Thoughts about having children in russia

According to the will of president vladimir putin, russian mothers should receive support in the form of the so-called maternity capital already for the first child from now on. This is intended to support young women and raise the birth rate. Our editor reports on what it's like to raise a child in russia.

In 2011 i became a mother for the first time. Together with my husband, I lived in a moscow suburb at the time. During pregnancy and the first year after I spent a lot of time with doctors. More precisely, in the queues in front of the doctor's office. Because you often had to wait in line for two hours to see a specialist. Those who were less fortunate came away empty-handed that day. It was like a lottery.

The money we received from the state for our daughter was barely enough to buy a stroller. Since we lived in the moscow countryside, but were registered in the city, we were not entitled to the dairy kitchen (note. D. Red.: a facility for free child food).

At that time we were on the waiting list for kindergarten. But we didn't get the place until the child was almost four years old. I was working from home at the time. And mainly at night. We have not received any help from the state. And there were no decent playgrounds in our town either.

In the suburb it is called wait

In 2015, we took out a mortgage and bought a two-bedroom apartment in moscow. The day after we moved in, we applied for a kindergarten spot – and got it right away! We could even choose between several near our apartment. So I was finally able to work sensibly, that is, during the day! In our neighborhood there were so many different playgrounds that we tried a different one every day. There was also a park, a lake and across the street a children's polyclinic. There you no longer had to wait in line for ages. Because the date was available on the internet.

I was thrilled at how pleasant it is here to raise a child! I would like to have one more! But the park, the electronic appointment system at the clinic, and even the almost 453,000 rubles (6600 euros) of maternity capital for the second child – all this did not help to decide to have a second child.

In moscow conditions are better

This is mainly because I am the main breadwinner in the family. My husband is retired and it is impossible to live on his pension and what he earns on top of that. Let alone four. Stopping work, even temporarily, was out of the question. There could be no question of a second child. I had resigned myself to the idea.

But on 31. October 2017 everything changed. While the world is on this day the 500. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the reformation, i found out that i was pregnant. Eighth or ninth week. It's hard to say whether it came as a shock to me – after all, I was already 40 at the time. I can hardly describe how I felt in the first few weeks after this news came out. But honestly, after weighing the pros and cons, i trusted in the support of the state, in the understanding of my employer and in my own strength. I could not hope for the support of my parents, they live far away. And we cannot afford a nanny.

Gifts for the second child

Finally, at the end of may 2018, our second daughter was born. When we were discharged from the maternity hospital, the little one received a "dowry", a huge basket of things. In it was pretty much everything that a child needs in the first year of life, up to a winter overall made of fur. Since the 1. January 2018 the city of moscow makes such gifts. So we were lucky. At the age of six months, my daughter was given baby food in the dairy kitchen. Until she was a year old we didn't have to buy anything extra. Since the first birthday we get monthly juices, milk, fruit puree, kefir and tworog. And that until she turns three.

Right after the birth I applied for the maternity benefit. We have thought about what to do with it. We no longer have to pay as much for the mortgage. That is why we wanted to buy a dacha with the money. So the children could grow up in the fresh air, away from the smog of moscow. But that was not possible. Because one may buy housing from the maternity capital, but a datscha does not belong to it. So we had two options. Either invest in the children's education or my own pension. But that's all still up in the air. And so the decision of the maternity capital is still in the cupboard (anm. D. Red.: the money will not be paid out, but spent as a kind of voucher). We have not yet decided what to use it for.

Financial support – but is it enough?

In 2018, vladimir putin promised to partially take away loans from families where a second child is born. For us, it meant that we would only have had to pay six percent interest on our mortgage instead of twelve percent. However, we got a refusal from the bank. Either she did not participate in the program or we did not meet the requirements. I don't know exactly anymore. So we still had to pay the full twelve percent for the mortgage. Fortunately, we paid it off early in december 2019.

Child allowance and maternity allowance were a good support for me. I received the maximum amount of about 61 000 rubles (890 euros) a month. Since my salary was higher, I decided to work until the birth. After that I took three months off. When the time ran out, I had to go back to work part-time. The law allows us to work part-time and receive childcare benefits at the same time. This is still 24 000 rubles (350 euros). I don't know what it would have been like if this option had not existed. I am glad that all this is behind me now.

Older children get little

But others have had hard times. Since my daughter is older than one and a half, there is no more money for child care. We will not get the support announced by putin for children up to three years old. Apparently we are not poor enough to receive 10,000 rubles (146 euros) from the state. To be fair, before that there was nothing at all, except 50 rubles (73 cents) per month.

We are taking advantage of other support. At one and a half, moscow children receive 3.5 hours of care daily. It is said that there are even creches. But I myself have not seen any. And I do not know anyone who has given his child there. After one month we got a place in the kindergarten of our choice. My daughter did not like it very much. And so after 15 minutes in the kindergarten, in which she did not stop screaming, we went home again.

Hope for the vacation

So for now everything remains the same. In the morning I am with the younger daughter, during the day I lie down with her for two hours. After lunch, I take the little one to pick up the older one from school and take her to her classes, english and swimming. Evening walk, supper, homework. When everyone is in bed, I will start to work. My husband of course helps where he can. He spends time with the little one, takes the older one swimming now and then, makes supper and does the dishes.

According to the statistical agency rosstat, we are an average russian family: two children, apartment (bought with mortgage), a car and once a year vacation at the sea. And i long for this vacation unbelievably!

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