Success Planner for working mums here.

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What’s your childcare mindset – cost or investment?

5 thoughts on “What’s your childcare mindset – cost or investment?

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  • January 20, 2018 at 3:58 am
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    Totally we made a decision to both work .8. (4 days) so that we both had a day home with the kids but they only had to do 3 days at childcare. Because that was the limit we wanted to put on getting the balance right or them. Plus the cost did grow more with the extra days! But always tried to see it as a family expense. Good news that the rebate cap goes from July 1 though!

    Reply
    • January 20, 2018 at 5:28 am
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      Yes I’m looking forward to a year long percentage from July 2018 too Eleisha! No more scary/stressful weeks of full fees.

      Reply
  • May 2, 2018 at 8:46 pm
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    I agree wholeheartedly with this post. It has been beyond frustrating for me that generally women’s careers and aspirations go on the back burner and the expectation is she should stay at home, regardless of whether she wants to or not. Plus the smug refrain of “we decided as a family” etc which always makes me think twice!
    I am in awe of stay at home mums, I think society discounts how backbreakingly monotonous and exhausting it is so I tip my hat to them. I just wonder how much of it is true choice.
    The other glaring point which is missed is superannuation. The super gap is substantial and this is completely ignored. There is no seemingly regular practice of super splitting or top up contributions by the other partner. Women over 55 are the largest growing group of homeless, thanks to financial insecurity and career breaks. These breaks for periods of time and when an earning capacity could be quite high also means we miss out on the effect of compounding.
    The next point is the example to our children. I am tired of people saying their setup is equal when clearly their daughters are seeing the pattern of mum gets pregnant, has babies, takes leave, juggles childcare and emotional labour in the home while the father does not have to interrupt his career and continues as always. What message are we sending our daughters? That it’s hopeless? Why bother getting educated if you’re going to systemically discriminated against so it’s easier to not work?

    Reply
    • May 6, 2018 at 1:47 am
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      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences Adrienne. You’ve added some excellent points!

      Reply

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