Laura Collins, 38, from Failsworth is a former sister at Salford Royal Hospital and the mother of three children.
University educated, she had worked hard to reach that position of responsibility.
But Laura, who worked as a nurse for 13 years, says when children came along it worked out she would be working for almost nothing once nursery fees were paid.
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"We did not have family to support us, so we had no chance," she says.
A survey of more than 20,000 working parents, which was shared with The Guardian and conducted by more than a dozen organizations, found that tens of thousands of working parents believe the government is failing them with inadequate childcare policies.
The survey revealed that these working parents feel they are being left financially crippled, stuck in careers they want to leave and desperate for change.
The survey revealed 96% believed that ministers were not doing enough to support parents with the cost and availability of childcare, and 97% said childcare in the UK was too expensive.
'I'm trapped by the system
An exasperated sounding Laura told the M.E.N of the hurdles she and her husband Pete, a 40-year-old IT professional, have faced.
"I had my first child, Ben, now aged seven, in 2013 whilst I was a band five nurse, he went into a local nursery at eight months," she said.
"It was expensive but manageable with child care vouchers from me and my husband.
"We have never claimed child benefits because my husband has always earned just above the threshold.
"Three years later, pregnant with my daughter, Nancy, 4, we realised despite me being a band six sister, my take home pay wouldn't be enough to cover two children in childcare, so we made the decision for me to stay at home.
"We now have a third child, Sydney, who is 18 months old.
"Despite the older two being in full time school our household income is not enough to afford childcare.
"We are no longer eligible for childcare vouchers so would get zero help.
"We manage but we can't afford much else.
To add to it my youngest was born with Hirschsprung's Disease, but because of my nursing history and that I have managed him really well - we get no disability because he is not disabled enough.
"However ,if I stopped doing the things I do to help him we wouldn't be able to leave the house.
"I feel very strongly that I'm trapped by the system."
"I would love to work but childcare cost is a massive block," Laura added.
"I don't have family to ask.
"I think it is massively unfair that you can have two parents bringing in just under the threshold for child benefits and they will get the full amount.
"But in families where one parent is sole financial provider is just over the threshold they get nothing.
"Stay at home parents are forgotten, their work devalued and there is no childcare support to get them back into the workforce.
"I am no longer a registered nurse, and have no recent work history, so no-one wants to employ me and the jobs I could get would not pay enough for childcare.
"So I have made the decision recently to do an Open University course in computers and IT, which I should get just as my youngest goes into Juniors so I can have a family friendly flexible career.
"I am lucky but I know other stay at home parents trapped by childcare costs that are not so."
The childcare survey came prior to a debate on childcare in parliament that was triggered after more than 100,000 parents signed a petition calling for an independent review of childcare funding and affordability.
Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has revealed the UK has the third most expensive childcare system in the world - behind Slovakia and Switzerland - and that a full-time place costs Â£12,376 a year on average.
Â£400 for just two days childcare
Sam Ball, 31, a nursery nurse, is engaged to Glen Fosbrook, 37, a sales executive and they live in Tameside.
The couple have a three-year-old daughter Heidi and both continue to work. Sam says she knows only too well the pressure of having to cope with the expense of nursery fees.
Sam says: "I just honestly couldn't bring myself not to work, I love it, but the issue I have come across, since having my daughter, is that childcare fees are extortionate.
"I work in a nursery and my daughter attends there two days a week, I don't get any discount from my employer and unfortunately love my job too much to find a setting closer to home as I don't think it would be replicated.
"I get just under Â£100 in support from the government tax free childcare scheme each month but I still pay in just short of Â£400 a month too, which for two days childcare a month seems excessive.
"I don't know how people afford to put their children in full time and neither would I want to.
"If I was to decide to be a stay at home mum, I would have access to 15 hours free right now from the moment she turned two, then full time during term time, once we've reached the term after her third birthday.
"As it stands at the moment me and my partner both work full time and aren't given a second thought, Universal Credit is a waste of time as my partner gets paid weekly, so some months if we were to apply - which is made extremely difficult to do so in the first place - we might not get any support at all and could even end up worse off in way off paying nursery fees.
"My friends regularly tell me to quit work as I'll be better off and there has been low days where I've nearly packed it in and done just that, but I shouldn't have to give up my career or time with my daughter over being better off from paying ridiculous nursery fees.
"There should be better support in place for working parents to help pay nursery fees and I'm talking from birth onwards.
"If you decide to go back to work you should be rewarded better with more money towards fees, or there should be some kind of cap on private nursery fees or free meals provided by the government to take the edge off the fees slightly.
"Honestly anything in support of working parents would be useful to stop average people like myself from slipping towards the poverty line."
One-third of parents in the recent survey said they paid more for childcare than their rent or mortgage, rising to 38% for those in full-time work and single parents, and to 47% of respondents from a black ethnic background.
A Department for Education spokesperson said: "Weâ€™ve made an unprecedented investment in childcare over the past decade and have spent over Â£3.5 billion in each of the past three years on our early education entitlements.
"All children aged three and four can access 15 hours of free childcare a week, as well as two-year-olds from lower income families, and we have doubled this for three and four-year-olds in families where parents work, saving them up to Â£5,000 a year.
â€œWe have introduced tax-free childcare and through Universal Credit parents can claim back up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs and our expanded Holiday Activities and Food programme will run in every part of the country this year over the summer and Christmas holidays.â€
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