Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Working parents and medical appointments

And while I'm on a rant anyway... I don't get how this country is meant to work. First of all I read yesterday that an average nursery place costs £11K a year - you pay that out of your net earnings so if you are on the country's average salary, having a second kid (never mind a fifth!) is a no-goer. Apparently 25% of us are relying on grandparents for full time caring. I never have but know many who do. What happens when our generation has to work to 68? Who is going to care for our grandchildren? And now what happens when they get too old or infirm? Do those parents suddenly find themselves choosing between childcare and their mortgage?

 Then there are orthodontists, hospitals etc. Take Marcel. He's had braces on his teeth for about three years. He needs driven from Mearns Castle High to Giffnock every four weeks and back to have them adjusted. All appointments are during school hours. Back in second year I guess letting him taking the bus, which might have necessitated him missing two hours of school would just about have been feasible but as he comes up to starting fifth year it is bad enough me taking him out for half an hour, let alone sending him on public transport. I don't want him missing school. So, there is no other option than me taking him. There are no weekend appointments, no one else available to drive him but if I still worked in Bishopbriggs rather than from home, who would do it? Society relies on me doing it. I can't imagine mothers in Denmark being expected to take an afternoon off work twelve times a year (per child) for such things but our social model relies on it. Marcel's dental work wasn't cosmetic, his mouth was too small for his teeth, so what was my alternative? No wonder more an more highly qualified women are giving up on stable jobs to work freelance because there is no backup in this country. We have overpriced nurseries, outrageously priced out of school care and holiday clubs that for my kids would cost half my annual earnings for just the summer holidays. It doesn't work. We base mortgages on two incomes and then we take more than one whole income away for childcare. I don't get it. We have no official policies on what you are meant to do with your kids on the mornings they waken up with say chicken pox. You aren't allowed to stay off work, but no one will take them either. I was fortunate enough to work somewhere who let me work from home when Marcel and Charlotte got chicken pox, but these days, if I still worked in house, it would be a no-goer. Mine got it in October on year two weeks apart. I'd already used up my annual leave. The stress involved in parenting in a country that doesn't allow for it is hard to deal with. I am lucky enough to have skills that allow me to run a business from home but many parents aren't so lucky. Why aren't we looking at other countries even for ideas of how to make things work better?

And as for the delivery guys who give you a 12 hour window of when you are likely to receive your new washing machine and then invariably don't turn up once you take the day off - I won't even go there. But I'm sure we've all done it over and again! That doesn't work either.

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