So, this weekend marks a year since I stopped working. Hard to believe. I'd ask where it went, but I guess the giant baby trashing our house instead of jiggling about in my tummy pretty much answers that one. Scarily this means I have to go back to work all too soon. (I never did take that redundancy cheque.) Which inevitably poses the thorny question of what to do with Louis?
With Louis-sitting volunteers pretty thin on the ground and nannies a no go because they earn more than me, the options appear to be nursery, nursery or nursery. Or at least they did until we actually went to visit one. I'm trying not to rule it out in my head in case we end up having to dump Louis there, but let's just say I'm less than enthusiastic. Even DJ was barely lukewarm: he took particular umbrage at the fact the nursery styles itself as offering "family solutions".
What to do? One other possibility would be DJ attempting to juggle his shifts so that one of us would always be home with Louis. Pros to that scenario: no nursery and a whole heap more cash to spend on nappies each month. Cons: DJ and I would be like ships in the night - quite literally. It would be tough, but, as a post on the New York Times parenting blog this week shows, we'd hardly be breaking new ground by sacrificing our time for the sake of Louis. Blogger Lisa Belkin calls the scenario (as highlighted in an article in The Oregonian) "the complex dance [of] modern parenting".
With nurseries costing up to £85 a day (and that doesn't even include nappies), many families have no option but to seek an alternative when it comes to working out who might look after Junior. You'd think the Government might like to help out a little more - after all, the taxes I pay on my salary help to plug the gaping hole in the public finances albeit in a minor fashion - but apparently not: the childcare vouchers they provide towards the cost will barely cover Louis' lunches.
As for company creches, dream on. The fact that there are barely any women in senior roles in the media hardly helps but then again most professions are just as bad. Only today a Mum I know told me quite how badly her request to work part time had gone down with her employer, Barclays. And companies wonder why they get stuck just employing men?