Cost of care

  • January 23, 2017 at 2:18 pm #808
    Alicia BAlicia B

    I recently joined the board of the non-profit child care center my son attends. It’s a fantastic early childhood education center with a mission of inclusion. One of the astonishing things I’ve learned is that the average family income for families attending is either under $35,000 (and thus, receiving assistance to attend) or over $100,000. I’m still trying to wrap my head around all the implications of this income gap, but I can’t help but think cost is a major factor!

  • January 18, 2017 at 5:34 pm #806
    Cat MCat M

    Child care is such a thing! Our current system is that I work full time and my husband freelances/ works from home/ works in the evening when I’m home. This can make our day to day routine pretty stressful as I’m always watching the clock at work so I can leave on time or rushing home so he can leave (he teaches voice and piano after school hours). If one thing goes awry, it’s a domino effect and the entire day gets crazy/ we need last minute child care/ one of us has to cut a work day short. When we do need child care, it’s a series of phone calls to our immediate families in the hopes that someone is free. But we do all of this organizing/ scheduling / planning because child care is just TOO expensive for us. When we were planning our lives as parents, we quickly ruled out child care because any full time work done by my husband would still fall short of paying for day care or a nanny. So, rather than be completely broke and both working, we opted for this system.

    If it were affordable, we would absolutely be taking advantage of some kind of child care to make my husband more able to make income or go back to school (which is what he really wants to do) so he could get the job he wants and then I could stay home with our daughter, which is ultimately what I’d love.

    I love Ashley’s question of HOW and WHO provides this amazing support system that parents need?! I also LOVE the article you shared, Ash!

  • January 10, 2017 at 2:25 pm #787
    Ashley LAshley L

    Ashia – I’m really glad you shared this. I think it’s important to view another perspective in the conversation of women navigating returning to work post baby. Unfortunately, finances aren’t the only prohibitor for many parents in determining how (if at all) they will return to the workforce. What I’m learning is the importance of a true network and community to help all families navigate their new transition. My question is HOW and WHO? There is value in mom groups and female relationships with other women who have had similar experiences of raising children, childbirth, etc – particularly those that live in your area and can commiserate over daycare costs and neighborhood issues. But do we need some kind of support on a larger scale? What does that look like?

    What are your thoughts on this?

    • January 10, 2017 at 2:58 pm #789
      Rachel LRachel L

      Love this article — including it in January’s round up post later this month!

  • January 3, 2017 at 8:06 pm #745
    Ashia RAshia R

    Beyond early childhood education, there are so many families who need basic help just to get by – even for older kids.

    One of my collaborators has to stay home 24/7 with her eight-year-old, who suffers from PTSD.

    They’re on government assistance, and there just isn’t any job Amelia can find that works with the needs her daughter has.

    Everyone judges her for not working outside the home. She tries to pick up small jobs But she honestly has no idea how to manage her life and supporting the two of them given the resources she has. In her own words:

    “I don’t get to work, as much as I want to. Childcare is hard to find, and my daughter’s issues would get in the way of keeping a job.”

    “We struggle. I need food stamps and section 8. I was raised to not take charity, that people who use assistance are lazy and milking the government. It was hard to swallow my pride. I have to remind myself that I will be able to get financially better, after I have raised my daughter. I don’t think I will ever be able to retire.”

    You can read more about Amelia and her daughter, Anne, in the documentary I photographed and wrote here:

    The Mourning Doves, Part 3

  • December 8, 2016 at 1:57 pm #671
    Valerie Yvalerie y
    Participant I wrote this recently, and it struck me it’s relevant to the cost of care, so I thought I’d post it here. k Cheers, everyone!

    • December 12, 2016 at 3:32 pm #676
      Rachel LRachel L

      Thanks, Valerie — great article!

  • December 8, 2016 at 2:35 am #658
    Andrea KAndrea K

    This is a topic I am very familiar with!

    There was no problem with just our first child in daycare. However, when my second daughter came it was a totally different story. After a few months my husband and I did the math and it was about $100 cheaper for me to stay at home instead of work. What no one told me was that it was cheaper to stay at home if we literally did that…just stayed home. What we failed to budget in was all those expenses that would come with “mom clubs” and other organizations I would want to participate in to keep me and the children sane. We were able to make it until my first started kindergarten. After that, I had to put the second one into daycare and return to work. I felt horrible doing it, like I had taken the time to stay home with my oldest but not my youngest. Now they are both in elementary school and things are much better.

    I remember the disbelief when I saw how much of my paycheck daycare took up. Monica’s statement of “I just can’t afford it” is 100% true for so many. I often think about having another and have decided that if we do, we would most likely adopt a child around the same age as ours. The thought of spending all that money on daycare is just too much…

    • December 12, 2016 at 3:31 pm #675
      Rachel LRachel L

      Great point, Andrea! There are many “costs” to staying at home that need to be considered, not least of which is a realistic budget to do just that (sanity is important for us all)! Have others had similar experiences?

