Author Topic: Seeking Advice on Childcare in Boston area  (Read 11122 times)

RetireMeNow

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Seeking Advice on Childcare in Boston area
« on: December 18, 2013, 07:25:46 PM »
Given MA has one of the highest childcare costs in the country, I'm wondering how Mustachians in MA work and afford childcare. Our child is <4 mos. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

CommonCents

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Re: Seeking Advice on Childcare in Boston area
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2013, 07:47:29 PM »
We don't have kids.  We've seen a variety of setups - grandma helping, nanny, home daycare and regular daycare.  The cheapest is the family that managed to offset schedules so they didn't have to pay anyone.  The most expensive - the nanny, sure.  I think people just suck it up.  Friends with twins say they paid daycare more than she earned to have the wife work (for her career and sanity).  Friends with the nanny say they went that route because it was almost as much as daycare, plus the kid would get sick less frequently and not have weeks off like a lot of daycares do - but again, the wife's salary was a wash now (but would elevate her career).  None considered having the husband stay home.

Irishmam

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Re: Seeking Advice on Childcare in Boston area
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2013, 09:17:56 PM »
We have 4 children and usually worked opposite shifts, with a local babysitter for the overlap. We have also paid for daycare that cost almost as much as our (then) rent. If you have an FSA through work that can ease some of the burden.

Overall, I am glad I worked part time when they were small, because it has allowed me to maintain some level of seniority and enabled me to climb up salary grades when I was ready to return full time. I would suggest checking out at your library / recreation department for a list of local child care centers / in home providers. Visit as many as you can and determine which one meets your needs. It is expensive, but it is not forever.

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Seeking Advice on Childcare in Boston area
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2013, 09:30:22 PM »
Our local YMCA actually has a great program for a reasonable price. You will find a lot of brand-name daycare centers here that cost more -- Bright Horizons and KinderCare -- and you can see why they cost more. But if you can find a gem of a daycare center, that is NAEYC accredited and still less money than the brand names, then it makes it more affordable. I also know a lot of parents who use nannies part time (because PT daycare doesn't have a significant savings, but nannies' schedules can fit yours more easily) or use a home daycare, which will cost less $$.

We're OK paying the higher prices here than when we lived in upstate NY and paid less, because the daycare here is better but also because we know our son will go to an awesome public school for free once he's 5! (that was not such a guarantee where we lived before).

Freedom2016

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Re: Seeking Advice on Childcare in Boston area
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2013, 05:55:23 AM »
We live in Boston and our son started daycare at 4 months in an in-home daycare run by a Dominican woman and 2 helpers. He got great care in the 10-child facility in her basement and we paid $200/week for it -- about half what we would have paid in a daycare center.

(That was for 10-hours/day, 5 days a week care.)

RetireMeNow

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Re: Seeking Advice on Childcare in Boston area
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2013, 06:12:33 PM »
Thanks! We would love to go the part-time route for one of us, but it's just not feasible if we are to get to FI anytime in the next decade. We started working late because of our advanced degrees...that's a subject for another post/rant... Anyway, we had no idea about the YMCA, and it's a good idea to look at the library. A nanny- that sounds really un-Mustachian...but, would be great. We'll look into that. I'm wondering- where does one find these "off brand" daycares? Word of mouth?



Freedom2016

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Re: Seeking Advice on Childcare in Boston area
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2013, 07:07:03 PM »
You can search for licensed providers (centers and in-home) here: http://www.eec.state.ma.us/ChildCareSearch/EarlyEduMap.aspx

That list is where we started, but we actually lucked out in that our downstairs neighbors had canvassed all the in-home providers in our neighborhood, and placed their son in one I mentioned above, and voila...they happened to have an opening when we were ready to start him.

Ask around and you will probably get some good references.

abhe8

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Re: Seeking Advice on Childcare in Boston area
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2013, 11:33:40 PM »
we have 4 children and, like a pp, dh and I work different schedules (i'm days, some weekends and he is nights/weekends 4 days per week) and we have a nanny for about 10 hours a week. we average 500 a month in childcare costs. we could NEVER get this rate with full time care. its a bit tough on dh and I, but we know its temporary (just another 15 months until i finish my training) and its worth it to us, to save the money but also have our chidren at home.

