How I Manage my Childcare: I’ve spent over £50k on childminders and the costs are stalling my career

'It's a Catch-22. I need to advance my career to increase my salary, but to work more means paying for more childcare which I can't afford,' says Tania Manyuira

In our How I Manage My Childcare series we aim to find out how people across the UK handle the logistics and cost of having children.

This week we speak to Tania Manyuira, a 40-year-old maths lecturer at a higher education college, living with her two secondary-school age children in the Black Country.


Two secondary school age children

Set up:

Tania works four days a week as a maths lecturer at a college


Children in school five days a week, childminder for school pick-up four days a week

By the time my two children turned five, I’d spent £53,000 on their childcare. They’ve both been in childcare since they were 9 months old. I found a childminder for them in the area but to send them to her for five days a week would have cost £350 a week, or £1,400 a month. I don’t earn that much a month, my salary doesn’t come anywhere close to that amount, so I’ve had to make major cutbacks to my job as a maths lecturer at a college.

Mostly I was paying £270 a week for childcare four days a week, instead, but there was also a time where I could only afford to work two days a week because I couldn’t manage the childcare costs for any more days than that. Then I was at some point able to increase my days again at work, but I still couldn’t do full-time and manage the childminder costs. Mostly I’ve been working four days a week for the past ten years.

There was an opportunity for me to apply for a promotion which I’d have liked for both job satisfaction and also an increased salary, but there was the idea that I’d need to be working full-time to manage that role instead of the four days a week I do – but I didn’t have the money to work full-time.

To try and have more money so I could pay for more childminder days and therefore work more days as a lecturer, and also because of cost of living, I really wanted to do driving – Uber or another taxi service. But because of childcare costs, I haven’t been able to afford to keep and run my car.

Related Stories

The children are at secondary school now (12 and 15 years old), but the childcare costs haven’t gone away, because I need someone in the mornings to take them to school, and to pick them up from school and spend the afternoon with them until my work ends. The children are still not confident walking to school alone where we live, especially in the winter when it’s dark, and I wouldn’t want them to.

The logistics as a lone working parent are very difficult; my commute is over an hour and I need to leave home at 8am, but by the time I get them out of the house, drop them off at the childminder’s of the breakfast club and then get to work, I’m already late. I get home around 6pm, and school ends much earlier than that.

What’s made all that harder is getting rid of the car, because I live on a very busy road that connects the Black Country to the rest of the West Midlands. Public transport is heavily unreliable. That aspect of getting the kids to where they need to be, and also getting to work, has been something to deal with as a working parent.

The other difficulty is that childminders are closing around us. We had one message at the beginning of the academic year in September saying the one we use would be closing her service this winter. I’ve had to make arrangements to quickly find an alternative.

Childcare costs have created a Catch-22. I really do need to advance my career to increase my salary, but I need the money to pay for a childcare so I can work.

Most Read By Subscribers