Author Topic: Kids and money  (Read 14164 times)

Mae80s

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Kids and money
« on: August 26, 2013, 09:31:20 AM »
My first post here! I have been lurking and reading MMM for several months now.

A bit about me: 31, live with boyfriend (37) - combined net monthly income is $6800. We live in Canada so pay higher taxes, but don't have to worry about healthcare costs.

Neither one of us has debt. We don't own - live in a city where the average house price is $550K - but only pay $1200 rent (including all utilities and heat). We don't have cars. Both use transit and bike. Insurance is expensive in the city and would start at about $350/month .... not that I want a car.

For the past six months, I have been able to save 50% of my net pay. I already had existing savings, but being able to do this has been encouraging. Still figuring out the investing thing, but have the budget down. Not sure how much he has saved, but he doesn't live beyond his means. Still trying to convert him over to this.

Anyway, we've talked about kids, the future, etc. I honestly don't know you can still have an early retirement and have kids.

In Canada, I'd get monthly maternity pay of $1800 for 12 months. If we both worked there would be daycare costs of $1600+ per month per child until full-time school starts at age 5.  It makes my head spin. I make more than him.

Oh and I'm not even considering any costs of possibly owning property. A two bedroom apartment here is $375k+

How have parents here done it? Perhaps I'm assuming the wrong things.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2013, 09:34:13 AM by Mae80s »

CreatioExNihilo

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2013, 09:48:24 AM »
Take some advice, leave some advice: My advice, have kids they are a true and worthy investment in the future of the world. They also bring so much joy. I'd rather be broke than not have my kids. I love them to death!

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2013, 10:03:49 AM »
Take some advice, leave some advice: My advice, have kids they are a true and worthy investment in the future of the world. They also bring so much joy. I'd rather be broke than not have my kids. I love them to death!

Ditto. You are never ready either. Our second one was a surprise to us.... and we managed just fine on one income.

But I don't believe in having a kid only to put one in daycare 3 months later. That is the worst thing you can do to a baby. If you are not able or prepared to give up your life and make sacrifices to raise your kid, maybe you don't want to be a parent.

bogart

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2013, 11:37:47 AM »
But I don't believe in having a kid only to put one in daycare 3 months later. That is the worst thing you can do to a baby. If you are not able or prepared to give up your life and make sacrifices to raise your kid, maybe you don't want to be a parent.

Sigh.  Surely we need only to read the newspaper or flick on the TV to realize that, tragically, it's far from the worst thing you can do to a baby, moreover, for some of us and certainly myself, it's key to being the best parent we can be (and I'm a great one if I do say so myself, though I haven't "given up my life" to achieve that.  Being a mom is an important part, though not the only important part, of my life).  I put my in childcare (albeit for 16 hours/week) at 2 months and have never looked back or regretted that decision for a moment (not strictly true, truthfully we might have done better to make more use of paid childcare than we have.  But we've never regretted using as much as we have, more whether we didn't use it enough.).

Having access to paid childcare has made it possible for me (*see below) to work, it's put me in great contact with trained experts who either care about my child or are really, really good at faking it, it's provided our son with multiple interesting environments and great opportunities to interact with other children. 

*It also made it possible for my husband to work during the early years of our son's life, though he RE when our son was three.  We increased, not decreased, our use of paid childcare at that point (well, the fall after DS turned 4, so really about age 3.5), not because we "needed" to but, again, because we recognized that, though expensive, the childcare available to us was a good way for us to ensure that our son was getting the interactions with other kids and the exposure to interesting stuff that a kid his age (and energy level, ahem) needs. 

We personally are without question fortunate both to be able to afford good quality childcare and to have great access to lots of good alternatives.  Not everyone does.  And some people are great being around small kids 24/7 and would rather set up their own playgroups and so forth, but that's not us.  Great with our son, yes.  But we need some time away from him and have no interest in coordinating the logistics of getting our kid together with other kids most days of the week -- something he clearly craves and benefits from. 

As for the OP's question, I'd choose being a mother over RE any day and every day.  Of course you may feel differently and that's good too.  But if it's something you want, it's priceless.  Jump in and enjoy it, and beware letting the Internets (myself included) tell you how to do it.

rollie

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2013, 12:06:17 PM »
Having a child is less expensive than it looks. And paying for childcare for 5 years is, well, just five years. And you don't need to think "per child". Think of one child at a time.

One critical factor is the cost of child care. I believe you when you say it's $1600 per month, but around my home it's $1100 per month yet I pay $800. How? By carefully sourcing. Home-based daycares and smaller daycares cost less than the commercial ones, and often have better, home-like care for your child. My daughter has been in day care since she was 4 months old, always home-based. That means there were never more than 8 children with her, and often only 5. And it was always less expensive than the large daycares. Currently, the preschool daycare she is in has a more demanding academic curriculum than the public school kindergarten, and she is ahead of other children her age in math and reading.

Check for local immigrant families who may make great nannies/child care providers, but just don't have the perfect language skills to work in the commercial sector. And an extra benefit--your kid might even pick up another language!




Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2013, 12:15:52 PM »
Well, like I've said before, there was a friend of a friend, who did not work, but put her child in daycare anyway. I just have to shake my head. Kids get plenty of interaction when they get to preschool age and leading up to that with family and friends. In today's world we are just too busy, too broke or just plain 'don't always feel like' raising our own kids.

Of course this is sort of a reflection of popular culture in some ways, when I see a recent cover of Time magazine read:

« Last Edit: August 26, 2013, 12:17:39 PM by Mr.Macinstache »

Jimbo

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2013, 12:22:34 PM »
What's wrong with the childfree life?...

I don't get your point...

Please don't say the words I hate the most regarding childrearing: "Not having children is so selfish..."

I really don't see your point.

As for the topic, I agree that having kids does not have to be expensive. I also think that time is on your side regarding the price of houses in Toronto (guessing?). This housing bubble of ours has started crumbling...

