New research suggests that 98% of women in the UK want to return to work after maternity leave, but only 13% make it back full time. The reasons? Sky-high childcare costs and inflexible employers…


Source: Sarah Chai / Pexels

I received emails from the two nurseries my kids attend this week, stating that both were increasing their fees because of the cost-of-living crisis. I get it, but given that we’re all facing higher energy, water, food and mortgage costs, it felt like another kick in the teeth.

Having two kids in childcare eats up half my salary, and now it will cost even more. Anything left over will be more stretched than ever as our other bills increase. Coupled with the emotional cost of dropping the kids off at a place run by near-strangers – sometimes against their will – I often question whether it’s really worth it. But in my case, I believe it is… and here’s why.

I love my job. This may seem like a selfish reason, but often we lose part of our identity when we become parents. Everything is about the children (as it should be), but sometimes it’s nice to feel that other skills and experience are being put to good use.

I want to teach my kids the value of work. Without diminishing the value of being a parent (which is the ultimate work!), I want my little ones to see that having a job can be a positive and God-inspired thing.

I need proof of salary. Sometimes what we earn has big lifestyle implications. When it comes to remortgaging, for example, the figure I earn acts as a vital piece of the puzzle. I wish we didn’t have to live with these financial obligations in mind, but that’s our reality right now.

I think it’s important to keep my options open. One day (sob) my babies will be all grown up, and work will most likely take centre stage again. Given that I’ve finally got to where I want to be in my career, it seems like a risky move to pack it all in because of the high childcare costs.

I see my job as a form of ministry. I write and edit for a number of Christian organisations, and I see this as a way of honouring God, sharing my faith and helping others share theirs. (You can minister to others in any job or as a stay-at-home parent, of course!) I truly believe that God has placed me in this role for a reason, and that’s what makes it truly worthwhile for me.

My work is flexible and I can organise my hours around the children, so they always come first, but I realise not everyone is able to pick and choose their hours. The decision is a very personal, and often practical, one – and sacrifices will need to be made, whether you stay at home or go back to work. If you’re not sure what to do, ask yourself (and God) these three questions:


·       Is it good for my faith?

·       Is it good for my family?

·       Is it good for my finances?


My final piece of advice is to ignore the haters. There will always be people ready to criticise your choices, but once you’ve made peace with your decision, just shake that off. Surround yourself with people who will stand by you, champion you and pray for you as you raise your child(ren) the best way you know how.