Mum flies from Essex to Sweden for childcare to avoid giving up her dream job
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Caters
It's no secret that childcare is expensive, and many parents have been forced into increasingly difficult situations because of the cost of living crisis.
Now, one mum has made the remarkable decision to fly her daughter to Sweden for childcare so that she can continue to work her dream job.
Maria Pettersson, 38, from Essex, is a pilot, whose mother, Kristina, 67, lives in Gothenburg, Sweden, and when her daughter Alice, now two, was born, she was determined to keep her job.
The high flying mum is single, and while she does get help from Alice's dad, she frequently drops her off in Sweden so that her mum can help with childcare while she works.
She explained: "Alice has probably been on more planes than most people have in their entire lifetime and luckily for me the jet engine sends her to sleep.
"It can be a struggle balancing motherhood around my job but I am lucky in the fact I have lots of childcare options."
Maria continued: "My mum has just retired so I fly Alice over to her house which is in Gothenburg, Sweden which is where I'm from - the longest commute to child care EVER.
"Every time I've flown Alice over I've always been a passenger, never the pilot and she spends the whole journey fast asleep on my lap.
"I normally head over to mum's with Alice and stay over for a few days so Alice is settled and comfortable, we take our time, it's never rushed.
"I didn't plan on being a single mum but I've absolutely made this situation work with the people around me while co-parenting with Alice's dad.
"Although my mum does the majority of childcare, I’d like to add Alice's father Tomas looks after Alice too and so do his family."
Maria said that she's sharing her story because she wants other mums to know that they don't need to abandon their careers.
However, she admits she has to do a lot of advance planning in order to juggle being a pilot and a mum.
As well as getting a helping hand from her mum and Alice's dad and family, she also has a babysitter who has built a strong bond with Alice.
"I'm lucky as the airline I work for so don't do layovers, however, most days I have to leave the house at 4.30am and won't get in until 6pm," she explained.
"I will normally start at 6am and fly to somewhere like Dublin, then over to Alicante and back. Sometimes I do night shifts which means leaving at midnight while Alice is asleep.
"It's long and tiring but I'm lucky enough to have a babysitter who's willing to come over so early. We're really close to her now, Alice knows her well and loves her.
"After pregnancy, I really wasn't sure how it would work around Alice. However, I think being a parent you're always struggle trying to find a way to make things work.
"People like to complain that it's difficult to organise around a shift pattern but I try my best to prepare in advance to make things easier.
"A couple of nights a week I will meal prep and freeze it for Alice so it's just there for the babysitter to grab. When I cook I do big batches and it helps me organise.
"And because of this, it means I don't have to cook every night!"
Maria said that while Alice doesn't quite understand why she needs a babysitter so often, she clearly shares her mother's love of planes.
"Alice may not quite understand my job yet but she is fascinated with airplanes and when one goes above her she points and says 'it's mummy!'" she said.
"On social media I have a very spread out audience all over the world so I get a mixed reaction.
"Some people say you should be home with your kids, but I'm a single mother so I need to pay the bills!
"Other than that, the reaction is absolutely great with people rejoicing that I've shown that you can go back to work and don't have to give up your career."