20 women reveal just how much they’re spending on childcare

How long would it take you to save £60,000? It’s an amount of money many of us would struggle to pull together without a lot of time, sacrifice and a hell of a lot of help. What if I told you that this is the amount of money that one woman in Edinburgh has spent on childcare alone since her children (aged four and seven) were born? What’s perhaps more shocking is the fact that £60,000 is at the lower end of what parents in the UK are having to spend on childcare these days.

The fact of the matter is, we’re being crippled by childcare costs in this country. The 30 hours of free childcare that the government offers isn’t getting parents very far. Especially given the fact that parents are only eligible to apply once their child is three years old. So, for this week’s Stylist+ cover story, we interviewed 20 women to find out exactly how much they pay, how they’re managing the cost and how the excessive price of nurseries, nannies and after-school clubs are affecting their lives.

For Liz in Farnborough, the cost is more than her monthly mortgage. “It’s extortionate and painful and puts me off having a second child before [my first child] goes to school,” she explains. “On days when I look at the invoices a bit too closely, it can make me feel physically nauseous.” Mary Penny in London told us she’s considering taking out a loan to help cover the cost of care for her two children.

Some of the women we spoke to told us what they think needs to change to make paying for childcare more reasonable – and feasible. From extending school hours and simplifying government funding to enforced policies rolled out to support working parents, there’s a mammoth amount that needs to change. In the spirit of a transparent starting point, however, in this story we hope to lift the lid on what childcare looks like for real women right now. Because most women had no idea what the cost of childcare was going to look like until they started to receive the bill.

Jazmin Kopotsha
Executive editor, Stylist 

This week I’m…

Visiting: Seen! There are only a few days left of artist and musician Cato’s first solo exhibition in the UK, full of epic and energetic portraits inspired by the people of Peckham. Until Thursday 28 March; Cooke Latham Gallery, London 

Shopping for: cuticle oil. My nails have taken a beating recently and I’ve had to cut broken ones down right to the skin. To encourage healthy growth, I’m looking at this Dior Huile Abricot Nutritive Serum to help me out. £27, John Lewis, £27 

Borecore is officially in: 100 utterly mundane things that bring us joy

“There comes a time in everyone’s life when you realise, with a cold, creeping shock, that you have become boring,” writes Stylist’s acting digital content director Ellen Scott. “My time struck, paradoxically, in a moment of great excitement. Searching to confirm the bin collection post-Christmas, I discovered that – finally! – a major source of grumbling had been resolved. The council where I live would now take the recycling weekly, rather than every two weeks. Upon learning this, I rushed to message my partner, my family, all my friends. I posted a story on Instagram with multiple exclamation points. I felt adrenaline coursing through my veins as images of a clutter-free kitchen and flattened delivery boxes flashed through my mind. It was a true high, followed by the swift comedown of realising who I now was: someone for whom joy comes not from a big night out or illicit substances, but… bins.”

And Ellen isn’t alone, the evidence is stacking up: we’ve all become boring. From our obsession with air fryers, grey knitwear and comfy socks, borecore is firmly ‘in’. but how did dullness become so desired? Here, Ellen explores, and shares a mega list of 100 things that are undeniably boring but deliver true joy.

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