Insanity

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2013, 12:28:41 PM »
Well, like I've said before, there was a friend of a friend, who did not work, but put her child in daycare anyway.

My wife is a SAHM.  Our daughter has been going part-time (started out 3 half days, then went to 2 full days, now at 3 full days) to a day care facility.  It gives my wife a chance to focus on our son and provides our daughter the ability to interact with others as well as learn things she wouldn't have necessarily learned at home.

Myrmida

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2013, 04:10:13 PM »
I'm a fellow Canadian with a 2-year-old an another on the way at the ripe age of 38.  So, I'll add a few things to consider. 

1. I assume that you either want children, your spouse wants children or you are considering whether you want children.  It's great that you're discussing children and how they will affect your finances.  You may also want to consider whether you want to commit the energy to having kids, as they use up more of that resource than money.
2. Before we had kids, we made a lot more money, but we also spent a lot.  Having a child has forced us to become more disciplined about money, and we now save more than we did before we had a kid, and that's after going down to one income.  You already have a fairly impressive savings rate, so I don't know if this would be true for you.
3. Men and women can share parental leave (although I believe that women have to use the first 6 weeks) and can even take it at the same time.  There is also no obligation to return to work after taking the EI for the period of leave.  I out-earn my spouse.  We wanted to have a parent stay at home.  I took the first 7 months of leave, and he took the rest.  I hated being at home.  He didn't love it, but he didn't hate it either, so he now stays home.  Men can make great stay-at-home parents.
4. The "baby industry" is as bad as the wedding industry.  You don't need a $1000 stroller, a $10,000 nursery or special baby formula made from the milk of organically raised virgin goats.
5. There is nothing wrong with daycare.
6. The EI you get during parental leave is taxed at source, so be prepared for not getting the entire amount.
7. Kids may delay your retirement date.  You have to decide what your priority is.  With kids, we are still hoping to retire before age 50.
8. I like lists.

mpbaker22

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2013, 04:17:56 PM »
What's wrong with the childfree life?...

I don't get your point...

Please don't say the words I hate the most regarding childrearing: "Not having children is so selfish..."

I really don't see your point.

As for the topic, I agree that having kids does not have to be expensive. I also think that time is on your side regarding the price of houses in Toronto (guessing?). This housing bubble of ours has started crumbling...

Not that i wholly agree with the sentiment, but isn't refusing to have children because you want to live a different life selfish, by definition?

avonlea

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2013, 04:19:36 PM »
Neither one of us has debt.

This is awesome!  Really.  How many young couples wish they could say this? 


For the past six months, I have been able to save 50% of my net pay. I already had existing savings, but being able to do this has been encouraging. Still figuring out the investing thing, but have the budget down. Not sure how much he has saved, but he doesn't live beyond his means. Still trying to convert him over to this.

Anyway, we've talked about kids, the future, etc. I honestly don't know you can still have an early retirement and have kids.

Congrats on the savings!
I think you will have to get into the nitty gritty of each other's finances to find out which options you have, but you can still probably hit ER with kids. 


How have parents here done it? Perhaps I'm assuming the wrong things.

This doesn't necessarily answer your question about ER, but I'd like to say that these factors have made family life very nice for us:

1) Medium COL area.   Salaries are not high, but the quality of life is very good for the price we pay.  It also allows us to live on one income.  (I understand that not every family prefers to live that way, but if it is a choice that you would like...)

2) A great job, maybe not the best salary.  My husband doesn't make a lot of money, but he loves his job. It has nice benefits, like a lot of vacation time and a flexible schedule.  He has gotten to be at almost every school function or field trip that my daughter wanted him to attend (sometimes she doesn't want me--definitely a daddy's girl).

3) We live simply and can save.  Less stress, less mess.

I don't know how much you love the area where you live or what options you have for your careers, but the more simplified life can be, often the better. 

To be honest, my husband isn't interested in ER.  He thought I was nuts when I suggested it to him.  The Chicken Little in me loves the idea of financial independence.  If his job starts to suck, he can leave in a few years.  (He's a natural minimalist, so the FI goal will be reached anyway.) I plan to start working again in my 40s after the kids are gone. (We had babies young.)  I know it will be more fun working when I don't have to.

We started saving aggressively about ten years ago.  We should hit FI in about 7 years.  You already have savings, so you will probably hit it sooner.  Early retirement is an option for families with kids, it just won't be hit as soon as it would be for DINKs.
ETA:  I meant that you will probably hit FI before 17 years.  I might have made it look like 7.

I agree with Myrmida.  Focus on your top priorities.  Figure out a way to make them possible.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2013, 07:01:53 PM by avonlea »

CNM

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2013, 04:29:06 PM »
We had a baby 1 year ago.  I, too, make more than my husband.  This is what we did:

1. We saved money anticipating medical expenses.
2. We saved money anticipating in-home childcare after the baby was born.

Now that our son is 1 year old, we are probably going to start putting him in a daycare.  Right now, his 4 grandparents are providing childcare.  (They volunteered and want to do it, at least for the time being.  We are very lucky in this regard.) 

I have nothing against parents who stay home with their children but it was not the right choice for us.   Putting children in daycare or using a nanny is not going to damage them despite what fear mongers will have you believe. 

Lans Holman

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2013, 04:31:21 PM »
Well, like I've said before, there was a friend of a friend, who did not work, but put her child in daycare anyway. I just have to shake my head. Kids get plenty of interaction when they get to preschool age and leading up to that with family and friends. In today's world we are just too busy, too broke or just plain 'don't always feel like' raising our own kids.


One friend of a friend is your evidence for why childcare is the "worst thing" you can do to a kid? 
Every family has to make their own choices about what makes sense for them and if they can find a safe, stimulating environment for that kid that allows them to keep going in their career, you've got no business saying they're bad parents. 
To the OP, I'd say if you want kids and feel emotionally ready for them, you can certainly find a way to make it work financially.  I love myrmida's point about the wedding industry.  There's also no reason you have to buy an apartment if renting is so much cheaper, or that you have to buy a car just because you have a kid.  Question all those assumptions that other people make for you.

bogart

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2013, 07:23:09 PM »

Not that i wholly agree with the sentiment, but isn't refusing to have children because you want to live a different life selfish, by definition?

