working and student parents - what do you do for childcare and why? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 43 Old 11-26-2010, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We've pretty much run the gamut with childcare - we've had the kids with grandma, with a nanny, in a daycare, in a private school, and now with an au pair (and my kids are only 3 and 1!).  It seems like I'm constantly trying to find the best childcare situation for the kids and for my husband and I and what is the "best" is always changing for us since our lives seem to keep changing.

 

Just wondering what everyone out there is doing for childcare and why - why do you like it?  why do you dislike it?  how much is it?  what is your typical schedule?  what would you do for childcare if cost weren't an issue?  etc, etc?

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#2 of 43 Old 11-27-2010, 08:22 AM
 
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I'm a SAHM currently, but our finances are taking me back to work in Jan.

I'll be working half day hopefully, our childcare arrangements are:

then 4 month old will be in care of a nanny

5 yo wil be at school - i'll pick him up after work then go home and 'relieve' nanny.


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#3 of 43 Old 11-27-2010, 08:50 AM
 
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I work very part time in a clinic and then work at home the rest. My childcare is cobbled together literally every time I have to go in. rolleyes.gif  It really bites. Some of my meetings are usually are Mondays so I get a sitter for Mondays but because it it one day a week, I can't keep sitters. I feel like every month I have to find a new one, I just got one last month and today I found out that she can't sit at all in Dec and I work 3 Mondays. When I have engagements on other days, it is really just pieced together, I am in court in Dec, not on Mondays of course and then have a work training another day, I have no idea what I end up pulling together for childcare. My oldest, 7 is in school, that leaves me with a 4 and 1y. I had attempted to send the 4y to preschool this year 2 days a week to allow me to have one less child to find care for but it didn't work out. 


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#4 of 43 Old 11-27-2010, 09:15 AM
 
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DH works Mon-Fri, I work Fri-Mon.  Mondays and Fridays the kids are in a day home.  We're about 2mos into this arrangement.  The 'likes' are pretty big: this is better for us financially than working f/t Mon-Fri and this is kind of a dead end job so why spend more time here?  I've been with the day home (less 10mo of mat leave) since DD was 1 so the consistency is great and our day home mama has become a close friend.  It is wonderful to have a more experienced mom in our lives!  Other 'likes' - with the day home only being twice a week I only have to get the kids out the door before work once.  DH does it the other day.  I also love coming home to a SAHD :)

 

Dislikes: DH has a pretty demanding life already so adding 2 days of running the show as SAHD is a tough job (though he loves it and has a superglue bond with our baby now.)  Never getting days off together!!  I thought this wouldn't be as much of an issue since we could strategically use our vacation days, but DH has made other plans over the holidays :(  It's also tough to ask each other to cover things like workouts and errands since time together is already so limited.  Since DS is so young and away from me so much I feel terrible about leaving him with a babysitter for couple time so that has been really limited too.  Since the holiday-plan fiasco there have been some major renegotiation of career/life plans together.  I've applied for a better job and DH has applied for a big promotion with the promise that he will quit his second job if he gets it.  If neither of those things work out DH is going to cut back his career and go work for his dad so he has more time to put into the family.

 

If childcare cost was no object - nanny, hands down.  We share a car and child care choices within walking distance are very limited.  Transport is a hassle, especially if you get stuck doing drop off and pick up both in the same day.  I did that 5 days a week in between kids and don't want to to it again, ever. 

 

Looking at this post you would seriously think that DH and I were scraping by paycheck to paycheck and it feels that way but we're not.  The cost of living in this city is ridiculous so even though we both have good jobs it is really tough to save anything.

 

Then next Sept. DD will be in kindy and no doubt there will be another reshuffle.  Meh.  DH and I are at about the same level for career/earning potential and the equality is nice but it seems to make all the decisions complicated.

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#5 of 43 Old 11-27-2010, 11:44 AM
 
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I don't work, but am a full-time college student.  I only have class 2 days a week, though.  My older 3 children are in school all day long, and my youngest is in preschool part-time.  It's a Montessori school (the same one my older kids attend) and we started out full-day ($600 a month), and switched to half-day when he wasn't doing so well ($400).  We may try full-day again starting in January, but just in case, I scheduled my classes in the mornings while he will be in school - and my DH is able to help as needed, as his schedule is flexible and he can work from home at times.  If I had an under three year old, I'd probably try to get a spot at my school's childcare - so I would be right there.  If I worked full-time, I'd probably consider a nanny, if it made sense financially. I was a SAHM full-time when my kids were all younger, partly because finding care for them would have been a nightmare, I'm sure.  Good luck figuring it all out. 


