I’ll be the first to admit that from the point of view of a Politician, I’m not a “Working Mother”, I’m a “Stay-at-Home-Mother”. Basically, even though I am writing and publishing as much as I can in an effort to support my family, I don’t come anywhere near the income bracket to pay tax and that means that my vote is unimportant to them – they’re only interested in “Working Parents.”
I have two children with ASD – one is classic Aspergers, the other one has been diagnosed as High Functioning Autism. This means that they need constant support, encouragement and extra education on the most basic things in life. Add into that equation, a partner with severe and constant back pain and an eighteen month old toddler, and you’ve got a dilemma.
We need to move house, the children need new beds / mattresses / clothes / shoes etc, the Car is ageing rapidly and will need to be replaced within a year or so, and I need to learn to drive. Nothing any normal family doesn’t face. Except that because we are reliant on Govt. Benefits to survive, we cannot afford these things.
Aha, you say, but why don’t you go out to work? That would get you more money…
But it wouldn’t.
Hang on, let me qualify that…
If I go and find whatever job that I can (being the only able-bodied adult in the house) most likely that job will be a part time (so I don’t have to pay for child care – my partner can manage a limited number of hours caring for the children), minimum wage job. So according to the “Back to work” calculator site, we would be worse off to the tune of £12 a week.
So I plugged in the figures that getting a full time, 47.5 hour a week Teaching job would give me at the last point on the pay scale I was at. According to the same site, we’d be £57 per week better off… which sounds great, but doesn’t take into account that I’d need to pay for childcare (because my partner wouldn’t be physically able to look after the baby properly)
It also doesn’t take into account that I’d be travelling a lot more; I can’t drive so even should I manage to get a local teaching position (one that doesn’t involve moving the entire family – more expense) I’ll be paying through the nose for public transport.
Both of those points would wipe out any extra money the position would bring in.
It doesn’t matter which way I work it, I am better off (and my children are better off) with me being a “Stay-at-Home-Mother”.
But the current UK government doesn’t see me that way. They see me as an able-bodied shirker. They also see my partner as a semi able-bodied shirker. They see my writing / publishing as a “Hobby” and the volunteering I do as a Guider as wasted effort. Even if I were to make the massive effort and get a full time teaching job somewhere, they wouldn’t help us.
I’m not asking for a lot of help.
We need my partner to be fit and well again; his back stops him from doing so much that it makes him a burden on the NHS – he doesn’t want to be like that; he wants to be able to work and pick up / play with / look after his daughter. He’s on the waiting list for a consultant’s appointment to see if an operation would help him.
Assuming that the op were successful, he’d be able to work full time again or work part time and care for our children while I worked full time. Then we might be able to afford all those things that I listed at the beginning of this article.
Either that, or we need my books to start selling into the stratosphere and bringing in a living wage…
I know which I would prefer.
I titled this post “The Life of a Working Mother: A view from the poorer end of the scale.”
Wouldn’t it be fun to be able to be able to do a follow up post called “The Life of a Working Mother: A view from the heady heights of a Living Wage”?
I can dream…