If you have a job and kids, the issue of daycare is bound to come up. As my Nitty Gritty post showed, it is our biggest monthly expense. And I bet that is true for a lot of families.
A few ways of dealing with this expense come to mind right away:
- Utilize daycare while both parents go to work.
- Work different shifts so one parent is always home with the little ones.
- Only have one parent work, so the other can stay home and raise the kids(full time job in itself).
My wife & I had good intentions and we planned to do option 3. And we went as long as we could. I think we lasted all of six months. We gave this up for a couple of reasons :
- I didn’t really make enough to support a family on just my salary.
- My wife under-estimated how much she would miss the social interaction the outside world offers.
Besides the obvious reason of wanting to raise our own kids, another reason we used option 3 at first was that finding a good daycare was tough.
So when we switched gears and went to option 1 we were totally lost.
A good friend of ours pulled some strings and got us in the at-home daycare she was using for her kids. And that was going great until our daycare provider had a family emergency and was out of commission for three weeks. That really threw us for a loop. We weren’t lucky enough to have a local support system in place in case something like that happened.
So we begged our way into a center. As you can imagine the center was more expensive than the at-home care provider, but that was better than not having anything at all. My wife only worked part time so we only needed part time care. Surprising there isn’t much of a price break for this.
As I mentioned in my about page, my wife has started her own wedding photography business. Believe it or not, this actually increased our need for daycare. We went up from 20 hours a week to 34 hours (that is only during the busy season, May-Nov). And that is where we still are at.
The comments from my last post brought up the idea of one of us quitting our job and staying home to raise our kids. I’d love too, but my job is currently the higher paying one and we get our benefits from it. Plus the kids would drive me crazy in no time. And my wife is busy building up her own business, and that would be way more difficult to do with the kids around all the time.
Before I started my current job, I gave serious thought about working nights so we could utilize option 2. We have some friends who do this and it works quite nicely for them. But we decided that we enjoy seeing each other more than just on the weekends, so that idea was quickly put to bed.
While we like the center our kids are at (it’s also a preschool so now our 3 year old is actually learning some stuff), it’s weird that its the main reason why we’ll wait to have more kids. We just can’t afford to have 3 kids in daycare at once.
So there you have it, my breakdown of daycare. I’d love to hear your stories and strategies on how you deal with daycare. As always, I’m open to any and all ideas out there.
Until next time,