RetireMeNow

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Re: Seeking Advice on Childcare in Boston area
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2013, 07:20:02 PM »
We are interviewing part-time in-home help and will work around DH's more flexible schedule to try to cut down those hours. Some family will be visiting this year so we can get some weeks of relief there. Will try to get some flextime at work, but doesn't look very promising without a lot of convincing my boss. We are already feeling the pressure to join these overpriced co-op day cares. Trying to avoid those uncomfortable conversations.
Course11, thanks for the site. Will be checking it out to see if we can get a better deal than what we're looking at right now. Congrats on finding a great set-up for your family!
Now we have to go back to look at cutting expenses elsewhere. Groceries?!

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Seeking Advice on Childcare in Boston area
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2013, 11:09:58 AM »
Thanks! We would love to go the part-time route for one of us, but it's just not feasible if we are to get to FI anytime in the next decade. We started working late because of our advanced degrees...that's a subject for another post/rant... Anyway, we had no idea about the YMCA, and it's a good idea to look at the library. A nanny- that sounds really un-Mustachian...but, would be great. We'll look into that. I'm wondering- where does one find these "off brand" daycares? Word of mouth?

1 FT nanny for 1 child does seem un-Mustachian ;) But peopled do nanny-shares all the time. So, you might be able to find a good match with another parent who also needs a PT nanny; with a nanny looking for PT work. A friend of mine did a nanny-share and they paid half of her $20/hr rate.

CommonCents

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Re: Seeking Advice on Childcare in Boston area
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2014, 09:45:37 AM »
Thanks! We would love to go the part-time route for one of us, but it's just not feasible if we are to get to FI anytime in the next decade. We started working late because of our advanced degrees...that's a subject for another post/rant... Anyway, we had no idea about the YMCA, and it's a good idea to look at the library. A nanny- that sounds really un-Mustachian...but, would be great. We'll look into that. I'm wondering- where does one find these "off brand" daycares? Word of mouth?

1 FT nanny for 1 child does seem un-Mustachian ;) But peopled do nanny-shares all the time. So, you might be able to find a good match with another parent who also needs a PT nanny; with a nanny looking for PT work. A friend of mine did a nanny-share and they paid half of her $20/hr rate.

Oh yes, it is not mustachian.  I should have clarified I was just posting what I'd seen people do as options.  They would have loved to nanny share but I guess it didn't work out.  On the positive side, they are actually able to have her work longer than a daycare generally runs.  It turns out that they spend a bit more in some ways though, such as the nanny wanting the home warmer during the day.

MicroRN

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Re: Seeking Advice on Childcare in Boston area
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2014, 01:32:21 PM »
You could also check for a great small unlicensed daycare.  My mom ran one out of our house for years.  You have to find someone by word of mouth, but they're out there.  In a lot of states as long as you only take a couple extra kids you don't have to be licensed, so it's something many SAHPs do.

Nannies aren't really mustachian, but for multiple kids they may not be THAT expensive.  Depending on your area you'll probably be close to even with 2 kids, cheaper than daycare for 3 or more.  The extra expense can be well worth it for the flexibility.  Our area is $850-$1200/mo per kid for daycare, of course it's almost impossible to get into the good quality cheaper ones.  Those slots tend to get snapped up by siblings.     

Penelope Vandergast

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Re: Seeking Advice on Childcare in Boston area
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2014, 08:18:49 PM »
Boston childcare prices are insane. I highly recommend forming a babysitting co-op with 2-3 other families or doing a babysitting trade with someone else. This only works if you have at least 1 free day a week to do your child care day.

Basically, you care for your own kid and someone else's kid(s) for one day a week (or more if it works for you) and the other parents do the same on other days of the week. It can be difficult to find people with compatible schedules, and in my experience some stay-at-home parents don't always quite get the urgency of having definite dropoff times and the absolute necessity to stick to the schedule every week, but once you get it figured out it can work really well. You also get to know the other family (ies) well too, which is also really nice.

What part of Boston are you in? If in Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, West Roxbury or thereabouts there is a very active parenting email list and people are always organizing this kind of thing. Other neighborhoods often have local email lists too. You may also have luck posting an ad on Craigslist. I found a nanny share that way.

Which is another possibility: A nanny share is when you and someone else hire the nanny together and share the costs. It's good policy for the nanny to get paid a higher wage for watching 2 kids, but even then if you split it down the middle you save money. (say $22/hour for the nanny = $11/hour each, which is very cheap for Boston) Some people do this every day or just one or two days a week. (I just did it for one day, along with a babysitting trade for another day.)