In a semantic sense I suppose this might be true (though maybe not).  For me, having a child because I wanted to live that life (being a mom) was entirely selfish, not (again) that I regret it for a minute. 

Personally I can imagine either alternative being chosen for selfish reasons or for their inverse (one could choose not to have children despite wanting them desperately because of concerns about overpopulation, for example).  I do tend to think that the decision to have a child is often best when made for selfish reasons, as ideally I think every child should enjoy having parents who believe that having that child is among the very best things that ever happened to them.

Mega

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2013, 07:55:47 PM »
From a relatively new dad in the GTA. (30 years old with a 17 month old)

The best childcare is also the least expensive  - home daycare where the provider is a SAHM with kids around the age of your child. You can really see how they treat their own children, and hence how your children will be treated. $40 a day in Burlington Ontario.

Your $1600 estimate works out to $80 a day. The legal limit in Ontario is 5 kids, making this a $100,000/year job. If you can charge $80 per day per child you may want to switch careers.  :)

Other than that, kids are as expensive as you let them be. Buy used goods via Craigslist or Facebook groups.

Where are you in Canada? I have different home buying advice based on your city of residence.

Roses

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2013, 12:29:46 AM »
Regardless of whether you think daycare will ruin your kid of if you can't wait to drop them off every morning (kinda kidding:) be sure you do the math on both your jobs vs one of you staying home.  Sometimes it is the more frugal option.  The parent who stays home can also watch another kid or two some of the time for extra money and for companionship for your child.  As they get older having another child around can actually help you.  I have my nephew here twice a week and my sister thanks me profusely.  But it actually helps me out a lot to have my son entertained and I can even get lots of work done on those days.

If you do decide to work I have found the cheapest option to be a nanny-share situation.  This is where you find one or two other kids around your kid's age and hire one nanny between all the parents.  In my area this works out to be cheaper than the daycare rates.  Also, you won't be paying for child-care forever.  They'll soon go to public school and if you don't overdo it on extracurricular activities, tons of toys & new clothes it really isn't that expensive.

Myrmida

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2013, 08:45:33 AM »
Regardless of whether you think daycare will ruin your kid of if you can't wait to drop them off every morning (kinda kidding:) be sure you do the math on both your jobs vs one of you staying home.  Sometimes it is the more frugal option. 

When you do the math, consider lost opportunity to some degree.  If you stay at home, you are not losing just the wages for those years, but also potential salary increases that come with X years of experience.  However, it can still be worth it financially or for personal choice reasons.  One book that discusses how to take time off and return to work later without losing too much steam is "Comeback Moms" by Monica Samuels.

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2013, 08:48:03 AM »
What's wrong with the childfree life?...

I don't get your point...

Please don't say the words I hate the most regarding childrearing: "Not having children is so selfish..."

Nothing wrong with not having kids at all. I don't judge those who don't. But these people seem to be the ones who look down their nose and roll their eyes at the crying baby in the store. There is some degree of selfishness involved in that choice though.

Well, like I've said before, there was a friend of a friend, who did not work, but put her child in daycare anyway.

My wife is a SAHM.  Our daughter has been going part-time (started out 3 half days, then went to 2 full days, now at 3 full days) to a day care facility.  It gives my wife a chance to focus on our son and provides our daughter the ability to interact with others as well as learn things she wouldn't have necessarily learned at home.

Then it seems like you wasting a lot of money on daycare that isn't even needed. I think some parents get to overzealous when it comes to 'socializing' their child. They get plenty of that in preschool on up. Lots of times its a nice excuse to get the kid out of the house.

Perhaps I am a little bitter... My wife knows a LOT of lazy moms. I'll just leave it at that.

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2013, 08:49:40 AM »
Well, like I've said before, there was a friend of a friend, who did not work, but put her child in daycare anyway. I just have to shake my head. Kids get plenty of interaction when they get to preschool age and leading up to that with family and friends. In today's world we are just too busy, too broke or just plain 'don't always feel like' raising our own kids.


One friend of a friend is your evidence for why childcare is the "worst thing" you can do to a kid? 

Reread the bold. It was about her being a lazy mom.

Back to the topic...sorry.

Jimbo

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2013, 09:07:25 AM »
Not having kids is as selfish as having kids, that was my point. There is no better option (well, unless we do consider environmental consequences, but still, I respect wholly people deciding to have kids) but for some reason, a lot of people who have kids feel that not having kids is a selfish thing.

Tell me, how is having kids not selfish? If you were really not selfish, you would just take any kids in need of a home. Or devote 100% of your time to a cause that does not involve your genes.

And please do tell me how your children is just a gift you have chosen to put on the earth for everyone's enjoyment (but your own), which you did by selfless devotion. I cannot wait for this explanation. Please people.

We are all selfish. Breaking fucking news.

Some of us think being alive does not come with an obligation to breed. How is that selfish?

In other news, my wife is pregnant.

(Just kidding)
« Last Edit: August 27, 2013, 09:09:35 AM by Jimbo »

Mae80s

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2013, 09:12:16 AM »
Whoa! Thanks for all the replies. Yes, I suppose it really comes down to what I want more and which trade-off matters.

As for the daycare vs. staying at home debate, it's really not that black and white. My mom was on her own with me (my dad only saw me twice a month and lived in another town - it's a long story) .... they divorced when I was 3. She had help from an older neighborhood lady who was like a surrogate grandma to me. I also went to Montessori from age 2-4 PT and then "grandma" in the afternoon. I don't think I'm any worse for it. My mom had no choice: she had to work. The Montessori was paid for by my dad who (aside from money) was a very absent parent while I was growing up.

