We had our very first camping trip with kids, it took us long enough considering…
Childcare- the source of the biggest stress of my life since becoming a mother.
I used to think that because a place is licensed by the state to care for children that it would be good enough. I thought that finding a good babysitter would be easy. Boy have I been wrong.
It wasn’t so hard with Shammy, I had posted a Craigslist ad and got dozens of responses and the first person that we interview was perfect and worked great until she resigned a few months down the road. So we then searched again and after a short search we had found the PERFECT home daycare which had to close down because the owner got sick.
By then I was about to give birth to Zen so we weren’t in a rush to find a new daycare. But that is also when things got complicated. I work part time so I only need daycare 1 day a week. Many places don’t offer part time care and those that do have very few spots available so it’s hard to find a place that will take 2 children for just 1 day and when I do they usually charge more than what I make at work on that one day.
For the first year of Zen’s life Shammy hung out at grandma’s house and Zen came to work with me. Once he became mobile he couldn’t continue hanging out at the office without destroying it so when I saw a post about an affordable daycare with an opening I replied. We weren’t impressed with the place but there also wasn’t anything horrible about it so we enrolled the boys. For a few months I wasn’t super pleased but I also didn’t hate it. Then that daycare had to close for 4 months due to the owner needing surgery. She gave us plenty of notice but I still couldn’t find a place on time, grandma helped out when she could. When the daycare finally reopened they decided to do full time only so going back was out of the option.
We have been searching for a reliable daycare/babysitter for 6 months now and affordable care for 1 day a week is very hard to find. The fact that we have some standards that we expect to see doesn’t help. Shammy’s daycare set the bar so high that few places compare. We are not THAT picky as long as the place is safe and clean but that seems to be too much to ask for.
In the past few months we’ve been to places that are infested with fleas, places that use the TV as a babysitter, women that insist on wanting to drive our kids around town to run errand, a place that was so dirty that the floor felt “crunchy” when walking on it and the carpet was so disgusting that we couldn’t understand how somebody that had been living there for only 1 year could have a carpet so dirty. We have seen mold, illegal daycare operations, people that keep lying about their real name, people that babysit in a home where a registered sex offended lives, babysitters whose references warn me against hiring her because she’s been “high” on the job. There are other places were we didn’t even make it past the parking lot because what we saw from the car was enough for us to say “hell no!”
I’ve tried Facebook, I’ve tried mommy friends, I’ve tried Craigslist, babysitting co-ops, Care.com, Sittercity and those similar “nanny services” either people charge outrageous fees (like the SAHM that wanted to charge $130 per day), flake out, don’t pass background checks, their houses don’t pass my husband’s safety inspection, etc.
I work at the WIC office only 1 day a week yet in 2014 I have called out of work more times than in my entire employment there and every time it’s been because I didn’t have a babysitter. I love my job but it doesn’t pay that much. Good paying jobs in my area are extremely few and far between and daycare is so expensive that working full time wouldn’t bring any extra income to the household after daycare is paid for.
Lately I hear of so many moms that have had to reluctantly leave the workplace, not because they wanted to stay home with the kids, but because they couldn’t afford to go to work. No wonder there are so many SAHMs in my area. I used to think that their husband made lots of money but I’ve learned that many of them simply had to leave the workplace after the second kid.
When recent news headlines talk about daycare being more expensive than college in 31 states I wonder if new pregnancy books should start advising parentings to start a childcare fund the moment the stick turns blue. I didn’t think that kids were “that” expensive until I started to price daycare.
I feel defeated, I don’t know how much more stress I can endure with this babysitter search, I’ve lost so much sleep and had so many anxiety attacks over it. I don’t know how long before I am faced with having to quit my job (or the decision is made for me due to my horrible attendance lately).
What do I want this mother’s day? I want affordable, clean, safe and reliable childcare on Wednesdays from 7:20am to just before 3pm, is that too much to ask for?