Yes Love, now, the important question

My husband Kevin and I have three young boys, and I have worked part-time since our eldest was one. Henry is now eight, Aldous is six and Magnus is three. I’m 37 and left my full-time job when Henry was born and so my partner became the main breadwinner.

Because he had the steady income while my hours have fluctuated depending on the ages of our children, it has made sense for me to meet the varying cost of our childcare and to balance my working hours against the expense. Many families I know do the same.

The cost of care has risen and fallen depending on my hours as well as the ages of our children but it has averaged more than £10,000 a year in fees for nursery, childminder and holiday club. I tallied up what I have paid to work for the last seven years and it came to more than £72,000. Not only that but I’ve probably lost around £370,000 from my pension.

Our middle son was in time to qualify for 15 funded hours a week but our youngest is the first to be offered 30 hours. Like many freelancers, I have only recently been able to make use of the government’s childcare tax break — tax-free childcare is open to the self-employed but childcare vouchers were not.

It’s dizzying to realise that I have spent £72,000 on childcare in just seven years. Even more bonkers is the thought of how much more I would have spent if I had worked full-time instead of typically three days a week, fitting in extra hours around naps and bedtimes.

Yes, I did choose to have kids and, no, I didn’t think they would be cheap. I do not resent spending money on them. However, in many other European countries parents do not face the same childcare bills and the same subsequent penalties for their incomes, jobs and long-term financial wellbeing. That can make a big difference to the work and financial prospects of the primary carer parent, which is most commonly the mother.

That important one being – well, who should pay?

Who should pay for raising your children? If not you that is?

42 thoughts on “Yes Love, now, the important question”

  1. ’I do not resent spending money on them.’

    How many words in this article to say that, yes, you do indeed resent it, to the point where you want other people to pay instead?

  2. “However, in many other European countries parents do not face the same childcare bills and the same subsequent penalties for their incomes, jobs and long-term financial wellbeing.”

    And in many other European countries they have exactly the same issue.

    I think she’s suffering from a large dose of “grass is greener” syndrome, and “I heard that in Sweden” syndrome.

  3. If other people, mostly people less well off than her family, pay for her childcare then she could probably afford that even nicer house in that middle-class area, and maybe a late season skiing holiday squeezed in too, with luck. Think of what an extra £800 a month could have bought, housing-wise!

    Because that, inevitably, is what that money saved would have been spent on.

  4. £370,000 in seven years ‘lost’ from her pension? Fuck me. She must have been absolutely minting it.

    And she wants the 99% to pay for her kids? Fuck off.

  5. “Who should pay for raising your children? If not you that is?”

    -I’d say we ask the Danish whether they’d like to chip in for Felicity.

  6. “it has made sense for me to meet the varying cost of our childcare and to balance my working hours against the expense”

    Hold on, she’s the one with the rickety income, hubby’s the one with the steady income, why isn’t hubby paying for childcare?

  7. When I were a lad, being called “Aldous” would’ve been a definite you’re-getting-a-kicking offence.

    We need a Campaign For Real Names, such as Mike, Andy, Barry, Zammo, Keith Chegwin, and Steve.

  8. Hold on, she’s the one with the rickety income, hubby’s the one with the steady income, why isn’t hubby paying for childcare?

    Telling use of ‘I’ throughout rather than ‘we’.

  9. Why should parents get free childcare? You go to work, you’re earning money, pay for your own fucking childcare out of the salary.

    And if it’s not worth it, well, maybe you should be at home with the kids.

  10. Where were the grandparents during all this time? The state isn’t a replacement for extended family. Though I suppose that’s the core of the Left’s belief system.

  11. “I feel sorry for the kids, saddled with those monikers.”

    Trust me, Henry, Aldous and Magnus are pretty tame compared to the names of my neighbours’ kids.

  12. Andrew M, perhaps they’re busy with round the world cruises.

    Mr Womby:

    “By Jove, Jeeves, there’s some raw work pulled at the font”.

    “indeed, sir”.

  13. Isn’t childcare more expensive in the UK because we have Europe’s strictest rules about children-per-carer ratios?
    Can’t we fix that now that the regulation-adoring Maybot has finally gone.

  14. Mr B, it’s possible I’ve misquoted to precisely that extent. The quote in question involves an unfortunate by the name of Gengulphus.

  15. She wants ME to pay for her childcare so she can add a whacking extra chunk on her pension –while I slurp shit and die neglected in some NHS shithole tended by 3rd world imports who couldn’t give a shite about anything except their wages–also extracted from my hide.