Some people with bigger child care co-ops also hire a nanny to work with the co-op since once you're taking care of more than 2-3 toddlers it can get a little crazy. Then the cost of the nanny is shared by all, the parent in charge is under much less stress because they aren't alone and can actually go to the bathroom, cook meals, etc., and you have a bunch of kids who really get to know each other and have a good time. It can definitely be a lot of work! but it also can be pretty fun.


Penelope Vandergast

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Re: Seeking Advice on Childcare in Boston area
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2014, 08:20:05 PM »
(whoops, didn't see that you had already discussed nanny shares!)

Kimbl

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Re: Seeking Advice on Childcare in Boston area
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2014, 08:10:25 AM »
I live in the Boston area and don't have any family nearby so childcare is probably one of my biggest stresses.   When the kids were just born (I have 2, 2 years apart), I had them at a YWCA daycare and that was very affordable.  We moved closer in to Boston and then had them in a local daycare center 2-3 days per week and definitely paid more than I was making.  I was married at the time and we decided it was worth it to keep me up-to-date professionally but not a great financial decision (pre-MMM days!).   After that, I found sitters from the local pre-school/after-school programs which has worked out very well.   Many of the workers there are part-time and looking for extra work PT.   Now that my kids are older (9 and 7), high schoolers are becoming an option, although I admit, I have not done that yet.

I've haven't made use of a babysitting co-op mostly because my work schedule changes too often.  PT, reliable childcare for infants/toddlers outside of the daycare centers  is really tough since you need someone responsible, experienced with babies and can handle emergencies.  Again, when kids were babies I hired someone from the infant room at the YWCA for extra-babysitting.  She already knew my kids plus she was trained in CPR etc. by the Y.   

Good luck!

RetireMeNow

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Re: Seeking Advice on Childcare in Boston area
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2014, 06:24:59 PM »
UPDATE: Well, we have finally enrolled the baby in a daycare close to DH's work (4 days, since he stays at home with DH once a week because of flex work schedule.) After trying the Y (not available at the one around here), interviewing nannies who were supposed to be qualified but who turned out to be unreliable because 2 out of 3 didn't even make it to the interview, and looking for a nanny share (all the complainypants neighbors & friends use daycares), this was our only option. The folks we know from the neighborhood or work are certainly not into forming a co-op daycare. We're in the Somerville/Cambridge area, and I often find it difficult to find Mustachians. I'd like to stay at home for the first few years, but my income makes it impossible to give up the job while we save for FI, so we'll have to strive to grow the stubble despite the hefty childcare expense. We will use my FSA, and, as soon as possible, we'll look into public preschool.

Thank you all for the advice! It's always inspirational to hear from like-minded people when everyone around us thinks we're just crazy for our Mustachian ways.

nvmama

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Re: Seeking Advice on Childcare in Boston area
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2014, 06:15:01 AM »
I currently live South of Boston, In Abington.  I have two children (3 and 6) and still work full time.  What has worked for my husband and myself since having kids is 1: I took a lower paying job at my current agency that had a more flexible schedule, which allowed me to be home most days with the kids.  Work understands why I did it, and when kids are in school full days, I will step up into a different position that is more of a normal work schedule and higher pay.  Having my employer understand this has been wonderful as they are still invested in my career and they are currently helping me pay for a Masters degree.  We do need childcare in my schedule.  I have been very fortunate to make friends with other moms as my child has aged.  In doing this we have started to help each other out.  I watch her kids once a week so she can work, and then she watches my children.  It is surprising how helpful other parents are as long as  you are willing to help out in return.

So I guess the point of this post is to remind you that as you child ages other options may present themselves, especially if you find someone in a similar position.

cynthia1848

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Re: Seeking Advice on Childcare in Boston area
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2014, 07:36:29 AM »
If you have more kids in the future, a nanny may be cheaper.  Our friends pay $50K for daycare for 2 kids (both parents are FT and work long hours); we pay $36K for a nanny for 3 kids.

However, if you pay on the books, it is more expensive since you usually need to gross up and pay unemployment tax, etc.  The majority of people don't follow the law and pay off the books, which makes it more expensive for those of us who do pay on the books.