S.O. asks from Bothell, WA on April 06, 2009
Wanting Another Baby but No Daycare.....
Here is my dilemma, my mom is my daycare for my almost 2 year old daughter. My hubby and I are talking about having another baby but my mom had mentioned to me a while ago that if we decided to have another baby she couldn't watch him/her because my parents are planning on traveling. My parents are in retirement and they deserve to enjoy their retirement because they've earned it. I cannot afford childcare. Is anyone in my shoes, been in my shoes, have suggestions, advise, anything? I want to be responsible and have a plan before getting pregnant or deciding to get pregnant.
Z.A. answers from Seattle on April 06, 2009
I'm with Peg! Hurray for peace and sanity.
That said, there are a lot of options...but you'd have to explore them to see if they'd work for you and yours.
- Does your work or your husbands have daycare, daycare subsidy, or flex pay (money that comes out of your pre-tax income)? It's amazing to me how many do, and just don't advertise it.
- Do you qualify for any state assistance (like Head Start?)...would you if you quit your job or went down to part time? (There'd be a loss less need for childcare at that point, also). I say this...because for years I actually couldn't afford to work. It's really obvious when there's a deficit, but I have friends who are literally working for about 1.50 an hour after childcare & taxes are paid. Ugh. I guess for them the extra $240 a month is worth it. 10 hours a day 5 days a week (I add commuting time) for $240 is incomprehensible to me.
- Ever thought of going back to school? The UW subsidizes childcare/preschool for it's students. Depending on how much your husband makes a full package of financial aid (loans, grants, etc.) is about 12-20k. (I say 12, because about 8k goes towards tuition & books). Then add in the childcare subsidy. Which I don't know the current amount. We received about 600 a month. From someone who's done both...it's a lot easier to go to school full time with infants and toddlers then to be working full time. (You spend very little time in class...and then you do all your work when they're asleep...you also have fewer hours that you need to cover with childcare. Don't get me wrong, it's HARD, but the timing is soooo much different.).The UW paid for our son to go to a fantastic Montessori Preschool for 3.5 years. Well...mostly. We needed to cover an average of a $50 difference. And the school took the money straight from the UW, quarterly.
- Has your husband ever thought of going back to school? (see above)
- YMCA / Boys&Girls Clubs have reduced rates and tuition assistance.
- Many private preschools (like POSH as well as the average great preschools) have sliding scales and tuition assistance. I have friends who are sending their kids to a preschool that would cost them 15k if they were paying for it themselves. As it is, they pay about 2k, because they got grants & tuition assistance. Other friends on sliding scales send their kids to schools that would otherwise be impossible. You can mosly find out about these programs on their websites. Co-ops are another way to cut expenses. Some co-ops merely require the hours. If that's spending Saturdays landscaping, or evenings running a fundraiser, it's the same hours as for parents who are teaching in the classroom.
- Finding another mum or dad to split childcare with or to do a jobshare/childcareshare thing. I know a lot of people in healthcare who do this. The employers like it because they have 2 part time employees they don't have to give benefits to. (This works best when you have benefits through a spouse.) The people I know who do this love it because one parent watches all the kids on the 2.5 days a week that they're not working. That way neither is paying for childcare, because it's an even split, and you never have competing schedules...because you're literally splitting the job. It CAN work for 2 full time people, especially if it's opposite schedules, but it's obviously a lot harder.
- Going on an opposite schedule with your husband. This one sucks, unless you don't like your spouse. But, as it's also an option (and one I've done), it made the list.
- Doing a nannyshare. Nannyshare is frequent;y less expensive then a group in-home daycare. But you DO have to find a) a nanny who is willing, b) the RIGHT nanny, c) a family or 3 to share with.
I can't think of any others right at the moment... but these are all thing that either I've done, am currently doing, or that my friends have or are. You'd probably end up doing a combo of a few of these...since you're going to have children in very different age groups. AKA infant v potty trained toddler (price goes way down regardless as soon as the diapers go away, and there are more programs available for preschool, etc.).