    The bitch is a remainiac for certain sure.

  16. Andrew M,

    We were rarely on the same continent as our parents, but it did not matter as MrsBud was stay at home carer for the eldest three and I was for the youngest.

    Our eldest granddaughter is already ten and we are still a good distance from retirement age so we have not been available to provide childcare, even if we were minded to, which we’re not other than occasionally in exceptional circumstances.

  17. The loss to her pension is on the basis she would have invested her childcare costs of £72k in the pension (as opposed to spending it on holidays) and that it would have grown to £370k (using optimistic growth assumptions) by retirement date. Looks like simple opportunity cost to me.

    I do think there is a case for more state funded childcare ideally through a voucher system but this could be funded by scrapping/reducing child benefits and tax credits.

  18. Rob,

    The £370k is over 25 years assuming 5% growth. I’d like to know where she’s getting 5% growth from.

  19. What I really like about Henry, Aldous, and Magnus is the contrast with Kevin. Perhaps Felicity was in charge of the naming of the brats?

  20. abacab: “…and “I heard that in Sweden” syndrome.”

    When commies defend Corbyn by saying that he doesn’t want communism but a Swedish style system instead they never care to mention that Sweden have no wealth or inheritance taxes. Or perhaps they just don’t have a fucking clue.

    From what I’ve read, child care in Nordic countries is a financial, political and cultural problem. 4-year olds threatening each other in kindergarten: “I’ll fucking kill you”.

  21. Don’t you hate spending money on food for the kids? In many other European countries, they don’t even feed the kids.

    Would you be happier little girl if you were cooking their dinner over dried dung?

    Child care is one of the greatest FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS.

  22. So…she goes out to work to earn money so she can pay someone else to look after her family. And moans about it.

    Are we all mad, or is it only some of us?

    And BTW Aldous won’t be getting a kicking at the local comp because naturally he won’t be at the local comp.

  23. Bloke in North Dorset

    Juha,

    When commies defend Corbyn by saying that he doesn’t want communism but a Swedish style system instead they never care to mention that Sweden have no wealth or inheritance taxes. Or perhaps they just don’t have a fucking clue.

    What they really don’t understand is that Sweden is a mixed economy but mostly free market capitalist country, they were even prepared to let SAAB go to the wall rather than use State funds to save it. They believe in strong property rights and the State not controlling the means of production. As individuals they are quite libertarian. Having high taxes and a good social welfare system is NOT socialism:

    Things have looked up a bit since for this small Nordic country. In the 1990s Sweden had another important reform period in response to sluggish growth and a severe banking crisis. Both Social Democrats and center-right parties contributed when marginal tax rates were reduced; markets for finance, electricity, telecom, and media were deregulated; the central bank was made independent; the pension system was reformed partly with personal accounts; private providers in health care and elderly care were welcomed; and a school voucher system was introduced. During the last few years, Swedish governments have reduced taxes substantially, from 52 to 44 percent of GDP, and abolished taxes on gifts, inheritance, wealth, and housing.

    Sweden has yet again increased exports, created private-sector jobs, and seen economic progress that has outpaced the rest of Europe. Sweden has managed the financial crisis much better than most other countries, and public debt is around 30 percent of GDP. But that’s another story—though not entirely, because present-day Swedish liberalization and liberalizers have often been inspired by the history of Swedish individuals, reforms accomplished 150 years ago, and the unprecedented prosperity that they produced. A statue of Lars Johan Hierta has been erected in central Stockholm and a Social Democratic speaker of parliament has proclaimed Anders Chydenius one of the greatest pioneers in the history of the Swedish parliament. On the wall of Finance Minister Anders Borg’s office hangs a portraits of Gripenstedt and Chydenius—“the father of Swedish wealth,” according to Borg.

  24. Bloke in North Dorset

    Back on topic …

    I wonder why these people have children. They can afford to raise them themselves and have the wealth for at least one parent to stay at home and have the joy of watching and guiding their development and telling the other what joys have been had during the day. Instead they seem to be OK with other people raising them at the State’s direction and not seeing those first steps, words etc.

    They don’t even need the children to look after them in old age, they expect the State to do that so they can give their money and house to their kids rather than use it for their own care.

    I have nothing but contempt for them as the children seem to be no more than fashion accessories. At least those at the bottom end of the socio-economic pile have been given incentives to have children – better housing, more benefits etc and have responded accordingly. That I can understand.

