I can understand how, pre-2007 recession times the concept of fifteen hours of free childcare for three and four-year olds probably seemed like a good idea- ‘get all those mothers back to work so they can start building a career for themselves rather than being stuck at home’- blahdeblah
Now however, we no longer have that luxury. I do not know of one- yes that’s right- not one mother of a young child who has not had to return to work once their maternity leave is up- whether that be three months, six months or a year.
Surely then, with the changing times and changing economy, the government need to be more flexible in their approach to free childcare hours?
Personally, I would like nothing better than to spend the next couple of years staying at home with my Little Dude, but, despite paying, ooh, I would say in the region of £150,000 worth of taxes over the years, I, even as the constantly maligned ‘single-mother’ brigade, do not have that luxury because apparently, I have earned too much money to be entitled to benefits.
Starting last week, I have had to put Little Dude into childcare for a day a week at my own cost so that I can even find the time for job hunting (I was self-employed before maternity leave).
What would be really handy for me, and indeed prboably the huge majority of mothers out there, is to be able to have that free childcare NOW, at the end of my maternity leave when, is the words of Simply Red (bleugh!) money is too tight to mention.
An even better solution would be, in the way that the government are talking about handing personal care budgets over to those that use them, would be to let us families decide when to pull-out the ‘get into childcare free’ ticket. Give us the two years free at fifteen hours a week, but let us decide when we use them, so that I might choose to use six months up now, whilst I get back on my feet, and then the other eighteen months worth when my son is two/three/four or even when another young sprog comes along and the cost of paying childcare for two children (as seems to be increasingly the case for some families) becomes so prohibitive that there is literally no monetary gain to be made from working.
Rant and, I think, common sense over and out.