In our modern society most families have both parents working. In single parent families the lone parent has no option but to work. But...who looks after the kids?
Parents looking for day care for their children have very few options:
1.) Stay at home and look after the kids
2.) Work when your partner is home to look after the kids (Now there's a recipe for a short relationship!)
3.) Put the children into a crèche, kindergarten or playgroup during working hours
4.) Find a live-in Nanny
5.) Find a childminder
6.) Hit on brothers, sisters and parents to look after the children
Staying at home with the kids sounds a good idea at first, but then you soon find that you can't afford the most basic luxury items that your kids want. "Other kids have them why can't I?" is the usual refrain. Adults also need other adult conversation that is not about kids, and work is the place where this is most easily found.
I know people who have tried option 2, with one partner working days and the other nights. Don't even go there. Love life? Forget it, your relationship will soon be in tatters.
Daycare centers, kindergarten and playgroup child supervision is very expensive. Many parents find that over half of their wages go in paying the childcare fees for the week. Governments are increasingly coming to realise that they have to do something to give tax breaks to parents to go some way to paying their child day care fees. Otherwise nobody will have kids and who is going to pay the pensions of all those retired government employees and politicians.
Live-in Nanny? Well au pair then. Au pairs can still be found, but are notoriously unreliable, and with bad cases in the press this option is fading away to zero for most parents.
Childminders look after your kids in the childminder's home. All you have to do is drop them off and pick them up again. Finding a childminder with a similar outlook to your own on child rearing is difficult. Problems also arise when the childminder is sick or wants to have a vacation. The largest childminder problems come to the fore when your child is ill. "She's ill is she? Sorry you can't leave her here then until she's better again" is likely what you will hear.
Finding relatives to look after your kids is always difficult, unless you have a steady and reliable relative who lives close by and who who wants to be with your children regularly. If this is the case thank them and offer them a monetary gift or other item in exchange for their services.
Ciara McGrath is a full time mother to four teenage daughters. For more family related info visit her sites - Child Insurance and Barbies.