  25. On the one hand, if it doesn’t make financial sense for them personally to pay for childcare and go out to work, instead of staying at home with the kids, it’s dubious it makes financial sense for society as a whole to stump up the bill while she goes to work instead. (Possible arguments in favour exist, including that it stops her human capital from degrading during an extended break from work, which is something we all invested in via paying for or subsidising large parts of her education and which we might benefit from via her paying higher taxes in future if staying in work allows her to reach a substantially higher pay level in a couple of decades. It is true that those women who reenter the workforce after two decades out rarely go in so high as they were when they dropped out to look after the kids. But then the prospect of higher wages in future is also a major incentive for her to keep working – and if looking at the cost of childcare, and bearing this future benefit in mind, she still thinks it isn’t worth it, then maybe it really isn’t worth it.)

    On the other hand, I do worry that as a society and culture we have built a system that’s increasingly offputting to building a family, and many people (especially among the middle classes – incentives differ elsewhere in the social strata) are put off having kids at all or limit themselves to one or two even though they would have liked more. Perhaps this is good from an environmental point of view, but from a cultural survival point of view it is collectively suicidal. People are also delaying childbirth until later in life when medically things get dodgier. Cost of children, including property requirements and childcare, is a big component of that. There is some stuff you can do about this from a regulatory perspective (Timmy always moans at building restrictions on property and as mentioned above, childcare ratio requirements have major cost implications) but I’m not sure I would begrudge subsidised childcare to the middle classes too much. In many respects this is part of what the school system serves as for older kids…

  26. @Alex11

    +1

    We have crazily strict rules about children-per-carer ratios, regulations & child carer qualifications thanks to Blair & Brown

    We need to bin it and ignore the whinging from the “if it saves one child’s life”. The ones who die are usually the stupid with no risk awareness or survival instinct

  27. @Bloke in North Dorset July 28, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    Interesting, thx

    @July 28, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    +1 She wants the positives of children only when she feels like it, rest of time taxpayers should care for them.

    I’d call it “Rent A Kid” – she pays by taking time off work; it would be better if her and some like minded friends formed a “Share A Kid” club.

    .
    imo There should be Zero state funded child care or tax breaks; school should – like Sweden – be a voucher system, health care too.

  28. DocBud said:
    “The £370k is over 25 years assuming 5% growth. I’d like to know where she’s getting 5% growth from.”

    Notional gains in a public sector pension scheme?

  29. ‘I’d call it “Rent A Kid” ‘

    I was going to suggest Uberkid until I realised it sounded a bit 1930s.

  30. I feel sorry for the husband, who is probably paying for the house (rent/mortgage), utilities, food, medical expenses, any other bills that come up.Pretty much anything that isn’t childcare of some kind. Holiday club?

    “it has made sense for me to meet the varying cost of our childcare and to balance my working hours against the expense”

    This sounds like a line she sold to hubby to justify her freelance hobby. ‘I’ll pay for the childcare dear, don’t worry, I promise not to whinge later.’ (Unspoken) As long as you pay for everything else.

    On the pension thing – if she’s 37 with an 8 year old, then he’ll be into decent earning years by the time she retires, with two more to follow. So maybe she should consider the expense a an investment?

  31. In many respects this is part of what the school system serves as for older kids…

    Back in the sixties boys left school at fourteen to work in a garage, sweeping up, making the tea, running to the caff for bacon sarnies, and learning how to fix motors. Girls left to do similar in hair salons. We’ve since reorganised society so there’s no place in it for teenagers and think we’ve done something clever when actually we’ve done something fucking stupid.

  32. “We’ve since reorganised society so there’s no place in it for teenagers and think we’ve done something clever when actually we’ve done something fucking stupid.”

    And also made them decide at age 18 whether to go to university or not, an educational decision that is far more socially divisive than the 11 plus, as it is far harder to undo – the chances of people being able to go to uni later in life rapidly recede as they acquire families and financial commitments. Thus 18 year olds have to make a largely irrevocable decision that fundamentally alters their entire life path, with very little advice or assistance. No wonder there’s a lot of pissed off people out there after 15-20 years of this, chickens are coming home to roost.

  33. The loss to her pension is on the basis she would have invested her childcare costs of £72k in the pension

    She’d have done what any other middle-class person would have done – spent it on the mortgage of a bigger house.

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