Gransnet forums


Childcare is work

(25 Posts)
Baggs Sat 06-Oct-18 08:18:29

When I followed the link to do the famous grandparent quiz I saw something about another thread/topic that said this (paraphrased): Many grandparents who look after grandchildren while their parents are at work have given up work (my italics).

Erm. No. Childcare is work. They have just chosen unpaid work over paid work.

I read an article in the Times yesterday about the economic value of unpaid, mostly domestic and family-related, work. The article claimed that, if all this unpaid work was valued economically, it would raise GDP by a huge amount.

I think Gransnet should be fighting for better recognition of the economic value of unpaid work, not just joining in the lazy idea that only paid activities count as work. It would be quite easy to say that those grandparents referred to had given up paid work to help raise their grandchildren.

Baggs Sat 06-Oct-18 08:19:19

Can't find whatever it was I read. Perhaps it was in a different news source.

gillybob Sat 06-Oct-18 08:21:15

In that case Baggs I must spend 99% of my entire life at work (sometimes paid, mostly not) .

Baggs Sat 06-Oct-18 08:24:30


mcem Sat 06-Oct-18 08:26:06

It seems that value is attached to the work of professional childminders (and rightly so) but not to unpaid carers like grandparents.
An interesting idea that rethinking this would have a huge impact on GDP.

kittylester Sat 06-Oct-18 09:08:13

I think there is a case to be made for grandparents of working age to be given the equivalent of Carer's allowance.

Granny23 Sat 06-Oct-18 09:24:30

Bear in mind that once you have reached state pension age you cannot claim carer's allowance, whether you are 'caring' for Grandchildren, elderly parents or spouse, or a disabled youngster. The attitude seems to be that once retired you have nothing better to do than look after other people unpaid.

M0nica Sat 06-Oct-18 11:52:43

Granny23, you may not get the Carers allowance but you qualify for all the other benefits that go with being a carer like the Carer's premium if you are on income support and and the same benefit under a different name if you receive, or are just above the Pension Credit limit or are on Universal benefit.

That will also qualify you for any extras given to people on benefits, such as education classes, reduced rates to get into some leisure facilities and other things.

humptydumpty Sat 06-Oct-18 12:13:42

I've always thought it seems unfair that people just above the pension credit limit are entitled to these things, whereas people who have a marginally higher pension have to somehow pay for them themselves.

SpanielNanny Sat 06-Oct-18 17:02:23

I’ll never understand it either. My dil gave up work to be a stay at home mum to my dgs, and is frequently looked down on by her peers. Why is being paid to look after someone else’s children seen as a worthy vocation (which of course it is) but a woman who chooses to be at home to care for her own child is seen as lazy?

Bopeep14 Sun 07-Oct-18 11:10:31

I agree totally grandparents should be recognised as helping the economy, and there should be some recompense for us giving up paid work to do unpaid work. I really can't get my head round the fact that i gave up work to look after my own children but my grandchildrens mothers go back to work within months of there children being born. Is everyone so money focused these days?

Grandma70s Sun 07-Oct-18 11:48:09

I totally agree, SpanielNanny. I was another who gave up paid work to look after my children. I’m very glad I did, but have to defend it. Why? Good for your DIL.

oldgimmer1 Sun 07-Oct-18 12:11:16

I agree. It's only "work" if it's paid.

If men routinely gave up their jobs to look after their kids or grandkids, I think it would be a very different story.

Starlady Mon 15-Oct-18 03:31:04

Yes, childcare is work, very rewarding work, imo, if you do a good job, but work just the same. Perhaps among the most important jobs.

Spaniel, I hope you encourage dil in her choice and let her know you respect it.

But Bopeep, I think we need to respect the opposite choice, too, Life is so expensive these days. And if a mum was building a career, she could lose everything she worked hard for if she doesn't go back to it as soon as possible. Things are different than when we had our kids.

Oldgimmer1, I agree, if more men gave up their jobs to do childcare, society would handle this very differently, lol

NfkDumpling Mon 15-Oct-18 07:39:14

I remember many years ago going with DH to buy a music centre on HP (it was many, many years ago). We had to give employment details. DH was fine. Big company, all routine. Then I was asked if I worked. I said I had three children under five, looked after the home and assorted animals, did home knitting and made stuff for a craft stall - although none of that brought in much cash. Oh, says the salesman, you don’t work then!

PECS Mon 15-Oct-18 08:16:18

I think early feminism was so focussed on equality in the (paid) workplace that the value of good parenting was very much underplayed. If more emphasis had been placed on the value of parenting & home making then we might now have no comments on people, men or women, who make a choice to be f/t parents as it would be a valued ( by society) as a good choice. I stayed home for 4 yrs f/t after DD2 was born. Enjoyed every minute! Also enjoyed it when I returned to paid employment.

