I'm having a ball!

This evening, I write live from a glamorous wedding reception. We've had a fabulous day, the bride blossomed in the church, the rain held off and I managed to keep the tears at bay during the service. I am now guzzling my fourth glass of champagne (hic), my delighted palette has savoured some wonderful food and I'm looking forward to some drunken dancing (without shoes as they're starting to hurt).

Ok, in reality, it is my husband who is enjoying a fabulous break at a wonderful wedding. I am at home, with two children in bed and two cats who have clearly had enough of me as even they are out. 

I couldn't go to the wedding as the children weren't invited and we couldn't find anyone who could look after them. I'm not blaming the couple for not inviting the children, and to be honest, I'd rather be at a wedding without them. Childcare. It's tough isn't it? We've had two nights away by ourselves in three years and both of those were at the same time. It is our fault for living so far away from our families. My Mum is in Wales, Dad in Oxford and the in-laws are in Watford. Admittedly, the wedding is in London so if the in-laws were able to, then they could have looked after our two for the evening. But they are getting old and their health isn't great.

We have nights out separately, which is sad. I'd love to have a night out with my husband. We are lucky that we have our evenings as the children are in bed at 7.30 and then we can relax but it's not quite the same as going out and letting our hair down together.

Childcare whilst I am at work was just as tough to work out. I initially signed my son up to the nursery at my work and then backed out on his induction day. 'He'll soon grow out of a daytime nap', 'we'll wear him out', 'we won't feed him the milk you like'. I swiftly found an amazing childminder and he has been very happy spending three days a week there ever since. 

If I had gone back to work after this spell of maternity leave, my salary would have been less than the cost of sending two children to a childminder three days a week which is ridiculous. We earn just above the threshold for any help but our childcare is almost half of my husband's salary. I am going to university instead in the hope that getting a degree will enable me to get a more highly paid and responsible job. To be honest though, I have no idea how we are going to cope financially. With a mortgage to pay as well as bills, after childcare we are left with negative money from my husband's salary. So who knows where food, clothes and travel (work for him and uni for me) will come from. If anyone knows a fail safe way of making loads of money, please let me know. I am on a career break with my work which means that I cannot work whilst at university, unless it is for myself.

This isn't a rant. I don't feel that I deserve any benefits from the government. It's just an observation of how tough finding childcare can be, and how expensive it can be. If I wasn't at work/university then we would still be struggling for money.

Back to this evening. Whilst my husband is dancing the night away, then having a lie-in tomorrow morning (ok, so I'm more jealous about the lie-in), I am living life to the full! Chocolate and a can of beer (I am class personified)!