A few weeks ago, taking cues from my two favorite message boards and various experienced moms, I thought it would be time to start researching daycare options.

I realize there are several different schools of thought on the baby-rearing issue. I have no time/interest for judgment or to judge on the aforementioned issue, but I do know that I’d like to learn which option would work best for us.

In an ideal world, I would not stay home and be a mom. Let me rephrase that:  I could not stay home. I just don’t have that capacity. I admire those that do, but I would crash and burn on the first day. Instead, I would prefer to find a happy mix: work a few hours, take a nap, work a few more hours, come home, be a mom and wife. (squeeze in a little happy hour some where!)

In the real world, unfortunately, I’m learning firsthand that a lot of sacrifice is involved in finding that happy mix. (Dad was so right.)

Which brings me back to the whole daycare debacle…I’m barely out of the 1st trimester—well over 6 months before I deliver— and I’m already looking for childcare.

You are crazy, is probably what you’re saying.

Well, in addition to the whole balance/sacrifice thing, I’m rapidly learning that having a baby in a city is nothing like suburban living. First example, wait lists for daycare facilities in our childcare lacking neighborhood are over a year long. I’d need a daycare place by December—9 months away.

Once upon a time, we swore up and down that we’d “move back to Va. when it was time to have kids.” Problem is, you can’t make plans around nature, nor can you make plans around a crappy job market. Both of our jobs happen to be in and around NYC. That’s a fact. So, again, here we are back at the whole balance/sacrifice thing.

So, back to the childcare: Who knew it would create such a debacle? We’ve always planned for childcare to be a large expense because of our location and distant proximity to family. But wow.

I had my first appointment at, I guess you would say, our first choice daycare facility. This place is located pretty close to the main drag, just a few blocks from our house. Those blocks are a huge determining factor, by the way, when you’re sprinting home in the rain, hoping to make it in time for Access Hollywood.

strollers.jpg
{not my picture and this is actually in nyc}

Since the daycare place is across the street from the bus stop, I approached the place and saw the same familiar arsenal of Bugaboo strollers padlocked to the front gate.

I mention these specific strollers not only because they’re one of the trendiest strollers right now (I decided that this brand isn’t practical for us, but I’m still coveting one) but they’re also one of the more expensive lines around. The strollers are indicative to our neighbors and the clientele at the daycare center.

Dudes, I cut coupons almost every Sunday afternoon. I often peruse the bargain racks at Old Navy and Target. I love lots of cheap wine (when I’m not pregnant of course) Perhaps that’s indicative to the type of people we are?

When I met the director of the facility and upon first impression, I thought she was very articulate despite the wimpy handshake. She gave me her spiel and assured me that everything’s clean, up to par and really wonderful. The childcare to provider ratio is reasonable. And of course, everyone has the proper certifications. I’m very impressed. There’s a lot of structure and balance for the older kids—it just seems like a great place for child care.

After the tour and all the basic information, the director remembered to give me the rates. She told me how much it cost per month and at first, I’m not shocked. I’ve priced other places in the area and it seemed comparable- somewhat. I’m all cool until I absorb that astronomical number.

I thanked the director and walked the 4 blocks home. While I walked, I did the math, this place was almost $600 more expensive than other places in the area. Not only that, but it was MORE expensive than our lofty rent.

Not to reveal too much info., but our rent isn’t exactly cheap. Actually, it’s close to 2 times my parents’ former mortgage. Granted, we do live less than a mile from a major metropolis and it is to be expected, but seriously, it’s still rent. It’s not glamorous by any means. And this daycare facility is asking us to pay them more than what we pay for our humble living space?

When Jeff got home, he asked me all about the daycare tour. I tell him how beautiful this facility is, how the place would be really wonderful and how convenient it would be for us.

As always, he gets straight to the point.

“So, how much does it cost?”

“uh. A lot of money. Like, more than our rent.”

“Oh cool, so WE get to LIVE there too?”

Smartass.

Not only am I in total shock now, but I’m even more afraid of our other daycare alternatives (I’ll get into that another day but Jeff’s #1 option involves my mom and me going even crazier.)

But as Jeff would say, it’s not always about me.

Au contraire!

 

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