Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the office.....

the toddler gets chicken pox, the after-school club gets axed and your childminder emigrates to Siberia in search of an easier life.

Working mums have been a regular blog topic here on Sheconomics, and we've been lucky enough to have Becky from Babybudgeting give her view on family finance as well as the fabulous Jessica Chivers giving us a sneaky heads-up on her new book Mothers Work!

So I guess those two ladies, with their fingers on the pulse of the working mum, won't be surprised to hear that 'desperate need of money' drove 80% of mums surveyed by Philips AVENT back to the day job. 

That still leaves one in five mums returning for the sake of their sanity, rather than for the salary, which is something that Jessica's research had highlighted. In Mothers Work! Jessica talks about how mums cope with (apart from the guilt) the crippling costs of childcare and how some mums simply couldn't afford to go back to work. The Philips AVENT survey showed that almost half of them get round this by roping in the grandparents. A further 40% decided that the average £4,280 a year that childcare costs simply made it not even worth thinking about getting the business suit back on. That figure is a modest estimate, according to Jessica, who says the cost of employing a nanny can escalate to £22,220 p.a. outside London.

Jessica's view is that parents need to get creative about the way they organise childcare, and they need to become better negotiators. That includes pay rises, not being shy about promotion and asking for flexible working, an arrangement that appealed to 70% of the Philips AVENT respondents. 

Becky has lots of good advice on how to manage a budget that's been squeezed by the arrival of a baby and you can watch her discussing it here with money advisor Sue Hayward. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for highlighting the plight of working mums, Karen. I was a guest on The Vanessa Feltz show this week (catch it on the Channel 5 website -Weds 13/4 edition) responding to one woman's claim that all mothers should take micro maternity leaves (in her case 3 weeks) and just get on with it. Whilst I love my work I wouldn't rush back that quickly purely because having a child is a major life event that needs adjusting to properly, not to mention bonding time with baby. All this said, I DO think long maternity leaves are harmful to a woman's career, her confidence and widens the pay gap between women who've never had children and those that have. I shan't go into all that here - it's in my book. I feel for women who have to return much sooner than they would like, although the UK system is much more generous than the US where a six week unpaid leave is the norm.


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