WWYD - switch daycare, work full-time, or go into debt? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 07-19-2008, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This will probably be long, so I apologize in advance. My STBX and I have been separated for nearly a year due to his emotional affair with a much younger colleague (and some serious compatibility issues that I'd been in denial about before - but that's a whole 'nother thread).

Anyway. STBX recently lost his job and is not eligible for unemployment (it was a performance issue). I now have to cover all living expenses for myself and my 2-year old son on my part-time (3 days/week) salary. And it isn't enough.

The glaring expense that I can no longer afford is my son's daycare. It's an exorbitant amount (as much as my mortgage!), and I could easily cut it in half by switching him to a home-based daycare. I've found a nice one that's very close to our home - also a plus since his current center is half an hour away (both ways through traffic).

So financially and logistically it makes sense. The thing is, I hate to disrupt DS further. He's already gone through our separation and seen his dad go through a pretty significant decline. His current daycare is wonderful and he is tightly bonded to all his teachers. He has many friends there. It breaks my heart to think of him suddenly not going and not really understanding why.

If I went back to work full-time, I could cover all our bills and I wouldn't have to move him. But I hate to do that, too. We're very close and have wonderful days together that I know he looks forward to (he yells "MAMA DAY!" when he realizes we're not getting into the car in the morning). We'd both miss eachother a lot.

My other option is to just suck it up and go into debt while STBX looks for a job. I hope he'll find something quickly, but I'm not confident. He's really gone into an emotional free-fall in the past year and I'm not sure he's capable of pulling himself together enough to find a career poosition. And he is too arrogrant to look for part-time, temporary work - though eventually he'll have to in order to pay his rent. But that won't pay DS' daycare bills.

If you've made it this far - thank you! And please tell me, WWYD in my situation?
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#2 of 13 Old 07-19-2008, 11:07 AM
 
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If you switch daycares, but keep working your current schedule, is that enough of a cost reduction so that you could meet all your and your DS's expenses? Or would things still be "too tight"?

Personally, I would try to avoid going into debt hoping that my XH would turn his life around quickly enough that I wouldn't go under...

Having eliminated that option (for myself), I would then be left with two other options, both of which involve significant changes for my child (going into the same daycare fulltime and losing "mama days" OR switching daycare but keeping "mama days").

Of the two, I personally would change the daycare IF that is enough of a cost reduction to make everything work. My thinking would be disruption is inevitable--and the decision (change work schedule for more time working, or change daycare for the same amount of "time in daycare") boils down, for me, to deciding who/what would be the most steady thing, my child's "rock" during a tough time--me or daycare?

I'd rather be my child's "rock" myself than daycare. Enough parental disruption with the divorce. Keep ME as present and "with" my kid as circumstances allow.

Does that make any sense?
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#3 of 13 Old 07-19-2008, 12:18 PM
 
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I completely agree with Ione.

Furthermore...if you cut out the 30 minute drive each way you will a)save exponentially on gas money and b)have even that much more time with DS. A win-win situation, if you ask me...providing you feel comfortable with the new provider.
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#4 of 13 Old 07-19-2008, 12:40 PM
 
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I would make the decision assuming your ex stays unemployed for the next five years....and go with your gut.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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#5 of 13 Old 07-19-2008, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your responses. Ione, you make a lot of sense. If I switched daycare providers I could make ends meet, so I could keep the 3-day workweek. And you are right SoulJourney, the gas savings would be significant with current prices. And the extra time would be terrific - I could drop him off later and pick him up earlier.

It would be tight, though. If I end up having a lot of unexpected expenses, I couldn't manage them. This does worry me as I had to switch from my STBX's excellent health insurance to my company's high-deductible plan. We also live in a condo, which means that every once in awhile we get unexpected special assessments (extra fees) to pay for something like a building repair or exceptionally high heating costs. Any of those things would kill my budget.

Going back to work full-time would provide a lot more financial breathing room. There's not that much difference between paying daycare for 3 days/week vs. 5 at my son's current center, but there would be a huge difference in my paycheck. I could handle the expensive daycare and put something away for a rainy day.

But I am so lucky to have a 3-day workweek ... it was approved by my old boss, and my new one has to put up with it but is itching to have me work fulltime. I could never get that schedule back if I made a change and then realized I didn't have to make it after all (i.e, STBX manages to land a job or I don't end up having any of the extra expenses I fear). And the time with my son is so precious.

Sigh. I just hate being in this position.
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#6 of 13 Old 07-19-2008, 01:00 PM
 
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Could you switch to a 4-day work week... upping your income, and still having one "mama day" a week?

I worked M, Tu., Th., F. from the time I went back to work after DD was born until I went freelance. It was a really nice schedule.

Might be a good compromise. Especially if you switch daycare and "count" the extra time morning and evening with your son.
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#7 of 13 Old 07-19-2008, 01:05 PM
 
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I think I would consider to keep him in the same day care center and work full time. It's a difficult decision but I think that if he has a great relationship with the adults at the day care center (and friends too) he would he be fine being there full time. Going to a different day care setting can be quite stressful on a child.

I'm sorry you are faced whit such a difficult decision. Good luck whatever you choose.

Anne
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#8 of 13 Old 07-19-2008, 01:10 PM
 
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switch daycares. Maybe to help with th transiontion you could swing in to say hi to his teachers. I think you are far more important to him that any teachers at any daycare.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#9 of 13 Old 07-19-2008, 01:23 PM
 
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I'd go with the home daycare and work full time.
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#10 of 13 Old 07-19-2008, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ione
Could you switch to a 4-day work week... upping your income, and still having one "mama day" a week?
I could, and this is a very good option to put into the mix. As with going full-time, the increase in daycare would be incremental but the increase in paycheck substantial. I would hate to lose the day with DS, but it might be the least disruptive option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldabee
I'd go with the home daycare and work full time.
This would definitely make the most financial sense, but it would be a lot of change for DS to absorb at once. Though I fear it may be where I am headed regardless. I think I may be underestimating how hard it will be to get by on one salary for good. Eventually I should get some support, but I don't think I'll be able to count on that for awhile.

There is a lot to think about and I am driving myself crazy worrying about all the potential outcomes. Can you tell I am a champion worrier?
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#11 of 13 Old 07-19-2008, 05:42 PM
 
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I empathize with the difficulty of this choice. You are talking about stability in different ways. Do you improve your financial stability, or improve ds's emotional stability, or do you try to find a balance somewhere in the middle. BOTH are important. Trust yourself to find the right solution.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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#12 of 13 Old 07-19-2008, 05:58 PM
 
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To me the age thing is a big deal.

If you can get a reasonable loan -- preferably from family -- for a year, I would do it. Give the kid some time. Even 6 months might do it, though I find 3.5 is really the big "move to independence" mark for a lot of kids.

Just me, though. It's a closed-end thing so it's not like an expense that'll run forever; you have some idea of what kind of debt you'd run up.
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#13 of 13 Old 07-20-2008, 09:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for your wise input. It's helped me process everything. I'm pretty sure I will keep the part-time schedule and move DS to the home-based daycare. I want to be his constant, as someone said. And while I could always send him back to the other daycare if things don't work out, I'll never get my part-time schedule back once I up my hours. It's just too rare in my field.

The new daycare slot isn't available until September, so there's a little time for STBX to get his act together and avoid the whole thing. I'm not counting on it, but one can always hope! And I'm also looking into a couple of WAH opportunities that might make things a little easier too.
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