Friday, February 27, 2015

Going into debt over daycare

Money. It's something we're told never to talk about. At parties and social functions, we know to stir-clear of questions about one's annual salary or how much debt they have on credit cards. Money talk is taboo, unless structured into advise about saving for retirement or best options to finance X,Y or Z.

Yet money is the great divider. The difference between opportunities and closed doors. And where this subject gets particularly sensitive is when money impacts our families. Our ability to expand them and even make sure they thrive.

At some point, I need to write a post about financing fertility treatments when you don't have insurance coverage. Though there are many benefits to living in the Pacific Northwest, one major downfall is that there is no mandate for insurance coverage for fertility treatments. Hence Grey and I entered into parenthood with thousands of dollars of debt under our belts, all of it deemed as "cosmetic" or "unnecessary." Now before anyone jumps down my throat, I recognize that the decision to do this was ours. That said, anyone who assumes that fertility treatments are on par with cosmetic surgery seriously needs to have their head examined.

Regardless, we naively believe that once the Beats arrived, we'd somehow have the opportunity to make some headway on that debt. After all, our family was complete and though we knew about the expenses from baby-related items, we assumed that would be only for a limited time.

And then we started daycare.

The soaring cost of childcare is not a new topic. Like many new parents who don't have family close by, Grey and I have had to rely on paid help for childcare. And though we were aware that it would be expensive to have childcare when I returned to work, what I wasn't prepared for was that many of the childcare centers in our area cost more than what I bring in annual through my job as a lecturer. And I'm not alone. Many others are going so far to weigh whether or not to work as the cost of childcare is enough to justify leaving the workforce. To resolve some of this, there's been push for subsidies, but as of now most families are left with trying to figure out what they can afford and how best to manage this situation.

Grey and I have struggled with childcare for awhile. Within our Multiples group, there's a push to hire au pairs, as they are far less expensive then nannies and allow for exposure to different cultures. But the au pair route isn't without it's horror stories and it also requires housing another individual, which we are not currently able to do. Then there's the nanny route; a route that I always associated with the elite. Back in December, we almost signed up for this option having vet an experienced nanny who fit our price range. But then we learned her husband was a second-degree sex offender, meaning he was likely to reoffend, and has an extensive criminal history (none of which was made public and took some investigating to uncover). Needless to say, we're now gun-shy regarding nannies.

This leaves the finally option, which are daycare centers. The one that the Beats are currently attending is one that we lucked into and over the last year we've developed a close relationship with all of the teachers. I could go on and on about the benefits of them going to school, interacting with kids their age and the structured environment. We see the benefits and I know that both Grey and I have learned so much from the teachers and have formed close friendships with the other parents through this center. The problem is it's insanely expensive, eating up most of our monthly earnings.

And it's become a major source of stress in our family.

The additional factor in all of this is my career path is highly undervalued. Each quarter my schedule changes, all due to need for instructors and offering classes. Hence there's very little stability and I find myself scrambling a lot of the time. The problem is, I know that this scramble process is part of the equation, with institutions using this process to find instructors they want to have on long-term. And exiting this track for any reason before you've found security is seen as grounds for not being good enough or not being passionate about teaching.

This weekend, Grey and I need to restructure our debt. We need to look over where we're at and figure out how we'll get through the next few months. In the meantime, we're both making some hard decisions and facing some hard realities. On Grey's end, it may mean exiting his field to find positions that pay more. For me, it's either somehow finding an entirely new career path or exiting the workforce for awhile. Both things neither of us want for the other.

At the end of the day, though, we can't continue to scrap by. As others talk about vacations and new purchases, we need to find a way to balance the budget so that we don't have to make the decision about whether we can even afford basic necessities.

All while we're still trying to pay off the debt from IVF.


  1. All of this sucks. As a graduate student we pay out substantially more in childcare than I make on fellowship. Careful budgeting and luck have made this possible for the one year we are paying for two kids (S starts public school next year). I fear what happens when I graduate and still don't make enough... I hope you are able to figure something out. (Newish reader, first time commenter, I think. Hi.)

  2. Daycare is so ridiculous. Because my husband and I both work about an hour away from our house (in opposite directions), we didn't have the choice of an in-home daycare because of the hours that we would need. I want to cry every week when I see how much comes out of our bank account for daycare. Thankfully that number is going to drop next week when she moves into the older room but if this pregnancy continues then we are going to have to find an extra $20K lying around. Not sure where that is going to come from.

  3. oh hon, I so understand. We have been lucky in that we've not paid childcare (yet), but all our extra money goes toward our debts. We do scrape to save for things we want, but there is a lot I worry about too. I have a lot of the same issues as Non Sequitur Chica. Because of my long commute C would be in daycare 7 am - 5:30 pm. That is a long time and it's hard to find someone willing to watch him those hours. This is one of the reasons (besides my wanting to be home more), that I might have to change jobs even though I don't really want to. I can't imagine what you would be going through with two toddlers in care. I guess it's one of the hardships of twins/siblings, but it sucks even more that along with childcare costs, we have IVF debt to worry about. I am too afraid to even mention the loan and Credit card debt we have over it. BUT we have a lovely son and he was worth it all.

  4. Um yes - our monthly daycare bill is more than our mortgage. #crazy

  5. Here are some figures for you. We have two kids in two day a week daycare for. 9 1/2 months. Yearly costs are around $8500. For two days. For august thru May.

    And this is our luxury not necessity. If we needed to cut it we could. Luckily I work and am able to be home by noon do hubs can go to work. He does the mornings. I go the late mornings and on. If we both had normal 9-5 jobs, I don't know if we'd be able to afford it.

  6. It's crazy ... we have our kids in before and after care, and summer care, and I feel like I've paid for college three times over already. I understand ... and I'm so sorry. I wish it were easier. :(

  7. I hear ya. We'll be financing baby 2 just after we feelwe're getting a leg up after baby 1 and fertility treatments. And then daycare, extra daycare with another baby,etc etc. The days of vacations are behind us for awhile and the next one lies far ahead in the future... We've been bff's/enemies with excel and our budget these past two years. Gone are the days of careless spending.

  8. I so hear you on this. I don't know what I am stressed about more, worrying how she will sleep at daycare or worrying about how we will afford it! Let alone if we are able to have another. I wish I was from Quebec where IVF is covered and daycare is super affordable...

  9. I'm worried about this too when the time comes. I'm so sorry you guys have to go through this stress, and that it might mean having to change career paths from doing what you love. Day care costs are nuts.

  10. I am so sorry you are going through this. But I'm also glad you are writing about this so people going through infertility know that it doesn't get easier if you are able to become parents. The challenges just become different.

    Best wishes to you and your family. I'm confident everything will be ok in the end. :-)

  11. This is not something I've had to deal with personally, but I knew several parents who had their kids in our building's licensed daycare centre -- and I knew the fees they had to pay (higher for infants up to 18 months, of course). Yikes!! Our federal government provides a child care benefit that amounts to about $100 per month that parents can use as they see fit (freedom of choice, etc. etc.) -- big deal, right? I would so much rather see my tax dollars going to subsidize quality daycare programs than tax breaks for big corporations, military commitments, etc. :p


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