I have been busy. Mr. Waffle has been busy. I have been away for work. He is away for work next week. I took today off work to have a day off all for myself but, alas, poor Michael was sick all last night, so I have spent my time tending to him. Sigh. Well, at least he’s asleep now which has allowed me valuable blogging time. Onward.
All this gadding about has made me think about the support team that makes it possible for us to do this.
We have the Princess’s school and the after school garderie until 6, if we need it, which we usually don’t because we have C who minds the boys and collects the Princess three days a week. On the other two days, I collect the Princess unless I have something at work in which case, I often ask K, a student to do it. If K is unavailable then there is another C who lives around the corner who might or childminder C’s sister, also C (that’s three Cs, try to keep up). There is also Y whom we have used occasionally when things are desperate and our cleaner G, who is sometimes available. Yes, ha, ha, next person we hire is a HR manager. My friends who do not work are very kind about minding the Princess from time to time when I am stuck though I am unlikely to ever be in a position to repay them in kind. The boys are also enrolled full-time in a creche which they attend a couple of days a week but can go to, if the childminder is sick (which, mercifully, she almost never is).
It works fine, on the whole and it costs us an arm and a leg. This makes me think about the UK government’s bid to get single mothers out to work. How on earth will these women manage? I concede that they will probably have family nearby, which I don’t (though we are importing the parents-in-law for mid-term) but even so, there are always times when you are stuck, even with relatives to hand, I imagine. And I suspect we are not talking about particularly well-paid jobs on the whole here. If these women would like to stay at home with their children, particularly when the children are very young, then why on earth not facilitate them to do so. I think that the arguments about getting mothers out to work are all economic and not a lot of thought has gone into the well-being of mothers and children. Of course, there are mothers who are desperate to get back into the workforce and have some adult company (me, for example) but I’m not sure that many people are desperate to get back to minimum wage jobs. And, while support for those who want to get back to the work force is welcome; withdrawing support from those who don’t doesn’t strike me as particularly clever.
Minks is a good example of what I’m talking about. Here is a woman who loves staying at home with her children (mostly). Isn’t this great? It suits her to be at home. But she is broke. Probably not on the breadline but the system is set up to push her out to a minimum wage job for which she would be over qualified and which, I strongly suspect, she wouldn’t like. Wouldn’t it be excellent, if there was some allowance to support women like Minks in staying at home for the first, say, 3 years of their children’s lives. Would it break the bank? The Finns seem to manage it. I notice though that the British have a particularly negative attitude to tax. Would it kill everyone to pay a little more tax provided it was properly spent. Personally, I think that the British administration, on the whole, does a pretty good job of spending the British taxpayers’ money wisely (I’m from Ireland, I even think the NHS is pretty good). So, if it were up to me, I would be happy to pay higher taxes to support such measures. Vote me in for happier families and higher taxes. I think tax is an excellent idea, if properly applied. No, I am not a Liberal Democrat – do I look like a vegetarian to you?
I have to put this down because over the holidays, I calculated that we own ten car seats: 4 in Brussels, 3 in Cork and 3 in Dublin and that’s not counting the one we bought and abandoned in America.
We have 7 travel cots: 3 in Brussels, 2 in Cork and 2 in Dublin, again not counting the one we bought and abandoned in the US.
We have 8 buggies: in Brussels there are the three in one travel thing, a single maclaren, two double maclarens (broken), a double mothercare (broken), and we have single buggies stashed in Dublin and Cork also. This does not include the buggy that was stolen (sigh) and this weekend we’ve got to go out and buy a new double buggy. Blah.
I can’t even begin to count all the other stuff, it’s too tiring, we are busy keeping the baby sales sector booming.