“I got nothing done today,” Tracey complained to me when I arrived home last Monday.
Monday’s are Tracey’s workhorse day for working on her photography business – a day for editing on Photoshop, ordering, meeting brides and doing book work. It’s also the one day a week she has no kids, with our lot either at school or day care.
Tracey’s idea of getting nothing done is a little different to mine. When I say it I mean I watched Youtube videos all day and struggled to make a sandwich for lunch: she just means she’s still got work to do.
“I’ll focus on the kids tonight, you keep doing your stuff,” I told her generously.
She gave me a look which kind of said ‘thank you but we both know that’s not going to happen’. She’s right, of course. It’s not that I’m not the kids’ first choice of parent, it’s that I’m not their second or third either, and even then I seem to fill a very specific role.
“Mum. Mum. Mum! MUM! MUUUUUUM! … Dad, have you seen Mum?”
It’s a niche market.
“Well, do you think it’s time to put the kids into day care for a second day?” I asked Tracey.
“I think we’re going to have to,” Tracey said, and I realized she’d been thinking this already. I vaguely wondered at how we so often seem to come up with the same ideas at the same time.
So we’d agreed on the solution, now to work out the details.
“Can we afford it?” I asked her. Horrible images of two minute noodle meals raced through my head.
We talked about the possibility of a second childcare day when Tracey first decided to start her business. Most photo-shoots are on weekends, which is fine because I’m home, but editing and running the ‘beside camera’ stuff takes a lot of time, especially now business is picking up. We both like the kids experiencing day care for social reasons but like most parents, if possible, we want to spend as much time with the little buggers (while they’re still cute) as we can.
That we’re able to afford day care at all comes down to the Australian Government’s Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate. With seven kids Tracey and I are often asked how on Earth we can afford it. We struggle. We do without. We don’t do ‘fancy’. But the truth is, if we lived in another country we probably couldn’t.
We checked the estimator (Child Care Estimator). Looking firstly at the Child Care Benefit, we’d go from outlaying $72.75 for the one day (with our two younger kids in all day and the older three in after school care) to a total outlay of $109.27 for our two youngest to be in care for the additional day Tracey needs.
We opt to have our Child Care Rebate paid quarterly, but a lot of people choose to have it paid directly to their child care provider, leaving more money in their own pockets for the weekly expenses. In our case, when both the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate are taken into account, we’ll only be forking out about $55 a week for Tracey to have two childless, distraction free days in which to get her work done – the cost of a movie and pizza night at home.
Best of all, the rebate isn’t means tested, so earning more doesn’t reduce how much money returns to our account. This is good because there’s no point in working harder to bring in money only to give it all away. Although apparently a lot of people are. An astounding number of parents have kids in approved day care and aren’t claiming all they’re entitled to. It’s well worth a look at the government websites to see if you’re one of them (I’ve got a link below).
“Let’s book it,” I said to Tracey.
“Already have,” she told me. And I vaguely wondered how often I think we come up with the same ideas at the same time when it’s just me being led exactly where Tracey wants me to go.
more information on Child Care Rebate
more information on Child Care Estimator
more information on Child Care Centres
This has been a sponsored post 🙂 But the need for more day care was all our own.
When not typing away over here and checking his stats every two minutes Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his ‘BIG FAMILY little income’ Facebook Page.
’raising a family on little more than laughs’