Will cross that bridge if/when we get there.

Yes, I'm in Toronto

Your $1600 estimate works out to $80 a day. The legal limit in Ontario is 5 kids, making this a $100,000/year job. If you can charge $80 per day per child you may want to switch careers.  :)


That's standard in TO - especially downtown which where I live. I know two people who are paying that figure. Just google "Toronto day care costs" and there's a spate  of articles about it. Good to know there's alternatives though with Nanny sharing and other options. Just have to get creative.

Appreciate everyone's feedback!

Selfish vs. unselfish: Kids vs. no kids.

Lots of shades of grey there. To each their own. If someone really doesn't want to be a parent or doesn't think they'll be a good one, then they most definitely shouldn't have children. I totally respect that.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2013, 09:15:41 AM by Mae80s »

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2013, 09:45:06 AM »
If you do decide, go for an in home daycare with less than 5 kids. It's cheaper and care is often better.

About the money thing, people tend to worry for no reason. Kids aren't that expensive after you pay for the delivery. It's a lifestyle change that shouldn't be made soley for financial reasons though.

Someone else has to have seen the opening scene of Idiocracy, right? Hehe.

Mega

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2013, 10:10:58 AM »

That's standard in TO - especially downtown which where I live. I know two people who are paying that figure. Just google "Toronto day care costs" and there's a spate  of articles about it. Good to know there's alternatives though with Nanny sharing and other options. Just have to get creative.

Definitely look into the foreign nanny program. If they are living with you it would work out to less than $1600/month (at minimum wage). I don't understand why anyone would pay for daycare at a higher price than a live in nanny.

Another very valid option after the first year is to run your own home daycare, even at $60 per day per child, you make good money at 3 kids, and get MASSIVE tax write offs. As you identified, daycare is insanely overpriced in Toronto.

Another alternative is to move out of downtown Toronto. Depending on your jobs, there is FAR more affordable housing and daycare outside of Toronto.

Anyways, my son has just ripped up a piece of paper towel. Have a great day!

Myrmida

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2013, 11:03:49 AM »
I forgot to mention the universal child care benefit of $100/month.  While it is a small amount compared to the costs, it still helps.

Roses

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #24 on: August 27, 2013, 11:10:06 AM »

Then it seems like you wasting a lot of money on daycare that isn't even needed. I think some parents get to overzealous when it comes to 'socializing' their child. They get plenty of that in preschool on up. Lots of times its a nice excuse to get the kid out of the house.

Perhaps I am a little bitter... My wife knows a LOT of lazy moms. I'll just leave it at that.

I think we should be careful about judging other parents' choices since it's hard to know what's going on with them.  Of course, maybe your wife does know.  I think for some people having the kid in daycare for a couple hours twice a week helps them to regroup and be a better parent once the kid is home.  Basically, everyone's situation is different.

In my case I also felt it would be silly to put my kid in daycare when I was home full time (still doing freelance work during naps and in the evening though).  Then preschool rolled around and my son had the hardest time with it!  He was just super shy and way too attached to me.  After a full year of co-op (where I stayed and worked in the preschool much of the time) he finally got used to it and the second year I was able to leave him.  So, it really depends on the kid you have.  I should have known he would inherit my shy streak and really should have started him in daycare one day a week when he was 1, two days when he was 2, etc.  I think that's what MMM did actually.

BTW, when I did get some time at home without him I was so productive!  I noticed that many things at home started running more smoothly - eating healthy, finances, etc.  I started reading more and researching more investment opportunities.  So in the end I figured if I'd done that from the beginning we might all have been better off.  Just because a parent doesn't work outside the home doesn't mean they don't 'work' and don't contribute financially, even if it's in the form of savings or investments rather than income.

Insanity

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #25 on: August 27, 2013, 12:56:55 PM »

Then it seems like you wasting a lot of money on daycare that isn't even needed. I think some parents get to overzealous when it comes to 'socializing' their child. They get plenty of that in preschool on up. Lots of times its a nice excuse to get the kid out of the house.

Perhaps I am a little bitter... My wife knows a LOT of lazy moms. I'll just leave it at that.

I think we should be careful about judging other parents' choices since it's hard to know what's going on with them.  Of course, maybe your wife does know.  I think for some people having the kid in daycare for a couple hours twice a week helps them to regroup and be a better parent once the kid is home.  Basically, everyone's situation is different.

In my case I also felt it would be silly to put my kid in daycare when I was home full time (still doing freelance work during naps and in the evening though).  Then preschool rolled around and my son had the hardest time with it!  He was just super shy and way too attached to me.  After a full year of co-op (where I stayed and worked in the preschool much of the time) he finally got used to it and the second year I was able to leave him.  So, it really depends on the kid you have.  I should have known he would inherit my shy streak and really should have started him in daycare one day a week when he was 1, two days when he was 2, etc.  I think that's what MMM did actually.

BTW, when I did get some time at home without him I was so productive!  I noticed that many things at home started running more smoothly - eating healthy, finances, etc.  I started reading more and researching more investment opportunities.  So in the end I figured if I'd done that from the beginning we might all have been better off.  Just because a parent doesn't work outside the home doesn't mean they don't 'work' and don't contribute financially, even if it's in the form of savings or investments rather than income.

Why is it that those who criticize day care seem to forget: It takes a village to raise a child.  People seem to forget that.  Nobody should be raising their kid on their own.  it doesn't just start at kindergarten.  If people don't have the support system, then they should be putting their kids in day care.  Not just for their kids, but as you pointed out, for the parents chance to get a break.

bogart

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #26 on: August 27, 2013, 08:29:00 PM »

In my case I also felt it would be silly to put my kid in daycare when I was home full time (still doing freelance work during naps and in the evening though).  Then preschool rolled around and my son had the hardest time with it!  He was just super shy and way too attached to me.  After a full year of co-op (where I stayed and worked in the preschool much of the time) he finally got used to it and the second year I was able to leave him.  So, it really depends on the kid you have.  I should have known he would inherit my shy streak and really should have started him in daycare one day a week when he was 1, two days when he was 2, etc.  I think that's what MMM did actually.

