Monday, 7 August 2017

Another year, another childcare nightmare

And here I thought our childcare problems were over... Last year our childminder let us down but we found a creche who could take the kids before and after school, provide meals and even help with homework. On top of that we were not paying them during school holidays if the kids weren't attending, which was a huge relief especially for summer as they're spending 6 weeks "practicing their French" with my parents.

The kids were happy, we were happy, everything was fine. Except we just got a text from the creche stating they undercharged us last year so this year we would have to pay almost 900 euros a month just for 4 hours a day...And they "forgot" to charge us for breakfast, which comes at 5 euros a day per child. I know the creche has running costs, needs to pay staff, insurance, rent etc, but I doubt breakfast costs this much...It's not like they get a full Irish every morning!!

Anyway, the thought of having to pay more childcare than mortgage is just killing me, and it is expensive because we both work full-time. But today I checked the new scheme the government has put in place to help with childcare costs. And I'm just even more pissed off. It seems great and all for kids under 3 years old (if you're happy with a 20 euros per week discount), but once they start their free preschool year (which is only 3 hours a day!) what do you do? Then I checked what other help was available for older children but we don't qualify for anything because we work... which doesn't make sense at all.

I do feel as parents we are taken hostage by childcare providers, be it childminders or creches. Both childminders we used made us pay when we were taking holidays and it was free when they were taking time off. But they were almost never taking time off. And when they did it was on their terms so I always had to find a solution to manage when it happened. I know part of the problem is we don't have any family around to help, but I'm pretty sure it happens to Irish people as well who don't have parents nearby.  Even last year, it costed less to fly my nephew over from France than to pay for 2 weeks full time in the creche. There's something wrong here...

Anyway, enough rant for today! We still haven't figured out what we 're going to do comes September. All the other creches I contacted are either too expensive or they don't have a bus service to drop and collect the kids... A childminder would be ideal but the last one dropped us because the school run was unbearable so I don't want the same thing to happen. The kids are going to different schools next year and they finish an hour and half apart (and they won't start at the same time either!), so I don't know if I'd find someone happy to do it. I think we will scrap the before school care and maybe put the kids in the bus to go to school, or I'll have to try and change my hours or I might just give up work (although that's unlikely because I would just go crazy at home!)

I am longing for the day the boys will be able to walk to and from school, but unfortunately that's not going to happen for another 5 years at least!! In the meantime I will just have to suck it up once again and find a solution... Wish me luck!!