Friday, 12 August 2011

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)!



  1. We have both sets of parents living abroad and it is very hard to organise going out. Luckily both sets of parents will travel and do come and stay a week or two a couple of times a year. We try to make these stays coincide with when we have something on. I think over the last 4 yrs (Little Miss is 4 and Little Man is 2.5) we have been out with OH for a dinner just us once. We've had a friend babysit twice for events we wanted to attend.
    I do envy those that have family around the corner and can carry on with so much more ease even after having children. For me, every going out has to be arranged weeks/ months in advance. Not fun!
    I have considered getting an au pair, but then I don't fancy having a stranger in my house either. ... can't win, can we?

  2. After writing this, I decided we'd go out to the cinema on Tuesday night! We're ok to go out once the kids are in bed and my cousin comes to babysit. I'm really looking forward to a night out with my husband!

  3. I really feel for you as our family is far away as well! We live in London and my parents are abroad. My husband's dad is 82 and up north as well. We have no relatives, no cousins or friends that live close enough to babysit :(
    Since my daughter was born 28 months ago we only went out once for lunch when my parents were visiting:( like you we have our evening and the odd going out separately! We both work full time and my salary Is wasted on childcare and trevel. His pays our rent and bills and with what he has left we buy food and try and make our weekends as fun as possible.
    I'm a doctor declared depressed woman do I really sympatise.
    Writing you while laying on my bed trying to fall asleep without worrying!
    Otherwise I'm quite a happy person ;) xxx

  4. It's tough isn't it. We are lucky that we have my cousin living in the same town so we do at least get a few nights out. I haven't had a night out since my little girl was born just over five months ago. Looking forward to tomorrow now. Hope you managed to sleep alright.

  5. LOL, great post, funny but not funny. Yes childcare is tough. As as working mom something like 95% of my salary will be going to nursery. Why am I doing it? When I figure that out I'll let you know. And like you my family are far way ( an ocean a way) and my friends are either far way trying to manage with their kids and their busy schedules. We support each other how best we can. May next time it'll be your chance to attend a function and hubby can stay home. Better yet, tell him he owes you a spa weekend ;0)In the meantime enjoy your beer AND chocolate eat them with pride, lol. We do what we can with what we've got.

  6. I think that for some people (me included) working is what you do to keep sane.

    I'm having a night out tonight and I'm finishing it off by staying at my Grandma's by myself. That way I get a lie-in tomorrow! Don't remember the last time I slept in past 7am!


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