BTW, when I did get some time at home without him I was so productive!  I noticed that many things at home started running more smoothly - eating healthy, finances, etc.  I started reading more and researching more investment opportunities.  So in the end I figured if I'd done that from the beginning we might all have been better off.  Just because a parent doesn't work outside the home doesn't mean they don't 'work' and don't contribute financially, even if it's in the form of savings or investments rather than income.

There were aspects of my experience that were similar to this (and aspects that weren't).  I didn't WAH and didn't want to (note that I don't say I didn't choose to:  I chose not to); we do have a competent/available local grandparent, but going without any paid childcare was never a consideration.  Starting at 2 months (we did use a home-based facility, though one that's state certified and regulated) meant that long before the time when he developed concerns about strangers, DS knew our childcare providers.  He was at that place, which had between 3-5 kids ages 0-3, until he turned 3.5, and in retrospect I wished we'd moved him earlier as (in hindsight) he was ready -- eager -- to go to somewhere with more kids and more focused on  organized activities rather than just free time and care.  But oh well. 

Twice before he was 3 we had to leave DS overnight on short notice -- once to travel to an out-of-town funeral and once when my DH was out of town and I was in an accident and required hospitalization and surgery.  Both times this was a total -- nonevent.  DS stayed with the grandmother he knew (and sure, she's a family member, but the fact that he regularly spent 2 days/week at her house was the important part to his feeling safe and comfortable being dispatched to her care).  And in stressful times for us, his parents, we were at peace in our knowledge that DS was totally at ease and we could focus on the other issues and not worry about him.  I'm so grateful that was an option for us.  While of course every family and every child is different, with that as background I personally can't imagine seeking to avoid leaving my child in the care of other trusted adults -- very much the contrary.

huadpe

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #27 on: August 27, 2013, 09:00:06 PM »
I feel like the discussion of selfishness and kids here is a blatant opening to plug one of the books I've enjoyed lately: Selfish Reasons To Have More Kids.

http://www.amazon.com/Selfish-Reasons-Have-More-Kids/dp/046501867X

mm1970

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #28 on: August 27, 2013, 10:24:48 PM »
What Bogart said. (and others)

There is nothing wrong with child care.  Child care, "a village", is a normal way to raise children.

I don't have a village.  My parents are dead.  My in-laws live on the opposite coast.  My friends all work, as do I.  My older son was in an awesome home daycare at 3 months (gasp!).  My younger son started at 9 weeks!  His childcare is a home daycare run by a friend of mine - for the first 9 months he was the only child there besides her two.  Her youngest is two months older than he is.  It is such a wonderful place.  She's licensed, has been providing childcare for 12 years at least (she has four kids of her own), and I've known her for over 7 years. 

Some people who have never used daycare have these images of people dumping their kids off (no, we actually do park the car and carry them in) and leaving them with strangers all day.  The average child in daycare spends 30 hours a week in it, and after about a week, your DCP is hardly a "stranger". 

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #29 on: August 28, 2013, 08:32:40 AM »
My grandmother had 5 boys, she didn't use daycare. My other grandparents lived above a restaurant they owned. I think we've gotten decadent and lazy. Popular culture tells us paying for someone to raise your kids while you need a break or to earn more money (to pay for daycare!) is "normal". It's a symptom of what we've become, for better or worse. All I'm hearing are excuses, and someone else in the "village" is responsible...

Home daycare is great too. It's not that I disagree with it. But we have to ask ourselves, exactly why can't we raise our own kids? Because we need more money?

Insanity

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #30 on: August 28, 2013, 09:01:09 AM »
My grandmother had 5 boys, she didn't use daycare. My other grandparents lived above a restaurant they owned. I think we've gotten decadent and lazy. Popular culture tells us paying for someone to raise your kids while you need a break or to earn more money (to pay for daycare!) is "normal". It's a symptom of what we've become, for better or worse. All I'm hearing are excuses, and someone else in the "village" is responsible...

Home daycare is great too. It's not that I disagree with it. But we have to ask ourselves, exactly why can't we raise our own kids? Because we need more money?

Your missing the point about a "village".  Humans are social animals by nature, we each have strengths and weaknesses.  It isn't about shedding responsibility.   It's about being part of a community or social nature.  There are ton of cultures that still remain where extended families live near each other and assist with taking care of each other.   

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #31 on: August 28, 2013, 09:06:57 AM »
My grandmother had 5 boys, she didn't use daycare. My other grandparents lived above a restaurant they owned. I think we've gotten decadent and lazy. Popular culture tells us paying for someone to raise your kids while you need a break or to earn more money (to pay for daycare!) is "normal". It's a symptom of what we've become, for better or worse. All I'm hearing are excuses, and someone else in the "village" is responsible...

Home daycare is great too. It's not that I disagree with it. But we have to ask ourselves, exactly why can't we raise our own kids? Because we need more money?

Your missing the point about a "village".  Humans are social animals by nature, we each have strengths and weaknesses.  It isn't about shedding responsibility.   It's about being part of a community or social nature.  There are ton of cultures that still remain where extended families live near each other and assist with taking care of each other.

But not here, so we have this "need" for daycare. That is what I'm questioning. Where's this need come from? So the mother can earn more money? Or so she can be more "social"?

I don't buy the idea that one has to use day for "social" reasons.

Mega

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #32 on: August 28, 2013, 09:28:23 AM »
My grandmother had 5 boys, she didn't use daycare. My other grandparents lived above a restaurant they owned. I think we've gotten decadent and lazy. Popular culture tells us paying for someone to raise your kids while you need a break or to earn more money (to pay for daycare!) is "normal". It's a symptom of what we've become, for better or worse. All I'm hearing are excuses, and someone else in the "village" is responsible...

