Kim: Hello and welcome to Episode 4 of the Balancing Mom Podcast. In today’s episode, we are going to discuss the challenges with childcare. Particularly, managing the time and cost when you’re a full-time working parent or parents.
Stacy: We are your hosts, Kim and Stacy, coming to you from the charming city of Durham, North Carolina. The Balancing Mom Podcast is brought to you by 3BossyBees.com. We’re excited to be here to share tips, advice, and a little bit of sanity that you are not alone in the working parent journey.
Stacy: You’re a little bit ahead of me. Does it get any easier with childcare costs? Give me hope!
It seems like a mystery cause everyone always says “once they’re in school…” Well no. Once they’re in school, you’re kind of juggling even more.
Kim: It seems like a mystery cause everyone always says “once they’re in school…” Well no. Once they’re in school, you’re kind of juggling even more. Maybe the cost might go down some, but that juggle is still there. And, a lot of the costs are still there.
Stacy: Not only is there a cost… but, the costs are still there, and the juggling is more because what, I mean you’re… you work full time in an office. What time do they get out of school?
Kim: They get out of school at 2:30 pm. So, I mean, there’s a whole range of options which I outlined in our blog. So, I outlined in the blog on our site, 3bossybees.com, about the age the kids are and the type of child care that they’re going to need. So, when you have an infant, it’s really expensive. Did you try daycare for a little bit?
Stacy: Well, we started with a nanny first, for a year. And, we had some similar concerns that you might have had. You did for a year, which you did with your oldest child as well. And that was sitting in front of the TV. Not getting social interactions, social norms. And so we put him in daycare and felt as if this juggle was a little easier. The cost was a little less than having someone come in-home at that time. But, it had its challenges, because the transition for our oldest was not a good one.
Kim: It would bring You to tears, sometimes on those mornings. Those mornings are painful when you’re prying little hands off your legs… and tears…
Stacy: Oh the heartbreak… that didn’t go away when I got to my car. I could hear in my car screaming from inside.
Kim: Yeah that’s hard.
Stacy: That was very difficult.
But I didn’t want him at home being put in front of the television because number two and three needed changing or feeding.
Kim: Even when our oldest, just like he said, we started with a nanny. And you know, to your point earlier, about we’re lucky to have the opportunity to have in-home care. It’s what we can afford. But we did. We put our oldest into half-day preschool and it was the same, did not to go. But I didn’t want him at home being put in front of the television because number two and three needed changing or feeding.
Stacy: The distribution of attention…
Stacy: I get it. Absolutely. We felt similar as well. With our oldest, pulling him out of daycare. We did a nanny again when the second one came along. That he took a year off of school, like before going back to pre-school. And that break for him was all he needed to transition back into school half-day. And he loves it now. So it’s not as long of a day. It’s a hard transition for everybody to do that… going into daycare.
Kim: Yeah it is. And they’re so little. Like I’ve said I wished sometimes you know when I see the kid that wants to ride on the school bus… or I’m just so ecstatic to be at the preschool… I always envied parents [that had that] because mine always clung to me and would not let go and every day was painful. So, I get that. But there is, at that age when they’re infants and toddlers, you know that you need the care. And so, you know you need full-time care.
We don’t have the luxury of having parents nearby so the burden completely falls on ourselves and our partners to provide that childcare, because we all work full-time. We’re essentially taking on a second mortgage to pay for childcare. Especially when there’s more than one in the picture.
Stacy: We don’t have the luxury of having parents nearby so the burden completely falls on ourselves and our partners to provide that childcare, because we all work full-time. We’re essentially taking on a second mortgage to pay for childcare. Especially when there’s more than one in the picture.
Kim: And the costs go up. So, I thought, OK once they get to school this is going to be easy. No. After school care costs were expensive. And for three, it was just as much if not more and getting a babysitter for three days a week for after school to pick them up and to take them on activities or to do the reading with them. But, that’s only three days a week. Spouse and I started juggling the other day. Or, you remember when we were working together. I would come into work at 6:00 a.m. I would leave at two to go get them, and then by Thursday after doing this for four days at that point, I’m exhausted.
Stacy: It’s really hard to maintain that pace.
