My ex refused to go part-time to share childcare. That was the beginning of the end...

I asked him to go part time too when our daughter was born. I thought we could both do 4 days at work and each have a day at home with the baby and therefore pay less childcare. But he refused. He wouldn't even consider it.

Alice Tapper

Tell me about yourself

I'm a 32 year old primary teacher, now a single mum to a 2 year old. I've been doing some soul searching over the summer and finding myself again after ending an 8 year relationship. Just started back to work full time too and beginning an NPQ soon. Probably taking on too much!

What's your living situation?

I lived with my ex for 6 months after we had split up. It was very difficult and awkward. We tried to make it work for our daughter though, but after 6 months I decided to move back in with my mum and start co-parenting. I'm currently continuing to pay for the mortgage on the house I'm not living in whilst I wait for him to buy me out of the house, which should be happening any day now (was also supposed to happen in May and then July though so not holding my breath).

How are your finances?

I'm really disappointed in myself that I don't have any personal savings; all my money was tied up in the house we owned together. So now I'm really focusing on ensuring I put some savings away each month, even just Β£10 when I can. Also, I really wish the government would provide more support with childcare. I've had to return to work full time in order to get a mortgage on my own in the future, but the extra day I am working only covers my costs for nursery so I am no financially better off each month. My daughter won't start school for another 2 years and I'm really wishing she could have started next year for my bank balance. We will get 30 hours free childcare from January, but that's only going to cover 2 days a week at nursery and we still have to pay Β£20 a day. In hindsight, I wish we hadn't bought the house together and kept our savings so that we could pay for childcare. We really didn't factor in the price of childcare when thinking about having a child 4 years ago.

I also definitely relied on my ex too much financially, as he earned a lot more money than me with commission and bonuses. I'm determined not to let that happen again as he now keeps bringing it up throughout our separation.

What happened with childcare?

I reduced my hours for 2 years to look after my little girl. My ex didn't appreciate it at all and would always say "I earn more money than you so..." or "I work full time". I kept saying, "but I am working." I was a part-time teacher, full time mummy, ran the house at home (eg. bills, cooking, cleaning).

I asked him to go part time too when our daughter was born. I thought we could both do 4 days at work and each have a day at home with the baby and therefore pay less childcare. But he refused. He wouldn't even consider it.

Our basic salary was the same. He was lucky that he got commission each month as he works in sales, so some months he technically did earn more. I was working 3 days and quickly realised I'm not a stay at home mum type of person (I have friends who are and there's nothing wrong with it, it's just not for me. I love my job as primary school teacher). So, I ended the relationship earlier this year and it was a tough decision but it had to be done!

Why do you think you relied on him too much?

We lived with his family whilst saving for a house and during Covid. Then, we got our own house in June 2020. I think I had just convinced myself that he "did earn more money" and had got stuck in an unhappy rut. I would never be able to afford a 3 bedroom semi detached house in Hertfordshire/ Bedfordshire on my own, so I think that by being together and relying on each other financially we had a nice house etc..

What do you look for in a relationship?

I am thinking about dating again (been on 2 dates with 2 people, but decided it's not my time yet). I would want someone who is settled and happy in a job; who loves their career. I'd like them to be financially stable and independent in that sense. I'd be happy to discuss how much I earn with a new partner if they would too. My teacher wage sounds great on paper, but living in North Herts it doesn't stretch very far at all- so I would want someone who understands that.

How are you doing now?

I've had an interesting couple of years relationship and money wise πŸ˜‚ it all seems like it's getting sorted now we aren't together! 😊

I'm back to work full time, embarking on an NPQ and I’ve even been promoted. I think it makes me a better mum to my daughter. I'm the happiest I've been in years!