Yesterday I got my childcare invoice for next month. I opened up the piece of paper, looked at the figure, closed it again, opened it up….then stuffed it in my pocket. I knew roughly what figure was going to be on it, but confirmation of that figure sucked a lot. I guess it could have been worse, but it could have been better too. People from outside the UK who read this won’t know what I’m banging on about in a moment, at least in the way of terminologies….I have no idea how things work elsewhere and just about manage to get my head around our system!
So I receive tax credits, meaning the tax office gives me money each month because I look after two kids, pay for childcare and work. My income on part time hours isn’t all that high so this supplements my salary. It doesn’t cover my childcare costs completely in the school holidays so that’s when I struggle (like now). It’s no wonder I see a lot of little ones being looked after by grandparents when I’m walking about the shopping centre etc. People depend on their families because the cost of childcare nowadays is crazy. I don’t get family to look after the kids, truth is they couldn’t. The kids go to nursery and I look after them after work and that’s how it’s been since I’ve had them on my own.
Why am I lucky then? Well apart from getting the extra financial help, my parents have been there for me in many ways. When we were in temporary accommodation waiting for somewhere permanent to live, they had us at their house in the day and for dinner, we then slept in the temporary place. They’ve always taken the kids to nursery and brought them back in the afternoon for me. They got the house we’re in now into a liveable state for us, which wasn’t cheap to do. They’ve also helped me financially at times when unexpected things have come up. Without my parents I would struggling immensely. Things aren’t always easy now, but they could be one hundred times worse. I’m also very lucky because I have good relationships with the parents of my ex. They see a lot of the kids and maintain great relationships with them. Their nan on that side of the family has taken them away twice this year, one of those trips was Disneyland Paris…..very lucky kiddies! As things are now I couldn’t do cool stuff like that for them, but all of their grandparents are amazing and make things a lot easier on me. As well as family I have some awesome friends who are always there to help me out too.
I know lots of parents. I know a fair few who have little to no support from their family so I really appreciate all the help I get. I think it’s very easy to take the help we get for granted at times, so if you’re like me and have a great support network around you (whether that be friends or family) make sure you tell them how much you appreciate the things they do for you. Not everybody is so lucky and I have great admiration for those parents who do it completely alone, especially the single mums and dads. I’m off to do the bedtime routine now, hope everybody has had a good Friday!