No quality of life for working parents
I am a tax-paying citizen living in Maynooth, in the constituency of Kildare North. I am also a working mum and that, coupled with the huge commute every day, is soul-destroying. Being banished to the counties in order to afford a house is sucking the soul out of family life. Thousands of families are just like me. To be honest, I don't have a family life, or a quality of life. My son sees me for 30 mins in the morning and not in the evening, because he's already in bed by the time i make my gigantic trek from the city to home. My choices are stark – I can choose to drive and spend three hours of a round trip sitting on the N4 or I can get a train and spend three hours walking to the station and on the train, not to mention the inevitable delays and breakdowns, and standing in a stuffed carriage for almost an hour. ‘Cattle' and ‘truck' are two words that come to mind. In fact, health and safety would have something to say if animals were treated like us.
Why can't the government do something about the issue of helping parents with the cost of childcare? Tax relief on what we pay is all I ask. Yes, we get €1,000 per year but my childcare costs almost this much a month! And that is every month, every year until my son goes to school. I consider it a second mortgage, without the tax relief.
The government is going to get hammered on the doorsteps on this issue. I already see other like-minded women and men banding together. Cross, angry, frustrated, they can't wait for that FF knock on the door.
I pay, on average, €800 a month on tax. I get very little for my contribution to the economy. I have private healthcare and don't use the public system – not because I don't want to, but because those waiting lists are so long.
Sometimes I wonder if I would be better off resigning my job and becoming a welfare mother. The thoughts of no commuting stress... bliss. The thoughts of being able to spend time raising my beautiful baby... bliss. But I didn't train for years and work for years to climb to the top of my career ladder to give it away.
So I battle on, like thousands of other working parents, angry and frustrated.