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Drop Off

I left my daughter with a bunch of strangers this morning. Kind of an odd experience, but not as upsetting as I might have thought. The folks at the daycare seem to know what they’re doing, and the whole scene inspired confidence.

This is teacher prep week, so Xy’s not quite back at work full time yet. She was going to do the drop-off herself, but decided last night that she was too likely to burst into tears. So it fell upon me, as it will regularly once school starts. I strapped her onto my chest and walked the four blocks. Didn’t integrate the bike into the routine yet. It was threatening rain, so I wanted my hands free for the umbrella. Didn’t need it, though.

Daycare is expensive. I’ve rented whole houses for less than we’ll pay per month. It certainly does make one look twice at the possibility of one parent staying home to care for the child. Garvey says he and his wife manage it; coincidentally I read (in Parade of all places) about another couple (from Indiana of all places) who are doing the same thing. In both cases, these folks are making ends meet with substantially less salary and a bigger mortgage and they’re not going into debt.

I don’t know how they do it. We don’t live an extravagant lifestyle. By my calculations, even if we cut out all luxuries — no internet, no Netflix, no alcohol, never eat at a restaurant — it still doesn’t add up to that much. I don’t know what else we could cut.

Anyway, those calculations will have to wait, because we’re committed to our present course for at least the next school year. Xy isn’t the type to welch on an obligation; she’s said she’ll teach this year, and so she shall. That means our daughter will be in the hands of others for a good portion of the day.

And I think she’ll enjoy it. She seems fairly happy and comfortable with strangers, and I suppose there’s some socialization value even at this young age.

But the next month may be a difficult transitional period.

Published inFamilyFinancial Shit


  1. Hey, that’s a big deal–leaving your child in the care of others for the first time. My experience–both with Sydney and with other children I have known and loved–has proven that, given a nurturing environment, kids get a lot out of the experience. If I stayed home full time with Syd we would both be fine, with play dates and all of that, but she gets something from Abeona House that I just couldn’t give her.

    But it is harder, in a lot of ways: the cost, for one thing; what happens when they get sick; the transitional periods when tearful goodbyes are more common than not; teacher turnover; etc. You just do the best you can, play close attention to your girl and give her everything you have when you’re with her. SHE won’t suffer from being in childcare–it’s the parental guilt that causes suffering.

    Just my two cents. I think its going to work out fine for all of you.

  2. Julie Julie

    A friend was recently faced with the same dilemma. The fee charged by the daycare center was exorbitant. She was able to find a student, who was taking evening classes, to babysit during the day. It was a win-win because the baby was in her own home and less likely to pick up all of the “illnesses” that are passed around at the daycare centers. The student, on the other hand, was able to study during the baby’s rest time. Also, the “at home care” was MUCH more reasonable.

  3. Lee Lee

    Rachel and I are constantly talking about the insane price for child care these days. In some circumstances it is better for one parent to stay at home while the other earns an income. I did it for my daughter for the first year of her life, and when we finally decided to put her into daycare, it was about half the cost that it is currently. That wasn’t even 10 years ago!

    Off subject, but do you and XY like apples B? I’ve been pondering something for the rox family.

  4. Lee: Yes, I like apples. I usually eat one at lunch every day. Royal Gala is my favorite variety of those readily available at the supermarket.

  5. julesb_town julesb_town

    to work or not to work…a big ? for parents. I have been home w/our 2 kids for 6 years now. I knew when I became a parent that If at all possible I wanted to stay home w/our kids. My husband and I talked at length about it before we got married. It has been a struggle financially-but we are making it. and remind ourselves regularly that our financial situation won’t be this way forever.
    It is a personal decision for your family and we as parents could be more supportive of others decisions when they differ from ours as opposed to being judgemental about them. — w/to work or not, immunizations, discipline, the list goes on and on…One of the beautiful things about your situation is that XY teaches so she has family friendly time off! Good luck in your daycare adventure- and props to you for taking persephone on her first day to spare XY 🙂

  6. jc WI jc WI

    Good Luck! It’s a tough decision. We forgo paying the $600-800(some places are 1200 out here) for one child in daycare and just figured out how to do it on one income. So now I stay home with our two boys – we take it year by year since they are getting school-aged

  7. Garvey Garvey

    “It has been a struggle financially-but we are making it. and remind ourselves regularly that our financial situation won’t be this way forever.”

    That pretty much nails it, really.

    I don’t have any magic formula for what we’ve done differently, unfortunately. Some bargain shopping and making due w/ what we’ve already got, goes a long way. I can say the one big thing we do without is going to restaurants.

    If you could track your spending over the next six to eight months, you may be able to figure out where your money goes. Food, in particular, is a place with enormous money-saving potential.

  8. Garvey Garvey

    An addendum: you, B, spoke of examining your luxuries. It’s not the open, obvious luxuries that hurt the bottom line. It’s the hidden ones. e.g., Examine your grocery spending. Your thermostats. Etc.

    It’s also the smaller luxuries, too. Those two pints of beer I’d love to drink every week at a bar? Seems like such a tiny indulgence. But I don’t, because that would add up to $40/mo, which is half an electric bill, easily.

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