Home daycare is great too. It's not that I disagree with it. But we have to ask ourselves, exactly why can't we raise our own kids? Because we need more money?

Honestly, after putting my son in daycare, I would say the benefit is that your child is exposed to many different things than I would have thought of doing. For example, my DCP taught my son to go bananas (dance around in a circle). I wouldn't have thought of that.

There are also a lot of things that make much more sense when you have 5 kids in the car as opposed to 1. For example day family passes to parks / attractions. Doing it as a group is far more fun and exciting.

Finally, have you ever stayed home with an infant?

Your missing the point about a "village".  Humans are social animals by nature, we each have strengths and weaknesses.  It isn't about shedding responsibility.   It's about being part of a community or social nature.  There are ton of cultures that still remain where extended families live near each other and assist with taking care of each other.

But not here, so we have this "need" for daycare. That is what I'm questioning. Where's this need come from? So the mother can earn more money? Or so she can be more "social"?

I don't buy the idea that one has to use day for "social" reasons.

Insanity

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #33 on: August 28, 2013, 09:37:28 AM »
My grandmother had 5 boys, she didn't use daycare. My other grandparents lived above a restaurant they owned. I think we've gotten decadent and lazy. Popular culture tells us paying for someone to raise your kids while you need a break or to earn more money (to pay for daycare!) is "normal". It's a symptom of what we've become, for better or worse. All I'm hearing are excuses, and someone else in the "village" is responsible...

Home daycare is great too. It's not that I disagree with it. But we have to ask ourselves, exactly why can't we raise our own kids? Because we need more money?

Your missing the point about a "village".  Humans are social animals by nature, we each have strengths and weaknesses.  It isn't about shedding responsibility.   It's about being part of a community or social nature.  There are ton of cultures that still remain where extended families live near each other and assist with taking care of each other.

But not here, so we have this "need" for daycare. That is what I'm questioning. Where's this need come from? So the mother can earn more money? Or so she can be more "social"?

I don't buy the idea that one has to use day for "social" reasons.

There is that and the other is a more controversial, in my mind.  The changes in gender role.  Lots of women feel they should be working and in the work force, men are naturally supposed to be there.  The hunter/gather has changed considerably to be hunter/hunter.  The gather is no longer performing tasks which can be done while taking care of the kids within the tribe, or educating the youth.  Men still have the believe they are the hunters (bread winners). 

I don't mean that to come across sexist, but I believe that whole movement played a large role in a lot of why society is the way it is right now.  I don't necessarily think that is a bad thing, by the way.



galaxie

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #34 on: August 28, 2013, 09:47:25 AM »
We live in a similarly high COL area (Boston metro) and bought a 2-family house.  We plan to have a kid in the next few years (I'm 31).  It can be done.  I don't think it has seriously affected our FI date -- our savings rate is matched up with our 15-year mortgage so that when the house is paid off in 2027 we can pretty much retire immediately.

Around here, renting is a good deal (various calculators suggested we'll break even after ~8 years in the house), but we had a few factors that made buying the right choice for us: we plan to stay in this town long-term, extended family might come live in the second unit at some point, and our house is awesome.  I don't think of our house like an investment, but also it's cool that eventually we won't really have to pay for a place to live.

Yes, we are planning to use day care, or maybe my in-laws will stay with us and watch our kid(s) while we work.  They keep saying they want to do that, and it would be a great way to teach the kids both our languages.

Myrmida

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #35 on: August 28, 2013, 09:55:30 AM »
My grandmother had 5 boys, she didn't use daycare. My other grandparents lived above a restaurant they owned. I think we've gotten decadent and lazy. Popular culture tells us paying for someone to raise your kids while you need a break or to earn more money (to pay for daycare!) is "normal". It's a symptom of what we've become, for better or worse. All I'm hearing are excuses, and someone else in the "village" is responsible...

Home daycare is great too. It's not that I disagree with it. But we have to ask ourselves, exactly why can't we raise our own kids? Because we need more money?

Mr. MacInstache, I agree that it's important to question our assumptions.  One assumption is that it is better for children and families to have a stay-at-home parent while their children are infants and then return to work when the kids are school-age.  My goal is the reverse.  I want to work until my first child hits his teen years and then retire because I think it's more important for me to be home while my kids navigate the treacherous waters of growing from children into adults.  However, that may not be the best choice for other people, and some people would view staying home while your children are in school all day as the epitome of lazy.  I am also willing to admit that I find infant care unstimulating, unrewarding drudgery.  I am fortunate that my husband is willing to be a stay-at-home dad for these early years, but if he wasn't we would definitely be interviewing childcare providers.

You ask why we can't raise our own kids, suggesting that anyone who doesn't stay home with their kids isn't raising them.  Considering that the vast majority of childcare has been the responsibility of women historically and is even the norm today, we can argue that most men haven't raised their own kids.  Perhaps you are a stay-at-home dad, as my husband is, but it is definitely not the norm.  Taking that further, if you don't homeschool your kids, then the schoolteachers are raising your kids once they are 5 or 6.  It irritates me when people suggest that people who use childcare have abdicated all responsibility for their children and left it to others to raise their kids.

Some people prefer to work outside the home for reasons other than laziness or decadence.  You extrapolate from your grandparents example, but a lot has changed since that time.  We now have laws that protect women's rights to work.  My own mother wanted to be a teacher, but at that time teachers had to quit as soon as they were pregnant.  I also doubt that there was quality, regulated childcare available in your grandmother's time.


Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #36 on: August 28, 2013, 10:23:58 AM »
My grandmother had 5 boys, she didn't use daycare. My other grandparents lived above a restaurant they owned. I think we've gotten decadent and lazy. Popular culture tells us paying for someone to raise your kids while you need a break or to earn more money (to pay for daycare!) is "normal". It's a symptom of what we've become, for better or worse. All I'm hearing are excuses, and someone else in the "village" is responsible...

