In my mom + career lifetime, we’ve always paid for daycare. ALWAYS. We’ve never had a nearby family member or friend to provide that service at a reduced rate, for free, or on trade.
Fortunately, our girls have gone to the same daycare provider, Lori, their entire lives. For 20+ years Lori has run a state-licensed daycare in her home. Lori has been a great partner in helping us raise our children. I thank God that we found her.
Daycare isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s our second highest monthly expense after our mortgage. And the basic daycare cost doesn’t include additional activities such as pre-school, music lessons, and swim classes.
From time-to-time someone who has never paid for daycare will ask how much it costs.
I tell them.
Their eyes bug out as they respond, “How can you afford that?”
At this point I’m not quite sure what to say. There are lots of things that I could say, but my momma raised me better than that. So I’ll just blog about it.
For example, I could say:
“You know, we’ve never done the math …I’m not sure if we can afford it!”
I have a college degree. Furthermore, in the past 11+ years I’ve worked for two different banks and now a credit union. But even without my BYU education and financial services background, I'm certain that I could have run the numbers to determine if we can monetarily afford to pay for daycare.
But they are missing the point when they ask if we can afford daycare. Really missing the point.
Paying for daycare is a dollar amount. You can always find someone who will do it for less money.
But there is a difference between caring for a child, and babysitting a child. If you want a provider to care for your child with love, attention, encouragement, and discipline, you should pay more…even if it’s to a family member. If you simply want someone to keep your child out of trouble and feed them a sandwich at noon, then pay less.
You get what you pay for.
What I typically say is:
“Yes, it’s expensive. However, we feel it is more than fair to pay someone that much to care for our children while we’re working. In fact, I think most parents in our situation would pay that much or more to ensure their children are receiving the best possible care when they are away from home.”
Treat your children’s daycare providers with respect. Thank them for doing their job well. Pay them on time, and give them bonuses and perks. In short, treat them the way you want your boss to treat you. Your children are worth it!