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#6 of 43 Old 11-27-2010, 12:22 PM
 
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I am currently on mat leave, returning to work in Feb when DS2 is 13 months old.  DH and I both work M-F and DS1 and DS2 will be at a daycare. 

 

I usually work from 8:00 - 4:00 and DH works 9:00 - 5:00.  He does the morning drop-off (at 8:30) and I do pick up (at 4:15-4:30) so they will be there for 8 hours / day.  We went with a daycare center vs a day home because I was worried about the day home provider or her kids being sick and not being able to take in the kids.  Holidays were also an issue because one provider I met with said she takes 6 weeks off per year.... sorry, that doesn't work for us! 

 

Both DH and I have very flexible jobs and we do generally make our own schedules, we do often have unbreakable committments.  We have learned not to schedule those things at the same time because that is usually when someone gets sick :) but at least it won't be our care provider cancelling on us!

 

In my perfect world, I would love a combination of nanny and daycare.  DS1 blossomed at daycare / preschool and he loves being around other kids and doing all of the fun things they do at the daycare.  We will see how DS2 does...  I would love a nanny just for the days that the boys need a "home" day. 


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#7 of 43 Old 11-28-2010, 10:56 AM
 
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Pd Grandma for FT care 1st 2 yrs.

Hired FT nanny when my son was 2 yrs and daughter was 4-5 mo's. . 

Going on 2 yrs with that nanny. Son started PT preschool this year.

We'll do the nanny until oldest goes to kindergarten (age 5), then put #2 in full-time preschool (age 3).

If we have more kids we'll keep same nanny until kindergarten for second youngest.

 

Nanny was cheaper than daycare for more than 1 kid.

We liked homecare for the under 1 yr age ... even now when they're older I feel better with the kids getting a lot of time at home.

Nanny does kid laundry and now, 2nd yr, some groceries and dinner prep - super helpful for 2 very FT working parents. 

Our house can't accommodate an au pair, otherwise we'd consider that, though I'm not super keen on having another person in the house all the time. 


Mother of two since 2007 and 2009. Hoping third time's a charm in 2012.

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#8 of 43 Old 11-28-2010, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KLM99 View Post

We've pretty much run the gamut with childcare - we've had the kids with grandma, with a nanny, in a daycare, in a private school, and now with an au pair (and my kids are only 3 and 1!).  It seems like I'm constantly trying to find the best childcare situation for the kids and for my husband and I and what is the "best" is always changing for us since our lives seem to keep changing.

 

Just wondering what everyone out there is doing for childcare and why - why do you like it?  why do you dislike it?  how much is it?  what is your typical schedule?  what would you do for childcare if cost weren't an issue?  etc, etc?

My kids are no longer needing daycare, but when they were little I was in the military, as was their dad. We used home daycare providers on the military bases. I liked the small, family-like atmosphere and since the providers were all military wives, they were flexible with schedules (within reason) and would do overnights. The kids were generally there from 7am-5pm, M-F. Sometimes I would have overnight duty and their dad would be in the field or deployed, so they would stay over until the following workday was finished.

 

This was well over a dozen years ago and not where I currently live, so the cost was obviously much different.

 

If cost weren't an issue, I would have been a SAHM. As it was, we were happy with our childcare arrangements.
 

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#9 of 43 Old 11-28-2010, 02:53 PM
 
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There is no perfect childcare, I've found. 

 

Our oldest is in school, but before that he went to a small in home daycare/preschool.  My younger son goes there now.  I like that the providers kids are involved and that they know the entire family as well as all the kids there.  This provider is different than most in home providers that I've experienced.  She's extremely professional and this is the best arrangement for us right now. 

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#10 of 43 Old 11-28-2010, 08:06 PM
 
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We've done a daycare center, a home daycare, full day "school", and right now we have a nanny. Nanny is the best of the bunch. I love not having pick up and drop off issues, and the little tasks she does around the house, like the kids laundry, really help me keep it together on the home front.

