Torn between working and staying home

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Torn between working and staying home
65
Mon, 08-18-2003 - 2:59pm
I'm a first time mom of a beautiful 7 month old baby boy. I went back to work full time when he was only 4 months old. Unfortunately, this once healthy baby started getting very ill once I put him in daycare. In only 2 months he caught pnemoina, developed multiple sinus infections and had a bad stomach virus that almost caused hospitalization. I had to give my son breathing treatments, take him to specialists and give him many different medications and antibiotics. Needless to say I pulled him from the daycare and have been on a leave of absence from work for 3 weeks now.

I've been searching high and low for a new sitter, preferable one who doesn't have so many children in and out of the house like the previous daycare. Unfortunately I don't have any family that lives in my town, all of my friends work and don't know of anyone to recommend. I ran an ad in the paper, which was a big mistake. I've been in touch with the Child Care Resource Center here in my town who have sent me a few lists of referrals. I've interviewd so many different people it's unbelieveable. The biggest snags I'm running into is that these people want to be able to do school runs and drive my baby around in their car. My husband and I are very uncomfortable with that. Or, they want way too much money and we just can't afford anything over $100 a week.

We live in a 2 bedroom 2 bath upstairs apartment and although the rent is cheap, we hate it here. My husband and I are DYING to buy a house, which is why I went back to work. We could afford for me to stay home and continue living in our apartment(which we're miserable in) and I could take care of my baby. Or, I could run the risk of my child getting very sick again and put him in another daycare while I go back to work. I'm so torn. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to stay home with my baby and see him grow and witness all his firsts. But, I would also love to buy a house and perhaps I could then start my own daycare.

What would you do?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-04-2003
Mon, 08-18-2003 - 5:24pm
I may be wrong, but it seems that you want too much for too little. Quality daycare costs. Was that full time you wanted for $100/week? I know the going rate is $150/week in our neck of the woods, and the east coast can be $250+. Perhaps, the people who would do it for less, need to fit it into their lives including picking their children up from school. And, you will need to budge on something. However, I can see being anxious about someone else driving your child, as the top cause of injury/death to a baby is injury/auto accidents.

I live our child care center for all the socialization it provides our dd. The standards seem more tight in a center to me. DD does get alot of colds, but I feel she is just working out her immune system, keeping it healthy! Maybe being older, your babe won't get so many serious infections. Home daycare seems to be more variable, there can be good ones, but there are many dubious ones too.

I do wish you the best finding what you need! I hope you find something you can afford, and feel good about taking your child to each day! Dana

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Wed, 08-20-2003 - 1:10pm
You don't say where you live, but in most parts of the US, $100/wk. won't come close to buying quality licensed care for a child under 2 yo. My city is usually considered fairly less expensive, but we paid $244/wk six yrs. ago; now it is around $300/wk. Does your employer offer tax-deferred savings plans? If you take advantage of a tax-deferred plan, you could probably afford a higher daycare payment, as that money would be taken out before taxes.

If you have to stay that low on price point, you pretty much have to go with in-home care. All children entering daycare have the experience of getting lots of bugs just at first; it usually takes about 6 months to build up their immune responses. If you keep moving from one provider to another, it will take longer to strengthen immunity. However, the cheaper the daycare, the more likely it is that a child will end up ill. Personally, I think that this is because parents who can't afford expensive daycare options also are most likely have the sort of work situation that means that they can't afford to take off work for a sick child.

Given your wants, have you considered working a split shift with your DH for awhile? That way one of you can always be home, and you can save what little money you have in order to get into a house. (You don't necessarily have to buy a house outright, but you might be able to rent one first, depending on where you live. People run home daycares out of rented houses all the time; you just have to be willing to pay for the childproofing yourself, rather than asking the landlord to foot the bill.)

Avatar for 1969jets
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 08-20-2003 - 9:31pm
I never lived anywhere that full time dc for an infant ran under $100 per week. I have lived in CT, NY and FL. My oldest son is 9 1/2 and when he was a baby and went to a family dc I paid $150 per week for only 3 days a week. 5 days would have been $250. THAT WAS 9 1/2 YEARS AGO. Prices have risen since then.

My youngest is 4 years old and he attends preschool only 3 days a week, for 4 1/2 hours a day (9-1:30). I pay $500 per month for that. That's more than $100 per week for a 4 year old in preschool only half a day. You usually pay more for babies, and you most certainly pay more for full day care than half day care. I live in S. Florida and this is not a high cost area. It's about average.

SO-if you find a place charging under $100 per week it will most likely be a low quality place. I don't know what you should do, that is your choice, but I think that if you are looking for high quality, full time infant care you can expect to pay over $100 per week.

Jenna

Avatar for cyndiluwho
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 08-20-2003 - 9:46pm
You get what you pay for.
Avatar for ahlmommy
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 08-20-2003 - 10:13pm
<<>>

Well thank you for that enlightening information. sigh

TO THE OP

When I was a single parent years ago I paid $75 in my area for full time care. You can still find quality care in this area for $100-$125. IF it were ME....I would probably suck it up and live in the apartment. I am now a SAHM, and we live in a nice house but it isn't where we would live if I worked. I think a house is what you make of it. If where you live isn't a safe area, then I would probably rethink that decision. It sounds like (from what you wrote) that you pretty much have no choice but to stay at home. I have decided to go back to work on Saturday's. I enjoy the time away and DH enjoys alone time with the kids. You will find a way. Good luck!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 08-20-2003 - 10:45pm
Holy moly!!!! I pay only $150 a month for 3 days a week, 8-noon for preschool.. and the place is very nice and has many good references. I couldn't send my child to preschool at that high a cost.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 08-21-2003 - 12:44am
I think you need to re-evaluate how much you are willing to spend on childcare. It doesn't seem like you can find anything in your price range (I made much more than that for 2 days a week when ds was a 1-y.o.).

If your only reason for working is to save up for a house, I think you should probably SAH. You can always buy a house in a few years. Babies don't keep. You can always look into ways to save money and/or getting a PT job to earn some extra money.

If however you have career goals/ future salary potential that you will lose by leaving the workforce, you should plan on spending a lot more on childcare. I think $250/week is pretty average.

If you do go with another childcare provider, make sure they strictly enforce their illness policy. That will help a lot. You may also want to talk to your child's doctor about getting a flu shot.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 08-21-2003 - 5:36am
It really depends on the area. I consider myself high quality and I charge $125 a week for one child full time. That's actually a little bit higher than the other day cares around here so I guess we're below average price wise. I get a lot of calls that start out with "I hear you're really expensive but really good..do you have any openings?" LOL

Sue

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Avatar for cyndiluwho
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 08-21-2003 - 5:45am
Bargain shopping and finding a dcp do not go well tgether. You don't pick a dep based on price. You pick on based on how well they fit with you and your child.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 08-21-2003 - 7:54am
I think you're geography is clouding your vision.

While I agree that the average cost of good quality daycare nationwide is well over $100, that does not mean anythinga round that price is low quality.

<>

That may hold true in your geographical region, but not in the 3 areas I've lived. In VA, AZ and OK, I've been able to find quality daycare for infants, toddlers and preschoolers for right around teh $100 mark. For ds in VA, as an infant, he was $115 a week FT. For ds in AZ as a toddler, he was $105 a week FT. For ds in OK, right now, as a preschooler, he is $89 a week FT. And all three of those quoted places were EXCELLENT. the place in AZ was teh cheapest center in town; yet it was the best.

I do agree however, that the OPer may be expecting too much for too little. But that depends on where she lives.

Hollie

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