Bye Bye Maternity Leave…And Then Came Childcare…

Posted on February 6, 2011



Hi, I hope you are all well.

I returned home midweek to find Michele on our laptop. It’s only strange because Michele doesn’t have much use for the laptop. Her iPhone performs her daily one step routine to perfection.

Which basically just means jumping on Facebook but I’m sure she realizes Safari is there for her to check emails, or just read something worthwhile like The Age.

Anyway, she was browsing sites on childcare and private schooling for Levi. For new parents there really is a lot to take in when we both know next to nothing about it.

To complicate things further Michele and I aren’t familiar with the educational structure or system here in Australia as we were, until recently, ‘foreigners’.

Childcare is expensive in Melbourne. We’re looking at a ball park rate of around $80/day; 30% of which is tax-refundable but a normal family is still looking at anything around $800/mth after tax. That is an astronomical amount.

I’m thankful my mother-in-law arrived on the Wednesday just gone to care for Levi as Michele goes back to work this week. She’d only be here for as long as her visa allows but that’d at least give us a bit of breather and look around for child care and school placements. More importantly we get to see our bank balance grow as it has taken a serious hit in the last year (as do most families with wives on maternity leave).

It’s hard to believe she’s been on maternity leave for a year now and tomorrow marks the start of her old job albeit in a part-time capacity.

Most new mothers dread the idea of leaving their first child for the day as they go back to their professional day jobs and Michele is no different. Just prior to making this entry I gave Michele a reassuring hug after we had both put Levi to sleep. She’s visibly upset and always had Levi under her care. A year is a long time and to split the mother-child bond is a difficult but necessary decision to make.

I guess it’s not as hard on fathers as they don’t have the luxury of taking a year off to care for the child and are mostly relied upon as the sole breadwinner. Fathers mostly don’t have the choice to leave their children behind for the day. I know I definitely didn’t. And still don’t.

Either way we look at it our family finances will definitely improve. We’ve been on a single income for the last nine months and with Michele back on several shifts that will alleviate the pressure on our finances. As any young middle-income families would testify, the first years of a marriage are the hardest financially.

Oh well, enough of griping for tonight. Tomorrow is a new day and Michele goes back to work and