Expat mums in Oz struggle with high childcare costs

Published:  4 May at 6 PM
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Australia is a long-time favourite for UK expats, but how do they cope with the financial realities and lack of family support?

Well over a million Brits have met the challenge of moving half-way across the world in order to achieve a better quality of life, but how do they cope in an unfamiliar country without emotional and sometimes even financial support from the family network? Many expat parents are struggling to manage financially due to the high cost of childcare as well as missing their families’ help at this crucial time.

According to many Brits living long-term down under, the gap caused by a lack of family support and involvement can never be filled. Mothers with new babies or young children feel it the most, especially if they’ve temporarily given up work to look after their little ones.

Single mothers find the issue even more challenging, and both groups suggest they rely on a circle of expat friends in the same situation, saying that expat friendships are crucially more important than were friends in the home country. Even expats’ Australian friends freely admit that without their parents’ help, life with young children would have been far more difficult.

Many expat mothers in Australia are torn between the two extremes of living the Oz life to the full and missing the emotional support only an extended family can give. Most admit their children will have the best opportunities in Australia, but British culture, art and history exert a strong pull and are sadly missed.

Keeping their own parents totally involved in the family lifestyle is a priority for British mothers, made far easier nowadays by annual visits, and regular communication via social media and other internet programmes. However, when the children are older and a return to work is considered, the extremely high cost of childcare takes the gloss off the Australian dream for many.

The upsides of life down under are obvious, especially for young families, with the miles of stunning beaches, good weather, great food, sports and friendly, English-speaking people high on every expat’s list. Even so, unless one’s husband has a senior position at work, it’s difficult to make ends meet and many wives take jobs because they must in order to give their kids the life they deserve.
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