Childcare Should Be A Bigger Priority
A few days ago a meme turned up on Facebook that summed up the life of a working parent, particularly single parents pretty damn well. The unsourced meme said; “The obligation for working mother’s is a precise one: The feeling that one ought to work as if one did not have children, while raising one’s children as if one did not have a job” and it is probably the most accurate summary of the struggles of working parent’s that I have come across. The meme credited the quote to Annabel Crabb, however I cannot confirm or deny if that is true. Regardless of who wrote or said it, the merits behind the summary are 100% true. Although I personally would replace the words ‘working mother’s’ with ‘sole parent’s’ to be inclusive of both genders that are taking up the mantel of being parent and provider, without falling into the trap of gender stereotyping parental roles.
It’s 2017 OK…
“The average Childcare cost is over $100 a day, $500 per week, $2000 per month or around $25,000 year. This is more than most mortgages! How can working families, let alone sole parent’s afford to return to work, afford to pay the rising utility cost, the rising housing costs AND childcare?”
The summary highlights the daily conflict of sole parents precisely and particularly the social pressures forced upon sole parents. I, like many sole parents would love to be a stay at home parent but it is not financially viable, plus the social stigma around being fat and lazy is far to unbearable for many parents, especially for women who even in 2017 are the ones primarily effected by the social pressures surrounding parentage. That being said, times have changed and it is not too uncommon now to hear of men being the primary or sole parent, hence why I feel it is appropriate to replace the word mother with parent and at the same time not trying not to diminish the fact that women are still the most effected, much, much more then men.
But I digress…
What triggered me about this meme is that it’s not actually news. We’ve known this for a long time, that there are pressures and stigmas associated with returning to work after children and with staying home while raising them. Yet what has actually been done. Not much really…
The cost of childcare is still rising, in fact from February next year (2018) the Federal government is scrapping the JET Allowance (JOBS EDUCATION TRAINING) which covered sole parents childcare costs who where undertaking approved work, study or training. JET was one of the only real incentives for parents to return to work because the childcare costs where absorbed by the Federal Government for a temporary period of time. It definitely could have been better but it was better than noting at all.
Across the Country the average Childcare cost is over $100 a day, $500 per week, $2000 per month or around $25,000 year. This is more than most mortgages! How can working families, let alone sole parent’s afford to return to work, afford to pay the rising utility cost, the rising housing costs AND childcare at the same time? Now I’m not naive enough to think that a Liberal National Government can come up with a solution, or would care to, but I sure do expect the Federal Opposition to take this to the next Federal Election and it’s about time it should be a TOP BLOODY PRIORITY!
The benefits of affordable childcare honestly out way the cost, because the overall return to the economy would be HUGE. Now I’m no economist by any count, but think about it for a second. If more people return to work, more people have money. If more people have money, people spend more money thus supporting the economy. Sure you can argue that I have simplified a complex problem and to a point, yes I have, but the bottom line that I am trying to get across is that this is a very big issue that could solve a lot of problems but it has been flying under the radar for far too long.
Author: Jamie Scicluna
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