Marydoll Mon 15-Oct-18 08:22:39

I gave up work to look after my three children. This meant that when I decided to return to teaching, I was way down the pecking order to my peers, who were already in promoted posts. I had no-one to provide childcare. so had no choice, but to stay at home.
My mother tried to dissuade me, "A woman should be at home looking after her children!" It was my wonderful FIL who stepped in and offered to pick the children up from school.
Where it has really affected me is the pitiful value of my occupational pension, whereas my friends who continued to work are so much better off.
With that in mind, we provide childcare two or three days weekly for our granddaughter, so that DIL can continue to develop her career.
I do sometimes get resentful at having little free time in my retirement and I'm just as tired as I was when working. However, our DGD more than makes up for it.
As Starlady says, we need to respect people's choices.

Granny23 Mon 15-Oct-18 09:16:50

I had no choice in the matter. I worked in a Bank and was already considered 'temporary ' staff, with no pension rights or bonuses from the day I married. I was expected to leave before I started to look pregnant, but in the event, they could not find someone experienced enough to replace me in a small branch and I worked on until 21days before my DD was born, standing sideways at the counter.

Fast forward 5 or 6 years and a 2nd DD, and the Bank would not have me back as they did not employ women with small children, who were presumed to be unable to work late when required and always needing time off.

Neither DM nor MIL offered to do child care, so I stayed home and minded my Dsis's 2 as well as my own while Dsis was reinstated in her work as a Civil Servant, having benefited from paid Maternity Leave. I did enjoy my time with the children but we were desperately short of money. As soon as my 2 were at school I returned to work part-time (not in the bank) to fit in with school hours. This 8 year break from paid employment has cost me dear in terms of State Pension and lack of a 'works' pension. I am glad for my daughters sake that by the time they were pregnant, there was Maternity Leave and willing childminders ( Myself & DH, recently retired). I am proud that my generation of feminists fought and won the battle for these important rights. Now we are fighting for the rights of WASPI women.

Luckygirl Mon 15-Oct-18 09:35:18

The problem with Carer's Allowance is that it is an "overlapping benefit" with state pension - you cannot have them both. I looked in to this.

pensionpat Mon 15-Oct-18 09:47:06

As Monica said upthread it may still be worthwhile claiming Carers Allowance. You would be disqualified from receiving the money and would receive a letter telling you this. But the final paragraph states that you have an “underlying entitlement” to the benefit. This is the passport to the other entitlements mentioned by Monica.

oldgimmer1 Mon 15-Oct-18 09:52:42

Carers' Allowance is complicated. May be worthwhile to investigate entitlement to underlying benefits.

I absolutely get why the situation has developed as it has.

I too struggled to get back into work following a (long) period of childcare.

For some, although there is in effect a "choice", in reality there isn't much of one, and it is generally the woman who picks up the slack.

I volunteered for two years before getting back into a temporary, badly paid job.

I'm back though,which was the hardest thing for me.

Onwards and upwards.

I think, as women with caring responsibilities, we have sometimes to just suck up the realities of life.

Apols for that badly constructed sentence.

Too early in the morning for me!!

luluaugust Mon 15-Oct-18 10:04:21

Like so many others I stayed at home when my children were small, I had no choice anyway as my mother held strong opinions on mothers being with their children having lost her father when she was very young and her mother having to work long hours to keep them from the workhouse, there was no one else who might have helped me out. I am looking after my lovely Gds today but its certainly not hard work, however, if you have had to give up paid employment to do it then I think that should be recognised in some way. Why is motherhood as a job so undervalued now?,standing in the playground lots of mums say they wish they could have stayed at home longer with their small children.

JackyB Mon 15-Oct-18 10:15:58

I remember once reading an interesting calculation which added up the hours spent as a stay-at-home mother doing jobs that other people were paid for :

maintenance work
etc, etc.

All these on top of the unquantifiable and unassessable job of general parenting.

I'm not sure the hours spent doing each job as calculated were very realistic, but it was an interesting exercise.

If only there was someone to pay us for doing those jobs!

(Of course, I realise that no parent would expect payment for all of this, but putting a figure to it ought to put it more into perspective)

Mycatisahacker Wed 17-Oct-18 12:10:00

I think anyone who has ever had anything to do with small children completely knows that any job is far easier than being alone with small children. grin I speak as I am trying to get my 2 year old grandson to have a nap. grin

HildaW Wed 17-Oct-18 12:19:12

Not so long ago my DD stopped 'working' after her second child to give them a couple of years of full on care when she came to renew her car insurance she queried the increase in premium as was told....its because you are unemployed! Bizarre!