Seattle Student with Kids--Help Me Make This Work - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 04-20-2011, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone.  It's been a long time since I posted since I really needed to get stuff done.  It's getting done.  :)


I was accepted to UW.  Yay.  Now I need to move to Seattle and make this work.  Any help or references to other threads are welcome.  I posted here vs. working and student mamas because Seattle costs are very important to making this scenario work (where, who, how far, etc.)


The factors:


My daughter loves pre-school and she's always been in pre-school.


I do not want to commute.  My car is old, and pretty much any commute in Seattle is going to eat about two hours out of my day, if I recall correctly.  Those are hours for which I would otherwise be *getting paid*-either with my scholarship (studying) or from work (in my salary which is strongly linked to performance, and which has the potential to go way up if we get funded).


I will be getting about $1.5 k from my husband (separated but married) and $2k from my 70% time job, so about $3.5 k / mo.


I have two kids.  My oldest has been in pre-school since she was two and loves school.  My youngest wants to go to school.  By "school" I mean, three to five days a week for three to four hours.


I'll be getting a master's and working about three hours during the day and another one or two at night.


My questions:


Which neighborhood, assuming I want to bike to work or bus within 30 minutes at a maximum?


Where could I get three rooms (one for me, one for kids, one for a nanny) for under $2000?


Would an au pair, assuming I'd have to have an extra room, save me any money?


Do we have any hope of getting my kids into pre-school on my budget?


Anything else you would like to add.


I realize it's a luxury not to commute.  But I have a scholarship and I need to study and sleep and do well in school.  We also have to eat, so I NEED to work.


My dream is the following:

Kids in subsidized co-op pre-school (I found one that will be $1300 for both per month, that's 4 hrs / day, 5 days/week), but that's in Green Lake.

Live in 3 br house somewhere with au pair paying under $1800 utilities included.  Though hard to find, if I rent through the summer it may be possible.

Au Pair at $400/mo + r&b to possibly drop kids off at school, possibly pick up and watch four hours besides, so let's say 5 hrs work / day, no cooking, VERY light housework (clean own room, pick up after play, share in household cleaning day, clear own place, etc. i.e. part of the family housework).


We will eat air.  Hah.  Okay, just kidding.  If I look at daycare instead of pre-school, my problem is that the rates are the same--it looks like $2500 per month for full-time day care, even a bit outside of Seattle.  We could probably swing a one bedroom apartment, though, and save about $1k on rent.  That still takes me up to the maximum, though.  :(


I figure if I commute outside of the urban zone, I'll be spending about $120 on gas, and an average of $100/mo in repairs on my old car, but I could save a ton on daycare by putting them in a very cheap daycare for about 10 hours a day, working that down to as low as $1800 / mo by taking full advantage of the full-time clause.  A one-bedroom apartment would still be at least $700, though (law of diminishing returns is setting in here... sigh).  Still, that would be $2,720.  Is it worth it?  (Keep in mind the issue of pre-school, my job, etc.)



It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#2 of 6 Old 04-20-2011, 01:12 PM
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Have you looked into the UW daycare? Prices look really reasonable.


There is also student family housing. Students in family housing also get reduced rates at the daycare.

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#3 of 6 Old 04-20-2011, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh wow!  Student family housing would be awesome.  The rates for child care are pretty average--with two kids, $2500 is just the rate.  Although it seems we cannot make up the cash difference with me staying home, apparently I'm worth about $1500/mo in child care alone.


Thanks for the tips.  I might just do that.  I looked up au pairs and it is not realistic--I did not realize the prices were not negotiable as apparently, and this was not clear to me at first--I have to pay visa, fees, as well as minimum wage for a full-time worker, about $200/week AND tuition for about a quarter, so that is not a good deal for me at all.  :(


I don't want to sound like I don't value child care or au pairs, but I was thinking if I had her work just 20 hrs. a week with NO cooking and NO housework, so she could work as well, it would be a good deal.  But apparently she must study and therefore would need a much better salary than I could provide.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#4 of 6 Old 05-05-2011, 09:26 PM
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You might be able to get some kind of part-time live-in nanny for cheaper than an au pair, but I don't know about $400/month for 20 hours per week and 2 kids... I am guessing it would be more than that, but with the free room I could be wrong. Maybe check craigslist and see if anyone is offering a similar type of deal and posts the salary they are offering?


The thing about the au pair program is that it's not meant as just a way of getting cheap labor for childcare, it's meant to be a cultural exchange program and as such the State Department has some pretty strict rules about it.  If you need 40-45 hours per week of childcare for 2 children it works out to be much cheaper than any other option in Seattle (unless you have family willing to do it for free), but you can't pay less based on hours worked, as you discovered. 


I'm planning to host an au pair when I go back to work full-time, until then it doesn't really pay.



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#5 of 6 Old 05-10-2011, 02:49 PM
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The going rate for care in your home is $12-15/hour, with as low as $10/hour and up to $18/hour not being unheard can find childcare for less than that, especially if you can find a local SAHM who wants to watch them in her home. Green Lake isn't that far from UW--were you ruling out that preschool as an option? A live in nanny sounds like a fantastic may be able to find a child-less student who is interested in that (or if you got a bigger house, my daughter and I would be interested in that! ;) )


You might be able to get a 3 bedroom house at that rent in Maple Leaf/Wedgewood/Bryant/Sandpoint...all of which are relatively close to UW (and Green Lake, if you decide on that preschool.) It would be ideal if you could find a 2 bedroom with a basement studio, or a townhome. Also....There are a few small preschools around that are less expensive...I know of a little Montessori place that only takes 12 kids at a time (age 2-6) and they are very affordable. The daycares at the community colleges are also affordable, though there is a wait list.


My husband (separated but married) directly pays my rent, utilities, car payment, etc...which comes out to more than child support, but since it isn't money going from his pocket to mine, DSHS does not consider it income (I asked them if this was all right and they said yes!), and I'm still eligible for food stamps, WIC, etc. This works for us because everything was already in his name, so it isn't like he could just stop paying (trust me, he is way more in love with his great credit score than he ever was with me, so I have no worries about him doing that. Your situation could be different, clearly.) Also, if you can get Working Connections childcare for your work hours, that would help you tremendously. So if your husband would consider doing things that way (paying your rent instead of giving you child support, for example) that may open the door for assistance in other areas.


I would look into the student housing, but personally, I wouldn't want to live in the U District as a graduate student & mother...the other neighborhoods I mentioned could be a better bet.

Single mama to S ~ 6/09

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#6 of 6 Old 06-09-2011, 07:55 PM
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This is a really late response, but I live in UW Radford Court.  It's not in the U-District (a good thing) and there are 3 bedroom units.  Let me know if you have any more questions--I'm finishing my 4th year of a PhD at UW, and have a 14 month-old son.

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