Having come on this course I have realised how hard it is to balance “working” and looking after two young children. Everything I have ever read or heard about a PGCE is that it is much more intense than a degree. This has made me revaluate the practicalities of studying for a PGCE. It is looking more likely that I will wait for the children to be much older before embarking on it. The practicalities of looking after a house, children and working is a lot to juggle. Either selling items on Etsy like I have been doing or working a non-teaching part-time job may be more practical for now.
However, this has got me thinking about childcare. I pay £41.30 for 9 hours on top of the 15 hours Elijah gets free whilst I’ve been attending college. If I was working 16 hours or more Elijah would get 30 hours free, however these free hours are for term-time only.
It’s approx. £4.59 an hour for childcare for my youngest, add on the costs of travel plus the cost of childcare for my oldest I would be losing money during the school holidays. Childcare is not cheap, according to a report by the OECD the UK has the highest childcare costs in the world.
However, the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42966047) state this is based on a “a relatively well-off couple” in the UK and does not apply to all demographics.
“In this example – which the claim is based on – we’re looking at a relatively well-off couple.
Parents on lower incomes in England may be eligible for additional support, which will reduce their childcare costs….
…Under the childcare element of universal credit, parents in the UK can receive up to 85% of childcare costs….
…Since September, most working parents in England have been entitled to receive 30 hours of free childcare a week for three and four-year-olds.
The Department for Education says that 202,783 children in England benefited from the policy and that families could save £5,000 per year on childcare costs.”
However, many parents like me are trapped in the middle my partner earns too much to receive help with childcare costs but not enough to be able to afford childcare during the school holidays.
The other issue is that many hours I see advertised are under 16 hours, thus making me not eligible for the 30 hours free. But I still have to get to work and back, which could add a couple of hours onto the childcare care I need. If it was 15 hours over 5 days, with an hour there and back I would need 25 hours of childcare.
A job like this, below, makes more sense for me because I can work without needing childcare as long as my husband keeps working flexible hours.
“Job Title Cleaning Operative
Hours 15 hours per week x 52 weeks per year
Salary £7.50 per hour
Sparks Managed Services are looking to recruit a Cleaning Operative to work as part of a team to provide cleaning of accommodation at Hillsborough Campus, Livesey Street, Sheffield S6 2 ET
The working pattern is 5.30am to 8.30am Monday to Friday
Duties will include vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, polishing, emptying bins, toilet cleaning and using appropriate cleaning equipment and chemicals.
Previous cleaning experience is preferred but not essential.
Attention to detail and a flexible approach to work will be required.
The successful candidates will be required to undertake an enhanced DBS check”
Childcare, Flexibility and Low Wages
The issues that I face are ones that many women facing when they are working mothers or wanting to be working mothers.
“The report said a woman with a partner and two children who works fewer than 16 hours a week and earns the government’s “national living wage” of £7.50 an hour would see her childcare costs overwhelm her earnings, leading to a net loss.” – https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/22/women-life-behind-counter-hard-especially-mothers-retail-bhs
““It is often thought that women stay at home because they ‘want to’, but the reality seems to be that they often do not have a choice, or indeed that going back would make them financially worse off,” Hupkau explained.” – https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/aug/06/second-child-career
“Thousands of well-educated, professional women are forced to accept low-paid jobs beneath their skill level in order to work flexibly after having children.” – https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/career-choke-forces-educated-mothers-into-low-paid-jobs-d52wkrg0sp7
“After their first child, 60 per cent of women with a child aged up to four were in work. This increased to 75 per cent for women with a child aged between five and 10 and 80 per cent when the child is older.
But the statistics dropped dramatically after a second child arrived.” –
“On the basis of this analysis, it can be seen that significant numbers of the women surveyed, who are working in low-paid, part-time jobs, are working ‘below their potential’. These are women who are working in jobs that do not use their full range of qualifications, experience and skills. This is unused potential that has been developed previously through labour market experience, or as a result of training and education.” – http://www.sociology.leeds.ac.uk/assets/files/research/circle/wbp-synthesis.pdf
Mothers taking low paid part-time work because the hours suit their childcare needs is common. Mothers quitting work completely because of childcare costs, especially after having a second child is not unusual. Finding a job that is worth working is not easy unless you want to consider unsociable hours, evenings and weekends. Understanding many mothers don’t want to work these sorts of hours because it the only time they get with their partner and only time they get a break. Or even the only time they get to catch up on the house work – once the kids have gone to bed.
My husband has changed jobs and is now leaving the house at 8.00 a.m. and coming home at 6.30 p.m. thus making working mornings or evenings difficult for more. This is also putting pressure on me as I have less time in the evenings to complete my degree. Working around someone else is something I suspect I lot of Dads don’t have to do. From the mothers I know, it is often them who have to consider working around their partners hours not the other way round. Which of course limits a lot of mother’s choices. My own choices are feeling pretty limited right now but as the children get older it will get easier for me.