Home daycare is great too. It's not that I disagree with it. But we have to ask ourselves, exactly why can't we raise our own kids? Because we need more money?

Mr. MacInstache, I agree that it's important to question our assumptions.  One assumption is that it is better for children and families to have a stay-at-home parent while their children are infants and then return to work when the kids are school-age.  My goal is the reverse.  I want to work until my first child hits his teen years and then retire because I think it's more important for me to be home while my kids navigate the treacherous waters of growing from children into adults.  However, that may not be the best choice for other people, and some people would view staying home while your children are in school all day as the epitome of lazy.  I am also willing to admit that I find infant care unstimulating, unrewarding drudgery.  I am fortunate that my husband is willing to be a stay-at-home dad for these early years, but if he wasn't we would definitely be interviewing childcare providers.

You ask why we can't raise our own kids, suggesting that anyone who doesn't stay home with their kids isn't raising them.  Considering that the vast majority of childcare has been the responsibility of women historically and is even the norm today, we can argue that most men haven't raised their own kids.  Perhaps you are a stay-at-home dad, as my husband is, but it is definitely not the norm.  Taking that further, if you don't homeschool your kids, then the schoolteachers are raising your kids once they are 5 or 6.  It irritates me when people suggest that people who use childcare have abdicated all responsibility for their children and left it to others to raise their kids.

Some people prefer to work outside the home for reasons other than laziness or decadence.  You extrapolate from your grandparents example, but a lot has changed since that time.  We now have laws that protect women's rights to work.  My own mother wanted to be a teacher, but at that time teachers had to quit as soon as they were pregnant.  I also doubt that there was quality, regulated childcare available in your grandmother's time.

I realize that many Mom's are more ambitious and find it can be a bore to be a SAHM. I totally understand that. I did my part helping to raise my son while I worked from home. It was a challenge doing both. But it wasn't drudgery, I found all sorts of stimulating things to do, like build my business and pursue other interests.

I guess it's my belief that kids need a good parental bond and solid foundation and that starts in the first 3 years of life. So we tailored our life that way so we could raise our kids. From there, they were very confident to go into pre-K and have never had any 'attachment' issues or things like that. They can also read, write, draw and speak better than the rest. So we put all our work in upfront so we could "retire" a little early from parenthood... they are better set to lead now vs being raised daycare, IMO. So I think its mustachian to live less of a lifestyle and raise your kids instead of working to pay for daycare. Just my opinion. I realize one size doesn't fit all in this department.




Mega

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #37 on: August 28, 2013, 10:40:20 AM »
What I meant to say earlier :

I have found home daycare to be superior to SAH care simply because they do things that I would not have thought of doing. Ditto for teaching my DS things as well. He is also much more comfortable around other kids than I suspect he would have been otherwise.

avonlea

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #38 on: August 28, 2013, 10:58:25 AM »
I don't understand why people think $1600 a month for childcare is over the top.  $80 a day.  If a child is being watched for 10 hours, that averages out to $8/hr.  A friend was once telling me how frustrated she was that she pays more for childcare than for her mortgage.  Well which is more important?  I'd much rather live in a crappy house and have my child well cared for by people who are able to make a decent living (not comfortable, just decent) than have a nice house while the people who are taking care of the most important person in my life scrape by. 

Taking that further, if you don't homeschool your kids, then the schoolteachers are raising your kids once they are 5 or 6.  It irritates me when people suggest that people who use childcare have abdicated all responsibility for their children and left it to others to raise their kids.
That's a good point, Myrmida.  Where does the arbitrary line fall on when it's ok to trust others with our children? 

The public sees the value of school and pays teachers fairly well, much better than the average daycare employee receives.  The first five years of a child's life are also extremely important.  He/she needs to be cared for properly and exposed to life's first lessons in a nurturing environment.  In countries where childcare is subsidized, the employees are required to have more qualifications and are paid as such.  You can still find quality childcare in this country from people who are willing to work for little money, but is it right that they are compensated poorly?

I read a feminist book a few years ago that really opened my eyes about the value we put on caretakers.  I can't remember the title.  Otherwise I'd post it.  The author was saying that feminism has won part of its battle.  Women can now succeed in professions that have long been held by men (doctors, attorneys, scientists, etc.).  But until our society has as much respect for the roles that women have held for millenia (caretakers of small children, disabled and elderly; school teachers; nurses, etc) as the traditional jobs held by men, gender equality will never be realized.  That really opened my eyes to the broader goal of feminism.

So, I don't mind if parents want to find work outside of the home.  I only mind if they feel that taking care of a child is much less worthy than the work that they are being paid for.  And even when a caretaker looks after several children, they usually aren't making very much money.

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #39 on: August 28, 2013, 11:50:34 AM »
Sorry, but public school ≠ daycare. Apples to oranges.

Thanks to raising my children ourselves, they are well prepared to venture out on their own in the public school system.

Re: SAHM. It is the only FULL time job there is. It should be held with the highest honor, but society and pop culture degrades the roll IMO. Therefor they are made to feel less worthy for doing so. The opposite is true, there is nothing harder than being one, IMO.

jrhampt

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #40 on: August 28, 2013, 12:45:49 PM »
My grandmother had 5 boys, she didn't use daycare. My other grandparents lived above a restaurant they owned. I think we've gotten decadent and lazy. Popular culture tells us paying for someone to raise your kids while you need a break or to earn more money (to pay for daycare!) is "normal". It's a symptom of what we've become, for better or worse. All I'm hearing are excuses, and someone else in the "village" is responsible...

Home daycare is great too. It's not that I disagree with it. But we have to ask ourselves, exactly why can't we raise our own kids? Because we need more money?

Your missing the point about a "village".  Humans are social animals by nature, we each have strengths and weaknesses.  It isn't about shedding responsibility.   It's about being part of a community or social nature.  There are ton of cultures that still remain where extended families live near each other and assist with taking care of each other.

