Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Daycare dilemma

I am far too smart to be this poor. It's so frustrating. I am 35 and still struggle and live paycheck to paycheck. I don't have a house and really don't see one in my future. I have a history of being bad with money. But my current dilemma is the most frustrating: daycare.

A lot of people know how hard I researched prior to Claire's birth. If my daughter is spending 9 hours a day somewhere, it has to be top notch. I'm not saying that like I'm some big snob. I don't mean it has to have some high tech fancy stuff; I just wanted to make sure she was in a facility that was obscenely clean with staff that would care for her almost as well as mommy. I interviewed the directors and quickly fell in love with the KinderCare down the street from work. The center is very close to work and a shopping plaza; however, it's tucked back in an almost remote area that you don't have a reason to drive past unless you're expressly going there. The director was very outgoing, warm, friendly, and very important to me, the infant staff has a very low turnover. I immediately felt comfortable from the moment I walked in the door.

I began taking Claire there in January of this year. She has absolutely thrived, and I believe her development has stayed on track because she copies what the other kids do. She socializes well and is comfortable meeting new people. And the great staff in her room have helped me immensely. I make no secret of not having a clue what I'm doing a lot of the time, and they've helped me with feeding and sleeping advice, etc. There are always happy pictures of Claire being sent home and my other favorite..art projects! And of course the best..NO TV!!!!

So that's the great part of the story. Then comes the downside: the tuition. It's just so expensive. Other centers in my area are all within a few dollars of the price, so KinderCare isn't being outrageous. And no offense to anyone who uses home daycare, but I won't put Claire in home daycare. I want her somewhere very structured with other kids her age where the regulations are followed to a "T" (and I've seen that firsthand).

I'm up against people telling me I need to put her somewhere cheaper. People who say "we want the best for her, too, but..." There IS no but, people. This is my CHILD. Nothing on earth is more important than that little girl. This is not about finding her some fancy place to have a birthday party or about buying her the "best" doll they make. This is about putting her in someone's care 45 hours a week. There can be no compromise there. These are the years when she develops into her own person, and I need her to be in the best environment for that.

So what can I do...so far I've been trying to find freelance proofreading work, because Maryland Composition only sends me work about four times a year, and that's not enough. I've also been trying to find transcription work, because I used to transcribe years ago. Anything..anything. I'm going to be contacting my leasing office to ask if I could move into a one bedroom apartment until my lease is up in May. At that time, I'm trying to find a place in a more rural area...maybe Westminster or somewhere else in Carroll County..part of a house for rent with a yard. Until then, I could save one or two hundred dollars a month by renting a one bedroom. So that's what I'm doing.

When I see Katie Holmes and Nicole Kidman and all these other celebrity mommies showing up for fancy dinners every night of the week, I sigh in frustration, because if they only knew the struggle some of us go through. And really, I have it good. There are others far worse off. I'm just trying to hold on and do the best I can for my baby.

1 comment:

LoveLladro said...

Dude... I so feel you on this one! We are coming from different ends but I think we are ending up at the same place. First and foremost (if you want my opinion)... Claire goes to the place you want her to go... $200 a month or $4000. You are right, she spends a good bit of her time there, it must be the place you want her. Skimp in other areas... downsizing the apartment, kitchen wares instead of toys, shopping second hand... Daycare isn't something you want to skimp on. As for the people telling you that... do they even have kids?

I like your ideas for saving $$ and trying to earn extra. I will email you off line with some things we have come up with (other than living rent free with the in laws ;~)