  • December 8, 2016 at 2:11 am #657
    Monica DMonica D

    During the first year we paid for child care after we exhausted our parental leave (combined 7 months), I couldn’t afford my student loans. My employer allowed me to have my son at work–the nanny was over $1400 a month. Once our son turned 1.5 and our nanny was ready to move on, we found day care for $800 a month. Now I’m able to make my $1200 student loan payment again. And people wonder why I’m not having anymore children. I just can’t afford it.

  • November 28, 2016 at 2:56 pm #639
    Rachel LRachel L

    Wow, Justine! Have others tried to work different shifts to make it without childcare? What was your experience?

  • November 28, 2016 at 5:08 am #638
    Justine MJustine M

    My ex and I tried to make it work without childcare by him working 3rd shift while I worked a standard 9-5. I don’t think we lasted more than 6 months. He was just exhausted and honestly our youngest needed more stimulation than a barely awake parent could provide. I’m not even sure how we managed. The FSA funds didn’t even cover half of what our yearly costs were. At the time, daycare’s yearly cost was more than what our yearly rent was. We did have the conversation about one of us staying home instead, but decided against it.

  • November 16, 2016 at 7:49 pm #606
    Rachel LRachel L

    Wow, Asa, great insight! Please tell your previous colleague about The Breeding Ground!

    I’m curious: have others here resigned because the cost of childcare was simply too much? Or considered it? What made you decide to do stay or go?

  • November 16, 2016 at 1:58 pm #599
    Asa RAsa R

    Not being a parent (yet!), my experiences with these topics comes from my family and close friends and previous work with families and adolescents. I was STUNNED when one of my colleagues (and consequently, a dear friend) resigned from a position she adored, in a field she had been in for 8+ years, and in which she had recently earned a promotion to a position she had long been desiring to shift into.

    Why did she resign? With the cost of daycare for her two young boys, it turns out she was really only bringing home approximately $4.00 an hour after calculating childcare expenses. It wasn’t worth it, that money could be saved by cutting costs elsewhere or even made more easily doing other work online while still at home. It was sad; she was depressed for awhile because she never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. She worked really hard to get to where she was, and was doing work that made a huge difference in our community. I stayed at that non-profit for another year after she left, but in that time they never quite recovered from her leaving or found someone as capable and driven to fill her roll.

    In a similar vein, I was working with adolescent mothers and young families then who qualified for child care assistance through either scholarships, our Early Childhood Council, or DHS funding. That support was crucial for accessing quality childcare, so they could finish schooling and/or find and maintain work. It was very helpful for so many young families.

    Where those programs often failed though was in this. As soon as the mother earned a wage that was just over the line for the income requirement to keep the scholarship, or be eligible for a sliding scale, she lost the assistance. These programs, and perhaps more are doing this now, need to provide some leeway, so as a woman moves from part time to full time, or earns a higher hourly wage, she can work at that wage for maybe 3-6 months. That would provide the opportunity to finally save money and create an emergency fund, and/or get out of debt before the child care assistance gets pulled and she’s right back in a cycle of poverty because of the high and rising costs of child care facilities. I only say women and moms here because I didn’t work with male fathers, and the assistance programs I was familiar with were geared toward single working mothers.

  • November 2, 2016 at 5:06 pm #571
    Rachel LRachel L

    Those sound like great programs, Julie! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • October 24, 2016 at 11:18 pm #552
    Julie MJulie M

    We are lucky to live next to a Cal State school (SJSU) with an excellent affiliated early childhood education center. Not only are the teachers and administrators amazing, the center offers sliding scale pricing (and enrollment priority) for SJSU students. My eyes pop out when we get our “neighbor” rate bill each month, but I absolutely appreciate that the school provides this top notch early education experience to their students’ children. There is also a neighborhood nursery nearby which offers tuition on a sliding scale based on income. These are two examples of accessible options in a high cost of living area, wish there were more!

  • September 23, 2016 at 3:16 am #414
    Matt BMatt B

    Yes it is a shock. The cost of care is difficult as well as added pressure to have your child enrolled in a “desirable” preschool. We only have one child in daycare now with 2 years to go.

  • September 22, 2016 at 12:18 pm #407
    Meredith CMeredith C

    We just enrolled our second child in full time day care and the cost was a SHOCK! Let me know when someone finds a 2-for-1 special. Even though we love our current situation, we are considering changing for lower cost options like YWCA that provides free childcare included in membership. We have the conversation on a quarterly basis on if we both should continue to work when having one parent responsible would alleviate the stress of coordinating unpredictable life into our work schedules. I am embarrassed that I didn’t understand how expensive staying in the workforce would be and the lack of support provided by companies.

  • September 20, 2016 at 8:04 pm #387
    Eliana Eworkingmama

    My family is really struggling with this. We pay more for daycare than rent! And now we have our second on the way. I love my career, but I’m wondering if my continuing to work is the best thing for my family. Anyone else dealing with this?

  • August 14, 2016 at 10:51 pm #203
    Matthew BMatthew B

    Tell us your opinions, stories and ideas.

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