Futility of working

I was thinking about the futility of working today - specifically, futility of working whilst kids are still little.

It's pretty basic math, really: from what I earn at work I deduct childcare costs, then deduct petrol or other expenses that arise from childcare and what's left is take-home-pay which, considering the cost of childcare, is pretty... ungratifying, let's put it this way. And the reason I'm writing about this today is because, though I knew I'm spending quite a bit of money on childcare, I'd never actually calculated how much it is compared to what I earn - until today.

I was driving to where our nanny lives - half an hour away - and ran the numbers in my head.

At first I thought I must've made a mistake. Because, I mean, really - it can't be that little, surely? Or can it? Then I ran the numbers again - and the answer stayed the same. I checked and then re-checked it.

The same.

Now, I'm not going to divulge a specific number here because it would make it a little uncomfortable and legally speaking my hourly rate is a confidential thing between me and my employer, but let's put it this way that it's been a long, long time since I've taken home as little as I am taking now. Considering that I have done a few very low paying jobs in the past - whilst studying in university and paying my own bills, everything goes, or did, anyway - it is almost funny what the number is now.

(And, PS, I am not going to dive into the topic of single mothers here, because that's an entirely different ball game, not just on a financial, but on every other level as well. Zip. No more words on single-mothering.)

For a few moments I asked myself if I even think it's worth doing it. At all.

The Man works the same, extended hours as before. He does do housework - and for that, I am very grateful - but from my side of things I have essentially taken on work, childcare associated things (clothes, lunches) AND I am still doing everything else I was doing before, meaning, I cram washing, dishes, food, cleaning and generally living into morning hours before I drop The Kid off and after when I arrive home, The Kid in tow.

I wouldn't say it's demeaning because work isn't demeaning, but I feel a little useless putting in all that effort for so little result. Sure, there's the thing that in less than a year I'll be eligible for state-funded childcare for up to 20 hours a week (New Zealand doesn't fund it for less than 3 year olds). And what I do at work, I learn every day - I do it for me, because doing it is good for me.

But it's just surprising to me how frickin' expensive it is to have a child. I've heard about it for years, but it wasn't until this morning when I actually ran my own numbers in my head that it hit me, wow. It's like... wow.

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