'Creche fees are like a second mortgage' - mum-of-two says more than childcare needs to be addressed
A Dublin mother-of-two says that her childcare bill is "like a second mortgage" for her family.
Gráinne O'Brien and her husband Conor Gahan's monthly creche bill comes to €1,871, for their two children Aoife (3) and Cian (16 months), four days a week.
With 10pc discount for siblings which brings their invoice down to €1,684.
Aoife's ECCE scheme gives an allowance of €204 per month while Cian's Affordable Childcare Allowance is €69 per month.
This leaves the family with a monthly bill of €1,411.
Product development manager Gráinne said her creche fees rose by €66 which effectively swallowed up the allowance that was one of Budget 2017's showpiece items.
"It's a second mortgage for us really. I will be looking at in-house childcare for next year because it's about more than childcare," she said.
"We are gone at 7am and not back until 6pm at the moment and I think when you have a household with two parents working it has to be about helping the family lifestyle and not just about childcare so that our time together is more family fun than just chores," she said.
"We are very happy with where are children are at the moment they are well looked after but midweek is chaotic for us," she added.
Gráinne was hoping the Government would look at expanding supports to people who are looking for alternative childcare options beyond the traditional option of creche care.
Budget 2018 will not have any significant impact on her family, as her youngest child was already entitled to two years free pre-school due to the way his birthday fell.
"The only thing that effect us are the changes to the USC - which will be nothing too dramatic," she said.
"Considering the childcare measures introduced last year, I don't think we were expecting any drastic so it's disappointing but not suprising. "
Gráinne said her family are comfortable but are still among the stretched middle.
We're comfortable but like that we watch every €10, trying to maximise it's value for our family," she said.
Gráinne blogs about family and parenting at www.laughorcry.ie