Hubby and I ventured out for our first real look at childcare this week, and boy was it depressing. We ended up finding two places that
are reasonably priced, we can afford, we’ll figure out a way to pay for. And we really like them both. We’ll likely be registering our little monkey for one on Monday, and the other is putting him at the top of their wait list…we just need the little buggers in the infant room of the second place to start walking by February in order to have our choice of the two. This was after a day of tears in the lab, though, as I called one place after another, finding out the wait for an infant at several sites was until next summer, and learning that the average cost of childcare in our state, for which we had budgeted, was WELL below what it costs to keep an infant.
In a way, this wasn’t really a surprise. I’ve been hearing for years how expensive childcare is, but it never really hit me how expensive until Hubby and I started procreating. I mean, we’re talking a second mortgage here…actually, more than our current mortgage. I guess I always figured that people who had kids found a way to afford it, so when it was time, I’d magically be making enough money too. Wishful thinking, I know, but my mind does process science more efficiently than money.
It shouldn’t be this hard, though. Hubby and I will find a way to make it work…we’ll get rid of cable (no time for TV anyways), cut back on clothes (not that either of us spend a whole lot in this area as it is), and slow down the rate at which we’re paying down credit card debt (no comment). But we’re lucky – we can afford to make these decisions. What about those who are barely squeaking by as it is? Even the most generous of subsidized programs requires some sort of disposable income. How does a grad student bringing in 20K/year make this decision? Or the single mother barely keeping things together as it is?
No, it shouldn’t be this hard. And, while having children is a venture that shouldn’t be entered into lightly, it shouldn’t be reserved for those who are well off. Something needs to change…