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would be a SAHM with a maid service to clean for me. That's unlikely, so we will be sticking to the nanny for the time being, even though it streaches our budget to the breaking point.

CD'ing, homebirthing, milk making school teacher. Supporting my family on my income and trying to get out of debt in 2013!
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#11 of 43 Old 11-29-2010, 08:41 AM
 
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I've been WOH F/T since DD was 10 months old. For the first few weeks before I found a job, I did part-time care in a fabulous in-home daycare (well, it was in a totally renovated basement apartment, so the caregiver didn't live there...she only ran her business out of there). The first few weeks were hell, mostly because DD had been at home with me all her life. Then I transitioned her to full-time, and things went way better.

 

What I liked about that place:

Lots of individual attention (never more than 6 kids)

Babywearing (DD wasn't walking yet then so I loved that the owner and her assistant wore her around)

Very "home-like" feel

Pro-extended breastfeeding; they never batted an eye when I nursed DD at drop-off and pick-up

Bilingual environment

Home-made organic and vegetarian food; I don't know how they did it, but they managed to get DD to eat solids

The caregiver: I LOVED the daycare assistant who opened the daycare in the morning...she really made the transition easier for DD.

 

The cons about this place:

The communication with the owner wasn't great (as in, she didn't return calls all the time)

There were times where the front door was unlocked, which was a big issue for safety

 

I worked from 8:45 to 4:45, so I dropped DD off around 7:45 and picked her up at 5:00. It cost me 750$ (though I receive governmental subsidy to reimburse me) + a contribution of organic food every week.

 

When DD was 19 months old, the home daycare situation was falling apart (the owner had conflicts with her assistant), and I separated from my XH which meant 1.5 hrs of travelling per day to get DD to and from daycare. I transfered her to a big private daycare center that was just opening. Everything was brand spanking new and really well thought-out. The owner's wife had run a home daycare for 20 years and as an anniversary present, he was offering her a daycare center to run. :D

 

The class ratio at this place was more than at DD's first daycare (8 to 1) but I felt that they really had a good grasp on things with each group having their own assistant. The schedule there is very structured, which DD seems to need. My work schedule is the same, though I don't do pick-ups anymore, since my mother works close by. DD is there from 7:30 to 4:30. This place costs 700$ per month (minus the government subsidy).

 

The pros:

Very structured environment, lots of activities: DD has made HUGE linguistic strides being at this place

Very concerned about DD's dairy allergy and about the quality of care she is given.

Good communication with the owner and director, as well as the providers...all I need to do is make a call and BAM suddenly everyone is up in arms about whatever issue I've raised...at least I'm being heard!

Parents' committee allowing parents to voice their concerns about specific issues

Longer business hours

 

The cons:

Change in personnel: DD has lost 2 providers since she's been there, and has changed rooms twice. It made for a very confused and cranky toddler

This place is strictly French speaking, so while DD has really solidified her French acquisition, I'd like to find a way for her to get some English language before she's forced to attend French elementary school...

 

 

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#12 of 43 Old 11-29-2010, 08:56 AM
 
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DD went to a home daycare full-time for two years, this fall she is going three mornings a week to pre-school and the rest of her time is at the same home daycare. DH and I both work M-F (9-5:30ish). If money weren't an issue I would be a SAHM.


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#13 of 43 Old 12-01-2010, 08:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
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If money weren't an issue I would be a SAHM.


 

Me too <sigh> greensad.gif
 

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#14 of 43 Old 12-01-2010, 08:43 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KLM99 View Post



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lyterae View Post

If money weren't an issue I would be a SAHM.


 

Me too <sigh> greensad.gif
 


 :hug 
 


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#15 of 43 Old 12-01-2010, 09:01 AM
 
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I started working from home when I was pg w/ DS. So that's what we continued. I put him in mother's morning out 2 mornings a week when he turned 2 and started sending dd there as soon as she was 6 months. I worked around their schedules, often with DH taking all parenting duties on the weekends while I worked 8-10 hours. 

