There’s one thing we can all agree on – raising children whilst having a nine-to-five job is hard, and that’s with the assumption you have access to decent childcare.
But for many parents, organising childcare while you both work isn’t so simple – which is why parliament will soon debate whether working parents should receive free childcare following a 127,000-signature e-petition.
So over on Mumsnet, users are hotly discussing whether free childcare should exist for parents who are both working and not just for those who receive benefits.
And many agree that something in the current system needs to change – if not by receiving free childcare, by changing how employers work – and have recalled their own struggles to organise childcare within their budget.
“I 100% agree that parents who are working should be entitled to free childcare,” wrote user Emma T.
Emma pointed out that even if you work 9-5 – a good time to organise childcare for – it’s still hard finding care that suits you.
“The area that I stay in has a lot of nurseries run by local council [sic] but don’t start till age of 3,” she continues.
“Or the ones that accept babies from 6 months aren’t in our catchment area.”
And while private childcare is always available, this isn’t within plenty of parents’ budgets.
“Basically one of us will be working to just pay for childcare costs, but then we can’t afford for one of us not to work either.
“It’s a sad time when you have to work full time to give all your wages away on childcare.”
And other Mumsnetters have come across similar conundrums.
“Very difficult to find affordable childcare to match the needs to a job,” Zara H said.
“In a rural area where longer commutes to work are common, finding childcare to cover this can be very difficult and expensive.”
And even those that found locating childcare a doddle still found it too costly, as Miranda H explained:
“I think the government needs to do something to help working parents.
“I didn’t work when my children were young as I refuse to pay someone else to look after my child and have no money left at the end of the month.
“I’m not against people on benefits getting free childcare I just think the whole system needs looking at.”
Others, however, didn’t feel that childcare was too expensive.
Sarah L pointed out that in her area, a childminder is cheaper than a cleaner or a dog walker – but believes parents should be subsided financially, rather than be offered free childcare.
While Karen R thinks it’s a “good idea in theory”, it “does not take everyone’s situation into account”, as her and her partner work part-time and irregular hours which she guesses means they won’t qualify.
And, importantly, in a UK where services are being cut right left and centre, where would the money come from?
What do you think? Should childcare be free for working parents in the UK? Tweet us at @YahooStyleUK.