5 moms found this helpful
J.W. answers from Seattle on April 06, 2009
The daycare issue and cost are biggies. My husband and I made the decision to off-shift from one another. In the beginning with our first two kids, we had 'great grandma' come and stay at house while my husband went to work and I came home. We actually worked in the same location/same employer, he started work when I finished my shift. As our kids got older and witht he addition of a 3rd child, great grandma got winded running after two active toddler/pre-schoolers so he loaded the kids up in our van, drove to work and I walked out of our office, kissed him good-bye and climbed in the van. He drove my small pick-up truck home each night. This continued until I retired (our youngest was in the 6th grade by that time). Yes, our time together as a complete family was limited to weekends, but it was our time. Our kids had access to a parent at all times, Dad got one on one time for school activities. I took vacation days for field trips. He learned how to change diapers, give baths, thaw breast milk and did it all. Our friends called him "Mr. Mom", but our kids have had the best as a result. Daycare is cost prohibitive when you think about how much you have to pay for a quality center/sitter and how much money you have left in that second wage. In today's economy, I would strongly recommend the off-shifting, not giving up either job as more and more businesses are cutting back and laying folks off. You don't want to let go of something you made need later.
2 moms found this helpful
B.B. answers from Portland on April 07, 2009
My husband and I work opposite shifts. Our son does spend about 1hr per day 3 days a week with a neighbor between the time my husband leaves and I get home. It works great for us. We do make a point of having special alone time on the weekends and we make sure to keep up with each other by phone during the week.
When my husband and I worked the same shift, our son went to an in home daycare which was about 1/2 the cost of sending him to a daycare center.
Another thing to consider, are there things in your life you could cut out or cut down on to save a little money? Turn off cable, take out the extras on your phone and cell phone (voicemail, texting, etc), be careful about electricity use, don't eat out, shop second hand, etc. Maybe you already do this. I have found though that there is always a way to make the money be there when it is needed if you are willing to give up some extras.
Are you at a point where you could quit your job and provide in home care for other people's children to bring in some $$$? When I used in home daycare, we paid our provider $500 per month so if you had 2-3 children you could make a good amount and still be home with your kids.
I've always heard that if you wait until you can afford a child you'll never have one. Somehow it works out when you have them though. Good luck with your decision.
B.H. answers from Seattle on April 07, 2009
Maybe you could find a stay at home mom in your neighbor hood or play group and see if she is willing to watch them for a small fee. I did it for years and helped out lots of moms, and the little bit extra helped me, since i was already home with my kids it wasnt much more to add a kid or two into the mix. Best of Luck!
P.M. answers from Portland on April 06, 2009
I admire your willingness to hold off on another pregnancy until you have a plan, S.. What a gift of sanity and patience to your daughter, and to your future child.
I can't give you any great ideas on how to make it all come together, since the economic crisis has most people around the world in a state of contraction and sacrifice, for however long it takes for humanity to find a sustainable state of balance.
The best advice I have ever heard about adding a child to the family is that it should be at a time when existing children will not lose anything they reasonably need. This includes all important factors: material well-being like housing, clothing, quality of diet, and emotional well-being like time and attention and closeness with both parents.
J.C. answers from Seattle on April 07, 2009
Oh how well I understand your dilemna--- mostly as I'm in the ''other half'' of it--- that is- I'm retired, a very ''hands on '' grandma--- about to take on the regular before and after school care for one of my 3 g' children ( have helped raise the other 2- and will continue to do so) --- BUT --- if my son has children or either of my daughters '''adds to the mix'' -- I'm stuck- as I'm up to my limit now--- and that makes me sad - but trust me--- nature INTENDED people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and sometimes 50s to be raiseing children--- 60s?????????? NOT so much-- lololol---
My suggestions are pretty low-tech-
any chance you and your hubby could switch shifts so someone was always home? -- or nearly always??? --- any chance either of you could work from home?????
Blessings, dear heart-
aka- Old Mom
E.W. answers from Seattle on April 08, 2009
If your parents are planning on traveling, then you should probably come up with another childcare plan regardless of whether you have another child or not. Your Mom might have a hard time admitting to you that she really doesn't want to be your childcare anymore. Your Mom has latched onto the "if you have another baby" as a good time for her to be phased out, but she probably did not intend for her comment to affect whether or not you have another baby! She is just trying to get you to make other arrangements. It's great that you are trying to do so.
If you can't afford childcare, then you should quit your job -- then you won't need it. Especially if you would rather stay at home. Does your husband have employable skills? Then there is no reason why you cannot stay at home. (Or he could stay home and you could work.) It is just a matter of adjusting your lifestyle to match whatever he earns. Yes, You will do without certain things that your money now buys, but you will find that your quality of life improves by being able to focus on your family. Commit to this; talk it through with your husband, and you CAN make it work.