 

When DS was 4, I sent him to preschool 4 mornings a week, and DD continued at mother's morning out. I was miserable, and with all of the dropping off and picking up, I didn't have much more work time. We tried hiring a sitter in the spring to "fill in the gaps." She was with them all day on Fridays (DS' day off from preschool) and Mon/Wed afternoons, but she wasn't particularly reliable. She wouldn't show up or would show up late all the time.

 

For the summer, we decided to bite the bullet and hire someone M-Th 9-4. It was $800 a month. I was okay with that arrangement - realized that working from home, even in my office, with the kids there wasn't really going to work.

 

In October, we enrolled DS in all-day kindergarten, and DD in FT daycare. I'm the happiest with this situation. DS likes kindergarten, though he says the days are long. DD hasn't completely warmed to daycare. She does really like her teachers, but being with so many other kids is a bit chaotic. Next year she can stay at the same center but transition to their preschool program. I've peeked in those rooms, and it's MUCH calmer. I hate to sound gender biased, but the 3YO boys are rough! They're loud and everywhere all the time. My DS is not like that, and it's what bothers DD about daycare. Her care costs $500 a month. I could add having DS to their after-care program for $180/month.

 

Beginning in January, I'll be working & going to school FT (apparently because a slow, leisurely life isn't for me!). I'll be done with that in May 2012. DD will go to kindergarten that year, and we are working on being able to afford someone to pick the kids up from school, help with homework, and then prep dinner for us. I totally understand why Mrs. Brady needed Alice.


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#16 of 43 Old 12-03-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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We have a nanny; she's been with us for almost 4 years now.  We adore her...she's part of the family.  She's 65 yo, retired, has a grandson my oldest's age, has two daughters around my age who are now close friends, etc.  I just can't say enough about the connection we have with her (all of us, not just the kids) and the level of care she provides my children and in our home.  She works about 30 hours a week (I only work 3 days a week) and makes $340 a week.  I know it sounds like a lot but the peace of mind she brings me on a daily basis is priceless.  She loves my kids like they are her own and does a lot of activities with them on her own dime (gas to drive places, lunches, paid activities, etc.).  My oldest DD is in kindy, so she gets her off the school bus in the afternoons on the days I'm working but then she has my youngest DD, who is 4, full time.  I do send youngest to preschool a few 1/2 days a week but I don't count that as a daycare cost because it's totally voluntary - it's not a need. 

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#17 of 43 Old 12-07-2010, 09:33 AM
 
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Quote:
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She works about 30 hours a week (I only work 3 days a week) and makes $340 a week.  I know it sounds like a lot but the peace of mind she brings me on a daily basis is priceless. 



That actually sounds like a bargain.  Nannies here are more, and child care centres or private care out-of-home would run us much more.
I'm visiting this thread to find ideas for us in the future as I plan to return to full-time work someday.


4 kids under 10
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#18 of 43 Old 12-08-2010, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Isn't it funny how much childcare costs differ? Although I guess it's just cost of living differences in general. Where we live, daycare at a center costs $1200 a month at the least. So with two kids, it would run almost $30,000 a year. Legal nannies with any experience are paid $16-18 an hour for two kids, which works out to about $700 a week for someone working full-time, plus taxes on top of that. We pay about $2,000 a month for our au pair (not all to her - some is to the agency for health insurance and air fare, plus we pay for her phone, food and utilities). It's unbelievably expensive, but I understand that nannies for example have to make a living too. That said, I think it's the reason a lot of my friends just stopped working, even formerly very professionally driven, highly educated women. When you face paying $20-30,000 a year for childcare, it just seems to make more sense to stay home with them for the first few years at least.
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#19 of 43 Old 12-08-2010, 11:05 PM
 
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DS started going to a montessori daycare center at 5 months. It was a good time for him because he was ready to let go of me and explore. It is a great fit for us, very caring and AP friendly. It is costly ($1300/month) but it gets less expensive as the kids grow. Thankfully now that I'm out of school I make enough to make the daycare well worth it financially.

The big pro of the center - they are very reliable, and a very warm environment. Their staff retention is great (most teachers/caregivers have been there for over 5 years). DS will get to continue there until kindergarden making for a more stable environment (although he will be changing rooms). They are very pro natural, organic, and crunchy. Many babies in the infant room have older siblings attending the center as well which is a good sign. 

