Cost of childcare; time to change your perspective?


So I had a bit of a light bulb realisation last week.


I have this thing where I do sums about the cost of childcare in my head while I’m driving to work. Things like…


I’m being paid $___.

Minus $___ I pay for childcare.

Minus $___ for tax / fuel / the inevitable extra coffees I buy while I’m at work.

Equals $___ I earn per week.


And then I inevitably try to answer the question…


Is that really worth all the effort?


I also do this to myself when I’m considering whether to take on other work. Yoga, Circles, Website work ALL gets weighed against childcare.


I constantly question whether I should pay someone to watch the kids while I work on my little business here.  Spending $20 an hour for someone to watch the boys so I can move my business ahead feels hard to justify when there is no hour for hour return, it’s all future potential.


BUT>>> here’s the kicker.  I would NEVER do that for Andrew’s work or wage?  I would never even think to question the extra unpaid hours he often puts in.  I have never even attempted to do the sums for how much he would earn if it was his wage I was holding up against childcare. It’s just not relevant.


So why do I do that for my own? Why is it always the Mother’s wage that pays for childcare?


There is so much more to the equation of time/ money/ childcare that we often forget to add up.


What about how it makes us feel to do the work?

What about keeping your skills (and confidence) up so that you can work once the kids are in school?

What about superannuation?

What about seeing it as an investment in our future business, or even just ourselves?

What effect does working have on us as a person, as a parent?


I don’t want to work full time.  I also don’t want to work on something I don’t find meaningful. I feel like if I’m taking away time I could be spending with the boys; it has to be worth something.


I think we need to reevaluate the true value of the work we do, not just the monetary value.  Because there is so much more to it than that, isn’t there? 


8 Responses to “Cost of childcare; time to change your perspective?

  • So true! Male privilege is heavily ingrained in our culture!

    • Bettina Rae
      8 years ago

      I think it’s just gender roles are heavily ingrained. So much so that I was accepting them too – even when they weren’t actually making me happy.

  • I think you’ve made an excellent point but it is one I concider for my husband too (since we have both had the privilege of being full time sah parents at some point).
    Whatever we choose to do, be it paid or not, it must be worth more than $$$.
    Self worth, social interaction, so many little things can add or subtract value.

    • Bettina Rae
      8 years ago

      I think it can be good sometimes when both parents get a go at the full time parents role. Otherwise this job can definitely be taken for granted or assumed. Thanks for your perspective. x

  • This is one spin off of living in a patriarchy. Just recently a study came out saying that after paying Childcare, many women are working for just a few dollars an hour. I was surprised because shouldn’t that come out of the family income, or out of the income of both parents in relationships where money is separated? The assumption is always that women are responsible for all aspects of child rearing- it’s why we put on pedestals men that change nappies or mind their own kids :/

    • Bettina Rae
      8 years ago

      Yes I find that infuriating too. I hope one day we get past these beliefs and can be equal in parenting.

  • You mentioned a valid point I have always thought, why it is coming out of the mothers income! What about the fathers?? Or the household income??? It isn’t just the money, it’s the experience that you would miss being out of the workforce among other things.

    • Bettina Rae
      8 years ago

      It sure is! It’s about so much more than money! xx

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