Daycare: The cost of being a parent isn’t always apparent.
I have moved, nearly two months ago now. I’m currently living about 60 miles from where I was before, and much closer to work; however, I still am without a local baby sitter. As such, I drive the 120 miles round trip to drop my daughter off with my sister up in Ferndale on Wednesday night, and then after my work week is over make the trek once again Sunday night after work is over at 9pm. Generally we get home around 1 am. . . I’m a weekend parent, and it sucks.
Before I moved down here, her father watched her while I worked. That was a win-win. He got to see her more since he wasn’t working (the loser that he is never seems to be able to hold a job, he’s not the working type), and it saved my costs. Then he bailed. With all of a weeks notice that I needed to find a sitter.
My sister doesn’t charge too terribly much, and thats the bonus. $100/week is still more than I can really afford… hopefully as I fully transition to moving down here it will allow my daycare budget to increase and I can see Londyn a bit more. When I think about the fact that with my work schedule I’d only be able to see her for about 2-3 hours a day when we aren’t asleep, that helps a lot – and she gets to spend time with her cousins, grandparents and aunts and uncles when I’m unable to do so.
Nonetheless, I decided to start looking for a babysitter closer to our new home. I put an ad on Craigslist looking for a local SAHM able to work my hours (currently I work 10a-9p Th-Sun) as most daycares would be unable to.
I asked for responses to include their rates. I got MULTIPLE people asking for $10-$15/hour. I got one person asking for $18 an hour, citing that they’d be going to parks, and doin’ preschool activities. She sounded like a blast – and if I could afford $18, she had the BEST sales pitch. However, *I* don’t even make $18/hour. I don’t even make $15 an hour!!
Clearly, I’m in the wrong business. If people are charging $5-$10/hour to watch 2-3 kids – more than 40 hours a week – then they HAVE to be making bank!
I was looking into the working connections child care option in which the state helps to subsidize the cost of daycare. However, I make too much. In order to have daycare dropped down to $280 a month, I would have to make less than $2,100/month pretax. This means I must make below $11.91/hour. A monthly income loss of $408. BUT because I make $408 a month MORE, I have to pay $960 if I’m lucky enough to find somebody charging $5/hour. All the daycares with websites are charging around $10/hour.
This doesn’t seem sane or reasonable. The state is cracking down on SAHMs seeking online to watch kids. And, I really am particular about who Londyn spends time with. A friend of mine had somebody watching her kid for a year who ended up not being the best place for him to be. And I was going to use this girl myself because she only charged $500 a month and could work 24/7 – with the likelihood of my next shift being until 2am… I need that.
This leads me to wonder a few things though. How do single mothers with no nearby family make it? I would probably have more success staying at home and relying on the state myself. I mean, $385 a month for food – free health insurance… no wonder so many people do it. I also wonder where the drive to move up and better ones self and ones own income may be going. If people technically make more by making less — why seek to improve yourself and move-up?