Currently, I drop DS off in the morning and he is off exploring, and is usually not upset about me leaving, so it makes me feel comfortable leaving him there. The staff do not mind at all if I drop by during the day when I work nearby.

I can't afford not to work currently but if I were to win the lottery I would work part time for a non profit organization with a cause I care about, that way I would have more time with DS while still keeping my adult activities going. However I do hope to have enough financial stability to stay home for at least 5 months with my next LO.


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#20 of 43 Old 12-10-2010, 01:17 PM
 
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Both kids started daycare/preschool at around 8 months. They go to the university affiliated PS where we both work. DS is in 2nd grade now so when he started elementary school, he also started the after school care program. On Fridays, the grandparents take care of DD and pick up DS from school. Sometimes DH or I take a Friday as well.

 

We really like our preschool. It's mixed ages with 4 months - 3 years being in one group and 3-5 being in another. The baby group has 15 kids which is a lot, but also 5 teachers, always one teacher per baby. The older group has 1 teacher for 7 kids. It costs around $1000 for care 8:30-4pm, four days a week.

 

Pros:

Wonderful loving staff. Very little turnover in either staff or families.

Lots and lots of outside time.

Lots of flexibility/accommodation of whatever: nursing moms always welcome, dietary restrictions respected, babies always nap when tired and eat when hungry.

The kids mostly do really well with the mixed ages. Our DD loves the babies now that she is the big kid in the infant/toddler room.

Reasonable arts/crafts, etc.

 

Cons:

little communication about what goes on each day. This place runs on faith in the teachers. That faith is well placed, but I'd still like to know what the heck happens all day.

Physical space is small, especially the inside space.

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#21 of 43 Old 12-12-2010, 01:02 PM
 
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Single WOH mom with one 4.75 year old boy here; he attends daycare that has a pre-K program included. The cost around here is $1000/mth but...I have to work; what are you gonna do? shrug.gif

 

I can't WAIT for him to start kindy 'cause the costs will drop to about $350/mth for before and after care.

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#22 of 43 Old 12-12-2010, 06:57 PM
 
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Dh and i are both full time students. Ds is in first grade and goes to an after care program 3 days a week until 5, that is free.

Dd goes to daycare those three days and we pay 100$/week.

We only started that this semester because dh and I are getting close to finishing our degrees and can't always go to class opposite each other  anymore.

Dh works nights and weekends and I stay home with the kids those times.


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#23 of 43 Old 12-13-2010, 07:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sounds like there are lots of different ways to make childcare work.  Just chatted with a working mom of three kids the other day - any working moms with more than two?  Childcare is so expensive, and you rarely get a discount for siblings it seems.  Since we pay about $1300 per child, would that mean $3,600 for three kids??? 

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#24 of 43 Old 12-13-2010, 07:25 AM
 
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My 3 children have been in daycare, but I also worked there so it was discounted.  I've had them in a home daycare situation that was good for the first year and fell apart the second year.  Now they are all in school my mom fills in for the times I can't pick up/drop off.  I'm hoping when I graduate I can get a job in the school they go to so I won't need childcare anymore.


student/sahm to three awesome girls who are always on the go!
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#25 of 43 Old 12-13-2010, 07:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by KLM99 View Post

Childcare is so expensive, and you rarely get a discount for siblings it seems.  Since we pay about $1300 per child, would that mean $3,600 for three kids??? 


Wow! That IS a lot... maybe I'll stop at one child! Seriously, though, DH & I are both idealists & activists and don't ever plan on taking jobs that will make us a lot of money. We've learned that quality care (and, later, school) is costly... I don't know if we can afford to do this all with a second child...

 

For now: I'm a FT grad student & we have a nanny share that we host at our house for 3-4 days/week to cover class time & some time to study. It runs $260-$300/week for each family.

 

We LOVE LOVE the nanny share arrangement (though I realize this doesn't really work when both kids are your own!). We started when DS was 5 months & wanted individualized care but couldn't afford a nanny on our own. We found an awesome family in our neighborhood to share with their DD who is the same age as DS. It's tricky managing all the little details (who's the main contact for the nanny, food, supplies, etc.) but we have built in back-up care (which I've learned can be a real plus recently) and DS has a playmate... So the extra leg work is worth it. Plus we host at our house (the other couple both work from home & need the quiet) so I never have to worry about getting DS out of the house in the morning (which is good because I am dragging in the mornings).