But not here, so we have this "need" for daycare. That is what I'm questioning. Where's this need come from? So the mother can earn more money? Or so she can be more "social"?

I don't buy the idea that one has to use day for "social" reasons.

So the *mother* can earn more money and be more social?  How about the father? Is there another parent? Or is it just the mother that is lazy if she uses daycare?

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #41 on: August 28, 2013, 01:02:05 PM »
My grandmother had 5 boys, she didn't use daycare. My other grandparents lived above a restaurant they owned. I think we've gotten decadent and lazy. Popular culture tells us paying for someone to raise your kids while you need a break or to earn more money (to pay for daycare!) is "normal". It's a symptom of what we've become, for better or worse. All I'm hearing are excuses, and someone else in the "village" is responsible...

Home daycare is great too. It's not that I disagree with it. But we have to ask ourselves, exactly why can't we raise our own kids? Because we need more money?

Your missing the point about a "village".  Humans are social animals by nature, we each have strengths and weaknesses.  It isn't about shedding responsibility.   It's about being part of a community or social nature.  There are ton of cultures that still remain where extended families live near each other and assist with taking care of each other.

But not here, so we have this "need" for daycare. That is what I'm questioning. Where's this need come from? So the mother can earn more money? Or so she can be more "social"?

I don't buy the idea that one has to use day for "social" reasons.

So the *mother* can earn more money and be more social?  How about the father? Is there another parent? Or is it just the mother that is lazy if she uses daycare?

A father could be lazy in the same situation... if the mother works and the father doesn't need to, then yes I would apply the same argument. This is not an issue of gender roles.

Roses

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #42 on: August 28, 2013, 09:20:58 PM »
I think this is just a really hard issue to pass judgment on.  When I had my son I had the luxury of staying home because my husband's job could more than support us (it was easy to decide that I be the one to give up working since my nonprofit career paid a pittance and was way too stressful to continue on with a child).  The sad fact is that many families don't have that option.  Even if they want to stay home, some parents can't.  So we shouldn't be judging them for it.  Other parents are in careers that don't 'lend themselves' to taking a break.  We have one of the most backward societies in this respect.  Compared to other developed countries we give mothers/parents very little support with child-care and with going back to work after a long absence.

And there is yet another unfortunate scenario - the one where parents wish they could stay home with their kids but think they have to work.  They don't know how to calculate the real cost of working and having a child in daycare.  In many cases they would be better off with one parent staying home.  This goes back to challenging assumptions.

My great-grandmother had 15 children and no paid child-care.  Back then 'the village' was quite literally a village.  There were grandparents, aunts/uncles, in-laws, neighbors, friends, older siblings, etc.  These days we tend to move away from our village.  Maybe the grandparents are in another state, aunts/uncles live in the suburbs, we don't know our neighbors that well, etc.  So it becomes harder to have that natural support network that humans have been relying on literally since the beginning of our species!
« Last Edit: August 28, 2013, 09:22:54 PM by Roses »

Marigold

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #43 on: August 29, 2013, 07:21:05 AM »
One thing I like about the MMM threads, is that they are usually pretty supportive and positive.

Some of the comments are a little "high and mighty" here.

On the topic of stay at home mothers versus working mothers and that being a stay at home mother is the "only" full time job - I am sorry but I work a full-time job and then I come home and take care of my daughter all evening (and night because she still doesn't sleep through). Then after she goes to bed, I take care of my portion of the home (I guess all that doesn't count though).  My husband takes care of her in the morning so I can leave early and be home early.  I took a 13 month maternity leave and interestingly enough, I feel like I am getting more quality time with her now than when I was off - when I come home it's all about her and having fun, whereas while I was off, there were lots of times I had to drag her on errands etc.

I believe the majority of mothers are doing the best they can - and I support any woman's choice on the matter of staying home or being a working mother.

This competitive parenting thing that I see going on in society today is ridiculous.  Be a great parent, but that's not the only thing that is going to ensure your child's success - there are so many factors, including genetics, etc..  Something to ponder for some - no matter how many expensive courses or activities you put your child in - there's always going to be a child who is better looking, smarter, faster and more gifted than your child.

Time to relax and just enjoy your children.

mm1970

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #44 on: August 29, 2013, 09:57:18 PM »
My grandmother had 5 boys, she didn't use daycare. My other grandparents lived above a restaurant they owned. I think we've gotten decadent and lazy. Popular culture tells us paying for someone to raise your kids while you need a break or to earn more money (to pay for daycare!) is "normal". It's a symptom of what we've become, for better or worse. All I'm hearing are excuses, and someone else in the "village" is responsible...

Home daycare is great too. It's not that I disagree with it. But we have to ask ourselves, exactly why can't we raise our own kids? Because we need more money?

Your missing the point about a "village".  Humans are social animals by nature, we each have strengths and weaknesses.  It isn't about shedding responsibility.   It's about being part of a community or social nature.  There are ton of cultures that still remain where extended families live near each other and assist with taking care of each other.

But not here, so we have this "need" for daycare. That is what I'm questioning. Where's this need come from? So the mother can earn more money? Or so she can be more "social"?

I don't buy the idea that one has to use day for "social" reasons.

BECAUSE NOT ALL OF US HAVE A VILLAGE. 

Most of the people I know, who live where I live, do not have a village.  Few people are from here.  We don't have family.  We don't have the opportunity to take any kind of break.

mm1970

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Re: Kids and money
« Reply #45 on: August 29, 2013, 10:03:52 PM »
Quote
I guess it's my belief that kids need a good parental bond and solid foundation and that starts in the first 3 years of life. So we tailored our life that way so we could raise our kids.

Me too.  we did the same.

The difference is, we were able to do that with quality childcare.

I never really  understood the math.  30 to 40 hours a week of childcare, 128 to 138 hours a week of parent care, not to mention the 6-7 full weeks off vacation and holidays.  But I'm not raising my kids.  Ha!