Thomas Hawk photo, Flickr
By Allison Senften,
Something has been weighing on my mind. It has been for more than a year and now that my youngest is almost eight months old it seems to be weighing more heavily than ever.
It’s something that my husband and I have discussed over and over with no resolution or firm decision. It’s a bridge that every parent must cross at some point, and while we have visited this crossroads before, this time the choices seem harder and more complicated. And our time is running out.
Have you guessed what I’m talking about yet? Yup. Daycare.
It may not seem like an end of the world decision, and for some it’s not but this seems to be the hardest parenting decision we’ve had to make yet.
We’ve decided to have two kids (so far), we’ve chosen their names, to vaccinate or not, what schools they should go to, but for some reason we just can’t decide whether to daycare or not.
Maybe it’s because this decision has the potential to destroy us. And I don’t mean my children’s development or our relationship with them. I mean financially. And the more I talk to my friends of two or more, the more I realize we’re not alone.
With my return to work date creeping closer a decision needs to be made.
And while we weigh out all the options – the pros and cons, this work schedule and that work schedule, this job or that job, it always comes down to one thing. The same thing. Every time. Money.
I wish the world didn’t revolve around it, but it does.
I’ve never had a problem with putting my two girls in the caring hands of someone else while I went to work, but I do have a problem with how much it would set us back financially to do so. Paying for childcare would cost us more than a mortgage payment. More than a mortgage payment we can’t afford if I go back to work because we have to pay for childcare.
But still more than a mortgage payment we can’t afford if I stay home because I have no income. Frustrating!
There is also the whole scheduling nightmare.
My hubby works nights Monday to Thursday – leaves at 2:30 p.m., gets home by 3:30 a.m., sleeps until 11:30 a.m.
My job is in retail with no set days off and a variety of shifts starting as early as 7 a.m. and ending as late as 9:30 p.m. So I would have to pay for a full-time slot even if I only needed it part time.
And on the early starts or late finishes I would still need some extra help since most daycares aren’t open extra early or late into the evening.
Add an extra challenge – to find somewhere with two open spots. One for my 3.5 year old and one for my will-be one year old. Also frustrating!
I know there are other options.
I can work part-time while my hubby works full-time. I can work on my hubby’s days off. But his schedule could change from nights to days at a moment’s notice and when does that leave us any family time?
Never being together as a family isn’t any better for our girls than putting them in daycare we can’t afford.
What about free daycare? Some of my friends are lucky enough to have family that help out for free. Unfortunately, my in-laws still work full-time and while my parents are both retired, they don’t live locally. And our friends are busy enough with kids of their own so it wouldn’t be fair to ask them to help out on a regular basis.
Can I work from home? Can I turn a hobby into a business? Right now it seems that these are our best options. I’m crafty, and I can sing. And while our decision isn’t concrete yet – we still have a few months to decide for sure – we’re moving more and more in the direction of me working from home in some capacity while hubby works.
So I guess for now this will still be weighing on mind while I try to figure out how to balance being a mom, wife, and business owner.
In between naps, meals, and playtime I will be creating for my crafty business “Monkey & Toad Designs” (focusing on children’s décor), and practicing up songs for my cover band “Five & Dime” (coming soon to a stage near you). And while for now we have to put the dream of owning our own home on hold, hopefully all the hard work and stress will pay off and this will be the best decision for our girls in the long run. The unknown is definitely scary, but sometimes you just need to jump in head first!
My husband and I always joke that we never do anything the easy way, but for once easy would be a nice change! I’d love to know – What did you decide to do? And how did you come to that decision?
[box type=”bio”] Allison is currently a SAHM soon to be WAHM to Bailey, a stubborn and feisty three year old and Brooklynn, a happy and easy-going eight month old. Originally from a small town on Vancouver Island, Allison has lived in Langley for the past 14 years. After working in the retail and service industries, she met her hubby Phil at Starbucks after a drastic career change in 2010 and the rest is history. Two kids later and they’re still trying to figure out this crazy thing called life! Between play dates and children’s activities you will probably spot her picking up her daily Starbuck’s beverage and singing along with the radio. In her free time you are likely to see her on a local stage with her band “Five & Dime” or singing (and sometimes hosting) karaoke. [/box]