The Luxuries in Life.

The costly expense of childcare and how many families are suffering as a result, hit our screens as breaking news last week. I did not need a study and some arbitrary statistic to tell me sending DS to nursery is expensive, I just have to review my finances.

This is hardly breaking news; I could have told you last week, last month and I can tell you today, that families are feeling the crunch. There were once a time when being a housewife and a kept woman was seen as a privilege. You did not need to work because your husband could support the family on a single income, so you would spend your days shopping, baking cakes and reading classic stories to the children. You would consider yourself as lucky to be in such a position and dismiss the world accordingly for an afternoon episode of Loose Women.

Nowadays, being a housewife is probably cheaper on the whole for families. It is ludicrous to think the expense of working makes getting a job not worthwhile; surely having a duel income should better your family financially, rather than be a hinderance? Childcare has become a luxury and exclusive to those families who can pay.

The Guardian states, ‘for four out of 10 families the cost of childcare is on a par with mortgage or rent payments’; on par is probably your limits, because you would not pay more for childcare than the cost of your home. But the reality is, if DS was to attend nursery full-time five days a week, it would set us back £835 a month. The average cost of a two bedroom property in Gravesend is somewhere between £650 – £800 a month, do the math. Fortunately DS only goes to nursery three days a week, but the cost is still excessively high for not much return.

The cost of a commute (be it trains or topping up on petrol) has drastically risen over the past few years, coupled with the increase in rent/mortgage repayments, electricity, food, childcare, the list goes on. With stagnant salaries, low wages and pay freezes, how is the average family going to survive in the long-run, Mr Cameron?

Icing on the Cake.

I was given The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook a while ago but have only used it as a picture book, not daring to actually make one of their magnificent cakes. A few days ago I decided I would try a simple recipe (you can follow the same recipe as the book on the websites I found) and make vanilla cupcakes, but instead of the vanilla frosting they suggest, I made chocolate.

Here are my ingredients. For a detailed list, please refer to the websites I have linked above.

After mixing the  flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter together, it looked something like this.

Once the egg, vanilla extract and milk have been incorporated, I spooned the mixture into paper cases.

Whilst they were baking in the oven, I prepared the chocolate frosting. When beating the icing sugar, butter and cocoa powder together and adding the milk, it may appear that the mixture is too dry. It is deceiving you and after a further few minutes beating the mixture together, the frosting will form perfectly.

After the cupcakes are cooked through and have cooled down, spread the chocolate frosting on top and sprinkle the hundreds and thousands.

Women of the stone age.

I had an interview today and the kind of questions they asked required me to justify my intentions as to why it is I want to work. It begs the debate; should a woman resign herself to her children and her husband, or are women equally as capable to be the breadwinner?

The conventional view that women are best suited in the home and men need to venture out and feel like they’re the provider, is very outdated. Traditionally women need to stay at home to breastfeed, but in our modern day, we are able to express or use formula milk as a substitute. I do not understand this stone age view that a woman should be subjected to the home; personally, speaking as a human-being, these four walls will not suffice. Let’s face it, we’re not martyrs. Our children do not expect us to sacrifice ourselves for them, and it is possible to raise them successfully whilst working.

I want to start working because I want to be successful in my own right. I do not think a woman can be fully complacent with her life if she has nothing more than her home. Of course DS will always have the best upbringing, by myself or my husband, so he shouldn’t notice whether it’s mummy or daddy who earns the bucks.

Lets not forget about the man in all this. For families where there is a father, it is perfectly acceptable for a man to play a role in the house. I don’t think a household should be dictated by social norms, and if a man wants to be a house husband and the wife is fine to work, whose to judge their decision?