 

But, I'm about to graduate & will have PT work for a little & then start FT when DH will stay home with DS for a while. ... It's always changing!


Mama to my little busy bee. 

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#26 of 43 Old 12-13-2010, 07:31 AM
 
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I'm a full time grad student.  Earlier this year my kiddo was going to a morning program at a Montessori.  For many reasons, that didn't work well, so she's now attending preschool at a great play based day care off campus 3 days a week.  For us, it's the best of both worlds.  It's really expensive ($150/week for 3 days) but they take great care of the kids, it's close and she has lots of fun.  I'm able to get my work done while she's there but I still have a lot of flexibility because she's not there everyday.  


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#27 of 43 Old 12-13-2010, 07:50 AM
 
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I work f/t, and my two daughters go to a regular ol' daycare center.

For DD1, my MIL lived with us and watched her for the first year. I *hated* it with a passion, so after looking into lots of options, a center is what works for us. DD1 is now in her third daycare...switched when the first one started going downhill, then switched this summer because we couldn't afford both girls in the second school. The school they're in now is a Spanish immersion school, lots of fun activities, webcams, etc. They do CD for DD2 (8 months), too, which is awesome. Yes, it costs a fortune. I take home maybe $100/month now? But I carry our health insurance, contribute mightily to my 401k, get paid to go to a conference in CA every year, and just got a promotion to mgmt, none of which would happen if I took off a few years.

Honestly, I'm shocked that there aren't more women here with kids in fulltime daycare! Or maybe they just haven't posted yet?

Mi vida loca: full-time WOHM, frugalista, foodie wannabe, 10+ years of TCOYF 

 

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#28 of 43 Old 12-13-2010, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mosaic View Post

Honestly, I'm shocked that there aren't more women here with kids in fulltime daycare! Or maybe they just haven't posted yet?


We had our first in fulltime daycare for almost two years until her brother was born.  At $1,300 a month for each kid, it just became too expensive when we had our second (they would have given us a small discount on the second, but it still would have been $2,500 a month!).  Also I had some concerns about having an infant in full-time daycare (my daughter was 15 months when she started). 

 

Now that we have an au pair though, sometimes I find myself missing the daycare situation.  We love our au pair and it's awesome not to have to get the kids up and out in the morning and not to have to worry about leaving them at the daycare too long, but on the other side, having an au pair (or a nanny I would assume) requires a lot of relationship management, which can get exhausting.  It's also been kind of tough for me to not know exactly where the kids are at all times since the au pair will take them out and about (playground, museum, etc).  And there are a lot more ways for them to be hurt or something when they're out in the world versus in a secure daycare.  Grass is always greener... :)
 

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#29 of 43 Old 12-13-2010, 09:27 AM
 
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We have an in-home (hers) childcare provider.  She's been a family friend for years, and when our old situation wasn't working out, she had an opening.  She's absolutely wonderful! 

 

I work 12's, and a lot of weekends, so it's just part time.

 

As for cost, she's reasonable.  It's budgeted in as a mandatory expense, as I couldn't work without it.


"Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?"~Mary Oliver

RT knitting mama  to 3 (& 8 who didn't make it) wife working on 13 years to a silly man who drives me crazy.
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#30 of 43 Old 12-19-2010, 09:27 AM
 
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DS1 was home with a nanny until 14 months.  He was in a daycare center full time for 5 months, then in a Montessori toddler program full time for 1 year.  Now with two, we have a FT nanny and DS1 still goes to the Montessori toddler program, but only from 8:30 - 11:30 5 days/week.

 

I'm still trying to decide what to do next year.  I love having a nanny, and I love having DS1 in Montessori school, but having both is very expensive.  Most likely I will end up sucking it up and doing the same thing next year. It's expensive, but I just don't think I can stomach pulling DS1 from school; he loves it and benefits from it so much.


Kelly, wife to my wonderful DH , and mom to DS1 born 1/20/2008 and DS2 born 7/14/2010 by VBAC.
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