Forget tradition – the key to solving all your childcare issues could be your partner staying at home with your baby
The time’s come for you to head back to work and the big dilemma you’ve got is what to do about childcare.
Perhaps you can skip the nurseries or nannies choice here – what about when your partner is the one holding the baby? For many families, men giving up work to take on childcare or sharing your leave can be the set-up that works best.
There are now 10 times as many stay-at-home dads in the UK than a decade ago, with one in seven fathers (14 per cent) now the main childcarer.
‘There’s no need to stick to traditional role models, particularly when a quarter of women earn more than their partners,’ says Katy Hayden, nanny and childcare expert at Tinies Childcare. ‘This makes handing the childcare reins over to your partner an option.’
It’s great if you have the highest earning power and your man quite fancies the idea of being a full-time parent.
Do the sums
Ok, so you don’t have to fork out the cost of a mortgage for a nursery place, but is it the best economic choice for your family?
‘While the maths might add up, this does mean that your family will be dependent on one salary, which is more of a financial risk,’ says Georgina Walsh, a psychologist who coaches parents on finding childcare.
The good news is that you may be able to top up your income with benefits, see the Revenues & Customs website to find out what you’re entitled to. But do consider the longer-term impacts on your family income and how your partner’s future earning potential may change.
Make sure your partner realises this situation isn’t a short-term break for him, but a lifestyle choice
Look out for the green-eyed monster. ‘There will be times when your partner interprets that gurgle successfully, or knows how to make the kind of pasta that gets eaten and you don’t,’ says Georgina. ‘It’s not because he’s a better parent, or your child loves him more, it’s simply that they spend more time together.’ Also consider that it may take time for your partner to find a job when he’s ready to return to work.
Ask him if he can accept this situation until your child goes to school. Make sure your partner realises this situation isn’t a short-term break for him, but a lifestyle choice for the next few years.