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Child Care Dilemma

Back in July, only a few days before I found out I was pregnant with Baby G, Zach started at a new preschool/day care.   The home day care provider that he had been with since he was 6 weeks old had decided to stop doing day care so we didn’t really have a lot of choice as to whether to move him or not at the time.  I had been feeling like he needed a little more structure and stimulation anyway so I chose a church day care program that offered a preschool program rather than looking for another home day care.  The transition was difficult for Zach at first, but after a while he got to where he was really enjoying his new school.  He seems to really like his classmates and is learning so much there.

When I found out I was pregnant I freaked out a bit about the cost of sending another child to day care.  I asked about infant care costs at Zach’s school and about died when I heard the answer.  $175 a week (which is probably $185 now considering the recent $10 a week increase) may not seem like a lot to some, but for us it is pretty much out of the question.  This means I either have to take Zach out of a school where he seems to be thriving or I’ll have to have my two children in two different day care centers.  That means no multiple child discounts plus two day care drop offs and two pick ups every day.

On top of the money issues, I found out just yesterday that Zach’s day time teacher is no longer going to be there.  The afternoon teacher is stepping up into her position.  I’m really not upset about the change in teachers because Zach actually seems to prefer the afternoon teacher.  The only problem is that the teacher who will now be his full-time teacher is pregnant and is due within a week of me.  That in itself isn’t a problem, but Zach has been having a really difficult time with any kind of transition or change lately.  So, not only will he be dealing with a major change at home when I have this baby, he’ll also have to deal with a change in teacher at school at the same time.  Talk about screwing up his world.  I haven’t talked to his teacher or school administrators about this yet so there may be some options available, but right now I’m feeling pretty uneasy about it.

The thought crossed my mind that maybe I should be looking into a new day care now that could accommodate both  Zach and the new baby when she arrives.  I really hate to move Zach again so soon, and I don’t even know if I could find anything cheaper.  I don’t want to put him back in a home day care because I feel like the structured school environment has been really good for him but there is a big difference in cost.

If I really had my way, I would work from home, put Zach in part-time preschool, and keep Baby G home with me for a couple years until Zach is old enough for kindergarten.  When you take out the cost of child care from my paycheck (after adding a second child) I’m really not making much at all anyway.  I would definitely miss my insurance and other benefits but the benefits of being home with my children would more than make up for it.  If I thought I could make enough money working at home to make ends meet I would do it in a heartbeat.

I know before I make any decisions I need to talk to Zach’s school administrators.  I need to find out what plans (if any) are in place to transition the kids when his teacher goes on maternity leave.  I need to decide what is going to be best for him and get a better idea of what infant care is going to cost for his little sister.  I’m sure in the end it will all work out somehow.  I have to think that it will anyway or I’ll get myself entirely too stressed out about it and the last thing I need right now is more stress.

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  1. My heart goes out to parents in your shoes; I’ve seen my daughter caught in the same dilemma as you, back when her kids were small.

    I miss babies so much, I have threatened to find an infant near me to babysit, just to have a baby to enjoy. The only reason I don’t is that it would tie me down, and we couldn’t vacation or go on motorcycle rides any time we wanted.

    Anyhow, I hope you find someone nearby (a grandma type?) who will love your kids AND charge less. This recession is making things so much harder for young families, what with the rising cost of groceries and gas and the devaluing of real estate.

  2. Emily Emily

    Honestly, $185 sounds like the going rate for infant childcare. I would be suspicious of anyone charging much less than that, they often offer lower prices at the expense of the children. Also, it might do some good to look into private childcare options. Either a nanny, or a stay at home mom who’s looking for a couple extra heads to count throughout the day. When faced with the cost of two children in care, this generally becomes a more reasonable expense than with just one, particularly if one of them is an infant. Good luck to you!

  3. private childcare options are generally more expensive than daycares, aren’t they? well, i am anyway, and most other nannies around here are. but i’m sorry you’re dealing with this stress, lady. i hope you’re able to work something out that can make everyone happy.

  4. wow, rereading that, it sounds much more snobby than i meant it. i hope you know i didn’t mean anything bad by saying that – i just always thought that daycares were less expensive because their costs are spread across more parents.

  5. Take a step back….breath. I encontered a similar situation. I moved my son (now 6) three times, and the last time I found an in-home care giver in my neighborhood. The lady took my son and my newborn daughter – cost me $185.00 a week (for both).
    Ask around, check with your circle of friends, co-workers, etc.
    My current care-giver does it out of her house and provides Alot of structure and learning. My son, initally had a difficult time switch care givers so many times (me too), but when he had to go with his newborn sister, he actually did much better. Even though they are 5 yrs apart he still felt a sense of comfort knowing she too was there. Best of luck.

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