I have noticed that a common view held by mums is that if your salary does not cover the cost of childcare, it is not worth going back to work. I think this view needs to be challenged for the following reasons:
1. Your experience and desire to work should not be ignored or compromised. You have invested in your education and have built up a strong career. You should not be made to feel like you have to sacrifice your career. The longer you stay out of the workplace, the more challenging it is to return. Childcare is required for a finite period of time (at the most, 4 years). You can access a 50% childcare rebate (not means tested). You may also be able to tap into your extended family to assist your family with caring duties.
2. The cost of childcare should not be associated with your salary only. View it as an expense that needs to be covered by your combined salary (you AND your partner's salary). This expense is necessary to mantain your skills and support your future earning capacity.
I have no doubt that the cost of care is a huge problem for families. The Federal Government offers a 50% childcare rebate but they have no long term solutions for the rising cost of childcare. This is because most childcare centres are privately owned. This in turn impacts on the skills shortage in this country - the cost of care is forcing many people to stay at home rather than work.
If you can make it work as a family, and you want to return to paid work, I would encourage you to do it. I have met and spoken to too many women who have opted to leave the workforce for a longer period of time and have subsequently lost their confidence to return to paid employment.