My letter to Theresa May on International Women’s Day

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Dear Theresa May,

International Women’s Day is a wonderful occasion for us to celebrate all women and their achievements, especially here in the UK. Women have come a long way in the past 100 years in terms of their rights, and more recently the fight for equality in the gender pay gap. It makes me proud to be a woman looking back and seeing how far we have come.

However, there is still one thing holding us back – especially for us new mums who have a career. That is, the choice we have to make during maternity leave, in terms of what we are going to do when that period ends. Some mums know that they want to stay at home with their children, and are fortunate to be able to do so financially; and some mums like me who have built a career want to be able to go back to work.

Watching the Budget today made me realise that as a country we don’t do enough to champion new mothers who want to return to work. The Chancellor announced that the number of free hours of childcare for 3/4 year olds was being increased from 15 to 30 hours. I think that is absolutely wonderful, and great for working families, but, that won’t help me as my little boy will be 12 months old when I need to return to work.

In order to return to my job full time, I need to pay £1300 each month for childcare. The downside for me is that as my child is under 3 years old, I get no additional support from the state to support me going back to work. So, why is this? Does the government believe that mothers should be staying at home with their children until they are 3 years old?

After paying for my monthly childcare, and travel costs, financially it is barely worth me going back to work, which is a sad situation to be in. However, I have worked hard at University and in my career for the past 15 years to get to the stage where I am at the moment – and that is the reason I am going back.

I have a friend who is a single mum, and my take home pay after expenses will be less than the support she gets from the government for not working and being able to stay at home with her child full time. If that is the case, I sometimes wonder why i’m going back to work?

Due to the fact myself or my husband don’t qualify for any support in childcare costs, I won’t be able to have another child until I know that my firstborn qualifies for some free childcare when he is 3 years old. I often wonder whether it’s worth being a career minded woman in the UK, and can see why so many women feel as though they have to choose between having a career or having children.

So, my question to you on International Women’s day is – what happened to championing women? And, why are we making it so hard for new mums to go back to the workplace?

Kind regards,

Mummy S x

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  • Dani March 8, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    This is such a well written post. You voice your views beautifully and I wholeheartedly agree with you. Not enough is being done to support mothers wishing to return to work after having a baby. I decided to resign from my job to be a SAHM to my now 1 year old Son as I couldn’t bear to miss out on crucial milestones such as 1St steps and the early years in general. Hope this country gets it together #KCACOLS

  • Emma me and b make tea March 9, 2017 at 8:40 am

    this is so so true and one reason why we didn’t have another until b got his free hours. and we fell outside the 30 hours so we just get the 15. it seems that if you want to work and have a career, you are ultimately penalised :/ #KCACOLS

  • The Tale of Mummyhood March 9, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Very well said! I have just made the transition from SAHM to working mum, but only because my husband has managed to swing a family friendly contract, allowing him one regular day off per week. He works for the Ambulance Service and so has irregular shift patterns, meaning that up until now our only option was for me to stay at home. We get no help towards childcare and having two under two would mean that it would cost a crazy amount of money each month to use childcare. If we had more help I would definitely have gone back sooner. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS, hope you come back again next Sunday xx

  • Nicola | Mummy to Dex March 10, 2017 at 9:38 am

    You make such a valid point. I am extremely lucky in that I have my MIL to look after my little boy when I return to work, however if I didn’t, I’d be going to work for 41 hours a week to take home less than £500 a month – hardly worth it!


  • Kelly | and Jacob makes three March 11, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    You make some excellent points here! I’ve often thought the same, why wait until 3 years old. It would be better for most people if they spread the help out a bit #kcacols

  • Nadine March 17, 2017 at 4:26 am

    I am biased on the other side. I gave up my career by choice to be a SAHM. It has meant a lot of sacrifice in our family to live off of one income, but I love being home with the children. I think it is really important for mom’s to be around during those early years. You can go to the best daycare in the world, but it’s not the same as being with your parent. I ran a daycare for several years and I LOVED all my daycare children, but being home again with my youngest two kiddos it is still so different. I am glad to be able to be here for them during the young years. I am also greatful that I didn’t have a hard time walking away from my career. If I had a job I loved and didn’t want to leave I might have felt quite different. #KCACOLS

    • MummySetra March 21, 2017 at 11:20 pm

      Hi Nadine, thanks for your comments. For some people it really does work being a SAHM, and everyone’s situation is different in what works for their families and lives. It would just be nice if we had the option to go back to work easily with some help before our children were 3 years old – what happened to equal opportunities?
      I agree that it is important for children to have their mum’s around in the early years, but I also firmly believe that there is a lot I can’t do for them also, and it’s about finding the balance for your child. I’m also glad for you that you were happy with being a SAHM, unfortunately I know it’s not fully for me. #KCACOLS

  • Tracey March 18, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    It most definitely isn’t easy to go back to work without any assistance for childcare costs. As a single parent who was worked full time and had to pay all these costs myself and now working part time, I can honestly say I’m not any better off financially but now I don’t need to pay childcare it’s a lot easier #kcacols

    • MummySetra March 21, 2017 at 11:21 pm

      It’s made so hard – you would think the country don’t want you to work! Well done you for making it work for you and your family. #kcacols

  • Dani March 18, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    I’ve often feel that us women are penalised for having children. I definitely thought my work colleagues looked at me different once they knew I was expecting hence making the decision to resign and be a SAHM to my 12month Son. #KCACOLS

    • MummySetra March 21, 2017 at 11:22 pm

      Totally agree with this. And believe me, if it didn’t have to be me having the baby I would have happily passed the responsibility to my husband!

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