Kim: Yeah. Not just that. The interaction with the kids wasn’t that great. I was so tired I would say “sure, watch TV.” Which, what’s the point in that? Which is what I didn’t want in the first place! I have learned that until are 12, or it might be longer depending on how responsible they actually are. When they reached 12, you’re still paying for care and full-time summer care. And the school is out!
Stacy: Yeah unless you’re tracked out. Right. OK. So it’s accepting that the care costs are going to be there, figuring out what works for you and your partner. If you have a partner crime to juggle these things, and finding what is comfortable. And honestly, the best piece of advice I ever got was taking the path of least resistance. We will opt to eat the costs elsewhere in order to be able to afford the consistent and easy or childcare option. Because at the end of the day it’s our sanity on the line. I mean like for you know waking up at 6 a.m. and picking the kids up at 2:00 that might have worked for your work schedule and you wouldn’t have to pay the extra childcare costs but you weren’t truly happy, it sounds like?
Kim: Right. On our website, on our blog 3BossyBees.com we talk about that and we’ve outlined what it looks like from birth to high school – where your childcare costs are. We’re back to doing what you’re doing now, which is having the in-house care. Having the live-in Au Pair. Because, after having such a turbulent winter, you want normal.
Stacy: You want boring again!
Kim: Yes! I want my rut. I just want to complain that I’ve been doing the same thing.
…the trick is finding what works for you your partner and your family. What is comfortable for you? What can be consistent? Can you maintain that pace for the long haul? And then sticking with it!
Stacy: But there’s something, I mean, people are meant for consistency and how often do you take a different route to work? You know, it’s good to have go-to routines sometimes. But especially the kids need consistency and if you… Well, not just you, Kim but anybody listening – the trick is finding what works for you your partner and your family. What is comfortable for you? What can be consistent? Can you maintain that pace for the long haul? And then sticking with it!
Kim: Right. And I think that is probably the takeaway today, it is the consistency. I wish, looking back, that I had really just committed to 12 years of live-in childcare. It sounds crazy because a lot of times somebody says “but isn’t that weird to have the au pair in your house?”
It was a life-changing decision.
Stacy: It’s been awesome for us. It was a life-changing decision. We’re lucky enough that our houses built for that. We’re fine with that. We also have friends that move to this area. And so, we’re used to having people live with us. We are sort of like that stopover… the stop-gap for people trying to move into the Durham area. So, it works for us. And, that’s just our family. It doesn’t have to work for everybody. We have found so much happiness in consistency. My kids are pleasant. They know what to expect every day. They know the person. They know when we’re going to be home. That means a lot. And, if you’re talking about the long haul, for 12 years, that bliss if you can even find it for a couple years, is totally worth the cost to us.
Kim: Oh yeah. I completely agree. I can tell you from now until we think our oldest can be responsible for himself and his siblings… at the age of 12 or above because we’re in North Carolina. We will probably maintain this live-in care. Because working in the office, I am working in the office, come 5:00 you’re driving down I40, and if there’s a wreck in your late and whoever’s taking care of your child or children has to leave… That’s panic. I mean utter stress!
Stacy: Because they also have a life to get to elsewhere!
Kim: Right! I mean, I remember driving down I40 once when there was a wreck and I needed to pick my oldest up from school and I had already been lectured by the teachers for being late. I can’t do anything. I’m sitting on the highway in standstill traffic. And so what did I do? I’m like “well I guess I’m going to get a ticket for driving down the shoulder.” And, I really cannot stand people who drive down the shoulder when traffic is at a standstill. But I’m just like “I have to get to the school to get him right now.” And you’re trying to leave work in order to go get the kids. It’s just painful. It is painful.
The balance is hard. But finding consistency where you can, is the key.
Stacy: You’re just trying to do right by people who take care of kids, or helping you take care of the kids. To do right by your work… which if you don’t do right by them… then they get rid of you. The balance is hard. But finding consistency where you can, is the key.
Kim: Yes, I agree
Stacy: Kim and I are so grateful that you decided to join us in today’s discussion. We invite you to explore more topics and dive into on Balancing Mom and visit our Web site at 3BossyBees.com. That’s the number three bossy bees dot com. We appreciate your feedback in the reviews as well! We love to hear from Balancing Mom friends! In our next episode. We’ll answer some questions and talk about some of the insights that you’ve shared with us in the past few weeks. Until then, you calm and you know you’ve got this!